Lately I've seem some people on my Twitter timeline who had just decided to give Final Fantasy XIV a go. I was even asked by a couple of them for advice for newbies. So I figured I might as well write a post with it.
Some of this might be stuff that is pretty obvious to veteran MMO players or just general common sense but I figure I might as well include it here just in case. Also, this is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of tips. I am sure I probably forgot something or another so if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments and I will try to answer to the best of my abilities.
This also goes if you are a veteran Final Fantasy XIV player and feel I missed something feel free to also post in the comments letting me know! I will add it in the list and give proper credit. 🙂
With that out of the way let's get to it!
1. Give the trial a go before purchasing the game
Ok, this one isn't really for new players but people who are thinking of giving the game a try. It is also pretty much common sense but again, I figured I might as well add here just in case.
Anyway, the trial lets you play with all the non-expansion classes up to level 35 and has no time limit. So you can take your time seeing if it is a game for you or not.
You can find it in here.
2. Focus on the Main Story
Final Fantasy XIV has a ton of side quests. More than you will ever need to do if you end up sticking to just one class. So my advice is to just do only as many side quests as needed to get the level requirement for the next Main Story quest. Any other side quests left you can do while leveling a different class later on.
The exception to this rule would be the side quests that have a blue marker. Those usually unlock some pretty good side content, like optional dungeons, the challenge log, the Glamour system, etc.
Also, try to do your Job Quests as they become available. Some of them will unlock new abilities and their stories can be pretty good too. At the end of each level cap (50 for the ARR, 60 for Heavensward, 70 for Stormblood and 80 for Shadowbringers) they also give some cool looking gear.
Gamer Escape even has a handy list of quests to unlock as you progress. I highly recommend unlocking everything in that list. With the exception of the Relic Weapon Path. That questline is still pretty long and the weapons aren't that worth anymore except for appearance purposes.
You can also skip the Hard mode of those dungeons, Extreme versions of the Primal fights and Bahamut too unless you are into raiding old content. Same for Urth's Fount (Trial) as nobody seems to want to do it nowadays.
The only one I'd recommend not to skip would be the Labyrinth of the Ancients and subsequent quests. That questline will give you the lore for the Crystal Tower and that place is tied to certain content later on.
Those Crystal Tower raids are also pretty easy to do nowadays and shouldn't even take 30 minutes to clear.
Lastly, I know that the Main Story for "A Realm Reborn" (the base game) can be a bit of a slog but please do not buy the "Story Jump Potions" on the Mog Station if it is your first time going through it. That story will introduce you to a lot of concepts of the game as well as a recurring characters. It will pay off later, I promise. Plus it will be really confusing if you meet some of those characters later and you have no idea who they are or how you got into that situation.
3. Limit Break
Before you go into your first dungeon make sure to go to Character -> Action & Traits -> General and put Limit Break on your hotbar. The reason for this is that Limit Breaker is an extremely useful ability that can be used in dungeons.
What this ability does depends on your role. If you are a DPS then it is a special attack that does quite a bit of damage. If it it is a healer then it can heal the entire party and recover some MP. For a tank it can protect the entire party for a few seconds.
It is not an ability that can be used willy-nilly though. When you are in a dungeon there will be a bar at the top left corner that will fill up as your party kill mobs. Once that bar is filled up you can use it and then the bar will become empty. You can fill it up again by killing mobs though.
That bar is also shared between the entire party so if someone uses it nobody else can use their Limit Break until the bar fills up again.
Because of all those details the most common strategy is for the DPS to use the Limit Break on the last boss of the dungeon when it is at about 10% HP. Tanks and healers usage of LB aren't used as much and usually it is when things are going bad and people are trying to avoid a wipe.
Honestly I don't know why there isn't a tutorial about this in the game considering there is a pretty decent one for groups roles already.
4. Give your retainer a Job
As part of the Main Quest you will eventually unlock Retainers. But they can do more than serve as storage and sell your items. If you do a side quest called "An Ill-Conceived Venture" (each City State has its own version of it) then you can also unlock the option to assign them a Job and send them on ventures.
Ventures are basically paying them a special currency called ventures and telling them to go fetch you a certain material based on their level and Job. Why this is good? Because if you get into crafting it means it will be easier to stockpile materials. Even better is that once you get at higher level gathering there will be special nodes that only appear during a certain timeframe. However retainers are not limited by that timeframe.
Which kind of materials they can gather also depends on what kind of Job you give your retainers. Adventuring jobs allows them to get materials dropped by monsters. While gathering jobs allows them to get materials that are marked in your gathering log.
Even if you are not interested in crafting this can be useful because when they reach level 10 it unlocks Quick Ventures. Those are a bit more expensive than regular ventures (at 2 ventures instead of the regular 1) but they can bring back a random item that may vary from some regular material to gear or even house items. Even if you have no need for those you can always sell them on the market.
My recommendation is to give the first retainer the same Job as the one you intend to main and any other retainer a Gathering class like miner or botanist. Fisher I haven't found to be that useful as I don't use fishes in crafting that much.
Crafting for the most part isn't all that hard in Final Fantasy XIV. It does get a bit tricky at later levels as you try to make High Quality items and figure out when to use certain abilities or a good crafting rotation.
If you are interested into crafting I highly recommend this guide as it covers pretty much everything from the basics to more advanced topics.
It only covers up to Stormblood but not much has changed with Shadowbringers. The most important changes are that the Red and Blue Scrips have been removed. In their place are the Yellow and White Scrips.
Recipes do not have Elemental Aspects anymore with all elemental abilities being replaced with "Brand of the Elements" and "Name of the Elements". Additionally all crafting classes have access to "Steady Hand II" and "Byregot's Blessing" now.
I will update this part and the link if I find a similar crafting guide that is up to date for Shadowbringers.
