Dragon Age: Legends, Pass or Fail?
When you think of Facebook and Facebook games, often times your mind travels to the obvious FarmVille and other games where your main goal is to grow something, buy something, harvest something, build something, and so on and so forth. If you are like me and you grew tired of these games rather quickly after you reached level 40 or 60, you probably just drifted away from the mind numbing monotony of it all. When I first found out about Dragon Age: Legends my first thought was ‘yes, finally a game that won’t bore me stupid’. I was looking for a game that would allow me to get my RPG quick fix while at work or sitting around the house without the need for me to turn on my beloved Xbox. Needless to say I was thrilled when EA started pounding out the ads encouraging me to play. So when it debuted, I gave it a shot.
Now for those of you who don’t play FB games or have been living in the shadows and don’t know what Dragon Age: Legends is, simply put it’s a turn-based RPG (role-playing game). For this game to work I believe it had to accomplish two things: be simple enough that anyone could play it and engaging enough that a hardcore gamer would continue to play it. In my opinion I think DA:L accomplished latter. I don’t feel that this game is simple. The battle style may be a little more complex than most non-gamers could handle. And I don’t think any soccer mom or teenage girl will be interested in fighting the malevolent horde of Darkspawn. With that being said, I still think it’s an impressive first try for EA and that Facebook games are heading in the right direction if they offer more games of this nature.
My first impression of the game after opening it up in my browser was that the opening cinematic was outstanding. It was nice to see an opening of that caliber on a FB game. This alone gave me something to look forward to when I started my adventure. I started the game as a Rogue, a little something different from what I tend to play on the console games. The other characters that you can choose are the same as the in the console game: Warrior and Mage. Characters are customizable but you will soon find out how hard it is to equip them with new armor without using Crowns and leveling up.
The game kind of flings you into the midst of battle right from the start. For a role-paying game I would say DA:L was sub-par. Early on I was frustrated with the gameplay mechanics. It sets up two opposing squads of fighters (you against the Darkspawn), and you and your allies are lined up on one side and the enemy is on the other as if an invisible line is drawn down the center between both groups. Each team takes turns to stab, shoot, use magic or whatever against each other. Potions that you create in your castle can also be used during rounds. Supposedly you are allowed up to 2 or more companions during battle. I noticed that my slots say I can have 4 but so far I have only been allowed 2. All in all it sounds good right? So what could possibly be wrong with this set up?
Here is my general complaint about this game: every time I recruit a character to fight with me in battle, I have to wait 2 hours for them to come back and fight with me again. 2 hours! Now what would you say turns a person away from a FB game? Time and having to purchase items with real money, right? Well if you want to play this game then you better be ready to either have a ton of friends also playing who you can constantly recruit or you better be ready to fork over some cash for the in-game content. If you don’t have an ample amount of friends on your team then you will be waiting all day for the ones that you do have to recover after your fight 5 or 6 battles, roughly 15 to 20 minutes of gameplay. And that sucks. If you don’t want to wait then your other options are Crowns. And Crowns do not go a long way. You need Crowns for potions, Crowns for energy to move to the next fight, Crowns to buy loot, Crowns to purchase gold to upgrade your castle. It never ends. And worst of all, you need Crowns to buy a single-use horn that summons fighting companions. WTF?
I was constantly running out of everything in order to advance in the game. I know that free-to-play games need to make some money, okay, whatever. But forcing me to fork over money at every turn is just wrong. When that option outweighs my ability to enjoy a game, it raises alarms and concern. I played FarmVille, CityVille and all those other Ville games without ever paying out-of-pocket for any in-game content. But this game forces you to either pay or not play. And I don’t like that. I want to play. I want to like this game. I want to have an RPG on Facebook. But if it’s not enjoyable, then it’s not worth my time. The only reason I continue to play this game is to un-lock content for Dragon Age 2.
Now stepping aside from the negatives, let’s talk about something positive. I like the concept of this game and the direction I believe it will push FB gaming. I know there is still a debate going on about whether the Ville games are actually games. I’ve heard it on podcasts and I’ve read about it online. In my humble opinion, I believe FB games should be considered games. They may be simple and unappealing to the hardcore crowd but that does not make them any less of a game. They appeal to a wider audience, i.e. those teenage girls and soccer moms I was talking about before, and they allow people who would never play games otherwise the chance to experience something new. Heck my grandmother plays FarmVille it must be doing something right.
I want what EA is trying to accomplish to be built upon. It has laid a foundation for other companies to experiment and use FB as a platform for offering these types of games to the hardcore community. If they focus less on the money aspect of it and make it easier to play and more accessible to others, I believe that more of the FB community would be on board. FarmVille doesn’t ask you to buy something after every turn. It’s just there hovering in the background incase you need to. I think if Dragon Age: Legends did that they would be more successful.
But this is all just my opinion. I would love to know what everyone else is saying about this game. It’s decent and I will continue to play as long as they keep giving me unlockable content for DA2.