Nintendo is closing off the Switch’s first year in the exact same way that it started it- with a massive, world sprawling adventure. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the newest entry in Monolith Soft’s long running franchise, and it brings the same deft mix of philosophically profound storytelling, addictive battle system, layered RPG mechanics, and a gorgeous world to explore, to the system.
It’s a staggeringly big RPG, to be honest- full of details and mechanics that can be hard to keep track of. As a matter of fact, it also fails to tutorialize these mechanics well. There’s way too much going on in this game- so if you find yourself overwhelmed, we’re here to help. This Xenoblade Chronicles 2 guide will give you general tips and tricks, teach you how to level up quickly and earn money quickly, teach you about classes, how to farm rare core crystals, rare blades, lockpicking, weapons, and Poppi’s artificial blade.
Ready? Then let’s go.
GENERAL TIPS AND TRICKS
Familiarize yourself with the controls. These can be accessed at any time by pressing the D-pad buttons on the field, and they change dramatically based on what you are doing in the game
Familiarize yourself with the battle system. Xenoblade 2 has the same battle system (albeit with a different UI) as the original- understand how auto-attacks, positioning, elemental advantages, Arts, combos, links, revivals, and affinities work. The game does a good job of teaching you this stuff over time, but the basics are something you should know before hand (in simple words, auto attacks happen automatically, use your Arts for special moves that release special effects, link attacks across party members by following status effects, and position yourself next to the enemy in such a way that your attacks and Arts are strongest).
Don’t feel compelled to complete a quest right away. While the quests in this game are better than in the first, they are still really annoying. If you start approaching them with a completionist mindset, you can get turned off from playing the game at all. It’s best to just take on everything, and then do it as you go along, instead of making your side quests your primary objectives.
But don’t ignore sidequests, either. The more sidequests you complete, the more the town that you got them from develops. The more a town develops, the more inventory and gear you can find there, and the more the prices on things drops.
Be mindful of the weather, time of the day, and tides. These can affect not just what areas of the world are accessible to you, but also what monsters spawn, and even what quest objectives are available at a given time.
Switch around your characters and blades. Rex is the main character, but you don’t have to play as him. Set ay other character as the party lead, and you now play as him. Experiment with other characters, and learn how they work. Similarly, switch around your blades as well- you’re not married to Pyra, you don’t always have to use her abilities in battle.
Level up your Arts and characters. You can use the Affinity charts to level up your characters (Drivers and Blades) to gain them more passive abilities and buffs; you can use WP to power up Arts (which are the active powers they use in battle). Make sure to do both.
You can always change the time of the day. Head into the System menu, and do that- as said before, certain things happen only at certain times of the day, so use this to your advantage.
You level up in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 by gaining XP, which is in turn earned by winning battles and completing quests; for the former, a character only gains XP if they were not knocked out at the end of the battle. If you lose a battle, you lose all earned XP– so be smart about what fights you pick, and how you fight them.
You do not automatically level up in Xenoblade Chronicles 2: instead, you must find an inn and rest there (which lets you cash in your XP and level up).
You earn money by completing quests, beating monsters, and selling treasure and salvage. And that last part is where things get interesting- unlike in other games, it is not recommended that you sell your salvage off piecemeal to any vendor you can. Rather, in every settlement, you should try to find a vendor designated as an ‘Exchange.’ Exchanges are where you can sell ‘sets’ of items for massive monetary bonuses- wherever possible, you should sell your stuff at these only.
As for earning salvage, you need to find either Salvage Points or Extraction Points- there are a lot of both around Alrest, so you won’t have much trouble there.
There are a freakish amount of classes in the game, spread across the Driver and the Blade- the latter can have classes based on the Healer/Tank/Attacker template (support and healing, acting as a wall to soak up damage, and acting as the primary offense, respectively).
Meanwhile, Driver Classes are determined by how many Blades they can wield, and what those Blades are. Here’s how it works:
Single Blade Classes:
- If you have 1 ATK Blade, you are a Fighter. Boosts Damage dealt by +1.
- If you have 1 TNK Blade, you are a Defender. Reduces Damage taken by -1. Boosts Auto Attack Aggro by +1.
- If you have 1 HLR Blade, you are a Healer. Boosts the effect of HP Potion by +1. Debuffs Arts.
Double Blade Classes:
- 1 ATK and 1 TNK Blade each makes you a Warrior. Reduces Damage by +1, Boosts Damage dealt by +1, Boosts Arts and Special Aggro by +1.
- 1 ATK and 1 HLR Blade each makes you a Cavalier. Boosts Damage by +1, Increases HP Potion effect by 1+, Lowers Arts and Specials Aggro by -1.
