When you start playing Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, you’re tempted to think that the most important building in your kingdom in the Citadel. After all, it sits prominently above everything else, determines the level of your empire, and dictates which other buildings you can or cannot construct.
Yet it is, in fact, the University that deserves far more of your attention – something you quickly come to realize once you start exploring the different development trees. Nothing you can research in the University can be considered bad. Every single skill adds some kind of significant hero or empire-wide boost that is more than worth the required resources.
The only question is: How will you prioritize these different research avenues?
The University Building and Research Resource Management
Like most other constructions in your empire, the University can be upgraded if and when your Citadel is sufficiently developed. Although it is more expensive to improve than most other buildings, this is not where you will spend the vast majority of your resources.
Instead, the research itself will prove to be far more demanding. Each tree will start you off with tiny costs in terms of time and resources but will become exponentially more expensive as you advance. Since you can only research one thing at a time, the first thing you need to ask yourself is which of the 4 trees (excluding Crafting) you wish to complete before the others.
The Defense Research Tree
This research path improves your empire’s survivability when you are being attacked and is usually prioritized by players who plan to win through the impenetrable defense in the detriment of attack power. Even if this is not your strategy, though, you should still invest in this tree, at least in order to unlock the City Defense skills for Attack, Armor, and HP.
In Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, your first line of defense is the Wall. The consumable “Reinforced Walls” upgrades that you can build when pressing on the Wall construction are referred to as “bricks” by players and are intended to soak 1 attack per brick (thereby protecting your army). Alternatively, you can opt for different types of “Traps,” which not only absorb, but also dish out damage (like troops).
When upgraded to Tier 2 and Tier 3 through research in the defense tree, your collection of traps, although very expensive, can put up an extraordinary defense and is likely to deter most players who are not fully committed to attacking your kingdom.
The Combat Research Tree
Prioritized above everything else by most players, the combat research path is perhaps the most powerful in the game. Most notably, it allows you to unlock higher tier units, which you can then train and use in order to create a powerful marching army. Tier 2 and Tier 3 troops are twice and three times stronger than their equivalent Tier 1 unit, respectively.
In addition, in order to unlock new types of troops, players must expend some research into other important army boosts. Although these might seem like a waste of resources compared to discovering better units, they are very often the deciding factors in tight battles between two opponents with similarly sized armies.
Several times throughout the combat research tree, you’ll be forced to choose between attack, armor, and HP skills. Our recommendation is to maintain a balance between the latter since they are all equally important in encounters with enemy players. Even if you choose not to prioritize this tree, you should still attempt to reach Tier 2 troops, which are much easier to obtain than Tier 3.
The Hero Research Tree
The hero research path is designed to give your hero more utility across the map, allow them to fight more monsters, and, ultimately, generate more loyalty for your kingdom. Loyalty is a form of currency that you accumulate while completing guild-related tasks, such as helping others with construction or research, slaying monsters, and clearing monster lairs. You can use this currency to purchase useful things from the guild shop, speed up your hero quests, as well as acquire more quests once you’ve completed your dailies.
The hero research path is not prioritized by many players because there are significantly better avenues to explore in other trees. However, you should still aim to obtain several skills in the second level of the hero tree, including MP Recovery, Attack March Speed, and Critical Hit (up to level 6).
The Economics Research Tree
Like the hero tree, the economics research path is not something you should prioritize necessarily. However, there are some skills down this path that will ultimately save you tons of resources and greatly boost your development. That’s why you should always throw some research into economics whenever the opportunity presents itself.
The Instant Construction Time, as well as stone, food, energy, and metal production skills are marginally useful during the early-game, but lose much of their utility, later on, when the boosts pale in comparison to the great deal of resources you must expend on upgrades. Considerably better options are Troop Load, Gathering Speed, and Loot Tile Gather Speed, which work together wonderfully to make your troops more effective at gathering resources and gear materials from world locations.
Finally, the ultimate (and most attractive) goal in terms of economics is the Research Cost reduction skill, which you can unlock once your Citadel hits lvl. 30 and which will eventually save you massive amounts of resources and time.
The Crafting Research Tree
Unlike the previous four trees, the Crafting research path is only unlocked once you upgrade your University to lvl. 20, which is why it rarely concerns players during the early-game. Once discovered, however, it can improve the gear worn by your hero and thus have major benefits on your entire empire.
Still, it’s worth considering that these research skills are only as useful as your gear is. If the items on your hero are of poor quality, the boosts will be negligible, which is why it is more immediately useful to prioritize other research trees before crafting.
By and large, these are the 5 main research paths available in Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire. However, we have only mentioned the most noteworthy skills in each tree, since the University opens the door to far more opportunities than we could describe here. Part of the complexity of this mobile strategy game is given by the research choices that each player is forced to make. Although they don’t easily pop into view, these decisions commonly differentiate between those who win and those who lose most engagements with enemies.