FFXIV tips aren’t terribly tough to write. The game is full to bursting with things the makers of Final Fantasy simply don’t want to tell you. It’d be hard not to let a few things fall through the cracks after years of continuous development, of course, which is why we’re here to hopefully help plug those holes. Not that this is a comprehensive list by any means. There are many things not addressed in this tips guide at all! Yet over the course of roughly 13,000 words we’ve hopefully put together something like a good guide to where you should start when looking for things you might have missed, too.
Just as FFXIV has been years in the making, so too have we been playing it for years. Going all the way back to the release of A Realm Reborn, in fact. That means the real trick to this tips guide is separating what feels like a genuinely important or useful “thing the game doesn’t tell you” from random trivia. This still may be a tiny bit broader than our usual articles in the same vein. In some cases, the game technically tells you where certain things can be found or what they do. Yet it doesn’t always tell you where to find that information in the first place. Most players can probably follow directions laid out in a quest. Yet how do you know where to find the right quests in the first place? In such cases we try our best to call out these elements in the body of the sections where those instructions can be found in-game.
With that out of the way, we should really get to the heart of the matter. There’s a long way to go before we’re done. So let’s take a look at our guide to a few things FFXIV doesn’t tell you (or at least does a really poor job of directing you towards).
Take Out Your Materia
Materia is an extremely valuable resource in FFXIV. It’s the chief way to customize your character for combat, since the best weapons and armor for each class are usually a foregone conclusion. You can choose to boost your skill speed, survivability, damage, healing, etc. more-or-less however you want. So long as you have the gil and/or “cracked cluster” needed to buy the Materia. Older grades of the stuff usually go for cheap on the Market Board. The newest stuff, on the other hand, can really run up a tab. Naturally, you don’t want to just throw it away.
FFXIV does not hold your hand in this regard. Most actions that destroy or otherwise “delete” gear from the game don’t warn you that you have Materia still equipped. Relic weapon quests are a good example. Several such missions have you turn in a weaker tier of weapon for a better one. That’s great! Except the item is lost in the process — along with whatever Materia it had equipped. The same goes for Desynthesis. You can just break down your weapons and gear and lose all that precious Materia in the process for zero reward. Be mindful that doesn’t happen!
On a related note, make sure you’re always checking your Spiritbond. This is a percentage level tied to every piece of equipment you wear: armor, weapons, and accessories. At 100 percent Spiritbond you can “Extract Materia” from the item. This is different from removing your existing Materia (which is shown as “Retrieve Materia” when you select an item). Extracting actually generates new Materia out of thin air. It can be surprisingly profitable if you do a lot of endgame content, which raises Spiritbond faster, too. Especially with crafting and gathering gear.
The game does “tell” you when a piece of gear reaches 100 percent Spiritbond… Sorta. Your player character will flash with a bright, white light while a loud sound plays. This indicates a maximum bond. Anything you do with that gear past that point will essentially “overcap” your Spiritbond, so you want to extract as soon as possible after seeing the flash.
More Melding Means More Materia
Speaking of Spiritbond: there are multiple ways to speed up the process. Some are obvious. The aptly named “Spiritbond Potion” tells you what it does right in the name. There are also Free Company buffs and the “Better Crowned Pie” food item. Yet there’s also a more consistent method of raising your Spiritbond (and producing more Materia) quickly. Just equip more Materia!
Every piece of Materia applied to a specific item raises its bond rate by 20 percent. You can do this up to five times by “pentamelding,” which is a community term for applying five pieces of Materia to a single item. You’ve probably noticed by now that most gear only has between zero and two slots for Materia. Well, you can still insert up to five pieces of Materia. It just gets progressively more expensive. That’s because applying Materia past the total number of slots — which is called “overmelding” — comes with progressively lower chances of success. If melding “fails,” you lose that piece of Materia altogether, and must try again. This leads to high-level crafters, gatherers, and raiders can throw dozens of Materia way trying to eke out just a few extra stats on their build.
As such, you should never attempt to overmeld gear that isn’t the highest possible Item Level available to you. You can and will end up throwing dozens of Materia into the trash, only to replace that gear anyway. This happens naturally with every major patch — which introduce new gear to switch to anyway. The trick is to simply get as much value out of your overmelded gear as possible before that. Be it through Extreme Trial drops, rare gathering materials, or selling endgame crafted gear. Consistently extracting new Materia also offsets costs. You can horde it for future melding or flip it for profit on the Market Board.
Look for the Blue Quests
Most quests in FFXIV have simple golden icons with exclamation marks. These are typically very straightforward missions: fetch quests and the like. Main Scenario Quests (i.e. the story campaign of FFXIV) have large, meteoric symbols surrounded with gold flames. They’re pretty hard to miss. Yet there’s a third type of basic quest icon in-game worth worrying about. These are blue with a large “+” on the lefthand side. These include anything from Job quests, to special deliveries for crafters and gatherers, to introducing dungeons. But they all have one thing in common: blue quests always unlock something new.
This means you should always accept blue quests when you see them in FFXIV. Even if you’re not sure where they lead. You will almost certainly want whatever it is they provide eventually. It might be a new activity; in which case you add variety to your roulettes and gear for potential glamours. It might be delivery quests, which are great for leveling up your crafters and gatherers, as well as farming Scrip. It might even be an Aether Current, which you need to unlock flying mounts in most regions of the game. All of it leads to something new to explore.
Unlock the “Secret” Beast Tribe Quests
Some of the aforementioned blue quests actually form “chains,” or interconnected series of side quests that tell one story over a series of missions. Some of those can unlock Tribe Quests.
Tribe Quests are random, repeatable daily missions with unique rewards. The more quests you do, the more you rank up a special “Reputation” stat with that particular tribe. Every new level of Reputation then unlocks more of their story — until you eventually reach the maximum rank. Higher ranks mean better rewards, like more XP, which you can use to level up alternate Jobs in FFXIV. That’s in addition to special items you can buy, like unique mounts. The long and short of it? Lots of the Tribe Quests are worth unlocking and pursuing.
Arguably the best ones to unlock are the crafting- and gathering-focused tribes: like the Namazu and the Dwarves. These are great for leveling up noncombat classes (which can’t rely on Duty Roulettes and dungeons XP). Not to mention you can get “free” Materia from them by acquiring special currency for completing the daily quests. Crafting and gathering Materia are, in turn, usually more expensive since you can’t farm for them via “Adventurer in Need” bonuses on the aforementioned Duty Roulette.
Most in-game tribes are easy to find. They have those blue icons discussed up above. For whatever reason, though, there is a major exception to this rule. The Moogle Tribe requires you to complete several series of side quests. None of which have special markers. You simply need to know where to look and which missions to complete. Luckily, we’ve created a list of each quest and their locations already, so you don’t have to hunt too hard. Just check out our Moogle Tribe unlock guide when you’re ready.
Get a Second Retainer
Once you start selling all that aforementioned Materia (or anything else for that matter) you need a Retainer. These become available very early in the game. Once you complete the Level 17 MSQ “The Scions of the Seventh Dawn,” you will unlock a blue side quest called “An Ill-conceived Venture” in your starting city. Complete that to unlock your first Retainer: an NPC ally who acts as free storage and a means to sell items to other players. They are your primary means of accessing the FFXIV Market Board, which is how you list items for sale for other players to buy, and thus one of the chief ways of making money in the game.
You can only sell 20 items at a time per Retainer. That’s unfortunate… Thankfully, you can double that number by hiring a second Retainer! FFXIV doesn’t really impress the importance of hiring a second Retainer on you, but even if you’re not selling much, you should have one. That’s because they also double as a bank vault — storing more items for you within the very little inventory system of FFXIV. Your basic inventory bag will fill up very quickly and there is no way to upgrade or expand it. Period.
