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How to make money as a newbie

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  • How to make money as a newbie

    The aim of this guide is to give you a few good starting points and tips but mainly to show you how to research your own ways of making money and give you some good sites to help you do that. Also that I have tried not to assume too much knowledge but if I refer to something that you haven’t come across try searching for it at ffxilopedia, if I refer to something that is explained later in the guide I will put (see later).

    Section 1: The general premise

    The basic equation to keep in the back of your mind is this:

    Gil/hour = (Return – investment)/ (time taken to obtain)

    Making money takes time and the vast majority of ways to make money also require a certain amount of investment (in terms of gil) before you will see a return.

    Return – investment: having a huge return on a way to make money is nice but if and only if the investment required leaves you with a worthwhile amount of profit. Never forget to subtract the investment you had to put in from the return you get when comparing profits.

    All the viable ‘main income’ ways of making money in game involve obtaining items and selling them. When you are looking at ways of making money, you should be weighing how much return you are likely to get for the investment you have to put in, how long it’s likely to take you to obtain the item. Would that time be better spent doing something else?

    Section 2: The Market

    You can sell items that you get to npcs which I will talk about in the tips section but most of the time, you will be selling items on the auction house (AH) to make your money. Understanding how the AH works helps you make money much more easily. There is an NPC in front of each AH that will tell you how it works but AH info has some extra information that is very useful.

    For what we are discussing in this section the important things to remember about how the AH works are:
    • You only have 7 sale spaces
    • You must pay a non refundable fee to place an item up for sale and this fee is partly dependant on your asking price. Higher asking price means larger fee.
    • Goods are returned to you as unsold after about 3 earth days.
    • The ‘buy’ menu allows you to see how many of any particular item or stack are currently up for sale
    • The ‘price history’ of any particular item or stack will give you both the day and sell price of the last several sales.

    A good gil/hour ratio is very important but you have to remember that this is totally limited by how well that item sells and how fast you can sell an item depends on the player driven economy. Once your 7 AH spaces are full you have to either take one of the items currently on the AH off, wait for one of them to sell or wait for one of them to be sent back before you can put any new items up.
    It can be useful to think in terms of AH space profit / time. Sometimes it can be worth tying up a slot with a single item that might be sent back once or twice because the profit on that single item is so huge that any extra AH fees are tiny in comparison and it’s worth losing that slot for a while. Other times it can be worth selling items that offer smaller profit/item but sell extremely quickly.

    Section 3: Tips
    • Research – what items can you get or make and how well do they sell? The sites in the reference section at the end of the guide should give you all the information you need to work this out. For general money making I tend to start with working out what areas I can safely go to and work from there. What mobs are in the Zone that I can kill and what do they drop, what NMs (notorious monsters – see later), any HELM (harvesting, excavating, logging and mining – see later) points in the zone? Can I craft any of the items I could get in those ways into something else that sell well? Is it better to just buy from the AH or go and get the items myself? Which of these offer me the best gil/hour? Which of those offer me the best AH space profit/time?
    • Make a Plan – once you have done your research make a few notes. I always have a few notes on my current money making plans, it helps a lot. If you are farming, for instance, then a reminder of which mobs to target, which to stay away from, which drops to keep etc can be very helpful, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.
    • Watch the Market – the economy in ffxi is player driven, it fluctuates a lot both in terms of availability and price and so many people struggle to make money because they don’t keep a close eye on the market. If you are looking to make money from a particular item then check it in the AH, it’s a good idea to do this regularly so you get a feel for how the market for that item fluctuates. How many are in stock and how much are they selling for? How fast are they selling? Does the market for that item fluctuate much? Is this item a good way to make money right now? There is absolutely no point of going to the trouble of getting an item if you can’t sell it (either because of over supply or lack of demand) or you can’t make decent profit on it (because the price fluctuates and just dropped to close to or below your break even point) Keeping a close eye on the market will save you a lot of time and a lot of money.
    • Be Flexible – If you rely on one way of making money, there will be times when you just can’t make money very well even if you choose something very stable like beehive chips or silk thread. All items that make money at some point are a bad idea because of either a glut on the AH or people just aren’t buying them at the moment or overcrowding makes getting the item take much longer than it normally would. Have a few different ways of making money worked out so if for any reason one isn’t a good idea right now you have some back ups.
    • Pick the right AH– Not all the AH are connected. If you went to the AH in Windurst Walls and put an item up for auction there it could only be purchased from the AHs in Windurst Woods, Windurst Walls or Kazham. Most (not all) of the time the best place for you to sell an is at the Jeuno AH, this is because Jeuno and Whitegate (whose AH are connected) are by far the busiest cities in game and so a lot of items that you would be very lucky to sell at all in the other AH would sell regularly in Jeuno.
    • Consider a mule – I am not going to tell you that you need mules (characters that you play only to support your main character in some capacity) because you don’t. However, most people who play for any length of time tend to make them eventually because they are just so useful. Extra AH selling space (especially handy if your mule is in Jeuno), extra mog house space for storage, extra space for gardening (see later), ferrying items around the world quickly etc.
    • Always check the NPC price – So far we have talked mostly about buying and selling at the AH but it’s not the only way to buy and sell goods. There are a lot of NPCs in game and they sell a lot of different items, often much more cheaply than an AH would so it’s always worth checking to see if an item you are interested in is sold by an NPC instead of just automatically buying at the AH (particularly relevant for things like spells and gear, especially early on). Something a lot of people overlook is that selling items to NPC merchants can sometimes be better than trying to sell them at the AH. Some of the ‘junk items’ that you can get low level fishing, harvesting or mining for example can be sold to an NPC for ~ 400gil each. Another bonus of selling to NPC merchants is that it’s a guaranteed instant sale with no AH fee involved and they will buy as many items as you want to sell them. The only exception to this are guild merchants, who will only buy certain items, will only buy so many in a single game day but will buy for a little more than an ordinary NPC merchant would.
    • Quest – See quests and fame for general information. There are two money-related reasons to quest. Firstly, there are several quests (onften repeatable) that give small cash rewards for items you are likely to get as a low level player levelling in starter areas. They tend not to be worth it as a main source of income but they are a nice side bonus, especially when you first start out. The other reason to do quests is because they increase your fame level. One of the things that increasing your fame level does is make npc merchants give you a discount percentage on things you buy and a bonus percentage on things that you sell to them. It’s not a large difference on cheaper items but as the price of an individual item increases it becomes more noticeable. For example, bio is a low level black magic spell that a few different NPCs sell. If you have level 1 fame they will sell it to you for 416 gil but if you have level 9 fame you would only have to pay 368 gil for it. It doesn’t sound like a lot but it can add up quickly.
    • Stacking – many items stack (either to 12 or to 99) and most of the time you will probably make more money selling items as full stacks but it is often worth checking to see if it is worth selling an item singly. If you are lucky with the timing you can actually make quite a lot of money just buying stacks of items from the AH and then re selling them as singles or vice versa but I wouldn’t recommend trying to rely on these sorts of tricks as main income.
    • Keep your Beastman’s Seals – Whenever you kill a mob that ‘checks’ to you as easy prey or higher there is a certain chance that it will drop a Beastman’s Seal. You probably won’t use these until you are at least level 20 but it really is worth keeping them. They are used to enter BCNM (burning circle notorious monsters – see later)
    • Don’t be lazy – I have only put this last so that I can refer to things above without confusing anyone, it’s very important. Do your research, check NPC sell prices, make the effort to go check the AH. If you get an item you don’t recognise, look it up instead of just throwing it away, maybe you could use it for something. Will it save you money or allow you to make money more quickly if you level a particular craft to a certain level? Look at the by products you get while you are making money, can you find a way to make money from them? At low level particularly there are very very few items that it’s best just to throw away because all they are doing is taking up your inventory space.

    Section 4: Possible ways to make money

    This is not a complete list of all the ways to make money in game. This section covers the methods that are most viable for new, low level players.

