Big dragon in Dragon's Dogma 2
Image by CAPCOM

Dragon’s Dogma 2 Pawns Trump Elden Ring Social Systems in One Major Way

Dragon's Dogma 2 and Elden Ring are both fantastic games, but there's one thing Capcom's effort does way better.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 and Elden Ring share a lot of similar DNA. Both are open-world RPGs with a focus on player choice, customization, high difficulty, and online social systems. As much as I love messages, bloodstains, and phantoms and invaders in Elden Ring, Dragon’s Dogma 2 outdoes FromSoftware’s masterpiece in one key way.

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Dragon’s Dogma 2’s Greatest Social System: Friendship (and Pawns)

Pawns greeting the Arisen in Dragon's Dogma 2
Screenshot by GameSkinny

The biggest difference between the social systems in Dragon’s Dogma 2 and Elden RIng is in how players interact with each other. In Elden Ring, they can leave good-intentioned, funny, or deceptive messages on the ground to each other. They also leave behind bloodstains when they die, showing other online players what kinds of hazards await. Most importantly, two or more players can exist in the same world, tackling the same challenges, while a third party can come along and invade.

Trolling, tomfoolery, and even downright cruelty are all possible in Elden Ring to the same extent that being helpful or nice is. And that is where the game loses to Dragon’s Dogma 2. You can use the merchant at the Checkpoint Rest Town (Ibrahim) to make forgeries of valuable items and send them as pawn rewards, but because there is nothing competitive about exploring Dragon’s Dogma 2, there’s no reason to.

Dragon’s Dogma 2, then, is better at fostering friendship and cooperation between strangers than Elden Ring. Sure, a summoned phantom can help you take down a difficult boss in the Lands Between, but they could just as easily sit outside the boss fog, powering the boss up and doing a funny dance as you die.

Pawns Make Everything Better

Warfarer strikes a dragon with a sword in Dragons' Dogma 2
Image via Capcom

In Dragon’s Dogma 2, pawns are AI-controlled companions, and summoning one from another player can almost always benefit you both. They follow commands to the best of their ability, helping you take down boss monsters, guiding you to quest and treasure locations they’ve seen in other player’s worlds, and generally being incredibly helpful. Hell, you can even learn a thing or two about making a build from someone’s powerful pawn and apply what you learned in your companion. Then they can go into someone else’s world and do the same, and so on.

It, therefore, behooves Dragon’s Dogma 2 players to build the best pawns they can so other players can use them to make their adventures easier. And to sweeten the deal, rather than Elden Ring‘s simple gift of currency and a consumable, every pawn quest has customizable rewards. If you really want someone to pick your pawn over someone else’s, offer up a nice reward and an easy task for them to accomplish. They might send you something nice in return.

This takes me to the last reason Dragon’s Dogma 2‘s social systems are better than Elden Ring‘s: reward. Not only can someone who uses your pawn give you a gift for playing together, but that gift can be almost anything — up to and including powerful endgame or quest items. Even better, if someone spends Rift Coins, a pawn-centric currency, hiring your pawn, you get that amount when the other player eventually dismisses them.

Elden Ring Still Has One Better Feature

Melina on fire in front of the erdtree
Screenshot by GameSkinny

In short, the only thing Dragon’s Dogma 2‘s social systems don’t do better than Elden Ring‘s is the in-world connectivity. That is a massive weakness, of course. No pawn is going to be capable of the sheer volume of shenanigans as another human. No amount of clever programming will ever be able to replicate a person’s ability to act in more inexplicable ways than you could imagine.

Something else that will never come out of the pawn system is a story like Let Me Solo Her in Elden Ring. In short, a player named themselves Let Me Solo Her and wore nothing but a jar on their head, put his summon sign down in front of Malenia, Blade of Miquella’s boss fog, and then proceeded to use two Rivers of Blood katanas to, you guessed it, solo her.

Beating Malenia alone is hard enough, but when you summon a phantom in Elden Ring, bosses automatically get a multiplier to their health pool. Malenia heals a percentage of her health with every hit, meaning Let Me Solo Her had an even tougher fight ahead of them. And they did it hundreds of times.

More Pawns, More Fun (Usually)

A betrayal in Dragon's Dogma 2
Screenshot by GameSkinny

As wacky as some pawn interactions might be in Dragon’s Dogma 2, no boss in the game is Malenia’s equal, nor are pawns nearly effective enough combatants to generate massive, community-wide stories.

However, they are much more useful and consistent in a moment-to-moment gameplay sense. And as much as I love the insanity that’s possible in Elden Ring co-op and invasions, I will never think it outshines the camaraderie created in Dragon’s Dogma 2 thanks to one or two pawns, some rewards, and hours of more comfortable fights.

That’s it for Dragon’s Dogma 2 and Elden Ring’s social rivalry. See more of our interesting content on Dragon Dogma 2 game hub, such as The 10 Funniest Dragon’s Dogma 2 Character Creations (So Far), and Fans Have Been Recreating Iconic Characters in Dragon’s Dogma 2 Character Creation.


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Author
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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.