The other useful thing about having multiple Retainers is “more Ventures.” Ventures are a type of real-time mission you can send Retainers to do — in which they acquire different types of items. This, too, is a great way of making money. Or you can just send them to pick up items you need for your own, personal crafting. Whatever the case, you should always have all your Retainers performing at least some kind of Venture for you.
I say “all your Retainers” instead of “both Retainers” because there is a way to get more. You just need to pay. With real-world money. The “Retainer Service” available on the FFXIV real-money story tacks an extra fee onto your monthly subscription. In exchange, you get more Retainers. More Retainers means more Ventures and more potential items to sell on the market at once. This is how some of the really, really dedicated moneymakers in FFXIV swing an advantage over the competition. You don’t necessarily need to go that hard if you don’t want to, though.
Sell Items on the Market, Not to NPCs
While we’re on the topic of Market Boards: don’t sell items to NPC vendors. At least not most of the time. Non-player vendors only award a tiny pittance for the vast majority of items in FFXIV — wildly undercutting what you can make by selling to humans. Usually. Market prices fluctuate based on demand for a particular thing. Extremely low-level crafting materials, for instance, might only sell for a few gil more on the open market than to an NPC. In which case, it’s actually better to sell to the NPC. This instantly frees up inventory space, which is infinitely more valuable than a single digit’s worth of in-game gold.
There are also items specifically designed for selling to NPC vendors. Clear Demimateria is one example. This currently has no value in-game. You can sell it on the Market Board, but the odds of someone taking it are extremely low, since it’s not used in any crafting recipes or the like. Not to mention they sell for a pretty penny at vendors anyway.
Once you reach Stormblood, you can also unlock the “Doman Enclave Reconstruction” mini-game, which is really just a way to make bonus gold on useless items like this. Every week, the enclave will buy items up to a set gil value from you for double whatever their worth to other NPC vendors. You won’t get rich while doing it. Not like selling high-level gear, items, and glamours to other players. Yet it’s a nice bonus!
Upgrade Your Chocobo to a True Companion
Every FFXIV player can unlock a Chocobo as a mount. You simply need to complete the quest “My Little Chocobo” in your starting city at Level 20. This is wonderful for getting around faster! Teleporting everywhere can be expensive early on (and even later in the game for that matter). Not to mention many places don’t have Aetherytes for you to zap to. Chocobo Porters alleviate this somewhat, but even these are quite limited. You need a mount. Get one as quickly as possible.
Once you get your Chocobo, though, the fun doesn’t end there. A second quest will transform your steed into an actual battle buddy — or a companion as the game calls them. You can do so at Level 30. Just talk to Docette in the South Shroud (X: 17.0, Y: 28.2) once you reach that threshold. She gives the quest “My Feisty Little Chocobo.” Complete it to unlock the companion system. This allows you to use items called “Gysahl Greens” whenever you’re fighting through the open world of FFXIV. That typically means FATEs.
One Gysahl Green (which you can buy from various NPCs, such as Bango Zango, found right next to the Aetheryte in the Limsa Lominsa Lower Decks) will keep your Chocobo around for 30 real-world minutes. You can double this by using more Gysahl Greens for up to 60 minutes of combat support before you need to refresh. Your Chocobo will fight alongside you during this time. They even level up! You can go to the “Companion” section of the Character menu to train them as they level and unlock skill points. There’s also the “Actions” tab where you can set AI behavior and “Appearance” for dressing up your Chocobo.
It’s not the most universally useful system, but it’s a big help when FATE farming or doing leves.
Your Gysahl Greens Are Safe in Cities
The Gysahl Greens mentioned above aren’t terribly expensive. You still don’t want them to go to waste. Not to worry! The timer on Gysahl Greens pauses when your Chocobo does. That is to say, when you log out of the game or find yourself inside Chocobo-free zones like cities, the timer that determines how much longer your greens will last pauses. You can check this for yourself at any time. Just go to the “Companion” section of the Character menu: the same place you adjust their look and behavior. Right under the Chocobo’s XP bar is a number simply labeled “time.” This shows you how many minutes and seconds, out of the maximum of one hour, you have left before needing to apply more Gysahl Greens. It’s just one more good reason to loiter inside of in-game capitals, rather than out in the open.
Check the Map for FATE Progress
By the way, when you are FATE farming, make sure to check your map. You can see how close any FATE is to completion by hovering over its icon on the map. That much is obvious. What makes this especially helpful, however, is using it to tell if other players are in the area working on FATEs already. Most of these public quests are very easy to complete solo. Especially with a Chocobo or if you play a tank. But it can be a huge slog. Playing with others (as intended) makes the whole process much smoother. And the most consistent way to tell is by checking percentages.
Players will also sometimes put out calls for random players to join them on farming runs. Particularly in Shadowbringers and Endwalker areas. That’s because those expansions include “Shared FATEs,” which require you to complete a certain number of FATEs in all six locales introduced by that add-on. Doing so unlocks unique rewards and accrues a very useful currency called Bicolor Gemstones. Still, there’s no guarantee that players will put out a call on the Party Finder. They may also be full; the maximum party size is still eight players even in the open world. That doesn’t mean you can’t follow in the wake of these crews and benefit from quick clears as well.
If a FATE has no players, it will usually show a “0%” completion rate. Though a tiny handful of the public quests feature NPC allies that can make that can inflate that number a tiny bit. Usually no higher than 10% or so. Anything higher than that and you probably have a potential ally on your hands — if only for a short while. Take advantage of that opportunity!
Find Your Chocobo Saddlebag
Here’s a small tip circling back to the topic of inventory. Once you have your Chocobo, mind that you actually use your Chocobo Saddlebag. It’s easy to miss! The option to access it is found under your Character menu, but only under certain circumstances. You can’t access the Chocobo Saddlebag from inside instanced areas, for instance. That includes dungeons and Trials. Even places like the Bozjan Southern Front and the Diadem. This makes managing the bag a nuisance sometimes, but it’s worth it. That’s because your Chocobo Saddlebag gives you an extra 70 slots of free inventory space.
This also means you can hoard up to one more of every unique item type in the game. Treasure maps are a good example. You can only hold one of each map type (e.g. a single Kumbhiraskin Map) per inventory bag. This means one on your character, one in each Retainer’s inventory, and one in your Chocobo Saddlebag. This is a great little trick if you have a static group and run lots of maps back to back.
Use Up Your Leves
Levequests are much more important than some players realize. These are semi-daily, repeatable missions that send you on fetch quests for particular items, or require you to complete easy combat challenges if you select a Battlecraft Leve. These are a wonderful (if extremely tedious) source of XP in the midgame. They don’t include queue times and you can complete up to 100 in a single day — if you stock up enough Leve Allowances. You gain three more allowances every six real-world hours. Meaning you can complete six Levequests per day without ever stopping.
This is all well and good. However, leves are also an excellent source of in-game cash. Every FFXIV expansion has some easy-to-exploit mission type you can exploit for rapid and consistent gil. You just need to reach the level cap as a particular crafting class. Shadowbringers, for example, included the infamous Coffee Biscuit as a laughably easy way to make money fast. Endwalker isn’t quite as overtuned in that regard. But you can still make a mint if you know what to do — all without the need to rely on Market Board undercutting and competition with other players.
Your Debuffs Get Top Billing
If you ever take the time to look at an enemy’s health bar during a raid, you’re going to see a mess. Every single offensive ability that affects your foe over time — like damage-over-time and skills that temporarily reduce their defense — will appear as a debuff icon. These are easy to track alone or in small groups. In a Full Party of eight players, or in an even larger Alliance Raid, it’s untenable. Luckily you don’t need to worry about most of them. And the ones that you apply get special treatment on the health bar.
