Tips for starting Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a massive game, perhaps too massive for its own good. If this is your first time playing a game in the Xeno series, then you might be intimidated by the ludicrous amount of systems the game has to offer. On top of that, there are certain things the game doesn’t do a great job of explaining.

If you’re finding the first few hours of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 frustrating, check out these tips and tricks and see if they help you on your journey to the World Tree.

Don’t follow the compasss, use the map to plan a route

Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s compass always points you toward your next goal, but it always does so in a straight line. This straight line will usually cross dangerous enemies or bottomless pits that will instantly kill you. Frankly, it’s not very useful, and if you navigate with it you will just frustrate yourself.

Instead, use the Skip Travel map. While this is actually the fast travel system it’s also the only way to see the entire map in one glance. Trace out a route from your current position to your goal, keeping in mind that lighter areas are usually areas of higher elevation, and then follow that route using the mini-map.

It’s also worth noting that environments usually have routes etched right into them. If you see a path, a stone walkway, a road, or some other geographical marker, follow it. These are usually set up to lead you directly to the next story mission. Hilariously enough, if you follow the compass you’ll actually fall off these paths, rendering them useless.

Always bring one attacker, one healer, and one tank into battle

A small way through the game you are told that characters have three distinct roles: attacker, healer, and tank. These roles work together to flesh out a battle strategy. Tanks draw the opponent’s aggro, healers keep them alive, and attackers deal the majority of the damage to the opponent. Over the course of the game you will receive new characters which will tempt you to break this three person party structure.

Don’t.

Not only is every battle in the game designed around this three class setup, but Xenoblade Chronicles 2 loves to change your party at random. Any extra attacker, healer, or tank you get might suddenly leave for the next mission. So focus your efforts on raising a core party of one attacker, one healer, and one tank at all times.

When it comes to Blades, focus, don’t diversify

Over the course of the game you will be able to collect multiple blades to your drivers. Since these blades determine your driver’s abilities, it’s tempting to equip a variety of blades to each character.

Once again, don’t.

As I said before, you essentially need one healer, one attacker, and one tank in every battle. If you give a character an attack, healer, and tank blade, then the A.I. will switch between these roles almost at random. It’s incredibly likely you’ll end up with two or three healers right before the enemy uses a massively damaging attack.

You want to keep your party members focused on their roles. So instead, of loading up your characters with blades from different roles, load them up with blades from the same role. A driver with three attack blades will do insane damage and will have a different type of attack for any situation. It doesn’t matter if the A.I. switches pseudo-randomly because hitting the enemy with varied attacks is what you want to be doing in the first place.

If you keep dying, stop, sleep at the inn and use every system

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has more systems than it knows what to do with. If you find that you just cannot take the enemies in a certain area, then you are probably overlooking one of the game’s systems. Stop and go over then one by one.

  1. Check to see if you have any quests that are finished but that haven’t been turned in.
  2. Check to see if your mercenaries have returned in the merc menu and send them on another quest if they have.
  3. Stop at a nearby inn and spend all your bonus XP. This is usually enough to level-up your party once or twice.
  4. Stop by the trader to trade in loot for special items.
  5. Go to the local blacksmith and equip your Blades with the best possible shards you can find.
  6. Check your accessories menu and see if you have the best accessories equipped on your characters. The game doesn’t do a good job sorting them so you’ll have to sift through them yourself. In general put attack up accessories on attackers, HP up and aggro drawing accessories on tanks, and recovery boosters and aggro avoidance accessories on healers. Be sure to stop by accessory shops to see if you can buy better ones.
  7. Stop by an Aux Core forge and refine your best Aux Cores. You should follow the same rule of thumb with accessories when it comes to equipping Aux Cores: damage up for attackers, aggro up for tanks, recovery up for healers.
  8. Go into each Driver’s affinity menu and use up your skill points on new passive bonuses.
  9. Go into each Driver’s art menu and spend their weapon points on upgrading their arts.
  10. Go into each Blade’s affinity menu and cash in your achievements.
  11. Stop by creature comfort shops and put special buff granting items in each character’s pouch.
  12. When all this is done, use your salvaging tanks at salvage points. Note, this might put you into a battle, at which point you should repeat all these steps after you are done salvaging.

Try to exclusively fight enemies of equal or lower level

Enemy levels are a flat out lie in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Enemies of lower levels will routinely wipe out your party if you don’t know what you are doing. In general, try to engage enemies only if they are of equal or lower level. The EXP boost of higher level foes isn’t worth the insane time it takes to defeat them. Even if they aren’t necessarily dangerous, fights with higher level enemies can take upwards of ten minutes; certainly not worth the reward.

Complete quests, don’t randomly grind

Quests can give you hundreds to thousands of EXP and you can complete most quests without fighting a single battle. In terms of time to EXP gain, this is a much better deal than random battles. Don’t even stop to take on enemies while completing quests. Just run as fast as you can from quest point to quest point. Use fast travel to make things go even quicker. Completing 2 or 3 quests is enough to net you one or two levels, which would take far, far, longer if you just grinded on random enemies.

Always wait to execute combos at the last possible minute

If you are finding it difficult to get off Blade and Driver combos, remember that you have time. Blade combos require you to build up your specials to levels one, two, and three respectively, while Driver combos require you to hit the enemy with a series of status effects. The trick to landing each is to execute the next stage of the combo right before the last stage runs out. Executing combos too quickly may find you unable to execute the art which triggers the next stage. Instead, use the time on the combo meter to charge all your arts and specials. Once you get the timing down, you will easily execute full Blade and Driver combos with ease.

Take time to raise your blade’s affinities or else they may get roadblocked

Blades increase in power by completing achievements but these achievements have to be completed in sequence. For example, one of Pyra’s early affinities requires her to kill a certain amount of enemies in the game’s starting area. If you don’t complete this achievement and move on with the game, she will literally never increase this affinity, making her weaker as the game goes on. Whenever you enter a new area check if your blades have any affinities related to that area and make sure to complete them before you move on. It’s the only way to ensure their growth.

Use lures to help manage heavy battles

Early in the game you are taught to lure enemies and it’s never spoken of again. To lure an enemy, target it, don’t draw your weapon, and press down on the D-pad, or the down button on the left Joy Con. This will deal one damage to the enemy and immediately draw aggro without drawing aggro on any other enemies nearby. Once an enemy has been lured, run backward away from any other enemies in the vicinity as drawing your weapon may cause them to attack. Then, when the enemy is isolated, take it on three on one. You absolutely have to master this strategy to survive some of the bigger mobs of the game.

You can only effectively dodge if you put away your weapon

I want to make this clear; there are no hit-boxes in this game. You cannot dodge enemy attacks by avoiding their animations. As long as you are in range, they will still hit. The only way to effectively dodge is to move out of range. The problem is that you move like a slug when your weapon is drawn. If you absolutely want to get away from an attack, you have to put your weapon away and run. Remember, this will make your entire party top fighting, so you really shouldn’t do this unless you are planning to run from battle entirely.

There are environmental hazards the game doesn’t tell you about

If you find yourself randomly dying, look at your surroundings. Spikey plants, pools of acid, open flames, and more will actually damage you. The game won’t necessarily show this damage. It’s very easy for it to fade into all the other damage dealt by enemies. No matter how good your healer is, you simply will not out-pace the damage of these hazards. Be sure to lure enemies away from these hazards before you take them on or else you will surely die.

That’s all the tips we have for you now. Good, luck in facing the vast and dangerous world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and if you have any more tips to share, leave them in the comments below.