Being the Dragon Quest newbie that I am, I had no idea what I was in for when I first started my adventure. In particular, I was completely unprepared for how much each piece of equipment cost.
It’s been a while since I’ve felt like such a miser in a video game. I only allowed myself one new weapon purchase per town, with maybe some herbs. Never too many – it might cost me my next helmet upgrade if I spent too much. However, a while after Camus joins, he gives you the Mysterious Forge, and then I realized how big a lifesaver camps are.
Camps bring out the adventurous feeling in the journey with your party members. You see them relaxing, and you can talk to them about their thoughts on what’s next. Their dialogue updates very often as well, which really breathes life into them. Oh, and camps let you sleep for free, unlike all those money-grubbing inns. You can even Zoom (teleport) to them, so why spend the cash?
After receiving the Mysterious Forge, it becomes available to use at Camps. By collecting materials just doing what you do – fighting monsters and exploring the map, as well as find recipes on bookshelves in houses, you can make new equipment for free.
There is a catch, of course: You need to play a mini-game. Players need to hammer out all parts of the armor to the green area of each part, and by having multiple bars reach the yellow ‘perfect’ status, you can create improved armor with an extra number (up to +3) behind it.
Later on, as you go along the story, the protagonist unlocks new skills for the mini-game, such as hammering two spots at once, doubling the strength of one hit, or using less strength. Dragon Quest XI really encourages players to use (or rather, abuse?) this feature, and my character’s wallet thanks the developers for it.
By forging new items to equip or sell, the Mysterious Forge will reward you with Reforge Gems. These allow you to reforge even store-bought armor to improved versions, so that you can probably skip that next level of equipment for just a little while longer.
All these features may seem a bit overpowered, but the recipes for new weapons and armors are doled out at a reasonable pace, so that you’re only ever on par with the enemies in the area. Bookshelves are more likely to provide puns to groan at than recipes to gloat over. A reasonable amount are given by NPC characters after completing their sidequest.
In all honesty, the mini-game is surprisingly in-depth, and it’s quite funny to watch the protagonist hammer out a dress in the forge. I’ve just recruited the final two party members, Row and Martina, and money is about to get even tighter; I’m quite glad that the Camps and Mysterious Forge have my back on tackling my wallet woes.
Dragon Quest XI is available in Japan for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo 3DS. The game releases in the West in 2018. A release has yet to be announced for the Nintendo Switch version.