With the recent announcement last week of the latest FFXIV expansion Endwalker, I decided it was time to jump back into Eorzea and finally work my way through the expansions.

Many folks on the internet had similar reactions, whether they were new to the game entirely or fell off the horse somewhere along the way. It’s a tricky situation, on one hand, you have an incredible Final Fantasy story, arguably one of the best ones in the series, but on the other hand, you have a daunting MMO filled with so much content it’s paralyzing.

Onboarding a new player is something that games like Destiny or Warframe have workshopped over the years and many games have found success in this process. How do you re-onboard a player who has fallen off somewhere in the middle, though? That’s a problem that many MMO’s and live-service games face time and time again.

The Daunting but Rewarding Task of Returning to Final Fantasy XIV

With these worlds continually evolving, expanding, and changing their systems and story, how do you reintroduce players to the game without overwhelming them? It’s an intricate web to weave and, for a long time, has boiled down to the player going down a wiki rabbit hole or just pushing through whatever they were doing until they hit a natural refresh point in the game.

I recently took the plunge back into FFXIV, starting this weekend somewhere between A Realm Reborn and the first expansion Heavensward. It has been almost a year since my last outing in the game, and multiple patches and balance changes had left me with a very different world than the one I was in a year ago.

Luckily, in an MMO, you have the community to rely on when you’re stuck or need a hand. Up until this point, I hadn’t interacted much with folks in the game. It was very much me against the world as I played through the main scenario quests and experienced the world of Eorzea, swiftly ignoring the sights of other players until I needed to queue up for a dungeon. 

This venture into the game, though, I found myself using the text chat to ask about dungeon bosses and how to clear specific encounters. The community of players was more than happy to help out a newbie their first time through a dungeon because explaining the fight was much more efficient than wiping over and over because someone wasn’t doing the mechanics correctly.

It then dawned on me (very late) that the re-onboarding process for a lot of these games falls on the community. Despite developers doing their best to forge a clear path forward, so much help comes from kind community members helping new members experience the joys of FFXIV.

While I can’t speak for every live-service community, it’s been abundantly clear in FFXIV that so many members are helpful and have each other’s backs. Sure, you come across a jerk every once and a while, but that’s par for the course when playing online. 

As someone about to start Heavensward, I’ve picked up a few tips for people like myself who are re-entering the game instead of starting fresh.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it be a friend who plays or a random player in a dungeon. More often than not, you’ll get an answer to your question.
  • Open up the Main Scenario Quest Log on your phone or second monitor; it’s a great resource for tracking where exactly in the story you are and how much you have left before reaching a natural stopping point.
  • Test out new jobs. Seriously, if you’re not vibing with your current job, just pick a new one! 
  • Look up your rotations for your job. There are so many excellent websites to teach you the most efficient way to use your job. It becomes much easier to manage once you have a specific set of spells or attacks locked in.

These are just a few tips I’ve picked up myself while working my way through Eorzea again over the weekend. Suppose you’re on the fence about trying out FFXIV and haven’t before. You can check out the game’s free trial on PS4 or PC, including all of A Realm Reborn! We would love to have you join the game and help defend Eorzea. 

Without the help of others and pushing through the overwhelming sensation I would have missed out on a really great story that the game lays out for the player. There is still so much more to see in FFXIV and it's worth sticking out if you can.