Xenoblade Chronicles 3 - Catch all

Oh, going for the rare triple post to say:

zeroKFE wrote:

There are only the loosest of deep lore/meta universe connections between the games. But it's the sort of thing where if you REALLY care that much about that level of red-string-on-cork-board dot connecting, you're also going to want to know about the story of Xenogears and Xenosaga. But really, watching a few videos on Youtube will mostly suffice for everything that matters in that department.

Other than that, it's like the Final Fantasy games -- there are big, obvious connections in terms of theme and design, but otherwise they are self contained games where there's no reason to worry about playing one before the other.

While this is still ABSOLUTELY the case -- no one should decide not to play Xenoblade 3 because they haven't played 1, 2 or X -- I'm actually quite surprised that there are more signs of actual connective tissue early on in this game beyond the expected stuff at towards the end where

Spoiler:

it's revealed that once again, we're in another simulated/artificially created universe after a reset of a machine from a much more grounded in reality sci fi ancient civilization reminiscent of the planets of origin from Xenogears, Xenosaga, and Xenoblade X, and the governing forces that were supposed to guide this attempt at managing life have gone slightly awry and are in need of a correction.

Of course, some of what I'm seeing might be the kind of "echoing archetype" stuff that the creators of these games like to play with (kind of like chocobos or Biggs and Wedge but with Jungian philosophical baggage, such as Citan/Jin/Dunban as mentor/caretaker characters for the hero and the various Vandhams in the Xenoblade games recurring as rough but inspiring war heroes who provide pivotal guidance on their paths), but because it's somewhat more heavily tied in with what seem to be developing as core thematic concepts and major plot elements in this game it's got me intrigued.

Spoiler:

So basically Keves' queen has the appearance of and aged Melia, and is (nominally at least?) in charge to the faux nation populated with races that were dominant players in Xenoblade 1 whose combat mechanics are inspired by the same.

Meanwhile Agnus' queen looks like Nia's true form, and leads (?) the nation populated by similar looking cat people as well as a number of people who look like elemental blades. Oh, and Mio has what looks like a partially corrupted core crystal embedded in her chest? And that nation's combat mechanics are the ones inspired by Xenoblade 2's approach.

Oh, and the pretty sure those are the same voice actors too.

Anyway, lots of fun just seeing it unfold through the early stages, and I'm very interested to see where else it actually goes.

11 Tips & Tricks for Xenoblade Chronicles 3! | (Cooking, Menu Shortcuts, Options, & More!)

I bought XB2 not long after it came out since it looked kinda cool. I hadn't played the other XB games and hadn't ever played a game that used the weird Cancel, Topple, Break, Burst, yadda yadda stuffs. I was quite a few hours into the game before I finally looked up what all that combat stuff meant and how to do it.

It was overwhelming for an old dude who was used to standard fantasy RPGs, for sure. I hated the Nopons. I wanted to strangle them anytime I heard one. I should have bought a Nopon plushy to throw at the wall then eventually run over with the lawn mower. I highly enjoyed the story and was even OK with Rez's constant cheerleading - probably because of how overwhelmingly positive he was all the time.

I never finished the game. I think I was near the end, though. I remember something about climbing a big tree (maybe?). The game did get a little tedious, but that may have been my propensity for trying to do everything in a game, leaving no stone unturned. I sold it to a GWJer and didn't regret my time with the game or getting rid of it.

I told myself I wouldn't get XB3 when it came out if the combat was anything like XB2. I just watched that video above and my brain overloaded and put me in a temporary coma when I saw the snatches of combat.

And I still ordered the damned thing. It will be here tomorrow. I must really hate myself.

-BEP

I'm holding off buying the game, but I'm almost 100% sure it'll be in my top 3 for GotY.

I just realized that there's been little talk of living on a titan for this game, which is a total departure for the numbered XC games, if true. Since we know we there's a dead titan in promotional media, does this get addressed early on? Are all titans dead in this world?

mrtomaytohead wrote:

I'm holding off buying the game, but I'm almost 100% sure it'll be in my top 3 for GotY.

I just realized that there's been little talk of living on a titan for this game, which is a total departure for the numbered XC games, if true. Since we know we there's a dead titan in promotional media, does this get addressed early on? Are all titans dead in this world?

Spoilers for world building in the first three chapters of this game and the ends of the previous games... maybe more so 2?

