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Everything You Need to Know Before Starting Dragon's Dogma 2

The original Dragon's Dogma was Capcom's first crack at creating a grand adventure role-playing game that married elements of its high-octane action games, like Devil May Cry, within a western-style high-fantasy setting. In the years since its debut, Dragon's Dogma went from a cult favorite to an essential RPG thanks to its unique take on exploring a large fantasy world with a squad of adventurers as they engage with the many foes and emergent systems in the game.


With the upcoming sequel Dragon's Dogma 2 on the way, it's simultaneously a long-awaited follow-up to the original for longtime fans, and a great jumping-on point for newcomers. Considering how dense and bizarre the lore of Capcom's grand RPG is, we're taking a look back at the story and world of the original Dragon's Dogma and how the events of the first game sets the stage for its even more ambitious sequel. Here's the story so far for Capcom's Dragon's Dogma.

Do you need to play the original Dragon's Dogma?


The simple answer is no. If you missed out on the first game, then it's safe to jump straight into the sequel. In an approach similar to the anthology-style sequels of the Final Fantasy series, Dragon's Dogma 2 is a stand-alone game set in a parallel world with a new plot and characters, So while many concepts and the general structure of the adventure carry on from the original, the second game is a fresh start and gives first-time players an onboarding for its unique take on a fantasy adventure.

What's the story in Dragon's Dogma 2?


Dragon's Dogma 2 takes place against the backdrop of a growing conflict between two warring kingdoms, Vermund and Battahl. The land of Vermund is home to humans, while Battahl is home to elves and Beastrens, and both lands possess their own cultures and customs relating to the mythology of the Arisen the sacred hero tasked with slaying a great Dragon that brings about the world's end. Early in the game, the protagonist becomes the next Arisen following a confrontation with the great Dragon, granting them the ability to call upon Pawns, NPC allies from other worlds.

As the Arisen and their party seek out the great Dragon, they're thrust into a significant geopolitical conflict between the kingdoms. As the party of adventurers takes on quests and form new bonds, they encounter cult leaders and rivals who seek the Arisen's status as the sacred figure for themselves. The party will eventually gain a greater understanding of the turmoil within the warning kingdoms and make critical choices on how best to save the people of the land and stop the end times.

Who is the Arisen?


The Arisen are chosen mortals tasked with facing the great Dragon in a deadly confrontation to decide the world's fate. The Arisen are not everyday adventurers, as they possess many unique skills that will help them in battle. One of their key skills is their ability to adopt all of Dragon's Dogma's vocations as they see fit. The vocations are class types with their unique weapons and skills to adopt. While pawns possess vocations, the Arisen is the only one who can access the more specialized classes.

Here's a quick breakdown of each Vocation in Dragon's Dogma 2:

Fighter: The standard sword and shield melee class.

Archer: A long-range focused class that utilizes a bow and other gadgets.

Thief: A close-range fighter that uses cunning and deadly knives.

Mage: A magick user that can heal and cast deadly spells.

Warrior: A heavy melee brawler that wields larger weapons

Sorcerer: The more advanced magick user that casts even more fearsome spells.

Magick Archer: An archer that channels magic spells into their long-ranged attacks.

Mystic Spearhand: A fighter that uses a double-sided blade with a fighting style that blends close-range combat with magick.

Trickster: A cunning illusionist who can conjure spells to deceive foes and make them fight amongst themselves.

Wayfarer: A special class that allows the Arisen to use skills from other vocations in a single customizable fighting style.

What are Pawns?


One of the Arisen's most valuable assets is Pawns, otherworldly NPC allies that the Rift can call upon to join your party. In addition to your fully customizable main companion Pawn, players can also travel to the Rift, an online network that houses pawns created by other players. While the game generates Pawns to recruit, most pawns in Dragon's Dogma will come from the player community.

What makes the Pawns unique is that they are NPC allies that gain knowledge by going on adventures with the protagonist and other players online. Through the Rift, other players can recruit your pawn for their party, and by going on different adventures, your companion will gain insight and loot that they can share with you. The knowledge they gain can come in handy when fighting enemies that need a particular strategy to defeat or having insight on quests in areas you have yet to travel to.

What happened in Dragon's Dogma 1?


The original Dragon's Dogma took place in Gransys, a land cursed into a perpetual cycle of destruction by the coming of a great Dragon. The prologue of Dragon's Dogma sees a party of heroes face off against the fiend, but their fates are left unknown when the party leader, Savan, is left with a critical choice during their confrontation.

Sometime after, the game shifts to the main protagonist, who sees his small fishing village attacked by the fabled Dragon that has returned to the land – signaling the end times for Gransys again. While defending their home, the protagonist contacts the Dragon, who senses a greater calling for the ordinary villager. The Dragon then steals their heart and brands them as the next "Arisen," who must face the Dragon in an epic duel to decide the world's fate.

