Dungeon Fighter Online

Dungeon Fight Six!

I’ve never been a big fan of free-to-play online games. Something about nickel-and-dimeing players for fancy hats doesn’t sit well with me – as if monetizing the paper doll game is some cardinal sin against gamesdom, preying on my need to be an individual amidst a throng of clones. Dungeon Fighter Online is wearing down that prejudice. In the two weeks that I’ve noodled around the fictional realm of Arad, I’ve already felt the harpy call of Nexon Cash cards yodeling across the halls of CVS…

It’s surprisingly hard to recapture the feel of a good arcade brawler. Castle Crashers was a step in the right direction, but a buggy launch helped the online community fizzle out, ensuring that the only group-slaying done would be from a couch. Despite the goofy name, Dungeon Fighter Online does an exquisite job of recapturing the fun of something like Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystaria or Aliens vs. Predator Arcade. Part of this is due to the fact that the character classes – Male Gunner, Female Gunner, Priest, Mage, Fighter, Slayer – don’t really compartmentalize into traditional MMORPG archetypes. The Priest, for instance, isn’t your go-to guy for healing (he specializes in wielding huge weapons with a large radius of attack). Nor is the Mage your buff/debuff support. In theory, every character is suited for casual dungeon crawling, PvP, PvE and group work. Because of this, there's greater focus on the individual player's ass-kicking experience.

The result is a lot less MMORPG and a lot more Massively Multiplayer Arcade Beat ‘em Up. For what it’s seeking to do, it works. Partying up is painless, though bad wi-fi connections can cause some debilitating lag (here’s hoping the netcode gets a good scouring sometime soon), and crowded town plazas will make you feel like a member of the dime store clone crew. It’s seamless to drop in and out of groups or arena fights, and there’s a built-in fatigue meter to keep you from perching over the computer for hours on end.

If caught any news regarding DFO’s beta test, you may have soured to the game. It’s been widely reported that the U.S. test took the framework of Korea’s DFO and slapped an impossibly horrific fractional penalty to experience gain, something along the lines of 1/10 the rate of normal progress, which made the entire game a hellish grinding mess. Thankfully, Nexon’s come to their senses and fixed this oversight. In the brief time I’ve been adventuring, I’ve already managed to hit the early 20s on a relaxed pace.

The concern now is the apparent lack of high-end content. That low-20s character I mentioned a second ago? She's languishing in a few intermediate dungeons at the moment because I'm too weak to solo through them. Missions themselves have begun to drag, too. I'm finding myself running and re-running levels just to catch rare quest item drops. As a result, my progress has hit a snag. This won't be a problem to anyone who can find a reliable group to pal around with, but for ascetic introverts like myself it signals a concern for the overall arc of the game.

Also of note, the U.S. market is playing catch-up to it’s Korean doppelganger. There are a few bits of code that haven’t made it stateside yet. In particular, characters unlock a high-end “awakening” at level 48 that further specializes their skills. These are currently absent for the Priest and Gunner, which set them a bit back in terms of high level play. It's by no means a deal-breaker, but it does call to mind the grim specter of ability tiers.

If you're able to get to such lofty heights, you’ll likely be spending time in arenas, beating people up for fun and profit with fellow guildmates. There’s also a “hell mode” for some dungeons, offering greater rewards for increased difficulty and exasperation. Without a good guild or group of friends, though, I’m not sure it’ll be easy for most people to stick with DFO that late in the game.

It’s not a bad time to hop in and try it out. DFO’s currently running a clever stress test disguised as an event week (avatars turn red and players receive awards for prolonged dungeon crawling). As a result, the lands are teeming with newbies and alt-itis infected veterans, so it's not too hard to make a friend. For mindless fun, you could do worse. But if you're looking to recapture the feeling of a good arcade brawler, you'd be hard pressed to find something better.

Just stay away from the nX cards. Your wallet will thank you.

Comments

This looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for putting it on my radar Spaz.

This seems like an interesting idea. I may throw it on my laptop for some late night grinding, when I can't get on the PS3.

I am not an MMORPG fan, but the format for this was intribguing. I tried it out but it still seems so MMO-ish with no real opposition other than constantly respawning hoardes of enemies. I really thought the beat-em-up thing carry the game further. I'll probably give some more time eventually as I'm still sort of interested.

Despite the goofy name, Dungeon Fighter Online does an exquisite job of recapturing the fun of something like Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystaria or Aliens vs. Predator Arcade.

You had me with that sentence. I am so there.

burntham77 wrote:

You had me with that sentence. I am so there.