Spoiler:

The people on the world (at least that I've interacted with in the first three chapters) don't really seem to have any concept of what they are living on, or at least it's low down on the list of things they care about enough to mention in conversation.

That said, if you look around (and check the shape of the outline of the map) it sure looks like a pile of titan corpses, maybe arranged in the kind of circle shape that you see the dying titans assembling in at the end of Xenoblade 2? Also, the giant sword sure feels like the giant sword left sticking out when the titans from Xenoblade 1destroyed each other and collapsed.

So yeah, given that there's so many other signs that this world is either literally and directly the worlds from the two previous games colliding, or else a meta-universe/simulation reboot that's combining important things from them, maybe the world is the combined pile of corpses of the titans from both games? Or something like that. I would not at all be surprised to learn that some element of the ground beneath the character's feet is still alive in some form or another, though.

But, so far at least the characters seem far less directly aware or concerned about that particular metaphysical question than characters in the previous games were early on, and are much more wrapped up in concerns of the lower levels of Maslow's hierarchy. I'm sure we'll learn more as we eventually get a bigger picture of the inner workings of the oligarchical power structure forcing them into these small and cruel existences as part of whatever sick game is being played with people's lives, but for now we're just beating the snot out of the rich and powerful whenever they show their faces and not really asking many questions.

Thanks for sharing. Sounds like it's gonna be a big reveal on all of this, especially since both

Spoiler:

Vandham and Nia

have been shown in trailers.

Truly Understanding Combat in Xenoblade 3 - Spoiler Free

mrtomaytohead wrote:

Thanks for sharing. Sounds like it's gonna be a big reveal on all of this, especially since both

Spoiler:

Vandham and Nia

have been shown in trailers.

Well,

Spoiler:

Vandham is kind of like a Cid thing for these games. Granted, the Xenoblade 3 Vandham looks a lot more like the Xenoblade 2 one than either of the other two, but still.

As for Nia, I haven't see the trailers, so maybe they reveal more than the game has so far. I CAN say that pretty early on you'll see a person who resembles Nia. Whether it IS Nia (or at least the same Nia), however, is still an open question at the point where I am in the game.

But yeah, there's a lot potentially going on.

Just unlocked the ability to switch between characters. Curious if folks are finding themselves switching around or mostly playing one character.

I'm not too much farther than you. There is a mechanic that gets introduced soon that has encouraged me to switch characters. Right now, I usually play the DPS, unless the battle is going poorly.

I keep playing Noah but switching the classes

I like to use Noha too... and damn... my kid lost me my shulk amiiibo.. i want my monado!!!

Yeah, I unlocked the class system last night. I like class/job systems but always wonder if I am messing them up.

steinkrug wrote:

Yeah, I unlocked the class system last night. I like class/job systems but always wonder if I am messing them up. :)

Final Fantasy job systems do not work for me for similar reasons. I tried to get into FFV multiple times over the years as well as FFT and bounced hard. Games with a smaller selection of jobs/classes have been ok. I think my biggest issue is knowing how to put together a good team when things start getting all mixed up and I end up with not enough of one thing and overcorrect back and forth.

This game looks simple enough in that regard that it shouldn't be too much of problem. /famouslastwords

steinkrug wrote:

Yeah, I unlocked the class system last night. I like class/job systems but always wonder if I am messing them up. :)

Don't sweat it too much early on. Just make sure you keep rotating through and learning new classes on all your characters as soon as they reach the current max rank of 10, and try to keep a reasonable mix of healers, tanks, and DPS in your team, and you'll be totally fine. (This gets easier once you start having heroes to provide a seventh role, and hero classes which give you more interesting options for balancing roles on your team.)

Granted, as I've noted above my play style is to explore heavily and do every side quest and boss monster I encounter, but I think even if you are less completionist you'll still be earning more than enough CP to be able to get all your characters to rank 10 on a good chunk of the starter classes before it starts giving you hero classes. In fact, even as I've started unlocking hero classes (I just got my sixth last night, around level 40, still in the middle of chapter 3!) it still feels like the game wants to make it very easy for every character to eventually get at least rank 10 on most classes, so that you'll have as many cool options as possible without having to stress about how you choose to invest leveling time (as is often one of the more unpleasant parts of job systems).

