FFXIV: More Questions & Answers from «VinCo»

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#1 Edited by SnakeLinkSonic (481 posts) -
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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.

Free Company hall. We have vendors, mendors, and plenty of knick-knacks to play with.
Free Company hall. We have vendors, mendors, and plenty of knick-knacks to play with.
Saves a lot of money sometimes to not have to buy things off the marketboard when you can grab it out of the company chest.
Saves a lot of money sometimes to not have to buy things off the marketboard when you can grab it out of the company chest.

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.

Ultros is currently open, but that can change on the drop of a dime.
Ultros is currently open, but that can change on the drop of a dime.

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.

Primals, the current count of these guys in the game is over thirty.
Primals, the current count of these guys in the game is over thirty.

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 unique own 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).

Palace of the Dead's save menu
Palace of the Dead's save menu

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.

The Binding Coil of Bahamut

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

The Crystal Tower Questline

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

Alexander

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

Omega

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).

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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.

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A rotating pair of arrows means the quest provides items that reset on a schedule and can be done again for those items.

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If you see a quest that's blue with a "+" symbol attached, those are quests that usually have worthwhile items and content-unlocks attached.

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Q: Is this game just fan service?

A: Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of fan service in this damn game:

https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Final_Fantasy_XIV_allusions/Final_Fantasy_series

https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Final_Fantasy_XIV_allusions/Other_video_games

https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Final_Fantasy_XIV_allusions/Other_media

https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Final_Fantasy_XIV_allusions

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:

Always keep track of where you are in the Main Story Scenario.
Always keep track of where you are in the Main Story Scenario.

FFXIV is a very pretty game, but sometimes you gotta turn off those spell effects so you can see what the hell you're doing in a raid.
FFXIV is a very pretty game, but sometimes you gotta turn off those spell effects so you can see what the hell you're doing in a raid.
The general HUD arrangement menu.
The general HUD arrangement menu.

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#2 Posted by maa4208 (92 posts) -

Awesome write up Zhu! Like he said, the Discord server is the best place to get in touch with us for FFXIV. We have over 500 people in the server with a lot of people on at any given time to help you out with any other questions you may have.

Hope to see you all in the game!

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#3 Posted by BradBrains (2274 posts) -

As someone who decided to start again recently Im excited to see some newer people to play with so anyone starting can add me up. The FC has been great fun

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#4 Posted by xkkzz (56 posts) -

I just started playing the game in earnest this month (after several months of just playing mahjong on the free trial), so I will probably transfer over to Ultros now that it's open!

I'm in the middle of the 2.x ARR story now. I'm glad I haven't skipped it because the story is getting interesting and there has been some dope stuff like the kickass Shiva fight. But yeah, boy, the pacing of it is really rough, they could have cut half of it.

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#5 Posted by Efesell (4563 posts) -

@xkkzz: Fortunately it is a lesson that they did learn so if you are still into that stretch of the game then it's absolutely smooth sailing here on out.

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#6 Posted by SnakeLinkSonic (481 posts) -

@xkkzz: It really does pay off in the expansions when you have a lot of that context, but yeah---sucks that so much of it was them figuring stuff out between major patches.

I'd also suggest breaking up the monotony with stuff like the Crystal Tower raid if you need a break. I may actually stick a guide for that kind of stuff in the OP.

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#7 Posted by SnakeLinkSonic (481 posts) -

We went ahead and added a recruitment code channel to the Discord for those looking for them. If you're looking for one to use, pick any of the ones there. If you have one to post, message your code to Zhu in the Discord.

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#8 Edited by SnakeLinkSonic (481 posts) -

Just a small, but important heads up. Our guild roster has grown considerably over the past two weeks. We've had hundreds of new players joining us. As a result, we have less than thirty spots left in the guild.

This doesn't mean people can't still apply after we're full, but it doesmean is there will be a wait time until you can actually be approved to join.

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#9 Posted by Deathpooky (1856 posts) -

Just weighing in on the major "should I skip" or "should I start this game" questions that most people ask, from someone who just made it into Heavensward. Overall, I recommend people do play through everything, but you should definitely know what you're getting into. Rushing into the expansions seems like it will leave you very much lost in terms of story/world/gameplay, and there's no way I'd be into the game as much as I am now if I didn't play through the base game.

Pros:

Most of the major story content is relatively good as far as MMOs go. As someone coming from WoW as my only prior MMO experience, I came away liking the main questlines and major encounters. The ramp is slow, but it helps you get into your character, your skills, MMO group combat, and the world in general. Side quests and inbetween filler was very weak, but the main story was good once it picked up, and the dungeons/bosses were fun throughout.

You get great introductions to the cast of characters and areas through the content. I wouldn't be nearly as excited to play Heavensward without having played through the ARR and post-ARR quests, nor as invested in all the characters. The quests that familiarize you with the cities/factions are dull, but also pretty necessary to avoid getting dumped into the world. Don't be afraid to teleport and use your mount to get through the travel as quickly as possible.

The systems to encourage veterans to play through old content work. I never had more than a 10-15 minute wait for running the required dungeons and boss encounters, even as a DPS. The specific story-required roulette in particular is really smart, as it lets you watch cutscenes for the major dungeons without feeling like you're leaving the group behind. Otherwise I made sure to go into a dungeon prepped and never had a problem romping through with a pick-up group. And it felt like the right level of challenge ramp for each encounter, even if I was largely being carried along.

Cons:

It is as long as people say. It took me 120 hours to get through ARR and the post-ARR content. I dabbled, did lots of side quests, tried out jobs and all for the first 40 hours, but the rest were pretty much mainlining MSQs, unlock quests, and roulettes for needed leveling. It probably took me 70 hours to go from level 25-Heavensward alone. I didn't hit many leveling walls, but in general it was just a lot of time, with a lot of unneeded busywork in there. For anything but dungeons/bosses/major story points you'll want some background noise.

Outside of the slow start, which I didn't mind because it was introducing me to the world and all the jobs/areas, there are a few major slogs of 5-10 hours of outright bad content. The pre-Titan questline, mid-40's leveling stretch, and initial post-ARR quests in particular are major roadblocks. I was lucky I had a rare free weekend day to burn through the Titan questline in particular, as if that had taken a full week of after-work playtime I might have dropped the game. It's odd because the dungeons and boss encounters were the primary things that I looked forward to early on, while the story becomes the main driver after level 40 or so. But on either front there are long stretches where neither happens. Once you get further on you get to a point where you unlock a lot of bosses/dungeons so you always have some things to try.

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