Wisdom of Nym: How to catch up in Final Fantasy XIV (before Heavensward arrives)

    
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Stab some stuff.
Let’s assume you’ve just recently gotten to the level cap in Final Fantasy XIV and you’re ready to start in on catching up to the main scenario before Heavensward drops. Where do you start?

I don’t really agree with the official decision to gate people out of Ishgard if they haven’t cleared the story up through the 2.55 patch, but it was made and I didn’t get a vote there, so it’s kind of academic. The point is that if you’re hitting that level for the first time, you have five major patches of stuff between you and getting to Ishgard in June. So how do you make sure that your fresh character can get all the way up there? Is it even possible?

The answer is most definitely yes, but you’re going to have to put some time in. Most of the gating you’ll have to deal with, though, is a matter of getting the gear you need to take on the later challenges that the story throws at you.

Even with the size adjusted, it's hard to see that great glamour I have in the header. So here's another shot. I am proud.Two things are going to gate your way through the post-50 MSQ: item levels and content. The former is a bit more important only because there’s a minimum level for the highest end of content available pre-expansion; if you haven’t hit item level 90, you won’t be able to queue up for Keeper of the Lake, Steps of Faith, or the Chrysalis, all of which are necessary to clear the scenario. And no, forming a full party doesn’t change that; you still need to hit that minimum.

Fortunately, there are ways to start moving around that, starting with the fact that you can go trawling the market boards for stuff, possibly after doing some of the MSQ portions.

There are several quests in the 2.1 series that reward items like Tier IV materia, which is something you want specifically because it can sell for a lot of gil. I recommend picking up quests, checking the market boards to see which piece sells for the most on your server, then clearing the quest and selling it pronto. Odds are high to absolute that you aren’t going to miss it in the future; you aren’t going to have time or space to worry about things like Zodiac weapons at this point in the expansion.

How does all that gil help you? Search the boards for armor and weapons. High-quality level 70 crafted gear is largely out of favor at this point, and you can frequently find it for bargain-basement prices; I picked up stuff from my alt at 30-50,000 gil to boost her up a fair bit right away. It’s enough to get you a foothold in terms of gear, possibly (though not definitely) bringing you to level 70 or nearly there.

That’s important because it’s enough to survive in the first two parts of the Crystal Tower series, which you kick off by talking to the strangely-garbed man for the Legacy of Allag quest. Unlocking Labyrinth takes a fair bit of work, but you can blow through it in an afternoon; once you’ve cleared it once, you can get into Syrcus Tower after a quest that involves nothing more than a few cutscenes and smiles.

Syrcus Tower is important for two reasons. First off, it drops level 100 gear, which is supremely useful for getting your item levels up there. It also drops Sands of Time, Oil of Time, and Unidentified Allagan Tomestones. You want an Unidentified Allagan Tomestone very much; it’s your key to getting a better weapon with a whole stack of Soldiery, which is another important part of filling out your kit.

“Wait a second,” you say, “none of this has to do with the main quests yet!” Right you are, and there’s a bit of a reason for that – getting to level 90 is a bit harder when you’re starting from nothing. Your gear isn’t good enough to reliably run roulettes to get more tomestones, but in order to get better gear, you’ll find the easiest approach is, again, more tomestones. So you have to figure out a way to jump that hurdle first; picking up gear out of Syrcus Tower is very useful, especially insofar as a fairly simple run through it nets you 100 soldiery and a chance at several bits of gear. That initial gil infusion from the main scenario is helpful, but the rest of the MSQ content takes a bit longer to become relevant.

It's not quite as relevant now, but it still has a purpose. Even if most people see that purpose as clearing a weekly quest.So let’s assume you’re rocking a fairly solid mix of crafted HQ 70 gear for cheap amounts of gil, including a weapon. If you don’t have a 70 weapon, you can try doing a few Garuda/Ifrit HM runs, as most groups will now be able to stomp that content even with a weak member in the mix. Your next biggest expense will be getting an Unidentified Allgan Tomestone weapon, bought with 1300 Soldiery and the aforementioned tomestone.

You could also get your Zenith weapon, which will serve you for most content but will cause you to lag behind as DPS or tank in higher-end content. It’s your call whether the cheaper weapon is offset by its lack of long-term utility; I think you can honestly skip it at this point.

You can definitely clear through all of 2.1’s content, including the King Moggle Mog fight, with a level 70 weapon. I’d even recommend taking that fight before you have a better weapon, since it can drop a level 75 weapon if you’re lucky – not much of an upgrade, but still an upgrade. Farming up the Soldiery to get something better is an ideal time to form a group and start rolling through endgame dungeons with impunity, too; everyone gets bonus soldiery for a first-time clear, so your friends will get extra stones for bringing you through current facerolls like AK and Pharos. Heck, you can often find halfway competent groups in the party finder for exactly that purpose.

Once you do have a better weapon – and there are worse things whilst catching up than chain-running Syrcus Tower for the hopes of that UAT and a Sands of Time to upgrade the weapon, since it’s 100 soldiery a shot – you’ll be in a good place. Your weapon is good enough to handle pretty much anything, and while you won’t be pulling stellar numbers if you worry about DPS, you will be able to manage.

