As a browser game I was quite weary in trying out Dawn of the Dragons (DotD). To my surprise, DotD is actually quite fantastic. With its roots entrenched in the text-based rpg family of games, DotD delivers well the captivating gameplay that won the hearts of many-a-gamer in the older generations. It’s mix of old and new rpg elements that have been staples in many games in the past decade, but maintaining a simplicity that can be easily accessed and fathomed by those new to the genre, is effective in doing what it does best; being an rpg.
Poor Farmhand to Epic Dragoon!
Once you start the game, you are immediately greeted by a very generic NPC who helps you as your lands are being attacked by a horde of monsters. With only your pitchfork and the clothes on your peasant back, you fight back the monsters and eventually take up the task of helping the nation, slay evil dragons, or some such nonesense. Truly, the story is as plain and lame as could be, idling by the usual chosen one complex that high fantasy in the current tides of time saturate to no end. But then again, most of the games within the genre start out with this kind of plot line as only a means to hurl you into its world. I have to admit, I couldn’t care less about the story because it’s true strength lies within its gameplay, making such sordid escapades to be easily forgivable.
The tutorial consists mainly of showing you how the games mechanics work and they teach it to you quite well, running the new player through easy quests and the basics of mashing click on the attack button as you fend of an anthropomorphic lizard invading your farmland. However, one of the problems with the tutorial is that it doesn’t touch upon the cash shop much, as it confused me to no end about certain purchases and currencies used within the game. Another issue I had was the lack of tutorial on the actual interface you’d be staring at for the rest of your DotD career. With so many elements and features, DotD has a tendency to confuse new players like me, making it such a chore just to learn all those other options that the featureless NPC decided not to tell you.
This is perhaps the only glaring problem I have with the game: Customization. There isn’t much to go by once you start the game, giving you only the option of choosing a gender, hair, and skin color. I can’t expect much past that, considering that it too is but a transition just to get you into the game, but when you get down to the bare-bones of it all, it really isn’t that much of a want, to be perfectly honest.
However, once you get into the actual game, your character’s appearance will not matter much as every single piece of equipment has its own unique look, and vastly varying in appearance from tier to tier. This is just as much as a hallmark as the gameplay, because, let’s be honest, we all would like to have cool looking avatars so long as it is possible, regardless of the game we play. In this respect, DotD does a fantastic job in this respect, boasting some very interesting looks and great designs, but all the while keeping a sense of immersion in accordance to the feel of the game.
Dragon Slaying Time!
The game is simple: It revolves around finishing quests via the menu bar’s quest window, all the while consuming your health, energy, and stamina until you can do so no longer. Being fairly straightforward, you help out neighboring areas with your peasant might, mashing click to progress within a quest. Every so often, you may encounter a beast that wants you to meet its pointy stick and it is up to you to make sure that you never do. Whenever you progress within a quest, your energy is reduced by a certain number as indicated in the quest info, and whenever you attack an enemy, you also lose health according to different factors like your defense, the monster’s strength, and all that pretty basic stuff
Flavor texts and narratives can be found on the quest screen as you partake in one, relatively hearkening back to the pen-and-paper rpgs, being quite capable in immersing you in the world. Surely, people with no such imaginations should stay away from these kinds of games since their fun factor is not crafted for the dimwitted. But unlike its predecessors, DotDs use of energies for different activities in the game can get pretty hazy at times. So much energy can be spent in a single activity, and despite the game telling you you have progressed quite a lot, it still doesn’t feel the same. Most of the time, I stay up to just about 5 minutes in the game before I concede to doing other things due to how energy regeneration works. Unfortunately, the easiest way to fill those energies up again will cost you.
Cash Shop Woes
I’ve enjoyed games with cash shops in the past, but only because they were never necessities to the games that came along with them, letting you enjoy playing the game at your own pace. Dawn of the Dragons, unfortunately, also abides by the “money equals fun” theme. Energy is the most important resource your character has, increasing by one every 1 minute and forty seconds to 2 minutes, depending on your character’s class specialization. On average, progressing in a single step within the quest requires about 5 energy, and a quest, especially in higher levels, takes out your full bar, disabling you from questing any further until you let time fill it up or by purchasing energy potions from the cash shop. There is a lack of alternatives in filling your energies faster and one can easily get caught spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars just to play the game a bit longer than how it is per session.
This gives me a great deal of stress as a gamer, considering that DotD can be highly addictive. I love how I take down monsters that openly welcome me to my death and watch how powerful every attack I throw at it is. Then I get abruptly stopped by the fact that I can’t do anything else for the next hour or so because I ran out of energy after the fight. It is the veritable blockage of genitalia as some would put it.
One of Dawn of the Dragons’ features that I am impressed with is its novelty in the form of raids. Raids, as most of you MMO connoisseurs know, are difficult, heavy-duty, cooperative battles that one can engage in with the help of their friends. Whenever you defeat a boss, you get an item that can be used to summon the raid version of it which is, of course, much more powerful and nigh-impossible to defeat alone.
We all know that not all of our friends are into this sort of thing and we’d need other like-minded individuals to help us with the task. This brings us to DotD’s near-unique feature, Guilds. Guilds are just as how guilds are in any MMO; a band of players that focus on taking down a game’s content, to help others, or just to socialize. DotD is definitely not lacking in this department. The legion system is also a necessary element if you don’t want to have a bad time raiding. Legions are created by assigning generals and troops within them, each differing in size and formation, and can all have different effects. Playing the game further will increase the kinds of legions you can make via the bazaar or quest rewards.
Admittedly, the raiding element instantly won me over as that specific MMO staple is what keeps me and, I believe, most gamers in their respective games. Content is always the name of the game in providing for the longevity of any entertainment. It became even more appealing once I found out that the developers of DotD keep it a point to churn out content in a timely pace, with more and more quests and raids to be finished, increasing level caps, and more spoils of war to be had.
With all of this, I found the elements rather refreshing as they add a lot of depth in my gaming experience. It isn’t just so bland that you’d end up mindlessly doing seemingly meaningless things by yourself, but have a semblance of the camaraderie that DotD’s tabletop predecessors have always boasted.
Need More Energy!
Dawn of the Dragons is a refreshingly simple game that boasts (possibly) hours upon hours of plain rpg fun, and its mix of guild and raiding elements makes it such a unique experience. Again, the only thing that could ever stop you is the need to pass by the cash shop just to continue your gaming and because of that, you can’t take the addiction to the next level lest you’d want to end up with a lighter wallet, or worse, an empty bank account.Related: Browser, Dawn of the Dragons, Review