Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor Hands-On

Pool of Radiance will feature detailed 3D graphics, a fully interactive environment, and the new third-edition Dungeons & Dragons rules.

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Pool of Radiance: The Ruins of Myth Drannor will be something of an unofficial sequel to the original Pool of Radiance. The game itself is being co-developed by the venerable Stormfront Studios, the developers responsible for the original gold box Dungeons & Dragons games that were published by SSI. The game is scheduled for release this Fall to coincide with Wizards of the Coast's release of the third-edition rules of Dungeons & Dragons.

Though the game won't be out for several months, an alpha build was already available on the show floor, and it looks excellent. Each of the game's characters and monsters is a complex polygonal model that's animated extremely well and drawn to scale. On display was a full party of four player characters - the game will let you select a party of four player characters and will also have two additional slots for non-player characters to join - the difference in stature between a half-orc and a halfling were readily apparent. The game also includes a good deal of character-environment interaction; chairs can be smashed by adventurers laying an impromptu siege in a crowded room; tables can be used to bar doors and gateways if your party is being pursued.

Ruins of Myth Drannor will unfortunately not revisit the story or characters of the original Pool of Radiance series. It will, however, revisit several of those games' features. For instance, though the game's exploration component takes place in real time, all combat is turn-based, and as with the original gold box games, strategic placement (such as placing the party thief in prime position for a backstab, or carefully judging the location of your enemies and dropping a fireball that just barely includes each of them within its area of effect without harming your own party) will be of great importance. In addition, Ruins of Myth Drannor will feature similar race and class options for creating your party - you'll be able to generate paladins, rangers, and clerics (as well as certain other character classes available in the third-edition rules) from a diverse pool of available races (as well as others that appear in the third-edition rules).

Ruins of Myth Drannor won't just be a run-of-the-mill, completely linear role-playing game. Many of the game's dungeons will be generated randomly, both in the single- and multiplayer game. Yes, Ruins of Myth Drannor will have a cooperative multiplayer mode in which each player will control a different character in the party and explore the game's randomly-generated dungeons.

Ruins of Myth Drannor already looks remarkably polished and extremely stable - and since the game isn't due out until this Fall, it's likely that the development team will test, tweak, and polish the game even further between now and then. This can only be good for the game's development, and judging from what we saw today, it'll be worth the wait.

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