Monday, March 14, 2011

Dragon Avatar Review

So, wandering the Grid, I decided to go out and revisit some of my favorite dragon avatar makers. Dragons of all shapes and sizes are one of the less common avatars I see these days, so I thought that spotlighting a few of them, people would know that they're out there and available for purchase.

My first stop on my list was the Isle of Wyrms. It's a big place, very mountainous, with a giant cathedral where the dragons are sold.

The first thing I noticed about the Isle of Wyrm dragons is that they are ornate. Very reminiscent of Eastern dragons. They're also very static. The last time I had one of these, there were no or very few flexiprims. With all the dragons that are out there with flexis for the wings, this could be a point that hurts them just a little bit. They're very customizable, with dozens of scale textures/colors to choose from (per dragon), and they also have a Bast and an Anubis dragon which is something I haven't seen others try to recreate.

The second thing that I noticed is that the dragons seem to be in a "limited edition" or limited hatching (there were only 3 fire dragons left when I dropped by, for example). I am not a part of the Isle of Wyrms groups so I don't know if it's a RP reason behind the limited hatchings or not, so you will have to visit and see for yourself.

The third thing I noticed is that they are *pricey*. Adults cost 3500 L. That's the most expensive dragon I've seen on the grid so far. Is the price too high? I don't know, I don't build so have no "effort-to-cost" appreciation.

RATING: 2 Dragon Hoards out of 5. I'm biased, they're just not my style and I personally think they're too expensive for their appearance. Your milage may vary. If they weren't popular to begin with, however, they would have disappeared from the grid entirely due to lack of business. So clearly the Isle of Wyrms is doing something right.

Next Stop: Grendel's Children.

If you haven't heard of Grendel's, find it in Search. Now. They've been around a long time and at least to me, have become a synonym for quality content, variety of all kinds of avatars and inexpensive pricing.

There are two varieties of their dragons. Their originals ... *does a double take* Oh hey, they're 0 $L now. I remember when they were 500. Anyway, their originals are larger than a normal avatar and are very very well done, with flexi-tails, extra purchasable breath weapons (15 $L, last I checked) and excellent scale detail.

Their most recent versions are more sculpty, more flexi, more detailed, and less expensive than others, costing about 500 $L. They have them in Plains, Canyon, Forest and Ravine dragon varieties.

They have a lot of other types of dragons (eastern chinese dragon avatars spring to mind) and a few two-legged varieties as well.

RATING: 4 Hoards out of 5. Good variety and very low pricing make it the perfect spot for those of you who want dragons but are on a budget.

Next, it was off to Kinzart Kreations.

They have four varieties: Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern. They're not quads, they're anthropomorphic. So if you're looking for the four-legged kind, look elsewhere. Variety is large and prices are good (1000 to 1500), and the style is a bit unusual. The Northern Dragons look a little bit like a winged lion with horns (lack of better words, it's in a good way), the Eastern variety have a definite chinese feel to them, while the Southern ones look like something reminding me of Bahamut (and it would not surprise me if that was the inspiration).

The avatars come in decorative boxes, which is a nice touch. I had several eggs in my hoard on my home sim for the longest time, having bought almost every variety of two different varieties (at least until the next shiny thing came along).

RATING: 3.5 Hoards out of 5. The effort shows and it's a nice choice if you want an unusual style in your dragon.

After that, it was time for a quick trip to the Spider Productions vendor in the Northstar Mall.

They're a maker of anthro dragons as well (no quads here) but the textures are very very good and the animation of flight is one of the better ones I have seen on SL. They too have their dragon boxes as collectable decorative eggs, and on top of that, their dragons are rideable in the same way a normal four-legged dragon is, which is unusual. I haven't seen many anthropomorphic dragons that have a saddle option.

They are EXPENSIVE : 2800 $L for either gender (each sold separately). However, this time I will say the work shows and this is a reasonable price for such a dragon (I would have charged maybe 2000, but I'm not the creator so what do I know). The hands are posable, the wings and eyes are recolorable, and they advertise a "hud packed with tons of features but only one script" --- I have three of these dragons, and I can vouch that this is a non-laggy dragon. :)

RATING: 4 Hoards out of 5. They could use more scale colors (even though they have about a dozen), and they should probably put both genders in one box, in my opinion. Their female dragon is a bit "blocky" in the chest, but I guess that's what one gets when one is effectively having a scale-armor bra stuck to your chest (grin).

Final stop, the Seawolves.

Everyone by now has had to have seen one. You know, the sim-sized reptilians stomping about or flying through the skies (and when I say sim-big, I mean they are huge, approximately 30 meters long and ten high for their Ancient size). They have juvenile and adult varieties too, which are Big and then Really Big, but I think it is the Ancient ones that they are known for the most. The price is good for all the work, too... about 2400 $L.

These gigantic behemoths are not for the lesser of heart (or lesser of computers --- if you have a slow computer, the ancient ones are not for you). If you are looking for something to sit around in and people watch, though (and be seen from two sims away if you have draw distance maxxed), this is your dragon.

In my opinion, their hud can only be described as a work of art. You drop new textures into its inventory and can then use those to style almost any part of the dragon. It already comes with a lot of options; the fact that the hud is so easy to use after adding your own is what I enjoy the most.

There are two types of breath weapons (fire and ice); click and fire a ball, hold and breathe a stream. They also come with a biped version (standard avatar size) of the same dragon, which is just as easily customizable as the quad version.

RATING: 5 Hoards out of 5. The only downer is that if you don't have a high-powered computer and you get an Ancient, your computer will scream, cry and melt (and probably make other low powered computers cry, as well).

So there you have it, a look at just a few dragon makers of SL.

Xymbers Slade

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