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    katimus_prime
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    Post by katimus_prime on Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:52 pm

    Just to keep myself organized, I figure I'd start a thread while it's fresh in my mind. Feel free to add to this! I kinda wanna write my own beginners' guide.

    - Once you hit Chapter 2, you are free to roam around, but Fast-Travel does not unlock until you start Chapter 3, so you can avoid the frustration of getting lost or stuck early on if you curb your wanderlust until you finish Chapter 2.
    - Until you can get to the investment board (AM), hold onto the junk that drops from monsters. It may seem like trash, but it's actually really valuable in upgrading your weapons and armor.
    - Battle Arts are color-coded, and your combos and affinities grow based on how many times you respond to character's calls for them. If you're colorblind, this isn't very helpful.
    - You don't have a huge variety of color-coded Arts early on, but when you do start being able to combine things, don't feel like you need to pop an Art one after the other (I'm conventionally trigger-happy from the first XB, so this was hard to un-learn).
    - Choose arts that your party members don't have. You'll be able to accommodate their combo requests easier.
    - You want to do combos. When you're in a bind, they will heal you dramatically, and increase your affinity.

    Battle Roles Relative to the First Xenoblade

    Unlocked in Chapters 1-2
    Spoiler:

    Elma

    Elma handles like Fiora (Ranged DPS). She's relatively low-maintenance. Give her equipment that increases her ability to do damage.


    Lin

    Lin handles very similarly to Reyn (Tank). Keep an eye on her HP and give her strong armor. Tanks in XBX seem to have a little bit more range to them because of the setting making guns available to just about everyone.

    Unlocked in Chapter 3-4
    Spoiler:

    Doug

    Doug is another Reyn, but I haven't played very much into Chapter 4, and I've only used him with Irina, Gwin and my Cross, but that unit functions really well together. Doug starts off with more variety in his abilities than Lin does, but he also comes to the fray at Level 18???? Get yourself a Doug and beef him up.

    Irina

    Irina is a Sharla (Heals + DPS + Debuffs). I don't know if there's a heat-management aspect to playing with her, but I haven't gotten into too many scrapes with her yet.

    Gwin

    Gwin's character sheet makes him look like a Dunban, (DPS + Buffs), but he hasn't stood out to me in combat quite yet.



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    Yikari
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    Post by Yikari on Fri Dec 18, 2015 2:44 am

    I haven't gotten all that far in the game yet and it is a bit too early to got trawling the GameFAQs for tips and explanations; that said, some of the observations I've had appear to hold water so far, so I wanted to share them.

    XXX

    First Class (I'd say 'Job' because I feel that term is closer to how classes work here, but let's use in-game terminology) you start out with has a little bit of everything available to give you a taste of different gameplay roles. It also appears to be able to equip some Arts from the arsenal of other Classes if you rank those Classes up enough and then revert back to it (you can switch your Class whenever you are outside of cutscenes and battles, by the way).

    But its maximum rank is 10 and weapon types it can equip are limited to knives and assault rifles. And while there is enough deadliness and variety to go around in those weapon types, you'll still better be suited by switching Classes as soon as you hit 10 on your starter one.

    Class branch descriptions suggest the amount of gameplay mechanics knowledge the player needs to have to get the most out of them (the topmost is suggested as the most simple, with increasing intricacy as you go down the list), but nothing stops you from trying out all of them one by one in practice in the way you see fit.

    (Personally, I've been unsatisfied with the starting tank character perfomance in, well, tanking and was inclined to develop that way, but that may have been just my bias left over from the previous Xenoblade speaking.)

    You can also browse the descriptions of all Arts and Skills of all Classes from the Class change screen to be able to make a more informed decision. (There is also a curious note at the end of each Class branch that suggests using a Class weapon outside of its designated Class is possible after you max their rank out, but I have been unable to test that out myself yet.)

    There is one detail about changing Classes, however, that I haven't been aware of before I went and changed out of the starter one.

    To be more specific, you don't just get new weapon, Skill and Art access but also lose the ability to use most of the stuff your starter Class can do as well. The only exception being the Arts that conform to the newly chosen Class' specialization. You may want to consider this when you upgrade your Arts beforehand.

    XXX

    Try browsing 'Soul Voice' in your party options sometime.

    In case of NPC party members, it just shows what they are going to request of you and other party members when certain conditions are met (and exactly what bonuses you'll get besides healing if you do so); but, in case of your player character, you can actually choose one of three options from a drop-down menu for each of the trigger conditions.

    Combined with choosing Arts and Skills for your party members to complement this, you can tune your team's perfomance to your preference.

    EDIT:

    At the bottom of your character's list of these there are also two slots for which you can choose trigger conditions as well. There are several trigger conditions in there that are not covered in the default list of triggers.

