Welcome to this Final Fantasy: Record Keeper (FFRK) guide. Before we begin we must state that you shouldn’t overwhelm yourself with the content available. Missing a timely reward is really not the end of the world.

Roadmap

To get some more guidance about what to do early, on the main screen, you can check out the “Missions” button. Also called “Acolyte Archive”, this will provide a suitable sequence of action and unlock all systems step-by-step, so that you don’t accidentally run into undefeatable bosses early in the game. The last “Book of Trials” volume ends at the first two Nightmare fights. Difficulty-wise you still have Torment dungeons and Magicite dungeons after that.

Here’s the overview of this game’s beginning steps and phases, based on your A-team level. Some terminologies in “Suggested Team” would be explained in Part 2, but you’ll be reading that when you get to the tier.

DifficultyExampleSuggested TeamPower-up methods
1-99Realm dungeon – Classical
Weekly events
Level 1-55Relic pull
Learn Soul Breaks
Level up
Weapon/Armor upgrade
100-160Realm dungeon – Elite
Event dungeon
Nightmare Gatekeepers
Power-up (Orb/EXP ++)
Level 55-70
Dedicated healer
Protectga/Shellga
Hastega+Boostga
Create/Hone Abilities
Artifacts
180-200Realm dungeon – Elite
Event dungeon
Nightmare
Power-up (Mote)
Level 70-90
Everything above
Full break+BreakdownWall
Medica
5* DPS Skill/Lifesiphon
Record MateriaRecord Sphere (3*-4*)
220-260Torment (D240)3* Magicite
Crystal Tower
Level 90-99
Protectga/Shellga
Hastega+Boostga
USB-level Medica1
USB-level DPS
Well-honed Skill
4*-5* dive
Record Sphere (Legend)
Magicite
Team-building
280+4*/5* Magicite
Torment (D280-D???)
Level 99
Protectga/Shellga
Hastega+Boostga
Chain strongly preferred
USB-level Medica2-3
USB-level DPS
5* dive on DPS
Well-honed Skill
Good magicite deck
Magia Points
Team-building
Relic Pull Planning

Low-level Dungeons

Realm dungeons

When you start the game, focus on the Realm dungeons, as they will provide you with stamina shards to increase your stamina cap, new characters, and orbs to make abilities with. You can switch between a “tree” view or a “series” view at the top of the realm dungeon view if you think the current one is hard to track progress. While you’ll start out clearing dungeons in “Classic” mode, they all also have an “Elite” difficulty. The difficulty of classic mode is capped at 99, while elite mode can go all the way up to 200+. I’d suggest to stick with classic mode till the end, and only switch to Elite when Acolyte Archive tells you to or when you need a specific clear bonus (e.g. character or memory crystal).

“Master” each dungeon means receiving at least 5/6 of all medals. For example, if you have 3 stages, where the last stage is a boss stage with 3 special conditions, then there are total 9+9+18=36 medals. You can afford to lose 6 in total, meaning that if you get all other medals you can afford to fail on two of the special conditions. Action and damage medals have been loosened quite a few times, to a point that you usually don’t need to worry about them. You get 1/2/3 KO medal if you have 4/2/1 characters down.

Events and Power-up dungeons

Aside from realm dungeons, there are two types of dungeons that you can do:

  • Event dungeons. Each week there will be a new event that lasts for 10 days. Even a naked team of level 1 can defeat event bosses up to Difficulty 99 with 2 casts of Roaming Warrior’s Overstrike Soul Break (or 1 cast of Arcane Overstrike SB), so get them while you can. Those with higher difficulty would require you to actually fight the boss. It’s only suggested if you have a more prepared team.
  • Power-up dungeons. At this moment you can only do the low-level ones, and if you have too much overflow stamina you can quickly fetch their first-time and mastery rewards. However it’s not worth it to farm them, at least until you’re stuck in realm dungeons.
  • Completing power-up dungeons will give you gysahl greens, which can be exchanged for stuff. Each week (refreshed at Wednesday) there will be 1 mythril and 4 cheap stamina potions — be sure to fetch them before expire!

Build up your team – Basic

Final Fantasy: Record Keeper  (FFRK) - Beginner's Guide 1

Relic draw and rerolling (or not)

Each cleared dungeon will provide a mythril, and you should be getting 50 in a day or two. If there is any other half-price banner (usually called a “Lucky Draw”) or Fest Discount Draw (usually called “<blank> of the Realm”), do it. Otherwise, the current event banner can provide a good jump start. Realm Relic Draw provide a 15 mythril pull for each realm, however it’s uncurated (may drop very old Unique relics) and don’t contain the newest toys, so be cautious before you do it (personally I still want to try the luck anyways). Relic comes in tiers, but it’s more important to have an abundance of relics than to chase for one single top relic – almost any relic that you pull now will be helpful now and will likely be useful in some future teams. If you really want to know, check part 4 of this guide for generic advice, or for specific banners, check out /u/Sandslice’s series of “Relic Discussion” guides via Reddit search.

NOTE: In FFRK, getting duplicate items is of low value. This is because the most important value of a relic is the soul break / legend materia it provides, not the relic stat itself. If you have received several items featured in a banner, it is suggested that you spend your mythril elsewhere.

Even though I cannot describe all banners now and to-come, they generally belong to the following categories:

TypeFeaturePriority
Fest Discount DrawStuff like: 5 mythril guarantee 5* 3-pull; free draw; etc.Must pull.
Realm Relic DrawPermanent, one per realm.First draw on each realm is 15 mythril, this discount refreshes once every 6 months or so.The 15-mythril draw is usually worth it, but know what you’re getting into before you pull.Subsequent pulls at 50 mythril is not worth it.
Event and themedFeatures 14 realm-specific relics or themed relics.Rotates with event (2/event)Standard banner, occasionally good. Check sub for each banner’s details.
FestFeatures 14 relics of various realms, contains more high-end relics than event banners.Usually happens in March, June, Sept. and Dec.Most people save some mythrils for this.Individual banner quality may vary.Banner may be different than JP version, and is only known a few days before release.
Gem-only SelectionGem-only, and you can choose one relic of specified rarity after pull.Selection list is usually relics of at least 3 months old, but power wise it’s still quite good.No prior notice, although usually happens per 2 months or so.If you’re willing to spend real money, these are the top ways to do that.

