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Dragon Nest

Dragon Nest is hub-style fantasy MMORPG that employs a real-time combat system, allowing players full control over their character’s actions and movements. Players partner together and venture into instanced dungeons to level up and acquire rare items.

Publisher: Eyedentity (Previously Nexon)
Playerbase: Medium
Type: MMORPG
Release Date: September 28, 2011 (NA)
Pros: +Slick, fast paced combat. +Low system requirements. +Strong Voice Acting.
Cons: -Some lag stuttering. -Limited character customization. -Repetitive dungeons.

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Overview

Dragon Nest Overview

Dragon Nest is a fantasy MMORPG developed by Eyedentify. As a hub-based game, it employs a non-targeting combat system to maximize players control over their actions. Choose from one of eight classes and enter a world divided into instances, or dungeons, where players enter alone or with a party to defeat enemies until reaching the boss. A whimsical art style makes for fluid combat animations as players employ a large range of skills. Frequent voice-over dialogues and a suitable soundtrack add up to an immersive world. After leveling, put your skills to the test by competing with other players in the PvP arena. Or, differentiate yourself by purchasing from a collection of elaborate cosmetic items.

Dragon Nest Key Features:

  • Real Time Combat – lets players employ a large range of skills that are smoothly animated.
  • Instanced Zones – play in specialized areas where mobs only appear for you and your party.
  • Extensive Costumes – numerous cosmetic items in the shop to purchase and distinguish your characters appearance.
  • Voice Acting – many NPC's have well-done voices and unique responses to players giving them depth and personality.
  • Unique PvP Systems – ladder modes, arena combat, ghoul mode, wipeout mode, and free-for-all combat.

Dragon Nest Screenshots

Dragon Nest Featured Video

Classes

Dragon Nest Classes

  • Warrior - up close and personal is the Warrior’s motto. Slashing away with swift swings, the warrior decapitates enemies with grace. Stringing together melee combos, they hack away at their enemies HP until they're no more. At level 15, Warriors can choose to become Swordsman, specializing in greatswords, or Mercenaries, the most heavily armored class in the game.
  • Archer - sniping enemies from afar, the Archer launches arrows with pinpoint accuracy. Speed and agility guide the Archer. While they may not be armored, Archers employ an array of evasive maneuvers to avoid taking damage. At level 15, Archers can choose to become Sharpshooters, specializing in long range attacks, or Acrobats who deal devastating damage with shattering kicks and strikes.
  • Cleric - donning decadent armor, the Cleric heals and buffs their comrades. Although he may dish out less damage than other classes, the Cleric compensates with unrivaled support abilities. At level 15, Clerics can choose to become Paladins, specializing in survivability, or Priests, using a large mana pool to both deal damage and heal.
  • Sorceress - standing afar from their enemies, the Sorceress wields a grimoire of spells that inflict various ailments. Whether freezing goblins to the dirt or setting them ablaze, the Sorceress chips at health with damage over time spells. At level 15, the Sorceress can choose to become an Elementalist, specializing in elemental magic, or become a Mystic, adding to their catalog of crowd controlling spells.
  • Tinkerer - A genius who has traveled back in time, the Tinkerer relies on her intelligence and gadgets to obliterate enemies. They are one of the most versatile classes, able to dish out damage, heal, and defend their allies. At level 15, the Tinkerer can choose to become an Engineer, specializing in their inventions, or an Alchemist, using chemicals and tonics to wear down enemy health.
  • Kali - fast and fluid, the Kali relies on her martial arts skills and knowledge of dark magic to shatter enemies. Depending on her specialization she can use either short or long range attacks and buff allies with the power of the dark arts. At level 15, the Kali can choose to become a Screamer, calling upon fallen spirits to buff allies and defeat enemies, or become a Dancer, unleashing a fury of abilities with elegance.
  • Assassin - able to out-duel any opponent, the Assassin utilizes both his physical prowess and magic attacks to eliminate his opponent. His impressive skills can be used to both attack and buff allies. At level 15, the Assassin can choose to become a Shinobi, using a scimitar combined with Ninja arts, or become a Taoist, master of both shadow and light arts.
  • Lancea - using her overwhelming spear, the Lancea keeps her enemies at a distance. Stringing together fluid combos and quick head-butts, she strikes down large groups of monsters. At level 15, the Lancea can choose to become a Lancer, using relentless attack combos and magic to slaughter waves of enemies.
  •  Machina - with a huge mechanical arm called Knuckle, the Machina uses the art of Steampunch to execute melee attacks. She generates "Steam" which can be used to deliver fast-paced combo attacks. She can choose to become a Patrona at level 15.