    1. Farming

    Farming (killing mobs for their drops) is popular because the only investment required for your return is the AH fee and then only if you sell at the AH which is one of the reasons why it is a good method for new players. Make sure you have signet on when you go out to level or farm because crystals can be a good source of early income and you will only get crystals if you have signet on.
    The general idea with farming is to kill as many mobs as fast as possible so it is usual to target mobs that you can kill in just a few hits but very low level farming is a little different because nothing is that weak for you yet. Thief has a natural advantage when farming, melees generally do well but after the first few levels mage classes start to struggle to farm efficiently (slower kill speed, more resting required).

    There is some debate about whether farming on mobs at a much lower level than your character will lower the drop rate but personally I haven’t noticed any difference. What definitely does hurt your drop rate is linking a lot of mobs and then killing them simultaneously with an AoE spell or AoE weapon skill. Be aware that drops and more particularly drop rates across a family of mobs can vary noticeably.

    For some farming suggestions check out Selphiie's Farming Guide. The majority of entries in the site are for higher level but there are some lower level suggestions hidden in there.

    Etiquette – it’s considered bad manners to deliberately link multiple mobs if someone else is in competition with you for them or to farm mobs that a party or solo player is trying to kill for experience points.

    2. HELM (harvesting, excavating, logging and mining)

    HELM is also time intensive and requires more investment than farming. I may be a little biased here because it’s how I made a lot of my money low level and I play mage jobs (so farming is more of a struggle) but helm definitely beat anything else I could come up with in terms of gil/hour up to about level 36 but a melee job might have more luck farming than I did.

    HELM requires more investment to see a return than farming does. To HELM you need tools (pickaxes for mining and excavating, sickles for harvesting and hatchets for logging) and these tools break. The first time you try any particular branch of HELM you will break a lot of tools but it settles down very quickly. Tools can be bought from NPCs but for new players they are relatively expensive.

    If you find you like HELM the other investment it is a good idea to make is either a set of field gear or worker gear. The general consensus of opinion is that this gear reduces the likelihood of your tools breaking which makes HELM a little faster and cheaper. I would recommend the level 1 set because it’s much cheaper and I don’t believe the level 15 set adds more than some extra defense.

    Low level areas that are good for HELM:

    Harvesting – West Sarutabaruta, the most newbie friendly option in my opinion, clothcraft skill can help increase profits but is not really necessary.

    Excavation – Tahrongi Canyon is the lowest level area you can excavate so not as newbie friendly as the other options, best coupled with bonecrafting

    Logging – Ghelsba Outpost, the first clearing where the mobs are lower level, not as good as harvesting and mining in my experience. Woodworking skill definitely an asset.

    Mining – Zehrun Mines. Mining can make you a lot of money but it has two major problems. For some unknown reason pickaxes break noticeably more than any other tool and they are the most expensive so it’s going to cost you more to mine than it would cost you to harvest though there are fewer ‘trash’ drops from mining. Secondly it’s the only HELM that I would say you really need to have crafting skill for (goldsmithing and smithing). You don’t need high skill but mining without it is painful so some time and a little money would need to be invested to get your crafting skills up.

    Ettiquette – it’s considered rude to start mining/harvesting/excavating/logging etc at a point someone else is already using.

    3. Crafting

    Talking about crafting in detail would take far too much time and there is plenty of good information on this forum and other sites so I will just make a few general points.

    Crafting is inherently more risky than the other ways to make money that I have mentioned so far. It’s possible to farm all your ingredients for a particular synth but I have personally never found it worth the time so generally speaking you will have some investment, and there is always the risk that you will blow up your synth and lose some or all of your ingredients. However, if you are prepared to make the huge time and gil investment required to get a craft to high levels, once you have it there it can make you a lot of money for very little time required from you.

    In my experience crafting at low level for money only really works if you pair it with some helm and/or some farming. I also found that it tends to more profitable to make ingredients for other crafters (e.g thread, ingots lumber etc) than to try and make end products (eg armour, weapons, most foods). By Craft:

    Alchemy – about the most newbie friendly craft, quite a few low level recipies that sell stably and make a profit with ingredients you can get cheaply from npcs, farm or helm. Also has some useful meds that can be made cheaply very early on.

