Dragon Nest First Impressions Review

Usually when I start playing a game, whether it be for a review or because I simply want to, I usually have a pretty good idea of what I’m in for. However with Dragon Nest, aside from some of the news and updates about it, I never really bothered learning anything about the actual game or gameplay mechanics.

The reason being is that I’m just not a fan of the art style of Dragon Nest. The characters look like a bunch of children which just makes me feel like I’m playing a kids game and a little dirty to be honest. That’s not to say the graphics are bad, they are actually quite good and make great use out of the blur effect to enhance depth-of-field, I just don’t like the way the characters look.

As I began my journey I was expecting something more along the lines of, oh I don’t know, a WoW clone. Sorry, but with so many others out there, I just assumed. Rest assure, Dragon Nest is no clone, but it is also definitely not what you would think of as a traditional MMORPG. Think if Fable was a MMO and add combat combos.

Everything in Dragon Nest is instanced and connected by portals. There’s no open world to explore and really the only open zones are the towns, everything else puts you on a linear track. While I don’t necessarily mind instances (I liked Rusty Hearts which was all instanced as well), I don’t like it in Dragon Nest because there are far too many of them. Every zone is tiny, even the big zones are small when comparing it to any other MMO game out there, so you’re constantly staring at loading screens. Even if I loved everything else about the game, the loading screens alone would be enough for me to stop playing.

Earlier I stated I felt the art style of Dragon Nest made me feel like I was playing a kids game and now that I’ve had the chance of playing it, I’m not so sure kids aren’t Nexon’s target audience. Dragon Nest is probably the easiest to learn MMO game I’ve ever played. Combat is point and click like you would in any 3rd person shooter, then to cast more advanced spells or skills, it’s simple matter of hitting 1-9 on your keyboard.

The skill trees are very simple, at least so far, and once you learn a new skill it’ll automatically appear in your skill bar for easy access. Quests automatically appear in the sidebar with a arrow pointing in the direction you need to go and even a distance measurement showing how far you have left to travel.

Once you have some quests and head out of town, you’ll run into PvE portals. Upon entering one you’re presented with a loading screen, which is filled with information along with multiple areas within that zone. Each area has 5 levels of difficulty ranging from easy to abyss and shows you how much XP you’ll get depending on what difficulty level you select. It also shows what rewards you’ll get, what level you need to be, which quests you have in which area and what achievements you can get.

Something like this isn’t possible with a non-instanced MMO, but fits perfectly in with Dragon Nest and is one of it’s best features. Having all that information right on one screen just makes everything so much easier.

Getting to the actual quests, so far they’re your run of the mill kill this, collect that type of quests. However if you want a challenge you can jack-up the difficulty in each zone which not only gives you more XP, but better item drops and once you get to Master or Abyss, it does get very hard. One thing I don’t like is that you end up running the same zones multiple times for different quests, so it does get a bit repetitive, but every area has a boss fight, so that’s a plus.

Overall my first impressions are mixed. I’m not a fan of the art style, the fact that there are so many instanced zones or the fact you have to re-run the same zones multiple times, but the combat is fun and the UI is great. The point and click combat is spot on and fun, which beats the click and wait mechanism most MMORPG use today. I’ll be continuing my journey through the world of Dragon Nest so check back in a few weeks for our full review.

3 Comments

  1. I really liked this action rpg title. More so than Vindictus, save the cartooniness. However, after level 24, and once you start pushing into the Dark Lair. You start to notice all is recycled. The monsters are the same, the bosses get recycled, and the Dark Lair instance is a big joke. You zone in, and stand in one place protecting a fountain against waves of RECYCLED monsters (usually all the bosses over again). In between waves, a duck appears… if you smack the duck the fountain gets health… Now. I am going to stop there, you can see that the creativity department pretty much quit and they hired monkeys to randomly push buttons to finish it… at least that is what it feels like. Good review. I was mixed too, but the time I hit level cap I was idssintristed and quit. The only thing left to do once you hit the level cap is farm like crazy for materials to add stats to your armor. The armor is not varied, and only glows after +8. The goal is to get around +12 without breaking it (or pay cash to insure it doesnt break)… To me… that killed the story, and the drive to want to farm. The patches come out slowww. NExon is PURE SHIT, so I played on cherry credits. I had a guild with connections in China, so it seemed CHINA got first updates, Japan next, Nexon and finally Cherrycredits. Cherry is the true international in English, as NExon IP bans. UGh.. it gets ugly…

  2. The graphic style of the environments is fantastic though. Somewhere between the cartoonyness of WoW and oil painted textures of GW2. This game really shines when playing as a group, and I think this is where the smaller (though well designed) towns paid off as gathering players wasnt hard. DN also proves that tab targetting is a has-been combat mechanic. Enjoyed having to aim and get within range of all my attacks.

    And actually really enjoyed the story line. I can see the grindiness set in after awhile, but am enjoying it for now (at level 12). If you could somehow mod the entire GW universe from the DN engine, there would never be a reason for GW2.

  3. Also, I might add a word about guilds. USELESS. The cap is about 100 people in a guild. We had big difficulties in managing. There are guild levels, and around lvl 8 people want in your guild. We had to put people in waiting lists, and we had to kick people out if they do not log in for a week. Since it is free to play and the game plays fast, it makes people a little less serious. That is to say, the need for a group usually is rare. Since it is a instanced game, almost all people looking for a group gather by the gates or instanced zone. SInce it is almost impossible to chat in “say” due to so much spam and graphics clutter, and since it is impossible to really pick people out of a crowd… they built a “group” button. You open aa “looking for group” list, or you can make one, and people simply jump in and your off… so where do guilds stand after this? It is hard to define. Especially when the fast pace of the game, no one takes allot of time to guild chat, or care to see who is online. IT really has a more “Log in, group up with whoever (or solo)) and go kill. The feel of a guild is very shallow and most people just join one to complete achievements such as “Joined guild” or to assist raiseing a guild level. I assume guilds play a role later on in a patch, but rightnow, unless you want to organaize a handful of your friends, the need for guilds is pretty much useless, as it is a small group of strangers, the same you could meet at any door of an instance. And again, becuase the game is a little less social, and more combative, it is actually a little more advantageous to just join a PUG for a fresh mic of warriors each instance run…

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