Dragon Nest2 Final Review
I've reached level 16 in Dragon Nest2 and while I will probably play it on and off, I feel that I've played it enough to get a sense for the game.
The story is a little confusing, but you're tasked with figuring out the purpose and/or recharding a Sage Stone. This somehow plays into defeating Elena, who appears to be a powerful sorceress. There's likely more to the story that unfolds, but it's very much a standard "Chosen hero defeats the Big Bad".
The quests are fetch quests or kill X mobs, at least in the overworld game. Much of the actual gameplay involves instanced dungeons. In those, the quest is just to complete the dungeon. The text localization is ok, but all the voice-acting is non-English. Although simple, the developers did try to insert some emotional content and you end up witnessing the death of an NPC that you couldn't save. That's a nice tough, in my opinion.
Combat is the big focus here. While the game has autopathing, it does not have autocombat. The combat is pretty standard, but the need for the basic attack is largely absent as there are plenty of skills with cooldowns that don't overlap. I was using a basic attack only occasionally. In dungeons, this is important because they're timed and you're not making the most efficient use of your abilities, you will run out of time and have to re-run it. There is a dogdge mechanic, but as of level 16 most damage can be tanked. There are some crowd-control effects from some bosses, but even those weren't a big driver for dodge. What was a driver was an optional passive that increased movement and damage after a successful dodge, at least as a warrior. Area of effect damage is ideal and the warrior has some abilities for this, but getting the mobs to group up was a bit of a challenge.
The general flow was autopath from one quest-giver to the next, auto-path to the dungeon, clear the dungeon, and rinse and repeat.
There are upgrade systems in terms of Dragon Runes for the character and their skills and Dragon Jewels for gear. The jewels are the same mechanic as in every other game, but it looks like the Dragon Runes are a bit different. A given rune will boost certain types of damage (like light and water, or darkness and fire), but you can slot multiple runes in a Tetris-like configuration. That is something I haven't seen before and I love that the developers went this route.
There was nothing really new or innovative, but the world itself was ok. I did eventually make it to a big city and saw lots of other players, which made the game feel a bit more alive. Otherwise, while I would run into other players sometimes, the game was isolating as most of the content is instanced.
The world is a mix of traditional fantasy and silliness. For example, my character wields a massive sword and now has wings (kinda neat, ngl), but also wears a duck mask. I unironically love this kind of irreverence. Does it ruin immersion? Sure. Does it bother me? Not at all.
The Social Aspect
I play mmorpgs for interesting stores and lore and socializing. I love hanging out in a big city and participating in the general chat. In mobile games this is hard, as the chat is mostly filled with guild and party recruitments and gold-sellers. Dragon Nest2 isn't any different in this regard, sadly. The social bit just wasn't that present.
On the whole, I think Dragon Nest2 is a fun game. The combat is satisfying, the world is both traditional and silly, and it seems easy enough for a casual player like me to enjoy. What would make this game a regular part of my gaming is more connection to the social side. There are plenty of other games that tick all those same boxes and have a thriving social community.