Returning to Vana'diel

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Returning to Vana’diel v3
An era to end all eras. Until the next one of course.

- A community collaborative semi-friendly guide to changes in the game.

V.1: Created by Byrthnoth, updated by Slycer, Funkworkz and others.
V.2 re-released by in June 2016, and with updates by Funkworkz as well as minor edits by the members of BG wiki.
V.3 Updated/Rewritten in March of 2021.


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 as of March 2016. Things are not as turbulent. That is right, the game is now PC only.

  • Final Fantasy XI is STILL running. This is not going to change for the foreseeable future.
While everything indeed ends, playing in Vana'diel for even a day is worth it. FFXI is a one of a kind experience and an unparalleled diamond in the rough world of gaming. There is nothing like it now and there is no mobile version that will ever capture what it has.

Final Fantasy XI is a revolving door. Many “quit”, get banned, or delete their character only to come back years (or days) later. Only to find themselves completely overwhelmed by a game which has changed, perhaps in every way. Dramatically even, where people may feel uneasy in how to even tackle this vast virtual world anymore.
Which is fair as Vana'diel contains a massive amount of information and history.
However, some simply won't care to read through the information compiled for their benefit or curiosity. Only to bemoan they don’t know "X", "Y", or "Z" or that they aren't socially accepted.
Nonetheless, for those reading now from what hopefully is the comfort of a toilet or a cockroach motel with a desire to learn. Welcome home to Vana’diel, we missed you.

Many of whom are coming back have either likely played at some point from around the Treasures of Aht Urhgan, roughly some time in the last 15 years. This guide will cover from that era onwards as did previous versions before it.

For those returning from only a year or two of absence. Little has changed for you. All you need do is reference the table below and read up on any newer content.


While we are at it then lets cover all the eras and their activities since then:

Treasures of Aht Urhgan (ToAU) Era: 2006~2008
Assault / Besieged / Blue Mage, Puppetmaster, and Corsair jobs / Einherjar / Missions and quests / Mythic Weapons / Nyzul Isle / lolPankration / Salvage / ZNMs
Wings of the Goddess (WotG) Era: 2008~2010
ANNMs / Campaign / Evolith System / Missions and quests / Moblin Maze Mongers / Scholar and Dancer jobs / Stronghold Invasion / Succor to the Sidhe / Synergy crafting / VNMs / Zone roaming HNMs
Abyssea Era: 2010~2011
Empyrean Weapons / level cap increase from 75 to 99 over time / Merit Weaponskills / Staggering system for monsters / Tatter and Scrap Synergy
Post Abyssea Era: 2011~2013
Dynamis revamp / Legion / Meeble Burrows / Monstrosity / Neo Nyzul Isle / Salvage II / Two-Hour abilities become One-Hours / new One-Hours introduced / Voidwatch / High level versions of Odin, Omega, Ultima, Central Apollyon II, and Central Temenos - Basement II
Seekers of Adoulin (SoA) Era: 2013~2015
Equipment item level increases from 99 to 119; frequent gear replacements until Escha / 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 / ilvl 109/119 Artifact, Relic, and Empyrean armor / Reives / Sinister Reign / Skirmish / Trust NPC companions / Vagary / ilvl 119ing of Ultimate Weapons
Escha Era: 2015~2018
119 Abjurations / Aeonic Weapons / Ambuscade / Escutcheons (Crafting Shields) / Reforged Artifact and Relic Armor 119 +2/+3 / Rhapsodies of Vana'diel / Master Trials / Mounts / Omen / 119 " III " Relic, Empyrean, and Mythic weapons
The Calm Era: 2018~2020
Dynamis - Divergence / New Avatar High-Tier Mission Battlefields / JSE Necks / New Master Trial (Heroine's Combat II) / Su 4 and 5 / The Voracious Resurgence / Ultimate Weapon Augments
Voracious Era: 2020~Now
Odyssey / The Voracious Resurgence

Should I Come Back?

In the infamous words of Draylo, "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.

  • See also the returning players thread on the BG Forums.

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. These growth changes make old events which were once difficult, like Salvage, trivial to solo. If you remember about how difficult L75 Nyzul Isle monsters were, now all monsters from that era are a cakewalk. Duoing Byakko is no longer a challenge and a wipe to him would see you greeted with ridicule.

As of the April 2014 update the gap for HP and MP differences between the races has been reduced. The hierarchy remains the same, but now Larry the BLM Galka has a smaller disadvantage than the significant gap in ye days of old.
The attribute (STR, etc) hierarchy and gap also remains the same and has not been adjusted, but is rather irrelevant. The largest gap between the best and the worst of a stat of one race to another is still ≤10. However, with equipment having upwards of +30, +40, or even +50 of an attribute it is almost completely irrelevant which race you are unlike at level 75.

Finally, there are also new merit point caps and categories. For example, some of the Merit Weapon Skills represent the best available option for their weapon type such as (situationally!) Resolution for Great Sword or Stardiver for Polearm.

Changes to EXP

Another massive change to the game has been to the acquisition of experience points.

A solo player may now easily 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 is able to rapidly defeat weak Easy Prey mobs for ~500 xp a kill.
There are many more EXP Bonuses available now to go along with the standard XP ring or Corsair's Roll. There are even regular double EXP campaigns or double or double EXP chain point campaigns too throughout the year.
All of these changes accumulate into massive EXP gains. Leveling your first 99 job will not be nearly as fast as your second or third. On your march to a first level 99 many doors will begin to open which expedite future job leveling. Most notable are the key items from doing Rhapsodies of Vanadiel Missions.

Almost all partying is done solo with Trust NPCs or with friends now. That or Players/RMT constantly offer power leveling (PL) services. Where you stand around AFK in a zone like Escha - Zi'Tah and players defeat foes for you in exchange for gil. Which, while I despise for the decay it causes to the social structure of the game among other reasons. It is still a choice players are provided with now. Overall, waiting for groups, tanks, healers, etc for 15-60+ minutes is finally over.
The reward is that you may 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 NPC tanks, healers, support jobs, etc to your party and fill any empty spots.
For those not in the know, Trusts are intelligent NPCs the player acquires for use. These Trusts made everyone realize and then entirely forget about the garbage the old Adventuring Fellows were.

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. Now it is just a means for playing with a friend's lower level job.

It has also been long since the introduction of Fields of Valor and Grounds of Valor. These are floating book NPCs in various zones which 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 still help you out.

All in all, leveling is no longer a time sink. Rather, it is a leisure activity the player is provided with. A convenience which helps opens the game up to any casual experiences and remove artificial barriers. Which while certainly all positive, it is not without drawbacks.
The obsoletion of parties eroded a once very social element of the game. While it is beyond naive to state that "leveling teaches you how to play your job", it was a significant means of meeting people and socializing. That isn't to say such is impossible, but certain players may not enjoy the isolation that is now leveling. Despair not though, for while socialization doesn't simply fall into your lap anymore. It is certainly there if you are willing to try and meet people.

Capacity Points

Capacity Points or CPs, also referred to as "Job Points" or JPs are a new and separate type of point added to the game. Unlike merits which were 1 for every 10,000 and may be spent on any job. 1 JP is gained for every 30,000 CPs, and are only able to be spent on the job earning them.

Capacity points primarily accumulate from defeating monsters level 96+ after you easily unlock them. They are also awarded from various events and repeatable quest objectives (more on this system later).

Think of this all 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 Job Gifts. As you spend more job points, you unlock tiers of 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, 60 attack, and extra spell point limits from gifts. While a Dancer receives 64 accuracy and the ability to hold four extra finishing moves (9). Certain jobs which use magic also unlock additional spells, such as tier 6 nukes or Death on Black Mage, exclusively from gaining Job Points.

Meripos (old slang for merit pts) 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 capping them than you ever did for merit points.

Superior Level

Superior Level (Su) is a form of item level gear beyond simply being 119. Now, that does not mean Su equipment is better than non Su equipment. As always, it depends on the stats of the equipment. Superior simply means that a player must have spent a certain number of Job Points for that job in order to equip the piece. There is no damage calculation bonus or any benefit to Superior Level.

"Su1", "Su2", "Su3", "Su4", or "Su5" is displayed on the item description near the top middle if a piece requires a Superior Level to use. The Job Points required for the corresponding tiers are 50, 100, 500, 1200, and 2,100 respectively. Yes, 2,100 is the cap for Job Points.

Master Level

Master Levels are the newest form of character progression, added as late as November 2021. Master Levels allow a player to progress beyond the 2,100 Job Point cap. Think of them as Merit Points 3.0. Every Master Level that a player obtains, their base Statistics increase by 1, along with their job's native Combat Skills, and Magic Skills caps to increase by 1.

An added bonus to gaining Master Levels is that a player's Sub Job increases by 1 for every 5 Master Levels obtained! While abilities like Composure are locked to main job only, this allows many more utility from Sub Jobs than ever before. Arguably this new progression system causes players to become even stronger than many Job Point investments.

The main way of obtaining Master Levels is to form parties to defeat Apex Monsters. This allows players to party up with non-Job Masters. Both tier of player benefit from defeating the same monsters. The current cap on Master Levels is Level 40, but this is apparently not the end of Master Levels. The grind is real, and it takes quite a long time to progress Master Levels beyond level 10.

It was announced around the June 2022 Version Update that the cap for Master Levels will be 50 "for the foreseeable future".

Economic Changes

The economy has changed several times over since the ToAU era. Where it was once centralized on crafting and consumables it transitioned to a farming based economy. Players began solo/lowman farmed Dynamis or Salvage into the current day, and were primarily buying pop items or weapon upgrade currencies around the Abyssea and Voidwatch eras. Around those times, Gil was generally mocked as unimportant for most activities aside from upgrading Relics, Mythics, or Empyreans. Most of Abyssea was something a MNK with a dualboxed WHM, small group of friends, or shout (3-6+) could reasonably obtain.

The non-rare/ex sellable equipment of the past on the Auction House was steadily replaced by a torrent of rare/ex equipment. Which had started taking place as the new direction in the Dev's minds mid-2008 with the introduction of Zeni Notorious Monsters in Aht Urhgan as well as other new content rewards around that time such as Moblin Maze Mongers and Wings of the Goddess related events. Rare/ex items then exploded into the dominant majority from 2010-2014, within a period of Abyssea to Adoulin.
Sure, there were crafted or auctionable equipment during the Abyssea era, but it was essentially inferior, niche, or soon to be replaced items created as a tribute to the economy and the new crafting system of Synergy. There were a few of the typical stat+ rings and earrings you would imagine though. As well as a quick blip on the radar from March 2012 to March 2013 of level 99 abjurations being crafted. Until Adoulin ceased that brief comeback.
Seemingly from around 2015 onward though, SE decided to start implementing a rebalancing of the scales to the focus of the economy. Except, instead of summoning their inner Tanaka, they actually delivered an admirable performance with this by 2018. The first of these milestone marking a shift back to players buying their equipment from the auction house was to reboot of those aforementioned level 99 abjurations in the form of, wait for it, 119 Abjurations. Leading ultimately in the end to some valuable Su3/4/5 equipment as well as crafted JSE Necks which tend to represent in one way or another the best a job may use for that slot. Now players are buying items of upwards of over 100m again on the auction house which were created via HQ3 synths.

As for consumables, in mid-2015 the Curio Moogle was introduced. Long story short, everyone gets their ammo, ninja tools, medicine, and a chunk of their food from an NPC now instead of from crafting.

Throughout the game, it has become easier to farm events such as Dynamis or Salvage. Players may now immediately reenter such events (with the aid of some key items) with the lockout reduced to the point of being all but removed. These currency items (Alexandrite, Heavy Metal Plate, etc) are also now available to be sold on the auction house. Where they were once only distributed via shouts or bazaars. Bazaaring is still somewhat commonplace due to the space limitations on the number of items you may list at once, which is still 7. Although, the days where entire zonelines would be filled with mule bazaars are over.
In general, upgrade items for weapons and armor are widespread and in even greater variety. At this point they are arguably the most dominant segment of the market, and are more available than ever. Ambuscade has been providing players another avenue to obtain currencies ever since its introduction in late 2016. Despite this, the prices for these items remain steady as everyone makes multiple Ultimate Weapons now. To see a Dragoon with Gungnir in early 2010 was a big deal. Nowadays the same weapon while still good, but not the best of the choices; would be see as taking the easy way out.

Finally, there is a relatively newer culture dominating the game, mercenaries. While mercs are a concept which has always existed. A player from 2005-2013 would likely be stunned at its prevalence today. Leveling, job points, any equipment, any content clears, et cetera is widely /yell spammed, forum posted, and otherwise advertised in exchange for gil payment.
Now, there is much which could be said about this, how it came to be; what its existence means for the community, game, and how we play it. Many of these yells, especially job points, are RMTs. Many more of them are ordinary players trying to temporarily buy and bypass their way into the game and all its fake prestige.
In the end though since I am the author. Naturally, I will declare it as an undeniably negative, but undeniable fact of life which should be discussed. This is not some whimsical Cowboy Bebop of romanticized bounty hunting by some likable cast of players. Instead, an exploitation of the ignorant, lazy, and the lowest common denominators; furthermore, causing the gil gating of trivial or dated content, and a deterioration of the game's social cohesion. Players who gear up only to turn around and "help" others solely for their own benefit. In the end, players today are able to clear any content "frustrating" them simply by paying another to do it for them. It is optional, but widespread.

In synopsis, Gil is more important than ever. It is now used to fast-track obtaining, upgrading, or augmenting equipment; crafting is also back with a vengeance. Once again creating important items in the game.

Gil Fountains

There have been many of these through the ages. Each time an old favorite like Wisteria Lumber icon.png Wisteria Lumber eventually has its NPC price reduced. A new one seemingly seems destined into being.

Back in the Abyssea era before a relatively quick patch ended the practice. Players were converting all of their Cruor (Abyssea currency similar to conquest points) into gil. Entire mule armies were constructed to exchange Cruor for Chocobo Blnk. icon.png Chocobo Blinkers and countless millions of gil. Something reminiscent to the days of fish bots in Rabao with rusty items or defeating leeches or bugards for NPCable items, and so forth.

This idea was brought back by the Devs in December 2013 via the form of sparks. A new currency rewarded to players from completing various Records of Eminence (RoE) activities (simple repeatable quests flagged only in your menu) such as gaining exp points, defeating monsters, dealing damage, buffing players, crafting, and other common activities.
The idea arguably was to create a new system which occupied players. Especially newer players which would be able to buy old low level armor and weapons such as the Seer's Crown icon.png Seer's Crown or Eisenbrust icon.png Eisenbrust which were no longer really circulated on the auction house. As well as providing players a way to purchase usable items which gave weapon skill increases they may miss out on from faster leveling, their first set of iLvl equipment, or Rem's Tales for upgrading their Artifact Equipment.
All which one would imagine was there to remove some barriers from newer players breaking into the endgame scene where most of the playerbase was participating.
Despite this, it was poorly planned. Everyone simply turned around in mass and would buy NPCable items, for example Acheron Shield icon.png Acheron Shields. Then sell these repetitively to the NPC for a sum of upwards of 1 million gil in a single exchange before needing to gain more sparks. Which could be rapidly recapped during "Gain EXP" time phases of the weekly RoE schedule. This did also allow newer players get rolling as they often did not really know what to farm yet in order to make some easy gil.
All in all, while this SE sanctioned and unparalleled gil fountain benefited all players. It started a seven year stretch of eventual hyperinflation, rampant gil botting, and the rise in free capital which fueled the rise of mercs and RMT. For when the gil is unlimited, why not buy any rare/ex item you want? This all was finally patched in June 2020 with the weekly limit of one single max Spark exchange of 100,000 Sparks. Time will tell what happens with the merc scene though, but it is a safe bet that it is here to stay.

