In Trials of Ascension: Exile, players get to experience the harrowing and triumphant life of a dragon in its entirety; starting with the humble hatchling and eventually growing into the boss-level ancient. Dragons face their own unique challenges, and their growth in power doesn’t necessarily mean that survival gets any easier for them. If you can overcome the trials of life as a hatchling and beyond, you will be rewarded with the strength of the most powerful character in the game.

As the ancient breeding ground of the fire dragons, the Lost Isles are ideally suited for a growing hatchling. Food is plentiful and predators can be avoided if the player is cautious and attentive to their surroundings. The size of a small cat, hatchlings possess few hit points and what little armor they have provides only minimal protection. A well placed attack from nearly any creature will knock them out, and a second guarantees their death. But size isn’t always a draw back. Their small form makes targeting them difficult, even for those intent on exterminating the dragons.

A hatchling dragon will spend most of its time eating, collecting nuggets, and constructing its first nest, all while avoiding death. As growing babies, hatchlings have healthy appetites and a large number of grubs are required to keep them from starving to death. To help them along, they have three attacks to utilize; a bite, a claw strike, and a defensive tail sweep.

The key to dragon’s growing to larger sizes is to consume nuggets. Nuggets are rare metals found in the ground, such as copper, silver, and gold. Dragons are naturally attracted to these metals and can smell where enough of the metal is present to form a nugget in the ground. This smell appears as a wavy-air spot over the ground. Dragons become better at sensing the nuggets as they collect them, making finding the nuggets progressively easier. As they consume nuggets, their molting meter fills up, indicating their readiness to molt.

Once the molting meter reaches 75%, the dragon begins to develop molting sickness, as its body begins to grow uncomfortably tight in its scaly skin. This causes the dragon to take additional damage and slowly increases its effect until the molting meter is completely full. The only way to remove this effect is to go forward with the molt. All ages of dragons develop molting sickness, and the effects of it grow worse as the dragon grows larger.

In addition to being a requirement to molting, dragon nests serve other functions as well. They can store inventory in them as a bank, which cannot be accessed by anyone else. They also perform as a respawn point if the dragon should die, bringing them back to a familiar location and not respawned randomly in the wilds.

There are a total of six growth stages for the dragon, going from hatchling, to young, to juvenile, to adolescent, to adult, and finally ancient. Dragons hatch without wings and instead develop them during their first molt. Though they cannot yet fly, they can use them to glide down from high places to escape predators or to ambush their targets.

It is the juvenile stage where dragons really come into their own. By this age they are able to take off from the ground with a running jump and remain aloft for quite a while. At this age their breath sacs begin to mature and they can unleash their fiery breath attack. Because this attack is fueled by nuggets, it has quite a lot of variation. Rarer nuggets will increase both the range and damage of the attacks, while copper has the advantage of being much more prevalent than silver or gold.

Gameplay features for the dragons are still rather sparse, but the team has many plans to add content to their mechanics in the coming months. Dragons can look forward to more creatures to hunt and be hunted by, more visual customization, and we want to add new mechanics to their nests to allow them to customize them and add additional utility to them.

What is your favorite feature for the dragons? Do you plan to play one for yourself? Share with us in our forums at: http://trialsofascension.com/forum/threads/dragons.10582/.