Because Dragalia is dope, and this Digest was a delight!
This post is part of a series on the mobile action RPG by Nintendo and Cygames, Dragalia Lost. For additional context, please read the earlier installments of this series.
Natalie Rambles About Dragalia Lost:
Chapter 1: Story and Aesthetics
Chapter 2: Systems, Gameplay, and Progression
Chapter 3: Quests, Events, and Endgame
Chapter 4: Summoning, Monetization, and Gacha
Chapter 5: Love, Loss, and Gripes
Chapter 6: Dragalia Digest and Developments
Chapter 6: Dragalia Digest and Developments
On September 24th, after a 12-hour long maintenance block, the second-anniversary Dragalia Digest was held, offering an extensive overview of what was coming to Dragalia Lost in its Version 2.0 update. The changes that it is bringing, how the developers will be celebrating the game’s second anniversary, and the plans for the upcoming month of October and beyond.
Initially, I assumed that this would only amount to a small epilogue for this series, but there was so much to discuss with this showcase and the accompanying announcements, that this part wound up being as expansive and rambly as the rest.
Chapter 6-1: Astounding Appetizers
Due to the sheer breadth of content covered in the Digest and the volume of changes seen in Version 2.0, I will segment my thoughts on this matter, starting with all the minor announcements from the Digest.
Promotions and Specials: As expected, Dragalia Lost will be celebrating its second anniversary with a plethora of promotions. Including 330 free summons staggered across the next month, log-in bonuses, Gala Dragalia showcases, anniversary packs for players to buy, double drop specials, and half stamina/getherwing specials. All paired up with a new raid event that set 1,000 years before the main campaign, which is the beginning of Dragalia Lost’s timeline as, despite being a fantasy game. This has massive repercussions on the overall story and lore of Dragalia Lost, and should at the very least intrigue existing fans of the game.
These were all well and good, but my biggest takeaway from this digital event was the myriad systematic changes introduced in Version 2.0, which changed the game significantly, to the point where just about every established player, myself included, was baffled by what their equipment screens looked like once they logged in after maintenance.
On one hand, sweeping changes for any software should be steady and gradual so that players can gradually get used to them and are not overwhelmed by the volume of newness presented before them. But on the other hand, sometimes when you want to change one thing about the game to address player feedback, you wind up stumbling onto several structural issues that necessitate entire systems being reimagined and overhauled from the ground up.
So, while there is an adjustment period, and that adjustment period might suck harder than an industrial Hoover, it will ultimately be worth it in the long-term. Or in this case, the short-term, as the community has largely adjusted and come to understand and appreciate every change that Version 2.0 of Dragalia Lost brought and since the update’s release, by sharing details and compiling resources, guides, and various video summaries for other players to understand things.
Graphical Changes: As part of this update, Dragalia was given a significant visual facelift, ditching the older and established character textures in favor of cel-shading. It is a change I was apprehensive of at first, as I had come to enjoy and admire the painterly textures of the character models in Dragalia Lost, along with the game’s visual identity as a whole. But after a few days of adjustment, I’ve grown to appreciate the new models, and for various reasons. The colors pop more, the outline around each model separates it from the environment and various visual effects, character models now react to various lighting effects, and each character is truer to their original artwork, bridging the barrier between their 2D and 3D iterations. Overall, I think the characters look significantly better than before, but I will also admit to being a sucker for cel-shading.
Summoning System for Version 2: Despite the foreboding title, the only true change to summoning in Dragalia Lost is the introduction of what is commonly referred to as a sparking system, where players who summon a certain amount on a gacha banner can summon a unit of their choosing.
In Dragalia Lost, this takes the form of wyrmsigils. Players get 1 wyrmsigil whenever they summon using wyrmite or summon tickets, and 2 whenever they summon using the premium currency, Diamantium. If the player accumulates 300 wyrmsigils, they can be exchanged for a featured rate-up adventurer or dragon of the player’s choosing. However, these wyrmsigils are showcase specific, meaning that players cannot simply carry wyrmsigils forward. Instead, any remaining wyrmsigils in the player’s possession will be converted into wyrmsigil remnants, which can be exchanged for various items, including Champion’s Testaments, in Treasure Trade.
