Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen isn’t very challenging in terms of gameplay, but Capcom left a lot to be desired in terms of explaining its intricacies to new players. Thankfully, I’ve gotten beaten down enough that if I started over right now I’d have a much better understanding of what to do. I suppose that’s what happens with 300+ hours of gameplay under my belt.
Hopefully this starter advice helps at least one person from rage-quitting. If you have additional questions, shoot them down in the comments. I also have a starter guide on building the best Pawn possible, giving detailed information on each of the game’s inclinations. You can find that one right here.
Noob Tip #1 – Quest Boards
Every inn generally has a quest board, starting with the very first town in the game. I had no idea that they even existed until I obtained my wyrm hunter license, so unfortunately I passed up on a few quests and put myself in a situation where I could have gotten some much needed XP and gold. If you’re in a new town for the first time, find the inn and look for the quest board, but don’t just take everything. Why?
Noob Tip #2 – Skip Escort Quests Early On
Escort quests in Dragon’s Dogma take you all over the map and nine times out of ten you are not prepared for that kind of ass kicking just yet. Pick up every quest you can find but, by all means, leave the escort quests alone.
Noob Tip #3 – Don’t Hold Back On Buying Gear
If any of your pawns die, you can easily revive them with the O or B button (depending on your console of choice), but if you die it’s game over. This tip is especially crucial if you’re playing a Mage/Sorcerer because you’ll generally die in 2 or 3 hits and you’re a prime target for any ranged damage dealing enemy. A simple rule of thumb is that a lot of cheap equipment is more effective than one or two pieces of great equipment.
Noob Tip #4 – Sleep at Inns Often
I know it’s 500g every time you sleep in the city, but this is the only way your pawn can return from being pimped out to another player and bring you goodies. You can also talk to inn keepers to change your vocation (class), learn and set skills, and store items. Don’t forget about the quest boards while you’re there.
Noob Tip #5 – Pick the Right Pawns for the Job
I know this is probably RPG common sense, but if you’re a Fighter, pick a Mage pawn that can heal you and two other pawns to deal damage in some way. My favorite mix is the basic Fighter tank, Mage healer, Ranger/Strider and a Sorcerer (available at level 10+). It’s nice to have that mix of ranged and melee damage going around, especially early on with the larger monsters dealing a lot of AoE (area of effect) damage.
Noob Tip #6 – Buy consumables and give some to your pawns.
You can’t always rely on Mages to heal your party when they’re probably getting picked on by archers, so make sure your pawns have healing consumables to heal themselves in clutch situations. Also keep in mind that when you take damage, the max amount of health you can regenerate goes down unless you heal with a consumable or rest at an inn. You don’t want your tank pawn (if you have one, of course) running around with 20% max health toward the end of an escort quest and have everything turn to shit in a matter of seconds. Trust me; being on an escort quest for 20 minutes, only to fail it, is never fun and neither is running all the way back to town if the escort dies.
Noob Tip #7 – Store Materials and Gear at the Inn
Eventually you’ll want to “enhance” your weapons and armor and to do so you’re going to use a lot of random items you find along the way. I know the gold is enticing, but trust me on this.. keep everything find on the battlefield stored with the innkeeper via the deposit tab. Also, don’t forget to check the item tabs for your two recruited Pawns, as they’ll often loot what you don’t. The same goes for gear. You never know when a bug is going to crawl up your ass and you want to stop being a Fighter and start being a Mage, or maybe you want to change your main pawn’s vocation. It’s better to keep the gear handy just in case, eventually vending it if you find something better.
Noob Tip #8 – Only Travel During the Day
It’s not only harder to see at night, but if you thought the world was unforgiving during the day you’re in for a rude awakening. If you have a quest taking you to a new area (check the map location through the quest menu), rest at the inn until morning and head out then. You don’t want to get halfway there and be stuck in the middle of a field with a bunch of zombies, or a swarm of goblins waiting to ambush you.
Noob Tip #9 – Give Up
If you’re constantly dying on the same quest, boss or monster, just put it down for now and go do something else in the game. Maybe you’re too low of level or have the wrong pawn setup or something–who knows? If you notice the monster’s health isn’t budging, you’re probably too low for it so it’s best to skip it and kill something else. There is absolutely nothing wrong with running away and coming back to kick the shit out of it later, or follow the next tip.
Noob Tip #10 – Hire a More Experienced Pawn
Hiring a higher level pawn does award you with less XP while you adventure out in Gransys, but if you’re determined to finish up a certain quest that has you stumped, use some of those rift crystals and enlist some grade-A help. Make sure you check the “details” section from the pawn’s menu before picking them out though. I’ve had a few close calls where I really needed a damage dealer closer to my level and went for the first one I found. Little did I know their owner never bothered to buy any skills, or perhaps they just changed their pawns vocation, so I was stuck with a lackluster helper using no abilities whatsoever. If you want a Mage to heal your group, make sure they have the healing spell Anodyne (or High Anodyne) in their spell list before recruiting them.
So there you have it. Basically, an unprepared traveler is a dead one, so do everything you can not to die. There is no use hoarding gold for later if you can’t even get to later yet.
If you become frustrated, try changing your vocation. Maybe what you thought you wanted to play just isn’t working out, and there are plenty of fun vocations in the game to check out. That’s what happened to me.
I definitely hit a frustration point with Dragon’s Dogma back when I first started, and thanks to the helpful players over at PS3trophies.org I learned a lot about the early game that really made things easier.
If I can help your pawn in any way, shoot me a message on PSN at PepperedSnoot and I’ll see about enlisting your pawn. Right now I’m level 65, so anything around that level is preferred, thought it’s only going to go up as I play through the game and the new Dark Arisen expansion.