Are you considering returning to Final Fantasy XI? Be sure to read "Returning to Vana'diel" - our community collaborative guide!
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Returning to Vana'diel
Returning to Vana’diel v2
This guide has been rewritten after the previous jewel of BG (v.1) fell out of maintenance right before the launch of Seekers of Adoulin.
Now with the end of major content updates and closure to the PS2 and Xbox era behind us. Things are not so turbulent. That is right, this game is now PC only.
- Note: Final Fantasy XI is STILL running. This is not going to change in the foreseeable future. Despite persistently odd and silly rumors to the contrary.
- While everything indeed ends, playing in Vana'diel for even a day is worth it, as it is a one of a kind experience.
Yet, Final Fantasy XI is like a revolving door. Many people “quit” or delete their character only to come back years later or even make a brand new one. They find themselves completely overwhelmed by a game that has changed so dramatically they don’t even know how to tackle it. This is a very fair thing as Vana'diel contains a massive amount of information and history. Some people also just don’t care to read though and like to complain they don’t know x, y, or z.
However, for those of you more enlightened individuals reading now from the comfort of your home or work bathrooms. Welcome home to Vana’diel, we missed you.
Most people who are coming back have played at some point from around the Treasures of Aht Urhgan era or beyond. This guide will cover cover from that era onwards as version 1 before did before it. Don’t worry though as I am keeping the good stuff.
While we are at it then lets cover all the eras and their activities since then:
- Treasures of Aht Urhgan (ToAU) era: 2006~2008
- Wings of the Goddess (WotG) era: 2008~2010
- Abyssea era: 2010~2011
- Post Abyssea era: 2011~2013
- Seekers of Adoulin (SoA) era: 2013~2015
- Coalition Assignments / Delve / Geomancer and Rune Fencer and their Ergon Weapons / Hard Mode Mission Battles / Incursion / Job Points / Merit Point expansion / Missions and quests / Mog Garden / Reforged Armor / Reives / Sinister Reign / Skirmish / Trust NPC companions / Vagary / ilvl 119ing of Relic Empyrean, and Mythic weapons / equipment item level increases to 119 with frequent replacements to the best gear until late in the era and the introduction of Escha.
- Escha era: 2015~Now
Should I Come Back?
Yes, it is worth it.
Here are some of the changes that have occurred since the end of the ToAU era to get you up to speed.
And here is the returning players thread at BG
Changes to Characters
The level cap is now 99 with 5 newer 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 easy to do solo. 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 massive change to the game has been to the acquisition of experience points. A solo player now can obtain EXP faster than any party or merit party could at level 75. If you are using a higher tier EXP band this translates to ‘’roughly’’ ~5,500 XP from a decent challenge monster per kill. A solo player running around can rapidly kill weak EP mobs in Escha for ~500 xp a kill.
There are many variables in experience now as there are items, many EXP increasing key items, and other factors like Trusts or Corsair's Roll. Sometimes there are double EXP campaigns or double or double EXP chain point campaigns too.
All of these things accumulate into massive EXP gains. Leveling your first 99 job will not be nearly as fast as your second or third. You are rewarded with many things that increase EXP after you can obtain them at level 99. Your main gains will come from key items from doing Rhapsodies of Vanadiel Missions.
Almost all partying is done solo or with friends now. That or you can stand around in a place like Escha - Zi'Tah while someone plays the game for you and kills all the monsters around you quickly.
Waiting for groups, tanks, healers, etc for 15-60 minutes is over. You can simply play at your own pace on any job or any role. No more forever alone PUPs and BSTs. Trust magic allow you to call competent tanks, healers, support jobs, etc to your party to fill empty spots. These are intelligent NPCs that made everyone realize and then forget what garbage the old Adventuring Fellows are.
While Abyssea parties of the past were great for providing an entire alliance with EXP they varied in quality from ~80k hour up to ~600k an hour. There is now less of a demand for experience and fewer people to party with than back in the day. Not only that, but experience bands, Corsair's Roll, and the RoV key items don’t work in Abyssea. So these camps are now empty. Which is fair because a lot of Greater Colibri became lonely in Bhaflau Thickets after Abyssea parties became a thing.
During the ToAU era, Level Sync was the big XP party feature of the day and is now just a tool for playing with a friend on a low level job.
We have also long since been introduced to Fields of Valor and Grounds of Valor. These are floating book NPCs in various zones that grant additional EXP after defeating and then repeating the objectives they provide. These objectives are to just defeat EXP monsters in the area. They are still relevant today and making good use of them while you level will help you out.
Capacity Points (CPs) also known as "Job Points" (every 30,000 CPs are 1 JP) are a new and separate type of experience point added to the game. These primarily accumulate from defeating monsters that are level 96+ after you easily unlock them although they are also awarded from various events and repeatable quest objectives (more on that system later).
Think of this as Merit Points 2.0. Every job has 10 categories in which they spend their points to enhance existing abilities. This is nice in itself, but the real bonus comes from Gifts. As you spend more job points you accumulate gifts. These start off as small boosts such as accuracy +5 or defense +10, but they all stack and the gifts get greater over time. For example, while there are several benefits for every job. A Blue Mage gains 26 accuracy and 60 attack just from gifts while a Dancer receives 64 accuracy and the ability to hold four extra finishing moves (9). Certain jobs that use magic also unlock spells such as tier 6 nukes or Death on Black Mage exclusively from gaining Job Points.
The meripos (merit pts) of old may be gone, but CP parties are here to replace them. While gaining EXP might be very easy nowadays, gaining capacity points is not, and you will spend more time to cap (in a 6 person party nonetheless!) than you did for merit points.
Superior Level is a new form of level advancement. Some may debate it should go on the wall of shame as somewhat of a failed idea. There are currently three Superior Levels you can obtain, with the highest being unlocked as a 500-Job Point Gift. Essentially, players must have a certain Superior Level in order to equip appropriately marked armor and weapons. "Su1", "Su2" or "Su3" is displayed on the item description near the top middle if a piece requires a Superior Level to use. There is only a handful of gear that even has these requirements, but the sets added in the May 2017 Version Update are overall useful.
See Superior Level for Se gear and further details.
The economy has changed several times since the ToAU era. Where it was once crafting based in the past it moved to a farming based economy. Where people farmed solo Dynamis or Salvage and primarily were buying pop items around the Abyssea and Voidwatch eras. Gil was generally mocked as largely unimportant for most activities aside from making Relics or Mythics. To now where there are both economies, crafting and farming.