    Bonecraft – pairs well with excavating, gets a lot better around level 10

    Cooking – best paired with fishing (you can make your own bait and cook the fish you catch with them), also some decent low level attack foods fairly early but where low level cooking really shines is being able to make your own refresh drinks as a mage (refresh drinks give you mp regen that can be used along with regular food)

    Clothcrafting – pairs well with harvesting

    Goldsmithing – very good for miners, level 4-5 as a minimum lets you make the most out of mining in Zehrun

    Leatherworking – pairs well with farming

    Smithing – very good for miners, profit starts straight away but ideally you can start to take the best advantage of mining in Zehrun when your smithing skill hits around 15

    Woodworking – pairs well with logging

    When you check the Somepage link, make sure you look at the desynthesis (trying to break complete items back down to their ingredients) as this can make you money at slightly higher crafting levels.

    4. Fishing

    The link I put in the reference section is very complete so I will just sum up. Fishing is good for newbies for a number of reasons. You can do it in your home city, at low levels it can be very low investment because the rods and bate you can use are extremely cheap and Moat Carp (the fish you will be targeting for money) tend to sell well in the home city AH’s so you aren’t hampered by not being able to sell in Jeuno. Just beware of fishing fatigue if you are going to make this your main source of income (see reference post for details).

    5. Gardening

    For a new player, pots are quite expensive but after that’s out of the way you just need seeds to grow and crystals to feed them with. Seeds can be relatively cheap (or ‘free’ if you harvest in West Sarutabaruta) up to very expensive (Tree Saplings and Tree Cuttings).

    I think it’s best to wait until you have at least a small regular income before trying to garden. Once you are set up however it’s a way of making money that requires very little in the way of time and can be very low investment depending on the recipe you are doing. Gardening is ideal for getting your mules to do a little more for you as all that’s required to garden is that you log in and check your plants at least once every 24 hours which, with the maximum ten pots, takes about 2 minutes.

    Check Pikko Pots, the relevant section on the forum and ffxilopedia for more on gardening.

    6. NM (Notorious Monster) Camping

    NMs are special monsters that are more difficult than an ordinary mob of the same level, have special drops and spawn under certain conditions. The most common spawn condition you will come up against is what’s called a lottery spawn. With a lottery spawn you have to kill one particular type of mob and each time a new one would spawn to replace one you killed there would be a certain chance for the NM to pop instead of the ‘placeholder’ mob. There is normally a set time after the NM has spawned where it will not spawn again no matter how many placeholder mobs you kill.

    You can actually start looking at camping NMs for money around level 20-25ish. Getting the drop can get you a lot of return for no investment but the good money drop NMs are well known and tend to be heavily camped so there is a lot of competition for claim and if you don’t get the drop you have spent a lot of time for no money. If I am camping an NM I try and make sure I have something I can be doing between spawns so that I am not wasting too much time doing nothing.
    Note that many NM drops are classed as rare or exclusive or both.

    7. BCNM (Burning Circle Notorious Monster)

    With the possible exception of Treasure and Tribulations, you should be level 20 + before you start doing any BCNM and in a group of people. Beastman’s Seals are traded to an NPC in Jeuno for orbs that can be used to enter special, level capped battle areas around the world and take part in a special fight against the BCNM which is actually usually a small group of mobs. If you beat them within a time limit a crate drops which you must open (before the time limit is up) to get a reward.

    Most of the lower level BCNM require quite specific job set ups to be worth trying so they can be difficult to do until you have a few different job combinations open to you and/or a few nice friends. These are mostly pretty challenging fights at the level cap and it’s a very good idea to be at the cap before you try them so they aren’t really an option for new players before level 20 but BCNM can make you a lot of money for pretty much no investment and a relatively small amount of time.

