Updated March 29, 2018
When you begin Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, you may notice that your default hero is Noctis.
It may be unclear from the onset how exactly to use him, or what function your hero provides in the game. More confusingly, it may be unclear how to spend your points in Noctis’s skill tree. This strategy guide will provide you with a full rundown of Noctis’s Hero Skills. As Noctis is your primary hero when you’re first starting out, it’ll be important for you to understand the best ways to use him.
This article will provide you with an overview of your hero’s purpose in Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire. We also provide a comprehensive breakdown of how to use your hero, as well as how to apply skill points most effectively for Noctis.
As a bonus, we’ll go over several ways to help you level faster so that you can unlock higher levels of these skills more quickly. We will also cover his more advanced skills that can be unlocked at high Noctis levels.
What Heroes Do
So, you’ve just started Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire and you’ve discovered that you have a hero. You may wonder what exactly the hero does for your gameplay, and what are the best ways to use your hero.
Your hero is one of the most important assets in your arsenal.
Not only do heroes provide incredibly important boosts for Economics, Research, Construction, Combat, Defense, and Monster Hunting, they also provide incredibly important benefits when added to a march, rally, or when they remain behind in an empire to defend.
When added to a march or a rally, your hero’s level and skills have a direct, measurable impact on your attack’s success. Similarly, your hero’s level, skills, and equipped gears also impact the success rate of an empire or Crystal defense. The boosts provided by the gear equipped on your hero also increase the success rate of the attack or defense. For example, the legendary Arbiter Judgment provides an additional 113% Troop Attack bonus, while legendary Sentinel Aegis provides a 125% Troop Armor Bonus.
Every additional piece of gear stats contribute greatly to the overall power of the attack/defense. Due to this fact, the presence of a hero equipped in good gear in a march, rally, or empire/tile/Crystal during an attack/defense can mean the difference between winning or losing.
Here are all the ways you can actively use your hero in Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire:
- Use your hero to attack monsters
- Add your hero to a march to attack a tile, empire, or the Crystal
- Add your hero to a rally to attack an empire or the Crystal
- Use your hero to defend your empire in an attack
- Send your hero into the Crystal to defend the Crystal
- Send your hero to a tile with a gathering march to increase gathering speed
- Send your hero to a guildmate with a prison that is level 30 or higher to provide an additional attack boost.
- Send your hero to a guildmate to banish, for an additional banish boost.
- Assign your hero to an Order in the Order of Heroes to provide additional passive boosts to your empire when not in use. (This only works if you have multiple heroes.)
Hero Skills Overview
Hero skills are gained every time your hero levels up, and can be viewed by clicking on the character portrait in the upper-left corner of the screen, then on “skills”.
It is currently impossible to max all Hero skills even at the highest current level. It’s almost certain that the developers will increase the Hero level and add more skills as the game progresses, but at the current time, you will have to make some choices on which skills to prioritize.
Furthermore, the only way to reset your skills are through packs that contain a reset. There are much more important packs to prioritize as we discuss in our What To Look For In Packs article. Unless you are willing and able to purchase a lot of packs though, you have to pick a play style and stick with it for a while. The good news is that we’re about to help you do that.
Noctis Hero Skills
As you scroll down the page of Noctis’s skills, you will notice that there are two primary paths of progression: skills that increase your resource production on the right, and skills that increase your combat effectiveness on the left. In the middle are speed-up boosts unlocked by moving down both trees, plus the March Size Increase at the very bottom which can only be unlocked at level 50.
Once Noctis reaches Level 70, you will be able to unlock an advanced skill tree, which starts with unlocking the Rally Size Increase skill.
Like the rest of Noctis’s skill tree, his advanced tree has additional combat skills on the left and skills that increases the speed of Exalted Construction and Exalted Research on the right — specifically geared for players who have T5 or higher.
Unlike the Research trees, Hero skill levels don’t have prerequisites where you have to go back and level an earlier skill to get a new level of one you want. Once you have a level in a skill, each additional level just costs skill points.
To decide which skills you want to focus on as you level up, first you need to know what they do.
