Sword Coast Legends could possibly be the Dungeons & Dragons video games that hardcore fans of the original pen and paper game are waiting for. Playing it on PC with the game’s developers at PAX Prime 2015, I realized that the inclusion of the Dungeon Master changes the entire nature of the game, mostly for the better.
Sword Coast Legends pits a party of up to four adventurers against procedural generated dungeons, swamps, forests, and more, as well as a human Dungeon Master. The Dungeon Masters have just about as much control as they would have in a real game of D&D. They are able to create monsters and plop them into the game, create NPC characters, make custom quests and side-missions, and so much more. During my time with the RPG, I didn’t play as a DM, but I did make sure to ask as many questions about the position as possible.
Instead, I played as a wizard, which was my favorite RPG class. There are a number of different classes to choose from, from Paladin to Rogue to Wizard to Cleric, and so many more. Characters can be heavily customized, as players are able to choose their background, alignment, race, class, skill sets, and more. The classes are also customizable, as the developers told me that players can pick and choose which skills and attributes they want to level up, meaning that even a wizard could be allowed to wear heavy armor if the right points are allocated every time a level is gained.
Attacking is fairly straightforward — simply select which active skills to use and press the corresponding button to activate them. Skills and spells run on a timer, as opposed to being powered by mana, so I felt the game played almost a little bit like an MMORPG. Since I tried the PC version, I am not entirely sure how easy the controls will be on the console versions, but they are definitely simple on the PC.
During my playthrough, one of the developers, who was playing as the DM, made sure to make things a little difficult. He placed traps down, created enemies, and more. At one point, he created a horde of zombies, and he gave them the ability to heal themselves. He then controlled the zombies in a way similar to controlling units in an RTS game — with large, general instructions. He mentioned that the DM can also take direct control of monsters, as well.
He also explained that if a DM wanted to,it would be possible for one to create one’s own quests. That means a DM could type up what NPCs will say, the descriptions of the quests, and even create a goal, such as kill this monster and recover this item from it. That’s a lot of power, and DMs will actually be able to abuse that power by creating monsters that are impossibly hard. However, there will be a rating system in place, so it is likely that a DM with positive scores will actually enhance the game, instead of ruining it.
I am excited to see the console build of Sword Coast Legends, and hope they will be as easy to control as the PC version. If not, then at least the it is nice to know that consoles versions will have everything the PC build will have.