School of Dragons, or SoD for short, is a virtual RPG-style game from the developers of JumpStart.com. It opened on July 17, 2013 and the game allows players to fully immerse themselves in the world of How to Train Your Dragon, where they can hatch their own dragon, play minigames, complete quests, perform science experiments, and explore the Viking world.
Introduction and Starter Dragons
Players play as a Viking student arriving at the wrong time as the Berk Docks are being attacked by Grimmel's Warlords. With the help of Hiccup, Toothless and the gang, Grimmel and his men are forced to retreat, leaving behind a caged dragon that the player rescues. The introduction includes a walking tutorial, and the chance to learn how to ride a dragon and battle enemy ships. The rescued dragon is one of the four Secondary Starter Dragons (Flightmare, Rumblehorn, Sand Wraith and Shockjaw). Players then learn how to fish and are taken to the Hatchery, where they can choose from 4 Primary Starter Dragons (Deadly Nadder, Hideous Zippleback, Gronckle and Monstrous Nightmare), 7 if the player has Membership (Skrill, Thunderdrum and Whispering Death)). Afterwards, players have a small talk with the Headmaster, then the world is ready to be explored as more than 30 Quests and various Exnpansion Packs await to be unlocked.
With the game being set in the How to Train Your Dragon universe, players are highly encoraged to tame and raise more Dragons, the major machanism to progress through the game. There are more than 50 Dragons to train, with the Green Death, Seashocker and Luminous Krayfin being Non-playable-characters, some being locked due to being Expansion Pack exclusive or in the case of the Night Fury and Light Fury, being a Membership exclusive. Dragons can be brought from the store, with the Primary Starter Dragons available for Coins.
Each dragon has three stages of growth: Tiny Tooth/Baby, Short Wing/Teen and Broad Wing/Adult. Dragons between Level 1 to 5 are Babies, they can't be mounted but they can be used in the Eel Roast and Alchemy Adventure minigames. Dragons between Level 5 to 10 are Teens, they can be mounted but can only glide, they can also be used on Fireball Frenzy and the Glide Mode of Flight Club. Dragons above level 10 are Adults, they can be used on any Minigame and have the ability to fly. The only expection is the Speed Stringer which is not capable of flight and the Terrible Terror which can't be mounted unless it's grown into a Titan Wing. To grow a dragon, players must head to the Hatchery's Dragon Hearth. Before v2.7.0, players had to accept two special Quests in order to age their dragon. After v2.7.0, players only need to enter the Dragon Hearth and their dragons will grow to the next stage of maturity.
A new optional stage of growth added in v1.19.0 on April 20th, 2016 is the Titan Wing/Titan stage. Adult dragons who are Level 20 or above will have the chance to become Titan Wings. This requires the player to gather 50 Titan Runes (which can only be gathered from Stable Missions) and to take the dragon to Titan Island. Another option is to buy the Titan Stage for 500 Gems. This way, even Baby dragons can be aged into Titans, skipping the Teen and Adult stages.
Dragons have a Happiness Meter and an Energy Meter for the player to keep track of:
- Happiness Meter determines your Dragon's happiness, an unhappy dragon will result in a very slow, sluggish flight and running speed that can affect the performance in some mingiames such as Thunder Run Racing where speed is essential. It might also result in some changes of behaviour: an unhappy dragon won't bring the player collectable items and will instead just stay still. To regain the Happiness, players can play with the Dragon by using a small light contraption (take 1 Energy point), a leather ball (take 1 Energy point), by feeding Dragon Nip (requires farming for Dragon Nip), feeding some species of fish and some farming products, or by petting the Dragon which requires nothing and doesn't wastes Energy;
- Energy Meter determines your Dragon's energy, this is what Minigames with exception of a few such as Alchemy Adventure will waste in excharge for Experience Points and Coins. The game often states a "weak" dragon won't allow to be mounted or flown with, this is not true as the game still allows players to fly and mount a "weak" dragon; to regain Energy, players must feed the Dragon with some fish, Chicken egg, Ostrich Eggs or other farm products such as Truffles. The exact amount of Energy a fish gives differs within species, a Salmon will regain 15 Energy points whereas a Minnow (a fish usable as bait) will only give 1 Energy point. Eels depend on the species, any dragon species with exception of the Deathsong, Sltihersong and Typhoomerang will decrease the Happiness and gain no Energy, the other 3 species will gain both Energy and Happiness from Eels.
