mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Xenoblade Chronicles X Tips

The first time I sat down with Xenoblade Chronicles X, I felt – in the best way possible – totally overwhelmed. Having spent plenty of time with the game now, I’ve learned a lot along the way. The game doesn’t hold your hand very much so as I convince friends to take the dive into Mira, I decided to prepare a spoiler-free list of quick-start tips to help them get started.

Read the manual and watch the Survival Guide video series. It’s pretty daunting at 142 pages, but the manual has lots of useful information. I read it piece by piece while I was taking a break from the game. Also very useful are the survival guide videos by Nintendo. Except for the annoyingly (and unnecessarily) sassy narrator, the videos are very useful in getting you started on Mira. If you only want to do the bare minimum I recommend watching the Your New Home, Planetary Defense, and Mining Your Own Business videos.

Turn subtitles on. This game unfortunately suffers from some questionable sound design decisions. Songs with lyrics play during scenes where characters are conversing and even worse, the audio is terribly balanced which results in characters’ words getting drowned out in the background song. Turn on subtitles and read your way through this flaw.

Early on feel free to explore and plant data probes. Don’t feel like you need to rush through the story missions. Most story missions require you to explore a certain percentage of Mira so running around and planting data probes early on is required encouraged. Exploring will also open up fast-travel points so you can move around more efficiently later on.

If you’re aiming for 100% completion, do not fret – there are no missables that count towards completion. There are some heart-to-heart conversations for one particular character that are missable, but they do not count towards completion. I would avoid looking up which character this is as it may spoil some of the story for you. In short, do your thing without fear of missing out on 100%.

Probes are not lost when you swap them. For example, if you are swapping a Research Probe on a particular site for a Mining Probe, the Research Probe will be returned to your inventory. You still need to pay a placement fee each time you place a probe so it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Revenue also increases on sites with discovered sight-seeing spots. If a site has a sight-seeing spot in its range you will see something like “Sightseeing Spots Found 0/2” when you click on the data probe site.

Don’t stress about picking your BLADE division as you can easily change it later. Different actions like collecting items, hunting indigens, and planting data probes will gain you BLADE experience points which will level up your standing – your BLADE level – in organization. Different divisions give more or less points for these actions depending on what that division’s main goal is. For example, Curators who are tasked with collecting materials get more points for collecting items compared to Pathfinders who are charged with discovering locations and planting data probes. You can read more about the different divisions spoiler-free on the Xenoblade Wiki. I recommend going with the Curators because you’ll always be collecting a ton of items while roaming Mira.

When your BLADE level increases, talk to Eleonora at the BLADE Concourse in the Administrative District – next to where you get missions – to level up your field skills. There are three field skills: Mechanical, Archaeological, and Biological. Planting data probes is dependent on your Mechanical level so I recommend leveling that up to level 4 first and then leveling up the other two skills. Note that opening a treasure depends on the field skill corresponding to the type of treasure so you won’t be able to open Archaeological or Biological treasures over level 1, but that’s okay; just come back for them later!

The Shadowrunner arte can give you stealth outside of battle. This is extremely helpful if you’re trying to open a treasure or plant a data probe guarded by a powerful enemy. The Commando class learns this arte, but you don’t need to go this class route to have access to it as Elma learns it. Read more about this on this reddit post.

Allocated Battle Points (BP) cannot be reset but you can keep farming more. BP is used to upgrade artes and skills to make them more powerful. As you gain new artes and skills or change your class you will likely swap out artes and skills. Don’t sweat it if you’re removing an upgraded arte or skill because you can just keep getting BP. Also, upgrading to level 3 is relatively cheap compared to the level 4 and 5 (max level) upgrades so don’t hesitate to upgrade to at least level 3.

Pick a class that interests you and change it once you max that class out. You start out as a Drifter which is a generic class. Once you max (i.e. level 10) this freelancer class out, you can pick a more specialized branch to pursue. Different branches have access to different weapons like assault rifles, longswords, photon sabers, ray-guns. When you master the end of a class branch, you’ll have access to the weapons for that class using ANY other class. For example, once you master the Astral Crusader class you can use a Sniper Rifle and Javelin and all their related artes paired with any other class. In short, you will likely max out at least two or three classes during the game so don’t worry too much about picking a class early on.

Characters who join your party cannot change their class. Unlike the main character who can change classes and maxes out these classes at level 10, characters with a fixed class max that class out at level 20. Note that you’re still responsible for setting and upgrading their artes and skills and outfitting them with better gear. Also, characters that join later on will have all the BP you have gathered thus far so you shouldn’t feel rushed to recruit all characters immediately.

Fill in the Collectopaedia for rewards. Items collected while exploring Mira can be registered in the Collectopaedia which can be accessed from Intel in the main menu. Be aware that registering an item consumes one of that item. But filling in the Collectopaedia will not only satisfy your inner completionist, you’ll also gain rewards like Battle Points along the way.

Wow! This list turned out a lot longer than I had intended. But it’s to be expected as Xenoblade Chronicles X is massive. If I’m missing something really important feel free to send me an tweet or a message on reddit! Happy exploring!