DQDX Quest for Hero Mode 100% [Finished!]

I’ll be regularly posting my progress towards 100% completion of hero mode (all gold stars, all 12 challenges) in this place along with some notes on tactics, leveling, etc.

EDIT: This should take about a week, unless I get really stuck on the last couple levels and the last challenge

First time sitting down: The “Haxe Flixel” icon display pre-loading is a bit off-putting, possibly because the logo is so astoundingly ugly! I mean, that logo would barely have passed muster in the 1970s. Secondly, the music is amazing in this game. Was the music redone for DQDX? I don’t remember liking it this much before. The new graphics are really nice looking; from the previews I was expecting an uglier look.

The performance seems to be greatly improves; my computer can handle 16x on these early levels with no choke points. We’ll see what later levels bring. I’m getting 1-2 second pauses going in and out of towns and battles. I don’t know if this is a bug or not.

Anyway, on to the game.

I played from the beginning through recruiting Niru on normal difficulty. No difficulties, although I had to pay attention to fast enemies in the first ~8 levels. I think the last time I did this, I did not use the 3x experience, because I don’t remember being able to hero mode straight to Niru with no replays (harder difficulties).

The next stage of the game I like to call “Ketta destroys everything.” I played through “Defend the Nest” on extreme, easily beating them on the first try and essentially just used Ketta, although Slak and Wrenna play support. I had to cast some spells and pay attention to “Attack at the Hospital” but I think that was largely a result of poor placement (I wasn’t paying attention, but didn’t want to restart).

Then I had to go to bed. I imagine the rest of NG will be similarly easy, but I bet I will have to skip the super sheep and come back to it later.

Really, really love the performance improvements (and 16x is so nice for those levels where all you do is place your people and let it run). On the down side, I have decided I don’t really like the new Wrenna art. Pretty much all the rest of the new art is an improvement, though (at least to me).

Anywho, I ran through the rest of the normal game doing all levels on extreme except the ones I thought would be difficult (Storm the Sheep, Zelemir Appears, ET’s right hand, and everything after that). I did those on normal and will come back and do them on extreme once NG+ slows down a little. I also did challenge 2 for Furious Start, which is probably my second favorite non-secret book (after Slow End, naturally).

Then I ran through NG+ on normal until recruiting Niru. I realize now that I should have done it on casual, because I wasted some good experience opportunities for Niru. Now Slak is 4 levels ahead of her. Total time so far is 5hrs 39min. It would be quite a bit less, but I’ve been reading all the dialogue and much of the journal. The new 16x option REALLY speed things up!

Have you had many issues with the game running poorly at 16x at all? I seem to have issues with immense slowdown at x8 and x16 when there’s a lot of enemies on the screen, a spell is used, etc.

I have a fairly solid rig, and didn’t have this issue in the Legacy build, which is why I’m curious. (haven’t seen many others mention using it much)

I am running the game at the original resolution, and the only time so far that I have had any slowdown was in Endless 2 in regular mode. When I run the game at a higher resolution, 4x runs fairly smoothly but 8x is laggy and 16x is unplayable. The way I see it is I can run faster at original resolution or at the same speed with higher resolution. The improvement is MASSIVE - I estimate between 4 and 8 times faster. I am running a mid-range laptop with integrated graphics (5th gen Intel i5), so unless you are running at very high resolution, slowdown at 16x is a bit surprising if you have a nice computer. Also, please keep in mind that the legacy DQ only went up to x4.

The leveling issue is moot - Niru has almost caught up to Slak. I ran through extreme levels up to just before ET’s right hand on NG+ (skipping side quests, Storm the Sheep and Zelemir Appears), then went back to 100% NG (all stars + all challenges). Total time: 9hrs 46min. I had originally thought that 100% on hero mode would take 24 hours, but now I’m guessing 16, although that depends highly on how many tries TFOME, TWOE, TGKWAE, Challenge 5, and Endless 2 take.

The next phase is where it starts getting hard - a few of the side quests are really easy, but a few are very difficult. I’ll make little mini-guides for all the levels I feel are fairly difficult. So, to riff off of Markos a bit, a warning may be in order: “HERE THERE BE SPOILERS”

Good luck. I’m not picking up the update yet (Mac, bought direct, so I think it is in the works, but a little slow) so you may well finish it up before I get going on it at all.

I think the Slak and Bakal special level might also require a walkthough/guide… it is the only one I might have used explosive start on although I think I was short of max level/gear. I didn’t use it much if I did at all (and it chewed up a slot) once I got the timing down, but any time you need to use the spells at semi-set times it probably wants at least a note. The normal blood/plague setup is distinctly not helpful for that one though due to all the thorns. (Not sure I’d had either of them yet is why the explosive start.)

I’ll be interested to see if you find other ideas that help make it easier - I suspect only TWOE is so tight that little can be done differently. And I’m sure, despite all my spreadsheets, there are still ways to change up my char builds to improve them. (And this is the range where finding another 1% of strength is a big deal, since they ride so close to the edge.)

I’ve just finished all the side quests and Storm the Sheep. Here are a few strategy comments (but they are barely necessary!)

  1. When in doubt, use Book of Plagues and Book of Blood. They are unfairly powerful.
  2. If “Storm the Sheep” is hard, you aren’t using Book of Plagues. It affects the Super Sheep (I think it did not used to?) and as a result, you can win the battle without so much as placing a character! However, Azra takes some damage, so make sure to kill the other sheep while poison damage makes short work of the Super Sheep.
  3. As far as upgraded items are concerned, your first bronze should definitely be the Beast’s Weapon. That thing is sick. Your first two obsidians (there are three easy obsidian skulls - the last side quest, the Wrenna/Niru sidequest, and Storm the Sheep) should be Kozomon’s Scepter and Evni. For the third, I picked the bow. However, the poison bow is actually better for raw damage, so the obsidian bow is really only useful for picking off dark enemies (TFOME comes to mind). Also, I like the bronze weapons better for Markos than the fire weapon, although the fire weapon on Slak + evni on Markos might be good? Also, the cold wand (I forget the name) is not nearly as useful as you think, mostly because the Beast is SOOOOO good.
  4. In the Slak+Bakal level, put Slak one up/one left of Azra (or one down and one right) and Bakal just above Azra. This means that everyone coming from the right/bottom must be killed with spells. Use lots of lightning on the splitters (then kill the serpents with crystal or dragon fire), use knockback liberally, and please, for the love of the Cosmic Flame, lightning/dragon fire the phasing enemies to death IMMEDIATELY. It’s actually a pretty easy level if you try to let dragon fire do most of the work and you take it slow enough that a phasing enemy cannot get by.
  5. In the Slak+Markos level, I like to start them together next to a spawn point, then later move them to the center aisle (a few squares before enemies get to Azra) when necessary. Move them around a few times to make sure they are being used well, as you should have extra psi. As usual in these two character levels, cast lots of spells (Wrenna + Ketta is an exception. Just place them, press 16x and go get a drink)

Ah, that might be the problem - I’ve bumped it up to the max resolution (so nice!) while trying, so that probably doesn’t help lol.

Looks like you’re making solid progress! I’m finishing off the last 201 achievements that I didn’t get in the original, then I may try this run for myself.

I’m curious how the run is going?

I’m at 194 medals on NG+ Hero Mode but the last two maps (the ending maps, so Ketta/Markos and the final final one) are just killing me.

I straight up am baffled about how to handle the Ketta/Markos stage as even with the book of plagues/poison the big fat duders who split into smaller duders are too much. They don’t actually get poisoned so they have to be hit directly and/or with spells. On top of that killing them turns them into three fatties who phase. I can get to the very last set (next to last wave I think?) where there are 3 of them but it’s just too much. When they split into three they insta-gib Markos and Ketta is functionally useless against them.

I’ve tried a lot of different combinations of gear/skills but those guys are just too much. Seems super weird that even the super sheep gets poisoned but those guys don’t.

I haven’t even really tried the final map yet, I’m sure it’ll be tough but doable.

It’s really that Markos/Ketta map that is driving me nuts.

EDIT: Whoops, meant Ketta, not Wrenna.

