Dragon's Prophet: Exploring Beta

We go on a tour through the closed beta with Senior Producer Todd Carson

The world of Auratia is crammed with dragons. Legend has it that Elder dragons arrived many years ago, breeding with other creatures and creating hundreds of new species. From soaring fliers to graceful swimmers, each of them is blessed with a unique set of abilities that adventurers will be eager to make use of.

Dragon’s Prophet has a slogan: “Their Strength is Your Power”. But, as Senior Producer Todd Carson explained, this is about more than just a fighting companion or convenient steed. In this upcoming MMO from Taiwanese developer Runewaker and published by Sony Online Entertainment, dragons impact every aspect of the game, from questing to crafting.

Our tour started in a small coastal town, fortified with tall stone walls. Although the place was packed with merchants, traders and townsfolk looking for aid, we wouldn’t have long to stop and chat. Our guide quickly led us down to a wide beach filled with diseased ball crabs, and it was up to us to clear them out.

Alongside the traditional quests that feature heavily in other MMOs, Dragon’s Prophet has Social Quests where players can work together to earn rewards. Completing these quests doesn’t require grouping up – anyone in the same area can contribute to the objective. If more than one person fells a creature then they all gain experience and loot, removing competitive barriers. From what we’re told, every effort is being made to ensure that Dragon’s Prophet is a very social game where players are encouraged to help each other out.

As we worked through this first area, Carson explained that the blue alligator creatures feeding on the ball crabs were actually dragons. While I’d traditionally expect something draconic to have wings and breathe fire, Auratia is apparently packed with a huge variety of them. Even dragons of the same type can vary, either by having varied stats or different abilities. While the lizards we were attacking would be adept swimmers, no two would be identical.

The diseased ball crabs dispatched, our social quest moved onto a second phase. Some of those water dragons had become corrupted by the disease themselves and needed to be purged from the beach. As bloodthirsty adventurers on a rampage we killed almost everything in sight, be it dragon or crab, healthy or diseased. Nothing could withstand our onslaught of spells and steel.

Combat in Dragon’s Prophet is based around an active system, where your primary mouse button is used to build up combo attacks. Your secondary button is used to unleash something more devastating, depending on the created combo, encouraging the use of tap-patterns rather than just repeating the same sequence or spamming a single button. There’s no auto-attack and no sitting back, with fights intended to be constantly engaging.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep you on your toes, a hotkey bar of abilities gives you further options to throw into the mix. Some of these abilities depend on your currently equipped dragon, with different varieties granting different boons. It means that choosing your favorite pet is about more than aesthetics – the abilities it can bestow have to mesh with your play style to be useful. Those hotkey abilities can be used in combos as well, keeping things dynamic.

Four classes are available to choose from, with each offering a different way to deal damage. The Guardian is your typical heavy warrior type, favouring close-quarters combat with deadly weapons. If casting spells is more your thing, the cloth-wearing Sorcerer will keep you at range with a variety of explosive abilities. The Ranger also prefers to attack from a distance, with guns and bows being the weapon of choice. Rounding things out is the cloth-wearing Oracle, offering a mix of melee and ranged attacks.

Interestingly, none of the four classes perform either tanking or healing. Carson explained that the intention is for anyone to be able to solo, with certain types of dragons able to provide healing if needed. Healing potions are also available for that sudden gulp of hit points as required. It simplifies your approach to Dragon’s Prophet into one that only needs to consider your own personal play style. Simply decide how you want to cause carnage and build your character – and your dragon – around it.

Character progression is through abilities and talents, with points for each rewarded as you gain levels. Abilities can be character focused, with stats such as Strength and Intellect increasing damage with specific attacks. They can also be dragon focused, with Charisma increasing the time that a dragon will fight by your side. Adding to that balance between pet and trainer is a talent tree, providing further modifiers to abilities.

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