Specifically, any debuffs you apply get pushed to the far left of the health bar. No matter what order they were applied! Your debuffs also get green timer text (those little numbers that show how long before a debuff expires). This is extremely useful for Jobs that need to maintain a debuff, rather than just apply it whenever it’s off cooldown. Jobs like Paladin and Scholar. Their damage-over-time skills, Goring Blade and Bio/Biolysis, can be used nearly whenever you want. That means you should always maintain or “upkeep” these debuffs whenever they’re about to run out of time. Knowing how long the debuffs have left tells you when to reapply them. And knowing where the timer is will help you know.
Food and Friendly Buffs Often Stack
Besides debuffs, there are obviously also buffs. Things like bonus damage, skill speed, and the like. These are often generated by abilities. The Dark Knight action “Edge of Darkness” is a perfect example. This attack causes player damage to rise for 30 seconds. Other buffs, however, are generated by consumable items like food. Whichever the case, one good thing to know about these positive skills is that they often stack. That is to say: you can use them back-to-back to double the duration of the friendly buff. Just like the Gysahl Greens used to summon your Chocobo Companion.
This isn’t true 100 percent of the time, but it’s common enough that players should always be aware of it. Buffs that stack like this also cap out at twice their starting duration as a general rule. You can use Edge of Darkness twice to gain 60 seconds boosted damage, for example, but using it a third time will only ever top you back up to the 60-second maximum. The same goes for food: eat two of the same meal twice in a row to get double the effect. Any more than that won’t cut it.
Another wrinkle to this is that friendly debuffs don’t usually enjoy the same benefit. Casting “Biolysis” as a Scholar twice in a row won’t double the duration of that skill. Meaning you need to be a bit more precise about reapplying debuffs than buffs. The latter of which often have more wiggle room when maintaining “uptime.”
Oh, and enemy debuffs do stack. You typically see this in the form of “Vulnerability Up” debuffs at the top of your screen. Most bosses can apply this effect — which multiplies the amount of damage you take from all sources, usually for about a minute — after getting hit with an otherwise avoidable attack. A.k.a., whenever you screw up a mechanic. The duration of these vulnerability stacks only ever refresh to the original maximum. Just like your own debuffs. However, getting hit by a second mechanic while the first stack is still active will give you a second stack — multiplying the damage you take even further. This can theoretically keep happening until you reach 16 stacks (the maximum number). Though most players won’t live past two or three at a time.
Food and Potions Let You Finish Crafting First
There’s actually another way to expend food and even potion effects almost indefinitely. Sorta… Both types of consumable disappear after a their buff timer runs out completely. However, that doesn’t mean you need to rush. At least not while crafting. Any time-limited buffs you start a craft with are “locked in” until that craft succeeds or fails. The timers will continue ticking down towards zero no matter what. However, once they reach that point, the buffs will enter a sort of grace period — where you continue to benefit from the buff with the timer stuck at zero indefinitely.
Just as an example, if you start crafting a sword with just 10 seconds of a food buff left, that buff will continue counting down normally. After which the number indicating how much time is left will disappear. However, the buff icon will remain without a timer, only vanishing after the craft is complete.
This can help you squeeze one more craft out of each individual food or potion you use. That’s good for a few reasons. One is that high-level food and potions can get pretty expensive. They often require rare ingredients that are a pain to find in the open world. On the other hand, food and potions can save you a lot of money in the short-term by making otherwise impossible-to-craft items attainable without the use of expensive Materia.
“Partial Match” is Basically a Keyword Search
Whether you’re crafting, gathering, selling, or just buying something for yourself, make sure to turn on “Partial Match” at the Market Board. This makes rummaging for specific items on the player-run auction house much easier. For whatever reason, the search function on the Market Board requires an exact match by default. This doesn’t just mean spelling the name of the item correctly. It means spelling out every word in the right order, too.
Let’s say you want to check the prices of all available types of red dye on the Market Board. By default, searching for “red dye” will simply return “No matching items.” This is, of course, ridiculous. There are nearly a dozen types of red dye sold between players every day. Now turn on Partial Match, using the checkbox at the top of the Market Board screen. Searching for red dye will then turn up results for every available red dye in the game (unless you count pink dye, in which case you’d need to search for those instead). The reason they didn’t show up before was because every red dye has an individual adjective at the start of its name (e.g. Dalamud Red Dye).
Turn this feature on and never look back.
Check Out the Competitive Multiplayer
FFXIV has gotten easier and easier to play as a nearly solo experience. Duty Support, Squadrons, and the Trust system all make running “cooperative” content like dungeons a breeze when played alone. Player-versus-player content, or PVP, is a different beast. It doesn’t just force you to play with a team of other players; it pits you against them in competitive battles. It’s also a very important part of FFXIV at large.
Even before the addition of Crystalline Conflict, PVP was a great source of XP and other in-game rewards. You can perform your daily “Frontline” mission under the Duty Roulette to play a big, confusing, often intimidating competitive mode where large groups of players capture control points. The stakes for winning and losing are pretty low (if you don’t care much about your PVP rank). But the XP is excellent and you get a handful of Tomestones for your trouble. With the introduction of Crystalline Conflict, however, you can really rake in the Tomestones like never before.
This smaller-scale mission type only includes 10 players split even between two teams. The objective is to push a crystal payload in the center of the map to the opposing side. What’s great about this is that it only takes about five minutes. Less if you win or lose extremely quickly. Losing is of course less than ideal, but you still get a great deal of Tomestones for the time investment. These can then be converted into high-level gear. Potentially even better is buying endgame crafting materials from a Tomestone Exchange NPC. These vendors sell unique items used in endgame gear recipes — which you can flip on the Market Board or use yourself for even greater profits.
All of this is in addition to leveling up your PVP series rank, which unlocks exclusive (often extremely good) glamour options.
Your PVP Skills Are Very Different
Speaking of PVP: it’s a very different beast than the rest of the game. Nearly all of your character’s skills are quite literally entirely different — just with a shared flavor or theme. You need to set your PVP hotbars for competitive combat before diving into Crystalline Conflict or anything else. Luckily, there’s a who special area of FFXIV where you can do just that: Wolves’ Den Pier. This is technically located in Limsa Lominsa, but you can access it as a character from any starting city under any Grand Company. Just speak to your Grand Company commander to be taken into the zone.
Once you reach the pier, make sure to attune to the Aetheryte (as you always should when finding a new one). This will allow you to return to the location from anywhere in the world. After that, you’re free to mess around with your PVP actions as you please. Head to your “PVP Profile” under the Character menu to find your unique Job Actions. Any hotbars you set while standing in the Wolves’ Den Pier will remain active for that Job when you enter a PVP mode — saving you the trouble of setting those bars up mid-battle. Not to mention the pier has training dummies for you to practice these unique skills.
Join a Free Company
As mentioned above, Free Companies can provide a buff that increases your Spiritbond rate. That’s hardly all they can do, though. Free Companies provide all sorts of buffs — depending on the whims of the high-ranking members. A great Free Company can genuinely help you meet lifelong friends. Many FCs run Discord servers, or something similar, where they organize raid nights or help newcomers clear complicated content, like Extreme Trials. The FFXIV community is generally a cut above the rest (speaking as someone who’s played dozens of different MMOs and similar multiplayer games). There are tons of lovely people looking to have fun with likeminded folks.
