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Tips For Playing Bravely Default

Illustration for article titled Tips For Playing emBravely Default/em

Bravely Default is out in North America today, and if you've just picked it up, we've got a whole bunch of tips to make your experience better.


(Read our review of the new 3DS RPG right here.)


Do all of the sidequests—at least in Chapters 1-4.

Every time you see a blue exclamation point on the map, that's a side quest. Don't think of them as optional activities, though. You'll want to hit them all. Much of Bravely Default's story is told through vignettes and interactions that occur outside of the main plot, so from a narrative perspective they're essential. They also unlock new character classes, so from a mechanical perspective, they're also essential.

As for the latter chapters—well, things start getting a little repetitive, so I won't blame you if you start skipping side missions then. At the very least, do every sidequest the first four chapters.

Don't be afraid to turn off random encounters.

Bravely Default comes with a menu full of useful toggles including a random encounter slider that lets you turn off invisible battles entirely. Don't be afraid to do this. At first, it seemed like cheating when I used the random encounter slider to clear dungeons, but once I got used to that Game Genie-esque feeling, I loved the rhythm of being able to fight battles at my own pace. Because SCREW REALISM.


Just one or two levels can make a huge difference.

Stuck on a tough boss? Try a new job, or just go get some more experience—Bravely Default is balanced so that one or two levels can make a massive difference, so don't give up hope if a boss demolishes you the first time around.


Optimize your time if you're gonna grind for levels.

You will have to fight random battles to get past bosses, whether you're fighting them normally, as you progress through dungeons, or in batches, grinding outside of a town. If you decide to do the latter, make sure to speed up combat (with the right and left directional buttons during battle) and make liberal use of the auto-battle tool. Grinding ain't so bad when it goes by quickly.


Make sure to "update data" once per day.

In the save menu, there's an option called "update data" that lets you recruit random Internet people to work in your village and help you out during battle. Use it every day! You can get three or four new friends every 24 hours, which is particularly helpful if you don't get a lot of StreetPasses wherever you live, or if you have no friends.

Illustration for article titled Tips For Playing emBravely Default/em

Don't forget about Norende Village.

If you want to be able to buy bonus items—some of which are totally killer—you'll want to rebuild the village at a regular pace, so don't forget to put your people to work as often as you can. Also...


Leave the game in Sleep Mode when you're not playing.

Not only will your Norende villagers keep working while your game is in Sleep Mode, you'll also gain points that can be used for extra attacks in battle. (You can also buy these points via microtransactions, but why would you ever want to do that?)


Stock up on accessories that block against status effects.

Some bosses can do some really nasty things to you with effects like Poison and Charm, so toward the end of the game it's uber-helpful to have four of each status-blocking accessory, like the Star Pendant and Rebuff Locket. You won't need a full slate right away, but horde them as you get them.


Never be unprepared for a dungeon.

Always have at least 10 of every major item—potions/hi-potions, phoenix downs, ethers, etc. Always have a teleport stone, too, just for your own convenience.


If you're stuck in a dungeon, turn off random encounters!

Down on magic? Low on HP? Out of teleport stones? Don't forget that you can turn off random encounters.


Don't neglect your characters' support abilities.

It's easy to forget about passive skills, but they're essential later in the game, and they can always make boss battles way easier. Don't ignore them. Every time one of your characters gains a job level, go check out what new skill he or she has gained, and equip as necessary. Eventually you can turn some characters into machines—for example, a healer with Holy One (raises effectiveness of healing magic) and Epic Group-Cast (makes spells just as powerful on groups as they are on individuals) can be borderline unstoppable.


Play around with your special attacks, too.

Don't ignore the "special" section in the menu—you can use that to customize your characters' special attacks, adding elements that make them even more powerful. (You might notice that there are a lot of ways to make your characters really powerful in this game.)


Make Edea a fighter.

When I first started, I was tempted to turn my two dudes into fighters and my two women into mages, because I have succumbed to Big Sexism. But really, Edea makes a much better physical attacker—give her Knight or Ranger or Ninja abilities to turn her into a genuine killing machine. She is the best.

Illustration for article titled Tips For Playing emBravely Default/em

Listen to the party chats.

They're fun. Don't miss them.

Wear headphones.

The music is too good for the 3DS's crappy little speakers. Seriously.

Experiment with jobs, and don't be afraid to get creative.

Every character has one primary job, but you can actually set their secondary skill to another class, like in Final Fantasy V or Tactics. Just go to the Ability section of the menu and select "Job Command."


Want to turn Ringabel into a Spiritmaster/Ninja? Feel like Tiz would make a good Ninja/White Mage? DO IT. Bravely Default's job system is really flexible, and it's really easy to mix and match skills. It's best to start experimenting early, so you know exactly what your characters are capable of when you get to the harder bosses and you have to find optimal strategies to take them down.

Have fun!!!

This is a tip both for Bravely Default and for life as a whole.

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(Based solely on what I read in this article, bear that in mind...) This game is sounding like it's a little... broken, design-wise.

-You have random battles... which you can turn on or off. Why not have enemies roaming the map a la the Tales series? Why not have some visual indicator of how soon a random battle might appear as they do in the Etrian Odyssey games? Why would Bravely Default ignore all the progress that's been made in improving "random" battles, especially seeing that it's not tied to an existing IP and thus expected to be a certain way?

-Given that you can turn off random battles, why do your characters retain HP/MP loss out of battle and why is item management still a thing? I don't see why it matters at that point. It basically means that, if you're willing to put the time into walking all the way out of a dungeon just before the boss to save, heal and stock up, then walk all the way back in without battles on, you can go into the fight at 100%. Why isn't this just the default state, then...?

If you get nearly slaughtered in a random fight, there's no continued tension as you try to make it back to safety with very few supplies and some dead teammates. Essentially you can go into every battle healed and stocked up on stuff, no matter where the battle takes place. It's just inconvenient to do so. One thing that I've seen in a number of RPGs lately is that, once a battle ends, everyone is healed up fully. This means you can have limited mana pools that don't regenerate mid-battle but still get to actually USE that mana in every fight.

My love for auto-healing after battles goes beyond being able to actually use your magic dudes, though. You can use all your skills, pull out all the stops, even in normal battles. The game designers can create truly tough encounters that push you to really utilize your resources and apply strategy to win. Bravely Default seems to have stuck with the oldschool method of making mages and special limited skills useful only to boss battles, and having the player slog through nothing but uneventful random battles until they can get a whiff of challenge from a boss encounter.

-Grinding, in this day and age? Auto-battle and speeding up fights are like the design equivalent of patches to fix the terrible holes in old RPGs. They used to be so grindy and full of bad random battles, so instead of fixing that... we continue to make them all the same and just stick those features in place.

Again, this is just what I know about the game based off reading the article, but I'm now fairly sure I won't enjoy this game. I was really hoping they would be making a Final Fantasy-esque game without the limitations/expectations/traditions placed upon an actual FF game... but it seems they just went ahead with making a traditional FF game anyway. I've played about half of them and never made it through a single one, and I'm sure the same would happen here. I always get stuck on random battles, grinding and how boring it all is, and here I was hoping they would take the opportunity to actually... you know, DESIGN an RPG, rather than applying a new story to a template like almost every RPG out there.

I want to love this genre so much, and I've found a few that I really do. There are always elements that I really appreciate in every RPG, but the standard stuff almost always kills the experience.