Each Dragon has 3 types of stats:
- Racing Stats: The stats that determine how fast and agile your dragon is;
- Max. Speed;
- Pitch Rate;
- Turn Rate;
- Battle Stats: The stats that determine the endurance towards damage and how reliable your dragon is in battle;
- Shot Limit;
- Base Damage;
- Max. Health;*
- Combat Stats: The stats that determine how enduring and strong your dragon is in Dragon Tactics;
- Critical Chance/CRIT;
- *- Dragon Tactics' Health and Battle Events' Health are two different Healthbars, while the Dragon Tactics' Health is restrictedly used for Dragon Tactics alone, and Max. Health is the major health that is used in Battle Events. Max. Health differs between Adult and Titan stage and Vikings below Level 35 created BEFORE the Wrath of Stormheart Expansion's release date WILL effect the Dragon's Health.
Quests and Minigames
The second major mechanism in the game are Quests and Minigames: Quests are the major method of gaining Experience Points and the non-premium currency, Coins. There's a total of 112 Basic Quests to complete. The Expansion Packs contain 162 Quests, and completing them will reward the player with XP, Coins, free Dragons or additional items. Another method of gathering XP is playing Minigames:
Flight Club and Frieball Frenzy are two of the four major minigames, they serve as "training courses" for players to learn how to ride dragon and aim a Dragon's fire. Flight Club technically requires a Teen Dragon to play with Glide Mode and an Adult/Titan to unlock the Flight Mode but players can play Flight Club normally with the Hero Dragons. Hero Dragons are the main characters' dragons: Hookfang the Monstrous Nightmare, Meatlug the Gronckle, Stormfly the Deadly Nadder, Barf and Belch the Hideous Zippleback, Toothless the Night Fury and Thornado the Thunderdrum, with the bonus Groundsplitter the Whispering Death and Stokehead the Timberjack. Hookfang is free from the start whereas the rest requires 250 Gems to unlock, with Toothless requiring 500 Gems, or to unlock all at once, players can buy Membership. The purpose of the Flight Club is to go through a course depending on the level's objective, some require the player to go through rings, other require you to shoot targets.
All active dragons' Flight Mode, even the Hero Dragons, have 15 Levels to go through, with the Glide Mode having 10 Levels. The major difference is that while Hero Dragons' levels can be played all at once and all have 3 extra Class Levels (with Toothless having 5 Class Levels), the Active Dragon's Flight and Glide Mode levels can't be completed all at once, after the 5th level, players are required to pay 20 Gems or wait 12 Hours to unlock the next level.
Fireball Frenzy requires a Teen dragon to play unless the player has Toothless or the Light Fury to play with, the purpose of Fireball Frenzy is to burn as many targets as possible with the possibly highest accuracy. There are three available modes:
- Solo Training: Train with your active dragon or either of the Furies to get the highest score and accuracy, but be careful with what tagrets you burn because targets with Hiccup and Astrid will remove points - the smaller the target, the higher the score;
- Head to Head: Challenge against other Vikings (requires to have MMO on) with 15 Trophies rewarded for the one who has the highest score and accuracy;
- Gronckle Iron Crowboss: Play with Hiccup's Shield to have the highest score and accuracy. Similar to the Solo Training, players have to be careful with what targets they shoot, as shields with Toothless will remove points and the smaller the shield, the higher the score;
Thunder Run Racing is exactly what its name implies: It's a minigame where the player races through the air on their dragon under the shortest time. It's one of the most popular games as it's the best minigame to earn Trophies, there's a total of 11 Tracks:
Thunder Run Racing has two modes:
- Singleplayer: Race against the time as you get to know the available tracks, the known shortcuts, the checkpoint palcement and know who's the fastest dragon you own;
- Multiplayer: Race against up to 6 players for the first place. Players on the first place will earn 10 Trophies, those on the 2nd place will earn 5 Trophies and those on the 3rd place will earn 2 Trophies. Use the boost hoops and power-ups to your advantage, but watch out for the other player's power-up usage, and don't forget to go through the checkpoints.
If in multiplayer mode, you can battle a Berserker or Scount Ship with the help of other players at the Training Grounds every 2 hours. A warning in the System section of the chat will warn when the event is about to begin, giving you 2 minutes to arrive at the Training Grounds. When victorious, depending on your amount of damage, you wil learn Bronze place, Silver place or Gold place. You are given the chance to open a Mystery Chest and select a face-down card within. The selection of rewards on offer is shown before the cards are flipped and shuffled. The reward varies, from Gems or a Dragon Egg, to Gold or a Fish, depending on what the player chooses.
To make the game seem 'kid friendly' for parents of the players, the creators made almost half of the game based on elementary school-level science. During these quests, you are given a problem, collect research, make a hypothesis, perform an experiment with your dragon, and come to a solution. During the initial experiment minigame, you place an item in a bowl and either heat it up, cool it down, add water to it, or mix two items together. You then collect the data using a timer, thermometer, or balance. Some quests will change the layout for example, in a quest called "Back Into Actions" from Return to Dragon Island expansion, players make some experiments with the spectrometer.
