Jesse Woo
Conquer Planet Mira in Xenoblade Chronicles X with Dolls, Online Friends
Insert tired joke about playing with dolls here.
04.11.15 - 2:57 PM

Even with the consistent stream of new media and information about Xenoblade Chronicles X, Monolith Soft may have saved the best for last. Their latest video provides the details we've been waiting for on the game's mechs, called Dolls, and network functions.

Unlike previous Xeno games, in Xenoblade Chronicles X the Dolls are not specific to a certain character. Rather, players purchase them from the BLADE shop in New Los Angeles (NLA) and can make them available to any character. Players may buy as many as they like, provided they can pay the hefty price tag. Dolls are broadly split into three types: Light, with low and HP and high evasion; Middle, balanced and easy to control; and Heavy, high HP and defense but unwieldy.

In addition to their humanoid forms, each Doll can transform into a vehicle based on its type. Light Dolls like Lynlee's "Urban" have two wheels and are fast and maneuverable, while Middle type Dolls like the "Inferno" have four wheels and emphasize stability. Some can even transform into tanks, presumably the Heavy type. Equipping a flight pack will allow the Doll to fly but at the expense of fuel, which is also used to cast the Doll's Arts. Fuel will regenerate slowly when out of the cockpit, or you can refuel at NLA by spending large sums of Miranium, a resource found on the planet Mira.

Combat and equipment with Dolls works similarly to the regular system; characters switch between auto attacks and Arts and Dolls can even enter Overclock Gear mode. Dolls can put enemies in a "Catch" state, similar to being Tumbled in human combat, where they cannot move or attack and Dolls deal greater damage. Executing a quicktime event with the B button will extend the Catch state. Different from human combat is Cockpit Mode, which will randomly trigger and eliminate cooldowns for Arts.

As mentioned, Arts consume fuel to use, and the most powerful Arts are also the most fuel-hungry. Moreover, Dolls do not "learn" Arts, but rather acquire them from their equipment. They can carry equipment in their hands, arms, legs, back, and shoulders. Hand weapons will will generally perform auto-attacks but some also cast Arts. In addition, weapons that cast Arts can be separately equipped to the right or left side. Arm weapons tend to cast support Arts and include beam shields and vulcans. Spare weapons are stored on the Dolls legs and tend to have short recast times. Back weapons tend to be more powerful; offensive Arts usually go on the right slot and support Arts on the left, although some extra powerful weapons take up both slots. Finally, shoulder weapons are the most powerful, with the right side reserved for offense and the left for support.

Players generally acquire Doll equipment from the shop in BLADE HQ, although some of the most powerful gear must be crafted. Keeping with the theme of customization, parts can be individually named and colored. Also, the video warns that focusing only on power will cost you in the long run in terms of fuel efficiency.

Like enemies, Dolls can take localized damage, meaning individual parts can be destroyed if you aren't careful. In the worst case scenario the Doll itself will be destroyed. Dolls carry insurance that will replace them for free up to three times, but after that it will cost you, although not as much as buying a new Doll.

Monolith Soft's executives promised online capabilities for the first time in the Xeno series, although up until now they have been quite tight-lipped about what that will entail. Connecting to the internet allows you to find other BLADE members that are based on other player's avatars. Once you recruit them they will join you as AI party members. Further, you can join squads of up to 32 people on the same network that acts as a sort of guild where players help each other conquer Mira for humanity.

Players can issue BLADE reports, which share information about the planet Mira. Reports are rated, and highly rated ones may even be shared outside the squad. They can also share excess equipment with the squad with the Treasure Deal feature. In addition, players can engage in jolly cooperation on Squad Missions and Squad Quests. Squad Missions become available to the squad at fixed intervals and require you to subjugate monsters or gather resources. The game will keep track of the objectives you complete during the mission and share it with the squad, moving the entire squad toward its goal and ticking down a counter.

If your team completes one of five specific objectives in a Squad Mission then you can participate in a four-person Squad Quest. Players can accept Squad Quests from the network terminal in BLADE HQ, and completing quests brings you closer to conquering the planet. Raising your conquest level will also unlock World Enemies for an extra challenge and enticing reward. Some World Enemies appear at fixed intervals as well.

The various Unions of BLADE will also factor into online play. Union Grams show what each Union is currently doing and how well they are contributing to humanity's progress on Mira by completing their respective tasks. By completing their Union's quests players can raise its standing worldwide. There will be other online rankings like most enemies killed, etc. for the competitive players. Some of the categories can be quite obscure, so it is possible to find oneself ranked without even trying.

To see all the juicy details, check out the video below:

Xenoblade Chronicles X comes out April 29 in Japan on the Wii U. A Western release is slated for later this year.