If you’ve played other competitive team-based multiplayer games like Overwatch or Team Fortress 2, then you’re probably familiar with the core concept of Crystalline Conflict. This is the new PVP mode for Final Fantasy XIV introduced in the recent Patch 6.1 update. While we’ve seen push-the-payload style of modes in other games, this is new territory for FFXIV, so it might also be new for some FFXIV players. Here, we’ll guide you through some simple strategies and tips to help you rack up some Ws in FFXIV’s PVP.
For the uninitiated, Crystalline Conflict pits two teams of five players against each other. Each team needs to occupy the territory under the crystal (the payload) to move it toward the end goal — kind of like a glorified tug-of-war. Fighting for control of that territory to push the crystal in the right direction is what this mode is all about. Given the depth of Jobs in FFXIV and the numerous tactics encouraged by this style of mode, these fast small-scale matches present a lot of complexity. Matches get hectic, so making a habit out of these basic strategies can go a long way.
In case you haven’t done so yet, here’s how to unlock PVP: Complete the level 30 quest “A Pup No Longer” — the location of which depends on the Grand Company you join:
- Maelstrom: Limsa Lominsa Upper Decks (X: 13.0, Y: 12.0)
- Twin Adder: New Gridania (X: 9.0, Y: 11.0)
- Immortal Flames: Ul’dah – Steps of Nald (X: 8.0, Y: 8.0)
You’ll then have access to Wolves’ Den Pier, which is the PVP hub zone where you can purchase PVP rewards, test out PVP-specific Job skills, and duel other players for practice.
FFXIV PVP Crystalline Conflict Tips
Think of this as more of a beginner’s guide. If you’ve been lighting up the scoreboard with wins in Ranked on your way to Diamond or Platinum placement, then it might not be for you. But even for avid FFXIV players, PVP can be tough to crack, especially if you’re not familiar with the competitive side of games. Raid anxiety is one thing, but we understand that PVP is a different kind of pressure — and the best way to ease that pressure is to go in prepared. Let’s get it.
Play the Objective (Smartly)
Before anything else, let’s get this one out of the way: playing the objective is the most important aspect of Crystalline Conflict. Yes, I know telling folks to play the objective is a wildly easy tip to share. But in lower rank play, pushing the crystal often gets lost on teams. Sometimes, it’s easier said than done, but it bears repeating. Crystalline Conflict is not a deathmatch mode. Knocking out enemies is important, but it should always be in service of creating opportunities to help push the crystal.
Of course, achieving this goal is multifaceted — it’s never wise to rush the crystal when you’re at a disadvantage. Pushing the crystal takes more than just duking it out right on top of it. Trying to start fights with lonely stragglers far away from the objective is rarely the best move. And I understand it’s tempting to chase down that enemy who’s retreating, but think twice before doing so — you might put yourself in a tough spot and lose sight of what’s happening around the crystal.
As we get deeper into FFXIV‘s new PVP, this may become a moot point. But if you’re just starting out and aren’t used to objective-based competitive modes, make it a habit to focus on helping the team make moves for the crystal. We’ll get more into the “how” throughout this guide.
Use the First 30 Seconds Wisely
You’ll chill at your spawn point for 30 seconds before the match starts, but once you’re let loose, the crystal is locked in place at the center of the map for another 30 seconds. Use this as an opportunity to scout the enemy team and see how they’re moving. What does their team composition look like? Which Jobs are worth targeting first? How can you use your skillset to create early openings? These are a few questions that should be running through your mind during this limbo.
It’s often not worth crossing enemy lines to start a fight immediately. Even if you can get a quick knockout, the advantage goes to waste with the crystal still locked. I would only suggest engaging if your team is going all out to create an early advantage — with a skilled team, this can work well. Otherwise, it’s best not to engage until a few seconds before the crystal unlocks. If an enemy gets bold and pulls up, hit them hard — just don’t let it distract you from what other enemies are doing.
Know Who You’re Up Against
You can always see who’s who from the enemy list on your UI and from scouting in the early seconds of a match. The next step is to understand what each of their Jobs are capable of. If you’re facing a Samurai or Dragoon, know that they’re pretty overpowered right now and it takes a collective effort to minimize their effectiveness. If you’re up against a Warrior, anticipate their crowd control and strong stun abilities being huge problems. Or if you see a healer like an Astrologian, Scholar, or White Mage in the back of the pack, find a way to take them out fast since they make knocking out other enemies a pain.
Familiarize yourself with other Jobs’ skillsets, even if you don’t play them. It takes effort, but it can go a long way. Knowing your enemy is one of the best pieces of advice for preparing yourself — you’ll know what to expect and can plan your approach accordingly.
Play to Your Job’s Strengths
On the flipside, you should understand what your chosen Job is best at. While no two players can use the same Job on a team, there are no role restrictions in PVP. Every Job is capable of at least laying down decent damage, but each Job still leans towards a certain specialty. Take the time to practice and learn how to best wield your Job’s kit instead of rushing head-first.