Aside from sparks, there remains a vast variety of upgrade items farmed, sold, and bought by players. In fact, crafting materials across the market are sometimes left in unfilled or underutilized niches on the AH. Arguably though, while the economy has been opened up to be more diverse than the previous eras. It seems players will never cease to copy each other's money making methods rather than explore their own.
In the end, the devs seem be trying to exercise a little more caution in how gil is generated and removed from the economy.

Crafting Changes

Around the Wings of the Goddess era a new type of craft was introduced named Portafurnace icon.png Synergy. It is very different and more involved than typical synthesis. Players feed a temperamental furnace with consumable items called Fewell to the correct elemental levels to create items. Some synths even require multiple people or crafts working with the furnace to complete. Fortunately, materials are never lost when failing a Synergy attempt.

Synergy is required to create certain important items. For instance, the Hachirin-no-Obi icon.png Hachirin-no-Obi, which is all of the old school Elemental Obis in one piece. Yes, the Elemental Gorgets and Elemental Belts were also condensed into a single item created through synergy, the Fotia Gorget icon.png Fotia Gorget and Fotia Belt icon.png Fotia Belt.

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 75 era.

Additionally, Weavers' Stall icon.png crafter stalls were added which provide Mega-Moglification (+5 skill). Weaver's Torque icon.png Crafting Torques were also added. Allowing a player another +2 skill. Unlike the stalls, which require a high rank in your main craft to unlock. Torques may be obtained for any craft which enables certain synths with sub crafts to be brought to a higher HQ tier.

Quality-of-life wise, SE recently addressed several major crafting annoyances:

  • The synthesis delay between synths has been reduced, compared to the waiting times of old.
  • There is almost no delay between buying ingredients from 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 crafted recipes.
  • This menu will also tell the player which items they are missing, and allows them to repeat a previous synth without re-entering the ingredients.
  • 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.

Conveniently, more items have been added to the guild NPCs sales list. The higher you rank up, the more items become available for you to purchase. These items are not like some of the junk the guilds used to have. Rather, they are often important items or ones which used to be uncommon.
For, example Chicken Bone icon.png Chicken Bones are now available for purchase whereas they were once something you had to procure primarily via Excavation. Other convenient items such as Animal Glue icon.png Animal Glue is purchasable now rather than needing to be synthed. These rank items also never run out of stock.

Added in the June 2014 Version Update, purchasable crafting "kits" now allow players a guild bought option to more easily level their skills. Appropriate crystals are still required, but the kit is the only ingredient required to synth.
Level 5 through 50 kits are purchasable from Guild NPCs. Level 55 and 60 kits are "EX" and are only obtained via events, such as Login Campaigns.
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, but some people rather throw gil at something in order to finish it faster.

Introduced in the February 2017 Version Update[1], Escutcheons or "Crafting Shields", which directly increase ones crafting skill in their main craft. They are earned after going through various synthesis trials. They are tied into earning Guild Points, and take quite a long time to finish.
There are four total upgrades to the shields, with the fourth stage being much more demanding than the previous stages combined. However, the reward of increasing High-Quality synthesis rates from this final stage is a big deal.

If you were primarily a crafter or just enjoyed crafting then this is potentially an exciting time for you.

Social and Event Changes

21-24 hour HNM camping is gone 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 or Login Campaigns, even then they are mostly irrelevant now.
Tiamat, Dark Ixion, Sandworm, Vrtra, and various other HNMs have not had their conditions changed, but there is little incentive to camp them. Aside from Cashmere, their drops are not worth much if any gil. Even Tiamat’s Herald's Gaiters icon.png Herald's Gaiters were replaced by a rare/ex version.
Some people love these changes and some are still itching for the 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 may now equip and talk to two linkshells at once. Using either Cntrl + X or /l2 allows you speak to the second shell while cntrl + l or /l remains the first.

Abyssea was the expansion set which accompanied the level cap increase and dramatically restructured linkshells. Everything in Abyssea may be soloed nowadays though, but the event was overall always friendly to a good party rather than demanding an alliance. Which further lead to the downsizing of the average linkshell size. The level cap went up and old content became easier. There was less justification for linkshells that could pull more a full alliance of players since it was not needed. Some managed to adapt and hang on, but they were the exception rather than the rule. This has also led to a lot of multiboxing, which is more prevalent than ever before.

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 more popularly by shout groups.
Shout groups? Those things that wipe to Hakutaku five times after two mages Sneak and Invis a full alliance through the Den of Rancor because no one has powders or oils?
Well, the world has changed. There will always be subpar players responding to shouts. Just as there will always be content that you won't want to do with just any bum off the street. Nevertheless, most of the content in game can be and is done by a group of friends or strangers. Depending on the population of your server. All of this PUGing is aided by the newer /yell command which functions as a multizone shout.
Moreover, recruiting linkshells are still something seen in /yells, but with the addition of Linkshell Concierge NPCs, players may now store their shell in these NPCs for others to pick up.

Introduced in 2012, Legion was the arguably the last event created which catered to the hardcore event linkshell. Where upwards of 18-36 people could contribute to fights against serious Notorious Monsters.
Seekers of Adoulin saw alliance content brought back initially 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 as players were grabbing drastically stronger equipment from this content. Once obtained, linkshells and even shouts were running with less than an alliance.
Not too long after, SE started scaling Delve and other events by the number of players. This essentially rewarded players more for forming smaller parties. Generally, it became counterintuitive to bring larger groups. This HP scaling has cascaded into many, but not all newer events. Anymore, content is designed with a focus around six players or less.

Today the content in focus would be Odyssey, Omen, Escha, High-Tier Mission Battlefields, Dynamis - Divergence, Unity, and other older events like Vagary, Delve, Alluvion Skirmish, and Sacred Kindred's Crest fights. There is a lot of things to do as SE continues to tie older content like Legion, and VNMs into important synthesis recipies or item upgrades. Moreover, SE regularly releases Adventurer Campaigns each month. Which tend to incentivize players into participating in older content.

For those unfamiliar with those previously stated events. They will be discussed further in the events section.

Job Balance

The opening of the Offical Forums has led to more direct conversation between the players and the Developers, at least for the Japanese players. Yet, it has not been very useful when it comes to fixing things other than spelling errors; as the Localization subforum is rather outstanding. Nevertheless, there is an inevitable conflict between the Devs' job concepts and the players' job concepts. The Devs have been entirely unyielding, and I cannot think of a single player suggestion which would affect game balance that has been implemented, at least from the NA community. 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.
Despite all of this, the forums have been useful in understanding what the Developer's ideas for different jobs are. Their goal is not to balance the damage these jobs do, but rather to "balance" their utility. SE has long been taking the stance of emphasizing on and creating differences between the jobs.

For instance, the Devs seem content to give Thief relatively little unique utility besides Treasure Hunter. This is intentional as they feel Treasure Hunter and a some enmity control is the real deal. Sorry Thieves, but to be fair the job is now capable of putting out an impressive amount of DPS. Especially when closing a skillchain with a Sneak Attack or Trick Attack stacked weapon skill. Which is the point, the Devs are not aiming for everyone to posses similar damage potential. Although often being in futility, they are attempting to encourage certain jobs to be preferred or accepted for certain content, situations, or setups.
Overall between Damage Dealers, SE seems to be aiming to contrast the generally higher damage potential of 2H DDs, with their increased need for buffs and abilities to reach this potential. While 1H DDs tend to have a higher floor but a lower damage ceiling potential. For other jobs with less utility, the waters get a bit murky. Version 2 of this guide saw BLMs magic bursting NMs to be one of the most in demand tactics for the time, but now as of Version 3, BLMs are arguably forgotten, unnecessary, and without any real unique value.

