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BenHaskett avatar 11:03 AM on 07.24.2009  (server time)
Dragon Questing Part Thirteen: I am 100% Addicted to the Dharma Temple

Back in September of 2008, I had the pleasure of playing my first proper Dragon Quest game with Chapters of the Chosen for the DS. After completing it, I couldn't help but wonder why I had never played a game in this series before. I'm always complaining about the gimmicks thrown into many modern games and how I'd want nothing more than to just play a modern RPG that stripped away all the nonsense and took things back to basics.

Well, Dragon Quest has been sitting right under my nose since I was in diapers. Not content to stop at the fourth game in the series, I've set out to acquire and play through every localized Dragon Quest title right up until I replay the fourth entry ... on the NES. I've spent months lurking around eBay, and I've amassed a complete collection that now only needs me to experience it.

If you've played any of the games I'll be talking about, I'd appreciate your comments as I don't know anyone locally who I can talk to about this wonderful series.

Part Thirteen:

Dragon Quest VII: Warriors of Eden... continued

A few days ago, fellow DToid blogger Thefil told me that, despite multiple attempts to play through Dragon Quest VII, he would always quit when he got to the Dharma Temple. I can sort of understand why he might want to do that; the Dharma Temple opens up so many possibilities for character growth that even trying to figure out where to start can be overwhelming enough to make you want to wave the white flag and call it quits. I think the hardest part is that there is no right path to take; each of the classes you can choose from have their own, unique skills associated with them. However, because of this, there is also no wrong path to take. Want to study to be a thief? You'll learn plenty of skills like finding treasure chests and random pick-pocketing. What to be a cleric? You'll learn some great healing spells in no time. Either way, when all is said and done and you’re at the end of the game, your characters will have inevitably mastered multiple classes and you'll pretty much end up a badass no matter what.

For those of you who don't know, the Dharma Temple is a gigantic coliseum of sorts that you'll reach about twenty-five hours into the game. Once there, you'll be presented with the option to study a character class. Sure, you can decide to simply not take one, but you'll regret it later on; once you get to a certain point, you stop learning new skills and spells when you level up! Besides, you're going on an adventure anyways, right? Well, you might as well just pick a class... even randomly. When you eventually master that class during your travels, merely warp back to the Dharma Temple and pick another one!

My experiences might be a good example: I had no idea at all what class to pick, so I just selected randomly. I made the main character--who I named Ben--a mariner, I made Gabo a fighter, and I made Maribel a mage. I didn't know if these were good decisions at first, but sure enough, my characters all started learning pretty useful skills in almost no time at all. Hanging around the temple just leveling up my skills was almost addicting.

And really, I did sort of get myself addicted to the temple for a while. You know how some people describe Super Mario 64 as the sort of game where you can’t put it down because you keep telling yourself you need to just get one more star before you can call it a night? Well, similarly, I couldn’t pull myself away from the temple to continue on with the game because I kept telling myself “Just 35 more battles! Just 35 more and I’ll learn a new skill! Then I’ll move on to the next area!”

Ahem… well…

Six hours later (spread out over three days), I finally managed to pull myself away from the temple just long enough to go through another chapter in the game. There was a desert, and a sphinx… and a dragon… and a demon… or something… and something about a dark ruby… I don’t know… But what’s really important is that after I finished that chapter, I got to go back to the Dharma temple!!! and I stayed there for a good three hours or so just grinding and learning new skills.

At this point, really, I promise I’m done grinding outside the Dharma Temple. I figure if I stay any longer, I’ll become too powerful and it’ll render the game boring. But while I was there, my party mastered the original classes I gave them. When they were done with those, I turned Ben into a warrior, and both Gabo & Maribel into Clerics. Ben mastered his class faster than the other two, so I had him study as a thief while they finished up being clerics. When the three of them were done with those classes, some intermediate classes became available, and I turned Ben, Gabo, and Maribel into a pirate, a paladin, and a sage respectively. The three of them have learned some incredibly useful skills. Gabo, for example, has a wind-based skill called “vacuum” that rips up all the enemies on screen for about 75 damage a piece. Even better though, is that this attack requires no MP, meaning I can use it over and over again without draining any resources. Considering that Ben’s normal attack generally dishes out about 45 damage, this is a significant boon.

So, there you have it. I’ve got all my shards ready to go, and I’m headed for the ruins. Where will I end up? Well, I don’t even know that yet, but I’ll be back in a few days with a full report. :)

As always, thanks for reading!



Total elapsed time across entire Dragon Quest series: ~211 hours -

IV DS - ~30 hours
VIII - ~70 hours
I NES - ~20 hours
DQM:J - ~20 hours
V DS - ~30 hours
VII - ~41 hours

For the past Dragon Questing blogs, click the links below:

:::::::::: From Dragon Quest VII:

Restoring the Planet: Dragon Questing, Part Twelve

Meet the Warriors of Eden: Dragon Questing, Part Eleven

:::::::::: From Dragon Quest V:

No Wonder Everyone Loves This Game: Dragon Questing, Part Ten

Coming to America Sans Eddie Murphy: Dragon Questing, Part Nine

:::::::::: From Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker:

I Guess They Can't All Be Gold: Dragon Questing, Part Eight

:::::::::: From Dragon Quest I:

Returning the Ball of Light: Dragon Questing, Part Seven

Getting a Grip on a Classic: Dragon Questing, Part Six

Going Back in Time: Dragon Questing, Part Five

:::::::::: From Dragon Quest VIII:

The conclusion of an Epic: Dragon Questing, Part Four

Discovering the Monster Arena: Dragon Questing, Part Three

How to Give a Boy a Heart: Dragon Questing, Part Two

Meeting the Cursed King: Dragon Questing, Part One

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