Update 2018-06-18: Revised & Moved Solo section. Revised Introduction section so as to stop scaring people who like to solo :P. Revised Learn the Boss section.
Update 2018-06-17: Added Solo section! Revamped section 3 w/ info on First Meeting Bonus, Dailies, New Account Drops and Friend Gauges!
Strangely, the traditionally single player series has multiplayer here! Unlike most games, that cordon off multiplayer to its own events, SOA lets you tackle almost all of its content with up to three other players. While the story is built for single player, the endgame is all about farming large bosses with friends**. Need help learning your way around the hordes of pick-up-groups and Emmerson players? This is the guide for you.
** See Section 2.
1. Multiplayer? That Sounds Intimidating…
You’re probably thinking it’s going to be a hyper competitive or communication-focused environment or something. This couldn’t be farther from the case. Star Ocean Anamnesis has no pvp, no ranking, no ability evaluation or anything like that. All that matters is if everyone is skilled enough to beat the boss. You can beat just about anything in pick-up-groups, and communication is done through silly little stamps. It’s a verrrrry lax environment.
2. But What if I Want to Play Single Player?
It is possible to beat even the top tier content in the game in single player if you have the right units or the right skill. Unfortunately, the game discourages this in a number of ways. The AI is awful; it uses none of the game mechanics, barely does damage and has zero ability to command it. Bosses will do higher damage by difficulty, and eventually they’ll get enrage timers to punish low dps.
The key to beating the highest level content comfortably in single player is to have a well planned team comp, have them maxed out, have them geared & setup specially to fight that boss. New accounts aren’t likely to have all of these pieces barring a really good reroll. But as the account gets older and naturally accumulates units & gear, it becomes more viable to beat just about everything in single player.
It’s another story entirely if you have the skill to 1v1 the boss and dodge everything including its enrage. In that case, you already know what you’re doing, so why are you reading this? 😛
3. So How Do I Multiplayer?
You unlock the ability to play multiplayer halfway through the first planet in story. But that alone will not be enough. You’ll need to go farther to unlock events, where most of the multiplayer happens.
So first thing’s first: play the story. You’ll get experience, you’ll get weapons, you’ll get free gems, you’ll earn rank. All of this will feed into your success in multiplayer and the endgame.
Once you’re ready, there are two ways to go about playing with other people. You can host a lobby by tapping any stage and then tapping the purple multiplayer button. In the following menu, you tap Create Lobby.
Next, you choose your party. The leader character (the left-most) will be the character you’re using. You can’t change this in lobby, so make sure that is who you intend to play. Tap Confirm and…
You’ll be on the Create Lobby screen. A lot to unpack here.
- You can tap the “Any Role” slots to lock them to specific roles.
- You can tap the “Lobby: Public” button to make the lobby private. Once the lobby is private, people will only be able to connect to a specific Room ID that gets created when the lobby is put live.
- You can tap the comment to change it.
- Finally, you can choose whether you want to recruit only mutual follows (that is, they follow you, you follow them) or anyone.
Once you tap who you want to recruit, the lobby will go live. Wait for slots to fill up, use stamps to greet them, click Begin Battle when you want to proceed.
The other way to play multiplayer is to join lobbies. This is much simpler, generally. You can join a specific lobby from the Multiplayer button (where you go to create a lobby) and the options there are pretty self-explanatory. Or you can use that verbose “Join Forces with Other Explorers” button to join ANY lobby in the event or planet. It is recommended to use Auto-Match unless you’re joining friends, because the free rooms can fill up too fast to join manually.
4. Do I Spend Stamina? What are the Benefits? Can I CLEAR Stages This Way?
If you’re the host, you will spend stamina when the battle starts. You’ll receive full drops as though you finished the battle in single player. If you join a lobby, it will be free–no stamina cost at all–but you’ll receive less drops.
Note that you can only host lobbies on stages you have access to. Likewise, you can only CLEAR stages that you host. You can still join lobbies for stages you haven’t CLEARed, however.
The benefits of multiplayer are detailed below.
Easier Clearing for Host: Endgame fights can get tough. Having a team of actual players makes them easier due to the poor AI.
Endless Farming for Join: Since joining a lobby costs no stamina, you can endlessly farm any content with an active population farming it.
First Time Meeting Bonus: The first 30* new players you encounter in multiplayer on a new account will give you gems. It’s pretty significant for rerolling, especially.
* This is a JP version value. Subject to change in EN. The First Time Meeting Bonus is confirmed to exist, though.
Dailies: There will be dailies that require you to play up to three multiplayer matches per day.
New Account Drops: When playing with new players (as designated by a leaf over their role icon), you will gain 1 extra drop per new player. It can really speed up your farming to help out the newbies, so be kind.
Friendship Gauge: When you mutually follow someone, and play with them, you build a friendship gauge over time (faster if the stage costs more stamina). When this gauge fills, you get a reward once per day. You can keep track of the day’s friendship gauge reward through the Connections area.
Fill that bar enough and you can earn gems, so definitely make a habit of gathering mutual follows and playing with them!
5. What Content is Typically Played with Others?
People start hosting lobbies for farming dailies (usually out of generosity) or for boss stages with 40 stamina and up. 40 stamina is where content starts becoming difficult to finish single player. You may also find matches on the latest released story stage, because you can farm small limit break stones there.
