Dragalia Lost Beginner’s Guide – Upgrades, Farming, Combat

Here's how to start playing Dragalia Lost with your best foot forward.

Nintendo’s latest foray into mobile game publishing is Dragalia Lost. The simple little dungeon crawler, developed by gacha game veterans Cygames, has all the hallmarks of the subgenre. You battle through maze-like levels, upgrade teams of heroes, and try your luck at summoning more to join your army. It’s a cute, but often complicated little game. So we’ve compiled this handy guide to show you the many, many ins and outs of Dragalia Lost. Let’s take a look!

How to Upgrade Everything

Upgrading adventurers, dragons, and more is the most complicated part of Dragalia Lost. Nearly everything can be upgraded in multiple ways. Nearly all of those upgrades require special items that drop semi-randomly. So we’ll go over the basics and best practices to get you powered up as quickly as possible.

Leveling Up

The simplest way to upgrade an adventurer is to level them up. The playable characters earn EXP every time you complete a mission. That becomes a slow, arduous process around level 30, however. EXP gains drop off hard. So eventually you’ll want to acquire EXP crystals that level up adventurers directly.

These drop in certain missions, but are much more common in the Avenue to Power daily mission. In addition, the mission’s Expert and Standard difficulties have a higher chance of dropping more potent crystals. And that’s not all. Beating Avenue to Power offers guaranteed, high-level Gold Crystals twice per day. You can check how many guaranteed daily rewards are left by looking at the treasure chests on the top of the mission select screen.

The Mana Circle

The second way to upgrade adventurers is via their Mana Circles. This is a secondary upgrade path, akin to a skill tree, that doesn’t just raise characters’ HP or strength. The Mana Circle unlocks new abilities and upgrades existing ones.

Mana Circles are much harder to upgrade than a character’s level. Each node on the circle requires (surprise, surprise) mana — which is hard to obtain reliably. Enemies drop it frequently, but in small quantities. Certain endeavors reward much larger sums of mana, but are infrequent and limited.

Playing the Avenue to Fortune daily mission is currently the best way to earn mana every day. Technically, that mission is meant to reward rupies. But it was updated to also offer several thousand mana as part of its daily reward.

Even with enough mana you can’t fully upgrade an adventurer’s circle. You need color-coded upgrade materials — orbs and scales — to go all the way. That’s because Mana Circles are partitioned into several segments. Unlocking a new segment requires the aforementioned upgrade materials. Then, once you unlock the new level of the circle, the new nodes will require even more orbs and scales.

Luckily, the materials are simple enough to acquire. You just need to play the proper daily missions. Orbs can be found in the elemental ruins, where each location matches the color of orbs you want to collect. So the Flamehowl Ruins, which feature fire enemies, award fire orbs. You’re also guaranteed rare orbs twice per day for completing the ruins — similar to the Avenue missions.

Every version of the Ruins is available every day (which wasn’t always the case). However, usually only one set of Elemental Ruins allows you to play on Expert difficulty for the best rewards. Since the Ruins are quite easy, you don’t really need to worry about the difficulty, and should always try to go for the best rewards possible. It’s the best bang for your stamina buck.

You also need dragon scales to fully upgrade a Mana Circle. They’re just as simple to acquire as orbs: just complete the correct Dragon Trial missions.

Dragon Trials work just like the elemental ruins. Completing the fire trial unlocks fire scales, while the water trial unlocks water scales, and so on. The big difference is that Dragon Trials are timed boss fights against the greatwyrms you fight in the campaign. And, just like most daily missions, you get guaranteed drops for completing them multiple times per day.

We’re still not done. Co-op abilities — buffs that affect every party member — appear on the last tier of Mana Circles. The co-op abilities on an adventurer’s highest level of Mana Circle don’t require mana to unlock. They require a rare substance called Eldwater instead; more on that in the next section.

Promoting Adventurers

There’s one more way to directly improve most adventurers. You can use a rare resource called eldwater to promote three-star characters to four-stars, or four-stars to five-stars, from the “Upgrade Adventurers” menu.

Promotions improve a character’s statistics, but not their skills. So a three-star hero you evolve into a five-star might have the same strength and HP as a five-star. But the common adventurer’s abilities will never be as strong as rarer characters.

