Starting a new MMO can be exciting, but also super intimidating – for both new MMO players and the so-called refugees. In this article, I’m going to skip over the total basics you’ve probably already heard about when starting Final Fantasy XIV (focusing on the main questline, doing your class quests, and all the obvious stuff). This time, we’re focusing on all the quality of life tips for beginners in Final Fantasy XIV that I was very happy to learn as a sprout, largely thanks to my awesome live community – huge thanks and a big shoutout to them! These tips will help you take in all the new features in an easier way, you’ll get around much faster, and you’ll know what to look out for as you’re leveling.
Creating a character
When it comes to creating your character, there are groups of data servers which a and servers, where you need to create a home for your new character. If you put yourself in a certain data center, like Primal, or Light, or Crystal, or whatever, you cannot interact with people from other data centers in any way. However, you can see your friends in-game that are on different servers inside of a data center, but there are some limitations as to what you can do together. You can’t join the same Free Company, and you can’t walk around the world together – you can only do instanced content together. If you have a friend you would like to play with, your best bet is to create a character in the same data center and the same realm. Sometimes, you won’t be able to make new characters on some servers because it says they’re full, but you can refresh that every three minutes and there’s a rotation every hour or so, that might open your desired server up. Therefore, if you care about it at all, wait it out until your chosen server is available for new characters, it shouldn’t be long. Also, if you’re clueless, you may wanna check out which servers are recommended for new people!
Should you boost?
The next tip is to please, please not boost a character to maximum level. You’ll have a maxed out job and the main storyline finished, and even though that sounds like a timesaver, that is not something you wanna do in FFXIV. The story is very much worth it, and if you just wanna get to the endgame without ever questing, this may not be a good game for you to play after all, as each new expansion will inevitably contain a lot of quests and storylines you won’t like and understand. Do your best to muscle through the content and do the job quests as well, as each job has a cool storyline that you do not wanna miss out on.
Picking a race
When you’re thinking about which race to pick, don’t try and go minimax for stats, as in the FFXIV, it simply doesn’t matter. Pick whatever looks good and whatever you feel comfortable in, as you most likely won’t be making alts. You can change this later on if you want, but going through the quests and dialogs as a character you like is super important if you like to roleplay and feel the story as your own.
Which class/job should you pick?
Once you’ve picked your class, you shouldn’t feel stuck in it as you can change your class or your job by changing your weapon, but all your jobs get leveled separately. My advice is to stick with one class until the end so you can learn the game and not feel like you’re stuck in some form of leveling forever. The exception is if you want to play some of the jobs that are only unlocked later on in the game. For example, if I want to play a Dark Knight, I’ll pick up the job at level 50, but he’ll already be at a high level, and I won’t feel pushed back onto level 1 after being something else for the past… well, ages. I won’t be going into the specifics of each job in this video, you should research that further, but that’s the just of it when it comes to your overall class behavior.
What I highly recommend you do when you start with FFYXIV is learn the abbreviations of all the jobs and classes. The reason why this is important is because you’ll know which gear can be equipped by which class, as there’s info on it on every piece of gear you get. That’s just one of the many reasons, but being literate is what you should care about anyway.
Be a healer or a tank… if you can
This is something that you may already know if you’re an MMO player already, but there’s a good reason to pick a tank or a healer class for leveling regardless of your experience, as the queues for instances are significantly shorter. The community is super friendly towards new players and even if you’re new to these roles, you’ll do just fine. I never thought I could tank, but here I am, rolling through dungeons and learning along the way, thanks to everyone being so helpful and understanding!
Let go of your previous MMO knowledge
If you come from another MMO game, you might fall into the same trap like I did, and try to bring all your knowledge with you. I mean of course, you’ll know how to move and walk around and do quests, but don’t try to translate everything you know about another MMO to FFXIV, as it has many unique features that you’ll learn easier if you just let go of most of the things you know.