Just finished the next stage of the game, 13 hours total. All that is left are the hard levels: The Face of Madness, The Way Out, The God King Walks Again, Challenge 5, and Endless 2. I will likely make a separate comment in this thread for the strategy on each of these. Here are a few notes on some of the levels preceding these:

  • Gilded Death is very useful for several of these levels to take care of dark enemies
  • Book of Plagues is sickeningly powerful, making ET’s right hand very easy, and generally making the dreaded Cultist Priest+ into a joke (they walk so slow you can just wait for plague to kill them!)
  • When using book of plagues, make sure you have a few points in heal, because you will be casting it a lot! Personally, I max out lightning, frenzy, and crystal, then put 12 or 13 points into dragon fire and the rest in healing.

Zelemir Appears: Pretty straighforward. Respec Slak into pure single target damage (don’t even buy his boost 4 and boost 5 skills, max speed and bleed, use evni) and have him follow Zelemir around. Cast frenzy all the time and heal whenever Slak gets hit. Be sure to position Bakal so that he can buff Slak when Zelemir is in one of the two middle slots. Wrenna and Ketta can almost handle crowd control by themselves… it should be no problem.

ET’s Right Hand: Plague kills the right hand super fast, and the hand currently spawns the wrong things, so you don’t need to worry much about that. Plague also kills the Cultist Priest+, so basically just lightning splitters to death and nuke the worms, or trust in Wrenna, as she will destroy all!

Challenge 3: this one is all about setup - with the exception of Ketta and Niru, everyone is on a corner closest to Azra. I use Slak on top right, Wrenna on bottom right, Markos on bottom left, Bakal on top left. Then Ketta is up and left form Bakal, and Niru is 2 steps left of Markos. You will need to use the occasional crystal to add damage to the left lane. The top lane will need quite a few lightnings, so don’t be shy with those. Wrenna can handle the bottom and right lanes all by herself.

Endless 1: Put Markos and Wrenna side-by-side on the left, everyone else on the right. Make sure that Markos is closer to the enemies than Wrenna, and spec him into a full defense build. Cast lots of heal to keep him and Wrenna alive as much as possible (gets very difficult after wave 35 or 40). Everyone else camps out on the right. Make sure Niru (full HP skill!) is closer to the enemies than Slak. Starting around wave 40, you will have significant leakage on the right side, so be sure to lightning or crystal those to death. If you haven’t realized it before, you should begin to notice that Wrenna does at LEAST 50% of your total damage. She’s a beast!!

The Way Out

This took me five tries, but the last four were all trying to get all three were not for strategy. The last three were because it took me three tries to make it so that each time an abomination+ popped, I then popped all three Monstrosity+ at the same time (or near enough so that with knockback and the range on crystal I could hit all 18 worm+ with a single crystal).

The Setup:
Azra: Books of Plagues and Blood. Max out lightning, crystal, and dragon fire. I put 6 points in heal, 5 points in knockback, and the rest in Frenzy. Markos and Ketta don’t do huge amounts of damage, so Frenzy is pretty mediocre.

Ketta: Warlords Triumph+, Master of Archers+, then max all damage dealers except Spread Shot, including critical and poison. One point in Piercing Shot and the rest in range. (or switch those… either is good).

Markos: Evni+ or Edge of Order+, Strength of Wolocan+. Max out Armor Break (probably un-necessary), Armor Training, Sword Training, Hard Knock, and Stun Stab. Then assign points into attacks as you please.

The Strategy
Place Ketta in the middle so that she can hit near Azra but also as much of the rest of the path as possible. Place Markos on the bottom near the entrance (the corner works). When the third wave spawns, move Markos to the top. Then, when the abomination spawns, move him to the corner nearest the bottom entrance and have him follow the abomination and monstrosities around until they are dead. He should be set to attack “strongest” to make it easier to kill all three monstrosities at once. It costs 745-558=187 psi to move Markos, so make sure he is going to do enough damage on each move (~50,000) to make it better than just casting lots of lightning.

As far as spells are concerned, you will need crystals for the worms that pop out of monstrosities, and it’s good to have a knockback to push the worms back while killing the 2nd/3rd monstrosities. Other than that, cast spells to do the most damage. I use crystals in corner spots to hit large groups of enemies, and I like to dragon fire near when the worm waves finish. The basic spell-casting advice is to cast as few lightnings as you can get away with. Not only do lightnings cost psi, but they lower the psi reward of the target! If you use lightning willy-nilly, you will run out of psi. For the most part, you don’t need to cast lightning on anything more than 3 squares away from Azra (but inside that zone, cast like mad!).

