CHARACTERS, CREATURES, AND BASIC TIPS
In truth, there's too much to cover about Dark Arisen before playing, but you should still know a few rules before starting. It'll save you time, naturally. For starters, it should be common sense to learn the combat, such as throwing items, mounting enemies, and using different tactics on specific monsters. I'll have the list of what abilities work best on each creature below. Furthermore, be sure to do all the quests available before moving on to another chapter, even notice board quests (you can find them at every major settlement, marked on the map). These will also be detailed in the guide. And last but not least, loot what you can. It's better to find ingredients than to have to visit a merchant after every quest for more supplies. Essentially, you just need to follow the basic ideas of every RPG.
The rest of the tips are more specific, but you should read them as well if you're new to the series. Because of the wide variety of topics to explain, I've listed a few of the most common concerns of the game first. Next will be vocations and what works best for your combat style. And finally, you can see the bestiary at the bottom, showing what monsters you'll be facing throughout the game.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WILL STARTING A NEW GAME DELETE MY DATA:
Short answer, yes. Never hit New Game unless you just started the game. Dragon's Dogma lets you store your data as a cache, meaning you can start a new game while still saving all your historic accomplishments, like Dragon Age: Origins. By holding onto a save, you can collect items for future playthroughs and even save equipment for new characters. That also includes Hard Mode or a Speedrun. You will keep your equipment and items from the previous playthroughs if you start again. The only way to start over without deleting all your historical data is to finish the game. Selecting New Game will delete all your data, including the progress you've made with achievements.
DOES THE ORDER OF DIFFICULTIES MATTER:
Yes and no for this one. As I mentioned, it's almost a better option to do three playthroughs instead of two. This is because only playing two means you'll need to start the game on hard, which isn't a good suggestion. And starting in Speedrun mode means you only have one life. Which also isn't very good for beginners. Furthermore, your items won't be saved in Speedrun. So it makes the most logical sense to do a single playthrough without any modifiers, and then try your hand at another. Starting the first playthrough means you can collect gear and equipment to use in the other two modes, and you will stay the same level that you beat the game from. So that's why I recommend the order of Normal, Hard, and then Speedrun.
DO I NEED TO PLAY ONLINE FOR PAWNS:
Nope. DD has its own selection of pawns that you can use. Furthermore, anyone on your friends list that has the game (and is playing publicly) has a pawn that can also be used. This means if you have a friend who's beaten the game, you can nab their level 130 pawn for your level 12 adventure without any repercussions (besides the loss of experience). Players on TA have already set up a pawn sharing thread to help out. You do, however, need to be set to online for other people to use your pawn. If you don't have any friends who play the game, you're also welcome to send a friend request over to me and I will use your pawn free of charge (I also give away wakestones as gifts). Furthermore, any time you are looking for specific items, it might be worth making a forum post to see of anyone is willing to trade with you.
IS MY VOCATION PERMANENT:
Not at all. Neither yours, nor your pawn's vocation is dead set on what you pick at the start. However, changing vocations will cost discipline points, which is also what you use to purchase skills. Be aware that only the Arisen (you) can use hybrid vocations, though. Hybrids are Magick Archers, Assassins, and Mystic Knights. Pawns can still used advanced classes such as Warriors, Rangers, and Sorcerers. Just be sure you buy the correct weapons for each, since each class holds a different set. And what's even better is that once you've unlocked a class and abilities, if you ever decide to switch back to it, or switch your pawn's class, those skills will remain unlocked.
HOW DOES THE INVENTORY WORK:
Your inventory works separately from your pawns, but you can have them hold items for you. No, giving an item to a pawn that isn't yours won't mean you've lost those items forever. Even if you fire a pawn with your items still on the person, those items will be transferred to your storage. Storage is accessed through Innkeepers and all the items within will be kept with your game cache. So it's a good idea to store quest items you don't need or already have into storage for another playthrough. Furthermore, if you find yourself over-encumbered (it's determined how much you can carry by how much your character weighs) you can just hand stuff over to the other pawns to allow for better speed. Just be aware that if you give your pawns curatives or health items, they will use them. You could also unintentionally give away or sell a quest item.
IS THERE AN EASY WAY TO LEVEL UP:
Besides playing the game? No, there's not very many ways to level up faster. However, you earn experience in a number of ways including your difficulty, your level, your pawns' level, the number of pawns you have, completing quests, and defeating foes. Despite this, many gamers choose to farm the Ur-Dragon later on, which is also part of an achievement, so keep that in mind if you're looking to get through a few levels faster. According to a few websites, getting rid of pawns also greatly increases the experience gains.
DO I SERIOUSLY HAVE TO WALK TO EVERY LOCATION:
No, you do not. You got lucky, in fact, because the DA version of the game comes with this amazing item called the "Eternal Ferrystone" which allows you to fast travel as many times as you'd like. The original game doesn't have this and instead requires you to buy or find the stones over and over after each use. Furthermore, you can also find "Portcrystals" which allow you to make fast travel points. You start off with three permanent fast travel locations, which isn't much. So it's pretty useful to place these stones down on locations that you travel to often. They even remain placed with new playthroughs, but you can only use 10 total.
