Dragon’s Prophet Interview – Exclusive
We are pleased to welcome a new era of our network: starting from today, WORLDS FACTORY officially goes international! To celebrate the event, we are publishing an exclusive Dragon’s Prophet interview with Runewaker, known for their work on Runes of Magic and now busy on this new fantasy MMORPG currently in closed beta. Let me take a moment and thank all the parties involved in this, from Runewaker to Sony Online Entertainment (the North American publisher) and Infernum (the European publisher). Without further ado, I’ll leave you to it – please, let us know what you think below!
WORLDS FACTORY: First of all, thanks for accepting to have this interview with us. Dragon’s Prophet is certainly a very interesting MMORPG that is perhaps not advertised as much as it potentially deserves, and we’re going to try and get more information out there for our readers and all the fans of the game. Can you give us an overview of the game in your own words and perhaps highlight the main differences between it and your previous title, Runes of Magic
RUNEWAKER: In a nutshell, Dragon’s Prophet is a brand new MMORPG which intends to appeal to about everybody. You will find in Dragon’s Prophet many new features, alongside more classic MMORPG elements, which have been taken one step further by Runewaker: dynamic combats, huge and epic PvP battles, a complex crafting system, the possibility to own your house and create your own village and, obviously, lots of dragons.
Dragon’s Prophet can be seen as a sort of evolution to Runes of Magic and the previous generation of MMORPG. The auto-targeting system makes for a more active and immersive gameplay that relies more on the actual skills of the player than in mere statistics and figures. Then, of course, you also have the dragons. Players will be able to tame and ride more than 300 (three hundred) dragons, and raise them as they see fit thanks to a deep training system through the Dragon Lair.
Technology-wise, Dragon’s Prophet uses the resources of the RENA engine, Runewaker’s own ever-improving graphics engine. The game also makes use of a brand new cross-server technology, which allows players from every single server to meet, trade and fight together, or against each other.
WF: Combat is always one of the most important topics to discuss in a game where the players are supposed to slay thousands of enemies in due time. You claim you have implemented a “deep action combat” system with block, evade and skill combos; however, we did not see often block & evade in the gameplay videos, so I’m wondering if they are class skills that not all players will have. Also, are they connected to a “stamina” system to limit block/evade spamming?
RW: Most classes in the game have access to a specific skill which allows them to avoid taking damage: the Ranger can do a backflip, the Sorcerer can teleport and the Guardian can assume a parry stance. The Oracle mainly relies on magical protections and life-stealing abilities to survive. All of these skills have a specific cost in Action Points, which are also used to perform the different attacks and combos in the game. That way, when it comes to fighting bosses or during PvP, the skill of the player, its avatar’s statistics and its gear are all what matters.
Not every attack can be dodged or parried in the midst of combat. One player will usually want to just soak the quick blows but stay on the lookout for stronger, more dangerous attacks, unless he’s assuming a total tanking position. These usually have a longer casting animation or a very distinctive visual effect.
Of course, you can also just stay out of harm’s way by manually moving your character away from the enemy’s attacks. This is especially true for ranged combat, where you’re trying to keep your distance or close in for the kill.
WF: Another two interesting things about combat are “auto-targeting” and aerial combat. Auto-targeting is a bit confusing to me: does this only mean that the skills will hit whatever is in front or surrounding the player? What’s the difference with other action titles like TERA or Neverwinter? Also, can you confirm aerial combat with dragons being in the game at launch and if so, will this be a major factor in GvG battles over castles and territories?
RW: The benefit of auto-targeting is that you don’t have to manually click on an enemy or an NPC to attack him or talk to him. The auto-targeting system will automatically highlight what you are looking at. This is especially useful for ranged attacks. It is very close in spirit from what TERA was the first to bring to the table, indeed, but it has been taken over by Runewaker and brought to another level.
The halo around your target doesn’t mean you can only hit the highlighted target. Most attacks in the game are actually AoE that can hit several people, and you can also hit several targets, one by one, with single target spells.
Let’s take an example to clarify things. You are facing three bandits standing right in front of you, and you’re wielding a huge two-handed hammer. One swing of your weapon should be able to hit all three of them. The important thing to keep in mind is the actual range and spread of your attacks, not your actual highlighted targets. Otherwise, you might have terrible surprises in dungeons.
As far as aerial combat is concerned, we won’t be able to tell you more. Obviously, when the whole dragon idea came up, aerial combat was added to the “to think about” list, but that’s about all we can say at the moment.
WF: This brings us to what is perhaps the most interesting feature for sandbox & PvP fans: the Frontier system. We’ll have multiple questions on this topic, because there is some conflicting information out there. Our understanding is that player housing will take place in the skies of Auratia, as described in the developers video interview, where each floating island is a sovereign territory that can be ruled by a guild after conquering it through battles; this is the basic of the Frontier system, but there’s also the strange mention of cross-server PvP.
This is very confusing, as it would seem to suggest that the Auratian Sky Archipelago is actually heavily instanced, since it has to accomodate for player and guild housing (castles, presumably) for dozens or even hundreds of thousands of players at once, whereas we thought it would be open world and dedicated to each server. Can you please explain this system in detail for us?
