Dragon's Prophet, Sony Online Entertainment's next free-to-play massively multiplayer online title, is all about the dragons — as you might imagine.
Set in a fantasy world where dragons have bred with every other creature on the planet, players will take on the roles of wizards and warriors as they collect, tame and battle these monsters. Players can capture dragons by sneaking up on them in the wild and jumping on their backs. They then must hold on tight while the dragon tries to buck them off; should they be successful, they get to keep the dragon.
Up to six dragons can be kept on hand at one time, but you can capture more and put them in a "stable," much like how creatures in Pokemon games are stored in a digital bank. Each dragon has a set of special abilities, with some species sharing similar traits. Certain abilities of captured dragons can also be taught to other dragons, at the cost of having to release the "teacher" dragon back into the wild.
Dragons can also be sent out into the wild to gather resources and complete sidequests, or left to train for several hours of real-world time in order to level up. Players can set timers for dragon training, assigning them up to 20 or so hours of leveling to complete while players are sleeping or out for the day. In-game time lines up with real-world time, and after those 20 hours you will sign back online to a higher-level dragon or a mound of quest goodies.
Sending dragons out into the world will cost players gold and Station Cash, Dragon Prophet's in-game currency. Players can obtain the cash by completing quests or by purchasing it with real-world money for instantaneous use.
Senior producer Todd Carson told Polygon that the game will have both free and subscription options, and that the payment plans for Dragon's Prophet have been designed to fit players' individual tastes. You can "pay to save time" by purchasing upgrades and extra in-game cash, but the game will not penalize you if you don't.
Crafting is optional in Dragon's Prophet, and is not necessary for player progression. Through crafting, players can upgrade armor, weapons, items and potions for themselves and their dragons, or sell them for profit in the game's auction house — the latter a good money-making options for free-to-play users. However, not participating in crafting won't prevent players from obtaining "good" gear; it will just take them a bit longer.
"We're integrating your pet into the crafting system."
When asked, Carson said that it's the emphasis on dragons and their key roles in the both the pet and crafting features that make Dragon's Prophet different from other MMOs.
"We're integrating your pet into the crafting system," Carson said. "We're opening up all crafting to players, and dragons are a key element to that crafting. In every other game you go get the resources and do the crafting yourself. In this game you can have your dragons complete those tasks for you. You don't have to run back and forth constantly to collect things."
Housing in Dragon's Prophet is also on a completely different plain from the land of roving dragons. Housing areas are found on floating areas of land above the main world, where players can purchase lots and build their dwellings in a colonization system. This area is where player-versus-player conflicts will take place, when it's added in the future, in order to keep PvP and progression areas separate.
"We don't want players getting griefed while they're progressing," said Carson. "We wanted to keep PvP optional. PvP will be more of an endgame kind of thing, where guilds will fight for control of islands. Your home is your safe area, but outside of that you are open game."
Carson said Dragon Prophet's first expansion will involve floating island citadels that guilds will wage war over, each one seeking to claim the dominions for their own. The title is currently in closed beta and is available for pre-order on its official website.