Final Fantasy XIV. Some of us have high-level characters already, but none of us has years of experience with the game. At best, you have memories of how things worked in the last beta test or two. But there's still a difference between having a character from version 1.0 dripping with high-level items and having a fresh guy or gal stepping off the boat into Limsa.
Fortunately, the game's tutorials now do a solid job of introducing you to how the game works. But there are still some tips and tricks to consider, and it's with that in mind that I present this column. If you're new to the game completely or even just an occasional dabbler in the previous beta tests, here's some advice to help you out during your first steps.
Have a plan
For the first 10 levels of the game, it's pretty easy to stay on track because you don't have many options. You can't switch classes yet, for example. But once you hit level 10, the world opens up for you, and suddenly you can do a lot more things. Then you get access to the airships at 15 and can do even more things, and you realize that crafting has a whole system, and there's the materia system and guildleves and...
Stop. Slow down. A relaxant is not advised, but slow breathing is recommended.
There is way too much to do in this game, and it's very easy to get rapidly overwhelmed. This is part of the reason the game is a bit more narrow until you get into the higher levels. You need to develop a plan and stick with it, something to give you a focal point to avoid getting buried in possible stuff.
Remember, this is a game without a whole lot of "sideline" activities. If you want to level a craft, that takes time and effort. Dedicate yourself to it. Or level a gathering class and really focus on getting up in levels, stockpiling materials for eventual possible crafts. Maybe you want to level everything, but you can still develop a plan for doing that.
Figure out your top priority and move from there. The game will allow you to focus on one thing at a time.
Choose your class wisely
That list of cross-class skills from Friday isn't just meant to be a pretty list to look at. It's both possible, and in fact, encouraged to think about what classes you will be leveling and what you'll need when that happens.
Nobody really levels with jobs. Jobs are nice for their intended purpose, but they're meant to be more focused tools rather than all-purpose leveling machines. That means that for most of the game you're going to be using the classes, so you'll have a need for cross-class abilities to supplement yourself. Even the early dungeons into the mid-levels are meant for classes rather than jobs.
Two important elements should be taken into consideration. First, it's very easy to reach Gridania from Ul'dah and vice versa, but players in Limsa Lominsa will have a rougher time playing classes other than Marauder and Arcanist. Second, the most recent update ensures that your highest class will always be the slowest to level, since everything else gains a bonus until you're all caught up.
In terms of overall utility, you can get all you need out of Pugilist for other classes in 12 levels, and you get a lot of useful tricks for several different class types. Conjurer still has two very useful spells for everyone and one useful spell for casters in that range. Think ahead about what you want to eventually be leveling, and don't be afraid to pick up the supplemental levels early.
Make smart use of transportation
Even if we don't count personal mounts, there are a lot of ways for players to get from one place to the next in Final Fantasy XIV. Some of them are a lot more expensive than others, though, so you'll want to be cognizant of what method you're using and what the actual price is.
Chocobo porters are cheap and carry two major weaknesses: They work only along limited straight-line paths, and they're much slower than your other options. However, when you can take a porter to your destination, it's often the best choice. You'll be able to enjoy a nice ride and an adorable hat, so that's pretty great.
Airships, meanwhile, are the best way to travel between cities when you're in a city. The trouble can sometimes be reaching that point. Airships are instant and cheaper than teleportation, but they can be used only inside of the capital city, so if you're out in the field, you have to get back to the city first. Teleporting, meanwhile, is annoyingly expensive, but it also can bring you from any one point to any other point in a heartbeat.
Legacy characters have some gil, and they can absorb the cost of teleporting everywhere pointlessly before realizing that they've lost lots of money. You, starting fresh, do not have that advantage. Be smart, be attentive, and laugh in the face of anyone who is broke from teleport costs.
Maybe not that last one.
Once you can queue up for dungeons, do so. Even if the only dungeon you can queue for is level 15 and your main is level 30, queue up.
Why? Because dungeons are a good source of experience, gil, and loot for anyone leveling in that general range. They also give you more practice with the game's mechanics and otherwise help you learn what the heck you're supposed to be doing. And they're pretty fun, at that.
You don't have to do dungeons, of course. But the rewards are worth it for the effort you expend, and they're fast enough that you shouldn't be reluctant to just queue up. Switch classes if you're worried about waiting a while; the game will tell you what's up when it's time to go. And when you get the chance, enjoy the ride.
From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every Saturday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.
The Mog Log Extra: Tips for a Final Fantasy XIV beginner
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