(That is, the amount of CP I'm getting from basic level 40 monsters, to say nothing of elites and bosses, will VERY quickly let you at least unlock skills at rank 5 of any class, and get to rank 10 pretty darn fast as well, and I can only imagine that will only escalate quickly.)

mrtomaytohead wrote:

This game looks simple enough in that regard that it shouldn't be too much of problem. /famouslastwords

Yeah, to some extent? Or at least, they've done a very good job in designing a system that's clear and simple to get your head around as possible, but still with some impressive and interesting depth and complexity possible in the available customization. But, I suspect that for at least the central content of the game just learning as many classes as possible on every character and using the auto configure option will get the average player who doesn't care about tinkering through just fine.

EDIT:

Oh, one quick thing: when you're looking at class details, you'll see that each character has a "compatibility" rating with each class. Functionally, early on at least, all this really means is a multiplier on how fast they rank up. Don't let that deter you from putting each character through each class. All of the the characters DO have slightly different base stats which does mean that some are better suited for certain classes and roles than others, but especially early on that impact is not nearly as important as just getting everyone as many unlocked skill and art options as possible.

I'm sure later (ie, when classes start unlocking leveling to rank 20) it will matter more which ones you invest in heavily on which characters, but for now, don't stress -- just mix it up and unlock as many options as possible for everyone!

English dub vs Japanese VO?

I've only tried the Japanese VO, I'd imagine the constant chatter during fights would get old really fast in English.

Yeah, I quickly switched to Japanese due to the repetitiveness of the battle chatter. Particularly, the post-battle comments. One was happening so often it was kinda ridiculous. I still notice it in Japanese, but it doesn’t bother me.

That said, if those don’t bother you, the English appears to be quite good.

In other news, I am quite enjoying the class system so far, it turns out. Leveling up the different classes for each character and unlocking skills seems like it could become addictive. It’s nice that the game seems to auto equip gems, etc. if you don’t want to manage that every time.

Done with ch1. Crazy ending to an otherwise grim chapter. It was kind of notable to me that we were in an open world area (forget the name) and the music was just so solemn. It told me that the game hadn't started yet, since there had to be the Gaur Plains equivalent with sweeping music and vistas that starts off all of the Xenoblade games. We finally got that in Ch.2.

The other thing I’ve noted is how little is actually going on in combat. You have the abilities on a timer and autoattacks the rest of the time, and it feels like the attack cancels, combos, and now the new rings on the floor (power/evasion/healing so far) are just to give you more things to think about and positioning to do in an otherwise noisy-but-simple battle strategy. Anything to give the player something to do or think about to make it less repetitive. In XC2 is was those chain spell things that gave you something to manage mid to late game, and I assume there will be more in this one. But at some point I realized when I was just moving a little to the left or right to try to keep my feet in a power circle that it might just be to give me something to do during combat, since the rest quickly becomes a flowchart.

And I still have English VO on for now, even if the post-fight comments are getting repetitive.

Suvanto wrote:

I've only tried the Japanese VO, I'd imagine the constant chatter during fights would get old really fast in English.

Yeah, for most games even when the English voice work is reasonably good in story moments, this is what pushes me over the top. (Genshin Impact says hi.)

However, I feel like this series generally manages to have good enough English voice work that I stick with it. (Although it's possible that in Xenoblade 2 I eventually swapped it over?) Maybe it's just that I'm a huge sucker for the variety pack of UK accents these games use, especially when they are properly supported with good idiomatic localization for the specific accent? Or maybe it's that the quality of writing in the localization gives the generally excellent voice cast opportunities to really deliver something with thoughtfulness, pathos, and/or humor frequently enough that I'm willing to deal with the cringyness when things get bad or combat barks get repetitive so as to not miss that impact.

(I will say, and maybe this is rose tinted glasses, but I feel like I remember Xenoblade 1 being a LOT more consistently good in the quality of the localization than 2 and 3, with 3 thankfully being better than 2 was but maybe still with more moments than 1 that make me consider swapping to Japanese voices.)

So yeah, unlike a great many games of this sort, I'd recommend giving the English voices some time to grow on you. Yes, they still don't have enough variety in combat barks, and yes, they are VERY frequent -- especially the post combat celebration barks. But, it is what it is.

Also, I've started to build my own head cannon that maybe Eunie sees something special and unrecognized in Noah and Lanz's relationship, and she keeps repeating the wryly suggestive post combat bark of:

"You hear that Noah? Lanz wants something a bit meatier."

because she's trying to get them to finally acknowledge the thing they've been hiding from in their sea of shared grief and combat PTSD, and find some joy in each other amidst the short, cruel existence they've been forced into.