Gil is more important than ever. For example HQed ilvl119 Abjurations are worth hundreds of millions of gil depending on the piece. The ease has gone up of farming things like Dynamis and Salvage with the ability to immediately reenter with the lockout essentially removed. Prices are lower than in the past for these items, but that is because you can farm and sell many more of them. These items are now available to be sold on the auction house too. That is right you can go to the auction house for all your currency needs. Bazaaring is still commonplace due to space limitations on the number of items you can list at once.
Back in the Abyssea era before a nerf patch. People were converting all of the cruor (currency like conquest points or imperial standing) for gil. This is back today in a more controlled capacity than that time.
What I am talking about are sparks. A currency that players obtain from doing various activities like defeating monsters, buffing players, and other common things from Records of Eminence (RoE). Players then turn around and buy NPCable items like Bahadurs or Acheron Shields in mass for upwards of over 800k while sitting at capped sparks. While higher level players obtain sparks faster than lower level players. This allows newer players to make some money for items they want. This is a huge benefit for newer players and there will be a little more information on RoE later.
Aside from sparks, items to augment equipment found in Alluvion Skirmish or Escha are farmed and sold by players. Things of this nature opens up the economy to be more diverse than just farming the same couple of activities during previous eras. Especially since those same activities like Dynamis are still farmed for weapon creations.
Around the Wings of the Goddess era a new type of craft was introduced named Synergy. It is very different and more involved than typical synthesis. Players feed a temperamental furnace (some synths even require multiple people) with consumable items called Fewell to the correct elemental levels to make items. This makes certain important items like the Hachirin-no-Obi which is all of the old school elemental obis in one piece.
Mega-Moglification and Crafting Torques have given skills a 5-7 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 via Crafting 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.
- The command /lastsynth was added. This allows a player to instantly repeat the last synthesis was performed.
- A player must be in possession of the correct ingredients in order to commence the process.
- A "Synthesis" entry in the main menu was introduced, which allows a user to look through the last ten recipes they have done in order to easily repeat the process without adding each item to the synthesis box.
- A player must be in possession of the correct ingredients in order to commence the process.
- Guilds no longer are closed on certain days of the week to observe their holiday.
- A player may now skillup on any item up to 11 levels past its cap.
- For example, this means any 99 cap synth can level players up to 110.
- However, the higher above the natural cap of an item you go the progressive slower skillups become.
- For example, this means any 99 cap synth can level players up to 110.
Conveniently, more items have been added to the NPCs sales list. The higher you rank up, the more items that are available for you to purchase. These items are not like the junk the guilds used to have, rather they are used in many synthesis recipes and are usually valuable to have access to. As an example, Animal Glue is purchasable from the Alchemy guild now. These rank items also never run out of stock.
Added in the June 2014 Version Update, crafting "kits" now allow players to easily level their skills without having to hunt for ingredients. Appropriate crystals are still required. Level 5 through 50 kits are purchasable from Guild NPCs. Level 55 and 60 kits are "EX" and are only obtainable via events such as the Login Campaign. Crafting kits are unique in that they are always consumed regardless if a synthesis succeeds or fails. Also it is important to note that no High-Quality results can be made when using a kit. A lot of the time is is cheaper to level up using the actual ingredients due to the price of the kits.
Introduced in the February 2017 Version Update, Escutcheons or "Crafting Shields" as they are commonly known, are shields which directly increase ones crafting skill in their main craft. They are earned after going through various synthesis trials, are tied into earning Guild Points, and take a quite a long time to finish over the course of many hundreds of synths to complete various objectives. There are four total upgrades to the shields, with the fourth and final not yet released.
If you were primarily a crafter or just enjoyed crafting then this is both a frustrating and an exciting time to be playing.
Social and Event Changes
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 BCNM 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 not worth much if any gil, and Tiamat’s Herald's Gaiters were replaced by a rare/ex version. Some people love these changes and some are still itching for a Fafnir ToD that will never come, but this is a new age. Every large shell that exists is an event or social shell. That being said, you can now equip and talk to two linkshells at once. This has made life much easier for players to group up.
Abyssea was the expansion set that accompanied the level cap increase and dramatically restructured linkshells. Everything in Abyssea may be soloed with Trusts nowdays. However at the time, large event linkshells that pulled 18+ people were now facing running split events, and a lot 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 managed to adapt and hang on, but they were 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.
Abyssea was followed by Voidwatch, which is an event that required an alliance of specific jobs for maximum efficiency. This is soloable now, but was done either by an event shell or popularly 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 the content in game can be and is done by a group of strangers. Depending on the population of your server. A lot of content is shouted for nowadays and strangers can clear it this way if they so choose. This is aided by the newer /yell command that functions as a multizone shout. Shout groups are in vogue.
Further compounding this change to pick up groups was Seekers of Adoulin, where alliance content was brought back again in the form of Delve. Players would have to fight their way through notorious and lesser monsters to get to a very challenging mega boss. This was the norm for awhile until SE started scaling the events by the number of players. So alliance content was briefly back only for SE to release a change that has cascaded into new events since. Monsters have their HP cut by large amounts for using less players in these fights now (generally HP starts increasing after 6 players). This change was so noticeable that it became counterintuitive to take more than a single party or so of players.
Nowadays the main content people go after would be things like Omen, Escha, High-Tier Mission Battlefields, Vagary, Unity, and other lesser events like Delve, Alluvion Skirmish, and Sacred Kindred's Crest fights. There is a lot of things to do as SE continues to tie things from old content like Legion, and VNMs into important synthesis recipies or item upgrades.
For those of you unfamiliar with the aforementioned events allow me to fill you in later.
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 and a little hate control 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.
There is also a discrepancy between job balance, game balance, and player strategies. Common endgame strategies for right now includes magic bursting (via a Scholar with Immanence) with a small group of mages, buffing up Summoners so that they can all unload their "1-hour" abilities on the monster while staying out of harm's way, or having outside buffers beef up a couple of DDs to then disband party (reducing enemy HP, based on total party members in a variety of newer content) before starting and then quickly take things down. These are all examples of popular strategies that seek to avoid dealing with enemy mechanics. As a result many players find themselves excluded because of popular strategy. There is nothing wrong with almost any job in this game for a most fights, but it would be fair to say players are helpless followers. This leads to players to decry balance or feel excluded when the issue is not the jobs themselves, but how they are used or abused against certain content. Only for something new to be discovered or SE to "fix" something only for a new easy way out to be developed by players.
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 8 different storage locations, all with a maximum capacity of 80. Five of them are available to you when you are in the field, though you can still only use gear and equip items from three of them (Inventory, Wardrobe, and Wardrobe 2).
- Refer to the brief Inventory 101 guide for more details.
- As of July 2016, Wardrobe 3 and Wardrobe 4 are available as a purchasable feature. The cost is an additional $2 per month for each of these wardrobes, with the total cost being $4 per month for both.
- If purchased, the wardrobes are unlocked for all characters on that Square-Enix Account.
- 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
- Lockstyle. Now you can wear any subligar you want to fight while appearing in any gear in any place in inventory with euipment sets located in the macros submenu.
- Equipment sets. SE has given everyone the ability to create 100 different sets of gear which can then be called in macros. This is no ‘spellcast” (now a relic of the past) or “gearswap” (.lua, the new spellcast), but it gives players who don’t want to use Windower4 with the gearswap addon for whatever reason the ability to be better.
- 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.
- Seekers of Adoulin added more waypoints into the mix for teleportation throughout the expansion, to and from Jeuno, and to the starter nations.
- Ephemeral Moogles that store all of your crystals for later retrieval.
- Homepoint warps! Waypoints were great in themselves until SE created many new home points around the zones and allowed for warping directly between any of these all over the game. Simply walk up and select one and it is unlocked for warping. They are even outside every battlefield so you can quickly get back to places like the Chamber of Oracles or Sky. 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.
- Armor and Weapons now have multiple "menus" in game. If an item as an arrow on the description while viewing it, you can now push your menu button to cycle through the multiple stats.
- Augmented stats are always on a page of their own, regardless if it is required or not.
- You can compare a piece of equipment in your inventory to one you have one for a side-by-side comparison now by going into your equipment menu and pressing the right "ctrl" key.
- Many crafting items such as ores can now stack up to 12. This helps alleviate inventory issues for HELM extremists.
- Crafting delay and guild salesroom delay have both been eliminated.
- Mounts have been introduced which consume no inventory and can be called from anywhere in the field.
- Many missions and quests such as the ones for AF or ToAU missions have had their real day waits removed and changed to a game day wait.
- 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.
- Skilling up has been made easier from various items, foods, trusts, and key item rewards. Skill up parties are gone now that you can trade in sparks for spamming items that grant small amounts of skill ups. On top of that parry and guard now skill up from evaded hits.
- Elemental staves, gorgets, belts, and obis all now have a single universal item. That is four things to carry instead of 32.
- Items now stay on the auction house for a longer time before being sent back to your delivery box and the recent sales window now pops up while attempting to sell something.
- Currencies for upgrading Ultimate Weapons are now available on the auction house.
- No more trips to Nashmau to exchange Imperial currency! You can select how many coins you want directly at the coin NPC.
- UI changes! Cursors over a monster when selecting a sub target will glow purple, yellow, and red based on if you are in range, almost in range, or out of range for a spell or ability. Chat logs can be split into two windows either vertically or horizontally as well as be resized. The area of effect for self targeting abilities may also be displayed for players. The most important of all is the addition of game timers to icons. This will display the time left on a buff like players always had with Windower. However, it also shows the remaining time on a debuff such as terror, stun, sleep, etc.
- Base movement speed was increased by 25% in the December 2013 update. Gear now increases speed relative to the new base movement speed.
- There are now more sources of Movement Speed. There are boots that give a +12% enchantment (which stacks with gear) and there are common (if not always cheap) +12~18% options for all jobs. Fleet Wind from a Summoner and Bolter's Roll from a Corsair also exist and stack with gear.
- 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.
- Shemo, Shami's new friend next to him in Port Jeuno will allow you to convert various seals at a 3:1 ratio. E.g. 3 Beastmen's Seals are now 1 Kindred's Seal.
- NPCs have been added in a magic category called Trust, which fill up party slots when you are with less than six players, unlockable at level 5. They cost 0 MP to summon, and can be summoned in most areas except for most instanced zones like Salvage. You can have 3-5 of them out at once (more are rewarded for completing Rhapsodies Missions), and they fill tanking, healing, support, and damage dealing roles. At this time, there are around 100 NPCs that can be unlocked. They can be used in many mission battlefields, and the last limit break 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 trusts like Mihli uses Afflatus Solace and Ayame will open skillchains based on your last weaponskill.
- Many help texts have been added to items. SE has been adding the effects to foods to the text and puppet parts now list their powers.
- Curio Vendor Moogles! These little guys sell all the materials you ever wanted from ninja tools and ammunition to foods, medicines, and even keys to coffers.
- 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.
- At this point those UI changes are likely never coming, but other UI adjustments that were delivered upon such as:
- Displaying time remaining on buffs and debuffs
- Buffs and debuffs visible via icons for targeted party (not alliance) members.
- Timestamps and the ability to use symbols in macro names
- Splitting and resizing the chatlog either horizontally or vertically
- Area of effect circle for subtargets of AoE abilities/spells
- Subtarget curser colors based on your distance
- and so on are enough to satisfy the promise of a renewed UI in my opinion. Remember you must turn these on in your config settings in the menu.
- At this point those UI changes are likely never coming, but other UI adjustments that were delivered upon such as:
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 Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition (digital 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.
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. 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 events.
Make an effort to work through the Tutorials (basic and later, intermediate). These will guide you through a range of activities and give you items, gear, trusts, kupons (trade these for gear) and currencies which help you along the way. If you have previously played you can earn an enormous amount of sparks almost instantly by flagging mission objectives. These will autocomplete and the sparks will really help. By following the tutorials you will be guided towards various events and processes which help you when you're starting/restarting.
Where to Start
This is the main question everyone has and the reason most of you are probably reading this. Aside from obviously needing something to read on the toilet at work. You will want to unlock Trusts and Records of Eminence (RoE) first thing. They are quick and easy to unlock.
Once that is unlocked, simply running through the tutorial section in records of eminence (under quests → objective list) will start awarding you trusts in the form of items you may trade to one of the Trust Initiative NPCs to unlock. RoE will be your main squeeze, and as mentioned before you can buy and NPC items like the Acheron Shield for quick gil to fund your adventures. Complete the basics section under tutorial in RoE as you will be glad that you did in the future.
