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Tips, Tricks, and Hints for Bravely Default on the Nintendo 3DS

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Bravely Default: The crew.

Image © Square-Enix

Bravely Default is a role-playing game (RPG) for the Nintendo 3DS by Square-Enix. In many ways, its turn-based battle system, random encounters, and four "destined heroes" recall a time when RPGs were simple to understand and play. On the other hand, Bravely Default also offers a lot of variation on the classic RPG formula - enough to warrant a small listing of handy tricks and tips.

If you're planning on working through this unique game from Square-Enix, here are a few suggestions to help you brave enemy attacks and the in-game economy.

Download and play the demo from the Nintendo 3DS eShop - Bravely Default has a demo that you can download it for free on the Nintendo 3DS eshop. But whereas most demos simply offer you a snippet of the full game, the Bravely Default preview is a self-contained adventure. It's engineered specifically to give players a taste of how Bravely Default's unique battle system works. It also offers a wide variety of "Jobs" (class skills) that you can change on the fly, offering you the chance to decide on favorites before diving into the full adventure.

 If you complete the demo, you'll receive bonus "head start" items and armor that can be transferred into the full game. You can also transfer some of your population from the Norende town-rebuilding mini game (up to twenty people).

Build up Norende's weapon, armor, and accessory shops - Early in the game, you're given the chance to begin resurrecting Tiz's home town of Norende. Don't ignore this seemingly trivial minigame; it's your key to some awesome equipment that'll serve you well through the entirety of your adventure.

To buy stuff manufactured in Norende, talk to the Adventurer. He's the game-saving dude in red that hangs out in most towns and dungeons.

Lacking the necessary StreetPasses for Norende's reconstruction? Go online - There are two ways to recruit Norende villagers: StreetPass with other Bravely Default players, or recruit people over a Wi-Fi connection.

If you live in a sparsely-populated area, going online is your best bet. Talk to the Adventurer and select "Save." Then select "Update Data" from the sub-menu. You can update your data once a day. Be aware that updating lets both villagers and Nemeses into your town.

Fighting Nemeses in Norende? Pay attention to their levels before engaging! - When you update your data for Norende or meet new villagers via StreetPass, monsters called "Nemeses" will also make a ghastly appearance. While these beasts won't bother you if you don't bother them, you can take them down for an added challenge.

When you visit Norende, simply tap on a monster and select "Fight!". Before you do so, however, pay attention to the Nemesis' level! Some of them are astronomically powerful, and dying in a Nemesis fight counts as a regular in-game death.

You can "send" Nemeses online to visit other towns, though doing so doesn't actually cause the monster to leave your own town.

Protect Nemeses you want to keep around - Up to seven Nemeses can live in Norende at once. When an eighth arrives, it replaces the oldest Nemesis. If there's a Nemeses you want to keep around to fight later, tap on it and select "Protect." This will prevent the Nemesis from being pushed off the queue.

This is a good technique to keep in mind if level 99 Nemeses keep arriving in your village and you want to keep a straggler that's at a manageable level 25.

Brave for battle bonuses - Bravely Default is named for its battle system, which lets you "brave" the danger or "default" against it. If you default, you skip your turn, but you store up a "brave point" while defending against danger.

You can bank up to three brave points in addition to your regular turn. In other words, if you have three brave points, you can take up to four actions in a single turn after you select "brave" on the battle menu.

Here's the kicker: You don't have to bank brave points in order to use the "brave" function. You can select brave at any time during the battle and act four times in a single turn. However, if you don't have enough brave points queued up, you'll run a deficit for as many turns as you took. If you don't act carefully, you might find yourself unable to act for several turns. this can result in the enemy taking a considerable chunk out of you.

However, braving is a small risk that can bring huge rewards. You can earn bonuses if you perform well in battle. For instance, if you defeat all enemies in a single turn, you earn more experience. And if you win a battle without taking damage, you earn a few more job points.

