Please continue to make comments and suggestions. I'll do my very best to integrate them. My next goal is to add an appendix of links, so I would greatly appreciate contributions of those.
Bringing Home the Bacon: Your Choices for Making Money in Vana'diel
Guide by Silalus
Please see the end of this document for legal text and information on reproduction rights.
Table of Contents
1.0 Puttin' the MM in MMORPG
2.0 Mo' money, Mo' money, Mo' money
3.0 Being Part of Vana'diel
4.0 The Choices
---4.1 Crystal Hunting
---4.3 NM Camping
---4.4 BCNM Fights
---4.5 Garrison Events
---4.11 Chocobo Digging
---4.13 Raise for Hire
---4.14 Hero for Hire
---4.16 Repeatable Quests
---4.17 Nonrepeatable Quests
---4.18 Running a Casino
---4.19 Begging and Street Performance
---4.22 AH Speculation
---4.23 Street Peddling
5.0 What Choice Will You Make?
1.0 Puttin' the MM in MMORPG
Vana'diel is big, beautiful, and above all living world. This isn't some single-player rpg where you kill monster after monster, where everyone who plays the game has the same characters, advances in the same way, and buys the same items. It's a multi-player rpg where you kill monster after monster, where everyone who plays the game has the same characters, advances in the same way, and buys the same items, right?
Heck, no! :P If you think it's just like a single-player rpg, that there is a "best" way of doing things, then you aren't really playing. This is a MMORPG, and the best thing about Vana'diel is that, with all those people out there, different people get to do different things. It also means that even though xp is important there are a lot of ways to spend your time.
This guide is about helping you decide how to do that.
2.0 Mo' money, Mo' money, Mo' money
A lot of Vana'diel and your role in it revolves around money. Like just about everything else, this is both a blessing and a curse.
The bad part is that it becomes real, real easy to feel like you're working a second job when you play FFXI. It can be like you're just trying to scratch out a living in another world, just like we do in this one! A lot of times you just want to hurry up and make cash for that next great item you "need to get into a good party and go back to the hero stuff. Yuck! Who wants to play a game that feels like work?
There is a good part, though. Because making money is a huge part of the game, making it becomes something very important to do instead of the usual xp grind. While using good strategy and teamwork to kill monsters is great fun, it can get old too. Making money helps to give the game variety- if it's fun, that is.
Just like a real job, the key is choosing a "career" that is right for you.
3.0 Being Part of Vana'diel
Remember how I said that Vana'diel is a living world? The most amazing way to see that is in the economy. Every player gets to choose a part to play in the economy. Just like in our modern world, there is virtually no way you can be totally self-sufficient.
There simply isn't enough time in the day to do EVERYTHING that needs to get done. So you need to choose something that needs to get done, and learn how to do it well. You'll probably end up switching what you do from time to time- again, just like in the real world. There's nothing wrong with that, as it just means that your tastes, resources, and abilities are changing. Your choices can and will change with them.
And so we come to the meat of all of this. How should you make money? It's an all important question- and nobody can answer it for you. You need to take a look at all the different possible answers and pick one for yourself. I've identified a few different things that seem important to most people, based on what it takes to succeed in a particular "career":
Time: Time itself is a huge commodity. People argue, convincingly, that time is the only commodity in a game like FFXI, that with enough time invested you will inevitably get everything you want. That's only part of the story. Time is important, but it is only one resource that you may or may not have. Every "career" requires a different time investment.
Research: Some people love to make spreadsheets, take notes, and read long-winded guides like this one. Others hate those very same things. Some "careers" require a lot of research, while others require little if any.
Job Level: Wait, you mean xp and money aren't completely separate? Of course not. Some "careers" require you to be at a very high level, while others let you start making money at level one. Your level plays a big role in what your choices are.
Investment: It takes money to make money, eh? All too true. But, just like in the real world, there are ways to get started, and even some "careers" that never require an investment- at least not a monetary one.
Ethics: What do ethics have do with choosing a FFXI "career"? A lot, actually. Your own values narrow down your choices. In a game you are even more free to choose based on your values than in real life. If you don't care about others there will be few real-world consequences to your in-game choices. On the other hand you'll never have to starve yourself to feel like you're contributing to the world or well-liked.
Risk: The willingness to take risks and the resources to deal with losses is hugely important. If you don't like to take risks, you need a "career" that will guarantee you a fixed, reliable income. If you get thrills from gambling, risks might be right up your alley! Again, you have more freedom to choose here than you ever would in the real world.
Growth: “Careers” vary wildly in their potential for growth. Some always produce the same revenue, regardless of how long you pursue them. Others have enormous payoffs as your business grows. You might enjoy switching from one to another freely, or you might prefer to stick with a single endeavor for the long haul.
Take a look at yourself as you are now in Vana'diel and decide which of these categories are right for you.
4.0 The Choices
And now the part you've been waiting for! (Or, more likely, scrolling straight down to... :P) I'll try to help you make a choice by giving you information about your different options. In each one I've tried to "rate" them according to the values I've talked about above.
