Dragon Quest 11 is finally out now, after a very long wait- the last mainline Dragon Quest game released in the west nine years ago. Unlike that game, however, Dragon Quest 11 is a classic, old school JRPG through and through, taking you on a vast, epic adventure though the land, seeing you take down monsters in turn based battles, and saving the world. Like any classic turn based RPG, there’s a lot to unpack here- leveling up your character, exploring the world, getting good loot, doing well in battle, and so much more. In this guide, we help you find your footing in the world of Dragon Quest 11.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Explore: Dragon Quest 11 is not an open world game, but it does feature a vast world that it generally lets you explore to your heart’s content. Exploration almost always brings great rewards, so make sure to spend some time in the world
If you can’t get somewhere, make a note of it. Eventually, you’ll be able to get there, and you might find something that was worth the wait.
Battle! Don’t try to avoid battles- engage in them to the extent you can. XP and money is always helpful, and will keep you better equipped for the larger challenges you face later.
Keep an eye out for Metal Slimes. These things can net you a lot of XP if taken down; just make sure to only use physical attacks on them. Use skills like Metal Slash, Metalicker on them, or Liquid Metal weapons, or try to use skills with high Critical Hit rates- they run away really fast, you see, so you need to get them down as soon as possible to get that XP yield.
Experiment with your party composition. You recruit a colorful cast of characters over the course of your journey- make sure to mix and match your party composition. For harder battles, it is recommended to keep a mage, a physical attacker, and a support character on your active roster.
Don’t spend money wantonly. Surprisingly enough, money can be hard to come by in adequate amounts in the game- so don’t spend it on everything you see. If you see some gear that gives you a appreciable stat boost over your current gear (as in, +10 or more), go for it. Otherwise, maybe hold off.
You can switch weapons mid-battle- make use of this fact. You can switch between any weapons your character is holding in the middle of battle, which gives you a wider range of attacks to work with- don’t neglect this advantage the game hands you!
Don’t waste your Pep. Pep is a powered up state your characters eventually enter, during which they are buffed up. Use your Pep powers, and if you have two characters who are Pepped, make sure to use their combined Pep powers (if they have learned those).
Stop at every campsite you see. Campsites can be used to rest and restore your HP, MP, and remove status conditions entirely, but that’s not the only reason to stop at one- doing so also unlocks it as a Fast Travel point later.
Your map is far more than just a map. Not only can you use it to get your bearings in the world, and figure out where to go next, it also acts as a quest log. Whenever you feel unsure about where you’re supposed to be going next, just pull up your map and take a look at it.
Think about playing Draconian Mode. Dragon Quest 11 is an exceptionally easy game- maybe that’s what you want, and that’s fine. But if you are looking fo a bit more bite to your JRPG, Draconian Mode is available from the get go, and gives you a far harder Dragon Quest 11 than you would otherwise get.
The Skill Tree in Dragon Quest 11 is called the Character Builder, laid out like a grid of hexagons. It works like you expect a Skill Tree to work- you get points, and you can use them to unlock any ability as long as you are adjacent to it. You can pick and choose any ability you want- don’t do that. Here are some things to keep in mind with the Character Builder:
- You get Skill Points upon leveling up
- Do not try to diversify your character. Until later into the game, you won’t have enough Skill Points to gain meaningful skills unless you choose to focus on one branch, and one branch only. It is best to figure out which branch you want to focus on, and then stick to that
- You can respec. If you spent a Skill Point on an ability you didn’t want, you can, later on in the game, use the Rectification option at any Sacred Statue or Church to get back a Skill Point and repeal an ability that is unlocked for 20 gold spent per ability.
That’s not all we’re helping you with, though- here’s one early ability you should invest in for each character. You can thank us later:
- Protagonist: Miracle Slash (16P)
- Veronica: Any Elemental Resist ability (10P)
- Erik: Poison Strike (7P)
- Serena: Hymns (8P Each; don’t sleep on these ones)
- Jade: Multithrust (12P)
- Sylvando: Hustle Dance (14P)
- Rab: Right as Rain (6P)
USING THE KEYS
You get two keys in the game, the Magic Key and the Ultimate Key- you literally cannot miss either key, since they are both story related. So that takes care of that. That said, finding the doors these keys open can be harder, so that’s the part we’ll help you out with:
- Cobblestone Village
- Gallopolis City
- Dundrasil Region
- The Hotto Steppe
- Downtown Heliodor
- Zwaarsdrust Region
- L’Académie de Notre Maître des Médailles
- Insula Australis
- Insula Occidentalis
- Insula Centralis
- Phnom Nonh
- Puerto Valor
- The Battlegrounds
- Phnom Nonh
- Sniflheim Castle — Basement
- The Cryptic Crypt — Cell Block
- The Hotto Steppe — Northern Whale Way Station
- Puerto Valor
- Insula Orientalis
- Insula Incognita
- Insula Occidentalis
- Gallopolis — Well
- Sniflheim — Whale Way Station
- The Manglegrove — Whale Way Station
- Champs Sauvage — Whale Way Station
- Helior Dungeons
USING THE MINI FORGE
The Mini Forge can be used to craft items and gear for yourself- you can use it at campsites (one more reason to stop at them), but in and of itself, you can’t do much with it. First, you need recipes to be able to craft the things you want. There are three ways to get these recipes:
- Complete side quests. A lot of them offer recipes as a reward
- Read Red Books- a lot of them will net you recipes
- Open treasure chests- some, very few, of them will have recipes nestled in them
You need materials to be able to craft your items- these can be procured at shiny spots on the map. Then, finally, you actually craft your item at the Mini Forge. The video guide below will walk you through this part of the process better than any words can: