D&D Storytelling Seeks Video Game Evolution In Sword Coast Legends
Dungeons and Dragons have a unique soft spot in my heart. After years and years with the pencil and paper RPG dating back to just before the 2nd Edition rules hit the scene, I’ve had countless adventures with friends and read my share of D&D based fantasy novels. At the same time, I’ve found myself drawn to the licensed D&D interpretations of video game RPGs as well from Pool of Radiance to Eye of The Beholder to Baldur’s Gate and in between. I’ve even spent time with the ambitious Neverwinter Nights package of Bioware fame back in 2002. Now, the evolution of D&D gaming seems to have its next ‘evolution in storytelling RPGs’ with Sword Coast Legends.
An always enjoyable trend in gaming to myself is the ability to throw a group of friends into an open space or realm and give one additional friend the storytelling and ‘directorial responsibility’ if you will. Neverwinter Nights by Bioware was my first experience with this formula and it worked alright. I remember thinking I’d craft an adventure only to find the hint book for the DM to be huge and a bit overwhelming. Fast forward to today and Sword Coast Legends looks to reinvent this formula even more by standing on the shoulders of experience from games such as Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate, and Dragon Age: Origins. If you ask me, my inner fanboy is sold already.
Upon viewing the trailer for this RPG experience, it is clear that the perspective and combat are similar to Baldur’s Gate. As the video continued, you could see the Dragon Age influence as the combat was paused at one point to issue commands and then restarted. While all of that has been done before in the afore mentioned games, the ‘next step’ if you will is the addition of other players. Marketed as a coop experience, this game is intended to be played with friends online. While that takes it beyond Dragon Age and Baldurs Gate, Neverwinter still holds that experience as well. The next step is to lean upon what Neverwinter did and add the Dungeon Master in a way that is easier to affect in real time combat as well as in the storytelling aspects. Developer n-Space looks to collaborate with Wizards of the Coast as well as harness the appeal of the past games to create a faster and more streamlined way to play D&D’s all new ruleset online.
As I mentioned before, my biggest question with this game is the ease at which the DM is able to craft their story. The use of tilesets and graphic editors in other programs can be kind time consuming and in my mind equates to those who wish to mod games. Since this game is built to allow for a DM to ‘do their thing’, it will be interesting to see the size of the tilesets available, how content will be dispersed to DMs, as well as community access. Upon looking at the pre-order page, there are a host of larger price tag options including the Digital Deluxe package and the Limited Edition package. One particular gift in the Limited Edition package is the Design Council and Headstart Access. This surely means this game will lean heavily on the DM community being wildly creative and active. I surely hope to see adventure modules created to be shared amongst DMs as well.
Now all we need are recreations of the Icewind Dale, Avatar, Cleric Quintet, and Dark Elf trilogies and I’ll be set… with Forgotten Realms that is! Stay tuned as we dig into this exciting upcoming game further!
Sword Coast Legends Product Page: https://swordcoast.com/