FFXI Basic Guide


Part I: The Very Basics (you're here)
Part II: Jobs, Abilities, Battle
Part III: Items, Stats, What to Do


Final Fantasy XI Online is an MMORPG originally released for the PS2. However, the PC version was released soon after, and Xbox 360 version later. All these versions are the same other than for the resolution the game can be displayed in. PC is naturally capable of the best resolution providing your setup can handle it, and PS2 is severely limited by its aging hardware. The monthly fee for one character is 12.95, and each character after that costs 1 €/$ more.
To obtain the game, you can either download it through a provider and sign up for the Free Trial period of 14 days online, or buy a physical copy, which will come with a free 30-day trial of its own. You will not be able to access the game should you not sign up for Free Trial or buy a new physical copy of the game, as it requires registration codes to create an account. Another alternative to this is buying your registration codes through the popular gaming service Steam.

The game requires an internet connection to play. Periodically there are updates to bring new features and stories into the game. The current space required to install and fully update Final Fantasy XI, its expansions and PlayOnline (its user interface shell) on a computer is a bit more than 9 Gb. To access Final Fantasy XI, you must first install PlayOnline.

To start playing you must first install the game, any possible expansion packs you have and PlayOnline (commonly referred to as POL), as well as update them. With this done, start up POL and sign up with your POL registration code. After this is done, you can proceed to the Final Fantasy XI account creation process. This will require the FF11 registration code, and if your registration code doesn't cover all expansion packs, an additional registration code specifically for the expansion you wish to unlock. You will be required to hand out your address and credit card information.

After you have created an account both with POL and FF11, you can proceed to the game to create your character. As an online game, you have one or more characters you play as. More on character creation below. Each character is independent of others. The job system of the game makes it possible to play any combination of jobs you choose, all on one character. As such, it isn't necessary to create more than one character to get to experience everything.
During the game, you will interact with other player characters. This is necessary to advance in the game through normal means. It is possible to play the game solo, but this takes considerably more time, effort and knowledge of the game's workings than normal play. Most players team up with others rather than play for hours on end alone with diminishing returns. To read more about player-to-player communication, see the Communication section below.

Expansions and Add-Ons

Final Fantasy XI is an old enough game to have many released expansions. Expansion packs are additional game disks that you must separately install and register. They add additonal areas, stories and other content to the game. Should you decide to not buy an expansion, you will not gain access to all the new content in it. As such, every expansion is required to fully enjoy the game's capabilities.

The current full expansions are Rise of the Zilart (never released separately from the main game in NA/EU areas), Chains of Promathia, Treasures of Aht Urhgan and Wings of the Goddess and Seekers of Adoulin. The last of these released in 2013, after the game's 10th year anniversary. It is unknown whether this will be the last expansion to game sees.

In addition to the expansion packs, Final Fantasy XI also has the smaller downloadable add-ons, which feature a shorter story than the expansions and no new areas. They can be bought online through the POL interface, although you must still register the add-on with the registration code you receive when purchasing the add-on. The current add-ons are called A Crystalline Prophecy, A Moogle Kupo d'Etat and A Shantotto Ascension for the story-driven ones, and Vision of Abyssea, Scars of Abyssea and Heroes of Abyssea which are more battle-oriented ones.

Creating a Character

Should you want to create a character, you must first have an unused Content ID on your account. You have one of these IDs after signing up for a new FF11 account, but can buy additional ones for up to 16 characters per account. The character creation proces itself is fairly simple. You first choose your race and gender, then your face type, hair color, size, starting job, character name and world, and finally your country of allegiance.

The races available are Elvaan, Galka, Hume, Mithra and Tarutaru. On each of these races you can pick either a male or a female character, except for Galka which can be only male, and Mithra which can only be female. Next you must choose a face and hair color for your character. For each race/gender combination, there are eight different faces, and for each face there are two hair color choices. This amounts to 128 different character models. In addition to this, you can choose to have either a small, medium or large body.
To see a list of the available faces and details of the items you receive with them, see Player Characters. See the race's own page for details about their strengths and weaknesses.

