by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
Every dragon will have a few random abilities from an available pool, meaning that you may have the same dragon as someone else, but theirs might be tankier, while yours is more suited to healing. If the dragon you are attempting to tame looks like a tank, then it is likely that they will have more tanky abilities, but this is not always the case. This randomisation is to keep things mixed up in order to prevent the existence of a “best tanking dragon”, or “best dps dragon”.
While in your lair, you can train your dragons, increasing their stats over time. Ordering two dragons to train together will sometimes result in them sharing abilities between them. For example, you might have a dragon you really like the look of, but it doesn’t have any tanking abilities. Training it up with a tanky dragon might help it learn some more favourable abilities. Dragons are also used in the crafting system. It is possible to send your pet out and farm resources separately from you in real time. You can even log off and they will continue for however long you stipulated. There are plans for a mobile app to enable this process even while you are offline, but this may not be implemented until further in the game’s development.
Even with the deep storyline and levelling experience, there is also an interesting take on player versus player combat. PVP takes place on one of seven floating islands, separate from the main game world. There are hundreds of plots of land within each zone available for you to rent. In your house you are safe from attack, and there are dozens of different customisation options available. You can purchase furniture and place it wherever you wish. If for some reason you cannot pay your rent, you will lose the plot of land. However anything you have purchased will be stored away for use later. The owner of a plot of land can dictate the amount of control other people have over it. For example I might allow people into my house, but not let them move anything around, or I might pass the handling of my rent over to someone else. This sort of access granting comes into play on a much larger scale when PVP becomes involved.
As soon as you step out of your house, you are in danger of being attacked by other players. Alliances can be formed, and the most successful guilds will be able to take over the main castle of the island. This allows one person to rule over the entire land, determining rent prices, and most importantly, access to the island’s special resource. Each zone will have an area containing one resource which will be the best of its kind in the game. The ruler of the island might allow anyone to mine it, or just their guild mates, or if they are very greedy, they might decide that they alone can venture into the mines. This of course will anger anyone wanting to gain access to that resource, so it will be up to them to try and take the castle for themselves. In order to open the castle up to attack, various nodes around each island must be destroyed. When this happens, anyone in the owner of the castle’s guild will receive an alert, telling them that an attack is imminent. Special buildings can be constructed to help the defence, like an anti-air tower which will dissuade dragons attacking from above. The attackers can build different types of siege weapons themselves though.
As a free to play game, there will of course be micro transactions involved. However I was assured that this was not a “pay to win” game, and anything bought in the store would merely be cosmetic or based around convenience. For example, a scroll allowing you to teleport to a city can be purchased, which is not game breaking, but handy to have. Alternatively you might want to purchase some vanity items to place in your very own house to spruce the place up a bit. You can also buy costumes for your character, which will change their appearance while maintaining whatever armour they are wearing. If you want to go around defeating enemies and taming dragons while dressed like a princess, you can.
Some say that MMOs going free to play is the beginning of the end for the genre. However there are enough interesting mechanics on offer in Dragon’s Prophet to draw in new people and dispel that assumption. The game being free provides a low barrier to entry, and while still in development, the systems I saw looked quite impressive. If you want to try it out for yourself, you can sign up for the impending beta.