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PAX Prime 2013: Dragon's Prophet adds frontier system, new zone, and mounted combat


The timer only has a few days left until Dragon's Prophet emerges from its beta cocoon and becomes a fire-breathing butterfly. Does that faze the devs? Not so much; they're quite excited to take this dragon-taming MMO to the big leagues.

You might think you know everything about Dragon's Prophet from our hands-on impressions, although that's just part of the story. The team is adding a serious amount of new content and fixes for launch day that nobody's seen yet... and we've got the full scoop.

PAX Prime 2013 Dragon's Prophet adds frontier system, new zone for launch
Frontier system: Who's the boss?

The first big part of the launch update will be the frontier system. Frontiers are islands that allow for two important (and interconnected) activities: open world housing and mass PvP. Think of frontiers as tiny countries, each with a citadel and several plots of land. Players can settle on one of these plots and build a home there, but it's important to settle wisely, as whoever controls the island will be able to levy taxes and control how players collect resources in the area.

The boss of the island will be the alliance that manages to capture and hold the citadel. What's an alliance, you ask? This is another new system that's coming: Alliances are multi-guild team-ups that can pursue the conquest of a citadel together. Once ruling in power, the dominant alliance will utilize the highlord system to issue edicts to its citizens. Of course, power comes with a price: The alliance will need to protect its people from aggression and be benevolent as well, since players do have the option to up and leave if the taxes get too high.

Even though open world PvP will rage through these frontiers, player houses will be protected from the onslaught. Instead, the invading alliance will need to secure objectives before being able to assault the citadel directly.

SOE sees frontiers and their associated activities as being an endgame activity for the rich and powerful. While players will be able to move into an instanced house around level 30 for a modest fee, these frontier homes will be prestige structures costing well into the millions.

Inartia: Ten new levels of terror

If you've played the beta and maxed out a character already, there will still be advancement for you waiting at launch. The team's adding in a new high-level zone called Inartia and bumping up the level cap from 70 to 80.

Inartia is connected to the Wintertide region in both proximity and story. Visually, Inartia has three looks to it: the snowy landscape of the south, the temperate forest of the center, and the blasted region of the north.

The land was the site of the Second Dragon War, which initially lowered the property values due to death and scorched earth as far as the eye can see. However, the land is healing, and inhabitants are moving into the bones and ruins left behind. It's up to players to venture into the area, explore the four additional dungeons, and perhaps tame a new rare ancient dragon or two.

Mounted combat, ho!

Mounted combat is a late addition to the Dragon's Prophet feature roster. Players can hop on the back of their trusty super-lizards and use their own skills in addition to the dragon's skills to put the hurt on the enemy.

You would think that you'd want to go mounted combat 24/7 with the advantages of more protection and skills, but that won't be the case. There are a few drawbacks to mounted combat: You can't evade or dodge (so you'll be hit more), and certain areas will not allow or be ideal for such combat.

Finally, the team has listened to feedback on how beginner players don't like being spread out between three huge starting zones and has decided to condense down to a single starting area: Puretia. The other two zones will be repurposed in the future. The tutorial is also history, replaced by more detailed tooltips.

Tick tock, Dragon's Prophet players. Launch is right around the corner, and you've got a world ready for taming.

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 30th to September 2nd, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2013. Whether you're dying to know more about WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, EverQuest Next, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

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