I previously referenced how I wanted this feature in Chapter 4-5, and I am naturally happy to see my desires answered like this. A sparking system gives players more of a guarantee when they summon and prevent excessive whaling tendencies when players are desperate for a specific unit. It makes summoning feel like more of an investment that will lead to something if given enough resources, and I think it makes the question of whether or not one should summon far more interesting.
Adventurer and Dragon Balance Adjustment: This was one of the more subtle yet substantial changes seen in Version 2.0, as over 150 adventurers and dragons received balance changes. This is a gosh darn game-changing megaton that completely upheavals players’ perceptions of the game due to the sheer number of variable changes, and since this update has dropped, dataminers and the lovely folks working on the DPS simulator and Wiki have been trying to make note of every alteration.
However, the general gist of these changes are the following:
- The skill damage for most adventurers went up significantly.
- Some adventurer skills were given additional effects that boosted their usefulness.
- Every dragon’s regular attack damage was increased, except Gala Thor.
- The majority of shared skills will charge more slowly.
- Vice was nerfed, as he was deemed too overpowered, which he kinda was.
- Every Agito weapon now gives adventurers an additional 20% strength buff.
I think these changes could have been better communicated to the more casual player, but I ultimately like and appreciate all of them, as more adventures are now more viable, there is less gatekeeping of content behind adventurers, and far more adventurers are now viable in one fell swoop.
Higher Difficulty Quests Revisions: Now, this announcement was labeled as “Separate Quests for Higher Difficulty Quests” in the Dragalia Digest, but that is misleading, as this is closer to a revision of the entire endgame of Dragalia, with five major changes.
Firstly, all the quests pertaining to Void Dragons, Void Chimeras, High Dragon Trials, and The Agito Uprising were all separated into solo and co-op quests. This distinction is being made because the co-op versions of these quests now drop significantly more materials than their solo counterparts, as part of a move to incentivise players to grind for these quests via co-op in order to keep the public lobbies lively and for veterans to continue helping newcomers.
Secondly, the stamina and getherwing requirements for High Dragon Trials and The Agito Uprising quests have been decreased and streamlined. Originally Standard cost 40 stamina or 3 getherwings, while Expert and Master cost 40 stamina or 5 getherwings. Now, the Standard versions of all of these quests cost 20 stamina or 2 getherwings. The Expert versions cost 30 stamina or 3 getherwings. While the Master versions, assuming they are available, cost 40 stamina or 4 getherwings. This all means that players can invest more time into these quests, and that the grind takes only a fraction of as long.
Thirdly, the Mentor Bonus system for High Dragon Trials, which caused a lot of toxicity and gatekeeping as I described in Chapter 3-6, has been removed from the game entirely as part of these changes. And good riddance, I say!
Fourthly, the Weekly Bonuses for High Dragon Trials and The Agito Uprising have both been expanded from three a week to five a week, allowing players to amass valuable materials more quickly and encouraging players to devote more time into both modes. Which I appreciate very much.
Fifthly, the High Dragon Trials and The Agito Uprising quests, due to a combination of factors regarding the bosses themselves and other systematic changes, appear to be significantly easier and more forgiving than they originally were. Meaning that I, and presumably many other players, were able to clear content I previously struggled with, and am truly making my way into the big leagues in Dragalia Lost.
GUN CONFIRMED!: In addition to swords, blades, daggers, lances, axes, bows, wands, and staves, the devs added a new weapon type to Dragalia Lost in the form of
guns manacasters. Another form of long-range combat that will have various attack patterns. But for the time being the only character who wields this weapon is a variant of the tutorial 3-star flame bow adventure, Joe, who was distributed to all players. I think this is a nice way to keep the pool of adventurers fresh and keep the game mechanically engaging to players who have put thousands of hours into it, and while I am surprised they are launching this new weapon type with a single character, I expect there to be an influx of gun-toting manacaster-toting waifus within the next couple of months.
High-Difficulty Content: The Master difficulty quests for the remaining Agito characters, including Ciella, Ataha & Otoha, and Tartarus will be added to the game throughout the next month and a half, which is far faster than I would have expected, and will allow for faster parity between elements, as Master difficulty brings with it a higher level cap for Agito facilities and a higher power cap for Agito weapons.