    Section 5: Reference Sites

    Please look around the forum and use these sites, they should answer pretty much all the questions you might have. - a collection of links to great resources
    New Player Guide – the official one, just to get the basics out of the way
    ffxiah – this will give you Jeuno AH history for your server, updated regularly. This is a fantastic site and incredibly useful for seeing what sells, for how much and how fast. Make sure you change it to show your own server before you start checking prices.
    ffxilopedia – this is my main information site, the one I use constantly. It’s very good for looking up items, mobs, areas, NMs, BCNMs, crafting, gardening, helm, quests, missions etc etc
    vana'diel atlas – Maps, map connections, nm spawn areas, elemental spawn areas etc.
    HELM – shows general locations of points as well as lists of possible finds note that ToAU expansion areas are not listed, check out vana atlas or ffxilopedia for those.
    Akirus' fishing guide – it’s a little old now and I wouldn’t trust some of the money making suggestions he makes to be valid anymore but it’s a very very good guide on fishing techniques, rods, locations and what the fishing instinct messages all mean.
    Pikko Pots – Gardening information website
    Selphiie's Farming Guide - The only downsides to this guide are that it's made a lot of the locations well known so be prepared for competition and it's not organised by level so you might have to trawl a bit to find something suitable for you but definitely worth looking at.
    Last edited by TheGrandMom; 01-30-2009, 11:56 AM. Reason: edited a dead link, put in a link
    Signature courtesy of Selphiie the Enchantress

  • #2
    Re: How to make money as a newbie

    When I saw this title I thought it was going to be a newbie asking how to make easy money, but it looks like this is a walkthrough for them instead. Good work! ^^


    • #3
      Re: How to make money as a newbie

      What do you think, folks? Sticky worthy? ^_^
      Bamboo shadows sweep the stars,
      yet not a mote of dust is stirred;
      Moonlight pierces the depths of the pond,
      leaving no trace in the water.

      - Mugaku


      • #4
        Re: How to make money as a newbie

        Very nice for new players, or any player that needs to make money. Most people automatically assume "back to farming" and this is great for anyone that should just take a look at their options for making some cash. :]

        Thanks for this.

        Thanks to Roguewolf for the sig. :D


        • #5
          Re: How to make money as a newbie

          Finally we have a local link we can just post when those "How do I make teh mad gilz" questions come up every 20 minutes. Very helpful and informative guide by the way.

          PLD75 DRK60 lots of other levels.
          Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
          When ignorance reigns, life is lost


          • #6
            Re: How to make money as a newbie

            I may have missed it if you did mention it, but you may want to mention that if you level a craft to go with your HELM activities (weaving for harvesting, woodworking with logging, smithing/goldsmithing with mining) the amount of gil you can make really goes up rather drastically.

            Crafting and HELM activities can be quite newbie friendly if they know what they are doing and put in a little research ahead of time.

            You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be misqouted and then used against you.

            I don't have a big ego, it just has a large mouth.


            • #7
              Re: How to make money as a newbie

              I saw mention of Smithing and GS as virtually required for Mining, and Woodworking as very useful for Logging ... but nothing about crafts for Harvesting.


              • #8
                Re: How to make money as a newbie

                Thankyou guys

                Vyuru -Some of it was very wooly but I had been re-editing for a while so I took a break. I had mentioned a couple of times about pairing helm and crafting explicitly but it wasn't terribly prominant so hopefully the edit will have made that more clear

                Nuriko – This gets a but complicated but….clothcrafting goes best with harvesting but honestly most of the time at the sort of levels we are talking about here you don't actually take much of a drop in profit if you don't have any clothrafting skill at all.

                Mining needs crafting skill because ores don't stack, they take up too much inventory and AH space to be worth selling them individually so it actually increases the rate at which you can make money if you take the time out to get your crafting up enough to 'condense' your ores into ingots that stack and only take up one inventory and AH slot even though on my server this means you actually take a relatively large cut in your gil/ore return

                Harvesting is different because almost all the drops stack so you can sell stacks of raw materials which is very AH space efficient. Add to that that a lot of people desynth mob drops like Goblin armour for thread and cloth (the ones you would be levelling up on and selling 1-15) that they can HQ on and sell for profit at around what would be break even point for someone trying to make thread from grass and cloth from thread (even if you bought their cheaper desynthed thread and made cloth from that) so honestly clothcrafting doesn't really help increase your harvesting profits at these sorts of levels.