The next stage of the process has you choose a starting job for your character. This can be freely changed later from your house by talking to your Moogle. As you are just starting out, you can choose one of the six basic jobs - Warrior, Monk, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage and Thief. Read more about jobs in the Jobs section below.
Generally, the race you choose will not hinder your performance on any job too much. The races do have differences, but those can be overcome with skill and equipment.

Your next choise is your name and the world - server - you will start on. You can either come up with a name yourself or let the generator come up with a name for you. The names the generator gives are appropriate to your race according to in-game naming conventions. You cannot change your name, so choose well.

The server you choose will not matter unless you have friends who are also playing. All servers are equal, although some slightly more populated than the others. See Final Fantasy XI Servers for list of the worlds.
Should you have a Gold World Pass given to you, this is also the place to input that code. Having a Gold World Pass means you will start on the same server as the one who bought the pass, and you and the buyer will receive extra items in certain intervals should you continue playing long enough.
You can also change your server. However, at least 90 days must have passed since the character's creation or his/her last world transfer, and it will cost you 25 €/$.

The final choice is what nation you will start in. The choices are San d'Oria, Bastok and Windurst. This will affect what nation missions are available to you from the start and several other more minor things. However, you can change it later in the game by paying enough gil to your desired nation's immigrant person.
There is also one additional item you can receive should you pick the right nation for your race. The correspondences are San d'Oria for Elvaan, Bastok for Humes and Galka, and Windurst for Tarutaru and Mithra.

The Command Line

One very important aspect of the game that newbies might overlook is the command line. That is, the line where you write everything you say. If it isn't visible, it will come up by starting typing (full keyboard) or by pressing space (laptop configuration). This command line, besides being used for chatting, is also used to input text commands.

Text commands always start with a forward slash, followed by the command - for example /joy. Once you know the appropriate commands, you can cast spells, execute abilities, target people, bring up menus, and many other this - and all this much easier than going through the Main Menu or Battle Menu. In fact, not everything you can do through the command line can be done another way.

To find a list of the text commands available in the game, see Text Commands, or to find out more about them go to the sections for Communication or Macros and Their Use below.

Game Masters

Game Masters - or GMs as they are more widely known - are the police of Final Fantasy XI. Should you have a complaint about something in the game, you need to report a bug (or worse, being stuck in a bug), you will contact a GM through the Helpdesk feature in your Main Menu's second page. When a GM answers you they will contact you in Tell (see the Communication section below). They will also appear as a character near you. The GM characters all look the same, dressed in red armor and helmet, and with an echo effect around them that makes sure you cannot mistake them for a normal player. A GM's name will also have the GM logo before it.

Should you have done something against the game's rules of conduct, you may end up in the Gaol. In this case, a GM will also tell you what you have done to end up there, and what your punishment will be.

Maintenance and Updates

Final Fantasy XI has regular maintenance and update periods. During these periods you will be unable to play the game, sign up for an account or change your account details. Maintenance periods during which you cannot play happen mostly on an as-needed basis, you will have to follow game news to know when one is coming. You will generally receive notice of an upcoming maintenance several hours beforehands.

Updates generally happen every three or four months. You cannot play during an update period. After the update period has passed, you will be required to download the updated and added files before you can continue playing. Generally after the main update there is another smaller one after several days, to fix any issues the new update has brought up in the game.

There is also another type of maintenance, the registration server maintenance. The regular registration server maintenance period is at the beginning of each month, divided into two parts. Between these two parts your credit card will be billed for the beginning month's fees, and your account will be suspended automatically if the fees are declined. However, you can play during these periods, as the maintenance doesn't extend to the actual game servers. The services unavailable will be game-related but not in-game functions, such as registering an account or updating your account details.

