Dragonica Online is a 3D side scrolling action adventure game developed by Barunson Interactive and Publishing varies by region and server. Dragonica, like all side scroller MMOs, has been compared to Maple Story and type casted as a Maple Story wannabe. It’s quite the contrary, with strong graphic demand, focus on high intensity combat, colorful, interactive environments with quirky animated backgrounds and various interfaces and innovations to the otherwise stagnant 2D MMO franchises. Dragonica, though, is in a league of its own.
Combat: It plays much like a two dimensional version of Devil May Cry, with a combo system that gives you bonuses based on how many hits you have landed and each class has a tree full of flashy skills and aerial techniques. Combat is intense, with enemies charging directly at the players, using monster skills and forming large mobs to stack damage on players all at once.
Combat can happen in two places: in the field and on Mission Maps. Field killing in Dragonica has been revised compared to other games of its genre to reward players for training. Each monster killed outside of an instance adds 1 score to the Monster Count. The Monster Count meter has different tiers at 100, 300, 500, 700 and 1000, each giving a treasure chest for that kill amount. These treasure chests reward an item at random based on the character’s level.
Also unlike other 2D games, field kills are not the majority of the leveling experience. Mission Maps, sets of five instances based on party size and level, comprises most of a player’s training. Mission Maps have a set level of monsters and play arcade style, where just as in Double Dragon or any old side-scrolling beat’em up, you are required to defeat all the opponents before continuing to the next map. Since experience in Dragonica is not divided between players in a party and all experience is shared, it is advised to play in a party. There are also Friend Points that are received by monster kills by you or your friends while partied. 1 Friend Point = 1 XP and can be traded in at NPCs in town for a small fee.
Features: (8.4/10 Overall)
Couple System (9/10): Dragonica has a Couple System, which is more beneficial than not. When you sign on, it will inform you of players of the opposite sex in the general area with their level. Couples, like many of the features in this game, aren’t just for show and players in couple are rewarded with an active buff while your significant other is in the party and an item called couple warps, allowing you to teleport to your partner’s location.
Complaint with the Couple System: You can’t turn off the couple notice when you log on or block couple requests.
Cash Shop (8/10): The cash shop is full of useful items which give a varying amount of advantage to the players who buy game cash. It not only includes fashion items and sets, which can be bought permanently, but also misc items and consumables.
Complaint with Cash Shop: Although there isn’t a significant advantage, as in EXP gain rate, when upgrading items, they are at risk of damage or destruction at a certain point and the only way to protect them is with Enchantment Insurance Scrolls, which have to be bought from the cash shop. Players with upgraded gear have better stats, damage and defense than those without. Cash Shop is more beneficial to the competitive.
Upgrading Gear (7/10): Equipment in Dragonica can be upgraded by either refining or enchanting it. Refining can be performed at the blacksmith NPC and uses consumable items called Armor/Weapon Enchancement Powder. Refining increases the defense or attack of an item. Enchanting, also known as increasing soul force, uses souls you receive by breaking down spare items in your inventory. Depending on the soul force of an item and rank increasing it to, the soul cost changes and the stat bonus gets better. Both cost gold and both can destroy an item without Insurance scrolls.
Complaint with Upgrading Gear: See Cash Shop above.
Guilds (10/10): Guilds in Dragonica are much more than a name above a player’s head. Guilds, besides being a status symbol, provide otherwise unavailable quests which award experience, gold and guild points to level the guild. They have three different levels, each allowing a new maximum amount of players and guild skills can be purchased, giving players who belong to high leveled guilds a distinct advantage. There are also guild wars called Emporia Wars, which allow for 30v30 PvP battle.
Complaint about Guilds: None.
PvP (8/10): Dragonica also distinguishes itself from other 2D MMOs by incorporating PvP. Unlike La Tale though, which has also done this, PvP is room based and players are allowed to set the rules of the match, change the map in which the battles will occur and manage which players are allowed in the room and will participate in the match. Currently, PvP has three modes: Elimination, Death Match and Free For All. Elimination is Round Based, and when a player is killed, they sit out of the match until their team is defeated and the next round starts. Best of 10 rounds wins. Death Match is a 3 minute minimum 1 round game where the most kills wins. Players respawn as soon as they are defeated until the match is over. Free For All is a version of Death Match, without the team aspect. Level difference and gear make a huge difference in PvP and it can be more about who is stronger experience-wise than who is more skilled.
Two Assassins against another Assassin and a Ninja in PvP.
Complaints with PvP: PvP in Dragonica is extremely glitchy. Air combos are a major part of most classes fighting styles, but when a player is downed, it appears as if they have moved to a different spot, then appear back at the location where they were downed. Also, there have been glitches where after a player is hit, it appears as if they have no health and the health display will be glitched. There have been instances in which players have noted that they will go in slow motion as if they have been killed, but will be able to continue moving, although they will become invisible to their opponent and not able to hit them. It’s also possible to log out in the middle of a match and forfeit at the expense of experience, as if you had died in combat.
In Dragonica, there are auras, particle effects, flashy skills and interactive backgrounds galore. There isn’t a lack of visual beauty anywhere the player travels and the environments become more intricate as you level and explore. There is so much going on, the fine details and intricacies of the environments can be missed if you don’t stop to take a moment and watch what’s going on in the landscape. It’s hard, if possible to ask much more from a 3D game.
The sound in Dragonica can become extremely annoying after an extended period of gameplay. The soundtrack doesn’t change between mission maps until you reach the boss and the theme outside in the field is short and loops over and over without pause, making the entire feel of the game seem to drag on. Along with this, the sound effects for skills, especially with critical hits, can be downright frustrating. I’ve found myself turning off my sound and just watching the action happen.
Class System and Character Creation: 7.5/10
Dragonica is just as clear cut as any other MMORPG with its class system. There are Archers and Magicians which "pew pew" and there are Thieves and Warriors which "woosh woosh". What sets Dragonica apart from other 2D MMOs is that it has an additional path for each class and there is a noticeable class balance. It would have been rated 10/10 if it weren’t for certain issues in the community with classism. Certain classes, although balanced, like the Assassin and Knight are considered PvP classes and because their lack of AoE attacks, get kicked from parties more likely than not. Non-DPS classes are not appreciated by most of the community which makes them rarer and even harder to play. Character Creation offers many different hair styles and unique eye and hair colors. Players can’t change their skin color though and all start with the same beginner’s uniform.
Non-Combat Features: 2/10
Dragonica currently doesn’t offer anything to do besides level and PvP. There is cooking and crafting, but crafting only helps improve gear and cooking materials have to be obtained by killing monsters. If you don’t feel like fighting every time you sign on, Dragonica is not for you. Ironically for the Priest, this support class is one of the fastest DPS dealing classes. The reason this score isn’t an outright 0/10 is because there are many places to sit and chat in town and with friends who will supply you with materials. You can just support other players with food and by merchanting. Dragonica could use some mini-games to give players an alternative to combat.
Dragonica is a lot of fun and extremely competitive and fast paced. In the scheme of 3D gaming, it is a big, gulping breath of fresh air. It does have its faults though and if you are not one who likes fighting all the time, Dragonica doesn’t offer you any other options. If you are a fan of side-scrolling 3D action, PvP fighting and competitiveness, Dragonica is right up your gaming alley.
Class System and Character Creation: 7.5/10
Noncombat Features: 2/10
Final Score: 6.8