Choose your character
Before departing from any Settlement, you'll be prompted to select a character from your party to control until the moment your party enter another Settlement. During any given combat, you can only control that character, no matter what.
Formation can only be decided before departing from any Settlement. Once your party start exploring/fighting, formation cannot be altered. Take note that you can allocate your character in any of the position listed below.
Character strikes first, no matter what. In the event where two vanguard characters fight each other, the one with higher Air stat always attack first.
Vanguard characters gain +40% movement speed.
Character gains +1 to either Fire, Earth, or Air (will be prompted upon deployment).
You must allocate one at the right and another at the left.
Character gains +1 to Water.
Rest of the party gain +1 to Mind.
Character gains additional Adrenaline.
Rearguard characters gain Protection by default.
Note: Game will be over if either any of your key character or your central character is defeated in combat.
In battle, pressure can come from anywhere where the enemy is concerned. Combat Focus enables the player to detect where the fighting is at its fiercest.
When controlling your character, the camera angle may suddenly shift to another party member. In this case, it means the enemy has launched a sudden attack against that party member.
Exploration and Combat
Exploration is all about exiting the Settlement in order to earn much needed XP via combat and quests. Exploration is categorized under two types: Terrain and Dungeon.
Terrain allows you to explore everything beyond the Settlement itself. Dungeon allows you to explore hidden areas within the Settlement. Take note, however, that some Dungeons may be hidden OUTSIDE the Settlement.
Combat will happen at random, as in the manner of enemies. An enemy is classified under 3 types: Normal, Strong, Elite, and Champion.
Normal enemies will always band together. They are outlined in white.
Strong enemies can either be seen together with Normal enemies or form their own group. They are outlined in green.
Elite enemies are leaders by their own right. They will always be leaders of any given group. They are outlined in blue.
Champions will either act alone or in a group comprising of Normal, Strong, and Elite enemies. Champions who act alone are definitely much tougher than those taking charge of a group. They are outlined in yellow.
At the same time, bosses are also available to fight. A boss will fall under either of 3 categories, named after the color which one is outlined: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
Bronze level bosses are basically souped up version of Champions. They tend to appear in Terrain and Dungeon where the lack of Silver/Gold level bosses is apparent.
Silver level bosses are basically side-bosses. Will either appear in quests or in-plot battles.
Gold level bosses are the ones whom your party has to defeat in order to progress in-plot.
XP and progressing
While XP can be gained via combat, quests are basically your chief source of XP farming. By completing the quest at hand, your party will gain the listed amount of XP. Difficulty and nature of any given quest varies, sometimes widely. However, only via a certain party level can you truly progress in the Story mode. In short, quests have nothing to do with the plot at hand despite being available during Story mode.
Party level does NOT denote the average level of your party members. Rather, party level indicates the level of the least experienced character (e.g. Guy Cody's current level is 13, which is the lowest out of the entire party. Therefore, your party level is counted as 13).
At the same time, the character you control will earn 3 x the offered XP upon quest completion.
Maximum level cap for both characters and party is 60.
There are two types of equipment slot, namely personal and stash. Any character can only have 7 personal slots while stash slots can total up till 40. Understand though that stash slots are for the entire party, not just any one member.
You can access to both stash and personal slots via pressing the Start button (for PS4 & Wii U) or Menu button (for XBox One). A menu will pop up, indicating the names of your party members (for personal slots) and the stash option. Upon pressing the Select (for PS4 & Wii U) or View (XBox One) button on the relevant option, you can allocate whatever items and equipment to the characters.
Stash slots can carry any type of equipment while personal slots are specific. At the same time, whatever relevant items can be slotted into the Item slots from here.
Personal slots are classified into Weapon (slot 1), Armor (slot 2), Gloves (slot 3), Footwear (slot 4), Helmet/Artifact (slot 5), Ring (slot 6), and Individual (slot 7).
Offensive, Defensive, Utility
Every equipment serves a different property. Offensive equipment affect the character's attacking power while Defensive equipment affects damage resistance. As for Utility equipment, they will have varying effect(s).
Offensive slots: 1 and 3
Defensive slots: 2 and 5 (only for Helmet)
Utility slots: 4 and 5 (only for Artifact)
Ring and Individual slots can fall into any of the three categories depending on the actual equipment and character.
Individual slot, in particular, is character specific.
To be cont'd...
But before I sign off...
...allow me to prove below that only a weird gal can unlock my inner cell.
Steve, your damning (?) assessment on my weirdness is justified lol!