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Final Fantasy XIV: A Beginner’s Guide

We’ve had a good six months with A Realm Reborn now, so with the PS4 version due any day (and a free beta open to all, so you can try before you buy), we decided to impart a little wisdom upon newcomers to the Eorzean way of life. These are the basic starting points and early milestones you should be working towards

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, the new MMO by Square Enix for PlayStation 4Choose A Class
Your first big decision happens mere minutes into booting up the game for the first time. No, not which hairstyle to rock… what profession line you should follow. This isn’t a permanent decision – reaching level 10 will let you join all the other guilds in order to level additional classes – but since you’ll be locked into it until then, just pick whichever you like the sound of most. Classes fall into three main categories – tanks, healers and DPS. Marauder and Gladiator are the two tanks, focusing on VIT to increase HP and pulling aggro to keep squishy party members safe from harm. Tanks have a lot of responsibility dumped on them, so we’d advise MMO newcomers to either steer clear or be ready to put the time in to really learn the role.

Healing can be similarly taxing and with Conjurer the only pure healing class (Arcanist can heal to a degree, branching into a pure healer Scholar with the L30 Job split), there’s not a lot to say. Macros are a healer’s best friend, as speedy targeting with a controller can be a nuisance – setting up one button for each of your party members will make for far less stressful healing. The rest of the classes are damage-focused, so those are the easiest starting points as long as you can learn when to rein your barrage in so as not to pull aggro off the tank. They don’t like it when you do that.

Oh, and unless you have friends playing on a specific server, pick one for your territory where possible. It sounds obvious but you’ll see a marked difference in latency – if it comes down to it, be prepared to create characters on multiple servers to see which works best for you, particularly during the free beta period.

Join A Free Company
While there are a fair few guilds that focus purely on end-game content and won’t take noobs under their wings, there are just as many that welcome players of all levels with open arms. If you don’t just pick up a random invite, ask people that you get on well with in instances or parties for Free Company invites, or put a shout out in any of the capital cities – be sure to let people know what you’re looking for so they know if you’re a good fit for their group. We’ve found our FCs to be extremely helpful, with many players happy to help lower level players through early dungeons, meld Materia, offer advice or craft gear and often without asking for a single Gil. Whatever it is you need, it’s likely that other FC members will also want to do the same – either being similarly new to the game or when levelling alt classes – and it’s by far the best way to guarantee decent groups for FATES and dungeon instances.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, the new MMO by Square Enix for PlayStation 4Follow The Story
While you might be tempted to run off and explore, it makes far more sense to start by powering through the main story quests as best you can. This will unlock the airship for travel between cities, many of the dungeons, Grand Companies and later the ability to ride mounts, all of which you’ll want. Airship is the big one as depending on where you start, you might find yourself without much to safely explore at lower levels – you should be able to start the related quest from around level 14 and will shortly after be able to jet off to other cities and pick up any other classes you might want to level on the side. If you’re struggling with any of the story dungeons to make it through to the Grand Company selection, make sure you’re at or above the max level for the instance (this can be found in the Duty Finder details) and if needs be, put out a call to arms to your FC buddies and hope somebody is around to help!

Learn The Instances
Everyone’s new to a dungeon at some point, so do your allies a favour and speak up if it’s your first run – with the exception of end-game runs, most teams should be fairly accommodating and be able to impart any need-to-know wisdom. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of runs to get the mechanics down and while the early ones like Sastasha and Copperbell Mines are fairly simple, they’re great for learning tricks like pulling mobs and dealing with gimmicks ready for the more complex later ones. The loot is often decent too – all the more reason to head back into dungeons even after the story has moved on. Primal battles are also worth repeating, if only so you’ve got a fair idea of what to expect when the end-game Hard and Extreme variants roll around. You should always skip cut-scenes too, even if it’s your first run – they can be watched later from the safety of your inn room to save your team from having to wait around.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, the new MMO by Square Enix for PlayStation 4Use Your Retainer
After completing the level 17 story quest Scions Of The Seventh Dawn, you’ll unlock the ability to hire retainers to sell and store your gear. Once you finish this quest, head to the commercial district of any major city (you know, where most of the shops are) and seek out the Retainer Vocate. After creating and naming your retainer, you can load them up with loads of junk to store as well as up to 20 things to sell on the market board. Crafters are always after shards and materials, so these often sell well. Materia can also be a decent money-spinner, especially since you’ll have no way of doing anything useful with it until later in the game anyway. When listing an object, use the button in the top right to compare current prices and set yours accordingly – factors like location and quantity can have a slight effect on sales potential but generally speaking, just undercutting the market is the quickest way to make a few Gil.

