10 Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

If you’re looking to improve your first impression with Final Fantasy XIV, these tips will put you on the right track.

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker Healer Image Credit: Square Enix

If you’re looking for some tips to improve your first impression with Final Fantasy XIV, you’ve come to the right place. The success of Final Fantasy XIV’s most recent expansion, Endwalker, is another example of the title’s ever-increasing popularity. Since the game relaunched in 2013 after a shaky 2010 debut, it has steadily grown and proven itself as one of the most successful MMORPGs on the market.

The purpose of this article is to give you a brief rundown of some things to keep in mind to help you have the best experience you can as a new resident of Eorzea. Whether you’re brand new or a returning player looking to refresh yourself on the basics, here are ten things every Final Fantasy XIV player should do first.

1. Understand the Limitations of the Free Trial

Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

Final Fantasy XIV free trial page
Image Credit: Square Enix

To start things off, it bears repeating that Final Fantasy XIV has an exceedingly generous free trial for a subscription-based MMORPG. The game allows prospective players the chance to play the full game up to level 60 (of its current level 90 cap) with no limitations on playtime.

This includes all of the base Final Fantasy XIV storyline and the entirety of the game’s first expansion, Heavensward. If you’re curious about the game, the trial is a great way to get a feel for whether or not you’ll enjoy the experience it has to offer.

That being said, there are a few limitations that free trial players have to contend with. You can see Square Enix’s official list of limitations here, but the most relevant restrictions are as follows:

  • Free trial players can only hold a maximum of 300,000 gil (XIV’s in-game currency).
  • Free trial players can’t participate in area-based chat or send private messages to other players.
  • Free trial players can’t use the market board (XIV’s auction house) or trade.
  • Free trial players can’t join a Free Company (XIV’s equivalent of player guilds).
  • Free trial players can’t make characters of the Viera or Hrothgar races, as these are included with the purchase of the latest expansion, Endwalker, which also includes all previous expansions).
  • Free trial players can’t unlock the Samurai, Red Mage, Gunbreaker, Dancer, Reaper, or Sage jobs, as these were added in the expansions following Heavensward.
  • Free trial players can only make one character per server.

That last limitation might seem like a strict one—especially if you’re the type of MMO player that likes to roll a lot of different characters—but it isn’t much of a detriment when you recall that Final Fantasy XIV lets you level up and switch between all of the classes on a single character, nullifying the need to make a new character just to try out a new job.

2. Play the Race/Class Combination Most Appealing to You

Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

Final Fantasy XIV character creation
Image Credit: Square Enix via Twinfinite

While not as commonplace as they used to be in MMORPGs, it’s important to keep in mind that player races in Final Fantasy XIV have next to no bearing on how successfully your character can perform in a given class. Each race does have slight stat differences at level 1, but the discrepancy becomes so insubstantial after a few level ups that it may as well not exist.

Moreover, Final Fantasy XIV has always sported some of the most consistent balancing the genre has ever seen. All jobs are equally viable for every piece of content available to players, and no class choice will put you at a severe advantage or disadvantage in a given role (tank, healer, or damage dealer) at any point. Selecting a class and race combination that matches your own personal aesthetic and gameplay preferences is absolutely the way to go in Final Fantasy XIV.

Lastly, It’s worth clarifying the difference between a class and a job, as the two can be used somewhat interchangeably. Your “class” label refers to the initial 29 levels after creating your character. Once you reach level 30, you’ll complete a quest that upgrades the class into a “job.” The job title may be different, but this is a seamless transition; you retain your level, all of your current abilities, and get a significant stat boost just for reaching the milestone. Gladiator becomes Paladin, Conjurer becomes White Mage, Lancer becomes Dragoon, and so on at level 30.

3. Choose the Right Role

Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

A Thaumaturge casting a spell in Final Fantasy XIV.
Image Credit: Square Enix

To elaborate on the above, Final Fantasy XIV operates under the “holy trinity” of MMORPG roles; every combat class is either a tank, a healer, or a damage dealer in instanced content.

Tanks are responsible for holding the attention of all enemies and bosses while dishing out damage of their own. A healer’s primary goal is to keep the tank and other party members alive while dealing damage when the situation allows them to do so, and damage dealers carry out a rotation of abilities to melt the enemies as quickly as possible.

Of the starting class choices, the role breakdown is as follows. It’s worth noting that the different variations of DPS (melee, ranged, and magical) are all considered DPS as far as queueing for content is concerned, but the labels are included here to better inform your decision.

Arcanist is in a unique position because it’s the only class in Final Fantasy XIV that leads into two different jobs: Summoner (DPS) and Scholar (Healer). You can switch between either at any time and they share the same level progression, making it a great choice if you like the idea of being able to switch between both roles without leveling up another class.

