Dragon Born has been in closed beta. It’s quite easy to grab a key and get hands-on with this new fantasy title. It’s always exciting to try out a new game. Yet whether you can remain excited when you know the game better is another story. With regard to Dragon Born, honestly, my interests and enthusiasm drain little by little, just as my in-game avatar loses his health through battles.
You start out selecting one of four classes, Soldier, Mage, Priest and Ranger. A brief intro explains the specific play style for each – melee fighter, master of long-ranged magic, supportive role in team with healing spells and curses, and ranged fighter armed with bow and arrow respectively. Generally, all fits into the standard formula, except that the Ranger can shape-shift into a bear to fight up close. Overall 3 characters can be created on one account. Once the class, gender and name are done, you are good to go.
No customization in the beginning; no customization in the entire game actually. You do change looks and outfits as you receive gears like armor, legging and chestplate in progress; but what you equip with doesn’t separate yourself from so many twins, since all gears are the same for everyone at certain levels.
Entering the game world, you begin receive simple quests to learn the system easy and fast. Auto-walk, hotkey, bag and skills, etc.. You soon will find that, perhaps in surprise, you sail through levels TOO fast: in fact, finishing one quest gets you one level up. Generic as they are, quests ask you to find a certain NPC, gather things like letters and bags of rice directly from ground, slay x-amount of monsters for certain items or with no reason, and explore a certain place (auto-run there and auto-return to deliver quests). Lack of interesting back story or quest scripts, quests lose the charm very quickly. And the grinding continues until you are finally able to explore dungeons in group.
Level tells you that you are always moving forward, but combat against monsters refuses to verify it – monsters at Lv.30 pose no more challenges than those at Lv. 3. Playable contents are level-locked, such as first mount (a magic blanket for Ranger) at Lv.9, faction at Lv.20 and instances at Lv.30. Not only those mentioned, there also includes the Crafting, Mini-game (fishing), and auto-party and many more. It’s great to know that something new is stored in following levels. The problem here is that you are disappointed when you really access to them, as if you level up too easily to deserve something better. Amongst, the dungeon exploration, in which you join a group and take up a role as Atk, Heal or Def, can be said exceptional. There, monsters boast higher health points and agile movement; and group fight per se makes the simple hack-and-slash part of a bigger picture.
Your first mount expires at Lv. 16 and makes room for the next (a leopard for Ranger). Mounts are really era-spanning in the game, for you will see machines like helicopters and tractors, mythical vehicles like magic blankets, and animals like turtles and leopards for different races. Mounts speed up traveling time. At first, you only ride them to travel and dismount to fight until you learn the combat mount skill at certain level. Skill system is fairly good, allowing you to learn new skills and strengthen them by using in battles. But just as the monsters are of almost the same difficulty, skills learned in higher levels don’t turn out obviously more powerful or visually distinct.
Artworks in Dragon Born leave much to be desired. In-game environment is not that bad to be eye sore but by no way to be feast to eyes either; entire screen is sort-of messy with avatars and mobs overlapping-you can easily lose the track of yourself; and the quest window can be a lot more inviting than it is now.
Overall, Dragon Born provides almost every element you would expect from a fantasy MMO. If you are easily pleased and prefer non-hardcore gameplay, it can be your pick up. Mind you, the dull quests in the first 30 levels can be ‘persuasive’ talking you out of it; if you make through, you see gameplay take a good turn as if lost health recovered by using small amount of potion. The game is currently in closed beta, and it must be more polished should it want to win over more players.