Returning to Vana'diel
Many players are talking about returning to the game following the announcement of Seekers of Adoulin, but a lot has changed since when they quit, almost regardless of when that was. Speaking to players and looking around, it seems that their departure times vary from the height of Treasures of Aht Urhgan to the doldrums of Wings of the Goddess to the well-brewed finish of Abyssea. I will, in writing this guide, assume that players quit right in the middle of Treasures of Aht Urhgan but I will attempt to keep it chronological enough that you can simply skip through to wherever you quit.
For information regarding version updates of the past several years and their timing, please reference the FFXI Version Update History.
For the sake of simplicity and contrasting, I will be using "L75" to refer to things from the Level 75 era.
Should you Return?
Still not sure if you want to come back? Here are the big changes that will help you decide:
Changes to Characters
The level cap is now 99 with 5 new Limit Break quests. This has a dramatic impact on the damage dealt to L75 monsters, a large impact on Evasion rates against L75 content, and smaller impact on the damage taken from L75 monsters. A level 99 Warrior has more evasion than a level 75 Thief did. Just let that one roll around in your head for a little while. This makes old events that were once difficult (like Salvage) very possible lowman. If you remember about how difficult L75 Nyzul Isle monsters were, now all monsters from that era are that easy or easier. Duoing Byakko is no longer a challenge and a wipe to him would be greeted with ridicule.
Changes to Experience Points
Another incredibly large change to the game is how much easier Experience Points are to get these days. Players can attain solo XP/hr rates these days that would make the most elite L75 merit parties jealous. It is not very uncommon to break 200,000 XP/hr in an XP Alliance. That brings me to my next point. There are no more 6 person XP parties. Almost all XPing is done in alliances. I'm sure that we all have fond memories of meeting friends in XP parties, but I'm equally sure that we've all had "45 minutes to form, 30 minutes to get to camp, XP for half an hour and the healer has to go" experiences as well. Finally, many other new parts of endgame these days, like Voidwatch, reward Experience Points. Unless you are leveling a new job or really need some specific merits, there is almost no reason to join an XP party.
Overall, I would say that this change to the game was very much for the best. SquareEnix has decided to nearly remove XPing as an event unto itself, which was met with glee followed by nostalgia pangs and followed by acceptance. We don't need XPing to be an event anymore. There are dozens of other things to do in the game, and they keep adding more.
That said, in the years between ToAU's peak and now there were several other changes made to XPing. First of all, they roughly doubled the XP/kill from monsters. EMs now yield 200xp to a solo player, and EPs can yield up to 100. This makes grinding low level jobs very easy and is still a common way to get from 1-13ish. Secondly, they added Fields of Valor and Grounds of Valor, where you kill 5~10 specific monsters and receive a bonus amount of experience points. This is still a very common way to get to 30ish, the lowest level for Abyssea. Finally, they added Level Sync, a system that allows players to synchronize their level with any party member of their choice. No more xping out of camps and having to get replacements for party members that dingged 37 in Garlaige Citadel! No one XPs this way anymore, though.
A new type of experience point has been added, Capacity Point, 30000 of which turn into one Job Point (like merit points, but spendable by level 99 jobs). There are some restrictions on what mobs grant Capacity Points, mainly that they have to be level 96 or higher and lcoated outside of Abyssea. They are used to upgrade abilities and traits of individual jobs that don't require Merit Points to unlock.
The cap on Merit Points that can be spent in some categories has been expanded as of the June 2014 patch, and one of them raises the maximum Merit Points you can hold from 30 to 45.
Fundamentally, the economy has changed from being Crafting based to being more farming based. The primary high-gil item that people buy these days are Relics, Mythics, and a new class of special weapon known as an Empyrean. This is not to say that it is impossible to make gil crafting, but it's no longer the crafter's market that it once was. Ideal gearsets are no longer riddled with Tier 0 and Tier 1 HQs that require capped skills to synth. There are a few for each craft, but not to the extent that it was at L75. It is still possible to make gil crafting, but farming is now competitive with it.