This would presumably mark the end of The Agito Uprising, but instead, the development team is planning on introducing a difficulty beyond Master starting in late November. This would be concerning due to how the Master quests are already quite the challenge, but the core rewards from these quests will only be weapon cosmetics, thus making them a challenge players take on more for bragging rights than much else. Which I appreciate.
Campaign Update: As to be expected, new chapters of the main campaign will continue to be added on a bimonthly basis, with a flashy preview trailer promising new faces, places, and revelations as the cast travels northward to continue their never-ending quest to save a princess from various edgelords. Also, the game’s mascot character, Notte, was heavily implied to become a story adventurer at some point, presumably as part of chapter 17, as story characters have been previously distributed in chapters 8, 11, and 14.
Encyclopedia Delayed: After being formally announced during the 1.5 year anniversary Dragalia Digest, the Encyclopedia feature is still in development, and will not arrive as part of Version 2.0 like many players assumed. It’s generally not a good practice to announce a feature when it is so far away from being implemented, but I get it. It’s a tricky feature to implement, these things take time, and the 2.0 update was more than enough to keep players preoccupied for weeks to come, so I really don’t care as long as it comes out eventually.
Time Attack Returns!: After being a symbol of the so-called “Dark Age” of Dragalia Lost, October 2019, Time Attack Events are supposedly returning, but no details were given about what shape or form. They might be High Dragon Trials once more, they could be Agito battles, or they could be something else altogether. We really don’t know, and as a player still gnawing her way into the endgame, I doubt I will be eager to jump into this pool, and will probably only take part in this event to get a consolation reward, if that.
Trick or Treasure! Is Back: This was not mentioned in Dragalia Digest, but the October 2018 Facility Event, Trick of Treasure! was added to the Event Compendium, even though players have so much other content to chew on at the moment, and probably don’t need or really want compendium content. I am happy to see this event be made permanently available, as it had a fun story and offers a valuable facility to boost the Might of light adventurers, but I cannot understand why the developers just snuck this in during their biggest update ever. I doubt many players would have even noticed this event was archived if not for the “New” icon over the Event Compendium banner.
Anyways, that was a lot to take in and digest so far, but we are not even at the BIG changes yet, and trust me when I say they are enormous
Chapter 6-2: Weapon System Changes
As detailed in a notification that went live the day before Dragalia Digest, the weapon system has been overhauled from the ground up. They culled the number of weapons available to players from over 1,000 to a far more reasonable collection of under 250 weapons. Yet rather than just streamlining the crafting process and removing weapons, things were consolidated, rearranged, and reconfigured into a new system that… I’m just going to explain from the top because I think that will make things easier to understand.
Crafting: In order to unlock a weapon for use, players must invest a sum of materials upfront in order to craft the weapon, thus allowing them to equip it to adventurers and upgrade it further, improving its stats and usefulness in combat. By crafting and upgrading weapons, the player is able to meet the prerequisites to craft other weapons going forward.
HP & Strength: These are base statistical increases for the weapon, and are obtained by exchanging a predetermined sum of whetstones. This is effectively what leveling was in Version 1.23.1 and earlier of Dragalia Lost, but with clearer material requirements and no EXP bar. There is a limit to how much of a weapon’s HP and Strength can be upgraded, which can be expanded by unbinding.
Unbinding: Instead of crafting and combining multiple copies of the same weapon like in previous versions, unbinding now involves players investing materials in order to raise the limits for HP & strength upgrades and other functions. Depending on the weapon, they can be unbound either 4 or 8 times.
Refinement: This is essentially the same as enhancing a weapon as seen in the prior versions, and is a prerequisite to unbind a weapon more than 4 times. Players invest a sum of materials to unlock a limit, and once the limit has been unlocked players can continue upgrading the weapon. Personally, I do not understand why this isn’t considered part of the regular unbinding process, but whatever, it’s fine.
Wyrmprint Slots: As part of a reworking of the wyrmprint system, players now equip wyrmprints to their weapons, and can store up to three 5-star wyrmprints and two 4-star (or lower) wyrmprints to each weapon. But in order to unlock the third 5-star wyrmprint slot on weapons, players need to pony up some additional materials.
