Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Beginner’s Guide: Tips for New Drivers

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The Cloud Sea of Alrest is a dangerous place, and you’ll need all the help you can get if you hope to survive Xenoblade Chronicles 2. You may already have aptitude as a Blade Driver, but on the Titans of Alrest, you’ll find yourself challenged by more than just your enemies.

As is par for the course for vast JRPGs, there are several systems to grapple with while learning the ropes. Thankfully you’re introduced to many of these systems rather slowly, but it’s not hard to overlook or forget them in the rush to get to the meat of the game.

Because of that, we’ve put together a few tips on all the things you should keep in mind while just starting out in Alrest. Let’s dive in!

Fine Tune the Difficulty in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 to Your Preference

There’s been a slight change in how Experience (EXP) is handled overall. While you still gain direct EXP for defeating enemies, Quest Experience doesn’t apply right away. Instead, the Quest EXP you accumulate all goes into a pool of Bonus Experience that can be cashed in when you rest at an Inn.

The best part is, when you rest at the Inn, you get to choose how many levels to give your Drivers based on the pool of Bonus Experience they’ve accumulated. You may even choose not to level them at all. Ultimately, how quickly you level is completely up to you, so you no longer have to worry about making the game too easy because you wanted to complete all of the side quests.

Check the Quest Log for Tips When You Get Stuck

Gone are the days where we scour GameFAQs for help on every other sidequest in Xenoblade. The Quest Log in this entry is actually estimable and quite excellent at showing you all the information you need to know.

Improved Quest Log and Sliding Difficulty Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Beginner's Guide Tips

You can pull up your active quest objective at any time in the overworld simply by pressing ZR. With that pop-up open, pressing the Y button lets you dive straight into the Quest Log so you can see more detailed information on the quest. Combine all that with the new compass and solid map interface, and you have a Quest Log that’s actually a joy to use.

So whenever you find yourself stuck, just open up the new-and-improved Quest Log. You’ll be surprised how much information can be found in there.

Distribute Blade Core Crystals Evenly Across All Available Drivers

Core Crystals are items that Drivers open in order to resonate with new Blades. In order to keep your options in combat as open as possible, it’s important to distribute these Core Crystals evenly across all of your available Drivers, lest you run into an issue where one Driver has too few Blades to swap between while others have more than they can handle. Remember, variety is the spice of life!

Remember to Actively Work on Blade Affinity Charts

Aside from Core Chips and Aux Cores, filling out Affinity Charts is one of the main ways you can upgrade your Blades. Rather than using Skill Points to upgrade these charts like Drivers do, you need to build Trust to unlock new upgrade tiers and complete side objectives to activate the bonuses.

It’s important to check the Affinity Charts often to keep track of what side objectives you need to complete in order to power up your Blades. Many of these objectives are pretty straightforward, but some of them don’t make much sense.

Blade Affinity Chart Core Crystals Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Beginner's Guide Tips

The ones I found to be particularly confusing included the use of a skill that I hadn’t heard of. None of your Arts go by the name of the skill, after all, so I was left wondering how to use it for many hours. Later on, however, I found the objective slowly completing whenever I would use certain stages of my special attack.

So, when confused about how to complete an Affinity Chart objective, it’s a good idea to just continue playing with that Blade. Ultimately, the objective should eventually complete itself through normal gameplay.

Raise the Development Level of Towns to Access Upgraded Shops

If you raise the Dev Level of different towns, their shop inventories will expand to offer greater variety and better deals. In order to raise your Dev Level, you need to chat up the citizens, complete side quests, and purchase deeds to the shops in town.

Don’t think buying the deeds to shops is a waste of money, either. Even if it didn’t contribute to the Dev Level, you still earn amazing passive abilities for owning these deeds. There are just so many benefits to upgrading towns that you seriously have no reason not to.

Return to Previous Areas When the Cloud Tide Shifts

The Cloud Sea goes through periods of High Tide and Low Tide in Alrest. Unlike the tides in the real world, however, the Cloud Tide isn’t exactly affected by the time of day, so your fate is left up to the Titan you’re riding upon. When the Tide does shift, however, it’s a good idea to go back to old areas in order to see if you can’t discover any cool secrets.

Development Level Cloud Sea Tides Long Rest Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Beginner's Guide Tips

You can manually affect the Tide if you wish, but it’s a little more complicated than fiddling with the Time options in the menu. In order to shift the Tide, you’ll have to find an Inn to stay at that offers Long Rests. When you awaken, the Cloud Tide will have shifted.

Don’t Be Afraid to Avoid Strong Enemies

Anyone familiar with Xenoblade is also familiar with disproportionately strong enemies littering beginner areas. If you’re new to the series, you should know that you’re by no means expected to take down every enemy that stands between you and your objective.

Sometimes you’ll find a strong enemy right in the middle of your path. No matter where it’s found, however, don’t be afraid to run away and return once your party is more prepared. You may even choose to simply walk around it.

Take your time learning how each game system works, and Alrest is sure to reward you. For help figuring out the combat system or the secrets of the Cloud Sea, be sure to check back with GameSkinny for more Xenoblade Chronicles 2 guides coming soon.

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