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IGS Manager
2019/05/17 18:19
Durango: Wild Lands
A brief introduction: Durango: Wild Lands is a mobile game by Nexon, where you’ll explore a world where dinosaurs exists and other kinds of beasts roam the wild. Crafting is a huge part of the game, and you’ll need to use materials in different islands to make an item to suit your needs and to have a better chance at survival.

People seem to pick on Durango: Wild Lands as a dead game. It sort of… was. People were excited, What! Studio has been working on it for years and it feels like those MMORPGs in the early days. Here comes a global CBT more than a year ago and that lasted for about 6 months rather than the initially announced limited time beta test. CBT closed for the global server and the Korean server was officially launched, followed by the opening for Indonesian players, for the rest of the world however, it was static. No one knew when it’ll launch worldwide, its own subreddit was inactive. Someone would occasionally ask when it’ll open again and no one can give a definite answer. Fast forward to 2019, Nexon announced that the game will be soft launched in some Asian countries with global launch set soon after. Now here we are!
I’ve participated in the Closed Beta Test since the server was opened for my country and at first, it was pretty much so-so. The graphics were okay for a mobile title, especially now that mobile titles look really fancy and all that in the recent years. The gameplay is something I personally enjoy, I do love finding materials and crafting my own stuff with them. You have a bunch of skills you need to level in order to make something even better, let’s say you’d like to make your character the best weapon crafter around then you’ll have to make different kinds of weapons or tools to gain experience. What probably sold me was the use of the auto system. Now I know a lot of ‘MMORPG’ type of mobile games use that, heck, even PC MMORPGs do as well, but how exactly these MMORPGs implement them is what makes or break them for me. I appreciate that Durango doesn’t have any auto-path. Depending on the request, you’ll be given a quest marker and that’s it; go there, do whatever that needs to be done, then get back to camp and submit the request. All of that manually. It reminds me of Ragnarok Online quite a bit. You either go all the way somewhere or use a warp system to get to a certain place. That also includes its battle system, you can set your character to automatically use a basic attack then manually tap a ‘skill’ to use against a beast. You can also dodge by timing a roll when attacked. Controls are easy to grasp, you can control your character with the help of an in-game maneuver stick and you’ll only have to tap to different icons to do actions. UI is a bit confusing as there are sub-categories in them, but they’re less cluttered than before.

What doesn’t sit well with me are the timers and fatigue level, or more like its implementation as they’re somewhat detrimental in everyone’s progression. We’re all probably aware with timers, a lot of games use timers especially when upgrading stuff like weapons or machinery. Okay so some games have these timer systems, that’s cool and all, when you have the option to pay some sort of currency, well that’s still cool. But when said currency is real money or can be bought with real money then that’s a real head scratcher. People who have the money to burn in the world can just pay to advance and in the end, it’s a pay-to-win situation. As for the fatigue level, every time you do a certain action, your character’s fatigue increases. It’s also tied to an island’s type and current equipment, let’s say you’re in a snowy island. Your character’s fatigue rises much faster depending on your equipment, if it has a cold protection buff, then the fatigue bar will slowly rise. Once your character’s fatigue level rises up to Exhausted, then you’ll have a nasty debuff and cannot do any other action such as crafting. There are items to lower your fatigue, these items are given by completing certain tasks, and they can be bought with, well, real money. In this case, the currency that can be bought with real money in Durango is called Warp Coins, they can also be earned by completing tasks as well. Players who can burn money like with the timer can simply buy tons of the restorative item and continue playing. While some players will easily dismiss these, the implementation can hurt the playerbase in the long run, similar with other free-to-play MMORPG titles and it doesn’t matter if they’re mobile titles or PC ones.

To the lesser evil things, some newcomers might be turned off with the item durability. Every item you get will have some sort of durability: food, weapons, crafting materials, etc. Durability sometimes depend on the item’s attributes or where they are stored. It’s not a big issue for me, tons of games have this kind of system. Perhaps I was used to it, or it adds some kind of immersion. Things in real life break if they are used countless times after all.
For CBT players that jumped in the game after so long, there are a lot of Quality of Life changes in the game, and other post-game things to do. Post-game was understandably lackluster back in CBT, there’s nothing else to do if you have maxed out all of the skills possible. Previously players are only able to get a domain on civilized islands, you also need to ‘pay rent’ for that domain. Now players will immediately have their own island to put whatever they want in it and the number of domain slots can be increased with your Pioneer Level, more on that later. You won’t be getting the Dirty debuff when the item you get is of Low Durability, you do however get the debuff when gathering or crafting fails. Tasks are relatively easier now, especially Mission Tasks, than when the game soft launched. Before you need to complete 30 Missions in the day to get the last Mission Task reward, they lowered it to 16 as 30 Missions to complete in a day was really time consuming, with Missions refreshing after 30 minutes too. You can now get support from the different factions you encounter and they have different kinds of supplies to give depending on their Trust rank. It can range from food, health items, Fatigue restorative to weapon and tool crafting materials. The item level depends on the player’s level as well. There are plenty more changes, but these are some of the noteworthy ones.
Let’s talk more about post-game stuff. Items that you gather will have a certain Pioneer Level attribute, once you reach level 60, you’ll have the option to install a building called Personal Communication Center that increases your Pioneer level. Investing in it will give you several benefits like crafting Tech Labs that can increase your stats and adding more plot lands to your Domain. There’s also the addition of the Physical Resistance Level, if your character’s level is maxed out to 60, the EXP goes to its Resistance Level to the environment of the island. For example, completing a request in a Desert island type will give you points to Physical Scorching Sun Resistance Level, reducing the amount of fatigue you’ll get due to the island’s environment.

If you’re looking for a classic MMORPG experience in mobile, Durango: Wild Lands is a good one to start with. There are lots of things you can do and the system doesn’t hound you all at once so you won’t feel too overwhelmed. I do think it has improved a lot since the global CBT and they managed to balance out the different beasts in the game as well as the weapon types that players can use. 
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