                Red Grass thread isn't even worth making most of the time because while it doesn’t sell very fast people make it because it's a 'big money item' so it's overstocked pretty frequently and then people drop the price to the equivalent of the same amount of raw materials when it doesn't sell. Rather than mess around with that it's usually just easier and slightly better profit to sell the Red Moko Grass Raw

                Mining is also much more specific to goldsmithing and smithing than harvesting is to Clothcrafting. You get a lot of random drops harvesting that you could use for alchemy, cooking etc so it’s not quite as closely tied.
                Last edited by Saren; 07-07-2007, 01:23 AM.
                Signature courtesy of Selphiie the Enchantress


                • #9
                  Re: How to make money as a newbie

                  very nice Saren. thanks

                  of course now that it's stickied, no one is going to read it

                  Thanks Yyg!


                  • #10
                    Re: How to make money as a newbie

                    Ya, who reads stickies anymore?
                    In the moonlight, your face it glows.. like a thousand diamonds, I suppose.
                    And your hair flows like.. The ocean breeze...
                    Not a million fights could make me hate you, you’re invincible.
                    Yeah, It’s true.
                    It’s in your eyes, where I find peace.

                    [I love you, Rebecca :D!]


                    • #11
                      Re: How to make money as a newbie

                      You might want to mention to people not to underestimate the potential for selling things to NPCs, as sometimes you will get more from them than you will get from the AH.

                      Another good way of making gil early on is doing quests in your home nation, which also serves to raise fame. From the day I started playing until I got hero fame in Sandy, I turned in every three rabbit hides I got to that NPC by the tanners guild. It's not a lot of gil but it adds up and it does save you the trouble of trying to up your fame later in the game when you really need it.
                      ~Mama Gamer~~Quitted July 2009/Bannt October 2009~~Excellence LS~
                      ~I has a blog~~
                      ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~


                      • #12
                        Re: How to make money as a newbie

                        I did mention selling things to npcs and turning things in for quests >< because I know how many people underestimate it. I am not totally happy with the tips section yet, I tried to keep it simple without going into a lot of the little side details because I want to encourage people to go look up things on their own but the tips section might need to go through a few more revisions yet.

                        p.s Thankyou for the sticky

                        Edit: Did an edit to make the buying and selling to NPCs and turning things in for quests more clear and edited the tips section generally a little. Hopefully that gets the information across better now.
                        Last edited by Saren; 07-07-2007, 04:09 AM.
                        Signature courtesy of Selphiie the Enchantress


                        • #13
                          Re: How to make money as a newbie

                          Fantastic guide, it lays down the basics quite well and the tips section is laid out perfectly - just the first four tips, research, have a plan, watch the market and be flexible are great advice for everyone, not just newbies.

                          Just to add my bit, I often combine several of these ie. farming while mining and camping an NM, and crafting what I can. It's probably not as efficient as focusing on one or two things at a time but it helps break up the monotony. Still, it's quite a lot more research to do it right so I wouldn't recommend suggesting it in the guide.


                          • #14
                            Re: How to make money as a newbie

                            I am the same to an extent, I like to have at least 2 things to be doing in a zone to stop me getting bored but came to the same conclusions you did about putting it in the guide

                            I think how much you like to multi task varies from person to person so I decided to not to outright recommend it, it's not really as big an issue low level anyway and by the time it is people should have an idea of how they like to do things.
                            Signature courtesy of Selphiie the Enchantress


                            • #15
                              Re: How to make money as a newbie

                              I messed up. The first two sections were bugging me because they weren't right so I did some major editing which I think makes everything much clearer but then the post was too long.

                              I managed to get it back down to size but now the spacing keeps disappearing when I save the new edit. I will fix it as soon as I can, sorry about it being a bit unreadable at the moment ><
                              Signature courtesy of Selphiie the Enchantress