Waypoint 101 — Shadowrun: Dragonfall


Dietrich is filled with grand old punk wisdom and I would trust his judgement on many things.


Just a wee question in terms of time – once I give the money to Alice, about how much gametime is left (hour-count-wise)?


I would say 5-10, probably closer to 5. But I play slowly. I think I read somewhere that it’s about two-thirds through at that point.


I would say that’s accurate, in terms of “fraction of the game you are through”.


(spoilers for “Apex Rising”)

Dear Harebrained Schemes,

Please let me date my dead cyber girlfriend


EDIT: on second thought she v scary


Still working through the game, but one thing I really super appreciate about Dragonfall is how it specifically confronts the idea of political change in a dozen different ways.

A lot of my frustration around the cyberpunk discourse over the past couple of years has been that things like Gibson’s The Sprawl Trilogy and even Snow Crash basically foreclose on any kind of change taking place through people working together in solidarity, and that feels very central to some of the sections I’ve played in Dragonfall.


I’d argue that, whilst Snow Crash doesn’t touch that, parts of The Diamond Age (which is post-post-cyberpunk, at best, admittedly) do. I think Stephenson was working enough in genre for Snow Crash that he wouldn’t have pushed it in that direction - it feels like it’s almost at the edge of the cyberpunk tradition.


I’d basically second what Doctor Cat said, but I’d say it’s more like 3/4 of the way through. You’ll have two missions to do (well, maybe three), that last one being longer, naturally.


The MKVI run is driving me up the wall. I don’t particularly care for the combat in this game, and have been playing on easy the whole time. I’ve also tried avoiding combat wherever possible.

This mission not only has a lot of mandatory combat, the enemies you fight against are competent as well, and there’s next to no breaks in the action. My PC went down so many times that I managed to burn through all my trauma kits, except for one of them, which got used by Glory who had all her armor stripped by a mage. At that point I basically decided to close the game and try again some other time because I got so frustrated.

It’s a shame too, because I felt like I was moving through the game at a for me very comfortable pace before this point.


What’s your build and team?

I was able to do pincer strategies as a rigger with two rigs, but it was time consuming.


For what it’s worth, this is probably the single longest combat encounter I’ve seen so far (and I’m basically at the Act II close). There might be longer encounters in other missions but they are more easily skippable.

In terms of general tips I can offer if you’re looking for any (assuming you’re using a standard team – I didn’t use Blitz because I was a Decker):

  • Don’t be afraid to use MKVI. It seems super messed up (and I tried to avoid it where I could), but they are a powerhouse on every axis and frankly are the only thing that make the mission doable. You can fire their gun and move in the same turn, so you can close distances and mow down conjurers where they are. Their cyberware also gives them a free bonus to Hit % if you ever need it.

    • You should obviously prioritise enemy riggers – they’re hugely disruptive. Using Eiger’s high-accuracy shots is my recommendation, although closing the distance with MKVI and crushing them is also valid.
  • Use your items – I burned through a lot of my partners’ items as distractions, such as Dietrich’s fetishes and Eiger’s grenades. Partner items, if you didn’t know, are free to use & don’t cost the crew anything – so you should burn these down to zero if you have to. Definitely review them as they may give you some extra options.

  • Nothing is wrong with playing conservatively with your injured characters – I had my MC take a backseat for the fourth encounter (in the north part of the room) because they were being too pressured.
  • You can skip the third of the five (!) mandatory encounters with Decking 4. There’s an optional encounter in the security room if you want camera access to help keep track of enemies with Decking 3. Without that skill, there isn’t much to do but fight through them.


I did most of those things, similar team setup too (Decker/Face/Rifle MC with core crew), I guess I just didn’t execute them well enough. I had a couple of bad misses on my end, and the enemy side got a bunch of really good hits in. The moment I called quits was when a spirit Dietrich summoned went rogue and killed my MC. I can’t say I utilized that earth spirit all that well either… I didn’t really go all out with the MKVI, I just had them take shots most turns while sitting in cover, and probably could’ve moved them more aggressively, but there’s the balancing act of getting them out of there in one piece.

I do wonder if I should put more points into body (4). I’ve been neglecting putting points into decking (5) because I got Ranged Weapons up to 6 in order to equip the best rifle I could buy at this point, so I’d rather spend the points there, but I do feel very squishy right now (for the record: I’m wearing the 5 armor, charisma +2 suit)


Yeah, no, definitely use MKVI to run up and wreak as much havoc as possible in the back line (riggers, mages, etc.). Make sure you can use some long-range allies to focus down riggers first so you keep control of MKVI, but otherwise MKVI has a shit ton of armor and health and can absorb so much heat. Even if the rigger gets control, also, don’t panic- if you kill the rigger, MKVI reverts to you. I preferred melee for MKVI more than the gun (unless I couldn’t reach enemies in a turn) – just run straight at 'em and swing. Once you hit with melee, enemies are forced out of cover so your team can fire from long range with much higher odds.

