Mobile Gaming Review – Dragalia Lost

As I get older, I find myself with less and less time to spend console gaming, particularly with my favorite genre – RPGs. Portable and mobile gaming has long been the go-to source for scratching the gaming itch in short sessions, but I haven’t really found a good game that has a solid story and RPG elements without requiring significant time investments (I’m looking at you Etrian Odyssey).

Enter Dragalia Lost.

Four things really draw back to this game day after day:

  1. Engaging story line with a large cast of supporting characters.
  2. Multiple things to do.
  3. Steady progression.
  4. Rewards without the need for microtransactions.

For starters, the story line is engaging and revolves around Prince Euden, the 7th in line of succession to the throne of Alberia. The crystals that have long protected the kingdom from monsters are beginning to fail and only a member of the royal blood line, descendants of the legendary king Alberius, can forge a pact with one of the great dragons and restore the crystals. So begins Euden’s quest to discover and win over each of the great dragons to restore balance to the land.

The main story is told through a series of cut scenes woven throughout the quest, usually as a stop between missions. In addition to the main story, every character has individual stories that are unlocked as the character levels up and progresses. These side stories provide more background on the characters and their motivations and interactions with Euden and the other party members. On top of that, the dragons have side stories and there are additional group stories to be unlocked in connection with your castle.

By the way, did I mention that you get a castle?

That brings me to my second point, multiple things to do. After progressing to a certain point in the main story line, you gain access to a castle from which the group bases their operations out of. The castle itself provides space for the construction of different structures to help the adventures either become more powerful (element specific shrines) or generate additional resources (mines and trees). This provides a different aspect of the game to spend time advancing and growing. As your castle levels up, more of the surrounding area is tamed and you have more space to build additional structures.

Not only can you advance your castle, but your characters, weapons, dragons, and wyrmprints (magic cards that give buffs) can be leveled up and improved. Multiple resource types drop from quests, are acquired from the item shop, generated by castle structures, or received from daily/weekly/limited achievements. All of this combined means that you are almost guaranteed to have something ready to be leveled up or improved after quest or two.

The numerous forms of advancement in the game and the steady supply of resources means that your progression never stagnates. There are always different aspects of the game that can be improved, from leveling characters to combining duplicate wyrmprints through a process known as unbinding to building new structures.

Finally, the game gives you a steady stream of rewards in the form of “wyrmite” which can be used for summons, random loot crates of characters, dragons, and wyrmprints. I have never felt that I’m missing anything by not purchasing in game currency to unlock these loot crates and that is a solid plus to me.

All told, this is a solid free to play RPG that will absolutely keep you coming back for me. The steady rate of progression, numerous game aspects to improve, and well written story line combine to make Dragalia Lost one of my favorite mobile games. I highly recommend you check it out for yourself.


Warming back up to AWS

The Alfred Effect is back and that means Amazon Web Services is up and running again. I have quite a few projects in mind to kick off in the early part of 2019 and I plan on sharing my progress as well as lessons learned along the way.

So the first step in getting The Alfred Effect back up and running was to get a web server configured. Previously I’ve always either hosted the web server at home or ran it through a web hosting service. Now we have access to Amazon Web Services and pre-configured EC2 images with WordPress installed. The future is here!!!

A quick search of the AWS Marketplace revealed quite a few options to choose from for WordPress images. I opted to go with the WordPress Certified by Bitnami image due to ratings and the soft spot I have for Ubuntu.

I opted to deploy using a t2.micro instance as a balance between cost and performance. Setup proceeded smoothly following the step by step instructions I found on the AWS documentation site.

I did diverge from the instructions in a couple of ways. I elected to generate my own key pair and will be leveraging that for SSH connectivity to the server. I also opted to take some time to formalize my instance tagging and security group. This will make it a bit easier for me to spin up any future WordPress-focused EC2 instances (perhaps for other blog projects for myself or my wife).

Once the instance launched, I was able to log in, secure the WordPress install a bit more, upgrade plugins, and start working out theme selection. I also took the time to go ahead and update the DNS entry for my domain to point to the IP address for this EC2 instance. All told, I was up and running in less than an hour. Not too bad.

Now to fire up SSH and see what other tweaks I can make under the hood. Stay tuned for more updates to come.

The command line awaits…