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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Dragalia Lost Mobile Direct Live Reactions!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Yet another waifu-filled free-to-play mobile game with micro-transactions.

Last night, Nintendo aired a Dragalia Lost Direct that, based on the timing, was probably focused on the audiences in Asia where they really want to make the most money. We at KoopaTV preferred to sleep, so we barely woke up this morning to react on what we missed. After all, Dragalia Lost is important enough to Nintendo to be announced at a Nintendo investor event. And the investors liked what they saw. (That should give you reason to pause.)

Dragalia Lost is an action-RPG coming out next month in America and some Asian countries, developed in partnership with Nintendo and Cygames.

If you want to watch the Direct with us (myself and Rawk), then here's the embed. Below that are our unfiltered, unedited reactions to Dragalia Lost! The first substantive look at it!

[8:10 AM] RawkHawk2010: say start when you start

[8:10 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: I wanna keep sleeping but okay

[8:10 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: start

[8:11 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: I'm hating this portrait view of the gameplay.

[8:11 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: "blood of a dragon" isn't this just more Fire Emblem Fates?

[8:11 AM] RawkHawk2010: I forgot what Fates was even about

[8:11 AM] RawkHawk2010: I just know Corrin is a half dragon.

[8:11 AM] RawkHawk2010: Kinda it.

[8:12 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: That's all that's really important.

[8:12 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: "The Kingdom of Alberia"

[8:12 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Alberta?

[8:12 AM] RawkHawk2010: lol

[8:12 AM] RawkHawk2010: That's what I thought at first

[8:12 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Where humans and dragons lived together but now there are a bunch of monsters overrunning it because the Sacred Shard got screwed up.

[8:12 AM] RawkHawk2010: Oh hey, English VA

[8:13 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: "The Main Character".

[8:13 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: I hate this game already.

[8:13 AM] RawkHawk2010: Looks like Pokemon Quest.

[8:14 AM] RawkHawk2010: But with more control.

[8:14 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: That giant finger on-screen is bad.

Dragalia Lost controls slide to move finger portrait mode smartphone
This is disgusting.

[8:14 AM] RawkHawk2010: Phone dodging.

[8:15 AM] RawkHawk2010: I don't wanna phone dodge.

[8:15 AM] RawkHawk2010: If there's any way you're gonna drop your phone, it's from that.

[8:15 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Looks like any other action RPG.

[8:15 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: But with awful controls.

[8:16 AM] RawkHawk2010: Yeah it's a collage clone.

[8:16 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: "Shapeshifting"

[8:16 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: "Transform into a dragon"

[8:16 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Alright so the guy is Corrin.

[8:16 AM] RawkHawk2010: I like the dragon designs.

Dragalia Lost dragon design Brunhilda Mercury Jupiter Zodiark wyrms
From left to right: Brunhilda, Zodiark, Mercury, and Jupiter.

[8:17 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Western dragons put me off.

[8:17 AM] RawkHawk2010: Making good dragons isn't hard.

[8:17 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Okay here's the party.

[8:17 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: There's the jailbait waifu.

Dragalia Lost Cleo healer shadow jailbait waifu pink purple hair maid young girl
Her name is Cleo. The official website describes her as “a young girl” with “intense housework skills.”

[8:18 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Weapons triangle.

[8:18 AM] RawkHawk2010: "Some will be attackers, some will be healers..."

[8:18 AM] RawkHawk2010: Then it skips defense and support

[8:18 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: "Elder cure!" 'kay guess she's old.

[8:18 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: "Leave the cleaning to me!"

[8:18 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: There's a French maid? <_<

[8:18 AM] RawkHawk2010: lmao

[8:18 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: "More than 60 adventurers"

[8:19 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: This feels like it's being directed to someone's first action RPG.

[8:20 AM] RawkHawk2010: Well that's mobile for you.

[8:20 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Because I guess mobile gamers don't know about that genre I dunno.

[8:20 AM] RawkHawk2010: And it's gonna be free.

[8:20 AM] RawkHawk2010: So yeah.

[8:20 AM] RawkHawk2010: I think Fates just did that buildings-placement shit

[8:20 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Reminder that Cygames and Nintendo hung out and Nintendo's like, "yeah sure we'll fund this."

[8:21 AM] RawkHawk2010: Well "just" as in like three or four years ago

[8:21 AM] RawkHawk2010: Forgot it's been that long since Fates.

[8:21 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Huh, wow.

[8:21 AM] RawkHawk2010: >brownie points

Dragalia Lost Nefaria Egyptian brown girl
“Brownie points”?

[8:21 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Well, Nintendo fans are gonna say this is awesome.

[8:21 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: "Number of stars" of characters.

[8:21 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: aka Fire Emblem Heroes

[8:21 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Nintendo fans are gonna say this is awesome just because Nintendo is publishing it.

[8:22 AM] RawkHawk2010: Like S.T.E.A.M.?

