Since its inception, the Dragon Quest series has featured some form of skill or spell. Even the original title, in all of its simplicity, featured spells like Sizz, Evac and Zoom, which are names you’ll no doubt recognise from modern titles. As technology and developers improved, so too did the requirements put upon the player, which necessitates more tools being available. Here in Dragon Quest IX the selection is huge, with vocations having their own set of skills and a selection of weapon preferences, each of which come with their own skills too! Thankfully the game allows you to switch classes, meaning you can experience the full gamut of weapons and skills available, but with limited descriptions visible prior to your investment, what skills should you aim for and why?
In no particular order then, let us present our choices for the best skills in Dragon Quest IX.
Hatchet Man & Thunder Thrust
- (Hatchet Man) Level 58 Axe Skill – 50% chance to land a hit, but it will be a critical strike if it does.
- (Thunder Thrust) Level 58 Spear Skill – 50% chance to land a hit, but it will be a critical strike if it does.
Players familiar with the Dragon Quest series will no doubt recognise the necessity of an ability such as this. By all normal definitions, an ability that will miss 50% of the time doesn’t sound like a very reliable way to deal damage, and in any normal situation we would completely agree, however this is not the eventual purpose of such a skill.
The real usage for Hatchet Man and Thunder Thrust is to slay Metal Slimes. These are enemies that have a very low amount of health, but a tremendous amount of damage reduction, to the point where almost any normal, non-critical strike will do 1 point of damage. There are skills that allow this to rise to 2 damage, such as Metal Slash or the like, however these are no longer good enough when the higher level variants of Metal Slime appear. This is where our two skills shine; they’re able to, semi reliably at least, slay Metal Slimes thanks to critical strikes doing full damage. In fact, trying to take down the higher level Metal Slimes without a critical skill is almost completely hopeless in the late game.
- These are the ‘go to’ skills for farming Metal Slimes. Normal, non-critical strike hits will only deal 1 damage to a Metal Slime, however criticals will do their full damage.
- Limited uses outside of farming Metal Slimes. Not really reliable enough to be used on bosses or regular encounters.
Multiheal / Omniheal
- 100 HP or 100% Heal To All Party Members.
It’s no real secret that group heals are important now, is it? Be it Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Persona or any number of other RPG titles, the ability to restore health to the entire party is a benefit that should not be underestimated. This is of particular importance in Dragon Quest titles however, because whilst the early game might rarely display an opponent with a damaging ‘Breath’ group attack, the late game is chocked full of them. Breaths, unique boss attacks, golems dropping boulders on the whole team, you name it and you’re likely to face it.
Surely this isn’t news, we hear you cry, however it’s the nature of skills in Dragon Quest IX that make it so important. You see, group heals are only accessible through two classes, the Priest and the Sage, the latter of which isn’t unlocked until late on. Sure, you could argue that some weapon skills carry this benefit, like the excellent Fan skills, but none of these will approach Omniheal, which is only available to the Priest class. This gains even more importance in the late and post game, where grotto boss damage can get rather out of hand, necessitating massive heals in almost every round.
- Critical in the post game portion of DQIX.
- Equally, these spells are very useful in the mid to late portion of the game, especially for players relatively unfamiliar with the series.
- Worth reiterating that only the Priest and Sage classes have access to heals that target more than one party member, and the Priest itself is the only class that gains Omniheal, which heals 100% of every member’s health.
- Sometimes steals an item from the target.
These days, Dragon Quest games are filled to the brim with loot. With the inclusion of Alchemy Pots or Fun Sized Forges, the worlds have been stuffed with opportunities to fill your inventory with crafting fodder. A walk around the map can attest to this, with shiny spots and treasure chests being found in almost every zone, but getting loot from monsters is a slightly different story.
This is where Half Inch steps in, acting as the ‘Steal’ command for Dragon Quest IX. Technically speaking, the monsters that you will face can only drop two pieces of loot, and they’re able to drop these through their defeat alone, however having additional chances at these during battle is a fantastic benefit. This becomes more and more relevant as the game progresses, with more rarified pieces of loot being required for high level Alchemy recipes, so it’s a good idea to level a few of your members in the Thief class before heading out on your farming trips. It’s worth bearing in mind that the Deftness statistic will increase your chances of a steal working, which makes your equipment and class choices essential.