So what does this mean? Well, players that prefer to farm for their gil are now handily rewarded. Dynamis has undergone dramatic adjustments and now can be entered for two hours once a day to farm Dynamis Currency solo. Salvage has the old zones and a set of new zones, both of which can be farmed for loads of Alexandrite and are a great way gil source (though the entry conditions have not changed). Overall, these changes have made obtaining special weapons infinitely easier than they once were. For example, you can farm your own relic in 3-4 months (or significantly faster with a second character) doing Dynamis once per day.
Until a recent nerf, NPCing items generated with cruor from Abyssea and Voidwatch was a major source of gil introduced to the game, leading to a somewhat gentle inflation. So when you return, price might look the same but they are actually much less valuable. Farming 4,000,000 for a Roundel Earring is a matter of two good Dynamis runs, or four hours of work.
Mega-Moglification and Crafting Torques have given skills a 4-6 point boost over the level 75 maximums. Additionally, the crafting cap for main crafts was raised to level 110 with the subcrafts being raised to 70. It is now possible to Tier 1 every synth from the L75 era. Additionally, it is possible for crafts with Torques to skill up on a synth that they are Tier 1 on. So a level 100+12 Smith could skill up on a 101 recipe while also being Tier 1 on it.
Quality-of-life wise, SE recently addressed several major crafting annoyances. There is now no synthesis delay (that annoying period after completing a craft before you can start another) and there is effectively no delay when buying ingredients at the guild.
Many of the crafts do not have sufficient skillup recipes from 100-110, but that will likely change in time. SE has hinted that the caps will continue to increase to a final cap of level 140. If you were primarily a crafter, this is both a frustrating and an exciting time to be playing.
Added in the June 2014 Version Update, crafting kits now allow players to easily level their skills without having to hunt for ingredients, but the appropriate crystal is still required. These kits are purchasable from Guild NPCs, and are always used regardless if a synthesis succeeds or fails. In the event that you break, the kit is always lost. No High-Quality results can be made when using a kit. Sometimes is is cheaper to level up using the actual ingredients due to the price of the kits.
Additionally, Guilds no longer are closed on certain days of the week to observe their holiday. More items have been added to the NPCs sale list. The higher you rank up, the more items that are available for you to purchase. These items are extremely useful to purchase are used in many synthesis recipes. As an example, Animal Glue is purchasable from the Alchemy guild. These rank items never run out of stock.
I don't know an easy way to deliver the news, so I'll just say it. There is no more 21-24 hour HNM camping endgame and there are no more HNMLSs. King Behemoth, Nidhogg, and Aspidochelone are now forced pops using items that you indirectly get from their respective Themis Orb fights. Tiamat, Dark Ixion, Sandworm, and various other HNMs have not had their pop conditions changed, but the lack of the big-three and ease of soloing these formerly ferocious monsters has led to the disbanding of all HNM shells. Their drops are still worth gil, if you choose to camp them solo or duo. Some people love these changes and some are still itching for a Fafnir ToD that will never come, but this has unarguably changed. Every large shell that still exists is an event shell but there aren't even many of those left, as you will see.
Abyssea was the expansion set that accompanied the level cap increase and dramatically restructured linkshells. Everything in Abyssea can be duoed by a strong melee and a White Mage. At most, you need about 5 people in Abyssea to accomplish whatever your goal is. Large event linkshells that pulled 18+ people were now facing running split events every single night, and most of them just split into smaller groups of friends that formed their own linkshells. As the level cap went up and old content became easier and easier, there was less and less justification for linkshells that could pull more a full alliance of players. Some have managed to adapt and hang on, but they are the exception rather than the rule. It has finally happened. Your socials are now also your event shells. This has also led to a lot of Melee + Mage dualboxing, which is far more common than it ever used to be.
This was followed by Voidwatch, which is an event that requires an alliance of specific jobs for maximum efficiency. This can be done either by an event shell or by shout groups. Shout groups? Those things that wipe to Hakutaku five times after two mages Sneak and Invis a full alliance of melee through the Den of Rancor because no one has powders or oils? Well, the world has changed my friend. There are certainly still bad players that respond to shouts and there are fights that you don't want to do with just anyone, but by and large most of Voidwatch can be done by an alliance of the kind of players that respond to Voidwatch shouts. It's self selecting, as super-casual players don't want to deal with Voidwatch's admittedly horrible drop rates and simply don't respond, but it has changed the social dynamic of the game once again. Shout groups are in vogue.
