Four character classes. Three hundred dragons to catch. Where do you begin?
Dragon's Prophet is the new MMO from Runewaker Entertainment, creators of the popular free-to-play Runes of Magic MMO and it's in closed beta right now.
Auratia, the world of Dragon's Prophet was created by dragons and dragon genes have infected all the creatures, resulting in crocodile-like land dragons, whale-like fish dragons and so on. You can tell they're dragons and not fish because they have scaly, lumpy skin. Uh-huh. Right.
Regardless of this odd redefinition of "dragon", the creatures are everywhere, a little like the world of Monster Hunter. Using the weapons and skills of your base class, you can manage up to six dragons. Train them properly and you can play any style you like. That's the claim anyway.
Unlike Monster Hunter, capturing dragons doesn't feel like a skill you need to learn. Instead, it's just a simple mini-game, more akin to breaking horses in Red Dead Redemption in that you hop onto a dragon, hammer on directional keys and try not to fall off. It's less subtle than RDR though, as a big overlay pops up with an indicator that wibbles around as you try to push it into the centre. It's disappointing but with 300 unique dragons, I can see why they're going with such a simple implementation.
You'll have four basic types of dragon: water, land, flying and gliding. Each has its own playstyle – flying dragons will allow you to shake pursuit by flying through clouds, for example. Dragons can also be used to shortcut farming requirements. While you're offline you can send your pets out to gather resources on your behalf, or even to train against each other. There's a chance that dragons can learn skills from one another, so you may need to hunt down a variety of training buddies in order to build the perfect fighting companion.
Thanks to the customisation of the dragons, there are only four basic character classes:
The Guardian: Your classic heavy fighter who wields melee weapons – one or two-handed weapons, dual-wielding or one-handed and shield
The Ranger: A ranged DPS class who fights with bows and gunblades
The Oracle: A scythe-wielding hybrid of close combat and magic
The Sorcerer: The elemental magic purist
Your active skills will depend on your class and weapons, as in every other MMORPG ever. I was slightly disappointed to learn that dragons are more like mountable pets than additional PCs.
While wielding dragons sounds amazing, actually fighting with them is underwhelming. You don't actually control your dragons directly, or even give them orders. Rather, your dragon spawns for combat and automatically attacks your target according to the character traits you've given it through training. You carry on attacking with your skills as normal and your dragon lumbers along beside you doing its thing. It's basically a glorified NPC party member, and this made me a little sad.
Even worse, as long as your dragon is in combat mode, it drains your dragon energy bar. Once that's gone, it despawns, leaving you surrounded by a bunch of angry, half-eaten mobs. Dragon energy is gained primarily through successful attacks, so it may be possible to sustain your companion with some skilled fighting. In practice however, mine lasted barely a minute and given my propensity for aggroing nearby mobs with poorly-aimed range attacks, I spent an awful lot of time dead. For a game purportedly about dragons, there's a notable lack of dragony action. Perhaps I just need more time to get used to the way my dragon fights?
Right now you can take up to six dragons into the fray and leave another six back in your lair but you can only wield one at a time. This allows you to travel with PvE set of tank, AoE specialist and whatever other playstyles you like while, for example, keeping a PvP set at home, or bunch of experimental builds.
Surprisingly, there isn't a pokedex-type log of dragon types that you've caught. At least, not just yet. The team at Infernum are considering it, as well as considering a way of storing non-current dragons in your home base but right now, it's just the six dragons on-hand with.