Since the Main Story Quest (MSQ) in FF14 is mandatory to get access to pretty much everything, it acts as a sort of secondary leveling metric. If you’re playing only a single job (class), then you should never be lacking levels in that front to get to the next stage of the MSQ. If you’re swapping around jobs, then yeah, you’re going to need to supplement the exp gains.
Each expansion has a set of MSQ, then there are post-content MSQ that prepare for the next expansion. Of interest is the following:
- ARR – 185-188 (starting city makes a difference)
- ARR+ – 20
- Heavensward – 94
- Heavensward+ – 44
- Stormblood – 122
- Stormblood+ – 40
- Shadowbringers – 107
- Shadowbringers+ – 51
That’s 663 quests to get through, most where you’re just talking. Some where you kill 1-2 monsters, or delivery an item. About 10% of them unlock a dungeon or raid.
I’m currently at quest 87 within the Stormblood campaign, which is about 70% of the way through until the end of this pack. I’ve reached level 67, which is right in line with expectations. I’ll have some thoughts on it once I get to the tail end. That also puts me at 430 quests of 663 total to reach the end of current content before Endwalker comes out – or 233 to go.
I started at the Heavensward+ content about 2 weeks ago. Works out to something like 60 or so quests done a week. If that trends continues, then it’s a month+ to get through all the rest. If I was to look at the entire journey, it’s 11+ weeks of content at my pace… and someone more slow paced may be seeing 4+ months of quests before joining the end portion.
I’ll add a counter to the website to keep track.
Skip MSQ or Not?
I like the MSQ, I really do. The storylines are decent enough, in line with most FF games. There are still the weird bits that often pop up, like literal Ninja Turtles. The villains are often nuanced enough to understand why they do what they do, without some larger puppet strings being pulled. It’s always a larger arc, with a foundational set of NPCs to go through it all.
The real benefit however is the unlocking of various “things” and effectively training wheels for new players. I’ve long been a proponent of this model (WoW’s proving grounds are a lost opportunity), so that new players can be eased into the game’s systems. Be it group combat, crafting, social structures, raids, stuns, flying, retainers, swimming, glamour and so on. There’s a logical structured path to uncover these systems, as many of them depend on each other.
The downside is the length of time required to get through all this. If you “skip” the MSQ, then you automatically unlock everything and likely have no idea how any of it works. WoW is deceivingly simple in terms of systems – very few of them ever interact with each other (think about it, what mechanics from Legion are evenly remotely relevant today?). They can become complex, if you so choose. FF14 is quite the opposite, where trying to do one thing likely requires doing a half dozen other steps first. Skipping the MSQ means you don’t understand it. Plus, compared to many MMOs (LotR excepted), the entire story is relevant.
It would be nice to have a mini MSQ, where there was still some training wheels for the various systems, but that it didn’t take half a year to get through. You’re still a sprout for like 170 hours, so perhaps there’s something that could be done there… it would be a coding investment and now that the game is entering the 4th expansion, I’d be curious if that was worth it.