Shadowbringers Preparation

With Patch 4.56 being the final major content patch of Stormblood and Shadowbringers on the horizon, it’s never too early to start preparing for the next expansion. Early Access starts Friday, June 28th at 2:00 AM PDT, meaning you have three months to prepare. This guide will detail all the things you as a player should be doing to best prepare yourself for when the time comes. The list will be separated into categories, featuring things that you should do or are highly recommended, then optional preparations underneath. Content links will lead to the consolegameswiki site, where unlock details will be given. This guide assumes you already have one class to 70 and have finished the Stormblood MSQ, but if you have not you should finish it.

There will be spoilers ahead, so be warned.

Main Scenario Quest

COMPLETE THE MAIN SCENARIO QUEST!!

This is the only must-do on the list. Completion of the Main Scenario Quest is required to unlock new content and progress in FFXIV, and Shadowbringers will be no exception. You will need to have completed the final quest in 4.56, A Requiem for Heroes, in order to accept the first MSQ in 5.0. If you still have MSQ that you need to do, this handy dandy pop-up will show you.

If you are a new player, you will need to have completed all quests from 2.0 - 2.55, 3.0 - 3.56, and 4.0 - 4.56. This list shows you all the quests you need to complete in order to start the Shadowbringers MSQ. You can purchase a character boost from the Mog Station that places you at the beginning of 4.0, which is recommended if you want to jump into the newest content right away.

Complete Combat Content Unlocking Side Quests
While Square Enix always introduces roulettes and quests that allow old content to remain relevant, it’s in your best interest to do relevant content sooner rather than later. Here is the battle content you should aim to unlock and complete:

Older content that you can unlock and do now during the downtime include:

Complete Other Side Quests
There are a multitude of side quests in the overworld of FFXIV. Completion will net you some decent rewards, as well as being able to clear all the quest markers off your minimap. Of particular note are the Beast Tribe Quests, which reward players with experience and rare items. There are two combat Beast Tribes in Stormblood, the Kojin and the Ananta, and one crafter/gatherer Beast Tribe, the Namazu. Other side quests include the Doman Enclave and the Paths We Walk.

Leveling

GET YOUR MAIN JOBS TO LEVEL 70!!

Shadowbringers will be raising the level cap to 80. This means that for every job not at 70, it will be more difficult to level them, especially if everyone is busy doing the new content as the old content to level to 70 will not be populated for a while.

General leveling advice

  • Stack as many EXP boosts as you can. The following mainly applies to Disciples of War and Magic.
    • As always, the Armoury bonus grants 100% bonus EXP for jobs under 60 and 50% bonus EXP for jobs from 60-70.
    • Rested EXP accumulates when you are in a sanctuary. It is denoted by a blue bar on your EXP bar, and increases EXP gained by 50%.
    • Any food consumable grants a 3% EXP bonus. For best results it’s a good idea to get one with decent stats and VIT bonus, but any cheap food from a city vendor will do.
    • Certain items give EXP boosts. The only one acquirable in-game is the Brand New Ring, which is a 30% EXP buff for jobs under 30. The Friendship Circlet, a RAF reward, is a 20% EXP buff for jobs under 25. The Ala Mhigan Earring is a 30% EXP buff for jobs 50 and below, while pre-ordering Shadowbringers gets you the Aetheryte Earring, a 30% EXP buff for jobs 70 and below.
    • The Grand Company Action, The Heat of Battle (I/II/III) grants 5%, 10%, and 15% bonus EXP from combat respectively.
    • The Squadron Battle Manual grants 15% bonus EXP, but does not stack with the Heat of Battle.
  • The following applies to Disciples of the Land and Hand.
    • Food grants 3% bonus.
    • Rested EXP does work on DoL/DoH.
    • The Friendship Circlet and Ala Mhigan Earrings can be worn as a DoL/DoH, and their effects apply.
    • The Grand Company Action Helping Hand (I/II/III) increases DoH EXP by 5%, 10%, and 20% respectively, while the action Earth and Water (I/II/III) increases DoL EXP by 5%, 10%, and 20% respectively.
    • The Squadron Engineering Manual increases DoH EXP by 20%, and the Squadron Survival Manual increases DoL EXP by 20%. Neither will stack with the Grand Company Actions.
    • The Company Engineering and Company Survival Manuals greatly increase EXP gained. These are purchaseable with Red Crafters’ or Red Gatherers’ Scrips. These are the strongest buff for leveling, but have a bonus EXP cap.

Leveling DoW/DoM

  • Roulettes are the best source of EXP, followed by dungeons, followed by PotD or HoH. However, the length of DPS queues make Deep Dungeons more efficient after completing roulettes. If you’re leveling a DPS, find healer or tank buddies to mooch queues off of.
  • If you have leveled your squadrons, you can bring them into dungeons from level 15 to 58. These don’t have a queue, and therefore are a great source of EXP.

Leveling DoH/DoL

  • Levequests are the best source of EXP, alongside Grand Company turn-ins and Custom Deliveries which are daily and weekly respectively.
  • The Ixal, Moogle, and Namazu Beast Tribes are daily, and a great source of EXP from 15-50, 50-60, and 60-70 respectively.
  • Collectables can be repeated, and are a decent source of EXP for crafters and amazing for gatherers. They also reward scrips, which can be used to purchase Company Manuals.
  • Otherwise, grinding materials and selling them is the last option for leveling crafters.

Leveling Gunbreaker and Dancer The two new jobs, Gunbreaker (Tank) and Dancer (Ranged Physical DPS) are to be released in 5.0. They will start at Level 60, and must be leveled to 70 if players want to use them in Shadowbringers content.

  • It is likely that Heaven-on-High will be the most efficient way to level the two new jobs in Shadowbringers. This is because most people will be working on the MSQ, and as there is no healer job, tanks and DPS will spend forever in queue for dungeons. Gunbreaker may be able to get by with dungeons post-early access, but Dancers will want to do Fringes FATEs and HoH.
  • If you want to do HoH, it is recommended to get your Empyrean Aetherpool level in HoH to a decent enough level where doing 21-30 repeatedly for EXP will be a breeze.

Gearing

GET TO AT LEAST ITEM LEVEL 385!!
If the pattern continues from Heavensward and Stormblood, the first part of Shadowbringers should be tuned for item level 385. While you’ll be able to purchase i385 vendor gear, having decent gear already will allow you to not worry about upgrades or side-grades, and even potentially turn a good profit selling the gear you’ll receive from the MSQ as a reward. Item level 400 gear should last you until the Level 75 dungeon.

The bare minimum item level you should be is 360, as that is the requirement to enter the final dungeon in the Stormblood MSQ, the Ghimlyt Dark.

How to gear up
There are a few ways to get to iL360 or iL385. Allagan Tomestones of Creations let you purchase iL360 gear, upgradeable to iL370. As these are uncapped, you will be able to reach iL360 fairly quickly. Acquisition of Allagan Tomestones of Genesis is currently capped at 450 per week; these can be traded for iL390 gear. Unlocking Duty Roulette: Expert will be an efficient way to gear up to iL385 and beyond, as it rewards both tomestones as well as iL375 gear from the Ghimlyt Dark.

There are alternative ways to gear up.

  • The final tier of the Omega raid series, Alphascape, rewards tokens that can be traded for iL380 gear with no lockout. A drop from clearing the final fight is also necessary to purchase iL390 weapons with Genesis tomestones.
  • The final raid of Return to Ivalice, the Orbonne Monastery, rewards iL390 left side gear on a weekly lockout, as well as currency that can be exchanged for Scaevan gear (iL390 Genesis) upgrade items.
  • The final zone of Eureka, Hydatos, upgrades gear acquired from the previous zone, Pyros, from iL360 to iL390.
  • Rakshasa iL380 gear can be purchased from the marketboard or crafted.
  • The Wreath of Snakes (Extreme) of the Four Lords series rewards iL395 weapons.
  • Omega: Alphascape (Savage) rewards iL400 gear. Read more about Savage here. This is considered some of the most difficult content in FFXIV and should be fought with a full pre-made party.

