The First Descendant tips and tricks to master its combat

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✓ At a glance
  • Our general tips include dismantling junk, focusing on story and Void Intercept missions, and preparing for crafting in advance.
  • When it comes to combat, focus on DPS, weapon synergies, mod enhancements, proficiency levelling, and keeping an eye on ammo and mana.
  • Remember to experiment with new weapons and Descendants to build your Mastery Level.

If The First Descendant’s hulking bosses and hordes of enemies are burning through your patience, we’ve got some tips and tricks to even the odds. We’ve compiled these based on the time that Craig and I spent in-game across several character builds. While you might not die often early on, the difficulty does pick up in new regions. Use these timesavers and smart tactics to progress towards the best gear in the game.

Our tips and tricks to speed up the grind

We’ve covered a mix of general and combat tricks here that will give you a headstart against rival Descendants. Both newcomers and experienced looter shooter players will find these helpful. These tricks can save you a fair bit of time and energy. Here are some handy tips that will speed up your progress:

  • Dismantle or sell your junk when you can
  • Focus on the story but don’t ignore side content
  • Void Intercept missions grant a ton of loot for upgrades
  • Crafting can have long research times so grab materials early on
  • It’s all about DPS when it comes to weapons
  • Lean into weapon synergies to use your Reactor effectively
  • Max out weapon proficiencies to earn Mastery Rank XP
  • Be mindful of your ammo, ability usage, and mana pool
  • Experiment with other Descendants to buff your Mastery Rank
  • Enhance your mods but don’t cross your module capacity
A player dismantles a weapon in The First Descendant.
Here’s how you can dismantle junk. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Dismantle or sell your junk when you can

As you play through missions and take down enemies, you’ll amass a decent arsenal of weapons. And as you level up, these will slowly fade into irrelevance. You can use Weapon Level Transmission at a Workbench to improve a gun’s level but don’t do it early on since you’ll constantly get better weapons. Instead, dismantle your items for resources by marking them as junk or sell them off at the weapons vendor for Gold in Albion.

Karel stops a missile in a cinematic in The First Descendant.
Karel is the big bad who defeats you early on. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Focus on the story but don’t ignore side content

The main campaign will give you heaps of XP and fresh gear. But side missions can help you get materials to unlock new Descendants. Some of them will also grant you legendary gear that can help you melt boss health bars. Remember to keep doing main missions as some of them will grant you access to new areas with tougher monsters and better loot. For instance, Superfluid is abundant in the Sterile Land location.

While you’ll run into most missions as you play through the main campaign, you’ll spot some orange ones that require specific elements to trigger. You need to come back with another Descendant later to earn their first-time completion rewards. These will boost your Mastery Rank so keep an eye out for them.

A player checks out Void Intercept battles in The First Descendant.
Work your way towards more Void Intercept battles. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Void Intercept missions grant a ton of loot for upgrades

The First Descendant will organically pull you into these massive Colossi boss fights. If you want more Descendants and access to the best gear, you’ll need to return later on to farm specific resources. You get a choice between multiple resources after vanquishing a boss like the Grave Walker. So you might have to do these multiple times to get everything you need. Opt for public missions if you don’t have friends playing with you as it makes these much easier. Bosses have specific elemental strengths and weaknesses so swapping out your build accordingly will give your team a solid advantage.

A player checks out a legendary research weapon in The First Descendant.
Unlock new weapons by getting research materials. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Crafting can have long research times so grab materials early on

While you won’t face this issue early on, you will eventually be able to work towards crafting more Descendants and powerful weapons. In addition to a tedious grind, you have to wait for hours to research an item. So if you want to get a specific character or item, work towards their requirements as quickly as possible and start the research clock. This will let you focus on other activities as the crafting process happens at Magister Anais. It’s a multitasking trick that can save you from an extended wait.

A player checks the DPS value of their weapons in The First Descendant.
Here’s where you can see your weapons’ DPS values. Image captured by VideoGamer.

