The GWJ JRPG Club - Q1 2021 - Dragon Quest XI!

This is all good stuff, thanks! Reading and trying to parse all the descriptions is a bit of a painstaking process. Does Serena have any decent offensive skills? I like her for heals and buffs but sometimes she’s basically sitting idle.

A plot thing will happen later that makes Serena an offensive beast.

Until then, though, her Woosh spells are about all she's got. I mostly only swap her into the active party for boss fights, which is when her healing and buffs shine. They tend to be overkill for mobs.

hbi2k wrote:

A plot thing will happen later that makes Serena an offensive beast.

Until then, though, her Woosh spells are about all she's got. I mostly only swap her into the active party for boss fights, which is when her healing and buffs shine. They tend to be overkill for mobs.

Looking forward to that! That's good advice, I've probably been too lazy about changing up the active party. At the moment I have hero, Martina, Veronica, and Serena. Was actually thinking of changing out Hero for Kamyu! But I'll test out the 2-H sword first. Woosh works well enough on 4-5 enemy groups but otherwise...

Two-handers give the hero a BIG offense boost at the expense of a relatively small nerf to defense. It's the way to go through most of the game.

How much late game grinding is required to get to the Act 3 baddie? I have reached the point where I could take on the final final boss but some separate trials are recommended. I know that there are trophies for getting everyone to level 99 (average level is around 60 right now) but do I need those levels to finish?

Level 99 will make the Act 3 boss a joke; it's only necessary for the (optional) Wheel of Harma trials. If you're ready for the game to be over, go ahead and give the Act 3 boss a shot and see how you do.

One tip (not a story spoiler, only spoiler-tagging out of an abundance of caution):

Spoiler:

The game doesn't do a very good job of communicating to you that to weaken the Act 3 boss with the Super Sword of Light, you need to use it as an item, from the Item menu. You don't even have to have it equipped, it just needs to be in your inventory.

I picked up the 2H sword in Veronica and Selena’s home town/temple and that’s given a nice 2-3x boost to the Hero’s damage. I don’t have any weapon skills for it so I guess there are some skill panels I need to unlock (a very painstaking process). Funnily enough, Martina/Jade still does more damage. I guess she’s just bad ass!

Serena also just got the upgraded Woosh spell which is nice.

Nice! The one-handed and two-handed swords use an entirely different set of skill panels - one handed are on the left, I think, and two-handed are on the right. You should go to one of the Goddess Statues and pay to reset your Hero's skills. It's very cheap (certainly not expensive relative to other things by the time you've reached Arboria, their hometown) and will be well worth it. Several of the 2-H sword skills do amazing damage.

I was excited to read this but no respec option available in the 3DS version unfortunately!

Oh man, that sucks!

Sorry, did some more research, it’s apparently available after you finish the main story. Is that the end of chapter 2 or something?

On the PS4 it's definitely available well before the end of the main story. But I did a quick Google search and saw that people think it becomes available pretty early on, maybe after Gallopolis (the desert town). I also don't really know how the chapter numbers map out.

Where in the game are you right now?

I just got the mermaid orb.

Yeah, other versions of the game definitely allow you to respec well before that point. Have you looked through the options at a church lately? In English the respec option is called "Rectification," but it's probably something different in your version.

Yep, I even found a screenshot of the option when it shows up in the 3DS game if you're curious:
Introducing the timing of "skill reset" and the required number of gold

What is skill reset?
It will be the end of the main story, but you will be able to freely reassign your skills by paying a certain amount of gold .

Interesting. It seems there is some inconsistent information on the page, at least based on what Google translate spits out. That one part you quote says "the end of the main story," but another part says after the middle of the story and the world change. If that's true, that might be soon:

Spoiler:

Shortly after collecting all 6 orbs. If you've made it to Veronica & Serena's hometown, you're pretty close.

That would be cool. I have 3 more orbs to go I guess? I did some exploring of the available map so I have a few convenient teleport points set up.

I accumulated enough SP to unlock 2 weapon skills for 2-H swords so that's made a big difference in damage output. Also, got those 6 orbs and things didn't so great after that! That's basically where I'm up to now.

I'm still making my way through.

I'm in act two, with 5 people in my party now, and still very much enjoying wandering around the world and re-visiting these tropey but fun cities.

Good news, now that I'm in act 2 (I think), the skill reset option is available. Also, I have a new party member, I'll have to work out what the best setup is for them.

I've been playing DQXI's Definitive Edition on and off for a couple of years, since it came out for Switch in 2019. After recently coming back, I've spent the last month powering through - I think I must be near the end of Act II. What a ride it's been!

Narratively, I think the game is much stronger in Act II than Act I. Act I reminds me of a children's animated show - one of those highly episodic ones where every week, the protagonists deal with a new baddie and learn a new moral. Act II has much greater narrative momentum, and the individual subplots are much more character-driven.

The characters are generally well-written, and at their most interesting when the writing focuses on the gaps between outward appearances and inner natures:

Spoiler:

Erik's happy-go-lucky fantasy rogue persona masks his tragic backstory, Serena's sweetness masks her strength and determination, Sylvando is a goofy circus performer who really, really believes in the ideals of chivalry, etc.

And one of the character side-stories really stands out:

Spoiler:

Rab's side story, "Lord Robert and the Kingdom of Dreams", is both poignant and does a lot to highlight his courage and strength of will. He lost his family, his homeland, and finally - when he thought things were back on the right track - he lost his grandson. Yet instead of abandoning hope, he decided to train harder and keep up the fight. And to do so, he even walked away from the illusionary, "alternate" timeline where he was happily retired, celebrated for his wisdom and kindness, and could watch his grandson grow up in peace.

