Of gold and guilds

GREE’s upcoming title Dragon Realms is visually fluid. Seriously, I could spend an hour just watching enemies marching around on the screen (and when I’m done writing, I may very well do that). The latest entry in GREE’s RPG+ franchise looks to further blend simplicity and depth. Slick visuals, tons of single player content, and an emphasis on guild play drive the title forward as we near its launch.

Guilds were one of the biggest points of emphasis when we spoke to GREE earlier this week. In many mobile and free-to-play games, guilds and alliances are just there. Developers seem to put them into the game because players expect to have the option to join a guild, even if nothing of value results from the opportunity. While guild-based quests and events are nothing out of the ordinary, GREE is making a few moves that add to the traditional guild functions.

Dragon Realms

One of the neatest functions is the inclusion of guild bonuses. Guilds have a list of bonuses that can be purchased to better support the team and its members. When a member has enough gold, he or she can purchase a bonus. These bonuses range from increasing the maximum number of guild members to increasing the effectiveness of certain character skills. These power-ups and abilities aim to help players tackle events.

Events and quests seem to be what we’ve come to expect from free-to-play games. Even so, the emphasis on guild play means that players who find an active guild may be able to get their hands on rewards that are otherwise difficult and/or expensive to come by. The single player offerings look to follow much of the same pattern. While there were no current events when we got to check out the game, the quests will bring players to numerous locations to battle dozens of different enemies.

Dragon Realms

The stage the team originally showed us was in the middle of a snowy forest. While the game is entirely in 2D, the enemy animations were incredibly fluid. In fact, their motions were practically hypnotic. Each location has a different theme and different enemies. When enough enemies are defeated, that area’s baddies will grow stronger, taking more energy to defeat. The Dragon Realms team wants to encourage players to go back and replay certain areas in order to collect more gold and earn better characters.

The characters and player vs. player combat are two of the big sticking points from the Dragon Realms hands-on. Like a card battle game, characters are fitted with attack and defense stats. If a character’s attack outranks another’s defense, they’ll be the victor. There are dozens of characters, all of which can evolve and fuse with others. Players will be able to create parties of up to nine characters, and then take them online to battle others.

Dragon Realms

PvP combat itself is a simple card battle “how does my team stack up against yours?” style. The post-match stats and the in-game battle screen were the two areas the team was the most proud about. The stat screen shows off your team’s attack against the opponent’s defense, while the battle sequence does a great job at showing what each character is doing, what abilities are being used, and who’s winning the fight. Even the little details, such as sprite animation, look to help Dragon Realms stand out among the competition.

Dragon Realms will be launching on iOS and Android soon. The iOS version is optimized for iPhone 5, but all the devices we saw it on were running it beautifully.