- 1 HLR and 1 TNK Blade makes you a Knight. Reduces Damage Taken by -1, and Increases the effect of HP Potion by +1.
- 2 ATK Blades make you an Elite Fighter. Boosts the Amount of Damage you Deal by +2.
- 2 HLR Blades make you an Elite Healer. Increases the effect of HP Potion by +2 while debuffing Arts.
- 2 TNK Blades make you an Elite Defender. Reduces Damage taken by -2 and Increases your Auto Attack Aggro by +2.
Triple Blade Classes
- The Jack of all Trades has 1 HLR, TNK, and ATK Blade each. Reduces Damage taken by -1, Increases Damage Dealt by +1, and Increases the HP Potion effect by +1.
- The Wild Warrior has 2 ATK Blades and 1 TNK Blade. Reduces Damage by -1, Boosts Damage by +3, along with Arts and Aggro.
- The Royal Warrior has 2 TNK Blades with 1 ATK Blade. Reduces Damage by -2, Boost Damage Dealt by +1, Boost Arts and Specials Aggro.
- The Royal Knight has 2 TNK Blades with 1 HLR Blade. Reduces Damage Taken by -2, Increase HP Potion effect by +1, Boost Arts and Specials Aggro.
- The Master Fighter has 3 ATK Blades for a +3 damage boost.
- The Master Defender has 3 TNK Blades for -3 damage reduction, +3 auto attack aggro boost and +3 specials aggro.
- The Master Healer has 3 HLR Blades and for +3 HP Potion effect Boost along with Lower Arts and +3 Specials Aggro.
There are multiple different weapon types you can find in Xenoblade 2. As expected, each has different advantages and disadvantages in battle. The different kinds you can find in the game are:
- Dual Rings
- Aegis Sword
- Dual Scythes
- Chroma Katana
- Ether Cannon
- Drill Shield
- Mech Arms
- Saber Gun
You find multiple Rare Blades in the game via Core Crystals, which are gained as Loot from finishing quests, beating monsters, in chests, and even at vendors. Having a character bond with a Core Crystal unlocks a Blade- depending on the Rarity of the Core Crystal (from Common to Rare and Legendary), you have a chance of getting a Rare Blade.
The video below will show you the rare blades. There may be spoilers in this video.
Additionally, there are five Main Blades (one for each party member) that give you unique benefits and perks:
- Dromarch: Water Mastery, Botany, and Ancient Wisdom.
- Mythra: Light Mastery, Focus, and Girl Talk.
- Pandoria: Electric Mastery, Lockpicking, and Ichthyology bonuses.
- Poppi: Leaping, Nopon Wisdom, and Super Strength.
- Pyra: Fire Mastery, Focus, and Cooking.
FARMING RARE CORE CRYSTALS
As mentioned previously, Core Crystals are how you get Blades, including Rare Blades- so, naturally, you want to get as many Core Crystals as you can, right?
The trouble is that, as is the case with a lot of things in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Core Crystal drops, especially Rare Core Crystal drops, are random. That said, there are definitely ways for you to maximize your gains of them…
Overkill Chain Attack: Overkills are performed when your Party Gauge is filled and you perform a Chain attack, which leads to 200% damage. Failing a salvage and taking on monsters, first taking out the extraneous monsters and then finishing a Small Hermit Crab with Overkill, can maximize your Rare Core Crystal drops.
Smash Driver: Similar to the first one, kill monsters using the Smash Driver combo, which results in 2 Common and 2 Rare Crystal drops
Lockpicking is a Field skill that lets you, guess what, pick locks. You can use this to gain loot hidden away in locked chests. Unfortunately, lockpicking is gained by having a Blade that can grant you this skill- and it takes until Chapter 3 for you to get a Blade in the story that will give you the skill. You get an additional two blades in the story who can get you this skill.
But, there are three Rare Blades that also have this skill, if you can manage to Bond with them. These are:
Poppi is an artificial Blae that Torra constructed. Poppi’s effectiveness and role in battle is determined not by AUX cores, but rather by multiple different parts: Energy Converter, Role CPU, Element Core, Arts Cards x2, Skill RAM, Special Enhancing RAM, and Skill Upgrade. Upgrading these enhances Poppi.
To get these parts, you need to play the Tiger! Tiger! minigame- yes, somehow, that is the only way to upgrade her. You can play this game at Torra’s house. There is nothing I can say to make this less torturous for you- you need to snag treasure, get to the bottom, beat the boss, then return to the surface. If you die, you lose all progress.