Because while I love this game, there are a litany of little things that have been chipping away at my very soul!
This post is part of a series on the mobile action RPG by Nintendo and Cygames, Dragalia Lost.
Natalie Rambles About Dragalia Lost – 2021 Remix
Chapter 1: Story and Aesthetics
Chapter 2: Play and Progression
Chapter 3: Quests, Events, Modes, and Endgame
Chapter 4: Summoning, Monetization, and Gacha
Chapter 5: Petty Quibbles and Miscellaneous Desires
Chapter 5-1: Dragalia is Dead
An older fellow once told me that it is the fool’s err to become invested and committed with online-only video games, and for one simple reason. Because they will all die eventually. Online-only games depend on central servers, require momentous work to revive, and while some games were saved from the ordinarily lethal fate of a server shutdown, they are exceptions to the rule that online-only games will die. And online-only free-to-play mobile games are the most common death there is.
Dragalia Lost will die. It may die in a quarter, a year, or a decade, but rest assured, one day the servers will go down, and nobody will be able to play the game… unless there exists an end-of-life plan. And based on the history of Cygames and Nintendo, there won’t be. The game will be unplayable, and all people will be left with is its datamined code, art assets, and a plethora of gameplay footage. From that, somebody could try to revive the game, but, in all likelihood, they won’t succeed.
With all this in mind, allow me to posit a multi-part query:
“If a game is going to die, why even bother playing it? Why not just stick with games that won’t wither and writhe away as time marches on? Why not only become attached to games that can be easily replicated or emulated?”
I asked myself this question many a time in my youth, back when free-to-play games and mobages were a joke amongst the “hardcore gamers” I associated myself with. But eventually, I found the answer to this question, and it was ever the simple one.
People play online only games because they’re fun. Because they provide an enjoyable experience. Because they enjoy the gameplay, aesthetics, story, or any combination of things about the game. Even when these games do shut down, those who played them still have their memories. They still have the records of them playing the game, and they got to experience it before it was shut down. While I want nothing more from Dragalia Lost than for it to be preserved in some shape or form, I do not regret the time or money I put into it, because I had fun. Because I enjoyed its gameplay. Because it has lovely stories, gorgeous art, interworking systems, and left a mark on me after I invested over 2 years, and over 2,000 hours, into this title.
And if I ignored the game, if I dismissed the game outright because it was online only, I would not have been granted this opportunity. I would not have learned to love it. I would not have discovered its wondrous soundtrack, I would not understand its compelling systems, and I would not have discovered the scattering of voices I’ve found in digging into the community. I would not be writing this post. I would not have come to love and admire Dragalia Lost if I had not played it and stuck with it, and now, it has been steadily edging into the pantheon of my favorite games of all time. Even though Dragalia Lost will die, and by the time I am old and gray I will assuredly be unable to play the game, my time with it has been etched into my mind.
Chapter 5-2: Dragalia is Fine, Actually
For all the gloom and doom that may surround this game, I want to emphasize that nobody actually knows what numbers Dragalia Lost needs to be making to be considered a success and keep the servers running. You can poke around sources like Sensor Tower and Game-i all you gosh darn like, but unless you work for Cygames, you probably don’t know what metrics they use to denote whether or not a game is successful and worth keeping around.
Still, what people have seen has inspired what I believe to be genuine worry that Dragalia might be in danger and might be shut down in the foreseeable future. Which is compounded with things like the 8/27/21 news update, Regarding Future Content Releases, which announced a “reduction in the amount of content released each month going forward.” While it is not fully known how this will impact the game, the update clearly states that there will no longer be release onslaught, defensive, or coliseum events, and the number of new units released will decrease.
I view this as the developers scaling down slightly in order to make the continued development of the game more sustainable, while focusing on delivering content of a higher quality over more quantity. Which I like to see, as Dragalia has a lot of content already, and this could allow the developers to focus more on the quality instead of the quantity. Especially with new permanent content on the horizon, such as the new roguelike mode, Enter the Kaleidoscape, launching later this year. Hell, this might even give the dev team the opportunity to launch the first true season of Alberian Battle Royale.