4.1 Crystal Hunting
One of the most basic ways to make money, you can collect crystals in two ways. You can hunt mobs that give you xp while you have Signet on, or you can hunt elementals. Both provide you with crystals, one of the most basic staples of the Vana'diel society and economy.
Time: Lots. Like any kind of hunting, you will be spending a lot of time killing the same stuff again and again.
Research: Little or none. Other than learning how much crystals sell for and which mobs can produce them you can get started immediately. In fact, chances are you will be doing this without even thinking about it consciously.
Job Level: All. At high levels killing elementals is easy. At low levels rapidly killing Easy Prey mobs is easy. The difference between levels mostly lies in what crystals you will be getting.
Investment: Minimal. Other than the equipment you use to hunt, there is nothing at all to buy.
Ethics: Noble. If you farm and sell crystals you are performing an extremely necessary task that effectively contributes to the power and fun of everyone in Vana'diel. It's a great thing to do for the world as a whole.
Risk: None. This is a slow, steady, and reliable way to make money.
Growth: Minimal. As you hunt crystals, particularly at low levels, you are gaining xp, contributing to the power of your character. Ultimately you will be able to hunt some of them more difficult and remote elementals.
Farming is another very simple way of making cash. It's also very repetitive. The idea is easy for anyone to understand- kill the bad guys and get their stuff.
Time: Lots. Just like crystal hunting, you will be spending a lot of time killing the same stuff again and again.
Research: Some. You will be most effective if you know what mobs spawn are most plentiful, drop the most valuable resources, and
Job Level: High. Although you can farm at any level, farming becomes exponentially faster and more effective as you become more powerful. Also it is extremely helpful to have a Thief job or subjob at an absolute minimum of 15 for the Treasure Hunter skills. TH 2 is, naturally, even better.
Investment: Very low. Although good equipment is very important to farming, it is equipment that you will be using for xping anyway. Very little of your money will go to anything specifically for farming.
Ethics: Noble. Just as with crystal hunting, farming helps everyone in the world. There is an important caveat here, though- that is only true if you are selling to other PCs. If you are selling to NPCs you are getting "new money", which increases the total amount of money in the world and thus contributes to inflation. Inflation is actually not automatically a bad thing, if it reflects the real growth of resources in the world- but it can be if it goes out of control.
Risk: None. Just as with crystal hunting, you will eventually make money on farming, so long as you have patience.
Growth: None. Farming is typically a method that doesn’t involve building skills or experience. This means that even though level growth affects your money potential, you will not be improving it while you farm.
4.3 NM Camping
With enough power and time a character can take out what I think of as the "Big Bads", the powerful enemies with long spawn times that drop extremely important and valuable items. This is a ruthless and competitive activity, but with huge potential payoffs.
Time: Moderate to High. Depending on the NM you are camping, spawn times can range wildly. The most important ones, however appear rarely at best.
Research: Moderate. You'll need to find out which NMs drop valuable items, where they sell best, where the NMs themselves appear, and how long it takes for them to spawn.
Job Level: High. Killing the most powerful of the beasts solo requires a far more powerful character. Furthermore it is a good idea to have war, thf, or both for vokes, steal, and treasure hunter.
Investment: None. If you are high enough level to kill a NM, you can NM camp. I am not aware of any money involved in doing so.
Ethics: Competitive. While NM drops are very important to the Vana'diel economy and almost always sold to other characters, the practice of NM camping itself is truly ruthless. For the best mobs you will often compete with many other characters, some of whom are literally professionals who camp them for a living and sell the drops or gil equivalent in RL to feed their families. If you are ok with this level of competition, with "beating" a real life person, then NM camping will work for you. If not then you will feel frustrated, guilty, or both.
Risk: Very high. With all that competition you could spend hours waiting for a spawn that somebody else is able to grab first. NM camping is definitely a risk- which means that if you enjoy gambling it might be right for you.
Growth: Minimal. Like farming, this “career” contributes essentially nothing to your character other than money, and so does not grow as you practice it. Only your own experience as a player makes any difference.
4.4 BCNM Fights
Similar to NM camping but without the competition, BCNM's are "boss" mobs that you access with beastmen seals. They can drop very important, valuable items. They are also level-capped, which means they require more strategy and teamwork than just about any other type of fight. I would also lump the repeatable, level 20 Eco-wars quests into this category, as they are extremely similar.
Time: Moderate. The fights themselves are quite short, but it takes time to find and organize a victorious party. Furthermore, you will generally fight several times so every member of the party can get a drop, although alternatively you can pool the items and split the profits. It also takes time to get the seals you need, although these come from normal xping as well.
Research: Moderate. It does take a bit of experience or research to learn a good strategy for each BCNM.
Job Level: Moderate to High. Because the BCNM's are level-capped battlegrounds they are accessible to a variety of levels, but also become less appealing to fight as your level difference grows.