4. Know the Differences Between Quest Markers

Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

Final Fantasy XIV quest markers
Image Credit: Square Enix via Twinfinite

Accepting and completing quests is going to be a large part of your progression in Final Fantasy XIV. Not all quests are equally worth doing, however, and the development team has delineated NPC-given quests into three distinct categories to better inform players.

Looking at the image above, you’ll see three different markers: a falling meteor, an exclamation point with a blue background, and an exclamation point with a light grey background. These markings denote Main Scenario Quests, quests that unlock content, and quests that don’t unlock content, respectively.

Main Scenario Quests (commonly referred to as MSQ) will be your primary means of continuing through Final Fantasy XIV and experiencing the excellent storyline. That being said, you should absolutely pick up and complete every quest with a blue background you come across as well, as these quests lead to unlockable content for you to later pursue at your leisure (i.e. optional dungeons, crafting/gathering content, new jobs, or even the ability to change the appearance of your equipped armor—that’s how important these are).

The third type are quests that don’t unlock extra content, but still offer unique story beats and dialogue in every instance. They’re safe to ignore, but can be worth your time if you’re looking to get everything you can out of the game.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that following the main scenario and doing your job quests (more on that in the next point) is enough to keep your level relevant with the main storyline, especially if you do them in conjunction with your daily dungeon roulettes.

5. Get Around Fast With Aetheryte Attunement

Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

An aetheryte shard in Final Fantasy XIV.
Image Credit: Square Enix via Twinfinite

From the moment you gain control of your character, you’ll be tasked with exploring and completing quests in the city decided by your starting class. As you snake through the alleys and streets of the town, you’ll come across rotating blue crystals.

These are called Aetheryte shards, and after attuning with one by right-clicking it once, you can instantly travel to it from any other Aetheryte shard in town for free. Every city has a network of these Aetheryte shards called Aethernet, and it makes getting to quest givers and objectives a breeze.

You’ll come across the larger variation, called Aetheryte crystals, in every major area of Final Fantasy XIV. After attuning to a crystal once, you can travel back to it instantly by using the Teleport skill, which is granted after attuning to two of them. The gil cost may seem a bit steep in the early game, but as you continue to play you’ll amass an ample amount to better weigh the cost and benefits of teleporting.

If you want to curb the cost of teleportation further, you can set one Aetheryte crystal as your Home Point, which allows you to return to it for free using the Return skill. You’re also able to set three different Aetherytes as Favored Destinations, which reduces the cost of teleporting to them by 50%.

If you have a one-time password applied to your account for extra security, you’re able to select one Free Destination, which lets you teleport to an Aetheryte of your choosing for free indefinitely. All of these choices can be changed at any point, making them a must to help save you gil in the long run.

6. Remember To Do Your Class/Job Quests

Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

Aymeric and Lucia in Final Fantasy XIV
Image Credit: Square Enix via Twinfinite

Given the gripping nature of Final Fantasy XIV’s story and the sheer volume of Main Scenario Quests, it can be tempting to entirely focus on reaching the next story beat and avoiding most of the side content the game has to offer. Whether you take this approach or not is completely up to you, but class/job quests are nothing if not mandatory.

Every 5 levels (from 1-50) or 2 levels (from 51-60), you’ll unlock the ability to continue the storyline of your selected class or job. Completing each of these quests rewards you with not only gear appropriate for your level, but also new skills that are crucial to your job’s core gameplay loop. Job quests continue past these points, but from level 60 onwards, all skills are automatically granted to you just for leveling up (with the exception of your level 70 ability, which still needs a quest completion to unlock).

Ignoring these quests would be ignoring multiple abilities vital to your job’s performance in instanced content like dungeons and alliance raids. They typically aren’t very long either, making it something of a no-brainer to get them done as soon as they become available. And besides, who doesn’t like having new, flashy attacks to better deplete enemy HP bars?

7. Always Read Your Skill Descriptions

Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

Tooltip for Dragoon's Chaos Thrust ability in Final Fantasy XIV
Image Credit: Square Enix via Twinfinite

At this point in the game’s life, leveling up in Final Fantasy XIV can be quick, sometimes to the point where multiple new skills will show up on your hotbars in the span of a few hours. As the game has aged, the development team has gone back and pruned more vestigial or niche skills to reduce button bloat, but there’s no shortage of abilities to contend with as you journey to level cap. This means it’s necessary to keep track of your skills as they become available to you to avoid potentially feeling overwhelmed.

When you level up and receive a new ability, be sure to take a moment and read the descriptive text thoroughly by hovering over the icon with your mouse. After understanding the characteristics of the skill, try to figure out where it makes the most sense in your rotation and then implement it accordingly.

