I Regret Going to Battahl in Dragon’s Dogma 2

I loved exploring Vermund, specifically because that’s what Dragon’s Dogma 2 wants you to do. The actual quests are so-so, the characters aren’t particularly engaging, and – wait, why am I enjoying this game again? Oh yeah, exploring.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is the epitome of being about the journey rather than the destination. When any journey can involve grappling onto a Griffin just as it takes off, leaving you deposited in its nest miles away from your intended route, you know you’re in for a wild ride. There’s not much enemy variety, and facing the same type of enemies repeatedly can get a little old.

I needed a change of scenery, so I headed home. Home as in Battahl, where my Beastren hails from. I’ve played the entirety of this game in my home.

Where else would I be playing? Anyway, I was massively underleveled and immediately regretted my decision. First I tried to storm the Coral Snakes’ hideout, a cave you stumble across early on the road to Bakbattahl.

I died. My whole party died. We’d barely taken two steps past the slaughtered guards when I was turned into a pincushion by a dozen archers – or so I assume.

I wasn’t able to even see my killers before the game over screen ruined my exploratory adventure. I didn’t risk another attempt. I stuck to the road, and avoided conflict where possible.

In Vermund, I’d occasionally avoid big battles if I was in dire need of a campfire, but I’d slay pretty much every smaller foe I’d come across, and challenge most of the big ones too. Battahl was a completely different story. It also seemed like more groups of enemies would join in the fight than up north.

A duel with a trio of Saurians in Battahl is never just that. While fighting, I’d also be attacked by a pack of wolves, beset by Harpies, and finally cornered by a mighty Griffin – which seem far more common in Battahl, by the way – until I ran away or died. It was usually the latter.

I’ve revived my Pawns more in a couple of hours in the desert than during my entire time in Vermund. I’ve also died more times myself, thanks to brutal throngs of foes and massive battles between multiple gargantuan creatures who decide that I’m the perfect target to get caught in some semi-intentional crossfire. But I made it.

I made it to Bakbattahl. I finished up a couple of quests there and then decided that getting stunlocked as a Fighter wasn’t doing it for me, so I wanted to change vocations. Mystic Spearhand has appealed to me since I saw numerous screenshots of ‘fantasy Darth Maul’ characters with double-ended spears.

How to unlock it? Climb a mountain and kill a Drake. Reader, I couldn’t even make it to the mountain.

Even traversing Battahl via those cross-country ski lifts was dangerous. I could just about deal with the swooping Harpies in the combined space, but when a Griffin lunged at the wooden platform and shattered it to pieces, I couldn’t even be bothered to use a Wakestone to continue my journey from the ground. Seeing as I finished every quest I found in Vermund and Brant was directing me south, I thought I was at an appropriate level for the Battahlian challenge.

I was wrong. The final straw came after meeting The Dragonforged. He’s an interesting character, as a former Arisen, and I fancy getting my hands on one of his Unmaking Arrows for tackling the aforementioned Drake and unlocking the Mystic Spearhand vocation, but the quest he bestowed unto me was a step too far.

I simply needed to get to a certain part of Battahl in order to talk to another dude, and I decided to head north rather than backtrack. I like uncovering the map, and Battahl’s coastline hopefully has plenty of exciting encounters. I fought my way up the coastline until I was about parallel with the quest marker, but there was no route to turn inland.

I whipped out a ferrystone and zoomed all the way back to Vernworth. This was the first time in Dragon’s Dogma 2 that exploration has felt unrewarding. Worse than that, it felt frustrating and pointless.

After such a rewarding time exploring Vermund, this final venture was the cherry on the I-hate-Battahl cake. I didn’t even find the Portcrystal in Bakbattahl to quickly return there later, but that doesn’t matter. I’m not planning on going back anytime soon.

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