Security Token


The security token is an added security measure added in spring 2009. It is a small device that generates one-time passwords. Should you buy one, you must register the token with your Square Enix account, and link your Square Enix account with your Final Fantasy XI account. After this process, you will always require you POL password, SE account password, and token password to sign in to FF11. Should you want to disable the token, you can do it through your SE account, but you should remember that you cannot register the token to another (or same) account after it has been disabled. However, after linking your FF11 and SE accounts, they cannot be unlinked.
To many players, the reason to buy a token is the Mog Satchel that becomes available after signing in with a token once, effectively doubling your inventory space.

Should you want a token, it can be bought by accessing the Final Fantasy XI main page through POL. It costs 9.99 and has no shipping fees.


Communication with other players is an integral part of any MMO game. In Final Fantasy XI, it is as good as mandatory to advance through the stories and defeat the toughest opponents. Considering the depth inherent in the game, it is also very difficult to even know what you should or could be doing without communicating with others.


There are several different chat modes available in Final Fantasy XI. They can be seen as a tier-system with different levels of inclusion. The first - default - level of inclusion is Say. Chatting with Say on will deliver your words to all the player characters in the near vicinity. Should you wish or need to use it, the command for it is /s or /say. Typing either of these commands before your message will make the line be in Say. The command to change your chat mode to Say is /cm say or /chatmode say. Logging out and back in will result your chatmode defaulting back to Say, even if you have set it to something else before.
Please note that making conversation in Say unless you have to is considered bad form by other players.

Shout is another wide and indiscriminative level of chatting. It will deliver your words to every player character in the zone you are in. The commands for Shout are /sh and /shout. You cannot set your chat mode to Shout permanently, you will have to do it for each line by hand.
Shout is commonly used for important messages - you need a spell cast on you, want to sell or buy something you cannot find, find parties for missions or just leveling, anything you need a wide audience for. It is extremely bad form to hold a conversation in Shout, and using Shout excessively can even result in a temporary ban when fed up players report your behavior to GMs.

Another chat mode you are likely to come across soon after starting is Tell. It will deliver your message to the player character you specify. The command is /t [name] or /tell [name], followed by your message. Naturally, you must spell the receiving characters name correctly for the message to arrive. The command to change chatmode is /cm tell [name] or /chatmode tell [name]. The default shortcut on a keyboard to bring up /tell in front of the current text line is ctrl+t. Naturally, this cannot bring up a name for you, and when using the shortcut you must still type in the name yourself.
There is also an easy way to reply to a tell. Just press ctrl+r on default keyboard configuration. This will bring up the /tell command and the name of the last person to send you a Tell. Pressing it again will bring up the name of the player who gave you a /tell before the last player, and it will continue cycling backwards with each press.

Another very common chat mode is the Party mode. Using it will deliver your message to every character currently in your party. If you are currently soloing, the message will fail to deliver, and you will receive notification of this. To find out more about the party system, see the section Partying and Soloing below.
The commands for Party are /p and /party, chat mode commands /cm party and /chatmode party.

Probably your most used chat mode will a bit further into the game be the Linkshell mode. Using it will deliver your message to each logged on linkshell member. To find out about obtaining linkshells and how they work, see below. The commands for linkshell chat are /ls, /linkshell, /cm linkshell and /chatmode linkshell.

There is one more chat mode, usable only in specific situations. This is Echo, whispering a line to yourself. No one else will hear it. Echo is used almost exclusively in macros. To find out more about macros, see the section Macros and Their Use below. The command for Echo is /echo.


In Final Fantasy XI there are no regional servers. Players from all corners of the world play in the same servers and communicate and play together as well as they can. To make this easier, the Auto-Translate function is available. Using AT on a word or phrase will make it appear in the receiver's selected language on their own end. This way, everyone can understand what you are saying. It is also often used to reduce the typing time to write your message, or to ensure that what you are writing is correctly spelled.

Naturally, there are limitations to the system. Not every word can be added to the dictionary, it wouldn't be practical. However, even as it is, it is a great help for cross-culture communication.

To auto-translate a word, there are two ways. The quicker is to write the beginning of the word and press Tab on your keyboard (default configuration). This will bring up a list of the words and phrases matching the beginning that you wrote that are in the dictionary. Select the right option if you have many to choose from, and press Enter. This will input the word you selected in {brackets}. The brackets are a sign that the word is auto-translated.
The other option is pressing Tab in empty space. This will bring up a list of the categories available in the dictionary. Selecting a category and pressing Enter will bring up a list of words under that category.