If there isn't a quest involving a scientific experiement then the Lab will always teleport you to Alchemy Adventure. It's a standard match-three fare with a few twitis, it uses the Elements from the Periodic Table. There are categories of each element that you can match together: Nonmetals, Metals, Alkali Metals, Alkali Earth Metals, Halogens and Noble Gases, with 3 combinations avaialble to make certain compounds, for example, Sodium (Na) plus Chlorine (Cl) make Sodium Chloride, Carbon (C) plus two Oxygens (O) make Carbon Dioxide and Two Hydrogens (H) plus an Oxygen (O) make Water. There are two boosters that can be purchased to help you: The Nadder spikes shoot the entire middle row, and the Terible Terrors eat certain colored Elements according to their respective color, for example, a purple colored Terrible Terror will eat Halogens (colored purple). Thse cost Gems, 6 Gems and 7 Gems respectively.
Fishing and Farming
Fishing allows players to fish, all with their own set of XP rewards and their own amount of Energy points. To fish, players need to get close to a spot with fish hopping from the water and select between a Lugworm, Glowworm, Minnow and a Chicken Egg as the bait. Players must reel in the fish while keeping the pointer on the green-to-red gradient though they must be cautious as fish can start to struggle, moving the pointer forwards and unless players are using an Improved, Advanced or Deep Sea rod (both incldue a Drag mechanism that drags the pointer backwards), the fish can drag the pointer to red zones and escape by breaking the line. Dragging too much can also drag the pointer to the red zone and break the line or not reeling at all can allow the fish to escape.
Currently the avaialble fishes are:
Farming allows players to produce crops and farm products such as Chicken Eggs and Yak Milk. Planting crops allows players to gather crops such as pumpkins and Dragon Nip, often times useful for some quests; there's a total of 24 Seeds of various plants and vegetables for the player to plant and crop, all having their own set of time to fully grow, amount of crops rewarded and rewarding XP, with the Dragon Nip being the only crop useful for the Dragon.
Another important factor are the farm products, the farm products require the player to own a:
- Pen for the respective animal;
- The animal for the respective pen, the pen only allows an x number of animals;
- The feed for the respective animal;
Each species of animal's will take their own set of time to produce the farm product and will give an x amount of product per animal. For example, each chicken will give 3 eggs, if a sturdy Chicken pen is broguht to hold 6 Chickens, the player would get in total of 18 Chicken Eggs if all 6 Chicken were fed. The only farm products that can be consumed by the dragon are the Chicken Eggs, Ostrid Eggs and Truffles. There's a total of 20 animals to gain farm products from.
The farm also has additional buldings such as the Composter (compost withered crops into lugworms), the Old Wrinkly's Cauldron and the Halloween/Dreadfall counterpart, the Flightmare's Cauldron (trades crops and farm products for power-up mystery chests), the Treasure Trove (ask 3 friends to sign the Treasure Trove to receive extra items) and the Fish Trap (a Member-exclusive building that allows to capture randomized fish for nealy the whole day). Players can also decorate the farm with a vast amount of farm decoration items and some pens have a Halloween/Dreadfall and Christmas/Snoggletog counterpart.
Expansion Packs are small packs that contain an x amount of quests, unlocks full locations or the other half of them, but the most noticeable feature is the dragon reward, it often either rewards an egg or a grown dragon.
On April 24th, 2015, a new Expansion Pack was released; Icestorm Island. This expansion added 50 quests, and a few other game mechanics, which were brought into future quests. During the quests you'll meet Skulder the Archaeologist, a custom character just like The Headmaster, you'll find tablets and treasure chests, which all point to The Gold Room, a room full of treasure, guarded by a door which can only be unlocked by a medal that's attached to one of the statues in the ruins of a supposed Underground village. The murals in the Village explain that the Villagers who lived there were friends with Groncicles.
In the middle of quests, you'll be tasked to help Gobber out with expanding the School Of Dragons by building an area for the School in Icestorm Island.
Also on the island is Mildew, who appears to be a bit grumpy seeing the player as well as their dragon, but ungratefully welcomes their help. In the end, it is revealed that Mildew was aiding the Berserkers. When the Armada came into view, Hiccup asked the player to leave the island.
In the end, the player will receive light-blue clothing/armor, and a free adolescent Groncicle.
