The last phase of the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn beta begins in just a few short days. If you haven't already done so, check out our server selection article and strategic preview. They'll give you the low down on a few important server details, as well as some quick tips on selecting a class and where to begin your adventure. In addition, if you haven't downloaded the character creation benchmark, make sure to do so to get a jump on creating the character you'll be spending the next few weeks, months, or even years with.
When you first install the game, you'll need a Square Enix account to get things going. If you don't already have one, be sure to head over to the site and create a free account. There will probably be a few day one patches that need to be downloaded, so make sure you start the process as soon as possible. You don't want to be ready to play only to have to wait an hour for patches to download and install (it may not be an hour, but you never know).
Once you're actually in the client and ready to go, you'll need to create your character. If you're a Legacy player, your old character will be selectable at this point. However, you'll still have the option to create a new character. If you saved a created character from the benchmark, a preview phase of the beta, or the original version of the game, you can load that character, confirm your "date of birth" and guardian deity, select your class of choice, and a first and last name. The last name is required, but you have a bit of room to work with. Your first and last name individually can be a maximum of 15 characters, however there's a total limit of 20 characters for the two names combined. Lock down your name and head into the game. If you haven't done this, take your time in creating a character. You'll probably be looking at it for a long time to come.
The class you select determines which city you start in. However, all three city scenarios begin in a similar manner. As you make your way toward the city in a cutscene, you're group is attacked. Luckily you're saved and make your way into the city. Before you can do too much, you'll need to speak with the NPC standing close by. He'll expand your knowledge of the basic game systems and instruct you to head into the Adventurer's Guild to speak to another NPC. Upon doing so, you'll accept your first main storyline quest and finally see other adventurer's (before this point you can only see NPCs). You'll need to return to this NPC frequently to continue the main storyline quests in the early part of the game.
With the initial NPC discussions completed, you're now free to do what you like. Any NPC with a question mark over their head is offering a quest. Completing quests will earn gil (in-game currency), equipment and experience points. There's also a quest log to help you keep track of everything and let you know where to go for the next leg of your quest. If your current class if going to be your go-to class for awhile, accept as many quests as possible to get your class leveled up as quickly as possible. If you're still deciding on which class you wish to main, you may want to head outside and do battle with some random enemies. It won't take long to get your character up to level 4 or 5 so you have general a idea if you want to stick with it or not.
Make sure to stop by the designated guild for your class. There's a series of quests that you'll need to complete before you can change classes at level 10. This includes changing to a Disciple of the Land or Hand class (essentially the crafting and gathering classes). It's important to make sure you have that quest line completed as quickly as possible whether you wish to continue playing as your initial class selection or not.
Within a few hours of playing, you should be able to hit level 10, complete the class quest and have the freedom to change classes whenever you wish. Any time you want to try a new class, you don't need to change characters like you would in most other MMORPGs. Instead, all you need to do is change to the weapon of the class you want to play. For example, if you want to change o a Gladiator, you would equip a sword. Likewise, if you want to change to a Weaver, equip a needle. You don't even have to buy your first weapon for a new class. Simply go to the guild for the class you wish to play (which may be in another city), and speak to one of the NPCs behind the main counter. If you've completed the level 10 class quest, the NPC will give you the weapon of that respective class and you'll be able to change classes right then and there.
You may also want to level up to 15 as quickly as possible while you're exploring the various classes. At level 15 you can complete a quest to obtain the ability to use an airship. This makes it much easier to traverse between the various cities. As you travel, make sure to touch every aetheryte crystal so you can teleport to that location with ease in the future. If you need to log out while you're away from a city, make sure you do so around an aetheryte crystal so you gain a small XP bonus when you log back in.
With all of this information, your first few hours of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn should go fairly smooth. Take this time to learn the game and make friends because you'll need them down the line. You don't need to worry about partying until you reach level 10 and start doing guildhests, which require a party to complete. Think of them like more elaborate quests that offer experience points and gil. Stay tuned to Prima Games as we cover a wide range of Final Fantasy XIV topics in the coming weeks.