Philosophy on how to achieve balance has shifted in other ways as well. SE judiciously introduces equipment for certain jobs and not others. While also adding "gimmicks" into content to encourage or mandate the inclusion of certain jobs. Such as, a Thief could be seen as mandatory for an Odyssey group. Not only for Treasure Hunter, but to also for the use of Thief's Tools to open chests/spawn mimics.

In order to keep the level cap at 99 the choice was made to give armor item levels, and progressively over time the stats have creeped up. At level 75 the stats on the Ares' CuirassAres' Cuirass description.png was considered to be in the top tier. Nowadays, the remake of it, Sulevia's Platemail +2Sulevia's Plate. +2 description.png, is situational at best despite massive stat increases. Generally, outside of certain job specific armor, there is a general pattern of lower Haste, Accuracy, Dexterity, and Physical or Magical Evasion on 2H DD equipment compared to 1H DD armor which will comparatively lack STR, VIT, Attack, and so on.

Finally, there is the eternal discrepancy between job balance, game balance, and player strategies. Common endgame strategies for right now, as always, focus on efficiency or often simply just cheesing content. That is to say rather than deal with monster mechanics players rather choose to avoid them whenever possible. For example, players creating Aeonic Weapons simply just gather some well enough equipped Summoners, buff up their avatars, Two-Hour ability Astral Conduit with a Geomancer Two-Hour ability Bolstering, and spam blood pacts for a win in about a minute or so. Subsequently, it is rather rare to see players tackle certain content in any way besides this anymore. Now this does not work for all battles, but the point stands. Meanwhile, Summoners are held in little esteem or consideration outside of these tactics when they do have a good deal to offer towards alliances or certain content.
As a result, many players find themselves excluded because of popular strategy. There is nothing truly wrong with almost any job in this game for most fights, but it would be fair to say players are simple followers when it comes to strategy. They do not bother with valid or superior substitutes in their setups, and want to simply churn and burn. This leads to players without a solid grasp to feel insecure or intimidated at forming groups. Furthermore, it causes others to decry balance or false exclusion when the issue is not the jobs themselves, but how they are used or abused against certain content. Players do need to be aware of their contributions or lack there of to a group. Otherwise, do not let the common absolutism of the community stop you from succeeding or enjoying.

Quality of Life Adjustments

SE has changed many things for the better and relieved various annoyances. Many of these changes are to the nature of, "Why didn't you do that before?" adjustments.
While some of the changes are a result a smaller server populations or to please more casual players, keeping them subscribed. Depending when you quit, any of these may be new:

  • There are now 14 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 may only equip items from nine: Inventory, Wardrobe 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
  • As of July 2016, Wardrobe 3 and Wardrobe 4 are available as a paid 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.
  • If an inactive player has items in Wardrobe 3 or 4 and returns during a free campaign. They will be unable to access Wardrobe 3-8 unless they resubscribe.
  • The following turned into four more Wardrobes, each of which are an additional $2 per month on your subscription.
  • The "Storage" location is now accessible from any Mog House. You no longer need return to your home nation to access it.
  • Unfortunately, you may not access it at Nomad Moogles.
  • Porter Moogles will hold your equipment, as long as it isn't augmented.
  • Storable items have the corresponding slip listed on the item's page here on BG.
  • Ephemeral Moogles which store your crystals.
  • Items such as ores and logs now stack up to 12. Some items now also stack to 99 instead of only 12.
  • All auction houses now connect to the same AH.
  • Listing fees are now capped at 10,000 gil as well.
  • There is still a item listing limit of seven.
  • Items now stay on the auction house for a week instead of days before being sent back to your delivery box.
  • When Ahing an item, the recent sales window will now pop up to reference.
  • Currencies for upgrading Ultimate Weapons are now available on the auction house instead of only via Bazaaring.
  • 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.
  • Either of them also store your unused seals. Yes, for those newer returnees, stacks of seals used to clog up inventories for years.
  • Curio Vendor Moogles! These little guys sell most of the consumables you ever wanted. From Ninja Tools and ammunition to foods, medicines, and even keys for coffers.

  • /lockstyle. Now you can have the appearance of your favorite subligar anytime while not actually wearing it. Located within the macros submenu.
  • Equipment sets. SE has given everyone the ability to create 100 different sets of gear which can then be called within macros.
  • This is no "Spellcast” (a relic of the past) or “Gearswap” (replaced it), but it provides players without Windower the ability to equip whole sets in a single macro line.
  • You may compare a piece of equipment in your inventory to the one you are wearing one for a side-by-side comparison.
  • Highlight the desired slot and press the right "Ctrl" key while in your equipment menu to do this.
  • They've added some new emotes. Specifically, Job Emotes (obtained upon hitting level 30), /sitchair, and dances you may do (/dance1, /dance2, /dance3, /dance4).
  • You may now turn off your head armor (I think the JPs wanted it?) and look at maps to zones you aren't in.

  • 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 game, 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.
  • Home Point warps! Waypoints were great in their own right until SE later allowed for warping directly between any of these all over the game. Simply walk up and select one to unlock the location for warping.
  • Home Points were even added outside every battlefield so you can quickly return to places like the Chamber of Oracles, Sky, or Caedarva Mire. There are currently 100+ throughout the game.
  • Teleportation is free within the same city, 500 gil to farther points, and 1,000 gil to Home Points in dungeons/field areas.
  • Mounts have been introduced which consume no inventory, run at Chocobo speeds, and may be called from anywhere in the field, but not in dungeon areas.
  • Maps previously only obtainable via 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.
  • Widescan can now be used by all jobs/levels. It is not as large as the widescan RNG or BST has, but it works for most purposes.

  • Many missions and quests such as the ones for AF, CoP, or ToAU have had their real day waits changed to a game day wait.
  • Sagheera now takes one game day to upgrade armor now instead of a full conquest update.
  • Players no longer need to rent a room with the NPC outside, simply run inside.
  • No more trips to Nashmau to exchange Imperial currency! You can select how many coins you want directly at the coin NPC.
  • Crafting delay and guild salesroom delay have both been eliminated.
  • Skilling up has been made easier from [various items, Skill Up Food, trusts, and key item rewards. Skill up parties are only a memory.
  • On top of that, Parry and Guard now skill up from evaded hits, and not only from occurring.
  • See the Skill Increase Rate page for some more info.
  • Besieged's rewards were substantially increased, and is now a monthly RoE objective related to A.M.A.N. Trove.
  • Elemental Staves, Gorgets, Belts, and Obis all now have a single universal item; four things to carry instead of 32.
  • Help texts have been added to certain items. Examples include the exact effects to foods to the text and Automaton Attachments now list their powers.

  • UI changes! Cursor colors over a monster when selecting a sub target for a spell or ability will glow purple, yellow, or red depending on if you are in range, almost in range, or out of range.
  • Chat logs can be split into two windows either vertically or horizontally and are resizable.
  • The area of effect for self targeting abilities may also be displayed for players.
    • 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.
  • Timestamps, for those that do not use Windower.
  • The ability to send a tell or invite someone in the chat log directly.
  • Expand the chat log as you normally would to read through it, highlight over the speaking player, press enter to display the new submenu, and select the desired option.
  • The ability for a player, especially a Mage to a Tank or DD to see a players buffs/debuffs at all times with /focustarget <name>.
  • Most important is the addition of game timers to status 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, Charm, etc.
  • The February 2022 update brought with it UI changes to the inventory system. Changes include the ability to move equipment from any storage area to another storage area, without the need to first move an item from your inventory and THEN open where you want it and move it there.

