Drakensang Online Has A Decent Bog

Bog beasts abound
For the past couple of days I’ve been filling idle moments by dabbling in the Drakensang Online beta. Let me just state, for those of you who have been attracted to this article by the Drakensang name in the header, that this has little to do with the original Germanically twee-ruggedness of the Drakensang RPGs. It captures a little of their art-style, perhaps, but this is a very light Diablo-like MMO with seriously low specs. It’s a beast whacker, a loot gatherer, a quest-runner, an inventory… inventorer? You know the sort of thing. That’s not to say it’s a bad game, especially for free, which it will be. It’s also rather clever with its browser-based tech, with one of the best web-players I’ve seen outside of Unity. Some more thoughts (and a trailer) on all this below.

Taking the route of killing x beasts isn’t exactly the most imaginative way to travel, but Drakensang Online’s remit is clearly to provide a simple RPG for masses, and it does that with some style. It’s one of the most visually attractive games of this kind I’ve played of late, although the GUI is a little lacking. I suppose it reflects that the game feels very much in beta, which it is. It lacks a bundle of obvious MMO features, such as tracking quest progress on-screen, or having an abundance of group options for chum-based fun times. It’s got a long way to go to make all this stuff smooth and credible. The same goes for the loot shop which doesn’t really seem to be fully up and running right now, but will of course make all the difference to how playable this game is come full commercial launch.

What is most striking about the game, however, is that it’s surprisingly atmospheric for this kind of lightweight ARPG. The maps are large and sprawling, and rather beautiful in places. The opening bog area is just lovely, with cute-yet-sinister gremlin creatures attacking you in great waves, and the sad, plodding giant bog beasts wandering to their deaths at the end of your metronome sword-chop. It’s good for brain-free entertainment. (Although I would say that the character models for the actual game characters are – disappointingly – far less interesting than the monsters you kill, which is a shame when you are looking at them all the time.)

It’s interesting (to me at least ) that this is a Java-based client which can be played actually in a tab on your browser, or full-screened out for maximum effect. This is also streamed from the servers as you play, making for no install (aside from the initial plugin) and near-instant play on pretty much any speedy connection. Things are a little warpy and lagging right now, but it’s still safe to say that the tech is impressive. More impressive than the game design…

Here’s a trailer.


  1. McDan says:

    This the new format for RPS? Liking it! layout of the site that is.

    • Meneth says:

      Looks to me like someone just broke then CSS/HTML :P
      Looks quite horrible at 1920px wide.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nathan says:

      Looks like it might be a mobile site deploy gone wrong.

    • feedaaa says:

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  2. otzenGulasch says:

    your page kind of exploded

  3. KauhuK says:

    What is wrong with RPS site? It’s broken for me.

  4. Meneth says:

    And now everything is back to normal, except the comment area is gone.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nathan says:

      If it were any other site, surely that would be a good thing?

      I’d post advice on how to make it appear, but it seems somewhat redundant…

    • Meneth says:

      And now the comment area is back :)
      And a block button, fancy!

    • Kaira- says:

      And the block-button seems to be going on and off, and not to say that it doesn’t seem to be tied to post but rather it repeats, making things a wee bit confusing.

  5. Anthile says:

    On the other hand, posting poetry looks a lot better now.

  6. Meneth says:

    On the third (?) hand, one cannot reply.

  7. Meneth says:

    …to comments.
    Or edit.

  8. Lobotomist says:

    I got to say that the game is near technological wonder.

    It is java based game that runs smoothly (no small feat) , in 3D. With graphical quality , i dare to say close to Diablo 3 (from its screenshots)

    The game has no client to download. Yet it seamlessly downloads while you play. You never wait longer than 30 seconds.

    But there are bad things too

    Under all this – the game is very far from finish line. Content wise.

    There is just not much to do , except boring grind.

    So there is great potential.
    Will it be realised. It remains to be seen.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Very much agreed, especially the boring grind bit.
      It plays more like an MMO than a proper RPG, which is a shame. Cutting down on the fetch quests in order to make them or meaningful and adding more instanced dungeons (with phat lewt at the end of course) would go a long way in improving the game.

  9. Vinraith says:

    So is the development team behind this the development team that makes the proper Drakensang games, or are they still free to make solid SP games while this online trifle brings in financing?

    • alseT says:

      I believe they lost the license to “The Dark Eye” and only kept the Drakensang name, so another SP game seem unlikely

    • Oozo says:

      Nope, Radon Labs is no more. From their wikipedia page:

      “The company filed for bankruptcy in may 2010 and was bought by the browsergames publisher Bigpoint GmbH.”

