There are a lot of things one could say about Dynasty Warriors 9 and, to be honest, not a lot of them are positive. Nonetheless, as a fan of the series I feel the need to push forward — as I’m sure you are, too.
The open world adds some complexities to the game that we haven’t seen in previous Warriors games. You have shops to peruse, weapons and accessories to craft, and the whole of ancient China to explore. These all sound very exciting, but ultimately this is a Warriors game. None of it is going to be too complex. That said, there are still a few things to know that will make your time with the game go more smoothly.
None of these tips focus on combat directly, but they are centered around you learning how to make the most of your time with the game and have some fun despite the game’s shortcomings.
Don’t Play on Normal
Whether you’re totally new or a Dynasty Warriors veteran, you are probably not going to find any challenge on normal difficulty.
Switching to hard doesn’t just make enemies tougher, it increases the amount of captains you’ll find just about anywhere. It’s definitely an improvement considering how empty things feel on normal difficulty.
Chaos difficulty also increases the amount of captains you’ll come across, but enemies become complete health sponges and don’t do all that much to defend themselves. I don’t really count “rolling around” as self-defense, do you?
Fast Travel When You Can
It doesn’t take a full 2 hours to go across China like Koei Tecmo claimed in previews last year, but it does take a while even with a hyper-fast horse. Make use of fast travel whenever you can to save time.
As a reminder, any area of the map you’ve revealed at any point in time can be seen by any character you play. The only restriction on your fast traveling is whether the area you’re going to is under enemy control.
Be Mindful of Nearby Obstacles When Fighting
It is really very easy to accidentally knock enemy officers (especially ones you have to kill for a mission) into obstacles and get them stuck. That sounds great, except you have to figure out how to get to them and kill them safely. That’s a lot easier said than done in enclosed spaces.
Try to aim yourself so your R1 attacks and musou don’t knock enemies directly into obstacles to try to mitigate this issue.
Of course, you may still run into situations like the above where Sun Quan just sunk through the floor above him. Just wait for the enemy officer to sort itself out in these situations.
Shopkeeper and Blacksmith Wares Scale with the Story
Don’t run around China looking for Elixirs. Once you get far enough in the story, you can buy them at any shopkeeper.
There are some cities and forts where you can buy items prematurely, or those that have special wares.
Always Check Traders
Traders are the one NPC you want to check in every town. Each Trader NPC has its own rotating inventory, and it rotates each day.
Traders sometimes sell rare materials alongside their generally large furniture wares, which is what makes checking them so important. Getting yellow-grade materials will save you time down the line if you’re aiming for crafting top-tier weapons.
Always Wear a Gold Crown
You should be wearing the Gold Crown accessory as soon as you can either buy or make it. The Gold Crown attracts item towards you, which is invaluable. Then again, accessory slots are invaluable, too. This particular accessory is just too useful not to have equipped.
Stat Point Allocation
There are really only three stats that matter: Your speed, attack, and power.
Speed actually increases your attack speed, which in itself is an absolute boon. You need it, I need it. We all need it. The faster you attack, the more hits you can get in at a time.
I don’t know whether I’d recommend maxing your speed out first, because attack damage in itself is so important. You need that extra standard attack and special attack damage, and your primary stat goal should be to hit 999 attack as quickly as possible.
The long and the short is to pump all your stat gains into speed and power.
Choose Gems Based on Their Bonuses, Not Your Characters’ Elemental Attacks
You may be tempted to choose certain elements for your gems because the character you’re playing uses a particular element in its special and musou attacks, but in my experience that is not the best course of action.
Each gem elemental type boosts a particular stat when using an attack that uses that element. That sounds great! Until you run into something like every single high-tier ice gem boosting defense when using ice attacks. None of the ice gems boost attack power when using ice attacks.
I highly recommend using actual attack-boosting yellow-grade gems like Vermillion Bird on pretty much every character. They downright hurt and are prone to percentage damage bonuses on special and musou attacks.
If you absolutely want to stick with a character’s element and end up buying a few gems of their type from the Coin Collector, prioritize special and musou attack bonuses above all else.
Start Your Gem Collecting Off Via Scourge Gems From Delittantes
It’s easy to do, really. Scourge Gems aren’t amazing, but they’re the first purple-grade ones you’re going to be able to get and it’s better than nothing.
You can find Delittantes in town teahouses, they require Hunting Points to get their rewards.
Shooting Bandits in the Mountains Gives No Hunting Points
Just something to be aware of. Only animal kills with your bow and arrow count towards your Hunting Points.
Hunting Points are actually absurdly easy to max out. Just wander the wilderness with a bunch of Poison Arrows and try to find boss-level special animals to snipe.
It doesn’t take long to rack up several thousand doing this, rather than shooting down deer near the road.
You Can Buy Weapon Recipes From a Towns’ Coin Collectors
You can do this all the way up to every weapon sets’ best weapons. You just need the coins to do it. Each recipe requires 3 scrolls to learn.
Just Stay on the Roads in Towns
I try to take shortcuts all the time. It’s rarely worth it. Just stay on the roads in towns to save yourself the headache of having to use your grappling hook to get over a few buildings.
Free Mode Opens Up After You Beat One Character’s Story
‘Nuff said. But, Free mode is pretty much identical to Story mode.
There are certainly more tips for surviving in Dynasty Warriors 9, but you’ll figure them all out quickly enough. The best way to enjoy this game is to try to make your own fun, whether that means collecting every yellow-grade EX weapon or just pushing through all the stories.
These tips are nice and all, but if you want to know how to get your hands on pretty much unlimited gold, XP, and ancient coins you need to check out my Dynasty Warriors 9 money making guide. If you want to know which characters are clones, here they are.