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!
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.
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.