Legion is threatening to reverse all this proposed progress by being too difficult to do with a shout group. It's also too difficult for the average event shell and offers pretty mediocre rewards, so people seem content to ignore it. If you are looking to return to the game with some friends and gun for a challenge, this event is your target.
The opening of the Forums has led to more direct conversation between the players and the Developers (at least for the Japanese players), but it has not been very useful when it comes to fixing things (other than spelling, the Localization subforum is amazing). It has, however, been useful in understanding what the Developer's ideas for different jobs are. Their goal is not to balance the damage these jobs do, it is to balance their utility.
For instance, the Devs seem content to give Thief relatively little utility besides Treasure Hunter. This appears to be entirely intentional because they feel TH is so useful. Sorry, Thieves. They seem to generally aim to make 2H DDs have relatively weak passive defenses (like Evasion) with high damage potential while 1H DDs have high passive defenses but lower damage potential. They are not aiming to make it so everyone does the same damage in all situations. They are aiming to make it so certain jobs will be preferred in some events (like heavy DDs in Voidwatch) and some in others (like light DDs in Dynamis).
There is an inevitable conflict between the Devs' job concepts and the players' job concepts. They have been entirely unyielding and I cannot think of a single suggestion (at least from the NA community) that would affect game balance and has been implemented. The official forums opening did herald a new level of communication between the Dev team and the playerbase, but it was mostly so they could tell us to screw off more directly.
Quality of Life Adjustments
Apart from the above, SE has changed many things that were formerly quite annoying so that they are less annoying. Most of these changes are "Why didn't you do that before release?" kinds of obvious gameplay problems, but some of them are an outgrowth of a shrinking game population. Depending when you quit, any of these may be new:
- There are now 7 different storage locations, all with a maximum capacity of 80. Four of them are available to you when you are in the field, though you can still only use gear and equip items from two of them (Items menu, Control-I, and Wardrobe).
- You can access the "Storage" storage location from any Mog House now. You no longer have to return to your home
- All auction houses now connect to the same AH. There can be only one. /Highlander.
- Crafting delay and guild salesroom delay have both been eliminated.
- Maps that were previously only obtainable by completing quests have now been added to each city's Map Vendor. No more getting lost!
- The Runic Portal in Whitegate no longer requires a permit. You can pay to use it right at the portal.
- No more trips to Nashmau to exchange Imperial currency! You can select how many coins you want directly at the coin NPC.
- More common and just more sources of Movement Speed. There are boots that give a +12% enchantment and there are common (if not always cheap) +12~18% options for all jobs. You can use them in conjunction with one another.
- New high definition icons are accessed by going to the Config Misc. window. Icon Type should be set to 1 in order to use the new icons.
- Base movement speed was increased by 25% in the December 2013 update. Gear now increases speed relative to the new base movement speed.
- Home Points now unlock when you examine them. You can teleport to any Home Point crystal you have unlocked. Home Points have been added all over the towns, as well as several dungeons (right outside battlefields), and in Adoulin outdoor areas. There are currently 70+. Teleportation is free in the same city as point of origin, 500 gil to farther points, and 1000 gil to homepoints in dungeons/field areas.
- Geomagnetic waypoint teleports have been added from Jeuno, Norg, Rabao, Selbina, and Mhaura to each other and to waypoints in many outdoor and dungeon areas from the core, Zilart, and Promathia areas. You spend kinetic points to use this, obtained from crystals and clusters exchanged to the town waypoints.
- NPCs have been added in a magic category called Trust, which fill up to three party slots when you are playing solo, unlockable at level 5. They cost 0 MP to summon, and can be summoned in most areas except zones with time limits. You can have 3 of them out at once, and they fill tanking, healing, and damage dealing roles. At this time, there are 40 NPCs that can be unlocked. They can be out with the Adventuring Fellow and a pet. They can be used in many mission battlefields, and the last limit break battlefield, by summoning them before entering the battlefield. The patches in June and July 2014 made them summonable in parties (including Level Sync), but only the party leader can summon them and they can not be used in Alliance. The AI has also been tweaked, so Mihli uses Afflatus Solace and Ayame will open skillchains based on your last weaponskill.
