Welcome to Vana'diel!
Welcome to the world of Vana'diel! As a novice adventurer, you are presented with what may feel like an overwhelming amount of information right out of the gate, but fret not as this guide is here to help you get quickly acclimated and join our wonderful little community.
While you will make a lot of important choices in your adventure, the first few you make will have the biggest impact on the course of your experience. When you start out, you will choose a race and an allegience to a nation, and these choices should not be made arbitrarily as they are part of your character's identity.
Vana'diel is home to many races of characters, and the player is able to choose from the following races: Tarutaru, Hume, Mithra, Elvaan, or Galka. Each of these races has natural inclinations towards different things, although the overall stat bonuses can be negated by gear choices later in the game, so most people would consider these differences to be negligible. Basically, play whatever race you like the best! Here are the races' inherent differences:
- Hume have very general, well-rounded stats. Like humans in most other games, they are the standard by which all of the other races have their strengths and weaknesses defined. They look like humans, and generally reflect human behavior and temperament. Due to their inherently unbiased stat distribution, Humes can play any job very well, but won’t excel in any aspect of any job. This just means that they can adapt to the various aspects of any job easier than other races. This race is the best for someone who isn't sure what they want to play.
- Elvaan have the highest strength and mind in the game, but lower intelligence, agility, and dexterity. They also have great vitality and HP, but lower MP. Elvaan are a tall race with pointy ears and generally ‘chiselled’ stature. They are very noble and are strong in their beliefs.
- Tarutaru appear child-like of stature, but don't let that fool you. While Tarutaru have by far the lowest vitality and health in the game, they make up for this by also having by far the highest mana and spell casting stats. They're not known for being on the front lines, but that doesn't mean that they can't hold their own in melee combat. They are often viewed as being a little eccentric and playful.
- Mithra are a entirely female race of cat-like people. They sport the highest agility and dexterity in the game, but their charisma and vitality are not the highest. They make well-rounded casters as they have good baseline health and mana, but they excel as thieves or ninjas due to having an agility and dexterity advantage.
- Galka are an entirely male race of hulking beasts. They are much larger than all of the other races in stature, and they excel in the martial arts and laborous activities. Galka sport the lowest mana and charisma, but have by far the highest strength and vitality, making them natural tanks and fighters. As a race, they are a hardy, hard-working folk who believe very strongly in their nation.
The Three Nations
The three nations of Vana'diel are at constant ends for conquest of the world, and as such are not necessarily friends. Although the three nations do often work together and have consulates for one another in each of them, the nature of this contract is fragile and seems to only exist as all three nations face the same threat: the beastmen that surround their walls. Here is the background on each one.
This kingdom of proud Elvaan warriors is situated to the north of the Quon continent and was built on the ashes of a brutal civil war. It has been ruled by a succession of kings from the d'Oraguille royal family for a span of more than five hundred years. The kingdom's capital of San d'Oria is a walled city defended by two orders of knights: the Royal Knights, who patrol the country's borders and seek to expand its territories, and the Temple Knights, responsible for protecting the city itself and maintaining domestic tranquility.
San d'Oria is known for the crafting guilds within its walls, it houses the main Woodworking and Leatherworking guilds. It also hosts a branch of the Blacksmith's guild.
- Elvaan players starting in San d'Oria will recieve a San d'Orian Ring upon creating their characters.
A nation founded by the technologically gifted Humes. The president, elected from among the Hume population every few years, takes an active role in leading the government. Bastok was originally built on the wealth gained from the mining of mythril, a precious metal. But with recent developments in metal refining and processing techniques, Bastok has become famous as a craftsman's town. The southern area of the city is home to many Galka, a race of hulking humanoids.
The Galka settled in Bastok after their homeland was ravaged by the Antican race. They have made valuable contributions to the expansion of the mines, but despite this, there is a deep-seated tension and class divide between the Galka and the Humes due to certain inequalities in pay and labor expectation. Surrounding the city of Bastok is the inhospitable Gustaberg region, an unforgiving land of sparse vegetation.
Bastok also houses the main hubs for various crafting guilds, including Goldsmithing, Alchemy, and Blacksmithing.
- Hume and Galka players starting in Bastok will recieve a Bastokan Ring upon creating their characters.
Tribes of Tarutaru from the sweeping grasslands and neighboring islands of southern Mindartia united to form this league of states. It is governed by a council of representatives from the five ministries of magic, legacies of the five founding tribes. Their decisions are based on the prophecies of the mystic Star Sibyl who resides in the fabled Heaven's Tower.
In one section of the city live the Mithra, a race of natural hunters whose skills have brought a new source of wealth to Windurst. The capital, Windurst City, is a thriving city of magic and trade. Centered around a giant tree of unknown origin, it can barely be imagined that 20 years ago it was leveled in the war. The Federation itself is surrounded by the vast fields of Sarutabaruta (an ancient Tarutaru word for "land of prophecy"), a wild grassland home to many unique species of plants.
Windurst is home to the Boneworking guild, as well as the Cooking and Clothcraft guild. They also house the Fishing guild on their docks, making Windurst the most appealing city to be in as a crafter.
- Tarutaru and Mithra players starting in Windurst will recieve a Windurstian Ring upon creating their characters.
If you've played a Final Fantasy game before, you'll be familiar with the job system. In Final Fantasy XI, instead of having to start a new character to play a new job, you can level all of the jobs on one character! When you start out you will only have 6 jobs available, but after you reach level 30 in one of the base jobs, you'll be able to go on quests to unlock "advanced" jobs. Switching between jobs does not erase your progress, so you can play any job at any time!
Additionally, once you reach level 18, you will be able to start a quest so that you can unlock the ability to set a "subjob." Subjobs are secondary jobs that you are able to have set, and they can be set to any job you've leveled up. They will always be scaled down to half the level of your "main" job, but you gain all of the abilities that would be appropriate for whatever level the subjob is. For instance, as a Warrior you learn Berserk at level 15. If you set your subjob to Warrior on your level 29 Thief, you won't have Berserk, but once your Thief levels up to 30, you'll gain access to Berserk even as a Thief! Subjobs are a fundamental part of Final Fantasy XI, and as such you'll spend a lot of time learning which ones mix and match together the best.
Below will be a synopsis of the six starter jobs, and a short list of the advance jobs that are available to you later. I don't want to go into too much detail about the advance jobs, if you'd like to learn more about those, please visit this page to learn about them.
Warrior is an all-around great fighting class. They are the only job that knows how to taunt their enemies, which makes them great at tanking. They can also equip the biggest variety of weapons in the game, so this makes them a good job for someone who is interested in being the focus of groups while leveling up. Later on in the game they transition into focusing more on dealing raw damage instead of tanking, but in the early levels they're the best tanks in the game! You should pick this class if you want a great all-around melee job.
Warrior's main weapons are Sword/Shield, Great Axe, and One-Handed Axe. They can also equip every other weapon in the game except Katana and Great Katana, although their skill in the rest of the weapons varies.
Warriors benefit from having Monk as their subjob. This gives you access to the ability "Boost," which enhances the damage of your next attack, and also generates a lot of aggro against whatever you're fighting. Later on once you've got advance jobs, you'll also use Ninja and Samurai as subjobs quite often.
Players who choose Warrior when they create their character will start off with an Onion Sword in their inventory.
Monk is a damage dealing job that specializes in hand-to-hand combat. They are one of the easiest jobs to play, and as such are very new-player friendly. Monk's main advantage is that it deals consistent damage and has great weapon skill damage. They're also pretty defensively solid, making them a great class to learn the mechanics of the game on.
Monks specialize in using fist weapons. They also get Martial Arts traits, which enhance their melee ability when they are using their fists. As you level up, so will your Martial Arts traits, meaning the higher level you go, the more kung fu you learn. Eventually you will even ascend past simply fighting with your fists, and you'll start using kick attacks too!
Monks benefit from having the Warrior subjob as it boosts their combat abilities by giving them access to abilities like Provoke and Double Attack. Later on you'll also likely need a Ninja subjob for survivability, since Monk does a lot of raw damage and will pull aggro off of tanks a lot.
Thieves are a melee class that excel at doing burst damage using their abilities "Sneak Attack" and "Trick Attack." These abilities are position-dependent, and as such Thieves excel in a party setting. When you combine the two abilities with weapon skills and good teamwork, a Thief can do the highest burst damage of any melee class.
Thieves specialize in using Daggers, although they are also adept with Swords and fighting with Fist Weapons too. They also have the highest evasion in the game, making them excellent at going toe-to-toe with tough monsters.
Thief has a lot of options for subjob. Early on you'll want either Monk or Warrior to buff your combat abilities, and later on you'll want Ninja for dual wielding and sometimes Ranger for tracking monsters. Monk is especially useful early on since fist weapons are great with Sneak Attack.
Black Mage is the premier damage dealing magician. They are masters of elemental magic, and are also adept in dark magic and enfeebling magic.
There's not much to write about Black Mage that can't be summarized by "bringers of magical pain." They are adept in Clubs, Staves, and a few scythes as melee weapons, although obviously this is not their focus. Your main stat is Intelligence, as it dictates how much damage your offensive spells do.
Black Mage benefits from having either Red Mage or White Mage as a subjob, which is great since these are both starter jobs. You can also sub Ninja later on for more survivability and the ability to dual-wield clubs that give a lot of intelligence.
White Mage is the main healing class in XI. They have the highest Mind stat of all of the classes, which is the stat that determines how much heals will heal for. They are also adept at enfeebling enemies and they are the class with the highest Divine magic skill, allowing them to cast spells like Banish and Holy for high damage. They are a great choice for new players looking to play as a supportive class.
White Mage excels in melee using clubs. They are the only job in the game that can learn the most powerful club ability, Hexa Strike, and as such this makes them pretty useful when hammer time comes around. Although they don't learn this ability until much later in on the levels, it is worth noting that this makes White Mage a very decent job to solo farm on once you get it, where many other mages tend to struggle with farming due to not having the best offensive abilities once their mana runs out.
White Mage benefits from having Black Mage as a subjob. This offers you access to enfeebling spells that you otherwise wouldn't have, such as Blind and Silence, both of which can be very useful when leveling up. Later on you may also find it useful to sub Red Mage or even Summoner, as these two subjobs offer unique abilities like Dispel and Auto-Refresh.
Players who start as White Mage from character creation will start the game with an Onion Club and a scroll of Cure in their inventory.
Red Mage is the jack of all trades, master of none. It offers you a mix of everything, including spells to enchant your weapons with for melee, black magic, and white magic alike. They're known for their defensive magic and their enfeebling skills primarily, although you'll find that Red Mages can adapt well to basically whatever scenario you put them in.
Red Mage's main weapons are swords. They have spells like Enthunder, which adds lightning elemental damage to each of your melee hits. This makes soloing with them a breeze. They are also proficient in daggers and staves.
Red Mage requires a lot of different subjobs since it can do a lot of different things. Depending on the scenario, you could find yourself subbing white mage, black mage, ninja, or even blue mage. Since the job is so flexible, the more options you have, the better!