Abyssea is what transforms FFXI from what it was in the days of the 75 cap into a newly accessible game; it's a series of nine new areas with content for people levels 75-99; Think of it as an alternate universe Vana'diel where people from our Vana'diel can get what basically amounts to superpowers. Most of your post-75 levelling (post-65 for mages) will be done in Aby, and there is some great non-levelling content, too.
It's a bit different from regular zones, though -- for one, your time there is limited. In order to move around in Abyssea, you'll need Visitant Status.
Level 30: Getting Started in Abyssea
Wait, level 30? Didn't I just say it was level 75+ content? Well, yes, but the preparation for Abyssea can and should be started as soon as you hit level 30, since this is the minimum level for entrance into the Abyssea zones. First, make sure that you have registered all 3 of the Abyssea expansion packs and then head to Port Jeuno for a cutscene involving Joachim, then speak to him to get your first Traverser Stone. From this point, a timer starts and you will be able to obtain a new Traverser Stone every 20 hours (at first). Each Traverser Stone can be redeemed for 30 minutes of Visitant status. In the beginning, you'll be able to carry a maximum of 3 Traverser Stones at once, but they will continue accumulating, so if you get started at 30, by the time you reach 75 you won't have to worry about running out.
The level 30 preparation doesn't stop there, though.
Next, you'll want to head to one of the Cavernous Maws that lead to Abyssea. These look the same as the ones for WotG, but will be in different locations. The Maws are located as follows:
Visions of Abyssea (75+ zones)
Abyssea - La Thene -> La Theine Plateau (E-4)
Abyssea - Konschtat -> Konschtat Highlands (I-12)
Abyssea - Tahrongi -> Tahrongi Canyon (H-12)
Scars of Abyssea (85+ zones, where Empyreal boots drop)
Abyssea - Misareaux -> Valkurm Dunes (I-9)
Abyssea - Vunkerl -> Jugner Forest (J-8)
Abyssea - Attowha -> Buburimu Peninsula (F-7) ((near the outpost!))
Heroes of Abyssea (90+ zones, where Dominion Ops are available)
Abyssea - Grauberg -> North Gustaberg (G-7)
Abyssea - Altepa -> South Gustaberg (J-10)
Abyssea - Uleguerand -> Xarcabard (H-8)
Go to any of these maws (Altepa is ideal, situated as it is almost within sight of Bastok) and enter it, but don't obtain Visitant status!. If you do, you will have to wait 20 hours to get another Traverser stone to continue. Entering the maw simply finishes a quest that allows Abyssea proper to get underway. Just warp out or leave through the maw and the quest is done.
Now that you've been to Abyssea, examining any of the Cavernous Maws with a Traverser Stone in your possession will trigger a cutscene involving a notorious monster that is terrorizing the Abysseans. After getting these cutscenes, the NPC Horst in Port Jeuno (and a few others scattered around the cities of Vana'diel proper) will permit you to teleport to the maw associated with that cutscene for 200 cruor. Later on, when you actually have cruor to spend, this will make a very handy method of travel, since it deposits you directly outside the Maw. I'd advise going to all nine Maws and activating your Abyssea warps. You will notice each of these cutscenes starts a quest. More on that later. The maw in Xarcabard is quite dangerous to reach--going through Ranguemont Pass you'll have to go by mobs that aggro at level 99--so if you don't have a Destrier Beret, make sure you have lots of sneak oils and prism powders. If you do, simply visit the maws on a job that is level 30 exactly so that you can take advantage of the Auto-Reraise feature of the Destrier Beret. (Remember, you don't lose exp at level 30 and below, so dying with auto-reraise on costs you nothing during travel)
For the next phase of preparation, you'll need about 30k gil; if you don't have it, just level a job you don't care about in King Ranperre's Tomb--Not only will you get gil from GoV rewards, but the Goblin Ambushers that you fight from level 16-24 in KRT drop Animal Glue, which sells for 20k/stack on Shiva at the time of this writing.
Once you have your 30k gil, purchase a Black Whisker from the Auction house. That should cost about 10k gil. Now refer to this page ((alternate link with annoying ads for when GE is down). Scroll down to "Items that work" and buy 20 items from this list; They won't all be available on the AH, and most of them allow you to only carry one at a time, but any 20 will do, and some can be had for 1k. Talk to Joachim for a cutscene and then head to Abyssea-Vunkerl. You'll have to take a chocobo, since you don't have any cruor yet.
