Welcome to Gransys
Dragon's Dogma has (finally) arrived on PC, and that means getting to experience one of the more unique and inventive open world RPGs of recent years. But as charming as Dragon's Dogma can be, it can also be confusing and challenging for new players. Giant monsters will suck the marrow from your shattered bones, whole aspects of the game will go entirely unexplained, and it might not always be clear where to go next. We've rounded up a list of tips and suggestions that will help make your first steps into the world of Gransys a little easier.
Building a proper main pawn
About an hour into the game you'll create your "main pawn," a computer controlled character who fights alongside you for the entirety of your journey. While you might be tempted to spend all your time and money equipping yourself, investing in making your main pawn stronger is a much wiser idea. After all, they'll be the one guarding your back. Choosing a class that complements your own is a good place to start. If you're playing as a mage or strider, make your main pawn a fighter to help draw enemies away from you or vice versa.
When creating your pawn, you will also choose their inclination and personality, a series of meters that change according to several questions you'll be asked in the character creator. It's a hopelessly complicated system that governs how your pawn behaves in battle, but it also changes organically by your actions or with the help of special items and knowledge chairs, which are located at every major inn. Though you likely won't notice the impact these inclinations have right away, if your pawn is a fighter you might consider prioritizing Nexus so they protect the group. If they're a mage, Medicant will ensure that they keep the party healed (assuming you unlock their healing spells). If you're looking to craft the ultimate pawn, you can read more about inclinations and their nuances here.
Make your pawn fabulous and reap the rewards
One of the other reasons it's a great idea to spoil your main pawn rotten is because it'll make them far more desirable for other players to rent them. In Dragon's Dogma, your party is comprised of three pawns, one you create yourself, and two other support pawns that you rent from other players. When your pawn heads out on adventures with other characters (don't worry, they will still be by your side while you play) they'll gain knowledge of monsters, quests, and the world in general. Players who rent your pawn can also give them items to bring back to you and you'll earn a handful of a special currency called rift crystals. Every time you rest at an inn, the game will sync up with the server and update your version of your pawn with any knowledge they learned along with your sum of rift crystals and items.
Making a pawn more desirable requires getting a little creative. By making sure they have the best armor and weapons, best skills for their class, and a little razzle dazzle, other players will choose them more often. Making your pawn especially memorable, either by giving them a funny name or a unique appearance, will also help set them out from the crowd. You won't regret it either as rift crystals can be used to purchase some extremely valuable items or spent on recruiting especially powerful support pawns when you need the extra help.
Enhance your equipment
Upgrading your equipment is one of the easiest ways to boost your survivability in combat. If you're the type of person who stops to pick up every item (which you absolutely should be doing), you'll find the process a breeze. Some merchants will offer to enhance your equipment in exchange for a sum of gold and a necessary resource. To start, each piece of equipment can be upgraded three times, with the first tier needing only gold.
Focus on upgrading your weapons first as you'll tend to find better replacements less often. Armor, on the other hand, tends to be more common, so it might be worth it to save your money on third tier enhancements until you've found that perfect combination, unless you need the extra defense.
Once you do find a meaningful replacement to your old equipment, consider storing it for later instead of selling it for gold. If you end up wanting to swap to a new vocation later, you'll be thankful to have already upgraded equipment waiting for you in storage.
Portcrystals and the Eternal Ferrystone
One of the harsher aspects of Dragon's Dogma's original release on consoles was the distinct lack of fast travel options available. However, the Dark Arisen expansion (included in the PC version) adds a lot of items that will make your adventures a little less tedious. Perhaps the most important of these are a portcrystal and the Eternal Ferrystone you'll find in your storage, which can be accessed in most inns. This ferrystone will allow you to teleport between a few major locations in the game as many times as you like. The portcrystal, one of many you'll find on your adventures, allows you to make custom teleport spots for out of the way areas you visit frequently.
Early on, it would be wise to place this portcrystal close to the hut you'll discover in the Witchwood, allowing you easy access to complete the few quests that will lead you there. Later, when you acquire more portcrystals, placing them at the entrance of distant dungeons or areas with rare resources like the healing springs, which you can draw from with empty flasks to create potent healing items, is the best use for them.