Mechanically, I think DQXI suffers from poor in-game documentation of abilities, which masks the combat system's interesting fundamentals. I spent Act I struggling with ineffective builds as I didn't know what the "good" abilities were (e.g. Jade's Multithrust) and went down ineffective routes (trying to make 1H swords work on Hero). Eventually I bit the bullet, looked up GameFAQs, and respecced as needed. Much better - and much more fun! Now that I know what to do, it's quite fun to set up a synergistic party and watch it tear through enemies and bosses.

I also quite like the forging mini-game.

I love the overall tone of DQXI -- and really, of the Dragon Quest series in general. (I also adore DQ Builders 2.) It's charming, whimsical, colourful and imaginative -- I much prefer it to the overwrought, po-faced technobabble that the Final Fantasy series eventually spiralled into, or the hackneyed generic fantasy settings that dominate Western RPGs. DQXI in particular feels like a Japanese take on a "Greatest Hits" compendium of world folklore and mythology.

Now that I'm on a roll, my plan is to tidy up the remaining side quests and then power on with the story. Can't wait to introduce the forces of darkness to the business end of my fully armed and operational party.

Mr GT Chris wrote:

Good news, now that I'm in act 2 (I think), the skill reset option is available. Also, I have a new party member, I'll have to work out what the best setup is for them.

Hmm, are you referring to:

Spoiler:

Eight? I built him with axes and shields. He's a fantastic character: high single-target and group damage, high defence, and can buff the party.

Mind Elemental wrote:
Mr GT Chris wrote:

Good news, now that I'm in act 2 (I think), the skill reset option is available. Also, I have a new party member, I'll have to work out what the best setup is for them.

Hmm, are you referring to:

Spoiler:

Eight? I built him with axes and shields. He's a fantastic character: high single-target and group damage, high defence, and can buff the party.

I'll bet he is! I built that character the same way too:

Spoiler:

As no one competes with him to use axes, it felt like a pretty natural choice. And if you have the Hero going 2H, no one competes with him on shields either. Plus, with A Cut Above, his damage didn't seem to suffer for being a one-hander.

Spoiler:

I started out Eight as using 2H swords since I kept Hero on 1H and Shield the entire game. Towards the end of act 2 I swapped him over to Axe and Shield since I kept getting all these cool axes no one else could use. After I learned the power of 2H swords using them on Eight, Hero swapped over to that until I got the "legendary" one-hand sword where he swapped back to use that.

Still need to find time to play Act 3. I have given up on trying to do a Stronger Monster runs and will just need to pick up my normal game at the start of Act 3.

Act 3's so worth it. Also, I *think* if you have made it through Act 2 with Stronger Monsters -- or any of the Draconian challenges -- the game logs those as complete. So you can turn them off for Act 3 and still have the new game / load game menu reflect that you've done it.

Malkroth, re: that sword:

Malkroth wrote:
Spoiler:

I started out Eight as using 2H swords since I kept Hero on 1H and Shield the entire game. Towards the end of act 2 I swapped him over to Axe and Shield since I kept getting all these cool axes no one else could use. After I learned the power of 2H swords using them on Eight, Hero swapped over to that until I got the "legendary" one-hand sword where he swapped back to use that.

Spoiler:

Did you mean the Sword of Light? It's my most recent acquisition storywise. For all the narrative fuss about it, I'm not planning to actually use it - I'm very happy with my "dedicated single-target damage using greatswords" build for Hero, and the SoL doesn't look like it can compete with the greatswords' higher attack stats and their powerful abilities.

OK, looks like we're getting the band back together. I'm up to 4 party members but presumably a way to go. Hopefully on track to finish by the end of June!

And DONE!

123 hours with the platinum trophy. Act 3 was quite a bit more streamlined (only took me 25 hours to complete) but I was okay with the way things ended after Act 2. This was only the second Dragon Quest game that I have ever played (IX on the DS was the other one). It was okay--very chill game that my kids are enjoying much more than I did.

My two biggest complaints were (1) the silent protagonist--yeah, I know that is a "feature" of this series but I just find it really annoying and (2)

Spoiler:

if the hero wants to marry his childhood sweetheart Gemma so badly, JUST ASK HER! It was clear that Gemma was waiting for him to come back. It was weird the way that it was handled, off-camera with a wish. No wedding, no extra scene, nothing other than a little bit of dialogue. Felt really phoned in like Square Enix was running out of time/budget and threw in a few sentences. So weird.

Had a couple of boss wipes. One required about 10 minutes replay to get to it again. The second was one of those times where I was wondering if it was a predetermined loss because my party got its ass handed to it. Oh dear!

Congrats, walterqchocobo, and aargh, Mr GT Chris! Based on where you are I don't think there are any predetermined losses.

I've been getting ready for the final boss of Act 2. I've been tidying up side quests and Tickington, and upgrading everyone's gear. I think I should be prepared, because my "warm-up" went well - I trounced the previous 2 story bosses and (spoilers for optional boss):

Spoiler:

... handily beat Baramos on my second attempt.

Finished Act 2 and rolled the credits. This is the first mainline Dragon Quest game I’ve finished - after this and DQB2, I’m officially a fan. What a great time I had!

I suspect I was overlevelled / overgeared for the final boss (lvl 54-55, no Draconian options) as I found the fight manageable:

Spoiler:

Giving everyone darkness- and elemental-resisting gear paid off. The boss’ second form in particular was pretty easy - it couldn’t do enough damage to keep up with Serena healing the party every turn.

I’ll probably post more with narrative / worldbuilding thoughts, and postgame impressions once I play more.