Once inside Abyssea-Vunkerl, get Visitant status with the one Traverser stone you have. You'll actually be doing the quest I just linked you to; it's repeatable without zoning, but after each trade to Belgdiveau, you'll have to talk to him again and start the quest. By the time you've repeated the quest 20 times (it goes faster than you think it will), you should have enough fame to start Whither the Whisker with Rahal, who is standing close enough to Belgdiveau to mate with him. Talk to Rahal to start the quest and then trade him your Black Whisker. He'll give it right back to you, along with a Crimson Abyssite of Celerity, which causes your Traverser Stone stock to increase every 16 hours instead of every 20. You can then resell the black whisker or trade it to Belgdiveau for some more cruor and resistance credits.
Now you should have a minor stock of curor. I'd hold onto it for now; When you join your first Abyssea party, it should be *just enough* to pay for a warp from Horst and the map for the zone you'll be partying in. If you're extra lucky, there'll be enough left over to get some Abyssea enhancements.
As a side note, you can purchase an Ivory Abyssite of Celerity to lower your Traverser Stone recharge to 12 hours, but it costs 9,000 cruor from any Heroes of Abyssea zone. Best to hold off on that until 75. On that note...
Level 75 -- Levelling inside Abyssea
Once you reach Level 75, immediately head to the Nomad Moogle in Ru'lude Gardens and activate the Merit Points system. You can accumulate merit points without doing this, but until you talk to the Nomad Moogle to get your merit points Key Item, you won't be able to see how many merit points/limit points you have. Mages -- especially healers -- can start levelling in Abyssea as early as 65 in most cases, but then you'll have to leave Abyssea once you get 75 to activate your Merit Points. You'll most likely be starting killing worms in Abyssea - La Theine.
These are the basic points you need to understand in order to get started in Abyssea:
- Your time is initially limited to (your previous Visitant balance as of the last time you left Abyssea) + ((the number of Traverser Stones you turn in) x (30 minutes))
- The maximum initial time you can purchase with Traverser Stones is 120 minutes. If you had more than 120 minutes of time remaining the last time you exited Abyssea, you cannot turn in any stones, but can only set your visitant time to 120.
- If your time remaining as of the last time you exited Abyssea was less than 120 minutes, you can turn in stones to bring your total up to 120. Beware, though -- if your remaining time was 119 minutes, the game will let you waste a stone to get one extra minute!
- As you fight in Abyssea, mobs will occasionally drop "pyxides," which are coloured treasure chests that can be opened with a Forbidden Key (purchased with cruor) or opened via a mini-game. Blue (Azure) pyxides sometimes contain time extensions that allow you to stay inside Abyssea longer. In most EXP parties, these time extensions drop frequently enough that if you start out with 120 minutes, your remaining time will never drop below 100, and you'll leave with several hundred to one thousand minutes of remaining time.
- As you defeat mobs inside Abyssea, you will gain "Abyssea Lights" -- these have varying effects. The light you need to be most concerned with initially is Azure light -- increasing your Azure light increases the probability that the enemies that you defeat will drop blue pyxides, which you need to expand your time. The other important one is Gold light, as this increases the experience gained from kills. Eventually you'll start to care about Silvery, which increases the cruor gained from kills. Ebon lights increase both exp and cruor, but to a lesser extent than the gold and silvery lights. Gold, Silvery, and Ebon lights can only be gained from red pyxides.
- Azure light is built by killing mobs with magic; When first starting out, let the mages have the kill shots! You can't build any other lights if you get kicked out of Abyssea for running out of visitant time!
- Dedication effects, such as you'd get from an Emperor Band, have no effect inside Abyssea, but they will time out.
- EXP chains no longer exist in the traditional sense. The more mobs of a given type your party or alliance (and you will exp in an alliance) defeats, the more exp they give. When you go in at level 75 you may be worried to see that several mobs are killed and you receive no experience for it. Not to worry, just keep at it and eventually you'll see some exp from kills. Single-digit numbers at first, but they'll climb rapidly. The lower your level, the longer it will take to see any exp from kills, but you'll still get exp and cruor from blue pyxides.
- If you kill any mob type other than the one you're levelling on, your chain bonus resets to zero. Therefore, if you get aggro, Call for Help immediately, since the kill is then awarded to nobody and therefore doesn't smurf up your chain.
Before entering Abyssea, I'd advise building up 3 merit points and doing the quest to raise your level cap to 80 with the Nomad Moogle in Ru'lude gardens. Exp will be coming easy pretty soon, so switch to limit points as soon as you have level 75 and a reasonable death buffer. The 3 merits you need to raise your cap cost less than capping exp on your 75.
