Help me enjoy Dragon's Dogma

#1 Posted by Lukeweizer (2709 posts) -

I don't get it. I bought it and have played like 10 or so hours (level 15ish), and I can see HOW it would be appealing, it just doesn't work for me. You basically have a party of AI companions, but they're pretty fucking stupid. For me anyway. And as far as I can tell, me playing as a Fighter class, I can't make my Mages heal me on command. They just do it occasionally and when they do do it, it sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. I think I just don't understand how the gameplay is supposed to work.

Everything else is pretty neat. The world feels big and there's a lot of exploring to do. I hear a lot of people say you're going to get your ass kicked until level 20 or 30, which has definitely been the case for me. The last story quest I did, I had to just run for my fucking life because I was getting swarmed with enemies and my AI party kept trying to fight EVERYTHING and was just dying.

What am I missing? Do I just need to give it more time?

#2 Edited by Yummylee (22067 posts) -

Dragon's Dogma is definitely a game where you hafta... turn a blind eye to a lot of its many, many flaws and idiosyncrasies to appreciate all of the great things it manages to accomplish otherwise. Unfortunately, however, yes, the terrible pawn AI and lack of any reliable party-commands system is one such flaw that can get in the way of things. Though because the world doesn't scale at all and is completely static, you should try and do as many side-quests as possible to essentially over-level and then be able to power your way through. Goes without saying, but you'll probably wanna skip the escort missions, however...

Seriously, you think the pawn AI is bad? Try escorting someone who's essentially just as stupid, only now can get killed in about 3 hits, usually can't fight back, and often loves to hang around in the middle of a battlefield seemingly asking to get massacred. Probably some of the worst escort missions I can recently recall, and escort missions in general pretty much suck, even when they're at their 'best'.

#3 Posted by Lukeweizer (2709 posts) -

@yummylee said:

Dragon's Dogma is definitely a game where you hafta... turn a blind eye to a lot of its many, many flaws and idiosyncrasies to appreciate all of the great things it manages to accomplish otherwise. Unfortunately, however, yes, the terrible pawn AI and lack of any reliable party-commands system is one such flaw that can get in the way of things. Though because the world doesn't scale at all, you should try and do as many side-quests as possible to essentially over-level and then be able to power your way through. Goes without saying, but you'll probably wanna skip the escort missions, however...

Seriously, you think the pawn AI is bad? Try escorting someone who's essentially just as stupid, only now can get killed in about 3 hits, usually can't fight back, and often loves to hang around in the middle of a battlefield seemingly asking to get massacred. Probably some of the worst escort missions I can recently recall, and escort missions in general pretty much suck, even when they're at their 'best'.

Yikes. Thanks for the tips.

I definitely try to just play the game and enjoy the exploring, but then I run into a group of enemies and my health is capped at a quarter what it's supposed to be, then my Pawn's healing spell won't heal me. When something as fundamental as a functional healing spell doesn't work, really limits how much I can enjoy a game.

#4 Edited by Yummylee (22067 posts) -

@lukeweizer: Yeah, it really sucks that you can't map a strategy for your pawns or something Dragon Age style, but then part of the design behind the pawns is they're supposed to have their own 'unique' personalities and such. So, they're supposed to theoretically act based upon what sort of person they are. Though unfortunately it's all so damn vague and the varying characteristics of pawns so homogeneous and barely noticeable that I really wish they at least had the option for you to just be able to assign strategies, at least for your own.

There's this chair you can sit down to sorta determine how they'll act, but... again, it's so terribly vague that it doesn't amount to much difference.

DD's also weirdly enough a game that is indeed hardest at the beginning; that hill with all of those bandits just after the boulder comes rolling down is one area where I imagine most people found themselves getting completely destroyed. But like I said, you do enough side-quests and you'll eventually over-level everything. Sure, that'll defeat a lot of the challenge, but rather it be more manageable and fun than having to rely on terrible pawn AI to combat a high level of difficulty. It sorta tries to imitate Dark Souls a little with its action-focus, however DD definitely leans a little heavier into the RPG aspect, so if you're fighting against enemies you shouldn't be, you are going to get wrecked; your attacks will do practically nothing, and they'll be able to kill your whole team simply with a glare. Whereas in the Souls series of course, you can tackle pretty much anything at any level so long as you get good enough at the gameplay.