Weapon Bonus: When upgrading certain weapons, additional materials can be invested to earn a passive and persistent 0.5% bonus to the HP and strength of adventurers wielding the same weapon type. While these bonuses are insubstantial on their own, they do add up to something significant, a 22.5% bonus to HP and strength, if players choose to obtain every bonus for every weapon… which they definitely shouldn’t, as the material costs to obtain all weapon bonuses is utterly absurd. This option is only available once a weapon has been unbound 4 or 5 times.
Copies: While weapons by default can only be equipped by a single adventurer, players can invest additional resources so that up to four adventurers in the same party can wield the same weapon. This is a niche inclusion with limited practical use, as it is most often advantageous for players to have a team with multiple different weapons types. Accordingly, I would advise players to ignore this feature for weapons. Also, the costs for this option can be utterly absurd. This option is only available once a weapon has been unbound 4 or 5 times.
Weapon Abilities: Rather than forcing players to use Void Weapons to tackle certain content, all abilities originally found from Void Weapons are now universal passives that apply to all weapons of a specified element and weapon type once unlocked. Meaning that players do not need to use specific weapons to tackle certain Void Battles, as once the ability is unlocked, it becomes a universal passive. These abilities allow players to bring in far more powerful weapons into Void Battles with no penalties, and thanks to the inclusion of a 30% High Dragon’s Bane ability, they also make High Dragon Trials dramatically easier than ever before.
Most weapon abilities are not especially necessary, and if players want to use their resources wisely, they are encouraged to think about what abilities will actually benefit them before getting them. …Or to give a summary, aside from High Dragon’s Bane, you want Enervation Res for light weapons, Scorching Air Res for water weapons, Petrify Res for flame, water, and light weapons, and Dull Res for flame weapons. …Meaning that for wind and shadow, you really don’t need anything special. Huh. I’d say that is a curious design decision, but the Void Battles were a mess from day 1.
Augments: Weapon augments have been removed from the game and will no longer be implemented as originally planned, due to how they are not compatible with the new system.
Weapon Skins: While less than 250 weapons are obtainable in Version 2.0 of Dragalia Lost, all previous skins or weapon models can be unlocked by upgrading the current roster of weapons. Weapon skins are purely cosmetic and have no bearing on the actual gameplay beyond looking cool or cute. Also, most of them are locked behind obtaining Void Weapon abilities
New Basic Weapon Progression: Okay, so with all of these changes in mind, how should you go about progressing through the new weapon system? …Pretty much the same way I previously recommended. Get the 3-star, 4-star, and 5-star non-elemental core weapons, then move onto Chimeratech weapons, which no longer have the Manticore weapon prerequisite. Once you have crafted the Chimeratech weapons and the 5-star non-elemental weapons, you can begin crafting any weapon in the game, with the end goal being the Agito weapons.
Simple, right? Well, while I still stand by the fact that High Dragon weapons are not really worth investing in, Void Weapons became dramatically more important than they were before, and well worth crafting if only for the High Dragon’s Bane ability. This means that players need to farm Void Battles, and while certain battles are a reliable source for grinding materials, others have horribly low drop rates.
This is a pet peeve of mine in all games with drop rates, and while I do understand the appeal of working hard to get an elusive item, farming for materials at an irregular rate simply has never been an enjoyable experience for me. It feels like the game is wasting the player’s time by hanging a prize before them and, rather than telling them to do a task X amount of times, players have only a vague notion of how long it should take them to accumulate the resources they need. I didn’t like it in God Eater, Neptunia, or any other series I could name, and I certainly don’t like it in Dragalia Lost.
If anything, I would argue that this takes the fun out of farming or grinding for resources. You cannot clearly map your progress, and every step is not necessarily a step towards progress, because progress is determined by probability and RNG. Now, variable drop rates can work, and I certainly have no problem with how, say, the Agito battles distribute their materials. I would even say that I like how players can randomly obtain wyrmprints by completing certain quests, because they serve as a nice little non-essential bonus.
