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How to maximize the free trial in Final Fantasy XIV [Updated for Stormblood]

You can play for months before subscribing

The Final Fantasy XIV free trial is big. Like, really big.

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Between all the content in A Realm Reborn and the Heavensward expansion, you could theoretically play this trial for 1000 hours and still find goals to pursue. And now, as of Patch 6.5, the Final Fantasy XIV free trial includes the Stormblood expansion as well. Whether you’d want to drop that many hours on a trial is up to you, but the point is, you can do a lot before buying the game. Since a subscription will be required to continue playing once you purchase the title, you could potentially save yourself months of fees by identifying the content you’d like to finish before upgrading.

You will have some restrictions, which you may want to read through. The most notable things to keep in mind are that you can’t trade with other players, form parties with other players (though subscribed players can invite you), or use the Market Board. You’ll also have a Gil cap of 300,000, so you’ll want to spend some money if you start stocking up reserves.

That said, if you’re beginning your journey in Eorzea, it can be hard to tell what exactly you should finish. While we can’t list every possible goal, below are the major objectives for trial players to pursue. These have been arranged roughly by priority, so feel free to skip some of these and continue the main story in the full game. Which brings us to our first item.

Main Story Quest symbol in Final Fantasy XIV
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Finish the Main Story Quest

This is the main attraction of the free trial. Every quest with the unique meteor marker is part of the Main Story Quest, or MSQ. You’ll unlock the majority of content in Final Fantasy XIV through this, ranging from dungeons to boss fights. Completing the MSQ will also shower you with EXP, so grinding for your main class or job is unnecessary.

Some may want to end their trial time upon hitting the level 70 quests to keep earning EXP. I’d say this is unnecessary. EXP is easy to come by in Final Fantasy XIV, and level 70 content doesn’t specifically award much of it. I say invest in the full game once you specifically know you want to advance the MSQ further.

Seasonal Quest in Final Fantasy XIV
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Run through seasonal quests

While not a specific goal in Final Fantasy XIV, note that seasonal quests are accessible to free trial players. These are typically small events, but they often award cosmetics, minions, and mounts. If you plan to stick around in the free trial for a while, check these out when they appear.

Side Quest Unlock symbol Final Fantasy XIV
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Complete all major sidequests

Aside from the MSQ, look for any quests marked with a plus sign. These are special sidequests that lead to unique unlocks, which range from optional dungeons to special items. These are all worth doing, but ignore quests that ask you to complete Extreme fights or the Binding Coil of Bahamut. We’ll get to this later.

There are also several questlines under this category referred to as Tribal Quests. These are repeatable quests that advance your reputation with a specific tribe of characters. At max reputation, you’ll unlock unique mounts and minions as a reward for each. These quests can be a supplemental source of EXP, which brings us to our next point.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Level up every combat job to 70

One of Final Fantasy XIV’s greatest features is the ability to play every job on one character. Many players will max every job as an endgame goal, so why not get started in the trial?

Each job features a unique questline and occasionally offers exclusive mounts as well. Even if you like your main job, leveling other jobs can offer valuable insight to help you coordinate with other players. Besides, if you want to complete every sidequest, you’ll earn way more EXP than your main job needs anyway. You might wind up finding a new favorite playstyle!

In the free trial, you’ll have access to every combat job except the following:

  • Gunbreaker
  • Sage
  • Reaper
  • Dancer
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Level every crafting and gathering class to 70

Just as with the combat jobs, you can max out every crafting and gathering class on one character. This can be trickier in the trial, since you’ll lack the market board to buy crafting materials or sell gathered items at market price. That said, there are key features that help players level these classes.

For crafters: First, buy common crafting materials from local vendors to learn crafting basics until about level 15. From there, the Ixali Tribal Quests in A Realm Reborn, the Moogle Tribal Quests in Heavensward, and the Namazu Triabl Quests in Stormblood grant crafting EXP and are repeatable daily. These quests provide the relevant crafting materials you need to complete them, so they’re extraordinarily beginner friendly.

