Note: Updated August 2020
It’s no secret that a lot of MMO players aren’t happy with Warcraft at the moment, and it’s also no secret that there aren’t a lot of traditional MMOs on the horizon to look forward to: too expensive to create and maintain, to balance, to create new content for. It’s much cheaper and easier to roll out survival sandboxes (“You ARE the story! Create your own content!”) and yet another battle royale than to create an AAA MMO.
Being very strongly an MMO player at heart, this disappoints me. Being a huge FFXIV fan, though, it’s nice to see a big influx of new players. As long as the famously friendly community doesn’t change, of course – the Warcraft community having a well-deserved reputation for elitism and toxicity. FFXIV is the only game that I pug in – I simply won’t do it anywhere else.
In any event, this is a TL;DR version of getting around in FFXIV. There’s a lot to do and it isn’t always obvious where you should go and do it. So this is going to be dead basic, for people who are new to the game. It also doesn’t address boosted characters, as I’ve never boosted one and I don’t know how much the game hands you when you do.
Starting a New Character
It’s worth setting up a few things before you start to play, and these are a few things that I’ve found makes life easier (PC version, of course).
- Get your bars set up properly. The game will add skills in a logical progression to your bars, but it helps to add a few things to a secondary bar: Return, Aetherytes, the Emote symbol, the Armory chest symbol, and the Hunting Log.
- System/HUD allows you to show/hide and arrange your bars
- In System there’s an option for Expanded Inventory, choose that.
With the shortened levelling experience you really won’t need to take many side quests, but it’s worth taking them all when you start a character – every one you see in your initial city. You’ll need to do a lot of running around anyway to collect your aetheryte points, so you may as well get any xp and cash that you can. Once you get out of the city, usually don’t bother with side quests. The ones that you need to take are the MSQ (main story quest) icons that have a flame symbol around it, and the quest icons that have a plus mark on them (these will unlock important things). List of icons
Do your hunting logs as you level, it will give you a lot of XP and you’ll need to be killing these beasties for quests, anyway.
Content Unlocks – bookmark these!
There is a lot to do in FFXIV and when you start playing the game it’s easy to miss so much of the important stuff. Bookmark these so you don’t miss anything important. Level 15, for example, unlocks a ton of stuff including dyes, glamours, Hall of the Novice, etc.
Aetherytes: Getting Around
The big, blue crystals that you see in cities and towns are the fast travel system. As you explore more areas you unlock more of them. You’ll be able to set three favourite destinations (less expensive to travel to), one free one, and your home point. Generally I set my free one to my main city (Limsa Lominsa), the favored destinations to the other capital cities and the home one to wherever I’m currently questing. Once I’m at max I’ll set my home to the new main city.
If an aetheryte is glittering, you’ve unlocked it. If it isn’t, click on it.
At a certain level (I think it’s level 20) you’ll be able to choose a Free Company. There are three of them, and aside from PvP there really isn’t much of a difference between them. Choose one that you like the colours of, I suppose, because you can buy gear for each.
Hall of the Novice
At level 15 you can do the Hall of the Novice (various locations, but you’ll find them in the inns of the major cities). This is like a new-to-MMO type of tutorial which is worth doing because you get a set of gear for doing it, nice for the level, plus a ring that gives you extra XP as you level.
Quest Icons: Skip to the Good Stuff
There are a lot of quests in this game, I mean a lot. The main story is amazing, some of the other quests are amusing, and there is a metric buttload of running around to run errands for people. Here’s how to tell them apart: look at the icons.
Levelling: So Much Stuff to Do
Aside from things such as Palace of the Dead that you’ll do when you level up additional jobs (each character can be every class, no need for alts), there are several things that you should do while levelling a new character:
- Quests (of course)
- Fates: look for the blue circles on the map
- Hunting Log: extra XP for killing the things you’re already killing for quests! Bonus!
Combat Markers: How Not To Stand In the Fire
I’m going to link to this thread here on Reddit, because it’s explained very well. One thing about AOE markers: get out of the marked area, but you can go back in when it disappears even though the target might still be casting.
Spiffin’ Things Up
The FFXIV store doesn’t offer any pay-to-win items, but it does have some great outfits, fantasia (change appearance potions), mounts, vanity pets, and some story skip and level boost potions.