When it comes to weaponry, the Dragon Quest series has always been somewhat of an outlier, despite remaining resolutely traditional. Where other JRPG games become more and more fantastical, DQ sticks to swords, shields and staves, like the RP games of old. That’s not to say they do not become fantastic, throwing out Gigaslash and the like in the late game, but in the main they at least seem somewhat realistic. DQIX in particular has a great deal of these to choose from, along with a large amount of vocations in which to wield them, so we’re taking some time to answer an age old question about this game in particular; which of these weapons are the best, and why?
Our first weapon choice is one that often gets lower billing in the Dragon Quest series as a whole. Often this is for good reason, with it regularly being relegated to a ‘sub’ weapon usage by those of a spell casting persuasion when they’d rather deal greater physical damage, like Serena in DQ11. Here however, it’s a powerful alternative to the Axe or Sword, with a skill list that keeps it useful into the late game. Highlights are the Thunder Thrust attack, which has a 50% chance to critical and ties it with the Axe as a great way to farm metal slime monsters, or the Lightning Storm ultimate attack, which deals tremendous damage to all enemies. In reality, the Spear is only really held back by the fact that the best physical vocation in the game – the Gladiator – cannot naturally wield it, thus requiring the Omnivocational skill, which is a great deal more effort than just using the Axe.
- Access to a 50% critical strike skill in Thunder Thrust, a great way to farm Metal Slime enemies.
- Multithrust is a great mid game damage skill, akin to other multi hit skills.
- Late game, the skills are more useful versus groups, where the Axe and Sword shine against single targets.
- Naturally used by the Warrior, Priest and Paladin classes.
- Unfortunately, the Gladiator does not naturally use this weapon, and they are the best physical damage dealing class in the game. This can be forced via the Omnivocaional skill, however it requires much more additional effort than the Axe.
Likely you were expecting us to jump straight into the aforementioned Axe or Sword now, and whilst we’ll surely get to those, we absolutely must make note of the fantastic Fan weapon in Dragon Quest IX. We’re not about to tell you that it can deal tremendous amounts of damage, though it has its moments thanks to Fan Dango, which functions like any other 4 random target attacks, but rather it’s an excellent choice for a supporting character. Flower Power, which attempts to Dazzle a group of enemies, is more useful than you might think, but it’s main draw is the ultimate skill Hustle Dance, which heals the party for 80+ HP for zero MP cost. This might not sound like a great deal, however having this available on a supporting character allows them to act like a secondary healer of sorts, whilst still dealing a good amount of damage. It’s free too, so you could just spam this every round if you want, whilst saving your more focused classes’ MP pool for emergencies.
- Ultimate skill, Hustle Dance, is a zero MP cost group heal for 80+ each, making the weapon ideal for a supporting party member.
- Fan Dango is a good damage skill in the mid to late game, though the weapon is limited outside of this from a damage dealing perspective.
- Naturally used by the Minstrel, Martial Artist and Luminary classes.
- Slight advantage of being able to be levelled up from the start of the game, since the hero is stuck in the Minstrel class for a while.
- A hero levelled through the Minstrel, Fan, Shield and Luminary skills is an excellent all round support character that ends up with a huge amount of Charm.
The Axe, much like both the Spear and Fan, are a relatively new addition to the Dragon Quest series, having all made their debut in the eighth instalment. However, where the Fan managed to pivot into a more supporting role in IX, the Axe here chooses to double down on the single target damage option, and is all the better for it. First and foremost however, it does feature the usual array of passive damage increases, and similar to the Spear it features a 50% crit chance strike that does well when farming Metal Slimes.
The real stars of the skill show here are Axes of Evil, which is a group attack that deals a significant amount of damage, and it’s ultimate ability Whopper Chop, which is a guaranteed single target critical strike for massive damage. In truth it’s the latter that will draw you to the Axe, since the main event of any late and post game section of a Dragon Quest is primarily single targets. This, combined with some excellent weapon models and the fact that the Gladiator class naturally wields the Axe, makes it the very best choice for dealing damage to bosses in the late game. What it lacks in adaptability versus our first choice, it makes up for in sheer, thunderous damage.
- Massive single target damage capabilities thanks to Whopper Chop, it’s ultimate ability, which is a guaranteed single target critical strike for huge damage.
- Retains it’s 50% critical chance abilities, two in fact, which make it ideal for farming Metal Slime type opponents when EXP farming.
- Retains a group attack option with Axes of Evil.
- Naturally wielded by both the Ranged and Gladiator classes, the latter of which has the highest Strength statistic in the entire game.
Life is rather unfair to pretty much every other weapon in Dragon Quest IX, because we’re not exaggerating when we say that this weapon is far more powerful than any of the others. Swords do generally get good treatment in the DQ series, of that there is no doubt, however the gulf here is rather large. Some will argue that other weapons, like the Axe we just noted, are capable of dealing more single target damage, however when you consider the overall package and include the actual weapon models available, nothing can touch the Sword.
The Skills available read like a highlights package from the series as a whole; Metal Slash, Falcon Slash and Gigaslash will likely be familiar to those of you having played a modern DQ at all, and they’re just as good here in IX. Things get even better when you unlock the ultimate skill, Gigagash, because it’s likely the most powerful group attack in the game. Better still are the selection of Sword models, which are the largest in number of all weapons in the game, and feature the most powerful of all, the Hypernova Sword.
- Dragon, Metal, Miracle and Falcon Slash mean the Sword offers excellent all round single target attacks, which help to take down specific targets and in the case of Miracle Slash, even keep the party member alive.
- Gigagash, the ultimate skill, is a tremendously powerful attack that does huge damage to all enemies.
- You could argue that it doesn’t reach the heights of single target damage that the Axe does, however it features far too many other benefits which easily outweigh those of any other weapon.
- Can be equipped by the Minstrel, Thief, Warrior, Gladiator and Armamentalist classes.
- Access to the best selection of weapon models of all.
We absolutely must take some time to note two other weapons in this list. Well, technically a Shield is not a weapon, however it is levelled up in a similar fashion and if anything we’d consider it the most important defensive item in the game. The Defending Champion and Magic Mirror skills are absolutely incredible, and having these available on as many party members as possible will make both the late and post game much, much easier to traverse.
Similarly, the Wand is what we would consider as essential, though only for your spell casting party members. It’s not the active skills that shine here however, but rather the passives that your members learn. By levelling up this weapon, your spell casters will gain a huge amount of MP pool and the eventual ability to naturally regenerate MP after every round in battle. These combine to keep your mages and healers going for as long as you require, which is something that becomes more and more essential as the game progresses.