It’s finally here. After a long time of waiting, two very cool demos, and a lot of teases and character trailers, Octopath Traveler is here for the Nintendo Switch by the team at Square Enix. The game is very different from “typical” RPGs, as there are eight very different main characters on eight very different main quests. And the point is to do all of them, or some of them, at the rate you want. But where to begin? Well, allow me to help you and give you some tips via this Octopath Traveler Beginners Guide.
Be Who You Want
One thing that Square Enix did right was revealing that you could pick any of the eight characters to start with. And that is entirely true. If you didn’t play the second demo (more on that in a bit), you’ll be brought into the map of the game and allowed to scroll through all the starting points for the eight characters. You choose one, and your journey begins.
It’s that simple. Now, other guides will “instruct” you to pick a certain character over another to start, but where’s the fun in that? Want to be a thief first? Pick Therion and go from there. Want to be a warrior above all else? Go with Olberic and start his quest first. There is no wrong answer here, the path is yours to take. So if you resonate with someone, pick them and have fun!
Now, if you DID play the demo, transferring data is easy. You’ll just go into the game, they’ll ask you if you want to continue with your demo data, you’ll select the file, and then once you save in the main game, you don’t need the demo anymore. More space on your Switch!
Tip: When you go and get the other characters, you’ll have to go to their towns (marked on the map), and then physically talk to them. Always say “Yes” to hear their story so you don’t miss out on anything!
The Path is Dangerous, And You Must Be Ready
While it’s true that the path is yours to take, that doesn’t mean that you can blaze through the game without leveling up or getting your fellow main characters. The game actually scales itself based on how far you progress. So, for example, while you can pick Therion first and do his first chapter at Level 1 (and obviously you’ll level up along the way through the chapter), once you complete it, you’ll see the Chapter 2 marker, and notice it says Level 22.
This means you’ll have to work your way up in level, and in gear, to take on those new threats. And trust me when I say you’ll need to level up. Some of the bosses can be easy, but others are brutal. In one case, I did chapter 2 of H’aanit’s story with a well-prepared team. But when I took on the boss, it had an attack I was unprepared for, and knew I wouldn’t be for a while yet.
Which is one of the best parts of the game, you’re not “locked” into a chapter. You can go somewhere else and do another chapter as you level up and learn how to do more things, or get better skills. When I return to that 2nd H’aanit boss, it’s going down!
Tip: Don’t be afraid to push yourself against an enemy boss to see where you stand. It can help you gauge how much more you need to train!
Build Your Team Your Way, But Be Prepared To Swap
One thing I’m going to emphasize over and over again in this Octopath Traveler Beginners Guide is the concept of freedom. This is your game, I’m just here to offer you advice, not make your path for you. Which brings me to the next important factor: Your Team.
With 8 characters total and 4 that can be in a “battle team”, you have a lot of options. So to that end, I’ll say, make your team your way. Play them to your strengths. There are fighters, mages, healers, specialists, and more within the main eight characters, you’ll find the balance that you need to get the job done. A great example, my team is H’aanit, Therion, Olberic, and Ophelia. I use H’aanit and Olberic to deal a lot of damage with their menagerie of weapons, I use Therion to weaken foes and be a supporter in a pinch, and then I use Ophelia as a healer and a mage (more on that in a later point).
To me, that’s a balanced team. But, my fellow Nintendo Entertainment Podcast hosts have a liking for Cyrus, as they love his magic abilities. And that’s cool, that’s who they want. And my co-host Tyler likes Tressa so much he HAS to have her on his team, and again, that’s fine!
That being said, because of the nature of the game, you will need to build up every protagonist in order to complete every story (should you want to do that). But while this may be a burden at first, it actually is a blessing. Because that means 3 of your team will be your “mains”, and then the fourth will be whoever you need for your story, or, your other main if you time it right.
And viewing the other members will help you in other ways as you go on the journey. So while you should try to get your “ideal team”, be flexible, and embrace the changes and opportunities the other characters grant you. Each is special in their own way, that’s what makes the game awesome.
Tip: If you’re unsure how a team you want to put together will function together, you can Fast Travel to anywhere city or town you’ve been to! Go to an area with low-level monsters and take them out with your team. See if they balance each other out.
Embrace The Grind
You might find it odd that this Octopath Traveler Beginners Guide has a section on grinding, but hey, it’s an RPG, what would it be without a grind?
Seriously though, grinding is an important part of Octopath Traveler. Not the least of which is because of the reason I mentioned before about having to use every character to complete their storyline. And while grinding may seem tedious, here, it’s something more. How? Well, every battle gives you money (like a good RPG should), and trust me when I say you’ll need a lot of money to get through each chapter and section. From buying weapons, to gear, to items to keep you going in battle, you’re going to be spending a lot, and remember, there are up to 8 characters to prep.
