FFXIV | Getting Started

Final Fantasy XIV is the phoenix of MMOs. It rose from the ashes of a disastrous first release to become World of Warcraft's closest subscription-based competitor (and quite possibly its overall closest competitor). Its a beautiful game with lots of content and frequent releases.

What is Final Fantasy XIV?

Final Fantasy XIV is the 14th entry in the Final Fantasy series and, like Final Fantasy XI, it is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game). Also called A Realm Reborn, it is set in the world of Eorzea, five years after a cataclysmic battle came to a strange end. It is a largely fantasy setting (with a little bit of magitech) and something of a classic MMORPG, focused on doing the job well rather than radical changes. It does, however, incorporate elements of the Final Fantasy gaming series.

Strengths

  • Story rich
  • Lots of mini games, collections and PvE content
  • Cuteness everywhere
  • Regularly updated with new content of all types
  • Huge range of activities
  • High level of polish

Weaknesses

  • PvP
  • Can be grindy
  • Immersion breaking cuteness
  • Nothing radical or new
  • Activities can be a bit too similar

What do I need to get started? Can I try before I buy?

There are often free weekends/weeks for FFXIV. Some are limited to a few days, others take place over a longer time but limit the total hours you can play. So you can try before you buy if you wait for a bit.

After that you are going to need to buy the game and pay a subscription. That might seem horribly old fashioned, but FFXIV does push out a lot of content for its subs. Updates regularly include new dungeons, main storyline quests, expanded or new gameplay in one of the many systems of bounties, leves, etc. mini-games, etc. There is also an in-game shop, but items are very cheap and quite niche. You also get subscriber rewards for the total number of days you have subscribed.

You can get started with just the base game. You may, however, want to buy Heavensward (the first expansion) early if you want the new race it added. Other than that, it can wait.

You can play on consoles and PC and, uniquely amongst MMOs, those players play together. The experience is definitely superior on the PC, however. This is a traditional MMO with a lot of buttons to press and an in game text-based chat and the keyboard definitely helps.

Au Ra

Au Ra

Character creation and early choices

The first thing you have to do is select a data centre. You should always select the data centre recommended for where you live. As a result of the way FFXIV communication between the server and the client work, you will notice more lag than in other games if you choose a different server. You have been warned.

Character creation in FFXIV is a fairly extensive experience. You get to change a lot of features, but only to pre-sets (no sliders). However, the sheer number of them gives a lot of variety. You need to choose a race and a gender, followed by physical appearance. You can then save that appearance to re-use later.

Following appearance, you can choose a date of birth and a deity which have no effect on the game. Finally, you choose a Job. Sort of.

FFXIV's unique Class system

FFXIV has a two-tier Class system. You choose a starter Class which leads to one or more possible Jobs. During creation you want to pick a Job and then select the starter class that leads to it. This decision will radically affect your game. It defines where you start and some of your early quests. It defines what role you will play in parties (tank, dps, healer). What it is not, however, is irreversible. In FFXIV you can be every Class. Your level is not a character level, it is a Class level and all Classes, Jobs and professions (also called Classes) use the same system. You can, after reaching level 10 in your first Class, change your mind. In fact, all Jobs require more than one base Class - normally level 30 in your main class and level 15 in another.

Leveling all the Classes is not as easy as it might sound, mainly because of quests. Each Class has its own quest line, but the main story quest and side quests are not repeatable. The more Classes you learn, the grindier they are. The exception is what would be called professions in most games, they have a completely separate leveling process for each (all equally grindy).


