Capcom Japan Dragon's Dogma Online is one of my favorite games that I've tested this year! I've never played the original Dragon's Dogma so the combat mechanics and monster climbing was all new to me. I was a bit blown away and instantly became so addicted that I ended up leveling two of the four playable classes during the Closed Beta and played through all of the CBT1 content.
The World - MMORPG or MORPG?
One of the most commonly asked questions from my viewers and readers about Dragon's Dogma Online is what kind of world does it have to offer? The most simple answer I can give you is that the game falls in between Action MMORPG and Action MORPG genre. There is one main city, here players can for search for party members, pick up quests, craft gear, change job, hire pawns, etc. Once a party is formed, players can travel outside of town by running to the exit and zoning out or fast travel using the teleport system, as long one person in the party has that waypoint discovered. The game does have a decent amount of open areas, but you'll only be able to see your own party members on the field. Unlike most MORPG, the game doesn't immediately teleports your whole party into a dungeon. Players will have to manually run into the open areas of the game to discover and enter the dungeons. It would be neat if the maps were randomly generated, but everything is set on a fixed location like where the world bosses spawn, monsters, dungeons, etc. However, monsters spawns change from time to time. For example, Skeletons often like to spawn during the night.
Combat Gameplay - Interactive Battles
Now let's talk about the actual engaging combat of Dragon's Dogma Online! This is an action game, so none of that tab or auto-targeting system to make your life easier. Mounting and climbing on bosses is one this games special features and you're able to do it at any given point in battle. I believe all of the classes can mount on both normal and boss monsters which is awesome! While fighting a boss, it will enter an enrage state at one point and a new long yellow bar will appear underneath its HP. From here players must mount on the boss and spam right click to bring the gauge down to 0. It may sound easy, but it's quite challenging because certain bosses can hit or throw you off while you're mounted. A big yellow icon will appear will often appear while mounted on a boss, this means you will have to press the E key on your keyboard or you will enter a stamina draining battle with a Left Click and Right Click spam event. If a red icon pops up while mounted, the player will need to jump off the boss or else they will take serious damage and get thrown off. Mounting on bosses consumes a lot of stamina and highly recommend players to bring stamina potion to dungeons and boss battles. When the Yellow Bar is completely depleted the boss will enter a dazed state and will shortly collapse on the floor.
From that point on players must rush and attack the weak points which is usually the head. Other than weak points certain monsters and bosses have breakable parts, so make sure to aim for them! The game isn't overly difficult that players will be table flipping left and right. Do expect to die a couple of times during your first new boss encounters, especially when you're learning to boss patterns for the first time. Most of the beta content featured low-level boss monsters and sluggish movement. Some of my viewers and followers told me that the game may become more challenging later on, if it's anything like the console version. The only one flaw that makes this game easy is that the potion cooldown. They should probably add some kind of drinking animation and max amount of potions you can carry in battle like Vindictus or Mabinogi Heroes.
Job System and BO System - Farming Time!
After hitting the level 15 cap on my main job as a Shield Sage, I ended up leveling my Blood Oath Sphere Tree! Not sure if that's what BO really stands for, but there are certain monsters that will give players BO points for their BO Sphere Tree shown below. For example, with 75 BO points, I am able to unlock a 2ndary accessory slot for my character, letting me wear two accessories instead of one. BO is very important upon reaching the max level and the BO Sphere bonuses is quite rewarding! Farming points during the CBT was fairly easy and players can max out their BO Sphere within a day of grinding. Players can also job change into other classes at any point, as long as a job specific level 1 weapon is in the inventory. One of the main benefits of leveling other classes is borrowing passive related skills from them. My original Dragon's Dogma viewers often asked me what the skill system is like in this version. Honestly, nothing overly complicated because you can only take 4 active skills at a time, so you will have to choose wisely. Passive Skills is also limited to total of 15 points, some passive skills cost 2-8 points to equip. You can equip as many passive as you want, as long as you don't go over the maximum limit point. Leveling up your BO sphere will also increase your 15 points cap on passive skills, letting you equip more passive skills from your main job or subjobs.
Payment Model - F2P Cash Shop with Mobile Game Model and Premium Services
Please do keep in mind, that this game is in Closed Beta Phase. I hate to be the one that breaks the bad news, but this game has a Gacha system and players can get OP weapons in it. What the truck? Yes! The Gacha offers S and A rank weapons similar to those mobile games, lmao. The weapons received from Gacha is currently capped at level 10 and it's a lot stronger than my level 15 HQ +3 crafted item, GG. The big question is will it be stronger than a lol 20 weapon? Unfortunately, the closed beta had a level 15 cap so I couldn't compare it to a level 20 crafted normal weapon or a crafted rare boss weapon.
Now let's talk about premium membership benefits. The benefits of premium members are as follows, players freely accessing storage in small villages, increased storage space, unlimited revive stone refreshes in town, experience boost, gold boost, no limitation on items that can be sold every 24 hours, and more. Sounds a bit freemium to me, but totally not necessary. The daily revive refresh sounds useful if you end up getting owned a lot. Normally, you can only revive up to three times a day with one free refresh every 24 hours, unless you have a premium membership. With freemium mode, you can go full suicide mode, die 3 times go back to town refresh continues, die 3 times again just like the Anime Unlimited Revive Works. You can also buy exclusive voices for your Pawn, which I will explain further down below. There is also a beauty shop where you can change your characters looks, not sure if this will be cash thing later.
Crafting Room and System - Is it still useful!?