WHAT IF I MISS AN ACHIEVEMENT:
Obviously, some achievements are more clear than others. If you miss an ending, you'll just have to replay the game to get back to that point, since DD will often save over your progress. However, achievements like "Get 30,000" kills will be counted across playthroughs. This also counts for the Hero Achievement, which requires you to do every non-notice board quest in the game. If you miss a few in your first run, you can do the others in the next without having to repeat the entire list to get the achievement. You can pause the game and look under History to see what you've done so far.
CAN I FAIL A QUEST/ FAIL THE GAME:
Another yes and no question. Certain quests, such as the ones meant for the story, can't technically be failed. You can, however, botch up horribly, which results in worse rewards. Noticeboard quests, however, can completely fail, including a few non-essential ones too. "Lost and Found" is a good example of this. Each transition to a new chapter results in the remaining quests being removed. But no, you can't fail the game. If you get the ending that isn't meant to be, you'll just restart from the last decision. So it's very easy to just pick all the bad endings for the achievements before picking the good ones to beat the game.
CHARACTER SETUP AND CLASSES
Although much less crucial than the other tips, setting up a decent team can take you a long way in DD. There are a few obvious things you should follow, such as selecting pawns of similar level and making sure both your equipment and theirs is somewhat updated. But you should also pay attention to their abilities and even their size if you're looking for the best options. For starters, you should have at least one character that's a decent height and weight, if not your own character. This is so you can have a pawn carry heavy items and equipment that will weigh you down as you go. Furthermore, having a healer or someone with defensive abilities makes all the difference when fighting higher level monsters. And finally, using your classes and equipment correctly can make things so much easier. You should always work to have a balanced team. You can also see your status from the pause menu.
If you've glanced at the vocations and you're not sure what's best or what skills to use, this small guide can help you. You should also note that most people generally believe there is no "best class" of the game. It's all about play style and situation.
Besides being a good default option for players, Fighters have the best choice of equipment throughout the game. However, you won't play it well unless you use it to its full potential. Fighters will also possess a shield with various abilities based on it. This means, while the Striders are often dodging and fleeing from battle, the Fighter will be required to counter and block. This generally makes it a nice class for both beginners and advanced players alike, since there's always room for improvement. Add that with the best stats to knock down or debilitate enemies, and the Fighter makes a great vocation for becoming a literal distraction in battle. There's no perfect skill to use, however, Skyward Slash and Shield Drum are pretty much a given.
The Strider vocation is a very good all-around class. Armed with both close and ranged attacks, it's one of the best options for someone who just wants to deal damage in whatever way they can without taking the heat of the battle. Combine that with the best speed of the set, and it's easily a vocation that can keep you alive through any difficulty, provided that you choose to flee when in danger. Perhaps the only downside is the lack of specialty. It's proficient at everything it needs to be, but it won't excel in any category beyond that point. The majority of players agree that the Ensnare skill is one of the best to use.
Naturally, this is a very good vocation for your pawn, since the majority of abilities are based on defensive actions or healing. The trade-off is being weak in every way, being unable to handle any form of damage. Furthermore, expect to be easily knocked down or thrown when against your enemies. This vocation isn't the best option for your character because of it. You likely won't want to play a class that demands support spells and distance in every other instance. It can get dull, and on higher levels, you become a walking target. However, a good strategist will likely enjoy the magic vocations the most. Must-have skills are High Ingle and High Anodyne.
If a sword and a shield isn't manly enough for you, the Warrior allows you to carry Greatswords and Warhammers to crush your enemies without hesitation. If you're looking for the good old "hack and slash" vocation, this is definitely the one. Easily defined as the class with the greatest strength and health, it's a great choice for those who still want the damage aspect of a Strider without the need for blocking. The downsides are similar to the Fighter in which they are still just as slow, and without the shield, they're always open for an attack. War Cry is one of the most useful skills to the vocation because it distracts enemies from your weaker allies.
Essentially the upgraded version of a Strider, the Ranger is incredibly useful for taking out small packs of enemies. The stamina level is the best in the game and provided that you use special arrows for the job, you can take out enemies very easily. Unlike the Strider, however, the Ranger requires a better understanding of the battlefield. You think less as an archer and more as a sniper, which requires a good position and steady shots. There's less leniency to daggers compared to the Strider, but the faults generally remain the same. There are far too many useful skills to count, but investing in a multi-arrow shot is always a good idea.
Despite what you may think, a Sorcerer isn't quite an upgraded version of a Mage. You cannot heal, which is a huge downfall, but you still have the ability to give elemental bonuses to your companions. Instead, the Sorcerer vocation harnesses those same elemental weaknesses into attacks, dealing monumental damage if you understand the enemy you're dealing with. It's been my personal favorite throughout my time with DD specifically because of how powerful spells can be when used correctly, although there is still the downfall of low health and other stats. And it will naturally take some time to cast the spells needed. For abilities, Maelstrom might be the most OP of them all.