Full Review

Dragon Nest Review

By Sean Sullivan

Dragon Nest is a real-time combat MMORPG set in a fantasy world filled with menacing creatures and a malevolent cult set on ending the world. Action-oriented gameplay is both intuitive and smooth, with an emphasis on teamwork to plow through instanced dungeons. Low system requirements make it accessible for most players with an appealing graphical style that is easy on the eyes while still being immersive. Dragon Nest is a fantastic free-to-play MMORPG for everyone who enjoys real-time combat in a fantasy setting.

Birth Of A Hero

The character select screen is undoubtedly one of the slickest I’ve seen. Each of the eight class launches towards a fierce dragon and sliding between characters alters the camera to capture their midway action. I landed on Lancea, deciding to test it out because it’s the latest added class and I like to poke enemies at a distance. Customization is limited. Each class is a specified gender, so you’re born with the sex you’re given. You can change your hairstyle, eye color, etc. but that’s about it. I’m not too disappointed by limited choices. The animation style ensures my character looks endearing no matter what hair color I pick. “CuteMafa” was ready to take on this world.

Visually the game is rather simple and harkens back to second gen-consoles (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube). However, simplicity does not give way to being unappealing. Childish character sprites—that look like they’re modeled after Final Fanasty IV for Android and iOS—combined with smooth combat animations and effects makes it a visual festival that does far from offend the eyes. It’s lack of emphasis on graphics makes it accessible to a wider audience, rightfully so, and emphasizes the importance of mechanics over textures and anti-aliasing. Dragon Nest’s visual style gives the notion that this is an Anime MMORPG. It’s more appropriately designated a cartoonish game that creates the overall atmosphere of a PG experience. But it’s innocence is betrayed by fierce combat and witty dialogue.

First Steps

Towns act as the hubs of the Dragon Nest universe. From town you can see if you got mail, store your items, enhance your gear, and pick up quests so you can start using that oversized weapon on your back. Once you leave, you're in an instanced world and will only see players that are in your party. It follows the same formula as Vindictus and Dungeon Fighter Online and it works. Dividing everything into segmented instances emphasizes cooperation while ensuring that you won't be competing for mobs such as in an open world game. You do lose the sense of exploration, but combat is the central focus of Dragon Nest, not climbing Mountain Ridges for a better view of the land.

This is a third-person game so you look over the shoulder of your character. A crosshair dictates where your attacks will land. Active combat can become boring and monotonous when not treated properly—see Global Agenda. Thankfully, fighting in Dragon Nest is some of the most fun I’ve had in recent memory. It’s smooth and pleasing to watch. Slicing through goblins with my lance is satisfying as I see their bodies thrust upwards and slammed into nothingness. The sound effects of steal against flesh prove to me that I’m hitting my enemies. Bosses soak up damage and flanking around them to land skillful blows is a joy.

Chain Em Up!

Combat is a series of strung actions. Left click is your basic attack—swing, swing, SLAM; CuteMafa drags her lance in a wide arc connecting with every face in her way. Right clicking is a kick that launched my character forward to slap enemies with my spear. Dodging is simple enough—press the same direction key twice or use shift to barrel out of the way. Lastly, I have skill abilities when I want to embarrass enemies which are bound to the number keys (1-9).

It’s not a button masher, though gameplay videos might lead you to believe the contrary. Abilities have different ranges, swings, and are specialized for situations. At first, fights are relatively easy and you can spam skills to cut through enemies with grace. Later on, combat becomes oriented around self-preservation and knowing how and when to use your skills will see you to the end of the instance.

Combat is engaging and intrinsically rewarding. It never grew stale and each fight left me yearning for more. Early on I wished the game would throw goblin brigades at me to pierce with my lance. As soon I was able, I elected to turn up the difficulty on dungeons to challenge myself and draw combat out. Dungeons have five difficulty levels, with Abyss being the hardest. Harder dungeons award more XP and rarer items.

