Day 4: Going it alone
Today we'll walk you through the first 10 levels of your adventuring career and give you tips to maximize profit while doing it.
Once you create a character and find your way out into the wilderness, the first thing on your mind is going to be slicing up monsters. But before you begin your bloody career, you should become acquainted with the "Conquest" system. Why? Because Conquest will be where most of your money comes from for the foreseeable future.
The nations of Vana'diel vie for control of the land - remember that "friendly competition" we mentioned? That's the Conquest system. The world is divided into regions, and the nation whose citizens collectively die the fewest number of times while defeating the most enemies for a week will claim the region (after a tally every Sunday morning). If enough people from all regions die, the area will be claimed by the computer-controlled Beastmen.
Those that participate in Conquest will receive elemental crystals from battles along with experience points, as long as the region is controlled by one of the three nations. These crystals are, in turn, used to power item creation, or "Crafting." As you can imagine, they're in high demand.
Above: Talk to these guys to jump-start your Conquest career
In order to participate in Conquest and get crystals, you'll need to have your nations "Signet" cast on you, and for that you'll need to find one of your nation's Conquest reps. The gate leading out of any of the starting cities is flanked by one of these characters: in Bastok, look for people with the initials "I.M." next to their name, San d'Oria "T.K." and in Windurst "W.W." Talking to these Conquest representatives will bring up a menu. Select "Can you cast Signet on me?" The Signet then marks you as a Conquest participant, and will ensure that those sumptuous crystals fill your pockets while you kill monsters. While participating in Conquest, you'll also earn Conquest Points which can be spent on some cool items later on.
One note about crystals and items in general: crystals and many items can be stacked together to save space, but for some reason the game doesn't do this for you automatically. If you find your inventory is full, open it up, "Auto Sort" it and stackable items will be grouped. You can sell single crystals and stacks of crystals, but the latter will definitely make you money a lot faster.