If you’re not already at level 90 by that point, unlock and run through more of the endgame dungeons to pick up more tomestones, although you won’t be able to unlock high-level roulettes until you make your way through more of the main scenario, which you should totally do. A good rule of thumb is to always purchase the biggest upgrade first (so upgrade that level 70 ring over those level 90 pants) and always purchase the most expensive upgrade first when there’s an equal gap. Once you’ve gotten the item level you need, you should be able to clear through most of the story quests with just a little bit of work.

Fair warning: Chrysalis and Steps of Faith are likely to not be fun times, since those are both up toward currently relevant content. But you kind of saw that coming, didn’t you?

Feedback and other suggestions are welcome down in the comments below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. I would have loved to have talked more about the benchmark and such, but I’m going to discuss that and the lore we’ve got next week, let it accumulate a bit more. Until then, have fun in Eorzea!

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.
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garetstrife980
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garetstrife980

The best way to gear up the second you hit level 50 is to gain access to the Hunt board. You can get upwards of 40 allied seals per A rank killed, not to mention a fair amount of Poetic’s as well. Take your daily/weekly hunts into account and you can gain a fair amount of seals quickly. You can trade seals into the Hunt Billmaster for Weathered Gear — that’s item level 100, which is the same as Sycrus Tower; albeit far more reliably obtained, ’cause you don’t have to worry about RNG. 

The gear ranges from 20 seals (accessories and belt) to 30 (for hat, gloves, feet) and 40 (for chest and legs). Ask around in any city-state for an invite to an active hunting linkshell and you’ll have good gear in no time. I wouldn’t recommend grabbing the item level 70 weapon however. There are better things to spend your seals on once you’re geared up. Blood-splattered log (250 seals) and Unstained Mark log (500) can be traded in Mor Dhona for materials used to upgrade your Weathered 100 gear into 110 gear. A full set of item level 110 gear will set you up for everything the main scenario throws at you, including the Steps of Faith.

Now, with hunts you also get Poetic tomestones. Trade those in for your weapon in Mor Dhona — at the time of writing, the best you can get is item level 120 and that’s more than you’ll need. You can grab all the materials you need for this weapon at this time from hunting. So go make some things extinct!

Chocobo Chick
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Chocobo Chick

Square’s decision on this is frankly bullshit. Flame me for this but the endgame is simply too hardcore for too much of the playerbase. This game isn’t unlike Destiny where most likely only the top 10-20% of the base is able to continue on past the end of the main quest line.

Perhaps the biggest mistake was loading the single player quest line with so many forced PUGs. It was entirely unnecessary and hampers the game. Raids and high level trials should have been aside of the main quest not an integral part of it and not at so many different points. The game is flawed at its core and bogged down by the constant need to keep all content relevant forever.

chosenxeno
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chosenxeno

themindstream chosenxeno  The fact that it could even be a thing is a huge issue. Especially down the line. What if people have friends they want to bring? Man there’s so many reasons I could list why this is bad. I can’t think of any reasons that this is good.

themindstream
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themindstream

chosenxeno When I say drought, I mean “slower than usual”, not impossible.

chosenxeno
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chosenxeno

themindstream chosenxeno 
“At worst, I would expect a couple weeks of drought on some queues at launch because people will be busy with all the new shiny”. 
Cool. So I just have to wait until people are bored enough to Queue content that I need to play my 60 dollar expansion….
They had better find a way to make entry solo. People use WoW making you do things for entry but none of it is group oriented. This is really really poor design. I can’t believe people try to justify it witrh their story comments. If I want the story I can just go to YouTube.

themindstream
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themindstream

chosenxeno It’s probably been said before but Square is very good about giving high level people reasons to farm older content. Also, people leveling the new jobs will be starting at 30 and likely running dungeons to do it.
At worst, I would expect a couple weeks of drought on some queues at launch because people will be busy with all the new shiny.

chosenxeno
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chosenxeno

Hmm. Oh well. Guess I will be skipping this now. I have a level 30-ish toon. I was thinking about leveling it to 50 and waiting on the expansion and maybe making this my main game for a bit since I’ve been just bouncing lately. I did enjoy the game. I am however not going to risk paying money and then being trapped in the old world because no one is interested in pre-expansion content. If I’m reading this correctly this is the worst idea I have ever heard.

I’m sure there are going to be quite a few people who expected to maybe jump back in that won’t now.

Loyheta
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Loyheta

I recently started gearing up to go through current content. Half of my stuff is up to 100 (relic weapon to atma the rest soldier). Working on the other half (just got this horrid looking robe from crystal tower but it’s ilevel 100). I’m curious why they have dyeing when so many things are undyeable (materia too).

Loyheta
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Loyheta

ReginaldAtkins rverghes took me a few days to do it. *shrug*

SoulMonarch
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SoulMonarch

I feel like this is a silly concern to have.
1.) Hit 50.
2.) Earn tomestones.
3.) ???
4.) iLevel 100+!

And yeah, it really is that easy. The game throws older tomes (soldiery, ATM) at you like candy. The bump into i120ish might take a few weeks, sure. But getting to 90-100 should take little to no effort.