John McCarroll
E3: Dragonica Online
The side-scrolling MMORPG from THQ*ICE.
06.03.09 - 12:19 AM

THQ*ICE, the joint venture between THQ and Chinese MMO publisher ICE, was showing off their first MMORPG, Dragonica Online. Dragonica is a side-scrolling MMORPG with some 3D movement, similar to The Behemoth's beat-'em-up Castle Crashers. Unlike most MMORPGs, all of the button presses in Dragonica Online are 1:1, there are no queued actions in the game. To accent this, there are experience bonuses for chaining combos in the game. Players who complete monster count quests will also gain access to rare items in the game. This adds focus to the game and prevents it from being a standard grind.

There are four classes in the game, Warrior, Magician, Thief, and Archer. Players can party with up to three of their friends in parties, and can have guilds that also level as the guild completes more objectives. When in a group, Friend Points accumulate, which can be cashed in for additional experience bonuses and encourage teamplay. While there are no raids in the game as of yet, there are mission maps that focus on large-scale monster fights with small parties to obtain the same epic scale. There are both maps that are open world - the field maps - as well as the instanced mission maps.

Crafting is available to all players, and there are two types of it, Enchanting and Soul Crafting. Enchanting is the most simple version of item customization, allows players to make their items' base statistics more powerful. Soul Crafting is a bit more complex, and allows players to turn their unwanted items into the currency of Soul. These will increase the grade of the items, and will have a direct effect on the characters' own statistics.

Dragonica Online is a free-to-play MMO, so there is a cash-op portion of the game. Unlike many FTP MMOs, Dragonica Online's cash-op portion is limited to customization - players gain access to additional aesthetic improvements. THQ*ICE will add more improvements later in the game, including player housing and player versus player combat, which will take place on their own unique maps.

Dragonica Online will enter open beta during July, and is slated for retail release in October.