  • Base movement speed was increased by 25% in the December 2013 update.
  • Movement speed equipment now increases speed relative to the new base.
  • There are now more sources of Movement Speed.
  • Party NPCs named Trusts have been added. These summonable NPCs fill up party slots when you are with less than six players.
  • Unlockable at level 5. They cost 0 MP to summon, and may be summoned in most areas except for most instanced zones like Salvage.
  • You may 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. There are 100+ NPCs which may be unlocked.
  • Trusts can be used in many mission battlefields, including limit break battlefields.
  • The patches in June and July 2014 made Trusts summonable in parties (including Level Sync), but only the party leader may summon them and they can not be used in Alliances.
  • The AI of even the same jobs for Trusts has been customized by the Devs. So trusts like Mihli Aliapoh uses Afflatus Solace and Ayame will open skillchains based on your last Weapon Skill.
  • The Recycle Bin was introduced in the February 2022 update. This feature allows players to immediately recover any items that are dropped. There are limits on this bin, such as only the last 10 items dropped are placed into it. If an 11th item is dropped, the oldest one is removed. Additionally, this bin resets upon zoning or logging out.


If you choose to return to the game, before you read any further you will need to do these things:

  • Create a Square Enix ID.
  • Log In to with your SE ID to the Account Management, and register your game.
  • Yes, the download is free, but the game must be bought and registered.
  • Log In. Welcome back! Now the fun begins.
  • This guide also covers any other related details as well as creating a trial account.

This Returning to Vana'diel guide is more about examining the changes and newer content to the game; in order to avoid overlap between the guides.

Records of Eminence

Records of Eminence was released in the December 2013 update. It is an extensive series of "Objectives" you are able to activate in your Quest Menu after completing the Records of Eminence (Quest). Experience Points, Merit Points, Capacity Points, and a currency called Sparks are the general rewards. Sometimes Copper Voucher icon.png Copper Vouchers are also rewarded, which function as a means to exchange for other currencies in the game such as Conquest Points, Imperial Standing, Assault Points, etc. Some objectives are repeatable, while some are not and provide one time rewards.

Objectives range widely, from healing HP, taking damage, and dealing damage; to defeating enemies in certain zones, leveling jobs, passively obtaining crystals, to HELM activity in certain zones. You may have up to 30 different objectives active at a time. Sparks may also be traded for low level armor or weapons, as well as item level 117 weapons and armor for new players. Not to mention a set of level 115 armor which increases skillup rates for magic and combat skills which also may come in handy.

Most important for new and returning players are the Tutorials objectives. Through a range of activities you will receive upgrade items, equipment, Trusts, Kupons (trade these for equipment), and currencies which significantly help you along the way. If you are a returning player that made progress through the game you can earn an enormous amount of EXP and Sparks instantly by flagging mission objectives. Which will reward you with free EXP to the job you are on as well as a Merit Points as well as a bonus to future Capacity Points earned.

More specifically, new/returning players should reference the Intermediate RoE Guide. Completing the Intermediate Records of Eminence Objectives will reward a new player with a full set of 119 Reforged Artifact Armor +1. Don't stress over which job you exchange it for. After you get up to speed, it is vastly easier to obtain further reforged +1 sets for any other job.

Where to Start

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 RoE (under quests → objective list) will start awarding you Trusts in the form of items you trade to one of the Trust Initiative NPCs to unlock. RoE will be your main squeeze, complete the basics section under tutorial in RoE. You will be glad that you did later.
As mentioned before, you can buy and NPC items like the Acheron Shield for quick gil to fund your adventures. Be mindful of the weekly Spark limit. You may spend 100,000 a week, and it resets on Sunday JP Midnight.

There are Linkshell Concierge NPCs around which hold different stocks of linkpearls from mostly social LSs seeking members. These NPCs each have their own inventory of pearls so you may need to go all three nation locations to find more. Otherwise, /yell ing for a shell may yield 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 icon.png Destrier BeretDestrier Beret description.png 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? Ladies and Germs, this is Square Enix!

At any rate, this is a really neat head armor, but don't worry too much about it. Take this Beret, your Trusts, RoE objectives, and go find Fields of Valor or Grounds of Valor missions appropriate for your level (or weaker, as long as you still get XP), then grind through them and hit level 30!

As for where to level, see the Fantastic EXPs and Where to Find Them guide.

And then?

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 still would not win any awards for looks. At least you can make lockstyle sets this time.

As mentioned, it would then be a good idea to complete the RoE "Intermediate" category. See: This Intermediate RoE Guide for a walk through. From there Ambuscade weapons and armor will likely be any players next best bet. As well as working on your job spefic Reforged Armors. Make friends. Do stuff. Play the game.

Reference the Job Guides section of the wiki. It includes a list of job specific guides which will hopefully give you a better idea of what to put your time towards.

Next, lets discuss content additions and changes over the years.

Current / Relevant Events

---End of V3 updates thus far---


Abyssea was released in 2010 alongside the level cap increase and became the most popular event in the game as it displaced almost all old content. 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 set ridiculously buffs compared to what they had ever seen in the past, named Atmas. For example, Atma of the Razed Ruins grants 50 DEX, +30% Crit Rate, and +30% Crit Damage, and players may set up to three Atmas at a time.
Here is also where we saw equipment start to gain bigger and more unusual stats. Haste and Store TP on the same beltGoading Belt description.png was remarkable to veteran 2H DDs who were still running around with Swift BeltsSwift Belt description.png. Cure potency +5% and auto refresh as a set bonus on a pair of hands and feet? Woah there buster, keep those stats in your pants. Yes, while nothing compared to equipment of today. These were big and scary changes to players after so many years of smaller stats and horizontal progression.

There were several new mechanics introduced in that era such as Staggering which required players to perform specific actions to significantly increase drop rates of items and key items. This mechanic carried over into future events such as Voidwatch.
Abyssea was once the best way of gaining EXP. With 18 man parties running around defeating 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 equipment from Abyssea was once the endgame goal for many it is now outdated. However, Abyssea always remains as part of the process of creating Empyrean Weapons and for the base Empyrean Armor which is upgradable to iLvl 119.

A.M.A.N. Trove

A.M.A.N. Trove, sometimes SE gets some strange ideas, and sometimes they just recycle them. For anyone old enough to remember the old BCNM 50, Treasure and Tribulations, SE essentially made it into an event of Russian roulette.
Eight boxes load with one in the middle. Players may run right in and open the middle chest, but they will almost never get anything of value. Each chest opened disappears adds spoils to the middle spoils chest. Players are clued to the value of these spoils by one of three noises the chest makes. Meanwhile, one of the chests is a mimic, and it does cast the spell Death. With a great deal of effort, players may beat the mimic and the spoils chest will reload, but most players just do this solo or with their mules and homepoint if one pops.

Players must preform monthly A.M.A.N. Trove related Records of Eminence objectives to be rewarded Silver Vouchers which are exchanged with Greyson for an entry orb. One such fun objective is to participate in not one, but two Besieged. Yup. Besieged. Others are simple, such as putting an item on the Auction House.

Rewards include Gil, Capacity Points, various upgrade materials, weapons, and armor. Including rare items such as Shamash RobeShamash Robe description.png and others such as Reisenjima rewards.