[8:22 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: But if Cygames released this without ever teaming up with Nintendo no one would ever care about it from Nintendo's fanbase.

[8:22 AM] RawkHawk2010: Ya

[8:22 AM] RawkHawk2010: Like Splatoon and ARMS

[8:22 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: NO.

[8:22 AM] RawkHawk2010: Especially ARMS tho.


[8:22 AM] RawkHawk2010: Multiplayer.

[8:22 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Anyway there's multiplayer.

[8:23 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: With up to three additional smartphones.

[8:23 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Every quest is multiplayerable

[8:23 AM] RawkHawk2010: Wait

[8:23 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Now there's Japanese music in the background.

[8:23 AM] RawkHawk2010: Is this art of the same people?

[8:23 AM] RawkHawk2010: Or is it after a timeskip?

[8:23 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Who knows.

[8:24 AM] RawkHawk2010: September 27th.

[8:24 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: "Free to start; optional in-app purchases available"

[8:24 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Well they sure hid that one at the end real quick.

[8:24 AM] RawkHawk2010: I was not impressed.

[8:25 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: ...Well it'd be amazing if after all of that negative commentary you ended with, "This is awesome!"

[8:25 AM] RawkHawk2010: I liked the way the dragons looked.

[8:26 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: It's rated T for "Fantasy Violence" and "Sexual Themes"

[8:26 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: SEXUAL THEMES.

[8:26 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: SEX SELLS

[8:26 AM] RawkHawk2010: Did the Weapons Triangle make sense?

[8:26 AM] RawkHawk2010: Flame > Wind > Water > Flame

[8:26 AM] RawkHawk2010: I don't know how Flame beats Wind.

[8:27 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: uhh

[8:27 AM] RawkHawk2010: Wind can spread flames but I don't flames stop wind from blowing.

[8:27 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Reminder that in Fire Emblem, Fire beat Wind.

[8:27 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Thunder beat Fire.

[8:27 AM] RawkHawk2010: Ice is what stops wind in real life.

[8:27 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: And Wind beat Thunder.

[8:27 AM] RawkHawk2010: Almost all weapon triangles are garbage.

[8:28 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: ...(like this game?)

[8:28 AM] RawkHawk2010: To its benefit, at least the characters have noses.

[8:29 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: I don't like noses.

[8:29 AM] RawkHawk2010: Really?

[8:29 AM] RawkHawk2010: A nose is almost always good even if it's tiny.

[8:29 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: There's a reason that stick figures omit them.

[8:30 AM] RawkHawk2010: Be glad that the Mother cast have noses when not in sprite form.

What were your thoughts from watching the Direct? Do you want to pour your money into leveling up waifus and staining your smartphone with your greasy finger? Or do you have other uses of your time and money in mind? Sound off in the comments section below! (By the way, the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program Round 21 ends end-of-day August 31, so... your comments are important. So are other actions.)


  1. This is a tough decision to make. Should I save my money for the critically claimed "A Hat In Time" when it releases on the Switch or should I spend it on in-game currency in a generic RPG that is hardly distinguishable from any other in the genre?

  2. Looks like every other mobile gacha RPG. Unless the story is phenomenal, I see no reason to get this.

    That's the thing that really annoys me. There's nothing inherently wrong with mobile games, but why are they all so SIMILAR?

    1. Because it's published by Nintendo!

      They're similar because of the limited control methods, and the toxicity of the mobile economy where it's go free or don't bother.

    2. I don't just mean the controls and free-to-play gacha model, though. Nearly every mobile RPG seems to follow the same structure when it comes to composing your party, leveling up, upgrading things...

    3. Well, all of those things are tied to the free-to-play gacha model, aren't they? They're definitely linked together. You can't really have a creative party system or level system without changing how the gacha model works.

      For free-to-play games, monetarily successful developers start with the financial model first, and then make the game around it. Making those models is hard, and deviating from what has been proven to already work is risky — risks that could sink a business. So you get less experimentation now. You develop what works.

      That goes for both the financial model and the mechanics of the mobile RPGs. Mobile game developers tend to not have the financial cushions that AAA developers have, after all. They're less capitalised.

      So, yeah, risk and economics.

    4. I just feel like there has to be a way to use the gacha model without it feeling like every other mobile RPG. Even the mobile RPGs from huge companies seem to fit neatly into the same structure. I've even seen premium, one-time-payment mobile RPGs use the same annoying mechanics!

    5. If you can think of another way that would actually work, let's talk about it. :)

    6. All right, let's stick with the gacha model for now. You'll make your party based on lots of characters/allies/weapons/whatever that you get through a gacha system. But then, the rest of the game plays like a normal RPG. Your characters level up through battle and maybe even have their own skill trees. There are no timers, and you can play through the game offline unless you want to interact with another players, download new content, or use the gacha system.

    7. But if you can level up normally and have skill trees to make any character really strong through normal gameplay (unrestricted by timers), what incentive do you have to participate in the gacha system and give revenue to the developer?

