Don’t Give Up – 5 Dragon’s Dogma 2 Beginner Tips

How Not to Quit DD2

If you’re a fan of action RPGs, especially games like Elden Ring, you’ve probably come to expect certain mechanics and conveniences. Sure, FromSoftware games are known for their punishing difficulty, but more and more the developer has made exploring and questing pretty easy and focused the difficulty primarily on combat. If you never played the original Dragon’s Dogma and come to the sequel expecting a variation on Dark Souls, you’re going to be confused, and frustrated. You might be running for the exits before you really figure things out. Dragon’s Dogma 2 is different.

Now, at its core, Dragon’s Dogma 2 is still a recognizable fantasy RPG, sharing the same general post-Dungeons and Dragons mixture of monsters, questing and adventuring with a group. There are the usual classes—fighters, mages, rangers, and thieves —called vocations. Each vocation has several sub-vocation specializations. Once you’ve unlocked one or more of the sub-vocations, you can move between them by speaking to a vocation trainer in town. 

Beyond the basics, though, Dragon’s  Dogma 2 has a very particular and, ultimately, extremely rewarding way of doing just about everything. But you need to understand the pervasive ways in which the game approaches balance. It’s not just risk-reward, it’s an attempt to mimic the way things would work in the real world. That is if the real world was populated by dragons, trolls, cyclops, harpies, and armies of goblins. 

1 Cosmetics are Not Skin Deep

Dragon’s Dogma 2 has a fantastically deep and detailed character creator, and it’s tempting to simply make the most outlandish or attractive character you can. We’ve come to expect that, in most action RPGs, appearance is just a paint job. In DD2, the size, muscularity, and even limb size of your character directly impact how much weight they can carry and how much stamina they have. Create a petite warrior and they will struggle to lift a sword. Make your thief a muscle-bound behemoth and you can forget agility. Dragon’s Dogma 2 isn’t stopping you from creating the character of your dreams, just reminding you that you need to make a character that will be able to do what you ask of them. The same is true of your primary pawn…more on pawns later.

Disregard this and, almost immediately, encumbrance will become a frustration. There is a lot of stuff to pick up in the world, and much of it seems — or is — valuable. Stronger, bigger characters can haul more of it, but at some point, even the burliest warrior will struggle. What to do? You have three options. First, you can just drop whatever you don’t need, painful as that might be. Second, you can use the game’s storage system at any inn. Last, and easiest, you can distribute your stuff among your primary and temporary pawns. 

2 Take Your Time…You Don’t Have a Choice

If you’ve played Elden Ring, you’ve come to be spoiled by the game’s generous fast travel system, allowing you to jet between very numerous sites of grace. Dragon’s Dogma 2 has a fast travel system, too, but it is limited to a relatively small number of travel points and additionally, you need a rare, expensive item every time you want to put down a fast travel point. You won’t have access to fast travel until several hours into the game.

Meanwhile, the map is huge and you still need to get from one place to the next. What can you do? There are ox-pulled carts, a little like very slow-moving buses that only travel certain main roads and at scheduled times of day. The carts can be attacked, too, so it isn’t like they’re absolutely safe. You can, however, doze off during the cart ride, which speeds things up.

The main mode of transport remains putting one foot in front of the other. It’s the best way to see the vast world of DD2, but it’s slow and dangerous, too. Especially at night.

3 The Night is Dark and I Am Far From Home

If you’ve ever been out in the real-world wilderness you know how mysterious and disconcertingly dark it can be. DD2 does a fantastic job of making the night truly terrifying. Some of the most dangerous and deadly monsters are strictly nocturnal and it is a certainty that, if you’re away from a campfire at night you will be set upon by something intending to kill you. 

You can’t avoid adventuring at night altogether, though. Some quests require it and there are treasures to be had. You can make the nighttime a little less scary by using a lamp (lamps need lamp oil. Nothing’s free in DD2), and you can use a camping kit to rest, cook food, and keep the darkness at bay. But of course, quite a number of monsters and unsavory characters are actually drawn to the light of your campfire. Camping kits are heavy, too, so you’ll have to use them wisely.

4 Of Parties and Pawns

By far its biggest innovation, Dragon’s Dogma introduced the idea of pawns. Pawns are inter-dimensional NPCs that can be hired and, the fact that your character can interact with them makes your character the legendary Arisen. 

Every player has a main pawn that levels up in tandem with the player. You can also hire up to two temporary pawns, either those that you meet out in the world or via magical riftstones. The riftstones are portals that house both NPCs and player-created pawns ready to be hired out. Like the player, pawns have main or sub-vocations and specific skills and spells. They also have one of four basic personalities, ranging from fawning to grudging. Provided you have enough coin, you can trade out the player-made pawns at will. The price climbs with their experience and level. A little like Uber drivers, the pawns come with a rating. 

Pawns are stand-ins for typical RPG party members. As such, it is absolutely vital that both pawns and player cover a wide range of jobs. Not having a caster or ranged fighter will make encounters with winged enemies exceptionally difficult. Not having a tank that can wade into melee will make getting swarmed by goblins the definition of a bad time.

5 Pay the Price

Nothing’s free in Dragon’s Dogma 2. Not resting at the inn, or adding skills. Everything costs something, whether it be coin or experience. And even those things that are freely found in the world through questing, combat, or exploration have hidden costs. Maybe it’s the risk of injury or death, or the equation in which finding loot is balanced against encumbrance. 

Learning the systems and how the gears push and pull is both the game’s biggest challenge and greatest reward. Fighting against DD2’s mechanics will frustrate. While we can complain about it being old school or needlessly inconvenient, those are not bugs. They’re features, and the evidence of a fascinating, confident, and— for the players who learn them— engrossing vision. 

So, the final tip is: be patient. Dragon’s Dogma 2 is best experienced with a commitment for the long haul. The story keeps getting better. The enemies become more challenging, and they’re probably always going to feel over-leveled. For a game as large as Dragon’s Dogma 2, there’s not much feeling of repetition, which experienced open-world gamers should appreciate. Dragon’s Dogma 2 isn’t perfect, but it’s something special.

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