Also, it is worth noting that the dev team has never seemed uncertain about the future, given how confidentially he announces new content and characters well in advance. I mean, in September 2021, director Yuji Okada revealed a bunch of new adventurers, all the way up to a Pia alt launching in March 2022. In addition to revealing a new series of endgame bosses with the Primordial Greatwyrms, who will probably be released all the way up to July 2022.
It is clear that Dragalia is still being actively developed and added to, so obviously the game is not doing poorly. …Or maybe Nintendo simply likes the game and wants to grow it into something bigger, so they are helping out with the dev costs. They do co-own the IP after all, and I know that the community would love it if the game made its way to Switch in some capacity. Which it probably would have by now if the game was not designed around a vertical display
Chapter 5-3: Menu Improvements
Seeing as how I have talked about the bulk of my thoughts about Dragalia Lost in the prior section, I am mostly left with the real major nitpicks I have, and the bugbears that I am bearing after playing this game so gosh darn much. And number one on that list is probably the second most used screen in the entire game, the Quest screen. This screen has gone through several iterations over the life of Dragalia Lost, and it shows. Not in the sense that it is unusable or anything so extreme, but the way it is arranged does not make a whole lot of sense when you stop and think about it. For the sake of illustrating this point, see below for a mock-up comparing the current Quest layout and my proposed revision:
Here is a list of the reasons why I made the changes that I did:
- As mentioned in Chapter 3-3, the designation of calling every quest outside of the Main Campaign an “event” can be confusing to players, given what the word event is defined as and usually means in the world of gacha games. As such, all labels using the word event have been changed to a more descriptive alternative. Except for the accurately named Special Event label. The designation of “Gather Resources” and “Challenge Quests” exist mostly as placeholders, as I do not have a better idea of what to call the quests grouped under them.
- Dragon Trials and The Imperial Onslaught are no longer lumped into the same section as The Mercurial Gauntlet, High Dragon Trials, and The Agito Uprising. This is because Dragon Trials and The Imperial Onslaught are accessible by the player early on, and are a core part of all players’ daily rotation. The Mercurial Gauntlet, High Dragon Trials, and The Agito Uprising are not.
- Void Battles were removed from the Special Events section and placed underneath The Imperial Onslaught. This is because Void Battles are primarily used to gather resources, are recurring content, and are on a difficulty level above The Imperial Onslaught. While Void Battles may classify as an event, as they operate on their own schedule, none of the content in them is in any way limited, as all quests are always available.
- Event Compendium was brought underneath Void Battles, as it had no reason to be underneath Elemental Ruins and, much like Void Battles, once players are done with this content, they are pretty much done for good. So I am lumping it in the middle section, as players typically focus on the tops and bottoms of menus like this.
- Wagabond Pupper, a photo mode where players walk around with a puppy, was moved to the Event Compendium, as most players have no reason to regularly play this content, for it is merely a novelty.
I think that further changes could be made to this menu, but I truly do not know how else to streamline the use of this menu without adopting a design more akin to the layout of The Event Compendium, which is far more space efficient, but it does not look as good. Mobile menus should be thick and chunky, and this menu is neither of those things with its fun-sized icons.
The item and material screens of Dragalia Lost are similarly a hodgepodge of iteration and revision. While they were once sensible, an influx of new materials have caused them to become clutter. In order to combat this, I have three suggestions:
- Assign every material or item a designated space on the inventory screen to make it easier to take stock in what the player has, even if they are still gathering materials.
- Segregate items, materials, and resources into more direct and descriptive categories.
- Combine the Items and Material screens into a single list for ease of use. The less clicks the better and whatnot.
In order to illustrate what the Item screen could look like, I have prepared a mock-up. Please note that all category labels are placeholder descriptors, as is the arrangement of categories. I based it off of the sorting method currently seen in Dragalia Lost, but I made a few creative decisions to better illustrate the progression system. Also, I sort of gave up with items that did not clearly fit into a clear category and threw them to the bottom.
