JumpStart and DreamWorks have partnered to launch School of Dragons, a 3D Unity-powered MMO for kids based on DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon. The game sees players working to become the ultimate dragon master, completing quests, interacting with vikings (and dragons) from the film(s) and meeting new friends, whether in a browser or on Facebook.
“[School of Dragons] is the ultimate destination to experience the How to Train Your Dragon franchise online,” a JumpStart representative tells us.
The game begins as players create an avatar and head to the dragon hatchery to choose from a variety of baby dragons. These dragons can’t fly at first, but with enough work and training in the game’s flight school, high level characters can eventually do so.
Players are led through the storyline in School of Dragons by a series of quests, with future plans for integrating the storyline from the second How to Train Your Dragon film into the game. In addition, the game features content that ties into the franchise’s TV show.
Since the game ultimately focuses around a school, players will spend a lot of time learning the in’s and out’s of raising a dragon. They’ll need to complete lab classes, flight training and more in their bid to become the best dragon master they can, with the game providing plenty of educational content, along with fan service.
For instance, one lab course may see players learning the Scientific Method in a lab. They’ll have a task to complete – say, discovering which from a variety of elements will glow blue – and will need to use thermometers, x-rays, and even dragons to light the items on fire, all in order to figure out which item they’ve collected throughout the game is the one that will glow blue.
While there’s a bit of a “random” feeling to these sorts of events, we’re told that these quests or “labs” progress in a step-by-step fashion, so there’s no way for younger players to get stuck. Other in-game events will teach players about rocks, bodies of water, and even offer basic history lessons.
Outside of quests, players can take part in a variety of side activities, including farming and fishing. A player’s dragon has a separate energy meter, so players will need to keep their dragons fed and happy to keep this energy meter high. Crops are grown at a player’s own individual farm, which can also house sheep and chickens. These animals can be fed and sheered over time (where applicable), and a player’s farming stats increase as they continue to play in these sorts of activities.
Fishing, meanwhile, sees players collecting bait and using that to catch eels, salmon, perch and more. The game is lightly reflex based, but, as with other areas within the game, text prompts are offered to always hold a young player’s hand when needed.
While the in-game chat feature offers social play throughout the experience (with blocks for inappropriate words and content), two other game modes see players directly interacting with others. The Flight Club, for instance, sees players racing other players, while Fireball Frenzy is an arcade on-rails shooting experience that asks players to shoot fireballs at targets.
Players earn coins as they complete races, quests, etc. and these allow players to continue the cycle of gameplay via the purchase of more seeds for farming or bait for fishing. They can also purchase new helmets and clothing for their avatars, as well as decorations for their farms, premium fishing rods to catch more fish and much more.
In an effort to keep children safe while playing online, School of Dragons offers parental control features, including the option to turn off all MMO aspects of the game. This completely limits social activity, while still allowing players to progress through the single-player storyline. It’s also useful for speeding up the game’s loading time on older or slower computers.
With the launch of School of Dragons on Facebook, and the age for Facebook registrations being at the top of the game’s 8-13 year old target age range, JumpStart’s assumption would be that players younger than 13 would play the game on Facebook using their parents’ accounts.
School of Dragons is available to play for free, but memberships are available in a variety of lengths, ranging from a monthly subscription to a full year. Each subscription membership comes with a monthly allowance of 500 Gems, the game’s premium currency.
Aside from Facebook and browser, a mobile version of School of Dragons is also in development, but a release date and specific supported platforms are still under wraps. Check back soon to follow School of Dragons on AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.