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Under the Radar: Dawn of Fantasy

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Developers are getting a bit daring in the way that they mash up genres lately. But it’s a calculated risk. Sanctum recently showed us that you can put a first-person shooter in a tower defense game and it will work out wonderfully.

Well, flying under the radar this week is another interesting and ambitious concept, this time courtesy of Reverie World Studios. What they’re bringing to the table is a combination massively multiplayer and real-time strategy game: Dawn of Fantasy.

Dawn of Fantasy 1

Super-vanilla game title, check. But what about this whole MMORTS idea?

Dawn of Fantasy sports a persistent online world as you would come to expect in an MMORPG. There are three races: Elves, Men, and Orcs. There are both Player vs Player and Player vs Environment elements. There is interaction with other players in the way of trading, alliances, and waging war.

So far, nothing sounds incredibly original about this, right? Right, until we start talking about the game modes.

The flagship mode in this title is the Online Kingdom mode. Here’s an excerpt of what the game’s official website has to say about it:

Offering a persistent online experience, Dawn of Fantasy‘s MMORTS, or Online Kingdom, mode gameplay revolves around a player’s Homeland territory, which can be built in one of nine regions across the game world of Mythador. Players will develop their homeland from a couple buildings to a massive empire complete with layers of heavy walls and keeps, a complex economy, and a number of armies and trade caravans wandering the map. To develop this city, players can gather resources, construct various buildings, recruit new units, and research powerful upgrades and new abilities. Even when a player is offline, their homeland will still be in development with the worker units still gathering resources and finishing constructing any buildings tasked shortly before logging off.

Ah, it gets interesting! Instead of your typical MMORPG where you enter into the world solo, you enter Dawn of Fantasy building your own homeland from scratch!

In your homeland, there exists an advisor who provides the questing for the game. He’ll give you the tutorial as well as flesh out the plots and subplots going on in the game. But from there, you use the World Map to interact with the other players in the persistent online world. This is where you can take part in the trading and warring aspect of the game, as you can group units into armies and send them to besiege an enemy fortress.

Dawn of Fantasy 2

What sounds most exciting is that you can form alliances with other armies and take on much bigger strongholds. Even further, you can form vast guilds and find yourself in epic guild vs guild battles! It sounds like it has the makings for the largest-scale battles ever seen in an RTS.

But Dawn of Fantasy does not only have to be played online. There is also an offline, single-player mode called Kingdom Wars which gives you a Risk-style map to conquer. You’ll choose one of twelve main towns to control while the AI will control the remaining towns, everyone working towards the same goal. The major objective is one of three: unify the realm, take the other two realms, or conquer the world.

Finally, there are also two skirmish modes in Lay Siege and Stronghold Defense, which can be played as either single-player or multiplayer team matches. It’s a small-serving sample of the more large-scale MMORTS mode, offering one-off instance that does not impact a greater game world. In somewhat of an “Assault/Defend” style of gameplay, Lay Siege entails commanding an army to take over a stronghold, while Stronghold Defense is exactly that, defending the stronghold from another army attempting to siege it.

Dawn of Fantasy 3

And there’s icing on the cake: the Dawn of Fantasy Scenario Design Editor. Yes, there’s a wide open door for user-generated content here. Reverie World claims that this is “one of the most powerful and easiest-to-use RTS editors to date,” and that it “allows designers to create a new map in minutes to play online or offline.” That’s quite a claim, but it would be pretty incredible if it turned out to be true.

Sound interesting? Damn right it does. Dawn of Fantasy is scheduled for release on the PC on June 17th, so you could find yourself in a war to take over Mythador in just one month. Or maybe less… A visit to the official website shows off the opportunity to sign up for the beta, so if you want an early look at the unfinished product, you can always register and see if you can get access.

In the meantime, check out this trailer, which should make any RTS fan just a little bit giddy:

For more information on Dawn of Fantasy, visit the official website.

Matt is a lifetime gamer from his humble beginnings with the Atari 2600. He is also the host of the Default Prime video series, The Bowlingotter Show.

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