Dragon Nest – Closed Beta Impressions
By Michael Sagoe (Mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
It’s time for some more arcade style goodness with Nexon’s latest action MMO title: Dragon Nest. Developed by Eyedentity Games (awesome name, by the way…), Dragon Nest takes arcade and console style gameplay and mixed with old fashion MMORPG features.
With two successful MMO hack n’ slash titles already under Nexon’s belt (Vindictus and Dungeon Fighter Online), Dragon Nest attempts to set itself apart by mixing fast action with an exciting story, all brought together in a bright and colorful world for gamers of all ages to enjoy.
I managed to get into the recent closed beta test, so I’m here to give you all a little taste of my experience!
I started out creating a warrior character and managed to get a nice, sort of elf-ish look going for it. Once I got in, cut scenes started rolling, showing a women and a little girl running in fear. Looks like it’s already time for me to save the day!
Or… just go through a quick tutorial. That’s fine too, I guess.
The game showed me how to control my warrior with a few quick diagrams and I was off on my first quest in no time. Upon entering the beginner town of Ironwood, I took in the sights and sounds of the village for a brief moment. After that, it was time to get back to business, but as I looked around, I noticed that there were no cleric or mage players anywhere. I then found out that clerics and mages start out in a different town from all the warriors and archers, which kind of sucked since I was planning to group up with a few friends that were planning to roll with those classes, so I guess that would have to wait.
Looking for a party to group up with was nice, easy and had a good amount of options for filtering in which kind of party you’re looking for, such a party with players around the same level as you, or a party that’s looking to visit a particular dungeon. Once I had my party ready, we went off to beat the living crap out of some goblins.
Getting a better feel for the combat, Dragon Nest’s gameplay sort of felt like a cross between Nexon’s previous action MMO title, Vindictus, while putting its own spin on things: Hacking your way through enemies is very quick and fluid while being initiative and easy to perform. The skills that you perform in battle can be used to cancel out your basic and secondary attacks, giving you a decent amount of ways to string long combos.
The combat in Dragon Nest is also very juggle oriented, and even though I’m not too fond of long juggles, many skills have a set amount of cool down time, insuring that no infinite juggles can be pulled off. Nice to know getting juggled in PvP won’t be too much of a nightmare! And speaking of which: There were no PvP options available during closed beta. Not much of a big deal, but I really wanted to try out a few combo strings I learned. Hopefully, PvP will become available during the next beta phase.
While the combat was fast and satisfying, the pacing of the character’s movement however: not so much. My warrior’s movement speed felt as if he was running on a slow moving treadmill. Personally, this really clashes with the fast combat and made the treks from one enemy wave to the next a bit painful. Luckily around LV10, my warrior character gained the ability to dash after performing forward rolls, so I can only hope that the other character classes gain some sort of dash ability as well.
The quests I took in Dragon Nest contained your usual MMO fare: Kill these monsters for this guy, bring some items for this other guy, etc. There are also a couple of interesting quests here and there, such as escorting a freaky looking goblin around, which made me chuckle a bit when I saw it defending itself…
GOBLIN KNIFE FIGHT!
Once my warrior reached level 10, it was time to leave Ironwood and head for Carderock Pass, which is the main town in Dragon Nest (well, at least during closed beta, anyway.) The town was just a lively as Ironwood and with twice the energy. There’s large apartment like buildings all around and a huge airship that’s supposed to lead to a place called “Saint’s Haven”, but was currently out of order. The place was really jumping, but I felt the need to take a rest for a bit and start a few conversations with random players.
While the conversations I had were a little weird, it was a nice distraction, none the less.
Awhile later, I joined up with a friend to help him out with a commission run at the Assassin’s Den. He kept telling me that his commission required him to complete Assassin’s Den on Abyss mode and it was really kicking his ass. I personally felt it wouldn’t be as hard as he made it sound, since the difficulty curves up to Master mode wasn’t completely jarring, but then I tried out Abyss mode with him for the first time…
Abyss mode is a difficulty mode that pulls the kid gloves off. Enemies don’t act like combo fodder here. Instead, they’re all incredibly aggressive and do ridiculous amounts of damage that really give your twitch skills a workout. It also makes you more mindful of the power ups that you pick up from enemies and whatnot. Oh, and don’t get me started on the bosses… It’s balls-to-the-wall hard and it felt great.
After reaching and defeating the boss (not after getting my ass handed twice, of course), a mysterious rabbit appeared and gave us some freebies like… MEAT PIE!
I’m not quite sure if this rabbit only appears after beating Abyss mode runs, but it was a pretty cool encounter.
Overall, my impression from Dragon Nest is that it’s certainly shaping up to be an exciting action MMO filled with lots of charm. Looks like Nexon might have another great title on their hands.
As always: Don’t forget to visit our Profile Page for Dragon Nest and check back for more previews.