A truly great FC like that can still be slightly hard to find. Or maybe you’re just not looking for that kind commitment. Even joining a chill, middle-of-the-road FC that consistently provides buffs to its members is better than not being in one at all. Besides Spiritbonding, common buffs include bonus XP and extended meal effects. I.e. you will level up faster and spend less gil on potions or food. There is basically no downside to accepting these rewards. Why not take advantage of them? You might just get lucky and find one of those fantastic groups in the process.
There’s a Quick Select for Quest Items (Especially for Controllers)
Here’s another extremely tiny tip. You don’t need to manually seek out and select items when turning them in for quests. You can instead right-click the icon showing the required item in the “Item Request” menu that pops up during these missions. Controller players can instead use the Square or X buttons if they use PlayStation or Xbox controllers, respectively. This will automatically pull up a third window showing every item you have that meets the requirement. You can then simply hit the accept button to turn the object in for the quest. The image above should help illustrate what I mean.
This is just a small quality-of-life tip that shouldn’t affect your regular play too often. It’s most useful for controller players who also craft. It saves you the trouble of hunting through pages of inventory when turning in Levequests or delivery items. Still, it’s useful to know!
Chocobos Need Feed
“Need” is perhaps a strong word, but I couldn’t resist the rhyme. Seriously, though, you should feed your Chocobo. By default these combat companions can only reach Level 10. This limits the total number of skills and abilities they get. However, after reaching Level 10, you can stable your Chocobo to feed it. Though you need either a house or an apartment in one of the game’s residential districts. This is yet another great reason to join a Free Company. Many of them have houses which are shared between members. It’s easier to afford an FFXIV house with pooled money, after all, and more virtual real estate is available to FCs than individual players. FC houses can provide stables for you to shack up your Chocobo.
You can feed them once they’re in the stable. Arguably the most important Chocobo Food is the Thavnairian Onion: which raises their level cap by one. You can continue feeding them onions every time they level up until your Chocobo Reaches Level 20 (the current maximum). There are certainly other types of food, though. Some increase their stats while others adjust the color of your bird friend’s feathers. Just be wary when purchasing these yourself. The requisite snacks can cost a fortune on the in-game Market Board.
Get Through the MSQ
Your Chocobo won’t help you through the Main Scenario Quest (otherwise known as they MSQ) very much. You should still muscle through it on your own. FFXIV isn’t like a lot of other MMOs, where the overarching story happens in the background, or large chapters of it can be skipped from expansion to expansion. At least not without paying real-world money. You need to complete the story campaign.
Absolutely massive chunks of FFXIV are behind the (largely) single-player tale. Dungeons, Trials, zones, side quests, abilities, and more: all of it shows up as you progress. As such it’s imperative to just keep on playing till the end. This is a daunting task… The “2.0” content, otherwise known as A Realm Reborn, is quite a slog. Even after its most egregious fluff was trimmed in a more modern update. Events do pick up speed after that point but even then it’s sometimes frustrating to wade through oceans of dialogue to unlock the best gameplay.
There’s really no getting around it, though. It should really be your t0p priority for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is all that side content mentioned above. However, playing through the MSQ also helps elucidate which content is important and when. For example, you can unlock Materia overmelding comparatively early in the main story. Yet you really shouldn’t engage with that system until reaching the level cap. Speaking of which: the MSQ awards a very smooth degree of XP so that you can easily raise one main Job to the cap without much grinding.
The Free Trial is a Separate App (Sometimes)
This might not count as a “tip” so much as a warning or a PSA. New players should be aware that the purchasing process for FFXIV is a bit of a mess. Some versions of the game are entirely different downloads than the “main” game — most notably the free trial you can get on PC. PlayStation players should be unaffected.
This might not be a huge issue, or really even worth mentioning, but it’s come up enough times that we had to create our own guide to the transfer process for new players. Especially since it’s possible to play through the entire aforementioned A Realm Reborn campaign and the Heavensward expansion for free. Many people don’t realize that they may need to uninstall and reinstall the game to continue playing. You also need to play on the right virtual platform, for the record, since the Steam version of FFXIV is considered a completely different entity than the non-Steam PC edition. Purchasing an expansion on Steam, if you own the base game through the Square Enix store, won’t work. I have no idea why this is so confusing, but it’s the current way of things…
The Weekly Reset is on Tuesday
If you’ve ever played a persistent online game before, you might be familiar with the concept of a “weekly reset.” If you haven’t, this is a real-world time when a sort of flip gets switched — resetting all things that can only be completed or earned a limited number of times per week. This encompasses a large number of activities in FFXIV: notably Custom Deliveries, weekly challenges, and raid drops. Any one player character can only complete 12 Custom Deliveries per week, for example. After that they must wait until the weekly reset to do more. That’s really all there is to it! Though this also means that, if there’s some kind of weekly event you really want to participate in, you should do it quickly. The reset can sneak up on you. In this case the time to get things done before is every Tuesday at 12 a.m. PST / 3 a.m. EST. Note that there is no Daylight Savings Time in Eorzea, so the real-world hour jumps forward by one in the spring for territories that use it.
Check Out the Weekly Fashion Report
One odd exception to the weekly reset? The FFXIV Fashion Report. This is a repeatable event that can award a massive amount of MGP once every week. MGP, for the record, is the currency used by the Manderville Gold Saucer: a pseudo-casino found in Thanalan. It’s not a huge part of the game on its own. However, you can buy some truly wild cosmetic items for MGP inside its neon-soaked halls. This includes mounts, hairstyles, glamour items, and more. The only downside is that MGP can be a pain to farm. It’s almost totally disconnected from the rest of FFXIV and isn’t usually awarded in large nor guaranteed amounts. Except from the Fashion Report. This makes the report well worth doing if you care about cosmetic items at all (and who doesn’t?).
You just need to unlock the Gold Saucer via the Level 15 side quest “It Could Happen to You” in Ul’dah – Steps of Nald (X: 9.6, Y: 9.0). Then you can pick up the quest “Passion for Fashion” inside the saucer itself (X: 4.8, Y: 6.1) from an NPC named Lewena. This unlocks the Fashion Report from this point forward. Each “report” is basically just a preset theme of items you need to wear in order to earn a certain number of points from an NPC judge. If you reach 80 out of 100 points, you get 60,000 MGP. The challenge itself resets every Tuesday at the usual time. However, you can only present yourself for judging starting on Friday of each real-world week. This judging period then closes again on Tuesday (at the usual weekly reset time).
Keep an Eye on Your Challenge Log
The weekly challenges mentioned above shouldn’t be ignored, either. These are easy to complete passively; they usually require doing things many players already do anyway. That means things like running a certain number of dungeons or crafting High Quality items. FFXIV will warn you whenever you’re close to completing such a challenge. For example, if you’re just one Duty Roulette away from finishing the challenge “Feeling Lucky,” you will get a notification on your screen warning you of that fact. What the game doesn’t tell you outright is that many of these challenges have scaling XP rewards which are doled out automatically as soon as the challenge completes.
Unlike some rewards, like the “Adventurer in Need” bonus, these don’t update for max-level classes. That means completing certain weekly challenges as a Job at the level cap is worse than completing it as a lower-level one. If you complete “Feeling Lucky” as a level capped Dark Knight, for example, you still get the gil reward associated with the challenge. Yet the XP reward is effectively thrown out the window. Only the last step of the challenge matters, though. “Feeling Lucky” tasks you with completing three Duty Roulette missions. So you can complete the first two roulettes as that capped Dark Knight. Then just switch to, for example, a Level 76 Black Mage for your the third and last step of the challenge. This will give the Black Mage the XP reward (which scales according to the level of the Job) while letting you complete most of the challenge as a different class.
This is just an example, but it’s a potentially useful one, since tanks and healers queue into duties faster than DPS players. This way you can get the bonus XP on the harder-to-queue class but also skip the lines by playing a tank. Keep these rules of thumb in mind when checking all the rewards in your “Challenge Log,” which is found under the Logs menu.