Investment: Some. Unless you are doing BCNMs capped at your current level, you will need to retain lower level equipment. As you could sell this equipment instead, I consider it a nontrivial investment in both money and mog-safe space.
Ethics: Heroic. BCNMs require little or no competition, but rather skill. Every successful BCNM fight contributes to the Vana'diel economy- and you'll also be fighting the Forces of Evil in-character.
Risk: Moderate. Although a good strategy and well-prepared party should be able to beat a BCNM every time, rotten luck or a mistake can and will kill you. You both lose the orbs and xp, so the risk is definitely real. Furthermore you may not receive the item drops every fight.
Growth: Minimal. Although you may develop strategies and build a good team to take on BCNM’s consistently and win, this quickly tops out. Once you win virtually every time and know which are the most profitable, fighting BCNM’s quickly becomes routine.
4.5 Garrison Events
Although similar to BCNM fights, these deserve special attention. Another type of level-capped event, these require preparation and skill.
Time: Moderate. Although you do need to organize a party, you do not need to collect orbs. This is one important difference from the BCNMs fights.
Research: Low. You definitely need a strategy to win, however this strategy is repeatable. Once you know how to beat these events it becomes relatively consistent.
Job Level: Moderate to High. As with BCNMs, these fights are level-capped, and begin at the moderate levels.
Investment: Some. Exactly as with BCNMs, you must invest in lower-level equipment and expendable items.
Ethics: Heroic. As with BCNM fights you are both fighting the Forces of Evil in character, and contributing to the economy as a player. There is very little competition, so you are truly using your skills to benefit the world.
Risk: High. This is the biggest difference between Garrison events and BCNMs. BCNMs may not drop the same items every time, but they do drop them consistently. Also their strategy is consistent. Garrison event drops vary wildly based on luck and your degree of success. Furthermore it is a more chaotic brawl, and so the risk of dying is relatively high without a very well organized party.
Growth: Minimal. As with other combat types, only strategy and your experience as a player affects your success. You will improve slightly, but this improvement quickly plateaus, along with your income from this eneavor.
Crafting is the "career" many people turn to first, thinking that it should be a good way to make money. It certainly can be- if you are making items in high demand and rare supply. Unfortunately for the new folks and fortunately for the veterans, it is not a simple as many people think at first.
Time: Very high. Although crafting itself goes relatively quickly, it takes a significant amount of time to raise your crafting skills to a useful level. Expect to take months if you go at a steady pace.
Research: High. You need to know recipes, selling prices of the results, and where to buy your components. Even more importantly you need to learn how to time your crafting for specific days and around the guild schedules. Some brief reading on the enhancements your Mog can provide also helps.
Job Level: Very low. So far as I am aware, level itself makes no difference in crafting. However high fame does help buy supplies cheaply- something that is easier to get at higher levels.
Investment: Very very high! Goldsmiths can require a million to quickly get to a level where you turn a nontrivial profit. The other crafts can take hundreds of thousands. Going slowly and timing your crafting more carefully can help, but the cost will be extremely high regardless of method.
Ethics: Heroic. If you are an excellent crafter, prepare to be well loved. Although not as selfless a contribution to Vana'diel as the various farming activities, high level crafters produce incredible products and supply the characters of the world with important and valuable services.
Risk: Low. There is risk involved in each individual crafting attempt, but overall it is a reliable way of making money. Once you are at high levels you are able to craft lower-level items and achieve consistent high quality results, one of the keys to making money.
Growth:Very very high.! More, I believe, than any other “career” in FFXI, sticking with crafting for the long haul will guarantee huge payouts. However look at your time and monetary investment- this is a costly goal to realize in every way. That, of course, is what makes it special.
Although technically a craft, fishing is in a class of its own. It does not require crystals and has a much lower starting cost.
Time: Very very high! Fishing is a mind-numbingly repetitive and time consuming activity. However it also requires relatively little attention, which mitigates it somewhat as you can do something else in RL at the same time. Unfortunately this also makes it susceptible to "botting" or using automated programs to fish for you, which is both against the ToS and cheating at a game.
Research: Moderate. There are specific times of day and locations that are best for fishing, and certain things you can catch that are worth more than others. It certainly does not require the kind of intense research that some other methods do, but nor does it require none.
Job Level: Moderate. Although you can fish at level 1 and make money, having a higher level does help. It does not improve your fishing results directly, but you can get to more specialized fishing spots in high-level areas.
Investment: Low. High-priced rods and other equipment help significantly, but you can start with cheap equipment and generally start turning a profit in your first hour, so long as it is the right hour of the day and you are in the right spot.
Ethics: Questionable. It is certainly possible to be a fisherman who contributes meaningfully to Vana'diel. You can catch items which are valuable to other PCs and sell them, increasing available resources. In some cases you are catching items critical to crafting, so it can be an important contribution indeed. However it is also one of the easiest ways to introduce "new money" into the game, as you can easily turn a profit by selling directly to NPCs. This combined with the simplicity of botting makes it very enticing to the selfish. You can be a wonderful and productive member of society as a fisherman- or you can be one of the most hated things in the game.
