Eorzean Evening Post: Tips For New FFXIV Players

Final Fantasy XIV is now hailed as one of the most played subscription-based MMORPGs of all time, boasting over 10 million players in the land of Eorzea. The game has really come a long way since relaunching as A Realm Reborn, though just as with other MMOs, this amount of depth is often what deters some people from picking up the game. This was made more apparent upon the arrival of the game’s first expansion, Heavensward, which saw the rise of the game’s more convoluted battle systems.

While I, as a veteran player, enjoyed its complexity, it was obvious that its new-found depth proved to be quite a struggle for new and returning players seeing as they would have to digest these changes with so little time to adjust from ARR, even discarding job fundamentals upon reaching the later levels. Free-running Bards would suddenly be given cast bars and Black Mages would sport a crucial buff that had to be refreshed in three different cycles. At the time, FFXIV had become a game that left new players in the dark, greeting them with tremendous difficulty spikes either through its myriad of endgame content or their job of choice.

The experience has improved for new players over time, with the game currently offering the likes of Hall of the Novice and the Novice Network which encourages more of a community-oriented approach to learning and teaching. If you’re looking to play FFXIV, now is perhaps the best time to start. With Stormblood’s massive draw on the MMO population, I figured it’d be best to help new FFXIV players understand the game a little better. Enclosed is a list of pointers I hope you find useful as you go along. You’ve already made the choice to play it, so now let’s help you learn it!

Learn to Fight

Seeing as combat became the focal point of challenge for new players during the last expansion, I think it would be proper to address this first. Stormblood made countless changes to the game upon its arrival, removing most of the game’s convoluted skills in favor of a more streamlined approach. The game offers a series of basic tutorials via the Hall of the Novice challenges, which gives an instanced step-by-step breakdown on how to play each role. These challenges also award you with some sweet beginner gear, as well as a ring that grants +30% EXP for any class you are leveling below level 30. Players can access the Halls simply by visiting any of the key locations below after reaching level 15.

  • New Gridania (x11,y13)
  • Limsa Lominsa Upper Decks (x11,y11)
  • Ul’dah – Steps of Nald (x11.8,y:9)
  • South Shroud (x19,y18)
  • Central Shroud (x10,y22)
  • Central Shroud (x19,y28)
  • Western La Noscea (x28,y24)
  • Western Thanalan (x27,y16)
  • Eastern Thanalan (x14,y30)

Though efficient in running you through the basics, FFXIV still tends to be confusing for players upon reaching current content. You may think that you have your class all figured out at level 69, only to be surprised at how drastic the changes are upon reaching level 70. With that said, always be sure to read up on your job’s mandatory rotations, mechanics, and skill descriptions upon unlocking them—your group will thank you for it. Even when doing easy content, having a party member that knows what they are doing will always lead to a smoother run.

Side Quests Aren’t Just For EXP

Contrary to what most players from other MMOs are used to, a chunk of FFXIV’s content is locked behind side quests. You’ll find that even the most mundane features such as glamours (transmogrification), aesthetician (hairstylist), and even the ability to dye can only be accessed after finishing their respective storylines. This can be frustrating as most of these features are normally available on the fly in other MMOs but I suppose it adds up to the game’s story-driven nature. You could choose to unlock them at a later time, but believe me when I say that you don’t want to add more stuff to your already lengthy backlog.

Side quests that unlock hidden content sport a slightly different quest marker, as indicated by the picture above. Also note that even dungeons are hidden behind these missions, and are required to unlocking one of the endgame Daily Roulettes, so hop to it!

Crafting Misconceptions

Unlike most MMO games, FFXIV lets players level all jobs using a single character, allowing them to switch to whatever is needed at a given time. This applies to crafters as well, with each class offering a unique set of skills that can be shared with your other jobs to optimize your chances of crafting High Quality items. A decent crafting life demands that you level all your crafters, which is actually a lot easier than it sounds.

Grinding crafts are made easy through the game’s Guildleves, which are a set of repeatable quests that draws from your gradually refilling leve allowance. You can also do your daily Grand Company turn-ins for a gratuitous amount of EXP every day. These quests mostly consist of just bringing (x) items to an NPC so it’s not that hard, albeit a bit expensive depending on the materials. Keep in mind that using high quality items will double the EXP rewards for both. If you’re feeling lazy, you can always just level all your crafters to 50 and proceed to level the three classes you wish to specialize in thereafter. Then again, why not just be a jack of all trades instead of having to buy an ingredient you can’t craft?

Both crafting and gathering are full games on their own as far as I’m concerned, and I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun with it. Good luck, and happy crafting!

Map Exploration and Hunting Linkshells

Exploring maps is quite crucial in this game, especially when you’re planning to do hunts, which consists of boss monsters spawning across multiple areas and must be taken down by a large group of players. Killing these monsters earn you a number of tomes, as well as the game’s hunt currency which you can spend on various helpful items. Later in the game, you will be prompted to track and interact with a bunch of Aether currents per map. Note that these are mandatory for you to be able to fly around the zones containing them, and will greatly benefit you in the long run.

