It's not as hopeless as it sounds. The game is actually quite fun and great to look at. I love its painted-scene-styled atmosphere. A player can zoom out and see that she is actually inside a painting that acts as a zone. Monsters and NPCs wander around the painting, and there are even clickable events and nodes for gathering. The music and sound are top-notch, and everything works across every platform I tried it on: iOS, Android, and browser.
While all of that sounds pretty nice, I was in game to investigate the new Sea Battle, an instanced multiplayer mission that pits nine player-teams against each other while in a pirate and nautical-themed area. Players can earn Piastres, an in-game coin used for special items. Honestly, it is pretty cool, but I got to see only a tiny fraction of it. The event is timed for once an hour, but out of the last eight times I joined it (literally, over the course of a day), I did not get to see the complete event even once. When only a handful of players joined, it would kick me out and tell me that there were not enough players to fire it off. Out of all of the times I tried, I only got in once and didn't last long on top of that. I'll break down what I should have seen had there been enough players.
This first part of the four-parter mission starts off by making you and your teammates fight against NPCs from two different tiers. Personal enemies are visible only to you, are the weakest units on this battlefield, and will not summon other NPCs to help fight. Your teammates can help fight this enemy but only by searching the Current Combats on Location list. Common enemies are tougher, can be joined openly by teammates, and can call other NPCs to help out during combat.
You and your team will need to wipe out all of the enemies within the 15 minute timer or the remaining enemies will automatically be slain but you will receive no trophies for the fight. I was lucky to kill even a few of these enemies, even though the instance says it starts off at level 22.
Cannon shootout puts teams behind the guns and wheel of a mighty ship, with each of the 10 rounds of combat lasting one minute. There are four different roles that players will fill: one captain who will pilot the ship, three gunners, three defenders, and two sailors. The captain orders the ship to turn, putting it either in harm's way or out of it. The gunners each choose a unique type of ammo and a section of the enemy ship to shoot at. Defenders protect the ship against enemy fire by activating different shields, and sailors are there to put out any fires that break out.
This is a simple preparation phase. Well, it's simple if you know what you are doing. Essentially the players will take this short break to regroup, decide on strategies, and put potions and useful items into their belts for ready-use.
During this phase, the ship that received the most damage gets boarded, and the two teams begin melee combat. The amount of damage that the ships received during the shootout phase will figure in to how many wounds each team enters melee combat with. Players will fight in one of three sections of the ship: stern, deck, and fore, depending on the role they are filling. Captains will always fight on the deck, for example, with the other players fighting in random groups on the other sections. The good news is that players can move from one section to another while waiting for an attack, so communication with teammates is key.
Dragon Eternity seems like a pretty simple game in many ways. Group battles become much more complicated as spells begin to fly and different abilities complement each other. While PvE appears to be the most common way to slowly climb up in levels, PvP is where all the glory and skill seems to come into play. I mowed through many, many monsters and NPCs, but going toe-to-toe with other players almost completely threw me off my game, providing proof that a beefed-up press account means nothing, just like buying power is not a guarantee of victory.
For me to do better in Dragon Eternity, I will need to bone up on every skill I have access to. It's also important to get better gear or else as one clanmate told me, the "complaints will fly."
The Sea Battles instance might sound like a great idea, but I'm not sure when it actually becomes playable. As I was writing this article, I attempted to queue for two more attempts at the instance but was told once again that enough players had not joined. That makes my record something like two trips in and eight or nine denied. That's depressing. I'm sure most of the time players need to plan out a very specific time to be on in order to join. I'll keep waiting for an opportunity.
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.