Ambuscade was released in 2016. Unlike other content the monsters and certain rewards change every month with the version update. Additionally, accumulated points do not carry over and are reset each month. Players may obtain weapons, a variety of item level 119 armor (up to +2 versions), and items through this event such as JSE Capes.
The final version of the ambuscade weapons are rather easy to complete with the only issue being the need of a Pulse Weapon. Once completed, many of these weapons represent the best option players have aside from completed Ultimate Weapons. Newer or returning players will find that the second to last stage of these weapons is also going to be better than anything else they have access to, and there is no barrier in building those outside of completing Ambuscades.
The armor rewards are also going to be upgrades for new players, and certain pieces for certain jobs represent the best options they have access to for certain sets. For a random example, the Jhakri Cuffs +2Jhakri Cuffs +2 description.png are the best Savage Blade hands available for a Blue Mage outside of some ultra rare Dark Matter augment on Herculean Gloves.

Ambuscade is also one of the more popular forms of accumulating Gil. Healthy quantities of Ultimate Weapon creation materials may be purchased through the event. Predictably, you are limited, in the amount of each material that you may purchase 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 in 2011.

  • 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.
    • Proc 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.


Remember when SE had an event named Dynamis? Then they decided to completely rework the event so that it was nothing like the original? Yeah, well now they brought back the original with a few twists as a new event. Statues have eyes which change every few moments now, These eyes determine the resistances of the foes they spawn, which is different in each zone. For example, in Divergence - San d'Oria, pulling a blue eyed statue will see all spawned mobs with -75% physical damage taken and +25% magical damage taken. Green eyed statues do the opposite.

The following armor sets have been added for this event, which require the iLvl 119 +1 before upgrading:

Other details include:

  • Zones are not "Reserved" like before; instead they are instanced and private to your alliance.
  • Level 95 or higher with parties between 3 and 18 players.
  • Players must have completed the mission A Rhapsody for the Ages in order to participate.
  • A player may enter once every 60 hours (Earth Time). The 60 hour lockout begins after entering into Dynamis-Divergence, when the Key Item Empty hourglass is exhausted.
  • Trusts may be called in individual parties.
  • It is possible to have up to 3 separate parties in Dynamis-Divergence with trusts.
  • New JSE Neck pieces were added, some of which generally offer some impressive stats.
  • New Superior Level 4 and 5 weapons were implemented, and must be crafted with similar drops from Dynamis - Divergence. A player must have a completed Escutcheon in order to craft them, but they may be traded back and forth.
  • These necks and weapons are augmented either by defeating foes in Divergence with the item equipped to build Rank Points. Otherwise, players may trade in crystals which drop in the event and may be sold on the AH.
  • New crafting materials for these items were added to Dynamis Divergence as rare drops, and the recipes are level 110.
  • They may also be exchanged for at Divergence Goblin, Aurix for currency which drops in the event or may be purchased on the AH.

These reborn Dynamis zones only encompass the four cities. There are no outlands or dreamlands. Running around the sprawling Beaucedine Glacier sucked—up time anyway.

Similar to the old Dynamis, there are waves where new statues spawn, and stranger enemies emerge from them. Wave 1 ends after defeating that fancy big tombstone. However, unlike the old Dyanmis, there is a Wave 3. Which starts after defeating the Beastmen Megaboss for that zone. These are no pushover, and will easily stomp over unprepared groups. Wave 3 features even stronger foes in the form of Fomors. These all use their respective Two-Hour ability 1-Hours, and once again can stomp an unprepared group. If a player pulls hate and is not in defensive equipment, and the right weaponskill is used by the foe then they will likely hit the floor. A notable instance would the slick combo of a Fomor WAR using Mighty Strikes and then Fell Cleave. Wave 3 foes also drop items which augment REAMD weapons.
Aside from Divergence weapons which have no barrier to begin; Relic, Empyrean, Aeonic, and Mythic are only* able to be augmented after beating their respective Divergence Wave 3 zone boss.

*Nitpickers beware, yes you may also begin augmenting one of these weapons if you trade 10,000 job points to Oboro. There is an exchange limit of 700 per month. So yes, wave 3 bosses are the "only" way as you are going to have to wait 15 months otherwise.


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. Brews are expensive and Revits have a kill barrier to entry as well as not restoring 1-Hours. All the pop items with the exception of Kouryu are from existing materials from crafts.

Many of the best armor and weapons in the game come from Escha. As well a the introduction of Aeonic Weapons, which are in the category of Ultimate Weapon. Aeonics are often a primary player focus. Especially for Bards, as they once again get stuck feeling more of a need to get their special weapons, compared to other jobs. Honor March, which is a combination of haste, accuracy, and attack in one song slot is exclusive to the Aeonic horn, Marsyas.

As you start gaining some better equipment, you will find yourself steadily breaking into Escha for further improvements.

Einherjar / Limbus

Einherjar and Limbus both received a light addition in mid 2012 right before SoA. All of the existing zones/chambers are still the same, but the entrance conditions for Odin's Chamber was fast tracked. Players may now purchase Einherjar Feathers from the Auction House in order to skip right to Odin's Chamber or the newer and stronger Odin's Chamber II, complete with new drops. There is also no longer a penalty for taking less than six players to Einherjar.

Overall, the additions mostly consisted of a few new drops, Odin II, Altima II, and Omega II:

For Limbus, now you may use Metal Chip icon.png Metal Chips to enter a newer zone in Temenos and Apollyon. Defeating this new zone yields a Key Item. Which exchange along with 150 Anct. Beastcoin icon.png Ancient Beastcoins for the entrance item to these (Arch) boss fights. These newer boss fights can be done solo now though. The "Rhapsody in Mauve" Key Item 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 Smoldering 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 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 despite a few exceptions, such as the Eihwaz Ring icon.png Eihwaz Ring for an enmity set.. These revamps were short lived as they occurred right before item level was introduced with SoA. The relevance of the events remains solely for the fact that Einherjar will always be needed for Mythic Weapons. As for Limbus the Brutal Earring icon.png Brutal Earring and Loquac. Earring icon.png Loquacious Earring still hold value.


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. The event is simply 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 far range aggro and linking Velkk stand between you and these NMs.
Every NM provides you with its key item so you may either warp to it directly after and farm it or use all of the key items to level the content up a level. Increasing the content a level provides extra drops in the form of usable coffers, similar to Unity. Nifty system huh? Well, elite players prided themselves on beating the mega boss on level 143 (cap level) just because they could. Shortly after, SE added the ability to get the same augments on the capes from Detrovio which put quite a damper on people's desire to farm or repeat the content. As time passed the Incursion Rewards, some mediocre at launch, was almost all replaced. Outside of a niche piece, the only lasting equipment players would seek from this event is the Mecisto. Mantle icon.png Mecistopins Mantle, which possesses a random augment of up to of +50% Capacity Points gained.

Finally, the real standing tie in of Incursion to the game is for farming the unused (and untradable) NM coffers. These are used to spawn all Reisenjima T2 [[Geas Fete] NMs. Which means eventually, you will probably get that Mecisto. Mantle if you are farming pops.


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 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

Master Trials are newer endgame battles for a party of six accomplished and seasoned players. The fights have a time limit of 60 minutes, and their only reward aside from the challenge and satisfaction, are vanity items for your lockstyle sets.
Depending on the fight, as Afraid of the Dark is compartively much easier than all the others. This event requires participating jobs have capped 2,100 Capacity Points, and the entry item costs a mere 250 merit points per group attempt. There are four different battlefields, including Alexander/Odin, and the Valkyries; Shadow Lord, and the three Beastmen leaders; Ultima and Omega; and the Heroines, including Prishe, Lion, Iroha, Arciella, Lilisette, and Nasheira.

More battles are announced and expected in future version updates. However, the last fight with the Heroines was released two years ago in August 2018. Which was roughly a year so or (without checking) since the first three in a closer succession. I would like to believe it is likely that SE will introduce another some time as they seem to be reusing classic fights as the basis. They still have those old Mog Bonanza last place reward ones to work with at least, time will tell.