#5 Edited by The_Ruiner (1084 posts) -

It's tough in those early hours honestly. But your pawn's inclination has a lot to do with how they behave in battle. I will say they are very dumb. But the one thing they do very well is heal you. You just have to set them to do so above all else with the chair in the inn or with a potion bought from the merchant at the encampment. The potion is probably your best bet because it is very clear on what exactly you're changing your pawn into. Also bring a lot of greenwarish plants. They will bring up the health cap.

I realize it goes against the way most people(including me) play RPGs but don't explore right away. Do a decent number of the story quests first up until about the time you have an audience with the Duke. Then branch out and do the side stuff. Be careful not to go to far down the main path, because there are some good quests and items you can miss. And those escort missions are super easy. Explore as much as you can of Gran Soren first and drop way crystals in key area throughout the map. When you use your ferry stone, the person you're escorting will come with you. Also if they die you have about a minute to revive them with a wake stone.

But my enjoyment of this game comes from thrill of fighting the large monsters. My fondest memory of my time with the game is wandering through the woods and being attacked by a fire drake. I attacked him and very quickly realized I was not strong enough to fight this thing yet. I ran for some boulders for cover and out swarmed a ton of goblins and hobgoblins. So I'm running from this Drake and killing goblins left and right without even missing a beat or slowing down to much. It was very exciting. Like I was in a Lord of the Rings movie. There are a ton of moments like that in that game.

#6 Edited by MonkeyKing1969 (2903 posts) -

I don't get it. I bought it and have played like 10 or so hours (level 15ish), and I can see HOW it would be appealing, it just doesn't work for me. You basically have a party of AI companions, but they're pretty fucking stupid. For me anyway. And as far as I can tell, me playing as a Fighter class, I can't make my Mages heal me on command. They just do it occasionally and when they do do it, it sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. I think I just don't understand how the gameplay is supposed to work.

Everything else is pretty neat. The world feels big and there's a lot of exploring to do. I hear a lot of people say you're going to get your ass kicked until level 20 or 30, which has definitely been the case for me. The last story quest I did, I had to just run for my fucking life because I was getting swarmed with enemies and my AI party kept trying to fight EVERYTHING and was just dying.

What am I missing? Do I just need to give it more time?

Here is what you do. Go into the netherworld...whatever it is call to pick a pawn. Go up to the stone and tell it you want to call magic users of the same level as you. When they come in look at them and check their abilities for healing magic. Some mages that are DRESSED like healers might only have one weak healing spell...or NONE. You want a healer that has Anodyne, High Anodyne. Helpful buffs would be Halidom, High Halidom which cures debuffs enemies might have cast on you. As you rise up higher you want a mage that has High Anodyne and Beatitude, the second one is a 50% increase in spell duration...meaning you get more healing.

With the proper pawn that has been well made you will get healed when you need to be healed When you push teh button for HELP, you pawn will determine you HP is low and heal you, if you HP is not to bad they will buff you ro a weapon, if you have a debilitation it will cure those debuffs.

That's really it. You need to be careful about what pawns you choose. Early in the game when you are learning, is is not intuitive how the game works, or what spells do what because they are called things like Anodyne. BTW: that word means - serving to alleviate pain, or sometimes healthful.

The key to pawns is too choose well made ones that have a good balance of perks, protection, and defensive and offensive skills. Comparison shop! People are dumb, people make stupid choices sometimes and often that means they make USELESS pawn characters. The game right from the time you start tells you to TRY OUT different pawns. If you are a tank, you need a good healer, and good bowman, and maybe a backup knight. If you are a healer, you need to hire that tank and the hire the other pawns that will make a well rounded party...but the pawns HAVE TO BE GOOD.

