Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online -- Update #1 -- The Japanese Launch!!!

Hey everyone!!! Sorry for the long hiatus, but I've been rather busy as of late. Nonetheless, I have a lot of information to dive into, so let's get started:

I have an update on Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes online! Dragon Quest X was just released on Thursday, August 2, 2012, for the Nintendo Wii in Japan.

If you haven't seen my previous post regarding the game, you can check it out here. The Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) is now said to come with a 16 GB memory stick included in special bundles (it can also be purchased separately). The USB flash drive is used to save character details and other important data.

The main world, known as Astoltia (according to the NGamer Staff for NGamer Magazine and the official Facebook page) is comprised of five islands (one of which is actually a cluster of smaller, individual islands) and a central continent in which humans mainly reside.

Gamers begin their journies in Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online as a human from Etene Village. Later on, the player creates a new character from one of the five other remaining races (Dwarf, Kuripo, Elf, Wedie, or Ogre).

Players can customize their very own characters, choosing everything from gender to size, as well as naming them and altering their appearances to one's liking. In addition, the player also creates another "sibling" character, which also aids in the main storyline.

Once players have reached a certain point within the single player (offline) story mode (approximately 2 to 2 & 1/2 hours into gameplay), they will be prompted to connect online to continue play. This however, requires a paid monthly subscription in order to be granted full access. Fortunately, "Director Jin Fujisawa didn’t want that to be a barrier for long time fans of the [Dragon Quest] series". As such, there is an implementation of a "Free Play" period that lasts for two hours each day in which players of all ages can log on and play the online portions of the game without a penalty fee. According to one of Kotaku's authors, Richard Eisenbeis, there is a product code included in the game box for a free, 20 day subscription courtesy of Square Enix Co. Also worth mentioning, is that there are two CD-ROMs that are included as part of the (somewhat lengthy) installation process.

With regard to multi-player interactions, players can either party up with friends or acquaintances online, or if they do not feel like doing so, they can create AI companions that will aid them in battles.

One of the most peculiar aspects of battle I've noticed in recent gameplay videos is a sort of "pushing" mechanic. Players can literally push enemies (and the enemies begin to push back) creating a struggle. As to how this is beneficial to the player or computer generated monster characters is unknown.

Also noteworthy is the article written by McKinley Noble, contributing editor of indicating that Square Enix pledges to add new downloadable content and software updates that "could be delivered every 10 weeks" for up to an entire decade (10 years). That alone is a rather impressive task to undertake considering that Square Enix expects the game to have viability well into the year 2022.

Admittedly, this game however innovative, is not without its share of faults. According to recent articles from Kotaku, the initial installation time for the software is rather long. (In some instances, exceeding well over an hour.)

Kotaku also reports that:

"According to Square Enix, if you do not log in for online play for over three months, it's possible that the game's server will delete your character data."

This could be a bit of a deal-breaker for most casual gamers or those that play infrequently. I'm really hoping that if this title does come here to the United States, that the administrators running the servers will not do that (or at the very least extend the time frame given to a more reasonable six months). The deletion of player data after the three month idle period is just to prevent the servers from being overloaded with data. Granted that three months time is somewhat lenient on allowing players the time necessary to log on and play for a bit, especially considering that people would be paying a subscription fee to play online (which, in and of itself, acts as a constant reminder to play), it's still a rather harsh penalty nonetheless.

I'm hoping that once the Wii U version is made available, it will fix that problem (with more internal memory and processing power on the next gen console's end of things) or at least a downloadable software update that will solve the problem. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Furthermore, for those without a USB Keyboard connected to their Wii, sending messages back and forth between players can become an irritating experience. Apparently there is a quick chat menu that allows players to choose pre-programmed responses such as "Thank you!" or "I've got to go.". However, for those that want to make their own custom messages (again, without a keyboard) the system that has been implemented cycles through letters and symbols based on directions you press. This would seem simple if not for the problem where depending upon the letter needed, the directional commands changed. So according to Richard Eisenbeis, "sometimes you [would] press left/right to cycle the letters, other times you [would] press up/down. It's completely arbitrary and staggeringly frustrating."

It would be fantastic if Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online was capable of using the Wii Speak peripheral or the PDP Headbanger Headset that has been used for games like Conduit 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and Call of Duty: Black Ops as a means of communication between players. I would like to see that option available if possible (or at the very least have the built-in microphone of the Wii U's tablet controller implemented into online interactions amongst fellow players).

Nonetheless, being the first ever MMORPG for the Nintendo Wii is quite an achievement. What is even more remarkable is that the initial launch of Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online went rather smoothly with very few problems overall. I look forward to seeing more gameplay footage and in-depth coverage of this title in the days to come.

-David P.

Works Cited:
  1. Ashcraft, Brian. "If You Don't Use Your Dragon Quest X Character Online, It'll Get Erased." Kotaku. Gawker Media Co., 6 Aug. 2012. Web. 08 Aug. 2012. <>.
  2. Eisenbeis, Richard. "How the Wii Pulled Off a Hassle-Free MMO Roll Out." News, Videos, Reviews and Gossip. Gawker Media Co., 3 Aug. 2012. Web. 08 Aug. 2012. <>.
  3. Eisenbeis, Richard. "Making Dragon Quest into an MMO." News, Videos, Reviews and Gossip. Gawker Media Co., 7 Aug. 2012. Web. 08 Aug. 2012. <>.
  4. Isshan. "Dragon Quest X To Offer Two Hours Of Free Play Time Every Day." Siliconera. MAXCDN-Content Delivery Network, 14 June 2012. Web. 08 Aug. 2012. <>. 
  5. Parish, Jeremy. "Square Confirms Dragon Quest X Will Be Online, for Wii... and Wii U." IGN Entertainment Games, 4 Sept. 2011. Web. 08 Aug. 2012. <>.
  6. N Gamer Staff. "Dragon Quest X: Rise Of The Five Tribes Online." Wii Preview: Gameplay Preview. Future Publishing Limited, 26 Nov. 2011. Web. 08 Aug. 2012. <>.
  7. N Gamer Staff. "Games of 2012: Dragon Quest X - Rise Of The Five Tribes Online --
  8. Ten of the best?" Wii Preview: Gameplay Preview. Future Publishing Limited, 26 December. 2011. Web. 08 Aug. 2012. < >.
  9. Noble, McKinley. "Square Enix Says That They Can Support Dragon Quest X For 10 Years | EGMNOW." EGM Digital Media, LLC., 3 Aug. 2012. Web. 08 Aug. 2012. <>.
  10. Pereira, Chris. "Distressing Glimpses of Gaming's Future." IGN Entertainment Games, 06 Aug. 2012. Web. 08 Aug. 2012. <>.
  11. Spencer. "Dragon Quest X Director Wanted To Add Free Play Periods For Long Time Fans." Siliconera. MAXCDN-Content Delivery Network, 30 July 2012. Web. 08 Aug. 2012. <>