Wisdom of Nym: Starting new in Final Fantasy XIV

    
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Here comes trouble.
Starting out fresh in Final Fantasy XIV can be pretty intimidating, I freely admit. I find it all old hat at this point, but I’m coming at the game as someone who has leveled every single available class to 50. It would be more surprising if I were still starting out and wondering when I can get my first mount or when I’m allowed to completely ignore the story and just craft forever if that’s more my speed.

The answer to both is largely level 20, for the record.

Let’s assume, then, that you’re starting the game new for the first time. Once you’ve made your character (and your birthdate and starting deity have minimal effect upon your character, so don’t sweat them) and watched the far-too-long opening cutscene, you’re dropped into a quick series of tutorial quests. What do you do from there, where do you go, and how do you make the most out of your time in Final Fantasy XIV when we’re on the cusp of the game’s first expansion?

When I wore a younger cat's clothes. And was still a cat. That was then.Stage 1: Follow the Class

The tutorial quests you get will lead you in the direction of your class guild, and this is important. While you’re there, you can pick up your first class quest. These quests are available every five levels, and doing them is one of your highest priorities. Aside from helping to teach you in broad strokes how you class plays, you also earn new abilities and unlock your far more powerful Job options via class quests. Do not neglect them.

The first class quest will also unlock your Hunting Log (bound to “H” by default). This is also an important part of the leveling process, but at least early on you don’t need to worry about it too much. Killing the right number of the listed targets gets you a boost of experience; killing all of the listed targets gets you a bigger boost. Just doing your starting quests and noticing the targets you need to kill will be enough to clear out the first two portions of the log, and fully unlocking the Hunting Log is not necessary for your class. It’s just another way to earn experience.

Stage 2: Understanding the Flow

FFXIV has a strictly linear story; there are no alternate routes to be followed. At the same time, the story will bring you all across Eorzea and frequently take you back to areas you thought you were finished with. The game makes use of this for quest distribution purposes, too.

Essentially, there are no straight quest hubs. Instead, around each leg of the main story you will find several auxiliary quests located around that main quest. The first time through, this is a very big advantage. Quests cannot be repeated, and the ones you can do at a low-level go a long way toward boosting the heck out of your levels. (Subsequent leveling experiences lack the directed questing, although you get another boost to help compensate in part.) Between the main story and satellite quests along with the occasional hunting entry or FATE, reaching level 10 will not be an issue.

That’s when you’ll unlocking things. Speaking of which…

Those aren't factory-issue slicers.Stage 3: The First Unlocks

Almost every unlock in Final Fantasy XIV is tied to quests rather than level. This can feel slightly irritating, but it prevents situations like unlocking a new dungeon in World of Warcraft without even realizing that it’s there. Not that I’ve ever done that several dozen times or anything.

Cough.

The level 10 story quests unlock Levequests (not necessary for leveling your first class for most of the game) and retainers. Retainers are “hired” but don’t actually cost you any money in-game; they’re your functional bank and auction system all in one. And yes, you can spend a great deal of time customizing the appearance of your retainer if you’re so inclined.

Meanwhile, your level 10 class quest unlocks the option to pick up additional classes. This is vital. Whatever city you started in will have a gathering class, at least two crafting classes, and two more combat classes available. You don’t need to play these additional classes, but… you also kind of do; they’re important. They offer cross-class abilities that are vital. That having been said, you don’t need to worry too much about them right now and can safely wait until level 15.

If you want to play a Rogue, you have to get level 10 and switch to the class first. However, if that’s your plan, I recommend you start as a Pugilist or Lancer first, even though that means you’ll have to wait a little bit longer to unlock Rogue. Just keep heading along until you reach the level 15 story quests, and that’s when you can start in on…

It takes a while to get here, and it's not even your final destination.Stage 4: Opening Up

By this point, you will have earned your first class ability specifically from your class quests by completing your level 15 class quest. Hooray for you! You’ll also be speeding along the main scenario, winding up with a quest dubbed Call of the Sea regardless of your starting nation. Having done the prior quest, you’ll be pointed to Limsa Lominsa, and you’ll have access to airships as a travel method between all three cities. This means you now have the ability to unlock all of the various classes and try all of the different playstyles.

If you want to play just as a crafter or gatherer, that’s commendable, but you still want to stick with your combat class for a little while longer. It’ll be worthwhile.

Call of the Sea is the point when all three nation storylines come together into one, and once you’ve cleared that and unlocked the next main scenario quest, stop for a moment. Look around. There’s a questgiver name I’tolwann right near where you’re standing, and she gives you the quest Rising to the Challenge. The quest takes you two seconds to complete and unlocks the Challenge Log, which is a great way of both getting experience and guiding your play.

In short: The Challenge Log lists several objectives that can be completed each week. Several of these objectives reward experience, most reward gil, and all of them can serve as an effective guide if you’re not sure what you want to do next. Make good use of it. And yes, several of the challenges involve crafting or gathering classes, hence why I encouraged you to keep going to unlock it.

Continuing on the main scenario quests unlocks the first dungeon in the game, Sastasha. It’s not a terribly hard dungeon, but it’s fun. Once you unlock the second dungeon, you can start using the Duty Roulette, which queues you up for a random dungeon that you’re eligible to enter. You get bigger rewards for the roulette, and there’s a challenge to enter the roulette a certain number of times, so it’s generally worth the effort.

This is also the time to start worrying about unlocking and playing other classes. It’s not mandatory yet, no, but you can benefit from doing so. As you level another class, you likely won’t have many quests around you, if any, but you’ll probably notice that you’re leveling slightly faster. Every class after your first one unlocks an Armoury Bonus that grants you more experience based on the gap between your highest-level class and your current class; it makes leveling additional classes very quick at low levels when you cap out.

