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Thread: Dragon Quest Builders

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis

    Dragon Quest Builders

    I'm starting a thread so I can burble.

    I purchased Dragon Quest Builders 2 before finishing its predecessor, a casualty of the burglary. But I realized I would rather finish the first game first. After all, it takes place in Alefgard, the world of Dragon Warrior. I have a bit of history with that game. Yesterday I started up DQB1 on the Switch. When I emerged from my tomb, I felt joy welling up inside me, a joy more pure than I usually feel.

    The first time I played DBQ (to about 2/3 completion), I did so in my usual compulsive way, accepting quests and turning them in one after another with only the occasional pause for exploration and creativity. This robbed the game of its joy, and I set it aside when I realized that had happened. The second time I played (prior to the burglary), I tried to do so in a more thoughtful way, and discovered hidden depths to the game. For example, the second area of the game is populated by red slimes, moles and skeletons. The first time I played, I would plow through all monsters, and all monsters attacked me on sight. The second time, I knew that the moles had a primitive civilization, so I spared them and ran from their aggression instead of fighting... and they eventually stopped attacking me. However, I continued to destroy the skeletons, and eventually they stopped spawning in the vicinity of the mole village. So this game appears to track the character's reputation in a sense, and also monster populations.

    This time around (my third) I'm playing as myself, which is to say that quest givers can fuck right off, I'll get to their demands when I damn well feel like it. Instead, I'm playing slowly and meditatively, thinking about what brings me joy in gaming, and what merely triggers compulsion. I'm also trying to practice ahimsa, which I interpret as nuanced nonviolence. So I'm allowed to kill a monster that attacks me, not otherwise; and even when attacked I must think before killing. In previous plays the starting monsters, drakees and slimes, would attack me unprovoked; however, they have yet to do so, presumably because I have yet to kill any of them. I also vividly remember something that would happen in previous plays: occasionally a slime would outright panic, anime sweat leaping from it as it fled rapidly. Originally I thought this was just a cute detail, but perhaps it was a result of the aforementioned reputation system. Right now, I'm serenely walking through the nearby forest, unharmed by its monsters, gathering sticks, berries and mushrooms while learning the lay of the land. I feel happy.

    It's a postapocalyptic fantasy game, without ever rubbing your face in the devastation. When you find skeletons in the ruins of a house, you can sometimes piece together the circumstances of their deaths. I plan to build tombstones for each of them. I've already begun excavating my tomb, which was partially buried by the passing of centuries.

  2. #2
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    The only problem I have with Dragon Quest Builders is that the sequel is so objective better in every conceivable way, it's hard to justify playing the original anymore.

    I mean comeon, DQB2 lets you build toilets, and your little people will use the toilets, and you can harvest their poop.

    ..plus, they're a lot more autonomous, cooking food for you to eat if you leave ingredients out for them, and even helping you build on occasion, but the poop thing's just hilarious.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Sounds kind of shitty.

  4. #4
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    At the very least, we now know what all those pots in the DQ games are for.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Then it's a good thing I haven't tried the sequel yet!

    ...You may be right about the pot. In Dragon Warrior IV, there are pots that contain an item called "Gum Pod" in the English translation. These items have no use and sell for 1G. When you mentioned it, it occurred to me they might be the gummy residue of an ancient spitoon or chamberpot. The early DW games have subtle details like that, my favorite being the "Fighter's Ring" of DW1, found on the corpse of a warrior at the bottom of a cave. Its sole effect in the game is to make that warrior's widow sad.
    Last edited by Anarchic Fox; 15th May 2020 at 17:19.

  6. #6
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    It's funny that I still love the DQ games as much as I do, despite the fact that they've all been pretty much the exact same game for the last 35 odd years.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    To be fair, they don't come out very often. The entire Assassin's Creed franchise fits into the time it took Armor Project to make two Dragon Quest games.

    The last one I tried in the main series was DQIX, which I felt to be too self-congratulatory. I also hated the fact that, aside from the hero, all the party members were generics.

  8. #8
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    I never got a chance to play through IX, since I didn't have a DS anymore. I did play through XI. I thought it was good fun, especially when you play with the difficulty and experience restriction modifiers, though I still consider VIII the strongest of the series thus far.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    The monsters attacked our settlement again. Rollo, Kenelm and I fought them off. Afterward, Pippa asked me to build her a private room, to replace her alcove in our shared dormitory. The others were making too much noise, she claimed. Rollo snores at night, you see, and Larouche screams. I built a room that met her specifications. When I finished it Pippa rushed there, applauded what she saw, thanked me for making her a room of her own, and shoved two chimera wings into my hands. I told her to get the fuck out of my room.