EDIT:

Oh, all that being said, it's stupid and bad that some of the Agnus people have American accents.

I hate it.

Can you honestly tell me that Sena wouldn't be a thousand times better if she was using something else? Scottish accents are reserved for something specific in Xenoblade, but maybe an Irish accent, or a Yorkshire dialect?

I know that those particular Agnians are just following the regional variation established in Xenoblade 2 where most elemental blades and people from Indol also used American accents, but I thought it was a bad choice there too. I mean, good choice for world building, but bad choice for characters being fun to listen to, at least to my ear. Like, I guess the choice was about creating narrative distance between blades and Indolites and the rest of the world (and maybe also communicating that the Indolites were assholes?) but ugh, still, surely there could have been a choice that was a bit more fun.

New Zealand maybe? Plenty of distance there, but maybe missing the asshole factor.

One more question. Skills for Noah are positional. Is there an area where I can read the description for them?

JohnKillo wrote:

One more question. Skills for Noah are positional. Is there an area where I can read the description for them?

In the main menu, go into Characters > Arts to configure and check the details of all your equipped arts.

I am enjoying the game quite a bit but it does feel like they threw everything and the kitchen sink into the game. Jobs, weapon arts, fusions, positioning, crafting, linking, etc.

*edit for great example*

They could compltely pitch the accessories stuff. I don't give a hoot if I have a hat that does 15% more agro when below 25% health, or a ring that give a 24.3% chance of two regular attacks when Venus is in retrograde.. or whatever they say.

At first I tried to keep track of all that stuff but now I don't even look at it.

And it is even less important because your character doesn't change appearance when you equip stuff. At least it Tales of Arise is was fun to put on the cat ears or odd glasses, etc.

They kind of do throw the kitchen sink at you, and having beaten all the other games I still have a bit of muscle memory for what to do. That said, the tutorial (though frequent) are the best they've ever been, in terms of explaining things, plus I started trying out a couple of the drills (I think they're called) to practice some things like drawing aggro as a tank or doing Arts cancelling and walk you step by step through what to do in actual combat. I definitely don't remember those in the past. I haven't looked at all of them, but I would guess there is one where you can practice positioning as well.

I had some trouble with the boss I reached. Had to change classes, alter my team setup, adjust skills. Probably a good sign that it mattered.

Done with Ch.2, around the 9 hour mark. We’ve had a ton of new mechanics dumped on us. And I love that the class uniforms are just aligned with the clothes the characters were wearing, so seeing random people in Noah's red coat makes me chuckle.

As always, the ending boss sequence is anime as all get out, but at least it’s entertaining. Also, we have those chain attacks, and I’m only sort of getting what we need to be doing during them. Like, I get we want as many rounds as possible (I’ve gotten as high as 3 rounds), so we want to fill up the TP gauge as fast as possible and the numbers next to each character say how much TP they are to attack; except the healers can stop the counter at 99 if we want to get more people into one round. If someone further along has a better grasp of the nuances, feel free to drop that knowledge on us.

Also, the ending sequences for each chapter are risking running too long. It was true in Ch.1 and now in Ch.2 that the ending sequence was full of cutscenes and boss battles that add up to about an hour, with no checkpoints or autosaves in the middle. This can be kind of annoying when I don’t have a ton of dedicated time to get through it. This time, I actually had to stop part way through and them come back and do a couple of fights over again and skip cutscenes to get back to where I was. Fortunately the fights really aren't all that difficult at this point so it wasn't that much of a chore. Still, it's something to keep in mind going forward to have time set aside for the ends of each chapter.

I guess some story discussion in spoilers.

Spoiler:

I had no idea what cutting the life clock would do when they did it, maybe just outright kill the colony? An NPC commented afterwards that it meant rebellion against the system, so maybe our party did know or didn't know; not really clear on that part. But it freed the colony from having to keep fighting to keep living, no word if that means they can now live longer than 10 cycles. And so maybe that will be the next part of the game – destroying life clocks and freeing the colonies? There is the whole mechanic around bonding with colonies, so that will probably start mattering more. Although they did introduce the life clock mechanic in the first chapter and then tossed it, so they aren't afraid of the bait and switch.

Also, I have no idea how old Ethel is, has to be more than 10 years. She was in a cutscnene when the team was still fairly young, and now Noah is 9, so she might be 14-18 cycles long now? This has to be commented on at some point.

