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You will find this board is very helpful to newcomers, and after reading through this guide if you have additional questions or would like personalized advice please make a help topic and many of the vets will jump in to assist.
Top 10 New Player Tips
1) "S/L" is the single best strategy in the game. This refers to force-closing the app mid battle, then choosing to continue upon re-opening the game. The current round will be reset allowing you a fresh chance against your opponent without costing you stamina. Very helpful in the following situations: A character is killed; Your mage gets silenced; Boss hits you with a devastating attack before you got up your mitigation; etc. Use and abuse this tactic. You should never have to take the "Revive" ability with you because of this. (note-this cannot change the drops from enemies - those are fixed)
2) Leverage Synergy. Characters get synergy when used in their native realms. A level 20 Rydia will have the stats of a level 30 Rydia in FF IV stages. Pretty nice early on, but diminishing returns at higher levels. More important than character synergy is equipment synergy. Your gear will get massive stat boosts when used in the corresponding realm based on its level. Expect synergy to increase stats between 60% all the way to 220% on fully upgraded, combined, and reforged gear.
That said, you can use your 3* gear as “upgrade fodder” to increase stats of any 5* relics you pull, but you should hold on to all of your 4* gear with the intention to eventually combine and fully upgrade it later. Sell all your 1* and 2* equipment.
3) Build your relic pool early doing 11x draws As soon as you have 50 mithril do an 11x draw on one of the current event banners. If there is a “Lucky Draw” banner (half priced at 25 mithril for 11x draw), that should be your first priority, the Lucky Draws appear at least once a month coinciding with Dungeon Updates and last a few weeks. Only spend mithril on drawing relics for now, and only do 11x draws as these guarantee you at least one 5* (or higher) relic. If you see multiple banners and are unsure of where to draw, consult the board. Note “Newcomer Welcome Relic Draws”, despite being half priced, should be avoided.
4) Buffs, De-Buffs, and Mitigation are more important in this game than in all FF games combined. "The best offense is a good defense" perfectly defines the strategy you need to be successful in this game. To beat the hardest content you typically need multiple layers of mitigation (i.e., Protectga + Sentinel's Grimoire (SG) + Shellga), multiple buffs on your team (Shout + Vessel of Fate) and multiple De-Buffs on the enemy (Full Break + Magic Breakdown + Power Breakdown).
These skills will define the abilities you will want to hone first, the relics you try to chase, and the roaming warriors you select.
5) The relics you pull will define your team. Your ‘dream team’ may be Golbez, Cloud, Lightning, Vivi, and Squall, but in reality, your team is going to be chosen for you by the relics you draw. I have no idea who Alphinaud is, but I can assure you he will absolutely demolish bosses should you pull his “Veil of Wiyu” relic. Any Burst Soul Break (BSB), Ultra Soul Break (USB), or Overstrike Soul Break (OSB) you pull early on should earn the character who wields the relic an immediate spot on your team.
6) The right Roaming Warrior (RW) is often the difference between success and failure. Early on you can pretty much obliterate bosses using powerful offensive RWs, especially if hitting an elemental weakness with the proper OSB you could be dealing up to 99,999 damage each of the two uses. Once you get near the 140 difficulty level instead of offensive RW you will need to rely on defensive/support RWs such as Tyro’s “Sentinel’s Grimoire” (200% Def and Res to the party, stacks with Protectga and Shellga) or Ramza’s “Shout” (Full party Haste and ATK+50%).
There are many more utility Soul Breaks to consider for your RW, but those two are a good place to start.
*Note that for most physical RW’s the row of the party member triggering it will matter. Using an OSB like Cloud’s Finishing Touch from the back row will result in half damage. The stats of your party member will not impact the initial RW damage dealt, though if using a BSB the stats for using the follow-up burst commands will only be based on the character who summoned the RW. Therefore, don’t use a magic based BSB on a physical fighter on your team and vice-a-versa.
7) Learn when to re-apply buffs and de-buffs. How long does Power Break last? What about Protect? Sentinels' Grimoire?
Unfortunately, except for status effects like Blind, Haste, Silence, etc, you rarely get any visual indications on when Buffs expire. Taking an unmitigated hit for 2,000 HP is usually how you find out, and not ideal.
