Dragon’s Prophet Critique: Who Knew Capturing Dragons Could Be Boring?

You would think that a game where you run around capturing dragons, use them as both mounts and assistants to help you fight, and have the ones you aren’t currently running around with gather various crafting materials would be interesting, right?

With this game, you’d be quite wrong.

Dragon’s Prophet is brought to you by Daybreak, which you might recognize as the company who published the first two Everquest games and, based on a staggering amount of Steam reviews, is apparently dropping the ball so hard on Landmark, they kicked it down a canyon onto a massive pile of C4 which then blew the ball directly into orbit. (the first Recommended is about 50 reviews down, and even then it’s barely a Recommended)

Thankfully, this game has been handled somewhat better, although considering the story and mechanics, it’s hard to do it wrong. You start out having dropped from the sky for reasons mostly unexplained (the only hint of anything special about you is presented without context in a cutscene that could easily be assumed to mean a group of people, not just your character) and doesn’t really get any meaning until you find out soon after that you can capture dragons…and this is actually extremely boring. The tutorial itself, on the other hand, is handled quite well, showing off the three major types of enemies in the game (normal, strong, and boss) which generally just differ in attacks and HP pools. The bosses apparently have weak points you can exploit to incapacitate them for a few seconds and you can deal more damage, but the first non-tutorial boss I fought in the first dungeon seemed to not have one at all, along with area-of-effect attacks that kept me drinking the numerous health potions the story quests had given me…almost to Echo of Soul levels, and selling healing items to merchants in that game was the best way to get money without auctioning gems.

The major problems with the dragon-capturing mechanic are rather striking: the first dragon you capture as part of a story mission can do everything but swim…which includes flying, something usually given much later, if at all…not right after a few quests past the tutorial. As I said earlier, the dragons can also be used in combat, which takes a Tera-like approach with action-y combat focusing on active skills and using the mouse for basic attacks. The problem here is that until you level a dragon by either sending it to train with another dragon you capture or having it gather crafting materials, you have no active skills to speak of. The ability tree, called Mastery in this game, does offer some abilities beyond stat increases. Unfortunately, the first one just replaces one of the right-click attacks with another, stronger effect. I don’t really care much for active skills in most games since that’s less I have to consider in terms of tactics, but here, they’re sorely missed. There are two other skills trees to unlock over leveling, but neither of them are accessible until you reach the right level, meaning any planning must be done externally.

Aside from the combat, which is actually well-done overall, minus the lack of active skills, dragons are also used for gathering crafting materials, which is done better than similar games that involve sending a companion to gather materials such as Neverwinter and Star Wars: The Old Republic, mostly because the actual crafting of the items is done by the player themselves. Where it falls apart is right at the beginning; in order to craft anything useful, you need to have multiple resource types, which requires multiple dragons, otherwise your only source of crafting XP is (for most types of crafting) by breaking down useful materials into rocks, course cloth, or other materials that can be used to craft other materials used to make some actually useful stuff. Aside from being slightly too complex to really be great, it’s more functional than most of the game’s other features. There are more mechanics that could be covered, but none of them are really that well-done, being either poorly balanced or generally irrelevant to anyone not interested in min-maxing both their character and the maximum of 12 dragons you can have per character.

Another problem is that there’s barely anyone playing, but considering all of this, can you really blame people for wanting to play something else?