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“Dragon Nest” Mercenary Monster System Can’t Come to NA Soon Enough

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By Nelson Schneider - 11/16/14 at 01:55 PM CT

The MeltedJoystick staff is generally rather averse to the MMO subgenre of games, but we did find ourselves somewhat enchanted by the not-very-MMO-like-at-all nature of Eyedentity’s and Nexon’s “Dragon Nest” when we played through the Level 60 Cap content last year. Recently, we’ve jumped back into the world of “Dragon Nest” to see what’s new since we went on hiatus.

All in all, not much is new. The level cap has been raised to 70, the experience point curve between levels 60 and 70 has been thrown completely out of whack (making daily grinding a necessity rather than a luxury), and level 40+ equipment has been revamped to use a fancy new Dragon Gem upgrade system instead of the old system of Suffixes and Hidden Ability Sparks. Almost all of the annoying entry passes required for entering the titular Nests have been removed as well, along with a few revamped locations and events.

However, something is in the works (and is already available in the Korean and Chinese versions of the game) that has me more excited about a videogame feature than I have been in ages. The Mercenary Monster system promises to add a bit of a ‘Pokemon’-ish aspect to “Dragon Nest” by allowing players in solo or two-player parties to fill out their ranks with upgradable AI allies drawn from the game’s pool of NPCs and villains.

I could try to go into detail about how the Mercenary Monster system works, but not having any first-hand experience with it, I’m not qualified to do so. Instead, I’ll just direct interested parties to a very informative and detailed thread by user Louvain on Nexon’s official Dragon Nest North America forum.

Youtuber RevertibleFate grabbed some video from within the game’s assets that shows most of the Mercenary Monsters in action (naturally, beating the tar out of the game’s villainous patsy, Landslide Krag).

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of AI controlled allies in games. However, “Dragon Nest” has proven to me that AIs can indeed be useful through the constant use of my Tinkerer’s AI summons, Alfredo the Robot Butler and a swarm of Robo-Quackum ducks. The difference between a useful AI companion and a useless one is a matter of expendability. If it’s necessary to babysit an AI to keep it alive, that AI is causing more problems than it solves. When an AI helps to the best of its ability and can be instantly revived/re-summoned when (not if) it dies from its own stupidity, that AI is providing value to the player in excess of the commitment required from the player.

All I can say is that Mercenary Monsters look like an amazing feature that will both provide a fun new distraction from repetitive dungeon running and help character classes that have trouble soloing content *coughPRIESTcough*. The only bad part is that nobody knows when Nexon will add this feature in North America. Predictions from the “Dragon Nest” fanbase have Mercenary Monsters arriving after the December Christmas event with the January 2015 update. I don’t know if I can wait that long! My Tinkerer needs to have Jasmine (the Tinkerer storyline’s main NPC) as a sidekick!

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