Braving can help you take down enemies with the quick efficiency necessary for these bonuses. Keep that in mind, particularly when you're up against familiar foes.

Adjust the game's difficulty at any time to suit your needs - There's all sorts of things you can do to tinker with Bravely Default's difficulty settings. From the game's main menu ("X" on the default control scheme), select "Config." Then select "Difficulty."

From this menu, you can adjust the game's difficulty. The easier the setting, the stronger enemies are and the more hit points they have.  

Adjust the random encounter rate at any time - Maybe you cringed when you first heard Bravely Default has random encounters - sporadic battles with enemies that pop up out of nowhere.

This archaic battle system comes with a modern twist, however: You can adjust the encounter rate in the "Difficulty" menu. Set it as high or as low as you like. Don't forget that you need to fight in order for your party to become stronger, though.

The "Dungeon Master" Freelancer ability is crucial for some dungeons - When you receive your first few jobs, you'll probably want to jump into your new clothes as quickly as possible. That's fine, but don't forget about the humble Freelancer. The class gains a very handy ability at job level four called "Dungeon Master."

Dungeon Master allows you to navigate harmlessly through dungeon traps like sand blasters (which afflict your party with the "blind" status), poison marshes (which afflict your entire party with "poison" whenever you step in them), and more. Since healing your party every time you take a wrong step gets annoying fast (not to mention expensive), Dungeon Master is an invaluable skill to have.

Need to grind? Try auto-battles - Grinding for levels and job points can be a bit of a chore (or soothing, depending on your personality), but Bravely Default's auto-battles make grinding a snap. After you input your desired battle commands, simply press "Y" on your next turn. Your fighters will carry out the same orders they were given in the previous turn.

You don't have to put in commands with each new battle, either. Just press "Y" at the start of the fight. And if you ever get into trouble, press "Y" again to interrupt the battle and change your commands.

Needless to say, auto-battling isn't always the best choice when  you're up against a boss, or are facing off against new enemies in unfamiliar territory.

Speed up battles - Another handy tip for grinding: Pressing left or right on the 3DS d-pad speeds up the battle or slows it down. When you're at max speed, even tedious battles blaze by in a few seconds.

Monk: An excellent early class - One of the first job classes you gain access to in Bravely Default is the Monk. The Monk is a speedy character with high speed and a hard-hitting basic attack. Plus, they attack best with bare fists (until you find some claw-like weapons), saving you a bundle on weapons and armor. Enlist one early!

Bravely Shortcut - One more tip for level-grinders: Tap "L" on your Nintendo 3DS to brave and "R" to default. You can change this order in the "battle settings" option in the "config" menu.

Switch between Japanese and English voice actors (and change text, too) - You can switch between Japanese and English voice acting at any time by selecting "message settings" from the "config" menu. You can also change the on-screen text to one of several languages. Isn't a globalized world wonderful?

Do tutorial quests for items - Tutorial quests (accessible through the bottom-screen menu, which is also where you access Norende and the save menu) reward you with items for performing certain easy tasks, e.g. "Equip a weapon in both hands." This is a good way to stock up on valuable items while learning about Bravely Default's mechanics.

Remember: There's no "wrong" way to play Bravely Default. Have fun! - Bravely Default's battle system may seem intimidating at first, to say nothing of all the jobs you're eventually allowed to choose from (likewise awe-inducing if you're not familiar with the Final Fantasy series' traditional job system).

Don't freak out, though. Both the demo and the full game make sure to ease you into the action. It's pretty difficult to lose against early enemies, and it takes some time before you're thrown against truly formidable foes.

Remember: You can adjust the game's difficulty at any time, and weapons from Norende can be a big help. And even if you choose not to develop Norende, no sweat! You'll do fine with the game's regular equipment.

Finally: Whenever you're stuck on something, read through Ringabel's encyclopedia (accessible via the bottom-screen menu). It's full of succinct, easy-to-understand instructions that will get you back on track in no time.

Go forth bravely.

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