As for how to obtain eldwater, there’s… no great answer. It’s one the hardest upgrade materials in the game to reliably farm. You get some for completing endeavors and from special events. It’s just not a lot compared to the thousands of eldwater you need for promotions. Summoning is the best, if least consistent way to earn eldwater. Anytime you draw a duplicate of an adventurer you already have from a previous summon, the character offers you eldwater instead. Rarer adventurers offer more eldwater. Five-star duplicates now offer a whopping 8500 eldwater per draw.

Otherwise you can get rid of unwanted dragons and wyrmprints for the same result. Rarer prints and dragons are worth more eldwater, but it’s still a paltry sum compared to adventurers. Still, given how many functionally useless three-star dragons you’re bound to summon, it adds up over time.

Weapon Crafting and Wyrmprints

You unlock the ability to craft new weapons early in the Dragalia Lost campaign. You want to do so as quickly as possible, too. They’re an easy way to boost your team’s might. Just go to the upgrade menu, select what kind of weapon you want to make, and confirm. Boom! Instant power increase.

Weapons don’t gain EXP over time. Instead you have to use whetstones or other weapons themselves to boost the equipment’s level. Pro tip: always start by feeding junk weapons to your better gear instead of using whetstones. The latter items are kind of rare, whereas junk (i.e. two-star) weapons drop like candy. And junk weapons serve no purpose once you have your first three-star weapons. So go wild.

Four-star weapons unlock when you upgrade the smithy to level four. You can do so from the Castle Grounds menu; she’s located in a little hut on the north side of the area. Unfortunately, upgrading the smithy also requires you to upgrade the kingdom, or “Halidom,” first. Click on the palace in the Castle Grounds to upgrade the Halidom.

Once you have a weapon you like, it’s time to “unbind” it. Unbinding raises a weapons level cap by feeding duplicate copies of that weapon to it. You can unbind up to four times per item. Each time you do, it raises the equipment’s cap by 10 levels. This also applies to wyrmprints and dragons.

You might as well unbind three-star weapons immediately. Their crafting components are very common and you’ll have more junk weapons to burn than you know what to do with.

Wyrmprints function almost identically to weapons. You equip them to characters for strength and HP bonuses, plus passive benefits like stun resistance. The main difference is that you can’t craft them. You collect them as drops, or buy them from the shop for eldwater. Each copy you purchase costs increasingly more eldwater, until it resets after five purchases.

Upgrading wyrmprints works just like weapons, though. You can unbind them with multiple copies up to four times. A resource called “blessed water” levels them up (and increases the HP/strength benefits each wyrmprint bestows). But you can also feed other wyrmprints to the one you want for more EXP.

Dragon Upgrades & Bonds

Dragons come with two upgrade paths: levels and bonds. Levels are simple. They work just like weapons and wyrmprints. You can feed the beasts dragonfruit,which grows in real-time at the Castle Grounds and frequently drops from Dragon Trials, and unbind them with more copies of the same dragon.

Bonds are even simpler. Just go to the Dragon Roost menu. Every day you can spend rupies there to give the dragons gifts. The more expensive the gift, the more the bond increases. The greater the bond, the longer an adventurer can shapeshift into that particular dragon. Just be mindful of the music note symbol next to each dragon! This indicates that they will get more value out of each day’s most expensive gift. Always give the rotating daily gift to a dragon that wants it. Oh, and on weekends the daily gift gives an even bigger, special bonus to any and every dragon you so choose.

Combat Strategy and Tips

Combat in Dragalia Lost is simple, but has its challenges. The dungeon crawler can get quickly and unexpectedly rough if you don’t know what you’re doing. This section focuses on how to mitigate those dangers with quick fingers, useful tricks, and gameplay quirks that aren’t exactly obvious.

Auto-Play Has Its Uses

There’s a helpful little circle in the top-right corner of the combat screen. It’s the “auto” function and it can be your best friend, if you let it. The feature will cause set your selected character to run and attack at will. The only major downside is that your adventurers won’t shapeshift into dragons. You have to do that manually.

Now for the upsides. Auto-play always directs your team towards a mission’s boss — stopping for any chests along the way. So you can take control (moving, attacking, or dodging will temporarily pause auto-play) and direct your team in the alternate direction. Why? Because side paths usually contain crates or barrels with healing items. By telling you where not to go, the auto function saves you time in finding a dungeon’s restorative goodies.