There are linkshells courrier NPCs around which hold different stocks of linkpearls from what are mostly social LSs seeking members. You will likely only find one in an area like Adoulin as any maintenance clears the stock from the NPC which must then be traded again. It is an option though if you want a linkshell. Then again /yell ing in Jeuno or any major city (they are linked) might produce results too. Don't be afraid to get out there as this is not a single player game.
If you are starting over fresh with the Ultimate Seekers Edition, 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 with your trusts and RoE objectives 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 maybe you have some friends willing to let you leech to 99. Leeching from 30 to 99 would go fast if you can unlock Escha - Zi'Tah, 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.
As for where to level on an individual player basis. I am simultaneously creating this,
Fantastic EXPs and Where to Find Them guide that will hopefully be a collaborative effort once the word spreads.
Once you have leveled up you can get some level 99 ilvl 117 gear with Sparks. These are great for holding you over, and anyone familiar with the Abyssea era will remember the pink gear. You may not be getting it in the pink this time, but this starter gear would not win any awards for looks. You will look like that which you are. Which is a noob, but at least you can make lockstyle sets.
Next, lets discuss the content as as some of you reading this may have not been around for years and don’t know what is what.
Current / Relevant Events
Abyssea was released in 2010 and became the most popular event in the game during its time.
It is a set of 10 zones connected to Bizarro-Vana'diel by Cavernous Maws. There's not actually much more to the story than that. Players may set rather ridiculously strong buffs which make a night and day difference in fighting creatures there. There were several new mechanics introduced in that era such as Staggering which carries into todays game still.
It was once the best way of gaining EXP with 18 man parties killing a field of monsters. If you can picture that, but if you never experienced it then you likely never will as EXP boosts don’t function in Abyssea so players no longer go there for XP.
While the armor there was once the endgame goal for many. Now the relevance to players is for gaining their Empyrean armor for upgrading to 119
Ambuscade is a newer addition. It was released in 2016 and unlike other content the monsters and rewards change every month with the update. Not to mention that points you have accumulated do not carry over either and are reset each month. Players may obtain a variety of armor (up to +2 versions) and items through this event such as power JSE (job specific equipment) capes.
Ambuscade is now one of the most popular forms of making Gil. You can buy mass amounts of Ultimate Weapon creation materials and either sell or keep them for yourself. You are limited, however, on the amount of each particular material that you can buy each month. Some materials even cycle and are not available every month.
See: ambuscade rewards.
New battlefields have been added using orbs obtained from Sacred Kindred's Crest. These are reissues of several of the old BCNMs.
Old era end game fights such as the Ark Angels and Divine Might have been updated with level 99-119+ versions known as High-Tier Mission Battlefields. Entry into these BCNMs simply require a Key Items purchasable for a mere 10-15 merit points. These fights have 5 difficulty levels, with a higher chance at better rewards for harder difficulties. These battlefields drop items called Rem’s Chapters which are required to turn in for Reforged Armor. These battlefields also are the main source for Beitetsu, Riftborn Boulders and Plutons which are required items for upgrading Ultimate Weapons.
Delve was released in 2013 and induced an exciting world of butthurt. Players could easily obtain weapons better than every Relic, Empyrean, and Mythic in the game (at the time) in several runs not actually doing the content. It drops a currency known as Plasm which can be used to buy any item from a monster you have previously defeated once. Players would go in and just kill weak normal mobs as a shout alliance before people became knowledgeable and strong enough to do the content. In several runs of killing mobs for 50 plasm a kill out of the 30,000 needed, players all killed the dreams and hopes of the old school elite.
SE eventually remedied this by allowing upgrades to the Ultimate Weapons much later and then remedied it again some time later by properly powering these weapons through one last upgrade.
Nowadays Delve is useful for newer players to gear up and for the materials/gil it provides. Gathering plasm is also required for making the powerful Ergon Weapons.
Dynamis was re-worked dramatically.
- Instead of the zones being reserved for one entry at a time, all Dynamis zones are now shared without a limit on concurrent participants.
- With all of the available level increases, Dynamis is typically now a solo event.
- A player may now "Proc" a weakness on every dynamis monster which raises the drop rate of currency and items when successfully done.
- More information can be found on the Dynamis page.
- The time limit per entry is one hour, with up to one additional hour available with 4 available time extensions similar to before.
- Monsters are no longer pulled in waves causing subsequent spawns. They are now all roaming and are on typical respawn timers of five minutes.
- All monster positioning has been changed due to this.
- The following armor sets have been added, which require base pieces to enhance.
- Progression in the Rhapsodies of Vana'diel storyline allows a player to enter Dynamis once per real life earth hour instead of the three day earth time wait.
- Zone bosses have been changed and "Arch" versions have been added, see the Dynamis page for more details.
Escha is essentially Abyssea done right in the eyes of Square Enix who once declared Abyssea was a mistake. Powerups unique to the zone are less potent, key items are less frequent with Primeval Brews and Super Revitalizers being harder to come by with a kill barrier to entry, and all the pop items are existing materials from crafts. Nearly all of the best armor and weapons in the game and the consumables to augment them comes from Escha.
Einherjar / Limbus
Einherjar and Limbus both received a light re-touch right before SoA. 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 with the exception that there is no longer a penalty for taking less than six players to Einherjar. You may 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 newer boss fights can be done solo now though as time has passed. The "Rhapsody in Mauve" KI reduces the cost of soap to enter Limbus to 1,000 gil and reduces the entry time delay to one hour.
For Einherjar, there is only one new chamber where you fight a powered up version of Odin. It should also be noted that they dropped the cost of Smouldering Lamps used to enter Einherjar to 60,000 gil from 180,000. This is further reduced to 1,000 gil with the "Rhapsody in Azure" key item from RoV missions. Furthermore that key item allows you to re-enter every 1 hour. Couple this with the joint reduction of assault tags to 10 minutes from the Azure KI and you may farm your own mythic at your own pace. Granted this is still no easy task newer upgrades to them have added to the work.
Overall, just about all of the items from the revamps are useless now as the revamps occurred before SoA was released. The relevance of the events come from the fact that Einherjar will always be needed for Mythic Weapons. As for Limbus the Brutal Earring and Loquacious Earring still hold value and there is a discount for AF+1 Reforged Armor upgrades compared to the NQ.