Your first time in Abyssea, my advice is to stay until you are not only level 80 with 1 tnl, but you have a full 30 merits accumulated. The reason for this is that when you leave Abyssea, your chain bonuses and lights go away. If you're leaving the party at that point, this is fine -- nobody will care if you join an Aby party and then leave an hour or two later -- but if you're coming back, losing that chain bonus and light will be devastating. Before returning to Abyssea, raise your level cap to 85 at the Nomad moogle and spend all of your merit points. This will maximize the time per session that you can spend in Abyssea and still gain exp and limit points. Rinse and repeat until your level cap is 95 or you're sick of levelling and want to log out or do something else.
Cruor: All Aboard the Gravy Train
After your first party -- especially if you stayed for a good long time and capped your merits -- you should have a small amount of cruor. My first time in Abyssea I underestimated the value of cruor, but you shouldn't.
The first thing you want to do after your first party is visit one Visions area, one Scars area, and one Heroes area and purchase all of the available key items from the Cruor Prospector at the base camp. The Lunar Abyssite is quite expensive, but once you start accumulating Atmas, it'll be well worth it. That will be discussed in the next section. The Clear Demilune Abyssite (only 300 cruor) will allow you to view the strength of the lights you've accumulated by resting; this is essential if you don't have Windower. In Heroes areas you can get an Ivory Abyssite of Celerity that will subtract 4 hours from the time it takes Joachim to procure new Traverser stones. In the Visions areas, you can purchase the Perle, Aurore, and Teal armour sets which have decent stats, and any job can use at least one of those sets.
Got any cruor left over? Great! By now you will have some basic idea of how Abyssea parties function, and you will have noticed that each exp party has one or two "key masters" who open the chests left over by everyone else. You become a key master by purchasing Forbidden Keys from a Cruor Prospector and joining an exp party; instead of fighting, you open chests. This is a great way to level jobs that you don't like (i.e., for a subjob, a job you've played before on another character, or a mage jobs) without actually having to fight anything. You can't enter Abyssea below level 30, so you'll still have to do some levelling yourself. To be a key master, you should probably make sure you have at least 200k-300k cruor to spend on keys at lower levels, since it will take a *long* time to build the chain bonus to the point that a level 30 starts getting exp at all. You'll still earn cruor joining a party as a key master, but you'll still leave the party with less cruor than you started with. In my opinion, this is a bad trade, since abyssea makes exp and merit points ridiculously easy to come by.
Cruor can also be exchanged for a Primeval Brew which raises all of your stats to 999, your max HP and max MP to 9999 for 3 minutes; it also gives 300HP/tick regen, 300MP/tick refresh, and 50TP/tick Regain while reducing the damage you take by 90%. A Brew is basically an "I Win" button for any fight that takes place in abyssea. The problems?
Bear in mind that the 4 hour breakeven point is an approximation assuming that you go in at level 99 and do not leave abyssea at all during the party; if you start at a lower level, it will take longer for the cruor gains to accumulate, and if you leave the chain bonus resets; these factors will move the breakeven point further down the line. The final analysis is that if you want to do a FC party for profit, it has to be only for profit. If you try to get exp gains out of it at the same time, it is almost guaranteed to cost you gil.
It should also be noted that the Teal, Perle, and Aurore sets sell at vendors for more gil than the cruor it costs to buy them, but you can only carry one of each of those items at a time, so trying to make money off of them would take a perilously long time.
These cruor moneymaking schemes were patched out of the game. You can no longer sell blinkers at a profit, and you cannot sell Teal/Perle/Aurore to a vendor at all
You'll also want to save some cruor for things like the buffs purchased for 470 cruor from Cruor Prospectors, setting atmas, and teleporting around with Confluxes.
Obtaining Godlike Powers Through Abyssea - The Main Quest Line
Remember back at level 30 I got you to go around and trigger cutscenes at each Cavernous Maw leading to Abyssea? These nine quests each ask you to kill an Abyssean fiend; These 9 mobs are known as "zone bosses." After beating each of these zone bosses, you get another cutscene and an abyssite that confers special powers the next time you zone into the Vana'diel zone that contains the Maw leading to that zone. That's worded confusingly, so here's an example: When you first visit the Cavernous Maw in Buburimu Peninsula, it starts the quest "A Fluttery Fiend," which asks you to kill Itzpapalotl. After killing Itz, the next time you zone into Buburimu -- such as by exiting Abyssea - Attowha through the Cavernous Maw inside aby -- you get your second Lunar Abyssite, which allows you to use an Atma. The reward has nothing to do with what zone boss you kill; you will get Lunar Abyssites after the first and seventh zone boss you kill.
