Update: 12-07-26: Bringing back the caravan feature for parties of more than 4 people.
Square Enix has finally brought their prime franchise back home. I’ve played this game all summer, going through the story, visiting the grottoes, connecting with friends online and off… With the ninth story in the Dragon Quest line being their biggest and most ambitious project yet, Square Enix has shown that even their latest and greatest products have some room for improvement if they’re going to readjust for Nintendo’s discriminating audience of long-time gamers.
+Interactive map. It might be too much to ask to have the map show, say, when alchemy ingredients spawn, but I’d like to see features that you’d have on a mediaeval paper- (or at least mediaeval fantasy paper-) map, such as being able to take a closer look (a.k.a. zoom in) and see location-names, and make little notes or marks on the map as you discover important areas or details. I must commend Square Enix and Nintendo on a good job on the map generally, as the little details such as flowers or stony terrain really help players find grottoes.
+”Same commands as last round” functionality. Good when you need your thief to steal a particular item while everyone else defends or protects him. OR, have battle command macros, a-la Phantasy Star IV.
+”Have a battle strategy for class-specific goals.
Priests: buff party, healing only, build MP, &c.
Mage: debuff enemy, build MP, &c.
Thief: Scan unknown enemies, Get items, &c.
Sure, there’s a “Mix it up” option, where you can hope that they do something random related to their class, but I’d like something more specific in that regard.
They could perhaps R&D a “create a custom strategy” option, where you can create one or two strategies per character aside from the selection they give you. It’d take a lot more development time, but Dragon Quest is be a big enough series to allow for something like that.
+Wii/D.S. Connectivity. This could be an amazing feature for the upcoming Dragon Quest X for Wii. If all the hours you spent in DQIX could somehow be used to give a boost of some sort to your DQX file, then it’d not only give all the Dragon Quest IX players yet another thing to look forward to in the sequel, but also give gamers looking forward to X a reason to pick up DQIX. Transferral of items, for example, would be a great start. Let’s say that pouches of coagulant are difficult to find in DQX. In DQIX, you can just wander outside of Stornway, pick up a few pouches, and transfer them up to your DQX file for easy alchemising! Speaking of which…
+Have Krak Pot give you clues when you’re close to discovering an alchemy recipe.
“Another Wakerobin might do the trick” or
“Try reducing the number of Mirrorstones”
Currently, it’s difficult to figure out how to discover an alchemy recipe through experimentation when there are so many possibilities! Not only can you combine not just two, but three items, but you can add more than one of an item at a time! It’s a little overwhelming when there are so many ingredients to choose from and so many ways in which they can combine. I feel like I’ve read every bookshelf in the world and still have many recipes left to discover.
+Allow us to enter tag mode, but to keep playing the game normally. Nintendo has stated that the 3DS will allow the player to be in tag mode perpetually, for games that would support such a feature, so this problem may already have been accounted for, but I have found myself wishing I could tag and play while riding the bus to work. I pass so many people, but at the same time, I don’t want to have to close my D.S., since I brought it along for the sole purpose of passing the time on the ride. Although we know that Dragon Quest X is going to the Wii, a non-portable console, there have been portable Dragon Quest games other than IX that have featured multi-player capabilities. A future portable Dragon Quest title for the Nintendo D.S. or 3D.S., “Dragon Quest Monsters 3D,” for example, could allow the player to share his monster library with other commuters while he’s out in the wild hunting down those elusive Metal Slimes.
+Allow animations to include left-handed characters. It might be a small thing, but as a left-handed gamer, I’d like to be able to create left-handed characters if they are customizable.
+Enemies who chase the player in a straight line should make the “bump” sound-effect when they crash into a wall. You’ve probably noticed, but some enemies will chase you no matter where you go, while others will just run in a straight line. This entry was mainly just to get an excuse to revive the “bump” sound effect, as they seem to have revived most of the other 8-bit sound effects somewhat, and it’d be hilarious to implement the old bump-sound in a fashion such as this. It almost feels like there’s something missing when you cause an enemy to run into a wall and they just stop, although it’s still kind of funny as it is.
+Allow the player to bring a caravan along for parties of more than 4 people. Dragon Quest IX allows you to recruit more than 4 people at a time, although anyone beyond the 4 in your party have to stay at the inn. In some of the best Dragon Quest games, whenever your party exceeded 4 people, you’d have a horse-pulled carriage to bring the rest along, allowing them to earn a little bit of EXP as well. Although not all future Dragon Quests will involve the case in which party members would have to be left out of the active fighting party, it would be a nice benefit, were it the case, that they ride along in the caravan for quick retrieval.
+[spoiler] Pavo should give you the ability to open the Rapportal Post-game, since you shouldn’t be able to see her when you became mortal and aren’t able to see Stella and Sterling. This is more of a minor immersion/plot thing more than something the developers can really do anything about at this point, but it’s an alert to Square-Enix to pay a bit more attention to detail when they write their games. Nintendo gamers are a lot more alert to little details like this, especially after beautiful works of art such as the Super Marios and Fire Emblems we’ve been immersed in for all these generations.