When I first played Dragon’s Dogma back at its launch in 2012, I felt like I had stumbled across something that would surely go down as a cult classic. It was rough around the edges, had some quirks that wouldn’t appeal to everyone, and lacked a true multiplayer mode. As it turns out, I wasn’t far off.
After a couple of years the game earned more fans – thanks in part to a re-release with more content known as Dark Arisen and a PlayStation Plus promotion. While most fans would likely argue that something along the lines of a definitive edition port for PC, PS4, and Xbox One and the announcement of a sequel would have been more warmly received, Dragon’s Dogma Online has a lot of potential for success as well. That is, if it can meet most of these 5 wishes.
5) Consistent Post Launch Support
The game industry has evolved beyond piecemeal offerings for DLC. I don’t want weapon packs, a time trial mode, or a harder difficulty as my DLC choices – give us something with more meat. Moreover, don’t make us wait forever either. I know that gamers, us writers for websites included, tend to ask for a lot, but especially if you’re going the free-to-play MMO route, this is a necessity.
In a world where players are expected to logon and play your game for extended periods of time for months or years on end, there has to be something that keeps them coming back. The solution to that conundrum is usually releasing new content to enjoy. That means expansion packs, new enemies to fight, new quests to partake in, and other core content that improves the game from a foundational level. Make the post-launch support actually mean something.
4) Improve Fast Travel
A few weeks back I wrote about how I wanted MMOs to return to a structure that encourages exploration and discovery and fast travel is basically the polar opposite to that mindset but hear me out here. Anyone that has played Dragon’s Dogma can tell you that game needs an overhaul in terms of fast travel and it needs it badly.
Part of the problem was that the first game only had 1 real city, or hub, for players to visit. This meant that if you had a quest that took you all the way to the other side of the world (literally) it was often a long hike back to the main town just to wrap up your business. Fast travel crystals existed, but they were so limited that it was essentially like they weren’t there at all. This led to me often foregoing otherwise interesting quests just because I didn’t feel like running for a solid 20+ minutes just to get to my quest’s location.
3) Don’t Forget the Pawns
For those unaware, pawns were Dragon’s Dogma’s answer to NPC companions. Their connectivity was innovative, their contributions were useful, and their presence was clearly felt – they were hands-down one of the most intriguing parts of the original game. Capcom has already made it clear that pawns will exist in the upcoming MMO variant, but to what degree?
If it’s a free-to-play MMO then they will surely encourage playing with other people, so it makes me wonder how impactful pawns can really be this time around. Will they be simply copied from their implementation before without any upgrades? Many players will likely want to enjoy the game with a party of pawns rather than being forced to group up with others – so improving that aspect of gameplay would be a huge boon for a big subset of players.
2) Embrace Non-Combat Gameplay
Combat was probably my favorite part of Dragon’s Dogma. Somehow, Capcom managed to emulate experiences from wide range of games such as Devil May Cry, Skyrim, and even Shadow of the Colossus, which melted together for a seamless and exciting experience. And while combat was a huge part of that, they did a marvelous job of highlighting the vertical nature of many encounters and putting your character’s dexterity on display.
Why not take this a step further? Employ some Guild Wars 2-style jumping puzzles to spice up gameplay a bit. Create environments that require more climbing and platforming to traverse safely. Have enemies interact like entire levels in and of themselves (a la the aforementioned Shadow of the Colossus) that truly challenge the maneuverability of our fingers. Just because you have dragons and monsters doesn’t mean that’s all the game should be about.
1) Bigger Monsters
Let’s take that comparison even further – I want to take on some truly COLOSSAL creatures in Dragon’s Dogma Online. If I’m rolling into the final boss’ lair with 3+ other players by my side, it needs to be epic. How disappointing would it be if deep within a cave all that’s left to fight is just a different colored Cyclops with more health? Or what if it’s just another dragon?
Those monsters are fearsome and awesome, no doubt, but they’ve already been established as relatively medium-sized baddies in this world. Give me something that towers over the group and requires true cooperation to take down. Everyone shouldn’t just be focusing on DPS, mix things up. Require one person to tank it and keep attention, have someone else focus on tripping it up and taking it down – give us options and make it huge. The gameplay is already in place for something like this.
A lot of people are upset we aren’t getting a port of the original to modern consoles and PC – as am I – but we know so little about Dragon’s Dogma Online it’s hard to be disappointed at this point. There are lot of things that could go very, very right for this experiment, so let’s wait and see how it turns out. Capcom got pretty close to striking gold last time, so maybe they actually do know what they’re doing, contrary to popular opinion.
What about your thoughts? Does adventuring with a party of Arisens sound like a good time to you?