Should a player use exclusively auto-translate to communicate with you, it is wise to respond in kind unless you know what language they speak. It is also polite to use auto-translate when contacting a person you don't know the language preference of. Otherwise, you might be faced with the line {Please use Auto-Translate}, or silence only.


A Linkshell is a special item used to create and give access to a restricted chat channel for players. If you play other MMORPGs, you might know linkshells with the name Guild. Basically it is a gathering of players with a common intent, be it chatting or defeating NMs.

To create a linkshell you must first buy the Linkshell item, a shell, from the appropriate vendor. These can be found in the three main nations. Upon using the shell, you choose a name and color for the linkshell. After this process, your linkshell is created. You must equip it to be able to access the linkshell's chat channel. Generally, the shell holder of a linkshell is considered the leader.

To enable other people to join a linkshell, the shell holder must first create a pearl from their shell. They can then trade this pearl to another player character, who can in turn equip it and join the chat channel.
In addition, if the linkshell has any pearl sacks ('sub leaders'), they can create a pearl too. To be made a pearl sack, the linkshell's shell holder must navigate to their linkshell menu and change a common pearl's status into a pearl sack.

When a linkshell item (any of the three) is equipped, a pearl of the linkshell's color will appear next to the player character's name. To find out which linkshell exactly a person carrying a pearl is in, you can /check that person. Their linkshell's name will be displayed beneath their equipment slots.


Emotes are one of the text commands that cannot be done any other way than the text command line. They are basically motions and text about actions your character does. It is possible to choose from a list of default emotes or write a new emote of your own.

The default emotes are very simple, and a good portion of them will include a motion. Default emotes are, for examples, /salute, /poke and /wave. Each of these will have your character move in the appropriate way and add a line of text into your text window - for example, [Playercharacter] salutes. or [Playercharacte] waves. Should you have a targettable object (another player character, an NPC character, anything) in your target and you make an emote, the description line will include the target. [Playercharacter] salutes Moogle., [Playercharacter] waves at [Anotherplayer].
To make just the motion in a default emote with no text displayed, add motion after the command. /salute motion, /wave motion. Likewise, it is possible to have the text line only with no motion if you add text after the command.

If you wish to do an action not in the default list, you can write your own. However, these will not have actual motions in them, just the text line. The command is /em [action]. For example, the line /em wonders what medicines to bring will show up as [Playercharacter] wonders what medicines to bring.

Of course, it is possible to combine a motion-only default emote and a text-only custom emote. To have these appear at about the same time, you'd generally use a macro for it. The process is simple, simply write the motion-only default emote on one line and the custom emote on another.

Mentors and AMAN

As a new player, it is often difficult to know what to do. To aid these confused new players (and confused older players), there is the AMAN network. AMAN stands for Adventurers' Mutual Appreciation Network. You can sign up for the AMAN network and become a Mentor when you have enough experience playing a game. Mentors are experienced players who are willing to use their time to help newer players, answer questions and even guide to the right place if they are feeling helpful enough.

You need to be at least level 30 to become a Mentor. After signing up with an AMAN representative (one can be found in each of the three nations), you can use the /mentor command to turn the Mentor status on or off. Generally, you'd only have the status on when you actually have time to help and guide others.
With Mentor status on, a light blue circle with a white M will be displayed next to the player's name instead of their linkpearl. Looking for that blue symbol on players is one way to find a Mentor.

Mentors are not affiliated with Square Enix and do not receive pay for helping other adventurers. As such, it is important to always remember to be courteous to them, even if the specific mentor you contact doesn't know how to help you. Mentors are also not there to give you free gil or items, but people who are willing to teach you how to make your game life easier.

To find a Mentor, you can do a Mentor search through the Main Menu's Helpdesk option. It will give you a list of Mentors currently available.

On to Part II: Jobs, Abilities, Battle!

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