It’s all about DPS when it comes to weapons

Don’t get too attached to weapons. Even if you get really good traits on some gear, it’s better to stash them in storage and opt for guns that deal more direct damage. Just like Diablo 4, you can reroll specific perks on your weapons with Readjustment Materials but these items take a good grind to earn. As for External Components, rarity influences them a little more but they are also outscaled by new high-level gear. Just keep swapping out your gear until you’re confident that weapon traits can make a meaningful difference in combat. You don’t have to scan through every weapon trait right from the start.

A player checks out a Frozen Reactor as Viessa in The First Descendant.
Frozen Reactors go well with Viessa. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Lean into weapon synergies to use your Reactor effectively

Reactors have special conditions like equipping specific weapons or skill affinities you should keep track of. For instance, Viessa uses Cold Skills so Frozen Reactors work well with her. But if it asks for a Scout Rifle weapon class, equip one to boost your Skill Power. While these might not drastically alter your odds of survival in the early game, a 40% buff in Skill Power can make a meaningful difference later on. So activate these conditions whenever possible.

A player checks the proficiency of a weapon in The First Descendant.
Check your proficiency level in the inventory. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Max out weapon proficiencies to earn Mastery Rank XP

Each weapon has a distinct proficiency bar that you can fill out by using it in combat. The more enemies you take down, the faster they level up. This in turn grants Mastery Rank XP. Swap weapons often to maximise this bonus. Improving your Mastery Rank is a bigger deal than levelling up your Descendant since these ranks influence how many modules your character can use, how many items they can carry, and more. These buffs also transfer across Descendants, letting you have an easier time with new characters. If you forget to pick up a weapon on the ground or after a quest, check your mailbox in Albion near the starting area.

A player picks up ammo from the ground in The First Descendant.
Pick these ammo packs up as they fall from foes or crates. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Be mindful of your ammo, ability usage, and mana pool

While abilities can deal solid amounts of damage or protect you from harm, you’ll need to pick up mana drops and ammo to sustain them. Otherwise, you’ll run out of mana early on and make missions more challenging for yourself. Ammo comes in White, Green, Purple, and Orange types. Unlike Destiny 2, your standard White ammo isn’t infinite. Ideally, I’d recommend equipping weapons of different ammo types. Keep an eye out for ammo crates and enemy pickups to stay effective in combat. This is especially true against tanky bosses like the Grave Walker in the Void Intercept mission. 

A player checks out other Descendants in The First Descendant.
Unlock more Descendants at Magister Anais. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Experiment with other Descendants to buff your Mastery Rank

Don’t expect to find your perfect fit right away. While you get to pick from three starting options, you’ll unlock Bunny early on as well. Descendants start at level 1 but your Mastery Rank is account-wide, letting them use enhancements like additional module slots to breeze through the early game. Leveling characters up is a great way of improving your Mastery Rank so feel free to experiment with multiple Descendants until you find one you really like. You’ll need to be decent at multiple characters since some Void missions can only be triggered by specific elemental skills. Start with a character like Ajax or Lepic that suits your playstyle and work your way up towards new options like Freyna by completing missions and gathering blueprints.

A player checks out Silion's module upgrades in The First Descendant.
Silion will upgrade modules for you. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Enhance your modules but don’t cross your module capacity

Unlike weapons themselves, weapon and Descendant mods will be relevant for a longer period. So it’s worth investing in them with Kuiper Shards and Gold right from the start. You earn Kuiper Shards by dismantling mods you don’t need so do so whenever you can. These mods grant buffs that range from boosting health and damage to skill recovery and element boosts. But remember that these upgrades will also increase how many slots a module will consume. So don’t push past your module capacity unless you’re okay with swapping out existing mods for more powerful variants. You can enhance or dismantle mods at Silion, the Module Master in Albion. 

About the Author

Antony Terence

Antony Terence is a Guides Writer for VideoGamer. While he is particularly fond of city-builders, shooters, and strategy titles, he won’t turn down a good JRPG or a turn-based roguelike.

The First Descendant

  • Release Date: 2nd July 2024
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X
  • Genre(s): Action, Adventure, RPG
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