edited by: Laura Karahalis 8/13/11
Dragon Nest is a fantasy MMORPG that recently entered open beta. The game was developed by Nexon, a company best known for its popular Maple Story side-scroller MMORPG. In a similar spirit as Maple Story, the game promises to be an engaging experience that is available free of charge.
Characters: The game engages players from the start by throwing you right into the thicket of action while a helpful tutorial demonstrates how to control your character. Going through the various levels of attack mid-battle you learn the full extent of your character’s abilities as well as become familiar with the keyboard controls.
Unfortunately the game is missing the option to change genders of the different classes. That’s right, if you choose an archer or a sorceress you are most certainly creating a female ‘toon’. Likewise, if you want a female warrior or cleric, you are also out of luck. This may seem similar to Rusty Hearts, for those of you with a closed beta account, but the concept of Dragon Nest would suggest openness for character customization, but it sadly comes up short.
Story and Gameplay: Nit-picking aside, the game’s story does draw you in. It makes use of the popular trend in games right now that plops you instantly into your first battle. Depending on which place you pick as your starting area, the story line changes giving you more chances for a unique gaming experience. This is a great feature to have in a game as complicated as an MMORPG. If you are a seasoned MMORPG’er then it may seem like a waste of time but if it is your first time testing this gem out, give it a chance and enjoy Nexon’s storytelling.
Quests and Leveling: Quests are well marked and a quest helper not only lists your objectives, but also points you in the right direction using an arrow and distance indicator, aiming you towards those quest objectives. Making questing this easy allows for the user to completely disregard the story if desired. If you are looking to have fun with this game, it is worth it to at least skim through the story text dialogues. Without the supporting dialogue it can be very boring and unless there is a group of you hacking and slashing together, the game will likely turn stagnant. Again, the idea is fun, so if reading the story text isn’t fun, perhaps an MMORPG isn’t the game for you.
That being said, questing and battling aren’t the only ways one can advance their character’s stats. Hardcore MMO’ers will find the usual experience point/leveling system that unlocks more advanced abilities for their character. While it isn’t terribly descriptive about how to use the trainers, there are videos to show you an example of the ability before you add it. No tutorials here, just a new set of “fool-proof” World Of Warcraft Talents to work through…
The Verdict: Definitely give Dragon Nest a try. It is still in Open Beta so there will be the obvious imperfections one should expect with a game that isn’t quite done cooking and the graphics aren’t bleeding edge but Dragon Nest is a great way to kill time for free solo or with friends. Minimum requirements are a Windows PC with a Pentium 4 or faster (Sorry Mac fans it won’t work in Wine or Crossover, if you want to play you’ll need Boot Camp).
(Before you get on me about the graphics, the screenshots seen on this blog are taken with the in-game graphics options on their highest level. If you use a higher end ATI card you may be able to decrease the aliasing slightly by tweaking settings in theCatalyst Control Center; however, for the purposes of this review we did not.)