Call of the Death Song
An entirely new expansion pack called Call Of The Death Song was added to the game on August 27th, 2015 that ties the game with the narrative of Dragons: Race to the Edge. The player receives two more trainable dragons: the Death Song and the Razorwhip.
Call of the Death Song features 20 new quests and things in Dragons: Race to the Edge. During the quests, you will need to save Berk, which was under attack by a wild Death Song. You will also meet a mystery rouge rider who wanted to help Hiccup and the gang and discover the mystery of the Dragon Eye. This expansion pack lets you access three new areas, such as Sven's Farm, The Reaper (Ship Graveyard) and Melody Island (Deathsong Island).
Battle for the Edge
On December 18th, 2015, another expansion pack was added, based on the events of the second season of Race to the Edge. In it, you travel to nine new islands, including Dragon's Edge, where you can make your own hideout, Glacier Island, and Dark Deep.
Return to Dragon Island
Released on June 24th, 2016, Return to Dragon Island offers 21 Quests, an adult Singetail and a Eruptodon, a Cloth Mask and a Gas Mask. Right after the events of the second movie, a toxic fog begins to emerge around Dragon Island. You work together with the gang, including Eret and Valka, to find the source and solution to the problem which leads you to a Green Death and rely on new species, the Eruptodon and the Singetail. The search for Harald Forkbeard continues as well.
Secret of the Leviathan
Released on March 2nd, 2017, Secret of the Leviathan is the most rewarding expansion, offering 17 Quests, a baby Flame Whipper, Dive Helmet, Jungle Flight Suit, two new Minigames: Cogs and Incredible Machine, and unlocks the two Temples in Impossible Island and the Underwater section in Ship Graveyard.
The egg found in the last expansion pack finally hatches leading Hiccup and the gang to the island of Mala's ancestors, Impossible Island. Solve the puzzles of this mysterious island and discover what connections the Luminous Krayfin has to the island. While unraveling the mystery, the player comes across a new dragon: the Flame Whipper, a gecko-like dragon.
After unrevealing the secret you leave the island but discover a stowaway that comes with a baby Flame Whipper that you can train as your own.
Rise of Stormheart
Released on August 25th, 2017, Rise of Stormheart offers 11 Quests, a Triple Stryke egg, 4 Dragon Tactics levels, 1 Beehive Tree and 1 Beehive, and unlocks the Underwater section in Stormheart.
Dragon's Edge is under attack by an aggressive Triple Stryke and other aggressive dragons, all soon to be discoveredto be under the influence of the Grimora parasite used by Nikora Stormheart, a new villain exclusive to School of Dragons and the new character Harald teamed up with. Along the way, players will encounter Dagur the Deranged who helps the player on their journey. After temporarily defeating Nikora's forces and finding the solution for the Grimora parasite, the now healed Triple Stryker mother hands the egg to the player.
Wrath of Stormheart
Released on March 12th, 2018, Wrath of Stormheart serves as a literal sequel to Rise of Stormheart, offering 11 Quests, an adult Elder Sentinel (becoming the first Expansion to reward a variant species), 7 new Dragon Tactics Levels, unlocks Vanaheim and the Underwater section in it, and a new look for Auction Island.
Nikora Stormheart is now in search for a family heirloom that is somehow connected to the Luminous Krayfin and will bring her massive power over the archipelago. It's up to the player to put a stop to her misdeeds again. But that's not all, with the hlep of Dagur the Deranged and Snotlout Jorgenson, you also get to fight against the Grim Gnashers to help the Sentinels at Vanaheim and discover a great secret underneath the ocean.
The Hidden World
Released on February 21, 2019, The Hidden World offers 14 Quests, an adult Deathgripper, a shield and unlocks the Hidden World Annex.
Harald invaded the School and destroyed the geyser elevator, unveilnig a Hidden World Annex underneath the surface, in there, the Unnamed Light Fury leads Toothless, Valka and Cloudjumper, and the player into the mysterious Hidden World Annex. In the meantime, Grimmel's warlords try their hardest to locate New Berk as the player gets told to visit Grimmel and Nikora at Old Berk to have a discussion regarding crossing one's lands and try to come up with peace with Nikora while simultaneously coming up with one final offer for the player: either Hiccup gives his Night Fury up or he will suffer the consequences. Taking advantage of the weaked defense at their camp in Glacier Island, the gang attacks but Grimmel leads them into a trap and takes Cloudjumper with him after shooting him with a poison dart.
With the help of Heather and the Light Fury, you find the solution to heal Cloudjumper but you accidentally miss and heal a Deathgripper. During the last confrontation with Grimmel, with the help of the healed Deathgripper, you free and heal Cloudjumper and temporarily chase Grimmel away.