Incursion was rather short lived in its direct usefulness. Originally it was the only way to get some pretty good items, and augmented JSE Capes. There are a series of NMs spread across Cirdas Caverns which is essentially a giant maze of a zone and you are not allowed a map. Various unnaturally far range aggro and linking Velk are in between you and these NMs. Every NM provides you with its key item so you can either warp to it directly after for farming runs or use all of the key items to level the content up a level. Increasing the content a level provides extra drops. Nifty system huh? Well, elite players prided themselves on beating the mega boss on level 143 (cap level) and shortly after that SE added the ability to get the same augments on the capes from Detrovio. Some time passed and then the gear (some mediocre at launch) was almost all replaced. There are still a couple of accuracy pieces from it though which have not been usurped.
Now, the main use of Incursion is for special Capacity Points +% capes and farming for Reisenjima T2 NM pops. SE wanted to keep it semi-relevant.
Legion was once a difficult event for the likes of 18 to 36 people. There was a short lived time where the abjurations were the best for players in the game and the content the hardest.
Now the event serves little use aside from a few important synthesis materials for 119 abjuration armor.
Master Trials are a new sort of endgame challenge to a party of six accomplished and seasoned players. Currently, it only provides three pretty wing shaped lightsaber trophy items in the form of Sword, Hand-to-Hand, and Greatsword varieties. This event requires participating jobs have capped 2100 Capacity Points, and the entry item costs a mere 250 merits per group attempt. There are three different battlefields, including Alexander/Odin, the Shadow Lord with the three Beastmen leaders, and Arch-Ultima with Arch-Omega. More battles are announced and expected in future version updates.
The Mog Garden, while not technically an event is an activity of interest to some players. Ultimately it served no purpose at launch aside from from little quests and being a nifty thing to skill up and collect some mostly junk items from. That changed when the Fire Nation attacked.
With the addition of Monster Rearing to the gardens. Now you can name and raise your own monsters. This requires rank 4 or higher in your gardens. These monsters provide actual benefits aside from just being cute names you can make up like “Butts” or “SandM”. They provide momento KIs which do everything from give a minor increase to craft skillups to provide extra XP and CP points and minor stats boosts. Every monster also adds its own item to the mog garden for purchase. Items that were hard to come by such as Imperial Tea Leaves are now accessible if you put the work in.
On top of this players now have access to a Porter Moogle, Ephemeral Moogle, and a warp to the start nations or mog house exit from them to Adoulin from the garden. Making it a useful zone for players to use or relax in.
Omen is the newest battle content in the game. It takes place in a unique part of Reisenjima at the very end of Rhapsodies of Vana'diel, and as such the Phoenix Feather is required to participate. Omen is a 1-18 person endgame event in which you face off against three floors of enemies to face a midboss, and then choose the last two floors based on which boss wing is chosen after the third floor. Some very powerful items are dropped from these bosses, but in general you will face random and quickly timed objectives against average foes on three of the floors. Completing these objectives such as a powerful magic burst, curing a certain amount within the time limit, a certain number of critical hits, etc. Will reward you with an extra amount of the other main reason to do this event. Paragon Cards. The main reward from this content is Reforged Artifact Armor +2 and, naturally, Reforged Artifact Armor +3.
Eventually, we anticipate that +2 and +3 Relic as well as Empyrean will come from this event.
Salvage has been expanded and now includes a series of zones that target level 99 characters. They are soloable by characters with decent iLvl gear. These zones now require only one person above level 96 to enter.
If fully cleared, these zones tend to yield more Alexandrite per run than the original Salvage zones, so they are the prefered source of Alexandrite if you are interested in farming or gil. This massive influx of Alexandrite has had a side-effect of making Mythics far more obtainable than ever before. They my also be sold on the auction house under misc 3.
These newer Salvage zones are more enjoyable 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 automatically. 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 unlock credits for every kill you had on the previous floor. Then you unlock body and move on.
Combining the easier unlock system with the many sources of MP restoral that mages feature makes the event substantially easier overall than in the past. For more exact information and strategies, please visit the following pages:
The original Salvage zones remain largely 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. Furthermore, 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. Unfortunately, all of this armor has fallen to the wayside. Ambuscade has essentially reintroduced the Salvage tier 3 (iLevel 119) armor. The tier 2 (Level 99) armor fell out of favor with the introduction of iLvl gear during SoA.
Sinister Reign is a fun little event for those who have completed the Seekers of Adoulin Missions where you enter an area for three round against the heroes of Adoulin. It is an enjoyable event, that provides random augments for equipment that drops depending on one of three possible enemies in each of the three rounds. The bad part is that if you actually want some of the still valuable items from the event you will be spamming it a lot and hoping for capped augments, let alone the correct item.
Skirmish and Alluvion Skirmish are newer events that have you either scouring the map for monsters, defeating NMs, playing pokemon (summon monsters to fight monsters), or defending a tent. Admittedly it is a nice tent. Overall, the event is rather fun.
Armor and weapons in this event are augmentable, and make good pieces until they are ultimately replaced by armor and weapons from Escha with the proper augments.
Sky and Kings
Various changes have been made to Sky Gods and Ground NMs. First and foremost, Tatter and Scrap Synergy was introduced, annn~nd then forgotten. Fortunately the scraps are used now to pop the re-released sky gods in Escha - Ru'Aun.
In order to accomodate this system, SE increased the number of pop items and seals that drop when killing Sky monsters (1 guaranteed, 1 additional depending on TH). The items are still marked Rare, so only one can be held at a time.
Kings have 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 also obtained through various events) and no longer 21-24 free spawn at all. These NQs have a chance to drop (10-15%) 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
Additionally, Adamantoise Egg, Wyrm Beard, and Behemoth Tongue have been removed from the respective NQs and now are only obtainable from the HQ Kings or KSNM99s. Fortunately black belt is just a relic of the past..
Don't worry though as Defending Ring is still the best. That being said, it is not hard to get your hands on these pop items. They have been available through the monthly Login Campaigns every month. They can be found in bazaars for a few hundred thousand gil.
Synergy is not an event, but a newer crafting system that was introduced and briefly updated properly, but has now been mostly 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 really 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 and other BST jugs or ranged ammunition. 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 player 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 such as the Fotia Gorget/Hachirin-no-Obi and the Incanter's Torque/Combatant's Torque. However, you can shout and find a synergist if you offer gil.
