Dawn of Aces is iEN's World War I online multiplayer flight simulator. Much like WarBirds, DOA boasts a "tight nit" community that appears ever ready to help orientate a newbie (or an old hack :) to the mysteries inherent in handling virtual representations of World War One aircraft. The number of players in the online "Arena" vary from 12 to 40 at any given time. These are smaller numbers than what one is used to seeing in WarBirds, or WWII Online, yet one quickly discernes a very strong sense of Community and feels immediately at home.
The sim has veteran players called "trainers" available to help new pilots overcome the learning curve courtesy of scheduled training times. The sim features a "Training Arena" established especially for this purpose. There are several days and times during which it is staffed by DOA trainers. Also players provide help in the course of an average outing, completely off-the-cuff and unplanned. Again, much like WarBirds, one of DOA's greatest selling points is the sense of Community it provides.
The game features a wider range of aircraft than it did a couple years back and now lists the Sopwith Camel, Fokker Dr1, Albatross Dva, SE5a, Spad VII, Spad XIII, Fokker DVII, Bristol F2B, Halberstadt CLII and the LZ30 Zeppelin among its inventory. Most innovative and impressive is the Zeppelin insomuch as you can actually fly the thing!
Again, like WarBirds, DOA boasts any number of squad organizations. Squads are great insomuch as you can wing with others to better your odds of survival and/or take part in organized squadron events. Usually these events operate on a weekly basis. Players also form events ranging from "Historical re-enactments", "Races" and even an "Aerobatics Competition" where you can put your skill to the test or just have fun. The Main Arena action is intense and a pilot out on his own tends to be easy prey. You don't have to be in a squad in order to have fun, but it sure helps. Regardless, fellow countrymen (identified by color) are willing to clear your 6 or let you know that you are about to be clobbered.
Dawn of Aces is a great World War I flight sim that unfortunately seems to have been overlooked by many of those who enjoy flying the faster rides of the World War II era to the present. The online price tag is a reasonable $9.95 USD a month for all you can handle (this also gives you limited access to some of the WarBirds features). DOA is free to download (at only 18 MB for a Windows system and 7.1 MB for a Macintosh system). You can also play offline against AI driven opponents or use its "Head to Head" option to play against a friend via lan, modem or IP address. But nothing matches the fun associated with duking it out in one of iEN's online multiplayer arenas. Finally, it's important to know that Dawn of Aces is really Community driven. They're a friendly bunch ready to help ... but ever ready to shoot your Sopwith Camel out of the sky.
For further information visit the website at http://www.dawnofaces.com/fs_doa.html.