Is it safe to peek out from behind our Dragon Quest duvet covers yet? Have they put down the pitchforks? Reactions to the news that the Wii/Wii U sequel to Dragon Quest IX would have a heavy online component ran the gamut from Outrage to Falling Stock Prices to Burning Things, but now the dust has settled it's time to take a look at what the game is, rather than what it's not.
Dragon Quest X: Rise Of The Five Tribes Online is an MMORPG - there's no getting around that fact now. While you can play the game offline with AI partners, you'll only be able to progress so far along the quest-line. To experience the full game you'll need to pay a monthly fee, interact with other humans - oh, and have a spare USB drive handy.
Like most online games, Five Tribes will revolve around a distinct set of races: Ogre, Dwarf, Elf, Puklipo and Weddie. Interestingly, however, you'll start the game as a Human, before a mysterious event transforms you into one of the other tribes. This event seems to form the basis of the plot, which is said to have more content than the average Dragon Quest - and, unlike most online games, a proper ending.
Five Tribes' world, Astoldia, comprises five islands (well, one is a series of islands) as well as a middle landmass where it appears the humans dwell. If the TGS sneak peek is any indication, this world is enormous - several times bigger than the whopping DQVIII, apparently - with many Xenoblade-sized plains to stomp around in. The difference, of course, is that you'll be exploring their nooks and crannies with other people.
As is DQ tradition, you get to take on jobs, which are freely interchangeable at the Dharma's Shrine Branch Office in your hometown. Only a handful have been revealed so far, but the Warrior, Mage, Minstrel, Thief, Monk and Martial Artist should be self-explanatory to fans. Combat, meanwhile, seems a lot faster than in the average DQ, with the added ability to move around the enemy at will.
It reminded us of Xenoblade, all told While we have reservations, this is looking like the most radical, exciting Dragon Quest for years. We've always wondered what it'd be like to live in a DQ world - now's our chance to find out
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