6. Standard Etiquette: Come Prepared
For daily lobbies, just about anything goes. People will be understanding that you may not have maxed characters yet, or roles filled or whatever. And dailies are easy enough for one person to sleepwalk through–just saying.
But most of the time you’ll be farming difficult content on your stamina or others’. It goes without saying that if you’re joining lobby to fight a high end boss, you want to be respectful of the hosts time and stamina cost.
That means making your chosen character up to snuff. For 40 stamina bosses, ensure at minimum that you’re level capped. For difficulties 50 stam and up (which will come a few events into the game), ensure that your character is as augmented & limit broken as you can.
Also think about the character you are bringing, and what weapon/accessory they have equipped. Are you bringing Fidel, and there’s already another ATK buffer? Do you have an appropriate element to exploit the boss’s weakness? Is your weapon at least 4 stars? These questions become more important the higher difficulty you go.
Skill can certainly make up any gap, but someone who’s hosting a lobby likely wants a secured kill. If you don’t intend to bring your best, at least do it on your own stamina.
7. Standard Etiquette: Learn the Boss
Star Ocean Anamnesis bosses tend not to be complicated–boss mechanics usually begin and end at what shape their AoE circles take–but it helps to have an idea what you’re up against before jumping into lobbies.
When I was a beginner, one of my favorite ways to learn new bosses was to play a healer. Healers are not an involved class in SOA with few exceptions; all you’re expected to do is heal, be ready to Rush and stay alive. So you get to hang back, watch the boss from a distance and practice your dodging. It is perfect prep to know what the boss does before tackling higher difficulties with your preferred class.
Practice always makes perfect. Don’t despair if you’re struggling with the boss’s attacks! Keep hosting rooms and keep practicing, and you’ll eventually be so comfortable that dodging the boss is second nature.
8. Standard Etiquette: Rushing
Rush Combos are excellent for offense and defense alike. Offensively, you can chain up to four Rushes for massive damage and stun build. Defensively, a Rush Combo will stop any attack the boss is doing and return them to a neutral state. All this, at the cost of resetting your hit counter.
Generally, teams will wait until everyone has full Rush to start a combo. Then they’ll go from lowest multiplier to highest. There isn’t a hard rule here, because every character and situation is different. Someone may want to go first because of buffs that boost the following rushes. Sometimes it’s a mixed damage group and ATK-based rushes will result in the higher damage. It’s very touch and go. If everyone has bar, and people aren’t rushing and they’re just dpsing, don’t be afraid to start it unless you’ve discussed otherwise with your team.
There is one exception to this rule: If the boss is stunned DO NOT RUSH. A Rush Combo always resets the boss to a neutral state, and that means ending the boss’s stun state. Prematurely ending stun by starting a Rush Combo can, and has, resulted in wipes.
Finally, don’t be afraid to use Rush defensively. If you or a friend are caught in a stunlock of death, or boss is doing a massive attack and you/your party can’t dodge, a well-timed Rush Combo can save the day. It may annoy some people who’d rather Rush offensively, but think of it this way: everyone does more damage alive than dead.
9. Standard Etiquette: Auto
Let’s just get this out of the way: Never. Auto. In. Boss. Lobbies. It. Is. Extremely. Rude.
Okay? Okay. Now obviously there are some exceptions: it is okay to auto in daily missions. Or maybe this is a boss that has been power creeped so hard that its 40 stam is trivial to all (six months into the game, Gerel and Jie will be this trivial). But generally, you just don’t auto on someone else’s time or stamina. It wastes their time and puts the whole run at risk due to the poor AI.
10. General Tips
The boss always begins the fight aggro’d to the host. Be aware of this, so you don’t get blindsided by their opening attack.
- It’s usually best to kill minions first, as they distract from the boss or open you up to its attacks.
- Anti-Flinch is a lifesaver. Defenders like Viktor will usually provide this to the party. If you don’t have a defender, try an anti-flinch weapon or accessory if one is available.
- ATK and INT buffs are extremely valuable. On higher difficulties, you’ll always be in demand if you’re playing a buffer like Fidel.
- Dodging is absolutely ridiculous. You can dodge to cancel out of almost anything, cutting off animation lag for spells or long-winded attacks. You can spam dodges against the wall for maximum invincibility frames. Try to learn the ins and outs of dodging, because it can both boost dps, and it can save you when bosses start doing stage-wide attacks.
- If you’re an invoker or a healer, be aware that charge assaulting a spell (either straight up or out of an auto-attack) results in an instant cast. You will incur the full cast time for subsequent canceled casts, however. An instant heal can be the difference between life and death.
- When bosses are stunned, they lose all of their anti-flinch and are able to be moved around by attacks. This is kind of funny on one hand, on the other it can hurt the party’s dps to keep jerking the boss around. Be wary of using attacks like Reimi’s Savage Sparrows, which will launch the boss and make everyone unable to attack it.
I hope all of this helps! If you have any questions, I’ll be sure to answer them in the comments ^^
Join this Star Ocean: Anamnesis Facebook Group for tips & discussions with other players! 😉