RW: The Housing and Frontier systems will both take place in the Auratian Sky Archipelago, which is one huge open area composed of dozens of floating islands, and not just one massive island. The area will be accessible by everyone and is a hub point between servers. The main benefit is that no server will remain completely dominated by a single powerful guild. Everybody has a chance to claim a territory for themselves. This also allows all the big names of the game to constantly compete between themselves in huge GvG battles, regardless of their choice of server.
But PvP is not the only perk of cross-server technology. The Auratian Sky Archipelago will be a place where people can visit their friends’ houses, casually walk through guild villages, or simply meet other people from other servers.
Do note that the cross-server technology will also greatly improve both the group-searching tool and the Friends system, as it also applies to the different dungeons and instances in the game.
WF: Specifically related to player housing, we know that Guild “Lords” can raise taxes in a territory. Other than paying taxes, though, are the player houses destructible or not? Can there be theft? Also, will there be a limit to how many players can have a house and how does the process of buying a house work?
RW: The housing system is completely separate from actual PvP, so the player won’t have to worry about losing their furniture or having their house burnt down. Players will be able to decide who will be allowed to visit their home, and what rights their visitors will have inside: if they allow the wrong person the right to use the safes of their house, there might be theft, yes, but otherwise, no, it shouldn’t happen. The worst that can happen to a player is getting expelled from his land because he didn’t pay his rent. But he can always find another place to live, and instantly transfer his home and furniture to the new location.
Homes will be available for anyone to buy from merchant NPCs. The number of houses and villages that can be built on an island is directly linked to the size of said island. Bigger islands will contain more structures, and vice versa.
WF: Specifically related to Guild vs Guild warfare, how will the sieging part work? Will there be a warning announcement beforehand for the defenders or not? Also, you mentioned the possibility of “investing in military to protect realm and build urban infrastructure to attract more inhabitants”. I’m guessing the first part means hiring more NPC guards, but what about the second part?
RW: GvG battles will take part in two phases. First the attackers must raid the enemy island by themselves and assault the resonance towers scattered throughout the land.
Once all of the crystals are destroyed, the defending guild members will receive a warning that a territory battle will take place at a certain time.
The territory battle is the second phase of a GvG raid, and is the one that will determine the fate of that land. The defending guild will be able to fortify its position with NPCs or build new structures to empower its troops or delay the progression of the enemy force, the attackers will build siege machineries to assault the castle. We sincerely believe players will definitely be attracted by a safe island, with a strong but just leader establishing defenses to ensure his position, rather than the anarchy of weak despots changing every other day.
WF: The very name of the game clearly draws the connection with dragons, and having dragons as companions is certainly one of the major draws. You’ve said there are more than 300 different “tamable” dragons in the game, but how many can each player in their “stable” at maximum? Also, can players summon each one of their dragon everywhere or do they have to choose it from the stables first?
RW: Players will actually be able to keep their dragon in two different places: the Dragon Stable and the Dragon Lair. Putting a dragon in the Dragon Stable allows them to summon and ride him when adventuring, and grants them their own bonuses and Dragon Soul Skills. The Dragon Stable can be accessed anywhere during the game. The Dragon Lair can only be accessed in cities by talking to a specific NPC, and will allow players to train, feed and give tasks (like gathering materials) to their dragons. Creatures from the Dragon Lair have to be transferred to the Dragon Stable first before they can be summoned.
Players will initially be able to keep two dragons in their Dragon Lair and two more dragons in their Dragon Stable. These numbers will be able to be increased up to a number of 6 for the Dragon Lair and 24 for the Dragon Stable throughout the game. However, since we are still in closed beta, these numbers may be different once the game is released.
WF: In terms of PvE features, we’ve read about “extensive story/adventure-driven dungeons with up to three difficulty levels together with a party of friends, your guild, raid group or on your own”. Can you tell us more about this and the kind of rewards that people can expect from group/raid dungeons? Also, do you have anything like dynamic quests or events in the open world?
RW: Dungeons are indeed available in three different difficulties. The normal difficulty allows players to run through the dungeon alone. Needless to say, they won’t really get anything special beside the opportunity to accomplish their quests. Higher difficulties will require more players and more skills to complete, but will also yield better rewards, as bosses and enemies will drop far better gear, dragon shards, and the occasional rare recipes.
Public Events constantly take place throughout the areas of the game. Players will be able to take part in them at any time in order to be rewarded with a special Public Event currency that will allow them to purchase specific items from certain NPCs.
WF: Finally, we know that you can’t talk about the release timing in North America or Europe as they are being handled by Sony Online Entertainment/Infernum, but is there a launch date for Dragon’s Prophet in Asia? Also, what are your plans for development after launch in terms of content additions to the game?
RW: All we can say for the moment is that the Open Beta Test will begin in Asia on the 8th of May. As for further improvements after the actual launch of the game, we can’t really tell you anything yet. We’ll probably see how the Closed and Open Betas go before scheduling anything major.