Wondrous Tails Can Trick You
Starting at Level 60 on any combat class, you can complete Wondrous Tails. These are technically a weekly challenge, or set of weekly challenges, that become available at the usual time on Tuesday. However, Wondrous Tails don’t automatically reset after seven days. Wondrous Tails exist as an actual object (in this case a book) in your inventory. You need to both manually acquire the book from the NPC Khloe Aliopoh in Idyllshire. It will provide you a list of 16 semi-random challenges to complete. You must finish any nine of these before a deadline (which is assigned when you pick up the book).
This deadline is two Tuesdays past whenever you pick up the book. Meaning the longer you wait after the Tuesday reset to pick up your Wondrous Tails, the less time you have to complete its challenges. Though you really want to finish it before the very next reset anyway. You can pick up one new Wondrous Tails every week, on the Tuesday reset, but you can only hold one copy of the book at a time. That means waiting too long will give you fewer total Wondrous Tails altogether.
This probably sounds a little complicated. It is, to be quite honest. Think of it this way: If you pick up a Wondrous Tails right away on the first Tuesday of the month, you have until the third Tuesday of the month to finish it. However, you should actually finish it before the second Tuesday of the month. That way you can pick up another Wondrous Tails on the second Tuesday and claim another set of rewards. If you wait until after the second Tuesday, you will still be holding your original Wondrous Tails —making you ineligible to receive another copy until the third week. This reduces the total number of Wondrous Tails you can complete in all.
The TL;DR is to make sure you pick up your Wondrous Tails as quickly as possible after the Tuesday morning reset. Then always make sure to complete them no later than the following Monday evening. This ensures the greatest number of rewards — which are actually quite good. They’re worth a spectacular amount of XP that scales to whichever class you have equipped when you turn in a complete book. You can complete the challenges as any class you like and still get the XP as a different role, too. So long as you have that class equipped when turning the book back in to Khloe. This makes it a great way to supplement your low-level Job grind.
Beyond the XP, the other rewards aren’t bad, just inconsistent. You can get a huge number of Tomestones, MGP, or certificates for ultra-rare items that Khloe sells. But the odds are getting anything beyond the lowest tier of rewards is quite low. That’s why it’s doubly important to complete as many Wondrous Tails as possible (one per week).
There Are Multiple Daily Resets
The weekly reset isn’t the only thing you need to worry about (as you can probably gather from this section’s name). There are also elements of the game that reset once every 24 hours. Even that’s a gross oversimplification, though. There are multiple daily reset times for different features. Though the most important one occurs at 8 a.m. PST / 11 a.m. EST. This is when your Duty Roulette resets, alongside your set of 12 daily allotted Tribe Quests. This should be the most meaningful daily reset time to the largest number of players. The Duty Roulette in particular is a huge source of in-game income and rewards (e.g. Tomestones) for any players at the right level. Prior to that, it’s one of the more efficient ways to earn XP for combat classes.
Below that are some of the more oddly timed daily resets:
Supply and Provisioning Missions
Supply and Provisioning Missions mostly matter to crafters and gatherers. They’re a great way to level up those classes — in addition to making a hefty chunk of Grand Company Seals. They reset at 12 p.m. PST / 3 p.m. EST. Leve Allowances don’t technically have a daily reset at all. It’s a twice daily reset: once every 12 hours. You get three allowances (which let you accept one levequest each) at each of those intervals. These happen at 4 a.m. PST / 7 a.m. EST and 4 p.m. PST / 7 p.m. EST. Map allowances have their own quirks. So much so that I’ll address those in a different section. Effectively, though, you can unearth one treasure map as a gathering class per day.
Map the Realm (Every 18 Hours)
Okay. Let’s talk about Treasure Maps. They’re great! They also require a bit of planning and forethought. Treasure Maps are just what they sound like: maps that lead to a buried stash of treasure which spawns somewhere in the world of FFXIV. The exact “somewhere” is semi-random. Different types of Treasure Maps can be found in different locations. Depending on where you find them, you will pull up different types of maps, which draw from a different pool of possible locations. Kumbhiraskin Maps, for example, are found in any of the six Endwalker regions. That means they lead to treasure buried someone in an Endwalker region, in turn. Gliderskin Maps are instead found in Shadowbringers locales. They, too, will lead you to Shadowbringers areas when digging up the treasure itself. And so on and so forth…
We actually have an entire guide to the process of finding, deciphering, and hunting down maps. This tip here is just to tell you that they exist. Like so much stuff in FFXIV, the feature is hidden behind a side quest. You need to speak with H’loonh in Eastern La Noscea (X: 21.1, Y: 21.1) after reaching Level 36. Complete his quest “Treasures and Tribulations” to unlock Treasure Maps. From that point forward, you will be able to find maps as a Miner, Botanist, or Fisher from Level 40 gathering nodes and up. New varieties of map can be found at nodes every five levels higher — up until Level 60. That means Level 40, Level 45, Level 50, Level 55, and Level 60 gathering nodes each contain different types of maps. From that point forward it switches to numbers divisible by 10: Level 70, Level 80, Level 90, and so on.
You can only acquire one map every 18 hours — no matter which type you get. This is your single “map allowance.” That means, if you collect a Level 45 map, you’re still locked out of getting a Level 80 map until 18 hours pass. And I mean “until 18 hours pass.” This isn’t like the daily and weekly resets. The timer starts ticking down as soon as you collect any single map. Make sure to grab them as soon as possible!
Max Out Your Custom Deliveries
Speaking of gathering, Custom Deliveries are one of the best (read: least tedious) ways to collect Gatherer’s Scrip. Though you can also complete them for Crafter’s Scrip depending on your needs. Whichever the case, just make sure you level up your Custom Deliveries. All of them. Each NPC who accepts such deliveries starts offering bonus Scrip after you finish their questlines and max out your reputation with them. These bonuses, however, are random. Some weeks a particular NPC might offer bonus Scrip for delivering fish. Other times it might be for crafted items. Other times still they might not give anything extra at all.
This means you want to cast the widest net possible. The more Custom Deliveries NPCs you level up all the way, the more opportunities for weekly bonus Scrip — for whichever kind of delivery you prefer. Though this can be a little irritating. You can only perform 12 Custom Deliveries every week (starting at the usual reset time). Not to mention any individual NPC only takes six deliveries per week. It takes literal months to level all your Custom Deliveries. And if you want to be even more efficient, that means focusing on lower-level deliveries to get them up to snuff, rather than getting bonuses you may already have access to. It’s well worth it in the long run, though.
You can find more specific information on Custom Deliveries in our guide to leveling up crafting classes.
Track Everything Easily
Perhaps you don’t want to keep all these weeklies, dailies, and time zones straight in your head. You don’t have to! FFXIV does it for you — if you know where to check. Just go to the Duty menu and select “Timers.” This will bring up a window that shows most of the daily and weekly reset times down to the very minute. You can even click through some of these for extra information. Namely Supply and Provisioning Missions and Custom Deliveries. This saves you the trouble of teleporting to the relevant NPCs and seeing what they need from you. Note that the specific hours shown are displayed in your own local time!
The Companion App is More Than That
We’re living in the age of smartphones. So of course there’s a companion app to go with FFXIV. And like a lot of games’ companion apps, it’s actually very basic. You can look at your character, see which of your friends are online, and do some light inventory management. Some of the potentially useful features — like checking the Eorzea Database and adjusting your Market Board sales — are woefully limited. The database just kicks you to a browser. Adjusting the Market Board, meanwhile, requires a currency called “Kupo Nuts.” You earn one nut per day and can only hold two at a time… unless you pay extra.
