Well well well, my wayward sons/daughters. You've finally come into the fold.
... Let's start over, shall we?
By now, the game has made the rounds enough that people are suddenly finding it for, and I quote, "Less than the price of lunch". This has lead to many new people coming to the world of Gransys who have absolutely no idea what to do, where to go, or how that goblin just kicked their face off.
So along comes me, your wise(ish) and benevolent guide to all things Dragon's Dogma. I'm excited, aren't you?
... no? Can you at least fake it? Good, good.
So, from the beginning, (well, not the actual beginning... lets not spoil anything), you're in your village. Some things have happened, and you're now waking up in your little shack. All's right in the world, and its time to get to the heart of the game.
The first choice you've given is your starter class. This may seem important and permanent, as it is in so many other games, but fret not. While you will be locked into your choice for the short term, all it takes to "unlock" other classes is a bit of effort with your current choice.
So for now, you're stuck with the following choices:
Strider (Daggers & Bows)
Mage (Staff & Magic)
Fighter (Sword & Shield)
They're all fairly straight forward, so an in-depth description of them will not be forthcoming.
What you choose is entirely up to you, otherwise I'd make you all play a Fighter... if only to experience the joys of lobbing enemies into the air with Tusk Toss.
After a bit of experience with those classes, you'll eventually be able to play as the following classes as well:
Mystic Knight (Sword, Mace, Staff, Magic Shield)
This class is a combination of the Mage and Fighter. You can choose to cast magic from the Mage class using a Staff, wield your various Fighter sword skills with either a sword or a mace, or cast special magic revolving around the Magic Shields.
Magick Archer (Dagger, Staff, Magic Bow)
This class is a combination of the Mage and Strider. You get the basic abilities of the Strider's Dagger skills, you can cast various magics using the Mage's Staff, or unleash havoc using the Magic Bow and its special set of skills.
Assassin (Sword, Shield, Dagger, Bow)
This class is a combination of the Fighter and Strider. You get all the goodies from those classes, plus a few bells and whistles to make the Assassin a unique little power house all its own.
If you'd rather not blend two classes together, you can always advance further down the path you've chosen by choosing one of the following classes:
Ranger (Longbow, Dagger)
Taking what the Strider does well and expanding on it, the Ranger is as close as you can get to a Sniper in Dragon's Dogma.
Warrior (Greatsword, Warhammer)
Shirking off the shield of a Fighter and reveling in the melee, a Warrior takes up two-handed weapons and wades into the enemies, defense be damned.
While a Mage can be said to dabble in magic, a Sorcerer embraces it completely, allowing them access to even greater, more frightening magical attacks.
As this isn't so much a walkthrough as it is a "Things you might not know", we won't be dwelling on unimportant things like quests, NPCs, or what happens when you go into the water (hint: You die).
As you progress through the game, slaughtering bandits, goblins, and whatever other creature is silly enough to wander into your path, you'll gain experience, and eventually level up. You will find fancy new armor, pointy new weapons, and unlock dangerous new abilities and spells as you do so.
While you're doing this, you will undoubtedly find that you have to hoof it to and fro an innumerable amount of times, and wonder to yourself "Self, there has to be an easier way to get down to the southwestern area of this map!"
Rest assured, there is... after completing a quest to do so, of course. In your travels, you may notice an Ancient Quarry entrance to the west of Gran Soren. Should you happen upon it, you will also find a fretting merchant outside who should (assuming you're of the right level) offer you the prestigious task of clearing the quarry of any and all monsters and villainous types (permanently, of course).
Should you undertake this momentous challenge, you will not only unlock a shortcut between Central and Southern Gransys, you will also unlock that esteemed gentleman as a merchant/vendor inside the cave from then on.
There are additional caves that serve as shortcuts, one to the North of the Cursewoods (Soulflayer Canyon), the Catacombs in Central Gransys, and Witchwood, but as these never truely become empty of monsters, and as the Soulflayer Canyon is generally more trouble than its worth, we'll assume they're crap, and avoid them when we don't have quests to go inside, right?
By this point in your game (whether its 30 minutes or 30 hours), you've probably tired of hearing your Pawn point out the entrance to Gran Soren, or tell you that wolves dislike fire, or that Harpies will carry you off if you're not careful.