Chapter 5-4: Event Compendium of Dreams
When I first started playing Dragalia Lost, one of my biggest problems with the game was how there was content that was only accessible via time-limited events. While the game did have a habit of reviving events, it lacked a way for players to revisit and enjoy the story, gameplay, and rewards of a given event at their choosing. However, I pushed that criticism aside after the First Anniversary Dragalia Digest debuted and announced that the developers were working on a way for players to replay past events at their leisure. 6 months later, on March 27th, 2020, The Event Compendium launched with 3 facility events for players to enjoy and accumulate Might with.
During the intervening 1.5 years, the Event Compendium was expanded periodically, and currently boasts 9 facility events, 2 raid events, and the two Fire Emblem collab events, which I NEVER thought would come back outside of reruns, but they did. I am quite happy with this turnaround, as the game now offers far more story content available to all players, and offers expedient ways for players to amass might across all elements, while offering 4 quality adventurers to all players.
However, I always thought they could have done more with this feature, and throughout 2021, the developers have a bizarre habit of only occasionally updating the events in the Compendium. The Accursed Archives was added in January 2021, the two Fire Emblem events hit in May 2021, and Agents of the Goddess landed in September 2021. While these additions were appreciated, I do not understand why exactly other revivals were not added to the Compendium.
For example, Dragalia Lost only reruns facility events a single time. This is because with every rerun of a facility event, they increase the event facility’s max level, and stat boosts, and they like to maintain parity between the stats of all event facilities. But they still have not added A Dash of Disaster after its December 2020 rerun, and I have no idea why.
Similarly, the event A Splash of Adventure was a raid event that reran in July 2020, and its sequel facility event, A Crescendo of Courage, reran after it in August 2020. A Crescendo of Courage was added to the Event Compendium in November 2020, but nearly a year later, A Splash of Adventure received neither the same treatment or another rerun. Why is this the case? I haven’t the foggiest idea.
Now, the obvious retort to this criticism is that the developers might want to rerun this content in the future, and they don’t want to put everything into the Compendium, because once it is in the Compendium, there really is no purpose in bringing it out again. So they are practicing restraint here, and even though they are scaling down production of events, and likely going to start two event reruns a month. Accordingly, they want a large library to pull from. …Even though they already have enough unarchived content for years of reruns.
Also, they are apparently going to make the story content of past events accessible via Notte’s Notes section, an encyclopedia that keeps track of player accomplishments and collections. They will be adding onslaught, defensive, and colosseum events to the Compendium at some point. So clearly the developers still want to expand and develop the Compendium and make this content widely accessible.
Chapter 5-5: The Dastardly Dragon Dichotomy
Something that has been bugging me about Dragalia Lost since its Version 2.0 update overhauled loads of its mechanics is how different dragons are compared to other forms of equipment. For weapons, you craft, unbind, and create copies of them using designated weapon materials and rupies. For most wyrmprints, you purchase, unbind, and create copies of them using eldwater. Both weapons and wyrmprints have universal equipment pages and, while you can generate multiple copies of both weapons and wyrmprints, getting multiple copies really means being able to equip it across multiple characters.
But for dragons? …Let’s use an example. Unbinding and levelling up one Phoenix (a 4-star flame dragon) does not mean that the next Phoenix you summon will be unbound. And if you want two MUB Phoenixes, then you are going to need to get two duplicate Phoenixes and MUB both of them. Unlike wymrprints, there is no unified page for all your copies of Phoenix, and upgrades are not shared, as the game views these two Phoenixes as separate entities.
While this might not seem like a huge deal, I was constantly bothered by how… different dragons are next to everything else, as they are operating on an older and less player-friendly set of rules than the other systems currently are.
I should probably explain how I propose Cygames should fix this. Well, here’s my idea. Make the dragon upgrade process functionally similar to upgrading weapons or wyrmprints, where, once you obtain a dragon, you can then access a menu to upgrade, unbind, and generate copies of that same dragon with the same stats. Now, the issue with this approach comes in determining what resource should be used to unbind and generate copies of a dragon. And my suggestion comes in the form of Draconic Essences.
