If Golden is your first foray into Atlus' famous JRPG series—which will be the case if you stick solely to PC—then you'll need to get to grips with Persona 4 Social Links. A staple since the third game, Social Links are a crucial mechanic.
It’s important to make friends with as many people as possible, so here's everything you need to know about Personal 4 Golden Social Links, including the friendships to prioritise first, how to raise them, and how to unlock Social Ranks, so you'll be the coolest kid in school.
What are Persona 4 Golden Social Links?
Social Links are essentially your friends you make during your adventure, but they give you particular perks. Unlocked early on, Social Links require you to talk to and spend time with specific people, and it's going to test your time management skills.
Higher Social Ranks give you experience bonuses for fusing Personas of the same Arcana, and hitting the Max Rank gives you the ability to fuse a super-powerful Persona of that Arcana. For party members, raising their Social Link gives them extra powers in battle, like the ability to follow up on a 'One More', or a chance to pick the main character up after they’re hit by a weakness. They also obtain special skills for their Persona, and a Max Rank allows their Persona to change to a stronger for.
The Social Links to focus on first
As Persona 4 goes on, you’ll need to prioritize those with whom you'll be hanging out. It's especially important later on as Ranks get progressively harder to level.
In general, though, it’s important to raise the Social Ranks of party members first. These Ranks will have an immediate benefit in battles, making them more useful and reducing your chance of a party wipe. The Link Skills are also very useful, and ranking these up fast can give you some serious advantages early on. Rise’s Social Link, Lovers, is also super important for similar reasons. I would recommend maxing hers out as soon as she becomes available.
From there, there are some Social Links that have some deadlines that you’ll want to focus on before it’s too late. Marie’s Social Link, Aeon, has a December 31 deadline, but her schedule is relatively free, especially during December itself. Be sure to max her's out for some additional late-game content.
Adachi's Social Link, Jester, runs on a weird schedule and is only available day or night, depending on your rank. His cut-off date is in November, so it’s important to talk to him when you’re able to. However, you just need to raise his Social Link to Rank 6, and then you’ll max out the rank as you work through the late-game content.
Finally, Dojima (Hieroplant) and Nanako (Justice) have a deadline of October 31st to max out. You need a high Expression value to complete them, which can be obtained from doing your chosen Sun Arcana club.
Other than the four mentioned above, you have until the end of the game in February to max out your Social Links.
How to raise Social Links
The main thing you need to do to raise your Social Ranks is to hang out with your chosen buddy. Each character will have their own schedules and times at which they're available, so you’ll likely be leveling multiple Social Links at once.
If you have a Persona that matches up to the Arcana of your Social Link, you’ll get a bonus for hanging out with them. With so many to max out, it’s worth visiting the Velvet Room to grab a Persona that matches your Social Links before talking to them.
Some other activities can give Social Link experience, too. For example, giving your classmates the right answer in classes can give a little experience towards their Social Links. Generally, though, it’s best to rely on actually spending time with your friends and acquaintance to raise your Social Link Ranks.
How to unlock Persona 4 Golden Social Ranks
Some Social Ranks will unlock automatically as you move through the game, but others will require you to talk to someone to begin the Social Link. Below is how each Social Link, with the earliest date in brackets:
- Aeon: Listen to Marie’s Request in the Velvet Room (4/18)
- Chariot: Automatic (4/18)
- Death: Get Devil Social Link to Level 4, then speak to Hisano (date varies)
- Devil: Work at the Hospital (5/25)
- Emperor: Speak to the girl near the stairs at school, then to Kanji (6/9)
- Empress: Listen to Margaret’s Request when Knowledge is Expert (5/19)
- Fool: Automatic after first dungeon (date varies)
- Fortune: Speak to man in black in Shopping District, then speak to Naoto when Courage and Knowledge is maxed (10/21)
- Hanged Man: Speak to Naoki when Understanding is Generous (6/8)
- Hermit: Speak to the Fox (5/5)
- Hieroplant: Speak to Dojima (5/6)
- Jester: Speak to Adachi at Junes and choose to hang out (5/13)
- Judgement: Automatic (12/3)
- Justice: Speak to Nanako (5/3)
- Lovers: Speak to Rise (7/23)
- Magician: Automatic (4/16)
- Moon: Speak to Ai when the Strength Social Link is level 4 and Brave Courage (date varies)
- Priestess: Speak to Yukiko (5/17)
- Star: Speak to Teddie (6/24)
- Strength: Join the Basketball or Soccer Club (4/19)
- Sun: Join the Drama or Band Club (4/25)
- Temperance: Work at the Daycare Center (4/23)
- Tower: Work as a Tutor (5/25)