Pokemon Scarlet & Violet: What to do First & which Story Path to choose

With its new open-world style approach, Pokemon Scarlet & Violet are sure to prompt a very specific question from many of its players: What should I do first? The answer is open-ended, with each path having pros and cons - and in this guide, we're going to try to explain the differences between the three main story paths, and which you should initially prioritize.

To begin with, Scarlet & Violet start out like any other Pokemon game - waking up at your mum's house, father absent, and heading out on an adventure. What's different in this game is you're enrolled at a school, which means there's quite a bit of talking before you can really get going on your Pokemon Trainer journey. Keep pressing through that - eventually, you'll be turned out of Mesagoza City and free to roam the entire world.

During the nattering, you'll be introduced to the three main story paths in the game. Victory Road is the classic Pokemon League challenge - defeat Eight Gym Leaders and then challenge the Elite Four. Starfall Street tasks you with facing off against a series of fortified bases owned by Team Star, this game's enemy team. Finally, Path of Legends has you hunting down Titan Pokemon and the mysterious Terra Mystica. 

You can do any of the objectives from any of these stories in any order - which can be overwhelming. Luckily, we're here to help...

Nemona will represent your rival in the Victory Road path, which is probably the best option of what to do first in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet.

What to do First in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

The easiest way to run down this question is to divide it up into a few key bullet points - and by reading them, you'll understand the structure of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet better and be able to make a more informed choice about what to do first. With that in mind:

Should I do a particular Mission Path First?

There's a simple answer to this - no! In fact, the best way to play the game is to mix and match your way through the content - so for instance, take on a gym, then head to a Team Star Base, then maybe another Gym, then another base and a Titan Pokemon - and so on. 

At no point in the game do any of the stories require you to take on multiple steps consecutively. What this means is that you can finish one task, then go off and do something from another path - no sweat. It also means that, if you find something too difficult to the point where even our Strength & Weakness Type Chart can't help you, you can walk away from that challenge and do some other stuff instead for a while. It's truly open-ended. 

There are two elements of the game that are tied to progressing the paths that are worth noting, however.

  1. First, every gym you beat will increase the level up to which Pokemon will obey you without question, as is Pokemon tradition. If a high-level Pokemon is refusing to listen to you, you should go topple another Gym. 
  2. The Titan Pokemon each unlock a new ability for the legendary Pokemon you ride around - including the ability to sprint, travel across water, jump higher, glide in the air, and climb vertical surfaces. As such, players who want to explore fully may want to do these earlier - but some of the later battles are high-level, and hard.
There's a lot of world to explore, so what you do first doesn't actually matter too much.

If you're just starting out and want some advice, here's a few pointers nevertheless:

  • The two weakest gyms are Cortonodo Gym (Bug-type, Area 2 South Province) and Artazon Gym (Grass-type, Area 1 East Province). 
  • The weakest of the Team Star bases is The Dark Crew, found in the West Province - but you'll want to be approaching Level 20 to take this on.
  • Finally, make your first Titan Pokemon Klawf, the Stony Cliff Titan, who can be challenged once you're around Level 20.

Is there an Optimum Order for the Storylines & Quests?

Another question that has a short answer - yes, there is. But allow us to expand on that answer a little.

While you can do any of the missions in any order, Scarlet & Violet don't feature any level scaling - which means if you strike out, you could end up in a gym or an area of the world where you're vastly over-leveled, and your only option will be to return later. Because levels don't scale or adjust, that means that the 'best' order to tackle the content is in level order, so your Pokemon gradually grow in line with those that you're challenging.

This is a huge topic, so we've actually got a separate page for it: our Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Gym, Team Star Base & Titan Pokemon Order guide. Consult that if you want an outright step-by-step order to take on the missions that are given to you as you leave Mesagoza for the very first time. Alternatively..

Do I need to finish all three Quest Lines?

Challenging Team Star Bases can be tackled in whatever non-linear fashion you like.

If you want to see all that Pokemon Scarlet & Violet have to offer, you will eventually have to complete each of the three main quest lines, yes. Each quest line has its own discrete ending of a sort - so yes, you can go challenge the Elite Four and become Champion before you do any of the other stories if you so wish - but it might create a little narrative dissonance.

However, the final area of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet and its ultimate challenges only unlock for you once you've taken all three of the main storylines to their conclusion - so you will need to finish all three to see the true finale of the game. This Pokemon journey doesn't end when you become Champion - and we'll leave it at that...