So, I’ve finally started playing Dragon Quest IX. It’s a fun game so far, and the multiplayer element is also fun. In fact, as I was trying the multiplayer component of Dragon Quest IX, I could see where SquareEnix was testing things for what would become Dragon Quest X on Wii and Wii U.
(For those not familiar, Dragon Quest X: Mezameshi Itsutsu no Shuzoku Online (it doesn’t have a confirmed release outside of Japan at the moment) is the series’ first foray into the world of MMORPGs. The main Dragon Quest series has traditionally been a single-player experience, while a lot of the spin-off games have attempted multiplayer (there was even a Pokemon-like DQ spin-off called Dragon Quest: Monsters). The point is, the main Dragon Quest games have always been single-player. Dragon Quest IX is the first I know of to try to incorporate a strong multiplayer element.
In Dragon Quest IX, the multiplayer mode is simple, and fun: one player hosts, and other players can join the first player’s world. Once there, each player can roam about freely. Other players could join the first player as they play through the story mode, assisting them in battle, or they could go about on their own, completely ignoring the other players. It really feels like SquareEnix was playing with the format of an MMORPG here, which is noteworthy given that Dragon Quest X is entirely an MMORPG experience, to the point that players must pay a monthly subscription fee. (As a note here: the game is for both Wii and Wii U. Over in Japan, where the Dragon Quest franchise has usually been a top-selling franchise, the Wii U Deluxe Set was packaged with a beta invite voucher for Dragon Quest X for WIi U)
Anyway, if the multiplayer component of DQ IX is anything to go by, DQ X should be a fun game. A topic for another posting, though, is how I don’t think MMORPG is the direction Dragon Quest should go.