If you have any questions or doubts on what’s best to spend mythril or gems on, feel free to ask in the weekly question megathread (usually stickied and always linked in the subreddit header). There are lots of friendly, helpful folks in there! Don’t worry, the second 50 mythril won’t be hard to come by, and this game is very generous with it.

Unlike some other gacha games, there’s much less benefit from rerolling new accounts. Most relics are useful in some way, and a number of subreddit denizens do quite well clearing content while pulling for favorite characters/series over maximum raw power.

Each event banner would come with an 100-gem option, which allows you 1 pull at 100 gem (gem-only). Unlike the 3000-gem/50 mythril pull, it doesn’t contain a guaranteed 5*. Expectation-wise it’s still very slightly better than a 11-pull on the same banner, so doing one on banners that you’ll pull anyways is worth it. But it’s no longer recommended to spend 100-gem pulls on every single event banner.

Acolyte Archive Relic Choice

Here’s a personal recommendation list that I’ll pick if I start brand new. I’ll list at least one specific character each volume, in the case that you’re really feeling overwhelmed, but if you have time I’d still suggest you to go over the list and find your preference. Remember that you can always delay your selection until you feel a gap.

Vol.Key valueSample pick
1Elemental stickAgrias (Elemental+, Stat break)
2Elemental stick; Grand Cross(ExDeath)ExDeath (Grand Cross)
3Realm gapArc (Instant medica+)
4Realm gap boostga; Unique effectsEmperor (Radiant Shield, Elemental+)
5Hastega; Realm gapRamza (Boostga, Support)
6Instant command 1Iris (Astra)
7Someone you have OSB but no infuseAlphinaud (Good CMD1)
8BoostgaRaines (Multiple values)
9MedicaRelm (Last Stand)

Characters

Low-level realm dungeons will give you the main casts of each realms. If you get relics for other characters, you can unlock them in Hall of Rites with Soul of a Hero — these are quite abundant.

There is a “synergy” system in FFRK. Characters from the same realm as dungeon get stats as if they’re 10 levels higher; as well as 1.5x experience. Higher-level dungeons may feature Brave synergy, where a selected set of characters get synergy; or synergy+ where the bonus is 20 levels instead of 10. The difference doesn’t make or break the game: synergy on equipment matters more.

The following table shows a list of ways of strengthening characters.

The general rule of thumb is to focus your character development on those with good SBs.

EnhancementUsingExplanation
Getting new characterEvent rewardRealm dungeonsSoul of a HeroExchange “Soul of a hero” through Hall of Rites, under Main Screen->Annex.
Level upBattleGrowth EggIncrease base stats through EXP.Provide basic survivability. 1Rule of thumb: if you’re 10 level below cap, then level doesn’t matter.
Break level capMemory Crystal (MC) 1-3MC Lode 1-32Increase level cap to 65, 80 and 99.MC 1 and 2 are obtained through events and realm dungeons and considered more or less abundant; MC 3 is limited, obtained through events.
“Level up” (over Lv.99)Magia PointsBring characters at Lv.99 to battles give them magia EXP per battle, which can be used to enhance stats and elemental attack/defense.
Crystal WaterCrystal WaterCrystal Water is obtained through Record Dungeons, and provide fixed stats to characters. Upper limit depends on Record Dungeon progress.Crystal water is considered abundant enough to feed ~20 characters to full, but not enough to feed everyone.
Soul Break (SB)Gacha(Mythril or $)Acolyte ArchiveRecord LabAn extremely powerful ability using Soul Break charge.The most important way of enhancing a character. Build teams around this.Use Acolyte Archive and Record Lab to fill important gaps of your Soul Break list.
Record Materia (RM)Levelling up specific characters, may require random drop in battle3.Unlocked at level 50 and using MC1.Provide passive abilities. Any character above level 50 can equip any obtained record materia.
Record Sphere(Also called “Dive”)MotesUnlocked at level 65.Grant character-specific passive abilities and stats; somewhat diversity characters.3* motes are abundant; 4* motes are farmable (D180); 5* motes are limited through events.
Legend Record Materia (LM)5* Motes or GachaUnlocked by gacha, or through Record Sphere.Grant character-specific passive abilities, further diversify characters.Mostly useful if you already have the character’s powerful soul breaks.
  1. Most people would tell you level doesn’t matter much compared to soul breaks, stat doesn’t matter much compared to buffs, etc. What this means is that in mid-to-late game, if you have a party of 90-ish, then you usually can just take them to fights without worrying about power-levelling that last few levels. However if you take a team of 55 against D220 bosses, you’re likely going to fail no matter how buffed they are.
  2. When you get “Memory Crystal Lode” 1-3, you can exchange them to MC 1-3 of any character through Hall of Rites, under Main screen -> Annex.
  3. Most characters have 3 RMs, and some have 4, which must be obtained in order. They are not numbered, but many people would reference them as follows:
  • RM50 is obtained by using MC1 (when the character is level 50);
  • Some character has a RM50b that is obtained after obtaining RM50, and taking that character to battle for random drop.
  • RM65 is obtained by using MC2 (when the character is level 65), and taking that character to battle for random drop.
  • RM99 is obtained by levelling the character to level 99.

Soul Break

Soul break defines a character.

Equipment

Equipment in FFRK have two purposes: one is to grant specific characters’ soul breaks, which was included in the section above; and the other is to provide stats and “elemental damage boost” (+20% to elemental damage, very useful in late-game). The “Soul Breaks” part is mainly obtained through gacha, but the “stat stick” part now gradually gives its way to “Artifacts”.