Whether it’s doing treasure maps or joining a hunt, it’s always best to have the ability to fly to your destination rather than have your party ‘uber’ or wait for you to run to the specific location. You would also benefit from joining a Hunt Linkshell, which is a separate chat room where players can link boss locations, as well as updates on whether said bosses are still alive. These Linkshells are pretty easy to find, and you can probably just ask around for an invite.

Should Healers DPS?

Sorry! I really had to think hard about whether or not to include this, but ended up wanting to give my two cents on the matter for aspiring healers. Both new and old healers often find themselves subjected to this little debate, one that addresses whether or not the role should deal damage while keeping everyone up. Stormblood has made this a lot easier with the removal of the MIND and INT stat-swapping Cleric Stance, making it easier to land a flurry of hits while topping up your party. FFXIV becomes a DPS-heavy game upon reaching its endgame content, with enrage mechanics that wipe your party after a certain period of time.

This means that even tanks must switch out of their aggro stances to deal additional damage, especially during progression where DPS checks are present. In terms of Healer DPS, I would say go with whatever you feel is natural at first. You are not compelled to DPS for dungeons and intermediate content while learning them, but constantly challenge yourself to see how many hits you can land—your contribution will really go a long way. I know it’s frustrating, but keep in mind that FFXIV is an entirely different game altogether, and the only way to really get better at it is to accept the game for what it is, whether or not it coincides with what you’ve done in other MMOs.

One Last Thing

Just as with other MMOs, you may find yourself subjected to various criticisms as a newbie, as well as some negative attention that you might find rather rude while learning the game. This, I think, is brought about by the game’s steep learning curve, which proves to be quite a hurdle for those who have just started with FFXIV as their first MMORPG. With that, my last tip would be to just do your best and try not to let it bother you. Keep in mind that all newbies are susceptible to making mistakes, especially in a game that doesn’t hold your hand while you play. Everyone’s a newbie at some point, so should you be told that you’re doing something wrong, analyze the situation and just try to take it as a learning experience.

new FFXIV players

“You don’t pay my sub!”

Enjoy the game and don’t be afraid to ask questions from your respective Free Companies or friends who have played longer. I’m certain Mentors from the Novice channel will also be glad to aid you with the various troubles ahead.

I really hope that you found these tips helpful, and wish you all the best throughout your journey. Final Fantasy XIV is an amazing game, and I hope you enjoy your stay.

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Eorzean Evening Post: Deltascrapped

Greetings, fellow Eorzeans—oh, where are my manners? My name is Sena, and I will be your new columnist for the Eorzean Evening Post, running alongside the ongoing Echoes of Eorzea. Starting today, I will humbly place myself at your service, delivering my thoughts on current content as much as the Twelve would allow. Before we scurry over to content, please allow me to give a brief introduction, as well as a short tale as to how the game has earned my love as a player.

Final Fantasy was never a title I would associate with my youth, and while I have enjoyed the likes of Chrono Trigger and other games associated with what was then known as Squaresoft, Final Fantasy was not one of them. My journey started as early as 2.0, which was more of an impulse buy after getting burned out on World of Warcraft. With no level of familiarity towards the franchise, I found myself dropping it moments after reaching the first Ifrit fight. I am more inclined to play fighting games than other genres, but there was something about FFXIV that constantly badgered me to renew my subscription, almost like it’s calling me—and no, it wasn’t cat girls.

Okay, fine! Maybe it was the cat girls…

I made my way back shortly after the implementation of the Dreams of Ice patch (2.4), starting fresh and embracing the story and fight mechanics more. Sure enough, I couldn’t stop playing after taking it all in, jumping straight into Eorzea and looking for more things to do after a long day’s work. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was more than just a great MMO for me, it was the catalyst that sparked my love for a franchise I hadn’t paid attention to since its conception. Soon, I found myself playing a myriad of Final Fantasy games, further familiarizing myself with its colorful set of characters and the job system which I so adored in XIV. Eorzea is perhaps the most immersive world I’ve come across in my entire gaming life, tugging at my heart with its rich lore and endearing characters. Like you, I have faced numerous foes, bested powerful Primals, and yet was still the most useless person in the Sultana’s banquet. ‘Sloppy’! I love this game, and consider it a great honor to be able to write about it.

The Land Is Alive, So Believe

We are currently in the third week of patch 4.2, Rise of A New Sun, and it has yet to disappoint with its rich content that most players have barely covered. It’s almost comforting to hear the hustle and bustle echoing from the walls of Rhalgr’s Reach, as well as the houses of inactive Free Companies that had laid dormant during the drought. It’s these updates that really breathe life back into their respective MMO worlds, providing us with the satisfying feeling of having to climb a new tower of content. I easily become overwhelmed by new content, as I tend to get as excited as a kid with a free-pass to all theme park rides. You just don’t know where to start. Luckily, the patch’s trailer set my priorities straight, sending me floating down to Gyr Abania for a shot at Sigmascape. Sadly, the transition wasn’t seamless with players getting booted out of mandatory cutscenes, denying them access to the new raid.

