FFXIV Lightning Crystals are an important part of any crafter’s collection. Though they’re not as easy (nor fun) to acquire as they are to lose. That’s because crystals, shards, and clusters of all elements are consumed by FFXIV crafting recipes. You need hundreds — if not thousands — of them over time as “catalysts,” in addition to the more obvious crafting materials. Most crafters will burn through quite a few just making Crafter’s Scrip items for farming Materia.
Whatever your reason, though, any FFXIV crafter will need Lightning Crystals eventually. And if you dig in deep enough you’ll eventually need to farm Lightning Crystals en masse. Luckily this is one elemental item that’s easy to gather manually. The most time-efficient way to do so just requires you to unlock the Namazu Beast Tribe quests in Stormblood.
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To start those, you first need to reach level 64 on any combat class and level 60 on any crafter and/or gatherer. The level 64 mission you need to beat is “All the Little Angels.” It’s a required Main Scenario Quest, so you can’t miss it on your way through the FFXIV story. At this point, if you have a level 60 crafter or gatherer, you will unlock two blue-colored quest chains. These start with “Courage the Cowardly Lupin” in Yanxia and “Perchance to Hanami” — also in Yanxia.
Complete all the associated quests for each quest-giver (each follows a linear path and is marked by a blue cross on the side quest icon). You will then, finally be able to start “Something Fishy This Way Comes” in The Azim Steppe. This is the start of your new, daily Beast Tribe quests for the Namazu.
You don’t actually need a Beast Tribe quest active to find the following nodes ripe with Lightning Crystals. Though several Namazu missions will point you in the right direction if you accept your daily quests as a Botanist or Miner. Not to mention it’s a good way to kill two birds with one stone.
What you really want is any one several clusters of level 60 gathering nodes tied to the Beast Tribe quests. These typically spawn quest-specific items for gathering during Namazu missions. Even if you don’t have the appropriate mission in your journal, however, the nodes continue to appear throughout The Azim Steppe: sans the quest items. That just leaves the Lightning Crystals to gather in their place.
That’s not terribly useful on its own. But these three-node clusters have a unique trait that most “normal” gathering points in the game do not. They infinitely respawn in close proximity without you needing to pack up and move to a new spot. You only need to exhaust all three Mining or Botany points in a cluster to make the first of the trio reappear.
Normal nodes, by contrast, are found in groups of two and require you to travel between each, exhausting them all with a lot of downtime in between. And time is quite literally money when it comes to FFXIV crafting and gathering.
The Namazu Beast Tribe nodes cut (most) travel time out of the equation: at least for when you farm Lightning Crystals. Sadly, no other catalysts are found in these nodes. Though you can use an almost identical trick for Wind Crystal farming once you reach the Rak’tika Greatwood.
For Lightning Crystals, these dense, infinitely repeatable triple patches are found all over The Azim Steppe. I personally prefer the ones just a touch northeast of the central Aetheryte — right next to The Dawn Throne’s chocobo porter. It’s an incredibly short hike from the teleportation spot.
Lastly, make sure to use The Twelve’s Bounty and especially The Giving Land (if you’re a level 74 gatherer). The latter skill can increase your yields to dozens of elemental crystals per gathering attempt. It’s a bit pricey on GP, but that’s where the “kill two birds with one stone” thing comes in handy. The nearby Beast Tribe provides free Cordial as one of several rewards for most of its missions. Once again, this only applies if you undertake the quests as a gatherer. You can also accept Namazu missions as a crafter, which will award you with crystals instead, so it’s worth it either way.
But you can use Cordial to restore 350 GP every four minutes. Coincidentally, that’s just enough to cast both The Twelve’s Bounty and The Giving Land, which stack together for more crystals per gathering attempt. This half of the farming strategy works on all elements and tiers of crafting catalyst (shards, crystals, and clusters), too.
If you’re not a level 74 gatherer, collecting crystals is better left to your retainers while you focus on other things. They can passively collect dozens on one-hour ventures while you raid and the like. As an absolute last resort, you can use The Twelve’s Bounty on normal gathering nodes as any level 20 Miner or Botanist. Though it’s honestly probably better to grind your way to the appropriate levels instead.
Hopefully this helps you farm Lightning Crystals in FFXIV by the cartload! It’s just one step on the very long road to dominating the crafting classes, but every little boost will take you further. Best of luck!