Is DRAGON NEST Worth Playing in 2022? | An MMO Review
Every person I’ve ever talked to that has played Dragon Nest for any length of time has told me that it was one of the best MMOs they’d ever played.
Today, we’re taking a look at Dragon Nest. This was arguably one of the most popular Anime MMOs of its time, providing players with some of the fastest most fluid combat, PvP and honestly.. some highly unusual animations.
I last played Dragon Nest in the middle of 2021. That was the first time in 5 years I’d logged into the game, and it had changed substantially in that period.
It’s been about 7, 8 months since then, and after logging in for the first time, not only was I presented with the most welcoming return
*show clip of returning*
But I was also gifted with even more powerful items. For reference, when I came back last year, I was given a powerful accesory that gave me tens of thousands of attack power, allowing me to 1-shot every monster, every boss up until level 70?
I stopped playing at level 87, and at the time, was 2, maybe 3-shotting bosses.
After coming back this time, I was given multiple additional pieces of gear that gave me hundreds of thousands attack power, and allowed for me to 1-shot bosses in the dungeon after the dungeon I was in. So I didn’t even need to run them.
I felt like Saitama. Just.. not bald.. and with booba.
This allowed me to catch up pretty rapidly, though. I proceeded to hit level 95 with absolutely no issue whatsoever, and due to that, no challenge.
This left me to do one of a few different things: Continue with the story, which took me to new areas, had me run dungeons I’d never run before, as I made progress towards hitting endgame.
Or I could pursue missions via the Mission Board. I could do my Awakening quests. Improve my class, unlock new skills.
But I was level 95 after what, less than 20 hours of playing the game? With a rudimentary level of understanding of my character, the systems present within the game, or, heck, the game itself.
Disregarding how overpowered I was upon my return, and how confused I was at this juncture, Dragon Nest is a great looking Anime MMO.
Aesthetically, it has a pretty unique style. Character models are more.. flat. Shaded. With less visible detail than in games like Aura Kingdom or SoulWorker.
But different games have different graphical styles, so it makes complete sense. The game-world is gorgeous. You’ll see enormous towns and cities, you’ll have epic fights with dragons, demons..
Speaking of combat, many players argue Dragon Nest has the best combat in the Anime scene. And I guess, let me preface this by stating that it doesn’t. That might be a contentious opinion – but we’re all welcome to our own, right?
I think games like SoulWorker and PSO2 New Genesis both have better combat in terms of an Anime MMO, but they also feel like completely different types of games.
Dragon Nest employs much more of a traditional action combat system. You bind your abilities to a variety of different keys, and have a fairly large hotbar, something that the 2 aforementioned games lack. SoulWorker is about binding a few abilities, and comboing them with other abilities.
PSO2 New Genesis has a very small pool of skills to pull from per weapon, but provides you the option of equipping multiple.
Combat in Dragon Nest feels pretty good – not over the top, with tons of special effects cluttering your screen but a little more tame.
Dragon Nest is a hub-MMO, meaning that combat always takes place within instances. The game itself isn’t entirely based around instances, however: Every town, every city, every zone is disconnected from one another via loading screens. But, with the exception of dungeons, the world allows for players to group up, to connect with and engage one another.
You’ll find players scattered around a variety of different areas. With the exception of the dungeons themselves, this looks and feels like any other MMO.
The bulk of the content though – dungeons, raids, PvP, are all instanced. Meaning that once you enter, you won’t be able to encounter other players. Grouping up, therefore, requires you formulate a group in anticipation of entering.
I think I moved through 6, 7 different towns in approximately 20 hours of playing, and each one not only looked incredibly unique, but were also very, very large. I couldn’t imagine this on an open-world scale like WoW.
The world itself, while very appealing aesthetically, and filled with NPCs and players.. still felt a little empty. I dunno if I’m the only one that feels that way or not.
There’s something satisfying seeing people out in an open-world partaking of the same content you are that just isn’t present in hub-MMOs.
This game, while it can feel a little empty at times, is absolutely filled with story. If you’ve been watching my videos, you’d know I dislike MMOs that don’t have a narrative. If there’s no story to follow, how are you supposed to become enthralled in the world you find yourself in?
How are you supposed to become attached to the different characters you meet? NPCs just become “generic old dude #1, generic booba lady #7, etc. etc.”
Look at Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft. XIV has players actively playing BECAUSE of the story. And WoW has players constantly complaining how bad its story IS. This is evidence to how important a story is in an MMO.
Most popular MMOs have a strong narrative: XIV, WoW, ESO, Guild Wars 2, Lost Ark. I feel though a lack of a story is a detriment to a game. And especially an MMO, where you’re required to continue playing for months, years at a time.
It’s part of the reason many people come back to these games when new content drop. And Dragon Nest.. well, admittedly, this game has a ridiculous amount of text. Much of it is exposition, and I feel like the vast majority of it likely could have been easily summarized in 1/10th of the time.
It’s actually so drawn out, that I spend much of the game holding spacebar to skip the 33 successive windows telling me I need to go kill a goblin before returning to another 20 windows telling me thank you.
As this is a hub-MMO, the amount of content is relatively limited comparatively to games that offer open-world features. There aren’t world-bosses. There’s no open-world PvP.
There are dungeons – which is the bulk of the game. There are also raids to run for players who want more difficult content to play. And more than that, the dungeons themselves have several different difficulties.
Each difficulty increase is quite substantial, and is the difference between 1-shotting dungeon bosses and actually needing to dodge an attack here and there while leveling.
There is PvP, but regardless of when I queued for it, I couldn’t seem to ever participate. Active players give me the impression that players participate at certain hours – hours that I don’t stream, unfortunately.
And.. well, realistically that’s all I’ve ever done. Beyond that, I don’t think there’s really much more to it. Is there? If there are other types of content, please do let me know in the comments below!
At the end of the day, Dragon Nest is a very fun MMO.
This game looks great – granted, its character creator leaves a lot to be desired, and its selection of classes can feel a little.. excessive, given multiple of them have the same character models, weapon types and general playstyle.
The combat is great, but not nearly as good as many players make it out to be. Which goes to show that nostalgia plays a large part on how people perceive games, both new and old.
It’s a hub-MMO, so content-wise, it’s very limited. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do. I did find the gear they provided me to hit endgame as quickly as I did to be game-breaking. It made what is a fun, engaging game into something you pay 0 attention to.. because why would you?
Combat – 6/10 Honestly, for an Anime MMO this game has some pretty damn good action combat.
Graphics – 5/10 Graphically, the character models felt very flat, but everything else was vibrant and popping.
Narrative – 3/10 The narrative.. was excessive, and there was far too much exposition to enjoy.
World – 5/10 The world is pretty large. There are a plethora of different towns, cities and zones to explore.
Content – 5/10 If you factor in the sheer number of instances, then there’s an exorbitant number of things to do.. but disregarding dungeons and raids, there isn’t too much variety.
Overall – 24/50
Admittedly, Dragon Nest has a lot of things going for it. But at the same time, it has just as many things, maybe even more going against it, including a very low playerbase and accusations of extensive pay to win.
Have I seen it? Somewhat. Is it going to affect me if I play? Not at all. Unless I PvP. But I’ve learned better than to PvP in free MMOs. Not only is it unbalanced, but it’s just as unfair.