New Player FAQ

Updated for 5.31.
Lyra Rose
Table of Contents

Introduction

This FAQ is meant to be a supplement to the various Beginner Guides on this site. It will answer common questions asked about the game, as well as explain various mechanics and jargon used by players.

Before Buying & Trying

Yes there is! In the free trial, you have unlimited time and access to the game up until Level 60. This includes the entirety of the base game A Realm Reborn as well as the first expansion Heavensward! The content you’ll be able to do includes the Gold Saucer, Palace of the Dead, and PvP! There are a few restrictions in the Free Trial, such as limited chat, currency, and party options, but none that will affect core gameplay.

Players can choose to play on PC, PS4, or Mac, and all players play cross-platform. You can use the same account for all platforms. However, even if you already own the game on one platform, you will have to purchase a license for any other platform you want to play on.

Important note: PC players have two different license platforms, one tied to Mog Station (Square Enix) and one tied to Steam. There is no functional difference, but you are locked into buying expansions from that platform.

The previous expansion, Stormblood, is currently included when you purchase the latest expansion, Shadowbringers. The base game (known as A Realm Reborn) must be purchased separately. The base game also includes the first expansion, Heavensward. You’re able to purchase them together in the Complete Edition, which is sold in Square Enix’s store. When you first purchase A Realm Reborn for either PS4 or PC, you will get thirty (30) free days of playtime. Shadowbringers does not give any playtime when purchased.

Of course! There are a few limitations, such as being level capped at 60, being unable to create a Viera or Hrothgar race character, being locked out of most new zones, and unable to acquire the newest jobs. However, unless you have a burning desire to be one of the new races, there is no need to buy Shadowbringers immediately. I would highly recommend doing as much of the game in the Free Trial as possible before purchasing either.

Yes. There are two tiers: Entry is cheaper, but only allows you one character per world up to a maximum of eight. Standard is more expensive, but allows you to create up to eight characters per world, 40 in total. You can only subscribe up to 30 days at a time with Entry, but can pay for 30/60/90/180 days with Standard, with more days bought giving you a discount.

The specs located on the site should give you a rough estimate. If you want a better indication, download the Benchmark and run it to see how the game would run on your machine.

It’s never a bad time to start playing. The game starts you off in a major city at the very beginning which are are central hubs for players, so they are always very populated. There are good incentives for endgame players to revisit beginner instances as well. A new player now will have just as good of an experience as a new player two or four years ago, if not even better due to the astounding number of quality-of-life updates!

After Registering

No matter what platform you’re on, for anything account related, visit the Mog Station. You can set up payments, purchase optional items, and change your account info there.

Two-factor authentication is important these days for keeping your account safe. However, it is not necessary to play. If you do choose to register one on your smartphone, keep a copy of the emergency removal password handy – sometimes your phone will break, be lost or stolen, or the software will bug out. It can happen to anyone, and you don’t want to be locked out of your account. Contact customer support if it does happen.

Initial Gameplay

You are able to use a keyboard/mouse or gamepad/controller on any platform. Both allow you to play the game very comfortably, so it is personal preference which one you prefer.

A data center is a cluster of worlds (servers). All worlds within that data center will be able to interact with each other and only each other when using in-game party matching features, as well as the World Visit feature. Currently, there are eight data centers: Elemental, Mana, and Gaia for Japanese players, Aether, Primal, and Crystal for North American players, and Chaos and Light for European players. You can make characters on any data center regardless of where your account is from.

I personally don’t feel like it’s a good idea to recommend worlds to people specifically, because the description of a server is subject to personal bias. However, certain worlds are locked from character creation due to being congested, and you can transfer to preferred worlds for free, with limitations. You can check the status of worlds here. If you want to play with friends, make sure you roll on the same world, or at least the same data center if the world is currently unavailable for character creation.

Legacy servers are servers that existed in 1.0. The name is only there as a holdover now, and there is nothing special about them.

North American servers are located in Sacramento, California. European servers are located in Frankfurt, Germany. Japanese servers are probably in Tokyo.

The race you choose has no bearing on any core gameplay mechanics, besides racial stats. Racial stats have at most a 5 difference between the lowest and the highest, which is irrelevant at endgame when you have thousands of the stat. Each race does have its own race-exclusive starting gear, but this is common fare and the gear has no applicable stats. Pick the race you enjoy aesthetically. Certain hairstyles and helmets do not display on Viera and Hrothgar properly, so keep that in mind.

