So far your journey has been pretty linear, and this guide has been an easy one to follow (and write!), but the first major complication looms large: Expeditions.
What are expeditions? They’re not a term the game uses - it’s a term used by this guide to refer to any bout of exploration that is not strictly main quest related. As you explore you’ll likely notice a variety of areas popping up, many of which the main quests will never take you to. While it’s not strictly necessary to explore these areas if all you care about is beating the game, the experience and loot obtained while exploring these areas can make it a lot easier to do so.
Expeditions, then, are bouts of optional adventuring we undertook at convenient moments in the game. It should be pointed out that sometimes you’ll go to areas during expeditions that are later important to some main quest or another, and many expeditions are prompted - like this first one - by some side quest or another. Perhaps it’s easier to clear out (to varying degrees) areas where a main quest will take you so that later, when the situation is more urgent, you have less to deal with. Sometimes you just have some free time to complete some companion quest, kingdom quest or errand, and we point out various areas along the way you can explore. Then again, maybe you’d rather just do some good old fashioned adventuring, kill some monsters, collect some loot, even if there are no quests of any sort involved. Does some poor peasant have to tell you about the hydra in the swamp before you kill it? Of course not! The hydra’s there, and could use some killing! Because adventuring!
The underlying excuse for undertaking expeditions varies, but the benefits are clear: you’ll earn experience, collect loot, explore the map, discover resource nodes, and perhaps uncover side quests you otherwise wouldn’t find if you didn’t go out or your way to explore. They’re not strictly necessary to get through the game… but they also kind of are, and much of this game’s content can be found off the beaten path.
To put this theory into practice, continue on with The Fangberry Cave Expedition page.