Once outside, on the world map, the game will helpfully inform you about Jobs and Abilities. At the moment, the important thing to note is that as you win battles, you can level up your jobs and gain new abilities. Right now, you only have one job available–Freelancer–and Tiz is automatically set to that job, but later you’ll get more jobs.
Next, the game will teach you about Tutorial Quests; on the bottom screen, tap the tab to the far left or press Right on the D-pad to display the map menu. Here, you can save the game or view tutorial quests.
Tutorial Quests: These are gradually added as you play the game; altogether there are 50. To complete them, you simply have to follow the quest instructions, which are typically related to using a certain feature of the game.
Once you’ve fulfilled the quest requirements, simply hop back to the tutorial quest menu to claim your reward. Whenever there are new quests or you’ve completed a quest, an “Update” text will appear next to the tutorial quest button.
When you’re ready, begin heading in a north-westerly direction from town, where the next orange exclamation mark lies. Just keep to the left of the river and you shouldn’t get lost. At the very end, cross the river via the bridge and the cave to Norende will be just ahead to the left; press A next to the cave to go inside.
Along the way to the cave, you’ll likely encounter a random battle–these can occur whenever you’re travelling on the world map or inside a dungeon. Here, there are a variety of foes, but none that are particularly threatening. Still, if you’re careless you could be looking at an early Game Over.
Encounter Rate: If necessary, you can adjust the random enemy “encounter rate” at any time by opening the main menu (press START, SELECT or X when on the field), then go to “Tactics” and “Config”. Encounter rate can be found under “Difficulty”.
You can set the rate from -100% (no encounters; great for avoiding battles, but you’ll miss out on experience) to +100% (double encounters; your path will be filled with foes, but you’ll gain experience quicker). For now, we recommend leaving the rate on +/-0% (the default setting).
Your First Battles
Once a battle commences, you’ll be thrust into the main meat of the game: the epic turn-based kind. Initially you’ll only have access to the most basic options: Attack, Ability, Item and Run. To get you rolling, choose the “Abilities” command and then press “Miscellany”, which contains all the abilities available to Freelancers
Next, select “Examine” and choose the enemy you want to study. Then press “Go” to confirm your choice. Tiz will report back the enemy’s HP, weakness and family; you can check this data again (and extra info) by pressing Left on the circle pad and selecting the enemy.
Examining enemies isn’t necessary, but it can be useful when you’re up against tough foes, when you may wish to exploit weaknesses. You can also view the current HP of enemies you’ve examined, which is great for boss battles, so you know how much more you’ve got to go until the boss is toast.
Once you’ve examined one type of enemy, you can view the same data again in another battle with the same enemy, but you will need to examine them again if you want to see their current HP. So while you may waste a turn initially, that one turn to Examine could save you a lot of trouble.
After you’ve some measure of the enemy’s ability, it’s time to get your hands dirty… Select “Attack” and then press “Go” to unleash a humble attack on the enemy; repeat until it’s dead and then dance your victory song. You will gain some pg (money), experience points (for levelling up and increasing your stats), job points (for levelling up jobs) and occasionally items for your efforts.
At this very early stage, you can win all your battles by simply choosing Attack each turn; don’t bother examining foes unless you’re bored (we just told you so you know how to), as it wastes a valuable turn. If your HP gets low, head back to Caldisla and speak to the innkeeper to restore your health (for free too).
Should you get dangerously low HP in battle, choose “Items” and use a Potion to restore health (you’ll have at least one from rummaging inside the inn). When you’ve no Potions left, choose Run to leg it, but be warned you might not always be successful.