After an unholy amount of Crystalline Conflict, it’s time for me to sit down and actually turn all those hours into something you can benefit from as well… Otherwise that time would have simply been spent on enjoying the game without any other intentions, and there’s no such thing as a content creator who just plays the game for fun, right? Anyway, if you’re looking for tiny and-not-so-tiny, but useful tips on how to improve your Crystalline gameplay, this read is for you!
Before you even start playing, it’s good to have an idea of which job you’d like to play, and spend a bit of time studying its abilities, either in-game, or through any guide that’s kind enough to let you know what to do with your buttons. Learn what your job’s strengths are, and use them well in combat. I’d even go as far as to say that, if you can’t pick a job, you should play a few ranked games with all your jobs. It will get you to bind your PvP abilities on all of them in case you one day decide to become a master at that particular job without having to set it up first, and learning the Limit Breaks, animations and combos will help you counter that job once you decide what your main is and stick with it! Now, of course, at higher levels, you should be picking something that’s meta, and meta comps are what you’ll begin to notice, however, if you’re new to PvP and still at lower ranks, it’s fine to just pick something you genuinely enjoy as that’s how you’ll learn and improve in the fastest way possible.
Having your keys bound on the hotbar is important, but what’s crucial is that your Guard, Purify, Recuperate and your Elixir are bound to convenient buttons you’ll press when you need to, but won’t be tempted into panicking and pressing them multiple times in a row! There are actual consequences to this, as you’ll actually break your Guard if you press any other buttons while it lasts! And please, make sure to not have Purify in a place that will get you to panic press it like so many people do when they’re not even affected by crowd control effects. If you panic Recuperate at full health, you’ll spend the valuable MP that you’ll only be needing for Recuperate, so be very careful and only use it when you need to. Have these abilities available, but also read what they do and use them wisely!
Another thing you should look into before starting the match is having your own health bar displaying on the screen, and I’m not just talking about the green one you normally look at, but the one above your name that follows you around. You might find yourself jumping into unpleasant scenarios because you’re blissfully unaware of how much health you’ve got left, and by enabling this in your Character Configuration, you’ll never have that problem again. If you’d like, you can also change its color to something more stand-out-ish for when you’re in a crowd and the last thing you want to be doing is reading people’s names to figure out which one belongs to you!
If you’re sensitive to flashy effects, or you simply prefer seeing what’s actually happening around you, limiting the spell effects of your party members and your opponents might be the thing for you. I don’t recommend turning them off completely, as they can be important indicators of the match development if you know how to discern between them, but having more clarity on the field might be good both for you and your hardware.
Another two settings you should have on when you’re in PvP – and mind you, these are new, so you may not even know about them – are automatically locking on your target when initiating attack, as well as facing your target when using an action. Have those two turned on, and if you’re a Dragoon, I’ll take your special thanks later.
When you start the game, make sure you’re not only focusing on your opponent’s lewd glam plates, but also on your team and your opponent’s team composition. Try to analyze who you need to target, who you need to avoid, and who you need to keep busy to stop them from ruining your game – Dancers, Ninjas and Bards, I’m looking at you, you seemingly inconspicuous nuisances.
I bet you’ve heard this many times already, but I can’t overstate it enough: when you start playing, please, for the love of god, play the objective, and not to cure your frustration through kills. Kills are a tool, and not the goal, so every time you’re in a new game, always be thinking: how can we push this crystal far enough as a team? I know this sounds generic, so throughout the video, I’ll be giving you examples on how to do just that.
Another super obvious tip is, of course… try not to die if in any way possible. 10-15 seconds per death might not feel like a big deal, but when you count in the loading screen, running back to the crystal, figuring out what’s going on, and waiting for your whole team to respawn, you’re wasting so much valuable time it’s insane. Some risky plays are worth it, but do your best to stick with your team who will hopefully be chasing the crystal and not some random White Mage runaway at 10% health who seems like an easy target – and you’ll find yourself more alive than not.
When the game starts, you’ll have 30 seconds before you can pull the crystal, and this is the time to be smart about how you’re spending your time in-game. Don’t just run into the enemy team as a one man or woman hoping to be the hero, and end up dead for the first 10 seconds of the actual crystal pull, as that can break your team’s composure and lose you the game instantly. Be on the team that baits the other team into rushing and getting separated, and not the other way around.
Something you should be using from the very start of the game is the Quick Chat. Some people simply bind the “Hello” and “Good match!”, but those – even considering they should be used – don’t bring as much value as announcing you’ve got a Limit Break ready, or that you’re targeting the enemy’s Dragoon. Have them bound somewhere on your screen and use them, because that’s at least giving you the chance to communicate with your team and possibly turn games around if needed. You can find all the Quick Chat buttons in the PvP profile, so if you haven’t done that yet, take a minute and essentially unmute yourself from the party chat.
One of the most important messages you can send in the Quick Chat is probably “Fall back and regroup”. When you see that, do your best to take that advice and regroup at the start of your base, rather than dying out there alone for no reason. Don’t be an easy picking for your opponent’s team just because you felt heroic for a split second. Your team doesn’t need a hero, they need a team player, so start doing things that benefit all of you, and not just your ego for a very short amount of time before you drop dead.
Timing your Limit Breaks with your teammates may not be something you’ve ever thought about doing, especially if you’re only just starting out with Crystalline, but if you use the chat commands and let your party members know you have one available, you might just happen to use it better than just throwing it on one player who happens to be around, and whose death is worthless in the big picture. Learn what different LB’s do, and see which synergize best with what you’re playing, so that you can coordinate those attacks better and possibly completely turn the game around!