Listing the timing on all of them would be overwhelming, so for now just focus on the most important buffs and de-buffs:
-Protect & Shell - 35 seconds + 3s for every 100 Mind (recast every 6+ turns)
-Breaks/Breakdowns - 15s (recast every 3rd turn)
-Sentinel's Grimoire - 25s (recast every 6 turns)
8) Spend your Growth Eggs liberally. There is no need to horde Growth Eggs early on, which are pretty easy to come by as rewards from the Weekly Event and especially the Raid Dungeon Normal Boss (i.e., Multiplayer Battles). In fact, clearing the Normal Raid boss should be one of your first priorities as you will get 5x Major Growth Eggs, which is equal to 1.25 million experience – enough to instantly take a level 1 character to level 50. Cloud and Tyro should be the first two characters you max to 50, for reasons explained below, followed by whichever character you get your first BSB/OSB/USB relic(s).
Additionally, completing each of the three “Newcomers’ Dungeons” will earn you 3,465,000 experience from Growth Eggs as completion/Mastery rewards, enough to take 3 characters from level 1 to level 80.
9) Consult the Weekly Strategy Topics. Dr Mog will give you some tips on beating the bosses, but regularly leaves out key information and the tips are very limited (and occasionally flat out wrong). The community on this board picks up the slack for Dr Mog. Keep your eye out for topics titled “General Information + Elite Boss Tips” for a complete breakdown of each weekly event including the boss weaknesses, HP, and advanced strategies. There will be a similar companion topic for the Multiplayer Raid bosses as well.
10) Get ‘Mako Might’ and ‘Dr Mog Teachings’ Record Materias (RM) as soon as possible. These are the 3rd RMs for Cloud and Tyro. What is a record materia and why are these a priority? Consult the “Best RM” section of the FAQ’s below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What abilities are best? How do I spend my orbs?
Below is a list of what I consider essential abilities everyone should start out with. I listed the general honing goal, usually Rank 3 (R3), though you should stick to the mantra "only craft what you need" and "only hone what you need".
-Curaga R4 -or- Renewing Cure R4, good 3* healing abilities until you can craft the stronger Curaja
-Magic and Power Break R3 – excellent filler abilities for combat users until you get the stronger breakdowns
-Protectga and Shellga. At first can leave to R1 as two castings for a boss is usually enough, but honing to R2 later can be helpful for the tougher elite stages. Don't ever hone past R2. These are two of the most important abilities in the game and should be crafted as soon as possible.
-Ruinga R3 - This is a powerful AOE (area of effect - hits everyone) spell that deals non-elemental damage. It can be extremely useful clearing the tougher enemy mobs in Elites and farming the daily dungeons.
-Lifesiphon R3 - Quickly build your Soul Break gauge while dealing decent damage. A must have once you snag a strong combat SSB/BSB/OSB for yourself. One of the few abilities recommended to duplicate
-Power and Magic Breakdown - Stronger than the Breaks (40% and 50% vs 30%), these can be used by fewer character (need Support 4*) but will be very useful. R3 for both of them.
-Full Break R2 - This is the first "must have" 5* ability, as it stacks with the weaker Breaks/Breakdowns and typically fulfills most (if not all) of the medal conditions for later bosses.
Pay Attention to the medal requirements for bosses. This will guide you on additional abilities you may need to craft. You may be required to remove Protect from a boss, so you will want either the 3* White Magic ability Dispel or the 4* Knight Ability Banishing Strike. You may need to lower an enemies attack, and if you don’t have Full Break yet, you would want Armor Break, etc.
These are the basic abilities you will continue to use no matter what your party composition looks like for the foreseeable future. You will want to branch out and craft abilities specific to the class of characters you work with, especially to hit elemental weaknesses, status vulnerabilities, etc. There are a lot of options you have but you won’t know whether to focus on class specific skills like Machinist, Knight, Black Magic, etc until you have pulled a few relics.
It will be better for you to focus on having all the recommend 3* and 4* skills above adequately honed - even if it means shattering the 5* orbs you may win along the way - before you look towards the 5* abilities.
Do not hesitate to convert your Major Orbs into Greater Orbs (via Upgrades & Inventory > Orb Exchange) to quickly get abilities like Protectga and Shellga. Keep in mind it costs 15,000 gil per Major Orb you shatter.
What should I focus on? Events? Story Dungeons?
Stamina management is key to making progress in this game, and with so many competing events it can be overwhelming to know where to focus your limited stamina.