    There is exactly one person in this town who has earned some privacy, and it isn't you, Pippa.

  10. #10
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    DQB taught me a lot of very important lesson. This is one of them.

    Last edited by Renzatic; 17th May 2020 at 12:33.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Oh man am I looking forward to that chapter. Licking and all.

    Near the castle where most of Cantlin's residents died, a ghost gave me the ability to double jump. I didn't even know that was a thing in this game.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    @Renz ah man, if only more people heard this advice before the pandemic :/

  13. #13
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    I can honestly say that not letting sick people lick me is the only reason why I'm alive today.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    Quote Originally Posted by Renzatic View Post
    It's funny that I still love the DQ games as much as I do, despite the fact that they've all been pretty much the exact same game for the last 35 odd years.
    Okay, I came up with a theory. The games have light plot continuity (at least, up until the Builders series started), and then only in bundles of three, so a fan's passions are not explained by an overarching plot. Their iterative gameplay innovations are welcome and sturdy, but invariably a generation or two behind the cutting edge.

    Instead of these good things, the Dragon Quest series has a tremendous aesthetic unity. All games share the same (brilliant) composer Koichi Sugiyama, whose work has developed and matured in the series' life span. Akira Toriyama's art contributions lessened over time, but as they did the series' own artistic staff first learned to mimic Toriyama's style (reaching greatest parity in DQ VIII), and then (in IX, XI, and Builders 1+2) took that Toriyama style in their own direction, one nevertheless true to its source. Yuji Horii has no great talent for overall plots, but he does have a talent for tight dialogue that provides rapid, clear characterization, much of which carries over to the English; like the other leads, his writing skills have grown over time. Every world atlas is constructed along similar principles: they all look alike, but they all feel natural and interrelated in play. The first game's UI was crisp and pleasant two console generations before those qualities became fully appreciated, and they have retained not only that crispness but also an instantly recognizable individuality. This is not to say the individual DQ games have superior aesthetics; hell no. But this unity is something most games, most series rather, lack entirely.

    The net effect of this aesthetic unity is something magical, but also something that requires long investment to even experience. For a casual fan it provides a reliable nostalgia trip, for a normal fan a reliably fun game. For someone like me, I can immerse myself in a DQ game, and it feels like pure liquid joy. The closest comparisons of a similar age are the Mario and Zelda series, which have their own (slightly lesser, in my opinion) aesthetic unity. Those two series inspire devotion that's just as bewildering to outsiders as Dragon Quest's. Meanwhile, the closest modern comparison that comes to mind is the Monster Hunter series. Like Dragon Quest, each Monster Hunter game is basically the same, with small improvements, yet for devoted fans each one is somehow a greater joy than the last.

    So. That's my theory. Fuck all you people who think nostalgia or loyalty suffice as explanations.
    Last edited by Anarchic Fox; 30th May 2020 at 22:29.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    The slimes in the Cantlin canyons can form King Slimes.

    This is amazing, and no-one but Renzatic will understand why.

    In the previous two playthroughs I did not understand what the cute little friendly slime meant when it said it was "oozeless." It means the poor critter can't merge like other slimes.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    The Evil Trees in the Cantlin swamp can cast a spell that depletes your hunger.

    Also, the excavation revealed gold ore. I didn't know that existed on map one.

    Knights have a stagger animation, but only if you jump and strike them in the head.

    Also, it amuses me that people think this game is in an alternate universe to Dragon Warrior. Did they forget that there were two Dragonlords?

    My tomb was sealed by the Jailor's Key. The slaves used to build it were sealed inside, and died huddled in the corner. Thankfully, I have buried them properly.
    Last edited by Anarchic Fox; 4th Jun 2020 at 18:05.

  17. #17
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    Quote Originally Posted by Anarchic Fox View Post
    The slimes in the Cantlin canyons can form King Slimes.
    Wait. They can? I don't remember that.

    I think the only time I fought a Slime King was when I caught one fishing.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Maupertuis
    If you fight a small slime in Cantlin area four (the canyon maze, aka the Elgin Plateau) for long enough, it will summon help. If enough help gets summoned, the slimes will smoosh together and form a King Slime. The first time it happened the King Slime kicked my ass, though, so I haven't been back yet to see what they drop.

    To explain the "two Dragonlords" thing... in Dragon Warrior 2 you can visit Alefgard, though it holds little of interest. However, if you visit Charlock castle and descend to its bottom, there's a NPC there, his line: "I am the Dragonlord's son."

  19. #19
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    I take it you haven't actually beaten the game yet, right? It explains pretty well how it's connected to the original DW towards the end.

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