Fix your UI
One of the first things you should do when you log into the game is figure out your interface, because the sooner you get used to it, the better. Your spellbar will originally be at the bottom, but in order to not keep staring at your character’s feet, you may wanna consider moving it more upwards or to the sides. I learned this while raiding with my guild in WoW, and it helped me look at the game a lot more, while using my peripheral vision to watch for my spells, cooldowns and other information. You’ll be a lot more immersed and combat-ready if you do the same thing, so if that’s your goal, I strongly recommend it.
This isn’t the only feature you can customize, as everything on your screen is moveable. You can do things like hiding the buttons for your unassigned slots, which looks a lot cleaner in my opinion, and you can save different setups for different classes and jobs, which is awesome, as different roles have different responsibilities and different things they track. The way to tweak your bars is to enter the settings and select HUD Layout, and from there, you can play around and save your presets. To hide the unused slots, go to the Character settings, then into the Character Configuration, and then onto Hotbar Settings, you can check Hide unassigned slots and that’s that.
MSQ & Class quests
As you now know, you can move everything on your screen, but the one thing that should remain in its place is the top left area, where your main questline and your class quests are listed. You have another questlog on the right that contains all your quests, but you should always be focusing on the quests that are listed in the top left corner. If you don’t have enough levels to start your next questline, you should consider doing some side quests, but that’s only gonna happen at the very start. Later on, you’ll be much higher level than your main storyline quests, and I’ll get to why and how that is soon, so don’t worry too much about how to get experience, as it’s really no problem at all.
As you’re getting new spells, you’ll want to make sure you’re keybinding them correctly. You can do that by entering the Keybind menu, and binding the keys the way you feel is the best, as the default keybinds are a bit awkward and you shouldn’t get used to them. The one thing I highly recommend though, is to bind Strafe Left to A, and Strafe Right to D on the keyboard, as they’re on Q and E as defaults, and that’s just awkward. You’ll find these settings in the Movement Menu.
Read your spells & actions
Now that you’ve got your spells and keybinds, what you should be doing is taking the time to actually read your spells. I know this sounds like a useless tip, but most people don’t do it as they’re eager to continue playing and they continuously just spam buttons without taking the time to understand combos. You don’t need to know your rotation very early on as you don’t even have one, but spells have their logical order, and there’s a 2.5s cooldown on some of them. You should know your instant cooldowns that you can use as a filler during that time!
No addons, and no bullying!
If you’ve ever played another MMO, for example WoW, you may feel uneasy about the fact that there are no addons in this game, and you don’t actually need them at all. The only addon that’s even somewhat allowed is the DPS meter, but you should be very careful about using it, as you’re not allowed to go around and harass other players with the information that the addon provides. This is a serious thing and you could face consequences if you get reported for it, so make sure you’re not toxic in any way when you’re in a group. The game allows for so much customization that you won’t feel the need for addons at all, so don’t worry about it and enjoy tweaking the settings you’ve got available.
Expand your bags
If you’re interested in what’s in your bags, you’ll press letter I, but you’ll soon realize that there’s quite a bit of clicking around in order to see all your items. There’s a way around this – by going into Character Settings and selecting Item settings. At the top, there’s an option to tweak the Inventory interface. You should change it from Normal to Expanded, or even Open All. That way, you’ll see your stuff all at once!
Tweak camera settings
If you’ve just logged in for the first time, there’s a chance your camera is automatically positioned back into looking forward when you release your left click. This is kind of an awkward thing to be happening, and if you want your camera to stop acting like it’s got a mind of its own, go into Character Configuration, the General tab, and find the Camera Auto-adjustment settings, which you wanna switch to Never, so you can actually look around yourself without turning.
Hard ways to die…
When you venture into the world, you’ll discover that dying is slightly more difficult than in other MMO’s. There are some cliffs and heights you can’t jump from at all, and even if you do, you cannot die from falling damage. You will, however, remain at 1 HP, so it’s a good idea not to jump onto the head of some enemy, as you’ll get into combat and actually, truly die. Try to avoid that!
There are plenty of ways to speed yourself up while playing, and the most important way is teleporting. Take the time to click on all the Aethernet crystals, both big and small, that you find. This will save you tons of hours at the beginning as you can just teleport instead of walking from one quest giver to another. You can set up a free, temporary return point for a location you visit a lot!
