Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance is shaping up to be a formidable action title, borrowing heavily from the lore established by novelist R.A. Salvatore. The hack-and-slash action RPG brings the legendary drow Drizzt Do’Urden to the screen for the very first time, as well as many of the terrifying monsters that inhabit the Forgotten Realms.
While Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance doesn’t quite capture the experience of sitting down to play Dungeons and Dragons, it’s actually an excellent way to introduce fans to the world of DnD. In the same way that the Drizzt novels were responsible for bringing thousands if not millions of players to the hobby, Dark Alliance could attract a new generation of gamers to the legendary TTRPG.
Many gamers are curious about Dungeons and Dragon, but its not the easiest hobby to get into. Even though virtual tabletops like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds have made finding a game online simpler than ever, they make the hobby seem even more daunting to newcomers. Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons is the most approachable iteration of the game to date, but the ever expanding multitude of rulebooks leaves many confused as to where they should even begin. Considering how difficult it can be to recruit friends who are both willing and available to play, it’s a miracle that anyone gets into the hobby at all.
Of these curious gamers, most are familiar with the vocabulary of video games. The concepts of finding specialized gear, picking a set of abilities, and managing resources are second nature to players across a variety of genres. Introducing systems from Dungeons and Dragons by applying their names to familiar concepts could help make the game’s systems feel much more familiar.
Dungeons and Dragons isn’t like most properties. Since the protagonists are unique to each group of players, the only characters that a large number of fans are likely to meet are the monsters. If Wizards of the Coast wants Dungeons and Dragons to stick out from the crowd, it needs to make its creatures feels as unique as possible.
So far, Dark Alliance seems to be doing an excellent job. The monsters look like fully animated entries from the Monster Manual. This is a great way to show off the kinds of terrifying threats players can expect to encounter in tabletop session. New players don’t always get this experience because introductory adventures tend to feature a handful of predictable enemies — goblins, kobolds, and the like. If these creatures don’t grab their interest, players don’t always stick around long enough to meet deadlier enemies. Learning about DnD‘s most iconic monsters through Dark Alliance means that new players might give the tabletop RPG more of a chance.
Though there have been countless Dungeons and Dragons campaign settings over the years, 5th Edition products have focused heavily on the Forgotten Realms. Dark Alliance also takes place in the world of Faerun, so it’s a great way to introduce new players to that world.
Having a single, unified setting gives the game a more specific identity, so it makes sense why Wizards of the Coast is promoting the Forgotten Realms so heavily. While it might be disappointing to fans of Greyhawk and Eberron to see their favorite settings sidelined, funneling new players towards a single introductory setting helps alleviate some of the decision fatigue that keeps newcomers from investing in the game.
The Forgotten Realms has way more character than initially meets the eye, and Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance is in an excellent position to introduce gamers to that world. Once it has, it might get a little bit easier for DnD fans to convince their friends to play.
Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance releases on June 22, 2021, for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.