So yeah, enjoy every battle, and rake in that dough! But just as important are the Skills you get through battle. In every battle, you get JP, which is used to give your characters new skills. Every skill you get though raises the cost of the next skill. You start out small, then go higher and higher until you have them all, and it’ll take time, but, it’ll be worth it. Plus, if you do really well in battle, you’ll earn boosts to everything! “Untouched” (not taking damage in battle) gets you more money, “Break” (shatteringa foe’s defensess) gains you more EXP, and “Domination” (where you wipe out foes in a timely matter) gets you a boost in JP.
The best part though is, because of the world, you know what “level” the monsters are in each section, so if you use that wisely, you’ll know where to go in order to train. Here’s a tip I used. Ophelia’s second chapter takes her to the Murkwoods. After beating this chapter, I went to Cyrus for his next story but needed to level him up. Because of his magic abilities, the Murkwood was the perfect place to train him, and he leveled up quickly, as did my other characters.
It may seem like a slog, but if you use the terrain and characters the right way, you won’t regret doing it.
Tip: Much like in Pokemon, if you run through areas, your encounter rate will go up, you’ll know you’re doing this because you minimap will go red.
Tip the 2nd: Every enemy will have weaknesses, go through the gambit of your abilities with your characters to unlock them all! It’ll give you a better plan of attack in battle!
Use 2nd Jobs To Your Advantage
Easily one of the coolest things in Octopath Traveler is being able to equip characters with two “Jobs” or classes. They each naturally have one, but you have the chance to give them another and earn them even more power. However, there are a few catches. One, only one character can “wield” each second job. So, in example, Therion and H’aanit can’t both be warriors, only one. Second, and arguably most importantly, you have to search out the second jobs by finding shrines. They’re scattered all over the game’s world, so you need to go look for them. Thankfully, Square Enix was kind enough to label them with their own icon on the minimap:
So, if you see this in the world, run to it! You’ll get a second job, and there are more than the 8 character jobs, there are even better ones out there waiting for you.
Now, once you get the jobs, how should you use them? Well, it goes back to the team aspect, you need to use them to benefit your team, and yours alone. Because of how 2nd jobs work, you can equip one, not like it, and then swap it with another, so you’re not resticted, but you should still try and use these 2nd jobs to make your character so much stronger.
An example I used was Ophelia. She’s a cleric, and thus is a healer, but also has Light attacks. She’s in my party for a good reason, but I wanted to have her do more. Cyrus is a scholar, and has a wealth of elemental attacks, as well as the ability to analyze opponents, but to me, is a bit weak in some areas. So, I gave Ophelia the 2nd job of Scholar. And now, she has four elemental abilities, she can analyze foes, and because of her Support Skills (more on that in the next point) she can regenerate HP. I also gave her an item to regenerate SP (Purchase stuff from Tressa’s parents!), so she’s arguably my most powerful member now. In battle, you’ll actually have separate tabs for the jobs that you have, so you won’t be confused on how to get the skills you need to use.
And that’s just the start of what you can do. So get creative! Make some fun combinations, and see how powerful you can make your team!
Use Path Actions, Talents, Skills And Support Skills Wisely
I’d be remiss in this Octopath Traveler Beginners Guide if I didn’t talk about Path Actions, Talents, Skills and Support Skills. These are vital to not just your characters, but their growth.
Path Actions are special, as they all let you to do certain things. But, the game doesn’t tell you everything. For example, H’aanit’s Provoke has you attacking someone with her captured creatures, which is awesome…unless you’re not using her Talent, Capture. Because unless you capture new creatures, you’re not going to have a lot of attacks. Plus, each creature only attacks a certain number of times, and you can’t use H’aanit’s own skills in a Provoke battle. So if you use Provoke, be ready with the creatures you have, else you’ll lose.
Likewise, Olberic’s Challenge let’s you do a one-on-one duel with someone. Which is great…unless you’re not paying attention to how strong the character you’re dueling is. The game lets you know, but it’s unclear how strong they really are based on the squares they show. Hint: If they’re 4 and up? Make sure you have a good level, like 25 or up.
Then, for Therion, you can steal items for people. But, you have to pay attention to the “success rate” stats. for the game has “Rogue” and “Noble” Path actions. Rogue ones, like Therion, Olberic, and H’annit can only be done five times unsuccessfully before your “reputation” in the town gets diminished. If that happens, then you’ll have to go to the local Tavern and pay the bartender to boost it back up.
In contrast, though, Tressa has a “Noble” Path Action called Purchase, where you can buy anything from people as long as you have the right amount of many. Plus her “Eye For Money” Talent allows her to find money on the ground as you walk around, you’ll be making money with her just by journeying!
