As you explore the world in Tales of Xillia and gain more experience, your lilium orb and list of skills grow to epic proportions. That being the case, we have tips and suggestions to help get the most from your party.
General Advanced Tips
-Always wait until shops offer x3 for materials. It can be tough to wait it out, but doing this pays off, and you'll have access to powerful equipment much sooner for far fewer material.
-Turn in your jet black feathers as frequently as possible. Not only can you spend them on stat boosters, but every 100 nets you a prize from the merchant, and the first 100 gets you a second page of artes for battle.
-Frequently check your skills. It's easy to forget that just letting them form the lilium orb doesn't grant their bonus automatically.
-Don't hang on to old gear. In many RPG games, it's common practice to keep old weapons that grant elemental damage bonuses. In Tales of Xillia, most of your characters have wide access to artes with all the different elemental damage types, so you are better off selling your old weapons to upgrade to the latest models.
General Skill Tips for Everyone
-Level Restore should be one of the first priority skills for every character. It fully restores your HP and TP every time you level up, which is invaluable for saving recovery items.
-Once you unlock a character's second lilium orb, your first priorities should be the Life Up and Mind Up skills. These give you a small chance of increasing your maximum HP or TP at the end of every battle. It is a small chance, but they cost very little in the way of skill points, and over time can add up to a huge gain.
-Solid Guard is also a must-have skill for every character. It costs a measly two skill points and cuts the damage you take while guarding by an additional 50 percent, and also functions with magic guard against spirit artes.
Advanced Character Tips
Ideal Role: Battle Mage
Milla is a great character to control because she is so flexible. All of her stats grow at a steady rate throughout her Lilium Orb, and she learns some great mobility skills. However you build her, Milla is a superb offensive character. Almost every single one of her artes is designed to inflict damage, and her skills help with that.
In particular, her spirit shift ability practically guarantees her place during boss battles. Spirit Shift essentially doubles Milla's available spirit artes, and means you rarely have to switch them out during battle. This usually gives her both a long and short-ranged option for each spirit arte.
Free Shift: This is an essential skill for Milla to have as it completely negates the extra TP cost of spirit shifting an arte.
Casting Window: For those who prefer standing a little further back in battle, Casting Window allows you to trigger a linked arte during the casting animation of a spirit arte. This is great for mixing things up or triggering your linked artes from father away.
Aerial Skills: Milla can learn a variety of skills from her lilium orbs that enhance her ability to fight while jumping. While these can be fun, taking the fight to the skies tends to leave other party members behind, and puts you in a very vulnerable position. If you are confident in your reflexes, make sure to pick up Quick Drop and Aerial Guard to better defend yourself.
-Know when to shift. As stated above, Milla has the ability to channel her spirit artes into instant damage without having to wait to cast them. This lets her use her spirit Artes up close with normal combos, but remember that a spirit shifted arte costs the same amount of TP but does less damage overall.
-Balance is key. Milla has access to all six elemental damage types between her spirit and martial artes. She also has a great balance of spirit to martial artes, so it's best to find a balance so that you can throw magic at your foes from a distance but still do respectable damage up close if you have to.
Shimmer Spin: This martial arte may not look like much, but it is very deceptive. It lifts Milla and any nearby enemies into the air for several hits and then knocks them away. This not only gives you some breathing room, but when linked with Jude can combo into one of the best linked artes in the game.
Death Knell: A quick and powerful attack that knocks down enemies. Like Shimmer Spin, it is excellent not only for its damage but the ability to control your enemies' positions.
Ideal Role: Tank
A true jack-of-all-trades, Jude's stats give him a lot of flexibility like Milla. The primary difference is that while Jude is more than capable of dishing out damage, instead of Artes and skills that boost his damage, he has many defensive and supporting artes to round out his repertoire. His naturally high agility and vitality give him incredible resilience as well. Let him soak up the damage, then heal himself with his healing artes.
Jude's snap-pivot makes him a great choice to take into battle, particularly during boss battles and the eventual fights against the Devil Arm Monsters. Any character can get an enemy's attention and back step out of the way, but that oftentimes leaves you vulnerable to followup attacks. Using snap-pivot to get out of the way of followup attacks is good enough, but since he snaps behind them, you get several moments of an increased critical hit rate as well.
Down Burst: What a deceptively powerful skill. It grants Jude a 10 percent bonus to damage, but only if his target has been knocked down. It only costs one Skill Point to set, and once your party starts learning artes and attacks that knock your foes down, the power of this skill becomes apparent.
Feign Death: Another skill that looks far less useful than it really is. When combined with Quick Recover, you can turn getting knocked around by your enemies into something far less painful.