Even without paying, however, you get some benefits just for downloading the app: a unique emote, backgrounds for your Adventurer Plate, and an extra Favored Destination to set when teleporting. All of which is well worth the free download. Even if you never touch the app again. Then of course there’s the $5 per month option.
Paying for the “premium” companion app tacks an extra $5 onto your monthly subscription fee. In exchange, you get double the Kupo Nuts per day and can hold up to 10 at one time. This… still isn’t that useful. Not when undercutting is so brutal that you often need to do it dozens of times per hour if you wanna compete. On the other hand, you also get a third Retainer for use in-game. Plus a second Chocobo Saddlebag (and the 70 extra inventory slots that entails). At the moment, this is the only way to acquire more FFXIV inventory space in the open world. You can hire even more Retainers on their own — for an extra $2 per month per Retainer — but you can only access these sedentary companions in towns and outputs. Thus you might want to consider the companion app if $5 a month is no object and you’re really hurting for inventory slots.
Allagan Bronze (and Silver and Gold) is Worth More at Doma
Allagan Silver Pieces are one of the more common types of “vendor trash” in FFXIV. You can get these from Retainer Ventures, certain quests, or desynthesizing fish. This is just one of several types of trade-in item, however. Different varieties — from Allagan Tin Pieces to Allagan Platinum Pieces — can also be found or earned. Yet their only purpose is to be sold for gil. You can put them up on the Market Board, just like the Clear Demimateria mentioned above, but the odds of other players buying them is slim. They serve no function besides earning an easy buck.
This makes them a go-to item to sell at the Doman Enclave. Most other items in FFXIV serve some sort of purpose. Since these do not, they should be sold immediately to make inventory space, and Doma gives the best prices at double whatever a normal NPC would give you. It’s up to you whether or not it’s worth hoarding them each week. The Doman Enclave budget only lets you double your money so much per week, so it can be more profitable to hold onto your pieces until a Tuesday. You might still wind up with more Allagan Silver Pieces than they can pay for, though. Just two Allagan Platinum Pieces, for example, will reach the enclave’s maximum budget for an entire week.
Hands-On Repair is Cheaper Than Menders
Players who level up the crafting classes enjoy many useful benefits in FFXIV. The most obvious bonus is crafting your own endgame gear for cheap — as well as selling that gear for massive profits on the Market Board. But it’s not always about huge income. Sometimes it’s the little things that make you money in FFXIV. Things like repairing your own gear. Every crafting class in the game (except for Culinarians) can repair different subcategories of equipment without needing to speak with an NPC “mender.”
This may not seem like much, but repair costs in FFXIV, especially for endgame items, can get laughably expensive. Dark Matter — the special item used to repair weapons and armor as a player — is astronomically cheaper. It even allows you to repair your gear past 100 percent Condition (the FFXIV term for gear durability) up to an actual maximum of 200 percent. This means you don’t need to wait till your equipment breaks or drops into the single digits of Condition. Instead it’s always equally efficient to repair your gear yourself, no matter how close it is to breaking. It will also save you hundreds of thousands of gil in no large amount of time. And remember: saving money is making money.
Spend Your Seals
Most types of currency in FFXIV have an upper limit, or “cap.” It’s generally a good idea to never reach said cap. The reason being that anything you earn over this limit will be lost, as you “overcap” on the amount. Instead it’s better to spend them early and often to make sure you aren’t simply throwing currency away. Currency like Tomestones, Scrip, and Grand Company Seals. That last one might be the trickiest for a lot of players. Seals aren’t the most valuable currency in the game (meaning they’re not on players’ minds very often) and it’s easy to forget you’re even earning the dang things.
Don’t let their genericism fool you, though. Seals are pretty useful. You can spend them at your Grand Company headquarters via the Quartermaster NPC. They’ll sell you all sorts of random things. Though most players probably only need to worry about basic items. Ventures are a good option for basically everyone. This is another currency used to pay your Retainers to go out on missions (also referred to as Ventures). Since the items they bring back can be flipped for gil, this is effectively converting seals into cash. The same goes for Dark Matter. As mentioned above, this is tremendously cheaper than paying menders to repair your gear.
Spend Your Tomestones of Poetics
Tomestones of Poetics are similar to Grand Company Seals in that they’re easy to overlook. They’re also much, much easier to overcap than Seals (which have a tremendously high total cap). You can only hold 2,000 Tomestones of Poetics at one time. This is the same ceiling as other Tomestones, but players tend to acquire them much more quickly than the higher-level versions, and FFXIV doesn’t always warn you when you’ve reached the limit. It will tell you when turning in things like Tribe Quests will cause you to overcap. It won’t warn you if completing a dungeon might do so. That means you need to keep a keen eye on your Poetics and spend them wisely. Luckily, that’s pretty easy to do. we have a whole guide to what to spend your Tomestones of Poetics on and where already. It’s a great little source of nearly passive income if you know how!
Old Raids Clog Up Your Inventory
The system for acquiring raid gear becomes fairly clear with practice. It’s just a bit confusing at first because the rules for loot players can get from raids changes over time. Dungeons can be run over again over again — with each chest awarding gear every time. You can play until you get whatever you want. Old raids function more-or-less the same way. This may trip you up at first as you go in assuming that’s how it always works. However, there are some distinct differences.
The first is that “Normal Raids” don’t drop gear at all. They instead drop generic items that cannot be used by the player. You must exchange these for actual loot with a particular NPC marked “Relic Exchange.” This is not to be confused with Relic Weapons, which is a whole different ball of wax… Raid relics are more like a currency: items used to buy armor. The type of relic often matches the type of armor it’s use to purchase at the Relic Exchange. An Asphodelos raid, for example, might award you an “Unsung Helm of Asphodelos.” You can spend two of these to buy a Level 90 helmet from the Radz-at-Han Relic Exchange. Though different types of gear require more or fewer relics in order to purchase. Torso armor requires four torso relics, but rings only require one ring relic.
Older relics can actually overload your inventory. They take up bag slots despite technically being a type of currency. Especially since there’s no limit to the number you can acquire from older raids. It’s often best to just discard these if you do loot them. Though you can technically use them to buy gear for alternate Jobs. Or just desynth it for crafting materials. Tomestones of Poetics are a much more efficient means of buying cheap leveling equipment anyway. Just make sure to sell or use your desynth items if you go that route. Otherwise, you’ll have the exact same inventory issue as before.
New Raids Give Weekly Armor and Upgrades
Loot from the newest raids works more-0r-less the same as with old raids. The biggest difference is that you can usually only pick one relic from each raid boss per week. That means a total of four relics from each set of Normal Raids (enough to buy one piece of torso armor or four different accessories, depending on what you prioritize). These restrictions are then lifted over time — typically whenever an even newer raid comes to supplant the last one. In Endwalker, for instance, the restrictions on Asphodelos loot were removed when that raid was supplanted by the Aglaia “Alliance Raid.”
Alliance Raids are yet another wrinkle in this system. They’re much larger than eight-player Normal Raids. They require three teams of eight working together. There are no relics inside, either. Alliance Raids drop gear — plain and simple. Though the restriction on new raids remains. You can only get one item per chest within the raid per week. Even that’s not the end of it, though. Up-to-date Alliance Raids also drop a special upgrade item for every player once per week. Agalaia gives out the “Aglaia Coin,” for instance. This is then traded to a “Totem and Sundry Exchange” NPC for yet another special item. Either a particular type of twine or a particular type of coating. Continuing the Agalia example: one Aglaia Coin can be traded for either one Radiant Twine or one Radiant Coating.
