Bringing the essence of D&D to video games

A video game that plays like a tabletop adventure.

I recently looked into a game called Sword Coast Legends. Let me tell you something, it looks amazing. I am a late bloomer in Tabletop RPGs, but I have enjoyed every second of them. I love being able to interact with my friends and play in a world of imagination where nothing holds a player back, save a DM bent on your destruction. With the tools available in the upcoming game, the joy of D&D can be brought to the virtual realm in an entirely new way.

The World

While most DMs use real-life images or fantasy art to depict the layout of the world, it's an entirely different thing if you can actually set the atmosphere, and play in a landscape that is fully rendered in 3D. There's a world map that the DM can place markers for locations the PCs can travel to. Outside locals can be populated by characters to interact with as well as monsters to slay. Instead of imagining the world somewhat differently between each person, it will look exactly the same to everyone so that nobody will get confused by longwinded explanations. 

The Player Characters

 While there isn't a lot of information out there, if you pay close attention, you can find some things out. For instance, there will be five races(elf, half-elf, human, dwarf, and halfling) and six classes(fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard, ranger, and paladin) which I found in an interview on Venture Beat. In some of the livestreams that they have done, which can be found on their YouTube page, you can see a glimpse of some of the character creation in one of their videos. From those brief moments you can see a little view of the abilities and character page.

From the looks of it and they way they tallk about character creation I have faith that it will feel similar to rolling up a character for the table. They have also stated several times that they plan on adding more characters post-release, which is always a good thing to hear.

Dungeon Masters

This, this is the coupe de grace, this is what will take up the majority of my time in the Sword Coast. It works the way you want it to, at least from what I know. You can set up the campaign so that people can play your campaign while you're at work, or school, or wherever and be a DM that way. But the other thing you can do, which is really exciting, is that you can live play as DM as well. Not only can you have the session fully ready ahead of time, but you can change things on the fly while other, real people, play through the story you've crafted. You can add more traps if the ones you have placed are too easy, you can add more monsters, take away monsters, lock or hide doors if they're speeding through the dungeon and don't want the adventure to end quite yet.

There are nearly endless possibilities. The feature that makes it is that you, as the DM, get a pool of Threat Points, which can be spent on all the above mentioned things, and you are rewarded same as the party. When they do well, you do well, so that you can make the encounters more engaging and entertaining. You can even go so far as to control creatures and fight them with all the abilities that NPC has.

This is definitely a game I will be keeping an eye on in the coming months, and very much look forward to playing when it is released for PC and Mac on September 8th, and PS4 and Xbox One later this year.

Published Aug. 4th 2015
View Comments
  • Zach Long
    Featured Contributor
    The fact is that it's not a video game. The essence, I think is getting to explore a world with limitless possibilities, and while this game will have some limits, it's definitely a step in bridging the gap between the tabletop and the computer. It may not be everyone's style, and some people will always prefer to play D&D in-person, but some people also prefer to play virtually on websites like roll20.net. I think that given the tools that this game will provide, it will make DMing a little bit easier for some. I also think that it could bring some gamers to realize how fun D&D can be and might get them into the classic way of playing the game.
  • Durinn McFurren
    No... no I don't get XFunc's point. Perhaps for some people the most crucial thing about D&D is playing it in person with others. I think for many players, though, the thing that they find most lacking in video game RPGs when compared to D&D is the open-endedness that any game with a GM brings. GMs can adapt on the fly to what players choose to do - preprogrammed video games are, at the moment, not really able to do that. And, playing with other people raises the possibility of adding a lot more role play into the game. For example, the GM can present puzzles that can be solved through negotiation and award experience accordingly, rather than having a heavy focus on fighting and on a few preset 'negotiation' options that some games have. By contrast, in most RPG video games, the lack of adaptability on the part of the storyline means that role playing has to take a secondary status. The best that can be done is something like the Dragon Age series, where at preselected points certain characters might live or die based on player choices, and where the player can choose different allies - but here as well there's a pre-fixed, limited set of outcomes.

    I think that is the kind of thing many players want to see brought to this game. Whether it will do so or not (I'm a bit concerned that GMs in this game won't have enough arbitrary power to tweak things) is another question, although it does look promising (and I have to admit I am perfectly happy munchkining my way through video RPGs).

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