We’ve already gone over why you shouldn’t hesitate to take the plunge with Final Fantasy XIV, but it’s easier said and done. That’s why, as a newcomer to this sprawling MMO in the year of our lord and savior 2019, I have a few tips to make it easier for you as a newcomer, too. I was lucky enough to get into the game with my group of best friends, so this list is composed of tips from high-ranking players who have followed the story since the beginning and from my perspective as someone who has gotten to truly know this game only in its most recent form.
Do not skip A Realm Reborn
Just don’t. It’s going to take you a good while to get through the least interesting parts of the game, but it’s worth it if you want to get the most out of the story. You can skip through as many expansions as you want; Square Enix has a website dedicated to the Tales of Adventure item that you can buy (with real money) to do just that. But that doesn’t mean you should. The description says it’s for new players who want to “catch up with friends already playing the game” or “jump into the latest challenges.” Take it from someone who felt that pressure as I surrounded myself with multiple people who were caught up: take it slow. If your friends want you to get the best out of the game, they will also encourage this. Just as you shouldn’t hesitate to make the commitment to this game, don’t hesitate to experience everything fully. If you skip, you’ll be missing out on the foundations that will elevate the best moments into magic and awe.
If you’re starting in a congested server, log in after midnight on your first try…if you can get in at all
Just yesterday, someone in the Free Company I’m in was wondering about how their friend can join us. Their friend would create a character, try to enter our congested server, and simply not be allowed to. It makes sense—every day, I spend a few minutes after opening the game up waiting for the queue of players to go down so that I can get in. It’s impossible for a new character during peak hours (late Friday-Sunday), so if you’re struggling with getting in, log in around 3 a.m or the early hours of the morning. It especially helps if it’s during the week and not the weekend. The queue can be no joke in any congested server, so just hop in, get your character into a server, get past the first cutscene and you won’t have to worry about it ever again.
...But that’s also if it works at all. The server I’m on, Leviathan, accepts no new characters because its population is so high. If you’re set on joining it or servers like it, you’ll have to start out in a less busy server and then pay to transfer your character.
Focus on Main Quests and Feature Quests
Reader, I desperately want you to get to know Eorzea, but I also don’t want you to become so lost in it that you forget there’s a fantastic story waiting for you. There are hundreds of thousands of side quests in XIV and not all of them need the attention of the Warrior of Light. Seriously: in addition to the quests for your job, the two kinds you should focus on are the main quests and feature quests. They’re the interesting ones, and the experience you gain from those is enough to keep you on par with the level of the main story without grinding in Palace of the Dead.
Main Quests will progress the plot and Feature Quests exist to either let you unlock a new game feature (such as a dungeon) or to flesh out the universe in meaningful ways. A shut-off princess who naively abides by a childhood fairy tale to try and save a friend whose soul has been lost. A cook who tirelessly serves the meals to the soldiers that treat him as an outcast for not being a powerful warrior in a society that structures hierarchies around one’s prowess in battle. A fighter who cannot learn how to use a sword and is suffering from the pressure of his people, who believe he’s the reincarnation of one of their greatest warriors. These are all interesting stories that are more than simple fetch quests, so move forward by focusing your energy on them lest you stay stuck.
Do all the daily roulettes—yes, including the main scenario quest one
Duty roulettes are roulettes that give you a tremendous boost in experience for doing them, regardless of your level. They’re fondly called “dailies” by the community because the timer for the benefits you earn resets every day once the clock strikes midnight in Japan. It won’t take long for you to unlock the daily roulettes, and there are numerous waiting to be unlocked. One that some people are often tempted to skip is the main scenario quest roulette because it’ll likely put you in the last main mission of A Realm Reborn, a quest plagued with unskippable cutscenes that easily make the whole endeavor last 30 minutes. However, at level 70 (which requires over 12 million experience points to level up), it’s still basically a free level for me. I made the mistake of ignoring it at the start, but now I’m happy to jump in, do my skin care routine during the lengthy cutscenes and get all that easy experience.
Get the Square Enix Software Token app
There’s the nice XIV Companion App that you can find on Google Play and the App Store, but I’d say the more important app to download is the Square Enix Software Token app. When you boot up XIV, you’ll be prompted to log in every time. Below your password field is a field for a “One-Time Password,” which I strongly recommend you make use of. Square Enix has a page with information on how to download the app and set this up for your account. It’s worth it because it’s not all that impossible for your account to get flagged for “suspicious activity.” It’s better to go the extra mile to protect your hard work than to go through the trouble of getting your account back once it’s been hacked. Be sure to save the serial number for your registered account, which will be included in the email indicating your registration has been completed, for when you switch phones or have any issues with the application.
Natalie Flores is a freelance writer who loves to talk about games, K-pop and too many other things at @heartimecia.