Even with the whole OP Gacha system, the crafting system in DDO is still essential because you will need to craft some armors, which wasn't available in the Gacha during the CBT. Please do keep in mind that this review is CBT exclusive so things may change later on release. I'm sure Capcom can easily fix the whole Gacha vs Crafting once boss related recipes becomes available, that is if they do decide to add them. No PvP or invading system so I could care less about the S-Rank Weapons in the Gacha. Anyways getting back on topic, there is an average chance that your crafted item may come out High Quality with +(insert number here) . You can also enchant gear by increasing the quality through a star system inside the Crafting Room. The items to required to increase the quality of an equipment is obtained from hunting monsters and bosses. Other activities inside the Crafting Room involve equipment dye system, add gems to gear, craft various items, Pawn management, and more. Got your hopes down yet? Here is some good news, during the CBT Testers and Player Feedback, users also came to a similar conclusion as me with the Gacha Weapons in the Q&A 8th Question. The developers stated that best weapons can only be obtained through crafting, let's hope they keep that promise. Lastly, players can't buy any form of equipment in the Auction House. You will have to manually buy the required materials and craft it. No lazy mode! The CBT also didn't offer any direct or mail trading system with equipment or items. With proper coordination, you can trade crafting materials via Auction House.
Questing System and Pawn System - Helper System
The game does have a storyline with main quests, but the NDA stated that testers are not allowed to spoil or record story videos so none of that in my review. Various quests can be obtained during your play through ranging from solo, party, world quests, raid missions, and more. It would be interesting if they added some hidden ones here and there or a Pawn Quest System. At one point of main story quests, players will be given a Pawn which will help them in their adventures or craft items. These Pawns can be fully customized in terms of looks, gear, AI, voice, and jobs. You will notice quite a lot of English named NPC's in Dragon's Dogma Online. No, those aren't real NPC's! They're the other players Pawns! You can even hire them and have a full Pawn party and Pwn stuff for a total immersive Single Player experience, that is if you really enjoy playing alone or don't have the time to find a party. After you're done hiring another Player's Pawn, you can give it a 5 star rating or 1 star rating and leave comment stating how bad or terrible they configured their Pawn AI. Getting back to the Quest system, it would be neat if players can create their own Quest. For example, I'm in dire need of a Cyclops Heart, but haven't had the time to login. I can select my Pawn NPC and have it give a quest to a random player requesting for a Cyclops Heart. The rewards can be set by the game by default or the player with obvious restrictions. It would be neat system given how the game is populated by Pawn NPC's idling about. Lastly, to make sure players aren't confused on who is a real or not. Pawns can only have a first name and must be in English, while real players must input a first and last name in English for their character.
Graphics - Not as Advertised!
I was extremely disappointed with the graphics of the game. The screenshots made the game look really awesome and cool, but after logging in and maxing everything out on the highest settings, the quality falls short PS3/PS4 style totally not hating on console gamers! Perhaps the Ultra High Resolution is DLC only? Jokes aside, at least the gameplay was good enough to keep me happy. The game also looks extremely bright with some weird bloom or blur. I had to turn down the gamma from 50 to 0 and it still looks odd. Perhaps I'm just being a bit picky and want something much more dark and gloomy. Dear Capcom, don't let your PC users down and please add better textures.
Playable Classes - The Full Roster
I originally didn't want to play any other classes other than Shield Sage, but I wanted to try the other classes and test the multi job system while I can, so I ended up playing two characters to the max level. The beta was currently capped at level 15 with four playable classes, a Hunter (Bow), Fighter (Sword and Board), Shield Sage (Mace and Shield Tanker with Elemental Spells Nukes and Buff), and Priest(A Healer...? Yeah, pretty sure on this one!). The other classes such as Seeker (Double Dagger and Grappling Hook), Sorcerer (Magic Power!), Element Archer (Not Sure), and the Warrior (Brute Strength Two Hander) should be available in the future.
Multiplayer Experience - Yay Cross-platform Play
Cross-platform play is one of the shining aspects of the game other than the lagless gameplay experience. What is cross-platform play you say? Players can party with their friends between PC, PS3, and PS4. However I'm not sure how Foreigners are going to bypass the region block on console, that is if the console version is the same as the PC version with an IP block on login only. Honestly, once you get passed the login you should be able to play the game without a JP VPN. The game is lag free also, no lag whatsoever even during my raid sessions! Cross-platform is also useful for people that own both PC and PS3/PS4. Just login your Capcom Account and continue playing from there with your data saved online!
Conclusion - Recommend Playing on August 31st!
I had a wonderful beta experience that I ended up neglecting a full list of other games to play such as Black Desert Online, Moonlight Blade Online, Revelation Online, Figureheads CBT, MapleStory2 Open Beta, Lord of Vermilion Arena, and some other ones I can't mention. I'm hoping that the game will have enough content to keep players busy during the launch date on August 31st. I've been noticing a lot of recycled bosses and monsters, so I am hoping for a better variety and harder content. Hopefully, this CBT is just a small portion of the actual game to be released on August 31st. I don't want to sound like some kind of Elitist, but I want to see the game steer towards a more the hardcore and challenging gameplay direction, especially after boring boss battles of Black Desert Online. I don't think this is a type of game that would last anyone for more than couple of months content wise, unless Capcom goes all out with the updates.
It's a good filler game to play for the time being and should keep players busy while waiting for other full-scale MMORPG's to be released. As I mentioned earlier, the game does have an IP block on login only. Capcom's network system for this game is flawless and I experienced little to no lag when partying with other Japanese players all the way from USA. I highly suggest playing the JP version once it's released! The game is playable even if you don't understand a word of Japanese, I've already played with a lot of random Foreigners who can't read a single word of JP, and they're doing great. I do believe CBT2 is scheduled to start later this month, so I'm looking forward to that, especially if they added new jobs. This review is getting way long, so I'm going to end it here! Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed reading this review then please support me by following my SteparuTV Youtube and Steparu Page.
Game Site: http://www.dd-on.jp/pc/