Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is a breathtaking and nostalgic RPG. It was good enough that an upgrade was released years after, and filled with enough new features that even players of the vanilla game are encouraged to return to the world Erdrea and rejoin the Luminary and his companions on their grand adventure.
The journey of the Luminary to defeat the Dark One and save the world is going to be long and fraught with dangers. And any experienced adventurers would tell you to always plan and prepare before anything else. Newcomers to the Dragon Quest series may be in for some unfamiliar mechanics. So here are some things that you should know to get you started on your quest in Dragon Quest XI S – Definitive Edition.
Resurrect your Party Members
Obvious at first glance, yes, but unlike some games of its genre where party members defeated in battle will receive a small chunk of health after a fight is over, your fallen companions stay dead after a fight in Dragon Quest. Meaning you’ll be a few members short in your next fight if you don’t remember to revive them. You can do so by visiting the local churches in towns, the angel statues in camps, or with a reviving spell. Also remember early reviving spells like Zing aren’t 100% guaranteed in and out of battles. Either way, be wary that fallen party members need to be manually resurrected.
Everyone gets Experience Points
Nobody is left out in Dragon Quest XI when it comes to the rewards. Basically, even inactive party members will get a share in the Experience Points won in battle. So it’s very possible to stick with your preferred party members and not feel the need to switch out characters just to evenly level up everyone. But do take some time to check your whole crew as unused characters may have accumulated a huge amount of Skill Points right under your nose.
Everyone gets to fight
You may have put together the most effective party in combat, but you can’t deny that sometimes a fight may not always go in your favor and signs point to defeat. But just because your entire active party is wiped out in combat, doesn’t mean you should relax and wait for the Game Over sign as all your inactive party members will join the fight as a secondary party. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to your entire party. Making sure even your unused party members are well equipped and their Skill Points properly distributed will at least give you a second chance to finish a fight. The Luminary and his companions will literally fight down to the last one standing.
Get that First Strike
While riding around on a horse or other mounts is faster, sometimes it’s better to enter a fight on foot as this will give you a chance to launch a preemptive strike. When a cursor appears above your target enemy, you’re able to do a quick First Strike dealing some early damage to an enemy even before the fight officially starts. Any moves that will give you an early advantage in a fight is always a good thing.
2D vs 3D
New to Dragon Quest XI S – Definitive Edition is the ability to play the game in either its default 3D graphics or the more classical 2D look. Now aside from visually changing your gameplay experience, you should know this also affects combat. In 3D mode, there are no random battles. Enemies will be seen and you will need to approach them (better if you land First Strike while you’re at it) to start a fight. On the other hand, playing in 2D will make it feel more classical as you will have random encounters instead. So basically it’s up to you how you want to fight your battles whether or not you prefer to be surprised.
Get Pepped, stay Pepped
Pep is a very useful feature that powers up your party member and gives you access to some powerful skills. Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict when a character is going to get pepped up. Luckily though, the game does say that a character that’s Pepped after a fight stays Pepped. This means that if you want to save up that Pep for any important fights, feel free to switch out that character first. This in turn will also give other party members a chance to Pep up. So it’s actually possible to enter a fight with ALL your party members powered up. It’s especially going to give you the edge is hard battles like a boss fight.
Know your Attributes
While I was very appreciative of the in-game tutorials and tips about the world of Dragon Quest XI, some of the guides can be a little vague, especially when explaining character Attributes. While Attack and Defence are pretty self-explanatory already, especially to RPG veterans, newcomers to Dragon Quest might be a little lost as to what Deftness and Charm are. Agility to might sound simple too but here in Dragon Quest it’s pretty important. So we’ll be focusing on these particular attributes.
Deftness measures how likely you can deal a critical hit, steal from enemies, escape from fights, and deal preemptive strikes. You can pretty much rename it Luck. From that description already you can figure out the party’s resident thief Erik is the one that makes use of this attribute the most.
Charm is something more passive as it measures how likely you can well…charm an enemy. This includes causing them to be confused, paralyzed or stunned. So characters like Jade who has Charm based abilities (obviously!) will benefit most from it.
And finally Agility means more than being fast to dodge enemy attacks. It also measures how fast your turn comes in a fight. Meaning characters with high Agility are likely to act first. So this means Agility increasing abilities are very important to let you act first in a fight, and luckily Serena and Sylvando can learn the Acceleratle spell that boosts an entire party’s Agility in a fight.
Character strengths matter
While characters in Dragon Quest XI are able to wield more than one weapon type, some are more effective compared to others. That’s why for the initial playthrough it’s very much recommended to utilize each characters’ strengths. For example, while Erik is able to use swords for more damaging attacks, he is more effective using faster equipment like Knives that makes use of his Agility and Deftness as a thief. That’s why in his Skill Tree it’s better to invest in the Knife and Guile paths because of abilities that can increase his Deftness, Agility, and Dodging skills.
Let’s also look at Serena. While she can wield either a spear or wand, Serena’s strongest as a mage compared to a melee fighter because of the various useful spells she can learn and her melee attacks are relatively weak. So when distributing her Skill Points, better focus on the more magic based Paths with a focus on Wands. It also doesn’t hurt to put a few Points on Harpistry to get those additional buffs to Magical Mending and MP count.
These are just some examples but in other words for your first playthrough, focusing on what your individual party members are good at will get you far in the game. Well if you really want to experiment, don’t forget it’s possible to Reset all the Skill Points you distributed for a certain character. Let’s just hope you got the Gold to donate for it.
Go for the Metal
After reaching a certain point in the game, you may start coming across some unusually colored enemies, like these Slimes here. And when you do, better direct your focus at them. Metal type enemies, like these Metal Slimes, are highly valuable for the large Experience Points rewards they’ll net you. They’re also pretty hard to defeat.
These Metal Slimes, for example, have only 4 HP but have very high defense, and will more than likely run away before you can take them out. They also have pretty high Agility, so every hit you successfully land will count. Forget using spells too as they have no effect. If you’re lucky and able to encounter these critters in a fight, better have party members with high enough Agility to match or exceed theirs, like Erik or Jade, so they can attack first. If you managed to get a lot of Skill Points, the sword users like the Luminary, Erik, and Sylvando can learn the Metal Slash ability which deals extra damage specifically to Metal type enemies.
You’ll very likely encounter more than one in a fight so also don’t forget to focus on just one Metal Slime. Don’t feel bad when one runs away as defeating one of these critters will net you a lot of Experience Points already. So when you encounter any greyish metal looking enemies, be aware that they’re valuable targets.
Dragon Quest XI S – Definitive Edition is now available for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and Switch.