Trial of the Magians
Trial of the Magians was a lovely (well..) system that SE introduced that allowed players to upgraded equipment from the ground up through several trials and tribulations (including kills during weather..). Fortunately and unfortunately SE completely moved away from this system. The only reason it has any relevance is because Relic, Empyreans, Mythics, and Walk of Echoes weapons are still upgraded through their old trials (not the new ones).
Aside from that, C’est La Vie.
Unity is essentially Voidwatch 2.0 in the fact players pop monsters at fluxes located around various older zones in Vana’diel. That is where the similarities end however as there is no procing that is required, although useful, and players simply must defeat the monster. Every participating player receives a coffer item reward which they use to receive spoils. This is tied into RoE in the fact players must spend Accolades, the Unity currency, to pop these fights which are directly awarded from completing eminence objectives.
Every monster is an upgraded version of a previous NM players are familiar with. In essence you now will fight endgame (and even challenging) versions of everything from Behemoth to Hakutaku to Cerberus. There is an NQ and a +1 version of 1 or 2-3 items from each monster. Either the NQ or the +1 can come from the reward coffer, but the +1 is rare. There is a trophy item that may be commonly dispensed from the coffer. Several of these trophies are required to upgrade the NQ item to the +1 version as well as an accolade charge.
Many Escha NMs also require the trophy items of several Unity NMs traded to force pop. Overall, this is a balanced and rewarding event. Despite all of the gear that has been released since Unity additions have concluded, many pieces are still extremely relevant and used to this day.
Vagary is the antithesis of Sinister Reign in the fact that instead of fighting the heros of Seekers of Adoulin in a small closed area, you are fighting the villains of SoA in a zone with lesser mobs and NMs also standing in your path. There are five bosses and three zones of Vagary. Each boss unlocks the ability to upgrade a specific slot of Reforged Empyrean Armor +1 as you can not upgrade past the Item Level 109 (NQ) version without defeating each of these NMs. Two of the NMs require specific actions be done in order to pop in the zone of another NM. This includes requirements such as no player being KOed and a certain number of steps to a skill chain and magic burst several times before they will spawn. Some of the armor from it is still of use from it (this content was released before Escha) including the ultra rare Tartarus Platemail which is a unique looking body of Kraken Club drop rate proportions. Which is unusual because SE has all but done away with NMs that have ultrarare drops.
Overall, this event will always be important for unlocking 119 empyrean armor. The additional materials that drop are used in conjunction to upgrade them, as well as craft many other highly desirable pieces of armor. SE shows no sign of slowing down on adding new recipes that require Vagary synthesis materials.
Slycer wrote an old Voidwatch Guide in 2012 that might still be of use; maybe.
Voidwatch was the start of the post abyssea era. The first time people started strongly shifting towards an event outside of Abyssea. Some forgot what the light of a sky outside of a maw looked like. Others were simply wondering what a cat has anything to do with the limited story they were skipping over. Overall, VW was a good event, but very frustrating system that was far from perfect. In fact the X tag was made specifically because of Voidwatch. To give you an idea on how many hundreds of runs some people spammed to get an item.
Overall, Voidwatch will always remain relevant. The armor may be bunk now, but Empyrean Weapons are especially powerful when you go through upgrade process. Serica Cloth primarily comes almost exclusively from Provenance and is used to create vaious pieces of cursed gear for 119 abjurations.
There have been a couple of changes to Voidwatch that make it much more bearable. First, you can set voidstones to stock. So instead of running back and forth every 3-6 fights for more stones from the NPC, you can simply spawn as many times as you have stones. For some odd reason you must be holding at least one voidstone though in your key items in order to do this or else you get to the flux like me and wonder why it won't spawn. Then your party waits on you going "typical Spicy" and other obscenities. Another important change is that cells are three times as potent now. Meaning one rubicund cell maxes out light gains. This is nice for the fact you have to carry three times less, but also you can macro a cell and be done now.
The "Rhapsody in Mauve" KI reduces the cost of Phase Displacers (weakening items) to 1,000 gil each. Outside of that KI you may buy as many as you wish now and not 5 per conquest tally like when they were introduced. Displacers also stack to 99.
Walk of Echoes
Walk of Echoes has faded from the limelight. Many of the Walk of Echoes Battlefield Rewards no longer hold their use since they were added before ilvl gear, but some are still the best available. The event will always hold relevance since the adjustment allowing players to learn the Empy WSs.
Almost no matter when you quit, Walk of Echoes has possibly 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 at various different updates include:
- Normal monsters no longer drop coins or other Magian Trial upgrade items and all drops are obtained through the chests.
- There are no longer bonus rewards to the top 5 players.
- There are Frayed Pouches of upgrade items that can be obtained.
- Coins and all other upgrade items can be Bazaared now.
- Additional Fluxes
- Surged walks for level 99 players
- 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.
- Players no loner have to rezone to purchase a KI to enter one of the battlefields now. Speak with the flux at the entrance.
Wildskeeper Reives are some enjoyable content that pit adventurers against the Naakuals. The fearsome beasts of the SoA expansion. These monsters are weaker than the Delve equivalents of the same creatures, and thus their rewards are as well. The combat takes place in a Walk of Echoes style that any can participate in once they unlock access after completeing Life on the Frontier. The weapons here are of use either for trading in for bayld (currency of Adoulin) with Runje Desaali or for new players to use and augment with Prah Janimhar. The event is also the primary source of H-P Bayld for creating Ergon Weapons.
ZNMs were 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 (Nauls inAbyssea - Tahrongi) 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.
The "Rhapsody in Azure" KI from RoV missions removes the cap on accepted pictures from Sanraku.
- Porter Moogles will hold your old equipment (and new equipment), as long as it isn't augmented. 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.
- Ephemeral Moogles similarly hold your excess crystals.
- 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.
- Sagheera now takes one game day to upgrade armor 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, Job Emotes (obtained upon hitting level 30), /sitchair, and dances you can do (/dance1, /dance2, /dance3, /dance4).
I already just mentioned spark armor, but you can also mix and match bayld armor +1 from Vesca.
