I can be a tough critic when I want to be, but truth be told, I’m pretty easy to please. (Everyone has a soft spot somewhere I guess.) Well, for those wondering how to tickle my fancy, I love dragons. I’m not even choosey about what kind of dragons. So when I got the chance to sit down and chat with Scott Brown, the founder of Wyrmbyte, developer of the recently-released Dragons and Titans MOBA, I tried my hardest to conduct a respectable interview, and not just gush about all the cool-looking dragons the game offers players. I’ll let everyone else judge how well it went.
IGM: MOBA’s have fast become a popular genre. What makes them so appealing to the general audience?
Scott Brown: To me, MOBA’s combine a few really fun mechanics. The joy of advancementleveling up and PvP. They let you play over and over trying different builds and seeing what you like best, maybe changing your approach based on who you are playing with and against. It’s a really fun repeatable experience.
What separates Dragons and Titans from the other PVP-based Arena games out there?
Scott: We set out to build something that could be played in a much shorter time span. The other titles out there, matches tended to take 45 minutes to an hour, and that type of time commitment is not always easy. We wanted something that could provide a similar experience but in a much shorter window. We also found that many people we asked, including ourselves, tended to always use the recommended items when purchasing from the item shop. So we had the idea of taking that out of the game and putting half your skills on your weapon and half on your dragon, giving you immense control over the type of skills you wanted to bring into the match. Another feature well known to MOBA fans is gold collection. Most games pay the gold on the killing blow, some even remove the gold if the mob is the same team. We did not want that to be what our game is about so we just drop the gold in the world, and anyone from that team can pick it up.
Another big difference in our approach is our controls. We wanted something that felt familiar but still unique, and gave the sense of flying a dragon vs walking on the ground. We have implemented a variety of ways for people to control, including click to move, our legacy controls, and even controller support. Hopefully there is a way that feels “right” for players whether they are previous MOBA players or not.
Finally, something that is not found in any other MOBA style game that I know of, is our idea of Adventure mode. Basically we created really challenging single player Acts that tell the back story of our world. They have unique stories, maps, mobs, and traps that players have to overcome or solve. This was created as a way to have something fun you could do with your dragons and weapons you have unlocked outside of the PvP/Co-op maps as a way to level up your dragon lord and earn crystals to unlock even more items in the game.
Can you explain a bit more about the RPG elements included in the game? What sorts of customization and ability progression can players expect?
Scott: Crafting is yet another unique experience to Dragons and Titans. As you play through the maps, you will find crafting materials that you can use to forge new abilities onto the weapons you own. Fully forged weapons have a new skin that shows everyone your accomplishment during a match.
Dragons and Titans boasts battle times of just 10-15 minutes, ideally allowing players to hop into and enjoy more matches in less time. What about the game prevents battles from dragging out much longer?
Scott: We have several awesome built in AI things that come in to play to make sure the games don’t just lag around forever. The entire time you’re playing a match, your team is collecting gold for the purpose of summoning the Chaos Titan who will fight for your team. His primary objective is to destroy enemy structures, and he can deal massive amounts of damage if he is left alone. While we appreciate a serious match and a close match, we never wanted players to find themselves in a stalemate where they are just waiting and not enjoying their time.
For those not overly enthused by multiplayer match types, how extensive is the single-player campaign?
Scott: We had the same thought when designing the Acts, so we put in some things to make it pretty deep. Each Act has 150 stars to collect, 3 different difficulty levels, and multiple achievements to strive for. Collect all 150 stars to unlock a powerful tier 3 dragon for your use. Not only do you explore the story driven campaign, but you’ll also be searching for hidden treasure and working your way through 15 exciting missions in each Act.
Many MOBA’s place far more emphasis on gameplay design, leaving story as an afterthought of development. How important is the narrative to the world of Dragons and Titans?
Scott: It’s a large chunk of the world, however we don’t force players to partake in it. We realize that some people just want to hop in the game, ride a dragon, and set stuff on fire – so that’s perfectly acceptable and fun within our PvP maps. We put a lot of time into the Acts, and we’re quite proud of the on-going story and world that they are creating, so we do hope that players check out at least the first Act when they get the chance! We also take a ton of pride in the lore we develop for each dragon and weapon. For people who enjoy reading, there is a ton to read just looking through everything. Lore was so important to us that we actually had a book written about our world that is on Amazon called Dragons and Titans: Champion’s Call. It is the story of some new dragon riders on their journey to becoming dragon lords.
What sort of regular tournaments can players engage in (“Seasons” or otherwise)? What types of prizes are awarded to winners?
Scott: We have regular seasons where we award our top 100 players with some unique prizes. Tournaments is a highly requested feature that we are looking to being trying to implement in the near future.
Dragons and Titans is free-to-play, but with a few booster packs available for purchase. Should new players be worried about a potential pay-to-win type scenario?
Scott: We’re fully committed to keeping the PvP fair. There is no way a player can purchase an in-game advantage with real money. Players can buy potions and such to use in the single-player adventures, but those potions cannot be used in PvP. There is no item in our game that gives any sort of statistical advantage that cannot be earned by playing for free.
The Dragon Lord Council is quite a unique way to engage the community, and have certain members become an active part of the development process. Talk a little bit about the idea behind the Council, and how it has worked out so far.
Scott: The Dragon Lore Council is a select group of our community members whom we work with on a daily basis to ensure that our community as a whole gets what they need and deserve. Our Dragon Lord Council represents our community and our future, so we certainly give them an open floor to talk to us about pretty much everything, and we often use them as a sounding board and testing group for new features, balance, or design changes. Our Dragon Lord Council often helps us focus on the things our community is dealing with and it in turn allows us to better serve our community.
What are Wyrmbyte’s plans for the future? What sorts of major content updates are on the horizon?
Scott: We are going to release more stuff! More dragons, more weapons, more acts and we’ll continually keep patching the game to make the experience better. We’re not gun shy about patching or bug fixing, so we’re generally doing daily maintenance to work out bugs and issues that the community is seeing.