And I’m sure this is obvious, but the queens have to be Melia and Nia from XC1 and XC2. So the implications of them being on top of the system we are going to fight against will certainly have fun implications for the series, although of course I don’t expect anything to be so simple.

Sundown wrote:

Lots of stuff.

Chain attacks:

This video does a pretty solid job of explaining the whole system, but be warned that there are some mechanical spoilers with vague story implications for things that get rolled out over chapter 3 and 4. If you don't want to have anything spoiled for you though, I think you've mostly got it already and the rest will become more clear as you play with it a bit (and there's probably one of those virtual reality training drills for it too).

Long boss/story sequences:

I don't know for sure about the main story sequences, since I've always been somewhat over leveled and/or solid enough on mechanics to get through, but I did do an optional side quest at the start of chapter 3 under leveled and lost to a boss several times, so I think my experience there would carry over.

If you lose a fight, you're given the option to retry or not.
If you choose to retry, you get dropped into the menu to adjust your setup, then are dropped straight into the fight.
If you choose not to retry, you're placed back at your last landmark, and all you have to do is return to the area where the boss/story happened. Depending on where in the sequence you bail out, a cutscene may replay, or you might just start back directly into the boss fight when you walk up, but of course you can always skip any cutscene you've already watched.

Either way, you retain all your progress when you die -- you don't revert to a previous save or anything. You just get sent back to your last landmark.

As for how this plays out if you aren't losing a fight, just need to shut off the game mid boss/story sequence, I'm not sure? I've just been leaving the game paused during a cutscene and sleeping the console in those cases. I suspect the game probably actually autosaves at some points as you progress from cutscene to boss to cutscene, thus allowing an experience similar to what I described above for losing a fight, but I couldn't say for sure, and obviously from your experience that's not conclusively the case at all times!

If you need to bail out and you're not certain of an autosave AND if you can't leave the game paused in sleep mode you might try intentionally losing a fight and choosing not to retry in order to grab a save opportunity? Not something I've had to consider since I have no reason to close the game when I'm done playing, but maybe worth trying.

Spoiler chat:

Spoiler:

Regarding destroying the flame clock:

I feel like the game wasn't very good about communicating around some of the things you're talking about. I think it may of have been one of those situations where the original writing maybe did a sort of in media res sort of thing where it intentionally didn't bother to explain it, but maybe the localization didn't quite capture the "intentional" part and instead just came off as vague.

My read is that they really weren't sure what would happen if they destroyed the flame clocks, but had a guess that it would have the effect that it did -- ie, they were hoping it would free the colony from the tyranny of having to kill other people to continue to live, in the same way the core team was freed from that tyranny by the effects of the mysterious ouroboros device, but they weren't quite certain when they made the decision heat of the moment. Thankfully, it did, although obviously the rebellion that the action implies creates new problems even after removing the enforcement of endless conflict that the flame clocks were providing.

As for where it goes from there, I'll leave that for you to see as you progress, but I do think it was noted (possibly in conversation shortly after the scenes you've seen) that just like the ouroboros device did not remove the ten year life cycle mark from the main characters, destroying the flame clocks does not do that for the colonists. That is, they no longer need to kill other people to continue living, but they do still have an artificially shortened lifespan (which most notably affects Mio, who as was discussed in conversation with Vandham, only has a few months left).

Regarding Ethel and ages:

Ethel is actually ninth term I think? You can actually check the age of characters in the Affinity Chart -- can't remember exactly what that unlocks, but you should have it as soon as you start having the ability to work on improving colonies -- ie, right about where you are (I'd check, but Ethel isn't available on my chart for reasons). But yeah, I'm fairly certain she's the same age as the starting Keves trio -- if you recall, in the cutscene where she saved them during the attack, she was also about as young as they were. Also, there's an off hand comment made somewhere about her being so impressive because her abilities were enough to pull her colony all the way up to steel or silver rank or something even as a third or forth termer -- ie, about the age the Keves kids were in that scene where she saved them.

But yeah, most of the colony commanders you'll encounter will be ninth or tenth termers, and thus roughly of a cohort with the main cast -- just, exceptional individuals whose abilities and actions advanced them through the ranks faster than the people we're playing as.

Regarding the queens:

Yeah, I don't even know man. I'm approaching the end of chapter 4 now, and even though I've learned a lot since the point in the story where you are, I've still got no clue. They certainly look like Melia (at least, what she would aged up to be an adult Entia) and Nia (directly in her true form), but still, I've got no clue.