By John Matkovic
A while back, I made a short list of things I felt anyone starting Dragon’s Dogma should know. Now that Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen is out, with an all new area and loads of new enemies, I think it’s time to discuss some useful information for the new area, Bitterblack Isle.
First things first, how do you get to Bitterblack Isle?
Bitterblack Isle is the area that is completely new to Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen. When playing the game, there should be an on-screen tip box that mentions a mysterious woman at Cassardis (the Arisen’s hometown). To travel to Bitterblack Isle for the first time, visit Cassardis at night, and speak with the woman standing on the docks. If you agree to help her, she will whisk you away to Bitterblack Isle. Once there, you can travel back and forth using ferrystones (there is a port crystal on Bitterblack Isle as well).
When can you visit Bitterblack Isle?
Bitterblack Isle can be accessed at any time, however, it is extremely difficult. By extremely, I mean very, very hard. A player should be around level 60 before attempting to access the depths of the Isle.
Status Ailments & Weight Management
In the Standard areas of Dragon’s Dogma, the threat of status ailments are minimal at best. Except for the rare blindness, getting petrified, or getting doused with water, there weren’t too many instances where I had to carry curatives for status ailments. On Bitterblack Isle, that changes drastically. There are a plethora of enemies that can lower your attack, lower your defence, petrify you, blind you, silence you and curse you. This will happen a lot, and it is important to have a mage to clear ailments, or carry lots of items to cure your party which leads to….
Weight management. Delving the depths of Bitterblack Isle is fun, dangerous, and time consuming. The biggest reason for this is filling your inventory with too many items, thus making your movement speed incredibly slow. There are several ‘safe’ areas under Bitterblack Isle where you can deposit items and rest, but these are few and far between. This makes the player’s choices of items to carry even more important. To add to the inventory weight, Bitterblack gear and weapons are often very heavy. So be prepared to plan ahead!
Surrounded by darkness
The depths of Bitterblack Isle are oppressively dark in areas. Providing lanterns to each pawn, and having an ample supply of oil for the Arisen is a necessity.
Lifestones and Riftstones
One of the new items unique to Bitterblack Isle is the lifestone. A lifestone looks identical to a ferrystone in the player’s inventory, but serves to teleport the player to the top level of Bitterblack Isle. If you are running low on healing items, or you have lost a pawn or two, this can be a useful item indeed. However, there are many broken riftstones below Bitterblack. At the cost of some rift crystals, the player can repair these riftstones and summon new pawns. Although it may seem hopeless if all of the Arisen’s pawns die, a riftstone may be waiting just in the next room.
Death stalks Bitterblack Isle, literally and figuratively. Death carries a lantern and a giant scythe and can appear almost anywhere below Bitterblack Isle. When he shines his lantern, he can cause your party to go to sleep, and can kill with a single swing of his scythe. When he appears, the best plan is often to run away. To kill him will likely require multiple encounters, though there is a room in the third tier of the dungeon that has many special fires that can be lit using Rift Crystals. When Death approaches and the player lights one, they can deal a large amount of damage. If you decide to face off against Death, having a bagful of Wakestones is always a good idea.
One of my favorite things about Bitterblack Isle is the amount of fun I have exploring the dungeon. There are nooks and crannies everywhere, and exploring them often yields hidden treasure. If it looks like you can safely land on a ledge and run around a crumbling building, try it, there could be a chest or a useful potion! It always pays to explore on Bitterblack Isle.
I will be updating this as I continue to play, so check back for more!