Played a lot of Xenoblade today!
I have no idea what I'm doing.
To be honest Dice, I really didn't understand a great deal of the mechanics fully and still managed my way through just fine.
While I grasped things like gem crafting and whatnot, I more or less just picked characters based on their affinity rating and combined crap to start with percentages that ensured I was gonna create what I was aiming for. In other words, I ignored the fact that you are selecting a shooter (controlling bonus) and engineer (controlling flame).
This, and other such mechanics were a wee bit too complex for my taste. The brilliance of Xenoblade is whether you mico-manage like a champion and tend to every quest there is OR you simply keep moving and enjoy the narrative you can still meander your way through things and enjoy the story.
I spent the first 10-15 hours I played bogged down with doing quests and trying to grasp everything before deciding to just move on and throw caution to the wind.
Ultimately that is my advice. Do the convenient quests to start, DO NOT FEEL THE COMPULSIVE NEED TO BE A COMPLETIONIST (as I did) and as you move along things will make a great deal more sense and prove less intimidating through just simply playing.
The folly of Xenoblade is the content. There is so much you can get lost/caught up in with very little relevance that you cam easily play certain areas for many many hours without advancing the story an inch.