GDC 2013: Hands on with Dragon’s Prophet, Sony’s free to play MMO [video]

Dragon's Prophet Avanah Forest - Wayfarers Guard & Dragon_blog

softonic GDC iconTaiwanese game studio, Runewaker, and Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) are bringing Dragon’s Prophet to North America, with a planned European and Taiwan release as well. Dragon’s Prophet is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) with a focus on dragons, which can be used in battles or as mounts.

To differentiate itself from other MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars, SOE and Runewaker are making Dragon’s Prophet free-to-play with tons of player customizations. Of course, other MMORPGs feature customizable characters and loadouts but Dragon’s Prophet goes further and lets you adjust the play style of your character any way you want. As players progress, they are given skill points, which they can manually apply to specific attributes. There will also be a customizable skill tree, which isn’t locked down so players can choose to change their style of play at any point in the game.

There are four main classes to choose from, but players can adjust their attributes to adapt to their specific play styles. There’s the classic brute, ranger, sorcerer, and cleric type classes and they’re all fully customizable. While there aren’t an insane amount of character creation tools like in Dragon Age, there’s still enough to make each character look unique.

Another way Dragon’s Prophet differentiates itself is with dragons, obviously. There will be a handful of dragon species with hundreds of variations between them which are randomly created in the game. Dragons can be summoned into battle, but there will be a time limit in the form of an “energy bar.” The bar will automatically fill when your dragon isn’t in battle. Dragons can also be used as a mount to make traveling quicker, especially if your dragon flies. There are, however, dragons that don’t fly. We got a chance to see a dragon that looks like a hybrid elephant-rhino that can’t fly. The backstory in Dragon’s Prophet is elder dragons came and reproduced with native animals creating the huge amount of different varieties.

Dragon's Prophet Avanah Forest - Wayfarers Guard & Dragon_blog

Aerial combat is being worked on at the moment but it won’t make it to launch. Sony Online Entertainment confirmed that they will be incorporating aerial combat at a later time. Right now in the beta, players can fly in about 50% of the areas.

To get dragons, you have to “tame” them in the form of a mini game. Players will encounter dragons as they wander around the world. Get close enough and you can attempt to tame the dragon by playing a mini game where you have to keep a reticle in the center of a circle for a specific period of time. Dragon’s Prophet allows players to tame their first dragon as a quest during levels 2 to 5.

Players can tame up to 12 dragons, but can only have 6 active ones at a time. Inactive dragons can be used to mine for resources back at their stables, which can be used for the in-game crafting system to create items for your character or dragons. They can also be sent out on training missions to increase their stats.

Dragon's Prophet Droan Town_blog

Capturing dragons also gives players specific powers that can be used in combat. Capture different types of dragons to get different abilities and powers to use in battle. It is also possible to transfer abilities from dragon to dragon, but you will lose the dragon that is transferring its ability from your inventory.

Gameplay will be typical MMO dungeon clearing and quests. Players can join guilds and sell things in an auction house, making Dragon’s Prophet a very social game, though players can play solo if desired. There is currently no voice chat or guild battles but that is something the developer is looking into.

There will be tons of things to customize in the game to make it feel like a second life. Players will be given housing plots where they can customize their domicile to their liking.

Dragon's Prophet Avanah Forest - Woodwind farm_blog

As Dragon’s Prophet is a free-to-play game, there will be plenty of things that you can buy with real money. For instance, free players are limited to a certain amount of slots to hold abilities. A one time fee can pay to unlock the maximum number of slots. Users can pay real money for in-game currency and I’m sure there will be plenty of things to purchase when this game is released. Senior producer, Todd Carson, emphasized that players can pay to do things faster, but cannot pay to get more powerful.

Dragon’s Prophet is currently in closed beta, but players can sign up at their official website. There are plenty of bugs to squash and features to add so don’t expect a polished gameplay experience yet. There’s no formal release date either as the developers want to make sure the game is polished before releasing it to the public.

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