Noctis’s combat tree starts with Hero Attack, which is only effective when fighting monsters, particularly higher-level monsters that require a huge amount of research to even get to. Farther down, you have skills which increase Troop Attack for Warrior, Mage, and Cavalry, followed by a Troop HP buff.
All of the combat-based Hero skills aside from Hero Attack are really excellent buffs if you plan to be engaging in a great deal of combat. Seeing as how this is a strategic war game, it is likely you will see your fair share of fights. Troop HP in particular is great, seeing as how that boost type is rarer in the game than Armor or Attack. It scales better the more that you are fighting against stronger or equal troop types though, and you will have to balance that against the need for more Attack.
The production boosts might be the first draw when looking at the skill tree, though. Resources are scarce in this game, and a production increase can be a huge help. This is particularly true of the hero skills because they boost all tiers that a rss building produces. This puts them on the same level as Economics Research that requires a level 20 or higher University, except with even better increases.
Their usefulness is limited somewhat by rss production caps, though. You could have a +50% boost to your quarry production and it really wouldn’t matter if you only had one quarry — or five quarries for that matter — seeing as how costs for buildings and research spiral into the millions or tens of millions at Citadel levels higher than 10.
The skills in the middle of the tree are quite useful as well. Training speed is useful if you are playing offensively, or defensively without stacking Hospital Wards, as you will have to train a lot of troops to replace the dead ones.
The March Size increase at 50 is a HUGE boost, but you won’t get to that until much later in the game, around Tier 4.
The percentile Construction boost and the Research boost are contenders for best skills, especially at higher levels. To illustrate, take a look at the below screenshot from somebody working their way toward Tier 4 troops:
Ignore the completely insane rss costs for a moment and look at the completely insane time difference. This account has the 50% off building times pack boost, but even after that you would still need 93 days base time to level the University from 29 to 30. How did this player almost cut that time in half again? By stacking the Construction Time skill and maxing the similar-but-lesser Economics research boost.
The research times at that level are similarly heinous, and the Research time reduction skill is similarly useful. They start out not so great when timers are in minutes, but their usefulness grows along with your empire. If you plan on getting past T3 and into T4 eventually, having some points in the time reduction skills is insanely helpful. It is helpful even before then because it saves you speed-ups that you can use on other things.
Assuming that you aren’t going to be shelling out for skill resets very often if at all, what are the other key skills to focus on?
Let’s identify the ones that aren’t as good to help answer that question. Hero Attack is only really useful to open up the rest of the combat tree. It can help fighting level higher-level monsters, but if you are that far along in the game you likely have other more pressing concerns than getting in an extra monster hit. And if you do need that, you have the Hero tree research.
Going wide in the production skills is useful at the start of the game but less so when you get to the point that you need rss far above your production caps. If you have the production boosts from packs, it might be worth it to go wide and offload your excess at to an alternate account at a high tax rate (ugh) to get around the rss caps and make slow progress, but otherwise these don’t scale well as you level your Citadel.
Our recommendation, assuming you aren’t going to be buying skill resets, is to focus on the combat skills for long term benefit. Use the production skills only to open up the middle of the tree, and maybe stack levels of one single production skill if you are hyperfarming.
The Attack skills and especially the HP skill should be your main target for skill points, followed by the Construction and Research if you are planning on advancing much past T3 eventually and don’t want to pay for skill resets. If you CAN pay for skill resets, spec for the research and construction speed boosts around Hero level 40. This will save you pack money in the long-term.
Regarding the attack skills: You can keep them even if you like, but at some point starting in T3 or T4, the costs for research becomes such that specializing in a particular troop becomes a cost
If, after reading this, you feel like you hosed up your skill tree, and can’t afford a skill reset, don’t sweat it too much. Most of the skills are pretty great, and you may just have to change your strategy.
If you went really wide in the production skills and you’re hitting the resource caps, think about creating a banking alt or a using guild bank if your guild has one. You’ll get taxed but you can reduce that with Economics research and leveling the trading post, and at least you’ll still be slowly producing rss.