Mog Garden

The Mog Garden, while not technically an event is an activity of interest. Initially it served little purpose at launch aside from from little quests and being a nifty time sink, and to collect some random materials in small quantities. That all changed when the Fire Nation attacked.

With the addition of Monster Rearing to the gardens. Now you may name and raise your own monsters. This requires rank 4 or higher in your gardens. These monsters provide actual benefits aside from just having cute names you can make up like "Quincy", “Butts”, or "Oneinthestink". They provide Momentos Key Item, which do everything from granting a minor increase to craft skillups, to extra XP and CP points, and minor stats boosts. Every monster also adds its own item to the mog garden for purchase. Items which 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 start nation warp. Players may also go from their home nation into the Mog Garden and exit to Adoulin. Making it a useful zone for players to use or relax in.

Furthermore, players who level all areas and Monster Rearing to the cap of Rank 7, complete every Coalition Assignment, and complete every Adoulin Quests will gain access to The Ygnas Directive questline. Which upgrade the ring from completing the Adoulin Missions to a +1 version. Just as well, players will see more Adoulin story if that is your sort of thing.

Overall, with the use of certain fertilizer items from Ceciliotte and/or the help of unlockable garden NPCs, players may passively make money or gather some annoying crafting items.
Which ways you ask? Off the top of my head,Adaman Ore and Darksteel Ore are market movers for various reasons. You will receive more of these, especially a ton of Darksteel with the use of Coalition Serums. Well, if you count over a stack as a "ton", that is a bit of hyperbole. Crafting these would result in larger gains.
Another random example be by setting Kuyin on seed collection, players may passively farm Revival Tree Roots. Plant the root, harvest the root, and get equal or more roots, every hour. So on and so forth.


Odyssey is the latest event to the game, and just about the only reason to visit Rabao. You enter a Walk of Echoes instance with multiple floors, clusters of mobs, confluxes to force spawn NMs via unity drops, scattered chests, and fetters with Beastmen guarding them. All of which you must tackle within a time limit of 30 minutes.
The goal is to farm as efficiently as possible and obtain Lustreless items for upgrading (augment) Unity Rewards, as well as a currency known as Mog Segments. 3,000 segments allows for one entry into the final boss zone described further down.

Upon implementation, in an SE-esque twist, Thief was really thrown a bone here for a change. Yes, the traditional "TH makez moar dropz" applies, but Thief tools made a comeback. Yes, that means Mimics are a thing in Odyssey if you fail to open a chest with them, and yes they are a pain, but it is a minority of the time they spawn.
Sheol C is the final wing of UNM equipment, and Sheol A and B have the lower tiers of UNM equipment associated with them.

The final tier of Odyssey is known as Shoel - Gaol. This zone has four "Atonements", or tiers, of bosses to fight against. The drop system is very player friendly. Instead of defeating monsters over and over and fight your teammates for lots, you are able to purchase unique equipment from the Pilgrim Moogle for each boss defeated. The prices were astronomical at first, but they lower based on the number of that boss that was defeated and never increase.

Augmenting this equipment is possible if your team defeats the associated boss on higher difficulties, which can be very challenging fights. These bosses are limited to a party of six. After beating them, "RP" is acquired by grinding the same boss. Each piece of equipment requires an RP investment to increase it's augment. Augmenting to rank 25 is possible, and it may increase up to rank 30 later. This is the 2021 and early 2022 endgame "grind". See Odyssey Rewards for details on these pieces of equipment.


Omen is a 1-18 person endgame event which takes place in a unique part of Reisenjima This is accessible after completing Rhapsodies of Vana'diel.
The event is straightforward, and players may take two different paths. One, of ordinary monster floors without bosses. Two, of ordinary monsters until facing a midboss floor. After clearing one of three randomly loaded midbosses you then select one of five bosses, clear one last fodder floor, and then proceed to a final floor boss.

Worthwhile items are dropped from the bosses found within, but in general you will be facing random unexceptional foes on three of the floors. Meanwhile you are also presented with optional objectives. Completing these optional objectives against fodder foes, such as a multistep skillchaining, magic bursting, curing a certain amount, critical hits, etc within a time limit will reward you with an extra amount Paragon Cards. Which are used to create Reforged Artifact Armor +2 / +3.
With the later addition of augmented Ultimate Weapons to the game, S. Astral Detritus icon.png Astral Detritus were added as a potential drop from fodder in Omen. Making this the only place players may solo farm them as they primarily drop in Dynamis - Divergence.


Salvage was expanded back in December 2012, and now includes a series of newer zones that target level 99 characters. Though they are soloable by characters with decent iLvl gear.
These zones potentially yield more Alexandrite per run than the original Salvage zones, so they are the preferred source of Alexandrite if you are interested in farming. Thus Mythics far more obtainable than ever before.

SE has finally abolished the clunky "cell" system for these newer Salvage zones. Though you are still locked at the start of each zone, there is a starting "pole" that you may touch and unlock 10 random slots; analogous to the starting chest in level 75 salvage zones. Further unlocks are awarded automatically as you defeat monsters rather than needing to use items. Each monster awards an unlock differently in the same way the original salvage did.

The zones are ultimately the same:

On the flip side, original Salvage zones remain untouched, although the 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. In spite of this, none of the 75 or 99 Salvage armor has any use. Not even for lockstyle, as Ambuscade Armor uses the same model.
All in all, Salvage exists exclusively for the creation of Mythic Weapons. The "Rhapsody in Azure" key item now allowing players to enter every game day.

Sinister Reign

Sinister Reign is fun, if not repetitive. You either select a single opponent at a decreased drop rate or enter an area for three rounds against a random story line hero of Adoulin.
Sinister Reign is an enjoyable event, that provides unenjoyable random augment values for equipment rewards. The drawback is that if you want some of the still valuable items from the event then you will be spamming it a lot and hoping for capped augments, let alone the correct item.

This content is lower on the difficulty scale, but you still will want to team up if possible.


Skirmish and Alluvion Skirmish are mostly outdated, but still serve as a place players can get some great armor to hold them over until better pieces. There are also niche pieces and augments such as Spell Interruption Rate, mostly sought after by Rune Fencers; Cure Potency Received, for jobs such as Blue Mage; Enhancing Magic Duration, for mages; and pet based ones, such a Regen for GEOs Loupons or Breath+ for DRGs; etc are still desired.

Within Skirmish you will find yourself scouring the map for monsters, defeating NMs, summoning NPC monsters to fight other attacking monsters, or defending a tent depending on the Skirmish chosen. Admittedly though, it is a nice tent so don't mock the tent. A Galka would consider themselves lucky to own such a tent. Overall though, the event is rather enjoyable as a change of pace if nothing else.

Armor and weapons in this event are augmentable, and make lasting niche or good stopgap pieces until they are ultimately replaced by armor and weapons from Escha and other events with the proper augments. This is especially true for pet jobs as the gear they receive here is comparatively stronger upgrades to those jobs over previous armor and weapons options compared to that of non-pet jobs.
With the addition of the the augment stones to A.M.A.N. Trove the price of the items required to augment have decreased, and their availability have increased. Making this a lasting event players will find themselves in outside of BLUs looking to learn spells. Hint-hint, recruit aspiring BLUs for your runs if you need bodies.

Sky and Kings

Various changes were been made to Sky Gods and Ground NMs in May 2011. First and foremost, Tatter and Scrap Synergy was introduced, an~nd then forgotten. At least the scraps are used now to spawn the re-released sky gods in Escha - Ru'Aun.
In order to accommodate the new tatter and scrap system, SE increased the number of pop items and seals that drop when defeating Sky monsters with 1 guaranteed, and 1 additional depending on TH. The items are still marked Rare, so only one may be held at a time.