Omega: Deltascrapped (Few Fight Spoilers Ahead)

Just as Deltascape’s lineup consisted of bosses from Final Fantasy V, Sigmascape encounters hailed from the much-loved Final Fantasy VI. It did a fine job of recycling old mechanics while keeping things fresh by weaving twists and new abilities in between. This, of course, made us all the more excited about their Savage counterpart because, I feel that, the former lost its appeal far too early. The first week was not very fruitful, with a series of server maintenances and connection issues on top of having to learn each fight. Luckily, we were able to beat V3.0S in the first week and have begun progression on 4.0S on the last few days of the second one. The experience Sigmascape brought was exquisitely superior to its tiered predecessor from a learning standpoint, mostly because of how different it felt on the whole. One thing that often bugs me at the start of each raid is how the game reuses most of its mechanics from older fights, be it through markers or concepts. There will always be an eye to look away from, a stack marker to run in, and a tether to break; luckily, Sigmascape showcases new things more than it recycles.

Sigmascape V1.0 Savage was definitely the best way to kickstart the tier, with the encounter loosely contained on a single platform. Being able to jump on top of the train and getting kidnapped by ghosts was a nice touch, brushing off the trend of fights taking place within a fixed arena. The fight encouraged an entry level of team coordination, with ghosts that must be led into puddles of light to prevent them from taking allies inside the passenger cart. The Phantom train’s presentation was top notch, with its gimmicks akin to recoverable setbacks instead of outright killing you. It succeeds in portraying the speedy theme of the encounter, emphasizing the illusion of being pressed for time while the boss tries its best to stall you. Looking back, I can say for certain that Alte Roite had nothing on this fight. The only thing I disliked about it is the fact that you can’t suplex the damn thing.

I remember being both dumbfounded and entertained when Deltascape’s Halicarnassus used “The Game” in one of her phases. It was fourth-wall breaking but greatly cemented how different Stormblood’s raids are compared with Alexander. Sigmascape continues this creative streak by bringing us more activated mechanics and another instance-specific button. V2.0S was pretty fun in its own right, even though it was a little bit easier than the previous fight. In addition to the paintings already present on normal mode, the Savage version adds paint and a Siren painting into the mix. The fight was more like a simple dance with highly manageable RNG, which was a tad disappointing. The normal version gave me the impression that we’d be dealing with some intense RNG paint combinations; sadly, the fight was pretty straightforward, with most party members having little interaction with said paintings outside of activating the water buff. Still, what it lacked in difficulty it surely made up for with creativity. Timing the brushes for mechanics and flying around in mini planes was a treat, and I don’t think we’ve had someone ride a contraption that pushes or pulls bombs away from the party since Alexander’s second fight. I had a lot of fun learning V2.0S, and hope they continue adding more interactable arenas like this in the future.

Sigmascape

Janitor mastery: Wiping the floor since ARR

If there’s anything Sigmascape shares with the previous tier, it’s how the difficulty spikes from 2S to 3S. The Guardian fight teaches us that humanity is not ready for such breakneck speeds. I’m of course referring to the missiles, which becomes frustratingly forgettable when paired with a couple of mechanics. Hell hath no fury like a raid group wiping to missiles at around three percent. It was this fight that shattered the glass on what the patch brought more than anything else—BULLET HELL. It’s almost as if Yoshi P was playing Touhou one day and immediately jotted down “active dodging” on his patch planner. This is made even more evident by the Byakko fight, which gave off a Nier Automata vibe. Admittedly, I enjoyed having to dodge these projectiles. It was a fine way to test a group’s attentiveness and greatly increases the tension of having to perform the simple tasks sandwiched in between. The copy/paste part also gave us a bit of trouble, making us store a certain mechanic at the back of our heads whilst watching out for its other gimmicky moves. From a difficulty standpoint, I would say that the Guardian gave us a harder time than Deltascape’s Halicarnassus, though it’s a fight I definitely liked more.

Clutch victory

Moving on to 4.0S, Kefka played with our senses early on, with him bombarding us with a series of AOE/stack markers that could be either fake or real, similar to his Normal counterpart. Think of it as a harder version of the “Truth and Lie” mechanic from Rabanastre. I’m quite fond of how Stormblood cuts these final encounters into two segments instead of it being one long fight. While it reduces the difficulty expected from a savage fight, it does make for a more seamless raiding experience when it comes to cooldowns and resources. It’s not like these guys hit you with pillows, so some leeway is always welcome. We’ve been able to reach the enrage timer a couple of times and will hopefully see God Kefka in the next few days. It’s too bad both Omega bosses didn’t have voiceovers seeing as Dissidia NT (PS4) featured a modern take on both of the character’s voices. Oh well, at least they kept the original SNES laugh.

I will be sure to update everyone on our progress, as well as more information on future content. Cheers and a big ‘thank you’ to 8-Wonders (Tonberry) for the fun raiding experience.

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