Noctis Advanced Hero Skills
Noctis’s Advanced Hero Skills only unlock at Noctis Level 70, and are primarily geared for players who have T5 or higher, or who very much enjoy attack.
The first skill that starts off the tree is Rally Size, which provides an additional +15,000 rally march size at Level 1. As more points are added, this size will increase, and will thus be quite useful for anyone who needs a much larger rally size to attack.
Going down the left side, you first encounter Core Troop Armor, which can add a maximum of +1200% Armor to your troops, followed by Core Troop Attack, which provides an additional +500% Attack to Warrior, Mage, and Cavalry. These increases are quite substantial, if you consider pairing them with gear such as the Glacian’s Gear Set. Being that they also stack on top of the Basic Skill Tree’s Troop Attack skills, arguably, this new tree can really make Noctis a force to be reckoned with when attacking.
As we continue down the right side, we encounter Exalted Construction and Exalted Research, which increases Exalted Construction and Exalted Research speeds by +40%. While this may not seem like a huge increase, every little bit of time reduction can help greatly to shave months off increasingly insane timers for players who have T5 or higher. While many T5 players might not be too worried about the timers, due to an overabundance of gold and Exalted Speed Ups, players who reached T5 through free-to-play methods, or who are not large spenders may find these skills to be quite useful.
Finally, at the end of the Advanced Skill Tree, you reach Exalted Army, which increases your March Size by 5,000, your Rally Size by 25,000, and your max number of Marches by 1. This particular skill will require Noctis to be at level 100, so consider it an endgame skill.
In general: if you are able to unlock any of these skills, we recommend that you do. They are all useful in their own ways, but arguably, T5 players will find the most benefits in the combat skills that Noctis can provide.
To get these skills in the first place, you need EXP. You get EXP from a couple of different sources, including completing quests, finishing events, fighting other players, attacking monsters, and building up your empire. There are also the EXP consumables that come in packs and drop randomly from monsters. But please don’t waste your loyalty on Hero EXP.
You can also buy EXP boosts in the Guild Store that will increase your EXP gain for a period of time. This will not increase the EXP gained by using the consumables, but by combining it with the methods above you can level much more rapidly. Here are some specific tricks:
Wait To Collect Empire Quests
Empire quests are the ones you get for finishing buildings or research. You’ll complete a ton of these just by going about your business, and they don’t have to be completed immediately. So wait to collect on them until you have the loyalty for the EXP boost, activate it, and then collect them all in one mass click-frenzy.
Pro-Tip: The Empire Quests from high-level research and buildings give large amounts of resources back on completion as well as sizeable EXP. If you wait and use an EXP boost when completing them, the quests are worth tens of millions in experience points and helpful for getting to level 50 hero.
Buy Packs With EXP Items
The game was designed with this in mind. If you are purchasing packs and want to get level your Hero quickly, check and make sure the pack you are buying includes EXP. Not all do and the rest will contain variable amounts from pack to pack.
Kill More Monsters
You get a significant amount of EXP from monsters, particularly higher-level monsters. You’ll need to advance your research in the Hero tree to at least level 2 monsters to see a significant gain, and additionally you will want to craft some green Hunter gear to help increase your max MP and monster-killing mojo.
You’ll also get a ton of loyalty this way. You want to hit higher-level monsters for EXP and crafting drops and lower-level monsters for max loyalty gains. We cover that specific strategy in our article on How To Get More Loyalty, and explain Monster Lairs in the Gear and Gems Guide.
Build an EXP farm
If you read our Resource Guide, you will have seen the concept of farm accounts mentioned. They are primarily for resources, but you can convert them into EXP farms easily by training some siege troops on them. When you go to “harvest” the rss from your farm by sending a march, you’ll also gain EXP from the fight and lose few or none of your own troops because it is siege. You then reset the EXP farm by using the Hospital on the siege troops.
Bonus: If your area of the server is relatively safe or one of the dominant guilds enforces a no-tile-hits policy, you can also send those siege out gathering for tile resources. Just recognize that this has inherent danger since you can’t recall them if a nearby enemy decides to tile you, unless you are on the farm account.
