Dragon Nest is an instance-based action RPG playing much like an arcade game with no targeting, a strict class tree, a less strict skill tree, and more or less no character customization whatsoever. For instance, all Tinkerers are time-travelers who somehow turned into adorable lolitas, and all Kalis are abundantly female spirit dancers with sweet, slightly shy temperaments and dead masters.
Masters in their tribal ninja teachings, not BDSM masters. Moving along.
Dragon Nest's English localization is -incredibly- well-done, with dialogue that is not only legible but actually full of character and humor. The voice acting is goofy, but in a way that lines up with the character in question. The child king is nasally and distinctly lacking a courtly presence, while the storage NPC constantly complains about the horrible things other people / you leave in storage. The marketplace NPC will insult you for being poor (regardless of how much money you are holding because he's so damn rich.)
Dungeons have multiple difficulty settings, and the baddest ♥♥♥ dungeons are the titular Nests (though not necessarily dragon nests.) Abyss is the fourth and highest difficulty of any other dungeon, but it is the first difficulty of a Nest, and most of them have a Hell or Hardcore one that's much much harder than that. Nests are effectively your chokepoints for progress through the game, and at any given time one or more Nests will be the "endgame" dungeon. The catch is, you can only /win/ one given Nest a limited number of times every week. You can fail as many times as you want, but the great majority of items from Nests are only acquired after a successful clear.
Sadly, despite its charms, some significant flaws mar Dragon Nest and detract largely from its otherwise polished gameplay:
- As said before, character customization barely exists and development is largely one-way-only - there isn't as freeform choice in character build as there would be in a standard MMO like WoW or Everquest II. It's basically an online arcade game.
- It is possible to miss content. This is usually something trivial such as a non-title achievement, but it will still drive completionists up the wall.
- The game is entirely instance dungeon-based with little to no open world. The exploration fields don't have any combat in them, nor any content other than NPC's to talk to and gates into instance dungeons (similarly to Sonic Adventure.) This can make the game feel very railroaded and monotonous.
- Costume items, which are largely cash-only and non-tradeable, also give you stats and perks. This means they're not costumes. They're cash-only equipment.
- Titles also give you stats, but the majority of those are acquired ordinarily ingame and you may use a display title different from your stat title.
- As with most if not all other free games that have equipment upgrades available, Dragon Nest's equipment upgrade rate is abysmal without paying cash to improve it and/or protect items from destruction. These items thankfully can be traded, but as cash items they will cost a small fortune.
- Holiday events, and events in general, almost never give anything permanent and unique. They give consumables and temporary costumes at best, or items that can be obtained in normal gameplay. They're generally quite underwhelming and unrewarding.
- The keyboard control scheme is VERY awkward and can't be remapped.
- If you like endowed girls at all you won't be able to play as Kali, because she's constant softcore pornography on the screen and very distracting. She's the only character with jiggle (Archer / Sorceress / Tinkerer are all B-cup or less whereas she's at least a D-cup with a huge butt) and her dance animations border on profane. This is especially jarring given her dialogue is written as though she is very sweet and innocent.
Despite these flaws, the game is colorful and fun with only a couple friends. You can form guilds, but only four-odd of you can run a dungeon at once anyway, so you don't need to bring a legion.
And Tinkerer is SUPER CUTE. Give it a shot and see if you like it.