Now, the immediate counterpoint to this suggestion would be pointing out how most dragons in Dragalia Lost do not have Draconic Essences. That is true, and my suggestion is to, quite simply, introduce Draconic Essences for every summonable dragon in the game. 3-stars, 4-stars, 5-stars, seasonal dragons, gala dragons, event dragons, the works. Furthermore, I believe that, when the player summons a duplicate dragon (a dragon they have previously summoned), they should instead get a set number of Draconic Essences, similar to how duplicate adventurers give eldwater. I also propose that Draconic Essences should have two uses. One, to upgrade dragons, and two, to be exchanged for eldwater at a new section in the treasure trade.
Okay, but what would the numbers be? And aren’t there exceptions to this rule in the form of event dragons, Greatwyrms, and High Greatwyrms? Well, I did the math, considered the exceptions, and prepared some figures, along with a shoddy-looking chart that I made in diagrams.net.
Also, I should clarify that in figuring these numbers, I am dropping the rupie figures. When parting ways with a dragon, players are given both rupies and eldwater, but this never made much sense to me, and the quantity of rupies you receive from this process are so small they’re effectively meaningless. They are a marginal and insignificant bonus, and the point of this exercise is to streamline things. Sure, this lowers rupie income of players, but only by a few thousand per dragon, in a game where players can easily accumulate 300,000 rupies in about a minute
Obtained via summoning
Duplicate summon reward: 30 3-star Essences
Unbind Cost: 30 Essences
Copy Cost: 150 Essences
Eldwater Value of Essence: 5 Eldwater
Obtained via summoning
Duplicate summon reward: 40 4-star Essences
Unbind Cost: 40 Essences
Copy Cost: 200 Essences
Eldwater Value of Essence: 55 Eldwater
Obtained via summoning
Duplicate summon reward: 50 5-star Essences
Unbind Cost: 50 Essences
Copy Cost: 250 Essences
Eldwater Value of Essence: 170 Eldwater
As for the Treasure Trade dragons, I do not think it makes sense to give them essences, when they already have a non-traditional means of unbinding or obtaining additional copies. So it is very easy to see how these dragons would adapt to my proposed new system, seeing as how the numbers and resources have already been established.
Obtained via the first 5 story chapters
Unbind Cost: 20 Greatwyrm Spheres
Copy Cost: 150 Greatwyrm Spheres and 25 Greatwyrm Scales
Obtained via treasure trade for 5 High Greatwyrm Spheres
Unbind Cost: 120 High Greatwyrm Spheres and 100 Greatwyrm Spheres
Copy Cost: 485 High Greatwyrm Spheres and 400 Greatwyrm Spheres
Obtained via event login bonuses and Fafnir Medal treasure trade
Unbind Cost: 1 Fafnir medal
Copy Cost: 5 Fafnir medals
Obtained via treasure trade for 1 Void Seed
Unbind Cost: 1 Void Seed
Copy Cost: 5 Void Seeds
Obtained via treasure trade for 2 Void Seeds
Unbind Cost: 2 Void Seeds
Copy Cost: 10 Void Seeds
Obtained via treasure trade for 4 Void Seeds
Unbind Cost: 4 Void Seeds
Copy Cost: 20 Void Seeds
Event dragons are probably the hardest to wrap one’s head around, because they are typically only ever unbound using other copies obtained via an event and its subsequent reruns. You can technically unbind them using Sunlight Stones, but only a crazy person would ever do that, and in order for this dragon overhaul system to work, there needs to be some alternative.
So my proposal is to introduce a new event-exclusive Draconic Essence item obtained via blazon summoning or event endeavors. This event Essence item will replace duplicates of the dragon obtainable under the current system. And, unlike the current system, the blazon summoning box should always feature this event Essence item, to reward players for playing more of this event.
When the event is over however, I believe that players should be able to unbind and create copies of event dragons using eldwater, and all unused copies of the event Essence item should either disappear or be converted to eldwater. The magic number I’m using here is 300 eldwater as, when you try to part ways with an event dragon, you receive 300 eldwater and 5,000 Rupies per unbind.
