tl;dr: WoW veteran plays to level 15 in FFXIV as Arcanist, great experience (pun intended) – concludes that anybody trying out FFXIV should play to Level 15 with the goal of visiting The Hall of the Novice.

Getting into a routine with World of Warcraft (something I personally need; routine – otherwise I’ll likely drift off to something else); as the prior blog-posts show: learning Tradeskill Master, learning 3D Modelling with the WoW assets, farming rare mounts etc… – all good: and then I lose access to my account for a period of time.

I lost my first month of Final Fantasy XIV due to PC issues; learnt loads in the process of fixing it; all good – but now FFXIV, my 5th attempt to play, 2nd time on PC, 1 attempt on PS3 and 2 attempts on PS4; now that has definitely lost all hope … until I can’t login to WoW.

I’m 24 hours removed from logging in to a fresh character, annoyingly I didn’t choose The Ring of Fortune – but I didn’t find out until around level 10 – any lower and I’d have probably re-rolled; except I can’t because this server rarely allows for new characters (I had to setup a script to watch the servers, and notify me the moment the server was open for new characters: this occupied the first 2 weeks of owning FFXIV!) … a series of mishaps and misfortune are timed well enough that they keep me playing the game.

FFXIV ACN / Arcanist 1 to 15 1
I had to screenshot this; the name of the NPC and it’s appearance couldn’t be more mismatched… and it reminds me of something you’d see prowling around The Citadel in Mass Effect

Level 15: Milestone

So, having hit level 15… and just started The Hall of the Novice quests, already clued-up on what this meant (a good sign in itself; building momentum and learning the ropes outside of running around and tapping the number keys)… “this is a really good game” … the thought washes over me and prompts me to write this blog post.

I’ve seen repeat-stories of people, either in YouTube comments or on Reddit, starting FFXIV but not sticking with it, and then drifting back to WoW most likely… first of all, there’s definitely space for both games at this point – not just because of quarantine, but because of the unique state of both games: Warcraft is throwing all sorts of buff and catch up mechanics at the player – meaning your played time can be half as much and you’ll get just as much out of the game … so it’s more than feasible to jump between both games and have a gainful experience, but most importantly, a good time… it’s not that FFXIV is bad prior to level 15… but I can definitely feel a sudden Eureka moment once you hit 15; you’ve organically learned just enough to tune you into the frequency the game plays at – this is an invisible factor with games, but it’s important… with MMO’s it’s critical.

Minmaxing XP Gain

If you’re thinking about playing, or currently dabbling with, Final Fantasy XIV – I highly recommend playing on a preferred server with the Road To 70 XP buff… you’ll get 100% more XP, which is huge…. 5000xp instead of 2500 is a big deal, and a huge time saver. I also have the Friendship Circlet which appeared in my mailbox, which is another 20% extra XP while under level 25… currently I stand in the Hall of the Novice, and when I leave, I’ll leave with a ring that grants 30% extra XP while under level 30 (so when I lose my Friendship Circlet buff, I won’t notice… I’ll still be gaining +30%XP) … minmaxing the levelling experience, for whatever reason, is a meta-game that I enjoy. Knowing time-spent playing in-game is giving the highest possible return on XP, not to rush through the game – I’m reading around 7/10 of the quests properly – and clicking through some of the more trivial-looking quests. I’m sure Square Enix’ writers have put relevant lore references into the majority of the quests, and I might end up overlooking something “important”… but it’s hard to see any of the lore as important when I’m really only 1 day into the game…).

Set Goals To Keep the Momentum Up

My other recommendation and this one is more important; simply: play to level 15, and have the Hall of the Novice as your goal for hitting level 15. It’s easy to get dissuaded from playing if we don’t have goals … hitting the level cap is a goal, but it’ll be awhile before you feel like you’re getting close to it, so having smaller goals will keep the sense of progression alive, which is a fundamental requirement for retaining any player in an MMO.

I’ve set another goal for myself, which is to hit 30 for the purposes of completing the Maiden’s Rhapsody 2020 event. If you’re playing right now; take the goal – try to hit it before the event ends (June 22nd… plenty of time to hit 30, especially if you can hit level 15 with around 6 hours of concentrated gameplay… it’s taken me 2 sessions, totalling around 12 hours, with a lot of alt-tabbing, watching YouTube here and there, doing work etc..).

Keeping It Real(istic)

I don’t know how much momentum there’ll be once I’m looking at hitting level 31… but I can say for sure, that I’m glad I’ve stuck with FFXIV – it’s so developed and in such a mature state at this point, that there’s little to be negative about during the formative levels. Compare and despair; just embrace the fact that Warcraft’s classes are called Jobs in FFXIV (I think) … embrace the fact that you can play 1 character, and undertake all of the classes (jobs…). From what I read, it’s more common that players only have 1 character in FFXIV (which explains the curious subscription model; at the time I wasn’t sure why you could subscribe and play 1 character, or pay slightly extra to play multiple characters…). Embrace the differences, enjoy them, and if you’re compelled to wring as much XP out of the game as you can… follow the various steps I’ve taken … I’m a novice, so the +100%/+120%/+150% XP bonuses that I’ve stumbled upon are probably not the only ways to get extra XP… but that doesn’t matter because +100% is more than enough to make it fast enough that you don’t really pause to feel bored, it just keeps moving…which is exactly what you need if you’ve not already planted your flag and claimed allegiance to FFXIV…. +100% xp is more than enough to keep your tentative allegiance to the game in-place long enough to have a fun experience leading up to 15, where I believe things start to click and the compulsion to play is galvanized by 15 levels of experience, resulting in an MMO you’re up for playing with enthusiasm.

FFXIV ACN / Arcanist 1 to 15 2
Only FromSoftware can outdo Square Enix when it comes to cats … it’s hard to beat Persona’s Morgana, but these “Coeurl” things come close 🐈