One of the greatest things about GDC is the amount of independent developers that show up to show off their games. One of the ones that caught our eye was Lockpick Entertainment, creators of Dreamlords. In a very unique approach to MMO games, Dreamlords blends RTS and RPG elements. It also introduces several other MMO unique aspects.
As is standard in RTS games, players have the units they control, but also have their Dreamlord avatar that they level and equip with items acquired through quests and exploration. Units will be commanded through a normal RTS interface, where they are selected and issued commands and move instructions. Gamers can also build and manage their cities, creating new buildings which open up research options.
Players can choose from one of three different races, Thul, Covenant, and Nihilim, each with it's own gameplay aspects. The Thul are beast-like warriors who focus on progress through combat and war. The Covenant are a paladin-like group of crusaders focused on upholding their Empyrean Doctrine and crushing those who oppose it. Finally, the Nihilim are a race with a dark past, who focused their efforts on Gnosis, a magical ability.
One of the main aspects of Dreamlords is the web interface. Designed to be available wherever you have access to a computer and internet connection, almost all of your squad's management and progress can be handled from it. While it's possible to play the entire game from the web interface, it's not encouraged as you won't be able to perform very well overall.
Lastly, and probably the biggest difference from any MMO to date, is the ability to beat the game. The persistent world is run on a 3 month long Era, and after the 3 month period, the game world resets. All of the cities and player-built items will be gone, but the squads will remain with their items and equipment, as well as the Dreamlords stats and abilities. At this time, gamers start over building their cities and continue trying to beat the game's story line.
The game itself is currently released and available for purchase at Dreamlord's website. The game costs 19.95 EUR/USD and comes with 30 days of play. Alternate packages are available: 90 days for 34.95 EUR / 39.95 USD, or 180 days for 59.95 EUR / 69.95 USD. All these options include the base game and start-up fee.