No, not Warhammer Online. We're going to learn about Final Fantasy XI's conquest! The conquest system is the weekly determination of who gets control of a region in Vana'diel. Remember that signet buff that you learned about in the tutorial? Well we're going to need that, first and foremost.
Signet may be a buff, but it enters you as a participant in conquest. Each time you destroy a monster, you will gain some conquest points and add to your nation's total for the zone. Each week, the Grand Dutchy of Jeuno will calculate all of the points and declare one nation as the winner of that zone. The nation that won gets to place their guards in the zone and will hold control of it until the next Sunday.
But what does control do? What can you get from the conquest system? Follow me, and let's find out!
Forget hearthstone, outpost warp!
One of the most beneficial abilities of conquest to early level players is the ability to warp to outposts, those big ugly brown buildings out in the wilderness, saving you a long walk. Each nation has a character that lets players teleport to any outpost in a region once certain requirements are met. Those NPCs are Conrad in Bastok Mines (K-8), Jeanvirgaud in Northern San d'Oria (K-9), and Rottata in Port Windurst (L-4).
To get the ability to outpost warp, your nation needs to first control the region. For regions under your control, check the conquest map via the "Region Info" button in your menu. Any region that carries your flag is under your nation's control. Once you found a close region that your nation controls, you need to do a "supplies run" to get the ability to teleport.
Visit one of your nation's guards at a gate (the one you got signet from) and ask about doing a supplies run. They will give you a key item, and ask you to deliver it to the outpost in one of the wilderness areas. Either run or chocobo out to the outpost, and talk with the man in charge there to deliver your items. Congratulations! Now you can talk to the guy with the funny hat (the shop keeper) and find the ability to teleport back to your home nation in his options!
You can teleport anytime now, even if the area is under another nation's control. It will be more expensive if it's not your control, but the cost isn't that bad. Be forewarned, however, that if the beastmen control the area, you will not be able to teleport to your home nation from the outpost, just from your home nation to the outpost. During beastmen control, the shop keepers are removed, so no one can help you get back.
Shiny items and crystals, oh my!
The other part of wearing your signet are the conquest points you'll gain and the crystals you'll find dropping off of monsters. These crystals are used in crafting and can be traded to guards that give you missions for rank points, but most importantly is the fact that players want these items.
Selling 12 crystals at the auction house is a great way to make money at early levels. You may not be 100% into your crafting at this point, so clear your bags and sell the crystals in stacks. Most servers will see the price at anywhere between 600 to 1,200 gil a stack, so go ahead and buff your wallet.
The other side of conquest points you might already be familiar with. Gaining points lets you buy nice items from the guards based on your citizen rank. Even the low level common items are useful, as they contain scrolls of reraise, scrolls of warp (warp takes you back to your home point, wherever you set it), and the exp boost rings and outpost warp rings.
My own personal note: don't waste points on the outpost warp rings. They're not an instant warp to the oupost, unless you have already done the supplies quest (see above) and your nation controls the area, making it a useless item unless the stars align properly. Walking to the outpost may be more dangerous, but the ring will only help you 1/4th of the time, so you might as well learn to dodge monsters.
While this isn't all of the abilities of the conquest system, it looks like I have to leave it off here. The other abilities, Garrison and Expeditionary Force, I'll save for a more advanced discussion of conquest later.
This coming Thursday, we'll have a chat about missions, citizen rank, and how rank becomes extremely important. Until next time, safe adventures in Vana'diel!