With the recent announcement of the open beta dates for Dragon's Prophet I thought it was about time I sat down and gave my impressions of the latest MMO from Sony Online Entertainment. I'll save the bulk of my impressions for a full review after launch but I thought I'd give you guys a sneak peak at what's available at the moment.
Players are presented with the typical MMORPG class systems. Guardian, Ranger, Oracle and Sorcerer are available to choose from; with each following archetypes associated with the names. Nothing really new here although the character customization is incredibly in-depth, giving players total control over everything from the size of their ears to the sharpness of the chin. I spent a good 30 minutes messing around and found it to be thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile, finally being able to create my own unique character when so many other MMO's avoid it.
I'll get into the brunt of the games features, combat and dragons. Currently the combat is nothing short of broken. The animations of enemies don't sync well with the actual damage, quite often leaving me dead after an enemy somehow managed to bite me when I was 30ft away. This continues into player animations as they quite often fail to actually do anything other than activate the cooldown. It is a closed beta event and a large-scale patched is announced to coincide with the open beta, this will surely be one of the issues addressed. Despite its obvious flaws the combat system is still enjoyable, utilizing a combination of mouse buttons and hot-keys to allow players to string together powerful combos.
Who cares about everything else? This game is purely about the dragons. Players have the ability to capture, train, tame and fight alongside over 100 unique dragons. This system works fairly well, outside of more broken combat animations. Every dragon you capture, even the ones of the same type, are totally unique. Each of their stats is different, the abilities they master are different, and the progression is different. This creates a very unique drive, collecting various types of the same dragon to find the one with that unique ability or stat boost. I caught several dragons each of which were the same type, one gave me the option of improved harvesting for herbs, another could identify wood and the third had a crit rating anyone would be jealous of. Once caught dragons can be placed into the Dragon Lair that allows you to train them or use their harvesting abilities for a price. I quickly found myself delegating roles to each of my new-found pets, using one for combat while the others gathered. There's very few bugs here at present and the potential is massive.
Outside of the unique dragons feature is an array of regular typical MMO features. The questing is about as idiot proof as you can get. You grab a bunch at the hub, head out to easily marked objectives and return. You don't have to bother reading the dialogue, you won't spend hours searching for poorly placed objectives. It's streamlined, fast and intuitive, perfect for those that want to enjoy the game for what it is, not a storybook.
I never like to totally break down a game in a first impression, especially in closed beta. Dragon's Prophet is not without it's problems but there is a massive amount of potential here. One solid patch and you could be seeing Dragon's Prophet as one of the best MMO games of 2013.