Thursday, November 7, 2019

There Has To Be A Pony: Dragon Nest Mobile

I logged in to Dragon Nest Mobile today and everything was... different.

First there was an update. Then I was asked if I wanted to join a new server. There was no option not to, so I said yes.

The game closed and took me to the Google Play store. I was prompted to download and re-install the client. I did that. Then it patched again.

At this point I was about ready to find my character (who I only made a few weeks back) gone but no, all was well. Well... for a given value of wellness.

Welcome back to somewhere you've never been.
I logged in and found myself somewhere completely unrecognizeable. It did feel familiar, though. It reminded me very strongly of the plaza introduced late-on to City of Steam, about the time that game finally morphed from an MMORPG into a collection of fairground attractions based around a lobby.

Which seems to be pretty much what's happened to Dragon Nest M, only even more so. I spent the best part of an hour following on-screen prompts, opening screen after screen of Rewards, Upgrades, Activities and who-all knows what until I felt positively dizzy.

There has to be a pony. Oh, wait, there is!

There seem to be scores of new ways to upgrade or progress or modify your character. Everything has a star rating or comes with its own currency or requires a jewel or a gem or defaults to its own store. It was like trying to play a dozen games at once, except there was no actual "play" involved, not that I could see.

There was still a 3D space where my character could move around although it was pretty hard to see either her or her surroundings through the astonishing screen clutter. Eventually I stumbled through an opening and found myself back in the old starting area - or an approximation thereof.

Get used to the clutter. If you can.
The new lobby is an extension of the old but where the actual MMORPG has gone beats me. I did manage to find the NPC that used to direct the main story quest, eventually. Maybe it still does (it's a robot, hence the non-gendered pronoun) but it wasn't saying any of the things it usually does and I couldn't find a way to get back to where I left off last time.

I did finally succeed in getting the game to put me into an instance where I could fight mobs for some kind of "quest" but it had nothing to do with anything I've seen in Dragon Nest before. Worse, many of my combat skills seemed to have changed and the way combat worked was significantly altered from how it's been for the many years I've played.

Call that a gun? This is a gun!

It appears I now have a pet duck that fights for me. I can also place turrets. I still have my robot butler to tank and my big gun, albeit a different big gun because I got purple legendary one as a login reward.

One of the windows I opened offered me a "Moniker Promotion". I thought "Moniker" for "Name" went out in the 1950s although a quick google suggests it still has currency. I clicked on the button in front of me and received the said promotion:

What can people have been calling you if "Vagrant" is a step up?

I was offered the chance to specialize, something that took me many, many sessions to achieve in the original game but now seems to happen in minutes. Having done that I was asked if I'd care to add a second specialization to my specialization.

I accepted the offer and got sent into an instance which was too tough to complete, although not by much.  If I'd had time to familiarize myself with my new abilities and the way combat now works I'd probably have succeeded. I don't get the impression the game wants anyone to fail. Not yet, anyway. Have to get them hooked first...

Remember that MMORPG you used to play? Skip it, eh?
Digging through the many, many unfamiliar items in my backpack I found a token that will upgrade my character to Level 120. I didn't use it. I'm confused enough already. Also, I don't actually know what level she is now. Sometimes my character portrait says 16, sometimes 127.

I get the impression the game I used to play has gone somewhere else, probably into a dark corner where it can rock backwards and forwards and whimper. This might be the update that breaks me, too.

Oh, for a Dragon Nest Classic...

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