Dragon’s Dogma Doesn’t Need Co-Op

Dragon’s Dogma Doesn’t Need Co-Op

Last updated on July 5th, 2016

This is going to be short and sweet. Co-op is an aggravatingly common request for games in general that have no need of it and wouldn’t benefit from its inclusion, but I feel like Dragon’s Dogma is a special case. Unlike most of the other games where people who don’t know what they’re asking for beg for co-op, Dragon’s Dogma at least seems to lend itself to the concept with it’s base systems. This is a trap, something many people who’ve played Dragon’s Dogma Online can probably tell you and something mentioned in at least one review of it (fyi) but I’m going to explain why: Pawns.

dragons dogma hydra

More specifically, the entire game is balanced around the idea of having pawns as helpers. Now, well trained pawns can be quite effective, but they will never be as effective as a good human player. If you’re attempting to implement co-op this creates a conflict of interests. Either:

You design around a party of pawns and the game is stupidly easy with players who are better than pawns are


You design around a party of at least 2 humans and the game is unnecessarily frustrating for people relying on pawns.

So as not to present a false dichotomy, there is a third option (change the mechanics for co-op players to compensate for the extra player/s.) However; what that’s going to accomplish is making people who play solo feel like they aren’t playing the actual game and get a dumbed down version instead,  so it isn’t a good option either.

dragons dogma griffin

The next obvious problem is that you either end up with MMO syndrome where the world isn’t reactive (and despite the poor story the world of Dragon’s Dogma is fairly reactive) to stop other players accidentally (or intentionally) screwing your game/world by killing people or taking a different direction in a quest, or you end up with a Fable 2 situation where the co-op partner can’t interact with anything and is only playing half a game. Dragon’s Dogma isn’t heavy enough on the roleplaying elements to pull off the Divinity: Original Sin collaborative storytelling approach either, nor was that the intention of the developers.

dragons dogma wyrm

Now, I’m not a huge fan of co-op to begin with, but are you really willing to cripple the game for solo players, be bored silly by a complete lack of challenge, and/or remove arguably the most unique aspect of the game all together just to co-op? I can tell you right now that I’m not. Dragon’s Dogma style combat in a game designed for co-op could be great, I’m not saying it wouldn’t be, but Dragon’s Dogma isn’t that game on a fairly fundamental level, and it simply cannot be that game without negatively impacting the experience for everyone else.

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56 comments on “Dragon’s Dogma Doesn’t Need Co-Op”

  1. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    While I do enjoy a bit of coop with good friends, nothing can replicate the immersive feeling I get in a game like Fallout or Mass Effect single player. I almost see these as two different genres of gaming. DD was a lot of fun with pawns, but I think you’re right…it would be a tricky balance to get this right (coop I mean).

  2. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    I don’t think it’s possible,the AI simply isn’t there. In 5 or 10 years maybe it could work.

    Not that I would play with people, because I wouldn’t, but it wouldn’t be hurting my solo play.

  3. Avatar GrinTwist says:

    Didn’t even think there was much of a demand for co-op for this game. :-O But you’re definitely right with this article about how it would definitely ruin the experience of most gamers that don’t care for co-op and gamers that would still like to use pawns instead of co-op.

    Me being a bit of a recluse in most cases, I’d hate it if something like co-op was integrated into DD.

  4. Avatar EldritchImagination says:

    I don’t know what’s with people wanting co-op in almost any game that it would seem any bit possible to have. I have actually heard gamers say they won’t play a game that doesn’t have multiplayer. It seems it has basically become standard that all shooters have multiplayer as well, and any one that doesn’t have it is lesser as a result, even if the game is great as a single player. I mean, look at Elder scrolls. Every game was single player and great, but people wanted multiplayer for some reason. Then came ESO, which had the multiplayer, but it took from the single player experience. Not all games are better with multiplayer.

  5. ChocoboRRR says:

    Balder Gate ps2 version was a good co-op. The game that transform into WOW copy always end up massive grindfest and unneccesary boss HP and problem stuff which the OP located.

    Balder Gate ps2, Dungeon Siege series and Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide is my preferer co-op style.

  6. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    Dark Alliance is a fundamentally different game than Baulders Gate, it’s just in the same universe. That’s not even close to a valid comparison.