PVP isn’t just about knockouts and damage. Most Jobs have important utility skills that inflict status effects like stun, heavy, or silence. Understand what your Job’s utility can do and how it can create openings, and use those skills frequently. Burst damage and knowing when to go all-out is important, but those moments are often a product of using utility skills properly.
Bards and Dancers aren’t going to lay down major damage despite being DPS Jobs, but they can provide support to make the team more effective. If you’re playing as a Dragoon or Samurai, your primary responsibility is to deal heavy damage. Sage may lack single-target healing, but they can throw up barriers to keep the team fighting. And Machinist is a menace at long-range with good burst damage, but also a wide AoE that can inflict Heavy and Poison.
Some have unique and complex skills. For example, Ninja has several condition-specific abilities that can be deadly but useless if you don’t know how to wield them. It’s a Job best at single-target burst damage and staying on the move to pounce on key targets.
Job synergy and coordination is always going to be difficult when playing in random queues. But if you can get a sense of how you and your team’s abilities affect the match, you have a better chance of contributing to a win.
Target Enemies Tactically
Targeting the right enemy is a key element of teamwork. Since any player can heal up quickly and essentially negate an individual’s burst damage, you won’t be as effective solo attacking an enemy. Teams should focus fire on specific enemies. A match of Crystalline Conflict moves fast and gives you a lot to process. To help, you and your team can track enemies with numbered icons by using markers from the Signs menu to highlight priority targets. You may also want to consider rebinding your targeting keys or buttons to make things much easier for yourself.
If you want to keep things simple, just pay attention to who your teammates are attacking, or focus fire on enemies who are getting their HP chipped away. When you see them constantly restoring health, they’re spending MP for Recuperate heals, meaning they’ll break at a certain point. And more often than not, the best target is who is the most immediate threat.
As in the previous tip, you’ll want to prioritize the opposing team’s Jobs that are likely to cause the most problems. Healers are usually smart to hit first since a good healer will make any other enemy much tougher to knock out. But it’s also wise to try chopping down a Samurai, Dragoon, or a pesky support Job.
Have Guard, Recuperate, and Purify Easily Accessible
Regardless of their Job, every player has Guard, Recuperate, and Purify in their kit. These are extremely important tools for success. Guard negates 90% of damage and nullifies debuffs for five seconds — you move at half-speed, but it’s key for escaping near-death situations. Recuperate heals 15,000 HP, which you can use four times at full MP — always be ready to heal yourself with this. Purify gets you out of most status afflictions like stun, sleep, silence, and bind, which is clutch.
Smartly using these three tools will minimize your deaths. And remember you also have Elixirs. If you’re about to die and run out of MP, throw up Guard to get away to a safe spot in order to pop an Elixir — you’ll be back at full HP and MP. It’s much better than waiting for the respawn timer to run back into action. Also, the respawn timer gets longer by one second after each death, and that’s no fun.
Use Quick Chat Buttons to Communicate
You can’t use party chat in Crystalline Conflict. For one, it helps shield players from potential toxicity. But two, this mode is just too fast to be typing in chat. Instead, we have quick chat buttons. Pull up your PVP Profile, select Quick Chat on the sidebar, then map them to a hotbar for easy access. It’s a small but effective thing to use.
You’ll want the basic “Hello!” and “Thank you!” or “Nice job!” in there. However, using simple tactical ones like “Push the crystal” or “Fall back and regroup” goes a long way. This will help ping teammates for what’s best given the match’s situation. Sometimes you get lost in the sauce and don’t even realize you’re trapped in a 2v5 battle for the crystal. Using these simple quick chat buttons is an easy way to remind teammates of what should be done.
Fall Back to Regroup, Don’t Die Alone
Too often, you’ll see players try to take on enemies bunched up together. Remember, every player has tools for survivability. There’s absolutely no way you’re going to clutch a 1v5 or even a 1v3. It’s unwise to pull up on a full enemy team without the support of teammates behind you — it’s even futile. Maybe you can get a cheap knockout, but at what cost? You are ineffective without teammates to back you up.
It might be alarming when the opposing team is pushing the crystal. Sitting around to wait for your team to regroup is a hard decision to make, but it’s the right one. Sometimes, you realize this a bit late and get caught in a battle you can’t win. In these cases, rely on the Guard ability to protect you as you escape or buy time for back up to arrive.
Using Guard to Stall an Enemy Push
This might sound like it’s going against what I just said about falling back, but there’s more than one way to be useful in tough situations. When the dust settles around the crystal and you’re the only one left, you can pop Guard and float inside the crystals territory to stall enemy progress. This buys time for your team to regroup and prevents the crystal from going backward since it won’t move if at least one member from both teams is inside.
It’s important to consider this tactic when the crystal is deep in enemy territory. That’s because the crystal moves faster when a team is pushing it out of their own territory and back to the center. This is when it’s most effective to stall the push using Guard. At the end of the day, the core principle behind either strategy is to be useful and play the objective smartly.
Understand How Map Events Work
Each of the three maps in Crystalline Conflict have their own quirks. Some quirks are obstacles that make it a pain to focus on the objective while others help you navigate the map. Let’s take a quick look at what each map features.
Cloud Nine has a map event called turbulence. At some point in the middle of the match, the map gets dark and cloudy as it thrusts all players up into the air and causes fall damage. You can avoid getting tossed in the air and taking damage, however. Stay on top of the Chocobo icons moving around the map when they show up — you’ll get a Chocobo feather to protect you from the fall damage. Another option is to pop your Guard ability right before turbulence — you won’t go flying into the air. Protecting yourself from turbulence can create an opening on a damaged enemy. Also, avoid the tornadoes that spawn onto the map since they cause damage and knockback.
The Palaistra simply has fast lanes that take you to and from enemy territory. These can help you flank the enemy or catch up to the crystal if your team is pushing near it. But keep an eye on these for any surprise attacks. Volcanic Heart has line AoEs pop up mid-match, which cover entire map lanes. These are caused by self-destructing Bombs and damage anyone caught in the AoE. However, these Bombs leave behind Bomb Cores — if you snag one, you get a damage buff and a Limit Break gauge boost.
Understanding Checkpoints and Overtime
At the halfway mark of pushing the crystal, you’ll have to break through a checkpoint. You will need to stay on top of the checkpoint for a few seconds to break past it. Progress is indicated by shining spheres on the checkpoint circle. The more teammates you have on the checkpoint, the faster you’ll clear it. Enemies standing in the checkpoint zone will halt progress.
Overtime is a different beast. If you do not push the crystal to the end goal before the five-minute time limit, the match will go into overtime. Victory conditions in overtime depend on how much progress both teams have made. Here’s how overtime works:
- If your team has higher progress, keep enemies out of the crystal’s territory for three seconds.
- If your team has lower progress, keep pushing the crystal and don’t let the enemy team achieve their victory condition. If you push the crystal just 0.1% past the other team’s progress, you win.
- If both teams have the same progress, the first one to achieve higher progress (0.1% more) wins.
Overtime is your last chance to go all out, so be mindful of the victory conditions and adjust your tactics accordingly. For example, if you have lower progress and can’t afford to retreat, activate Guard while on the crystal and buy time for others to show up.
Limit Breaks are Meant to Be Used
Everyone has their own Limit Break gauge that refills automatically over time. The Limit Break is effectively the “ultimate” ability you see in other objective-based multiplayer games. While it’s important to find the right moment to make the most of a Limit Break, don’t hang onto it for too long. It can turn the tide and refills quickly anyway. In any given Crystalline Conflict match, you can pull off two to three Limit Breaks (unless one team gets steamrolled).
Every Job’s Limit Break is unique, so make sure you understand all of its effects and which situations it’ll be best executed in. High-damage ones should always be used for finishing off enemies. Support-style ones should always be used in conjunction with your team. Powerful AoE ones should be used to knockout at least two enemies simultaneously or create opportunities for quick knockouts.
Sprint is Infinite in PVP, Make Sure It’s On
In PVP, there are no timers or cooldowns for Sprint. Always having Sprint on keeps you nimble whether you’re trying to chase down a weakened enemy or regroup with teammates. However, you need to remember that using other actions deactivates Sprint. It’s a bit annoying, so you’ll have to make it a habit to always pop Sprint when you have to be on the move.
Challenge Others to Duels in Wolves’ Den Pier
While each Job is streamlined for the sake of making PVP gameplay manageable, it takes practice to get things right in the heat of battle. The fast pace of Crystalline Conflict will have you fumbling your actions if you’re not prepared. Be sure to use the training dummies around Wolves’ Den Pier to test out and practice your Job’s abilities. Once you get comfortable with the full kit, duel other players in quick 1v1 practice matches.
To do this, head to the east end of Wolves’ Den Pier (X: 7.5, Y: 5.8). Click on any player in the dueling zone and select “Request a duel” — you’ll get a response within 30 seconds. If they accept, show them what you’ve got. There’s no shame in losing; it’s only practice. Through this, you can really break down how PVP fights play out, aside from the wild moshpit of actual matches.
FFXIV Crystalline Conflict PVP Rewards
Regardless of whether you play in Ranked or Casual, finishing Crystalline Conflict matches will reward you with PVP EXP, Series EXP, and Wolf Marks. PVP EXP contributes to your overall PVP Level. Series EXP goes toward your Series Level, which includes some nice additional rewards and Trophy Crystals. Wolf Marks are the long-time currency earned in PVP, and you can get some of the older PVP gear sets for glamour. Or better yet, get yourself the Garo collaboration gear, mounts, and titles.
Here’s an outline of the payout you get from Crystalline Conflict matches:
- Series EXP
- Win: 900 Series EXP
- Loss: 700 Series EXP
- PVP EXP
- Win: 500 PVP EXP
- Loss: 250 PVP EXP
- Wolf Marks
- Win: 500 Wolf Marks
- Loss: 250 Wolf Marks
Check out our guide on all the gear and items you can get using Trophy Crystals. And peep that sweet Archfiend armor set you can earn during this season of FFXIV PVP.