Fate/GO: The Joy of the Grind

Since starting to play Fate/Grand Order, I’ve cleared the prologue story chapter and moved into the next Singularity… but from thereon I haven’t made a great deal of progress in the narrative.

The reason for this is that I’m finding Fate/GO’s core battle gameplay to be so enormously appealing and enjoyable that I’ve been having a blast doing nothing but the daily quests. These are a series of narrative-free challenges of varying difficulty set up to provide you with an easy way to acquire experience-yielding cards for fusion, currency to pay for various character powerups, mana prisms to produce bundles of helpful items, or simply to test your skills.

It’s testament to Fate/GO’s excellent mechanics that “the daily grind” isn’t a chore, and is instead an interesting and varied way to try out varied party combinations from day to day.

__fou_and_shielder_fate_grand_order_fate_grand_order_first_order_fate_series_and_nyantype_drawn_by_gotou_keisuke__sample-5afac7f6fe9afac719fc7535e90f6aceMuch of my time has been spent playing the “ember gathering” daily quests, which provide you with various grades of cards you can fuse with your Servants to level them up. Since Servants don’t earn experience simply through fighting like party members do in Granblue Fantasy, this is the best and quickest means of powering up your party.

Each day yields two different types of card, plus a chance of acquiring cards for Berserker-class Servants. The types of card available correspond to the classes of enemies you’ll encounter in these quests, so you’ll need to make good use of the game’s Class Affinity system in order to clear them quickly and efficiently.

As I type this, for example, the dailies pit you against Saber and Rider-class foes, meaning it’s in your interests to take an Archer and an Assassin with you, with the third slot in your party — the one reserved for “borrowing” Servants from other players — either filled with another one of these two, or perhaps a Berserker, who is strong against everything but needs carefully protecting.

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One of the reasons I don’t find these daily quests a chore is that the very nature of Fate/GO’s battle mechanics means that no two battles are quite alike. The card-based system that determines which characters attack when and how on each turn provides a great deal of variety, and encourages careful, tactical thinking about how you can defeat your foes most efficiently. Is your character strong enough to topple that first foe with nothing but a Quick card so one of their peers can jump in on the next enemy, or should you just throw everything you have at that one enemy, running the risk of “wasting” damage that could have been better used on a different target?

The way you “borrow” friends’ Servants with each quest gives you the opportunity to try out characters you may not have felt inclined to level — or perhaps that you haven’t even drawn. By using your friends’ Servants you might find yourself discovering a new favourite character that you’d like to acquire or level up — or you might just feel vindicated in your particular choices of character thus far!

At the time of writing, there’s a campaign running which allows you a considerably increased chance to draw Gilgamesh, a powerful 5-star Servant of the Archer type. Given that the game is presently quite short of good Archers, as evidenced by the number of players who have the one-star Arash in their Archer support slot, Gilgamesh is a good character to get on your team — and he has some of the most enjoyably over-the-top attack animations, too, inspired by popular depictions of the figure of Gilgamesh across various media as a collector of weapons. (Additional note I’ve been made aware of: Gilgamesh doesn’t go into the regular draw pool after the event, so this is a rare chance to get him, so get summoning while you can!) 

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Alongside this campaign, it’s also half AP to play the daily quests, which means it’s a good time to get hooked on the grind. The level 25 and 40 daily quests are easy enough to build a party for, and they yield a considerable amount of experience for your Master character, allowing you to stockpile a lot of “overflow” AP to use in the future.

Not only that, but working your way through the whole list of dailies — even those that are way too easy for your party’s current power level — is a great source of Mana Prisms, which can be used to acquire a number of useful items. Perhaps most notable among these is a stack of 10 4-star experience-yielding cards that apply to all classes — i.e. they don’t provide a particular bonus to one specific class, unlike those gathered in the dailies. This is probably the best way to level up deuteragonist Mash, who, as a Shielder, doesn’t neatly fit into any of the class brackets and so is otherwise rather tricky to level without feel like you’re “wasting” cards and bonus experience.

Reaching a character’s level cap means you can then “ascend” them by using special items, which increases their cap and usually changes their costume in some way. And then, of course, the levelling process begins all over again, your party getting stronger and stronger with each set of embers you feed them.

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Eventually I feel like I’m going to hit a cap on how far I’ll be able to progress my party’s power level using nothing but the dailies, but I’m not there just yet — and once I do reach that part, well, then, it’ll be time to crack on with the story a bit more, won’t it? And I sense that I’m probably going to be able to steamroller a fair bit of that content fairly confidently with my current lineup of Servants!


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