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Starting out in Vana'diel: Character creation & taking your first steps


As we've said on Massively multiple times, Final Fantasy XI is a hard game. The crafting is complex, the gameplay is somewhere between EverQuest and World of Warcraft, and dying can be painful when you lose experience. Some people may tell you that the game just isn't that fun, but the game can be really rewarding and a great experience when you really get into it. It's just getting into it that's the trouble.

But we here at Massively have your back. Well, more specifically, I've got your back. I've played Final Fantasy XI since it came out in the states, and more recently I started a brand new character and began taking notes on the entire experience. It isn't easy to start out in FFXI, but I've got some tricks to share with you that will make it much easier and much more fun. I'll be sharing them with you during our new twice a week series, "Starting out in Vana'diel."

So are you ready to try a new gameplay experience? Follow me, let's go for a tour and check out the beginning of the game when you have to make some decisions in character creation and grab some early bonuses through the training NPCs.

The city/race combination of character creation

First off, right from character creation, it's a good idea to know how you want to play the game. Do you like beating things with swords? Harnessing the powers of magic? If you have an idea of what character class you want to play, you want to pick their compliment race.

The matching your character's race with their home city gets you a nice bonus -- an enchanted ring at first level. Windurst offers a small boost to intelligence and agility with magic points, San d'Oria offers defense, strength, and mind boosts, and Bastok offers boosts to HP, vitality, and dexterity. In short, jobs that use magic will benefit the most from Windurst (black and white mages), jobs that utilize direct melee damage will benefit from San d'Oria (monk and thief), and Bastok will aid tanks and defenders (warrior).

Windurst's race matches are the Mithra (good for ranged melee & dexterous jobs) and Tarutaru (good for mages), San d'Oria's match is the Elvaan race (good for powerful, hard hitting melee), and Bastok is home to the Hume (balanced in most things) and Galka (best for endurance, tank melee) races.

Where do I begin?

After watching the opening cutscene from creating your character, you will be directed to another NPC to drop off your "adventurer coupon" item for a little gil to start out. Find the location that was marked on the map and trade your coupon to the named NPC just like it was a player. In return, you'll get a little gil and some information on where to find your next helper.

Once you approach the gate where your next helper is located, a cutscene will begin and they will approach you to offer assistance. This is something you want to take up, as they explain the basics of the game step by step, and give you some nice rewards too, like an experience boosting ring and the reraise earring.

A simple note: When your trainer offers you the conquest point redemption note and tells you to go get the Chariot Band, don't. Instead, use that redemption note to get the much better Emperor Band for absolutely no cost to you. The Emperor Band has a longer lasting buff and gives you more bonus experience before wearing off, but does so at a slower rate. The Chariot Band boosts you through bonus experience faster, but it wears off quickly and only provides a boost of 500 total experience versus the Emperor Band boost of 2000 bonus experience.

Next time, on Thursday, we'll talk about getting started with leveling via the brand new Fields of Valor system and what to do for levels 1 through 10. Until then, safe adventures in Vana'diel!

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