The Talents are sometimes not needed to be activated, like Tressa’s, or Cyrus, who immediately upon entering a battle will discern a weakness of a characters. Others, like Capture or Steal, require activation. You’ll definitely want to get to know your Path Actions and Talents well so you don’t get caught off guard and find yourself in an awkward situation, or missing out on a great opportunity. Trust me on this.
As for Skills and Support Skills, when you get enough JP to get a new skill, you DON’T have to go in order of what is shown. You can select a new skill to learn at your selection. And though I won’t spoil it for you, something really good happens when you unlock all your skills.
In regards to Support Skills, these unlock when you have a certain number of regular Skills unlocked. These give your characters even more abilities. But, here’s a key thing, you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to. They’re optional. For example, Cyrus has a Support Skill that makes random encounters less frequent, which means you’ll be battling less. If you don’t want that? Don’t use the skill! Or, if you want to use it early on so you can get more characters, and thus fill out your battle party, before grinding, by all means!
Plus, when you get your second job, you can mix and match the Support Skills you think are the best so that you become even stronger.
Octopath Traveler is LONG, especially when you grind, so take an hour or two and make sure you understand everything your characters have to offer. You’ll be glad you did.
Tip: Certain Support Skills grant you boosts to stats, while all stats are relative, if you get a Support Skill to boost your SP, I would recommend taking it. Some even boost SP by 50, which can get you several Skill attacks or stat boosts/enemy deductions in battle.
Read The Fine Print On Items and Weapons!
In video games, as in life, there’s nothing worse than wasting money on an item you don’t need. As such, allow me to dedicate this section of the Octopath Traveler Beginners Guide to a key point: reading the fine print.
Now, what does this mean? Well, every character has the same stat categories. And whether you’re buying weapons, gear, your stats will go up or down depending on what you equip. The stats that are modified? That’s the fine print.
Here’s an example. Olberic, without a 2nd job, is a powerful physical threat, he has a sword and a lance, and he’s dang good at his job. I went to a store and saw a sword that slightly raised his Physical Attack stat, but it greatly enhanced his Elemental Attack stat. Did I buy that sword? No. Why? Because my Olberic doesn’t have elemental attacks, and with only a slight increase in Physical Attack, it’s a pointless purchase. Sure enough, I later found a weapon that greatly enhanced Physical Attack, and so I bought it.
Gear is the same way, some gear will boost one defense, others will boost both. Some will give you more SP to use in battle, or increase your Evasion (which will help you dodge attacks). But, if you change that gear, your boosts will be altered. But mindful of every purchase you make so that you don’t loose a stat boost that you really wanted to keep.
As for items, buying them is one thing, you’ll always read the fine print there. But in the field? You might get something in a treasure chest, and not know what it is, so you’ll leave it alone. DON’T DO THAT! Read every unknown item you get, because some items in the game are meant to be sold and get you money.
So please, read the fine print, it’ll save you time, money, and grief.
Tip: If you know you’re not going to need an old weapon, don’t be afraid to sell it! Every little bit counts!
Learn To Love H’aanit!
Ok, I know I’ve said that the point of this Octopath Traveler Beginners Guide was to encourage freedom, but I’m going to break that rule here, because H’aanit for me is the best character in the game, and I highly recommend you put her on your team.
Why? Because she’s easily one of the most diverse members of your potential team. She naturally has a bow and an axe. But, because of her Capture skill, she actually has a lot more to offer. Her faithful companion Linde, for example, acts as both a sword and a lance. And depending on her other captured beasts, you can get even more options with her. Also, Linde doesn’t cost SP, so you can use the creature every turn without consequence, and you can use Boost to make her even stronger.
Her Skills make it so she can attack one foe or many, and her Support Skills can let her attack many more times than the others if your luck is good, and this is all without a second job. She’s very tough, and very strong, and has a decent amount of HP. Plus, her voice actress just makes her sound awesome.
So if you’re looking for someone to build your team around, I recommend H’aanit.
Look Out For “Travel Banter”!
A big question that many people had about Octopath Traveler is the question of “do the characters actually interact with each other?”
After all, they’re all technically on their own journies, right? So how can they talk with one another? Well, the Square Enix team found a way around this via “Travel Banter”. Starting in Chapter 2 of any characters’ story, if you have the right team members present for certain events, you’ll find yourself able to listen in on conversations between two of your party. The conversations are in character, and they feel very natural. The icon for this will appear in the top right-hand corner after certain cutscenes, so be on the lookout for that!
Tip: In H’aanit’s Chapter 2, her and Primrose have a hilarious Travel Banter. If you don’t get to see it, look it up online, it’s a treat.
So there you have it! 9 things to get you started on your journey. What did you think of my Octopath Traveler Beginners Guide? Is there something you think I should’ve added? Let me know in the comments below!