Risk: Very low. Although each cast is something of a gamble, overall fishing is a very consistent way to make money, like any of the crafts.
Growth:Very high. Fishing is a skill that grows as you do it. The difference between a level one fisherman’s ability to reel in cash and a level fifty’s is amazing.
Time: Special. In a sense, Gardening requires almost no time at all. It only a takes a few minutes each RL day to check on your plants, and there is no skill to improve. However it does take a lot of patience for your plants to grow- and they must be checked regularly or they will die.
Research: High. Gardening is extremely complicated in the sense that many factors affect its success. Fortunately there are excellent resources available, thanks largely to Pikko (my heroine!), whose dedication, selflessness and attention to detail has paved the way for people to make money at this. There are hers and other excellent resources available, but expect both some reading as well as your own trial and error before you can "get it right".
Job Level: None. Level has no affect whatsoever on gardening.
Investment: Low. Although not as low as fishing, Gardening has a low starting cost. You can start with a single pot and seed for just over 1000 gil on any server. Even as you enlarge your garden you will find yourself spending very little on each expansion. I consider gardening to be a very high-profit margin activity, although as more and more people do it this is changing steadily.
Ethics: Pleasant. You are simply a gardener- no strong emotion there. You aren't selflessly or heroically spending time and money to contribute to the world, but nor are you taking advantage of anyone. Most gardened items end up sold to other PCs, so it contributes very little to inflation while pumping resources into the economy.
Risk: Moderate. Gardening is definitely a gamble. Any given "experiment" could result in total loss or extraordinary results. However, with appropriate research you can generally turn a tidy profit, thanks to folks like Pikko and the very low investment required.
Growth: Very low. Over time investing in your garden and learning more about it will improve your results. However, because there are no skills to improve and very few items that you can grow and reuse in your garden this is a “career” that does not improve very much over time. It relies much more on the amount of research and cash you put into it.
One of the most common ways of making money in Vana'diel, beyond the more obvious hunting and farming, is to buy low and sell high. The idea is simple. Find somewhere an item is produced, from an NPC, for example, and sell it where it is needed, such as the AH in a city, making some profit through the transaction.
Time: Some. The biggest issue here is travel time. Many of the most important and valuable resources are available from NPCs- but only from certain areas which are widely separated. In fact it is the convenience of not having to travel that is the real "product" that you are selling.
Research: Substantial. The key to this activity is to learn the prices of everything, everywhere, both buying and selling. That takes some effort and, more importantly, it is constantly changing and so requires continuous attention to detail.
Job Level: Moderate. Although you can buy most valuable items at any level, the biggest profits are made from going to places that are somewhat difficult to find or get to. High fame also helps substantially, which your level can make easier to acquire.
Investment: Low. Since you can buy and sell any quantity of items, your investment is minimal and returns are relatively quick. You only need enough starting cash to buy some of your product and pay for transportation and AH costs.
Ethics: Neutral. This is an activity that is both lamented by many but necessary. It is a genuinely important service. If everyone had to travel for their supplies the world would be inconvenient, and people would have less time to spend on other productive activities. Furthermore it moves money out of the economy to NPCs, which helps to curb inflation. On the other hand, though, there is a great deal of unspoken price-fixing and substantial competition. It is possible to be loved or hated for this career, but overall it's just a standard, basic service.
Risk: Very low. So long as you research well you should make a very consistent, reliable profit. On the other hand, though, price fluctuations do occur, especially when a new discovery is made, new content is added, or a special event is declared. These fluctuations can make this "career" a slight gamble from time to time.
Growth: None. This “career” is about cash, patience, and research. You will make no more after selling a thousand of the same item than you will for the first one. In fact, if anything, the more you pump into the market, the more you can deflate prices.
Mining minerals, digging for bones, logging for wood, and cutting grains- the staples of industry. In Vana'diel this activity is one of the many ways to get the basic crafting resources.
Time: Lots. Although harvesting is simple and fast once you know how to do it, it is definitely a low-profit margin activity. It takes quite a lot of it to produce a significant income. Fortunately harvesting points spawn instantly, so there is little downtime other than traveling between spots. A team can cut this downtime to almost nothing and make the process far more effective.
Research: Low. The only real research necessary is to find where the harvesting points spawns. This isn't trivial, but nor is it particularly difficult.
Job Level: Low. You can harvest from level one. It does help to be high enough level, however, that mobs will not attack you in whatever area you are in. Fortunately, though, there are some perfectly viable areas that don't require a particularly high level, or even a moderate one.
Investment: Low to Moderate. The only significant cost is that of the expendable equipment- the harvesting tools. Since results are relatively consistent, this becomes a simple cost of business similar to gardening or reselling, and so isn't really much of a startup cost. There is equipment, however, which can improve results substantially and that is a more expensive one-time investment.