You can get an Artifact weapon through “Item Exchanges”->”Artifact Acropolis”. Artifact weapons can be obtained using tablets. You get 3 at the beginning and will obtain more through weekly events. This will allow you to get a good set of weapons for a standard team. Elemental Daggers are considered the most versatile — as they can be equipped by everyone and have stronger stats than Realm ones. It doesn’t cost very much to upgrade them to Level 25 (4 rainbow crystals per artifact), which will make them better than native 5* rarity and below, even with synergy in consideration.

It’s still recommended to keep your 6* relics for a while. Also, there is still no artifact armors. So you might still need to keep your 5* armors.

WARNING: Don’t ever forget to master a Soul Break / Legend Materia before converting it to rainbow crystal!

The “synergy” system also applies to equipment: equipment of the same realm as a dungeon would get synergy=bonus stats. Certain event dungeons and some high-end dungeons (Nightmare) may feature Brave synergy, which means that equipment gets synergy if the character that equips it have synergy, regardless of the realm. A 5* relic under synergy would perform slightly above native 6* relic without synergy.

The generic guide of how to process gacha relics are:

  • Native 1*-4* gacha relics: convert to rainbow crystal.
  • Native 5* weapon: master the Soul Break / Legend Materia, then convert to rainbow crystal.
  • Native 5* armor: keep and upgrade. Armors without an elemental damage boost can be replaced by native 6* armors. The ones with elemental damage boost would stay longer.
  • Native 6* weapon: keep and upgrade. It would be a long while before you can get enough Artifacts to fully replace them. For the ones with elemental damage boost, consider using Rosetta stone. Combine is optional, personally I feel it’s not worth it.
  • Native 6* armor: keep and upgrade. There’s no armor artifacts as of yet, so these will carry you for a long while. Combine is optional, personally I feel it’s not worth it.
  • Accessories: these are not upgradeable and non-farmable. The elemental resistance and status resistance is important to high-level fights. Keep all of them until you know better about the system of game, especially 5* and 6* accessories.
EnhancementUsingExplanation
ArtifactsTabletRainbow CrystalsPure stat sticks that follows a different system of growth than gacha.Tablet can be obtained through events (~1 per event); Rainbow crystals can be obtained by converting equipment. 5 trash relics of 1*-4* gives 1 rainbow crystal.  
UpgradeScarletite (Weapon)Adamantite (Armor)Rainbow Crystal (Artifacts)Increase stats.The wrong type of material or other equipment can be used, but give lower EXP.
CombineAnother copy of the same equipmentBase weapon must be fully-levelled.Break level cap by 5 at a time for up to 2 times.Combining reduce rainbow crystal value a little, so it’s something to take cautious of.
ReforgeDark matterGilBase weapon must be fully-levelled and twice combined.Break level cap by 5.
Upgrade(Augment)Rosetta stone ornative 5*/6* equipmentAdd small stats to base weapon. Augmenting using rosetta stone gives a better edge on native 6* weapons, as well as a small increase to rainbow crystal value and is recommended. Augmenting using native 5*/6* equipment is not recommended.

All these applies until you know more about the game’s system and get more relics.

Stuck on a dungeon?

Take the basics

If you feel stuck, first check if you have the following tools in your team:

  • “Wall”. Tyro’s Sentinel Grimoire will be guaranteed when you finish Book of Trials 2; Y’Shtola’s Stoneskin II, Tyro’s Divine Grimoire, and P.Cecil’s USB2 are alternatives that contain the same effect.
  • “Hastega”. Party-wide haste effect, for example Lunatic High/Boon (classical realm dungeon RW), Shout/Sheepsong (high-level realm dungeon RW), or Hyper Mighty G (event dungeon RW).
  • 1 Healer.
  • Protectga/Shellga/Full Break/Magic Breakdown. Some may be filled by SB effects.
  • A well-levelled team. The rule of thumb is team level >= difficulty/2. Growth eggs and Power-Up dungeon (Shores of Wisdom, more specifically) can easily get your A-team to 65-ish. Don’t worry about bringing up substitute members until then.

All these tools are more or less fundamental in low-level dungeons. There will be a meta-shift at D200+ dungeons, but don’t worry about that for now.

Retaliate

There is recently an overhaul of realm dungeons, which limits your Roaming Warrior choice to a set of supportive SBs. In another word, you cannot summon a SuperDuperDoubleOverflowSB to decimate the boss in 1 hit. If you’re stuck, you may try this strategy called “Retaliate”, which is actually a trick interaction. Despite it looks like exploit, it is officially admitted and advertised as a valid strategy.

Samurai 2* skill Retalite and other skills that provide the “Retaliate” status (e.g. Samurai 5* skill smoldering moon) has a counterintuitive effect: if one of your own characters hit the samurai with an attack, the attack will miss, and samurai will “retaliate” by attacking the enemy with a regular attack. Furthermore, using Double-cut (2* Combat), Tempo Flurry (3* Celerity) or “double cut” type RMs will let the samurai attack the enemy twice, with full attack power.

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This whole strategy is very useful because you can consistently deal damage using your highest ATK power without having strong ability hones. Improved versions of this strategy exists, but requires you to have more tools, see part 2.

CharacterAbility 1Ability 2Record Materia
RetaliatorRetaliateSelf-boost or Draw fire+DamageEquip the best ATK item
HealerProtectga /ShellgaHeal
“DPS”Double-cutPower break
“DPS”Double-cutMagic break
SupportBoost or Armor break

RW: Lunatic High or Boon (use whatever not covered by your healer)

Usually you can change one of your DPS into someone that can hit weakness or special condition since that would deal more damage: they can always get back to retaliate when hones run out. If you have stronger items, e.g. Wall or boostga, substitute them in.