- Widescan can now be used by all jobs/levels. It is not as large as the widescan rng or bst get but it still works for local areas.
Other things that have been promised but not yet delivered upon:
- SE has promised a general UI overhaul (for PC). There were some demos of it at 2013 FanFest.
If you choose to return to the game, before you read any further you will need to do these things:
- Buy all the Abyssea expansions. The cheapest way to do this may be by buying the FFXI Ultimate Abyssea Collector's Edition copy (digital download works). You may also get the Mini-Expansions depending how you do this, and will likely get a bunch of cutscenes related to them that I won't be discussing below.
- It is recommended that you follow the instructions in Kohan's thread to speed up your update if you're reinstalling, as SE still does not offer a pre-patched download.
- Create a SquareEnix ID for your account (if necessary) and migrate to the Account Management system.
- Log In. Welcome back! Now the fun begins.
The first thing you want to do when you come back is become minimally competent in Abyss-a-lese due to all the awesome armor and XP available within. Also, start your stone timer (Abyssea Guide) and read over the guide. This is probably the first "event" you should tackle when you return.
The second thing you should do when you return is is start your Voidwatch voidstone timer by visiting one of the city Voidwatch Officers (Voidwatch Guide). You probably won't get need or want to get involved with Voidwatch until you make significant progress in Abyssea, but if you start your stone timer immediately, you'll have plenty of stones when you decide to tackle some VW battles.
If you are starting over fresh, I recommend entering your Destrier Beret code to speed up your 1-30 travels. You can do this by going to the SquareEnix Account Management system (see above), logging in, clicking "Select Service" (lower left) -> FFXI -> "Add a service account" (mid-right). Alternatively, this link might work if you've logged in recently. What's that? "Add a service account" doesn't sound like the button you'd hit to input a code for an in-game item? Yeah... but it is! Anyway, this is a really awesome head armor for level 30 and below the increased skillup rate and is useful for countering the increased xp rate.
You should take this Beret and go find Fields of Valor or Grounds of Valor missions appropriate for your level (or weaker than you, as long as you still get XP), then grind through them and hit level 30! At that point, you can continue to do FOV/GoV or you can try to migrate to Abyssea if you have some friends willing to let you leech to 99. Leeching from 30 to 99 would probably take about 12 hours in a decent party, but of course you'd need to back out every five levels starting at 50 to do LB quests. However, if you, for example, leave when your EXP is capped 1 EXP shy of 50, you can do LB1, go gain 1 EXP and ding 51, then do LB2 and level until 1 EXP shy of 61, wash, rinse, and repeat.
Records of Eminence
Records of Eminence was released in the December 2013 update. It is a series of quests you can activate in your Quest menu at any time, once you have talked to one of the starting NPCs in Adoulin or the starter cities. More quests unlock as you complete the list. EXP and a currency called Sparks are the rewards, and many of the quests are repeatable. Some quests are repeatable, and first completion gives triple the Sparks. Many of the quests also give a piece of gear or consumable items for the first time they are completed. Quests range from healing HP, taking damage, and dealing damage, to defeating enemies in certain zones, to getting a certain number of crystals to drop, to HELM activity in certain zones. Also, 3 times a day, a special quest is activated which gives you another currency on first completion which can be traded for various currencies (cruor, imperial standing, allied notes, assault points, etc) or upgrade items for REM weapons and the new AF gear. Sparks can be traded for weapons, and new level 117 weapons and armor, as well as a set of level 115 armor that increases skillup rates for magic and combat skills. This new equipment is a good baseline to be able to get into endgame events.
Delve was released recently and offers the best weapons and armors in the game. It is not particularly difficult to obtain the Delve currency, Plasm, but does require a set of fairly hard kills for KIs to obtain access to buy the equipment and armors. There is really not much more to it than that. 30,000 points for a weapon that beats every Relic, Mythic, or Empyrean weapon at the moment. You can farm about 5,000 points per hour in any pickup group just killing monsters in an alliance inside a Fracture. I recommend reading the event page.
