Unlike the Templars and the Illuminati, who are quite present in the real world, the Dragons were specifically developed for TSW. (Or maybe they do exist and are much better at being a secret society!) My very first character I made and played was actually a Dragon. Unfortunately, I found the faction less interesting to me than the others, and I abandoned her to play a Templar, then livestream a Lumie. Now that I have delved deeper into the intricacies of the Dragon, however, I realized I may have ducked out too soon and I am seriously contemplating rolling one in Secret World Legends!
Chaos. Utter chaos. Some folks might see that and curl into an anxious ball, whimpering. The Dragon faction in TSW will grin and embrace it, happy following along to see where it all leads. Will the result be as the Dragon predicted? If not, that is OK too; they just readjust for the next prediction, then follow the chaos again. If this sounds right up your alley, you could be a Dragon!
Instead of being just passive observers, however, the Dragon are active instigators. Imagine them dropping pebbles into a pond, then sitting back and watching those ripples reach out farther and farther. The idea that one small catalyst can ultimately turn into a tsunami is at the core of the Dragon’s beliefs. And to that end, the Dragon nudge and prod here and there, then kick back to watch things unfold.
Folks interested in ruling the world through political influence or the like won’t really find a home with the Dragon. This faction prefers to dominate through understanding the world instead of subduing it, knowing as many of the tiny details to track (and thereby have the chance to influence it) — the bigger picture is the goal. And those who can know the outcome will obviously have the greatest advantage, no?
If the faction HQ were the sole deciding factor of which to join, I am not sure many would choose Dragon. As far as bases go, it is pretty lackluster. Space-wise it is really small without any neat nooks or crannies to peek into. There aren’t any snippets of conversation to overhear as you walk through since the monks are all silent. (The fact that they are silent because their lips are sewn shut is interesting but doesn’t negate the lack of discovery and flavor.) Heck, you can’t even actually see your handler unless you are on a specific mission to do so. And while I do like the hanging lanterns, the headquarters feels very sterile and lacking in personality, especially for a group so focused on chaos. Luckily, the hub of Seoul makes up for that a bit.
I really so love the city of Seoul itself, and the way its windy streets feel like they fit right into the chaos theme. To this day I still occasionally get lost in Seoul’s side streets! Sadly, the entirety of the city hub is also pitifully small when compared to the other two. There’s less to do and fewer people to bump into. Only one guy seems willing to really talk with players. There are some fun places with potential, especially the little gaming cafe. Seoul would do well to get a few extra neighborhoods and some of those businesses opened up.
Dragon has a bit of a unique system when it comes to the players’ handler. The one in charge is The Golden Child. He, however, stays completely silent, and players instead interact with the Voice of the Dragon, Bong Cha, who is quite the efficient manipulator of probabilities. Bong Cha is the one who sends you your mission complete messages (the ones that aren’t hijacked, that is). She appears to wax a bit more philosophic in those messages than when you’re speaking to her in person; face-to-face, she remains cold and distant to players throughout the working relationship. That’s in contrast to Sonnac’s fatherliness and Geary’s growing admiration for jobs well done.
There’s more to the story, I am told, but I can’t delve into it at all without major spoilers, so you’ll just have to be a Dragon to find out what it all is.
The supporting cast
As with the other factions, the Dragon has a cast of other interesting characters that players meet throughout their journeys in The Secret World. One of the first you run into is Dae-su; he runs the Dojang where Dragon go to test and practice with their weapons. There are plenty of straw dummies to shoot, slap, slice, burn, break, and basically beat the stuffing out of here. Dae-su may not be a stellar conversationalist, but he at least speaks to you, which is more than basically everyone else at the headquarters. For actual info, you need to be schooled by Jin Jae-Hoon. A former university professor, he sits in the hotel in Seoul and provides history to players. Don’t pass this guy up if you want to learn a bit more about the Dragon and the Secret World.
One of my favorite TSW characters from even before the game came out is a Dragon: Mei Ling. You may remember her from the teaser trailers for the game; she’s the one sipping a milkshake when she tuns and ends up nose-to-nose with a demon in her apartment, which she promptly and quite calmly launches though the wall. Luckily you do get to see her for a couple of quests in game as well.
Another very interesting character (whom I wish we could see more of) is Akma. He is a half human, half demon bodyguard, and his mistress is a dedicated Dragon. He’s an anomaly in that he was born to parents very much in love despite their extreme differences. These two give you a very interesting introduction to life as a bee-blessed.
Probably the best Dragon character personality-wise is one you don’t get to meet until Tokyo. But when you do, he makes an impression! Daimon Kiyota seems like the poster child of the Dragon; he oozes charisma and palpably embraces the Dragon ideals. He epitomizes the image of sitting back and watching it all fall into place… after maybe a nudge or two. I’m glad this is a character all factions get to meet.
As far as quirks go, it’s hard to top the fact that the Dragon are the only faction trying to lose control of situations instead of taking it. But this secret society has its distinguishing idiosyncrasies. For one, there’s the color affinity. As mentioned earlier, Dragon has a thing for green, so uniforms and the like are based on that color. Special faction pets also follow suit.
Besides the color palette, the deck costumes also have a much edgier flair than the other two factions as well as some eastern flair. That eastern flair is also present throughout many things in the Dragon, giving it a decidedly cultural flavor in architecture, conversation, and philosophy.