Once you've taken down all nine zone bosses -- or more likely, interspersed between them -- you'll also want to hunt 6 special Abyssean fiends called Caturae; These Caturae are Iratham, Kutharei, Sippoy, Yaanei, Rani, and Raja.
After killing all 9 zone bosses and all 6 caturae, you can flag the quest Emissaries of God, which provides you with an Abyssite of Discernment, which allows you to see hints that will advise you of special weaknesses called procs borne by Abyssean NMs. These procs come in three varieties: Yellow procs, which influence the drop rate of certain treasure including the seals needed to upgrade Empyrean armour to its +1 and +2 variants, Red procs which are needed to get Abyssean NMs to drop atmas, and Blue procs, which influence the drop rate of weapons and armour. It also allows you to fight Shinryu, which drops some of the best equipment in the game, and an atma that gives auto-reraise!
Atmas: The Key to Kicking Arse
Chances are, you have picked up some incidental atmas along the way while taking out Caturae and zone bosses, but now that you have your Abyssite of Discernment, you can start forming parties to hunt specific atmas. Remember, though, that you can only have a maximum of three atmas active at one time even after completing all of the quests to increase atma usage.
Returning players may already have some atmas available without ever having set foot in Abyssea; There are "fabricated atmas" that you can have made as a reward for accomplishments in Vana'diel. For example, players who have achieved Rank 10 in Windurst can fabricate the Atma of the Full Moon, which provides 5 MP/tick refresh. Those with Rank 10 in San d'Oria can get Atma of the Heir, which gives 2TP/tick regain.
Fabricated atmas, however, are not really all that great. They would have seemed amazing back in 75 cap days, but there are much better atmas available. The main ones are as follows:
Abyssea - La Theine
Atma of the Stout Arm: Obtained by defeating Briareus after a Red proc. Provides +40 STR, +50 attack, and an unknown amount of ranged attack.
Atma of the Baying Moon: Obtained by defeating Lugarhoo after a red proc. Provides +30 Attack and +30 Magic Attack Bonus. Great for black mages.
Abyssea - Konschtat
Atma of the Voracious Violet: Obtained by defeating Eccentric Eve after a red proc. Provides +50STR, +10% Double Attack, and 2 TP/tick Regain. One of the best DD atmas in the game. I have this on full-time as melee DD.
Abyssea - Misareaux
Atma of the Mounted Champion: Obtained by defeating Kutharei after a red proc. Provides +50VIT, 20HP/tick Regen, and lowers enmity degradation. Best Tank atma in the game.
Atma of the Razed Ruins: Obtained by defeating Ironclad Pulverizer after a red proc. Provides +50DEX, +30% crit rate, and +30% crit damage. Best DD atma in the game.
Abyssea - Vunkerl
Atma of the Minikin Monstrosity: Obtained by defeating Durinn after a red proc. Provides 10MP/tick(!) refresh, +50 INT, and -20Enmity. Mages should have this on full time so that they never have to worry about MP again. Good combo with Atma of the Full Moon for healers and black mages.
And, of course, if you can get it, healers should have Atma of the Apocalypse (from Shinryu) full time just for the auto-reraise it provides -- you can't raise other party members if you're dead!
Empy is sometimes referred to as AF3, since it's job-specific. Each job has some base pieces (head and hands) purchased from Cruor prospectors; body armour is purchased from Dominion Tacticians for Dominion Notes, legs are purchased from Bastion Prefects for Resistance Credits, and boots can only be obtained from Gold Pyxides in Scars of Abyssea areas.
The base Empyrean armour is pretty awful and has level requirements in the 80s. This is commensurate with how easy it is to obtain.
The +1 is significantly better; To obtain it, you'll need to farm seals from Abyssean NMs; Each piece except body will require 8 seals, body requires 10. This is best illustrated by an example, so I'll go with Blue Mage, since that's the set I'm working on at the time of this writing.
Blue Mage Empyrean armour is called the Mavi Attire set. To upgrade the Mavi Kavuk (head piece) to Mavi Kavuk + 1, you need to farm 8 "Mavi Seal: Head" and use them to complete a Magian trial in Ru'lude Gardens. Same for every piece except the body, which requires 10 "Mavi Seal: Body" to complete.
The +2 makes the +1 look like yak vomit. It's a bit more complicated to explain, since the items you need to farm vary with the piece of armour. Covering all of that is way beyond the scope of this guide. By the time you're doing +2, though, you should know your way around wiki.
Written By Citizen Bleys