One mythril continue

When you die in a dungeon, you can pay 1 mythril to continue. This will let you to restart the battle, but you keep your SB gauge the same as when you died, potentially with 2-3 SB charges. Intentionally saving SB before you die may allow you to defeat a boss where you shouldn’t have been. This costs mythril — so only use it in dire need, like against a to-be-expired event boss.

There is another version, Hit & Run in advanced dungeons, where you start the fight, everyone attack once, and flee. Your SB gain will be retained, and you can repeat this process until satisfied. Usually the boss will be able to attack once – which can be remedied by white mage bring a RM that regains white magic. It takes about 10 flees to charge up one cast of SB, and you still pay your stamina every time, so it’s only used in advanced dungeons where stamina cost is 1 or stamina is refilled.

Even more advanced dungeons disable continue completely.

Prepare for the next steps

Part 2 of this guide will talk about how to actually fight a boss. When Acolyte Archive comes out in 29th, simply follow the steps till Book 5. Otherwise here is a short list of things that you should prioritize:

  • Level up your A-team to 65-ish. It should include a healer and 4 non-healers. Preferably the ones with relic.
  • If Tyro and Cloud don’t belong to your A-team, level them up to 65 as well. This allows you to get two most important Record Materias: Dr.Mog’s Teachings and Mako Might (start fight with 2 SB charges). If Acolyte Archive is already in place, it would require you to level up Ramza or Tidus for a similar — but IMHO less urgent — record materia.
  • Craft Protectga and Shellga before you craft any other 4*+ skills. 1-3* skills are cheap enough that you can craft whatever you want whenever you need, but Protectga and Shellga are so important that you want to get them ASAP.

Miscellaneous tips

  • Restart: if something unexpected happens in a fight, e.g. you didn’t re-apply a buff in time and half of your team died, you can restart the current round through the pause menu. Previously called “S/L” because before a recent update you can only do this through shutdown the app completely then load.
  • Ranged and Row: Physical attacks deal half damage by and against characters in the back row. The exception is when the character holds a “ranged” weapon (bow, thrown, whip, gun, etc) or when the character uses a ranged ability (jump, sapphire shot, etc — some soul break also specifically say it’s ranged). The rule of thumb is to put physical attackers with non-ranged weapon on the front row, healer and mage on the back row; however there are cases when you’d like a full back-row team.
  • Getting your stamina shards to 5 will also grant you extra stamina equal to the new cap, and allows overflowing temporarily past the cap (it still caps at 999). Make sure to burn this off quickly with an event dungeon stage or something, as you won’t be accumulating stamina while you’re overflowed.
  • Avoid the 2* physical support skills “(status) attack”. Those has only 10% chance of applying a status. Use the 3* magic instead (60% chance), or failing that 1* magic or 3* physical support (30% chance).
  • “Exploit the boss’s weakness to X” means dealing X-type damage, and is different from “Inflict the boss with X status”. “Exploit the boss’s weakness to poison” means bio or biora, while “inflict the boss with poison” means poison.
  • If you want to spend money, you should spend it all in Wonderous pulls (gem-only banner that allows arbitrary pick), then 100-gem pulls (100 gem = 5 mythril, but without Guaranteed-5*) and 11-pulls (3000 gem = 50 mythril). Don’t use gems for stamina refill, inventory and battle revive (100 gem = 1 mythril only); use mythril instead since it’s more efficient.
  • Every 11-pull guarantees a 5*+ (=1 5*+ plus 10 regular pulls), so it gives a lot more bang for your buck than 1 or 3 pulls. Apart from the 100-gem pulls and discount pulls, avoid 1-pull and 3-pull in general.

Level 65+

Part 2 begins when you have a good team of around level 65 and a max stamina of 120 or so, along with some well-rounded gear from a few 11x relic pulls. Your next goal should be to power up enough to clear the 100-140 difficulty of the weekly event dungeons for the Memory Crystal III and a snazzy one-of-a-kind 5* accessory. At this point, Roaming Warrior alone is no longer enough, and you have to actually beat the boss yourself.

Fight basics

Most high-end battles in FFRK is against a single boss. Unless you’re using some uncommon strategy or try for leaderboard, most fights are designed to be finished between 25-60 in-game seconds (real-life it’s usually 5-10 minutes), or roughly 6-12 rounds.

Battle meta has shifted for quite a few times during the years, but one thing never change: everything is buff and base. In FFRK it pays to have supportive characters in team that doesn’t do damage directly. You buff your team to the max and find the max base multiplier. Compared to before, it’s easier to stack buffs to max and it’s more important to find high bases, but the gist is the same.

Example

Let’s first look at a concrete example to see how everything fits into place. The following is my team against Mote dungeon’s Behemoth, which is a D180 boss with fire weakness that is best defeated within 30 seconds.

CharacterRoleSBAbility 1Ability 2
Eiko, 95HealerBSB (Party heal)ProtectgaCurada
Ramza, 91Sup./DPSSSB (Party haste,          Party ATK+)Full breakMagic breakdown
Mog, 95SupportUSB (Party ATK+,          Party MAG+)ShellgaCrushing Tango
Cid(XIV), 96DPSUSB (Fire damage,         EnFire)Flame offeringBurning Snipe
Terra, 75DPSOSB (Fire damage)MeltdownChain Firaga

RW: Dr. Mog’s Sentinel Tome: Wall (DEF/RES x3.0)

I’ve shorthanded some SB effects to make the important ones more noticable.

This team (fire mixed team) consists of the following buffs and bases:

Hastega: Ramza’s SB.

Offensive Buff: Ramza and Mog’s SB, Cid’s En-fire, Full break, Crushing Tango.

Offensive Base: Cid & Terra’s SB; Cid & Terra’s abilities.  

Defensive Buff: Wall, Protectga, Shellga, Full break, Magic breakdown.

