Free Company “Buffs” are enhancements that can be purchased or created by Free Companies to give bonuses to all members of the FC who play while the Buff is active.
Basics of Buffs
- Free Companies gain the right to use a single Level I buff at Rank 5, and to use up to two Level II or Level III buffs at Rank 8 (the max possible FC rank, currently). Since the Astral Flames are Rank 8, we keep two buffs running.
- Buffs last 24 hours from activation time, although they can be shut down early.
- Buffs can’t be reactivated after being shut down; a new buff has to be purchased and activated. So don’t shut down buffs without a good reason!
- Level I and II buffs are purchased from the HQ of the Grand Company the Free Company is allied with, which in our case is the Maelstrom, based in Limsa Lominsa. Their HQ is at the “Aftcastle” aetheryte. Go there to buy more buffs if we are out (see below for instructions.)
- Level I and II buffs are purchased with Free Company Credits. These are earned by certain common player actions like leveling, crafting, running dungeons together, and so on. At the moment we have plenty of credits and don’t have to worry about the cost of buying buffs.
- Our FC can have 10 purchased inactive buffs and 2 active buffs at any time, no more.
- We keep the “Heat of Battle II” buff active 24/7 for 10% leveling XP, and generally alternate “Helping Hand II” (10% Crafting XP) and “Earth and Water II” (10% Gathering XP) in the second slot. Other buffs may be bought and used for special events.
- We also have access to a few Level III FC buffs through our Aetherial Stand in the basement of our FC House. A level III buff takes three days and a crafted blank aetherial wheel to produce, so while it costs us no FC credits, it’s fairly expensive in gil and time. See below for details on how we make Level III buffs on the Aetherial Stand.
There is no Level III battle XP buff available (yet), butwe produce level III crafting and gathering XP buffs on the stand. We try to keep the “Earth and Water III” (+20% Gather XP) up on Saturdays and the “Helping Hand III” (+20% Crafter XP) up on Sundays. Again, see below for details on how these are made and activated. (UPDATE: As of patch 3.3, a Level III Battle XP buff (+15%) is now available! We plan to start making these and using them instead of the gather/craft buffs very soon now.– 6/11/16)
Buying and Activating Level II Buffs
To buy our standard Level II Buffs, head over to Limsa Lominsa, go to the Aftcastle aetheryte, and walk to the Maelstrom HQ.
Then speak to this guy:
You can activate our FC buffs from this screen if you are already in Limsa buying buffs, but if you are not in Limsa and a buff runs out, you can also activate (but not buy!) buffs from any place in the game by opening your Social menu and choosing Free Company, then Actions to bring up this screen:
Creating and Activating Level III Buffs: The Aetherial Stand
Unlike the Level I and II FC Buffs, the Level III buffs can’t be purchased – they have to be made. Here’s how it’s done.
This is the Aetherial Stand in our FC house basement. There are several versions of this housing item, with different numbers of different kinds of slots to hold blank aetherial wheels for charging.
This stand has three wheel slots, one each for a level 1, level 2, and level 3 aetherial wheel. In the picture above, the level 3 aetherial wheel slot is holding a wheel that is charging up. We don’t usually bother with the Level I or Level II wheels, as they produce only level 1 and 2 buffs, which are more easily bought from the Maelstrom than produced here. There is not currently any aetherial stand that will hold two level 3 wheels for charging at the same time, but we’re hoping one day Square will give us one! (No, we can’t have two stands in one FC House. I tried. We also can’t have a stand in our personal rooms. I tried that too.)
In order to use the aetherial stand to make a level III buff, you first need to craft a blank level III aetherial wheel of the correct type. This can only be done using the Fabrication Station in our FC Workshop.
To make a blank wheel, go to the Fabrication Station in the Workshop and choose:
- Grade III Wheel of Productivity to make Earth and Water III (+20% Gathering XP)
- or Grade III Wheel of Industry to make Helping Hand III (+20% Crafting XP)
- or some other wheel if you want a different level III buff
After loading in all the required materials, you will need to assemble a party of four people, each with a crafter skill. Level 1 in any craft skill is all that’s required to help out with progression; there isn’t any actual crafting required! The four people don’t even need to be members of our FC to help out, but the entire party needs to be present in the Workshop to progress the craft. Aetherial Wheels are a single-phase craft so you only need to progress the craft once to complete it.
Both the Grade 3 Wheel of Productivity and the Grade 3 Wheel of Industry require the same set of materials to craft:
- Three electrum ingots. These are easy to make or buy.
- Three Superior Deep-red Enchanted Ink: This is the most difficult item on the list to acquire — by far! It takes several rare gathering items and a level 60 Alchemist to create.
- Three mythrite sand. This is easy to gather or buy.
- Three unaspected crystals. These are fairly easy to gather or buy.
If you have any of these items, the Free Company is always happy to receive donations! If you need any of these items in order to craft a blank wheel, please speak to one of the officers who crafts and we will try to help out.
Now that you have your blank aetherial wheel, take it back to the Aetherial Stand and open the aetherial stand menu.
Place the blank aetherial wheel in the Grade 3 slot in the stand.
Leave the wheel in the stand for three days (give or take a couple hours). When the wheel is done charging, it will look like this:
Important Note: When you remove the primed wheel from the stand, it will bind to you. Primed Wheels cannot be stored in the company chest or traded to another player! You must either convert them immediately, or keep them in your personal storage until you are ready to convert them. In order to reduce the possibility of a Level III buff being accidentally activated on the wrong day — or worse, discarded! — I usually store the primed wheels on my retainers and activate the two weekend buffs on a Friday. This also keeps open the stored buff spaces these buffs would otherwise take up. If this system becomes too much of a nuisance, however, we may go back to converting the primed wheels as they are filled. Officers should be careful to be sure they are not mixing up the level II and level III crafting and gathering buffs when activating as they look very similar! So be careful!
Should you need to convert a filled wheel, here’s how to do it. First, make sure there is an open slot in our available buffs! If we already have 10 buffs stacked up the new one may be lost!
Then, with the primed wheel in your inventory, go to the Aetherial Stand and choose:
The primed wheel will be removed from your inventory and turned into a Level III buff, which will automatically be added to our FC buff list, ready for activation.
And that’s all there is to it!