If you have two devices, you can make the EXP farm go a little faster by resetting via Hospital without logging in and out of accounts. Alternatively, you and a friend could send T1 troops out to occupy tiles, and then attack each others’ camps. This isn’t exactly cost-effective, but it is fast and you can control the casualties.
If you have a strong enough army and enough resources and gold to survive attacks, you can ask a friendly guildmate or another player to send you non-stop attacks, which will very quickly level up your hero. However, keep in mind that you must be able to heal all troops that go into your hospital, and you ideally want to be able to wipe any march that comes your way — significant EXP is only gained when you win in a battle.
Also, remember that the higher the level of troop is used to attack you, the more EXP you will gain. Being attacked by T4 or T5 will increase your EXP far faster than attacks by T2, which can still help with EXP increases when sent en masse.
Some players do not like the idea of leveling in this manner, as it greatly skews with your Power Destroyed and Troops Killed stats, given that it isn’t considered a “real attack.” If this concerns you, the alternative is to try and actually get attacked. We recommend going on a rampage and capturing enough heroes to make another guild mad enough to hit you. A lot.
Go on a Rampage
Given that a combat is a great source of EXP, it stands to reason that fighting a lot in general would be a good way to level more quickly. And this is correct.
There are multiple ways to go about this, some more effective than others. You want to maximize opponent casualties to get the most EXP, ideally while minimizing your own so that you can keep the EXP and resources rolling in. You could tactically choose opponents based on their strengths versus your own, and follow all the advice in the Combat Attack Guide. If you don’t care as much about your own losses, you could also stack Attack by building barracks or prioritizing Attack gear to maximize opposing casualties.
For an alternative viewpoint on this subject, this next tip comes from a contributor who has helpfully shared their thoughts on the best way to quickly gain combat EXP while minimizing risk.
Look, setting up a farm is slow. And setting your own stuff on fire is boring. Setting somebody else’s stuff on fire is WAY more fun! So go on a rampage. You know you were going to anyway.
EXP scales with the amount of power loss you cause to the other player so *theoretically* you’d want to target strong opponents and carefully send just the right troop composition and blah blah blah.
Forget that. Trade on volume. First, park yourself in the middle of a lower-level hive. Next, slap the table and yell “This is MY house now!” at the top of your lungs. Then start releasing marches like swarms of angry bees. Some of the targets will panic-bubble. Others will just stand there in slack-jawed horror as their stuff catches fire. Some of them may even ask in mail or realm chat why you’re doing this! They don’t even have any unprotected resources!
“Oh yes you do!” you’ll exclaim gleefully, as you suck every last drop of precious Hero-leveling nectar out of their exposed tier 1 troops.
And remember to hit all of their occupied tiles. You’ll get more EXP.
Thanks for that tip, Anonymous.
While we neither condone nor condemn the above suggestion, we recommend that you do the math and make sure you can eat a lower-level spite-rally before you try Anonymous’s EXP gain strategy.
If you’re just not big on the idea of treating lower-level hives as EXP farms, that is totally okay. You can and should still be attacking people regularly, and you can pick bigger targets and have a smaller number of more strategic fights that still lead to sizeable EXP gains. This will also save on ports, tears, and angry messages in your inbox accusing you of being the devil. Probably.
Tile hits and successful attacks are also the fastest and most repeatable way to get gems and rare crafting mats to make your equipment better. The lifetime enemies that you make along the way are merely a bonus.
We want to repeat again that almost all of the Hero skills are excellent, and none of them are truly bad. Even if you were dumping a bunch of your points exclusively in Hero Attack, that is going to be okay. One-shotting monsters at will isn’t the worst thing.
And if you read the suggestions at the top, remember that they are suggestions, and different hero builds vary depending on your specific game goals. We suggested HP and Troop Attack for long-term survivability followed by the time reductions and the attack skills, but you may be focusing on rss-farming to help your guildmates past resource humps or otherwise in need of the production boosts. If so, go for it! Just remember: when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with increased combat effectiveness in this game.
After all, sometimes the best farm is the one that belongs to somebody else.
In our next article in the Beginner’s Guide series, we will be examining How to Get More Loyalty.