Organization matters in Grand Kingdom. The beta doesn’t tell you this, though it does take you through a comprehensive tutorial that sees you joining Resonail’s Guild, proving you’d be a worthy member, and completing your first quest. From there, you get to form a contract with one of the four great nations and sign on to help them fight between one and five wars.
You first realize you need to get your troops in line after you’re allowed to hire your own mercenaries. Grand Kingdom’s beta starts you out with a premade Knight, Hunter, Medic, and Witch. These are all capable characters, and you don’t need to worry about their formation or equipment. Once you’re accepted into the Guild, it’s time to make your own party. Only the four classes are available in the beta, though you can name them, adjust their appearances, and pick their voices. You can also dole out bonus points in varying stats. The game is especially helpful, in that it explains what each stat does as you do this. From there, it’s up to you. If you don’t equip them, they stick with less-than-appealing starting weapons and no armor. If you don’t rearrange them, they appear on the field in the order they were created.
You don’t want that. What you want is an orderly party consisting of each of the characters offered. The Knight should be in the front row, acting as your primary damage dealer and tank. Directly behind him should be the Medic. Even though she acts as a healer, she’ll actually be one of the most versatile characters in your party. Her acid attack has a wonderful area of effect and even knocks enemies back into foes standing behind them. She also gains a mist that boosts attack after gaining a level. The Witch should be behind the Medic, but ahead of the Hunter. Her Fireballs and Lightning have a decent range, and you want her protected. The Hunter should be all the way in the back. His standard shot needs a lot of space to properly execute, and you want him ready to unleash his first attack from the very beginning.
Another key to success in Grand Kingdom’s beta is keeping track of time. When you’re in the field on a quest or as part of the war effort, you have a certain number of turns to move across the board and reach your goal. 250 turns may seem like a lot when your mission begins, but time can quickly fly. Each turn you take in battle eats away at your time. Sometimes, you’ll come across a trap that needs to be disarmed, perhaps taking another three turns. You can come across a special square that would take 10 turns to investigate. I’m not saying you’re going to run out of time during the two tutorial quests, but it could happen when you’re at war. There, you’ll be facing other players’ units, and theirs could be as strong as or even stronger than yours.
It’s in these fights against other players’ mercenary squads that you need to start getting your tactics in line. There are certain things you have to consider when attacking any targets. For example, the Hunter and Witch’s attacks will knock enemies down and back. You want the enemy you’re aiming for to be at the front of their range, so you can deal consecutive hits that keep pushing them further back. With a Knight, you want to try for back attacks as soon as possible. He’ll do increased damage to enemies because of this.
You also want to focus on certain targets, making sure they’re taken out in an orderly fashion. Leaders should be dispatched first, as their defeat will lower the morale of their team. But, you should only go after them first if you have two characters in a row who can have a 100% chance of knocking them out, even if Grit expends Assist Gauge points to keep that character alive with 1 or 2 HP. Otherwise, a Medic unit could show up to restore health. You also want to take out any character preparing a charge attack, as you don’t want your friends taking a powerful hit from an area of attack spell.
The time you spend fighting is critical in Grand Kingdom too. First, there’s an Activity Record kept. When you log in to play, you get a daily bonus. For showing up the first day, I received an Orb of Training, and on the fourth, seventh, and tenth days, Holy Drops, a Vitality Scroll, and Fighting Liquor would be awarded. You’re incentivized for making time to appear every day. Just as you’re also rewarded for extended periods of loyalty. The longer you make a contract with a nation, the higher Gold and Royal bonus ratios are earned. You sign on for one to five wars. I signed on for a two war contract with Magion, the magic nation filled with scholars, as a bit of a test to see how things worked. That means I’d get a 102% Gold Bonus Ratio and 107% Royal Bonus Ratio. It seems like the nations with female leaders are most popular at the moment, as Gladius’ Landerth had 41% of the contract population last night, followed by Precia’s Fiel with 29%.
If the beta is any indication, it seems like Grand Kingdom is a game that will reward the thoughtful. People who pace themselves, set schedules, and keep careful track of their units, people’s placements, attack order, and commitments will enjoy the greatest success. That’s not to say people who go in and do whatever they please won’t have fun, but I felt like I did best in the wars when I thought before making any move both on the map or in battle.
The Grand Kingdom closed PlayStation 4 beta will run from May 3-10, 2016. People can register now via the official website. The full game will be released on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in Europe on June 17, 2016, followed by a June 21, 2016 North American release.