For gatherers: It’s shockingly easy to get EXP for these three classes. Fishers can dive into Ocean Fishing in Limsa Lominsa. This showers you in EXP and comes with unique achievements to pursue. Meanwhile, one of your best uses of leve quest allotments is to level your Miner and Botanist classes. You can accrue three allotments per day up to a cap of 100, and the objectives themselves are easy to complete for these classes.

Both crafters and gatherers can also be leveled via the Firmament side area. This will unlock during the Heavensward endgame, so absolutely take advantage of this!

Mini Cactpot in the Gold Saucer
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Play in the Gold Saucer

The Gold Saucer is the major minigame hub of Final Fantasy XIV. Here you can unlock Triple Triad, participate in Chocobo Racing, play Mahjong, buy daily scratch tickets, and participate in small events called GATEs throughout the day.

Each of these side pursuits comes with their own achievements and rewards for you to unlock. More importantly, you can earn a special currency called MGP to buy an absolute load of mounts and minions. Even most subscribed players don’t have all the goodies you can get from here. Run Gold Saucer content and make your friends jealous with the cool stuff you’ll win.

Palace of the Dead in the free trial of Final Fantasy XIV
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Take on Palace of the Dead and Heaven on High

Palace of the Dead is a roguelike dungeon that has its own subcommunity within Final Fantasy XIV. You’ll start at level 1 no matter what job you enter with, and you’ll be tasked with advancing through 100 floors in 10 level increments accompanied by random players. Keep in mind that you’ll max out at level 60 within this dungeon, so don’t plan on using any level 70 skills here. Not only is this dungeon a great way to level other jobs, it comes with its own unique mounts and minions you can unlock.

Now, saying there are 100 floors is a bit misleading. Anyone who enters this dungeon with a preformed party and suffers no party wipes can advance up 100 additional floors that get progressively more dangerous. If that’s not extreme enough for you, you can take on Palace of the Dead as a solo player and go for rankings on your server’s leaderboards. Getting to floor 200 by yourself unlocks the Necromancer title, which to this day is one of the rarest in the entire game.

Similarly, trial players can now access the Heaven on High deep dungeon in Stormblood, which is conceptually the same as Palace of the Dead. This one’s a bit more consolidated, as players will climb up 30 floors to clear this one instead. However, again, if you enter with a preformed party, you can make your way up 70 additional challenge floors as long as you suffer no party wipes. Completing this feat solo will unlock the Lone Hero title, which is virtually as rare as Necromancer is. Go for these achievements if you really want to prove how hardcore you are.

Blue Mage Spellbook in Final Fantasy XIV
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Fill your Blue Mage Book

Blue Mage is what’s called a “limited job” in Final Fantasy XIV. Think of it as its own subgame. Just like in classic Final Fantasy titles, Blue Mage requires you to fight specific monsters to learn spells. With enough spells learned, Blue Mage can perform any party role and theoretically deal some of the highest DPS in the game. That said, this job has a lower level cap than other jobs (a non-issue in the trial) and cannot play with other players via Duty Finder (a big issue in the trial).

This can make Blue Mage tricky to max out, since you can’t access the Party Finder tool Blue Mages typically use without a subscription. That said, there are many Discord communities based on helping Blue Mages party up and complete content together. Most of these are willing to work with trial players. In fact, since there are unique achievements for clearing virtually all content as Blue Mage, this is one of the best ways to experience The Binding Coil of Bahamut and Extreme/Savage difficulty content in the trial. Roll with Blue Mage to see older content in a new light.

Do note that, if you intend to go hardcore with Blue Mage raiding, some mechanics don’t necessarily translate to Blue Mage very well. So while you’ll gain those evergreen rewards, you may have to play around some weird mechanics. Ask your local Blue Mage veteran about Brute Justice if you want to hear horror stories this Halloween.

