It’s the final countdown, people. Final Fantasy XIV will throw wide the gates early in the morning on Friday, and we’ll all be off to the First when that happens. But, of course, I’m writing this well before we have patch notes or anything, so all I can do is speculate about how things will go and be excited.
And, you know, offer you valuable advice about how to spend this last week preparing for the expansion.
Figure out a plan of attack
There’s a lot to be done once the expansion access kicks off. There are a lot of jobs to level. There are two new jobs to level. There’s a main scenario to get through. There’s crafting to be done. There’s stuff pulling you in every direction, and if you’re some sort of absolute nitwit who has a bunch of alts you have even more pressure for going in different directions. It’s easy to log in and be stuck with choice paralysis, or even just going with the first thing that seems important (the MSQ) when that’s not what’s actually important to you.
So what do you do? You figure this out ahead of time. You sit down and determine what personally matters to you before the early access starts up.
This does mean a certain amount of ruthless prioritizing. After all, spending an hour leveling Gunbreaker means, by definition, that you’re not spending that time leveling one of your other jobs or progressing the main story. But knowing what matters the most to you is going to pay dividends in the long run. It is entirely valid to, say, decide that what you want first and foremost is to level Dancer, knowing – or not caring – that you’ll be hitting the level cap more slowly as a result.
And, ultimately, you’ll have a lot more fun if you’re going in with a plan that you’re eager to undertake than one that you feel obligated to act upon. Whatever things you’re putting lower on the list will still be there in a week, or two weeks, or even a month.
Prepare your materia and inventory
Main stat materia is going to stop working. Get that out of anything you have it melded into, which mostly means tank accessories but could just as easily involve you having something melded with INT on Ninja for some reason. (I don’t know why you’d do that, but your life is your own.) Extract that and trade it in for materia of some actual value, especially since we have strong hints that we are going to be getting Grade VII materia with this expansion.
We don’t have confirmation of that, of course, but it’s reasonable to expect. Filling your melds with things that will remain useful is better than just leaving it until the last minute, because it means less time spent ramping on to the expansion once you start seriously playing.
Similarly, clearing out some space in your inventory and armoury chest is good practice, especially if you’re planning to level a new job or two. If it’s something you know you want for glamour purposes but isn’t actually going to be used, toss it in your dresser for now; you can always retrieve it later. Make a point of having your food, potions, and necessary reagents like aetheryte tickets and dark matter in your inventory; crafting materials or old tokens can go on retainers.
This is the easiest step to overlook, of course, because it’s not actually much fun; it’s a chore more than anything. But preparing for this now means less time spent fussing about with it later, which is ultimately more important.
Choose where you’re logging off
Let’s assume for the moment that yes, you intend to start off with the MSQ. You have a pretty good idea that you’re going to be starting the MSQ in Mor Dhona, since that’s where it left off. All well and good. So do you log off in Revenant’s Toll or not?
This sounds like a really simple question, but it isn’t for a variety of reasons, starting with the fact that loading times are a thing. If everyone’s logging off in Mor Dhona, you’re going to be facing more loading times when you get in, even if that’s not inherently going to make life easier or harder when you have to get there anyway. However, by the same token you have to ask if you should world visit another server ahead of time. If you know there’s an underpopulated server, swapping there and doing the early parts of the quests could help you out and make things smoother…
The reality is that whatever you pick, you are gambling a bit. There’s no such thing as a sure course. You could pick a low-population server and log off in Mor Dhona there, only to find out that everyone else had the same idea and now you’re swarmed. But the key thing to do in that situation, I think, is to take a deep breath and not do the obvious thing of changing your plans.
Yes, I know, you’re thinking that maybe now you should head back to your home server if this one is a mess. But trying to change what you’re doing midstream is more likely to cause you to run into a mass of people all trying to change gears after the fact, which leads to further problems, and ultimately it doesn’t actually smooth anything out. Pick how you’re going to approach this, accept that you may be wrong, and commit. It might wind up slowing you down a little, but sticking it out is faster than frantically trying again.
Set your alarms
All right, you can at least up your chances of things going smoothly if you’re on those servers like white on rice when the clock turns over. 5:00 a.m. EDT, folks, set your alarms, get up, and get your computer loaded. Assuming that you have a job that lets you get away with this nonsense.
Although that one’s not really advice. It’s like “have an SSD for your computer.” Definitely helpful, but not really something you can probably fix in a couple of days.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week? Recapping the experience, of course. You know that, I know that, let’s not front.