But it is never fun to play through a quest a total of 20 times and walk away with 2 of the rare items you need for crafting purposes… while the quest was on double drops. And even though I only need 32 of this specific item to unlock the High Dragon Bane ability on every weapon of every element, that is still an absurd amount of grinding for a quest that only exists to distribute materials.
I could veer off into a rant about how Void Battles (at least until you get to the Void Dragons) would benefit from an overhaul of their own, but this Chapter is already on the long side, so I’ll move onto the second major mechanical overhaul.
Chapter 6-3: Wyrmprint System Changes
Also detailed in a notification released prior to the release of Version 2.0, wyrmprints also underwent a massive overhaul that put the community at large into quite a tizzy. Previously, most wyrmprints had two abilities, but now they all only have one ability. This supposed downgrade is balanced by how units can now equip a maximum of three 5-star wyrmprints and two 4-star (or lower) wyrmprints depending on their weapon, thus granting them access to more abilities than they had in previous versions of Dragalia Lost.
However, in revising the properties of over 200 wyrmprints, the meta and recommended list of wyrmprints changed dramatically. Staple wyrmprints are now not recommended at all, and wyrmprints previously glossed over are now highly valuable. Because of the magnitude of this shift, let’s start from the top and explain the new system as formally as I can wrap my head around it.
Obtaining Wyrmprints: Wyrmprints are still obtained through the previously established methods. As random drops, as endeavor rewards, and as event treasure trade rewards. But the most direct way to obtain them is through the wyrmprint shop, where players can purchase a single copy of each Wyrmprint, adding it to their collection. Once a part of their collection, players can begin upgrading their wyrmprints through some familiar ways.
HP & Strength: These are base statistical increases for the weapon, and are obtained by exchanging a predetermined sum of holy/blessed/consecrated water. This is effectively what leveling was in Version 1.23.1 and earlier of Dragalia Lost, but with clearer material requirements and no EXP bar. There is a limit to how much of a wyrmprint’s HP and Strength can be upgraded, which can be expanded by unbinding.
Unbinding: Instead of obtaining and combining multiple copies of the same wyrmprint like in previous versions, unbinding now involves players investing materials in order to increase the power of the weapon abilities, and the limit for HP & Strength upgrades. This can be done 4 times for each wyrmprint, and unbinding is (almost) universally done via Eldwater.
Copies: While wyrmprints by default can only be equipped by a single adventurer, players can invest additional Eldwater so that up to four adventurers in the same party can carry the same wyrmprint. Unlike weapons, this inclusion has a plethora of practical applications and is highly recommended for certain wyrmprints. Most notably the affliction punisher wyrmprints.
Duplicates: Duplicate wyrmprints can still be obtained via drops on certain quests, but once they are obtained, they are immediately used to unbind the player’s existing copy of a wyrmprint. However, if the wyrmprint is already max unbound, then the duplicate wyrmprint is then converted into Eldwater or Rupies automatically. It’s a novel, albeit poorly explained, system that allows players to still obtain small helpings of Eldwater randomly upon completing certain quests, and I am happy to see that wyrmprint drops were not culled altogether, like weapon drops were.
Affinity Bonuses: Certain wyrmprints are considered to be part of an affinity, and when equipping two or more wyrmprints of the same affinity, adventurers are given an additional ability, such as extra skill haste or dragon damage. It has potential for another layer of team building depth, and in the right build, it can be comparable to having a total of 6 wyrmprints equipped at the same time. However, it requires a lot of planning and analysis to make use of effectively, and the general consensus is to ignore this mechanic, as many of the best wyrmprints lack any affinities at all.
Augments: Due to how many wyrmprints players now need to assemble their team, the augment limit for wyrmprints has been reduced to 100 to 50 per print. A move that limits the HP and strength boons obtained by equipping any given wyrmprint, and allows players to invest their augments into a wider selection of wyrmprints than before. It’s completely reasonable given how wyrmprints were made less useful individually, and it ultimately does allow players to augment their team with an extra 50 HP and strength per adventurer. Which isn’t all that significant, but it is a clear improvement.