Heal: Eiko’s SB

Without all the offensive buffs, Cid would have dealt 6600 damage per cast of Burning snipe; but after all the buffs, he is dealing close to 40000 damage plus 12000 chase at the end of EX mode, which is a 8x multiplier! This is the power of buff. On the other hand, Flame offering would only deal 19998 damage due to its lower potency, and Terra’s OSB can deal 99999 with only one layer of MAG buff — this is the power of base.

Core tools

Occasionally you’ll see people talking about “Trinity”, which includes two most important soul break types: Wall and Hastega. The third one would refer to either boostga/faithga (offensive buff) or medica (party-wide heal), depending on context. The upcoming Acolyte Archive will give you a basic set of Trinity early in game, or you can try to pull the advanced versions of those.

Including Trinity, the following table lists a set of tools that are of common usage in high-end dungeons.

NicknameMeaningSourceNote
HastegaParty-wide1 hasteA few soul breaks, usually comes with boostga/faithgaWhite magic 5* (unreleased)The most important buff.2
Boostga(Faithga)3, 4Party-wide stat buff that include ATK+/MAG+Many soul breaksBard 5*: Warrior’s Hymn (ATK+)Mage’s Hymn (MAG+)Buff cap x2.5ATK soft cap 805MAG soft cap 10565
WallParty-wideDEF&RES x3Tyro’s Sentinel GrimoireTyro’s USB3 (Divine Veil)Y’Shtola’s Stoneskin IIForced RW in advanced dungeons-60% damage to most boss attacks.
MedicaParty-wide healMost Healer SBsVital for survivability
Protectga /ShellgaDEF / RES x24* white magic of the same name. Some soul breaksCheap and effective but multiple sources don’t stack.
BreakDebuff that decrease boss ATK/MAG.3* combat, 4* and 5* Support and dance skills. Some soul breaks provide another layer of breakNot effective against bosses with break resistance 8 or break immune.  

Notes on table:

  1. Even though most of these buffs have single-target versions, it’s usually more efficient to bring group version. However, it sometimes pays to bring a single-target version of boost or faith source (e.g. Samurai 5* Hailstorm, White magic 3* Faith) for your main DPS.
  2. The “haste” effect reduces turn “wait” time by half. For a typical character using an ability or spell, turn time is usually 3.5s wait + 1.5s cast = 5s, so under haste it becomes 1.75s wait + 1.5s cast = 3.25s, effectively making you doing 50% more actions.
  3. When there is no need for specific distinction, “boostga” is used as a collective term that includes both.
  4. Boostga, faithga and Break may stack, and it’s usually efficient to do so. The basic principle of buffs is that: buffs with different ID stack; and buffs with same ID overwrite each other. As rule of thumb, buffs that affect different sets of stats stack; while buffs that affect the same set of stats overwrite. For example, Ramza’s Shout (ATK+) would stack with Onion Knight’s Vessel of Fate (ATK&MAG+), but won’t stack with boost (ATK+).
  5. Boostga and faithga has a limit to stacking: a buff cap and a stat cap. Below both caps a 1.3x buff converts to approximately 1.6x damage. The stat soft cap is currently 805 ATK/1056 MAG, over which buff have a lower effect but still effective: 1.3x ATK/MAG converts to 1.15x damage. The Buff soft limit is 2.5x, which can be reached by 3 layers of buff (1.5×1.3×1.3=2.535), over which there is almost no effect. Break has a similar limit, but it’s harder to reach and it would be way over-mitigation before you reach it.

Soul Break types

This game has so many soul break types that it’s worth it to put them in a table. They are usually shorthanded by initial, so for example Ultra Soul Break -> USB, Chain Soul Break -> CSB. Unique and Shared are not mentioned anymore — when they are it’s just SB and Shared SB.

Unless otherwise specified, most soul breaks cost 2 SB charges, and grant +10 to the character’s main offensive stat. Notice that a recent change modified the representation of SB charge: before the change each SB charge is 500 SB points, and most soul break costs 1 SB charge (=500 points); after the change each SB charge is 250 SB points, and most soul break costs 2 SB charges (=500 points). Nothing has changed, but take care when you’re reading old guides.

SBs of the same category may vary, so the “usability” column is general guideline.

NameDescriptionUsability
AwakeningCosts 2 SB charges, can only be used once per battle. “Upgrade” of Ultra.Grants extremely powerful buff to the user. Typically raise damage cap to 19999 during the buff time, infinite cast and doublecast of one ability type, as well as a one other effect.Extremely powerful given the current meta.“The” thing to chase at this time.
Arcane OverstrikeCosts 3 SB charges, can only be used once per battle. “Upgrade” of Overstrike.Deal damage approximately equal to 7x of a 5* ability.Limited due to usage.Enhance character if have some other SB or en-element LMR.
OverstrikeDeal damage approximately equal to 3.5x of a 5* ability.Good on its own.Best paired with “En-element” type SBs.
ChainProvide a strong party-wide damage buffs on elemental abilities or same realm team.Top-tier party buff.Requires elemental party or realm party.
Ultra (Brave)Like Ultra, but replaces “Attack” with a “Brave command” during buff time. Has Damage and Medica flavors.The “Brave command” gets stronger with the cast of one type of ability, up to stage 3 and reset at cast.Used in the same way as Ultra(damage) or (Medica), but replaces the 3rd ability cast with Brave command.
Ultra (Damage)First cast has SSB-level damage but buffs the user on one type of ability.Typically used with a 5* or 6* ability, spamming the ability during buff time.Benchmark DPS under the current meta.Some require well-honed skills.
Ultra (Support)Provide more supportive buffs than SSB.Most are good or essential.Depends on actual buff.
Ultra (Medica)Instant cast party-wide heal, plus two other bonus effects.Top-tier healing option.You want one, period.
6* GlintLike Glint but costs 0 gauge. Can be used only once per battle.Released in JP only.
GlintCosts only 1 SB gauge, can be used 3 times per battle.Provide minor buff or util bonuses.Not much on its own. Enhance other good SBs, e.g. Overstrike.
BurstEntrance is similar to Super Soul Break.Allows user to enter Burst mode for 15s, which adds haste, stats, and replaces “Attack” and “Defend” to two infinite-used skills.Most are outdated, some are still good. Varies greatly depending on the two skills.
Super (Damage)Deal damage approximately equal to 1.5-2.5x of a 5* ability.Sometimes provide other beneficial effects.Most are outdated.Some are used due to its supportive effects.
Super (Support)Provide multiple party-wide buffs.Still useful if contains fundamental buffs.Still usable somewhat. Most have direct-upgrade Ultra version, but you may not have pulled that.
Super (Medica)Provide party-wide heal with some other bonus effects.Poverty version of Ultra medica.
(Unique)Like super but weaker.Don’t grant stat bonus when mastered.Severely outdated, with two exceptions (see below, “Wall”).
SharedAnyone that equips the item can use it.Effects on par with 4* skill.Used to be useful but overshadowed by much stronger personal SBs.

