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Killer Guides Final Fantasy XIV Strategy Guide: A Full Review

Killer Guides has released its Final Fantasy XIV Strategy Guide, a massive 80-page digital book containing leveling and class walkthroughs for the reworked version of the game, A Realm Reborn.

KillerGuides FFXIV ARR Levleing Guide

Pros

The guide gives gamers all the sweet tips and tricks while adventuring in Eorzea without spoiling all the sweet story tidbits. The guide covers a lot of the topics with impressive depth and clarity, a surprising feat given its cheap $29.99 price tag.

If I make it sound like the guide is perfect, it’s only because there are only a few others I can compare it to – and of those, this is definitely the best. Overall, the writing quality and tips offered are superb.

  • Well-organized. I use a dual-monitor gaming PC, so I can keep this guide open in one screen and play Final Fantasy XIV in the other. I can easily go to different sections by typing in the page, and I even use it as reading material when I’m in the toilet since it displays well on mobile devices as well. The chapters are arranged logically, and important sections and tips are marked so you can skim them in between fights.
  • Lots of insider tips. As a gamer who has followed the Final Fantasy XIV rework, I am familiar with the new features and areas in A Realm Reborn. But reading through this guide still surprised me with its insight and sheer insider knowledge. A lot of advice comes from actually playing the game, completing quests, running dungeons, testing out builds, and just exploring every nook and cranny of the game world.
  • Layman’s approach without dumbing it down. The guide is a very easy read, and explains a lot of things that a new gamer will want to know about Final Fantasy XIV. It does not assume that you played or are even familiar with the clunky old version. But it is never condescending – while reading, you feel like it’s one of your gaming buddies talking to you about the game and sharing all his best secrets.
  • Keeps the time-strapped gamer in mind. Another appealing thing about this Killer Guides walkthrough is that it understands why I and probably thousands of other gamers bought the guide: We simply don’t have the time to play the game aimlessly. We want to play with purpose and objectives and end each session feeling like we accomplished something like hit a certain level or beat a boss. The guide is really geared towards helping real gamers get things done in the fraction of the time it would otherwise take them without any help.
  • Constant updates. Arguably the best thing for me is that this guide will stay relevant even as the game gets new content. This is because Killer Guides has promised to release free updates to the guide. You will only have to re-download updated versions that will adapt to the changing content in Final Fantasy XIV.

Cons

I only have minor criticisms against the guide, and some might even find them as bordering on nitpicking.

  • Less visuals, more text. If you’re the type who wants a lot of pictures – gorgeous art, screenshots, and frame-by-frame breakdowns — then you might be a bit disappointed with this guide. Still, it does contain maps and other essential visuals.
  • Omits database info. The guide assumes that you have access to a full database, so you won’t find a total list of items in the guide, for example. It does have reference tables for class skills and such, but these are not as exhaustive as what you would find in full database like xivdb.com.

For more hardcore players

As a casual player, I find that the Strategy and Leveling guide already gives me everything I want. But I can see more hardcore players wanting more. In which case I also heartily recommend the other Killer Guides-made guides for FFXIV for their affordable cost and remarkable coverage. Their Class guide and Gil guide are equally excellent, and those who plan to buy all three can do so cheaply through the 3-in-1 Complete Package bundle.

Scholar Guide

Update: The article below is just a brief introduction to the Scholar. I’ve since then come across this guide. If you haven’t got it already – I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date chapter on the Scholar, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this (then again, I wouldn’t have written this blog post and you wouldn’t be here…).

ffxiv scholarScholars. In previous Final Fantasy titles, Scholars were labeled as battlefield strategists. They were able to adjust their play style to fit the situation at hand. Using grimoires, they were able to focus on either black magic or white magic and also adjust the way that their spells work. For instance, they could turn a single target spell into an AOE just by using the knowledge available within their books.

Scholars in Final Fantasy XIV, however, appear to be pretty different from that. It appears the scholars are now able to command spell-weaving fairies. Yeah, spell-weaving fairies. According to their description, these fairies can not only heal their allies, but also bolster their strength. Based on that description alone, it seems scholars are shifting from the Black Mage, White Mage, mixture job that they were in XI and they are going to be taking on more of a support, healer roll in Final Fantasy XIV.

Summoner Guide

Update: The article below is just a brief introduction to the Summoner. I’ve since then come across this guide. If you haven’t got it already – I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date chapter on the Summoner, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this (then again, I wouldn’t have written this blog post and you wouldn’t be here…).

ffxiv summoner

The Summoner. Summoners have always been my favorite roles to play in Final Fantasy games. They are able to summon incredibly powerful beings known as Primals to do their bidding. Some of the Primals confirmed to be in Final Fantasy XIV by the developers are Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan, but that’s likely just scratching the service of what’s going to be available. Those Summoners themselves pose little threat to enemies, the Primals that they were able to control in past games were able to deal not only physical damage to the Summoners’ enemies, but also nearly every element depending on which Primal the Summoner chose to enter combat with.

In Final Fantasy XI, the first pet Summoners were able to control was Carbuncle, which is the same as Arcanist in Final Fantasy XIV. That fact alone leads me to believe those looking to play the Summoner would likely need to level Arcanist to 30 for their main job.

Black Mage Guide

Update: The article below is just a brief introduction to the Black Mage. I’ve since then come across this guide. If you haven’t got it already – I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date chapter on the Black Mage, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this (then again, I wouldn’t have written this blog post and you wouldn’t be here…).