Let’s take a look above at the tooltip for Chaos Thrust, one of Dragoon’s level 50 skills, for example. There’s a lot of text here, but if we take it one piece at a time, it starts to paint a clearer picture. “Combo Action: Disembowel” tells us that we’re to always use this move directly after using Disembowel, for a total of 220 potency. “Rear Combo Potency,” however, gives us a higher number at 260, meaning that we need to attempt to be behind the enemy every time we execute Chaos Thrust. Finally, we learn that the skill also inflicts a “Damage Over Time (DOT)” effect that lasts for 24 seconds, meaning we should attempt to repeat Chaos Thrust again just as the DOT effect from the previous time is about to end.

This is just one specific example for one specific job, but it gives you an idea of the things to look out for when examining your skills as you unlock them. You can also hover over abilities you have yet to get (and the level you’ll receive them) if you want to preview how your rotation might change further down the line.

8. Join a Grand Company To Get Your First Mount

Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

A screenshot of the Immortal Flames Grand Company in Final Fantasy XIV.
Image Credit: Square Enix via Twinfinite

Once you start completing level 20 Main Scenario Quests, you’ll eventually be prompted to join a Grand Company. Not to be confused with Free Companies (player guilds that are inaccessible during the free trial), Grand Companies are political entities that operate out of the three starting cities.

The Order of the Twin Adder is the Grand Company of Gridania, the Immortal Flames is the Grand Company of Ul’dah, and the Maelstrom is the Grand Company of Limsa Lominsa. You’re free to choose whichever Grand Company you like best, regardless of the city your chosen class started in.

After joining the ranks of the Grand Company, a quest called “My Little Chocobo” will become available in your Grand Company’s headquarters. This tasks you with purchasing a Chocobo Issuance item from your Grand Company’s quartermaster NPC for 200 Company Seals.

Company Seals can be earned in several different ways, but the most efficient method for getting enough to purchase the Chocobo Issuance is heading out to complete FATEs in the overworld or running Duty Roulette: Leveling in the Duty Finder. The latter will give you 1,000 Company Seals (and a decent chunk of experience) once a day.

Turning in the quest will grant you a Chocobo Whistle, which you can then use to summon your very first mount. This will save you a lot of time traveling, and you’ll unlock the ability to fly when you finish the base game storyline.

9. Keep an Eye Out for Hall of the Novice Quests

Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

Hall of the Novice screen in Final Fantasy XIV
Image Credit: Square Enix via Twinfinite

The Hall of the Novice was added to Final Fantasy XIV in the middle of the Heavensward expansion, but it’s intended to introduce players to the concept of running group-based content as early as level 15. It provides short exercises for each role (tank, healer, DPS) to complete, and teach the player important game mechanics like aggro management, healing your allies, and avoiding unnecessary damage while dishing out your own.

The Main Scenario Quests will point you in its direction, but they may be easy to skip over, particularly if you have experience in other MMOs. They’re well worth your time, however, because finishing all of the exercises for a given role rewards you with four pieces of gear suitable for any job in that specific archetype. This primes you to tackle the game’s first dungeons with better gear than you might have otherwise.

The real prize of the Hall of the Novice, though, is the Brand-new Ring. This is granted upon completing all the exercises for all three roles and grants an additional 30% bonus to all experience gained on a job when at or below level 30. This is a great boon to have as a new player, especially if you want to experiment with multiple classes to figure out which one works best for you.

10. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Things Every New Final Fantasy XIV Player Should Do First

Concept art of Thavnair in Final Fantasy XIV
Image Credit: Square Enix

If you’re tackling Final Fantasy XIV from the perspective of a solo player, it may be intimidating to learn that the MMO requires its players to run multiplayer dungeons to experience the story. Although the developers are slowly implementing solo options for the entire game, this currently only applies to the base game content of A Realm Reborn, the Shadowbringers expansion (levels 70-80) and the Endwalker expansion (levels 80-90). This means that you’ll have no choice but to play with other players at some point over the course of your journey through the game.

Given this requirement, it’s a great thing that Final Fantasy XIV’s community is one that’s known for being one of the most welcoming and supportive in online gaming. The starting cities of Ul’Dah, Gridania, and Limsa Lominsa are packed with players, many of whom are ready and willing to answer any questions you might have from the clarification of gameplay mechanics to the requisites to unlock a piece of content you’re interested in.

Further facilitating new player curiosity is the Novice Network, which every new player is able to opt into. This is a global chat channel filled with new players and experienced veterans that exists entirely to answer any and all questions you might have about the game. It’s a great resource for meeting in-game friends and getting a better understanding of the game, especially for free trial players who are unable to join a Free Company.

And those are ten things every Final Fantasy XIV Player should do first. If you’re looking for more information on Final Fantasy XIV, Twinfinite wrote about the game’s upcoming 6.2 update and its continued success for Square Enix.

About the author

Justin Mercer

A fan of any game that has something to say, a certified MMORPG lover following the genre for nigh on 20 years, and a staunch defender of (almost) every single game on the original PlayStation.