Generally, the priority is:
1) Timed event just about to end (clear as many of the mithril and other rewards as you can before it goes away for good). As soon as you start playing you should take note of all the events and their closing dates to plan accordingly.
2) Realm dungeons. You want to continuously raise your stamina bar and build your mithril stash. Note – for one week per month, when the latest Dungeon Update (DU) drops the stamina cost for Story Dungeons is cut in half. You can and should burn through these during this time. Be sure to pay attention to your stamina shards. Every 5th shard you earn (visible under your stamina gauge) will re-fill your stamina completely. Early Realm Dungeons give several shards, often 4 at a time. Try to time your 5th shard you earn when your stamina is as low as possible to maximize the benefit of the refill, even if it means just clearing a single round of the normal daily dungeon.
3) 1st Time Clear of a Daily Dungeon - Get the one time only rewards (gil, gyshal greens, and orbs), you can farm these routinely much later. Priority goes towards getting any specific Greater and Major Orbs needed to craft an essential ability.
4) Experience Daily Dungeon - Excellent way to power level characters and master Soul Breaks.
5) Timed events not closing soon, but you don’t want to be in a situation where they expire in a few hours and you have no stamina.
6) Farming daily dungeons - When all else is completed, you will be farming the dailies
7) Clearing the guardian bosses in the Nightmare dungeons. There are 4 guardian bosses for each Nightmare boss. The first will reward you a Soul of Hero (recruit any character you want), the second a Memory Crystal 1 (Break first level cap for anyone at level 50), the third an MC2 (Break second level cap for a character at level 65), and the fourth a 6* major element resist. The first two bosses can usually be killed easily by low level teams with the right OSB RW.
8) After a month or two, depending on your progress, you can start tackling the Nightmare Bosses themselves which unlock the majority of the 6* abilities. Note that all of these are “gimmick fights” which have very strict rules to complete them, more like a puzzle than a regular boss you are used to. There is a wealth of information on the board in overcoming these, but best to ignore for now.
***In the rare instance there is an "Orb Fest" (limited farming dungeon with huge amounts of Gil, Orbs, and Experience), that is bumped to #2 behind "Event about to end"
How should I spend my mithril?
To reiterate above - at first you should only use mithril only to draw relics. Only do 11x draws! This guarantees you get at least one 5* relic. Never do single/triple draws. Ever. As a new player you want to do a few 11x draws until you get a good selection of relics, as your goal is to be able to clear the weekly Ultimate boss as quickly as possible. Long time players will be talking about hoarding mithril, but you, as a new player, have 700+ mithril to farm in the Realm Dungeons on top of the ~110/month allotment everyone else gets. And remember, Lucky Draws (if available) get priority.
Eventually once you get a good set of gear you can start holding on to your mithril and saving for certain hyped banners (like a "Celebration” banner).
(edited 1 year ago)
Later you will start using mithril to increase your inventory, and there may times (usually only during an Orb Fest) you may even want to do stamina refreshes - but that should only be done once you are probably in the 120-140 stamina range.
And finally, under no circumstances should you ever use a mithril to heal between rounds of a dungeon. Why this option even exists is a mystery.
*IF* you really want to do this, it is far better to just play until you die and then use a mithril to revive your party. This way not only do you get fully healed with restored abilities, you also get a random boost to your party (additional HP, 10% ATK buff, +2 ability uses, etc). You also keep your built up soul gauges.
Under certain circumstances, it may actually be wise to purposefully die at a very tough boss if you are confident a mithril revive can allow you to beat it - though if you feel this is the case best to post your setup and options available in a separate thread or in the weekly boss tips thread.
What abilities Stack? Does Power Break stack with Power Breakdown?
No, and, it's a bit complicated.
Now that you hopefully realize how important buffs, de-buffs, and mitigation are, it is equally important to learn how they work with each other. Stacking them together is essential, but the game doesn't do a great job of making it clear which ones stack and which overwrite each other. There is a general rule of thumb "If they do the same thing, they overwrite, if they do different things, they stack". That is pretty useful (though unfortunately, not 100% true all the time).
What you should know are the basics:
-Protectga and Shellga WILL stack with Sentinels Grimoire (SG) as Pro/Shell are an effect whereas SG is a buff.