You will want to eventually pick up some pieces of armor +2 from Abyssea as well as your AF quests and Dynamis. All of this armor from level 50s, 70s, and 90s are able to be reforged to 99 ilvl 109 and 119. The 109s are much cheaper and easier to obtain than the 119s. Which means they are your new friends. You just need to get some cheap synthesis materials and some Rem’s Chapters from Macrocosmic Orb fights. You may also gain some freebee upgrade items to help you along the process from simply leveling your job to 99 and flagging the Job Levels RoE objective under “Achievements”.
XI now is all about progression. It exists in a nice way now compared to the eras of old.
Ilvl 109 armor is one of the best and easiest way to start improving your gear outside of having friends get you better stuff. However, there are quick ways of gaining stronger starter weapons. Bayld homestead weapons from Craggy Bluff, and Sparks. If you have obtained 50 Job Points (to unlock SU1 or superior 1 equipment) you can also purchase quick 119 weapons for 100k from Antonia.
If you don’t know what to do or wear then you can always try the BG XI Forums or FFXIAH.com. There are many good job guides on FFXIAH, but ask questions on the forums or your LS. Don’t be afraid to make some judgement calls either. Afterall, it is your character.
Wildskeeper Reives (WKR) are a good collaborative way to start getting and augmenting some better items from your tier 1 days. See Prah Janimhar for that. You may have to shout for some like the lion or tree, but they are popular enough during certain extra WKR drop events SE occasionally does. Don’t forget to flag those RoE objectives for them either.
Delve requires three people to enter and you are allowed to use trusts for the last three spots if you feel confident enough. Here you will nab more upgrades to your equipment and accessories. You will notice the content is starting to get more difficult now. Especially until you continue to improve your equipment, and then it becomes easier.
Alluvion Skirmish Armor is better than and replaces most pieces (including Delve) of gear you have IF you augment them. That is the issue as stones are not in mass supply (players moved on) and are expensive for the high quality augmenting stones. The Alluvion Skirmish Weapons can also be a great improvement for you, and the best you have come by so far, but they can also be a real dog to augment to that strength. It is your choice how long you want to stay at the alluvion phase as this equipment is what will allow you to transition into the next levels of content.
Don’t be discouraged though as you can still burn the cheap crappy stones on the gear for lower quality augments. E.g. Triple Attack +1 on each piece of Taeon instead of TA+2. That still makes a big difference as a set.
Ambuscade is the newest to the list, and you can start picking up some easy improvements in the form of the the NQ gear for that month as a weaker player. However, these are rather watered down compared to the HQ pieces. You can however obtain a whole NQ set in 11 runs on normal difficulty compared to the 145 it would take for the HQ set on that difficulty. This is why I only find it worthwhile to spam on harder difficulties as doing the frequently done “very difficult” setting primer two runs rewards three times as many points. While those runs are not hard (especially compared to primer one) it does require some decent gear for tanks and DDs to be proficient in their roles.
JSE Weapons provide you with some great potential too once you gain access to them from Oboro. Some like the Dunna (GEO) or Aettir (RUN) are just about the best you can use. Others like the Mimesis (BLU) are very “meh” and are too costly to really be worth your time and the millions of gil.
Meanwhile, JSE Capes come from reives and Incursion. You are likely to see them in the WKRs too.
Incursion once again drops the JSE capes which can be augmented with some nice perks either from getting them as a reward from the NM coffers in the event or trading Refractive Crystal to Detrovio in Western Adoulin. The crystals come from Unity coffers, Accolades, or the auction house.
There is also a piece or two from here that is still good, but otherwise this event is for farming Mecisto. Mantles (back that grant 10-50% extra Capacity Points) and the pop items for tier 2 Reisenjima NMs.
As for High-Tier Mission Battlefields, all of your favorite nostalgia is back. Every big fight from Ouryu to Promathia to Fenrir has pretty much been re-released for higher levels with various new rewards. These fights also drop Rem’s Ch. 6-10 which are used for all of your Reforged Armor ilvl119. Not to mention being the best farmable source of JSE or Relic, Empyrean, Ergon, and Mythic weapon items for Oboro.
A word on Intermediate RoE objectives
This is an amazing thing SE added for newer players, and it is entirely possible for people to miss it. It does not show in your RoE log until you complete all of the very simple Basics RoE objectives I mentioned earlier. It is also under the tier 2 category because more than half of it is tier 2 content. I take it as a safe bet you didn’t stop reading this at T1 and figured you come back at the same time next week.
Completing the Intermediate RoE objectives will grant you the following items (in order of reward) to redeem at a Dealer Moogle:
- Kupon A-PK109 x5 - Five free pieces of 109 armor that Craggy Bluff sells
- Kupon W-EMI - A free eminence weapon.
- Kupon A-EMI x2 - A free piece of eminence armor.
- Cipher: Koru-Moru - a RDM Trust who will make a good addition to your team.
- Kupon AW-WK - A pick of any one item dropped from a Wildskeeper Reive NM.
- Kupon W-SRW - A free pick from one of the Skirmish Weapons from Rala Waterways.
- Kupon W-SCC - A free pick from one of the Skirmish Weapons from Cirdas Caverns.
- Kupon A-SYW - A free pick from any piece of Skirmish Armor +1.
- Kupon I-AF109 - 12 Chapters of Rem’s Chapters 1-10 for reforged 109 and 119 armor.
- Maliyakaleya Orb - 119 AF head material
- Kupon W-ASRW - A free pick from one of the Alluvion Skirmish Weapons from Rala Waterways.
- Kupon W-ASCC - A free pick from one of the Alluvion Skirmish Weapons from Cirdas Caverns.
- Kupon A-ASYW - A free pick from any piece of Alluvion Skirmish Armor.
Thats a lot of stuff!
“That is the whole meaning of life, isn’t it? Trying to find a place for your stuff.” - George Carlin.
As for the objectives you will have to do various things from Skirmish to a Wildskeeper Reive to Ambuscade to some Alluvion Skirmish. I would recommend doing the Ambuscade objective on very easy so you can run in with trusts and complete the objective easily. As for the other objectives later on that require you to kill monsters in Skirmish. You can just kill the requisite number and warp out. You don’t need to complete them and you can find your simulacrum segments on the AH under misc.
