- This article is about visions in Xenoblade Chronicles. For visions in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, see Vision (XC2).
Visions are a major gameplay mechanic and story point in Xenoblade Chronicles. As he wields the Monado, Shulk occasionally gets glimpses of what will happen in the future, which he can use to his advantage. Visions do not occur in Future Connected.
As a battle mechanic
After a certain point in the story, the player unlocks the ability to see visions in battle. Visions occur if an enemy is about to use an art that would leave its aggro target with 15% HP or less. If this is the case, the player will see a vision of the attack landing, before being returned to the battle proper with information displayed on what the forseen attack will do. This information is presented in the form of five "tags".
- The enemy tag shows which enemy is using the art. For most foes it is a generic image; certain enemy types and many bosses have a unique one.
- The art tag shows the name of the art, coloured to indicate what it is: a physical art (red text), an ether art (blue/purple text), or a talent art (white text and a level number). Talent arts can also be physical or ether, but this is not distinguished. If the art has an area of effect, an appropriate icon will be displayed: a line, a cone, or a circle (there is no differentiation between "circle around user" and "circle around target").
- The target tag shows the party member who is the focus of the enemy's aggro, and thus the main target of the art.
- The damage/status tag shows how much damage the art will do, as well as one of the statuses it will inflict (if any). If the damage is lethal, a skull is displayed.
- The timer tag shows how much time is left (both in rounded-up seconds and as a bar) before the forseen attack is used. The timer starts at 8 seconds, or 12 if the art is a talent art.
When a vision is active, the player's actions can change what will happen. Changing a vision will break the relevant tag, replacing it with an updated one that reflects the new future, and change the music to Visions of the Future for the rest of the battle (except for the final boss or any battle for which A Tragic Decision plays). Ideally, the player changes the future to one that is better than the one that triggered the vision. While some of the tutorials imply that there is only one right way to deal with each type of vision, this is not necessarily the case. Breaking a tag generally also breaks all other tags below it, as they depend on it. The following actions may break tags and change the future:
- The timer tag breaks if the foe is toppled. The timer will pause until the topple ends. This can grant more time to set up a better defence against the vision, but it may also cause an established defence to expire before the new countdown completes.
- The damage/status tag breaks if the amount of damage or the status inflicted change. Debuffing the foe's offenses, buffing the target's defences, defending against debuffs, or helping the target out of being toppled or dazed may all have an effect. The damage tag also breaks if the attack's lethality changes, for example if the target is healed enough that they will now survive the hit.
- The target tag breaks if the enemy's aggro target changes. It is possible for two party members to trade aggro back and forth, causing the target tag to break many times. It is advisable to try and avoid changing aggro if the current target is well-suited to take the incoming attack.
- The art tag breaks if the enemy is dazed, put to sleep, confused, or placed under Arts Seal. In addition, the rest of the vision is blanked until the status ends. Once the status does end, a new vision will occur in which the enemy uses a different art, even if the results would normally be too weak to trigger a vision. This also means the enemy may use an art that it would not normally use in this situation.
- The enemy tag breaks if the foe is killed, and the vision never takes place.
Breaking tags also raises the tension of all party members. It is possible to manipulate some effects to break many tags in quick succession for a large tension boost. However, breaking most tags will only raise tension within the current level, and cannot move it to the next level.
- Timer tag: +20
- Damage/status tag: +25
- Target tag: +50
- Art tag: +100
- Enemy tag: Set to very high tension
If there is one block of party gauge available, the player may spend it to "warn" either (or both) of the other two party members. Warning a party member grants them full talent gauge and allows the player to select an art for them to use, regardless of cooldown. They will then use the selected art against the enemy causing the vision. Each party member can only be warned once per vision.
While an enemy is the subject of a vision, they remain in their "windup" state and cannot move or auto-attack. During this time, it will take +50% damage from ether attacks if it is using a physical art, and +50% damage from physical attacks if it is using an ether art. The lack of auto-attacks means the party can act a bit more freely without worrying about background damage.
Other notes about visions include:
- Shulk does not have to be in the party for any of the vision system to operate.
- Auto-attacks cannot trigger visions.
- Visions only trigger based on the HP of the aggro target. Anyone else who happens to be in the area of effect may get damaged without warning.
- Visions only trigger based on how much HP the target will be left with after the raw damage. Any damage done via debuffs is not counted.
- Only one vision can be active at a time. If another enemy does something that would trigger another vision, no warning is given.