Ethics: Pleasant. Like gardening, this is an activity with no strong feelings attached to it. You will be doing a valuable service, but an unglamorous one. As always sales to NPCs will cause inflation, while purchases of the tools from NPCs will cause the reverse.
Risk: Low. As with crafts and fishing each individual attempt is a gamble, but so long as you devote a significant period to the "career" your results will be relatively consistent over time.
Growth: None. Harvesting has no skill associated with it that improves at all.
4.11 Chocobo Digging
This a special case of harvesting with different requirements. You use expendable supplies for this as with harvesting, but also need to be able to ride those delightful yellow chickens.
Time: Lots. This is a form of harvesting and, as such, takes time. There is a theory that there is a limited supply of items in any given zone as well, and that supply regenerates at a constant rate. This, along with a delay between digs, puts a "cap" on the speed at which you can make attempts. Equally importantly you have an absolute limit on how long you can stay on any one chocobo.
Research: Some. Much of your research will be trial and error, as well, as this is currently not a very documented subject. You may have to hunt for information and do your own experiments. Expect to take some notes.
Job Level: Moderate. Obviously, since you need a chocobo for this activity it isn't something you can do from level one. However as far as I am aware level does not play any other role in success, and since on a chocobo you cannot be aggro'ed, you can go to most areas at any level.
Investment: Minimal. Depending on where you get your chocobo the price can be quite low. Furthermore the expendable greens used are very cheap and often grow by accident in gardening experiments. Experimenting with this task is very inexpensive.
Ethics: Pleasant. The ethical concerns of this activity, like harvesting and gardening, are negligible. It also helps curb inflation by not only moving cash to NPCs but also raising the prices of chocobos, forcing other characters to move more cash to NPCs as well.
Risk: Some. Just as with harvesting this is a predictable activity over time. However, unlike harvesting, it is not well documented, so you will almost certain experience some failure before you learn what the activity takes to succeed.
Growth: Moderate. There is a hidden skill that does grow for this “career”. While this skill doesn’t seem to affect your performance as dramatically as the craft or fishing skills, it does make a difference as you repeat the task.
This "career" fascinates me, because I believe it is something the developers never anticipated. The idea is simple but creative. Level a whm and get the teleport spells, then sell your teleport services in any major city or area. Alternatively you can sell Warp II services as a blm as well.
Time: Moderate. The biggest time investment is in the initial time to level and get your spells. Once you actually begin giving services expect fairly constant business, though, barring competition.
Research: Very little. You only need to learn where there are people looking for a teleport and how to get the spells.
Job Level: Moderate to High. The level for the basic spells is 36- nontrivial but not extraordinary. On the other hand the more rare spells that go to the more remote, high-level areas are a lot more difficult to get, unless your primary job is whm or blm.
Investment: Special. The actual money invested in your "career" can be essentially nothing. However it can take a substantial amount of money to level a whm or blm, thanks to food and equipment costs. Whether you consider this a cost of business is up to you- again dependent largely on whether you use whm or blm as a main job.
Ethics: Useful. Just on the positive side of neutral, this "career" provides a very important service that everyone can benefit from. However there is some competition and unspoken price fixing, so there is always the risk of making selfish decisions- or the opportunity to do so if you want to do so.
Risk: Very low. The only risk is that you may experience competition or poor business. You will make some money- the only question is how quickly or slowly.
Growth: Very low. You will have some repeat business as people remember your name, which can slightly grow your industry. However this growth is minimal, and in general your income will not improve over time.
4.13 Raise for Hire
Hotly controversial, some whm's offer this critical service for a price.
Time: Low. Unlike teleports, a whm can quickly and easily get at least the first raise spell, and use it in a low level area like the Dunes.
Research: Very little. Other than getting the spell and learning what areas tend to have a lot of demand, there is none.
Job Level: Moderate to High. At any given moment you will be offering services to those of a lower level than you- those whose party either does not have raise at all or may not have a raise of your level. This means that at any level from the point at which a whm can get their first raise you can begin this "career".
Investment: Minimal. Unless you are planning to level whm to a very high level just for this purpose, the costs of this "career" are negligible.
Ethics: Highly questionable. Most whms offer this service for free whenever they can, so if you choose to demand payment you will be truly hated. On the other hand, you might believe validly that this is a legitimate service, one that is dismissed by the culture arbitrarily. The choice is yours- but it is definitely a serious ethical choice that will affect your reputation. One alternative that is less questionable is to openly accept "tips" without demanding them. This is much more acceptable to the general public, but refusing tips is an opportunity to greatly build your reputation that you will be giving up.
Risk: None. There is no financial risk whatsoever in this "career", only the ethical concerns.
Growth: Very low. Exactly as with the tele-taxi, your name recognition improves, but otherwise you will experience no growth.
4.14 Hero for Hire
As a high level character you always have the option of renting your services out to those that could use them. You can take payment for "sweeping" an eco-wars for an 18-person alliance or help a single person get an advanced job, subjob, or AF gear.
