Final Fantasy XIV is getting on in age, but as it grows older, it becomes a more refined and popular game. Final Fantasy XIV set subscriber records just months prior to the release of its newest expansion in Shadowbringers, eclipsing 16 million subscribers and firmly establishing it as one of the premier MMORPGs on the market. With hype for the game at an all-time high thanks to the critical praise Shadowbringers is now receiving, it seems reasonable to expect there will be an even bigger influx of newer players interested in what all the fuss is about.
Unfortunately for them, FFXIV isn't light on story content - the kind that they'll need to progress through before ever thinking about reaching the decidedly unhallowed halls of Shadowbringers. While there are services people can pay money for to make sure they acquire a character at the level needed to experience the newest expansion, we don't really recommend that approach. A lot of being good at FFXIV and enjoying it are inextricable from each other - some of the most satisfaction players will ever get is beating a tricky raid or trial boss, or experiencing the full narrative journey as it unfolds.
That's why we've put together an up-to-date FFXIV Beginner's Guide, complete with a basic break down of the most important elements in the game as well as suggestions to help new players get the most out of their experience. It can be an intimidating climb to max level, but it's also one of the most fulfilling MMORPG journeys available.
Which control scheme is best in FFXIV?
The short answer to this question is that neither is superior to the other, despite what many PC players will tell newbies. A mouse and keyboard absolutely gives players more control over their overall button layout and, as a result, their ability to access niche skills during combat situations. For people who absolutely need to be in control at all times, a mouse and keyboard is realistically their only choice.
That being said, though, FFXIV is pretty much the only MMORPG optimized for controller usage, and it's a viable alternative. While players will tend to have less access to skills overall, thanks to the ability to use shoulder buttons to alternate between skill wheels, they'll never really be missing any of the most important ones, since most simple rotations (the order in which a player uses the skills they have to best optimize damage, healing, or managing aggro) don't extend beyond a dozen or so abilities. It's also an easier transition for console gamers who are considering FFXIV as their first MMORPG. Don't let popular conception dismiss the reality of the situation - either control scheme is perfectly fine, for both new players and top-tier raiders.
Which class to choose in FFXIV
Jobs - FFXIV's word for classes, essentially - are available to everyone. Whichever job a player chooses in the beginning, they can still level every other one as they progress through the game. Leveling jobs after the first one can be more time consuming, though, so players will generally want to choose the job they're most interested in - or, at least, the job that funnels into the job they're most interested in - so that they get to spend the most time with it initially.
Here's a list of current jobs in FFXIV, broken down by the roles they're meant to play in groups:
- Dark Knight
- Arcanist/Scholar/Summoner (these can also function as DPS)
- Conjurer/White Mage
- Thaumaturge/Black Mage
- Red Mage
The most immediately noticeable thing is just how many DPS roles are available in FFXIV. It's the easiest role to take, and it's also the most fun for many - who doesn't enjoy seeing enemies hit for gigantic numbers of damage? For new players, DPS is often the easiest way to level, since those classes don't need to worry about any other potential roles in group fights and tend to have decent survivability for solo questing. That being said, though, FFXIV does an excellent job introducing all of a jobs' main abilities through Job Quests, meaning even a more complicated role will end up explained to a player as they progress through the game.
All things considered, it's about what appeals to a new player the most. Each job has a distinct feel to it and they're all mostly viable in the end-game, though some remain stronger than others as patches fluctuate the balance. Pick the most exciting one, learn it, and don't hesitate to change over to a different one if it doesn't feel like the right fit.
How to gather and craft in FFXIV
Unlike many other MMORPGs, gathering and crafting roles are their own jobs, too. Players need to switch between their main job and these side options to level them up, which can be confusing at first. Crafting and gathering classes can be unlocked after the introduction of the Armory in-game, which happens once a player clears the Main Scenario Quest at level 15. The game provides a brief tutorial, including how to put together equipment for each gathering or crafting role, and then sets players on their way.
It's a simple system after that, though, although it's also quite time consuming. Since leveling these jobs doesn't help level up a character's progress through the main game, we recommend leaving these for the start and circling back to them once a player gets more accustomed to this FFXIV Beginner's Guide. They'll always be there once a player hits max level anyways, and they're not needed to progress through any key quests.