Certain facial features, hairstyle, and hair colour can be changed in game for a small fee of gil. To completely change your race or name, you’ll need to visit the FFXIV Online Store. Fantasias are a purchasble item, which allows for a one-time complete overhaul of your character’s features and cost $10 USD. Name changes allow a one-time name change and also cost $10 USD. You receive a free Fantasia upon reaching a certain part of the story.

One key feature of FFXIV is that you are able to play as any class on one character! Each class has its own independent leveling progress and skills. Therefore, if you decide you don’t enjoy the class you start as, you can simply go unlock a new class on the same character. The FFXIV official job guide details how the actions of traits of all jobs, as well as giving a succint description of their lore. How jobs and classes work is that jobs are a direct upgrade to classes. To become a job from a class, you must reach Level 30 and complete the prerequisite quests. Other new jobs are simply unlocked by themselves once you have completed the requirements.

The initial class you choose will determine which city-state you start in:

  • Pugilists, Gladiators, and Thaumaturges will start in the desert city of Ul’Dah.
  • Archers, Lancers, and Conjurers will begin in the forest refuge of Gridania.
  • Arcanists and Marauders travel to the seaside hub of Limsa Lominsa.
  • One additional class was released in A Realm Reborn – the Rogue can be unlocked in Limsa Lominsa near the Fisherman’s Guild once you have one class at Level 10.

Three jobs were added with the Heavensward expansion. These jobs have no classes attached to them. Dark Knight, Astrologian, and Machinist can be unlocked in Heavensward content, and start at Level 30.

Two jobs were added with the Stormblood expansion. These jobs also have no classes attached to them. Samurai and Red Mage can be unlocked as long as you have the Stormblood expansion registered, and start at Level 50.

Two jobs were added with the Shadowbringers expansion. These jobs also have no classes attached to them. Gunbreaker and Dancer can be unlocked as long as you have the Shadowbringers expansion registered, and start at Level 60.

In this FAQ, I will frequently use the term class and job interchangeably – I will always mean a job unless otherwise stated.

There are five distinct roles in Final Fantasy XIV: Tank, healer, melee DPS, ranged DPS, and caster DPS. Each role shares equipment, has a unique set of role actions exclusive to that role, and inclusion of a role adds a 1% main stat buff when partying up to 5%.

The tank role is responsible for holding enmity and controlling bosses, and includes the Paladin, Warrior, Dark Knight, and Gunbreaker.

The healer role is responsible for sustaining and protecting the party, and includes the White Mage, Astrologian, and Scholar.

The melee DPS role is responsible for dealing sustained damage from up-close, and includes the Monk, Dragoon, Ninja, and Samurai.

The ranged DPS role is responsible for dealing sustained damage from range and supporting the party, and includes the Bard, Machinist, and Dancer.

The caster DPS role is responsible for dealing sustained damage while casting spells from range, and includes the Black Mage, Summoner, and Red Mage.

More about Roles and Party Dynamics are coming soon!

There are two types of stats. Main stats directly correlate to Attack Power, or how much damage you do, as well as health. Secondary stats influence your character in various ways. Main stats offer much more value than secondary stats. 

Main Stats:

  • Strength: Increases melee attack power for Dragoon, Monk, Samurai, Dark Knight, Warrior, Paladin, and Gunbreaker.
  • Dexterity: Increases melee attack power for Ninja, and ranged attack power for Bard, Machinist, and Dancer.
  • Mind: Increases healing magic potency and magic attack power for Scholar, Astrologian, and White Mage.
  • Intelligence: Increases magic attack power for Black Mage, Summoner, and Red Mage.
  • Vitality: Increases maximum HP.

Secondary Stats:

  • Critical Hit: Affects how often critical hits occur and their strength.
  • Determination: Increases damage dealt and healing potency.
  • Direct Hit Rate: Affects how often attacks become direct hits, increasing their damage dealt by 25%.
  • Skill Speed/Spell Speed: Affects weaponskill/spell recast timers, as well as the damage of damage over time effects.
  • Piety: Increases maximum MP. Healers only.
  • Tenacity: Increases damage dealt and decreases damage taken. Tanks only.

Core Gameplay Mechanics

To both level fast and start on the path to unlocking endgame content, do the Main Scenario Quest (MSQ). These quests depict the epic story of Final Fantasy XIV with you as the main character, and are required to unlock all content in the game. Quests that are part of the MSQ have a meteor symbol on top of them, as well as being listed in the Main Scenario Guide. For a list of quests, visit here. Note: there may be spoilers.

As of Stormblood, cross-class skills were removed and replaced with Role Actions. Additionally, it is no longer necessary to level other classes to unlock a job. It is up to the individual player if they want to try other classes out or stick to their preferred class. Each class has its own unique playstyle, characteristics, and storyline.

No, it is not necessary. Leveling up crafting gives the benefit of being able to repair your own gear as a combat class, as well as melding materia to your gear without the help of someone else. The type of gear repairable depends on the type of crafting class. You can level all of these classes on a single character as well. There are eight crafters and three gatherers: Carpenter, Blacksmith, Armorer, Goldsmith, Leatherworker, Weaver, Alchemist, and Culinarian for crafters, and Miner, Botanist, and Fisher for gatherers.

If you are planning on become skilled in the crafting and gathering classes, it is recommended you level them all.

For a list of progression and level locked content, visit here. This is a comprehensive list of duty, side content, and miscellaneous unlocks in the game. Note: there may be spoilers. The Challenge Log is a key unlock that should be done ASAP.

Players all automatically have access to a 140 item slot inventory – there are no bags to add inventory space in FFXIV. All non-equipment items will stack up to 999 in a single slot. In addition, every player has the Armoury Chest, which has 35 slots of space for each equipment slot for storing gear. The Chocobo Saddlebag can be unlocked when players unlock their Chocobo mount, which is an additional 70 slots that can be accessed anywhere in the overworld. This space is doubled if the player currently has an active subscription to the FFXIV mobile app. 

Retainers, which are unlocked around Level 20, function as both bank and market NPCs. More on Retainers below.

The in-game tooltips will give a succint description of how each skill works. Potency directly correlates to how much damage or healing the skill does. There are two types of skills: Weaponskills/Spells and Abilities. Weaponskills and Spells are on the Global Cooldown (GCD), which starts at a base of 2.5 seconds. Abilities (oGCD) are not, meaning you can use them in between Weaponskills and Spells, but often have a longer recast time. The GCD is a recast time shared by all your weaponskills and spells, and can be lowered through stats and buffs.

Skills can be learned through leveling up and by completing job quests. Job quests reward you with new skills as well as experience and potentially new equipment, so do them as soon as you are able to.

Role Actions are shared actions between a role. These skills are invaluable to how a specific role performs and provides utility abilities for each role. There are five roles in FFXIV – Tank, Healer, Melee DPS, Ranged DPS, and Caster DPS.

Some skills have positional requirements, meaning hitting them from a certain position relative to the boss adds bonus effects or does more damage. The front of the boss is where the targeting ground circle points to, the flank refers to the two sides, and the rear is the back where the targeting ground circle breaks.

Levequests are an on-demand questing system, available at all stages of the game. You can unlock them at Level 10. Each Levequest requires one allowance to undertake, and you gain three allowances every twelve hours, or six every 24 hours. Levequests are available for jobs up to Level 60, and crafting and gathering classes up to the current level cap (80).

An acronym for Full Active Time Event, FATEs are temporary objectives in the overworld you can complete to receive rewards such as gil, Grand Company seals, Bicolored Gems, and experience.

The Duty Finder is FFXIV’s party matching service for players looking to do group content. Players queue as a specific class and are matched with other players within their data centre. The queue ticks in the background and pops up in-game for confirmation, so you can do other things in the meantime.

The party finder is FFXIV’s party recruitment service for players looking to do group content. Players can list down what duty they want to participate in, the requirements, and any other additional info they might want to add. Their entry will be added to the Party Finder, and players can join parties that fulfill their requirements. The Party Finder works across the entire data centre.

Guildhests are mini-tutorials for group content that give an experience reward for completion on each different class. They introduce players to party play etiquette and mechanics commonly seen in FFXIV.

The Hall of the Novice aims to teach players about various mechanics in FFXIV, as well as the flow of battle, dodging AoEs, and other useful tips for beginners. You can enter the Hall at Level 15. Completing all the missions will reward you with beginner gear as well as the Brand New Ring, which increases EXP rewarded up to Level 30. I highly recommend going through the tutorials as a beginner.