You can also teleport to the big crystals that you’ve attuned to, either by clicking on them on your map, or by entering the Teleport menu. Porting to small crystals is free, but the big ones cost money, which you absolutely should be spending every single time, as you’re getting so much more than that from your other activities that you can now get to a lot faster. When you decide to join a Free Company, you’ll also get a buff that allows you to have discounted prices on those teleports, so there’s a good reason to get social.
Auto-equip best gear
When you get new gear, figuring out whether you should equip it or not can get annoying. Luckily, there’s a button that you can just press and equip the best gear for your job. It’s totally free, you can use it anytime you want, and it’s in your Character menu. In 99% of the cases, this is completely accurate, until you get to the endgame at least, and by the time you do that, you’ll already know a thing or two about your gear!
Do your Halls of Novice
At one point, the game will offer you to do the Halls of Novice, which is kind of like a tutorial for your class. It’s a good idea to do this regardless of what you end up playing, as you’ll get a ring as a reward that boosts your leveling experience up to level 30. If you’re looking for faster leveling, regardless of when you finish your main questline as that’s something you have to do, make sure to finish the Halls. You’ll also get much better at whatever it is that you’re doing, and that’s always a big plus.
Unlock as many Duty Roulette features as you can
If you’re looking to boost your experience gain on a daily basis, there’s an option for you to do a Duty Roulette, consisting of all the activities you’ve so far unlocked through your blue quests with a little plus on them. If you haven’t been doing those, you should, as they’re almost as important as the main storyline and the class quests. There are quite a few features you can have available as your duty roulette options, and it’s a big reward boost for you that you can get once a day if you so choose. I haven’t been too active with unlocking them, as I’ve been getting plenty of experience through the main storyline, but it’s a cool feature nonetheless.
Event tab has all your storyline text!
When you’re doing storyline quests, there’s a chance you’ll double click and skip a line of text you’ve really been wanting to read. This isn’t gone forever, as there’s an Event tab in your bottom left corner that has all the transcripts written out for you in case you miss them. My chat was kind enough to point this out to me after it happened a few times, and I’m super grateful as I probably would not have clicked there for quite a while yet!
FATEs & Level Sync
When you’re out and about, you’ll be seeing some blue zones on your map, and those are Fates. That’s somewhat oa WoW world quest equivalent, and a lot of the times, it’s a hack-and-slash thing. In order for you to get credit in a Fate, though, make sure you press the Level Sync button, as some quests will be lower than your actual level and you will not be getting any credit for killing minions until you Sync yourself!
Area on the ground effects = king!
Once you get into combat, you’ll see just how shiny it can get, but there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to the effects around you. What you should be looking for is the zones on the ground – they’re usually orange and that’s where the area effect will happen. Move out of that and you’re good, regardless of the aftereffect that may follow and envelop you in shiny particles, smoke, or whatever it may be.
Get your first mount ASAP
Once you’re done with the representation of the three Grand Companies, you’ll be able to get yourself a mount – your first Chocobo. This is just a gentle reminder not to forget to do the questline for it, and collect the currency for it, once you get to that part of the game. The currency is called Seal, and you’ll get Seals by doing everything you normally would, except that doing open world Fates is the fastest way.
Three or four of these Fates will grant you enough currency to buy your mount, so here’s another reason to follow through the main questline, as that’s where your mount will be waiting for you. The initial mount speed in all zones is low, but it increases in the zone you’re doing activities in, so that’s pretty interesting and it’s super motivating to get right onto it!
Tweak your mount music… if you want to!
Riding your first mount is exciting, but you’ll also notice that it’s got its own music. Well, you can get rid of that if you want to and keep listening to the zone music, and you’ll do that by unchecking the option Play music when mounted in the Sound settings, which is in the System configuration. Some people like the Chocobo tunes, but a lot more prefer the outside world music, so this is how to tweak that if you want to.
No combat while on a bird… or anything else!