    (I have not tested what happens if you happen to choose one that overlaps with the general list above.)
    Yikari
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    Post by Yikari on Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:18 am

    Ranking up a Class all the way to the end of a branch does give you full access to both of their weapon types at all times. It also changes the Arts available to you, however, since they all seem to be bound to a weapon type.

    For example, if after switching from the gatling + shield Class to something else you choose to keep both of those weapons equipped, your Art selection would not change at all. Might seem like a waste of time playing another Class in the same way like the one you've already got, but, given how Arts are unlocked gradually over the rank progression, you might want to transition yourself a bit slower - as in gain some ranks in the new Class with one of your old setups - to not lose all of your flexibility in combat.

    Mix-and-matching is always an option as well. Don't like a Class' weapon they have for range or melee but okay with the other one? Switch the offending weapon type to something more to your liking. This can also be real helpful when a main storyline or companion quest locks you out of a party member's abilities you have no one to replace with.

    (And also makes what I've said about Arts conforming to the Class' specialization remaining after a Class change incorrect; what happened was the Class I chose to change to retained access to assault rifle weapon type, thus keeping the Arts related to it I've already unlocked in the beginner Class available.)
    katimus_prime
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    Post by katimus_prime on Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:28 pm

    These are all awesome and insightful! Thanks, Yikari!


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    Post by Yikari on Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:00 pm

    Wouldn't call those 'insightful', but they help me gather my thoughts at least. Let's continue with (probably rather obvious) stuff that I somehow missed and may be a useful hint to you:

    - It is possible to view an in-game description of a piece of equipment's special quality if you can upgrade it or can see its recipe in augument creation (requires you to find at least one item that goes in creating the augument in question, if I understand it right) in the kiosk that handles both of those functions.

    However it is not always possible to do so or the description in question may be worded vaguely enough to be of no practical use, so waiting on GameFAQs it is...

    - Speaking of in-game descriptions of equipment's special qualities, the ones for inflicting a negative status on the enemy say that only auto-attacks done by this weapon can do so. Which suggests that weapons with faster cooldowns (or, in case of increased crit chance quality, with longer magazines, in my opinion) are more useful for such purposes.

    - The game warns you of this pretty explicitly, but, in case you were wondering, enemy size does matter. Out of enemies I've met that were in my level range bigger targets offered much more trouble in combat, in some cases up to ~10 levels higher than their level counter suggested even without the dark bubble mark of a 'tyrant' (read: 'elite' or 'boss') variant.

    (The in-game tutorial messages and common sense both suggest bringing Skells to such fights, but I have yet to check how much of a difference it makes in practice.)

    - This will not be new to anyone that has played the previous Xenoblade game, but Topple status effect is your friend. I'd even go so far as to say that a way of inflicting it reliably (as in, with Arts that do not require TP to function) is almost mandatory in your party's arsenal regardless of who you'll be fighting.

    Everything reducing enemies' resistance to negative effects helps with this, inflicting Stagger seems to do so as well. Soul Voice buffs, while short-term, can often be essential for this task because of how some of them can grant such effects to attack Arts that do not normally have them ('Stagger them with a melee attack!' or 'Topple them with gunfire!', for example).

    - The jump your character has can get you a long way. Jumping while sprinting can get you even further, with both bigger length and height, with no real running start required. Seriously, try to use both of those as often as possible, you'd be surprised where you can get with them.
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    Post by katimus_prime on Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:12 pm

    Topple was much easier to handle in the first Xenoblade game. I think to balance it out with online players, they've nerfed it so it's harder to inflict on things. This adds a lot more challenge to the game, but seeing as I haven't found a way to PvP, I'm not sure why this nerf was necessary.

    Oh well.

    Anyway, it's also a good idea to keep an eye on which node sites give you items for your mining trouble. Specifically, White Cometite and Aurorite are used in a couple of the quests needed for me to progress as a Prospector, and before I knew what I was doing with mining something other than Miranium, I was a little perplexed. Mining items tick once every 15 minutes, revenue at 30, and Miranium every 45. Two nights ago, I had to leave my Wii U on all night to get 5 Aurorite, so, uh, when you get those items the first time, don't sell 'em off just yet.


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    Post by Yikari on Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:38 pm

    I dunno, not being a three stage status effect and being more effective at its job seems like an improvement in my book. YMMV, I suppose.

    Speaking of rare drops, those goddrat Energy Tubes and other such items are obtainable at the network terminal in your barracks' floor in exchange for tickets everybody gets when squad missions - those that are shown at the bottom right of your screen - are getting completed. I'm not sure if rare ores are on the list though.

    XXX

    Some things to note about party controls:

    - Holding down R1 and pushing one of the directions on the D-pad shown in the legend in the middle right side of the screen allows some measure of control in herding your cats directing your party members.