5-star Event Dragons:
Obtained via events for getting 100 Silver Emblems, or from completing an event endeavor
Unbind Cost: 1 event Essence item or 300 Eldwater
Copy Cost: 5 event Essence item or 1,500 Eldwater
Eldwater Value of Essence: 300 Eldwater
So, that’s a lot of things I just said, and some dollar-store math I just did! …But you might be asking what the true mechanical benefit to all of this is, and my answer is as follows:
- It makes it easier to sift through a player’s collection of dragons when upgrading them or equipping them to adventurers.
- It introduces mechanical parity to other upgrade systems.
- And it allows players to better and more economically use their dragon augments which, as of writing, can only be obtained through weekly or daily rewards.
Also, it helps make it easier to explain certain mechanics within Dragalia Lost to newcomers, as weapons, wyrmprints, and dragons would all have a similar upgrade process. That is the core reason why I want to see this overhaul… and also because I am a crazy person who hoards dragons because I think I should.
The only preemptive criticism I could see with this proposed revision is that it would allow players to exchange Draconic Essences directly for eldwater. This is something that some players indirectly do when summoning 5-star dragons. They unbind them with Draconic Essences and trade them in for a whopping 8,500 eldwater per unbind. The method I am proposing would simply make this method of eldwater farming more accessible. And considering the immense eldwater costs players must pay to upgrade adventurers and wyrmprints, I think that the game needs a way for players to readily amass eldwater.
You might say that this discourages summoning, and that is true, but… Draconic Essences ALWAYS served as an alternative source of eldwater, and players knew that from the moment they started playing with the feature. However— and this is a big however— if this method were implemented, and the developers introduced a feature to auto-queue story quests, then it would be possible for players to amass 40,800 eldwater per day for 2,478 stamina.
Now, this would not be sustainable for players to do every day, as this is over 10 times the daily stamina given and it would take hours for the game to clear these quests. Though, it would successfully make eldwater a farmable resource, and would give players the opportunity to amass twice as much, for half the cost, during the frequent half-stamina and double drop promotions. Which would wind up addressing the eldwater issues that players inevitably run into.
You might be asking, realistically, how much Eldwater someone needs. Well, I did the math and as of 10/17/2021, I need a whopping 19,420,200 Eldwater to bring all adventurers to 50 mana circles and get 4 copies of all wyrmprints. Or in other words… no, this really would not lead to an issue where players have too much eldwater and nothing to spend it on.
Chapter 5-6: A UI Revision Proposal
While I enjoy the UI of Dragalia Lost, it was designed for systems and a gameplay loop that has changed since the game’s last major UI overhaul back in November 2019. And while various minor changes have been made as features have been introduced, the changes in question lack the same playfulness with their design, and tend to require more clicks to change things. For as much as I appreciated the Version 2.0 update and the changes it brought, the act of viewing and changing a character’s equipment takes more time than it used to, and while many of the upgrade menus are effective, they are also sterile and do not make the best use of their screen space.
Take, for example, this upgrade screen for a wyrmprint, a piece of equipment. The name, icon, HP, strength, might, and upgradable components of the item are all clearly labeled and visible. However, the effect— what this wyrmprint does— is represented using this tiny icon that you need to press in order to view. While there is not a lot of space for the full description of this effect, the name of this effect could easily be added to the wyrmprint upgrade page. The HP & Strength, Unbinding, and Copies boxes would simply need to be pushed down slightly.
Now, you will also notice that there are two arrows next to the box containing the wyrmprint name and stats. When pressing those, it shows how many copies of the wyrmprint a player has… even though that information is already conveyed in the “Copies” box below. Furthermore, you will notice that the text denoting how many upgrades a player has unlocked partially covers the progress bar. While this is stylish, and how endeavors are presented, it is not good for readability and does not make use of the empty white space at the bottom of this box. This entire screen does not use its space well, and it strikes me as something designed by a programmer, rather than a UX designer.
The same principle also applies to the weapon upgrade menu. Name, HP, strength, might, upgrade quantity, and abilities are all denoted at the very top, while the upgradable components are listed below. It works, but you need to click a very small area to see what each ability does, when their icons could be placed elsewhere. And for some reason, they decided to split the stats and functionality upgrades into two tabs, which means that in order to upgrade certain things. I never really understood this distinction, as it adds a needless click whenever players want to upgrade something on the secondary “function” tab.