At this point, you have your challenge log unlocked, you’ve gotten into dungeons, and you can unlock multiple classes. Whew. And there’s a bunch more to still go. So I’m going to have to split this up a bit further. You can feel free to leave comments, feedback, and questions in the comments below or send mail along to eliot@massivelyop.com; both work just as well. Next time out, I’ll be talking about unlocking jobs, ventures, Grand Companies, and all the options you have for play past the early levels.

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Rohirrim
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Rohirrim

This is a great game. Especially the combat and dungeons are awesome. Spell effects does not fill your screen with tons of colors not being able to even see the boss (I am talking to you wow and GW2). Only thing I disliked is that the world is small and have too much loading screens. Leveling have zero replayability.. I leveled my job (Paladin), leveled all crafting and gathering classes to max level. I did grind a lot of dungeons and Primals and then I quit :(
The world didn’t made me to want to level an alt and crafting was useless since you needed dungeons tomes to buy the materials to make an item that was more expensive to make than the items you got from dungeon tomes..Anyway, I don’t know what changed since then. I played only the first 3 months.
I would like to see another article, but this time instead of aiming to new players, will be aiming to returning players…explain them what changed and why is worth for them to come back

SomniumWintersun
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SomniumWintersun

rverghes Wratts Eliot_Lefebvre
You can also get the “Weathered” soldiery weapons (ilvl 100) for 1300 soldiery (10 of the Rowena’s tokens (soldiery)) + Unidentified Allagan Tomestone (which are super easy to get from Syrcus Tower as a lot of people pass on these now) which might be the “not-quite-top-end weapon” rverghes was referring to. 

You can then use a Sands of Time (also pretty easily from ST depending on RNG with your rolls) to upgrade it to ilvl 110 which if you’re not doing top-end stuff is more than enough.

JonBuck
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JonBuck

Caec You can also right-click on the name and add to the blacklist. I highly recommend going into chat options and disabling Tell. No more spam.

Bunzi
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Bunzi

Caec I take issue with some of this. You don’t have to level every class, just those relevant to your class of choice (which admittedly can still be pretty time consuming. Sucks for you would be Ninjas that want to max their DPS but don’t like Lancer).

you can play casually very comfortably since there are tons of daily bonuses, rested XP, and even weekly Challenges (which are literally just “do what you would do normally, but here’s some money and experience for it! Ie, run 3 dungeons in a week and get roughly half your experience to the next level + a decent bit of Gil with it), and there are so many ways to level, I hit 30 with one class, than switched over to play an entirely new one and hit 50 without even finishing the main storyline, only hitting Fates as I passed them. If anything, dungeons are so easy and so incentivized (with a daily experience and money bonus) that they’re the best way to level now.

Eliot_Lefebvre
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Eliot_Lefebvre

Caec FATE grinding is only your main method of leveling subsequent jobs if you’re somehow scared of leves, hunting logs, dungeons, and guildhests.  So it’s almost entirely not.

Motodew
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Motodew

confectionally I agree. I loved the game world, but all the things you mention were irritations to me too.  I didn’t mind doing the dungeons as part of the story but could not imagine grinding them over and over.  I did have things from the seasonal events, but they seemed more like joke costumes (giant snowman heads and things).

lasmori
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lasmori

Fate chasing is something I rarely do while leveling a class. I will usually queue up a dungeon / guildhest and start working on my hunt logs or guildleves. I’ll catch the occasional fate that crosses my path on the way. I’ll also complete items on my challenge log along the way. They boosted dungeon experience since release and it’s become a good way to level.
I feel sorry for anyone who sticks to Fate chasing. There are other options.

Caec
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Caec

Oh, the gold spam is out of this world. This is the most important macro you will ever make in the game:

/blist add <r>

confectionally
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confectionally

Nonsensicles Even though it was looking like quite a long grind, I resigned myself to doing a bunch of hunts because there was some Grand Company gear I really wanted for my character’s look.  …Then literally just days later they premiered the patch with the latest hunt changes (2.5? I forget).  I never managed to catch one after that, lol, so I gave up on that avenue.  By dungeon tokens I assume you mean soldiery/poetics…?  I’m not into grinding dungeons for armor in general, but I’d slog through it if it felt worth it, however as far as I can tell each job only gets one choice of skin set from each of those right? And I’m not wild about the look of the ones I’ve seen available for my job.  It’s hard to be interested in grinding tokens only for the sake of making some numbers bigger, especially since I’m not particularly interested in getting into the harder dungeons to begin with.  As for seasonal gear I haven’t been around for anything interesting yet (first joined in November), I guess I could resub if there’s ever anything good.  I admit I haven’t looked into crafted gear very much though, I’m not sure how to find out what’s out there — you wouldn’t happen to know of any armor gallery type sites, would you?  Though at any rate I’m reluctant to spend any of my hard-earned gold when one of the biggest draws for me was the housing system and that really requires an astronomical amount of it.  I recognize if I don’t want to dungeon grind then gold might be the only option for gear, though.

Anyway, unfortunately I think the bottom line is probably that the game’s not for me, and that’s okay.  There’s nothing wrong with the state of how it is right now for its fans so I’m sure it’s myself that has the problem here.  I just look sadly at what might have been because there’s some aspects of it that I really love, and I would’ve loved to spend more time there.

jaedia1
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jaedia1

This is around the point I’m at so looking forward to the next one!