MKVI and another later mission (Apex Rising) are the longest and probably toughest fights in the game.

For what it’s worth, I was a Decker/Rigger/Face and finished the game with 4 body. I did have drones to take some of the fire, but in late game you can use cyberware to beef up body/HP, so I’d put them into main stats.


the MKIV is incredibly resilient, it has like over 150 HP and the armour it comes with is good at keeping it from getting hurt. the mission is definitely designed around you using it to soak damage while you take out priority targets (riggers, mages, conjurers, grenadiers). i used my MC and Dietrich to keep it healed up whenever it took a crit and between its melee and Eiger’s guns there’s more than enough DPS to keep everyone else focused on providing backup/support for the MKIV. i did feel kinda bad about it in a moral sense but then i figured if i were the zombie troll brain stem still alive in there i might enjoy killing all the dudes who kept me prisoner?


In the final combat of the game literally everyone was about to die / was dying and Glory ran full-bore with stims on over to the shutdown console with the key to turn it off, I was absolutely about to lose the game - I just barely made it through on my first try, still on Hard (it was so fucking dramatic and cool) - so I think I am pretty good at the combat - and I find it really satisfying actually. Even though from a normal human perspective it seems insane to not take tons of cover in these fights, you really have to keep in mind these are cyborgs and magic metahumans, and they can handle it - you have to be rushing people down. Even Dietrich on a big ley line can be running all his buffs and be very resilient out of cover. I had a loose rule for myself that every turn, all of my characters needed to be doing hits vs enemies out of cover or flanked if at all possible, even if that meant taking extra risks with my characters.

MKVI tip: I think the entire point of this mission is that the only way you can get MKVI out is to take advantage of the fact that it’s super powerful. Get MKVI to lead into fights. Use the axe, not the minigun.

More specifically: #1, as soon as a decker appears, everyone needs to rush in and hit them with everything. Even if it seems tactically insane to rush into the crowd of enemies. Glory with her stims on and MKVI both can rush them down and should, no matter the cost. #2, then they tear up everyone else in melee while the other chars take shots. Eiger can do some very good long range sniping by this point. Dietrich can help protect Eiger & you from getting too damaged, and do heals all around. Haste on Eiger is helpful.

On the other hand I might just be a crazy person, I didn’t do anything the way you’re “supposed” to. By the end of the game my elf had: zero cyberware except for a datajack, body 4, decking 5 or 6, light weapons 5 or 6, charisma 7 or something, a couple of points in some magic. And a very nice coat.


hey just finished the game and you know what

fuck dragons


Finished the game over the weekend and my main thought is fuck, this game is old and terrible in terms of quality of life.

Griping. So much griping.

So much lag whenever you save. Multiple bugs where the game just freezes as it’s switching in/out of combat/turn mode. A serious instance where I thought my save was trashed because I couldn’t click to move at all out of combat (I ended up rewinding to an earlier save). The fixed camera which means you can’t adequately see cover (and sometimes characters are straight up just invisible behind a building or something). Wonky-ass combat (the weapon accuracy is so fucking frustrating, lines of sight are completely unintuitive, cover makes no sense, etc.). I cannot imagine playing this game as anything other than a decker (or a mage, I guess), because I can’t ask my fucking teammates to do anything for me. Like, hi, here’s this keypad, could someone else in my party possibly use their abilities to look at it? Apparently not.

The narrative makes up for it, but god, can someone remake this game with better mechanics. Even SRHK was so much less painful to play.

As for the story, I freed MKVI, Apex, and Firewing. I am About Freedom, I guess. At least some of that is probably my own cowardice at being uncomfortable Making Decisions for other people, but at least some is also some conviction about self-determinism. I think.

Other thoughts: I am disappointed that I cannot romance Lucky Strike or the kind of crazy AI who wears my ex’s face. Why is this not a Bioware game. Also, fuck off, Lofwyr.


+1 for change through solidarity. So many games/stories frame revolutionary change through an explicitly individualist lens - you can accomplish anything if you just find the right special leader. It plays really well to the escapist power fantasy that many games play into. In reality though, the most powerful change comes from people working together, and it’s cool to see a game touch on that.


Big spoilers!

Did you go with the “But seriously, fuck dragons,” ending? Cause that gets wild with some incredible wider world-building. The dragons being the sole maintainers of the boundary between worlds, the mana storms, and Chicago being completely nuked, all for humanity to end up in Metro style bunkers in less than a decade.


Sorry to be moaning about Hong Kong’s Hacking game still, but… I’m really having trouble finding any of it likeable. Dragonfall’s Hacking experience might be boring, but it’s kinda relaxing. Hong Kong’s is stressful and unpleasant. It’s seriously impacting my enjoyment of an otherwise pretty interesting sequel.