This all frustrated me so much that I prepared some mock ups of what the weapon and wyrmprint upgrade screen UI could, and in my opinion should, look like. …I also did the same with dragons, as I truly believe my proposed upgrade system is a good idea, and something Cygames should implement. My proposed UI revision is not a dramatic departure, and simply presents existing information more readily while removing presses and, at worst, adding a potential scroll. I am far from a UX designer, but I think this is generally a better way to go about things.
I have also been carrying around grievances with the way that adventurer upgrade menus are handled. In Dragalia, there are three ways you can upgrade an adventurer. Levelling them up, promoting them to a higher rarity, or unlocking more of their mana circles. However, the ability to upgrade their mana circles is relegated to a secondary icon on the upgrade menu. This is a rather odd decision for me to wrap my head around, and it is something that made sense when the game launched. The mana circle menu was originally only available as this 3D menu reminiscent of the Crystarium from Final Fantasy XIII. It was pretty, but made the act of upgrading feel too time consuming due to how the game had to load in and out of every mana circle.
However, the April 2020 update eventually brought in the ability to display mana circles as a series of 2D icons, which are far faster to manipulate, and managed to get the job done just as well. However, by introducing this faster and more streamlined version of mana circles, they made it all the more confusing as to why mana circles are not considered part of the ‘adventurer upgrade menu’ and why they are not listed among upgrade and promote. Unfortunately, the only real solution to this is to ditch the 3D mana circle menu entirely, and I doubt Cygames wants to do that, as they clearly did put a lot of work into it… and it sure is pretty.
Chapter 5-7: Anything Else I Want to Complain About?
One of the bigger criticisms I was sitting on with Dragalia Lost was the sizable amount of grinding and farming it required players to partake in. However, I ditched this as a potential criticism, as it was addressed by the dev team over the past year.
In March 2021, they gave a 40% haircut to the stamina costs of most early game, story, and event quests, allowing players to do more while consuming less stamina, which made farming easier, and allowed players to make more progress within a typical day
In July 2021, they introduced a quick skip option that let’s players skip through Aventure to Power, Avenue of Fortune, Elemental Ruins, Dragon Trials, and The Imperial Onslaught, which makes it far easier for players to go about doing their dailies.
In September 2021, they revised the drop rates for certain quests. While I expected this to be a rather minor update, they were full buck wild with these numbers. Imperial Onslaught drps were increased by a factor of 20, making it stupid easy to get all the weapon dojo materials you could ever need or want. Void Battle drops got a bump from anywhere between 5 to 50 times more than what used to be there, which makes it FAR easier for new players to get up to Agito content and amass stupid amounts of tier 4 elemental orbs. And they also increased the drops from Advanced Dragon Trials and The Agito Uprising by a factor of 3, and turned what was once a prolonged grind into something trivial by comparison.
Over the past year, the developers have done a lot to improve the quality of life in Dragalia Lost by slashing away the grind, but there are still a few things I would like to see be revised and given a bit of a shake-up.
Further Drop Rate Revision:
While I am delighted that Dragalia overhauled its drop rates for certain content so generously, they missed a few spots in the process, as the September 2021 update did not increase the drop rates for the Elemental Ruins or Dragon Trials. Now, Dragon Trials are not a big deal, as all of the drops from those quests can be readily farmed via the Prelude difficulty of Advanced Dragon Trials… which actually costs less stamina than Master difficulty of the regular Dragon Trials. Huh.
As for Elemental Ruins though, it remains the best place for players to farm for tier 1, 2, and 3 elemental orbs, along with rainbow orbs. Tier 4 elemental orbs can be readily obtained by fighting Void Dragons and Chimeras, but unlike most other similar tiered materials, players cannot convert tier 4 elemental orbs to a lower tier.
This is a problem, as elemental orbs are an essential item for upgrading facilities and adventurers alike, and something that players need a steady supply of in order to keep upgrading new adventurers. But the Elemental Ruins, which is supposed to be where players accumulate these materials, are incredibly stingy with drops, and it can take dozens of runs just to get enough materials to unlock one adventurer’s mana circle.