Time: Moderate to low. On the surface it seems that the time invested is substantial- after all it takes a long time to be powerful enough to have this as an option. Truthfully, though, that time is separate from this activity- the actual time you are spending on a given run will be very low.
Research: Minimal. Any major city will have people shouting for help. You may need to know the basics of each profitable quest, but other than that you can expect to pretty much just be a hired goon.
Job Level: High. Obviously only a powerful character can demand payment for their services with a straight face.
Investment: Minimal. It is unlikely that you will even need expendable items to help with most quests or missions.
Ethics: Slightly questionable. It is always a topic of debate whether or not you are taking advantage of the weak. However you are also providing a valuable service that helps those weak become strong- and in turn able to contribute more to the economy. You will not help your reputation by selling your services, but nor will you destroy it.
Risk: Very little. Barring extreme circumstances you will be able to succeed at any quest or mission of appropriate level. Only if you push yourself to higher levels will you experience risk.
Growth: Low. Over time your name will become known as a powerful character, and your knowledge of missions and quests will grow through practice. However this growth is very low compared to other “careers”.
Second in controversy only to selling Raise, this is a subject not to be taken lightly. The theory is simple- keep a party alive while they quickly fight mobs far more powerful than they could otherwise defeat. The result: very rapid, very easy xp with little risk to the party.
Time: Significant. PLing a party takes some concentration and a decent amount of time. Generally you will be paid by the level or the hour, and a party will rarely be satisfied with only one of either.
Research: None. This is a no-brainer- if you are powerful enough to PL, you know how to keep a party alive.
Job Level: Moderate to high. Obviously higher level characters can PL higher level parties, but even a character of moderate level can be paid to PL someone from level 8 to level 12.
Investment: None. Again if you are powerful enough to PL a party, you already should have everything you need.
Ethics: Questionable. PLing is a hotly debated topic, and with good reason. On the one hand you are selling a real service, particularly to people who are leveling a subjob they never intend to use to its full capabilities. However you are also allowing people to get to a level of power inappropriate to their level of ability. They are not learning through experience as they otherwise would. Furthermore it can be seen as a kind of "cheating" be some. You may hurt your reputation by selling a PL. However you may also legitimately feel that it isn't morally wrong. As always, the choice is yours.
Risk: None. If you are able to be hurt in any way during a PL, you shouldn't be doing it.
Growth: Very low. Other than repeat business, you will experience little to know growth in your success.
4.16 Repeatable Quests
There are many NPC quests that both advance the plot and provide cash, generally for hunting a particular mob for a certain item. These quests are more important for fame, but can produce income under the right circumstances.
Time: Moderate. These quests, obviously, do take time to complete.
Research: Substantial. Most quests are well documented, but you will generally need to check that documentation before you do them, particularly for the more rewarding ones.
Job Level: Low. Most of the repeatable quests are designed for low level characters. Those few that are for higher level characters are generally not very profitable, instead being more for fame than fortune.
Investment: Minimal. Most quests require no money at all, so you are paying only for expendables you use. However these same items are often saleable to players for an equal or greater price, so the opportunity cost is substantially higher. This largely depends on the particular quest.
Ethics: Neutral. You are generally doing these quests alone, and they have very little impact on the economy. However, as with any activity that gets money from an NPC, they can cause some inflation.
Risk: Very little. These quests generally call for items that are easily obtainable at an appropriate level, often even a very low level.
Growth: None. Because virtually all of these quests are well documented, even experience as a player will have little to no effect on your success.
4.17 Nonrepeatable Quests
Certain quests in the game give you a one-time opportunity to get an item of great value or a substantial amount of cash. Avatar fights and spell quests are the most obvious, but there are many others. Missions can qualify as well, as each final rank mission generally provides some cash.
Time: Extensive. Most of these quests require a lot of time to complete.
Research: Significant. Although these quests are very well documented, they are sometimes complicated. You will have a much easier time if you do a bit of homework beforehand.
Job Level: Moderate to high. The higher-level and more difficult the quest, obviously the higher the return. The highest level spells are extremely valuable.
Investment: Very little. The investment is in your time and skill, not money except for expendable supplies.
Ethics: Mildly noble. On the surface it seems that as you are doing a quest for an item you will never use, purely for financial gain, you might be selfish. In reality, however, you are providing a valuable service. Those individuals that benefit from your time spent will become great contributors to the economy. The possible exception to this is the practice of using a character to complete a quest, then sending the money to your main character, deleting the questing character, and starting over. This is mildly questionable, as it could be viewed as a very slight form of "cheating".
Risk: Very little. If you are doing quests appropriate to your level, you should experience little to no risk.
Growth: None. Just as with the repeatable quests, this “career” is essentially free of growth through practice.
4.18 Running a Casino
FFXI, like most MMORPGs, allows you to make a verifiably random die roll. It is very simple as a character to make up some odds and invite people to roll against you to win a bet.
