New to the Dragon Quest series? Just wondering what’s new in Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age? We have you covered with this spoiler-free beginner’s guide. You can learn a bit more about the mechanics Square-Enix’s new RPG below.
Interested in more in-depth Dragon Quest 11 guides that may have more spoilers? Check them out below:
One of the biggest changes in Dragon Quest is tension being replaced by pep. With tension you had to take turns to build it up and unleash powerful attacks and spells. Pep, however, is not something the player can entirely control but comes with a variety of other benefits.
Pep typically activates when characters take actions and get attacked, meaning that the party members you use on the front lines the most are also the ones you see get pepped up. Pep offers a bonus to some stats, depending on the character. For example, Veronica gets boosts to magical might and other stats that help her spell casting, while Erik gets boosts to agility. When a character gets pepped up, it lasts multiple turns, and if you finish a battle before the pep runs out, it carries over to the next battle.
There’s another aspect of pep, however--Pep Powers. Pep Powers are when two or more characters team up for a powerful special move. There’s a small number of skills that require only one character pepped up, but most of them require multiple characters pepped up. Using a Pep Power uses up the pep of any character involved, however, so generally it’s not a good idea to use them right away. It’s up to you to decide when is the best time to use Pep Powers, but also remember--if one of the characters needed for the Pep Power is incapacitated, you won’t be able to use the move!
Skills and Skill Panels
Character gain skill points upon level up, just like in Dragon Quest VIII and IX--however, instead of just picking a category and putting points into it, instead Dragon Quest XI introduces skill panels. While skills are still separated into four or five different categories, now it’s easier to mix and match abilities for your party.
When first starting out, it’s in your best interest to pick one of the available weapons and stick to mainly learning those skills, and each character’s unique category. Later in the game, though, it may be a good idea to dabble with multiple branches, whether it’d be for a specific skill or grabbing a Pep Power for a sidequest. For more information on skills, please check out our skill guide.
General Battle Strategies
When going through Dragon Quest XI, there are a few strategies to keep in mind to make things a bit easier. For starters, some characters can wield weapons that attack either whips or boomerangs that attack multiple foes at once, making it easier to take down foes. It may be a good idea to have a character specialize in one of these weapons, even if it makes that character a bit less effective during bosses.
Speaking of, bosses are far less likely to use skills that cancel out beneficial skills than previous entries of the series. Therefore, it’s really useful to use moves like Kabuff to up the survivability of the party. Additionally, using the right Hymn to lower elemental damage can save a lot of pain with later bosses. The game also lets you know when a buff is about to run out by having the icon flash for the last turn, allowing you a chance to plan ahead to refresh without guessing when it will run out.
When fighting metal monsters, speed is the name of the game to kill them and gain experience. Many characters can learn skills in swords, and that includes Metal Slash. Having a Falcon item can also help, allowing you two hits in an attempt to get extra damage. For defeating metal monsters later in the game, Erik’s Critical Claim is a guaranteed critical hit on an enemy. It costs a fair amount of MP to use, but given his agility, he’ll be likely to pull it off before the metal monster gets away.
Other useful skills to try and grab are Sylvando’s Hustle Dance (heals the HP of all party members based on his Charm stat, which is already high), The Hero’s Zap family of spells (not many monsters carry a resistance to lightning), and Rab’s Zing Stick (guaranteed party member revival likely before you get Kazing, and at a lower MP cost).
The Fun-Size Forge
The Fun-Size Forge is Dragon Quest XI’s crafting system. This forge requires a mini-game to create items, but is a much faster process and requires fewer items than previous crafting systems. You can only use the Fun-Size Forge at camps, so make sure you spend some time in the great outdoors to take advantage of it.
With the Fun-Size Forge, you can craft new gear for your characters, after finding recipes from around the world. It’s the most cost-effective way of outfitting your party, and it can even help you make some extra gold! Looking for a more on this new mechanic? Check out our Fun-Size Forge guide.
Can You Miss Anything?
While it may seem like there’s a point of no return in Dragon Quest XI, thankfully that’s not the case, and nothing is missable. Certain quests may be unavailable for a time, but eventually, you’ll regain access to everything in the post-game.