Let’s face it, any first time Etrian Odyssey player is going to have a hard time. Not only are the games based around an unfamiliar mapping process on the second screen, but each dungeon that the player finds introduces new and innovative ways to completely destroy them. Pile a novel class and skill system, and in the case of Nexus a massive roster of the former, and you have a recipe for complete confusion. Firstly we’d like to implore you to stick with it; these truly are special and wonderfully rewarding games, and secondly we’d like to introduce you to a list of our top 10 Beginner Tips! You might know most or all of these already, but if we can help you stick with the difficult intro to just one of these games we’d consider it a success!
10. Ariadne Thread
Look, we’ve written about quite a few ‘Etrian’ style games so far and each of their tips articles contain the very same information: Don’t leave home without a way out. Be it the Persona equivalent ‘Goho-m’ or the original Ariadne Thread, you absolutely must ensure that you take one of these with you on every jaunt into a stratum. Yes, you might feel like you know the area and yes, you might have already cleared the map and feel very confident, but rest assured these games always have a way of catching you off guard. In a recent example of this, one remarkably handsome EON player had his healer inexplicably one shot at the far end of a floor, leading to what can only be described as the ‘tiptoe of tension’ back to the closest exit. Don’t be like said player! Never leave home without an exit, no matter how handsome you are!
9. Take It Slow
Despite being ninth in our list, this is probably one of the most important tips that we could give a prospective Etrian player. In this day and age RPG games seem to be filled to the brim with easy modes, battle skip options and ‘quality of life’ features that often dumb down the content. Players will soon learn that none of this is true in an Etrian Odyssey title, and whilst we would say that Nexus isn’t exactly the hardest in the series, it still requires a good deal of patience from the audience. This isn’t your average JRPG, far from it; every battle and every step requires your fullest concentration, especially in the early game. This isn’t a game where rushing to the boss is an option, it’s a tactical, puzzling game that requires forethought and planning, so take your time and enjoy a different kind of grind: The knowledge grind.
8. Record Everything
This one may seem rather obvious, especially in a game tailored to actually recording things on the lower screen, but you really should make a note of absolutely everything that happens whilst you’re out exploring in an Etrian title, especially one so packed with content such as Nexus. Sure, that pleasant stream that restored a portion of your TP might initially look like filler content, but you can bet some poor thirsty lad back in town will have posted a quest asking for the location of some fresh water. Take advantage of the tools at your disposal and keep notes all over your map – you never know when they might come in handy.
7. Pay Attention to Loot
At first glance the loot situation in Etrian Odyssey Nexus looks rather simple: Defeat enemies and certain pieces of loot spray forth. Said loot is then sold at the shop to unlock an ever increasing level of equipment for your team members – simple enough right? Well, things get a little more complicated when rare drops come into play, which are essentially items that have a smaller chance to be found and often act as unlocks for slightly better versions of the aforementioned equipment. Were that not enough, peeling the onion of content layers back even further reveals conditional drops, which are items that can only be found when certain spells or abilities are used to defeat key opponents! So what exactly is the tip here? Powerful equipment is often a single piece of key loot away, so dig a little deeper and see what you can find.
6. Register Findings
When doing our research around ‘Nexus we were surprised to find quite a few players that knew nothing about our next tip, which is about registering your discoveries with the guild. Should you be unaware the guild is not only there to dole out your main missions, but they also want to know all about your exploration and upon hearing of your exploits they will likely give you a prize of sorts. Sure, some of the initial prizes are a little underwhelming, but it’s worth doing regardless and should simply be considered as a nice bonus you receive for your ongoing progression.
5. Skip Nothing
As the Etrian series has aged so too have the developers. They’ve gained both experience and fan feedback en route to mastering their craft, and as such they’re now fully aware of what the series superfan wants: More. Given that the current game in question is Nexus, itself a knowing tribute to the series as a whole, this is exactly what they gave us. There’s more items, more classes and yes, more stratums, the latter of which is where our fifth tip comes into play: Do not skip anything. Oh sure, you might feel like your party can take on pretty much anything based on the evidence of the previous stratum, but optional versions are there for a reason. They’re designed to give you some light relief, to catch up on some levels and potentially offer new loot, so take advantage of this fact by exploring every stratum they offer you! Sure some of them are ripped wholesale from previous games, but when you’ve got so many classes to tinker with it’s surely worth going. Speaking of which…
4. One With Everything
Etrian Odyssey Nexus has 19 possible classes to choose from, each with their own eventual subclass to be chosen, all of which come in a great deal of different shapes, sizes and roles. In fact, there are so many options available that players often get what is known as ‘choice paralysis’, often in fear of missing out on optimal choices. Well we’re here to tell you two key facts about Nexus that should help you out. Firstly, there are no bad classes here – yes we do rank some a little higher than others, but it’s perfectly possible to complete the game with all manner of different team builds. Secondly, the game features an item known as the Memory Conch, which gives your inactive party members 50% of the experience that your main team gains. Essentially you can go hog wild, create one of everything and see which options you like!
3. Exploration Skills
Should you have taken our prior advice, you’ll probably be getting intimately familiar with the skill screens of each class by now. Every single one of your team member choices will have a huge amount of customisation options, from massive damage attacks to ailment inducing, tactical jousts. So why are we mentioning this? Well, the temptation will always be to load all of your skill points into powerful combat abilities and whilst in the majority of cases this is a great idea, don’t completely sleep on exploration skills! It’s almost always worth spending the extra point to get more rewards from mining or gathering, and if you venture a little further you can gain access to skills that lower the encounter rate, increase your rare loot rewards and even heal your party as you explore! Don’t ignore those combat skills of course, but when you have a spare point or two picking these alternative skills can make the world of difference.
2. Return to Stratums
One of the most satisfying elements of an Etrian Odyssey game is that they essentially leave the player alone. You’re free to explore at your own pace and in your own direction, hazards be damned, and you’ll no doubt make progress regardless. In so doing so you’ll also come up against plenty of dead ends, impassable traps and locked doors, the latter of which lends an almost ‘metroidvania’ feel to the dungeons. To the tip then and it’s a rather simple one: It’s always worth returning to prior dungeons. You will eventually be able to break down all of those barriers and unlock all of the doors, and it’s almost certainly worth doing so. Hell, if you’ve been playing around with tip number three, you can probably turn off the encounters on the way there!
1. Return to FOE
Yes we’re aware that our final tip is in a very similar realm to the penultimate, but this final one really does need to be reiterated as much as possible: You should always return to previous stratums to defeat their resident FOE monsters. During your initial trip through any of Nexus’ dungeons you’ll no doubt fall to these beasts should you attempt to take them down with anything but the most perfect of tactics. Now we do love a challenge and we’d certainly encourage you to get creative with disables and ailments if you attempt an early take down, but it’s not strictly necessary. It’s almost always worth returning however, and we’d recommend you return to a prior stratum around the mid section of the next. This should see you be powerful enough to make it an enjoyable fight whilst also ensuring the loot they unlock will be of some use!
Categories: Etrian Odyssey Nexus