Many have suggested ways to improve the drop rates, such as adding a new difficult mode above the Expert difficulty currently present in the game. And this subject was even broached by director Yuji Okada in an interview back in June 2020. His response was basically that the dev team does not currently plan on changing the way players readily obtain elemental orbs, but affirmed that they would be available via events. While this acknowledges the issue and presents a solution, that is not the solution people wanted to hear.
Elemental orbs are something needed by people all the time, and there should be a decently optimal way to farm elemental orbs.
Auto-Queue for Draconic Essences:
Currently, there are 40 different Draconic Essences obtainable by playing chapters of the main campaign every day in Dragalia Lost. And while this is an incredibly generous selection that features many useful dragons, the actual process of obtaining these essences is… mind-numbing and not especially enjoyable.
Most players with enough Might to clear these quests can just leave the game to auto-play these stages three times and, when the auto-play is done, they leave the results screen, back out of the quest, return to the chapter menu, and then move to the next Draconic Essence. This process can take an excruciatingly long amount of time if you are trying to get a lot of Draconic Essences, and what you are doing during this process is just menu navigation to queue up the next process, which does not make for good gameplay. It feels like a UX oversight that just wastes a player’s time.
So, what is my proposal for change? …Okay, so the Draconic Essence menu available when in the main campaign? There should be a button there that lets players set a queue of Draconic Essences, choosing how many runs they want to do, prioritizing Very Hard over Hard for the sake of accumulating better drops, before letting them either auto-play through these quests in a queue, or just skip them outright using skip tickets. Which brings me to another criticism…
Skip Ticket Fiesta Party!!!:
In Dragalia Lost, players are given 6 skip tickets a day and 5 of those are meant to go toward the Daily Bonus Quick Skip feature. Aside from these daily skip tickets, the items are rarely given to players, and… I do not see why not, because all of the content that players can use skip tickets on are so easy for veteran or enfranchised players that they could effortlessly be won via autoplay.
Now, personally, I view this as a problem that could be solved via two solutions. The radical solution involves ditching skip tickets and allowing players to spend stamina to complete select quests so long as they completed the quest once. While I like this approach, it does not necessarily not work due to tradition and the fact that Dragalia continues to sell skip tickets.
The more mellow solution is to give players more skip tickets every day, increasing that number from 6… to a number bigger than 6. This will encourage players to use them more, and would make farming select quests marginally easier.
Another Use for Wyrmprint Memories:
Something I did not mention in Chapter 3-9 is how exactly one upgrades wyrmprints from Rise of the Sinister Dominion, or how they work as drops. In RotSD, players receive Dominion wyrmprints as drops, and after obtaining one copy, all successive copies are turned into wyrmprint memories. Wyrmprint memories are used to level up, unbind, and create copies of Dominion wyrmprints, in addition to the shards and prisms dropped by their respective boss.
The problem with wyrmprint memories is that they have no use outside of upgrading wyrmprints, and players will amass far more wyrmprint memories than they need. You need a total of 540 of them to fully upgrade the respective wyrmprint. I have nearly fully completed all wyrmprints from Lilith’s Encroaching Shadow, and I am sitting on anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 extra wyrmprint memories with NOTHING I can do with them.
While it is possible these will have some future use, it just strikes me as bad item design and I would love to see some use for these items. In fact… this brings up a great idea!
Let Players Convert Every Material Into Rupies:
In Dragalia Lost, players amass a lot of materials, but have little use for many of them after a point. Ranging from core weapon materials to things like silver crystals used to increase adventurer EXP. This begs the question of what these items could be used for, and I think the best option is to allow players to trade them in for rupies.
Rupies are something highly valuable to developing players in Dragalia Lost, as players need billions to upgrade weapons and facilities. However, with the overhaul of Void Battle, High Dragon, and Agito drops, players are amassing materials far faster than they can afford the upgrade costs. As such, a solution to this would be to let players pawn off their excess materials to increase their rupie income.