Kings have also been altered slightly. All NQs are a 21-24 timed spawn no longer. Instead force spawned using items that drop from their respective KS99s, and also obtained through various events such as Login Campaigns. These NQs Kings have a ~15% chance to drop the HQ King pop item. As follows

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. As you may have guessed though, Black Belt icon.png Black Belt is just a relic of the past. Say hello to the Moonbow Belt icon.png Moonbow Belt.
Don't worry though as 26ppx 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 Login Campaigns pretty much every month. They may be found in bazaars for a few hundred thousand gil or less.


Synergy is not an event, but a crafting system that was introduced December 2009, and briefly updated, but has now been mostly abandoned in favor of higher crafting recipes. It was envisioned to rely on bringing together various crafters in a party to undertake a more difficult synth. Then your party members with Synergy skill play a minigame of sorts to obtain the proper elemental balance for the group's synth.
That may sound like a decent idea, but in practice it isn't nearly as successful or enjoyable. Profit sharing is not something crafters prefer, and none of the synths are really hard enough to really require two players. So Synergy devolved into a lone crafter in a party with their level 100 crafting mules. Now newer synergy recipes or the ones most sought after generally only require one craft or simply only having Synergy leveled.

There are some items which can be made both through their native craft and through synergy. Most notably Beastmaster Jugs or ranged ammunition. Synergy also typically has a higher HQ rate than normal synths; assuming you have the right elemental balance, and it does not follow the classic T0/1/2/3 HQ 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 expensive, but it takes a lot of time, and has rather limited rewards. There are some things which are essential like the Fotia Gorget icon.png Fotia Gorget, Fotia Belt icon.png Fotia Belt, Hachirin-no-Obi icon.png Hachirin-no-Obi, Incanter's Torque icon.png Incanter's Torque, or even the Combatant's Torque icon.png Combatant's Torque. However, you can shout and find a Synergist if you offer gil. Which is worth the time saved.

Trial of the Magians

Trial of the Magians was a lovely (well..) system that SE introduced which allowed players to upgraded equipment from the ground up through several trials and tribulations. Including defeating XP yielding foes during weather, but we don't talk about that.

SE now has completely moved away from this system. The only reason it has any relevance nowadays is for forging Relic, Empyreans, Mythics, and Walk of Echoes weapons are forever upgraded through their old trials. However, Relic and Mythic kill trials now only require 200 to 400 kills per.


Unity is a battle system where players pop NMs at various confluxes located in older zones throughout Vana’diel. Unity is tied into RoE in the fact players must spend the Unity currency, Accolades, to initiate these fights. Accolades are directly awarded from completing RoE Objectives. Upon victory every participating player receives a coffer item as a direct reward. This coffer is then used and rewards various spoils.
Every monster fought in Unity is an upgraded version of a previous NM. In essence you now will fight endgame versions of everything from Behemoth to Hakutaku to Pandemonium Warden, and everything in-between. Adversaries in Unity range from level 75 to 99, and all the way to 145.

Rewards come in an NQ and a +1 version 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 which is commonly dispensed from the coffer as well. Several of these trophies are required to upgrade the NQ item to the +1 version along with an Accolade charge.
All T2 NMs in Escha - Ru'Aun also require the trophy items of several Unity NMs in order to spawn them. Additionally, all of these trophies are used to spawn NMs within Odyssey.
Overall, Unity is objectively a balanced and rewarding event. Many of the rewards are still relevant to this day, and may be enhanced even further with augments from items obtained in Odyssey.


Vagary was the last major content added to Adoulin, two years after its launch. There are three wings filled with lesser mobs and NMs as you fight your way to one of the Xol Triumvirate. Which is a fancy title for the loyal servants of the antagonist in the Adoulin storyline. See, no spoilers.
Each Xol 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 the corresponding NM. Two of the Xol NMs require preforming specific actions in order to pop in any of the zones; as they do not have a zone of their own. This includes requirements such as no player being KOed and a certain number of steps to a continued skillchain, etc before they will spawn.
As events tend to, once Vagary lost most of it's initial popularity it became more of an obstacle to players trying to unlock their +1s. As a result, in October 2018 SE added alternative battlefields where players may unlock their +1s as well as learn Blue Magic. Oh, yeah, some BLU spells come from these bosses too— surprise. These battles are simply 1-on-1 fights with a selected boss, require no farming outside of the ordinary prototype entry item, and may be entered solo; unlike Vagary which requires at least three players in order to enter.
It would also seem prudent to mention that just because you may enter solo doesn't mean that you should. As a new or returning player you will need help. Though it is still much easier to unlock +1 this way instead of going through the motions in Vagary otherwise.

Overall, this event will always be important for unlocking 119 Empyrean Armor. The additional materials which the Xol drop are also used to upgrade your Empyrean Armor, and to craft other desirable pieces of gear. Some of the armor from Vagary is still of use despite this content being released before Escha, notably the accessories.


Voidwatch was introduced May 2011 at level 90 cap and was fully rolled out by April 2012, four months after level 99 cap. It signaled the start of a shift to a post Abyssea world. Some had forgotten what the light of a sky outside of a maw looked like. Others were simply wondering how a cat has anything to do with the limited story they were skipping over. By and large, VW was a good event, but a very frustrating system and far from perfect. In fact the VR 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 will always live on and require drops from the event. Serica Cloth drops almost exclusively from Provenance, and is used to craft various pieces of cursed gear for 119 abjurations.

Additionally, there have been a couple QoL changes to Voidwatch. First, you may now set Voidstones to stock via a menu with the VW NPC. So instead of running back and forth every 3-6 fights to the NPC for more stones, you can simply spawn as many times as you still have stones in stock. You must also be holding at least one voidstone though in your key items in order to do this.
The other change is that cells are three times as potent now. Meaning one Rubicund Cell icon.png 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 Displacer icon.png 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 now.

This Voidwatch Guide may be of use.

Walk of Echoes

Walk of Echoes has faded from the limelight. With almost none of the original Walk of Echoes Battlefield Rewards being of use since they were added before ilvl gear. Nonetheless, Walk of Echoes holds relevance as players are able to permanently learn the Empyrean WSs via Kupofried's Weapon Skill Moogle Magic.

If you have been away for awhile, here are the adjustments since 75 over time:

  • 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 may now be Bazaared.
  • Additional Fluxes
  • Surged walks for level 99 players
  • You're automatically raised after ~30 seconds of death.
  • You can now skill up in battlefields.
  • You receive 5 random temporary items whenever you enter the battlefield, potentially including the ever-powerful Primeval Brew icon.png 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

Wildskeeper Reives are battles which pit adventurers against the Naakuals, fearsome beasts of the SoA expansion. These monsters are weaker than their Delve equivalents, and so are their rewards at iLvl 115. The combat takes place in a Walk of Echoes style field where anyone can participate once they unlock access after completing Life on the Frontier.
The weapons and armor here are of use either exchanging for Bayld with Runje Desaali or for new players to use and augment with Prah Janimhar.
WKRs are also the primary source of H-P Bayld icon.png H-P Bayld, used in forging Ergon Weapons for RUN and GEO.

Despite all of this, players will have two other reasons to complete all of the WKRs. First, each individual WKR has an RoE objective which provides a permanent 2% boost to Capacity Points gained for each on all jobs. Second, they are part of the Intermediate RoE objectives which provide new players with a number of rewards, including free 119 AF pieces.


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. Second, Sanraku now gives approximately 15x the Zeni per picture that he used to. Nauls inAbyssea - Tahrongi grant ~1,500 points per picture at low HP. Which 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.

In short, ZNMs are only for creating Mythic Weapons.


For the community, by the community. There is no substitute for this game so enjoy it.