I'd recommend reading the previous version of this thread as most of it still applies now: https://www.giantbomb.com/final-fantasy-xiv-online-a-realm-reborn/3030-26847/forums/ffxiv-questions-and-answers-from-vinco-1498154/
Q: How solo-friendly is this game?
A: Very. A lot of people like to use the “you can play it like a single player RPG” stance, which is mostly true. You willhave to join up with other players at fixed points throughout the story, but it will ultimately be a small portion of your time spent with the game if you commit long-term. A better way to describe it is a Final Fantasy game with MMO trappings. If you’re in a free company, you probably will have that much less trouble finding people for instances rather than sitting around in a duty finder, especially as a DPS class. There's usually an incentive for high-level players to help newcomers through old content, so don't be afraid to ask. Most importantly, for an MMO---FFXIV is incredibly respectful of people's time if they're intent on doing things alone as much as possible.
Q: Are there any perks from being in a Free Company?
A: Sure. We have years of company credits saved up, which means we near-permanently have things like EXP buffs and gil-fee transport discounts up. In addition to that. We have a handful of things at our free company house that make the general experience easier and less expensive (chocobo stables, gardens, merchants, etc.). We also make use of a company chest that's shared between everyone in all the major cities. We dump things in here that other players are free to take and use. We also store dyes and such in there because we all know glamour is the true endgame.
And of course---a guild with hundreds of like-minded people to run dungeons and instances with can help a lot when it comes to things like healer and tank anxieties.
Q: Ultros is full! Help!
A: At the moment it has been reclassified as open for the first time in a month, so you should be free to hop on in. However, it has been known to get locked due to the Primal data center being the hub for a lot of Internet communities. Even if you don’t have an interest in immediately playing, I’d take advantage of creating a character there or transferring while you have the chance so you won’t have to wait when the time comes for you to actually play.
For those of you on other servers within Primal, we do have a cross-world linkshell now. So those with characters on other servers or even in different free companies can join up now. Since it's kind of a clunky process to get invited, it's easiest to join the discord and ask in the #ffxiv channel to be invited and someone will hop over to your server to invite you. There's not much we can do outside of Discord for those of you on other data centers.
Q: Should I buy a story skip? I hear ARR is bad.
A: A Realm Reborn is not bad. Slow? Sure. In need of a questing re-edit? Absolutely. However, we’ve reached the point where the expansions have gotten so progressively better, that a disingenuous narrative has formed around the initial relaunch of the game being some precipitous drop in quality. It's exacerbated even more with a lot of WoW refugees coming in and having to get used to things like a much slower global cooldown on top of its much slower pacing and demanding story-questing. At the end of the day, you'll be doing mostly the same stuff in Shadowbringers that you do in A Realm Reborn, the developers have just gotten a lot better at it in terms of pacing and presentation.
There’s also just the reality of people trying to brute force their enjoyment of it in a mad rush to get at whatever the Flavor of the Month expansion/content has just released. Naturally, it’s easy to burn yourself out that way and view a bloated questline as more of a painful slog than it actually is.
The truth is the answer to this will vary person to person. I will say that the most important guideline for measuring how that answer will take shape for you is that the story in FFXIV is paramount above all else. That isn’t to say the game itself isn’t fun or full of depth for primarily-raiders, but that almost all of it is governed by the game’s story. If you see yourself getting annoyed by that kind of thing, there’s plenty of other options out there. Final Fantasy XIV demands you have some measure of affinity for its world for better or worse.
Personally, I always advise that the ideal route will be to just start the free trial and level to 35 to see if the game is even your thing. Beyond that, you can commit to the base game and a subscription if you’re feeling it.
The base game is only $20 as the expansion content will only be unlocked by main story progression even after you purchase it (unless you buy a story skip for it), so it's not even required to commit to the expansion upfront just to get into the game with us (however, you won't be able to join the guild with only a free trial).
There's three expansions worth of story (each one the length of your average JRPG) and there's no need to rush through any of it.
I also highly recommend Heather Alexandra’s guide on getting into FFXIV in 2019 if you want a breakdown on what the jump potions mean for you going in, so you can make a more informed purchase: https://kotaku.com/how-to-get-into-final-fantasy-xiv-in-2019-1836284554
Q: How do I join the Discord?
A: Permanent Discord Invite: https://discordapp.com/invite/ZdCCysj
This is the best way to stay up to date with us, be it trying to organize duties, coordinating a large influx of new players, or just hanging out and asking for tips.
Q: How do I join the guild?
A: This thread has been updated and will lead you right to our front door: https://www.giantbomb.com/final-fantasy-xiv-online-a-realm-reborn/3030-26847/forums/joining-the-giant-bomb-free-company-updated-619201-1472844/
Q: What should I do on the way to Shadowbringers?
Take. Your. Time.
A: This game has been out for six years now. There's a lot of s$%t to play through and there's no use in trying to rush through it in a few months.
Yes, you should always prioritize the Main Story Quest, but you can miss a lot of good stuff if you're too laser-focused on it.
