September 10, 2014
Update: When this guide was first published, crystal shards sold on the Market Boards for about 30 gil per unit. Then, in early 2014, shard prices plummeted, leaving this method nonviable. I’m glad to report that, as of September 2014, shard prices have not only recovered, but now greatly exceed the prices seen at launch.
The following is a method for obtaining upwards of 80,000 gil per hour by leveling alts and transferring their assets to your main character for sale.
There are only three major requirements:
- a L17+ main character with access to retainers (i.e., able to sell on the markets)
- a trusted in-game friend (or membership and chest access in a Free Company)
- space for at least one additional character on the same server as your main
In comparison to most other MMOs, FFXIV makes it difficult to transfer assets between characters on the same account. Whereas in WoW or Rift you can mail gold and items to your alts, in FFXIV you may only send mail to characters on your friends list. You can’t friend yourself, since both parties to a friend request must be online simultaneously.
This barrier, however, can be circumvented. The simplest option is to find someone you can trust (an FC or LS member, perhaps) to hold onto your gil and items for a minute or two. If you go the FC route, you must be able to get your alts enrolled in the company, and both alts and main will need access to the company chest.
And that’s the hard part, really. If you meet the above requirements and can get an Archer to level 10, you can make between 80,000 and 100,000 gil an hour.
So how does it work? Each crafting guild has a series of intro quests which provide the player with hundreds of crystal shards. The idea seems to be that these low-level reagents will be helpful in leveling the crafting skill. That’s not how we’re going to use them, however. Instead, we’re going to treat these shards as a sign-up bonus akin to those offered by credit cards and banks. We’re going to sign up, stay long enough to collect all the easy shards, and then move on to the next guild. Doing this for the five guilds in Gridania and Ul’dah will yield over 3,600 shards of various elements, which, at the time of this writing, translates to over 240,000 gil in market value. (See the FAQ at the end of this guide for more on our class and city choices.)
But surely there’s got to be a catch! Well, yes, but only a minor one: each new character must complete their level 10 class quest before joining any additional guilds, including crafting guilds. This is less of a barrier to entry than it might seem; an Archer can go from opening cutscene to guild unlock in under two hours. In our opinion, the pros of this method (high yield, low complexity, simple requirements) easily outweigh the cons.
Next up: a step-by-step guide to leveling your alt in record time.
Shard Farming: Making 80,000 Gil an Hour with Alts
- Leveling Your Archer Alt
- Gridania Crafting Guilds
- Ul’dah Crafting Guilds
- Extracting Your Profits
- FAQ and Further Research
Data for the original Shard Farming guide was gathered on 30 September 2013 using v2013.09.11 of FFXIV:ARR. The guide was verified and updated on 10 September 2014, using v2014.08.26. It may not reflect current market conditions or changes introduced in subsequent patches.