    Most often used one will probably be 'Concentrate your attacks on current target'. It helps in case your comrades decide to attack whatever they want and split the damage everywhichway when you happen to be in combat with more than one enemy. Also, if you happen to issue this command when you are locked onto a limb/subsystem of an enemy, your party members will focus on that target.

    - Pressing Start (+) once the battle has started gives you access to some more options, including 'Use ranged attacks' that is very helpful against enemies with dangerous close-range abilities. The only serious downside being your party resetting back to default after the fight is over every single time.

    XXX

    First impressions of party members I've got to play around with so far:

    Minor spoilers inside:
    - Elma.

    Elma likes melee attacks, both in her Arts arsenal and Soul Voice prompts. Considering how many enemies have abilities specifically aimed at punishing anyone sticking too close to their person, that does not seem like a wise approach to me.

    While there are some Skills, Arts and Soul Voice prompts that boost her dodge chance, Elma is not a character you'd want to take enemies' aggro for prolonged periods of time. Keep the baddies off her and try to not let her kill herself by sticking to enemies she should not be sticking to.

    There is also quite a bit of stuff in her abilities lineup that doesn't seem like something I'd be comfortable leaving in the hands of the AI. And lots of Arts that require TP to function. Granted, there are also some ways to gain TP faster than normal built in there, but...

    Regardless of you choosing to control Elma to get the maximum perfomance out of her or leaving her in the hands of the AI, you'll be seeing her a lot, so you might as well get comfortable.

    (Elma also happens to be the only character who refuses to show up on her spawn point if you don't have a free slot in your party, unless I'm severely missing something. Sneaky Elma.)

    - Lin.

    Lin has a gatling and a shield and a couple of unique abilities to go with them. Tatsu and his quest goal seeking ball comes with her as well.

    One thing to note: there are two ranged Arts in the gatling branch that are cone AOE damage, which may either help you in a scrap or pull enemies you are not ready to handle, resulting in a surpirse TPK. Equip those at your discretion.

    Shield Wall buff is recommended to be equipped at all times, IMHO, for everyone that can use it.

    I don't think that leaving all tanking in the hands of the AI is something I am comfortable with, given how it doesn't use Taunt type Arts to get enemy aggro off party members that are in trouble reliably enough. Otherwise, a more or less universally useful character with some ways to Topple opponents and make use of their toppled state with thermal damage included.

    - Gwin.

    Gwin comes across to me as a stopper in every hole kind of character.

    He comes with the assault rifle + sword setup that has a bit of everything but does not excel in anything. There is a single-target Taunt and a melee attack Art that makes use of it, there are a couple of generally useful auras to choose from, some ranged attack Arts, a physical resistance debuff, an evenly divided set of Soul Voice prompts, etc.

    To put it shortly, if you already have everything you want covered but still have a free spot, stick Gwin in it, he'll do fine.

    - Irina.

    Irina wields an assault rifle + knife combo, although the actual abilities available to her are quite different from what that combination would suggest.

    Her arsenal could be roughly divided into four parts, out of which you'll need to choose two to fill up the Arts panel with. Healing, removing debuffs, casting Barrier and refilling other characters' TP gauge out of her own in one, general assault rifle stuff (ranged damage and a Topple ability) in another, Sleep effect and Brainjack under the latter two.

    While Irina's skill selection suggest dipping heavily in one of the latter two, I have used her with the first two and was satisfied with her perfomance. That may just be because of me being hesitant to rely on mechanics that promise to be quite gimmicky, but I think she can work as your 'field medic' type of character without much trouble; the only issue is the Topple ability coming rather late in rank progression.

    - Doug.

    Doug loves himself some beam weaponry. He has a Topple ability and some finer things available late in his Art list, but, for the most part, Doug is here to shoot things with giant screw-off beam cannons and chop things into smoking mess with beam sabers.

    About the only trouble with him I've had so far is that some of his ranged attack Arts can hit (and thus accidentaly aggro) quite far away. And, since Doug can't change classes, the only damage type increase skill he'll get is for the Beam damage type, so all those Thermal cannons and whatnot will probably less effective for him than for the player character.

    - H.B. was the one I unlocked next.

    He comes in a quest that's avialable after finishing chapter 3, if I'm not mistaken, and is equipped with an assault rifle + shield.

    I have not found him to be particularly tricky to use, but I also didn't really notice anything special about him besides his shield attack that deals more damage to limbs/subsystems than normal.

    He left me with a solid impression overall, my complaints about AI tanking notwithstanding.

    - Yelv arrives in another quest that is unlocked at about the same time as H.B.'s

    He is a second Doug. Well, I may be mistaken, but I didn't notice much difference to him. The Art, Skill and Soul Voice lineups differ, but I have yet to discern if I should use these two in different ways or not.

    So I guess my recommendation would be to set him loose when you feel you don't have enough beams in your party. Very Happy

    - Lao.

