So, the instance I was stuck on and failing because due to time running was my fault. One part I kinda skipped over in the tutorial was the concept of the "Dragon Rune". These are Tetris-style blocks that you acquire and range in a grid and they boost various stats and attributes. I only have room for one and adding one of the ones I'd found granted some extra elemental damage to one of the skills. This was enough to tip the scales and I completed the instance. How did I miss this the first time?
Too often, games throw a huge number of systems at you at from the beginning just to get you acclimated. More often than not, they don't really become useful until much later on and sometimes not even until end game. I assumed that would be the case here, but the Dragon Rune system in Dragon Nest2 is necessary even at level 12. I guess the lesson for me is to slow down and pay more attention.