Welfare and Event Investments: While unbinding and creating copies of wyrmprints can be a costly endeavor, the costs of doing so are significantly less when upgrading wyrmprints obtained as part of a promotion, distributed through an ongoing event, or obtained through an event in the Event Compendium. It is highly advisable for early game players to invest in these to give them an edge early on, particularly the Plunder Pals wyrmprint available from the Trick or Treasure event, as Skill Damage is useful for all units… aside from healers.
Team Building with Wyrmprints: At 10:30 PM on September 24th, I opened up Dragalia Lost and attempted to make sense of my collection of 230 wyrmprints. All of which had different properties and were in different orders than what I had grown used to an internalized. While I understood and still understand what abilities are good for adventurers and compositions, I had to re-familiarize myself with these in order to make a decision of which wyrmprints I would use going forward.
This is a decision that I, as an experienced and dedicated player, can make when given the information in a clear format, and while Dragalia Lost does provide players with a multitude of sorting options, it’s not especially helpful. You can group wyrmprints by ability, but they are segmented whenever that ability is even numerically different, and the abilities are not listed in a coherent or fully consistent order.
Because of this, it is best advised to plan wyrmprints and builds outside of the game and in an external environment where the player has access to more information. However, these external fan-created resources were not available at launch, so it made for a rocky first few hours as I, and many other players, tried to learn and adjust to these changes after being jet-jacked from the Dragalia Digest that just released.
I wound up curating my own personal spreadsheet for all the wyrmprints that I would actually want to use going forward, manually looking into their effects, and snagging what I could from other sources. It… was not a particularly fun time, and while digging my nose up Dragalia’s finer mechanics like this, I could not help but pause and question how the developers are going about balancing this system.
For example, there are various affliction punisher wyrmprints that allow teams to deal massive damage so long as they keep inflicting a status condition on enemies, and each major affliction only has one permanent wyrmprint. Burning has two 5-star wyrmprints with 30% punisher. Paralysis has a 5-star wyrmprint with 20% punisher. Poison has a 4-star wyrmprint with 25% punisher. While Frostbite has a 4-star wyrmprint with a 20% punisher.
As far as I am aware, there is no inherent difference to how any of these afflictions work, dealing damage over time as foes steadily build a resistance to them, and no real reason for there to be any discrepancy in how their accompanying wyrmprints should work. To me, it would make the most sense for 4-star wyrmprints to be 20% and 5-stars be 30%, and I don’t understand how the developers came across these seemingly random numbers.
Or to use another example, the 5-star wyrmprint Proper Maintenance and the 4-star wyrmprint From Whence He Came both offer the user an extra 20% buff time. It is true that Proper Maintenance does offer adventurers more HP and strength when equipped, but the general idea behind these wyrmprints is that their abilities get better as one goes up from the lowest rarity wyrmprints to the highest. Except that’s not what’s happening here.
It is because of this lack of clarity and transparency that I wound up investing in various wyrmprints that I thought were good, only to wind up learning that there were superior alternatives I could have pursued. Sure, you can blame me for being impatient, though I think this speaks far more about the systems of Dragalia Lost than it does about my particular decision-making process when presented with an excessive amount of sub-optimally organized information.
Chapter 6-4: The Alberian Battle Royale
You know, I thought we were past the point where every game was getting a Battle Royale mode, but that did not stop Dragalia Lost! As should not be too surprising based on the name, The Alberian Battle Royale is a new gameplay mode where 16 players spawn at a few predetermined locations on a large map that begins steadily shrinking as a wall of miasma consumes the environment. All of which urges players to scrounge for skill tokens and stat upgrades before confronting other players and fighting to be the last one standing.
Now, when I heard this was coming to the game, I felt something sink in my stomach and a sense of dread hovered over my brain, wondering just how much PVP mechanics would harm the experience of Dragalia Lost. But then I actually played the mode and realized that I was worrying about nothing.
The Alberian Battle Royale is more of a bonus game that does not consume any stamina, getherwings, or resources at all to play. It does not take into account the player’s progress, adventurers, or overall Might, thus making it approachable for all players. It does not confer a massive, or even significant, bonus to the winner of each round, and all players who participate in this mode are given Battle Points, which can be traded for various rewards. These include different character skins and weapon types for The Alberian Battle Royale, but also highly valuable 5-star unbinding materials including 4 Champion Testaments and 2 Sunlight Stones.
