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Dragon Quest IX multiplayer mode detailed

Friend lists, chat, new monsters and more.


Following the game's playable debut at last week's Jump Festa event, Square Enix shared today official details on Dragon Quest IX's multiplayer mode. It also provided a look at a new character class and a first look at some of the game's new enemies.

While Dragon Quest IX was always known to offer network play -- a first for the main Dragon Quest series -- Square Enix has been shy with the specifics. Today, the company detailed how players go about getting into multiplayer game sessions along with some of the things they can do when playing with friends.

To get into a multiplayer play session, you head to Ruida's Pub in the main town. You'll recall that a previous update introduced us to Ruida's pub and three of its employees, Ruida, Rika, and Roxanne. As shared previously, players speak to Ruida to create ally characters for adventuring through the game in single player. Rika and Roxanne's roles were not disclosed.

Multiplayer involves a different bar girl from those three, the angel-like Raviel. Speak to her, and you're presented with two options: "Journey in an outside world" and "Seek out friends from an outside world." The latter option makes you into a "host" character. Players who select the former option become "guest" characters.

Guest players are said to exist in the world of the host player. While everyone can adventure together, guests are also free to move about the host player's world on their own, speaking to NPC characters in distant towns.

From left to right: selecting a multiplayer game from Raviel, journeying around town in a group, and a guest being blocked off from opening a host's treasure chest.

Square Enix hasn't specifically referred to DQIX's multiplayer mode as "co-op," but the game does seem to have co-op play. Players have the option of working with the host player through his story. It's unclear if it's possible to work through the whole game like this, although this area should be cleared up once Square Enix begins talking about DQIX's storyline.

There is one restriction to a guest players' activities, though. Guests cannot obtain important items from the host player's world.

In addition to moving about the world freely, players can also get into battle together or independently. Furthermore, players who aren't in battle can chose to join in mid way through.

The host has the special ability of being able to invite other players to join in on the fight. In the event of the host being named "Nain," the other players will see the message "Nain is calling you! Will you move to Nain's position?" The player can select yes or no.

Journeying around town, fields, and dungeons in multiplayer mode. The shot to the right shows players engaged in battle. Of course, for those who are actually fighting, the battle system is menu-based.
Nain gets called into battle by the host player. By selecting yes, Nain will be sent to the host player's side.
A sequence showing other players joining a fight. In multiplayer, each player selects his own options from the combat menus. The other players see the phrase Now Thinking until the move has been decided.

Sure to help out with building a multiplayer community, DQIX includes its own implementation of friend lists. Called "Omoide no Nakamatachi" (roughly, "friends that I remember"), this feature lets you register your friends on your cartridge. Once registered, you can view a friend's stats. Based off screenshots distributed today, stats include:

Checking friend stats.
  • Time spent playing the game
  • Time spent player multiplayer
  • Time spent playing the game with you
  • Monster list completion percentage
  • Collected item completion percentage
  • Alchemy recipe completion percentage
  • Number of battles won
  • Alchemy performed count
  • Number of titles/badges earned
  • Number of quests cleared

The stats for alchemy and titles/badges are a bit mysterious at this point, as Square Enix hasn't shared details on them yet. These will presumably be the topic of a future update.

In addition to friend lists, the game appears to include a primitive form of chat. You can assign special gestures to the d-pad. To make your character perform these, you hold down B and press one of the direction buttons. Based off screenshots, samples gestures include "bye-bye," "gatsu-pose" (this is like a general winning pose), and a bow.

Gestures can be found hidden around the DQIX world. You may even be able to find some rare ones to show off to your friends.

Setting up and performing gestures.

Outside of these multiplayer details, Square Enix shared a look today at additional character elements for the game.

First, a new job: the "Tabigeinin," or "Traveling Actor." This job acts as the party's mood maker, with comical movements. It also has good balance with attack and defense strength.

In the last update, it was revealed that each job has a special job-specific skill parameter. For the traveling actor, the skill is "Kyokugei," or acrobatics. When this skill rises, you learn a flame attack called "Hi Fuki-gei."

The Traveling Actor job. The second shot from the left shows the special flame attack you learn by raising your acrobatics skill.

Square Enix also gave a look at a few enemies who will appear in the game. These are all new additions to the Dragon Quest series.

A bird-type monster with a cow-like coat. A demon child who attacks with greater ferocity than its looks may suggest.
A vegetable monster with a strong spear attack. Square Enix notes that it's a type of squash, not a type of cucumber.
Tiger Lance
Uses the spell "Rukina" to lower a foe's defense power, then performs powerful attacks with a giant lance.
Ponpoko Danuki
Known as the "Dance Hero" of the demon world, this creature uses its dance steps to stun its enemies.
Argon Devil
This slender winged creature is particularly good at attacking foes with consecutive claw attacks.
From left to right: Momon, Zukinya, Tiger Lance, Ponpoko Danuki, Argon Devil.

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