Guide: Surviving the First Few Hours of Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
Posted by Robert Ramsey
Slow and steady wins the race
As you may already know, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is actually a re-release of last year's Dragon's Dogma. While there’s no doubt that veteran players will be returning to Gransys in order to tackle the daunting expansion from which the re-release gets its name, we thought we’d take the time to jot down a few tips for the fresh-faced newcomers who know nothing about the daunting task that lies ahead.
Compliment your playstyle with your main pawn
Pawns are arguably the most crucial component of Dragon’s Dogma. As the legendary Arisen, it falls to you to band together a group of these not-quite-human warriors and make use of them in your quest. Near the beginning of the game, you’ll need to create your main pawn with whom you’ll travel with for eternity and beyond. So, for starters, it’s a good idea to make them a likeable personality.
It’s not just about appearance, though. Make sure to compliment your own character by assigning your pawn a different role in combat. If you’re a mage, for example, it might be a good idea to have your pawn be a fighter so that they can keep monsters off your back as you cast magic. In contrast, if you’re the burly sword and shield type, making your companion a mage means that they’ll be able to heal your battered body when the time comes.
Swap out your secondary pawns regularly
Unlike your main pawn, secondary pawns don’t level up and they come readily equipped with gear suited to their level. As you grow stronger, remember to switch out your two supporting party members frequently to keep a nice balance. Thankfully, pawns are just about everywhere – you can find them wandering around civilised areas, or even on roads out in the wilderness. Quickly chatting to one will allow you to scan over their level and equipment, as well as their learned abilities.
If you don’t find a companion to your liking, then head to your nearest rift stone and simply use the search function to find exactly what you’re looking for. Again, like with your main pawn, it’s a good idea to form a diverse team of multiple vocations that can handle different situations. Almost every monster in the game requires a certain amount of strategy, and having the right combination of abilities can often mean the difference between life and death.
Don’t worry about picking the right vocation
Each vocation or class in Dragon’s Dogma plays differently, and with access to only one save file, it can seem like picking the wrong one means that you’ll have to start over from scratch. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. If you feel that you’ve mucked up your initial choice, just head over to the inn in Gran Soren. There you can spend your discipline points earned from battles to change your vocation to a brand new one – even carrying over any relevant skills that you may have learned.
Because of how varied gameplay can be between each class, it’s certainly a good idea to experiment – you may discover a penchant for the Ranger’s long range bow as opposed to the heavy sword that you’ve been wielding for the past ten hours. You can even change your main pawn’s class to better suit your needs. Whatever you decide, make sure to choose a style that you enjoy playing – this is an extremely lengthy title.
Don’t skimp on curatives
Dragon’s Dogma has a realistic approach when it comes to food. Fruit and vegetables can be found just about everywhere when you’re off gallivanting around the countryside, but holding them in your inventory for too long will cause them to rot, losing all of their healing qualities. It’s best therefore to use them when you need them. For example, if you’re missing a chunk of HP, chow down on those apples you picked up a few minutes ago, as there are plenty more where they came from.
Since there’s only one health-healing spell in the game, curatives can be crucial when it comes to survival. Make sure to share them out among your pawns when you get the chance – they’ll use them automatically whenever they take a nasty hit.
Caution is your greatest ally
Dragon’s Dogma boasts an open world full of danger, but unlike other similar titles such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, enemies don’t scale to your character’s level. This means that you might slaughter one group of bandits in just a few blows, while another does the exact same to you. Without prior knowledge, there’s no way to know the degree of an opponent’s strength, and this will undoubtedly lead to some brutally quick deaths.
Unless, of course, you proceed through the early hours of your adventure with great caution. The game has quite a large draw distance, so use this to your advantage. If you spy a giant dragon or a huge band of goblins roaming around in the woods, steer clear and skirt around the beasts. If you’re a good shot with a bow, take a pop at a far-away adversary and see just how much damage you’re able to do. If your attacks barely make a scratch, then you’ll know it’s probably best to run.
Look out for number one
Above all else, keep your own character alive. If your health hits zero during a fight, it’s game over, and you’ll have no choice but to load up an old save. In contrast, if your pawns are felled, you can easily sprint over and hit the circle button to revive them, with no penalty. Even if you miss the chance to bring your allies back from the brink of death, you’ll be able to do so at the next rift stone.
Have you got any of your own helpful tips for Dragon's Dogma novices? Share your hints in the comments section below.