Players can obtain all Champion Testaments and Sunlight Stones by amassing at least 680 Battle Points. Players earn 12 to 15 battle points per round, meaning they need to play this mode at least 57 times, they can obtain all associated rewards. And seeing as how this current zeroth season lasts 36 days in total, it is more than reasonable for players to amass the battle points needed to get all the goodies before the season ends, so players can get everything of worth just by playing two 5-ish minute battles a day.
All of which is good to know from an overarching perspective, but is the Battle Royale mode fun? Well, yes. I have put in about 30 rounds as of finalizing this post, and I have been enjoying myself consistently. The core gameplay loop of isolated scavenging, light stealth, and tense unplanned PVP combat is a riveting one. The mechanics have been simplified to keep everybody on an even playing field. And the mode introduces something refreshingly different to Dragalia Lost’s action gameplay, instead of more block corridors, enemy gauntlets, and boss battles.
However, the Alberian Battle Royale also has its fair share of issues. The camera is at a slightly different angle than usual, which can be jarring when hopping between game modes. Moving, attacking, charging force strikes, and doing just about everything feels more sluggish than it does in other quests. The lack of invincibility frames gives combat a different feel, and means that the tactic of rolling through danger is no longer effective.
The performance can also be rather poor at points, but I am even remotely surprised by that. This is an online mobile game, so 99% of all connections will be based on Wi-Fi, where all players connect to a single global server, and the game clearly was never made with multiplayer of this scale in mind. If anything, I’m more impressed they got this mode to run as well as it does.
Chapter 6-5: Other System Changes?
This past week has been a hectic time in Dragalia Lost with the community panicking and taking delight into the systematic changes seen throughout this game. Things are expected to stay busy over the next month, with new content, promotions, double drop specials, and a whole lot more. However, looking over all of this news, part of me cannot help but wonder what else will change going forward.
I say this mostly because, in re-examining the upgrade menu, the way players upgrade adventurers and dragons now looks and functions considerably differently than weapons and wyrmprints. Now the only thing players unbind by merging multiple copies together are the dragons. The way players upgrade adventurers along the mana circle is functionally similar to upgrading the stats of weapons and wyrmprints, but the UI for these two things are starkly different. And both adventurers and dragons have actual levels and accumulate EXP over time, unlike weapons or wyrmprints, which get their base stat upgrades just by investing predetermined sums of upgrade goodies.
The discrepancy between these systems, at least to me, is an indication that the developers are planning on also reworking the presentation of upgrading dragons and adventurers in a future update. Or, in the case of dragons, the system as a whole is due for a rework of sorts, both in regards to maintaining presentational parity with the weapon and wyrmprint upgrade systems and to better improve the versatility of certain dragons.
What I am imagining for a revised dragon upgrade system is as follows:
- Dragon levels will be removed entirely in favor of an HP & strength upgrade system that uses a predetermined sum of dragonfruit items to boost the base stats of dragons.
- Duplicate dragons obtained by summoning will automatically be used to unbind each dragon up to a total of four times. This, draconic essences, and the unbinding materials will be the only way to unbind dragons.
- When players obtain fully max unbound dragons, excess copies will automatically be converted into Eldwater and Rupies.
- Players will be able to either convert moonlight stones (material to unbind 4-star dragons) into sunlight stones (material to unbind 5-star dragons) or simply into Eldwater due to the small amount of 4-star dragons in Dragalia Lost.
- Multiple copies of each dragon can be unlocked in exchange for Eldwater.
- The introduction of a dragon enhancement feature where select dragons can be further upgraded through the use of draconic essences, giving the materials a greater purpose beyond unbinding select dragons and making certain dragons more viable in endgame content.
As for adventurers, I think there is little that needs to be changed about what players upgrade, and more how the game presents these upgrades. While the mana circle and mana spirals were flashy and unique ways of upgrading characters, they were never especially efficient, and do not fit in with the more minimalist presentation of the weapon and wyrmprint upgrade systems, which I think should be the standard going forward.