Twine and coating are then, finally, used to upgrade gear purchased with the highest level of Tomestones at a third NPC: the “Tomestone Exchange” vendor. To use the Level 90 example one more time, take your Radiant Twine and/or Radiant Thread and your Tomestone of Astronomy Gear to a fourth and final NPC simply labeled “Gear Exchange.” They will take the armor, plus the twine and/or coating, and give you an upgraded version of that same armor instead.
The step-by-step upgrade process looks like during Patch 6.1:
Use Tomestones of Astronomy to buy “Radiant” armor from the Tomestone Exchange
Complete the Aglaia raid to earn one Aglaia Coin per week
Sell your Aglaia Coin to Totem and Sundry Exchange for either Radiant Twine or Radiant Coating
Speak to Gear Exchange to use Radiant Twine to upgrade Radiant armor, or Radiant Coating to upgrade Radiant accessories
This whole process is the same with every expansion. The names of the items and armor simply change. Shadowbringers used “Crypt Twine” to upgrade Cryptlurker armor, for instance. It’s still a bit of a mess either way.
Why is that? Why is this whole process so confusing? Why must you speak to no fewer than four different NPCs to acquire half-a-dozen different items just to upgrade your gear? Nobody is quite sure. That’s just how it works in FFXIV. We grin and bear it for the sake of the grind.
Secondary Classes Level Up Faster
One much simpler upgrade system is straight-up leveling. There are a hundred different ways to grind XP on your various classes. Fortunately, it gets easier after the first time. Literally. FFXIV sports a useful feature called the “Armoury Bonus.” This grants 100 percent extra XP to every class below your highest-level one. If you main a Level 50 White Mage, for example, your Level 15 Dragoon will get double the XP until they reach Level 50 as well.
The bonus only dips once you reach 10 levels below the current cap. In other words: you only get 50 percent extra XP on alternate Jobs between Levels 80-90 during Endwalker. Assuming you have a Level 90 character at all, of course. Basically, though, it pays to power one class through to the level cap as quickly as possible. All other leveling gets easier as a result. That’s just one more reason to muscle through the MSQ and enjoy its major influx of XP!
Tanks Are in High Demand, DPS is Not
Of course, if you really want fast XP, queue times are one of the biggest obstacles in your way. At least they used to be. This isn’t nearly as much of an issue after the release of Endwalker. The expansion added a much more comprehensive single-player experience to dungeon and Trial content. Now it’s quite easy to run “cooperative” activities all by yourself — using Duty Support and the Trust system. We’ve gone over all of this in previous sections, but there are still a few things to note. Namely the “Adventurer in Need” bonus that awards even more XP after your Duty Roulette clears (as well as a host of other rewards).
You can’t skip the queues as any particular class. However, you can greatly increase the odds of getting in quickly, if not almost instantly, by playing a tank. Your mileage will vary according to your server and the time of day. Not to mention pure, stupid luck. But tanks are typically the most in-demand role in FFXIV. This is closely followed by healers with DPS as a very distant third. Again, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it holds generally true. The most likely reason being that tanking is much harder than healing or damage-dealing. The latter two roles just need to move numbers around. Whereas tanks need to position bosses, draw aggro, swap aggro with the off-tank, etc. That’s an oversimplification; there are times when other classes have complex duties to perform in raids and dungeons. It’s just generally true in practice.
Don’t Fear the Friendly Stuff
This is probably obvious to a lot of players, but it’s certainly not something the game directly warns you about. Not unless you play one or two very specific classes. FFXIV sports a huge number of custom “AoE markers.” These area-of-effect warnings are typically orange and deadly. Enemies (especially bosses) use them to signal they’re are about to do something nasty over a large zone. Standing inside one typically results in damage and one of those Vulnerability Up debuffs mentioned above. There are also red markers to denote a “tankbuster” will happen, “stack up” markers to show teammates need to stand together and share damage, purple rings telling you to get as far away as possible, and more. Yet there are also friendly AoE markers.
Some of these are simply visual effects on allies’ attacks (e.g. Salted Earth). You don’t need to worry about those too much. Others are actually beneficial for you — so long as you stand on top of them. Spells like Sacred Soil and the like. These are usually pretty easy to distinguish from negative mechanics, but it may take some for new players. A good rule of thumb is to look for very obvious shapes and patterns. Boss mechanics usually have extremely clear-cut, fourth wall-breaking indicators — like huge arrows pointing in a direction and circles spinning around to draw your attention. Player abilities are usually more appropriate to the fiction — flashier and less instantly recognizable as obvious symbols.
Turn Down Friendly Spell Effects
Even if you already have a good eye for what’s friendly and what’s not, I highly recommend turning down friendly spell and ability effects. I know! It sucks to lose some of that flashy, dramatic ambience. But it’s damn near mandatory in certain circumstances. Circumstances like the aforementioned FATEs, or their big cousins: the Critical Engagements found in Zadnor and Bozja. There are often so many players doing so much at one time in these activities that it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s going on beneath all the fireballs and exploding dives.
You also don’t need to turn off the visual effects completely. The system is slightly customizable — allowing you to set “limited” effects for players outside your party. Just tweak it to your liking. The options are found Character Configuration → Control Settings → Character → Battle Effect Settings.
Armor Types Have Their Own Subcategories
Striking, Scouting, Aiming, Maiming, Casting, Fending, Healing: There are several different subcategories of armor through FFXIV. These aren’t super well-explained, but the gist is that most armor sets are wearable by multiple Jobs within the same subcategory. You can always see which one by reading the items’ descriptions. There is a tiny bit of overlap between some of these armor types. However, at a glance, the categories listed at the start of this section fall into these camps:
Striking = Pugilist/Monk and Samurai
Scouting = Rogue/Ninja
Aiming = Archer/Bard, Machinist, and Dancer
Maiming = Lancer/Dragoon and Reaper
Casting = Thaumaturge/Black Mage, Arcanist/Summoner, Red Mage, and Blue Mage
Fending = Tanks
Healing = Healers (duh)
The Asphodelos Himation of Maiming, for example, is wearable by Lancers/Dragoons and Reapers. Nobody else can wear it. This distinction doesn’t really matter much in general play. You’ll like always just roll for, purchase, or craft whatever gear is currently the best for your main character. It mostly only matters when leveling up alternate Jobs. Armor that can be shared across multiple Jobs makes it easier, cheaper, and less of a strain on your inventory if you want to level up, say, both a Machinist and a Dancer.
You can buy armor like Augmented Ironworks gear with Tomestones of Poetics to build a small collection of leveling armor this way. The same goes for buying armor off the Market Board or crafting it yourself. Most armor in FFXIV works this way. One major exception is gear acquired from Job-specific quests. Weapons are also mostly class-specific, since these are what determine whichever Job you have equipped in the first place. The categories listed above also expand as the game adds new classes. “Maiming” armor, for instance, only included Lancer/Dragoon until Endwalker. Expect these groups to encompass more new classes over time.
Maybe Try Using a Controller
FFXIV is playable on both PC and PlayStation. That means the game is fully functional with a controller. In point of fact, some actions feel quicker and/or more natural with a controller than with a mouse and keyboard. I, for one, find positioning my character around area-of-effect attacks and boss mechanics much easier with analogue controller than the stop-start digital input of a keyboard. Then again, healing can be a bit of a pain in Alliance Raids, since selecting targets not in your group is more difficult without a mouse. It all depends on your role and personal preferences.
The actual best solution, in my opinion, is a mixture: a keyboard for typing, a mouse for selecting individual targets very quickly, and a controller for moving and combat. Regardless, you should always be able to reliably reach your skills with a controller layout. The FFXIV developers reduce the overall number of class skills with each new expansion — converting active skills into passive traits, combining multiple moves into one, etc. This isn’t really acknowledged directly in-game. However, it’s something the team has spoken about during Live Letters and the like over the years.