New high level battlefield fights have been added using orbs obtained from Sacred Kindred Crests. Ark Angels and Divine Might have also been updated with level 99 versions, requiring 20-30 merit points for the key items needed to enter them. These fights have 5 difficulty levels, with better rewards for harder difficulties. These battlefields drop items required to turn AF or AF+1 and Relic or Relic +1/+2 armor into the new level 109 job-specific armor which can be further upgraded to level 119.
Meeble Burrows is a cross between Assault and Moblin Maze Mongers. The instances are quick (<15 minutes) and fun, requiring somewhat varied objectives. They are not very difficult and do not take very many players (≤4), so it may be a fun thing to do with your friends as you get used to FFXI again. The system itself is pretty incredibly arcane, so I would recommend reading this section of the Meeble Burrows page and also visiting this page for more information.
There is no rush to start a timer for this event as in the Abyssea or Voidwatch, but you will only accumulate 1 entrance key item every 20 hours (maximum of 10 initially, which can be expanded to 16). This combines with the structure of the event to severely limit your pace and as a result the event is not very rewarding on a "per week" scale, but is quite rewarding relative to the short time commitment it requires. Some of its armor has recently been outdated, but it still offers some novel rewards (like Elanid Belt, Matanca Harness, or Gusterion) and is honestly one of the more fun systems SE has made lately.
Recent updates have made it possible to effectively dump gil into this event and pay for progression. You can buy specific wins and push your progression along, buy key items to obtain boss access, etc. It serves as a much-needed gil sink in the economy, but much of the gear that people would spam for was outdated with the release of Seekers of Adoulin.
Dynamis was re-worked dramatically and is now a 2-hour event that people do daily for gil or to farm themselves Relic Weapons. Relic Armor +2 was also added, which gives yet another reason to do this event. I strongly recommend reading the Dynamis page (especially the proc information part). You will need to buy a Perpetual Hourglass for 50k from the Goblin near the entrance of Davoi, Beadeaux, or Castle Oztroja. You can also buy maps here, if you want. These Key Items are permanent, so you will only need to do this once.
Also, you will have the most fun in Dynamis as a duo of some kind, so find a friend that also wants to make gil and get to work.
Trial of the Magians
Trial of the Magians is a system that allows players to upgrade equipment and weapons by fulfilling specific conditions. This is something of a response to players' demands for a system where a constant amount of effort would yield a constant reward, unlike SE's typical skinner box-ish event designs where you kill 50 Nidhoggs and see two E.bodies and then your LS gets four in two kills while you're on vacation.
This system is on the way out, it seems. Affinity Staves are still impressive for mages, but melee weapons have been largely outdated by Delve equipment and it is easy to see the mage weapons creeping up on them. I do not recommend trying to blitz the Staff trials, as many of them are so annoying and slow that they may make you /wrists and force quit life.
I do not recommend making any of the Trial of the Magian weapons except for the above named ones and Walk of Echoes weapons, which will allegedly be used to unlock their related weaponskills.
Salvage has been expanded and now includes a series of zones that target level 99 characters. Unlike the original Salvage, these new zones are accessible content designed for all degrees of dedication and can generally be cleared with 3-4 players. Many of them can also be dualboxed with sufficient preparation. These zones require the same number of people for entry as the original Salvage (3) and require that players be above level 96. If fully cleared, these zones yield approximately the same amount of Alexandrite per run (~100) as the best original Salvage zone (Silver Sea Remnants), so they are also a viable source of Alexandrite if you are interested in farming or just interested in gil. This massive influx of Alexandrite has had a side-effect of making Mythics far more obtainable than ever before.
As mentioned earlier, these Salvage zones are more accessible than the original ones. SE has accomplished this by abolishing the clunky "cell" system. Though you are still locked at the start of each zone, now there is a starting pole that you can touch and unlock 10 random slots (analogous to the starting chest in level 75 salvage zones) and further unlocks are awarded as you defeat monsters. Each monster awards a specific set of unlocks. Additionally, killing unlocking monsters garners you credit for a pole on the next floor that will have credit for a few chosen unlocks on it. So say that you kill a Moblin Armsman on floor 1 of Bhaflau Remnants II and it fails to unlock the Body slot. Well, on the next floor there would be a lamp that gives you 10 unlock credits for every kill you had on the previous floor, and on the lamp there will be an option to unlock any slot you potentially could have unlocked with a kill on the previous floor. Then you unlock body and move on. Whether you have to kill four monsters to get a single unlock credit or one monster for ten will depend on the zone and floor. This mechanism can be used strategically to speed up your runs, though you do not need to be quite as worried about time as the level 75 Salvage zones.
Combining the easier unlock system with the many sources of MP restoral that mages feature makes the event substantially easier overall. If the rewards interest you, I would advise getting involved in this event as soon as you can (perhaps after getting Abyssea equipment for your relevant job). For more exact information and strategies, please visit the following pages:
The original Salvage zones remain untouched, although their drop rates on level 35 armors has been substantially increased. The complete level 75 armors are a necessary component in the creation of some level 99 armors and these zones are easier to clear for comparable amounts of Alexandrite, so there are still reasons to do old Salvage as well. Furthermore, recently SE raised drop rates for 35s further (making 25s the sticking point most of the time) and increase Bhaflau Remnants NM pop rates. This should help you power through the Tier 1 gear when going for Tier 2.
Limbus / Einherjar
Limbus and Einherjar both got a light re-touch lately. All of the old zones/chambers are still fundamentally the same, but the entrance conditions for Odin's Chamber was changed and new areas designed for level 99 players with new bosses and new drops were added to each event. The events fundamentally haven't changed, so you can check out the new stuff with the links below:
For Limbus, now you can use Metal Chips to enter another zone in Temenos and Apollyon. Defeating this new zone yields a Key Item that you can exchange (with 150 Ancient Beastcoins) for the entrance item for new (Arch) boss fights. These new boss fights can be done with a well-prepared party or two. Only one player's key item is consumed per boss fight, so it's theoretically possible to do one Metal Chip zone and then 18 Arch boss fights (for the paltry cost of 2,700 Ancient Beastcoins). That's a lot of coins . . . but now you can Bazaar the "Chips" obtained from completing the original Limbus zones or trade them for 5 (Tier 1) or 10 (Tier 2) Ancient Beastcoins.
For Einherjar, there is only one new chamber where you fight a powered up version of Odin that drops largely mediocre items. This is a hardish fight, about as difficult as Odin was at 75 or maybe a little harder. It requires an alliance of players, which means it is currently restricted to larger linkshells. That's fine. The drops suck! It should also be noted that they dropped the cost of Smouldering Lamps used to enter Einherjar to 60,000 gil from 180,000.
Synergy is a new crafting system that was introduced and briefly updated properly, but has now been officially abandoned in favor of higher crafting caps. It relied on bringing together various crafters in a party to undertake a more difficult synth and then having your party members with Synergy skill play a minigame to obtain the proper elemental balance for the group's synth. I'll admit that it sounds like a great idea, but in practice it isn't nearly as successful or fun as it sounds. Profit sharing is not something crafters like and none of the synths are hard enough to really require two players, so it generally devolved into a single crafter in a party with his level 100 crafting mules.
There are some items that can be made both through their native craft and through synergy, like Lucky Broth. If you want to synergize and item you generally need about the same craft levels as normal but the yields may be different and your HQ rate may be higher. Synergy typically has a higher HQ rate (even just the cap) than normal synths and does not follow the classic T0/1/2/3 structure.
I would not recommend spending any time on this as a fresh returner regardless how much you like crafting. Leveling this skill is neither difficult nor mentally taxing (choose a high level recipe, keep making it, and never hit complete), but it takes a lot of time and has pretty limited rewards. There are some things that it's essential for, but you can shout and find a synergist relatively quickly if you offer a little gil. I have had it for ages and mostly use my skill to augment things for my friends. As long as you have a friend like me, you don't really need it. Once you're long of tooth and decked out in Abyssea, you can waste a day or two hitting enter to cap your synergy skill and become "That Guy."
Sky and Kings
Various changes have been made to Sky Gods and Ground NMs. First and foremost, Tatter and Scrap Synergy was introduced. This system can be used to (gods willing) augment your old Abjurations with useful stats that will make them superior to or competitive with new equipment in some situations. You can tear up any abjuration that you receive and make Tatters, or tear up any seals you get from sky gods to make scraps. These are combined with suitable armor (Earthen Tatters for the Adaman set, Genbu Scraps for Genbu's Kabuto, etc.) to generate an augment.
