You can play for months before subscribing
The Final Fantasy XIV free trial is big. Like, really big.
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. Whether that’s advisable 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, but we’ll get into that later.
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.
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.
Many often want to end their trial time upon hitting the level 60 quests to keep earning EXP. I’d say this is unnecessary. EXP is easy to come by in Final Fantasy XIV, and level 60 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.
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.
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.
Level up every combat job to 60
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. If you want to complete every sidequest in A Realm Reborn and Heavensward, you’ll earn way more EXP than your main job needs anyway. You might wind up finding a new favorite playstyle!
Level every crafting and gathering class to 60
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 and Moogle Tribal Quests in Heavensward 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!
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 win.
Take on Palace of the Dead
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 charged with advancing through 100 floors in 10 level increments accompanied by random players. 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. This is easily the most hardcore content you’ll find here.
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.
Grind for your Relic and Anima Weapon (maybe)
Rounding out this list is one of the longest grinds in Final Fantasy XIV. The Relic Weapon in A Realm Reborn and the Anima Weapon in Heavensward are technically best in slot weapons for their respective level requirements. However, since these get outclassed easily in later expansions, they exist primarily as glamour for your favorite jobs. These are very cool looking weapons, but you’ll work hard to get them.
Getting one Relic or Anima Weapon fully upgraded can conservatively take several hours. Moreover, grinding these weapons through certain steps of their respective questlines will go much faster in the full game since you can blast through certain objectives by yourself at level 75+. You can complete them in the trial, but the time spent isn’t quite worth it in my opinion. If you’d like to at least start these weapons for your favorite job(s), 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.
Pursue your own goals
Even with all these objectives listed, this still doesn’t cover anything 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.