The revamped version of Final Fantasy XIV is almost upon us. We've worked through three beta phases, with the fourth and final phase set to begin on August 16 for phase three players, and the following day for people who will be starting with phase four. Early access for Legacy players (people who paid for at least three months of initial release of FFXIV) and anyone who pre-ordered the game begins on August 24 and leads right into the retail release on August 27. It's been a long time coming, and you'll probably want to hit the ground running, so let's cover some early tips to get you going.
You can download the benchmark and character creation tool right now. Not only will this test your system to determine how well it will run the game, it will also allow you to create as many characters as you like. You can then save your creations and load them up when the beta and retail releases go live. If you're anything like us, this will save you a ton of time when it's time to play. We can spend hours creating characters to get the perfect look.
Once your character has been created and the time to play has come, you'll have to decide in which class you wish to start. While Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn allows you to change classes at any point (after a one-time level 10 quest is completed) without changing characters, your starting class is important. It determines in which of the three main cities your journey will begin. If you choose to start as a Conjurer, Lancer or Archer, you'll begin the game in Gridania. Select Thaumaturge, Pugilist or Gladiator, and you'll start in Ul'Dah. Choose Arcanist or Marauder and you'll begin in Limsa Lominsa.
While all three cities have similar features and will meet all of your adventuring needs, there are some things to consider if you're new to the game or MMORPGs in general. Ul'Dah is the easiest city to navigate. You shouldn't have a difficult time finding what you need in Ul'Dah, and the surrounding areas are fairly easy to navigate as well. Gridania has a few different areas that are spread apart, linked by long walkways. It's not overly difficult to find what you're looking for, but there's more running involved when you compare it to Ul'Dah. Limsa Lominsa is divided into two levels, and can be a bit more confusing to new players as they figure out which level they need to be on and how best to get there.
If you're concerned about navigating the cities, your best choice would be Ul'Dah. If you don't want to start as a Gladiator, Thaumaturge or Pugilist, don't worry. More than likely you'll want to acquire a job at some point. Jobs are specialized extensions of classes that can be obtained once a class reaches level 30. This is a list of the classes, which jobs they have access to, and their general party role.
Arcanist > Scholar = Healer
Arcanist > Summoner = DPS
Archer > Bard = DPS/Support
Conjurer > White Mage = Healer
Gladiator > Paladin = Tank
Marauder > Warrior = Tank
Lancer > Dragoon = DPS
Pugilist > Monk = DPS
Thaumaturge > Black Mage = DPS
In order to obtain a job, you must complete a quest and meet a level requirement for a different class. For example, to become a Paladin, you must have a Gladiator at level 30, a Conjurer at level 15, and then complete a special quest. So if you're looking to gain access to a job at some point, and the class you want to play isn't in the city you wish to begin your adventure, select a class in your preferred city that fulfills a job requirement.
If you wish to start in Gridania, but want to play a Gladiator, choose to start as a Conjurer. This will begin your journey in Gridania, and since you want to be a Paladin, you'll need Conjurer at level 15 anyway. While you may not be able to match up your preferred starting city with a class or job you wish to play, this strategy gives you more options. In addition, you can change to a class of your choosing after completing the level 10 class quest, so you won't be stuck in any one class for too long. Below is a list of which classes must be at level 15 (or higher) to begin the job quests. Stay tuned to Prima Games as we have several mini-guides on the way to help you start your adventure in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Level 15 Conjurer for Paladin
Level 15 Lancer for Monk
Level 15 Gladiator for Warrior
Level 15 Pugilist for Dragoon
Level 15 Conjurer for Bard
Level 15 Gladiator for White Mage
Level 15 Pugilist for Black Mage
Note: The Arcanist class has access to the Summoner and Scholar jobs, and will be introduced in phase four of the beta. It's requirements are unknown and may change the requirements of other jobs.