-Paladin Cecil's default Soul Break "Rampart" however will overwrite Sentinel's Grimoire with a much weaker buff as they both do the same thing (buff DEF and RES)
-Breaks and Breakdowns both affect only one stat each. If you use Power Breakdown, which lowers ATK by 40% and then use Power Break which lowers by 30%, the Breakdown is overwritten. Don't ever bring the same Break and Breakdown to a battle unless you are low on hones for the Breakdown.
-A soul break (Like Agrias' Cleansing Strike) which affects two stats at the same time will stack with a Break -or- Breakdown. Additionally, the 5* ability "Full Break" will stack with both Cleansing Strike and a regular Break since Full Break affects 4 stats. Taking it even further, a “Hyper Break” Soul Break (reduces the 4 from Full Break + Mind) will stack with all of those!
-The very useful Soul Break "Shout" (Party gets 50% ATK buff + Hastega) may appear to do two things, however, the ATK buff counts as a single thing. Therefore using the much weaker 1* ability "Boost" would overwrite the 50% ATK buff. Additionally several other characters have Soul Breaks that boost ATK by 30%, using those after using Shout would overwrite.
What are the best Record Materias (RM)?
A character can equip a “record materia” after breaking the first level cap (50). These give various effects to the user such as boosting damage, auto-haste, etc. Each character can learn between 3 and 4 RM’s, but only one may be equipped at a time, and all are interchangeable between other characters. There are hundreds of RM’s out there, but only a fraction are relevant. It is recommended you focus first on acquiring these:
1) Tyro and Cloud after breaking their 2nd level cap can learn "Dr Mog Teaching" and "Mako Might" - both of which give 1 full SB gauge at the start of battle. These are the two best RMs in the game. It is strongly recommend you make obtaining these a priority. This means dumping any growth eggs into them and using your first MC1 and MC2 on these characters. Once you obtain their RM’s you can kick them from your party assuming you didn’t pick up any great relics for them in the meantime.
2) Battleforged (Ramza) and Ace Striker (Tidus) quickly fill SB gauge and very helpful when you have a BSB you want to spam, Magic Blink, Debuffs, etc.
3) There are currently 5 RMs which have a chance (20% or 40%) to double experience. Cid (VII), Relm, Onion Knight, Palom and Luneth. Great for Exp Daily Dungeons and Orbfests. Cid’s is the easiest to obtain as you only need to break his level cap once, Luneth’s requires him to be at level 99 though it is double the chance, 40% compared to 20% of doubling experience compared to the other 4. Getting at least 3 of these is a wise investment, especially before the next Orb Fest.
Those are the basics, there are around two dozen “must haves” that will take considerably more effort to acquire, but those are a great place to start.
Note – You probably noticed the locked “Legend Materia” slots next to the Record Materia. You can ignore that for now.
Essential Acronyms & Nomenclature:
We use a lot of shorthand around here, here are a few of the more important terms to remember:
SSB/BSB/OSB/CSB/USB/LMR – Refers to 5 tiers of Soul Breaks + Legend Materia Relics, all of which provide a permanent +10 stat boost to the character.
-SSB = Super Soul Break. These are an older tier of Soul Breaks which typically deal some decent damage or have nice buffs, occasionally a combination of the two. Most of them have been powercreeped out of relevance save for SSB’s like Ramza Shout.
-BSB = Burst Soul Break. After the opener the user is placed into “Burst” mode, getting a stat buff, Haste, and getting Burst Commands to replace their Attack and Defend commands. These are fantastic for dealing sustained damage, or, in the case of a healer BSB, spamming AOE Cure to your party. As soon as you pick up your first BSB you will want to add that person to your roster.
-OSB = Overstrike Soul Break. These are powerful single shot attacks capable of breaking the damage cap. With the right exploitation of weaknesses these can hit for 99,999 damage. Most bosses under 140 difficulty can be quickly killed with these.
-CSB = Chain Soul Break. These are the rarest of the relics, and not terribly useful to a new player. They active ate an elemental chain, which for the duration of the chain will allow attacks of the corresponding element to deal additional damage.
-USB = Ultra Soul Break. Super Soul Breaks on steroids. While they lack the damage cap of OSB (aside from Clouds USB) or the Burst Mode of a BSB, these feature great combinations of healing, boosts, status effects, etc
-LMR = Legend Materia Relic. These grant Legend Materia – similar to Record Materia but cannot be transferred between characters. The passive abilities they grant are typically only useful if you have another strong relic for the same characters.