#7 Posted by RVonE (4664 posts) -
#8 Edited by Humanity (9604 posts) -
#9 Edited by kerse (2117 posts) -

Honestly my advise is to forget about pawns ever healing you, just carry around potions and stuff. Even if you get one that will try to heal you at the right times, they will stand next to ejemies and try to do it. Get the item burden skill from fighter and load up on healing items and have one support, and the rest all dps or tank pawns, and you will have a lot more fun. Mages are fantastic at curing debuffs and giving buffs, but the anodyne spells just take way too long, or at least that was my experience, especcialy in the DLC. Also make sure you are checking skills, inclinations and perks before hiring, like monkeyking said above, there are plenty of combinations of those that makes completely useless pawns.

#10 Posted by Humanity (9604 posts) -

@lukeweizer: First of all, congratulations on purchasing 2013's RPG of the year. What? Where was it nominated? That's not important right now, whats important is getting you up to speed on how to get the most out of an already amazing experience.

Your pawns are actually incredibly clever, but like most creatures with no souls (i.e. dogs) they need to be trained in order to get the most out of them. Pawns learn along the way and have set behaviors which you can toggle. You can tell your pawns to stay back, or charge forward, to heal you or heal themselves. Make sure to access these options early through the rift in order to customize how your loyal companion, who would gladly throw their life on the line for you, will act in combat.

Let's take a moment to discuss optimal pawns. The game gives you many different classes that your pawn could specialize in. These all work well in their own right but there is one type of pawn that excels in almost every situation: the mage. Mages differ from Sorcerers in that they have access to support spells while their more focused brethren specialize in offensive magick(sic). While the player character himself/herself can be a mage and it works fairly well, you'd be robbing yourself of the joys of clinging to a griffins back as he takes off into the air, or climbing atop the head of a cyclops and jamming something sharp into his eyeball. Pawns on the other hand make excellent support mages. Equip them with healing spells and a few weapon buffs - fire and lightening being by far the most useful types. Just remember, you need to set their behavior properly. If your pawn was a fighter and you switch them to a mage, don't be surprised when they keep rushing into battle instead of holding back and helping the party.

Also make sure to decide early. Each level spent in a certain vocation with level up the stats that correspond to it. Level up as a Fighter and watch your STR go up much quicker than the other stats. Likewise become a mage and your INT will increase causing spells to become more powerful. This becomes important later on in the game. If your pawn was a fighter for 40 levels and you switch them to a Mage, their spells will be weak and ineffective no matter what equipment you give them. Choose wisely!

There were plenty of times when my pawns were extremely helpful during my playthrough. They would carry knocked out team members next to me so I could revive them. They would point the way on a quest if they had prior knowledge of it. They would call it elemental weaknesses on enemies I haven't encountered yet. Plenty of times my pawns saved my life and rescued the entire party. When I ran with a posse full of mages and sorcerers, they would use a special skill that lets them synchronize their spells together - there is nothing quite as amazing as a big monster trying to rush you when all of a sudden 3 meteor showers rained death across the entire screen.

Keep playing and don't be afraid to consult the Dragons Dogma Wiki

This is a dense game, with some arguably archaic Japanese design, so some quests will come and go without you ever knowing there was a time limit.

#11 Edited by Yummylee (22067 posts) -

Tis weak to fire! *buffs team's weapons with ice enchantment*.

#12 Edited by RVonE (4664 posts) -
#13 Edited by Humanity (9604 posts) -

@rvone said:

@humanity said:

@rvone said:

Summoning @humanity and @demoskinos

*cracks knuckles, flexes shoulder blades*

:)

My job here is done, I can only hope for his own sake.. that he purchased the Dark Arisen edition. Umbasa.

#14 Posted by RVonE (4664 posts) -

@humanity: You went above and beyond. Umbasa.

And obviously, any sane person would double dip on Dragon's Dogema. Such Arisen.