Eureka in the free trial of Final Fantasy XIV
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Venture into Eureka

After you complete the Stormblood main story quest, you’ll have the option to unlock a series of instanced zones collectively called Eureka. Unlike typical dungeons in Final Fantasy XIV, Eureka zones are open-ended areas that feature a separate leveling system and unique mechanics you won’t find elsewhere in the game. Even if you don’t enter with a group, you’ll see other players running around here that you’ll need to collaborate with to take down Notorious Monsters and other objectives.

For trial players specifically, Eureka holds unique value in that you can obtain the expansion’s relic weapon and armor in here. “Relics” in Final Fantasy XIV refer to unique armaments that typically require a grind to unlock and fully upgrade, but the end result is usually better than or equal to the best equipment in its corresponding expansion. This is wildly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, since no content really demands having fully upgraded relics. Also, should you purchase the full game, you’ll find better equipment before you even finish the Shadowbringers main campaign. But on the other hand, these also look really cool, and glamour is forever.

While long-time players may not necessarily populate Eureka nowadays, trial players could bring new life to this zone. So for those looking for an endgame grind in the trial, this is the way to go.

Obtaining the Ragnarok Zeta relic weapon in Final Fantasy XIV
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Grind for your Relic and Anima Weapon (maybe)

Speaking of relics, glamour collectors looking more to grind can check out the equivalent relic weapons from the past expansions. The Relic Weapon in A Realm Reborn and the Anima Weapon in Heavensward are technically best in slot weapons for their respective level requirements. But as mentioned above, these get outclassed easily in later expansions. They look very cool, but you’ll work hard to get them.

Getting one Relic or Anima Weapon fully upgraded can conservatively take several hours. If you’d like to at least start these weapons for your favorite job(s) and earn some EXP along the way, I’d recommend taking them this far:

Relic Weapon: Play until you collect the 12 Atma from FATEs. These early stages of the weapon quest aren’t too bad, and you can theoretically earn EXP along the way.

Anima Weapon: Just do the first step to collect Luminous Crystals. You can skip this step by exchanging completed Relic Weapons, so absolute completionists planning to grind everything should only do this for three jobs. Later quests require materials you can purchase with Poetics, so stock up on items like Aether Oil, Umbrite, and Singing Clusters from Sundry Splendors.

If you want to progress further than this, I’d recommend at least hitting level 70. This will let you solo several dungeons and bosses with ease, which will significantly speed the grind along. The EXP gains here are fairly minimal, so you won’t miss much on that front. That said, hitting level 80+ will speed these steps along too, so you may consider holding off on completing these until you have the main game. Access to the Market Board will significantly help with some Relic Weapon steps as well.

Ultima Weapon Ultimate, Ultimate Raids are not in the free trial of Final Fantasy XIV
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Note that Ultimate raids are not in the free trial

While this is more of an aside than a tip, free trial players unfortunately can’t access the Unending Coil of Bahamut or The Weapon’s Refrain raids in Stormblood, even though they’re level 70 content. These encounters are referred to as Ultimate Raids, which are ruthless boss gauntlets intended for the absolute best players.

Unless you fancy yourself a seasoned MMORPG raider, I don’t imagine this will be a huge deal. The vast majority of subscribed players don’t even touch this content. But for those who love pushing their skills to their absolute limits, this may be a bit disappointing. Definitely get your feet wet with the game’s Savage difficulty raids before you consider dipping into these battles.

Achievements to complete in the free trial for Final Fantasy XIV
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Pursue your own goals

Even with all these objectives listed, this still doesn’t cover everything you can do in the free trial. True completionists should check out Trials of Fantasy, which contains many resources and checklists for people who want to squeeze as much content out of the trial as possible. Give them your support!

Remember, there’s no need to do everything before purchasing the game. Do whatever interests you, and upgrade once you’re ready to take the leap. Just don’t feel pressured into upgrading if you aren’t ready for that step. There’s plenty to do before you need to take out your wallet.

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Timothy Monbleau
Guide Editor - Timothy started writing community blogs for Destructoid in 2012. He liked it so much he decided to write articles for the site professionally. His love for RPGs and the Ys series will endure forever.