My idea for the new adventurer upgrade system would retain adventurer levels, as adventurers gain EXP by completing quests and there are resources, namely the Bronze Fafnir dragon, that allow players to gain more EXP per quest. But for the mana spiral and promotion systems, these can be segmented into a series of upgrade options for adventurers:
- HP & Strength will represent all the mana circle nodes that boosted HP and strength.
- Skills & Abilities will represent everything from new skills, skill level upgrades, force strikes, abilities.
- Co-Abilities will represent the 4 mana nodes that use Eldwater to upgrade adventurer co-abilities. This will be segmented from Skills & Abilities due to how they use a valuable resource that players should be wary of spending in large quantities.
- Adventurer Stories will represent the four unlockable adventurer stories unlocked as players upgrade new adventurers.
- Unbinding will represent the limits imposed on character building previously seen in the locks between mana circle floors. There will be 4 unbinds for adventurers and players would be able to unbind characters with no prerequisites beyond them being a high enough rarity. Much like with the current system, 3-stars can only be unbound twice, 4-stars can only be unbound three times, and 5-stars can only be unbound once.
- Promotion will represent the act of promoting 3-star and 4-star adventurers to higher thresholds, increasing their max level and unlocking further upgrades for adventurers.
- Items will represent the node where players invest materials in order to unlock a Damascus Crystal and reach 50 mana nodes.
- Mana Spiral Unbinding will represent the fifth unbind that unlocks adventurer mana spirals, and would only be unlocked once the player has upgraded the adventurer to 50 nodes, much like how it works in the current system.
- Max Level will represent the three mana nodes in adventurers with mana spirals that raised adventurer level caps from 85 to 100.
- Standard Attack Level Increase will represent the final mana node on adventurer mana spirals that raises the power of adventurers’ standard attack. This will only be unlocked after players have unlocked every other upgrade for this adventurer.
The biggest functional change I am imagining for this system is granting players the ability to approach the mana spiral in a non-linear order, forgoing the linear structure, and allowing players to upgrade every category, excluding Standard Attack Level Increase, once the fifth unbind is unlocked. So players can get skill and ability upgrades without unlocking Max Level increases, or purchasing HP & strength upgrades.
This suggested change is more being said out of necessity and ease of use, as it would suck needing to upgrade everything in a rigidly linear manner, like in the current mana circle system, and the point of an overhaul like this is to make things more streamlined.
Anyways, that’s all the obligatory theorycrafting for this part, onto the conclusion!
Chapter 6-6: Futile Rambling
Having seen and experienced everything the Version 2.0 update has brought to Dragalia Lost, I am left wondering if I made a mistake with my approach for this series. When I started work on this elongated and staggered article that I fragmented into articles, I had no idea that this update was coming, or that it would be as significant as it wound up being, retooling and revising so much of the game that a significant portion of things I discussed are irrelevant to anybody looking to get into the game in its current form.
But the same could be true for anybody who writes or composes anything about a live service. Large sweeping systematic changes make what were once useful guides irrelevant and outmoded, and this has been the case since online software became commonplace. It is something that any writer needs to accept when covering something ongoing, that their ruminations, observations, and speculations could be proven invalid or irrelevant as new details come to life.
As such, I do not regret what I said in prior chapters of Dragalia Lost. If anything, I am happy to have aired my thoughts on this game, as doing so furthered my understanding of and affection for this title. Plus this was ultimately a good writing exercise for me, albeit a bit too long for my liking. Seriously, I easily put over 100 hours into this 35,000-word series between the writing, editing, research, image gathering, and so forth. Now I’m SUPER behind schedule with regards to everything else I have on the back burner, and as such, I’ll end this series thusly.
Despite having low expectations when I first started looking into this game, planning to only play it for research purposes, Dragalia Lost has captured and retained my attention in a way that no other game ever has. Its richly detailed story and its various forms. Its simple yet deep action RPG mechanics. Its interworking systems taught me more about game design than any other game I have ever played. Its gorgeous visuals are better now than ever before. And its riveting soundtrack that I am currently listening to on loop as I finalized this post. I love this game. I love seeing it evolve. I take delight in whatever the next iteration brings. And while I will pompously criticize its shortcomings, I only do so because I want the game to be in its best possible state, and it’s getting closer and closer to that ideal with every passing month and every update.