The lights are on
Starting a new RPG can be an overwhelming experience. Where should you go first? Should you accept as many quests as possible or be more selective? What class is a good pick for beginners? Dragon’s Dogma is no different; if anything, its unique pawn system can make it even more difficult to get your bearings.
If you need a little guidance, we’re here to help. We’ve got some tips and suggestions from our playthrough that will help you out in your adventure. If that’s not enough, we even tapped the game’s director, Hideaki Itsuno, for his own pointers on how best to survive (and thrive) during your adventures in Gran Soren.
Get to work, slackerYou’re certainly free to roam around the countryside, slaying goblins, bandits, and whatever you come across, but that kind of lackadaisical approach may not be the most efficient way to go. If you’re looking for some direction in your life (specifically, where to go next), take on some quests. But how? “Players can take on the quests by talking to NPCs and looking at notice boards,” Itsuno says. “Sometimes quests can begin automatically during your course of gameplay. Given the number of quests in the game, I would suggest accepting all the quests that you can take and only try to complete the ones that you feel like playing at that time.”
Itsuno’s advice is worth heeding. Since many of the starting quests reward your character for doing things she’d already be doing, it makes sense to take on as much as possible, as soon as possible. After all, you may as well be rewarded for slaying all those rabbits.
Pick your pawnsPawns are a critical element of Dragon’s Dogma. These AI-controlled companions travel with your character, providing advice and dealing damage along the way. You have your own created pawn, but you can also hire two more along your journey. What should you be looking for?
“In addition to searching for pawns based on something simple like their character class, or skill set, players can also search for pawns based on their knowledge of particular enemies or quests,” Itsuno says. “Pawns that are more knowledgeable of quests or enemies will offer valuable tips to players that will help them advance through the game.”
I’m not knocking the importance of the tip, but it doesn’t help to know that there’s a treasure hidden nearby when you’re drowning in your own blood. I found that mages were invaluable companions early on—particularly if you aren’t playing as one yourself. Their healing abilities will save the day time and time again. (ProTip: If you see yourself enveloped in a green haze, someone is trying to heal you. Stay still, if at all possible.) Their long-term usefulness becomes more an issue of player preference as you progress (and your inventory becomes filled with healing potions and items), but mages are worth their weight in gold pieces in the game’s beginning.
Save your gameDragon’s Dogma has an autosave, but it’s typically reserved for when you’re entering or leaving a major area. There’s a lot of real estate in the game, and you can spend a lot of time between those circumstances. It goes without saying that you should be saving your game regularly, but I’ll say it anyway: Save your game regularly. It will save your progress, and, more critically, it will save your sanity.
Hybrid classes ruleThere are a lot of classes to choose from in Dragon’s Dogma, including the typical mage, fighter, and rogue types you’re accustomed to. They’re all balanced and fun to play around with, but hybrid classes are where it’s at. They blend the best aspects of several different classes, and they border on being overpowered (in a good way). Itsuno and I both agree on hybrid classes, though we differ on which one is the best.
“I prefer the Mystic Knight as my class,” says Itsuno. “Mystic Knights serve as a ‘Battle Mage’ style class and are capable of doing impressive melee damage while still having a number of magic attacks at their disposal. One of my favorite special abilities for the Mystic Knight is the skill ‘Magic Cannon.’ This skill summons a magical orb that shoots out enemy-seeking magic orbs. The skill is best used when you’re encountering many enemies at once. Players can run away from the battle, summon the orb, and rain down magic on their enemies. What’s also great about this skill is the orb takes on whatever enchantment you have active at the time, so if your weapon has a fire enchant active, the orbs that the magic cannon shoots out will be fire enchanted as well. It’s a great skill and can really turn the tide of battle.”
Personally, I favor Magick Archers. These guys are a mix between the sorcerer and ranger classes, and they’re a tremendous threat at range. I spent a lot of time exploring Gran Soren’s various dungeons and caves, which you’d think might put an archer at a disadvantage. Nope. My magical bow was able to fire off special ricocheting bolts, which bounced off walls and into the darkness. Better still, they grew stronger with each rebound. I loved firing blindly and then hearing wails of pain, followed by XP indicators as the unseen enemies died. The hunter bolt was equally awesome, allowing me to paint up to 10 targets a la Panzer Dragoon and unleash a simultaneous attack. As it turns out, there are a lot of places to target on a cyclops, and I used my reticule to light them up like Christmas trees whenever I came upon one of the beasts.
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