Team templates

Before I go into some more advanced tools, let’s take a look into some sample teams. These are used more as a reference, and you should fill the blanks based on boss type.

Classical template

This pattern is the standard way against almost any boss, head-to-head. You fit Wall or Hastega (+Boostga) in your team, and RW the other. Most damage is dealt by your DPS, which means that you must have enough ability hones to do the damage.

CharacterSBAbility 1Ability 2Record Materia
HealerMedicaProtectgaHealing
SupportHastega / WallFull breakMagic breakdownDr.Mog’s teaching
DPSDamageLifesiphon
DPS5* damage
Flexible

RW: Wall / Hastega

The last slot is usually a DPS, although based on situation it may be another healer for survivability; or support for another layer of offensive boost. If both protectga and shellga are necessary, the second one is usually fit on one of the more flexible DPSs.

RW Way

This pattern is designed for those with low ability hones or have issue dealing damage. By RW-ing a strong burst soul break, you get infinite casts of its burst commands for 30s, alleviating the need for highly-honed abilities.

CharacterSBAbility 1Ability 2Record Materia
HealerMedicaProtectgaHealing
SupportWallFull breakMagic breakdownDr.Mog’s teaching
SupportHastegaMental breakdownMako Might
DPSSelf-boost
Healer 2ShellgaHealing

RW: Strong Burst Soul Break that hits boss weakness

Another poverty variant was commonly used for Cid Missions where you’re required to defeat the boss using only characters from the same realm — in this case SB choices are limited, and Wall + Hastega may neither be available. You would change one support into another DPS, aiming to defeat the boss within 20s, and fit haste by yourself.

Entrust-bot

This strategy comes with the introduction of OSB. Due to its extremely high multiplier, it pays to have a Support5 character, nicknamed “Entrust bot” or “Entrust battery” that spams Wrath (gain a high amount of SB) and Entrust (give SB to a teammate), doing nothing else. In recent Magicite dungeons, bosses have high break resistance, which means that the support that usually brings break can be changed to a entrust-bot also.

CharacterSBAbility 1Ability 2Record Materia
HealerMedicaProtectgaHealing
SupportHastega / WallEntrustWrathDr.Mog’s teaching
SupportBoostgaHeal or supportMako Might
DPSOSB/USB5* skillOr self-boost+Damage
BatteryEntrustWrathAce Striker

RW: Wall / Hastega

Other strategies

There are other team patterns like Retaliate+ (similar to Retaliate but uses more high-end tools), Pacifist (using a Radiant Shield SB plus four healers) or Poverty (limit SB usage, for self-challenge or unlucky), but not that common. Nightmare bosses usually require special teams for its gimmick. If you’re stuck, it’s useful to checkout megathreads for each event to see if there’s any ideas and strategies you can learn from.

Advanced tools

Aside from the previous list of basic tools, here’s a short list of advanced tools. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and it would exclude status that are either too distinct (e.g. Runic) or too niche (e.g. Status blink).

NicknameMeaningSourceNote
Infuse <Element>(En-X)For element X:1.8x SB damage1.5x ability damage-20% damageAttack become elementalHigh-end soul breaks.May or may not come with high damage itselfPowerful self elemental buff.
<Element> ChainEnemy takes more damage of given element, ratio increase per hit.Chain soul breaksPowerful group elemental buff.
Blink /Magical Blink(Barrier)Avoid next physical / magical attack.Soul breaksNinja skillsWhich one applies is very nuanced.
Last StandWhen dead through damage, don’t die, with 1% HP.High-end soul breaksKeep all buffs.Will die if sapped.

I don’t think any of them are quite unsubstitutable, but they would provide the best benefits (damage or survivability) in addition to stat buffs listed above.

Abilities

Soul breaks play a large role in fights, but abilities are still important — most good soul breaks require good abilities to work with them, so it’s a 50:50 at least. Advanced players may defeat high-end bosses even with limiting soul breaks, and there are missions that limit your SB usage. At any rate, if you ask “what should I hone?”, refer to this section.

The current farm rate is 20 stamina per major orbs, or 2 stamina per greater under orb conversion. Thus, 5* abilities is the standard — you can way afford to create and hone a wrong 4* ability.

6* abilities are slightly special: they’re only unlocked after you defeat some challenging boss (Nightmare or Torment). More specifically, there are three types of 6* abilities:

  • “Nightmare”, unlocked when you’ve finished the corresponding Nightmare dungeon (D180). You get 1 record, and you can use that plus the right amount of crystals to craft the r1 copy.
  • “Torment”, unlocked through “Torment” -> “the Royal Crucible”. It costs Record Rubies, which can be obtained when you can at least defeat the D240 version of Torments. In the future there will be a new type of “Mirage” events that also drop rubies. Vortex and Healing Smite have the most generic usage, the others would depend on USB requirement (see the table below, “Damage” category).
  • “Job”, obtainable by spending 15 “Job motes” on a character with 5* access. This is the only 6* ability that you can obtain multiple copies of. Job motes can be obtained through fest dungeons, or the royal crucible.