The Dungeons can be repetitive. You will notice that the same textures and the same areas are frequently recycled. So in the beginning you run through essentially the same decrepit crypt five times with different bosses waiting for you at the end. I didn't mind so much. The walls are just there to confine me to an area. What I cared about was getting to the action, leveling up, and getting back to chaining attacks.

“Look Ma, I Leveled!”

Each level grants new skill points to be added to your skill tree. New skills are unlocked once you meet the level requirement. I happened to unlock my favorite skill, Wheel Blade,  at level 8. CuteMafa spins her lance, portending the chaos to come, and smashes with inordinate power. I can’t emphasize enough how satisfying it is to watch the fluid animation in action. And then at level 15, each base class can branch into two more classes, adding an array of well-animated and powerful moves. They are more refined specializations of your base class. Well, except for the Lancea which currently only has one secondary class, Piercer. Had I played warrior, I could have become a Swordsman or Mercenary. But then I also wouldn't be a CuteMafa.

What Did You Just Say To Me?

Interactions with NPC’s add a level of characterization that most MMORPG’s fail to meet. Games I’ve played drone on with meaningless text about items to be collected and monsters to be slain. Frequent voice-overs and simple dialogue make NPC interactions enjoyable without becoming monotonous. Unlike Ragnarok Online, I was not clicking “Next” in a self-induced coma to acquire the next objective. I genuinely enjoyed the presentation of quest givers and their responses to my inquiries. NPCs' snarky remarks keep interactions fresh. “Goddens be with you.. blah blah blah” said Cleric Trainer Leonard after I turned in a quest in to him while a nearby NPC can’t help but be vexed by my tenacious need for quests. I was really just feeling lonely and wanted a shoulder to cry on but Sorceress Master Cynthia mocked me as I left.

The NPCs' awareness of their orientation to you, the player, is amusing for any veteran of MMORPGs.  Furthermore, your character reacts to dialogue, expanding their own personality through NPCs rather than being the silent protagonist like in Firefall. Dragon Nest knows it's a video game and pokes fun at genre tropes while developing its own cliché story. It makes the game lighthearted—paralleling its art style— and helps push gameplay along, breaking action segments without dissuading me from continuing to play.

Show Me Your Moves

PvP is okay. Entering the arena is fun in small groups but becomes too chaotic with 8 or more players. If you get singled out in PvP you can leave your computer as your rag-doll gets joggled like college students playing hacky sack. To balance PvP the game does enhance disadvantaged players. You could enter the battle wearing nothing and focus on chaining your skills. PvP can be frustrating for the new player with up to 16 players on the field at once and the ability to smash in players' faces when they're knocked down. It's not where the game shines and I don't think it was meant to. But that doesn't mean its not fun. Killing other players is satisfying as it is satisfying in almost every game. And additional game modes beyond Arena, such as Ghoul Mode and Wipeout Mode, make it a worthwhile experience that isn't limited.

Can I Buy Victory?

The game is free-to-play so there must be some incentive to get you to open your wallet, right? Well, apart from cosmetics, the developers provide you with a minimal amount of bag space, 30 general item slots. To unlock additional bags you'll have to fork over some cash. You are provided with discount coupons to persuade you but I didn't have much of a problem with the limited space. So long as you remember to sell your excess items after finishing a quest/instance then you shouldn't have to worry.

Some items are locked to the cash shop that can be detrimental to gameplay, such as the Scroll of Unlearning—the only way to reset skill points. This is an item that is naturally obtained through quests but once used the only way to receive it is through the cash shop. So make sure to hold on to those quest items until you’re absolutely sure about your skill specialization. Although you won’t be spending an unreasonable amount of money to unlock the scroll. If necessity isn't your flavor than maybe cosmetics are. Costume pieces abound in the Cash shop to distinguish your character.

Final Verdict - Great

Why aren’t you playing this game? Dragon Nest is a fantastic combat-oriented MMORPG that is visually easy on the eyes while employing slick skill animation. Performance rankings provide incentives to replay dungeons, as if gracefully slaughtering enemies wasn't enough. The North American servers are a bit on the low side as far as population goes. So grab some friends and start tearing goblins and monsters apart in Dragon Nest.

