Modern games tend to be about intuition and rewarding players, while older games require grinding and experimentation to figure things out on your own. Octopath Traveler is no different. There are mechanics to master and locations to explore, so here is some help to get started.
NPCs can provide information and side-stories. You'll know if someone has a request for you by the color of the speech bubble over their head. They'll tell you what they need, but then it's up to you to figure out how to complete it. Some are easy, and others require traveling or finding additional information. NPCs will often give you hints, but you'll need to use other skills, like Alfyn's Inquire to complete these side-quests.
In general, talking to people will reveal information about the area or events taking place that may be useful. This is a retro mechanic from a time before mini-maps when players had to learn where the next town or area was from NPCs. Some will even reveal boss weaknesses.
Exploring will lead you to new places, and it's the only way to find the subclass shrines. There are hidden areas and secrets to be found, as well as alternate routes to destinations. The game doesn’t guide you on where to go outside of telling you which town contains the next chapter of each character's story. Octopath is all about exploring the continent of Orsterra and discovering stories along the way.
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