Dragon’s Prophet: Doesn’t take a prophet to see what’s coming

Dragon's Prophet Dragon
Fight, capture, train and ride 300 different dragons that come with their own set of abilities.

Shortly after I wrote about an ideal MMO sandbox which takes elements from very specific games, I discovered details about a SOE game in the works called Dragon’s Prophet.  Dragon’s Prophet seems to come close to what I want, but illustrates how easy it is to miss the mark with a few awful decision.

Features in Dragon’s Prophet

Dragon’s Prophet will feature an odd skill system that I am still trying to wrap my head around.  Someone correct me if I’m totally wrong, but what I gather about the system is that you find a dragon and gain a random set of abilities.  There’s an element of fighting, taming, and training going on here. I’m sure another class system will also be in place.

Non-instanced housing will let players claim plots and plop down a house out in the world for all to see.  I want to know if it’s like SWG and houses can be placed freely anywhere, or if there are designated plots of land.  I’m leaning toward the latter because what I’ve read seems to indicate that certain plots cost more. Sounds better than most systems, as I am a huge fan of open-world community-centric features.

What sounds really neat about Dragon Prophet is the idea that players can claim areas of land almost like the kingdom idea from my previous entry.  Out in the frontiers, areas of PvP land that can be colonized (again like my ideal MMO), players can become subject to taxation from other players.

Combat will use what the official site calls “auto-targeting”.  It has been likened to DCUO’s combat, which isn’t bad, or like TERA but faster (or something like that).

Overall, a nice set of features.  Implementation could be all wrong, but at least the ideas on paper are good ones.  That said…

“This isn’t generic Asian MMO number 425.” -John Smedley

Why I won’t play Dragon’s Prophet

Forgive me if I offend you by being blunt. I can already predict the failure because the writing is on the wall.   John Smedley himself alluded to one of the key issues in a quote I read on Massively:

“This isn’t generic Asian MMO number 425.” – John Smedley, via Massively.com

Note: If this is not a legitimate quote, please let me know.

Just saying that is a loud and clear warning signal.  He’s already anticipating that people will take one look at the game and think “generic Asian MMO.”  If that statement were true, he would have let the game speak for itself.  You’re a fool if you ignore this warning sign.

Next is the Free to Play component.  Right on the site it says “There are hundreds of items available to purchase to customize your characters and weapons as well as enhance your gameplay experience.”  That sounds invasive and perverse.   Again, you’d be a fool to ignore the quote above.

Last, it’s made by the developers of Runes of Magic.  I see no reason to elaborate.  I find the partnership between Runewaker Entertainment and Sony Online Entertainment to be a complete mismatch.  All of the great ideas (on paper) above are nullified by awful decisions.

If Station Cash or any of these other awful ideas find their way into EQ3, so help me…

  • Personally, I think gaming is seriously boned. There’s no way EQ3 *won’t* have Station Cash, unfortunately. Between Microsoft trying to turn my PC into a glorified X-Box with Windows 8 and the Microsoft Store and every MMO in existence turning into a “free-to-play” nickle-and-dime fest the only thing I’m even moderately looking forward to is Titan- and after Diablo III I wonder if Blizz will even pull that off.

  • @Jadawin I agree to an extent, it seems like all the companies are trying their best to nickle and dime us to death. For example, I was looking forward to the SurfaceGlass glass app for my iPad… until I learned it is going to require an Xbox Live Gold membership to use. Why? Why does every little extra MS throws on their system require me to pay to use, even if I want to use my Xbox to watch Hulu or browse the web on IE. I just wish they would go to a model like Playstation where all their users get the majority of the content free, and if you subscribe then you get some extra bonuses. /end rant

  • “I find the partnership between Runewaker Entertainment and Sony Online Entertainment to be a complete mismatch.”

    What, other than your hope that the alleged EQ Next sandbox won’t be full of pervasive RMT, makes you think these two companies are a mismatch? Everything Smedley has been saying for at least a year indicates that he favors non-subscription games that have monetization built in from day one, rather than retrofitted after the fact. Just look at his keynote – subscription MMO’s are in his view “pay to hope”.

    Also, I could be misunderstanding, but I’m pretty sure all of those ideas you’re praising originated with Runewaker, not SOE, so I’m not sure that it’s accurate to refer to SOE as ruining them through their choice of development partner/philosophy. From the article you linked – “As for as how the partnership works, the actually development is all done in Taiwan.” – SOE is just a publisher/distributor in this deal, much like Frogster is for Runes of Magic.

  • Runewaker made RoM. RoM was a complete rip-off, and not a very good one, of WoW. It wasn’t just a themepark, but a complete rip.

    I see SoE as a company, and a publisher, that goes after somewhat unique or at least different ideas. EQ, EQ2, SWG, Vanguard, Free Realms, Planetside, Planetside 2, etc. Lots of really unique content there, whether they made it or published it.

    SoE also creates games for the NA/EU audience. Runewaker clearly focuses in the Asian side. That’s why John Smedley made that remark — it’s obvious that there -is- some element of generic Asian MMO #425 at work here and he knows his audience doesn’t want that.

    And despite SoE’s progression down the cash shop path, I see Runewaker’s style of F2P to be a cliff dive compared to their slow crawl.

  • Like Jadawin I can’t see SoE NOT including Station Cash – infact I’d assume they are practically building the game around the RMTs.

  • @Intruder313: Deep down part of me knows they’ll have some Station cash implementation, but part of me also hopes that they are intelligent enough to know that their hardcore EQ fanbase doesn’t want the next EverQuest — a sandbox at that — to be sullied by a cash shop.

  • Saying it wont be generic Asian MMO automatically means it will be. Sorry to sound xenophobic but I greatly loathe Asian RPG’s.

  • You guys are panicking. He’s just stating the obvious. People will look at it and assume through art design that it’s just a Korean mmo. His statement does not mean it will fail at all. Especially if you read the “full” interview. He actually explained the game in great detail.

    He clearly wants people to know the difference, and being silent after all of the failed games in the past years, isn’t the way to do it.

    I applaud him stating the difference. It shows that they know they have to make something different. Being to scared to mention it would only give people another excuse to bark on SONY. The game sounds great, and it’s only one of a few sandbox mmorpg’s coming to the west, so it’s not like we can be picky anyways.