In Dark Age of Camelot, archery is treated like neither magical combat, nor melee combat. Instead, it combines some aspects of both, and yet is really its own beast. It is also very different from either combat or magic in that it is a primary skill for some guilds, namely Albion's scouts, Midgard's hunters, and Hibernia's rangers, but is a secondary skill for several others.
Classes for whom archery is a primary skill should be able to do significant damage to opponents with their archery skill, but must use melee skills as well to finish off wounded opponents. The general expectation is that these classes can do anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the damage to a blue-con mob using their special bow abilities, before needing to switch over to melee combat. However, scouts, hunters, and rangers are not supposed to be able to kill or nearly kill their target creatures before they ever reach the archer. That would make archery far too powerful. The famed Briton longbow and the Norse composite bow are the two bows we know of that are capable of the long range, high-damage archery attacks.
Other classes that can use archery as a secondary skill generally use it as a way to do a little damage from a distance before the opponent can close to melee range. Much of what is said in this guide applies to these "casual archers" as well. The Briton warriors often use shortbows or crossbows to provide this initial punch, as they are easier to train in than the longbow. Archery hasn't really caught hold yet in the Nordic lands, and hunters are really the only guild that uses these long distance missiles. The other Norse warriors tend to favor thrown weapons like spears and axes.
Know Your ArrowsFirstly, to avoid some confusion, bows use arrows and crossbows use bolts. Arrows are long, thin shafts with a variety of heads and fletching. Bolts are much shorter and thicker, and again come with a variety of heads and fletching. You cannot use a bolt with a bow, and you cannot use an arrow with a crossbow.
The specific combination of head, fletching, and care in finishing affect the performance of the arrow or bolt.
|Not Specified||Medium||Not Specified||Medium||Bodkin||Medium (Thrust)|
The type of damage only applies toward the armor type modifier for attacks, not any of your combatspecializations.
Arrows and bolts are purchased from vendors in bundles of a score. Your guild trainer will provide you with Rough Clout Blunt arrows for free, or you can buy them from merchants. Eventually you will be able to craft your own arrows, but negotiations are still in progress with the Fletcher's Guild as far as payment for their instruction. Range ComparisonIt is vital that all archers learn the range their weapons have with the different arrows or bolts. It is equally vital that they learn the ranges of the casters they may fight beside, as well as the ranges of their foes.
|Shortbow & Crossbow||Range|
|Clerical Smite||28 paces|
|Magical Bolts||36 paces|
The QuiverThe quiver will be able to hold four bundles of arrows, and should be either a separate window in the user interface, or each slot should be able to be put in the quickey bar for quickly changing the type of arrow or bolt you are using. We must wait for the new User Interface to show us how they actually implement this.
The four bundles of arrows should certainly be sufficient for those using archery as a secondary attack form. However, those who use Archery as a primary attack will most certainly want to carry additional bundles of arrows in their backpack for use when a bundle in the quiver runs low. I would recommend these archers carry no less than one additional bundle of arrows or bolts for each bundle in your quiver. Watch the weight though; scouts, hunters, and rangers need to be nimble on their feet and unencumbered when running down (or from) prey. Using Your Bow To be most effective with your bow, you should put your bow, any bow special abilities, your melee weapon, your shield, and any melee combat styles on your quickey bar. When you spot prey that you want to hunt, creep within range, being quiet so as not to alert your prey. Click the bow icon on your quickey bar to strip your bow out of its oilskin and string it. Click the bow a second time to select an arrow from your supplies, knock, and draw it. Depending on your quickness, you will need to take about 4 seconds to line up your shot. When you feel that you have everything lined up perfectly (there will be a message in your combat window), click again to loose the arrow. If the opponent was far enough away, you can rapidly click again to draw another arrow, aim, and loose it before the charging foe is close enough that you need to switch over to your melee combat gear. This is why you should have your melee weapon and shield on the quickey bar also, as it makes drawing your sword and donning your shield much faster. Don't forget to take your combat stance as well.