To clarify a bit: I had endless hours of fun using Linn Kurosawa (the female cyborg) in AvP arcade because she had this interesting Street Fighter-esque moveset that added variety to the button mashing.

DFO has this as well. The skills you purchase typically have some keyboard + action button combination to activate them during play (you even get little arrow keys popping up above your character when you execute the move). It's a silly little touch, but it's just enough variety to keep the skills from becoming a "Keyboard Layout 101" memorization routine.

I was in the Open Beta for this game and can say with great assurance that it is a solid play if you are willing to understand that almost all of the MMORPG elements are still there (equipment, classes, buying the right skills, and yes... some grinding).

You guys should check out Divine Souls as well. I played it a bit last night. Reminded me a lot of DFO with a little more depth.

http://divinesouls.outspark.com/

I did enjoy DFO for a bit but got bored with it. Kind of like Divine Souls. But if you like one I would guess you'd like the other

mrtomaytohead wrote:

I am not an MMORPG fan, but the format for this was intriguing.

Same here. I can already tell that I won't be sticking with this for long, but it seems interesting enough that maybe I'll try it for a week, which is longer than I stuck with WoW during its open beta period.

I just tried this... and I'm oddly addicted.

Hmm, my daughter's not coming over this weekend; I might give this a whirl.

I played it for 30 minutes last night. Seems ok, but at least in the noob zone, everything was way too crowded with tons of overlapping 2d characters. I will play around with it some more. I was kinda hoping to have some controller built ins with it for some street fighter moves, but maybe that comes later.

Ooooh boy. I played the heck out of the open beta and the EXP cuts were painful. It's a great game at its core, but the pay model is unappealing. You want a fancy hat to dress your character up? You want to pay real money for e-pants? Too bad, you have to play the attire-slot-machine and hope you get it.

Leveling up is mostly driven by completing quests, which make the early stages of this game thrilling because of character progression. Late stages? Not so much.

And the lag... oh the lag! If it's still bad now, I doubt any netcode can change it. The game is fun, the PvP is interesting, but when you have lag, it all goes south. Still, if the sound of the game interests you, definitely play it. I had a lot of fun till I started to notice the flaws. DFO is like a hot chick that you have fun with at first, but later on find too demanding

I was excited by this and wondered why I never played it before. Then it told me it's available in North America only. To live to see the day we don't get this region nonsense any more.

jlaakso wrote:

I was excited by this and wondered why I never played it before. Then it told me it's available in North America only. To live to see the day we don't get this region nonsense any more.

Found this out myself, last night.

I don't get it. I do, I mean, in the sense that licensing in North American doesn't cover Latin American countries, but I find this defeats the idea of the Internet in itself; wasn't the whole point of the "information superhighway" that the boundaries of the physical world would be made irrelevant? I find the matter ridiculous in the current era, truth be told. So many services which I would gladly pay for I am barred from using simply because of my geographical situation. Even some "free" services are precluded from people outside certain territories, which is rather dumb... it's free to begin with, wouldn't it make sense to let all partake of it, especially when the service itself is information and not subject to actual, physical location?

Just ranting/venting. Sorry, fellow gwjers!

I also fell victim of the region issue. It sucks, and it seems to be becoming more prevalent rather than less.

SGP wrote:

You want a fancy hat to dress your character up? You want to pay real money for e-pants? Too bad, you have to play the attire-slot-machine and hope you get it.

I'm fine with microtransactions for cosmetic items, but I need to clarify here, are you saying you don't get to pick the specific item you want?

MrDeVil909 wrote:

I'm fine with microtransactions for cosmetic items, but I need to clarify here, are you saying you don't get to pick the specific item you want?

It's a roulette-type system. Really, you have three options:

1) Pay NX to the roulette machine and hope you get what you want. The standard, non-event avatar items are accurate only up to Class and Slot type, but everything else is random. In other words, if you want to buy pants for your Fighter, you can; it's just randomly selected from all the types of Fighter pants.

2) Pay NX during an avatar event. On occasion, Nexon will put up an event in the Cash Shop, and those events have specific types of clothes. Just recently, they were selling a full set of soccer-style avatars. It's not random, but it's also not something you can get from roulette. Styles vary.

3) Pay in-game gold to buy an avatar item from someone else that used roulette. This is the most common method. People will pay NX, get a bunch of avatars from the machine and then set up a shop in the Trade Channel. The items are usually overpriced, but it's the only surefire way to get a specific roulette item.

That's retarded.

MechaSlinky wrote:

That's retarded.

Yep, I was trying to think of an appropriate response.