Unlock Your Job
Class quests unlock in the relevant guild every five levels, but once you hit level 30 you’ll be able to take your class even further. To do so, you’ll also need to reach level 15 in a secondary class determined by the Job you’re going for – more will likely be added in later updates but for now, each class (with the exception of Arcanist) can only progress to one Job. Check out this table – to unlock a Job quest, you need to be level 30 in the listed main class and level 15 in the sub class. While Jobs have a few of their own skills that unlock every five levels via quests, they still use most of the abilities of the main class they are derived from. You’ll also be able to use cross-class skills from the sub and extra class categories – after taking Pugilist to level 8, for instance, a Warrior could use the Second Wind ability for additional healing. Once unlocked, there’s no reason not to use your Job rather than basic class – they’re better in pretty much every way.

Warrior Marauder Gladiator Pugilist
Paladin Gladiator Conjurer Marauder
Monk Pugilist Lancer Marauder
Dragoon Lancer Marauder Pugilist
Bard Archer Pugilist Lancer
White Mage Conjurer Arcanist Thaumaturge
Black Mage Thaumaturge Archer Arcanist
Summoner Arcanist Thaumaturge Archer
Scholar Arcanist Conjurer Thaumaturge

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, the new MMO by Square Enix for PlayStation 4Level Gathering/Crafting
While gathering is just a grind, we actually found crafting to be pretty fun by the end-game, even if you do need to level pretty much all of the crafting classes for the skills needed to consistently make high quality items. Completing log records isn’t the only speedy way to advance in these passive professions, either. Levequests are amazing for experience (if you have the allowances) and crafting ones offer a /huge/ bonus for HQ items – you can even cheat the system and trade in items you’ve bought for a quick boost, plus some missions allow you to trade multiple items in succession so find and abuse these. You could also pick up the scrolls from the Grand Company vendor once you join up. These offer 50 per cent bonus experience for up to three hours, which can be hugely helpful if you’re just grinding away for a while.

Do Your Daily Quests
Dailies are a relatively new feature but they’re a great way of farming a little extra experience and resources and don’t take long to get through so once you unlock them, get into the habit of getting them out of the way early. Beast Tribe quests can be picked up from near Little Ala Mhigo and The Hawthorne Hut once activated, with vendors and rewards improving as you grow your loyalty by completing quests. There’s also Duty Roulette to consider, since the first random dungeon run you complete using this queue each day grants significantly improved rewards.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, the new MMO by Square Enix for PlayStation 4Get To Level 50
Life begins at 50 in Eorzea – that’s when all the fun end-game content really starts to kick off and the best gear starts to appear. As such, taking your main class to the cap should obviously be pretty high on your priority list. FATE grinding is still a popular way of doing this and there are always parties hiring, plus Square recently tinkered with dungeon experience to make instance the better way to level up – the ability to pick up loot along the way certainly doesn’t hurt either. Bonus XP from Free Company actions (if your FC is big enough) and from food buffs are welcome as well, as is the ‘rested’ bonus – always be sure to quit the game when in a sanctuary (with the little moon icon down by the XP bar) and when you come back, you’ll have a limited amount of bonus XP to work with based on how long you’ve been away. Even when you’re not playing, you’re still levelling! Well, sort of.


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