Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard Interview
Page 1 of 2It seems almost strange that nobody has yet to bring the popular Dungeons & Dragons universe to the successful world of real-time strategy games. Lucky for us, Atari and Liquid Entertainment have teamed up to do just that - create a game that blends the finer elements of both RTS and RPG. So which elements of each genre will Dragonshard possess? Read on:
GB: Dragonshard will offer four different playable races - The Umbragen, The Order of the Silver Flame, and two others that are unannounced at this time. Can you detail the goals, strengths, and weaknesses of the first two, and perhaps give us an idea of what the other two might be?
Ed: At this point we're only talking about 2 of the sides in the game. the Order of the Silver Flame and the Umbragen. The Order is a conglomeration of Dwarves, Humans, and a race new to Eberron, the Warforged. Definitely the most familiar of the sides, we wanted at least one side that the player could get into and feel good about very quickly. The Umbragen is a whole other animal. They are a race of Shadow Elves who have returned to lay claim to their birthright. They all have very specialized powers and each of them has a transformation they can undergo to become a different unit giving rise to all sorts of new strategy.
GB: How many different types of buildings and units will the Umbragen and Order of the Silver Flame be able to produce? Can you briefly detail a couple of the more powerful ones?
Ed: Each side has roughly 12 buildings of all shapes and sizes. Each building produces a Captain which can muster a number of Soldier units to band up with him. Although I can't give away too many details at this point, I can tell you that we have three types of units. Champions which are the most powerful and are to be feared by any unit on the battlefield; Captains which are the leaders of squads, can be leveled up to gain new abilities, and serve as the core of the underground adventure parties; lastly, Soldiers are the grunts they group up with Captains to form fighting squads and serve to prevent the captains from being the first to die.
GB: What role will Dungeons & Dragons character classes have in the game? Will all races be able to produce heroes of any class? What advantage do units have when teamed up with a hero, and do such advantages stack when multiple heroes are placed in a single group?
Ed: We've figured out ways of making many of the staple classes meaningful in RTS style play so you'll see a rogue disarming traps and opening locks, you'll see a cleric healing his troops, and so on. We've really taken great strides to bring the flavour of D&D to all of the sides, and although this means that in some cases the soldiers aren't exact translations they definitely will have a D&D feel.
All the races will have Champions (heroes) which they will be able to create and develop. Units that are teamed with a Champion or Captain will inherit some portion of the powers they have. If the soldiers are grouped with a Dwarf Barbarian, when the barbarian uses his Rage ability then all the units with him will get an attack bonus even if it isn't as much as the barbarian himself. We don't allow more than one hero or champion per group, but there are some cases where the powers extend beyond one group and at that point we do allow it to stack.
GB: Aside from battling against other players, will there be any computer controlled monsters that players will be able to fight in order to gain experience and/or treasure? Also, will there be inns, taverns, item shops, or other types of fantasy buildings to visit on certain maps?
Ed: Absolutely, especially in the underground. We provide a whole list of cool monsters right out of the D&D books for players to kill and take their treasure. We are planning special buildings on the maps, but that isn't fully decided yet.
GB: Can you explain how experience will work in the game? Will it only apply to heroes, or will regular army units be able to benefit from experience? Will there be any type of level cap?
Ed: Basically, everything you do earns you experience. Then, you'll be able to spend that experience to buy levels for your Captains. Higher level captains will unlock cooler and cooler powers. Soldiers, the grunts of the army, will not level, but Captains and Champions will. Right now we're considering having a level cap but that will be determined during some early playtesting.