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Beginner’s Guide For Final Fantasy XIV

Yes, even Warriors of Light must maintain social etiquette.

For new Final Fantasy XIV sprouts, and even newer players who have never played an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) before, all of the tasks and functionalities of an MMO can be incredibly overwhelming—I know, I’ve been there! But with any luck, this quick list of beginners tips in Final Fantasy XIV will help make the learning curve just a little bit easier.

Additionally, Square Enix has trimmed the content in the first two expansions: Realm Reborn and Heavensward. The sprawling storyline has been reduced with some quality of life changes making progress easier and more efficient for new players. Beyond that, Final Fantasy XIV has the friendliest community of any major MMO that I’ve ever come across.

That’s not to say you won’t stumble across the occasional jerk, but based on personal experience, they’re nowhere near as common as they are in some other MMO’s. Final Fantasy XIV even has a commendation system for rewarding players who are especially skilled or helpful at the end of each dungeon, so there’s some incentive to be kind (plus you get an extra experience bonus for quicker leveling!). For further reading to help you decide on if you’d like to purchase the full game (with several reasons why I think you should!) look here.

Quick Information Before You Begin the Free Trial

As mentioned above, Square Enix expanded (patch notes) Final Fantasy XIV’s free trial to allow new players to play the Heavensward expansion up to level 60 story content for free—that’s easily 20 hours of content to get through if you’re not skipping anything. 😉 The Realm Reborn and Heavensward expansions also add an additional playable race (Au Ra), and three extra playable jobs (Dark Knight, Astrologian, and Machinist) that can all be unlocked after reaching level 50 in the main story quest.

The free trial won’t work if you’ve ever spent money on your Final Fantasy XIV account before, even if you bought it several years ago upon release and just piddled around in the starting zones. But if you only had a trial account before Patch 5.3, that trial account should now support the increased level cap from 35 to 60.

Final Fantasy XIV

The upshot of all this is that it may be wiser to make an entirely new account if you want to play through A Realm Reborn and the Heavenward expansion with the free trial. Keep in mind some of the limitations, though:

  • You can’t use the Market Boards (which means you can’t buy or sell tradeable items in-game)
  • You also can’t join Free Companies (commonly referred to as “guilds” in other MMO’s)

If you’re mainly playing for the story though (and that’s generally a good reason to play Final Fantasy XIV), these are sacrifices you should be able to live with. And if you ever decide those limitations are too burdensome, you can remove them by buying the Final Fantasy XIV Starter Edition, which gives you access to the same playable content as the free trial and only costs $20.

Download the free trial here and without further ado, here are some tips and tricks for the new Final Fantasy XIV player.

Try Out Different Classes

As a reminder, one of the coolest things about Final Fantasy XIV is you can play every single combat (and crafting) class on the same character and you can switch classes pretty much whenever you want. All you need to do is switch out your weapon and set up gear presets in your character panel.

final fantasy xiv classes

Currently, you can choose from four different tank classes, three healers, four melee dps, three ranged dps, and four magical dps. But there are also gathering and crafting classes all of which can be leveled up to 80, same as the damage classes! The gathering classes are botanist, miner, and fisher and there are eight different crafting classes.

Try Crafting and Gathering

Final Fantasy XIV has eight crafting classes and three gathering classes that you level separately like regular combat classes (and they even have their own storylines!) If you plan on leveling more than one of them—and you should—don’t vendor or sell your gear for these classes once you’ve out-leveled it. You can use the same gear for all crafting and gathering classes. In other words, once you’ve leveled your carpenter to 80, you can use almost all of the same gear to level your culinarian, and so on.

final fantasy xiv doh dol

You’ll also find that leveling your crafters and gatherers goes a little hand-in-hand, by which I mean you’ll need a gatherer to collect materials for your weaver, and a weaver might require a crafted item from a leatherworker, and so on. I recommended leveling all at the same time, if at all possible.

Attune Yourself To Every Aetheryte You Come Across

A big mistake that I learned rather quickly was the importance of aetherytes in Final Fantasy XIV. Attuning yourself to an aetheryte will allow for quick travel and you can even set favorite locations that you can quickly return to for free or at a cheaper travel cost. When in a large city, you can travel between smaller aetherytes, using them sort of like subway stops. To travel between aetherytes in a city, you must first locate different crystals and attune to all of them. Then you can travel to those crystals for free within the city. Traveling between aetherytes in different major cities and locations can consume gil (in-game currency). For someone on the free trial that can’t sell items on the market board fear not—you can sell items to regular NPCs. And just so you know, there really isn’t anything you should be purchasing in-game with gil early on because the main story quest will give you just about everything you need: food, gear, and potions.

