by Garrett Fuller, Industry Relations
by Glen Maydom, Lead Designer of Dragon Tavern
Back twenty years ago, no one would have imagined that photo realistic
games like Age of Conan
or EverQuest II
have ever been possible. Pen and paper RPGs were what people looked
towards to unleash their creativity, and that was often the only option
they had. Now twenty years later with Age of Conan
hitting the Internet, a game has hit the web that hearkens us back to
those golden days of pen and paper gaming. Named Dragon Tavern
Ton Hammer’s Garrett Fuller took a moment to chat with the
game’s lead designer, Glen Maydom, to figure out just why
gamers should be attracted to this newly released, old school style
Ten Ton Hammer: Tell us
about Dragon Tavern
and what players can look forward to in the game?
A look at the Character Page in Dragon Tavern.
: Dragon Tavern
browser based social RPG. I guess you could say it's an MMO but the
jury is still out on whether browser games get to use that title or
not. Players roam around various dungeons beating up monsters
and getting loot in order to improve on their characters and watch them
improve over time. It's a bit tongue in cheek, and suits the
gamer who likes to watch their character grow over time, but doesn't
have 6 hours a day to play. It's designed to be quick to
play, easy to learn, and have many subtle gameplay elements for the
enthusiasts to master, without alienating the people who just like to
explore at a fast pace.
Ten Ton Hammer: Players
get to start as a Champion and explore the world, tell us about what
players can find?
the Tavern, players set off into one of the many locations we have,
each with a level range that defines the monsters strength which will
be encountered there. In each location, there are many sub-locations
which is there the best loot and hardest boss monsters are
found. We have two more main locations planned for the near
future (one for early game, named the Daggerspine Mountains, and one
for late game which is still under wraps for now). A key difference
between the locations and sub locations is that you can control the
difficulty in a location by selecting which level you with to explore
in, but with sub locations they have a pre-set level range, meaning if
you go somewhere you're not ready for, you'll be in for a few tough
fights! Less certainty, for higher rewards basically.
Ten Ton Hammer: Dragon Tavern runs
very well, tell us a little about the technology behind the game.
Nothing that fancy really. Just the latest stuff like Ajax, mixed with
cloud based computing (I think that's the term), allowing us to ramp up
and ramp down the amount of grunt under the hood in a very quick
time. We decided to go with this because we wern't sure
exactly how much power we were going to need, and decided if we
couldn't be certain, we should be flexible. So far it has met our needs
Ten Ton Hammer: You have
some interesting titles for your players, what went into building this
list or can players give themselves their own title?
we don’t have 3d graphics in our game, it's up to us to
provide interesting ways for players to differentiate themselves from
others. Having a wide range of titles available does wonders for this,
and you can tell a bit about a person's play style by the title they
pick to give themselves. There are almost 100 titles for
players to collect, some of which are limited to certain character
classes, while others are there for anyone to obtain provided they
satisfy the criteria for earning them. It's just something
else for players to strive towards collecting, and I have always been a
big fan of giving players unexpected rewards from time to time such as
titles they may not have known about. For now players cannot
make and pick their own titles, however there are a few things in the
works that will change this soon.
Ten Ton Hammer: Talk
about your Hardcore player system. How does this work in the game?
Exploring the Underworld.
Hardcore (and Limited) characters are designed with the more
competitive players in mind. Hardcore characters are unlocked
once you have a normal character that reaches level 20. The
key differences are that when they die, they're gone for good, and that
they gain Action Points at twice the speed of regular
characters. Players who like a little bit of extra risk, or
like to show off to their friends how good (or lucky) they are, will
enjoy this feature the most, but obviously it's not for
everyone. There's also limited AP characters as well which
can be unlocked, who just get a big chunk of AP at the start, but never
gain more. The point of these characters is again to compete
with your friends to see who can get the furthest in a given allocation
of time. To facilitate these things, we have separate high
score lists designed around these game types, as well as competition
groups which I'll elaborate on in a moment. It's probably also worth
mentioning that to keep the playing field level, you're unable to
purchase some of the perks that you normally could with regular
characters. Nobody likes a stacked deck afterall.
Ten Ton Hammer: What type
of character advancement system do you have in the game?
usual level based system you'll be familiar with from most RPG's out
there. The items you purchase improve your chances of
success, and each level you either gain an extra max wound, or a skill
point to spend on one of the many skills you can use to further
customize your character. Skills are not limited to classes
like a traditional RPG, and allow you to build characters which are
more focused towards loot, avoiding traps, or dealing with certain
types of monsters, among other things.