Snap Pivot: A bit confusing since it shares its name with Jude's inherent ability, Snap Pivot allows you to maneuver around your foes without having to wait for an attack. By simply timing your guard correctly after back stepping, you will snap pivot around your target, putting you in prime position to unleash the hurt.
Steel: As simple as they come, providing a boost to Jude's Physical Attack. The shock wave he emits while using this arte can and will deal damage to enemies and knock them off their feet.
Palm Strike: A powerful and effective tool for clearing your path. Palm Strike's knock back effect is a great way to push away strong melee attackers to give you room to heal or focus on weaker foes.
Aqua Sweep: Never underestimate the power of an area-effect arte. It may not be as wide an area as some of Milla or Elize's spirit artes, but Jude is sadly limited on his ability to damage multiple foes at once, and Aqua Sweep is a fine choice when you are surrounded.
Mirage Blitz: Some monsters love to sit around and block attacks, and that's where this Arte comes in. When used in the air, it breaks through enemy defenses and can bring the fight to an end much sooner.
Ideal Role: Physical Damage
Damage, damage and more damage is the name of Alvin's game. He easily tops the charts in raw physical power, and his artes hit even harder than he does, though that's to be expected with his huge sword. His artes and basic attacks both have some great ranged and melee options. Using Alvin's charge technique is the real key to unleashing his potential on the field. Look for any opportunity you can to add a charge after an arte, especially during a boss fight. It doesn't matter what arte you use before you begin charging, you can use the charges on any of your assigned artes. Alvin's TP is the lowest of the group's by far, and charging your artes will allow you to maximize your damage without draining him too fast.
Charge Plus: Alvin's charge ability is a very flexible tool, and his Lilium Orb contains several skills that enhance it, the most important of which are the skills that allow him to hold more than one charge at a time. Being able to stock charges allows Alvin to unleash several enhanced artes back-to-back in combat.
Chivalry: Since you always have at least one of your female party members in combat at any given time, Chivalry pays for itself right away. If you use Alvin alongside Milla, Elize and Leia, it's a whopping 15 percent bonus to all of Alvin's stats. It doesn't hurt that the four of them make a great team to begin with.
Blunt Force: Alvin already hits like a truck, but stacking this skill will increase hit chances of stunning enemies with every physical attack, and who doesn't like stun?
Guardian Field: While not particularly useful on its own, Guardian Field can make a fair argument for healing in a pinch. When charged, it becomes Guardian Grove, and not only does the affected area increase, but Alvin can move shortly after using it and while it is still in effect. If you have an extra charge or two stocked up during a boss fight, this can really help smooth things over.
Sonic Thrust: This should almost always be your opening arte in most fights. It has an impressive range, allowing you to get at least one or two charges before the enemies close in, and when charged, hits multiple times over a wide area.
Tiger Blade: One of Alvin's fastest artes, Tiger Blade goes off almost instantly and hits multiple times. Most of Alvin's attacks are on the slow side, and this is a great arte to start a combo with.
Tornado Drive: Much like Tiger Blade, this arte hits fast and hard. When charged, Alvin finishes the attack by knocking his enemy away, giving you room to charge or follow up with other attacks.
=====ELIZE (AND TEEPO!)=====
Ideal Role: Healer and Caster
A lot of raw magical power in such a compact frame, Elize is one of the best casters you get, and has a huge range of flexibility within that frame. She learns a variety of spirit artes from healing and resurrection, all the way to incredibly powerful artes. Elize's Intelligence and Psych are both incredibly high, and her ability to turn Teepo On and OFF give her an extra bit of flexibility.
Elize is a tough choice for taking into battle, since enemies tend to go right toward you, and many of her spirit Artes have a fairly lengthy casting time. In this case, consider putting a little more emphasis on developing her martial artes and adding a few extra GP toward vitality to give her more survivability.
Know your role: Teepo being ON or OFF completely changed the way Elize acts in battle, so it's important to pick early on whether you'd like her up close or far away. If you want to use her as a caster, pick up Morale Support and Wizard. This will make sure Teepo is always ON, and Elize benefits from a large boost to her casting abilities.
Chicken Run: Easy to overlook, but for one Skill Point you are best off learning this skill. Chicken Run gives you a massive 80 percent reduction in the time it takes to escape combat. This is especially useful when you enter into combat with a Demon Beast and need to make a run before it takes everyone out.
Auto Medicine: Elize should rarely take damage, but since she is fragile, Auto Medicine gives her a chance to recover HP any time she takes damage. Many of the game's healing spells cover an area, and with Elize hanging toward the back, she is often out of range. This skill gives her extra survivability in case an attack slips by.
Resurrection: The last thing you want is for healers to drop and be out of Life Bottle's because you never taught Elize this arte.
Dispel: Even better than other ailment-curing spells, this adds an extra bit of protection from other negative status effects as long as Teepo is ON when it is cast.
Pow Hammer: One of Elize's default artes, Pow Hammer is used not for its ability to deal damage, but for the ever-useful stun effect it causes on enemies, allowing Elize to escape damage from more powerful enemies.
Ignite Terror: To think that such a young girl has this much power. Ignite Terror has a fairly lengthy casting time but causes a huge amount of damage to enemies unfortunate enough to get caught in the blast. The area of effect is very wide as well, making it especially useful during boss fights.
Ideal Role: Ranged Damage
Rowen has many similarities to both Jude and Milla in that he is a fairly well-rounded character. The biggest difference is that you virtually never want him near your enemies. Most of Rowen's artes are ranged, and even his basic attacks keep him at a distance. You are much better off keeping him near the back of the group where he can tune his artes to devastating effect.
If you take control of Rowen, make sure you've got some strong melee support so you can make the most of his Arte Tuning ability. Rowen comes outfitted with a huge range of elemental Spirit Artes, and tuning them is vital to maximizing his damage.
Conductor: Absolutely essential for Rowen, the Conductor series of skills greatly empowers his ability to tune artes. The first Conductor skill negates the extra TP cost of arte tuning, and the second prevents Rowen's artes from being interrupted if he is attacked while tuning them.
Reduction: When paired with Overclocked, Reduction becomes a staple while fighting a boss with an elemental weakness. If you cast the same spirit arte multiple times, Reduction causes every cast to cost half as much TP.
Overclocked: Much like Reduction, Overclocked helps turn Rowen into a beast against bosses with elemental weaknesses. Overclocked Increases the TP cost of Rowen's spirit artes by 30 percent, and the damage they cause by 50 percent. When paired with Reduction, chain-casting the same spirit arte balances out the extra TP cost while still providing a huge damage boost.
Severed Fate: The same ability Rowen used in his introduction is just as effective in an actual fight. Tuning this ability causes the knives to fall immediately, making this a very fast and efficient arte to use should enemies get too close for comfort.
Blue Sphere: While virtually identical to Milla's Splash spirit arte, Blue Sphere becomes more useful when tuned. By moving the left analog stick, you can move the area of effect while the arte is active, allowing you to move around and cause damage to enemies who may have moved out of the way.
Shimmering Toll: An arte with a massive area of effect and a powerful tuning effect, rotating the left analog stick while this arte is active causes the bell to swing faster and longer, doling out considerable damage, and is a great way to keep foes locked down for a few extra seconds.
Tightening Chains: This arte is perfect for large groups, as you can use it to pull enemies together for followup area attacks like Shimmering Toll.
Ideal Role: Backup... Everything
Although she isn't a jack-of-all-trades like Jude, Leia makes everyone else in the party better at what they already do. She learns everything from defense-boosting artes to resurrection artes and martial artes of all four basic elements. Add this to her incredible speed and quick staff attacks, and you've got the perfect backup character.
Outside of her support skills, Leia is still a very capable warrior in her own right, and possesses several martial artes of various elements, many of which allow you to position the enemy right where you want them. Many of Leia's martial artes cause knock back and knockdown effects, allowing your casters the precious seconds they need to unleash their spirit artes or to get in an extra heal or two.
Item Spawn: Everyone likes item drops and no one likes having to fight the same enemies over and over again for just one item. For only two Skill Points, Item Spawn doubles the chances your enemies will drop items at the end of battle. This is a great way to keep your healing items and other materials stocked up.
Steal Plus: A must if you are using Leia as a link partner. Some of the harder to find items are available through stealing, and this skill grants a huge 30 percent success rate to Leia's stealing attempts.
Lucky Item: Another cheap skill that more than pays itself off. It gives you a 10 percent chance to not consume an item when you use it in battle. While this isn't a high enough chance to rely upon for survival, it can sometimes make the difference in a long boss fight.
Resurrection: Much like Elize, this is an obviously important arte. Any way to bring an ally back into the fight without using a life bottle is a no-brainer.
Sharpness: Support defined, another staple arte for Leia that increases a party member's physical and magical attack.
Barrier: Just like Sharpness, this is another important arte for Leia to grab. Artes like these can make all the difference during some of the game's later boss fights.
Elemental Impulse: The gambler's arte. While it is fun to play around with this arte during your travels, never forget to turn it off during big boss encounters. The random element only has a one-in-six chance of being the one you need, and during tough encounters, you need all the consistency you can get.