It Took Me 60 Hours To Realize This One Thing About 'Octopath Traveler'

Octopath Traveler's eight stories are divvied up into chapters across the World Map. Your Chapter One for each character is a recruitment and origin story, setting up the character's motivations, personality and backstory while introducing you to all eight of the world's distinctive regions. Doing all of the Chapter Ones is a no-brainer; you race eagerly across the map to gather all eight of your octopath travelers.

Once you've done that and start tackling a few Chapter Twos, Chapters Two and Three start opening up across the world. Each chapter flag on the world map indicates the minimum level you must be in order to enter that city and pursue that character's story.

But — and this is super important, stay with me now — that character does not have to be that level in order to do that chapter. Ophilia's Chapter 3 flag says "Level 38" on it, but Ophilia does not have to be Level 38. Your protagonist has to be Level 38.

Why does this matter? Well, we all have our favorite characters, either those whose stories and personalities most appeal to use or those whose skills and talents best suit our playstyle. After the Chapter Ones and a few Chapter Twos, my character levels looked like this:

As you can see, Tressa, Cyrus and H'annit are my preferred party along with my protagonist Primrose, with Ophilia, Olberic and Alfyn bringing up the rear. But because I was under the impression that each character needed to be the level indicated on their Chapter flag, I constantly changed my party to make sure nobody fell too far behind the others.

This means that 60 hours into the game, I'm only about 75% of the way through everybody's Chapter Twos, and everybody is at Level 35 or higher. A lot of time has been spent grinding, but that means I've unlocked a lot of Job skills for a lot of characters and have some really interesting strategies under my belt. No character's quirks or possibilities have gone unappreciated.

Had I not labored under this misapprehension about the level requirement on Chapter flags, I might have simply bulled through one character's chapters in a row, suffering through boss fights I was only barely at the right level for, relying on the same party with the same strategies for hours on end. Instead, changing my party around in order to keep everyone leveled up has clued me in to job combinations and party combos that keep my gameplay lively and exciting.

Choosing which order to tackle the stories is definitely a matter of player preference. For example, you can pursue your protagonist's story first to the exclusion of the others, leveling up a favored party and spending time with only the characters you care about. If I hadn't been mistaken about what the Levels on Chapter flags meant, that's probably what I would have done.

But racing across the world, engaging in the awesome battle system as you fight your way through everyone's Chapter Twos and then everyone's Chapter Threes and Fours, leaving no one behind? My heart has grown eight sizes as I experiment with non-standard party compositions, equip skills from four different jobs onto the same character and look at how dorky Therion's sprite is wearing a merchant backpack.

The takeaway is this: play Octopath Traveler as though each character must be the level indicated on the Chapter flag. Your experience will be all the richer for it.