There’s no multiplayer in Capcom’s upcoming action RPG Dragon’s Dogma, but that doesn’t mean that the developer has eschewed all ideas that require an internet connection. The online portion of the game is all about Pawns.
When you create your character at the start of the game, you’ll also be prompted to create a pawn. Your pawn is kind of like a familiar. They’re human, but they’re an NPC helper character that you should design to complement your main character. So for example, if you create a main character that specialises in archery and other ranged attacks, then ideally you’d want to make a pawn that deals in hand-to-had combat so that he or she can keep enemies at bay while you pick them off with arrows.
Throughout the game you’ll come across stones that act as portals to an online area known as The Rift. You won’t find any other human players in The Rift to interact with, but you will find other players’ pawns. You’re free to browse The Rift and hire another player’s pawn to bring back into your single-player world to continue adventuring. Conversely, your pawn can be hired by other players, and that’s when you start to benefit the most. There’s a video of all of this in action, after the jump.
You main pawn will never leave you, and if you hire another player’s pawn from The Rift, then you’ll get an extra pawn in your party. Should your pawn be hired and taken into another player’s game, your pawn will earn in a currency called Rim Crystals, which you can then use to purchase upgrades for your single-player game.
On top of currency, you pawn will gain knowledge of the world based on his or her experience in another player’s game. If your pawn is hired by a player who is further in the game, then your pawn will bring back knowledge for you to use in your game. For example: your pawn might be hired and could end up fighting a creature that you have yet to face. When you eventually find that creature in your game, your pawn will be able to tell you how to kill it in the most effective manner. Similarly if your pawn navigates a certain dungeon in another player’s game, then your pawn will be able to show you the route once you find that same dungeon in your game.[youtube]OdXSQiZ_Xpo[/youtube]
It’s a neat idea, don’t you think? This is exactly the kind of online experience I like in a game; the ability to still connect with other players and share things, but never having to share your overarching game experience with them.