Time: Some. There is no preparation required to run a Casino, and it is easy to pick up and leave when business dries up.
Research: None. Basic math skills are all you need.
Job Level: None. Level is irrelevant to this entirely player-run enterprise.
Investment: Substantial. Without a large bankroll you will not be able to endure a potential run of bad luck.
Ethics: Mildly questionable. Like any real-world casino, there is debate over the ethics of encouraging people to gamble. Since Vana'diel is a fictional shared-universe this is much less of an issue than the real world, and is generally seen as a trivial entertainment. Some people may even respect you for starting your own business. However, since there is some morality involved your reputation can certainly suffer depending on who sees you shouting your advertisements. Although not a huge impact on the game economy, you should definitely consider your own sense of ethics before setting up shop.
Risk: Minimal. So long as you make appropriate odds, take cash up front, and have a sizeable bankroll, you can play statistics to make money over time. Just like the real-world casinos you may lose to individual gamblers, but inevitably you, as the house, will win overall.
Growth: Minimal. You may experience significant repeat business as a casino that is reputed to be fair and give good odds. However, overall, this growth is very small.
4.19 Begging and Street Performance
Just as in the real world, sometimes characters find themselves penniless and unsure of what to do to get back on their feet. One option is always to rely on the generosity of others. Also like in the real world, though, some scam artists will rely on the gullibility of others... Many individuals, particularly the lovely Mithra and adorable Tarutaru use motions to dance or even perform a bikini striptease for some quick tips.
Time: Negligible. After more than a few minutes you will find yourself being blacklisted or being shouted at, and business will cease.
Research: Minimal. For performance you will need to know the motions well, but otherwise this "career" is as simple as they come.
Job Level: Very low. This is the only enterprise I am aware of which is actually much more effective at lower levels. As a brand new player with an unknown name and no subjob you stand a somewhat better chance of pulling on the heartstrings of the rich.
Investment: None. Obviously as a beggar you are asking to get something for nothing. In Vana'diel you don't even need to buy a squeegee and spray bottle.
Ethics: Somewhat questionable. Like in the real world, few people will appreciate begging for money. If you are an especially entertaining and charismatic performer you might find yourself a lot more popular and less hated, but it is unlikely you'll garner much respect.
Risk: None. Other than the social implications of being a beggar, there are no risks involved in shouting, dancing, or stripping for cash.
Growth: Negative. Over time you will not only experience no growth, your appeal will most likely wear thin and you may very well experience a huge decline in your success.
Some items in FFXI can be purchased only with CP, points that can be earned through combat of EPs or higher with signet, garrison events, and supply runs. As you gain rank you have access to better items, some of which can sell for a significant income.
Time: Lots. This activity relies on participating in events and combat a great deal to get your points. Furthermore you often must wait until your country is in first place to get the best items. All of this comes at an opportunity cost, as you could be saving the points you've earned for far better items as you gain rank.
Research: Some. It is vital to know what you can purchase depending on rank and your country's success. It is also critical that you know how much items sell for, and how much the prices fluctuate from area to area and based on the success of the countries.
Job Level: Medium to high. This enterprise is all about rank. The higher your rank, the better the items you get. Although the low levels are some of the best times to earn conquest points, the mid to high levels are where you can effectively spend them.
Investment: None. Although there is a heavy opportunity cost to this "career", there is no money involved at all.
Ethics: Noble. In a way this is a long-term form of farming, and as such you are making a very useful contribution to Vana'diel through combat and struggle. In addition you will be part of the garrison event "career", which is a heroic endeavor.
Risk: Minimal. So long as you do your research, sell the best items, and have patience you are guaranteed to make money at no cost.
Growth: None. The value of conquest points grows exponentially based on your rank and the total number of points you spend on any one item. Neither of these factors, however, will improve as you develop this “career”.
FFXI contains very little PvP and no non-consensual PvP whatsoever. This means that you can't shake down PCs for cash. However, those poor, downtrodden beastmen are fair game. Unlike most of the bad guys of Vana'diel, these targets for random, unprovoked violence carry lunch money.
Time: Substantial. Like any kind of hunting, you will be spending a lot of time killing the same stuff again and again. However although the potential for cash is lower, there are three advantages that make profits more immediate than conventional farming or crystal hunting: You do not need to wait for items to sell, there are areas with very dense populations of beastmen and very high spawn rates, and all beastmen link, making AOE spells extremely effective.
Research: Trivial. Other than learning where beastmen are found and how difficult they are to kill there is none.
Job Level: Middle. Although you technically can start hunting beastmen as soon as you can kill them, it is best to wait for the middle levels where you can kill them faster and have access to a thief main or subjob with Gil Hunter.
Investment: Minimal. Just as with any form of hunting there is no special equipment involved.
Ethics: Neutral. Although on the surface this seems to contribute to the economy in the same way as other forms of farming, it does not. The gil you get is "new money", and as such can potentially speed inflation. This is, however, balanced by the fact that you will normally farm items at the same time.