The core difficulty of TWOE is the abomination/monstrosity/work issue. As I mentioned before, if you can get all three monstrosities to die at nearly the same time, you can use a crystal to mostly kill all 18 worms, and then easily pick the rest off with lightning or dragon fire or even let Markos and Ketta kill a few. If you get two monstrosities to die at the same time, that’s fine. If you have both dragon fire and crystal ready, you can use crystal on the 12 worms, and then dragon fire on the other six. It is also possible to kill six worms with lightning before they travel more than 10ish squares. Obviously, the final two abominations are insanely difficult because you need to put enough time between their deaths for crystal to refresh. This means heavily focusing on the top one and killing it as quickly as possible before switching to the bottom. Run the game slow and cast lightning to help kill the top abomination and his monstrosities quickly. Just also remember to pay attention to Azra… don’t let her get hit! Then use Markos to stun the bottom abomination so it doesn’t move very far, and try to arrange for the monstrosities to die exactly as crystal becomes available again. It’s not easy, but far from impossible.

(Phone, so brief)
I didn’t think stun worked - guess it is good I’ve got the old version still. I’ll check those immunities tonight. If it does - good find, much better Markos build.

Stun definitely works on abomination+ and monstrosity+ in DQDX. There are a few rule changes (see next post!), and that may be one of them.

The Face of Madness

Holy rule change, batman! The book of blood now affects Zelemir’s lightning so it insta-kills the target (unless you have magic damage reduction of some sort… regardless, it ohko’s Slak). However, using my previous setup for TFOME and replacing Book of Blood with anything (really, it doesn’t matter!) will get you the win within 20 to 25 rounds. I am not sure what the change is, but DQDX is MUCH easier than legacy DQ. Doing 100% complete hero mode is not the challenge it once was :disappointed:

The unique equipment+ bonuses were broken in DQOld, so it will be a bit easier now.

The God King Walks Again

There is little to say about this level. Boost Azra ASAP to unlock Zelemir’s spells, follow ET around with Slak, put Wrenna below ET’s starting position, boosted by Bakal. Move Markos around to handle threats from Cultist Priest+ (I feel like their thorn damage is broken? Or maybe now it is reduced by armor?). Most everything is destroyed by Wrenna and Ketta (place her where you like) and spells. If you get close to full psi, spam lightning on ET. He should die around wave 30. This level used to be SO HARD, but now it is childishly easy… I gotta say, I am disappointed with end-game DQDX, as there is no challenge to it.

Challenge 5 is actually still kinda hard, so that’s good. My first try I got taken over by the mass of worms that came out of the monstrosities that came out of the abominations. Next time I will swap out book of plagues for slow end and maybe do a lot of moving wrenna around. But I don’t have time now, so 100% will have to wait!!

(Still phone) Afaik changes are unintentional. Since it can be done at all, Lars has stated he prefers avoiding the “but it wasn’t on DQold” questions. That said - real bug fixes are good, so I’m not sure if it will truly stay exactly the same.

The modding/data files will tell if stunning amobinations is a new bug, an old bug, or a change. (Intentional change will depend on a post about intent though)

I found challenge 5 the second hardest of them all, and stunning things is less helpful there, so it makes sense that one is still very hard.

Further examination has shown that stun does work on abominations (and their spawns) in DQold - so this part of the new version looks to be fully faithful to the original. (Confused me at first because the 70% chance failed like 4 times in a row, but then it started procing.) Good idea to use the stun to control the timing better, I think that makes things very slightly less insanely difficult, although there still may be other factors in play that are impacting it that we haven’t found yet.

Turns out, when I re-read my own writeup, it looks like I was using max stun stab the whole time. I’m not sure I was making the best use of it, but the skill is self was topped up. So something else definitely is in play - while I can certainly believe your tactical maneuvers are better than mine (stun for better timing of the pops, for one example) - I can’t believe they are so much better as to render the level not brutally hard at a minimum. (My original experience would better be classes as “B.S.I”, if you’ve run across that phrasing.)