Gaming genres are a funny thing, they normally give potential players a quick idea of the type of game it is, however it seems that these days the MMORPG genre just doesn’t want to follow the rules. This no more apparent than with Nexon’s latest MMORPG, Dragon Nest.
Of course Dragon Nest has all the aspects of being a RPG game, you have leveling, gear, skill trees and of course quests to complete, but the funny thing is they forgot to add the “massive” part into the game. You won’t find any persistent world here as every part of the game is instanced with the towns acting as social hubs for players to gather and form groups. What Dragon Nest really is is a single player game with multiple-player features as there’s nothing that ties the game together.
So in order to give Dragon Nest a fair review, I will not be reviewing it as a MMORPG, because it’s simply not. Instead I will review it as a multiplayer online RPG.
Dragon Nest begins with you selecting from one of four pre-made classes, warrior, cleric, archer and sorceress, however there is very little customization available. Once you have your class selected you begin the game in one of the two starting towns, depending on your class.
The first thing you’ll notice is just how simple everything is. Combat is point and click, spells are automatically laid out for you in your 1-9 hot-bar as you acquire them and quests not only point in you in the direction you have to go, but tell you exactly how far they are. The interface is so simple, yet informative that there really is no need for a tutorial, although there is one. Dragon Nest’s simplicity continues throughout the entire game including its crafting system, enchantments, skill trees, and quest themselves. While this may be a plus in some areas, such as combat and the UI, others might find the game entirely too simple to hold their attention.
As I mentioned earlier ever part of the game is instanced, so anytime you want to leave town and venture out, you’ll be greeted by one of many portals (loading screens). This is by far the biggest issue I had with Dragon Nest. There are so many loading screens you’ll be spending a good amount of time staring at DN wallpapers. To make things worse, each main town has a few extensions that are kinda part of the town and have NPCs in them, but are connected by a portal. Every once in a while you’ll get an NPC in one of these extensions asking you to talk to another NPC in the main town, so you’ll end up going through the loading screen a half dozen times before you complete the quest. Very frustrating and I don’t understand why they didn’t just make these extensions part of the main town to eliminate the loading screen.
On to quests, which are instanced as well with each one being broken down into 2 – 5 sections, regardless of how small the dungeon is. Guess what that means…more loading screens. Some of these dungeons are so small, yet still have 2-3 loading screens. It’s just baffling as to why they would break them up into such small sections.
Quests are also very linear and once you get into the high teens levels get extremely repetitive. You’ll end up doing the same dungeon 6 or 7 times, maybe more, just to complete all the quests for it and with no other way to gain XP, it’s not like you can skip it and go do something else.
However there are plenty of other things to do in Dragon Nest aside from questing. There’s the Daredevil Faire, Rozin Sanctuary and of course the PvP arena, each one having their own tokens to collect to unlock items, weapons and gear. The Faire and Sanctuary are sort of mini-games and challenges that you can do solo or in groups, which are pretty fun and a nice addition to the game to break up the questing. There’s also a faction system and achievement list for additional collecting purposes.
The PvP arena is currently very limited with only two gameplay mods to choose from, deathmatch or rounds. There’s also some major balancing issue between classes. Its seems melee and range are evenly matched up against the same class type, but when matched up against each other, melee dominates. For example my sorceress may as well bend over when up against a warrior class. Once I’m knocked down, which isn’t hard, they’re able to combo me to death most of the time. Granted I didn’t build my character for PvP, but it’s not even close in a fight between the two.
Combat however is actually quite fun in both PvE and PvP. There’s no tab targeting so you’ll have to aim at your target if you want to hit it, which is refreshing and is one of Dragon Nest’s best features. The game uses a standard skill tree system, with the option to select from one of two advance classes once you hit level 14.
The graphics are fairly good, although I’m not a fan of the character design, as everyone looks like a bunch of kids to me, but if that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll find the graphics are up to par with many of today’s MMO games. The story-line as well is pretty good and there’s a lot of humor throughout the game to keep things light and enjoyable.
Overall the extremely intuitive user interface and fun combat were not enough to save Dragon Nest. The constant loading screens, linear gameplay and repetitive questing, not to mention a lack of PvP modes, makes Dragon Nest a pass in my book when it comes to online RPGs. This is definitely not a game for the hardcore or even slightly hardcore player, but if you’re new to the genre or just want something simple, then you should check it out. I hope this Dragon Nest review was useful.