Disciples of War

Job

Role

Required Class 1
Required Class 2
Also uses skills from

Main Attribute

Warrior

Tank

Marauder L30
Gladiator L15
Pugilist

Vitality

Paladin

Tank

Gladiator L30
Conjurer L15
Marauder

Vitality

Monk

Melee DPS

Pugilist L30
Lancer L15
Marauder

Strength

Dragoon

Melee DPS

Lancer L30
Marauder L15
Pugilist

Strength

Bard

Ranged DPS

Archer L30
Pugilist L15
Lancer

Dexterity


Disciples of Magic

Job

Role

Required Class 1
Required Class 2
Also uses skills from

Main Attribute

Black Mage

Ranged DPS

Thaumaturge L30
Archer L15
Arcanist

Intelligence

Summoner

Ranged DPS

Arcanist L30
Thaumaturge L15
Archer

Intelligence

White Mage

Healer

Conjurer L30
Arcanist L15
Thaumaturge

Mind

Scholar

Healer

Arcanist L30
Conjurer L15
Thaumaturge

Mind

 

Advanced jobs

Job

Role

Class 1
Class 2
Class 3

Main Attribute

Note

Ninja

Melee DPS

Rogue L30
Pugilist L15
Lancer

Dexterity

Rogue is not available until L10 so you will need to start with something else

Dark Knight

Tank

Gladiator
Marauder
-

Vitality

Heavensward + L50 to start, no official base Class but uses skills from the above

Machinist

Ranged DPS

Archer
Lancer
-

Dexterity

Heavensward + L50 to start, no official base Class but uses skills from the above

Astrologian

Healer

Conjurer
Thaumaturge
-

Mind

Heavensward + L50 to start, no official base Class but uses skills from the above

 

Attributes

Early on, you only really need to worry about the basics with attributes, so this does not cover end game. You should know what attributes your class uses, and what attributes to put your Bonus Points in. Always put your Bonus Points in the main attribute of your intended job.

Gear

Whilst leveling, just grab the best gear you can find. You will look ridiculous, but your gear will change so often you might as well just go with it. The higher level you get, the better your gear will look.

Key Levelling Milestones

Some of these are dependent not on your level, but on your main scenario quest chain, so levels are approximate. These are marked with a *.

From the start

  • Minions (non-combat pets)
  • FATEs (Full Active Time Events)
  • Moogle Delivery Service (mail)
  • Achievements
  • Aethyrite, Return and Teleport*
  • Palace of the Dead
  • Hall of the Novice (practice your role)*

Level 10

  • Accessing other classes
  • Crafting Log
  • Gathering Log
  • Fishing Log
  • Bonus Attribute Points
  • Leves and Guildhests*

Level 15

  • My first dungeon*
  • Challenge Log*
  • Gold Saucer
  • Dyeing gear

Level 20

  • Mounts*
  • Grand Companies
  • Materia*
  • Retainer*
  • Sightseeing Log

Level 30

  • Jobs
  • Chocobo Companion
  • Desynthesis
  • PvP

Level 40

  • Treasure Hunts
  • Beast Tribe Quests (41)

Level 50

  • Housing (owning)
  • Adventurer Squadrons*
  • The Hunt
  • Glamours
  • Relic Weapon
  • Delivery Moogle quests
  • Master Recipes
  • Flying mounts (51)
  • Clan Hunts (53)

Level 60

  • Exploratory Missions
  • Anima Weapons

Things to do while you level

  • Do a variety of content. The game leads you fairly effectively to different content types.
  • Let your main scenario and Class quests lead you around.
  • Always do Hunting Logs. These are Class specific so there is no point saving them. They offer a good chunk of XP. Mostly you will run across the mobs, but you might need to hunt down the last couple of creatures in each level of log.
  • Practice your intended role. Do group content that will allow you to try tanking, dps and healing.
  • Watch your aggro in group content. Seriously, trying to tank in FFXIV is lunacy when everyone is going all out on dps or healing early.
  • Pick up gathering professions. You don't need to worry so much about the others, though you might find yourself tight on bank space.
  • When you hit 30 on your main Class, go and get 15 in the other Class you need for your Job.
  • Do holiday events. These are normally available at lower levels and are another source of XP.

And things not to do:

  • Don't do all the quests. There are far more quests than you need to do. The more quests you save, the easier it will be to level another class. You can supplement your Class content and the main scenario with repeatable content such as FATEs, leves and dungeons.
  • Don't try to do all the Classes (combat and professions). Profession type Classes are a huge time sink. You'll have time to do those later. Classes get bonus experience the further your level is from your highest Class level.