Early Access: Dream Drops
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-In-Chief
Yesterday marked the first day of Gamania's Taiwan Game Show and the beginning of their spectacular line up was Dream Drops. For those familiar with Lucent Heart, you will find yourself right at home as Dream Drops is developed by the same team and takes Gamania's usual style and pushes it to the next generation.
In Dream Drops you take on the role of a 'sleepwalker' aka a human who is temporarily transported into the world of dreams to help bring some clarity to the chaos befalling the world of After Dream. Apparently Time Thieves have stolen the Time from children's classic fairy tales, resulting in bizarre alterations to Fairy Tales. Most notably, the Queen of Hearts has gone from savage and maniacal to focused and goal driven, leading the Elder Board in a hunt to catch the Time Thieves. Meanwhile Snow White has gone Barbie and is attempting to seize control of all of After Dream the only way a Barbie Girl knows how, creating a seductive clothing line called Silver Waltz!
To be fair, had this Snow White went with Prince Charming instead, it would be illegal in most countries.
Although the Queen of Hearts has summoned you to the world of After Dreams, don't let your guard down. She is still vicious and ready to turn on you as soon as you no longer serve her purposes. The story line and cast of characters in Dream Drops is twisted, full of appearances like Hook, betrayal, and mystery.
In terms of gameplay, Dream Drops takes the classic 4 class model and reimagines it with the tank becoming a Nutcracker, the mage becoming a Dream Painter, the cleric becoming a Pasty Chef, and the summoner as an Indian Warrior. While they serve these rolls in a familiar way, their skills are nothing but imaginative. For instance the Pasty Chef (pictured below as Pedo Bear) attacks enemies with giant ice cream cones, heals allies with candy, and spills milk on people for the pure joy of being Pedo Bear. As a side note, it seems each class will have a different starting area, so expect some replayability should you choose to sample the 4 classes.
Guild Cities also play a very important role in Dream Drops. Guilds will be able to collect materials and rare blueprints in order to construct buildings in their town, offering useful buffs and rare crafting locations. The town construction itself is quite detailed, to the point that you can literally spell out words from an aerial view of your city with trees, fountains, crafting houses, and other buildings. As your guild grows, so too does the amount of land available for you to build upon.
Of course it would be sad if this joy was limited to only the Guild Leader (as it is in most games), but the 5 tiered guild member ranking system in Dream Drops can be used to give limited access to the town builder to your closest guildies. This way you can come together and work in unison to build the perfect Guild Town for your group of friends.
Now one of the major problems in the past with Guild Towns is that smaller guilds often lack the number of members to effectively run quests, gather materials, and build a prosperous guild town. Dream Drops partially alleviates this problem by allowing Guild Leaders to post player generated quests on a billboard in their Guild Town. Non-guildies can accept these quests, and work to fetch materials for the guild like little mercenaries. This does come at the cost of Guild Leaders having to fit the bill on the quest reward but it's a step in the right direction when players can generate their own quests for any purpose.
In true Lucent Heart fashion, Dream Drops offers plenty of ways to customize your character without limiting your viability. Gem stones can be placed in a cross pattern on the character screen (with the horizontal bar focusing on physical and the vertical focusing on magical) to bolster your character's stats beyond their base level stats. This is entirely different from the fashion sets that can be obtained from the cash shop as well as various quests, offering you incredibly detailed character customization without having any impact on your character stats. Level requirements are also placed on the fashion, reserving the best looking items for players dedicated enough to reach endgame. Approximately 9 slots for fashion exist as well, so it shouldn't be too difficult if you try to reserve a unique look for yourself.
As you level up, you gain access to new class promotions (2nd tier classes not yet announced!) as well as new skills to master, most consisting of 10 levels of upgrading. In fact so many diverse skills are available to you that it will take a good amount of time to eventually master all of the skills, and players will be forced to specialize themselves while leveling to maximize their power. This comes with a nice aesthetic bonus however as skills actually change in animation the closer they are to maximum level. This can range from some added sparkly particles to the Nutcracker charging on a glorious steed instead of wooden rocking horse.
To keep things interesting, various events and minigames occur daily and change daily in Dream Drops. Players will be given a handy in-game calendar to keep track of these events and can even edit it to ignore certain events or send reminders to themselves and guildies for important calendar events. Speaking of convenient features, you can actually access both your mailbox and auction house from anywhere in the world! These even includes accepting mail attachments while out grinding mobs. The true Time Thieves are MMO companies that have forced players to return to town for these mundane tasks and Dream Drops is out to rectify this injustice.
Though the game isn't even slated for release yet, the developers promise that the feud between Snow White and The Queen of Hearts is only the beginning. Expect an infusion of Asian fairy tales to join the roster of American and European stories in a post launch expansion!