    Lao is a sniper rifle + spear kind of guy that gets unlocked during the chapter 4 story quest.

    Some electric damage abilities, an all-party ranged accuracy buff and quite a bit of damage, more happy to call for ranged attacks than most. Perhaps the one party member I've had to pay the least attention to so far.

    - L.

    L is added to the party roster after you finish chapter 4. Comes equipped with psy launchers and a shield, with some good aura effects in both his Arts and Soul Voice.

    L's first ranged attack is an AOE with Beam resistance reduction quality on it, so I guess L and Doug plus Yelv might like teaming up with each other (although I have yet to try leaning on a single damage type so much).

    - Phog.

    Becomes available in a quest after chapter 4 is complete. Plays like a slightly less suicidally inclined Elma (as in, more ranged, less melee), which is already a huge plus in my book. Smile

    Still has some trouble with having self-damaging Arts while already being on the fragile side and whatnot though.

    - Alexa.

    Available in a quest after chapter 4 is complete. Comes with assault rifle + spear and unique Arts and Skills aimed at Skell piloting.

    Has showed kind of lacklustre perfomance on foot so far, not sure what to say here.

    (I sure hope I didn't misspel any names here. Writing from memory when tired is not conducive to good post quality. Wink )

    But that's just first impressions. Probably could use some work, honestly.
    Yikari
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    Post by Yikari on Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:47 pm

    Update on party member impressions:

    minor spoilers inside:
    - I was unable to reproduce the issue with Elma not being available with my party at full. It seemed kind of similar to party members teleporting to their heart-to-heart scenes, but I didn't have a cat that was required at the time, so...

    - Yelv's main difference from Doug appears to be that he is specced on melee, in contrast to Doug's focus on ranged when it comes to Art and Skill selection. Maybe.

    - Alexa has access to the 'Fortified Flesh' (+30-50% to maximum hp) skill and thus cannot be all that bad. Razz

    - Frye is a Gwin that exchanged his one-target Taunt and physical resistance reduction attack for a gatling gun and a thermal resistance reduction attack. His unique ranged Art deals damage in every direction and is thus prone to drawing aggression from everything in sight.

    He and Phog refuse to work with each other for reasons specified in a later companion mission.

    - Murdress, believe it or not, is a potential party member.

    She is armed with psy launchers and dual swords and likes to call for purple Arts more often than most.

    XXX

    Got to play with the skell you get for completing the license quest. Observations so far:

    - There are few bodies of water that are deeper than knee height for it; in case of those it can just hover over the surface anyway. Thus it allows you to engage in combat in places you previously were forced to swim and to jump off the water's surface to get to places that were unreachable before.

    - Speaking of jumping, your Skell grants you a greater jump height as well, but at a price of a much bigger minimal turning radius and sliding around like a cow on ice upon landing.

    After some faffing about with it, my recommendation would be to come to a complete stop and turn to face your intended destination before each jump. The slower turning mid-jump can help with jumping around vertical obstacles as well.

    - Vehicle mode replaces your sprint. It can't move in reverse and has some problems with precision manoeuvres and camera jumping around at weird angles, but the flat-out better speed is great for getting away from enemy pursuit. Just lay off the gas before adjusting course and don't use it when in close proximity to cliffs you'd rather not fall off.

    It is possible to prolong your jump distance when in this mode, but only when crossing gaps. To do so press the jump button without letting off the gas right after you start falling; you'll lose some height but since the jump will be performed only after the transformation is complete, you'll be able to reach places that will normally be too far away for your regular jump.

    - Don't forget to use the R1 button when choosing your weapon loadout to see what the art associated with the weapon in question actually does. The stat card shows the numbers, but the actual 'color' and stuff like the number of targets, AOE effect and such of the attack is not shown by the default.

    And while loading up to the gills with all the ranged (yellow) type attacks may be tempting (or it was for me, at least), it will likely be less than effective - the combat system works similarly when in Skells and thus you'll need a little bit of every color, adjusted for your current team members' Soul Voice needs.
    Yikari
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    Post by Yikari on Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:22 pm

    Not a great insight of any sort (again), but a non-spoilery bit of advice for the 'find plushie lobsters' quest:

    I haven't been able to find more than 47 of them until after I've finished chapter 7. After that a whole bunch of them spawned in places I've very definitely checked thrice already and now I am sitting at somewhere around 90 or so of the little buggers.

    I am not sure if the quest requires you to finish a chapter after first taking it or if it is tied to a specific chapter number, but that was how it happened in my playthrough.

    EDIT:

    Looking up tips on gamefaqs and stuff suggests the above observations may or may not be correct. Regardless, here is a pretty good screenshot guide for lobster locations in case you have yet to find it:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kU7nCw-ZWEuGDq9lPZEYCLm2F4UjKx8aRNFIlbbf3-k/pub

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