With the announcement of a fourth expansion for Final Fantasy 14, players will be looking to level up all of their chosen jobs in preparation. By progressing through each expansion, there will be several options for getting the best gear. Some will farm for items and craft their own, others might buy with currency. For those looking for hardcore challenges, raids are a direct way of getting the best loot available per content tier.
Not only do certain raids contain the best and strongest equipment, but all of them have their own side stories that further expand the lore of Eorzea. While most of them aren’t required to progress through the main storyline, certain side quests and alternate dialogue can be unlocked for players.
Full party raids serve as the ultimate challenge for each of their respective expansions. Most of them first introduce a story based normal difficulty, along with a more difficult savage mode with better drops; A Realm Reborn is the exception, with the base raid being very difficult for its item level. Each raid is made up of a series of four fights, typically with the last one rewarding body or leg armor, and weapons with an extra five item levels over any other option. By default, parties require two tanks, two healers, and four DPS. However, premade parties can adjust their setup.
The Final Coil of Bahamut
The Final Coil of Bahamut serves as closure for the end of 1.0’s story. While most players weren’t around for the now defunct version of the game, the raid does shed light on Leveilleur family and the White Raven Nael van Darnus. Allisaie will also make comments about the questline if completed. All equipment dropped here is item level 130, and is separated by four battles-
Alexander the Creator
Alexander is the final raid series in Heavensward. It doesn’t have an overall bearing of the main storyline, but does help shed some connections between 1.0 all the way to Shadowbringers side missions. Normal mode rewards are item level 250 and savage are item level 270. Unlike The Final Coil, Alexander also drops Manifestos that can be traded for specific pieces of gear.
The Alphascape serves to challenge Omega, the primal hunter first seen at the end of Heavensward and sought out during Stormblood. While earlier parts of the raid featured bosses from past Final Fantasy titles, this last part is against Omega itself and its processor. Normal mode drops token for item level 380 Omicron gear, while savage yields item level 400 Omega gear.
Eden is heavily based on Final Fantasy VIII, featuring music and bosses from that title. Currently, equipment from here is the strongest in all of Shadowbringers, with normal mode giving item level 510, and savage item level 530. Unlike other past raid, individual items are not distributed, but instead coffers. When opened, these coffers will spawn specific gear for the current job.
Trials serve as a single battle of intermediate difficulty compared to full party raids. They reward weapons that are slightly stronger than what can be purchased from unlimited Allagan Tomestone currency, but weaker than weekly capped Tomestones or a raid series. Groups progressing will therefore typically beat the first two parts of a raid series, farm catch-up weapons in the trial, and then complete the final two raid fights. Note that most of these were not updated for Shadowbringers, meaning there may be no weapons for new jobs like Gunbreaker, Dancer, or Sage.
Shiva serves as an introduction into Ishgard. The extreme version of her encounter rewards item level 110 weapons and 120 bracelets. She will also drop Diamond Dust, which can be brought to Aelina in Mor Dhona to improve the weapons to item level 115.
Zurvan is the demon from the Final Fantasy VI Warring Triad. Defeating him once is required to view the conclusion of the Shadowbringers job role quests. His extreme fight will grant item level 265 weapons, along with tokens to purchase other desired weapons or a mount.
Seiryu is based on one of the Four Lords found within Final Fantasy XI. Getting to him will require two level 70 dungeons, Hell’s Lid and The Swallow’s Compass. Beating his extreme mode will reward item level 395 weapons, along with a possible wolf mount.
Sorrow of Werlyt
The Werlyt side-story both features the Weapons from Final Fantasy VII and expands of the Garlean Empire. The current strongest boss is the anti-primal machine Emerald Weapon which can reward item level 515 weapons in extreme mode. However, Diamond Weapon will arrive for Shadowbringers final patch and possibly have item level 525 weapons.
Alliance raids feature a group of three parties, for a total of 24 players. Unlike most other content, a party will have one tank and five DPS. Players can fully make a custom 24-man alliance, but otherwise need to stay within composition restriction if matchmaking. Alliance raids grant armor, but no weapons or accessories.
The Crystal Tower was updated to serve as a mandatory side quest in order to progress into Shadowbringers. This means that the raid will remain very popular and a mainstay of daily roulettes. Most of the bosses and rewards are from Final Fantasy III, either from what appeared in-game as 8-bit sprites or from Yoshitaka Amano’s official art. Armor from the World of Darkness is item level 120.
Shadow of Mhach
The story of Mhach expands on the background of the Black Mage job quests and takes themes from Final Fantasy IX. While this raid series isn’t mandatory, it is speculated that it could be in the future for Endwalker content. Fighting in the third raid Dun Scaith will reward item level 260 armor. Players can also fight Proto Ultima here for a side quest that grants item level 270 accessories.
Return to Ivalice
The Ivalice raids take direct inspiration from Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy Tactics. Completing these raids at least once is needed to start on the Bozjan relics from Shadowbringers as it introduces key characters like Mikoto, Fran, and Bwagi. The third set of fights, the Orbonne Monastery, drops item level 390 armor.
YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse
This final alliance raid futures the cast of NieR: Automata. Knowing Yoko Taro, it is possible that Shadowbringers will wind up being canon to the NieR universe. The current highest available raid is the Puppet’s Bunker, which drops item level 490 armor. However, Square Enix has already announced that a new raid will be included in patch 5.5, and will likely yield item level 520 armor instead.
Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, Stormblood, and Shadowbringers are available now on PC and PlayStation 4.