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Eight Tips To Set You Forth On Your Dragon Quest XI Adventure

by Kimberley Wallace on Sep 03, 2018 at 04:01 PM

The launch of Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is just around the corner, and awaiting you is a meaty adventure with plenty to do around every corner. After I spent over 100 hours with the game, I’m here to share my knowledge so you can put your best foot forward. Whether you’re a longtime fan or newcomer, here are some tips that will help prepare you for the journey ahead. 

Give Into The Grind

The game starts off fairly easy, so you won’t see the impact of grinding until later in the game, but it’s good to get in the habit of doing a few extra battles here and there. Using the dash ability to get around enemies and to your next locale is tempting, but make sure you take time to fight monsters of every type. Enemies can drop essential ingredients for crafting, and keeping your level up will help you in the long run, especially in terms of unlocking powerful skills.  

That being said, there will be times where you’ll have to be conservative in dungeons with how many baddies you battle, so don’t overdo it to the point where you drain all your MP. For those wondering when it’s a good time to take in a few extra battles, I recommend whenever you see a campfire and using that to your advantage since you can save and heal your party for free. 

Spend Your Upgrade Points Wisely 

When you level up, you’re awarded points that can then be used to unlock new skills via a hexagonal grid. Unlocking adjacent squares is required to open up newer and better options, so also keep this in mind. Be judicious with your spending. The best thing you can do is look ahead at the skills that you can see (some will be mysterious until you get further in the grid) and determine the best route possible to get them as early as possible. Some panels are big game-changers, for the skills or perks they provide and just make battles more fun in general. You should focus on pumping points into a weapon and specialty for each character. Using your points instantly when you level up can be tempting, but you’re better off waiting every so often in the pursuit of something more powerful, such as the chance to double cast or guarantee a critical hit. You’re much better off holding off for a high-powered skill than unlocking a +3 percent MP regeneration panel.

For those worried about messing something up with your distribution, you really can’t. This streamlined skill system is easy to understand and pretty balanced. Plus, if you ever decide you want to swap a weapon focus or you want to readjust your points, you can do so at any church or camp for a small fee and start anew.

Make The Most Of Your Pep Powers 

When your character gets pepped up, they enter a heightened state of improved defense and stronger attacks. You’re more likely to land criticals in this state, so it’s important to keep it going as long as possible. You also have the option to use “Pep Powers,” which are mighty skills and perks that can only be activated in this state. However, once you select to use a Pep Power, it ends all the perks, even for the pepped characters included in the combo attack. To maximize the bonuses, I recommend spending a few turns (around three is a safe bet) before you unleash a Pep Power. If the battle demands it, by all means use the Pep Power sooner than that, but for the most part don’t be so quick to activate them. It’s super tempting and something I had to learn to balance by adapting to the battle at hand. 

The Side Quests Worth Your Time

The side content isn’t great in Dragon Quest XI; expect plenty of tedious fetch quests that sometimes aren’t worth the effort. Thankfully, you can always see what the reward will be when you obtain a quest. The ones I recommend absolutely doing are any that offer you new recipes for crafting. You want to constantly be upgrading your gear via the fun-sized forge and these side quests are often key to that. Also, look for quests that give you materials that you don’t have to complete these recipes. These are worth the effort, whereas quests that simply give you extra support items for battle aren’t as necessary.

Explore And Collect Your Heart Out

This has always been the series’ mantra, but it’s something that bears repeating. Doing some extra exploring often reaps you rewards such as better weapons or crafting ingredients. Dragon Quest XI is pretty linear, so it’s easy to pull up the map and see where you can go off the beaten path. Also, if you see a monster you can mount out in the open field, chances are there’s a hidden place to fly or wall to break that holds a treasure chest or rare materials. As I mentioned previously, crafting is a big part of this game, and having the ingredients on hand when you unlock a new recipe makes everything better. Exploring and constantly collecting just ensures you’re finding the best things you can, especially in terms of discovering mini medals which you can exchange for great rewards. Also be sure to use your special means of transportation to seek out deserted islands and waypoints where different monsters and special items are held.   

Pay Attention To NPCs And Search Their Bookcases

Dragon Quest doesn’t hold your hand. It makes you work to uncover the greater secrets of its world. This means being a little more meticulous than you might be when interacting with NPCs and searching nooks and crannies. I recommend chatting with everyone and anyone as they often give hints to extra treasures or bosses. Even if you get lost, an NPC can be your guiding light. Some of the NPCs are marked for side quests and as story helpers but some aren’t – you merely find them by choosing to engage with them when visiting a town. I recommend writing down their clues, as sometimes there are a few specific steps to reap the rewards. Outside of NPCs, every time you see a bookcase in a house you should check to see if you can read a book in it (the readable ones are bright red). Books contain more of the world’s lore, but also holds crafting recipes and treasure hints. It goes without saying for those familiar with the series, but be thorough when you search towns; break pots, open dressers, and search rooftops for items.

Revisit Past Destinations

Fast-traveling is as simple as using the 0-MP Zoom spell, and, outside of a few story-related instances, can be used at most points in the game. Using it to heal up when near death is a godsend but you also want to take some time every so often to revisit past destinations. Upon returning to previous locales, new side quests open up alongside rewards from key people for your efforts. In some cases, you will even find new story beats. This especially becomes important in the latter portion of the game. Special doors (full of treasure) can’t be opened until proceeding to certain points in the story, so always come back around once you obtain the keys. 

Win Those Horse Races

I found horse racing the best side activity for the time investment and rewards by far, as crossing the finish line first provides some essential materials for crafting that you definitely want later in the game. Head to Gallopolis to take on these challenges after you open it up through the story. To get an edge and win cups, be sure to keep your dash up at all times. You’ll recharge it on the fly by passing over swirling energy vortices and jumping over ramps, so you’ll never run out of horse nitrous if your play is tight. Your horse also has a drift button, much like Mario Kart, and use it whenever you’re rounding a tough bend.

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Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Agecover

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

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