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Dragon’s Dogma 2’s Riddle Of Rumination Can Go To Hell

I have never been so thoroughly impressed, tormented, and upset at such a simple request. Bravo Dragon's Dogma 2, go to hell.

I am so mad right now. Credit: CAPCOM

I have very rarely been so singularly mad, impressed and tormented by a single quest as I was this weekend in Dragon’s Dogma 2. A quest so simple, so maddening and so devious in its elegance that I am forced, now, to post about it.

What follows is a spoiler, but if you are playing this game, there is a non-zero chance that you may want this quest spoiled for you for your own sanity. Although, paradoxically, the revelation of this riddle is relevant to you if you have not started the game already. So if you enjoy the thrill of such a quest, save it. But if you want to save yourself the torment, read on.

If you have even a passing knowledge of mythology you know the riddle of the sphinx, perhaps the most well-known riddle in history (spoilers, the answer is man). Dragon’s Dogma 2 has a sphinx as well, shown extensively in trailers, with several devious quests of differing difficulty. But of the five initial trials, there is one very simple question, the Riddle of Rumination, that became a crucible.

It goes like this.

It’s ever the first we keep fond in our breast, 

and ever the first that eclipses the rest.

You know of the Seeker’s Tokens, I trust?

Those keepsakes of a fondly remembered journey?

Yet where was it that you found your first?

Retrace your steps, if you can–you might make a new discovery

Seven days, shall we say, ere you return?

May your journey be a pleasant one.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I said to myself, out loud, alone, in my house. 

For people who don’t play this game, seeker’s tokens are little coins that you pick up around the world. There are 240 of them in this game, scattered throughout the map. The game is testing to see if you remember the specific circumstances under which you got the first one, and gives you seven real in-game days to find where that was and find the “finder’s token”. You cannot easily savescum, since you have only two saves (the automatic/last save, and the save from the previous inn’s rest). Since everyone’s game is different, it’s impossible to use a FAQ to solve this. Dragon’s Dogma 2 is basically asking you “hey, do you remember where you picked up that wheat penny like 3 weeks ago?” The only way to easily defeat the riddle is to have the knowledge of the riddle well in advance of the riddle before you play the game. 

You a few hundred of these in your play-through. What an evil quest. Credit: Capcom.

I cannot describe how simultaneously mad and impressed I was. The next several hours drove me up the wall. The game is not entirely without mercy: When you pass by a location where you have picked up a seeker’s token previously, the game marks it with an exclamation point. However, those exclamation points are also used for basically everything else noteworthy in the game, and the game does not tell you that it is doing this unless you figure it out contextually or get a vague hint from a seer in town. There is also a single augment of the Trickster vocation, detection, that might help with this but I did not unlock that vocation at the time (credit to Austin Walker for this tip).

Most people might just go to the area around the starting area of the game, where you very likely found your first token. But what complicated this for me is that I did not spend a lot of time dicking around the starting area. I took oxcarts to the checkpoint town early, and this widened the potential range of the quest. I got so obsessed with beating the sphinx. I did not know if failure of the quest would lock me out of subsequent rewards, and on a fundamental level of pride I did not want to take the L on this quest. The time was ticking, and I threw every resource I could at this. At one point a few days in I rested at an inn, and repeatedly reset to that lone inn save specifically so I would have more time. I threw away experience and hours, just to beat this quest.  But in the end, I could never find the finder’s token. 

After a while I just came to terms with the fact that I had been thoroughly bested by Dragon’s Dogma 2. The sheer joy and terror I experienced can only come from a dynamic quest design in a game constructed to have real consequences and a 2 save maximum. Had I been allowed multiple saves, I would have continued to torment myself until I beat this. Instead I returned to the sphinx empty-handed, terrified of the consequences.

It turns out, despite appearances, the Sphinx is cool (for now, I have not finished the second part of the quest). Credit: Capcom.

It turns out I was fine. The sphinx leaned in with its terrifying, demonic sideways grin, said I failed, and then moved on with the quest. Ah well, them’s the breaks! And it turns out the reward for the quest was exactly 3 ferrystones, so it was in no way worth pulling my hair out like that. Unlike the mythological beast of legend, it turns out she was pretty laid back. I thought she was going to tear my head off.

Anyway, thanks Dragon’s Dogma 2, for one of the best and most devious quests I’ve played in recent memory, and also fuck you, go to hell you piece of shit.

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