Some Things EVERY New FFXIV Player Should Know!
Final Fantasy 14 has always been a good MMORPG (at least since its 2013 makeover), but over the past few years it's morphed into the best overall MMORPG you can play today. It's so good, in fact, that its story has evolved beyond merely being "good for an MMO" and into one that can stand proudly beside any of the singleplayer games from the series. With the entire base game, A Realm Reborn, and the highly regarded first expansion, Heavensward, available in the free trial, you owe it to yourself to give FFXIV a chance.
There's never been a better time to play. The current Shadowbringers expansion frequently popped up on lists of 2019's best overall games, and we gave it a score of 94. In August, Square Enix's Patch 5.3 greatly expanded the free trial for new players from level 35 all the way to level 60, which means you can play through the base "A Realm Reborn" game and 2015's excellent Heavensward expansion entirely for free. You probably have a lot of questions: Where do you even start? What are you supposed to be doing in the game? How are you supposed to keep up with other players? As someone who gets easily flustered by complex systems and multiplayer stress, trust me when I say FFXIV is not as overwhelming as it may seem.
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Square Enix also trimmed much of the fat from A Realm Reborn's sprawling storyline and introduced some welcome quality of life changes, including the ability to fly in any of A Realm Reborn's zones. Each FF14 expansion has been better than the last, and this latest update helps tighten up some of the original campaign's shortcomings (and it helps you get through the whole thing more quickly. too). Trial players can also now play the Au Ra race and the Astrologian, Dark Knight, and Machinist classes, which previously weren't available without buying specific expansions.
These are all great and needed changes. But Final Fantasy 14 can still be overwhelming, so I'm here to help. I've played a lot of Final Fantasy 14 2,200 hours since 2013, and with that experience I've put together this guide to ease the way for both new and returning players.
Square Enix expanded Final Fantasy 14's trial to allow new players to play the Heavensward expansion and to level 60 without paying a penny. The catch there is "new." The free trial won't work if you've ever spent money on your FF14 account before, even if you bought it seven years ago and just piddled around in the starting zones. But if you only had a trial account before Patch 5.3, that trial account should now support the increased level cap from 35 to 60. At level 30, you can use your Chocobo mount as an ally in combat by summoning them with Gysahl Greens. You can spec your Chocobo to be either a tank, healer, or DPS, but in my experience, healing is the most effective use of the skill points. Remember to keep them out while you're questing and you'll find combat much more manageable.