E3 2012: Dragon Eternity's cross-platform warfare and weddings

Dragon Eternity
Harken back, o reader, to ye olden days of E3 2012, if thou canst recall, as a great and powerful force of dragons has arrived among us. OK, so E3 wasn't that long ago (although it often feels like it), but something dragon-like has certainly surfaced: During the expo, I saw an impressive demo of Dragon Eternity, a cross-platform fantasy MMO from Game Insight, and as of this morning, the embargo on all the details of that demo has finally lifted. Hit the break and I'll tell you all about it!

Game Insight is a popular developer on social networking sites and mobile marketplaces. You might know the studio as the team behind Mystery Manor, a "find the hidden item" game that took the player to exotic locales and rewarded players for finding a loaf of bread in an unusual place -- like a bathtub. Game Insight has done well in the Russian and Korean mobile app markets especially, and now it's setting its sights higher with Dragon Eternity, which is already available to play in beta on the web but soon will launch on the mobile app market so players can interact with each other between devices.

Dragon Eternity has a lot in common with traditional MMOs. It features character creation, classes, items, shops, mobs, baddies, and dragons, of course. The game takes place in the fictional world of Adan, where two factions (the Sadan and the Vaalor) are at war with each other and the monsters that have overrun the world. The player picks a faction, creates her character, and then sets out into the world to conquer the forces besieging her allies.

Where the MMO takes a turn away from the traditional is in its character classes. Let's say a player picks up a different MMO and chooses a Paladin character. She'll spend a ton of time to level up that character to 30. One day, she reads the game forums and finds that the Paladin is actually the weakest character in the game, but she's now stuck with a level 30 Paladin with no way to change the skills of the character. That's not the case in Dragon Eternity because a character's class is determined by the equipment she wears. If a character equips enough items specific to a certain class (Paladin, Witcher, or Berserker), that class' abilities are unlocked for the player to use. Dragon Eternity gives the player freedom to explore these classes without keeping her locked into one class permanently.

Combat is 2-D and turn-based with mobs jumping from character to character (if you're in a group of three, the mob shares turns among each adventurer). Each character has three stances: attack, defense, and mana. The mana stance allows a character to build up mana points to cast spells against monsters. In a nod to the game's name, each character can have dragon pets she can level and suit up with equipment. There are over 30 environments for players to interact in and traverse by foot, mount, and teleportation.

Dragon Eternity
What about PvP? The game boasts several types holding as many as 16 players. Arena of Honor is the first; it's a free-form, 5-minute, jump-in kind of warfare. Tournament of Honor is the second type, and it's set on a much larger scale than Arena. King of the Hill matches several lower-level characters against one higher-level character to see whether brute strength can withstand power in numbers. Cross-faction PvP comes in two forms: One is called Seven Bridges of Shadan and pits warring faction players against each other, while the second is Duel of Truth and lasts for several days. A "clan" PvP mode is in the works, too. Clearly, PvP is a huge focus for Dragon Eternity.

What the game accomplishes without fail is pure content delivery. This isn't an MMO where you just fight monsters and then log off; it's a game designed for a much more entertaining experience. For starters, there are over a thousand quests that range from exploration and item-gathering to mob-killing and more. For players who love to gain achievements, there's an elaborate Reputation system. It's more than just a "trophy advertisement" for bragging rights; unlocking achievements gives a player high-level sets of armor. Moreover, there are three different dungeons that give players more mobs and treasure to plunder, and random gift chests are available to the player every three hours.

Game Insight develops social games, so expect a ton of social content as well. Four gathering and five crafting professions are available for each character. There's an auction house to bid on high-level items and sell unwanted ones. Even a gift system has been implemented. Want to get married in-game? That's covered too. A player can send his betrothed a wedding ring. Want a divorce? You're getting served. The game delivers on giving players so many opportunities to explore that "down-time" is virtually eliminated.

Game Insight is in talks with major mobile companies to ensure that the game has wide device coverage. If there's a mobile device, the company wants to see the game on it. The browser version of the game is in beta with about a million subscribers already. There's no finalized release date yet, but the title is free-to-play with microtransactions. Stay tuned for launch!

Massively was on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 4-7, bringing you all the best news from E3 2012. We covered everything from PlanetSide 2 and SWTOR and ArcheAge to RIFT's and LotRO's upcoming expansions!

This article was originally published on Massively.