    8. Weaker characters will always be weaker than the stronger characters, so your fully-powered basic characters won't be enough to get you by later in the game.

      Most of these games make you level up your individual characters/weapons anyway, just by fusing them together and stuff.

    9. But, I mean, in gacha games, you can still get the items, via gameplay, that let you get more party members. You end up still spending money because it's not enough given the RNG of the gacha and the quality of the party members (and so you have more to fuse stuff with), but the game's mechanics supporting fully-powering up the basic characters sound like you only need relatively few of the gacha items.

      The leveling up characters stuff in the model currently is severely limited by timers and whatever. Can't wait to see what sort of timers end up in Dragalia Lost! But without timers, you should assume that players will always be able to have fully-powered characters at their point in the game.

      You're basically going to have to severely limit how much power you can get from maxing the level cap.

    10. What I mean is that a fully-leveled basic character would still be weak, tempting you to go for more powerful characters.

      From what I've seen in mobile games, the timers are mainly there to encourage you to spend even more money to recharge your energy or whatever.

      Actually, I've found them to be most tempting because of things you GET, rather than being limited when you don't pay, if that makes sense. When I played KHUX, I was going just fine as a completely free player, but when I spent money during a Black Friday sale, all of the bonus benefits were what made me want to do it again. Although now that I think about it, that was partly because of the goofy leveling mechanics... but still, most (decent) gacha games make sure the game is playable even if you don't spend money.

    11. If they're still weak, then what's the pay-off for investing time into them? In other words, wouldn't players come away from the experience with the characters with a negative feeling about the traditional RPG mechanics that lead them to the point where the characters are no longer usable?

      Compare, to, say, a Pokémon Rumble game, where you're sort of constantly switching Pokémon you're using because you can't invest in making them stronger (besides move selections). There isn't the feeling of, "Well I just wasted three hours grinding this character and going through all the skill trees and they're useless anyway." That's not a great experience.
      The reason grinding and stuff is satisfying in normal RPGs is because you can stick with that character for the whole game, or at least a large portion. It's an investment that pays off. (And, of course, it helps if there's a story component with those characters so you like them personally, too.)
      Which is sort of a fatal flaw if you're constantly dumping characters in a genre where you're supposed to get attached to them. I'm not really sure how that the mobile gacha games handle that since, in practice, I obviously avoid them.

      The timers have the purpose of encouraging you to spend money for free recharges, and they also have the purpose of preventing you from finishing the game at your own pace and too quickly. Without timer mechanics, if you could get as much experience points and stat boosts on your own time table, you'd be done with the game a lot (think: years) sooner. Think about it.
      The entire game cadence runs on those timers. They give you generous and free boosts at the start to get you hooked on the core mechanic, and then the game is purposefully designed to require long, dragged out sequences with difficulty spikes. The game is still playable then. Just not very enjoyable.

    12. ...The same as the payoff for investing time into them in any other mobile game, except now you can fight with them to level them up instead of fighting with them to get a bunch of stuff that you need to fuse with them to level them up. These games typically still make you level up your characters, just in a more convoluted way.

      Your scenario for the timers only works if we're talking about a traditional RPG put into mobile game format. If it was a traditional RPG, yes, you could sit down and quickly play through the whole thing. But for a typical mobile RPG, the lack of timers would let you... sit down and play through the current story content, and then wait for the next update like you'd be doing anyway. I can't finish the game years earlier if the majority of the story doesn't exist in my copy of the game yet.

    13. I kinda wanna just sit down and co-write a design document with you. :p

      (Though seems like a waste to do that for a mobile gacha game...)

      Well I dunno it seems like the premise to start this conversation off was "can we have as much of a traditional RPG exist as a successful mobile game?"
      So your, uh, plan here is to have the game drip-feed the actual content out over an extended period of time, and each content update would probably have a difficulty bump that invalidates your weaker characters you've been using up to then?

    14. (Yes, it does.)

      Well, my original frustration was that they all seem to adopt the same gameplay mechanics. For that last reply, I was going with the typical mobile model.

      If I was doing whatever I wanted, I'd just make a traditional RPG that you pay once for, no gacha needed. XD

    15. Yeah, if you're doing what you wanted, the mobile development studio would become out of business. :(

      The whole purpose of this comment thread was to demonstrate that taking risks and doing something outside the "typical mobile model" is pretty hard. Easier to do something tried-and-true. A lot easier to justify that to anyone who is investing in your company, too.

    16. I wonder if that's what killed Tales of the Rays in the west. It still used gacha, but in a limited way. It was just for weapons, not for characters, and it seemed pretty optional.

    17. Well, gacha's always optional... ;)

      Yeah, if you're not disrupting people's gameplay experience enough, they won't find it worth it to spend money to make the annoyance go away. (We call that negative reinforcement — removing the annoying timer or difficulty barrier by making you increase your behaviour of spending your money.) And then your studio dies.
      If weapons are critical to success that's one thing, but if characters are the driving math force, then yeah.


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