When do mounts unlock in FFXIV
Traveling around in FFXIV is typically done one of three ways - using a system called Aetheryte travel to teleport, using Chocobo Keepers to ferry themselves between unlocked locations, or using a mount to get between locations faster. There's also good old fashioned running, which will be a staple of the new player experience, but the faster FFXIV beginners get acquainted with other modes of travel, the more they'll get out of the game.
Aetheryte is unlocked by "attuning" a player to a large crystal in a town they're currently in. Not every town has these, and they cost money to teleport to, but they're a lifesaver when the game tasks players with going back and forth between already visited locations, which happens a lot in the MSQ. Chocobo Keepers are often available at towns without Aetheryte and let players enjoy a scenic trip between areas. Mounts are available at Level 20 in FFXIV through the quest My Little Chocobo.
For some advance planning, players looking to unlock their mount as soon as the quest becomes available will want to farm Company Seals ahead of time. These are unlocked through completing FATEs, which are randomly-occurring world events across every map, Grand Company Hunting Logs (killing specific monsters that players come across anyways) and other Grand Company quests.
How to level up fast in FFXIV
FFXIV beginners don't need to worry about options when it comes to leveling up. The game is full of them, with each offering slightly different ways of earning XP. While a healthy mix of all of them is probably the best approach, players who like one specific method won't often need to branch out, so there's a lot of choice available. Here's a quick rundown of the different modes:
Quests are, naturally, the bread and butter for any MMORPG and FFXIV is no different. Quests progress important storylines, especially the MSQ, which is needed to progress through each expansion, and award gear and items along the way. Sidequests usually aren't needed much during a player's first level up attempt, but they can pass the time well.
These are serious boss fights that come in 8- and 24-player versions. New players really don't need to worry about these.
The smaller version of raids, dungeons serve as welcome breaks in-between usual quests, as the Main Scenario Quest will often require that players dive in at a certain point. They're well-designed instanced environments for 4 players to explore and battle through, and often provide a huge XP bonus while also rewarding early players with important loot that makes leveling easier.
Trials are an 8-player battle against FFXIV's most famous bosses in the Primals. The story will serve to hype these beings up, and trials are usually an exciting culmination to a certain section of the story. Without spoilers, look forward to these, but don't count on them to level players up too fast.
Rare mobs exist in the game world that exist in different ranks - B, A, and S, the latter of which is the highest - and players get bonuses for killing them. This will almost always need a party involved, and should only be tackled with co-ordination, although the bonuses acquired are often well-worth the trouble.
In truth, the easiest way to level up fast in FFXIV is to keep a player's head down and progress through the Main Scenario Quest. Once Duty Roulette becomes unlocked, participate in it daily for each mode available to receive great bonuses to XP and gil. Otherwise, it's pretty straightforward.
Tips & Tricks for FFXIV Beginners
Ultimately, everything above will serve as more than enough foundation for players to tackle the world of Eorzea with confidence. If players need even more FFXIV Beginner's Guide information, however, we've also assembled an easy to browse list of some small pointers that, while obvious to veterans, will be extremely useful to newbies looking to avoid common mistakes:
- Eat food. It's cheap from vendors in major cities and provides buffs to stats and, most importantly, a 3% XP boost for the duration of the buff.
- Always log out in a Sanctuary. Sanctuaries are major cities and players will receive an in-game notice whenever they step foot in one. Logging off in a Sanctuary allows players to come back to a temporary XP buff in the same way many other MMORPGs do.
- Join a Free Company. Free Companies are the guilds of FFXIV, and they can often provide their members with major bonuses like buffs to XP received. Most major FCs are always recruiting, and the community in FFXIV is a welcoming one. Don't be afraid to reach out in a major city's chat to see if any guilds want to guide a newer player to success.
- Enjoy the game's many distractions. The Gold Saucer is a casino that features Chocobo races, Triple Triad, and more. Progressing through FFXIV and leveling fast is certainly a good thing, but make sure not to miss out on the great side content Square Enix consistently supports with every expansion.