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Six things Xenoblade Chronicles 3 doesn't tell you

Get ready for emotional damage.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 might be the best JRPG of the year. We adored the lovable characters and the wildly dramatic story. It also has a connection to past games, though you can still play it as a newcomer. It walks beginners through the basics during the first three chapters of the game. However, some of the little things slip through the cracks. We want you to play this emotionally damaging story, so here are six beginner’s tips that can help.

6. Your Heroes still level up without you

In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I constantly swapped between party members because I didn’t want them to fall behind their over-leveled peers. I thought it’d be the same for Xenoblade Chronicles 3. It isn’t.

Many, many Heroes join you in your quest throughout Aionios. However, you can only have one seventh party member. Thankfully, they still gain XP even when they’re not in your party. If you check their levels in the “Heroes” menu, you’ll see them automatically rising with yours. You can often raise them an extra level with bonus XP (along with your party members) at the next campsite if you swap them out. Yes, they also gain bonus XP even when they’re not part of a fight.

Valdi is an essential early-game healer.Monolith Soft

So I’d advise just keeping your favorite in party or whoever’s class you need to copy. Right now, I’m riding with Valdi because he’s an amazing healer.

5. Eat at canteens to learn new recipes

Most colonies have a canteen with a specialty dish. It might not seem necessary at first because you have Manana. After all, why pay for food if Manana can cook XP and drop-boosting meals for free?

Well, she learns whatever recipe you eat. That way, you just need to pay once to learn the recipe and then make it at your own campfire. Some of the ingredients are elusive, so you might want to eat at canteens more than once if you need its specific boost.

4. Watch out for question marks on the map

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 map icons help point players toward quest objectives, campsites, and other important events. Some of these events appear as “question marks,” which imply that there’s something worth checking out in that area. Often it’s a Hero Quest (a quest to recruit a new team member), or another special event still worth investigating.

3. Your character’s base stats don’t matter

Mio sliding on a tight rope near Keves Castle.Monolith Soft

Don’t worry about assigning incompatible classes to your characters. If you remove all their accessories and gems and assign them the same class, you’ll see that their base stats are actually comparable. Eunie has slightly more healing power and Lanz has slightly more physical defense, but a couple of points lower or higher doesn’t make a big difference. Your character’s strength comes from how viable their class is, not their innate strength.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 encourages players to assign classes to party members willy-nilly. You can level up classes with CP, adapt other classes’ arts, and equip Heroes’ classes as you experiment.

2. Don’t assign partners the same class type

The six main characters come in pairs: Noah and Mio, Eunie and Taion, and Lanz and Sena. Keep team comps balanced and don’t assign partners the same class. For example, if your only healers are Noah and Mio, you’re going to lose your healers when they morph into their Ouroboros form. If you’re fighting a powerful boss, this can mean coming back to a wiped team after you disengage.

1. Turn off confusing numbers (or don’t)

Your Ouroboros squad.Monolith Soft

One of the longest-running complaints about the Xenoblade series is its cluttered combat UI. Even I complained about it in my own review, there’s actually a way to turn off the numbers. In the Options menu, you can switch off your own or party members’ arts and auto-attack numbers.

I preferred the information overload over no information. It’s the same either way: Not knowing who was doing damage because of too many numbers, or not knowing who was doing damage because of no numbers. At least the numbers let me know when party members were actually doing damage.

But I digress. If it will help you, just go into Options and turn them off.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is available for Nintendo Switch.

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