A Duty Roulette puts you in a queue for any of the dungeons listed in the roulette category. Upon completion of the duty, you receive bonus rewards. Roulettes can be completed once daily, and is a great source of experience and currencies. Roulettes incentivize players to queue into content that may have fallen into the wayside, making sure no piece of content becomes irrelevant.

Dungeons are 4-person instances teeming with strong monsters and bosses. Dungeons are unlocked through the MSQ or through various sidequests. The first dungeon you can participate in, Sastasha, is unlocked at Level 15.

Group content is done in parties of four (Light Party), parties of eight (Full Party), or three Full Parties (Alliance).

Etc. item mob drops are automatically deposited into your inventory as well as any items that are given at the end of a dungeon. Common loot obtained from chests are also deposited into a random player’s inventory or armoury chest. Gear and rarer loot prompt a pop-up, which allow a player to roll Need/Greed/Pass on an item. If you can equip the gear, you’ll be able to hit Need. Otherwise, you can only hit Greed or Pass. Rolls are random and go from 1-99. Everyone can hit Need on non-equips.

Loot priority is Need > Greed. Once everyone rolls, the item is rewarded to the highest Need roll. If no one hit Need, it is rewarded to the highest Greed roll. If no one rolled or everyone hit Pass, the item disappears.

Retainers are unlocked through a sidequest after a certain point in the MSQ. Retainers are like your very own customizable employees. They serve as both storage for items (up to 175 item slots per retainer) as well as enable you to sell items on the marketboard. They are also able to go on Ventures to bring back items for you by completing another side quest. Players are given two retainers for free. Additional retainers can be purchased through the Mog Station, and incur a monthly fee.

You will become affiliated with a Grand Company after reaching Level 20 and completing a certain quest. Joining a Grand Company gives you perks like earning Grand Company Seals, which are used to purchase certain items, as well as allows you to unlock the Mount system by purchasing your very own Chocobo. 

There are three Grand Companies: the Immortal Flames of Ul’Dah, the Twin Adders of Gridania, and the Maelstrom of Limsa Lominsa. Whichever GC you choose has no bearing on core gameplay mechanics, but there is GC specific gear. You can switch GCs at any time by paying a small fee of gil.

Yes! The PvP system was overhauled in Stormblood. You now only need to be Level 30 and complete the prerequisite quests. There are currently three PvP modes: The Feast, which is a PvP battle mode between two teams of four or eight, Frontlines, which is a large scale PvP mode that is a full fledged war between the three Grand Companies, supporting up to three full parties per GC (you can be matched in any GC), and Rival Wings, a MOBA style PvP mode where two teams fight to destroy each other’s base. Frontlines is further divided into separate modes: Secure, Seize, Shatter, and Danshig Nadaam. The Feast has seasons in which players compete to rank at the top of the ladder. Read more about PvP on the official website here.

Class-specific guides and tutorials can be found both in-game and all over the internet. I have but two pieces of advice for playing your class well: perform encounter mechanics, and always be performing an action on the GCD. 

Visit The Balance for endgame class guides and information.

If you want to parse your damage, download Advanced Combat Tracker. A guide to set it up can be found here. ACT is a third-party tool, which is technically not allowed, but the devs have adopted a “don’t ask don’t tell” stance towards it, as it is very useful for players and basically necessary for endgame.

Social

A Free Company (abbreviated to FC) is similar to guilds in other games. FCs can be created once players meet certain requirements, and have special perks. They can purchase a house for all their members, activate company buffs, create a workshop, and much more! You can only belong to one FC at a time. FCs can have up to 512 members.

FFXIV’s market system is based on the Marketboard, which is available at major cities and housing areas. Items can be listed to be sold from a retainer and bought from the Marketboard.

A linkshell is a private in-game chatroom. They can be created by anyone, and anyone from the same server can be invited. Each player can belong to a maximum of eight linkshells. 

In addition to regular linkshells, cross-world linkshells are linkshells that can have anyone from the entire data centre join. A player can belong to a maximum of eight cross-world linkshells as well as eight regular linkshells.

Fellowships are a system that allows players with similar goals and interests to form a cross-world community. Fellowships do not have any in-game communication features except polls, comments, and messages of the day.

Player Search allows you to search for players online by criteria, including name, class, status, or location.

The Novice Network is a server-wide chatroom where new players can ask for advice and mentors, veteran players who have fulfilled certain requirements, can answer them. Players can discuss the game freely in here. New players must be manually invited into the novice network.