Aiding the Arisen in their adventure are mysterious allies known as Pawns, who gain knowledge and a sense of identity in their travels with the Arisen. Throughout the story, the Arisen learns to become a party leader, leading to new bonds with their pawns and the people of Gransys. As the Arisen's reputation increases, they meet other characters whose fates are tied to the great cycle, including the military leader Mercedes, the forest witch Selene, and even former Arisens such as King Edmun and the mysterious hermit named the Dragonforged.

The Arisen and their party also come into conflict with different groups within the kingdom who have different views on how to confront the end of days — with some believing that the Dragon should succeed in their destruction of the world. Once the party confronts the great Dragon, who is revealed to be named Grigori, the Arisen is given a choice to fight them to the death or sacrifice their closest loved one to regain their humanity and temporarily defer the battle to a new Arisen further down the line; a choice that many sacred heroes had taken before. Choosing to fight, the Arisen and their party defeat Grigori – who warns them that its defeat may lead to a worse fate. Shortly after returning to Gran Soren, the party sees the skies darken and dangerous monsters and fiends invade the land.


What Happens in the Dark Arisen quest?

During this "post-dragon" era, the player can choose to undertake an optional side quest introduced in the Dark Arisen expansion, which delves into the history of the Arisen. Following a mysterious invitation by a wayward Pawn to the dangerous Bitterblack Isle, the Arisen and their party confront powerful monsters and even Death itself in the deeper dungeons of the island. Along the way, the Arisen and their party learn that many other Arisen had come to the island and died facing the island's challenges, leading them to become powerful monsters. Upon reaching the bottom of the dense caverns of Bitterblack Isle, the party confronts an ancient Arisen who was turned into the great demon named Daimon after trying to save his former pawn-turned-lover from a cruel fate — only to find an even bleaker fate for himself. Following its defeat, the freed Arisen — named Ashe — is reunited with his pawn, and they pass on into the rift.

How does Dragon's Dogma end?


In the climax of the main story, the party seeks to break the cycle of chaos and save Gransys. Following Grigori's defeat, a massive hole opens up underneath Gran Soren, leading to an endless drop known as the Everfall. This massive rift funnels the Arisen between different worlds, looping back into the skies above Gran Soren. In addition to fighting power fiends and an ancient Dragon deep in the Everfall, the Arisen later confronts a being known as the Seneschal, a guardian of the world and the former Arisen Savan from the opening prologue.The Seneschal presents the protagonist with one last chance to return to a normal life in bliss.

However, the protagonist once again chooses to defy the cycle by defeating the guardian in battle. It's explained by Savan that after defeating his Dragon during the prologue, Savan took on the title of the steward of the world, which exists within an eternal cycle of life and death. This cycle is meant to give the people of the world, all descended from pawns, a sense of purpose — with some going beyond their means to gain a stronger will to live. The world, as the characters see it, is just one of many, and they are trapped within an endless loop of existence within their pocket worlds fighting dragons and going on endless quests.

Yes, in case you're wondering, the story of Dragon's Dogma works as a metaphor for the cycle of video games — with the characters becoming aware of their existence within a tightly designed game.Following their battle, Savan lays down his life and the protagonist becomes the new Seneschal.

As the new guardian of the world, the protagonist can live out his time as an invisible spectre observing everyone in Gransys or end their own life in an attempt to bring about a new cycle. In doing so, the protagonist imparts the companion pawn their remaining humanity, who is resurrected in the former Arisen's body back in the fishing village from the start of the game.From here, the former Pawn — now the current protagonist — can begin their journey as the next Arisen, seeking to confront the next great Dragon and the Seneschal in a new world.

Will Dragon's Dogma 2 address any of the original game's story?


For longtime fans who know how the original game's story turned out, it can be fair to say that Dragon's Dogma 2 is in an entirely new world but still part of the same cycle that was described by the Seneschal. While the developers have made clear that this is a stand-alone game, it could very well carry on some of the larger meta-storytelling of the original, which could be interesting to see play out on a larger scale.


Wasn’t There a Dragon’s Dogma Online game?


Yes, the series did see an online action-RPG spinoff released in 2015 but it was only ever released in Japan and has since been discontinued. As far as Dragon’s Dogma 2 is concerned, you don’t need to worry about it because the online game was set in an entirely different world unconnected with the events of the first game.

And that's it for IGN's recap of Dragon's Dogma. For more on the upcoming sequel, be sure to check out our Final Preview of the game, and keep an eye out for our full review.


Alessandro Fillari is a freelancer writer for IGN.

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