Fret not, gentle gamer, for there is a cure... whether its a stern talking to or medication.
For the first option, you simply need to seek out a Knowledge Chair in just about any place that allows you to rest (an inn in Gran Soren or near the Rift Stone in the Encampment being the main ones). After sitting down, you'll then be questioned by your Pawn on how you'd like them to act in certain situations, and your answers will influence how they act from then on. The only problem with this is that the questions they ask are pretty random, and you may have to go through it numerous times to finally get them to stop talking about how green the grass is every time they pass a particular spot.
The other, less tedious option, is to visit the nice looking old man next to the Rift Stone in the Encampment and purchase a personality altering item for your pawn. These are relatively cheap (using the Rift Crystals your pawn earns when they're "rented" by someone else), and permanent until you buy a different item to alter them further.
You may notice that "Rift Crystals" were mentioned just now... As explained, they're earned when your pawn is used in someone else's game, so a connection to XBL or PSN is required for that little bit of magic. Sometimes they can be dropped by enemies as well, so those of you who don't want to pay for Gold or are afraid of any type of social interaction can still manage to get some of the cheaper items from that grizzled old vendor.
You can buy all kinds of fancy items from the vendor, from Pawn personality alterers to different skin tones to... well, a lot of little things that enable further customization of both you and your Pawn.
So having your Pawn looking good and acting helpful will help you get more Rift Crystals, and allow you to buy more goodies in the long run. How you go about doing so is obviously completely up to you... Whether you want your Pawn to be a fire Mage, or a healer, a crazy berserker, or a wily rogue, odds are good that someone out there will want to use them for some period of time.
Additionally, there is one more thing to keep in mind: You can rent up to two additional Pawns from the Rift Stones at any time, and the game has a rather in-depth search function for you to find the perfect party members. As longas they're the same level or lower than your main character, there is no charge to have them join your group. However, any Pawn that is higher in level than your character will incur a fee, and that fee depends on how much higher in level they are.
With that in mind, you can rent the Pawns of those on your friend's list for no additional charge, regardless of how much higher level they might be. So don't be afraid to add anyone and everyone to your friends list if they own the game, as you'll simply have more awesome (and probably weird) Pawns to select from for no additional charge!
With all that hullabaloo out of the way, its time to get to the meat of the game: Hitting things in the face or shooting them with magic until they stop moving and hopefully drop something cool.
Each enemy has distinct traits, habits, and attack patterns that you can take advantage of with the right move or by simply playing smart. Bandits with shields can be overcome with a powerful attack, wolves can be defeated quickly with fire-imbued weapons, and ogres can be... well, they're pretty tough. You'll have to be quick on your feet and avoid getting bellyflopped I guess.
As your Pawns battle different enemy types, both in your game and helping others, they will come to understand the best ways to attack various monsters, and will helpfully shout out what needs to be done to take down whatever particular beasts you're currently struggling with. Of course, rented Pawns will do this as well, and can be extremely helpful against monsters you haven't fought yet.
In the end, you simply need to experience fighting the enemies for yourself... You'll soon find the best ways to tackle a group of Goblins, a vicious Dragon, or shambling Zombies.
For the last bit, we shall tackle the plethora of items that are out and about in the world of Gransys. Whether its a new armor piece you found in the long-forgotten chest, a shiny new sword you looted from that unfortunate Griffin, or just a sprig of an herb you found while traipsing through the forest, items are plentiful in the world of Dragon's Dogma.
A good tip is to keep at least one set of armor for each type (light Mage, medium Strider, heavy Fighter), as well as weapons & shields... you never know when the itch to play a Mystic Knight will strike you, and nothing is worse than not having some starter gear on hand to pummel creatures with out of the gate.
Other than the obvious tactic of looting everything that drops, you can also peruse the wares of vendors both in and out of Gran Soren. There are weapon & armor, Item, and various other types of vendors all over the map, and some sell things that you can only purchase from them, so keeping an eye out for a vendor in an out-of-the-way place will usually net something unique.
And there you have it. With your weapon in hand and knowledge in mind, you are now ready to embark on an epic journey across Gransys to get back what once was yours, and save the world from the grand catastrophe that is looming over it.