Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shout Out: Dragon Nest

There's no shortage of free-to-play MMOs out there and while most of them fall short of more elaborate, pay-to-play titles like "Guild Wars 2" and "World of Warcraft," there is the occasional exception.

"Dragon Nest" is a good example of a game that is way better than it has any right to be. On paper, it's just another MMO with hardly anything unique or innovative about it, yet somehow it manages to be a lot more entertaining than I dared hope.

If I had to try to put my finger on exactly what makes "Dragon Nest" worth playing, it's simply that it's fun. It doesn't take itself very seriously and doesn't expect you to do so either. At the standard difficulty setting for each instanced dungeon, the game's action-oriented combat (one of its best features) is pretty easy. Yes, you can crank up the difficulty for a greater challenge and greater rewards but that's not really the reason to play this game.

There's a brisk, care-free, whimsical quality to "Dragon Nest" that peaks when you're just cruising through and consuming its content. Increasing the difficulty too high basically kills the fun and turns it into the second job that every MMO eventually ends up feeling like that much faster.

Depending on the class you play, "Hard" difficulty might be more or less hard than you'd expect, so a little experimentation is a good thing but I'd recommend against fiddling with the difficulty setting until you've cleared a particular dungeon at least once in the interest of keeping things flowing.

I've hit level 13 in "Dragon Nest" and it's been a pretty fun ride so far. Would I pay to play it? Probably not but I would definitely consider tossing an in-game purchase or two their way if it manages to keep me interested.

I personally really like the idea of a full-featured MMO that feels good to play casually and in that regard "Dragon Nest" pretty much nails it.

I streamed a little over an hour of "Dragon Nest" the other day, which you can check out over at if you're interested. The stream's video got pretty choppy in spots when the action became hectic but the audio is good throughout and I go into some more detail about the game in that.

If nothing else, "Dragon Nest" will give those of you with no money to spend on the Steam Holiday Sale something to check out. :)

Dragon Nest (via Steam)