Dragon Quest XI is an incredibly large game with an overwhelming number of places to see and baddies to beat. With 100 hours of content to work through, it can be a little difficult keeping track of your party of misfits and monster slayers. Fortunately we’ve already waded through the legions of darkness to bring you a whole bunch of tips and advice to get you prepared for the trials ahead. From skill trees to slot machines, here’s what you need to know to save the world.
As your journey stretches across the farthest reaches of Erdrea, you’ll soon find yourself accompanied by a number of party members, each with their own unique skill set. There’s a total of eight party members available in the game, but since you’ve only got four active slots to fill during combat, choosing the right team composition can make or break the next encounter. While the team members available to you can change depending on what part of the story you’re on, a good rule of thumb when building your squad is to aim for two melee and two magic characters. By doing this, you can make sure all bases are covered on both magical and physical fronts, ensuring that if anything happens to a member of either vocation, there’s always someone else there ready to do the job. The best people to use for this would be the hero (the main character), Erik, Rab, and Serena. When you eventually unlock the eighth and final party member, they should be swapped in to replace Erik as they also fulfil the role of tank.
On the subject of tanks, the game does contain a tooltip hidden away in one of the many loading screen messages stating that the party member in the first slot of the team will be subject to more attacks than the rest of the party. While I was unable to reliably confirm or deny that the increased threat was significant enough to worth worrying about, I did notice that the hero character seemed to get hit a lot more than his companions. As such, it’s worth making sure that you invest in health and defense gear on the hero specifically where possible.
While Dragon Quest XI does a great job of keeping your team appropriately levelled throughout the story, there are a handful of sections that seemingly jump in difficulty, forcing you to spend a while grinding away a few levels to stand a better shot at winning the fight. When this happens, the game can feel like it slows to a crawl, but thankfully there is a way of making the grind a little more automated.
The first step is to make sure that your entire team is set to “Fight Wisely” in the tactics menu. By doing this, you give over the controls to the AI as soon as you hit fight, letting the game decide the best course of action during battle. Not only does this mean that you have less menus to navigate through, it also means that you can generally hope to fight more efficiently as the game will often cheat with knowledge it shouldn’t have. This is most apparent when a caster goes in for a 7-10 damage melee attack on an enemy instead of casting a spell because it secretly knows it can get away with it. Regardless of what enemy you’re farming for experience, the AI does a great job of keeping everyone alive and topped up as you grind away. If a battle ends before your healers manage to fill everyone’s health bars up, simply open the main menu then hit the hotkey that opens the map (that’s Triangle for the menu, then Square for the map on PS4), which is a very useful shortcut to the “Handy Heal” option buried in another menu which will automatically heal everyone up in the most efficient way possible.
Eventually your team is going to start running low on MP reserves, and there’s only so many monsters you can finish off before you risk having a party member die. To counter this, you should try to make sure that you find the closest campfire to wherever the level appropriate monsters can be found. By staying close to a campfire, you ensure that you can top up whenever anyone gets low, as well as having access to a statue for reviving fallen party members, removing conditions like poison, and saving your progress after you’ve hit your desired level.
You may come across the Arriviste Vest and Elevating Vest on your travels which offer a bonus to experience and gold earned in battle. While these items might seem like they could provide a lucrative boost, they are actually quite flawed as farming tools. While the Arriviste Vest provides a 10% boost to experience for your entire team, providing someone in the active party is wearing it, this bonus is capped to a maximum of 75 experience per person, which means if you defeated an enemy worth 800 experience, you would only receive a total of 875 experience from that battle. Similar restrictions are placed onto the Elevating Vest too, which also provides an approximate 10% extra gold per battle, but this is capped at 15 gold total. Unless you got these items from a collector’s edition code, by the time you find them in the game at the Puerto Valor casino, you will find that you are already outpacing the capped bonus each vest gives you, and since you have to trade a chest armor slot to equip them, they really aren’t worth using over the other gear available at this point in the game.
As your party levels up they will begin to amass SP which can be spent to unlock a number of passive and active skills from the skill tree. Each character has a separate wing for their equippable weapons, as well as one of two unique wings that grant them special abilities based on their background. While it might not seem like it at first, these skill trees will expand throughout the game, with some members gaining whole new wings after certain events.
The most important thing to understand when it comes to building up a party member is that you will struggle if you try to stretch them out to cover several categories. For example, Erik is a rogue that has access to swords, boomerangs, knives, and his own unique tree guile. If you attempted to put points into all four of these wings, then Erik would have access to a handful of beginner skills for the three weapon types, but his overall stats and attack strength would be lower than someone who specialized in only one or two of the wings. The more powerful and useful abilities are almost always hidden away further into the respective skill tree wings too, so you’re better off picking a single weapon that works for your composition and focusing on that over trying to be a jack of all trades.