#15 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3430 posts) -

My advice is to make a character at the maximum height and weight, then you will walk around the world like a giant among ants and crush your foes with your new-found confidence.

#16 Posted by Demoskinos (15019 posts) -

I think @humanity already covered most of everything but as far as pawns and them being "dumb" there is one thing that a ton of people ignore and its that there is an A.I. routine and logic system that you the player set for your pawn. You need to set A.I. routines for your pawns that make sense for their class for instance you don't want the trait that makes your pawn run headfirst into battle if they are a mage because they will just get smashed. And like you mentioned your pawn only healing you randomly? You can actually set the A.I. to make it priority one to heal and guard you.

Making sure pawns have proper A.I routines make can make the pawns way more useful. You can find items to set your pawns routine at the camp where you fought the hydra the beginning of the game. You may want to also read up more about it on the wiki. And be picky when you hire pawns a lot of people make really awful pawns and have no idea how to build them properly to make them effective.

#17 Posted by Lukeweizer (2709 posts) -

@humanity said:

@lukeweizer: First of all, congratulations on purchasing 2013's RPG of the year. What? Where was it nominated? That's not important right now, whats important is getting you up to speed on how to get the most out of an already amazing experience.

Your pawns are actually incredibly clever, but like most creatures with no souls (i.e. dogs) they need to be trained in order to get the most out of them. Pawns learn along the way and have set behaviors which you can toggle. You can tell your pawns to stay back, or charge forward, to heal you or heal themselves. Make sure to access these options early through the rift in order to customize how your loyal companion, who would gladly throw their life on the line for you, will act in combat.

Let's take a moment to discuss optimal pawns. The game gives you many different classes that your pawn could specialize in. These all work well in their own right but there is one type of pawn that excels in almost every situation: the mage. Mages differ from Sorcerers in that they have access to support spells while their more focused brethren specialize in offensive magick(sic). While the player character himself/herself can be a mage and it works fairly well, you'd be robbing yourself of the joys of clinging to a griffins back as he takes off into the air, or climbing atop the head of a cyclops and jamming something sharp into his eyeball. Pawns on the other hand make excellent support mages. Equip them with healing spells and a few weapon buffs - fire and lightening being by far the most useful types. Just remember, you need to set their behavior properly. If your pawn was a fighter and you switch them to a mage, don't be surprised when they keep rushing into battle instead of holding back and helping the party.

Also make sure to decide early. Each level spent in a certain vocation with level up the stats that correspond to it. Level up as a Fighter and watch your STR go up much quicker than the other stats. Likewise become a mage and your INT will increase causing spells to become more powerful. This becomes important later on in the game. If your pawn was a fighter for 40 levels and you switch them to a Mage, their spells will be weak and ineffective no matter what equipment you give them. Choose wisely!

There were plenty of times when my pawns were extremely helpful during my playthrough. They would carry knocked out team members next to me so I could revive them. They would point the way on a quest if they had prior knowledge of it. They would call it elemental weaknesses on enemies I haven't encountered yet. Plenty of times my pawns saved my life and rescued the entire party. When I ran with a posse full of mages and sorcerers, they would use a special skill that lets them synchronize their spells together - there is nothing quite as amazing as a big monster trying to rush you when all of a sudden 3 meteor showers rained death across the entire screen.

Keep playing and don't be afraid to consult the Dragons Dogma Wiki

This is a dense game, with some arguably archaic Japanese design, so some quests will come and go without you ever knowing there was a time limit.

Thanks a lot! Lots of great advice. I'll definitely sit down and set some routines for my Pawns. Especially my healers.

Another thing I'm having a problem with is my max health being capped to sometimes a quarter of my total life. Is that a death penalty thing?

#18 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Switch classes man. I enjoyed the Strider-archetype classes the most. Once you wrap your head around the controls, bow and arrow is pretty darn badass.

