Critical Hits are a recurring feature of the Dragon Quest series.
Every time any character makes an attack, they have a small chance of that attack being a "Critical Hit," which drastically increases the damage dealt on that particular turn. Since critical hits ignore defence, it makes them an instant kill on all metal monsters, provided the monster does not dodge the critical hit. Weapons that strike multiple times, such as the Falcon knife earrings, can critical, but weapons that strike multiple targets cannot. This means flails, whips, and boomerangs.
However, many monsters also can get critical hits, usually termed a terrific blow or a brutal hit.
The critical hit rate is fixed at 1⁄64.
- In the Nintendo DS and cell phone versions of IV, Alena's critical hit rate was tweaked to (Level x 0.75)/256, meaning she needs to reach level 89 to get a 25% rate.
The critical hit rate returns to 1⁄64 and cannot be improved.
Characters have the standard 1⁄64 rate unless they become martial artists at Alltrades Abbey. After taking up the art of the fist, the character's rank in the vocation will improve their chance to land a critical until they hit the cap of 1⁄8 at rank 8. This gives a party of martial artists a 50% chance to score a critical when using normal attacks and single-target skills that utilizes their strength stat.
- Paladins have a similar vocation trait, in that they have a chance to instantly slay a target based on rank. Though this will not work on boss monsters, it will still slay metal slimes at a 1⁄8 rate when mastered.
A character will double their critical hit rate to 1⁄32 after investing enough skill points in the appropriate section.
Beginning in Dragon Quest IX and carrying forwards to X and Heroes, the frequency of critical hits became dependent on a character's deftness.
For IX, the algorithm is Deftness/100 + 3% (with weapon skill trait boost). Wearing the Critical Acclaim will add another 4%, and thus the maximum rate is 16.99% at 999 deftness. The natural, unbolstered rates for each vocation are:
- Ranger: 500 -> 5%
- Thief: 402 -> 4%
- Minstrel: 304 -> 3%
- Mage: 304 -> 3%
- Luminary: 259 -> 2.5%
- Gladiator: 256 -> 2.5%
- Martial Artist: 256 -> 2.5%
- Priest: 206 -> 2%
- Warrior: 111 -> 1%
- Armamentalist: 110 -> 1%
- Paladin: 9 -> 0.09%
Every 200 points of deftness increases the critical hit chance by 1%, leading to a natural cap of 5%. Skill panel, pep boosts and equipment bonuses can raise this chance even further.
Certain weapons can guarantee the chances of a character getting a critical hit in exchange for low accuracy. The Hela's hammer has an accuracy of 3/8ths, the Headsman's axe has a 3/4ths accuracy, a 1/8th chance to critical, and a 1/8th chance to miss outright. The Megaton hammer has a 1/8th critical chance and no reduction to accuracy at all.
These weapons would lose these traits as the series adopted deftness-based calculations with the ninth entry, and would often simply be powerful members of their respective weapon families in subsequent games.
With the implementation of skills in V, certain abilities were designed with instant critical hit rates in mind. These skills would often have a paltry MP cost, but suffer the same low accuracy as the above mentioned weapons in older titles.
In Dragon Quest IX, spells can also become critical hits, where the spell "goes haywire". This not only increases damage output of attack magic, but also boosts healing spells. If a status-changing spell goes haywire, its chance of working increases to 100% (barring the target being immune). Other class skills have a critical chance as well with similar effects.
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