Tales of Arise Astral Crystal Grain is a small, easily missable item you’d do well to hunt down. You’ll need it early on in Alphen’s journey to make your first big boss fight easier, and it’s Alphen you should prioritize if you have to make the choice between upgrading his weapon or Shionne’s.
You won’t get your hands on Astral Crystal Grain until you reach Glanymede Castle, Balseph’s residence. Fight your way up to the fourth floor, and we do recommend engaging in as many fights as you can if you’re playing on Moderate difficulty or higher. Balseph is much stronger than you.
Ignore the super-strong Zeugle rolling around the fourth-floor entrance since it’ll kill you in one hit, and make your way to the spot indicated on the map image below.
There’s a chest tucked away back there, and inside are two pieces of Astral Crystal Grain. Fast travel back to Ulzebek, and get the blacksmith to upgrade Alphen’s sword.
You’ll upgrade Shionne’s rifle as well, ideally. If you’re short on cash or materials, though, just make sure to take care of Alphen’s first. We recommend playing as Alphen during the Balseph boss fight. He’s more agile than Shionne and able to string together stronger combos even at this stage.
Shionne’s Boost Break is important at key moments during the fight, but it’s mostly to stop Balseph from unleashing his special attack. How much damage her Break deals doesn’t really matter. Instead, she should be on artes duty, casting offensive artes and keeping Alphen healed.
Make sure to equip Alphen with a Warrior Emblem if you’ve got it, and buy as many Apple Gels as you can afford. You’ll need them if Shionne runs out of CP during the fight.