Dragon Quest Builders 2 might prioritize the single-player campaign over its multiplayer elements, but there are other massive worlds out there waiting to be explored.
They live in your bulletin board, one of the first features the Hairy Hermit tells you about on the Island of Awakening.
Builders from all around the world can submit snapshots and islands for others to enjoy, all with no fear of vandalism thanks to the game's handy "I'm not saving what you just did" feature while visiting other islands.
There's an almost overwhelming number of different islands to visit, categorized by theme or hashtag and updated constantly. What you find now will be a further six rows down the list in an hour.
With such variety on offer, you'd be hard-pressed to choose any number of creations to put in a best-of list. But we've done just that here, with 10 of the best creations in Dragon Quest Builders 2 so far (that we were lucky enough to stumble across).
Here, Sasakure has created a Buildertopia, a tightly-focused showcase of buildings centered around a specific theme. This one, in particular, is a charming village made up of shops, cafes, loads of greenery, and gardens.
From lovely bistros offering a view of the village square to secret picnic spots nestled away in the flowers, this Buildertopia is a fine reminder that building excellence isn't always connected to architecture. Landscaping is equally important.
Of course, a good eye for making an attractive building goes a long way, too. The specific block types and lighting lend the village a unique air, leaning towards a distinct Alpine feel.
And there's just so much packed into a small area. That's part of a Buildertopia's strength: making you really think about how your buildings relate to each other and fit in with the whole picture.
Several of these picks are so strongly designed that you feel like you're in a theme park or at a resort. That's definitely the case with poyo's seaside wonder-town, which doesn't just have the luxury sea town feel, but it covers the whole tourist-y package.
As befits an island like this, you start off at the dock, with a good view of the entire town.
There's the usual restaurant, condo-style housing, and everything else you'd expect from a resort, and it's all packaged in a cool, modern style.
Venture a little ways outside town, though, and you find the ideal village vacation spot.
Fields make up most of the village (where do you think the resort's meals come from?) and lend this area a distinct feel from the flashier port town. Yet the tram tracks throughout the village remind you the whole world's still actually a theme park.
The giant aquarium, souvenir stand, and Slime equivalent of the Disney Castle help that feeling, too.
As soon as you step foot onto Djunior's Buildertopia, you know you've ascended to a higher, posher plane. The music fits with Dragon Quest's usual melodies for the nicer side of the tracks, and the entire utopia is like the corporate executive equivalent of poyo's resort town.
It's an exercise in creative plant management as well, with lush plantscapes filling almost every border and open space, creating an almost jungle-like atmosphere at times.
No business retreat is complete without a few amenities, and this one is no exception. Check out the special, rather creepy workout room.
There's something for the spiritually minded visitors as well. No piddly chapel is good enough for this kind of location. No, indeed. It must be a massive, echoing cathedral — which, apart from fitting the location to a T is pretty darned impressive by itself.
Though they're easy to overlook given their ubiquity in architecture since time immemorial, the roofwork on Djunior's island is something else as well. Should you feel tired from walking around the expansive paradise or find climbing to the rooftop difficult, you can always hitch a ride on a friendly chimera.
Kabu's island makes the most of what the Isle of Awakening has on offer with three very distinct setups for each area.
The Teleportal drops you off near Scarlet Sands. There's the obligatory massive pyramid, a la Dragon Warrior/Quest VII, which you build later in the game, but the rest of it's been turned into a snazzy desert resort.
It's like something you'd expect to find in a theme park, from a dancing area to a bunch of restaurants, and tourists wandering around needing the toilet.
There's a huge bar with lots of entertainment options, too. You can't actually play darts (as you can't in the actual game, either), but you can at least marvel at the use of spacing. It achieves a level of coziness without just feeling crammed full of stuff.
A short warp away to The Cerulean Steppe finds you in a quiet, snowbound town, with a serene chapel and massive improvements to the castle found there. Chapels in The Cerulean Steppe are pretty common, but this one feels like it came right out of a Square Enix-designed Dragon Quest game
Like the Scarlet Sands area, the level of detail here stands out the most, as well as the coherence of design.
Where some builders are content to leave their area markers hanging in mid-air, Kabu incorporated this one into an impressive fountain feature.
The castle even boasts the standard armor and treasure rooms, plus a secret waterway passage out the side, borrowed straight from Dragon Quest V.
If you're looking for something a bit more epic in scope, check out donguri's top-ranked town-and-shrine island.
The initial area is composed almost entirely of a massive cathedral building, extending far into the sky. The portal area is at the bottom, surrounded by a moat of sorts that's also home to an overflowing graveyard, complete with piles of decaying bones.
There's enough to explore here to last a long time.
The inside of the cathedral is vertically enormous, sporting an ornate, but dark library and a mysterious central chamber, among other things.
Then there's the small rows of houses up the cliffside. Homes for workers oppressed by the mysterious church? Abandoned cottages from years before? No one knows.
The Scarlet Sands area does away with the desert theme completely. Instead, it's an eerie industrial complex lit by blue flame and seeming rather reminiscent of Xenoblade Chronicles 2's Ardainian Empire.
There's an airship, too, which is quite the reasonable choice of transport given how huge and high this island is.
Yet another area is home to a bog illuminated with lanterns that's especially appealing after dark.
The Cerulean Steppe might not seem quite so inspired compared to the other areas on donguri's island, but you can't deny it's rather charming to see a row of Georgian-style townhomes for monsters.
Tomikoji's eclectic island takes the most advantage of space to create massive areas full of variety and character.
