Shard Farming: Making 100k Gil an Hour with Alts

Note: I first published this guide way back in 2013, just months after FFXIV relaunched as A Realm Reborn. Crystal shards then sold on the Market Boards for about 30 gil apiece. Currently (in August 2021 / patch 5.58), the average price (for all elements) on my datacenter is around 80 gil. Prices and profits in this guide reflect that average.

The following is a method for obtaining 100,000+ 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 FC membership and chest access)
  • space for at least one additional character on the same server as your main

In comparison to many other MMOs, FFXIV makes it difficult to transfer assets between characters on the same account. Whereas in many games 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 need to be online at the same time.

This barrier, however, can be circumvented. The simplest option is to find someone you can trust (like an FC or LS member) to hold onto your gil and items for a minute or two. If you go the FC route, you’ll need to get your alts enrolled in the company, and both your alts and your 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 (and your server’s economy isn’t too different from mine) you can make in excess of 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 like 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 266,000 gil in market value.

“There’s got to be a catch!” Well, yeah, 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 armory unlock in 1 hour 30 minutes or less. In my 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.

Shard Farming: Making 100,000 Gil an Hour with Alts

Data for the original Shard Farming guide was gathered on 30 Sep 2013. The guide was most recently updated on 2 Aug 2021, using version 5.58 of FFXIV. It may not reflect current market conditions or changes introduced in subsequent patches.

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