Screenshots

Dragon Nest Screenshots

Videos

Dragon Nest Videos

Links

Dragon Nest Links

Dragon Nest Official Site
Dragon Nest Wikipedia
Dragon Nest Wikia [Database/Guides]
Dragon Nest Gamepedia [Database/Guides]

System Requirements

Dragon Nest Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP or higher
CPU: Penitum IV, Dual Core
RAM: 1GB
Video Card: Nvidia 7600
Hard Disk Space: Over 4GB available space

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP or higher
CPU: Penitum IV, Dual Core, 1GHz
RAM: 2 GB RAM
Video Card: Nvidia 8000 series
Hard Disk Space: Over 4GB available space

Music

Dragon Nest Music

Additional Info

Dragon Nest Additional Information

Developer(s): Eyedentity Games
Publisher(s): Nexon

Korea Release Date: March, 2010
North America Release Date: September 1, 2011
Europe Release Date: March 6, 2013

Closed Beta (North America): June 15, 2011
Open Beta (North America): July 26, 2011

Development History / Background:

Dragon Nest was created by South Korean game developer Eydentity Games. Nexon Korea Corporation secured the rights to Dragon Nest on November 2, 2007 and officially released the game in March 2010 in Korea. At the Penny Arcade Expo in 2009, Nexon America announced that Dragon Nest would be published in North America. The game was released to North American audiences in September, 2011. A manga based on the game titled Dragon Nest - Shungeki no Sedo is published by Kodansha and illustrated by Tatsubon. An animated film based on the game titled Dragon Nest: Warrior's Dawn was released in China on July 31, 2014. Publisher Nexon is well known for releasing free-to-play MMOs and MMORPGs around the world. They are famous for releasing the popular MMORPGs Maple Story, Vindictus,and the highly anticipated Tree of Savior.

Nexon dropped service for Dragon Nest in September, 2016. The game's developer, Eyedentity games, has launched their own North American service as a replacement on September 27, 2016. Players were able to transfer their old characters to the new service.

  • Awesome hack n slash MMORPG. Very similar to Vindictus though. I like the art-style in Dragon Nest though. Given that Vindictus is 3D, it'll age much quicker than the anime graphics in Dragon Nest.

  • cosmiclatte

    The art is very nice. The dungeons are too repetitive though.

  • Freed Dreamer

    hey omar! The Cherry Credits Dragon Nest Works here in US... just to tell you coz i tried it...

  • Dan X

    It's a fun anime mmorpg and the only one with action based combat I believe ...
    Yeah dungeons do get repetitive but what did you expect from an instance kind of game.
    Europe version sure loves its "Buy AC to get free costumes" kind of thing like every week -.-
    Costumes are highly ac oriented tho

    • DucturTunma

      "the only one with action based combat"... *cough cough* I read this after commenting below Dragon Saga review. That game did the action combat MUCH better, imo. Too bad it's almost dead

  • DucturTunma

    Last time I checked, they had dumbed down the difficulty. You can do most of the game completely solo. And it gets repetitive very fast. Because of the dumbed down difficulty, you can pretty much spam any skills and just look how everything goes "BOOM".
    There are invisible walls.
    Poor character creation
    Graphics are awful. I like the simplistic art style but can't stand those blury faces and blocks instead of hands. On bigger resolution it look terrible.
    Also no crafting. Basically there is almost nothing more to the game than just fighting and communicating.
    Dungeons instances based gameplay. No open world.

    Like that the story is different for most classes.

    I had better expectations from this game. It's enjoyable if you like to just relax and smash enemies. Probably good for younger gamers or people who dislike complicated hardcore games

    • PackAsaurasRex

      yep, the game is so easy I can't even stand to play it. I played it years back when I was younger it would take a whole day of play just to get out of the starting areas.. Now you can blow through the starting area in 30 mins.. I reached level 36 in just 2 days of casual play and was very bored after. I watch people stream the Nest (raids) and they were also a complete joke. Don't understand this but I guess its easier for the "kids" and "casuals".