Another peculiar feature of your mount is that you cannot simply enter the combat while mounted; you actually have to get down and start the combat. You can do that either by using the same button that’s keybound for mounting, or you can sheathe/unsheathe your weapon. I used to forget this a lot, but it gets better over time!
Fix your gear! A lot!
While you’re playing, you’re gonna be getting yourself into combat quite a bit, and your gear will break. To fix it, you need to find the hammer sign on your map, as that’s where the repair vendors are. Just go there and repair all your gear, especially before going to an instance of any kind!
You can face away (watch for the Eye!)
Another interesting thing about combat is that you can actually keep fighting while facing away from the enemy. This may feel weird and unnatural at first, but there are some mechanics that you’ll get introduced to later on in the game that require you to do exactly that, like if the boss has a big eye showing in the center of it, which is like a cursed gaze of some sort. So don’t worry about facing forward, you’ll do the same amount of damage even if you’re looking away while targeting the boss.
As you’re venturing into the open world, or doing instances, it’s always a good idea to use consumables. You can get them at pretty much any ordinary vendor, and there’s even an experience bonus you’ll get for the next hour, so if you like to minmax your leveling while doing as much as you can to increase damage during the combat, it’s a good idea to do so.
Do you know that tedious feeling of having to loot everything from every single mob, or even worse, deciding to not kill mobs at all or not loot after the kill? In FFXIV, that decision is made for you, as all the loot is automatic and once you’ve killed something, everything that belongs to you goes straight into your bags. When you’re in an instance, only one person needs to loot the boss (open the Treasure Coffer, that is), and you’ll all get the items to roll on regardless of whether you’ve touched the loot chest or not, so the time wasted is actually reduced quite a bit!
Fresh tank or healer? Speak out!
If you’ve decided to take my previous advice and chosen to be a tank or a healer, it may not be a bad idea to say to your group that you’ve never done it before, if that’s the case. You’ll have a tiny sprout next to your name, meaning you’re new to the game, but some people may think you’re experienced in other MMO’s, so it’s best to be honest, as people in the FF community are generally super helpful and friendly.
If you decide to go for the tank, here’s a bonus tip I’ve been needing so many times when I first started: remember to turn your stance on, as it gets turned off by default when you enter an instance. If you’ve played WoW or another MMO before, treat it like eating food or drinking a flask before the dungeon or a raid and you’ll never forget to do it again!
Use Limit Break (responsibly)
Another important thing to be aware of in instances is the Limit Break, which is kind of a superpower bar that, when it gets filled, can be spent by the DPS for more damage, the healer for more heals, and by the tank, to increase defense. Depending on the instance, you may want to go for some specific uses of it, but most of the time, it’s okay for a DPS to activate it as that’s the most generic use of it early on. Regardless of what you’re playing, if no one is doing anything with it, just use it, it’s better than sitting there unspent!
Enter the casino!
If you’re a fan of optional, but really cool things to do, you should also unlock the Gold Saucer feature, which is pretty much a casino. There are many things to do there, like playing card games and other attractions, but there are also weeklies that award a lot of casino currency. You can participate in the lottery that draws winners on Saturdays and it can win you a lot, and there’s a weekly glamour competition that will keep you busy getting cool items for each week’s theme, as that changes every week. Pretty cool!
Once it’s time for you to log out, remember to do it in a resting area, which is your sanctuary. You’ll know you’re good if you’ve got a moon icon next to your experience bar, and if you’re up for some real roleplay, logging out by sleeping in a bed is the way to go!
Take your time!
And finally, one of the most important things is to not rush anything. Take your time to enjoy the MSQ, as you’re likely going through it once only. You should take this incredible story in with joy, and not feel pushed into the endgame. If you’ve got friends who are waiting for you to level up, they should understand that it’s important for you to have fun while questing and enjoy the story, just like they had the chance to. Unapologetically have fun and don’t let anyone get in your way!
That’s pretty much it when it comes to some general tips and quality of life stuff you can do to have a better time starting off FFXIV. If you enjoyed this guide, let me know in the comments, and if you’re more of a visual type, and you don’t mind getting easy wins in the game, you can check out all of this in my video – and subscribe for more awesome FFXIV stuff!