- This is the Steal function of Dragon Quest IX.
- Excellent for garnering additional Alchemy items throughout the game.
- Some late game Alchemy recipes can make it tough to gather materials, so having this additional chance at loot is a great benefit.
- The Deftness stat will increase your chance to successfully steal items, so consider adding Deftness increasing equipment to your arsenal.
- Additionally, the Ranger class has excellent Deftness benefits, and can be used to increase this chance further.
Passive Stat Boosts
- +30 Strength, +60 Resilience etc.
Whatever you do, you must not underestimate the power of raw statistics in Dragon Quest IX. Now, much like our healing skills noted above, you might think we’re being a little obvious when we say this, however there is one additional thing that you must note: They survive a change of class, unlike most active skills. This means that you’re free to chop and change classes, taking advantage of their statistical boosts despite potentially not favoring the class itself.
All of this means there is great potential in building amazing party members. You could level a character as a Paladin for their huge Resilience stats, then revert them to a Mage or Priest, safe in the knowledge that they’ll now take much less damage. Equally you can take the Strength buffs from a Gladiator for your Ranger, or the Magical Mending of the Priest for your Paladin. Lastly, we’d urge you not to underestimate Resilience in particular – it’s a fantastic statistic, and gaining as much of this will stand you in good stead for the entire game.
- Statistic increases translate between classes. In other words, a stat increase will permanently stay on your character sheet.
- This means that you can use certain class choices to buff the weak points of others, like levelling as a Paladin to get all of the Resilience stats, then turning back into a more squishy class.
- Alternatively, if you’ve levelled a Mage that you’d like to transition into a powerful Sage, consider getting the Magical Mending benefits of the Priest first, making your eventual Sage choice all conquering.
- You could, were you unburdened of real life responsibilities, level one character in every single class, gathering up every stat buff like a hungry hungry, number hunting hippo.
- Raise the targets attack power by 25% (Capped at 50%).
My oh my, what are we going to do with all of these Gladiators that we have in our team now, hm? If only we had a way to increase the damage that they can do, and have it be cast by another party member, thus allowing them to focus on melting opponents away with their massive weapons. Enter Oomph, the single target buff that will increase the target’s attack power by 25%, and can be applied up to the 50% cap.
We’re not going to waste your time too much here, suffice to say that it’s a fantastic way to buff the damage your physical attackers do, and that this form of damage dealing is very important in the late and post game of DQIX. One side note however, is that Double Up and Gritty Ditty do the same thing, so you do have more options for applying this buff, again allowing your attackers to actually focus on doing the attacking. We’d actually argue that the latter of those two skills, Gritty Ditty, is better since it applies the buff to the entire party, however it does require the mastery manual of the Minstrel Class.
- Great way to increase the damage done by physical attackers.
- Said physical attackers gain in power as DQIX progresses, eventually becoming the only real way to take down some post game bosses.
- Double Up and Gritty Ditty achieve the same levels of damage increase, and will not apply a separate stack.
- Increased Block Chance.
- Defending Champion – a better version of the ‘Defend’ command.
- Shields themselves add Defence when equipped.
Akin to our discussion about passive statistic boosts, which noted Resilience as a key defensive tool, so too is the humble Shield. In fact, we’d argue that it’s role in Dragon Quest IX is considered more critical than almost any other title in the series, owing to a combination of class mechanics and abundance of boss encounters.
The benefits of these skills and indeed it’s eventual mastery are myriad. Not only does the equipping of a shield confer defence, which is essential in all cases, but it also grants a chance to block, which completely ignores the incoming attack. We’ve all faced those annoying enemies with shields that occasionally completely block your attack right? Well now this can be you, thanks to the skills and equipment conferring upwards of 15% block chance combined. This, along with a few of it’s excellent skills, make it nigh essential equipment throughout Dragon Quest IX, and indeed they become vital when the difficulty ramps up in the late and post game.
- Blocking completely ignores the damage of an attack.
- Having any class, especially those with a lower natural defence, be able to increase their defence and % block is a tremendous boon.
- Some end game Grotto bosses are almost impossible without shields.
- Not strictly necessary in a simple storyline playthrough, but very useful still.
Categories: Dragon Quest IX