It helps to know FFXIV's content schedule since it's really become one of their main selling points. Every three months, the game releases a major content patch that adds in raids, dungeons, and trials (among other stuff), with the expansion typically hitting every two years (i.e. the summers of 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019). With Stormblood they shifted this a little, attempting to add in new content entirely to shake things up.
The odd numbered patches (i.e. X.1, X.3, and X.5) typically bring 24-main raids themed around an ongoing side-story that's separate from the main story quest.
Also peppered in between these patches are trial fights which weave in and out of the main storyline and provide harder (extreme) versions of the fights. These are typically 8-main fights against a "Primal", which is a traditional Final Fantasy summon that holds a very specific narrative role in FFXIV.
The even-numbered patches (i.e. x.2, and x.4) usually add in updates to the hardest content in the game. It's known as "Savage" and typically feature the most mechanically dense and complex fights in the game. Since Heavesnward, they've split these between a story-based version of the raid for casual players to experience and the "regular" high-difficulty version that has a few surprises exclusive to it. The best gear in the game is also usually found in these savage raids.
They've also recently been adding an even more difficult version above the Savage content, which are known as "Ultimate" trials. The "competitive" scene in FFXIV won't be found in PVP, it will be in between Savage raids and Ultimate trials. This is where the top 3-5% of the playerbase will spend time min-maxing and optimizing their jobs to the highest level of play.
Those are the big marquee entries for those patches, but within them are things like Lord of Vermillion, Eureka, Diadem, and PVPbeing updated and added. New 4-man dungeons are also added as well (I would warn against falling too deep into a Triple Triad hole with the Gold Saucer though).
Also worth looking into are Palace of the Dead and Heaven on High, which are procedurallly generated dungeons with their own unique leveling system that can let you see what your jobs look like with their full kit provided you make it far enough into the dungeon (you have to level to at least 20 to start it though).
Here's an up-to-date list of big stuff that you really shouldn't pass up on your way to Shadowbringers: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/Dungeons#Alliance_Raids_.2824_Players.29
*Take note of the "unlock" column, which is where you begin the questlines*
Below you'll find the big stuff that's not worth missing.
Level 50 - The Binding Coil of Bahamut: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_Binding_Coil_of_Bahamut
Level 50 - The Second Coil of Bahamut: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_Second_Coil_of_Bahamut
Level 50 - The Final Coil of Bahamut: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_Final_Coil_of_Bahamut
Level 50 - Labyrinth of the Ancients: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/Labyrinth_of_the_Ancients
Level 50 - Syrcus Tower: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/Syrcus_Tower
Level 50 - The World of Darkness: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_World_of_Darkness
The Shadow of Mhach Questline
Level 60 - The Void Ark: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_Void_Ark
Level 60 - The Weeping City of Mhach: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_Weeping_City_of_Mhach
Level 60 - Dun Scaith: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_Royal_City_of_Rabanastre
Level 60 Alexander (Gordias): https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/Alexander:_Gordias
Level 60 - Alexander (Midas): https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/Alexander:_Midas
Level 60 - Alexander (The Creator): https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/Alexander:_The_Creator
Return to Ivalice
Level 70 - The Royal City of Rabanastre: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_Royal_City_of_Rabanastre
Level 70 - The Ridorana Lighthouse: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_Ridorana_Lighthouse
Level 70 - The Orbonne Monastery: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/The_Orbonne_Monastery
Level 70 - Omega Deltascape: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/Omega:_Deltascape
Level 70 - Omega Sigmascape: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/Omega:_Sigmascape
Level 70 - Omega Alphascape: https://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/Omega:_Alphascape
Some helpful tips when picking up quests
The main story quest symbol. This is what you're playing the game for. Follow this and it won't lead you wrong (though the map probably will every now and then).
If you see an image within the quest acceptance card, it's usually got a small-scale story worth doing. Anything without a banner image is probably just your regular-old ass MMO fetch quest for some EXP.
A rotating pair of arrows means the quest provides items that reset on a schedule and can be done again for those items.
If you see a quest that's blue with a "+" symbol attached, those are quests that usually have worthwhile items and content-unlocks attached.
Q: Is this game just fan service?
A: Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of fan service in this damn game:
However, FFXIV unmistakably has its own identity. It very effectively uses touchstones across the entire series to construct its own world. The reason Shadowbringers has built up so much hype is because it's reached a narrative arc within its own world that many would say puts even the single-player games to shame.
Q: Does this game have good controller support?
A: It's not exactly a high bar to jump over, but many would argue this game has the best controller support for an MMO of its type. I personally play with controller on PC, and everything in this game is perfectly manageable on a controller. This is a cross-platform game with PC and PS4, so they always try to maintain a certain standard when it comes to hotbars and their customization.
Q: I can't see over other players' effects, I forgot where I am in the MSQ, etc. Can I customize?
A: Absolutely, do not shy away from the System and Character Configuration.
Final Fantasy XIV doesn't support add-ons, but they've done good work allowing you to customize the game to your liking. Here's a few examples: