FFXIV Endwalker: Retainer leveling, gearing, ventures, and making Gil

Early on in A Realm Reborn, Final Fantasy XIV introduces you to a helpful NPC ally through the Retainer system. After a brief introduction questline in your chosen city-state, there’s not much else mentioned about their importance, and they may go cast by the wayside. But, regardless of first impressions, these NPC aides are critical in the grind to making more Gil and an easy solution for those looking to invest in more passive income. 

In Endwalker, they remain as crucial as ever, so we’ll explore some of the ways to approach bringing Retainers up to speed for the new 90 leveling cap, how to gear them, what ventures to send them on, and how you can quickly make extra gil. 

A Summoning Bell outside of a Free company house in FFXIV.

 Questing | How to unlock and setup Retainers

The journey begins in whatever city-state you’ve chosen to start your Warrior of Light’s journey in, so head to Ul’dah, Limsa Lominsa, or Gridania. At level 17, you can complete the quest An Ill-conceived Venture, which sends you on a short journey to find a missing Retainer and earns you six Ventures.

Those Venture tokens can be used to send Retainers out on missions, and more are obtained through Grand Company, Tombstone, Gold Saucer, Scrip, Hunt, Wolf Mark, or Beast Tribe exchanges. They’re worth stocking up on; you’ll need a ton for farming endgame materials and missions.

Retainers - The basics explained

  • Two Retainers are free; seven more are available through the Mog Station for a fee.
  • Dispatch, manage tax, and edit Retainers through Retainer Vocates in most cities.
  • Summoning Bells in any area will provide access to all of your aides
  • All Retainers can store items, sell items, and serve as a place to hold Gil
  • Players can assign them to battle or gathering classes
  • Retainer levels cannot exceed your level on that job

After you’ve completed the unlock quest, hire your first two NPCs, provide them with a main hand item, and prepare to send them out on Quick Ventures. 

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 Leveling | What’s the best way to level Retainers? 

Square Enix offers leveling boosts for Retainers, but they’re relatively easy to level on their own and worth the grind. The short of leveling boils down to one guiding rule: Quick Ventures are always better experience gains if you can reset them often, but the 18-hour Exploration journeys are good for saving tokens and long absences. As for gathering, it’s completely reasonable to treat all heavily used Retainers (aside from Fisher) like your own character and equipment them with FFXIV’s current BIS. 

Where you can find the Retainer Vocate in the Crystarium.

Quick Venture Leveling

These tasks are available to any class after level 10. They take an hour to complete and cost two tokens for every assignment, but these quests have no gear requirements. They’re easy, cheap, and you can skip gearing them until they’re level 90 through this option. Better gear can mean better rewards, but even low-level NPC partners can bring back profitable gathers. You’ll always get one item in return, ranging from glamour that sells for millions to trash you’d give to the vendor.

Completing around three to four of these per day exceeds the experience gained from any longer quests. And at low levels, those Exploration Ventures rarely bring back anything good, anyway. This is by far your better pick. 

Gearing

Equipment may not be a priority for those leveling through Quick Ventures, but you shouldn’t skip out on endgame gear for your Retainers. Some missions have ilvl requirements while gathering and perception stats matter, too.  

Battle jobs prioritize item level, so it’s worth hiring your main class to give them older gear. Just skirting by on the requirements may also mean you aren’t bringing back maximum yield on hunting ventures, but keeping up with current content and giving them Tomestone equipment brings better results. An ilvl that’s within the range of current content expectations means your Retainer is bringing back the highest amount of materials it can when hunting for leather, food, etc. 

Miners and Botanists need better gathering and perception stats to complete higher-level tasks. You can take this a step further by melding your Retainer gear with Materia, but don’t do this until you have BIS items, as it’s a waste and won’t reach the best yield outcomes. For these classes, it’s worth taking as seriously as you would your own gathering gear if you intend on putting them to heavy use. Craft HQ equipment, save Materia, and overmeld when possible. It’ll net you a higher yield on retrieving endgame materials. 

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Fishing Retainers have higher perception requirements for their 18-hour tasks; you can forgo worrying about gathering. Higher perception nets your Retainer more fish, so if you’re farming them for Alchemist or Culinarian recipes, dump old Materia into your gear and send them on their way. 

