Eurogamer Expo 2013: Dragon's Prophet First Impressions

Reporting from this year's Eurogamer Expo, Lewis B. goes hands-on with Dragon's Prophet.

Dragon's Prophet was a game that took me completely by surprise. As a free to play title that I knew little about, there are some excellent ideas here. Infernum aren't trying to redesign the wheel and many of the core ideas in the game are traditional to the genre, but it is the use of dragons (they seem to be everywhere at the moment) that really makes it interesting. 

Available from the moment you start the game, dragons can be tamed as soon as you encounter them. Complete with buckaroo style mini-game (you have to keep hold) it's nice to see players given such freedom from the very beginning to do just as they please and fly where they like. 

Acting more as a mini-pet when not in flight, your dragon when summoned will fight alongside you and generally act as a meat-shield against enemies. The interesting part is the fact that different dragons have different skills and utilities, with some acting as 'tanks' and others providing more of a supportive role. The concept has a lot of potential, especially when you consider that parties of five are actually ten when dragons are included. I do have reservations as to their survivability in large scale encounters (and especially in PvP) but found them relatively hardy when working my way through the various enemies I fought.


Having been provided with a range of character, decked out in some rather fantastic looking armour (as well as 4 hulking dragons to choose from) under the tutelage of Lee Dale (Infernum's Country Manager) I made my way to some of the higher level game zones. 

The vast majority of the game still revolves around quests we've played many times before and while this is a disappointment, the games combat does make them, for the most part, enjoyable. Double-tapping forward allows you to sprint incredibly quickly, while holding down shift and left or right will let you jump in that direction. The dodge isn't as smooth or as well animated as the likes of Guild Wars 2, but it does serve its purpose. On top of this, each profession has it's own skill based dodge that propels them forward or backward though the Guardian is the exception to this, where it has a rather useful parry instead. 

What really makes Dragon's Prophet stand out is the fact that it makes use of varied combos that chain on from a variety of skills. Although you can't physically move while casting spells (I actually like that as it adds a tactical element of movement versus attack) there is a lot of skill behind making use of the combo's available. My particular favourite was drawing enemies to me with my auto-attacking bolt, placing a fire pit on the floor before using an area of effect freeze spell to hold my adversaries in the flames. It was an attack rotation that allow me to take on 3 to 4 enemies significantly higher level than me, with some tactical use of my dodges and 'blink' like ability.


I could happily see myself investing time into Dragon's Prophet just on it's combo system alone as it adds an extra tactical layer to a genre that relies too heavily on single use, fire and forget skills. Similarly to Age of Conan, you find yourself paying attention and timing your skills. 

The most exciting prospect on offer though has to be the Sky Islands and Strongholds above the world you level up in. As PvP areas you can access from any of the main hubs, you can fight over territory and land with the victor able to charge taxes to anyone who has built a house in the area (though the victors can't destroy your home, they can tax you out of it). This system might be in its infancy but it does have a lot of potential when it comes to full scale turf-wars. 

Two things I wrote down prior to leaving the booth was that the game looks great at maximum settings and runs incredibly well (though the Alienware hardware might have something to do with that) but also that the in game store seems unobtrusive. You have the option to purchase diamonds to use in the store or you can accumulate Dragon Tokens while playing. The exchange rate on Dragon Tokens isn't great, but it does allow you to spend very little in the game, though it'll likely take Infernum some time to drill down the value of time versus tokens. 

If you're looking for an MMOG that plays similarly to a mix of Tera and Aion, you really can't go far wrong here. The fact it's free to play should give any fan of the genre the opportunity to jump in and have a play, even if it's just to have some fun with the combo system. It isn't fully polished and some ideas have yet to be truly realised, but I’ll be watching Dragon's Prophet with keen interest, especially when it comes to the Sky Islands and use of dragons.


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