For completing the last of the objectives which occurs in Alluvion Skirmish Yorcia. You may speak to one of the RoE NPCs and trade them a copper voucher for 1,000 obsidian fragments. Then you can trade the Alluvion Skirmish Yorcia book the fragments and either summon five colibri and crabs or if you entered with a sash Eudaemon Item then you may summon Kirin who can solo the first floor by himself. Just swoop in for the kill on the stronghold since the pets take it to 1hp.
The wiki pages have the rest of the information on the events for you.
- For a detailed Intermediate RoE guide see this.
Once you are done with the older bayld armor from the Kupons, Runje Desaali will exchange them for bayld.
Sinister Reign is the easiest and shortest lived endgame of the bunch, but you will certainly find it very fun for awhile. A chunk of the gear was knocked down the totem pole when Escha came out, but certain pieces like fully augmented Samnuha Tights are still the best thing certain jobs can wear. Other pieces still hold value for the situations they apply to in your sets. Aside from that this is the easiest of the tier three content in the list. You can easily start here with a group and pick up some upgrades. Especially if you are still in alluvion skirmish equipment.
If you don’t seek equipment then the Cipher: August trust comes from this event too. He is probably one of the most important trusts to have as he tanks most content the best. To the point where you can even use him for lowman setups on level 129 or 135 content.
Unity is a mixed bag of rewards. It is rather fun to do, and certain monsters are even required as their trophies pop more important tier 2 monsters in Escha - Ru'Aun. More important pieces like Loricate Torque +1 generally come from harder content like the 135 Sovereign Behemoth which requires a good party. That is not to say most of the weaker monsters that fall firmly into tier 2 territory are garbage. Just that the rewards people go after most of the time are from the harder monsters. The 135s firmly fall into the endgame territory of difficulty (especially for pick up groups) and thus is why I list it here. Check the weaker Unity monsters though for good Unity Rewards for your character.
You may or may not have noticed Vagary by now, but if you haven’t you soon will. Clearing the five bosses of Vagary is more than just a fun achievement or a hunt for a piece of ridiculously rare armor. Defeating each is required for being able to upgrade Empy Armor +1. Otherwise, you are stuck at 109. You also get some upgrade materials for having the one time Vagary RoE objectives set for the first three bosses.
Escha and it’s rewards is certainly one of the events you will eventually find yourself in the most. From RoV missions to most of the best equipment and Aeonic Weapons with their level 4 skillchains. Yes, that is not a typo. Even if you managed to obtain all the amazing equipment from Escha then you still would have Aeonic Weapons to unlock. These are the fourth wheel in the rank of Ultimate Weapons and require some work, but at least there are no trials to upgrade them afterwards.
Finally, Omen is the newest event, and it is located separately within Escha inside Reisenjima. It is a 6 person endgame event in which you face off against three floors of enemies to face a midboss, and then choose the last two floors based on which boss wing is chosen after the third floor. Some very powerful items are dropped from these bosses, but in general you will face random and quickly timed objectives against average foes on three of the floors. Completing these objectives such as a powerful magic burst, curing a certain amount within the time limit, a certain number of critical hits, etc. Will reward you with an extra amount of the other main reason to do this event. Paragon Cards, which are used to upgrade your Reforged Artifact Armor to +2 and +3 versions.
Please, don’t be ‘that guy’ with unchecked ambition who starts or comes back. Then goes balls deep farming up a Relic, Empyrean, Ergon, Aeonic, or Mythic weapon before getting better equipment to first wear. Once you are situated well this should be your step. It is not hard to get geared up a bit first.
It takes a lot of time and resources to develop one of these weapons. You are also fairly useless and missing out on the fun if you come back only to burn out from engrossing yourself in the process of doing this. The gain you receive pales in comparison to the power of your armor for just about all of the weapons. For additional perspective, there are 13 to 15 other equipment slots for newer players to improve compared to one of these weapons so just pace yourself.
You can of course, do whatever you wish since Vana’diel is your oyster, but don’t turn around when the guy with normal weapons ends up being the better performer if you didn’t properly gear first and they did. That being said most of the final stage Ultimate Weapons are superior to anything out there, and give certain jobs a wide advantage over normal weapons.
Despite player perceptions with the exception of perhaps Aegis for Paladin (Ochain is no longer as valuable on high level content or required, see Priwen), and Bard with its several ultimate instruments, no Ultimate Weapon is required for anyone to play their job.
Bards for example now receive 3 songs without an empyrean through JSE Weapons and a lesser (75% strength) Gjallarhorn effect is possible through Linos. So, anything you do should be because you really like the job or want to benefit your linkshell.
Event List of Shame
These events haven't been successful or no longer have a real use.
- 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.
- Chocobo Raising / Chocobo Racing - We can tell that entirely too much effort went into creating these events. Nobody does them anymore except for a couple good pieces of gear and for a Vorseal from the Racing.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Meeble Burrows This was a great and fun event at the time it was released. Unfortunately it has fallen to the wayside with no updates to it since around mid 2013.
- 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.
- Monstrosity - The greatest let down that ever was. This event was one of the most highly praised ever. It allows you to play as a monster. Many different monsters were added to the event and it is really fun. SE went as far as to start adding unique items to it and a system of belligerency which allowed players to fight the monsters. It was was one of the most fun things ever, and then SE just dropped the ball. SoA took priority, and then they just never came back to this. It had the makings of a long lasting and great event. We were getting updates to it every month or so, and then poof.
- Sure, players can still have a lot of fun in it for a bit, but the fun stops eventually when the highest level players fighting you can go is 90, not 99, and when all there is to really do is level various monsters. On top of that it it is impossible for you and your friend to just go at each other in this event because the monsters are powered to the point players need multiple members to fight one, at level 90. However, if you wanted to be a behemoth or a cerberus then you can still realize that dream and then never really touch monstrosity again. It is a solo grind event for no reward the way SE left it.
- Pankration - This event has not been updated and is done even less frequently now that Zeni exchange rates were increased.
- 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 returnee given the wealth of other equipment out there.
- 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.
- 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; thankfully though, the Key Item "Rhapsody in Mauve" from Rhapsodies of Vana'diel Missions forces the Abyssean variants to always upgrade their Key Items.
- Furthermore, SE brought the synthesis materials unique to VNMs back into importance with their use in the 119 abjuration synths. At least you can purchase them for a premium on the auction house. Also VNMs are used for Empyrean Weapon Trials.
For the community by the community. FFXI is a game that has changed all our lives in one way or another. Personally I would do it all over again. Our amusing adventures are our greatest joys.