 Ventures | Picking missions, hunts, or exploration tasks

We've established Quick Ventures are the best bang for your buck until level 90, but that may change as you watch the market board. Gathering Retainers can farm for any item you've obtained (or fish caught), and battle classes have the option to hunt for leather or other monster drops. Here's the breakdown on your options. 

A menu showing all of the Quick Ventures available from a Retainer's venture log.

Botanists and Miners

If you have these roles to level 90, getting one of each of these gathering jobs is recommended. They provide a steady income through farming materials for crafting or Quick Ventures and can save you time if you're making your own goods to resell. Things like ore, sands, cotton, thread, etc., are almost always in demand to some degree. You can chase Quick Ventures or farm materials with these options: 

  • Botany / Mining
    • Requires 2258 gathering stat at highest level
    • Retrieves materials you've farmed yourself from mining and botany within an hour. Their perception stat increases the amount brought back
    • Strongly recommended, good value for farming and reselling
       
  • Woodland /  Highland Exploration
    • Requires 2027 gathering stat at highest level
    • Takes 18-hours, and include items (like minions) exclusive to these tasks. Rewards are random, with no guarantees on the mission being worthwhile
    • Not recommended for consistent income over Quick Ventures or material grinding unless you're looking for a minion
A Hunting Retainer going out to find Lunatender Blossoms, a new crafting material used in Endwalker.

Battle Retainers

Hiring any battle class played to level 90 is well worth it, as farmable materials from these jobs often retain value throughout patches. They're harder to get as regular dungeon or monster drops, and often inconsistent for the time, making the materials often in high demand. The actual job doesn't matter, but after making the selection these characters can carry out Quick Ventures and two unique tasks, including: 

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  • Hunting
    • Requires ilevel 528 for highest level targets
    • Targets monsters from levels 1-90, completing the task within an hour. Time required is reduced based on ilevel, and Retainers can bring back more materials with better gear
    • Good for farming crafting materials and reselling
       
  • Field Exploration
    • Requires ilevel 516 for highest level mission
    • 18-hour quests that bring back random materials, minions, or other items. Some items are exclusive to these ventures
    • Often not worth the returns, except in patches with minion releases that sell for higher profits early on

A Fishing Retainer and the menu showing level 86-90 Fishing Ventures.

Fishers

Recruiting a fishing Retainer isn't the highest priority, but it's handy for immediate gathering needs and saving time. Fish don't always sell well, but some players need them for level turn-ins or recipes. Like other options, they do the best at the start of a new patch but fishers seem to fall off the quickest in profits later on. Slower periods are probably better spent on Quick Ventures, but your other options include: 

  • Fishing
    • Requires 1732 perception for highest level fish
    • Catches fish you've obtained through bait or spearfishing in an hour or less
    • Varying returns, some leve trade-ins or Culinarian recipe fish sell well
       
  • Waterside Exploration
    • Requires 1621 perception for highest ranking exploration
    • 18-hour option, also offers exclusive rewards like minions
    • Worth pursuing if leve or crafting fish aren't selling quickly

 Farming | Making Gil with FFXIV Ventures

A crafter in FFXIV, standing in front of the Market Board.

Even if you don't craft or gather, hiring a few battle NPCs to retrieve materials or minions is still a worthwhile task. Take the time to level them, gear them, and then send them out as often as you can. 

For additional pointers, keep a few of these guiding principles in mind. They're general suggestions, but continue to prove useful through FFXIV and all of its iterations when it comes to sustaining a passive income without spending a lot of time grinding. 

  • Greed or need on everything in dungeons, then turn the gear in for Grand Company Seals to exchange for Venture currency.
  • Keep Venture assignments frequently rolling, stopping by to check on them between tasks and selling goods brought back.
  • Check market board prices often and adjust accordingly; other players are continuously selling, so make sure your price is reasonable for a quick turnaround.
  • Research what materials are selling in your world, and send your Retainers out for those spoils.
  • Prioritize hiring a Miner and Botanist, followed by a Battle class, and then finally a Fisher.
  • Quick Ventures are always a good bet, they often turn around items worth thousands and occasionally yield something worth millions.
  • Visit the Retainer Vocate and check the sales tax in every city. Only sell your items from the city without tax. You can dispatch Retainers to a new area for free.
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