All Expansion Packs have connections to the rest of the franchise
Icestorm Island (before "Dragon Eye of the Beholder, Part 1")
- You find a ship with the same insignia on the sail as The Reaper.
- A Dragon Eye lens is discovered, containing more information about Groncicles.
Call of the Death Song (after "Imperfect Harmony", but before "Have Dragon Will Travel, Part 1")*
- Heather appears in her Race to the Edge form, though the Riders don't know her identity.
- The Dragon Riders have the Dragon Eye.
*possibly takes place after Gone Gustav Gone, as they know about the lenses.
Battle for the Edge (after "Maces and Talons, Part 2", but before "Enemy of My Enemy")
- Events from Snotlout Gets the Axe and Snow Way Out are mentioned.
- The Dragon Hunters make their appearance and have possession of the Dragon Eye.
Return to Dragon Island (towards the end of "How to Train Your Dragon 2")
- Events from Last Auction Heroes and Defenders of the Wing, Part 1 are mentioned.
- Valka is revealed to have encountered the Defenders of the Wing tribe in the past.
- Eret is revealed to have connections with the Dragon Hunters.
Secret of the Leviathan (shortly before and during the events of The Serpent's Heir)
Rise of Stormheart (after The Serpent's Heir, but before Dragonvine)
- Dagur the Deranged and his dragon, Sleuther, appear.
- Events of "A Grim Retreat" and "Blindsided" are mentioned.
- The Grimora parasite has a big role in the expansion.
Wrath of Stormheart (shortly before Dragonvine)
- Dagur and Mala are said to be married.
- Events of "A Matter of Perspective", "Searching for Oswald... and Chicken" and "King of Dragons, Part 2" are mentioned.
- Vanaheim is the main location of the expansion.
The Hidden World (during the first half of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; it finishes while Toothless is still in the Hidden World)
- Grimmel the Grisly, Grimmel's Deathgrippers, the Warlords, Fishmeat, and the Unnamed Light Fury appear.
- The Vikings of Berk move to New Berk during the expansion.
- An annex to the Hidden World is discovered underneath School of Dragons.
- Heyral the Headmaster and Harald Forkbeard are the only Viking characters in the game specifically made by Jumpstart and do not appear in anything else related to the franchise.
- Fireball Frenzy may be based on the sixth round of the Thawfest games shown in "Thawfest", where the dragon is to blast the enemies (Outcasts) but ignore the allies (Vikings).
- Fireball Frenzy can be seen as a retextured version of B-Force Blaster, which is one of the games in Jumpstart's other virtual world, Mathblaster.
- While in the lab, you can cool your experiment down past Absolute Zero (−273.15 °C ), This is theoretically and experimentally impossible. Due to the fact that nothing can reach −273.15 °C.
- Spitelout Jorgenson, Phlegma the Fierce, and Heather were originally going to be the school's headmaster, botanist, and alchemist, but were replaced with Heyral the Wise, Flora May, and Katrina the Curious. Phlegma and Heather were soon placed in their roles.
- The characters sometimes quote themselves from lines in the movie or TV series.
- Since the Thunderdrum and Whispering Death appeared in both DVD cases, codes from the cases were used to unlock their eggs in the game.
- Eels can be used for dragon food but will decrease the happiness bar.
- Toothless has hooks in his wings in the game, but in the movies, he does not.
- Toothless can fly without his saddle in the game. Also, the tail fin is always opened.
- The TV show voice actors of Stoick (Nolan North), Gobber (Chris Edgerly), and Heather (Mae Whitman) reprise their roles in School of Dragons as well.
- Magic and Mythies, a game made by Jumpstart, is based on School of Dragons, using Mythies instead of Dragons, and unlike SoD, it involves Magic.
- A character is shown on one of the loading screens for the game with a dragon named Nidhogg. This is a reference to Norse mythology, where a dragon named Nidhogg lives beneath the Yggdrasil and continually gnaws on its roots in an attempt to destroy it and bring about the downfall of the gods. It is said that Nidhogg feeds on the blood of those who haven't entered Valhalla or have committed terrible crimes, that his wings are covered in corpses, and that he will fly to Midgard during Ragnarok and survive the end of days.
- Heather's character changes from her Alchemist form into her Rogue Dragon Rider form in the Call of the Death Song expansion, as well as from time to time in the non-expansion part of the game when she appears in places where she is not usually. However, her backstory is not mentioned at any point.
- ↑ Torrance, Calif. School of Dragons® Wins at 2014 Appy Awards For Branded Gaming App Category. (May 22, 2014)
- ↑ Torrance, Calif.School of Dragons Named Finalist in iKids Awards 2014. (December 4, 2014)
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