Sony Online Entertainment is getting ready to ramp up the coverage of their next title, Dragon’s Prophet. Developed by Runewaker Studios, the same folks who brought us Runes of Magic, Dragon’s Prophet is hoping to break out of the standard fantasy MMO mold with some terrific and unusual features.
The main thing that Senior Producer Todd Carson wanted to impress on us as we began our journey through Dragon’s Prophet is that the game is about just that: Dragons. It’s all about getting around on dragons, fighting with dragons, collecting resources with dragons, customizing dragons, and taming more dragons.
With the dragons come some fascinating ways to utilize them. Players begin the game with one dragon but any dragon living in the game world can be tamed. Taming is an interesting minigame. By pressing “7”, players mount up and go on a rodeo ride of epic proportion. Remember those mechanical bulls that a lot of western bars used to feature? If so, you have a perfect mind’s eye picture of dragon taming.
During the taming process, an interface pops up showing a map of the player and the dragon surrounded by a circle. By keeping the player/dragon centered in the circle using WASD keys, players can successfully tame dragons. If not, the dragon tosses the player and a battle begins.
We started our journey in a level 20-ish zone and the dragons were difficult to tame this way. Later, however, we went back to the starter zone and found the mini-game much easier with the lower level dragons.
Players can have up to twelve dragons, six that are kept available to be summoned, and six that are kept in the dragon lair. These dragons will have a huge variety of skills and uses that players can utilize both in battle and in travel. Interestingly, there is no separation between dragons as mounts and dragons as battle companions. They can be and are one and the same, the difference only being which shortcut key is pressed.
In addition, like dragons can have skills combined. If a player tames two of the same type of dragon with one having a great fireball skill and the other having a high level poison skill, players can combine them into a single dragon with both. That’s a pretty awesome way to make something totally customized according to how a player chooses to utilize their dragon(s).
Dragons are also useful for those who like to craft. In a system similar to SWTOR and to Neverwinter, dragons can be sent off to collect crafting resources. What makes it even better however, is that this can be done when a player is either online or offline. Some gathering tasks take a long time to complete, so being able to accomplish this during offline hours is a terrific way to get the materials needed to craft.
Customizing dragons is pretty cool also. Dragons can wear a collar and saddle and can also be dyed in an amazing number of colors. All of these can be crafted using the resources gathered by the player’s stable of dragons.
During our hands on time, we were treated to a mid-level zone and had the opportunity to take part in a public quest to gather certain items. Everyone in the area helps collect the resource or kill a certain number of monsters in order to release the “end” boss. In our case, we had to collect crab meat and then kill alligator-like monsters to bring out the final HUGE dragon boss. In these public quests, all players who participate are rewarded based on their level of involvement. The more a player does, the better the reward.
After participating in the public quest, we launched into one of the mid-level dungeons. As expected, the dungeon was filled with both mundane monsters and tame-able dragons. The final boss made the one in the public quest look like a kitten. It had multiple AoE attacks and powerful melee attacks as well. At levels 35 and 40, we did alright but it still hurt even though this dungeon is slated for players at the mid-20s range.
Dungeons will feature multiple difficulty levels, the hardest of which will need a full party to complete. On the lowest level, however, even solo players will be successful if they are careful and bring along the right dragon.
Dragon’s Prophet also has a different approach to the traditional hotbar skill use system that most MMOs utilize. Rather than set up bars filled with repeatedly spammed skills, the bar is represented by a series of hotkeys. That part is normal. What isn’t normal, however, is the way that skill combine synergistically to create stronger and better attacks. For instance, alternating between the right and left mouse buttons (right was a lightning attack, left was a cold attack on my caster) created a wickedly powerful firebolt. It’s worth the time to experiment with skills to find those combinations that are most potent.
Dragon’s Prophet is looking very good at this point. There are certainly some things that it features that set it apart from the rest of the pack. I can guarantee you that no one will call Dragon’s Prophet a WoW clone. Be sure to sign up for the closed beta for your chance to try to train your dragons!
What has you excited about Dragon’s Prophet? Let us know in the comments!
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor & News Manager at MMORPG.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom.