Rundown (12/26-1/01) Can’t Escape the Kaleido Labyrinth

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Wherein I… review the Enter the Kaleidoscape mode of Dragalia Lost, I guess?


The week between Christmas and New Year’s is historically a dead week where outlets recount the past year and very few announcements or press releases are issued. As loads of people are on break, traveling, or getting things prepped for the next year. 

The only news story that stood out to me is how things are getting super bad out there with the Omicron remix of SARS-CoV-2. …And I don’t want to talk about the global health crisis that is going to mess up the supply chain and kill loads of people. It’s bad, but there’s nothing I can do about it other than stay inside, take my shots every few months, and avoid spreading the deadly virus.

So, on that note, what exactly did I do this week? Well, I continued editing Psycho Bullet Festival 2222, which is now 50% edited and on track to meet its 2/2/2022 release date. I also played a lot of Dragalia Lost, which recently added a new randomized dungeon mode by the name of Enter the Kaleidoscape. A mode that is basically a game within the game and, after investing over 20 hours into this mode, I’m obligated to talk about it in detail, so… screw it. This is technically a Rundown, but I’m going to turn it into a Ramble/Review. As I have over 5,000 words of thoughts about this thing.


Enter the Kaleidoscape is a roguelike mode that was recently added to Dragalia Lost. Players select one of the nearly 300 adventurers in this game and embark on a 50 floor dungeon crawl where they acquire randomized loot while traversing randomized floors and fighting randomized bosses. None of the player’s progress from the main game carries over, and the only permanent upgrade comes in passive stat buffs unlocked using resources found in Kaleidoscape.

The central goal is, naturally, to get all the way to the end of the dungeon and get the greatest rewards. In order to do so, the player needs to make use of their adventurer’s skills and inherent abilities. Pick up and utilize consumable shared skill tokens that let them use the skills of other adventurers. Equip weapons with different stats, passives, and skills. Equip wyrmprints with different stats and passive effects. And shapeshift into dragons, who are ideal for dealing with bosses and dense hordes of enemies.

Players also have a helper character, Roy Fafnir IV, who aids the player by healing them (the best option most of the time), dealing minor damage to enemies, or boosting the movement speed of the adventurer. 

In the event of failure, players have access to 10 continues that refresh every day, allowing them to retry a specific floor. Which is actually far more generous than many other roguelikes, where one mistake can ruin a run. Continues are also used to suspend runs, presumably because the game only saves the player’s progress upon completing a floor, and if it did not cost a continue to suspend, some players would abuse this system. This makes me question why there are limited continues in the first place, but that’s a minor quibble.

When a run is completed, the player is granted three rewards: Dawn Amber, Dusk Amber, and Portrait Wyrmprints. Dawn Amber and Dusk Amber are used to permanently upgrade stats within Kaleidoscape and can be used to obtain items from the treasure trade. While Portrait Wyrmprints are used in the main game, where they are equipped by adventurers and give the passive buffs to their stats.

Now, this mode is basically a game in and of itself, even more than The Alberian Battle Royale, and I have a lot of thoughts about it, what it does right, and what it does not do right.


Kaleidoscape Treasure Trade:
One of the biggest surprises with this mode was the sheer breadth of valuable items available via the treasure trade. At first, I thought it was just going to be basic weapon skins and upgrade materials, but no, they delivered big time, offering items that are usually only available via events or promotions, and resetting them every month. 

The key takeaways are 2 Sunlight Stones to unbind 5-star dragons, 1 Adamantite Ingot to unbind 6-star weapons, 2 Golden Keys to unbind 5-star wyrmprints, and 2 Omnicite to fully upgrade an adventurer. The monthly reward list reads like an anniversary giveaway, except it’s every month! The only things missing are early road blockers such as crimson cores, talonstones, and augments.

However, in order to get these items, you are going to need a lot of Amber. The basic math is that Sunlight Stones, Adamantite Ingots, and Golden Keys can each be obtained for the spoils the player gets in one successful run, while a single Omnicite requires 3 runs. Or in other words, 11 runs a month.


Run Length:
In the world of roguelikes, you typically want a run to last somewhere between 20-80 minutes depending on the game. Kaleidoscape is different though, and the 50 floor run reminds me more of a 99 floor dungeon from a Mystery Dungeon game, as opposed to a run from Rogue Legacy or Dead Cells. The game simply feels too long for my liking, and repeats content too often to feel like every run is properly paced. 

The developers clearly knew this at some point too, and they included the ability to skip the first 30 floors of the dungeon, jumping straight to floor 31. The player can do this three times a day, and the last 20 floors typically took me 50 to 90 minutes to clear, depending on the adventurer. This makes me question why the developers insisted on going with 50 floors, instead of just 20 or 30 in total, and that is not the only question I have about Kaleidoscape’s structure…


Maps:
Most roguelikes make use of procedural or randomly generated maps to make up the contents of each run, as it keeps the game interesting, as you truly never know what each run will bring. It is a great way to keep things fresh and interesting even after dozens of hours. 

Instead of doing this, Kaleidoscape repurposes a few dozen maps with preset enemy configurations, and many of the maps featured here are either remixes or copies of maps seen in the main campaign. Instead of doing this, Kaleidoscape repurposes a few dozen maps with preset enemy configurations, and many of the maps featured here are either remixes or copies of maps seen in the main campaign.

To an extent, I understand how difficult it would be to create a fully functional map generator for what is extensively a side mode. The maps in Dragalia Lost have a lot of environmental details, visual flair, and effects that would complicate this process. Though, even if procedural generation is out, I feel like the developers could repurpose more maps than they did and, assuming their map editor is decent, be able to churn out a lot of basic maps fairly quickly. 


Shared Skills:
In order to save on development resources, Kaleidoscape makes use of shared skills, which adventurers pick up throughout their journey. While the player can bring nearly every shared skill in with them, only 21 can be found within the labyrinth. These include skills that inflict afflictions, skills with a high hit count for enemies with hit-based health, and a few debuffing skills. But there are three skills that… just make no sense to me, and those are the buff/recovery skills. Which are as follows:

  • Akashic Repose: Regenerates HP over 15 seconds, grants overdamage based on 50% of the user’s strength for 30 seconds, and increases strength by 15% for 60 seconds.
  • Impeccable Service: Heals a large amount of HP at once and increases strength by 15% for 60 seconds.
  • Smith Shield: Increases defense by 25% for 15 seconds.
  • Pride of the Forge: Increases strength by 15% for 15 seconds.

Now, this clear hierarchy of shared skills would make some sense if rarity was a factor, except I don’t think shared skills are determined by rarity or floor-weighted drop rates. I have found all of these shared skills pretty early on in my runs, and found all of them on the 49th floor as well, so I think they might be truly random. Which begs the question of why the developers would even include what are clearly worse shared skills in this mode. Especially when there are better options. 

  • Instead of Impeccable Service, they could have used Naturopathy, which restores a large amount of HP at once and increases max HP by 5%.
  • Instead of Smith Shield, they could have used Sparrow’s Guard, which increases strength by 15% and defense by 25% for 15 seconds.
  • Instead of Pride of the Forge, they could have used Brave Bastion, which increases strength by 25% and deals damage.

This would make Akashic Repose the de facto healing shared skill, but it is more than that. It is actually the best shared skill by a massive margin. Not only does the regen provide a valuable level of insurance over a decent length of time, but when dealing with a single adventurer, overdamage is a 50% buff to DPS. That makes it, over time, more powerful than any offensive shared skill, doubles the hit count against hit-based enemies, and all of this is associated with a healing skill.

Akashic Repose is so powerful that I worry the developers might remove it from the mode, and I think that would be a terrible idea. I think this skill, and overdamage in general, should be more common throughout this mode, as overdamage makes it easier to cleave through waves of spongy enemies. I think that shared skills should be more powerful, because they are power-ups and power-ups are supposed to feel powerful. 

Also, while there is no shared skill that cures all afflictions, I really feel like there needs to be one for this mode. I lost far too many runs at floor 40, simply because two of the five possible bosses were designed for characters immune to their afflictions. And if you are not immune to their afflictions… it is possible to win, just far harder than it should be.


Upgrades:
Speaking of power, despite seeing adventurers go from level 1 to 80 and their stats ballooning by a factor of 10, Kaleidoscape does not do much to make the player feel like they are getting more powerful. The reason for this is that enemy and adventurer stats both scale upwards, and adventurers start each run with all their abilities and skills. This means that the most significant upgrades found in the Kaleidoscape come in the form of random loot drops. Now, random loot drops are a tricky thing to manage, but I don’t think the fine folks at Cygames did a particularly good job here.

Wyrmprint abilities range from underwhelming to stupidly good. Affliction punishers never go past 15%, when they can reach 25/30% in the base game. Flurry strength caps out at 6%, as opposed to 20% in the base game. Slayer’s strength +4% is stupidly good in this mode, as it is basically a permanent 20% strength buff. Affliction Guard can be equipped and unequipped to make the adventurer immune to afflictions. And Combo Time +10 gives players 10 seconds of lenience in maintaining their combo, which is… just stupidly generous.

Weapons have a lot of incarnations where the HP boost is greater than the strength boost, which is probably never optimal outside of super niche situations. Weapon skills can be incredibly handy if you get access to overdamage or dispel, but other incarnations feel pointless by comparison. And their abilities range from 30% broken punisher, which is only useful on bosses, to +150% dragon time. 

By having so many bad choices, it turns equipment management into a chore, as you are just trading out old equipment for new equipment when it has a bigger number, or one of the few good abilities. There is a clear hierarchy for equipment, so there is no need to make intelligent decisions on which weapon or wyrmprint you want to use. You just need to consult the tier list.

As for potential solutions… I would raise a bunch of numbers, and I would consider introducing a drawback system so the player needs to make more interesting decisions. To give some examples, there could be a weapon that boosts attack rate by 30%, but reduces adventurer defense by 15%. A weapon that grants overdamage when HP is above 70%, but inflicts a random affliction whenever held. A wyrmprint that boosts skill damage but lowers max HP. This stuff is not hard to come up with, and probably not that hard to implement, so I would like to see something like this come in future updates. Something that makes equipment better and introduces more complicated decision making.


Permanent Upgrades:
Truthfully, I do not think that a lot of thought went into the permanent upgrades for this mode. They include modifiers to HP, strength, force strike damage, skill damage, EXP, and class-based defense stats, all of which cap at 10%. While they do help make runs faster and more consistent, they do not feel particularly meaningful, and I wish there were more substantial upgrades available. 

Such as something that upgrades the skills of Roy Fafnir IV. They could make his healing skill stronger and pair it with a passive +15% strength buff. They could make his attack skill more powerful and add an effect such as strength/defense down. And they could pair the movement speed skill with more general defense or strength buffs.


Dragon Passives:
After defeating bosses on semi-random floors, players are given the choice between three or four random dragons. Dragons in Kaleidoscape have a limited number of uses per run, the player can hold up to 8 of them, and they each confer a passive ability, ranging from HP, defense, and strength buffs to immunity to two afflictions. Personally, I always go for affliction immunity, as there are enemies that freeze, paralyze, burn, and curse, which always slows down a run and carries the risk of death once the player reaches floor 40.


The Woes of Affliction Resistance (and Dispel):
At floor 40, the player encounters one of the 5 High Dragons. The dragon the player encounters is randomized, meaning they need to prepare for all of them as potential encounters, and prepare to withstand their afflictions. 

  • Midgardsormer inflicts stun, which immobilizes the adventurer for a few seconds. 
  • Mercury inflicts bog, slowing the adventurer. 
  • Brunhilda inflicts burn, which can keep the adventurer at 1 HP, and occasionally uses unavoidable attacks. 
  • Jupiter inflicts paralysis, which can keep the adventurer at 1 HP, occasionally uses unavoidable attacks, and is generally a pain for melee adventurers to deal with. 
  • Zodiark can inflict curse, making all skills unusable, but he has half the HP of other High Dragons and is pretty easy so long as you shapeshift before the opening blast.

It does not feel great to get into these situations, and I wish they altered the damage associated with burn and paralysis for these fights to make them more… possible for adventurers without an immunity. It would make the fight seem more fair.

After the High Dragons, the next major bosses are Volk, Kai Yan, Ciella, and Ayaha & Otoha from The Agito Uprising. Tartarus is not one of the available bosses, because his gimmick relies on affliction immunity and co-op. The human form of one boss appears on floor 45, and the beast form of the same boss appears on floor 50. I actually enjoy these fights, but it is safe to say that Ciella and Volk are pretty easy, Ayaha & Otoha require a high DPS output, while Kai Yan is a bastard to fight, as he necessitates that the player have access to dispel in order to shred his shields. Dispel can be provided by three different shared skills, though the threat of encountering him encouraged me to reserve half of my shared skill inventory for dispel, just in case.

To rectify this, I would either make Kai Yan’s shield weaker, or supply dispel shared skills along the edges of the arena, giving players a better chance of defeating him. In fact, maybe the arenas for all these Agito bosses should have shared skills to help players. It would make runs easier, and I do not consider that to be a bad thing.


Damage Distribution:
Something that players quickly noticed about Kaleidoscape is just how durable common enemies were, with many taking a thorough beating before they finally went down. Simultaneously, they also noticed how much damage even common soldier enemies dealt to melee-focused characters.

This is something that will, at least partially, correct itself as one plays through the mode and unlocks permanent upgrades, but it does not give players the best first impression of the mode. It is not particularly fun to spend two minutes wailing against and dodging a mini-boss while waiting for their health bar to reach zero. And it similarly does not feel great to see half of an adventurer’s health vanish as a boss hits them with an unavoidable attack.

This issue could be addressed many ways, though I think the simplest might be to increase the EXP yield from defeating enemies, while adjusting their spawn level. Kaleidoscape has a built-in damage boosting system. If there is a difference of 5 to 9 levels between the adventurer and enemies, then there is a 20% modifier to damage. And if there is a difference of 10 levels or more, then there is a 50% modifier to damage. Meaning that a level 60 adventurer will deal 20% more damage to a level 54 enemy, and the level 54 enemy will deal 20% less damage to the level 60 adventurer. 

It is also worth noting that there is no EXP scaling of any sort in this mode, as all common enemies drop 90 EXP and it always takes 1,000 EXP to reach a new level. So if enemies dropped 100 EXP or more, and if enemies spawned at lower levels, then the mode could be made significantly easier. It would also help curb the numerous difficulty spikes, such as the one seen on floor 11, when common enemies jump from level 3 to 16 and bosses jump from level 10 to 22.


Expeditions:
I remember hearing Dragalia fans discuss this as a potential feature a few months back. The ability to send adventurers off on passive journeys to obtain a scattering of resources. I originally imagined this resulting in extra elemental orbs, greatwyrm scales, and other early game materials that are always in demand. Instead, the Expedition feature has the player lock four adventurers out of the Kaleidoscape for 8 hours, where they will return with 5,500 Dawn Amber and a portrait wyrmprint for each adventurer.

This helps the player afford many of the ‘lower value’ items in the Kaleidoscape treasure trade and gives the player access to four portrait wyrmprints for basically zero effort. However, this feature also makes me question how robust the treasure trade truly is, as I can imagine players getting 330,000 Dawn Amber from Expeditions every month, and there is nothing you can really do with just Dawn Amber. Well, besides buying materials you can obtain from auto-friendly quests with high drop rates. Quests that, with the latest update, you can use skip tickets on.


Portrait Wyrmprints:
It is rare to see a feature that inspires such love and hate within me. Portrait wyrmprints are an entirely new breed of accessory that differs from regular wyrmprints and the wyrmprints from Rise of the Sinister Dominion. Normal wyrmprints and Dominion wyrmprints are fixed entities with unique artwork and one ability that can be upgraded, unbound, and augmented. Portrait wyrmprints are randomized accessories with generic names and artwork that can have up to two abilities and cannot be upgraded in any way. What you see is what you get, and in a successful clear of the Kaleidoscape, players are awarded with five portrait wyrmprints .

Now, the best part of these portrait wyrmprints is that, when they are good, and the gods of RNG bless the player, they are REALLY good. For example, during my fourth successful run, I received a portrait wyrmprint that boosts wind adventurers’ HP by 10% and skill haste by 6%. This is a great boost to healers, as it boosts the amount they heal and allows them to heal faster. It basically removes the need for a 5-star and a 4-star wyrmprint, while only taking up a single slot.

Other times, however, the RNG just does not work well at all. Such as wyrmprints that boost the damage an adventurer does while in dragon form, and also increase their healing ability. …This does not work in basically any context. Dragon damage only applies to adventurers when they shapeshift into a dragon, and healing ability is only truly valuable to healers. In solo, healers are basically never used to initiate a shapeshift, so giving them dragon damage does nothing. In co-op, healers should only shapeshift during specific instances during a fight, and their damage output would be better if they had a blanket strength increase.

This warrants further analysis, so I’m going to go through every possible ability associated with portrait wyrmprints. Now, these are just my own interpretations, and I could be getting things wrong, as certain things are still not clear to me even after playing Dragalia Lost for over two years. Also, there are certain abilities that only can be in the first slot and certain abilities that can only be in the second. So, I’m going to start with the first slot abilities.

Strength: Normally, players can only increase their strength using wyrmprints based on health conditions and the 20% flurry strength wyrmprints. This, combined with how strength affects all damage dealt, in addition to healing potency, makes strength one of the best abilities for a portrait wyrmprints.

Skill Damage: It is fairly easy for players to get 40% skill damage on adventurers, either by using 1 40% 5-star wyrmprint or two 20% wyrmprints. However, there is definitely a utility for a 40% portrait wyrmprint, and even a generic 20% skill damage wyrmprint can free up a Dominion wyrmprint for something else.

Critical Rate: All weapon types in Dragalia Lost (except for staves) have a regular wyrmprint that boosts the critical rate by 12% or 14%. Portrait wyrmprints can have a fully capped 15% critical rate. Thus makes them superior to even a 5-star wyrmprint in the right context, albeit by a single percentage. This ability can substitute a slot, but only do a marginally better job than the existing alternatives.

Force Strike: Force strikes are only especially useful for specific adventurers, namely rapid-fire manacasters, whose DPS is dramatically higher with this effect. There are 5-star wyrmprints that boost force strike damage by 50% along with 4-stars that boost it by 40%, and most of these come with an affinity that boosts maximum force strike damage. This ability frees up a slot, but they make it harder to get the lance’s boon effect.

HP: This is the slot 1 ability you want for most healers, as more HP means more healing and more insurance during fights. There exists an HP boosting 5-star wyrmprint, Study Rabbits, which boosts HP by 8%, while portrait wyrmprints can boost HP by up to 15%. Meaning that an optimized portrait wyrmprint is almost twice as good as a 5-star wyrmprint.

Dragon Damage: This is probably the most undesirable slot 1 ability, and for a pretty simple reason. When boosting the stats of a dragon form, players typically use wyrmprints with a dragon affinity. They do this because, if you have four dragon affinity wyrmprints equipped, that adventurer’s dragon damage is buffed by 30%. Every wyrmprint that boosts dragon time, damage, haste, or the dragon form in general, has a dragon affinity. Except for portrait wyrmprints, which do not have any affinity. As such, this ability really only works if you want to devote the 5 of the 8 wyrmprint slots to boosting the dragon form. This ability also has zero value when used on backline units in solo content and is only useful when shapeshifting into a dragon. Not dragon drive, not a unique shapeshift, just regular old dragons.

Dragon Haste: Okay, so this one confused me for a while. Dragon haste is a modifier that affects how quickly the dragon gauge fills. In solo content, it doesn’t really matter which adventurer has dragon haste abilities, as the entire team benefits from them. However, it is important to note that dragon haste between party members does not stack. So, if one party member has 7% dragon haste and the other has 8%, then the party only has 8% dragon haste. If an adventurer has 2 wyrmprints, both of which give them 8% dragon haste, then the entire party benefits from the maximum 15% dragon haste. Meaning that, if you are going to use dragon haste wyrmprints, you should only give them to one adventurer.

Dragon haste is useful for dragon-centric adventurers, those with unique shapeshifts (Tiki, Gala Notte, Gala Zethia), and Dragon Drive units (Belina, Summer Leonidas, and the Persona characters). Though, I think it is a far better ability for backliner units, rather than the lead DPS. Previously, the only dragon haste wyrmprint gave adventurers an 8% boost, but portrait wyrmprints bestow up to 15% dragon gauge on their own. This makes them considerably useful to dragon centric adventurers in co-op content. For solo content, they would best be assigned to backliners. Actually, considering how healers usually max out buff time and skill haste using regular wyrmprints, it might be optimal to assign dragon haste to the healer…

Those are the first slot abilities, so let’s start talking about the second slot abilities, which are completely different!

Skill Haste: Skill haste is a staple ability for buffers and healers, though it is useful for any adventurer who relies on skill damage as a major part of their DPS. This can easily free up a 4-star or 5-star slot for adventurers, and I cannot immediately think of any adventurer whose DPS or general usefulness would not go up thanks to this ability. It’s pretty much the best second slot ability.

Skill Prep: Skill prep is primarily used for auto-play compositions and time attack challenges. It is not useful in most contexts, as it only helps adventurers get their DPS off the ground at the start of an encounter. Plus, anything other than 50% skill prep is just garbage. It is not bad, it has some benefit for all adventurers without inherent skill prep, but it is not ideal beyond super niche contexts.

Defense: It makes adventurers take less damage. Pretty simple. Personally, I think that this ability is only useful in auto content, where defense is a bit hard to come by between elemental restriction and HP qualifiers before the defensive buff kicks in.

Critical Damage: Critical damage is something I typically throw on when I do not know what else to include in a DPS build, and the critical damage offered by these portrait wyrmprints leaves something to be desired. The maximum is 15%, when critical damage caps at 25%, and this max can only be obtained if an adventurer is the right element and weapon type. Meanwhile, the 4-star wyrmprint Chariot Drift gives 15% critical damage, and features a bow affinity. It is not bad, but it might be near worthless depending on one’s build.

Recovery Potency: This is only useful to healers and substitute healers. Unless an adventurer has healing skills or shared skills, this is completely worthless. For healers, this is incredible, as it gives them access to up to 20% recovery potency, which is as good as 2 4-star wyrmprints or a 3-star wyrmprint and a 5-star wyrmprint. I love seeing this on healers, but it means nothing to everyone else.

Dragon Time: This is the most undesirable slot 2 ability, and for a pretty simple reason. When boosting the stats of a dragon form, players typically use wyrmprints with a dragon affinity. They do this because, if you have four dragon affinity wyrmprints equipped, that adventurer’s dragon damage is buffed by 30%. Every wyrmprint that boosts dragon time, damage, haste, or the dragon form in general, has a dragon affinity. Except for portrait wyrmprints, which do not have any affinity. As such, this ability really only works if you want to devote the 5 of the 8 wyrmprint slots to boosting the dragon form. This ability also has zero value when used on backline units in solo content and is only useful when shapeshifting into a dragon. Not dragon drive, not a unique shapeshift, just regular old dragons.

This is easily the worst slot 2 ability, and for a pretty simple reason. When boosting the stats of a dragon form, players typically use wyrmprints with a dragon affinity; if you have four dragon affinity wyrmprints equipped, that adventurer’s dragon damage is buffed by 30%. Every wyrmprint that boosts dragon time, damage, haste, or the dragon form in general, has a dragon affinity. Except for portrait wyrmprints, which do not have any affinity. As such, they do not fit into dragon-centric builds. This ability has no purpose on an adventurer who does not shapeshift during a quest and zero value when used on backline units in solo content.

Tradeoffs: These are four entirely new abilities that come with a boon and a bane, and they run the spectrum of useful to useless. 

  • Steady Hitter increases attack skill damage by 40%, but lowers critical damage by 25%. I do not believe this is good in any scenario, as critical damage is a significant part of adventurer DPS.
  • Easy Hitter increases strength by 20%, but reduces force strike damage by 50%. It is good for DPS adventurers who do not rely on force strikes, such as…Ryszarda and Navin? Probably a lot of AI units too.
  • Lucky Hitter increases critical rate by 15%, but lowers dragon damage by 18%. It is great for AI backliners, as they would not use dragon damage anyway and it maxes out critical rate.
  • Hasty Hitter increases skill haste by 15%, but reduces skill damage by 20%. It is great for adventurers who do not have high damaging skills, such as healers and buffers.

Portrait Wyrmprints – Organization:
I swear, these portrait wyrmprints are more complicated than regular wyrmprints, as you need to do so much analysis to find the right one, and the game gives you basically no tools to accomplish this goal. There are only three ways you can sort your portrait wyrmprints: by date, by effect, and by date while prioritizing favorites. And when searching for them, you need to either enter the effect or remember the specific name of the wyrmprint, which is derived from the title of the adventurer. Meaning that I cannot search for “Laxi” to see my Gala Laxi portrait wyrmprints. I need to search for “Synchronized Android.” Also, even though these abilities can be locked by element and weapon type, you cannot search for them by element or weapon type.

While not ideal, this would be manageable if the “details” view showed what the effect of each wyrmprint was, allowing the player to browse through them easily. This is how normal wyrmprints are displayed, and it is an acceptable, yet inefficient, way to view them. With portrait wyrmprints, they do not show the written description of what each ability is. Instead, they only show the icons. So you have no idea, just looking at a wyrmprint at a glance, if it boosts skill haste by 3% or 15%. If you want that detail, you need to click on a portrait wyrmprint and scroll to the second page, where the abilities are listed. This is beyond inefficient and makes using these things an absolute chore. 

It is also worth noting that the Expeditions give players a steady stream of garbage portrait wyrmprints with weak or non-existent abilities, and most of these should be trashed as soon as the player gets them. This is done by going to teams, then collection, then wyrmprints, then portrait wyrmprints, and choosing to sell them for 10,000 rupies a piece. Which is basically nothing

This low reward for disposing of portrait wyrmprints, combined with the fact that players can easily amass dozens of these things a day, makes organization a tall order. I seriously have no idea how the developers intended on players organizing these things, because I am just drowning here. The only way I found to manage portrait wyrmprints is through a spreadsheet and by favoriting the best ones at my disposal.

I love how much depth portrait wyrmprints add to the game, and the power boost they provide, but the execution on them is downright sloppy.


Kaleidoscape Is Still Pretty Fun:
Now, there is a LOT that I can criticize about Enter the Kaleidoscape, and despite its many problems or shortcomings, I have been enjoying the mode quite a lot. At the end of the day, Kaleidoscape is a repackaging of existing content in Dragalia Lost, and… I like the gameplay of Dragalia Lost

I like its simple controls, allowing me to do any action without worrying about combo strings or directional inputs. I enjoy the gameplay look of dishing out skills, regular attacks, and dragon form super moves while dodging away from enemies, abusing i-frames and finding openings in clearly telegraphed attack patterns. And the core gameplay loop of clearing out a map of mobs, collecting loot, and walking away with higher numbers, is something that most RPG-likers probably adore on some level.

The mode has an enjoyable gameplay loop, has a jamming soundtrack, makes for a great ‘podcast game,’ and is different enough from the team-based boss encounters of the main game to feel fresh. Plus, where it lacks in upgrade and map variety, the game more than makes up for it with its 286 playable characters. 

While many character traits overlap, that is still an excessive number of characters, and they allow the player to experience the mode in different ways. You can risk life and limb with a close range melee character, go on a breezy stroll with a manacaster user, test your mettle by maining a staff or wand unit not suited to the ways of violence, or blaze a trail using a character with a unique shapeshift. 

The simplistic action, moveset variety, extrinsic loot reward system, engaging bosses, and Musou-like joy with dispatching wide swaths of enemies, all kept me hooked on this mode. As of writing this, I have only cleared the mode with 16 adventurers, and while I’m sure I will wind down and cool my heels on this mode over time, I think it is a great addition to the game of Dragalia Lost

I just hope the dev team can spare the resources to make this mode as good as it can be. Because seriously, with a few refinements, this mode could help sell Dragalia Lost to far more people. Mind you, they would also far more players if they did a proper global launch and revised the game’s UI and controls for a Switch port, but they haven’t yet. Because Cygames, or Nintendo, or both, do not prescribe to the same dubious logic that I do.

Also, I stole some of these images from the Dragalia Lost wiki, because I am lazy like that.

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