At the moment, the arrows first encountered in your packs are the arrows you will shoot. As an advanced technique, line up your initial shot with a flight arrow. While your character is aiming, switch to your normal arrows by swapping the position of your arrow bundles in your packs. Release the first shot and draw the next with the double click described above, and the monster should charge into the normal arrow range by the time you are ready to loose the second arrow. This will allow you to use cheaper arrows most of the time, but still be able to attack at the furthest range possible.
Should your target move out of range, you may quickly change targets by selecting a different opponent that is in view, and attempt to loose at it. Should there be no other opponents in front of you, you may turn to try to find something else, but if you move your feet, your will need to draw again. You have about 15 seconds of holding time while you attempt to find another target before you must relax your draw.
Also note that firing into melee is not recommended. Due to the quick and sudden movements of the combatants, firing into any melee is much more likely to result in a miss than in a hit. When others in your party are meleeing the opponent, you should do so also.
Also, be ready to run when using archery to encourage opponents to chase you into an ambush. Many creatures are intelligent, and call for help if they are wounded too severely. The first call for help usually occurs when the mob reaches half health, but sometimes occurs before that. Some creatures also like to bring friends when they are attacked, and they sense that you are leading them to an ambush.
I recommend that new archers find some gray-con mobs to practice upon until they feel proficient. Please search for an area that is being utilized by those less skilled than yourself, as they need their own practice with melee and magical skills. Only by working together can we defend our realm against those who would seek to invade us, and the youngster you help advance today could be your shieldmate tomorrow. Every time you begin to use a longer range arrow, spend about half a bundle checking the range against gray-con creatures also, so that you find the limits of your new arrows' range, and can determine that approximate range when sneaking up on prey.
It is possible for several archers to coordinate their fire. Generally, you should signal to each other which opponent you are choosing to fire upon before drawing your arrows, and whether you will all fire normally or use a special ability. The designated commander will then call for everyone to ready their bow if someone still has their melee weapon out, draw, and loose. This takes significant practice, and should again be practiced until all are proficient in the correct timing. The commander must follow his own commands slightly after giving them in order to match the timing of everyone else in the unit.
If your unit can coordinate fire, every arrow hitting a stationary target will receive a bonus for their lack of vigilance, as well as the cumulative effects of being turned into a sudden pincushion. It is difficult to say, but it appears that the opponent also suffers the multiple opponents penalty to their defense. Special Abilities for Primary Archers The first special attack that archers get is a critical shot. Critical shot is especially effective against enemies standing unprotected and/or unaware of your presence through judicious use of your sneak skill. It is not possible to line up a critical shot when your target is moving. In return for taking extra aiming time, you can target a sensitive area on your opponent, doing about double the normal damage. When you first learn this skill, you must take double your normal aiming time to line up this precise shot. As you advance in skill at it, the time it takes to line up this critical shot decreases, and the damage it does relative to a normal shot increases. Each level of critical shot reduces the time it takes (from 2x the normal time for Critical Shot I to 1x the normal time at Critical Shot X) to fire the critical shot. Additionally, the damage done by the critical shot depends on the specialization of the player in his bow specialty. If his specialty equals the level of his targeted creature, the damage is 2x. It goes up and down with this ratio. Clicking again on critical shot while a shot is in process will return to normal shot. Use this if you want to get a shot off quickly and you've already initiated the critical shot process.
At higher levels primary archers will gain the ability to "Longshot" or take aim on an area and depending on the distance and number of targets in that area also hit for more damage.
The most powerful ability is the "Volley" ability. Depending on their level in this ability, archers can throw several arrows down into the ground in front of them, take aim on an area, and then quickly fire off each of the arrows in succession. Several archers performing this ability at the same time on an unsuspecting camp of monsters or group of enemy players will be able to do quite a bit of damage before the fight is even started.
Note that for volley and longshot, you're targeting an area of ground, not a specific target, so you can't get together with a bunch of archers and decide to take out the hardest targets because you're just as likely to hit the targets around them. Volley and longshot are useful for starting off those battles where two groups are on opposite sides of a battlefield.
Special thanks to Oakleif for developing this guide.