Octopath Traveler Tressa
Screenshot by Siliconera

Which Octopath Traveler Starting Character Is Best?

While you can unlock all eight playable characters in Octopath Traveler, you’ll need to pick one to begin the adventure as. While it’s perfectly viable to start as any of them, there are a few things to bear in mind that might make your playthrough a little easier. So here’s how to choose your starting character in Octopath Traveler.

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Which character should I start as in Octopath Traveler?

The most important choices will always be “who you think looks cool” and “whose story seems interesting,” but since those are subjective we’ll look at other factors instead. First off, you’ll likely want an immediately impactful and reliable starting character for combat, especially if you’re new to RPG’s. Olberich and H’aanit are survivable damage dealers, while Cyrus can cover several elemental weaknesses and hit multiple targets at once, even if he is a bit squishy. Meanwhile, characters like Tressa and Primrose can grow into powerhouses but need support and levels before they really take off, though that could provide an interesting challenge if you’re looking for it.

Octopath Traveler H'aanit
Screenshot by Siliconera

There are also Path Actions to consider, as some are more useful than others. Some, like H’aanit’s Provoke or Tressa’s Purchase, won’t come into their own until you have some strong beasts and deep pockets to make use of. Others, like Ophilia’s Guide, will let you bring along allies to battle. Therion can use steal to obtain weapons and gear without having to grind for coin.

This is doubly important because you’ll be locked into having your starting character in your party until you finish their storyline, which could be a good ways into the game. This can be limiting in combat and in town, as you’ll have one less slot to change for path actions or to cover weaknesses, but they will also inevitably end up your highest level character since they’ll always be present in a fight. If your starting character has a very useful path action, like Steal or Inquire, this can end up being extremely useful.

Octopath Traveler Starting Character Alfyn
Screenshot by Siliconera

Octopath Traveler starting character strengths and weaknesses

Here’s a brief overview of things to consider for each Traveler as a starting character:

  • Ophilia – A powerful AoE healer with access to Holy magic and Staves, Ophilia is dependable but not standout. While she gets access to an AoE revive, the SP cost is prohibitive and her single target support is not as useful early on. Her path action lets her recruit an NPC for combat or completing certain quests, and is guaranteed as long as you meet the level requirement. A solid choice, but a bit of a late bloomer.
  • Cyrus – A supremely useful character, able to cover three elemental weaknesses with his AoE magic on top of his Staff weapon. His talent and Analyze skill are very useful for discovering those weaknesses in the first place, and his path action Scrutinize is excellent despite its chance to fail. Very worth picking up early if not starting as him.
  • Tressa – Able to use Wind magic, Spears, and Bows as well as recover her own SP in a fight, Tressa is a useful all-rounder who can become extremely powerful. She can also sometimes conserve consumables and can buy a variety of items from townspeople, but this requires stocks of items and money to begin with. Strong, but needs investment.
  • Olberich – A tough frontliner with AoE attacks, buffs, and good defense. His weaknesses are that he only brings Sword and Spear damage types to the table and while his path action is easier to use than H’aanit’s, you won’t need to use it half as often as some others.
  • Primrose – As a fragile support that relies on evasion to stay alive, Primrose is a difficult option to start with. Her buffs are powerful and she provides access to your first source of Dark type spells, but she needs support to make the most of her kit. Her path action is useful for quests and can bring along an ally to a fight but has a chance to fail, and she otherwise can wield Daggers.
  • Alfyn – While Alfyn can only provide Axe and Ice attacks, his single target healing and early SP regenerating passive make him a more economical healer than Ophilia, at least early. His Inquire skill is very useful and more reliable than Cyrus’ Scrutinize, but while his ability to concoct items is powerful it also requires a good stock of reagents. A solid starter.
  • Therion – A fast but fragile Thief, Therion has a number of useful abilities but by far the standout is his path action. Using Steal can net you lots of consumables, equipment, and even some quest items from NPCs in town and remains useful for the whole game. He can also cover Sword, Dagger, and Fire weaknesses and reduce physical defense.
  • H’aanit – A strong physical damage dealer who can cover Axe, Bow, and Lightning weaknesses as well as capture beasts for even more damage types. Her path action Provoke is a less useful one, however, so while she’s not ideal as a first choice she’s definitely worth picking up early.

So that’s what you need to consider when picking a starting character in Octopath Traveler, be sure to check out Siliconera’s other guides on Secondary Job combos and the best Party make-ups.

Octopath Traveler is immediately available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam and Xbox Game Pass.

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Elliot Gostick
Elliot is a staff writer from the mist-shrouded isle of Albion, and has been covering gaming news and reviews for about a year. When not playing RPGs and Strategy games, she is often found trying (and failing) to resist the urge to buy more little plastic spacemen.