First things first, this review is going to assume a certain level of knowledge of the MOBA genre. I am intentionally not getting mired down with the minutia that is shared between practically every title in the category. If you are unfamiliar with these types of games, I would recommend reading up here, before proceeding further into this review.
MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) gaming is not everyone’s cup of tea. The genre takes elements of the MMO, RTS, and RPG styles, combining them into something entirely unique. Adapting to fast paced game play, navigating very tight learning curves, and a large degree of trial and error are all necessary skills to be successful on the battlefield. Having a loose wallet helps as well. Since most MOBA titles follow fairly similar paths in design, differentiation has been hard to achieve for newer titles. WyrmByte has found a nice niche, and recently made the big jump from Facebook to a full-blown Free to Play title on Steam, broadening the reach and scale in a big way. Here’s what you need to know, if you’re thinking of diving in.
There is something a bit refreshing about leaving the ground pounding of others in this genre behind, and taking to the skies on the back of a dragon. Having a flight mechanic leads to some interesting strategies, such as circling around stationary turrets, as well as being able to attack from range while retreating. It does lead to a few tactics that could be seen as cheap shots, but I think the same could be said of just about any competitive online game.
The sheer depth of dragons available is staggering, offering any player the opportunity to play to their own strengths. Whether you prefer an in your face brawler, a ranged damage expert, or specialty support in the form of crowd control and healing, there is a dragon for you, each with differing abilities and looks. I have become VERY attached to Briartove, but just about every dragon I sampled stood on its own very well.
The addition of a single player story driven campaign mode is welcome in an environment that usually favors flat-out PvP. It offers a chance to learn some mechanics in a padded environment. The campaign will reward you with extra gems and performance based loot such as currency and fully upgraded dragons, both of which can be hard to come by. I used it as a primer and a chance to try out new dragons that I had not yet purchased, but if you are a completionist it will keep you busy for quite a while.
Eschewing the traditional “Visit the shop at your base” formula, Dragons and Titans offers a forging system that allows players to create unique weapons that can be equipped as the outset of a battle, expanding player’s capabilities in a flexible format. It also allows pairing weapon effects to bolster a dragons inherent abilities, making them more effective on the field.
I have never been a fan of contrived complexity, and Dragons and Titans suffers from a fair bit of it in the name of revenue generation. Every MOBA has a store, and there is always a “money for time” trade-off in these types of games, but adding unneeded layers just feels a bit greedy. If you want to upgrade a dragon, you will need 3 of the same dragon. Moving from rank one to two is pretty straight forward, but making the leap from two to three is rough. You will need 9 copies of your dragon, and the only way to guarantee the right one is to buy it, at about 5 bucks per. You can spend in-game Crystals, which you accrue at an incredibly slow rate, but only on random 3 packs of dragons. This does not seem so daunting until you realize that there are 34 dragons, with more added from time to time. I’m lousy at math, but statistically speaking, it’s pretty grim.
The community in this game should come with a warning label. Open chat varies from demeaning to vitriolic at any given moment, and in the full 5v5 PvP, beginners are shown no quarter on team chat. Every online title suffers from issues like this. Throw gamers into a competitive environment, give them anonymity, and hijinks will ensue. I was just a bit taken aback by just how unfriendly some players could be toward new players, and how little could be done to deal with it. Hopefully as this title matures, the player base and moderation will as well.
The Bottom Line:
If you’re not afraid to drop some coin, or have the time to trade circumventing the need for cash purchases, Dragons and Titans is an enjoyable game with more positives to its name than negatives. Equally solid for both quick and dirty matches on a short clock, or marathon play sessions, it’s worth the download, and worthy of some play from gamers of any skill level. Just ignore the chat panels.
Dragons and Titans is available for download via Steam.