In order to accomodate this system, SE increased the number of pop items and seals that drop when killing Sky monsters (1 guaranteed, 1 depending on TH). This system has revived Sky as a casual farmer's paradise. You only have an hour and want to get a nostalgia high while farming some gil? Head up to sky and kill Zipacna/Olla/Genbu. Now you feel warm, tingly, and have a million gil worth of stuff to sell.
Kings has also been affected by the Synergy augment system, but to a lesser extent. All King NQs are now force popped using items that drop from their respective KS99s and no longer 21-24 free spawn at all. These NQs have a chance to drop (10-20%) the HQ King pop item. This is shown below:
- Early Bird Catches the Wyrm -(Honey Wine)-> Fafnir -(Sweet Tea)-> Nidhogg
- Horns of War -(Beastly Shank)-> Behemoth -(Savory Shank)-> King Behemoth
- The Hills Are Alive -(Blue Pondweed)-> Adamantoise -(Red Pondweed)-> Aspidochelone
Legion is a difficult event that requires 18 or 36 people. As a returning player, you don't really need to be concerned with this event yet. If you're reviving the ol' LS and getting people back together, this can be your ultimate goal after you get yourselves fully geared again. Be aware that this event nearly requires well-geared players to be successful, though the requirements have become much less stringent since the recent nerfs. It mostly requires skilled and well-geared mages, along with party leaders capable of coordinating buff swaps. It has nice rewards for mages and is the only obtainment route for many of the related Abjurations and many synthesis materials that are used to make the related Hexed items. This is less important now that most of the abjuration results (HQ and NQ) have been outdated by Seekers of Adoulin equipment. There are some other minor pieces that are useful from it (Esper Earring, Duplus Grip, Ngen Seraweels, Kumarbi's Akar etc.) but it is a lot of effort to coordinate and frankly the benefits these pieces of equipment offer simply aren't worth the hassel.
Walk of Echoes
Walk of Echoes houses a series of battlefields (accessed from Xarcabard (S)) that reward level 75-95ish items and Experience Points (6-10,000). It is ruled by Summoners, but sometimes coherent JP groups get together and do it as well. Recently it has been all but abandoned during NA primetime on most servers, but sometimes the few remaining Event linkshells will attempt some of the harder chambers (they can't stop you from entering with them and there's no zone pool that would make it matter). This is pretty much how WoE works. Try to figure out where everyone is going and then follow them. Herd mentality.
This event has been made somewhat relavent, as completing a level 99 Walk of Echoes Magian Trial weapon will grant access to the related Weapon Skill through a Jeuno NPC. Though the weapons are not competitive by themselves, this factor will make some of them extremely desireable. This has now been done as of the December 2013 update, and you can get a -1 version of a WoE weapon from the Magian weapon chest in Ru'Lude Gardens, which you can then upgrade through some trials and trade in to unlock the weaponskill.
Almost no matter when you quit, Walk of Echoes has probably been adjusted. It might be worth a look if you're up doing JP primetime some night and have Summoner or a lot of patience. Some of the drops are worth a lot of gil. Adjustments since 75 include:
- Normal monsters no longer drop coins or other Magian Trial upgrade items and all drops are obtained through the chests.
- There are Frayed Pouches of upgrade items that can be obtained.
- Coins and all other upgrade items can be Bazaared now.
- You're automatically raised after ~30 seconds of death (hence the Summoner paradise)
- You can skill up in Walk of Echoes battlefields now.
- You receive 5 random temporary items whenever you enter the battlefield, potentially including the ever-powerful Primeval Brew.
- There are no more entrance limitations. You can re-enter 5 times in one day if you feel like exiting the zone, buying another Kupofried's medallion, and re-entering.
- The above two points combine to encourage some people to try and brew their way through chambers by exiting and re-entering until they get a brew. Frankly, I'd discourage this as a waste of time given the drop rate on items even assuming you do win a chamber and the odds of receiving a Brew initially. Plus, the harder chambers have anti-Brew mechanisms (like Charm TP moves).