- Certain arts are set to always trigger a vision, even if they would deal low damage (or even miss entirely).
- Warning a party member will cancel their current action, interrupting and wasting it.
- Warning Sharla will empty her talent gauge rather than filling it.
- If the target of a vision is out of the art's range when the timer expires, the attack will miss.
- If the target of a vision has an Unbeatable gem equipped, it is possible to get a vision where they take damage equal to or greater than their remaining health, but is not marked as lethal. This reveals that the Unbeatable gem will trigger on the attack.
- Enemies with a Soul Read aura active can change their visions after the timer runs out, messing up the player's attempt to change the future to their liking.
In the original version, warning a party member will instantly cancel their current action, and they will use the warning art the moment it is selected. In the Definitive Edition, a warned party member instead keeps doing what they were doing while the player is selecting their art, allowing it to complete their action before they use the warned art. This means that in the Definitive Edition, the player should wait for the current art to finish before choosing the warning art, or the warning art might not begin until it is too late.
While this new behaviour is good on the whole, as it leads to fewer cooldowns wasted, it does have some minor character-specific problems:
- Shulk has to complete the animation of activating the Monado before he can use the Monado Art selected. If the player selects his art quickly, this can lead to it taking even longer than other characters to actually act.
- If Melia is in the midst of firing an elemental, it triggers the typical chance of ending her burst aura. She retains full talent gauge while the warning menu is active, but cannot use burst arts, and loses all talent gauge afterward. This can be trouble if the player was using the warning to activate her burst aura, as it will be lost entirely instead.
In Xenoblade Chronicles 2
- Main article: Vision (XC2)
As an inventory convenience
When the player obtains certain items for the first time, they may receive a vision. In this vision, a party member stands alongside either a collectable orb or a material chest and states that they just found the last of the item necessary for some future purpose. The item is then marked in the player's inventory with a white "!", indicating that this item will be useful in a future quest, and thus it should probably be kept rather than sold, traded, or gifted. However, these visions may still occur if the quest cannot be obtained in the future, for example because a mutually-exclusive quest was completed instead.
The ability to see quest visions is unlocked upon reaching Bionis' Leg. If an item is collected before then, the opportunity to see the vision for that item is lost, and it will not be marked in inventory. The opportunity is also lost if the vision would feature a character that has not yet joined the party.
Funnily enough, these visions do not necessarily take place in a location where the item in question can actually be found.
List of items that trigger quest visions
- All-Seeing Eye
- Amblygon Turtle
- Arachno Silk
- Azure Flamii Wing
- Benign Cricket
- Bitter Wisp Fluid
- Bright Fig
- Broken Pincer
- Bunnia Scent Wood
- Clear Almond
- Croaking Brog Bag
- Dawn Hydrangea
- Death Lychee
- Empress Beetle
- Fresh Armu Milk
- Frost Glass
- Green Diode
- Green Eluca Juice
- Hell Raspberry
- Ice Cabbage
- Inferno Element
- Iron Krabble Shell
- Kelp Mushroom
- Lemon Stone
- Love Crane
- Lucky Chilkin Ring
- Luxury Hode Wood
- Marine Marble
- Moth Crawler
- Piranhax Belly Meat
- Piranhax Roe
- Ponio Neck Meat
- Rainbow Zirconia
- Ready Coil
- Rhogul Axe Crest
- Rufus Control Unit
- Silver Lexos Heart
- Slobos Ice Rock
- Sour Gooseberry
- Sturdy Armour
- Thick Nectar
- White Brog Liver
- White Tail
- Wool Rock
As a plot element
Once he starts to use the Monado, Shulk begins receiving visions of the future. Without much warning, he sees a bright flash followed by a short glimpse of what will happen. Visions are usually of an injury or death, and Shulk slowly realizes that he can act to change them to avert the tragedy. Some of Shulk's visions occur days or weeks in advance, or may be triggered by nearing or touching a related object, and may repeat as the depicted future approaches.
It is later revealed that Shulk is not the only person to have visions. Alvis, the seer of Alcamoth, has his own way of receiving visions: he performs a ritual, which provides him with a vision of an upcoming event that may threaten the empire of the High Entia. If he chooses, he may share his visions with others, though protocol states that only the emperor may see them. Alvis states that Shulk's way of receiving visions is stronger than his own, as Shulk appears to see dangers that Alvis cannot, although later events suggest this is not entirely truthful.