Dragon Nest has me questioning why I didn't get into action MMO's sooner. Seriously.
The game itself has a relatively small community, but offers some awesome content and events for the players that do consistently log on. It sports some anime inspired graphics (E.g. The Engineer class) While still giving some insanely cool and much more dark detail to most mobs and each boss at the end of every portal (E.g. The Minotaur)
Dragon Nest has you make a character and start out in a little city called "Mana Ridge" which unfortunately seems like quite the cliche, because it is. The game doesn't really start being eye popping until you step outside of the city and engage in your first dungeon. At that point I find you start to really appreciate the games graphical prowess and charming game mechanics.
While being as cliche as previously stated with the story and theme, Dragon Nest really does well with its combat. It has you enter a portal into a certain area, and from that you can choose one of the varied number of "runs" you can take from there. Let's say in this case, I enter "Dead Man's Road" and choose the area "Dead Man's Pass" from there it gives me 5 options for which difficulty I want to run the dungeon on. Easy being the least difficult, while Abyss is the hardest. If I choose Abyss (which the game recommends you only do in a party of 4), not only am I a badass ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥. But I also get the advantage of better loot, and more rewards and XP at the end of the run. Each separate run has its own beautiful area, and boss. This part of Dragon Nest has always been my favorite thing in the game, even though the idea isn't original. The way the game presents you with everything is amazing, and is almost always the reason I find myself logging in again everyday.
That being said, the game does fall short in the following topics.
I had the opportunity to try this game is early open beta, before PvP was even released. But when it was, it was the biggest cluster ♥♥♥♥ you could imagine. It promised fluid attacks, engaging combat, and even ground between teams. What it did deliver was a trash hitbox system and incredibly out of balance classes. I for one had been playing a Cleric, maxed it at level 24 (which was cap before release) and had myself the best armour any damn Cleric could find (which was Minotaur at the time I believe) But when it came to PvP, one lower leveled warrior could combo me up a wall, hit a stun, and as one wise man once said somewhere at some point in time "It was GG for me" this was a huge issue in the game as most people I knew were separating from everyone else as they drew a very distinct line between PvE and PvP oriented classes. I played it again recently on a new character (The Tinkerer) and while some of the before ignored issues were resolved (The hit boxes are much much better now) It just didn't have the charisma the PvE combat had and continues to seperate and distinguish classes as PvP or PvE oriented. Which again, is very annoying to someone like myself whom enjoys certain skill kits in the game. But can't use that class because it sucks in PvP which I find quite fun, and because warriors would stomp me. They still stomp everybody.
The game has a party cap of four, each member of the party travels through afore mentioned portals together very akin to Guild Wars. It also offers mini game portals where waves of monsters attack you and your party members (if you have any) and you have to defend a statute. These either reward you with XP and gold or rare item currency (such as Dark Faire Coupons that are used to buy gifts for NPCs) - which leads me into the NPC gifting. You can find rare crafting items by drops, the marketplace, or you can befriend an NPC and they send you items in your mail. You can do this by talking to them and saying the right things. Or by bringing them badges/gifts which are either found in Abyss level dungeons or bought by other NPCs.
So, in closing. Although very cliche at a first glance, and lacking in PvP gameplay. The game does definitely offer an outstanding time for a group of friends or for somebody looking to kill some time online. The level cap is currently at 70, with plans of a new class release soon (The Assassin). The game is definitely worth the download, be sure to check it. Who knows. Maybe you'll never leave.