The Teleportal spits you out near the dock area, which has been turned into a kind of tea party paradise. It's full of colorful waterside homes, each with their own expansive gardens and water features.
Granted, some of the water features are beautiful death traps that don't let you jump out, but that's where the beauty of not saving changes you make to someone else's island comes in.
Almost every building has a set of distinct rooms, from a pink-and-monster themed one, to normal ones, Slime rooms, and more.
All this is just a front for the Breath of the Wild-scale ruins behind the waterfront town. It's a huge jungle filled with ponds, dilapidated barracks, and a large temple-like structure, all encircled by a towering wall.
The Cerulean Steppe offers yet another example of chapel + cozy town, but it's hard not to stop and marvel at the huge cathedral dominating the skyline.
To cap it off, there's a large open area that hosts a variety of different material sets, presumably the ones used to create this very island. It's an engaging way to encourage others to experiment and see what they can come up with, too.
The primary screenshot for magjical's island is somewhat misleading. Sure, it's a nice room.
Cozy, practical, and well-furnished, but is that really all this highly rated island has to offer?
No, as a matter of fact, it isn't.
Green Gardens host a regimented farm, with clean and organized fields, open paths, bridges, and good lighting. There's a rather more concerning barracks-style bedroom too, complete with accompanying communal toilets.
Meanwhile, the lord of the island lives it up in a huge castle, and they certainly don't share toilets.
Indeed, they have a private bathroom tucked away in the corner of a vast dungeon — because, of course, that's where bathrooms go.
The castle itself is massive, chock full of all the castle-type things you'd expect, from kitchens and taverns to a private chapel. Of course, there's a massive throne room with a plush, posh throne in pride of place.
It's also a heavily fortified castle, with a number of deadly defensive mechanisms placed outside just for the sake of it, from fire traps and lasers to blizzard blasters.
Necessary fortifications? Or just peasant deterrents? You decide.
Either way, it's nice to see a sense of unity between different areas, since many Islands of Awakening keep the three completely separate.
YURIMON's island plays with the idea of contrasts as well. It starts with this rustic outlying hut positioned just so near a waterfall.
It's a lovely mini-garden, with fruit sitting in baskets and a small field of sunflowers waving in the breeze.
Water plays a prominent role on this island, and if you head upstream, you'll eventually find a neatly planned farm in Green Gardens. Unlike many Furrowfieldian-style farms we came across in our travels, this one has animals in it.
Head out from the farm and its unique farmhands towards the Cerulean Steppe, and you'll find a much different Steppe than many create.
This one's another industrial-inspired village, one that, unlike donguri's, still manages to feel livable.
There's also what looks like a hothouse on display and a swanky lounge just a few doors away. The whole thing's an interconnected labyrinth of homes, workshops, and restaurants.
The most interesting workshop is one near the castle. It's set in a futuristic-looking pod on a ridge a little ways outside the castle's front.
It's the quintessential builder's workshop, small but practical, crammed but functional, and with a special building area behind the curtain, away from prying eyes.
Yamada shakes The Cerulean Steppe up even further by adding a proper castle town right outside the area's large castle. The castle itself is impressive, just by nature of being so imposing, but the town is relaly what draws the eye.
There are a lot of ships being shown off in DQB2, but this one is especially nice. It's practical, situated as it is right off the town's coast, and it's one of the more detailed wooden ship designs. Better yet, you can enjoy seeing it from the seaside cafe conveniently situated at the water's edge.
Moving around the town, forget farming. This village traded in the plows for garden trowels, with charming picket fence plots surrounding even the merchants' buildings around town.
Should you require something a bit more exciting, head over to the local tavern, complete with bar and restaurant tables. Don't be fooled by the hearts, though. A puff-puff parlor this is not, so you'll have to find some other way to stave off the winter chill.
Or you can just head to Scarlet Sands. Watch time slip away while you gaze out at the pond in front of the pyramid, before dancing the chills away at the local dance floor and calling it a day in one of the pyramid's cozy inns.
Juma's island is one of shifting moods and feelings. Green Gardens exemplifies this the most. There's a windmill towering over all and pumpkins watching your every step. Move a little ways further, though, and it's a village not too dissimilar from Breath of the Wild's Kakariko Village.
That is until you turn the corner again and find you're back in something akin to Washington Irving's ye olde New York hamlet of Sleepy Hollow.
What's more, the island's inn even boasts decorated rooms with people who actually sleep in them. It sounds odd to praise an inn for featuring that, but plenty of the islands surveyed had impressive fronts with bare rooms.
Scarlet Sands takes a refreshingly minimalist approach to the region. Yes, there's the pyramid, but it's the central feature there. A lone row of buildings apologetically occupies one side of the desert, and that's it.
Few in number they may be, but it's better to visit the above-ground shops than to be lured inside the pyramid by fried eggs, only to then be murdered by a ghost. Yes, Juma's island will kill you.
Among the many Cerulean Steppes in the world, this one is appealing for its different approach. Rather than big castles and torch-lit villas, Juma's Cerulean Steppe has a large waterfall as its primary attraction, with a twisting stone walkway winding its way around and only a solitary item store atop a nearby cliff.
If it's company you crave, though, you can always head back to the dock area and sleep on the pier while people stare at you.
These are just a small sampling of the tremendous variety waiting to be uncovered through Dragon Quest Builders 2's bulletin board. There are countless variations on classic themes, wild experimentation in architecture and mood design, simple designs, ambitious projects, and everything in between.
Take a break from building, check out what others have been up to, then put together your own island masterpiece for the world to marvel at!