Use Sanctuaries and Inns When You Sign Out Of The Game

In Final Fantasy XIV, returning to a sanctuary or an inn and signing out of the game will reward you with an extra rested experience (EXP) bonus. This is super helpful if you want to build experience points and level even faster in the game. It’s also especially helpful when you know you’ll be gone from the game from an extended period of time. The longer you rest, the more rested experience will accrue. So the next time you log out of the game, be sure to go to an inn and click “Go To Bed” to get that rested experience bonus!

final fantasy xiv innkeep

Take a look at your experience bar—if there is a half-moon symbol next to your experience bar, then you can safely logout of the game and receive rested experience. Just remember in order to get the full rested experience bonus, you’ll need to talk to an Innkeep and select “Retire to an Inn room.” and select “Exit game.” when clicking on the bed in the room. The Inn room also has a retainer bell, a glamour chest, the crystal bell to change your appearance, and more!

Ask Questions Before Leaving Party Finder

Party Finder is a tool in-game to use if you’re looking for a pre-made group to clear content. If you join a group in party finder and you don’t know what the mechanics are for the dungeon, or if you’re unsure what mechanics the group is doing, just ask. Other players in the game are usually more than happy to explain things to you.

Through the Party Finder, you can either search for a party to join, or recruit other adventurers to form a party of your own. This feature is unlocked upon completion of the quest “It’s Probably Pirates,” and can be found in the Social section of the main menu. The list of parties that are looking for members will be listed on the upper side of the Party Finder window and you may check the details on what kind of members they are looking for. To join a party immediately, select “Join Party.” You may also send a /tell to the party leader.

ffxiv_party-finder

You can search for a party to join by setting a number of conditions such as objective and play style. When recruiting members to join your party, you will have the option of setting various recruitment criteria. Fields include duty type, average item level, roles, play style, and language. Players who are recruiting for a party will have a distinct status icon.

While the Party Finder’s primary purpose is to set up a party, the comment lines is sometimes used by players as an unofficial billboard to advertise crafting services or recruitment drive for Free Companies.

Macros Aren’t Always Necessary

Macros are really great if you find yourself using the same abilities in repetition, but it can clog up the chat box quickly and the flashy noises it can set off can be very confusing for other players. Macros also create a delay in actions which can be really annoying if you need to use an ability in an instant. Generally, be kind and don’t use macros for fights. However, if you’re a tank I do recommend setting a macro for shirking to your off-tank, and as a healer, setting a macro to let the other healer know you’re raising a party member can also be very helpful. But that’s it! Don’t get carried away, okay?

ffxiv_macro

If you’re new to macros and you don’t know where to start, try using the macro I’ve provided above. Simply navigate to the System Configuration panel from the main menu and select User Macros. From there, type in whatever you like and choose whatever icon you like and drag it to your hotbar. And voila! you’ve got yourself a macro.

Watch The Enemy’s Castbar

When targeting an enemy, try hitting Alt-F on your keyboard to see a bar come up that will show you the enemy’s castbar. The bar will remain up on your screen and it will display what the selected enemy is casting—this is especially useful if you’re a tank and you’re sitting on your stun to use against one special boss ability that could potentially wipe the team. Unlike some other multiplayer games, enemy-casted spells are not even closely tied to their animation. By seeing the castbar fill up, you can get in the habit of timing your abilities and getting yourself in the correct position for the next mechanic! Also get in the habit of actively casting and slide-casting and moving during battle.

Give Player Commendations At The End!

final fantasy xiv comms

At the end of every dungeon, you’ll get an opportunity to give commendations to other players for good gameplay. Also, if you do this several times a week before the weekly challenge reset, you’ll get a very generous extra experience bonus!

Complete Your Challenge Logs and Hunting Logs

final fantasy xiv logs

There are so many ways to get extra experience to quickly level the different classes in this game—by giving commendations, doing daily roulettes (such as the leveling roulette unlocked once players reach level 10 in the main story quest), or by completing logs such as the hunting log (seen above) or the gathering and crafting logs for Disciples of Land/Disciples of Hand. Also, if you complete these logs, you can get some cool miscellaneous in-game rewards such as a new title to show up to your friends and other players!

ffxiv_dailies

In addition to the Challenge Log and the Hunting Log, there are dailies that reset once daily or once per week that grant an experience bonus, tome bonus, etc. These can be viewed under the “Duty” menu and select “Timers”. Weekly crafting bonuses (called “Custom Deliveries”) reset once per week and there are a few other examples such as the Fashion Report, etc. that also reset once per week. To see your daily resets for battle instances, such as the leveling roulette, look under the Duty menu and select Duty Finder.