ZNM was hit with two major patches. First of all, Tier 4 trophies (to pop Pandemonium Warden or complete Forging a New Myth) are now a 100% drop off the respective Tier 4 NMs (Sarameya, Tinnin, and Tyger). Secondly, Sanraku now gives approximately 15x the Zeni per picture that he used to and people have found NQ monsters that give ~1500 points per picture at low HP. This means that you can crank out a PW worth of Zeni in two trips. Almost a Tier 4 pop worth of Zeni per hour.
- Porter Moogles will hold your old equipment (and a reasonable amount of the new equipment), as long as it isn't augmented through Tatter and Scrap Synergy. This is a huge inventory boon for those of us that couldn't bear to toss the Byakko's Haidate they slaved in sky for a year to obtain. See their page for details.
- Besieged's rewards were substantially increased, and the lack of level correction makes it a very easy way to get some XP and Imperial Standing for your low level jobs.
- You can now choose the type and number of Imperial coins that you want directly at the coin exchange NPC in Whitegate. No more spamming for single gold coins and then walking to Nashmau to exchange them again.
- You no longer need to buy permits from one NPC, walk 20' further, and spend them on the teleporter in Whitegate. You do everything at the porter now.
- Sagheera now takes one game day to upgrades Relic and Artifact armors now instead of a full conquest update.
- You can now turn off your head armor (I think JPs wanted it) and look at maps to zones you aren't in (same story).
- They've added some new emotes. Specifically, there is one Job Emote per job (obtained through an associated quest) and now for unique dances you can do (/dance1, /dance2, /dance3, and /dance4)
Event List of Shame
These events haven't been successful or no longer have a use.
- Moblin Maze Mongers - This was briefly a way to get comparable XP to a Lolibri party, but it took a substantial time investment to get the runes to really make the system work, and they nerfed the major way to obtain runes. Now it has one or two pieces (Antica Ring) that people find useful and is empty 99% of the time. Its current usage is primarily relegated to restoring 2-hour abilities by obtaining a Revitalizer temp item in a MMM Revitalization Team type maze.
- Stronghold Invasion - There is still a single piece of useful equipment from this system of 27 NMs with pretty unique AIs (for the time), and that is Stone Mufflers. Enhancing your Stoneskin potency by 30 is probably not a very high priority for a recent returner given the wealth of other equipment out there.
- Pankration - This event has not been updated and is done even less frequently now that Zeni exchange rates were increased.
- ANNM - This briefly-implemented BCNM-style fight was popular for a month or two and has not been done since. It offers no unique gear but some unique augments on old equipment.
- Succor to the Sidhe - A briefly tolerated set of BCNM-like fights used to augment level 75 weapons. The fights were fairly difficult at the time and often offered only minor improvements over other dramatically easier to obtain options.
- Equipment Augment System - This system allowed players to augment non-Rare gear that was level 75 or less with random (often useless) augments. People briefly blew ungodly amounts of gil getting Dex+4 on their Dusk Gloves +1, and then the system totally folded with the release of Abyssea and Trial of the Magians.
- Evolith System - Really, this was almost unarguably the single worst thought out system that was ever implemented in FFXI. I refuse to explain it further because it would be too painful for you to hear of the intricacies and obvious extreme amounts of planning that went into making such a totally useless system.
- Voidwalker Notorious Monsters outside Abyssea - This was always an annoying system, which required many kills of a previous tier to advance to the next tier (upgrading your abyssite). Popping a monster of the third tier reset your progress to the start and only occasionally yielded a Tier 4 pop item. To top it off, the Tier 4 monster was incredibly annoying and didn't drop anything. Luckily for all players, it's now irrelevant because all of the associated armor has been outdated. Unfortunately, the mechanism was re-used in Abyssea and those monsters are still in demand.
- Campaign / Campaign Ops - Though this system always had motivation issues (for instance, encouraging people to spam bard songs on themselves instead of actually fighting), it now has the ultimate motivation issue because there's effectively no reason to do it. It used to be a minorly acceptable source of XP for low level jobs, but now there are better ways to get the same XP. It has precisely two desireable drops, Rose Strap (can be soloed by increasing your campaign rank) and Roundel Earring (requires effort of many players to open the BCNM and campaign rank too). This is still an okay place to get Voiddust as well, if you need it for some reason.