The Black Mage. In previous Final Fantasy games, the Black Mage has been the go-to role for players who want to completely devastate their enemies with the amount of damage that they can do on every single magical cast. In the official description for the job, it says, “Adventurers who take the Black Mage path will become agents of devastation, capable of annihilating those who oppose them through little more than the force of their will.”  Black Mage’s damage used to be balanced by having higher mana cost as well as longer cast times than most other classes. I would imagine the same will be true going into XIV. It will also appear the Thaumaturge would be the required main class to unlock the Black Mage job.

ffxiv black mage

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White Mage Guide

Update: The article below is just a brief introduction to the White Mage. I’ve since then come across this guide. If you haven’t got it already – I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date chapter on the White Mage, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this (then again, I wouldn’t have written this blog post and you wouldn’t be here…).

ffxiv white mage

The White Mage. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone what the White Mage does, if you have even a basic understanding of Final Fantasy games. The White Mage is going to be the go-to job for healing. Their ability to keep other players alive was unparalleled in Final Fantasy XI and it doesn’t appear that it will be changing any time soon moving into Final Fantasy XIV. If you enjoy being the person that keeps everyone else alive, you will likely enjoy the White Mage. It is also looking very likely that those seeking to play the White Mage will also have to level a Conjurer as their main class. More details about this class are also available at ffxivarrclasses.com.

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Bard Guide

Update: The article below is just a brief introduction to the Bard. I’ve since then come across this guide. If you haven’t got it already – I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date chapter on the Bard, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this (then again, I wouldn’t have written this blog post and you wouldn’t be here…).

ffxiv bard

The Bard. Bards were one of the most sought after classes to have in any XP group. Their ability to provide buffs to everyone around them, while also being able to pull enemies and crowd control them until the group was ready to fight, made Bards one of the most useful classes for group play back in the day. In Final Fantasy XIV, Bards are actually able to fight with bows, making it appear that while they are still able to provide buffs to everyone around them, they’re also going to be able to deal at least some damage at range, even though they won’t come close to black mages.

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Dragoon Guide

Update: The article below is just a brief introduction to the Dragoon. I’ve since then come across this guide. If you haven’t got it already – I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date chapter on the Dragoon, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this (then again, I wouldn’t have written this blog post and you wouldn’t be here…).

The Dragoon. Born amidst the timeless conflict between men and dragons, these lance-wielding knights have developed an aerial style of combat that they might better pierce the scaled hides of their mortal foes. Dragoons seem to be able to do a lot of high flying and jumping attacks against their enemies. Without a doubt, if their main weapon is a lance, Lancers are going to be required as the main class to unlock this job.

ffxiv dragoon

One thing I find interesting in all of these screen shots provided and in all of the trailers that I’ve seen, I can’t spot a single Dragoon that has a dragon pet. That’s a drastic change if it is true from Final Fantasy XI. Back in XI, Dragoons had their abilities, but they were also able to use their dragons in combat to do something like a fire AOE. So the fact that Dragoons are lacking this component would change the class up pretty drastically.

It’ll be interesting to see how Lancers fare against other jobs and classes in PvP scenarios (both, as opponents and as competitors for limited spots on those teams). Are people going to pick bards and paladins over them instead?

Warrior Guide

Update: The article below is just a brief introduction to the Warror. I’ve since then come across this guide. If you haven’t got it already – I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date chapter on the Warrior, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this (then again, I wouldn’t have written this blog post and you wouldn’t be here…).

ffxiv warrior

The Warrior. Now, Warriors wield giant great axes just like the Marauder class so it’s very, very likely if you want to unlock the Warrior job, you’re going to need to level the Marauder class to 30 as your primary class. There isn’t much information to go off of on the official description but something that caught my eye was this quote: Warriors learn to harness their inner beast and translate that power into unbridled savagery on the battle field. Because of that quote, it also seems like the warriors from Final Fantasy XIV will act very similar to the Warriors of Final Fantasy XI. In the past, Warriors were able to use a number of buffs on themselves that had moderate cool downs, but this would take their already respectable damage and send it through the roof as ffxivarrguide.com recently wrote about already. Warriors could buff themselves so much that they would have some of the most incredible damage in the game at higher levels.

Monk Guide

Update: The article below is just a brief introduction to the Monk. I’ve since then come across this guide. If you haven’t got it already – I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date chapter on the Monk, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this (then again, I wouldn’t have written this blog post and you wouldn’t be here…).

ffxiv monkThe Monk. The Monk is going to focus on hand-to-hand combat, a lot like the Pugilist. There is no mention of any defensive capabilities in the Monk’s official description. What we do know is that the Monks worship the destroyer deity and able to use chakra to perform extraordinary feats. This leads to believe that the Monk’s play style in FFXIV will be very similar to the Monk in older titles. They’re going to be able to hit very hard, hit extremely fast and also call upon their inner power for some extra damaging effects.

Paladin Guide

Update: The article below is just a brief introduction to the Paladin. I’ve since then come across this guide. If you haven’t got it already – I recommend the first thing to do is head over and get yourself a copy. Not only does it have a much more detailed and up-to-date chapter on the Paladin, but an amazing leveling guide as well (see my review). I could have saved myself a lot of trial and error with this (then again, I wouldn’t have written this blog post and you wouldn’t be here…).

ffxiv paladin

Paladins are fantastic defensive characters who are also able to do a limited amount of healing. One would think they had a lot in common with their fellow ‘faith’ warrior – the monk, but aside from both being melee jobs, that’s about it. They’re going to excel at protecting their group members from harm, but have limited offensive tools. Most of their healing in Final Fantasy XI was used on keeping themselves alive and typically not used on other group members, but they could use their heals to generate more threat. To make sure that whichever enemy they were fighting would be more focused on the Paladin then their group members. As we’ve already discussed, it’s very likely that the main class needed to unlock the Paladin will be the Gladiator.

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