First off, Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you had some amazing days, met family and friends and got some great presents!
I’ve just been going through the kickstarter projects I backed, and I noticed a new project I would like to share with you. The project is Legends of Dawn (what, another “Dawn” game? Yes, I suppose there is a theme going on, but that was entirely accidental), a 3D fantasy RPG for PC. In a nutshell, Legends of Dawn is a very old-school style game, immediately it reminds you of Dungeon Siege and Neverwinter Nights, which in my books is already a winner! However, unlike other games currently out there this game claims to have no restrictions in how and where you want to go and what you want to do. From the very beginning the game allows complete freedom in the way you tackle the main quest and how you explore (and fight enemies).
Tell me a story
The story sounds very promising: Trouble began in Korden’s Fall when miners and traders began to disappear and rumours of massacres began to circulate. Mistrust and terror fanned conflicts among the people who live in fear of the elves from the nearby region. The managers of the mines, known as the North Trade Guild, appealed to the king, and the once powerful Kordelis family that govern the region, for help. The king sends a unit to uncover the mystery surrounding the icy peaks of the Northern Highlands, under the experienced leadership of Sir Herken Salavon, your foster father.
You are one of the soldiers in the unit and insufficiently trained. The situation required immediate action. Waiting for you to complete your training was not an option. Concerned for your safety, your foster father leaves you behind in Korden’s fall and embarked on the quest with the rest of the men. He tells you as he always did, that people, not demons were behind the big evil.
So far this sounds very familiar to those who played Baldur’s Gate, Dungen Siege and similar games, and it is has been a successful formula so far. Let’s hear a bit more about the story from Dreamatrix:
Events take you from Korden’s Fall, through old, abandoned forts, dungeons once inhabited by dwarves and ancient tombs. You go from the elven city Recea, to the Great Northern Swamps, and the magical city of Sidis Tarea inhabited by the Danians, a mystical race. You reveal the ancient scripts that tell the legends of dwarves, exterminated in the centuries-old war with humans, and stumble unto the greatest of them all, the Legend of Dawn. But most of its parts have been dismantled by great sages and hidden across the continent of Narr. The one who finds all the parts and reassemble them will restore its power, the only power that can dispel the dark forces over Ashglades. Returning Dawn to Ashglades will finally bring light to the endless darkness.
Time to fight – the combat in LOD
When tackling a project with near unlimited freedom you will need a decent combat system to make things happen and to keep the player entertained. Combat in Legend of Dawn is familiar to those playing NWN, Dungeon Siege or Diablo – you click on the monster and your player attacks it, one click per attack. Depending on weapon there are various aspects of cooldown, which in turn are affected by the player’s skills, active spells, auras or sacrifices. Dreamatrix discussed this recently:
Combat can also be affected by sacrifices. There are shrines of three main gods scattered around the world. You can use shrines throughout the world to sacrifice various items (each god requires different type of items, some require food or plants, other requires weapons etc.). Depending on which items you have sacrificed, you will get temporary blessings which help you during combat. For example, if you sacrifice Dagger, you will receive temporary bonus to attack or damage. […] As you sacrifice more and more items, you will get additional options for sacrifice (up to 4 items per sacrifice and multiple blessings at the same time).
What about Quests?
With a game offering freedom in the ways you tackle the game there are bound to be quests you will have to complete to finish Legends of Dawn of course. There are many non-combat quests in the game. Throughout Korden’s Fall there are many NPCs asking you to complete various quests (ranging from your standard “fetch” quests over to “kill X and bring the loot to Y”). Some of the quests can be solved in a multitude of ways, allowing for different outcomes.
Tying in with that is a reputation system which tracks your successful and unsuccessful quests and will calculate your player’s reputation with various factions. Since factions in the game are not always on the same wave-length with each other it makes sense to weigh up the benefits of one over the other faction.
The main quest of Legends of Dawn is a bit of everything: The Dawn artefact has been broken in many pieces and in order to finish the game you will have to find all of them and put the artifact back together. Pieces are scattered throughout the game and usually well guarded – be it monsters or puzzles (or both). Finding these pieces is also one of the 27 achievements player can solve. “Achievements you say?”
Achievements are divided in three categories – exploration, combat and crafting. Each of those three categories has nine different achievements. Solving specific achievement brings you additional experience.
My thoughts on Legends of Dawn
Legends of Dawn sounds like a really interesting project, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what the game will offer – 150+ monsters, adaptable creature AI, crafting, soundtrack, lore, rune system and a proprietary engine which streams content as you play, limiting loading times and a lot more – all this shows that a lot of love has been put into the creation of this game. Unlike other Kickstarter campaigns the game has been in development for quite some time, and the developers are planning to use the funds solely for Voice Overs and plugin licensing.
This is where I found a bit of an issue with this campaign: the game is pretty much done, meaning that I am concerned about how backer feedback is going to be taken on board. For example, Sui Generis, Star Citizen, Project Eternity or Limit Theory allspent quite a bit of time answering feedback and running AMA sessions on reddit to respond to and more importantly take feedback on board. I sincerely hope this is still going to happen as the project develops post release date. I’ve seen many projects I worked on go into one direction and then having to redo a lot of the coding to accommodate customer / user feedback, something I’d really like not to happen to Aurofinity & Dreamatrix.
That aside, I really look forward to the game, from watching the trailer the game reminded me so much of the gold old gaming days that I reinstalled NWN and Dungeon Siege to re-live these games and to prepare myself for Legends of Dawn!