Xenoblade Chronicles 3 takes a classic approach to its RPG gameplay with characters fitting into defined classes and roles.
At first glance, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 looks like a straightforward MMORPG. Characters attack automatically and have a handful of skills that can be used that differentiate them from their teammates. Those skills are divided among heroes based on their class. Thankfully for those looking to pick up the game, there’s much more to it than that.
Though there are three roles in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, there are many different classes to choose from. Here’s a complete list of the classes and roles in the game, and how they relate to each other.
The attacker role in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the standard DPS position. These characters can be relatively fragile compared with their defensive brethren but hit hard enough to make up for it. There are several different attacker classes in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 to juggle.
Noah is the starting Swordfighter. This is arguably the most straightforward job in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, with Swordfighters getting up close to enemies and whacking them with their swords while also having enough mobility to get away if things get hairy.
The character Sena starts as an Ogre, a heavy-hitting attacker class designed to dish out as much raw damage as possible. They appear to wear down enemy defenses as well, granting Ogres some utility. This class’ arts are focused on close-quarters combat. If Sena is any indication, they seem to prefer using giant weapons like axes and hammers to fight.
If Swordfighters are meant to be fighters and Ogres are akin to barbarians, Incursors are essentially the traditional rogue equivalent. They lack the straightforward damage of other attacker classes but have extra mobility with the ability to add in some extra damage with critical hits.
No, “Yumsmith” isn’t quirky fantasy babble for a chef. Yumsmiths are an attacker class that are dedicated to disabling enemies rather than dealing damage outright. This makes them something of a support class, but they can also dish out some damage on their own.
Machine Assassin is a trickier class than the other attackers, but it’s easy to guess otherwise from the dual axes. Machine Assassins are offensive powerhouses with a specialization in debuffs. After breaking down the opponents’ defenses, these attackers aim to end the battle with a single decisive blow.
Martial Artists are the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 equivalent of monks from other RPGs. These character eschew weaponry entirely in favor of hand-to-hand combat. The result is the shortest range of any attacking class, but getting close to an enemy opens up a long list of skills and arts designed to overwhelm smaller foes and burst down big ones.
Full Metal Jaguar
Not to be confused with an alchemist or a jacket, Full Metal Jaguars are gunners in Xenoblade Chronicles 3. Each successive strike deals additional damage, and the class’ emphasis on firearms and drones makes it an easy goal to accomplish. Full Metal Jaguar also boasts the longest attack range of any attacker classes, giving it an additional niche.
By contrast, Flash Fencers are all about getting into enemies’ comfort zones. This dual-wielding clash focuses on dealing damage, then escaping from combat when an opportunity presents itself. Guerilla tactics work well with Flash Fencers, and the class arts and skills help boost critical damage for better burst.
While most attackers want to avoid damage as much as possible, the Seraph is a notable exception. These attackers gain more offensive power with the more damage they take in a fight, encouraging players to rush into combat. Keeping Seraphs alive can be a challenge, but at least they always give the healers something to do.
Stalker serves as the game’s ranged attacker class. The bow and arrows evokes the standard ranger RPG archetype, but the Stalker seems to play more like a sniper. The class has multiple evasion abilities, even using shadows to hide from enemy detection. It’s not yet clear if they’re better suited for picking off additional monsters or taking down bosses in one shot.
In addition to having the coolest name of any Xenoblade Chronicles 3 class, Soulhackers also have a completely unique offensive mechanic. These attackers can steal abilities from enemy units, allowing them to turn the tide of a fight after absorbing a powerful attack. Soulhackers are among the game’s most versatile units, but their usefulness ultimately depends on the strength of their foes and the abilities they can steal from them.
Defenders in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are essentially the tanks of the party, serving as the front liners and damage sponges. They still provide some level of damage output though, with each class balancing that out in a different way.
Speaking of taking damage head on, the Heavy Guard class pairs gargantuan weapons with arts designed to get enemy units angry. The character archetype is dedicated to drawing aggression from enemy monsters. Heavy Guard characters can keep attackers and supports safe while also being a great healing target.
Guardian Commanders are the classic sword and board characters, able to soak up damage with their shield and riposte to deal damage. They offer more offensive output than most other defenders, but it’s still important to make sure that tanking duties don’t fall to the attackers.
Lost Vanguard defenders wield a shield and a mace, which grants them access to light debuffs that can accumulate an advantage over a long fight. These characters excel and soaking up melee damage while also dishing some out. This appears to be one of the less specialized classes, which could make the Lost Vanguard especially attractive for newer JRPG players.
The Lone Exile class is in the same vein as the Heavy Guard. It’s a true tank that can sit and front of enemies for extended periods of time. Like the Guardian Commander, they balance that defensive prowess with the ability to deliver a counterblow for significant damage.
Zephyr is a different take on the idea of a tank. Instead of having high HP or defenses, the Zephyr uses evasion to avoid taking damage at all. The character Mio starts off as a Zephyr, and one look at the catgirl makes it instantly obvious that she’s not meant to be a bruising vanguard like the Heavy Guards are.
Attackers are the DPS, defenders are the tank, and healers are the supports. Though “support” can technically mean very different things depending on the game, supports and healers in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 all provide some level of healing
Medic Gunners are cut from the same cloth as Sharla from the original Xenoblade Chronicles. Eunie steps into this role in Xenoblade Chronicles 3. It’s the most straightforward and powerful healer class in the game, but its versatility is limited as a result.
Tactician takes the ranged aspect of Medic Gunner and combines it with the powerful buffing arts of Signifier. In addition to raising the stats of their allies, Tacticians can apply negative status effects to enemies and bog them down with various negative effects. The result is a class that feels more like a commander of battle than a soldier in the field.
War Medics are the real Medic Gunners in some ways. They heal allies but offer greater offensive output than other healers with their firearms. The cherry on top is that they can also buff allies to help them deal out more damage.
Signifiers are the most versatile of the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 healer classes. They can buff allies and mix it up on the frontlines as well. The game offers up a ready-made Signifier in the form of Fiona. Signifiers are tanky enough to get into the fray of battle, buffing defenders and attackers and keeping them alive in close quarters.
Strategos are a blend of multiple other healer classes, and versatility is an important trait in the lands of Aionios. It’s one of the few healers who can deal substantial damage in a fight, and Strategos also boast the buffs and debuffs of their fellow supports. The raw numbers output might not be as strong, but ranged buff application is a valuable tool in the game’s larger fights.
The Thaumaturge is another offensive Xenoblade Chronicles 3 class disguised as a healer. Unlike the War Gunner, Thaumaturges rely on getting up close and personal to keep the squad alive. These staff-wielding soldiers heal allies in a smaller radius, so strong positioning is required to make the most of Thamaturges.
The Lifesage class doesn’t become available until later in the game, but it’s one of many healer classes able to contribute most directly to a boss fight. Lifesages can manipulate water to heal allies and damage enemies at the same time. Later skills can even buff allies in the process, making the Lifesage a singular resource for all of your supporting needs.
There is no single best class in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, as players will ultimately need to balance an entire party of characters in order to succeed in the game. That means using a variety of classes from different roles and making them work together, so the best class for your party may be differ depending on which other classes you’re using.
Over time, players will likely find their own preferred combinations of characters and classes. Characters will eventually be able to mix and match abilities from multiple classes that create even more powerful combinations.