Free-to-play games are
nothing new to most MMO fans. We've been hearing about and playing
these games since Nexon introduced maple story back near the turn of
the century. Still, the concept is still new to some MMO players, and
those are the folks that THQ*ICE is hoping to bring to their stable
with Dragonica Online. Although Ten Ton Hammer had seen screenshots of
the game, we'd never seen it in action until we caught a glimpse of it
- and asked some questions - from the show floor of Comic-Con '09!
Ten Ton Hammer: We're all pretty new to Dragonica; what can you tell us
about the game?
Online is best described as a free-to-play MMORPG, but with a lot of
the elements that you'd expect to see in a pay-to-play game. It's a
very polished experience; it's been in development for five years.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will this
be a dual release, or is the game in Korea already out?
believe the game in Korea is in a "release state," but we're still
working on a couple things here in North America. We're hoping to hit
an open beta window in late summer, and by that point we'll have made
some more improvements to the title.
Our biggest concern right now is progressing through the localization
process, fixing up some of the quests, and minor things like that. The
game - as you can see - is very polished and very accessible to gamers
who are both seasoned or new to the MMO realm.
Ten Ton Hammer: And what
kind of free-to-play style are you using?
offering a microtransaction system with a cash shop. Basically all that
we have in the item mall is cosmetic items. We also have health potions
and insurance on your items when you're enchanting them, but for the
most part it's purely cosmetic. We don't want players to be able to buy
their way to the top of lists or buy their way to the top of the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: What
have four basic classes: the Warrior, the Archer, the Thief, and the
Magician. What happens at level twenty is that you can then split off
into separate sub classes, and this happens again at forty and again at
level 60, so we're looking at a grand total of 28 separate classes at
Ten Ton Hammer: What kind
of customization options do you have available?
character options are a little limited to begin with, but the in-game
costume options are pretty much endless. Basically, you can have the
equipment that your character is wearing be visible, or you can wear
something on top of that armor/robes. Those are typically our cash shop
items: we've got a track suit, a ninja outfit, a maid wardrobe, and
headpieces that look like sushi rolls. Very, very outlandish stuff, and
the best part is you still get the benefit of whatever gear you're
wearing underneath all of that.
The weapons can be just as over-the-top. For example, Warriors might
choose to fight with a hockey stick or with a "brightsaber" or things
like that. Archers might have a "Cupid's Bow" and Magicians might have
staves that look like odd items.
Ten Ton Hammer: How does
the art style compare with the combat system?
the game is completely made up of this candy-coated, light-hearted,
chibi-style of art. Very bright color palettes and a variety of
That said, the combat system itself is very sophisticated and pushes
players to know their skills, combos, and how to chain their attacks
together to perform as efficiently as possible. It's really how players
maximize their DPS and their role in the party.
Ten Ton Hammer: What kind
of combat scenarios do you have in the game?
a whole variety of them. For example, we have what we call mission maps
that have a variety of stages where you clear out little monsters and
then you fight a big boss monster at the end. Players are given grades
at the end of each stage based on how long it took them to complete the
encounter, the number of times they were hit, combos you were able to
pull off, etc. The items you receive at the end of your encounter are
based off of that grade.
Ten Ton Hammer: The
social / massive aspects of the game take place where?
take place in the cities. There's no combat and no monsters, but you
can find your commerce centers there. Players can set up their own
mini-shops and sell the items that they find in the game for any price
that they wish, so hopefully we'll be seeing some pretty interesting
feedback based on players prices fairly soon.
Ten Ton Hammer: What kind
of attitude should gamers have when they come play this game? Is it all
just tongue-in-cheek action? Or does it have some serious qualities?
the game itself doesn’t take itself too seriously, the
players have the ability to take the game very seriously. It has very
broad appeal, it should draw in the casuals and the hardcore. The
community’s already looking to be very supportive of the game
and supportive of the new arrivals.
Ten Ton Hammer: Why would
a pay-to-play gamer switch over to Dragonica?
think there are a lot of folks that have just quit World of Warcraft or
any other pay-to-play MMO for whatever reason, and they’re
looking to try something new and not necessarily pay for it. Luckily
players can try it here for free. They can get in and see the art style
and the play-style, which is 2D side-scrolling with a 3D twist
– or in our terms 3D side scrolling. There are some very
interesting platforming sort of challenges along with the combat in the
We have a marriage system, and a pet system is coming. There are just a
lot of the elements players have come to expect from larger games.
It’s everything a player wants with a cash shop that is
We think the game has tons of potential and lots of life;
we’ve got one continent already in the game and
we’re also hoping to add another continent to the game very