Published on October 13th, 2014 | by Ithika0
Flight Rising, or how have I been playing this game for 12 hours, I swear it was only 5 minutes
Every now and then, I’m sure you’ll all agree, a game comes along that consumes you so utterly that you can sit down for just a moment, and then suddenly the birds are signing, the sun is risen, and all your friends in the other room have watched all of Black Books on DVDS while you’ve done your damndest to become the hero of Neverwinter.
(I’m sorry, Ari. Thank you for the quick go at NWN on your 17th birthday, Ari)
As the above story indicates, Neverwinter Nights was such a game for me, and oh boy, it is not alone. Latest in the long line of life-ruining (or life-affirming?) all consuming games is Flight Rising, a seemingly innocuous pet breeding game hosted at www.flightrising.com. If you played Neopets in your tenderer years (I did, I’ve had my account for more years now than I’d been alive when I opened it, ain’t that a thing), it will seem somewhat familiar, but oh! It is so much more than what one might dismiss it as – a Neopets analogue – and I beseech you to look deeper.
This will be easier if I break this review into structured sections, rather than just word-vomit my enthusiasm for the game all over the page, so dear reader, I bring you topics:
The premise of the game is that there are dragons, which form clans (you will own a clan of dragons), under the protection of 11 dragon gods, all of whom are total badasses and correspond to a certain element: earth, fire, wind, water, shadow, ice, lightning, nature, plague, arcane. Each God lords over a flight, that is, all the users who have nominated to serve under them. When you open your account, you nominate which deity you would like your clan to venerate, which affects the eye colour of hatchlings you breed (you could be forgiven for thinking that this is A Trivial Thing, but I assure you, it is A Big Deal) and gains you access to that flight’s exclusive sekrit business boards. The deities all have quite endearing designs and lore, and I suggest reading the wiki article to assist you in making your decision. Each flight also has its own attributes, brought about by the people who inhabit them: Plague is the current dominance powerhouse (and we’ll get to that in a minute); Ice is similarly dominance-oriented; Fire keeps coming up with adorable dragon “breeds,” (Google Flambebes); Nature is a flight with some great users but also a lot of people who don’t like to exalt dragons (again, we’ll get to that); Earth is the tiniest flight which means that when they try to get dominance, they get it; Arcane puts astronomical effort into their raffles; and so on.
Each deity has also generally been assigned affectionate nicknames by their flight members, most notably are Stormcatcher’s (Lightning flight), “BOSS,” and Fire’s “Mather.” The Gladekeeper I like to call Glorious Ladybeard or Glademomma, Icewarden Lord Fluffyfeet or Icedad and… Well, you get the idea. It’s a fair bit of fun, and as far as I know each flight is full of lovely and welcoming people. Which brings segues nicely into the next section, if I do say so myself.
Flight Rising is without a moment’s hesitation one of the most lovely, welcoming and generous online communities I have ever been a part of. People are generous with their dragons and their items to a fault, ready to lend advice and very rarely snarky. It’s true that this generosity could be the reason for the struggling dragon-economy (won’t somebody please buy my hatchlings), but all in all, it’s not the sort of thing that one feels too inclined to cry about – “wah everyone’s too generous and it’s made my things not be worth money…” I’m sure you get my point. If you are to join in this next registration window, I guarantee you will be greeted by community forums full of giveaways and discount-priced dragons for newbies.
You start the game with two dragons, your progenitors or progens. One of the two you can “design” yourself, choosing its species, sex and primary and secondary colours. This is referred to as your custom progen, and the other is a randomly generated partner to your custom, who will be the opposite sex to your custom so that you can breed them if you wish. These dragons are tied to your account – they cannot be sold or traded with other users, and if you exalt them (explanation soon, I promise), you get no money from them from the dragon gods. So it’s a good idea to keep them, and to very carefully consider what colours you want that custom progen to be. There is a third colour- invisible in your progen pair as you first get them – called a tertiary. This is randomly assigned and generally highly unfortunate. C’est la dragon vie.
Now, dragon breeding is the name of the game, and so there are various levels of complexity tied up in that. The first is the breeds or species (yeah, the site’s not really consistent on that point), which come in five tiers:
Plentiful, which your progen pair will be, are the “cheapest” and most frequently breedable species on the site. These are the guardians, mirrors, tundra and fae. These dragons can breed every 15 days, and can be obtained through breeding your unaltered progens, buying a hatchling or hatching a found unhatched egg.
Common is the next tier, also containing four species: Snappers, Ridgebacks, Spirals and Pearlcatchers. These dragons have a breeding cool down of 20 days and can be obtained by purchasing a hatchling from another user, or buying a breed scroll and applying it to one of your progens or other dragons.
Uncommon follows, and currently has only one breed within, Skydancers, who were funded by a Kickstarter supporter, and they can breed once every 25 days.
Limited also holds but one dragon species, the Imperials, whose breed scrolls were only obtainable as a kickstarter reward. Don’t worry though, this lovely breed is still very affordable – unless you want a first or second generation imp, that is! Imperials have a 30 day breeding cooldown.
Rare is the final frontier in dragon breed tiers, and is home to Wildclaw and Coatl dragons. Wildclaw breed scrolls have recently been taken off the market, but you can still buy Coatl scrolls for 1,000 gems, or about $5. (Yes, Flight Rising has both regular and premium currencies, but no, it is not very pay to win at all.) Rare breeds have a somewhat heartbreaking 35 day breeding cool down.
The mechanics of the game are both fairly straightforward and probably too complicated to get into too deeply here. Perhaps the most important of these is exalting and dominance. Exalting and dominance is an ingenious system introduced to counter the problem of dragons that never die and never lose their ability to breed. You can permanently remove a dragon from the game by exalting it, sending it to serve under the deity your clan currently worships. The dragon leaves behind a sum of treasure relating to its level and randomly generated daily bonuses. Dominance is an all-flight competition held every week to see which flight can exalt the most dragons to their god, the winner of which receives several rewards that last one week. Dominance is a huge part of the private flight communities, and dominance battles can be really fun, changing minute to minute between the competing flights.
In addition to dragon breeds, each dragon also has three colours and up to three genes which can be passed on to their offspring. Breeding desirable colours and genes is one of the main goals of the game, and there are heaps of player-developed tools to help you find the best way to breed your perfect dragon. Genes and breeds follow simple rules – the rarer the gene or breed, the less likely it is to come out of a pairing with any other type. For example, if you breed a Wildclaw with a Coatl, the offspring have an even 50/50 chance of belonging to either breed. If you breed a Wildclaw with a Skydancer, though, the odds of getting a Wildclaw from that pairing are quite low.
The final thing I will talk about (before rushing off to play with my pixel dragons) is the Coliseum. The Coliseum is a battleground where you can train your dragons to fight various monsters, earning food and other valuable items. Currently, I find this the best way to make money in the game. The stats the dragons have will be familiar to anyone who has played any kind of levelling game before – level, HP, breath (or similar to mana), str, agi, def, qck, int, vit, mnd. Each time your dragon levels up, it earns points that you can allocate, although each breed begins with stronger or weaker stats in each category, but you can purchase an item to reset everything to 0 so that you can allocate points to more precisely match what you want.
In case you didn’t notice…
I really love this game. I don’t think there’s anything more I can say about it, really. There is so much more to Flight Rising than I’ve so far been able to reveal in this already overly long review, and I hope you take the time to try it out. If you do, hit me up – I’m Ithika over there, too.