SG/Wall/SSII = Interchangeable terms to describe the Unique Soul Breaks wielded by only Tyro and Y’Shtola (Sentinels’ Grimoire and Stoneskin II, respectively). This will drastically reduce damage your team takes and is often one of the best RW choices once you have a team capable of tackling U++ fights and beyond.
Boostga/Faithga/Hastega – Boostga refers to getting a full party ATK buff, Faithga a full party magic buff, and Hastega is giving the whole party Haste. All three are critical in team building, and ideally you want relics which cover one or more of these in your team. Ramza Shout is Boostga (50%) + Hastega. Onion Knight’s “Vessel of Fate” is Boostga (30%) AND Faithga (30%) AND
Hastega AND provides Burst mode on top of that. There are dozens of ways to get these coveted effects on your team.
Medica – Refers to full party Cure/Curaga/Curaja
AOE – Area of Effect. Refers to abilities that hit all enemies or all your characters. Ramza’s “Shout” has AOE Haste (aka “Hastega”). The 4* Black Mage spell Ruinga deals AOE damage, as do most Summons. You hear this a lot because many coveted abilities only have AOE effects in Soul Break form. You won’t find a White Magic ability to give full party Cure, that is only possible through Soul Breaks and/or Burst commands. Same with Boost, Faith, Haste, etc.
Retaliate Meta / Drawtaliate - The "Retaliate" strategy is extremely effective for newer players. Retaliate is a 2* Samurai ability, typically used by Cloud as he is one of the easiest characters to earn when you are a new player who can used Retaliate. The skill causes any physical attack to miss the user, who will then counter attack for 100% damage.
The way to exploit the skill is to have your own team attack Cloud (while in retaliate status) - their attacks will miss cloud, and he will counter the enemies instead of your own team. This is a great way to have mages, who are limited in their abilities to contribute damage to a battle in between casting spells, or have generally weaker physical characters deal more damage.
Ways to improve upon this easy to use strategy:
-Using Double Cut ability or Record Materia (RM). Double Cut is a very good early 2* skill, it gives you two hits, each at 90% (a bit lower for the RM version). However, if you attack someone in retaliate status with Double Cut, they will counterattack twice, both hits at 100%. The RM version can be useful to give to a Mage since they don't access to Combat abilities. Double Cut RM can be dropped from Josef and Sazh.
-"Drawtaliate" - Pair "Retaliate" with the Knight Skill "Draw Fire" - Draw Fire directs ALL enemy regular physical attacks to the user (who also gains a DEF Buff). Now you will absorb all attacks, which will miss, and then you will counter. Certain bosses who spam only regular physical attacks can be completely dominated with this. Unfortunately, very few characters have access to both Samurai and Knight abilities.
There are tons more abbreviations you will hear tossed around, often times simply shorthand for basic abilities (i.e., PBD for Power Breakdown) which may confuse, but just ask if reading a thread and the terms don’t click.
Any more questions? Make a thread!
sticky requested 2 posts in.....
Space for rent........
FFRK- Character SB List: https://goo.gl/C3Nktf
Regarding inventory, it pays to invest in the vault - while you cannot directly access gear in the vault (you have to take it out and put it in the main inventory), if you can cope with shifting gear around you can save valuable mythril by spending on it rather than main inventory slots as you get more vault slots per mythril than main inventory
Trash 1/2* gear or feed it to other gear but due to the vault, do not be afraid to save 3* or 4* gear - a 3*++ equals a 5* unique relic (multiple copies of an identical gear item can be fused - level up one, fuse it to the other, level this to max then fuse the last copy - fusion needs a maximum levelled gear)
As to accessories, be merciless - 3* and lower accesories are quickly overshadowed unless they have a resist to element/status so don't be afraid to destroy these once they become useless
As to abilities, spend mythril for storage (you cannot vault spare abilities) or conversely get used to shattering uneeded abilities and remaking them should it be needed (in my opinion, only 1/2 and some 3* abilities should be shattered for space due to ease and low cost of remaking and honing)
(Good work on the guide, just adding this as with the upcoming events/draws, new player inventory management can be a nightmare)
"Or maybe you're the chosen one. More likely the glutton for punishment though..." - Raz
PSN ID: BurstOrion