In DragonFable players are able to walk around and explore a 2D world. The game is updated weekly with new quests, items, and areas. Players may also interact and team-up with NPCs in different towns and have them help in battle with special abilities.
Also, players may engage in PvP ("Player Versus Player") battles at an in-game arena called Aeris Battlespire. In these battles, contrary to its name, players do not actually compete against other real-world players who may also be online at that moment. Instead, the player's character battles against an AI-controlled opponent, whose configuration (name, appearance, and statistics) is based upon the saved profile of another player's character.
DragonFable has many unique monsters that may be encountered, as well as several recurring antagonists (enemies), such as Drakath, Sepulchure and Xan. Each enemy has his or her own goals and ambitions that intertwine with and form the game's storyline. There are many side quests that players can take to assist NPCs, gain experience points, or find rare items.
Combat in DragonFable uses a simple turn-based battle system with option commands like "attack" which lets warriors do a simple slash, rogues do two quick cuts with their daggers, and mages cast a spell using the element of the weapon they are currently wielding. There currently is no "flee" option, except in the special class ChickenCow Lord, and enemies currently cannot run away which renders the abilities "trip", "tangle", and "root" (all of which prevent enemies from escaping) currently useless.
Players try to get their opponent's health points (HP) down to zero before their opponents do the same to them. Some monsters have regenerative abilities making them more challenging to kill. Players can also use potions to restore HP or MP (mana points), or use an unlockable defensive ability which gives an 80% chance to block, dodge or parry their opponents' attacks. Another unlockable option gives the players a chance to immobilize the opponent. Some opponents, however, have a chance of resisting the attack.