Before considering the weapon skill system in Dragon Quest 8, it’s worth noting that there are technically no bad options. There are four possible weapon choices for each character, alongside their personal skills, which can be invested into for a series of abilities. Every single one of these is designed to be useful, but you’re limited by the amount of points that you have available, the short version being that you cannot invest all the way into every single one. In fact, by the time you reach the end of the regular story portion of the game, you’ll have enough to maybe reach the maximum in two of the available sections. That being the case, we’ve put together those that we think best suit each character.
Before we dig into the weapons that perform the best on the Hero, it’s worth noting one thing: After a certain point in time, he is by far the best healer in your team, and the competition isn’t exactly close either. This does take a while, along with quite a significant investment of 90 points into his Courage tree, but once this is done he will have access to Omniheal and MP Discount, meaning he can heal the entire party to full health for 18 MP. This is unbeatable in terms of HP restoration, so in the majority of cases you’ll want to invest majorly into this, leaving you with enough points to focus on a single weapon.
Where you go from here depends on his focus. By investing into Swords you’ll gain access to some useful early skills lime Metal and Falcon Slash, both of which will be useful for the majority of the story, and eventually 100 points in both this and Courage will upgrade Gigaslash to Gigagas, a more powerful version of the ultimate Sword attack. Spears are unlikely to reach this level of damage, though they do have access to skills like Multithrust and Lightning Storm, however their main benefit is Thunder Thrust, which is a skill that is ideal for farming late game Metal Slimes. In short, take the Sword if you want the best all round pon for the Hero, but if you’re aiming to grind in the late game, it may be worth going for Spears, at least up to 59 points.
Having done any small amount of research around DQ8 before playing it, most players will be aware of a skill known as ‘Thin Air’, which is an attack that originates in the Fisticuffs tree and deals a good amount of damage to all enemies, grouped or not. This makes it the ideal skill for taking down regular battles, and given that Fisticuffs are available to quite a few characters, you should probably grab it with one of them. If only we knew a burly chap that is well suited to focusing on dealing damage, eh?
Yes that’s right, we want ol’ Yangus to be the one getting his fists dirty, but it’s another choice that comes with some caveats. By choosing this first you will gain access to Thin Air and Knuckle Sandwich, which are great at dealing damage to groups and single targets alike, but by the late game these will surely lose their lustre. This is where Axes come in, by offering Metal Slime slaying options through Executioner and more useful skills, like the defence reducing Helm Splitter. In fact, outside of Kabuff at level 42, we’d argue against investing too heavily in his Humanity tree, and focusing on levelling Fisticuffs to 42 for Thin Air, then Axes to 66 for Executioner. Clubs can be considered if you’re aiming to amass wealth, but there’s a better option for this that joins late on, at least in the 3DS version.
Everybody’s favourite feisty fire mage may at first seem like a rather easy character to categorise, after all a spell caster will surely focus on Staves right? Well, this is only really half true, because there’s a whole other side to Jessica that you really shouldn’t ignore. She’ll always be slinging spells around, that much is a given, but restricting her to Staves alone would be a mistake, especially when her Whip tree has some great benefits.
Positioning her as a pure mage does make Staves the obvious option. They provide countless MP increasing or restoring skills, the pinnacle of which has to be MP Recovery and Max MP +100, which restore MP each round and increase it by 100 points respectively. Outside of this they will also provide access to Acceleratle and Magic Barrier, which are both excellent party buffs, and even the free single target heal Caduceus at 57 points, which is useful in a pinch.
Should you be more inclined to deal damage to a single target, or indeed reduce your reliance on MP and spell damage with Jessica, then Whips are your best option. These provide some great single target damage through Twin Dragon Lash, a Miracle Slash equivalent in Queen’s thong that restores health for damage done, and the tremendously powerful Serpent’s Bite, which deals massive damage to a whole group of enemies. All of these are helped significantly by the excellent selection of models available throughout DQ8, including some epic end game models, like the Demon Whip.
Is Angelo a healer? Is he perhaps a damage dealer? In truth, he falls somewhere in between the two and ends up functioning like a support, providing various types of utility wherever it may be required. It’s technically possible for him to become the dedicated healer of the group, but in this role he will not reach the efficacy of the Hero. Likewise, dedicating Angelo to dealing damage will not lead to peak performance, but rather a member that can contribute to the cause in a reasonable way. In a sense, his choice of weapons is likely to dictate which of these directions you lean in whilst he contributes to supporting both.
By choosing Bows, you are directing Angelo down the best damage path for him. You’ll have access to some excellent equipment choices, and skills like Multishot and the powerful Shining Shot will mean that he can put them to good use against multiple targets. This will not preclude him using spells, because he does have a very good selection that are naturally learned, so the MP restoring Cherub and Seraph’s Arrow will ensure that he can keep going through extended dungeons and boss battles.
Going for Staves will provide Angelo with some excellent support abilities, though they will tilt him towards the utility, healing based role more than the Bow. It features the usual MP improving options, including restoration every round at 100 points, but it’s the skills that really send it over the edge; access to Oomph is a fantastic boon for him, and you’d be surprised how many times a skill like Kathwack can remove multiple enemies at once. This final point is something that you will note the AI is aware of, should you decide to let him Fight Wisely whilst doing some gold or experience grinding.
More so than almost any other character, Morrie is a story of two weapons. His late joining time, combined with the fact that he offers little in the way of supportive utility, means that he’s going to occupy the role of pure damage dealer in the team. Thankfully this is a role in which he excels, especially with the two weapons that we’ve chosen here, however you’ll want to prioritise one over the other, depending on your valuation of single or multi target skills.
By opting for the Claws option, Morrie will gain access to excellent single target abilities. Hardclaw is essentially a double attack for 150% total damage, Rake ‘n’ Break will remove both buffs and debuffs from an opponent and the ultimate skill, Hand of God, will deal 150% damage to a single target whilst completely ignoring their defence, which is frankly epic for some late game encounters.
Contrasting this is his Boomerangs option, which we must say is probably the best example of the pon that we’ve ever seen in a Dragon Quest title. It has the usual fare, which is group damaging throws that decrease in damage as the amount of targets increases and a metal slime damaging skill in Metal Mower, however things really start getting going as the points rack up. 66 points will grant Morrie Super Throw, which deals 120% damage to all opponents with no loss at all, and at 100 points this is displaced by Swings Both Ways, which essentially doubles a Super Throw to strike on the way back, dealing a total of 240% damage! It even expands the targeting to all enemies rather than just a group. This makes it one of the most powerful all targeting skills available, especially when combined with some late game Boomerang models.
We could be tempted to lump Red in with Morrie above, and call her a two weapon focused character, however this would be to the detriment of her main tree, Roguery, which is by far the best investment of your points. It’s not really in the scope of this article, but focusing on this is much, much better for your overall party, because it will boost your gold, get you items and even offer you her best damage skill in Dosh Toss.
To the weapons then, and Red has two options that are somewhat similar. Fans are a personal favourite of ours, because the eventual ultimate skill is Butterfly Bop, which deals up to 200% damage to all enemies, whilst also featuring Fan Dango, which strikes random enemies 4 times at 50% power. Whips are somewhat similar to this, but trend in the single target direction, which they achieve through Twin Dragon Lash, which is essentially a double attack like Falcon Slash, and Twin Tan, which does the same to a group. Technically you can get more single target damage with the Whip, but more all-targeting damage with the Fan; both are good options, but remember to prioritise her Roguery to 66 points first.
Categories: Dragon Quest VIII