When it comes to Dragon Quest games, people might wonder if they have the leeway to assign characters different roles. After all, Dragon Quest III, VI, VII, and IX had a vocation system, allowing people to visit Alltrades Abbey to determine people’s classes. Even Dragon Quest Heroes II allowed people to swap between jobs. While Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age does not have such a system in place, it has a skill board that allows people some freedom to determine a person’s place via the Character Builder. While everyone is still going to mostly fit in a specific role, it gives you a little more room to determine exactly what they will do.
Each character in Dragon Quest XI has a board with different areas on it. While these people will sometimes learn new spells and abilities as they level up, distributing points earned after leveling up via the Character Builder will let them earn additional abilities and boosts. As an example, Veronica will learn spells from the Frizz and Sizz line naturally, allowing her to deal fire damage to a single foe or group, but you would need spend four points on the Beelzefreeze ability that is super effective against demons and paralyzes them. People will have between three and five branches available to them in the character builder after being recruited, though some will need to learn a few skills in other branches to reach different areas. Sylvando is one, as you will need to earn skills in at least three Litheness or Whips spheres to reach the Showmanship panels. This means you have some wiggle room with what you do with people. Especially since you can visit a church or goddess statue to reassign points.
Dragon Quest XI’s hero is one of the more straightforward characters. He is always going to be a damage dealer who has the option of being good with magic. When the game begins, you have access to the Swords, Greatswords, Swordmastery, and Luminary sections for him. Your choices here can determine attack range and effectiveness. The Swords line will give you access to abilities that attack one enemy, perhaps targeting a certain weakness. Two examples are Dragon Slash, which deals increased damage to dragons, and Metal Slash, which is better against metallic enemies. If you go with Greatswords, on the other hand, you could learn Helichopter, which targets a group of enemies, and more quickly learn a stance that increases parry opportunities. Heading on up to Swordmastery can get you skills like Gigaslash and Gigasmash, two attacks that target a group of enemies with a lightning-based attack and relies upon the weapon on the side it favors. Heading down to Luminary gives you a Pep Chance +5% increase immediately, as well as provides access to abilities like Zap, Poof, and Holy Protection.
Serena is an example of a character who, early on in Dragon Quest XI, you can have a choice as to how she works. When she first ends up joining the party, she is essentially the equivalent of a Dragon Quest IX priest. She has access to Wands, Spears, and Harpistry on her board. The weapon you choose for her basically determines her role. I chose to give Serena a spear. This meant she could function as a damage dealer whose primary objective was healing, but could deal damage when needed. The first skill she learns on that track is Cattle Prod, which can deal extra damage to beast-type enemies, but she eventually gets boosts to damage-dealing and parrying. She can even eventually target a group with Party Pooper. But, if I had gone with wands, then she would have been a pure healer. Her first panel ability in that line is MP Absorption When Wielding +2%, which helps recharge her MP if she attacks, and continuing in that area boosts magical mending when she has a wand, lets her learn Snap, Crackle, Poof to protect one person from status ailments for a time, and even has an Alma Mater skill that could prevent Instant Death attacks from working on a specified ally whose health is at half or higher. As for Harpistry, it mainly offers magical mending boosts, skills that protect all party members from specific elemental attacks, and increases her MP.
One of the best things you can do, once you have an idea of what you want to do with a character, is try to unlock secret panels. Each major area in a party member’s Character Builder board in Dragon Quest XI will have at least one secret panel that needs to have four surrounding panels unlocked to be revealed and earned. These skills require a heavy investment, but tend to be worth it. One example is the Swords secret panel, which might be one of the first secret panels you unlock if you start unlocking that part of his board. For 16 points, you can earn Miracle Slash. This 4MP move deals damage and heals the hero at the same time. As you might imagine, it can be very handy for fights against large groups who like calling for backup or in boss fights, since it means someone with healing skills, like Serena or Rab, have one less person to worry about.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age do not have the same sort of class system as some other entries in the series. People tend to have specific roles they fill in the party. The hero will always be a damage dealer. Veronica will always be a mage. Serena works best as a healer. Even though they have these specific spots, there can be opportunities to adjust their equipment and movesets so they can work best in certain situations. Plus, if you find some decisions are not working, you can head to a church or statue to undo things and try a new character builder distribution to see if different spreads might work better.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age will come to the PlayStation 4 and PC on September 4, 2018. It is immediately available on the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 4 in Japan.