FFXIV has a marriage system called the Eternal Bond. This can be done for free, though premium packages with fancier ceremonies and rewards are available for purchase at the Mog Station. Players must fulfill prerequisite requirements and complete a quest prior to scheduling a ceremony. Both genders can be bonded with each other. For more information, visit the mini-site.

There are currently four instanced housing wards: The Goblet, The Lavender Beds, the Mist, and Shirogane. Each housing area has 24 wards, with two subdivisions in each ward and thirty houses inside each subdivision. This adds up to many houses per server. Each subdivision in each ward is a separate instance. 

Houses come in three sizes: small, medium, and large, and a player must be Level 50 as well as above a certain rank in their Grand Company to purchase a house. Each player can own one house, and each Free Company can own one house. House prices depend on the size and location, ranging from 3 million gil to 40 million gil. Players who own personal housing can share their house with up to three other players. With housing, players can decorate, do gardening, and Free Companies can unlock workshops.

Players can also snatch up an apartment, located in each division and subdivision, which is a single room. These cost 300 000 gil, but are much more abundant than housing.

Miscellaneous

A Level 15 quest in Vesper Bay, Western Thanalan unlocks Dyes. To dye equipment, simply right click (X on gamepad) an item and select Dye. There are a wealth of colour options available, but note that not all equipment can be dyed. A Level 15 quest near it will unlock Glamours. Glamouring equipment changes its appearance to another equip of the same type of your choice. Check the unlock page above for more details on how to unlock them.

Macros in-game can be created to execute simple quality-of-life and chat functions. Read more about how to write and use macros here. It is highly discouraged to use macros for actual combat.

Important Main Scenario Quests and duties have voice acting. The language can be changed from within the client, and subtitles can be added as well.

For the most part no, unfortunately. The only choice that directly changes your story is choosing what city-state you start in, which affects the MSQ up to Level 15. All quests converge into the same questline past that point. If you want to play with new friends before that point, make sure you both start in the same city-state – your class can be changed later. Text choices are usually for flavour and at most change the text in the cutscene.

MSQ boosts and Job boosts can be purchased in the FFXIV Online Store. MSQ boosts come in two varieties – one places you at the beginning of the Stormblood expansion and the other places you at the beginning of the Shadowbringers expansion. Job boosts bring one job up to Level 70, completing all job quests as well as providing you with gear appropriate for the level. Check the Mog Station for individual pricing.

For Returning Players

Everything! Job mechanics, quality of life options, new content, and more have been added. Read patch notes to get a general idea of what new additions the game has. Alternative, visit this resource to see what has been added in each patch.

You must complete the MSQ “A Requiem for Heroes”. Completing this will unlock “The Syrcus Trench”, which starts the Shadowbringers MSQ which you must complete to unlock endgame content.

All A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, and Stormblood endgame content now reward Poetics. Stormblood tomes can be converted to Poetics, and they are now used to purchase endgame tome gear from ARR, HW, and SB, as well as all items that required any of those three tomes previously.

Endgame

Players are considered endgame when they reach the level cap for the expansion and have completed the base MSQ for said expansion. In Shadowbringers, you must have reached Level 80 and completed the final quest in the 5.0 questline. Doing so will open up many endgame unlocks and content.

Endgame in FFXIV is based on a vertical progression gearing system, where players cap weekly currencies called Tomestones to buy stronger gear with. Gear and/or gear tokens also drops from raids on a weekly lockout, or can be purchased. Beyond, there is lots of content to do – Savage and Ultimate raids, Roleplay, Relic weapons, Heaven-on-High/Palace of the Dead, Glamour, Crafting/Gathering, Treasure Hunts, and so much more!

Congratulations! The first thing you should do is strive towards completing the Main Scenario Quest. Only after you’ve completed the final MSQ for the expansion’s main story (referred to as X.0), usually named after the expansion, are you able to proceed with the expansion’s endgame content.

After doing so, you should start unlocking the expansion’s endgame content and progress further with the expansion’s patch MSQs (referred to as X.1 to X.55). Each major patch brings a new update to the story of FFXIV, and you should complete those to unlock new instances, encounters, and eventually the road to the next expansion.

For a full list of unlocks and endgame progression and gearing guide, see this guide.

About the Author

Lyra

Lyra

Lyra Rose is a head admin of the Balance and a legendary toad.

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