That’s not all. Auto-play is perfect for ranged characters. Letting wand, staff, or bow users take the lead automatically puts them at the perfect range and angle to attack enemies. They even attack enemies that haven’t spotted you — and ones you haven’t spotted yet — to get a jump-start on damage. And since dodging just pauses the action, you can use auto-play to attack while focusing on keeping your unit out of harm’s way. Auto-play will even cause your adventurers to dodge automatically, with some mixed results.

Using (And Babysitting) Healers

Healing isn’t as important in Dragalia Lost as it once was. Nearly all of the mid- and late-game missions are races against time, prioritizing damage over sustainability. But healers still have their uses. And they’re a big boon in missions where you don’t have to worry about running out of time.

The only healer you get as part of the main story is Cleo. She’s a shadow-aligned staff user with a group heal and a defensive buff. That’s not bad! Defense buffs are great at triggering certain adventurers’ “double buff” passives. These can provide bonus healing, or sometimes damage, speeding up your mission while keeping your allies alive. Cleo also removes Paralysis — a status effect afflicted by most Jupiter-related content.

The auto-play A.I. used to be bad enough that you had to babysit your healers, charging up their spells to keep yourself alive throughout dungeons. But it’s gotten a whole lot better. You can basically let your healers run on autopilot these days. The healer will top off the team all the way until the final encounter.

That frees you up to burn down the big bad (and deplete its “overpower” state) with a steady stream of damage. Only switch back to the healer to charge their abilities when someone in your party gets very low! Pop the heal, then change back to your preferred heavy-hitter. That way you can keep your entire team alive and acquire all the bonus wyrmite for flawless victory.

Getting the Most Out of Playing

Dragalia Lost is, first and foremost, a gacha game. It’s full of ways to make you want to keep playing, while simultaneously pushing you away with stamina meters and difficulty spikes. It’s actually a lot more forgiving in that respect than some games, but sooner or later you’ll hit a wall. So here are some miscellaneous tips to get the most out of your time with the game.

Play and Watch the Story

Not long into the game’s campaign, you’ll unlock the ability to do daily missions and special events. Those are great (and pretty much mandatory) ways to boost your adventurers. But don’t forget to play the main story. Doing so unlocks all kinds of daily missions, rewards, and upgrades you can’t get any other way.

Weapon crafting doesn’t unlock until partway through chapter two, for instance, while the very important Imperial Onslaught mission type unlocks when you beat chapter six. Every story quest on every difficulty level also provides a one-time reward of 25 wyrmite — provided you beat them without any adventurers dying. Wyrmite is the primary way to summon new characters and dragons (and in turn buy new wyrmprints). Which is pretty much the whole point of any gacha game.

Besides completing actual dungeons, you get wyrmite just from viewing cutscenes. That applies to story scenes, plus the ones for specific dragons and adventurers. Just check out the Adventurer Stories and Dragon Stories sections of the castle menu to earn your rewards. Later you’ll unlock Castle Stories, which are worth even more free wyrmite.

Play Cooperatively

One extremely nice feature of Dragalia Lost is its seamless co-op. You should use it frequently.

Playing with other humans only levels up a single adventurer at a time, but the benefits are well worth it. Co-op makes every mission significantly easier. Many missions become trivial and your odds of earning those no-death wyrmite rewards rise significantly.

More than that, you can use co-op to keep playing even when you’re out of stamina. That’s because matchmaking into someone else’s mission, or hosting a room yourself, requires a completely different resource called “getherwings.”

These are the little grey wings situated to the right of your stamina bar. Co-op missions only require two getherwings and they refill past the maximum every time you rank up your profile, just like stamina. In fact, you can “bunny hop” between matchmaking and solo play to rank up quickly so that stamina and getherwings almost never bottleneck. Well… for a little while. Eventually the EXP requirements to level up skyrocket and you can’t play “indefinitely” anymore. But it’s nice while it lasts.

The only limit to co-op is finding other players. That’s not an issue for event missions, when everyone is farming the same half-dozen quests for limited rewards, but you’ll be hard pressed to find parters for story missions. Those you might have to beat on your own. Best of luck with those and everything else in Dragalia Lost!

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Steven Strom

An obsessive writer broadcasting to you live from the middle of nowhere. Thinks cute things are good, actually.

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