Because most 6* abilities are locked behind D240 dungeons, you should still hone 5* abilities to a reasonably solid level before gradually upgrading to 6* abilities.

Useful abilities generally include following categories, Honing level is denoted by R#.

CategoryAbilities
HealingCuraja (White 4), Curada (White 6): basic heal.Ultra Cure (White 5): heal+esuna, sometimes useful.R3 is usually enough if you have outside SB, higher to get more confidence.
ProshellProtectga, Shellga (White 4).R1 would last a boss fight; R2 for realm dungeon’s boss rush.
-breakFull break, XX Breakdown (Support 4, 5): single-target break with damage.XX Break (Combat 3): when you cannot find anyone to use -breakdown.Various Dances (Dancer 4, 5): multi-target break without damage.Take note of stacking rule.R2 is necessary for lasting the whole fight, R3 for more safety.
SB chargeLifesiphon (Combat 4), Wrath (Support 4): charge your SB.Entrust (Support 5): Give SB to someone else.Lifesiphon/Wrath are worth creating 2-3 copies of r5.Entrust is worth crafting a R2, and potentially another copy.
DamageChoose based on your SB user or boss weakness. For example, if you have Cid14 (fire machinist)’s USB you want burning snipe to work with it. Against ice-weak bosses there may be more suitable characters, but if you have no other options you can still use freezing snipe.There are some 4*/5* skills designed to be used together, e.g. Powerchain+Full charge or Blood of Wyvern+Dragoon jump, but you likely have better options when SB is taken into account.Ninjutsu attacks ignore enemy defense, and is occasionally a gimmick against advanced bosses.Usually you want R2-R3, depending on your other skill and SB type.
Boost /Self-boostSkills like Faith, Hailstorm or Dark raid can be useful if you want one more layer of stackable boost/faith.R2 to last the whole fight, higher if you want spammable.
Status<Status> (Black/White), <Status> buster (Support 3): 30% chance<Status>ga (Black/White), <Status> shell (Machinist 4): 60% chance1Tempo Flurry (Celerity 3), Mug time (Thief 5): SlowStop(Black 3), Halting Rumba (Dancer 4): 70% chance of StopMostly to satisfy victory condition, useful in certain low-level dungeons.MND difference determines how long it would last.R1-R5, depending on how sure you want to cast the status.
GimmickReflect (White 3), Carbuncle (Summon 4).Draw Fire (Knight 3), Magic Lure (Knight 4), or higher-level Knight skillsRetaliate (Samurai 2), or higher-level Samurai skillsDispel (White 3), Banishing Strike (Knight 4)Useful once in a while.R1 to last the whole fight (Retaliate requires r2). More for spammable damage.
  1. Slowga is 80% success rate.

Miscellaneous tips

  • Balance between saving rare resource and spending useful resource. Most resources are rare when first released, then becomes more and more obtainable with time, until there’s much more than can be used. It usually takes 1-2 years from a resource’s release till it’s abundant. If spending a resource makes the difference between beating/failing a difficult boss, don’t hesitate to do so.
  • Battle speed. At this point you’re probably going to face some difficult battles. For any non-trivial battle, set the battle speed to 1. For farming/realm dungeon clearing where you’re still using abilities but aren’t really at risk of dying, speed 2 or 3 is preferable. 5 is to be used only for auto battle, as the delay from menu animations and human input will be greatly amplified and result in a lot of free time given to the enemies.

High-end dungeons

Here’s a list of high-end game modes and what’s special about them. In general, there are more limitations on team composition, but most teams follow more or less the same composition as Part 2 — you just use more advanced versions of everything.

Mode nameDifficultyMain rewardSpecial
Raid80-2204* motesSee “Multiplayer” section below.
Nightmare1806* skill materialPuzzle boss, with a gimmick plus DPS check.Boss is immune to stat breaks.Hit&run1 possible with minor cost.
Mote1804* moteFarmableStart with 2 SB charges but no SB gain.Finish in 30s to get +60% rewards.
Torment240 (P1)280 (P2)???2 (P3)6* skill material5* moteRequire 2/3/5 in-realm characters in team.Grant constant Wall effect.RW limited to Realm Chain.Allow partial completion bonus by dealing 50% boss HP as damage.
Magicite250 (3*)280 (4*)350 (5*)MagiciteUnlocked after completing all 12 Nightmares. Elemental team preferred. Stat breaks is very uneffective.
Crystal Tower220/2555* moteNeed to use 4 different teams for mote bonus. Hit&run possible.
Endless2203VariousEvery time boss is defeated, it revive to a stronger version.Despite the name, you get max reward by defeating a specific number. Has Jump Start (start with full SB) and Broken Soul (no SB) variations.
D350 Raid350For challengeSeems to replace the Endless fights. These are more “endurance” fights that reward only gil. Require a good team or a bunch of coordinated people.
BoundlessVariesFor challengeBosses released every fest. Up to D220 can be cleared with a reasonable team. D??? Is considered for challenge only, is extremely difficult (likely require a full set of newest toys), and only rewards gil. All boundless bosses come back during subsequent fests.
  1. Hit&Run strategy was briefly explained in part 1, but as a brief refresher, it’s the strategy where everyone act for 1 round and flee, while keeping SB gain. Repeat this process to essentially start the fight with 3 bars.
  2. Showing as D???. Difficulty is close to 5* Magicite.
  3. Endless’s difficulty is estimated based on max reward.

Multiplayer

FFRK has an optional multiplayer mode called “Raid Dungeon”. You can always do them solo like against any regular boss, but they’re more or less designed to be collaborated between 4 players, and I feel it’s fun of doing them multiplayer.