      I’d like to jump on the “what a shame” train, but tbh, I never played the original Drakensang games. Which is curious, considering the fact that older school RPGs are right up my alley and the original Dark Eye trilogy are certainly games that made me…

    • UnravThreads says:

      To clarify…

      Radon Labs folded. They filed for bankruptcy, and it can only be assumed that dtp Entertainment (The publisher of both The Dark Eye/Das Schwarze Auge games developed by Radon Labs) had a hand in it. One look at their marketing and ability to get releases out and you’ll see what I mean (i.e. they take the piss and then some). Anyway, Radon Labs folded and were bought by a HUGE casual-centric company, and were rebranded as BigPoint Berlin (Their owner is BigPoint), although with a fraction of the staff.

      The licence didn’t go with Radon Labs, although the name Drakensang did along with the stylised logo. Seriously, the only reason we really know anything about this game is due to that fact. If those two things went with the license, this game would be more obscure.

      There *is* another Dark Eye game in the works, but word on it has been non-existent.

    • Vinraith says:

      Dammit, dammit, dammit.

      Creator of excellent single player RPG’s goes bankrupt, gets bought by browser shovelware maker, isn’t that just a microcosm of everything wrong with gaming today? I particularly enjoy Bigpoint’s slogan: “You’ll never play alone.” Nope, nothing creepy about that.

  10. Sic says:

    The only thing that can possibly make a game like this good is a proper system of skills that works in tandem with a proper system of items.

    Until someone makes anything remotely close to the near perfection that is Diablo 2, I don’t really see the point in trying it.

    • Wulf says:

      Some would say that Doom perfected the action-based first person shooter. Would you say, then, that action first person shooters should be set aside and in the field of FPS games developers should only concentrate on realistic shooters?

      It’s the same with any game, eventually you’ll get bored of something, no matter how perfect it is. I got bored of Diablo II years and years ago. Due to how bored I am by Diablo II, I even prefer Titan Quest, by the simple merit that it’s newer.

  11. Shadrach says:

    You accidentally your site. But now it fine.

  12. Teddy Leach says:

    Why is there a block button? WHY WON’T THE ALT-TEXT DISPLAY?!


  13. trjp says:

    I got a key for this and forgot about it completely – thanks for the reminder… :)

    So… many… games….

  14. Valvarexart says:

    I challenge anyone to come up with a more cliché phrase than “Unite against the forces of evil” to advertise an MMO.

  15. UncleLou says:

    Can’t believe this is a browser game, it looks fabulous.

  16. Dave Mongoose says:

    In the trailer it says ‘Spite The Creatures Of The Anderworld‘… Is that a typo or just an unimaginatively named evil place?

  17. Jonathan says:

    *looks at comments*

    Maybe middle of the evening isn’t the best time to tweak the site.

  18. MattW says:

    An inventory juggler, surely.

  19. Freud says:

    I think every game trailer needs the phrase “Spite the creatures of the anderworld”.

    • Harlander says:

      “Keyboard commands:

      X to withhold pie
      Y to bite thumb
      Z to make ‘yo mama’ joke”?

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      “Do you bite your thumb at us, Sir?”

  20. Maykael says:

    I saw this article earlier in the day and read “… a decent blog” in the title and thought it was a rather snarky comment and smiled. Now I just came home rather not-sober and read that it was “… a decent bog” which is even better. LOL

  21. BloodPukeSalvation says:

    that trailer makes this game feel more like diablo 3 than diablo 3’s actual trailers. this is a great example of 3d hack/slash rpg with the diablo view angle having all been done with a dark atmosphere. not the WoW clone that is D3.

  22. Batolemaeus says:

    This is not the Drakensang I was looking for. :(
    And while the tech indeed sounds impressive, I’d have hoped for a simple java+lwjgl thingy. Streaming never works for me.

  23. Vexing Vision says:

    The game is a technical achievement!

    It’s also not Drakensang, and as a big fan of Realms of Arkania and a not-quite-as-big-but-still fan of the recent Drakensang 1 and 2, I just can’t get myself to play this simplified hack/n/slash.

    I am looking very much forward to Diablo 3. I would also very much look forward to Drakensang 3. And I suppose I would enjoy this technical masterpiece if it didn’t carry a brand that it clearly stole from somewhere.

    But the way it stands, I’ll sit over here and pine the loss of an interesting brand.

    • Nathan_G says:

      Whoever put that trailer together’s getting a bollocking. Anderworld indeed.

  24. tomeoftom says:

    Yay! Site redesign! I think I like the new little subtitle-tabs.

  25. Squirrelfanatic says:

    It says “free to play” in that trailer. Any ideas on how they are going to make up for the developing costs? Surely there is one way or the other to pimp my knight with micro-transaction-ly actions?

  26. adonf says:

    Stupid web site doesn’t say what system it runs on (well, not where I looked for it).

    Is it Windows-only ?

    • adonf says:

      So yes, Windows-only according to the internets. A Linux and a Macintosh clients are planned but later.

      What’s the point of making a browser game in an multi-platform langage if it only runs under one OS, why not just make a native application ? mumble mumble mumble…