Whenever I end up looking at the SOE MMO lineup, I am always surprised to see a new MMO on the list.
Down on the bottom row, second from the right, is Dragon’s Prophet. And every time I see it, I think, “Hey, that’s new!” As recently as my post post about the demise of Wizardry Online I was ready to add in that Dragon’s Prophet was the new Asian import set to replace it in the SOE lineup.
But that isn’t right. That isn’t right at all. And it was a good thing I checked up on it before I published that post. (See, I do catch some errors before I click the “Publish” button!)
Dragon’s Prophet has been out for nearly a year at this point, having launched in September of 2013, which means it was already a thing back when SOE announced it was closing four titles back in January… and I totally forgot about it then as well.
I just cannot seem to remember that Dragon’s Prophet is a thing. I cannot tell if SOE just did a bad job publicizing the game’s launch, if it just go over shadowed by all the excitement around the EverQuest Next at SOE Live just a month before its launch, or if I am just getting old and/or can’t be bothered to care about Asian import MMOs… at least when their not trying to destroy cherished game of my youth with scantily clad horned gnomes.
Whatever the reason, the game just could not seem to stay attached to my brain. Which is odd because, while I do not actually play any SOE games regularly at this time, I do tend to pay attention to what they are up to.
Anyway, I decide I could fix this by giving the game a quick try. I was encouraged to do this because of who made the game. Unlike Wizardry Online from Gamepot, which appears to be batting 1.000 on the “games closed in North America” front, Dragon’s Prophet was developed by Runwalker Entertainment who also created Runes of Magic.
Runes of Magic is actually the only decent Asian import MMO that comes to mind. It managed to cater just enough to western sensibilities to survive and thrive outside of the Asian market.
Of course, five years back, when Runes of Magic landed on the scene, it was kind of a big deal. It was going to be the Asian import that “got” how to make an MMO for the west and it was coming in as a free to play game by design, at a time when F2P was mostly a niche for MMOs that failed badly at the subscription thing.
And Runes of Magic was even a bit controversial back in 2009, at least in our little corner of the blogesphere. The game dared to charge $10 for a horse! This practically set a few people’s hair on fire with the rage. Doesn’t that all seem charmingly naive five years down the road? Today if some game has a mount for just $10, it generally means it has been marked down.
But it was still a decent game despite the patcher, which I am reliably informed has remained just as awful to this day. We actually got out there and gave the game a try, assessing its potential for the instance group. We even did and instance and got housing and tried crafting and invested a bit of real world cash into the RMT currency before letting it drop. I am not sure why we never went back at this point. At the time we were busy with our horde group in World of Warcraft, and after Cataclysm we tried a number of games but never landed in RoM.
Anyway, the remaining impression of the game five years down the line was reasonably favorable. And my impression of Dragon’s Prophet, after a few hours of play, is likewise reasonably favorable.
The character models themselves look a bit like RoM graphics brought forward five years. They are a little more real looking, but still anime influenced. And upon logging in there was just an air about the game… some combo of the fonts and colors and general layout… that made me think of RoM.
The mechanics of the game itself though are different. It was claimed by some that RoM was very much an attempt by an Asian company to clone WoW. Dragon’s Prophet is more influenced by the design philosophies of Asian MMOs. Movement is done with the WASD keys, but you steer with the mouse cursor and combat is much more about mouse clicks than hotbars.
It feels much more like Neverwinter in mechanics than WoW. You click for attacks, big graphics display for your move, big numbers bounce up showing your damage, and you can jump around avoiding incoming attacks which are often telegraphed in advance by big red indicators on the ground.
The graphics aren’t as… nice… polished… realistic… something… well, they are different from Neverwinter’s style. And Neverwinter’s draw is, to my mind, more about being in Forgotten Realms and the whole Foundry aspect of the game that lets you run through player created modules. Neverwinter is more like Dungeons & Dragons (table top game, not DDO), with various modules that exist in the same world but which are not necessarily connected by stories or geography.
And Dragon’s Prophet does feel Asian, with many of the usual conventions, like women in mini-skirts and high heeled boots tromping around in the wilderness hunting zombies.
But even Runes of Magic didn’t get away from that, right down to the housing helper in a skimpy French maid’s uniform. And there are, of course, the WoW conventions that still must be catered to.
Otherwise it seems to fit the standard MMO bill. You are the hero in the Dragon’s Prophet story. People go about town talking about you like there were no other players in the game fulfilling the exact same role and performing the very same tasks.
That NPC comment would have been a lot more impressive if I had not been stuck on that little tree stump at that very moment. Or maybe the game was being sarcastic.
Anyway, it doesn’t seem to be a bad game. The graphics are decent. It ran well for the few hours I spent with it. The combat is very dynamic. I am not sure I will be able to find time to play the game seriously. It isn’t bad, but it is still way down my priority list. And if I stop playing, I am not sure I will ever get any sort of trigger to start back up again. As I said above, I almost never hear anything about the game.
So how about you? Do you remember Dragon’s Prophet?