For example, let’s take the Royal Insignias from The Imperial Onslaught. They come in five elemental variants, and players need 5,400 to upgrade core weapons, 5,360 to upgrade weapon dojos, and 800 to obtain and fully upgrade the High Greatwyrm resistance wyrmprint. So players need 11,560 in total for each of the five elements.
For one run of Master difficulty of The Imperial Onslaught, which focused players should unlock in a matter of days, if not hours, players obtain 200 Royal Insignias, and receive 960 from the daily bonus. Meaning that even if players only do one run of Master a day, they can amass all the Tier 2 Insignias they ever need within 50 days. And that is fully ignoring all other sources of these materials.
This makes the material virtually worthless to players after a point, but what if they could exchange this material for rupies? A resource players need tens of billions of in order to upgrade everything. Hell, Dragalia has been following this approach for a while, as every event Treasure Trade allows players to trade excess event materials for rupies. Now, the rates are terrible, and these rates would probably suck to discourage another form of rupie farming, but this approach would allow players to get something useful from an unwanted resource. Also, this would be easier to implement than a new use for existing items.
Selectable Weapon Skills:
Something that players have been quibbling over for quite some time has been the weapon skill for Agito weapons. Unlike other weapon skills, Agito weapons do not always deal a damage-dealing attack and instead fluctuate between two buffs. One offensive and one defensive. However, the AI does not know when to prioritize between these two and, once this skill is recharged, the AI will use this skill, even if it compromises their DPS.
Their use of these skills is wildly inefficient, and in content where enemies inflict Curse of Nihility, the Agito skills are completely nullified and do nothing but waste animation time. …Except for the light Agito weapon skill, which builds dragon gauge.
Because of this, I propose the introduction of a feature that lets players customize how the AI uses these skills. I would suggest doing this via the shared skill menu, and letting them choose between the offensive/defensive rendition, the defensive rendition, or the offensive rendition, while introducing new skills usable by the Agito weapons. These skills would be comparable to the ones seen on the High Dragon weapons. Standard damage-dealing skills that would slightly add to an adventurer’s DPS, without doing anything special. No dispel, no afflictions, no stat lowering, no frills.
As for how players would gain access to these skills… um… Actually, forget the bit about making them new skills. Just let players use the skills from High Dragon weapons even when they are using Agito weapons. It would not be a particularly ‘cool’ feature, but it would marginally boost DPS, and help out in auto-comps.
Chapter 5-8: So Long, And Here’s To Another 3 Years!
Over the past two years I spent with Dragalia Lost, over the untold hours I have invested into it, I have come to love the game nearly and dearly for a myriad of reasons. But I think what keeps me invested, what urges me to stick with it, more than anything, is a desire to see what comes next. What new story the writers have cooking up, what new bosses will be added, and how the game will both evolve and improve itself with every monthly update.
Dragalia Lost is a shining example of everything a mobile live service should be, as it not only delivers on a high level of quality, but is also such a generous game that I feel like I, as a player, am constantly being serviced. It is a game where I am delighted by its story, presentation, gameplay, and interwoven progression systems. None of which is truly harmed by the same sense of greed and avarice common amongst most other live services of this nature, amounting to a title that I want to financially support because it brings me joy.
It is a title that I have come to love deeply over the past years, one that probably taught me more about game design than any other singular game I have ever played, and one that I plan on playing until I can’t. Until it goes offline and dies. But even then, it will still hold a special place within me. For the stories it told, the characters it created, the bosses I battled, the goodies I accumulated, the fun I had, and the fact that this was the first, and likely last, online game I became deeply invested in.
Thank you Mr. Lost for the vibes, the memories, and the funsies. Thank you the DL community, y’all be good people for a bunch of gacha-loving degenerates. Thank you to the people who run the Dragalia Lost Wiki, without you this post would not have been possible. Thank you Cygames for making such a dope game with your years of experience. And thank you Nintendo for ponying up the green for this project and telling the folks behind it to make the game so gosh darn generous.
Also, thank you to whatever mad degenerate decided to make this video a reality:
…Okay, I think that fulfills the Natalie Neumann weirdness quota for this post.
I’ll almost certainly do another one of these after the fourth anniversary in September 2022. But until then, see ya.