#19 Edited by xyzygy (10032 posts) -

I barely used pawns at all. Sometimes they were good, like if I was going to raid a huge group of enemies or something (that bandit castle/camp on the shoreline comes to mind) but when exploring I found it best to go alone. I did play mainly as a Strider/Mystic Knight though, so maybe the far attacks that I was using helped me more on that end. So you might want to consider those points.

#20 Posted by Slag (4615 posts) -

Thanks a lot! Lots of great advice. I'll definitely sit down and set some routines for my Pawns. Especially my healers.

Another thing I'm having a problem with is my max health being capped to sometimes a quarter of my total life. Is that a death penalty thing?

That means you're wounded duder, go get some sleep and/or pop some herbs!

from:

http://dragonsdogma.wikia.com/wiki/Stats

Indirect Health damage - Indirect Health damage is the most common damage and is indicated by taking away a portion of health and leaving a trail on the health bar to indicate the health may be restored through Magick spells.

Direct Health damage or "wounding" - Direct Health damage is sustained with heavy (indirect) damage only. Direct Health damage takes a portion of the character's maximum health. This type of damage cannot be healed with Magick spells such as Anodyne and must be healed by using Curatives such as a Greenwarish or other items that restore health. Sleeping at an Inn will also recover all health.

When suffered both direct and indirect health damage using a curing item will heal the maximum amount it can starting at the indirect health part. Thus it is advisable to use a Magick spell first if available to heal the indirect part and then use curatives to heal the direct damage.

#21 Edited by Fascism (148 posts) -

I've learned of corpses.

#22 Posted by seveword (177 posts) -

This is the only way I could enjoy the game:

1) Get to the major hub city, and change classes to an assassin

2) Drag the brain-dead violent children that people refer to as "pawns" along with you until you level up your assassin's class fully

3) Get the skill Autonomy (I believe it's called that), maybe a couple others do similar things like Bloodlust. Essentially it gives you huge buffs to your attack skills, but only if you're alone. You know what this means?

4) Ditch your pawns. I got rid of mine around level 35-40, and had no problems afterwards with the help of those skills.

5) Enjoy the peace and quiet

Dragon's Dogma is such a weird damn game. The combat has the potential to be fantastic, and the story, although it takes stupid and unnecessary detours (like with the Duke's wife) is weird enough once you hit the endgame to keep you going. There are so many other stupid, broken, and just straight garbage systems and mechanics worked into the whole thing to keep me from recommending it to anybody that isn't already a little crazy, though.

#23 Posted by Broomhitches (173 posts) -

You can make your main pawn smarter by changing his/her inclination. Many people either do it the wrong way or don't know how to do it at all, which leaves you choosing some poorly tuned pawns. I ended up making my main a primary healer because other pawns simply weren't healing like they should.

#24 Edited by Karkarov (3187 posts) -

Like @broomhitches said look up some info about pawn inclination and how to change it/adjust it and what the different inclinations do. Also check pawn skills religiously. The top two things that cause a pawn to suck are bad inclinations, and bad skills. If you are looking for a tanking pawn make sure they have inclinations like challenger and actually have taunting skills slotted etc etc. Gear is like a distant third thing to look at. Even if the pawn you are looking at hiring has the best gear in the game if his inclinations are making him spend all his time looting and his skills are terrible he will still be a crap pawn.

Also yeah... as you take damage HP goes down (go fig) however it isn't that simple. The more damage you take the more HP penalty you get. Basically the worse you get beat up the more the game caps your hp and prevents you from healing past a certain point. The only way to heal this "scar" damage is to use a healing item, the healing spells will not heal you past the hp penalty.

Another tip. You can give your pawns lanterns and it helps "a little". They wont be bright like yours but it can help you keep track of them in the dark. Additionally pawn lanterns don't need oil so don't give them any. You can also give them mining picks and sometimes they will mine the ore for you so you don't have to do it all. If you want even faster ore mining... go warrior, when you hit an ore node with a two hander attack it causes all the ore to just pop out. It can be a little hard to track it all down this way but it is a ton faster.

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