  7. ChocoboRRR says:

    I don’t know never played PC version except the one who I co-op with it. But the difficult does match what hard mode supposed to do. Aka chunking 24/7 potions with best avaiable heavy armor + body block at door entry and many more tricks that considering western on first sight check considering exploit out of hate. Or doing solo hit and run etc.

    If you insist that the developer cannot make such challenge game. I am certain they can. Whether co-op or solo with AI. Mind you majorly of the games has dumbed out AI. Very easy mode compared game like Phantasy Star Nova Death Date quest on XH mode.

  8. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    I’m insisting that they can’t make it challenging for 2 or more players *while* keeping a solo player from being frustrated by reliance on AI that isn’t as good as a player. That’s literally what the whole article was about.

  9. ChocoboRRR says:

    You talk like you experience only one year gaming while stuck on certain mentality like Western you know that.

  10. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    I don’t know if I know that because I don’t know what you’re talking about. Try using real sentences (or something that’s at least a little similar to real sentences and not just a string of nouns and adjectives without context.)

    Tell you what, I can’t prove a negative (ie I can’t prove it’s impossible) so why don’t you show me an example of a game with both AI companions and real human co-op where halfway competent real humans don’t make the game ridiculously easy by comparison, or vice versa where the AI isn’t frustraing to deal with for solo players.

    Because I can cite DDO (every other mmo with companion characters) and left for dead and brink and the entire souls series off the top of my head as examples of one or the other. AI simply isn’t good enough, I covered that, and I covered the ways around that and why they’re poor solutions for DD.

  11. ChocoboRRR says:

    Left 4 Dead series

    Btw there was 2 shenigang patches on the game where survivor bots become a director AI random trigger victim, where they used to be director AI terminator. If you can’t noticed this well you are helpless.

    Also, If developer using a game that deploy anti human measure attack and the AI dodge 100 % of the time. I am sure by know you rather blog the game to easy with bots and competent players being useless.

  12. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    The left for dead series does not have AI even remotley comparable to a decent human player. I just said that.

  13. ChocoboRRR says:

    Appearing you can’t manipulate AI to be a Director AI terminator. Okay I am fine with that you saying. Obviously you haven’t play day 1. And tell which person are decent. Unless numerous of videos showcase.

  14. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    This is the AI you’re telling me is just as good as a human player? [BBvideo 560,340:3ojgjidz]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02hIwsm0Fh0{/bbvideo} [bbvideo 560,340]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVc0owwJ49A[/BBvideo:3ojgjidz][BBvideo 560,340:3ojgjidz]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNrGeMS_CGw[/BBvideo:3ojgjidz]

    You can direct them to help you because they’re too stupid to do it without a prompt and they still ***k it up a lot. It’s easier to take a health kit from them and heal them yourself than it is to try and convince an AI partner with a bunch of temp HP to use a medkit so they don’t go down the next firefight.

  15. ChocoboRRR says:

    That is not the AI I experiment as I play day 1. And I doubt there is video around where AI exploit for becoming a terminator. All you can see is now patched out AI for balanced gameplay. So the competent player can handle it as infection.

  16. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    Some potentially OP gimick which may or may not exsist and that you can’t provide evidence of doesn’t demonstrate that AI is good, just that the exploit is good.

  17. ChocoboRRR says:

    Maybe? You know well that if AI is better than player that game won’t sell. As the AI is stomping on weaker enemy AI for you and not player. In the end the upgraded AI is like chess where the actually cover all 32 pieces database at perfect play.

  18. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    1) Please stop telling me what I do or don’t know.

    2) It doesn’t have to be god like, but not **** is something few games manage. AI is complex and expensive, it’s good at chess because chess has a very rigid set of rules and a more or less definitive best move to make in response to every situation (a person simply can’t keep track of all that at once.) Most modern games are nothing like that (for example, chess is played in a simple grid where in most modern games take place in 3d spaces,) there are simply too many situations to account for so the AI can’t accurately judge the correct reaction.

    3) Lots of games have an OP AI character carry you through early missions and lots of games let other people carry you through the game and people still buy those. If the AI just did everything and the player didn’t even need to be there it would probably be an issue, but it doesn’t have to be at that level to have good AI that works with the player instead of jumping off ledges or spamming useless skills, or getting stuck on trees, or never ever healing when someone clearly needs it.