Remap The Default Hotbars and HUD

final fantasy xiv hotbar hud

In Final Fantasy XIV, you aren’t limited to HUD layout and key bindings so you can tailor it to suit your taste and needs. Of course, the larger your display, the more flexibility you have, but for those with a smaller display size, this is certainly an excellent feature, too.

Try Using A Controller

If you’re new to Final Fantasy XIV or MMOs in general, getting used to mouse and keyboard key bindings can certainly require some time and patience. If you’re struggling with a mouse and keyboard configuration, why not try a controller? Just about any controller will do, but I personally recommend purchasing a wireless USB Xbox controller for PC. They’re cheap and you might already have one lying around that you use for Steam games.

Join a Free Company

Making friends in a Free Company or starting your own is fun and worthwhile! If you’re not sure how to join a Free Company, you can look in the party finder window or try right clicking on other users who are already part of a Free Company to see additional details. There are also several groups that are looking for new members on Reddit and in the Final Fantasy XIV Discord. If you’re looking to start your very own Free Company, you must have purchased the game (this will not work with the free trial) and you must first unlock Grand Companies at level 25. In order to start a Free Company, players must talk to the Free Company administrator at the grand company headquarters and select the “Found a Free Company” option.

final fantasy xiv free company

Once you’ve done this,  you get to choose the preferred name and tag for the Free Company. Players are allowed 15 characters for the name, and 5 characters for the tag. The player must then acquire 3 signatures on a petition from other players or friends. Once the player has three signatures, the player must then pay a fee of 15,000 gil. After the fee is paid, the player’s Free Company will be founded and you can start inviting other players to join.

Choose Whatever Class You Want

Unlike most other MMOs, single characters can do all the classes and you are only limited by your motivation to level the class you want. Very little people find their main class on first try and most don’t stick to just one class, they’ll learn several and play them whenever necessary, especially for end game savage and ultimate content.

final fantasy xiv tank

If your starting class wasn’t fun for you, don’t worry! Once you reach level 10 and you complete your first level 10 class quest, you get to take any other class from that point onwards. Once you have done that quest, then you can freely switch classes by just going to whatever guild you want and talking to the NPCs there. You will receive the weapon for that class and by equipping it you will change to that class. For quick reference:

Lancer, Conjurer, and Archer are in Gridania
Gladiator, Pugilist, and Thaumaturge are in Ul’dah
Marauder and Arcanist are in Limsa Lominsa

Also, if you’re unhappy with your character’s appearance, you will receive an item in-game called Fantasia as a 30-day veteran reward. Fantasia will let you completely change your race and appearance (+face, skin color and even gender) once you’ve subbed for a month. If you want to purchase another Fantasia, they can be purchased on the Mogstation.

Consider doing the Novice questline

If you are absolutely lost and have no idea what you’re doing, I recommend taking part in the Novice questline found in all major cities called “Hall of the Novice”. Hall of the Novice is a series of challenges designed to prepare new adventurers for party combat in Final Fantasy XIV and it’s incredibly helpful for those who don’t know where their abilities are or what they do. Upon completing the Hall of the Novice, you will receive a thirty-percent experience bonus ring that will boost your experience gain up to level thirty and you will receive some gear.


Take Your Time and Have Fun!

Most importantly, take your time playing Final Fantasy XIV. This is an incredibly huge game and there are so many different routes you can take to make the most of it: sink your time into the main story quest, finish your daily challenge and hunting logs, level one of the many different classes, or join a Free Company and make some friends! It’s all up to you! And even if you do purchase the newest expansion (Shadowbringers) and catch up on the main story content, there is plenty of end game content such as savage raids to keep you occupied until the next expansion.

final fantasy xiv dancer

I really love this game and I hope you will too! I play on the Primal data center and I am on the Hyperion server. My character’s name is Madame Moonie and I stream Final Fantasy XIV savage content every Friday and Sunday! I love helping new players and answering questions, so if you have time feel free to drop by my Twitch channel and hang out. I also stream Final Fantasy XIV and other games throughout the week.

Follow me on Twitter to get notifications on my published works here and elsewhere!

Image Credits: Square Enix, Square Enix

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