As you battle your way across Erdrea, your active party members will regularly start to fall into a state of Pep, which passively boosts their main stats and gives them access to powerful combo moves that can be performed alongside other team members. Pep doesn’t last forever though, but you can make the most of it while it’s active if you’re smart about your actions for the duration.
The impulse of course is to use a Pep Power whenever it becomes available, but you should try to avoid this where possible. it’s not clear just how long Pep is supposed to last for, though I found that it usually sticks around for around four to five turns on average. To make the most of your Pepped state, instead of instantly consuming the power, instead try to use your stat boosts to deal extra damage with normal attacks and spells for two or three turns before activating your Pep Power. By doing this you’ll milk a bit of extra damage out of your temporary state which can sometimes make all the difference during a difficult battle.
When you reach Puerto Valor you may run across the casino, which houses several interesting and slightly more powerful weapons and armor pieces. The catch is that these items can only be acquired by earning casino coins, either by purchasing them or winning them through the various games available. Thankfully there is a way to consistently win coins with the help of the Slime Quest slots. These specific slot machines are a little different to the regular ones in that even if you fail on a turn, your progress carries over into the next turn, which will eventually guarantee a payout given enough time.
To start this process, you will first need to purchase 200 tokens from the attendant at the front desk. From here, head to the side where the 10 slot Slime Quest machines are and talk to the attendant to the right of them. After an initial conversation, talk to her again and she will show you the current status of the machines. Try and find a 1 slot Slime Quest machine that is either considered “hot” or one that has a payout bonus active. If there aren’t any machines that stand out, just pick any of them and then start playing on it. After jumping onto a machine, hit the button for auto-run and let the machine automate the next 100 turns. At 1 coin per turn, this gives you 200 chances to score any number of payouts, and the more the machine pays out, the more chances you’ll get to score even more bonuses. Repeat this until you hit around 4000 coins, and then move over to the 10 slot Slime Quest machines and repeat the process. With enough time, you should be able to amass as many coins as you need for any of the prizes in the shop.
The Fun-Size Forge is obtained fairly early on, but you probably won’t find much use for it until much later in the game. While it may allow you to craft any number of items, most of these are readily available in the game world to be purchased, found in chests in the wild, or as drops from enemies. Unless you’re desperate for a specific piece of equipment, or you’re after multiples of the same bit of gear, there really isn’t much reason to start crafting.
That doesn’t mean that the forge is entirely useless however, as it can also be used to enhance equipment beyond the original stats they give you. Not only can this be done for crafted gear, but it will also work on most purchased and found items too, with only a handful of unique exceptions that are exempt from enhancement. Enhancements require Perfectionist Pearls in order to complete however, which can be obtained either by crafting equipment or by purchasing them from a handful of vendors, the most easily accessible one being the shopkeeper next to the inn in the L’Académie de Notre Maître des Médailles.
Throughout the course of the game you may come across a number of consumable seeds that grant permanent boosts to various stats, as well as giving free skill points to spend in the skill tree. These items can be easily forgotten, but you would do well to use them whenever you find them as the minor bumps in stats will soon start to add up. The only seed you should hold onto is the Seed of Skill, as this can be used as a backup if one of your party members is sitting just shy of reaching a new skill in their skill tree.
As you search through hidden chests throughout the game, you may find yourself in possession of a Mini Medal. These seemingly unimportant tokens can be traded into a specific person at the L’Académie de Notre Maître des Médailles for some decent pieces of gear. Though there’s nothing game breaking on offer here, trading in the Mini Medals for what is essentially free equipment should be reason enough to visit every once in a while. If you’re looking to give yourself a small injection of Mini Medals, there’s an easy way to gain at least four around the academy itself without much effort.
The first step is to talk to the rowdy girl by the tree to the left of the entrance to the academy. She will task you with making a Queen’s Whip +1, the reward being three whole Mini Medals. The whip itself is quite simple to make, requiring a Green Orb, Mirrorstone, and Narspicious which can be purchased at the vendor next to the innkeeper inside the academy itself. The Mirrorstone and Narspicious can be found at a gathering spots in The Champs Sauvage, located in the area directly east of the academy. Once you’ve got the ingredients Zoom over to a campfire and forge the whip before collecting your precious medals.
The fourth Mini Medal isn’t actually located in the academy itself, but there is a subtle clue as to its whereabouts drawn on the chalkboard behind the save priestess inside the academy. Those with a sharp memory should recognize that the drawing is of the wheat field located between the Warrior’s Rest Inn and the ruins of Zwaardurst. To find the medal, head to the centre of the field and keep hitting the action button until you eventually nab it.
Andy Moore is a gaming freelancer based in the UK. When he’s not writing, he can be found staring blankly out of the nearest window, or spending way too much time on Twitter.