Nexon, that lovable Korean company that has put out games such as Maple Story, Vindictus and Dungeon Fighter Online, is in the process of preparing it’s lastest MMO for release; Dragon Nest. However this time around Nexon has decided to give us a taste of what’s to come in the form of an open beta that is open to anyone in the United States, Canada. You can sign up for the beta by going to http://dragonnest.nexon.net. If you already have an existing Nexon ID, then it makes the process even easier as all you need to do is download the installer.
Best of all the game is F2P (Free To Play), well unless you want to buy or earn NX points, which are points that you can buy directly from Nexon to get items such as potions, enhancements, armor, etc. NX points actually exist in many of Nexon’s game so this is fairly common on Nexon’s part.
Oh and don’t worry about this just being a beta. Nexon has assured us that while this is the open beta when the game goes live all levels will be kept, so no starting over and no server resets!
While I’m mainly a PC gamer (Viva La PC) I went with the conventional control scheme, using the W|A|S|D keys for movement and the mouse for my standard and special attack. You can then bind your abilities or items to your keyboard (0-9 keys). Though you can also use a Xbox 360, Logitech or any gamepad to play the game, you still need to bind your abilities and items to the keyboard, similar to how Dungeon Fighter Online works. Sadly you can not bind extra controls to your mouse, like your jump or items, which is sorely missed.
There are 4 available classes to select; Sorceress, Warrior, Cleric and Archer. You also can customize your character before jumping into the main game. While you can change your eye color, hair color and gear color, there really isn’t any difference between you any other person who happens to choose the same class as yours. While I understand why this was done, it is a little disappointing to see 100+ characters looking exactly like you and does end up causing some confusion in crowds.
You can also level up your class of your chosen and specialize (Sub-Classes) that class when you first hit level 15. So for example when you choose a warrior, you can choose to become a Sword Master, a mercenary. A Sorceress can become either a Elementalist or a Mystic, the Cleric can become either a
Pally Paladin or a Priest and the Archer can become a Acrobat or a Sharpshooter.
I chose a Warrior since I like to be in the middle of the battle and smashing stuff with huge weapons and getting in my enemies faces! Take that Dragon!
Dragon Nest, if I was to describe it would be best summed up as a mix between Secret of Mana and Phantasy Star Online. It’s very colorful, unlike Vindictus, the world is vivid and the monsters are animated well. The gameplay while very simple can be complex depending on your play style and is very similar to a fighter. You have your standard attack and special attack that can be used as a push / knock back which can then double as a punish move when the enemy is on the ground / their back. You also have several abilites that can be used as “Supers” that can be learned via a trainer or found in the world by picking up items such as books. When in combat you can string attacks together to form combos, similar to a fighter like Marvel vs Capcom 3.
It’s not unheard of to get combo’s consisting of 100 hits or more. In fact there are actually achievements in the game that require you to get a set amount of hits in a combo. From my own gameplay I got about a 150 hit combo. For example you can do a standard attack which leads into a knock back, but if you have an ability that rushes in you can cancel that knock back into a move that juggles them into that air, which you can do standard attacks ago and lead into an air combo. Once they hit the ground you can still get a certain amounts of hits ago and attempt to jungle them once more, other wise you would do your special attack and hit them on the ground.Be cautious though as abilities , while instant (so far) are cool down based. Granted you get a larger amount of combo’s when you are facing multiple mobs at a time, but once you get the hang of it you’ll wonder if you’re actually playing an MMO or a Fighter.
You also get a dodge which is on a cool down; you can’t constantly dodge all attacks and have to think about using it. Oddly enough I didn’t see any way to block attacks or I maybe I wasn’t paying attention. Oh and then there are the quests, so get ready for a grind. If you’ve every played a MMO, then you know you what kind of grind you are in for; Get this, go there, save this person, bring me this idea, blah blah bleh! Back to the skills part, you start with a certain amount of abilities that are either passive or usable via combat. You can then either earn more abilities by leveling up and talking to a trainer or finding books that will grant you a once time use to earn a new ability. You can then using what are called “SP” or skill points to level up those abilities.
Lastly you get graded on how well you preform in a dungeon, which leads you to watch out on how many you type, how good you fight (Number of hits per combo), the level of the dungeon you are playing in , dungeon clear time, amount of bosses defeated and number of players in your party (Up to 4).
Overall I really like what I’ve seen so far. Sure it borrows heavily from several different games and game types, but honestly what game doesn’t? All that is important is that the final product is fun and enjoyable and so far it has been. I do have several gripes though. When progressing from level to level, there is a 5-10 second pause as the next level is loading. While that not seem like a big deal, but when you are processing and can take out the entire level within a few minutes, it quickly starts to get annoying. I also don’t like that when you choose a class, you can not choose between a male or female, it’s all or nothing. I also have an issue with the voices, some of them (Female) make my ears bleed, it’s just really annoying so prepare to lower the voice levels (which thankfully is an option, so someone else must have thought they were annoying as well). I also don’t like the fact that the controls are preset and you can’t change the bindings. While I’m sure either Nexon or the community will find a way around this, its annoying to say the least that I can’t change my default keys and in the heat of button you can fumble and hit the wrong key and either waste a potion or use the wrong ability and suffer a cool down wait.
I strongly recommend it for those who are new to MMOs, are looking to get off some of the larger time sink MMO’s (Cough*WoW*Cough) or those looking for a quick beat em up with RPG elements. And besides, it’s free, what do you got to lose?
Look for me (Shadowhaxor) on the Argenta server.