Red Outlines Show Aggro
Back to the topic of Alliance Raids, if you ever need to know which tank to heal, just look for the red outline. Whoever has primary “enmity” (the FFXIV word for aggro) will have a faint, glowing glow around their health bar. Even if they’re in another party. The icons appear in the graph of icons at the top of your screen by default. While technically any player can be the primary target during an encounter, this should almost always display a tank player. Each party gets one tank in Alliance Raids — one of which will be taking the role of main tank.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore your own party altogether. Plenty of bosses target multiple tanks at the same time, force them to share damage, or summon adds that need to be tanked separately. Always prioritize your teammates over someone else! But there will certainly be times when you can or even need to protect players from an allied squad.
On a similar note, if it wasn’t clear already, your tank gets a different icon than those on other teams. This is the same icon that appears during dungeons, Trials, and Normal Raids: basically any group content where everyone is in a single “Light Party” of four or a “Fully Party” of eight. The enmity icon in this case is a white, horizontal line under the tank’s Job icon. You can use this to quickly tell who is main tanking (if you’re in a Full Party with two tanks) or to note if your tank is the primary target (when there are multiple parties in an Alliance Raid).
Recruit a Squadron and Use It
The “Squadron” system of FFXIV has become less and less important over time. Duty Support and the Trust system have largely replaced it. However, you can still recruit a squadron — your own small army of customizable NPCs — and send them out on missions. They can even accompany you on low- to mid-level dungeons. That makes it a great way to earn XP when leveling alternate Jobs. Especially when you factor in the bonus rewards earned on “Squadron Missions.”
You can send your Squadron on one such mission per week. They will complete the quest (or fail it if you’re unlucky) after several real-world hours. It functions similar to Retainer Ventures, but with more NPCs involved. The costs and rewards are also different. You spend Grand Company Seals to send your Squadron on each mission. In return, you get consumable “manuals” that provide time-limited buffs. These have a wide variety of uses. Though the generally most sought-after are manuals that boost your XP — allowing you to power level classes faster.
To unlock Squadrons, you first need to level up in your Grand Company to the rank of Second Lieutenant. You essentially need to “buy” this promotion from your Personnel Officer (also using Grand Company Seals as currency). Simply select the option “Apply for a Promotion” when you have the requisite number of seals. Before that, though, you need to meet the requisite Rank 1 and Rank 2 Hunting Logs for your Grand Company — found in your Logs menu. Click on your Grand Company icon within the Hunting Log to see what monsters you need to kill to finish both logs.
As you rise up through the ranks, you will receive a couple of side missions culminating in the quest “Gilding the Bilious.” With this mission complete, your Rank 1 and Rank 2 Grand Company Hunting Logs filled out, and a starting cost of 9,000 Grand Company Seals, you can finally buy the rank of Second Lieutenant. This unlocks Squadrons. From then on you can recruit and passively train your crew of randomized NPCs. You can even take them on “Command Missions” (i.e. running dungeons with them) to further level them and yourself. This can also unlock unique perks for each squad member.
Materia Vendors Use Their Own Currency
There are actually several different items in FFXIV that use the phrase “cluster,” but in this case I’m using it as shorthand for the various currencies accepted by Materia Vendors. Items like the “Cracked Anthocluster,” or the “Cracked Dendrocluster.” They’re not to be confused with “Bozjan Clusters” (found in the Bozjan Southern Front) or elemental clusters (the highest tier of Crafting Catalyst used by, well, crafters). Materia clusters, or whatever you want to call them, can be brought to any Materia Vendor NPC found in the game’s various cities. They’ll give you the goods in exchange for the currency token.
That being said, each type of cluster only purchases one Materia of a given grade. While it’s not obvious at first glance, the game actually does tell you which currency buys which type of which grade. You just need to read the item description for each one. Materia Clusters are stored in your regular inventory, unlike normal currencies, so each individual type takes up extra space that you may want to free up by purchasing more Materia. The aforementioned Cracked Anthocluster will purchase any Grade X combat Materia. Whereas a Cracked Dendrocluster will purchase one Grade IX combat Materia, and so on, and so forth.
FFXIV is less clear about where these clusters come from and which are more valuable. The far less common Materia crystals (e.g. Anthocrystals and Dendocrystals) are typically more valuable. This is because they’re used to buy crafting and gathering Materia — both of which are more vital to their respective classes than combat Materia. Combat Materia may increase your damage or healing output, but many high-level crafts aren’t even possible without pentamelded gear. At least not consistently. Crafting and gathering also have more direct, consistent impact on Market Board prices. They drive the in-game economy. Thus, they wind up being much more valuable.
You actually may never see a high-level crystal used for Materia. They’re currently only bought for another currency: Khloe’s Certificates of Commendation. These are a potential rare reward from Wondrous Tails. Not only does this mean they have a weekly limit: you might not even get the option to win a certificate at all. Even if you do, you need to pick one in place of other rewards. There are simply much easier ways to acquire crafting and gathering Materia.
Combat Materia clusters, on the other hand, are easy to farm. You can acquire them from Duty Roulettes under the “Leveling” and “Alliance Raid” categories!
The Hildibrand Quests Hide Secret Activities
A series of early, goofy side quests that run through most of FFXIV involve a character called Hildibrand. He’s basically himbo Sherlock Holmes and his storyline gets… weird. Immediately. Though it just seems like a series of silly one-offs at first. That doesn’t hold true as you dig deeper into his missions, however. Hildibrand hides entire, full Trials featuring classic Final Fantasy characters — like Ultros and Yojimbo — behind his substory.
Despite some players not even knowing these exist, FFXIV treats them just like any other boss fight. That means they get added to your Duty Roulette rotation for a little extra variety now and again. The missions are worth doing anyway (they don’t award XP, but they’re good fun and come with other prizes here and there). Yet adding more Trials to your random rotation always keeps things that much more interesting, too.
You can start the whole, lengthy Hildibrand questline by speaking to Wymond in Ul’dah – Steps of Nald (X: 9.8, Y: 8.7) anytime after hitting Level 50. The first quest is called “The Rise and Fall of Gentlemen,” just so you know you’re in the right place.
Get to the Relic Weapon Trials
Speaking of “secret” Trials, there’s also one hidden in the very first set of Relic Weapon quests — the ones that unlock at Level 50 on any combat class. This one is worth unlocking not just for extra variety and to see all the content in the game. It’s actually worth getting for just how easy it is.
The Trials are called “A Relic Reborn: the Hydra” and “A Relic Reborn: the Chimera.” And both are mindlessly simple. The titular hydra and chimera are basically just big, normal enemies with inflated health bars, more than a proper Trial bosses. You can unlock them through the questline that begins with “The Weaponsmith of Legend.” Pick it up from Nedrick Ironheart in Western Thanalan (X: 12.0, Y: 14.3) after hitting Level 50.
These missions don’t get played much anymore since they’re tied to obsolete content. After all, the old Relic Weapons are only worth getting for their cosmetic value. However, collectors and completionists still occasionally run those ancient quests for just that reason. That means the Relic Reborn Trials can and likely will pop up in your Duty Roulette from time to time (once you have them unlocked). The end result? You net some extremely easy, borderline free XP or Tomestones every time you matchmake into the missions! Plus you get the satisfaction of helping folks get some old glamours. It’s win-win.
And that’s it for the biggest stuff we can find that FFXIV doesn’t tell you! We’ll be sure to update this this tips guide with even more information as we dig deeper and discover more stuff. In the meantime, if you’ve got a favorite tip you want to share with other players, you’re more than welcome to include it in the comments below!