Just like you’re timing your own LB’s, you should be working on anticipating when your opponents are going to use theirs. Watch their LB gauge, and if you think you’re going to get hit by someone soon, make sure you’re staying out of the way, keeping them otherwise engaged, or saving Purify to get yourself out of a coordinated attack where one member of the opponent’s team is CC-ing you, while the other one is planning to jump you with a locked and loaded LB!
Even in the early stages of the game, you can surely identify the members of your team who are bringing damage and crystal pushing to the table. If you’re a healer or a support job, do your best to keep those players alive, as they are your road to victory. If you’re rightfully identifying yourself as the best one on the team, well… good luck getting your other teammates to rescue you instead!
Just like you’re identifying good players on your own team, you should try to do that with your opponents team as well. Everyone in your party attacking a separate player will get you nowhere, so try to go for the good players, the more powerful and impactful jobs, or better yet, someone who’s already been marked by your team. If no one is marking your opponents, maybe it’s time for you to step up and be the initiator! If you happen to be picking your opponents one by one, rather than trying to kill everyone at the same time, you’ll be grabbing control over the crystal faster, easier, and you’ll get them to wait longer to regroup, so it’s a win-win-win!
Identifying good players on the opponent’s team is one thing, but targeting them in FFXIV is a whole ‘nother matter. From my experience, it’s so much easier to click on your opponent’s name frames than try to chase them around your map with a cursor, or god forbid, tab target the old fashioned way. Have your opponent’s unit frames very close to where you would normally click and target your opponents that way, it’s so much easier once you get used to it! If you’re struggling with finding out how to edit your PvP HUD, simply go to the HUD Configuration, and select the Duty option to move around this, and so much more!
If you’re still adamant about cycling through enemy players to target them, make sure to find the “Target Nearest Enemy” in your Hotbar options, and bind it somewhere comfortable. This might just be what you’re looking for if you’re a melee player, but for other jobs, I still highly recommend clicking on their frames.
This may sound contradictory, but even if you’re playing Ranged, you should be staying within the crystal’s range – unless you’re a Bard and you actually can’t. You being far away might feel like it’s making you safer, but your team within the crystal is more vulnerable. If a tank dies and you’re out of the crystal’s range, they will easily take over the crystal and start pushing – and if your teammate wants to use and LB that in any way protects you, for example Paladin with the reduced damage, you will simply not benefit from that if you’re too far away. It’s something to think about!
Line Of Sight is a technique that you’ll learn how to master over time, but the time to start practicing is now. Whether it’s because you want to heal or avoid incoming damage, learning where on the map to line of sight, for how long, and who to hide from, are all very important things to consider. There isn’t a simple rule or a recipe, except for your mentality – you are not being a coward or a deserter of some sort if you hide for a bit, and all those obstacles and corners are there for a reason, so do your best to take advantage of them!
Health Potions around the map aren’t just something you should be picking up when you’re damaged – if you’re missing even a bit of HP and you’re sensing a low-health opponent running towards one, if you have nothing better to do (which I doubt, but let’s say you don’t), you can pick up that potion before he or she does, and if you’re melee, actually bait them to come within your kill range.
Another thing about the maps is their unique abilities. There are special maps with fire and explosions, as well as tornadoes that can swoop you and throw you into the air. It’s so very important to learn how to counter your map, as that’s something you don’t want to spend time thinking about during the match. For example, did you know that you can stop yourself from being thrown into the air by a tornado if you use Guard just a couple of seconds before the tornado procs, which will stop you from taking all that fall damage? And those tornadoes are not a surprise, as there’s an actual countdown, which you can see more or less clearly depending on how your HUD is set up. You can also use the Chocobo feathers that will pop up on the map to counter the tornado, but those you’ll have to compete for, as only one person can obtain the feather if you’re both standing on it.
Maps can also be your friends, with all the Jump Glyphs and Sprint Zones scattered around. Do your best to befriend your map and learn where those zones are that will take you to where you need to be, and you’ll soon feel like you’re sneaking behind your opponents to land that killing blow… or, you know, steal the crystal, which is mostly what you’re supposed to do!
Another thing that can keep you up to speed, literally, is Sprint. Now, Sprint works differently in Crystalline, and it’s something that you turn on and have for an indefinite amount of time – but whenever you press another action, you’re no longer sprinting, so don’t be double tapping Sprint when you’re in a hurry as you’ll actually slow yourself down.
Something we don’t often track or pay attention to, especially at lower ranks, is your opponent’s buffs and debuffs. Make it a habit to check, for example, whether your opponent has a Guard buff. You might be chasing and hitting someone at low health, but they’re receiving 90% reduced damage, and spending your high damage cooldowns just to chase the poor guy or girl will in no way, shape or form increase your team’s chances of winning, so it’s best to just drop them and find something else to do.
Regardless of what the reason is, make sure you’re not chasing anyone for too long or too far anyway, as every step you take is getting your attention off the Crystal, which – surprise, surprise – is what you should be chasing, so let no one bait you into a bad position and away from the team. Be the one doing that to others!
As a bonus tip, that I’m sure you’ve already perfected is your adventure plate. Have a truly badass pic of your character – within reason, of course – and treat it like a war drum that’s instilling fear into your enemy’s bones when they see you loading on the enemy team! Or, you know. Be adorable beyond limits and charm them to death. That works too.
And that’s it – 25 Crystalline tips that will hopefully help you rank up, have fun, or at least optimize your UI so that your PvP experience is more enjoyable. If you’ve got some tips of your own, make sure to leave them in the comments, and if you’re more of a visual person, and you don’t mind getting easy wins in-game, you can check out all of this in my video – and subscribe for more awesome FFXIV stuff!