I recently had the opportunity to sit down with one of the Senior Producer’s of Dragon’s Prophet to get a little preview of the game and talk about some of the features.  I went into the preview not knowing much about the game at all and came out a strong believer in what Runewaker and SOE have in store for us in this free to play fantasy masterpiece.  Keep in mind, this was by no means a full preview; rather it was a short sneak peek into some key features.  

On a related note, earlier this week MMO ATK was privileged enough to host a Dragon’s Prophet beta key giveaway. At this time, we are currently out of keys, but keep checking back as more keys will be added if/when available!

Combat

Combat in Dragon’s Prophet is meant to keep you engaged.  Gone are the days of clicking your auto-attack button and waiting for the enemies red bar to go dark while hoping that yours holds up.  Instead, in this game you will use your left and right mouse buttons to handle your various basic attacks.  You can string together attacks to create combos by double (or triple) tapping on your mouse, adding depth and strategy.  In addition, each class has multiple hotkeys that perform a plethora of attacks and actions.  For this preview, I played the Sorcerer class and had attacks like an AOE ice blast, AOE fire blast, a whirlwind attack and more.  

The game is very action-oriented and is meant to keep your glued to your keyboard during battle.  The emphasis on deep, varied combat compliments the massive variety of enemies present. Each enemy utilizes their various strengths in battle and as such, each encounter must be slightly different.  For example, you may come across a boss that breathes fire from his mouth, in which case you’d want to attack him from the side or the back. Or perhaps he has a tail whipping attack to keep you from the rear, forcing you to channel your attacks to the sides.  From what we saw in the preview, there are no shortage of different creatures (dragons mostly) to keep your hunger for battle in-tact.

As is fairly standard in MMO games today, Dragon’s Prophet features a blue ‘energy’ bar and a gold bar for ‘dragon energy’.  Each special attack used requires energy and/or has a cool-down associated with it.  The Dragon Bar (as we at MMO ATK are dubbing it) is reserved for your dragons when they are with you in battle.  Dragons will be covered more in depth later in this article, but briefly, you can tame dragons during your time in Dragon’s Prophet and use them both in battle and as mounts.  When summoned in battle the dragons will attack the same targets as you (this may change in later builds to allow you to control the dragon more) and perform the special attacks that it has learned inherently or via training.  The dragon bar is drained while the dragon is summoned and attacking, and when the bar is empty, the dragon will disappear until the bar refills.  It wasn’t touched upon in our preview (so this is pure speculation), but it is possible that certain items or potions can help replenish the dragon bar.

Public Events / Social Quests

In the zone we visited, along with many in the game, there will be random public events and/or social quests that take place.  These are similar to what you may already be used to in games like Guild Wars 2.  These social quests can range from anything like helping the local region take back a certain area from slithering dragons, to keeping fire-breathers at bay.  In the social quest we played through, we had to protect shelled creatures from some alligator-like dragons in the swamp.  The quests include a progress bar that marks how close you are to completion and offer different rewards based on how much you did during the event.  If you jumped in, killed one alligator and sat around, you would definitely not get the reward of the Guardian who tanked 10 alligators on his way to victory.  

It is unclear how often these events occur (once an hour, day, week, etc.), but if we’re assuming that it’s going to be similar to Guild Wars 2, then we can expect to see them on a regular basis.

Dragons

Obviously dragons are everywhere (it’s in the title).  Dragons are not only your friends, but your foes.  The world is filled with dragons, and if you read through the lore you’ll come to find that Auratia has been inhabited by dragons for thousands of years. Along the way they managed to mate with animals of all different sorts that lived on the planet before them.  What does this means? Well, nearly everything is a dragon.  The woolly mammoth looking creature? That’s a woolly dragon. The a-fore-mentioned alligator? That’s a species of dragon too.

While you will be battling dragons the whole game, you also have the opportunity to capture and tame them as well.  As part of a mini-game, when you happen upon a dragon that you’d like to try and tame, you press a hot-key to start a balancing act-like game to stay on the dragon.  Considering your skill level is high enough and after enough time has passed, you have a new dragon to add to your arsenal.  You can keep up to 6 dragons with you at all times for the sake of summoning one for either use in combat or as a mount.  The producer told us that EVERY dragon is different.  In theory, no two dragons, no matter if they look alike or not, have the exact same stats as the next.  This means that spending time to capture any dragon could prove beneficial as even a dragon of the same type as one of your own could prove stronger in stats.

Once you have an arsenal of dragons, you’ll want to use the Dragon Lair to keep them in check.  In the Dragon Lair you can keep 6 more dragons that you can put to work.  There are many different ways to put them to work. You can assign them to do tasks (like collecting resources to help you with your crafting), or you can train them to increase stats like strength, focus, intelligence and/or ferocity.  Hypothetically, let’s say you have a really fast flying dragon that you’d like to use as your mount but you also want him to breathe fire like one of the dragon’s you have in the lair. You can actually use the field training tool and attempt to teach your flying dragon how to breathe fire.  The field training section of the Dragon Lair is still being worked out during this build, but it’s clear the ambitious ideas that they are trying to bring to the game.

The Dragons Lair also has areas where you can store items that can be used by your dragons and a journal to keep track of all the tasks your dragons have performed.  It should also be mentioned that your dragons can perform work while you are logged off.  You can set timers from 1 to 24 hours for them to train or collect resources.

The Rest

Some of the other things we were briefly introduced to were crafting, player housing, instances and transportation.  

Crafting:
Player crafting will play a large role in D
ragon’s Prophet.  From what was apparent from the tour of the current build, some of the main areas of crafting will include: weapon-smithing, armor-smithing, alchemy, tinkering, carpentry and chef.  Players will be able to craft items not only for themselves, but for other players and can presumably make a steady living from being a master in any of these areas.  Yet another cool aspect of owning a dragons is the ability to use them to collect crafting items while you are away from the game.  This will come in handy for those looking to spend a good deal of their time crafting.

Housing:
Player housing was briefly discussed.  It was not available in the build that we played in, but rest assured it will be added in the future. Details of what housing will entail are still in the air, but a fellow member of the press that joined in on the tour asked if it would be as complex as Star Wars Galaxies (another SOE product) and the response sounded pleasing.  Player housing has been a big feature in a lot of recent MMOs and we can only hope that Dragon’s Prophet adds to that.

Instances:
Instances are fairly standard and looked to be similar to what you’ve seen in World of Warcraft.  In Dragon’s Prophet players in the group enter instances through the portal area and have the opportunity to choose from different difficulties.  Our instanced dungeon had a choice of three options, which they said would be the norm.  As players get higher level and join guilds they are planning to add up to 5 levels of difficulty, with the fifth level being large enough for raiding guilds to conquer.

Transportation:
Transportation comes in a few forms.  Obviously, you can walk to most places on Auratia, except of-course the areas you will need to fly to. These of course will be reachable by your flying dragon mounts.  It was mentioned that you can get your first mount at around level 15 of the game.  There are ‘Flight Masters’ (as a better term is alluding me) which you can use throughout the world, but you also have the opportunity to set up way-points to popular areas on your own.  These way-points are more of a convenience item and would cost Station Points to use.

All in all, our brief tour of Dragon’s Prophet left us at MMO ATK wanting more! It’s clear that SOE is striving to break many of the traditions that plague the MMO genre to create a game that is both innovative and immersive. Be sure to stick with MMO ATK for future Dragon’s Prophet news and updates!