Gunbreaker and Dancer
As both Gunbreaker and Dancer will start at 60, it is wise to have gear for them ahead of time if you want to play them at release. If you will be leveling them through Heaven-on-High, you’ll only have to get Level 60 gear (purchaseable with Allagan Tomestones of Poetics) as well as Level 70 gear once you’re done. If you’ll be leveling through dungeons and whatnot it is a good idea to get that iL270 gear, some upgrades along the way, and eventually iL385+ gear once you reach 70 on them. Gunbreaker will share gear with tanks (Fending), and Dancer will share gear with Bard and Machinist (Aiming).

For weapons, it is likely that Level 70 Gunbreaker and Dancer weapons will be able to be added to the game of all sorts. You will be able to acquire an iL390 one with 10 Rowena’s Token: Genesis (100 Allagan Tomestones of Genesis each) and one Military-grade Tomestone, a drop from Alphascape V2.0 (Savage) or traded from 4 drops from Alphascape V4.0. Alternatively, 10 Seiryu totems, 8 Alphascape Datalog V4.0s, or an Omega Weapon Coffer will net you a weapon.

Currencies

Stockpile enough currency such that you will be comfortable going into 5.0.

While Tomestones, Scrips, and Primal totems come and go, Gil stays forever. This section will outline what will happen to the different currencies come 5.0 and how to stockpile them.

Gil
With the World Visit and server rebalancing coming up in late April, items will now be more accessible to everyone in the data centre. In addition, 5.0 will bring about tons of new items and introduce more ways to acquire old ones. Gil is the only currency that has staying power. This will not go into detail on how to make gil, but discuss how much gil you should have and what you should spend it on. If you want to know how to make gil, Shikhu made a good series here.

5 million is the minimum you should be going into the expansion with. That amount will cover basic repairs, teleportation fees, and any miscellaneous gear upgrades or new items you want. If you have stockpiled assets (covered later), such as Aetheryte Tickets and Materia, you could have a bit less. Still, 5 million should be relatively easy to make.

10 million is the more comfortable amount that you should be aiming for. If you do have 10m, you won’t have to worry about anything mentioned above, and can splurge on any new glamours or housing items after a week or two and they become more commonplace.

20 million is where I would consider being safe for an entire raid patch cycle, or two major numbered patches. You’d be able to splurge on basically anything you want at that point, except the rarest of cosmetic items. Food and potions come easy, and you’ll be able to purchase new crafted gear the first week of the patch cycle.

The first few days of the expansion will also be a great time to make gil. Here’s Mr Happy buying my 3 STR pots for 300k. New items will be sought after, and you can make a good buck crafting, acquiring crafting mats, or doing new content and getting lucky with the drops. However, with the amount of players that will be playing, items will be devalued quickly, so you’ll have to strike quick.

Tomestones
It is likely that both Creation and Genesis will be traded for Poetics, and Poetics will be used to buy level 70 gear. You’ll want to cap on both Poetics and Creation come the last week of Stormblood, and get as much Genesis as you can. If any new items are added to the Poetics shop, you’ll get a leg up in purchasing power.

Scrips
It is currently unknown what is happening with scrips. Previously, Blue Scrips were retired, and Red Scrips were kept, while Yellow Scrips were introduced. Most likely, one of the current scrips is being kept, one retired (but you can still trade it in for the other), and a new one added. Stockpile scrips just in case, as there are some nifty items that can be bought with them.

Primal Totems
Primal weapons for the two new jobs will be added. This means that keeping some for the new jobs will give you new glamour, if you choose to play them. Otherwise, they can be kept and used as Grand Company seal fodder, or desynthesis fodder down the road.

Materials

The materials and materia that will be used in Shadowbringers will most likely change, however we will have no idea until the patch notes actually drop. Keeping items just to speculate on them is completely random, and relies on pure dumb luck. So what should you be keeping?

  • Dungeon/raid gear that can be turned in for Grand Company Seals: you never know when they’re going to make GC seals and the materials you get from them relevant again. 3.4 hit crafters with a real curveball when GC seal items were required in crafting the raid gear.
  • Materia: hile higher grades of materia might be added, older tiers are still used. Consider not selling them and keeping them to sell for when everyone needs materia to upgrade their gear.
  • Housing items: always a safe bet to keep, but sell more rarely compared to other items unless they are big ticket and/or rare. They also take lots of space.

What should you be selling, or getting rid of?
* Any other miscellany should be sold if you don’t have the space. * Stormblood crafting materials, while not worthless, won’t be used for a quite a while. You can safely and slowly get rid of these. * Older crafting material, if common, should be sold or thrown away. Rarer ones are up to the judgment of the owner: will sitting on it reap better rewards in the future?

Consider spending an afternoon sorting your retainers and throwing away or selling any junk you don’t need. There will lots of new items come 5.0, and you don’t want to find out suddenly you don’t have any space to put them.

Collections

There’s a lot of content to do before Shadowbringers. Here are some of the things you might find interesting or things to pass the time:

Big Fishing
While Stormblood Big Fishing was easier than Heavensward or A Realm Reborn, it is by no means an easy task. You’re at mercy of RNG and weather windows.

Mount Farming
Ponies from ARR EX trials can be obtained extremely easily nowadays, and their drop rates are high. Birds from Heavensward EX trials are easy to somewhat difficult, depending on the encounter. The early dogs from Stormblood EX trials are simple, but the later ones are still difficult. You can purchase all of them except Seiryu for 99 Primal tokens. Acquiring all mounts in a set will unlock the super rainbow mount.

Gold Saucer
Triple Triad, Verminion, MGP, Chocobo Racing, there’s a lot to do before the expansion hits for cosmetics. I spent the month leading up to Stormblood getting a BiS Sagolii Chocobo on my alt. Consider stocking up MGP for new Gold Saucer rewards coming eventually.

Blue Mage
Well, if you really want to…

PvP
Square Enix has been putting a lot more effort into supporting PvP. Consider giving Frontlines, Rival Wings, or The Feast a try!

Palace of the Dead and Heaven-on-High
If you have a few afternoons to spare, getting to 200 in PotD and 100 in HoH are both great achievements and reward you with some good loot! It is difficult, but if you are prepared and your group is coordinated it’s a fun experience.

Hardware

FFXIV will be dropping support for DX9 and 32-bit OSes in Shadowbringers, as per the notice here. If you haven’t already, upgrade your PC. If you meet the minimum requirements, a benchmark should be released soon, telling you if you sorely need an upgrade or if you’ll be fine.

When the Benchmark is released, run it to make sure your PC is fine.

IRL

Stay healthy and hydrated IRL!!

Many players will be staying up and playing for extended hours. That’s fine, but what’s important is eating properly, getting proper exercise, and sleeping when you need to. Here’s a checklist of what you should do beforehand to ensure you don’t fucking die.

  • IRL responsibilities come first. Don’t neglect work, studies, or things you need to do. Make sure the bills are going to be paid, the pets are fed, and the demon spawn children are sated.
  • Stay hydrated. This is extremely important. Get a jug of water, and supplement it with the drink(s) of your choice like tea or coffee; preferably not too sugary, but your diet is none of my business.
  • Eat and eat healthy. While you may be too busy to make meals beforehand, don’t neglect your health. Get groceries beforehand, and order food if necessary. A trip to the kitchen will be easier than having to run to the store because you ran out of food. Also, get fresh fruit. Trust me.
  • Take a break every now and then. This can be simple as getting up and stretching, taking a shower, or going to the washroom.
  • Sleep when necessary. The game will still be there when you wake up; even a power nap is fine.