Dragon's Call - A Preview
We here at Ten Ton Hammer have been charged with a mission of sorts, a
mission that involves scouring the interwebs in search of all things
MMOG-related and creating a chronicle of them. Over the
course of investigating, playing and writing about these games it
becomes easy to recognize certain patterns and nuances. With the sheer
volume of games out there (the list stands at over 300 as of this
writing) many of the titles begin to blur together, with games sharing
common inspiration and mimicking each other’s mechanics, they
begin to congeal into a gaming ooze and become harder to differentiate
from one another than a Keanu Reeves sound bite.
Sometimes, in our effort to get as much information out there as possible, we get our wires crossed a bit about certain games, or rather we make assumptions about them that don’t always pan out.
Dragon’s Call, a new browser-based free-to-play MMOG from GameDP.com, came across our desks and we, of course, were compelled to check it out. Or I was assigned to check it out, as the case may be. Seeing the “browser-based” moniker attached immediately brought forth mental imagery of FreeRealms, but once I dove into the game I learned that while both games are browser-based that’s where the comparison stops.
When I was finally set up with my account and logged in I was shocked to find that there was no real client involved; everything was directly within the browser, which made my initial reaction one of complete dread as visions of a hastily compiled 10th grade computer science class project danced into my head. My plan was quickly formulated: play for a while, dig up enough muck to write about how bad my experience was, and move on. Two hours later I had completely forgotten my assignment and, had it not been for a phone call, I may have found myself happily clicking away for another two.
Combining elements of WoW, BBS wundergame Legend of the Red Dragon, MUD style text combat, and all the typical machinations of a free-to-play system, Dragon’s Call is certainly something I had never quite seen before yet felt instantly at home with. For those who have never delved into a browser game, think FaceBook or Myspace style turn-based games with classic MMOG underpinnings. The last real browser game to get its hooks deep into me was Travian, and I am still in recovery from that experience.
Being a 100% browser based game, there isn’t any background downloading going on as there is no client involved, so Dragon’s Call is playable on virtually any machine. The interface is fairly well laid out, with buttons placed all around the screen to maximize the compact real estate, and most menus are simple enough that they can be easily followed. Be aware, however, that this game wasn’t developed by native English speakers so you’ll need to allow some leeway in terms of translations, but that shouldn’t be too difficult because the localization is well done and the text easily understandable.
Dragon’s Call features three classes – Assassin, Warrior and Mage. Each class has its own talent tree and you earn one point per level with which to customize your character. You will also gain five attribute points per level to enhance your base stats. All combat is passive so you don’t have any real abilities to trigger or spells to learn as you level; however many of the talents you take will be used automatically during your combat sequences.
Combat is turn-based and handled by the game itself with no real interaction from the player. The combat can be switched to either a purely text interface or a graphical flash presentation reminiscent of console RPGs where the combatants face off on opposite sides of the screen and hop back and forth “attacking” with each turn. You can, however, flee from combat if it isn’t going your way by hitting an End Combat button on the screen or by simply clicking on any other menu item. (Quick tip: even clicking a link to armor or weapons in chat will cause you to navigate away, so don’t try multitasking during combat.)
Itemization in Dragon’s Call is similar in look and feel to WoW in that it features the white, green, blue, purple and orange color coding for item differentiation. Items can also be enhanced and modified through the use of shards and crystals that are obtained by slaying NPCs. No special skill is needed to upgrade your items, just in-game gold, or you can click the games “mall” button for some RMT-purchased gold if you prefer to go that route.
Overall there is nothing truly unique about Dragon’s Call other than its combination of so many elements from so many other familiar sources, but the sum of its parts results in a surprisingly fun and addictive game that compels me to use up all 200 of my allotted action points each day. If you find yourself with too many unoccupied hours in the day, are a compulsive web surfer, like to alt tab out of your favorite P2P or work unsupervised on a computer for long periods of time, Dragon’s Call could be your next addiction (The staff at Ten Ton Hammer does not condone nor encourage the use of company time to play games. Get to work slackers!)