  19. ChocoboRRR says:

    1) I don’t care what you think.

    2) AI can react on 3d space, looks at Elder Scroll Oblivion. And don’t think about cause I am one behind that AI stealing a apple while avoiding crime. And it is more than just cause. The AI if gived being a companion roll, he will solo story for you and ignoring you being incompent. And it use less CPU power too over standard AI layout.

    3) AI can’t think but can layout RNG for you. But to satisfied certain individual person? But where to draw the line? That is almost nigh impossibly.

  20. Avatar Castielle says:

    Think carefully about your responses here guys. This thread is devolving. I don’t want to have to lock it.


  21. Avatar XuitusTheGreat says:

    If only the pawn AI was better….

  22. Avatar Castielle says:

    I see Xuitus is in a trolling mood today lol.

    and I think you guys should just agree to disagree at this point. You have both made your arguments, neither of you thinks the other has proved anything, and the conversation is headed towards attacking each other for not actually making a point. The conversation doesn’t need to go on until one person agrees with the other (especially when that isn’t likely to happen).


  23. Avatar Serious_Much says:

    For me, some of my favourite times gaming stem from coop.

    For me, the two things I wish DD had were a) couch coop so that a friend could take control of my personal pawn. and b) Being able to take control of your pawn in other worlds- which would be an option that is consented by the host of the world.

    Personally, I fail to see any downside to having a coop possibility which you can refuse to participate if you are so inclined.

    I don’t think your argument of design and difficulty problems holds up. Good or bad AI or not if an enemy is difficult, it will still be difficult with coop partners. If an enemy is easy (like most of DD was anyways), it’ll still be easy with coop players. The combat and damage dealt is so numbers based in DD that the pilot of a character I don’t think would make all that much difference.

    In regards to the coop partners playing half a game- this is exactly like Dark souls. In the host’s world, they cannot interact with NPCs, but they then have their own personal world to play in, so it doesn’t matter. For couch coop, that wouldn’t matter since the person on couch would be engaged in the story as they’re sitting next to player 1.

  24. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    That is straight up false. The pawns are simply not as good at the mechanics as human players, a human player who isn’t completely useless will be more reliable disabling foes and targeting weaknesses, and those are the things that make utilitarian better than everything else under the right circumstances. Instead of having to rely on a 2 seperate pawns to grab a cokatriece wings and drag it out of the sky or hold down an elder ogre, you rely on people who are better at it because they were better positioned to do that in advance and you can communicate with them. When instead of pawns who die against death you have 1 person who can play tag with it to keep it targeting them while someone else gets set up to deal all their damage worry free, you have a much easier fight. Easy fights will still be easy, hard fights will be made easy unless they’re relying on something cheap to make them "hard" (ie the bed of chaos.) So long as the co-op partners/s have any idea what they’re doing this has been my experience with every game involving co-op, including the souls series.

    Dragon’s Dogma is a more reactive game and a more traditional RPG than Dark Souls. It’s story may be garbage and irrelivant to the actual outcome (something they should fix if they do a sequel), but there are a good amount of interlocking questlines and decisions in it, which is why I used Fable as my example. If a DD is or was just a dungeon crawl then you’d be right, but it isn’t.

  25. Avatar Serious_Much says:

    I don’t think these exploiting weaknesses and whatever make much difference anyways. Using the weaknesses was simply a choice, or an option to combat a foe not a necessity. It hardly made difference to the difficulty of a fight. Perhaps it is more efficient to do it with another human player, but the difficulty will amount to the same. At the end of the day, you can only deal so much damage, and that is pretty much 100% tied to the equipment and levels. Exploiting pointless weaknesses or no, the fights are still just as difficult, and you’re still doing the same amount of damage with each strike. You might get there a little faster, but the outcome of fights would not differ regardless.

    Yes there are interlocking quests. However as I said before- this does not matter. As a cooper, you are either choosing to play as your pawn, and therefore you will have your own story line in your own world to complete, or you are couch cooping and you experience the story with player one. Either way, all coop partners have access to the story. You wouldn’t miss out on it by doing coop play.

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