Risk: None. As with all forms of hunting this is a steady and simple source of income.
Growth: None. Just as other forms of hunting, this “career” simply does not grow over time.
4.22 AH Speculation
Just like the RL stock market, AH prices fluctuate based on inflation, demand, supply, and various other factors. Also just as in RL you can take a risk based on these fluctuations to make big money- or experience big losses. The idea is simple in theory, but requires a lot of thought: buy items whose prices are going to rise, and sell them later for a profit.
Time: Minimal. Similar to gardening, this “career” is more about patience than a high amount of time invested.
Research: Very high. This activity is all about knowing the AH. You will need to both research it extensively and watch it closely.
Job Level: None. Your job level does not affect your performance at all.
Investment: Very high. The items whose prices fluctuate the most are those that are sometimes in very limited supply. These items are expensive! Your starting bankroll is extremely important to this “career”.
Ethics: Neutral. There is some debate on this activity. On the surface it seems that you are taking advantage of people by making money without providing a useful service. In truth, though, you are providing something- storage and liquidity. You are moving items through the economy, letting those that are selling them move on to some other activity, and keeping them available when supply drops or demand rises.
Risk: High. Just as with the real stock market, speculation in Vana’diel is very much a form of educated, planned gambling.
Growth: None. Your returns are entirely based on research, cash invested, and luck.
4.23 Street Peddling
There are a lot of spots in Vana’diel without NPC merchants or an AH. PC’s can greatly benefit from others that bring in goods, especially critical items such as food, medicines, and ammunition. Those peddlers who supply these items can make a tidy profit, thanks to the bazaar system.
Time: Lots. You will spend time traveling and, more importantly, standing in one spot making your product lineup known and available.
Research: Moderate. Knowing the where items are needed and what prices the market can bear are critical to this “career”, but it is relatively simple to obtain this knowledge.
Job Level: Moderate. Some of the most remote areas to peddle require significant power to survive. As a rule of thumb, unless you are in a mob-free area you will need to be powerful enough that nothing in the area will aggro you.
Investment: Moderate. To turn a reasonable profit your will need to make a reasonable investment. Since you will only be able to justify a limited markup of your prices, you will make a percentage on what you purchase. Furthermore, a large inventory is essential to cut unprofitable travel time. You can also make a small profit by purchasing the items of others, particularly those inexpensive ones that clutter inventory, in the field for low prices and reselling them on your return trip.
Ethics: Neutral. You will have detractors that accuse you of price gouging. In fact, this is a very real possibility, and a profitable one, if you choose to do so. However there can be no debate that you are providing a useful convenience service, helping to eliminate travel and research time for other players.
Risk: Some. Although there is very little risk involved, you will be vulnerable to market fluctuations, particularly those caused by competition.
Growth: Some. There is growth potential in this business based on your name recognition. If you have a consistent product lineup and fair prices your business may grow somewhat.
5.0 What Choice Will You Make?
You can see that your choices are legion. At any given time most servers have 3500 people online or more- all busily going about their business. Everybody has a role to play in the game and in the economy. It is wonderful that you get to pick yours!
Examine yourself, and decide on your values and goals. Look at your options, and then pick the one that is right for you. Only you can make the choice, but with a little thought about this endless variety you should find something that you enjoy, something that isn't "just work".
Who knows? Maybe you'll even come up with something entirely new. There had to have been one person who first started selling teleports... Perhaps you will be the next entrepreneur of Vana'diel!
Legal and reproduction details:
The text of this guide is entirely the property of the author. All rights are reserved without explicit, written permission from the author to the contrary. If you are interested in reproducing any portions of the guide, please contact the author directly. You may, however, provide a http link to a copy of this guide provided:
1. You link to a site that has permission to post the guide.
2. The guide posted on that site contains the full text of the original guide, including this legal text.
3. Full credit is given to the author of the guide on the originating site. (The site you are creating the link on.)
I welcome feedback and suggestions for this guide. Please be gentle- but don't be shy!
*Corrected spelling, slightly changed formatting, and added a TOC.
Edited, Thu Oct 28 10:54:37 2004 by silalus
*Removed the general preamble.
*Added the following "careers":
---4.19 Begging and Street Performance (at the suggestion of Silverel)
---4.20 Conquest (at the suggestion of osovamp the Shady)
Edited, Fri Oct 29 09:32:38 2004 by silalus
*Discovered and corrected some minor inconsistencies in formatting.
*Corrected a significant error: basic teleports are level 36, not 37. (discovered by BattierCN)
*Added the “growth” factor of each of the “careers” (based on the suggestion of Gergall).
*Added the following “careers”:
---4.22 AH Speculation (based on the idea of Jart)
---4.23 Street Peddling (based on the idea of Jart)
Edited, Thu Nov 4 10:13:14 2004 by silalus
*Added some basic legal text. (at the suggestion of Ejoty, Eater of Souls)
[sm]Edited, Wed Nov 10 13:51:23 2004 by silalus