Once you get to level 50 in a Job you can start earning Allagan Tomestones of Poetics by doing your daily Duty Roulettes. That is a pretty useful currency that you can trade for gear at levels 50, 60 and 70 at Rowena's House of Splendors (you will find their different locations as you go through the main quest)
Not only that gear is better than anything else you will find at those levels (with raid gear being possibly an exception) but you can also use those tomestones to upgrade them. That should last them until midway content of an expansion.
The level 50 Ironworks gear can be upgraded by talking to Drake in Hyrstmill, North Shroud. The level 60 Shire gear can be upgraded by talking to Seika in Idyllshire. The level 70 Scaevan gear can be upgraded by E'bolaff in Rhalgr's Reach.
7. Visiting other servers
One cool feature that has been added relatively recently is that you can now visit other servers in the same Data Center as the one you play in. This way not only can you play normally with a friend in that other server but you can also buy from their Market Board. It is pretty handy just to shop around for prices or to see if there is a specific item you can't find in your local Marketboard.
To use this system just go to the main Aetheryte in any City State and choose "Visit Another World Server". It will pop-up a list of available servers. Just choose the one you want to visit and then wait to be teleported. Depending on how full is the server you are visiting you may have to wait a bit.
Keep in mind your character will be in the visiting world even if you log out or get disconnected. To return to your home server you have to go back to a main Aetheryte in one of the city-states and choose your home world from the list (it will have a house icon by its name).
You can find more information about the "World Home Visit" system at the wiki.
Less Useful Tips But Still Good to Know
If you love taking screenshots of your character in games then Final Fantasy XIV has a neat feature called GPose. It basically allows to pause your character, add filters, change lightning, angle, zoom and so much more.
You can activate GPose by typing /gpose in the chat window. Once it is active you can press the "R" key (or the square button if you are playing on the PS4 or X button if you are playing on PC with a Xbox controller) and it will open a menu with all the options available. Play around with them a little until you get things the way you want to, close that menu by pressing the "R" key again (or relevant button if using a controller) and then just take your screenshot! 🙂
There are even whole communities, like Eorzean Glamour Idols, just dedicated to digital photography in Final Fantasy XIV! 🙂
2. The Fashion Report
This isn't exactly a newbie tip but since I see people asking about this I figure I might as well cover it here.
Throughout your adventures you will inevitably end up at the Gold Saucer at some point. That is a place full of mini-games that rewards MGP which you can then spend to buy mounts, cosmetic outfits and other fluffy stuff.
The Fashion Report is one of those mini-games. Basically every week an NPC called the Masked Rose will come up with a theme for an outfit set and give some hints on what kind of gear to use in each slot to fit the theme. Once you assembled the outfit and present yourself for him to judge he will score your assemble on a scale from 0 to 100 points.
Just by participating on it you already receive 10,000 MGP. If you score 80 points then you get the maximum prize of an additional 50,000 MGP. You can also earn a title of "Fashion Leader" if you score 100 points.
You only need to get those 100 points once for the title. Otherwise aim for 80 points for the MGP which is much easier to get.
You have also 4 attempts if you want to improve your score. But you only receive the 10,000 and 50,000 MGP once per week, as you reach the required score.
Also, make sure you have gear equipped in every slot, even if it isn't part of the theme. Otherwise you will lose points.
Additionally, the more times you participate in the Fashion Report the more exclusive items will be unlocked for purchase at his assistant, Kasumi.
A new Fashion Report starts every Wednesday and ends on the following Monday.
And if the hints are too cryptic for you (which is always my case) then just check Reddit to see the answers. I usually check on Fridays as it is the day most likely for people to have figured out what gear to wear to get the 80 points.
3. You can play the game with a controller even if you are playing in the PC.
If you like playing games with a controller then you might be interested in playing Final Fantasy XIV with one too! It actually works pretty well and feels very intuitive.
To enable the use of a controller just go to System -> Character Configuration then clicking on the button up top with an icon of a mouse and a controller to switch between them.
Personally I still play with keyboard and mouse since that is what I am used to playing MMOs with. But your millage may vary. 🙂
4. Glamour is the true end game
Another neat system of Final Fantasy XIV is "Glamour". It basically allows you to copy the appearance of piece of gear to another. You will need to do a side quest called "If I had a Glamour" first. Once that quest is completed you can use "Glamour" any time as long a you have a glamour prism on your inventory.
Glamour prisms can be acquired in the Marketboard or crafted yourself.
More information about glamours can be found at the Final Fantasy XIV wiki!
And if you want to see the cool stuff people can do with Glamours, check Eorzea Collection. 🙂
Now if you ask people most will say that glamour is the true end game! This may sound like a joke but actually- Well, ok, it is kinda of a joke. But like any good joke it does have a certain kernel of truth to it. I mean, if your character is going to risk life and limb to save a world might as well look good while doing it right? 🙂
This post turn out way longer than I intended. I hope it helped someone and hopefully didn't overwhelm anyone with the amount of information provided.
Once again, if there are any questions or tips you'd like to share, please write in the comments!
Stormblood extensive UI settings guide by Lea - Some pretty useful tips there to configure the UI to your liking. It also should still hold up even with Shadowbringers out.
Mogboard - Search the availability and prices of items in the Marketboard across servers. You can choose the server by clicking on the gear icon on the top right.
FFXIV Housing - A catalogue of house items with screenshots.
FFXIVCrafting - Equipment Profiler, Crafting Calculator and Levequests. Personally I use it more for the Equipment Profiler and other sites for crafting lists.
Garland Data - Does a lot of things. But I use it mainly to make crafting lists.
FFXIVClock - Gives timers of when unspoiled nodes will spawn.
Cat Became Hungry - Information about fishes you can catch.