This is a guide to getting started in Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition for the Nintendo Switch. This guide will cover early game tips such as leveling, the battle system, equipment, and affinity, and team building!
List of Contents
There are a few simple tips that will make playing Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition a whole lot more enjoyable for you. They are as follows:
Xenoblade Chronicles is a vast game with a multitude of mechanics and techniques that should be understood in order to play the game as smoothly as possible. The first tip that any player should heed is to not skip on the tutorials, and re-read them as necessary to make sure you totally understand the game system.
While we at Game8 will do our best to help you along your journey with our own walkthroughs, there is a ton of information that can be picked up by just simply reading these!
How to Level Up Fast | Leveling Guide
Xenoblade Chronicles makes it very difficult to defeat enemies and bosses when you are underleveled. Being more than two levels below a boss can make them extremely hard, if not impossible to take out. The game allows you to naturally level quite a bit, but you may still find yourself underleveled from time to time. Which brings us to our next point.
One of the easiest ways to gain Exp is through simply arriving at new Locations. By opening up your map and checking out which sections of your current area haven't been explored yet, you can easily travel there for free Exp. Finding a landmark will also allow you to fast travel to even more areas, in case you need to go back quickly later.
When you spot an NPC with a '!' marker over their head, it means that they have a side quest for you to complete. Some NPCs even give multiple side quests, and you can talk to them repeatedly until the '!' disappears to accept multiple quests at a time.
Since Side Quests will give you exp, money, and items as a reward, and there is no limit to the amount that you can take on at a time, you should accept every side quest you come across. Side Quests often involve defeating a certain number of monsters or collecting a certain number of items, and once you complete the objective, the quest will end without even having to go back to the requester. This means that you can accept a lot of side quests, then complete them as you play normally for easy exp and money.
Side Quest Guide | List of Side Quests
Xenoblade Chronicles features a unique battle system where your characters battle using auto attacks in realtime, and can use specials attacks known as Arts for extra damage and various effects. Your party consists of three members at a time, with each player having their own unique arts and battle role.
Here are a few tips to make combat easier.
Battle System and Combat Guide | How to Fight
In battle, the character you control will attack the enemy automatically, but you will have to select Arts when you want to use one. Arts can deal damage, restore HP to party members, cast buffs or debuffs, provide protection, and more! Each character's Arts help define their role. However, only a certain number of Arts can be set to a character at a time, so you'll want to choose the best ones for your party.
Your teammates will use their attacks and arts automatically, so other than selecting the ones that they have set, you cannot choose which Arts they use outside of a Chain Attack. Arts all have cooldown, which needs to recharge before you can use them again. Additonally, using Arts to attack the enemy rapidly will increase your Aggro, making you the target of your enemy.
Aggro is a rather unique mechanic to Xenoblade Chronicles. Attacking a monster and using Arts on it will increase your Aggro, which is displayed by a red ring around the character. Whichever character has the red ring around them will be targeted by the enemy, meaning it will only attack that character, and it will constantly face their front.
Having a high Aggro is disadvantageous for less bulky characters, like Shulk, so the optimal battle style is to allow another character, a tank, to absorb your Aggro and endure the enemy's attacks. Starting off, Reyn will fill the tank role for your party. Having him be the target of the enemy allows the character you control to unleash arts on the enemy and fill the Party Gauge.
Another important battle mechanic is the Party Gauge, which is filled each time an Art hits an enemy from the correct position, or by timing the B button press correctly when it appears. Using an Art like Shulk's Back Slash from behind an enemy will deal extra damage and fill up part of the Party Gauge. Once this gauge completely fills up, your team can unleash a Chain Attack, a powerful attack where you get to choose the Arts used by each character in succession.
A Chain Attack attack starts by allowing you to use one Art from the character you control, then it will move to the character slotted second, then the one slotted third. If the affinity between party members is high enough, you may have a chance to extend the chain attack and continue using Arts on the opponent! Use Arts of the same color in succession to deal more damage, or use Arts that inflict status effects in a particular order (Break > Topple > Daze) to make easier work of the foes!
Each party member in Xenoblade Chronicles will play a certain role. While Shulk will be essential to use for many parts of the game due to the powers of the Monado, the other characters should be selected to fill certain roles.
As stated above, you will almost always want to have a tank in your party who can draw Aggro and endure the enemy's wrath. Good candidates for this are Reyn and Dunban, who have skills that allow them to absorb the Aggro of the team. For the tank, high bulk (HP / Defense) is great, but high Agility stat is even better. A high Agility stat will allow your tank to evade many of the attacks that target them, so they can survive even longer, so give them low weight equipment and Agility Up gems.
Not surprisingly, Shulk, the game's protagonist, will be essentially to your team for most of the game. With the Monado, he has the ability to damage mechons and enchant allies so they can damage them too. The Monado also gives Shulk abilities like Speed and Shield, which can be used to save allies from dying to strong enemy attacks. He will be a mainstay in your party for the majority of the game.
As for your third member, it comes down to preference. Sharla is great for healing the party and providing buffs, Melia can deal heavy Ether damage to enemies, and Riki can inflict several negative status effects on the enemy. Experiment with different team compositions and find out what you like!
Affinity is a mechanic that displays the relationship between two characters. Having a higher affinity will lead to longer Chain Attacks, as well as better Gems when Gem Crafting, an additional Skill Link, and more optional cutscenes. Since Chain Attacks are the best way to deliver tons of damage to an enemy, having a high affinity between all party members you use is very beneficial
How to Raise Affinity | Affinity Farming Guide
Affinity through active party members can be raised by accepting/completing sidequests. It can also be raised in battle through unleashing Chain Attacks, helping out / reviving teammates, and through Burst Affinity, which is done by pressing the B button as the circle closes in on the rim that shows up on screen during battles.
The Heart to Heart cutscenes, which can only be triggered between two characters who have enough affinity, will also provide extra affinity if the correct answers are selected. Be sure and read these carefully, and choose the answer that you think your ally would more likely want to hear.
Heart-to-Heart Answers and Guide
Lastly, affinity can be raised by having one part member give collectables (blue lights found on the map) to another party member in the form of presents. Each item will add or subtract a certain amount of affinity for the character it is given too, so make sure to only give items that show one or more hearts. Picking up lots of collectables and gifting them is a very easy way to increase team affinity!
Presents Guide | How to Give Gifts
Like many RPGs, Xenoblade Chronicles features a ton of weapons and armor with varying stats, as well as Gemstones, which provide bonuses. As you progress, better equipment will become available, both through chests and shops, as well as by completing side quests. Make sure you check the stats of all of your equipment frequently, and keep your best equipment on your active members.
After upgrading your team's equipment, sell off your old equipment to shops. You may have a hard time parting with it if you like hoarding equipment, but better equipment is on its way. Use the money to by new Arts books available at each store, again prioritizing the teammates you use most. This will let you upgrade your Arts to higher levels. If you have excess money, feel free to purchase any better equipment the shop may hold.
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