Sony Online Entertainment’s philosophy with the new content update for Dragon’s Prophet, Wintertide, seems pretty simple: more, bigger, and… more bigger?
The level cap has been raised from 60 to 70, and players can journey through the new Wintertide region, which contains three major new cities, including a particularly scenic one built around the skeleton of an elder dragon. I bet they serve great BBQ ribs there.
There are four new dungeons in Wintertide. The first three are relatively simple and feature two difficulty levels, the lower of which can even be completed by a skilled solo player. You’ll want a full five players for the last dungeon, however, unless you’re using cheaty dev tricks like we saw in our recent press livestream.
Ironfang Fortress was ravaged long ago by an elder dragon and recently occupied by a horde of frost giants, who have done nothing to improve the real estate values. You’ll fight through five bosses in all and, unlike previous dungeons, in which people tended to speed-run through to just get to the bosses, SOE’s added quests throughout the instance so you’ll need to kill everything along the way.
Monsters in Ironfang Fortress range from large to huge to tremendous, and SOE’s done a nice job of taking what could just be one repetitive “giant with huge club who smacks stuff” after another and mixing up the boss fights. Don’t get me wrong – most of them do have really big clubs – but they utilize a variety of attacks that will keep players on their toes.
My favorite had to be the second boss, the giants’ foodkeeper, who wears a belt made of bacon and a bracelet of sausage. Her toxic concoctions stun players and converts them to vegetarianism (I made that second part up). The third boss isn’t too shabby either. He’s a sorcerer-type, who charges all the way across the room and has a ground-shudder move that can knock players down even when they’re a hundred feet away.
The final boss comes in two stages. In the first, he’s heading a mammoth-drawn chariot with an incredible turning radius (must be the radial tires), and players have to chuck conveniently placed spears to dismount him. Then, once he’s off, he wields dual axes that he sometimes joins together, Darth Maul-style, to really wreak some havoc. No, you don’t get to leap over behind him and cut him in half.
The new playspaces aren’t all that Wintertide brings. Naturally, there are lots of new dragons for you to find and capture, and you can now store up to 108 dragons in your Dragon Chamber – think of it like a “dragon bank vault.” And yes, it will cost Station Cash to unlock all your storage space.
Guilds are also getting quite a bit of love. SOE’s added the Draconic Sanctuary, a kind of guild hall that members can teleport to and gather in, even if they’re located on different servers. Even better, you can set up an altar where guild members can sacrifice certain items to spawn a boss monster that everyone can team up against to earn awesome loot.
The coolest thing we heard about during our livestream tour, however, had to be something that’s not yet in the game: the Overlord system. While details were understandably vague, it appeared to be a system where guilds could capture citadels on islands where housing was set up and “rule” over its player-citizens. Don’t like how much you’re paying in taxes? Then rally your own guild, storm the citadel, and claim it for your own! SOE hopes to have this system in place by the time of the game’s formal launch.
For now, though, it’s still in Open Beta, and you can download it and try it out for yourself. In addition to the above features, Wintertide has the usual assortment of balance tweaks, bug fixes, and new quests, including 12 new public quests. And, of course, there are more dragons, but we told you that already. Did we also mention there are new dragons?
Finally, here’s a picture of a derpy Moose.
By Jason Winter