You might recognize this class as the one used by the default Arisen at the tutorial level. The Mystic Knight vocation is a nicely balanced one which has the benefits of a defensive playstyle combined with magic augmentations. You can cast spells to enchant your pawn's weapons or use them for your own benefit. This makes it a fairly balanced class, but also a bit difficult for new players, considering that you'll need to learn what spells to use and when. Unfortunately, the Mystic Knight has the weakness of both a mage and a warrior; slow in both ways. Furthermore, it's best to play other classes to up your abilities before attempting this one. All the skills are fairly even, but most people use the Great Cannon and Perilous Sigil.
A favorite within the community, Magick Archers combine ranged attacks with elemental damage to debilitate your foes. The drawbacks are that Magick Archers shoot noticeably slower than the Ranger class, and the damage dealt will count as magic and not physical damage, which means some enemies will be naturally resistant to the attacks. They also cannot use special arrows like the other two classes. Still, most players agree that it's one of the most unique and fun-filled vocations to play. Plus, you can use really any armor in the game. Two great skills are Ninefold Bolt and Grand Scension.
Finally, we come to the Assassin. It plays much like the original Strider, but better with damage. With a ridiculously high speed, Assassins can clear the battlefield before it starts, making them a very useful alternative to a Warrior. The downside is their typically low defense, and it's somewhat difficult playstyle. Their weapons and tools take a bit from each vocation and throw them into one class, so you'll need to learn what skills to use offensively and defensively. But one of the best parts of the Assassin vocation is its Strength Growth, the highest of the game. Invisibility is pretty nifty, along with Gale Harness and a few others.
And finally, if you're interested in learning how to handle each monster in the game, here is the bestiary. It reads by names, weaknesses of that family, and how many kills you need of each type of monster to earn bestiary knowledge on them. In other words, if you've slain a lot of goblins (500), your pawn will note this and will tell you specific tactics to use in battle, such as fire spells. This should help you fight more efficiently through the game. You definitely don't need to take note of every species and what to use against them like a Witcher on his Deathmarch, but naturally, exploiting the weaknesses does a lot more damage and will end the fights quicker. You can find scrolls of bestiary knowledge occasionally throughout Gransys as well.
| CREATURE NAME|| WEAKNESSES|| KILLS TO GET KNOWLEDGE|
| Goblins, Hobgoblins, Grimgoblins, Greater Goblins, and Goblin Shamans||Fire, Ice, Blindness, Headshots, and Killing the Leader|| 500, 300, 250-285, 290, 100|
| Wolves, Direwolves, Hellhounds, Wargs, and Garm||Fire, Ice, Holy, Sleep, and Lightening|| 500, 500, 150, 200, 100|
|Skeletons, Skeleton Knight, Skeleton Lord, Skeleton Brute, Skeleton Mage, Skeleton Sorcerers, and Silver and Golden Knights|| Holy, Ice, and Blunt Weapons|| 300, 275, 50, 250, 100, 100, 100, 100|
|Saurians, Sulfur Saurians, Geo Saurians, Saurian Sages, and Pyre Saurians||Ice, Fire, Dark, and Cutting of the Tail||300, 150, 150, 100, 300|
| Undead, Stout Undead, Undead Warriors, Giant Undead, Poisoned Undead, and Banshees||Holy, Fire, Ice, and Grapple|| 500, 150, 500, 100, 300, 250|
| Harpies, Snow Harpies, Succubi, and Sirens||Fire, Holy, Dark, and Burning the Wings || 300, 300, 150, 100|
| Gargoyles and Strigoi,|| Lightening, Ice, and Holy.||50, 100|
| Phantoms, Phantasms, Specters, Wraiths, and Living Armors|| Holy and Magic||50, 50, 50, 30, 50,|
| Wights, Liches, Dark Bishop|| Holy, Dark, and Silence|
30, 25, 30
|Cyclopes and Gorecyclopes||Lightening, Ice, and Grapple||50, 50|
|Ogres and Elder Ogres||Sleep, Fire, and Party Specific Genders|
|Golems and Metal Golems||Magic and Attacking the Weakspots||15, 7|
|Chimeras and Gorechimeras||Magic, Holy, Silence, and Cutting of Specific Creatures||30, 30|
|Griffins and Cockatrices||Fire, Grapple, Lightening, and Targeting Weakspots||15, 15|
|Hydras and Archydras||Cutting off the Heads||7, 7|
|Evil Eyes, Vile Eyes, Gazers, and Maneaters||Holy, Dark, Magic, and Targeting the Weakpoints||15, 75, 30, 45|
| Hostile Soldiers, Hostile Bandits, Enemy Wizards, and Enemy Person||Lightening||150, 500, 150-200, 100-300|
|Drakes, Wyrms, Wyverns, Cursed Dragons, The Dragon, and the Ur-Dragon||Ice, Holy, Dark, and Fire||15, 15, 15, 15, 3, 15|
|The Seneschal, Eliminators, Death, and Daimon||None||3-5, 60, 3-6, 10|
Be aware that each monster has their own weakspot. Your pawns will note this as you fight. Other times you will have to try different tactics in order to learn something new with the Bestiary. And, once again, you don't need to follow the bestiary to get through a fight. It just makes it much easier.
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