Join Multiplayer

The entrance to raid dungeons is in Event Dungeons. In the upper-right corner there is a button called “Raid Dungeons”. You will be lead to a screen that contains all active raid bosses. There are many ways to do a raid dungeon, as follows:

  1. You can do it solo by choosing the boss, and then choose “Solo Raid”. You will then be prompted to form a 5-character party like you do against any other boss.
  2. You can choose to join a room by choosing the boss, select “Multiplayer Raid”. You will first be prompted to form a 2-character party, and then lead to a room selection screen. You can choose which room to join by selecting an open room. If there is no open room, you can refresh or start a room yourself.
  3. You can start a room. It’s like joining a room, but instead of choosing an open room to join, you choose “Recruit a Party”. You can then make the party public by selecting “recruit worldwide”, or make the party private by selecting “Choose Raid ID”. In the second case, other people can only join through ID search (see choice 4).
  4. You can join a private room using its Raid ID. To do this, you should not choose any boss. Instead choose “Raid ID Search” directly on the boss selection screen.
  5. You can also see all public rooms — regardless of which boss it’s against — by choosing “Public Raid Parties” on the boss selection screen. You can then join any of the rooms.

*Reminder: the only way of adjusting your party before joining a room is to select any boss, choose “Multiplayer Raid”, and adjust your party there. If you’re using option 2 or 3, you will see the party adjusting interface before choosing a room. If you’re using option 4 or 5, make sure to adjust your party first!! *

After you have joined a room, you can still adjust your party, but the control is quite cumbersome. Then, click on the blue “Ready” button to inform the host that you’re ready.

Raid Leader (the one opens the room) will spend 3 times as much stamina as raid members, but the random drop is 4 times as much. First-time and completion rewards are the same. On the other hand, raid leader is the nexus of a party: raid leader has the right to kick someone before going in, and if any raid member disconnects, raid leader will take control of their characters. If raid leader disconnects, the raid fails.

Multiplayer teams

Rule-wise, you bring a 2-character team, and each member is equipped like solo mode: skill, equipment, realm synergy, etc. The total amount of 4 players will have 8 characters. The only exception is row: in solo mode you can adjust front/back row for any of the characters individually. In multiplayer mode the first character is always front row and the second character is always back row.

If you’re asking about what character should you bring to a team, there are several considerations.

  • Most important thing is to prepare base on boss. There are bosses that counter physical hard. There are bosses that are vulnerable to Tauntaliate. Read about the boss before going in.
  • Like solo mode, a typical team of Multiplayer also needs Wall, Boostga/faithga, Hastega, Healer and DPS. Usually a proper team have 1 Wall, 1 boostga/faithga, 1 hastega (may share with boostga), 2-3 Healer and 3-4 DPS, but the constraint is not very restrictive. Lacking some of the items may or may not be a big issue depending on how well other facets keep up.
  • Like solo mode, SBs play a vital part in member selection. Healer with medica SB can heal 8 characters instead of 5, and will help the team in vital situations. DPS without at least an SSB are usually too weak.
  • Based on my personal experience, Wall, Hastega, Boostga/Faithga and healers are usually safe bet, especially for newbies who may not have the equipment/skills to equip a proper DPS.
  • For RM choice, Mako Might and Dr.Mog’s Teaching should be your default option: they provide the option for you to open with your SB, and even if you choose not to they provide more SB gauge than most other options. There are surely exceptions, but they’re only to be used if you know exactly what you’re trying to do.
  • Of course, if you can find someone to coordinate, either with real friends or through live channel, then adjust based on coordination.

Multiplayer Etiquette

  • Take your best. Character-wise, take your best character that would help. Set up some free time to avoid getting a call halfway through the battle, and keep a stable internet connection.
  • If you’re room host, with greater power comes greater responsibility. You would find yourself in a situation to kick people out, make sure everyone is ready before entering the battle, and know what other people’s BSB commands are doing.
  • Write/follow team description. Host would sometimes write what is still needed in teams.
  • Do your homework. Check some information on boss weakness/strategy and equip accordingly. If the boss uses mainly fire, then equip your characters with fire resistance equipment.
  • Have fun. Seriously, this is probably the most important.

<Placeholder> Nightmare bosses

Nightmare bosses are 12 puzzle bosses, 2 each for Black, White, Combat, Summon, Support, Celerity. Each one have a gimmick that would require you to use corresponding skills/SBs to solve; and a DPS check in each case. Defeating them unlocks the corresponding 6* skill, which may or may not be good. Defeating all 12 unlocks Magicite, a series of more advanced bosses and a new option to strengthen your team.

I may or may not write a newbie guide on how to cheese through some Nightmare bosses ASAP as a newbie. The following AI page is a good start:

Magicite

Magicite is the advanced team enhancement. It is unlocked after finishing all 12 nightmare dungeons and defeating Magicite bosses. Aside from extremely difficult, the bosses are designed to be beaten with a team of specific element. Anyways, I’m not going to talk about the bosses themselves here — most parties follow the same team template as in Part 2, with some exceptions.

Your team can equip 1 main + 4 sub magicites. The main magicite can be summoned at most twice in battle, providing an entrance skill (called Ultra Magicite Skill) and subsequent random attacks (too unreliable to be useful). While magicite is summoned it cannot be summoned again until it has left. Both main and sub magicites provide passive skills; and both their stats would impact the effect of passive — with the main taking 100% weight and sub taking 50% weight.

Magicites can be enhanced in the following ways:

EnhancementsUsingExplanation
Level upBattle expArcanaEnhance Passive ability and Stats.
Break capMagicite of the same nameIncrease level cap from 50 to 65, 80, 99.Material magicite doesn’t need to be levelled.
Inherit (skill)Magicite with desired skillUnlocked at Level 99.Base magicite must be 3* or above.Fills the “Inherit skill slot” passive.
Inherit (stat)Any magiciteUnlocked at Level 99.Base magicite must be 3* or above.Further increase stat of base magicite.

Due to the passive stacking rule (multiple passive ability of the same name gets diminishing returns), use magicites to break cap is a much more interesting option than keep them separate.