If you want to live, don't go out at night
As if Dragon's Dogma wasn't already tough, getting caught out when the sun sets is pretty much a death sentence. Though the risk is mitigated almost entirely if you're smart and keep the ferrystone with you, venturing beyond the walls of Gran Soren will expose you to incredibly tough undead enemies and bandits. Early on, when even fighting enemies during the day is a challenge, the monsters you encounter at night will cut you to bits.
Even worse, nighttime is exceptionally dark and without a lantern and a healthy stock of oil, you might very well find yourself running around blind. Though certain items are only available at night, you'll want to avoid it until your party is much stronger and more capable. Keep that ferrystone on you at all times!
Unlock the shortcut between South and Central Gransys
At some point during your first dozen hours you'll make your first trip to the Shadowfort, located far south of Gran Soren. As if the long hike alone isn't enough, the trip is filled with perilous monsters that would love nothing better than to peel your skin from your bones. The first trip will be a thrilling adventure, but it won't be long before you despise the idea of spending half an hour trekking between the capital and the fort. While you could plop down a portcrystal and make the trip instant, I'd recommend saving it for another location and instead unlocking this easy to miss shortcut.
Once you're around level 25, head west from Gran Soren and you'll eventually happen upon a quarry with a merchant waiting outside. He'll request that you clear the Ancient Quarry of monsters and secure a path to South Gransys. Inside the quarry you'll find a number of tough enemies, including three ogres, but if you manage to kill them and clear the passage you'll open up a relatively easy shortcut to the South. Even better, once the quarry is clear it'll become a safe zone and the merchant will set up shop inside and sell a bunch of items you won't easily find elsewhere.
Be careful who you fall in love with
One of the more hidden and bizarre systems in Dragon's Dogma is "affinity," which governs how various characters in the world feel about you. It's a whole aspect of the game that you could easily miss entirely as there is little mention of it and no real way to see exactly how a character feels about you outside of a few subtle clues. Raising affinity with characters happens naturally, either through completing quests for them or giving them specific items as gifts. Hurting them or scaring them by unsheathing your weapons will cause it to fall.
Oddly, affinity plays no role in the game whatsoever until the final few moments. Even more bizarre is that, if you aren't careful, the person who serves as your love interest could be anyone from the Queen of Gransys to —I wish I was kidding—a child. While some might love the surprise of not knowing, nothing ruins a climactic finale quite like realizing your character has some seriously questionable affections. Fortunately, you can influence this outcome with an item called the Arisen's Bond that you'll receive much later in the game. In the meantime, just be careful, you never know who you might be leading on.
Proper party etiquette
Combat in Dragon's Dogma is action heavy, but thinking that you don't need to strategize beforehand is a surefire way to see a game over screen. Aside from saving often (save often!), arguably the best thing you can do is ensure your party has a proper composition starting with two mages who have access to healing spells and at least one type of melee class.
Beyond that, always make use of the crafting feature to combine resources and bring a healthy stock of powerful healing items with you. Health in Dragon's Dogma is somewhat unique in that your overall total health will slowly decline as you take more damage. Healing spells can only recover a small portion, and getting back to full health will require healing items or resting at an inn. Pawns are smart enough to know when to use certain items, so spread them around to the whole party. This will also keep your weight low, giving you faster stamina regeneration.
The support pawns you've hired don't gain levels like you and your main pawn, so switch them out for stronger ones whenever you level up. If a support pawn was especially helpful, you can add them to your favorites in hopes of renting them again once they've leveled up in their own world.
Change your class and diversify your skills
Changing your class (called vocations) might seem like a bad idea when it means losing out on all your fancy skills you've acquired, but it's an integral part of building a strong character and pawn. Though you might not be able to access your old weapon skills or equipment, each class has a set of passive abilities known as augments which enhance all sorts of things about your character. These augments aren't bound to any specific class, so unlocking as many of them as possible can be an extremely effective way to reduce the inherent weaknesses of your current vocation.
Though your main pawn is restricted to six vocations, your character can choose between nine, including three that are combinations of the basic ones you start with. These hybrid vocations are best used when you've already unlocked all of the abilities for each of their contributing classes and can be extremely powerful but highly specialized. Don't be afraid to swap vocations and experiment, making up for lost progress will only take a little time. Even if it feels like you're starting from square one when you've selected a new vocation, it won't be long until you feel even more powerful than you were before.