Choosing a Venture you send your Retainer on can be quite daunting especially when you don’t exactly know what resources you can get from your Ventures.
I’ve stated in previous guides that it took me years before I actually attempted to make proper Gil with my Retainers. I would send them on the longest Ventures possible so I never had to think about them since I thought this was a good amount of Gil equal to whatever I would be able to get for sending them on 40-minute to 1-hour-long Ventures. Man, was I ever wrong.
I must admit that at this point I am extremely far down the rabbit hole when it comes to making Gil with my Retainers and I cannot expect all players to try to min-max the way I have been, so I will take you through a few different styles of Retainer Venture management you may want to try out based on how much you want to get into the Marketboard research and what content you enjoy completing.
Realistically there are a few different ways players can make a decent income with their Retainer, some ways will require players to spend a good amount of time researching the Market Board, some will require a player to be a mid-tier crafter, some will require a player to be patient with RNG though with much less of a need to focus on things and instead just accept things as they come.
I will take you through the pros and cons of each and will even cover what kind of Retainer you will want to employ for each type of content. Of course, there will be some preferences that will be unique to each player. I will do my best to ensure that these are covered in the post, but if you want any specific suggestions please feel free to ask in the comments below, ask me while I’m streaming on Twitch or leave a request in the discord.
Players will need to note that while most servers will have similar Marketboards some servers tend to focus more on specific types of items than others leading to a few deviations. The base of this article will be concrete however, if something I say sounds incredibly different on your server please feel free to point it out and share what server you are so I can do some research on your Marketboard.
At the time of writing this I am extremely familiar with the Marketboards on Light and generally familiar with the Marketboards on Aether, being that my main and alt are on these data centers, however, as economics is one of my main interests in life I hope to broaden my horizons further for each data center and at this point, I have mostly skim studied them.
WHAT ARE THE BEST RETAINERS TO EMPLOY?
The type of Retainers you will want to employ heavily depends on how much effort you will want to put into the objects they bring back. For example, I have chosen to be a mid-tier Crafter, selling many intermediary crafting items instead of finished products such as Weapons or Furnishing. Though my goal in Dawnbreaker is to change this and begin crafting finished products, I can’t focus on that right now since I am farming a great deal of side content.
Realistically a player doesn’t need to be a Crafter in order to make a decent amount of Gil with their Retainers and while the profit margins are smaller for players like this, they are still good enough that a player can see at the minimum 10-50k Gil a day. This does take a good amount of research though and if players get into Crafting resources in need they can double or triple this easily.
This section will only cover which types of Retainers are ideal per playstyle and I will be covering what to do with each of the Retainers in the following section so I can really delve into the options that you have.
RETAINERS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR RETAINER AT ALL
If you simply want to ignore your Retainers and simply want to send them on Ventures whenever you feel like it I strongly recommend you make them both Battlecraft Retainers.
The type of Battlecraft Retainer you choose does not matter as all Roles and Jobs will have access to the exact same items and loot tables.
My personal suggestion is to make one of the Battlecraft Retainers your main Job and the second one of your side Jobs. I also strongly recommend you use don’t make both Retainers the same Role as this will make it slightly more difficult to Gear up both retainers. Now, this doesn’t matter as much when an expansion has been out for a while, however, it can impede you as content initially comes out.
I personally had one of my Retainers as a Red Mage and the other as a Black Mage and consistently I regularly struggled to send both on missions because one would always have a much worse iLvl. Now, realistically this might have just been a complete me problem since I have ADHD and constantly forgot about my Retainers.
My issue wasn’t the fact that I forgot to give my Retainers hand-me-downs, but instead ended up being, once my hand-me-downs were given the other Retainer got nothing because I kept forgetting it needed Gear and instead I would turn the Gear in for Seals or Desynth it. This becomes a lot less of a problem when you play multiple roles as it is easier to remember when your side job gets new Gear you immediately give it to your Retainer.
That being said, this can also be remedied by farming Raids to get a substantial iLvl for both Retainers, however, I found this extremely boring since the most recent Raids will always have a one-loot-per-week restriction.
I recognize many players only play one role, especially if they are a Tank Main or a Healer Main, DPS tend to play more jobs and if you are a Melee DPS you should have a good number of options as there is less Gear sharing that happens among all of them.
If I was to go back to having two Battlecraft Retainers I would have made one my Red Mage (main job for prog) and one a Tank (the job I take into every single Dungeon).
RETAINERS IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THE MOST GIL FOR RAW RESOURCES
By far the best Retainers to have when you don’t want to Craft or Gather are Battlecraft Retainers. You’d be surprised that this is the case since most players are going to have Battlecraft Retainers, but there are two reasons they make the most Gil.
First, the majority of players do not care about making Gil with their Retainers and I know a number of players who refuse to even send their Retainers on Ventures after they level them to max even though they know they can make a decent amount of Gil.
Though this is true, this isn’t going to be all players, so expect there to be a good deal of competition in this Market.
You would think that any of the Retainers can be useful for selling Raw Resources, however, since Battlecraft Retainers bring back mob drops that are never guaranteed, these will always be more rare and in demand than the majority of things that can be gathered.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, primarily being the hidden or time resources that Gatherering Retainers can obtain. The main issue with these is that your retainer will bring back less of these, essentially cutting your profit margins.
I would only recommend having two different Retainers if you see yourself crafting in the future and want to avoid being stuck having to reset your Retainer. I recently did the math on how fast you can level up a Retainer from 1 to 90 and even with 12-hour days of doing the optimal levelling, I found it took about two weeks and a bit.
RETAINERS IF YOU’RE WILLING TO SPEND A BIT OF EFFORT EACH DAY
The following option will only be for those who are either Gardeners or Crafters as it will require players to turn the resources they obtain from their Ventures into other resources.
This does not take very much effort as a Crafter as you will essentially be providing the community with intermediary Crafts and will be fueling the end-game and glamour Crafters in the long run. That being said, you can also utilize this to help newer players who are levelling their Crafters and don’t have the time to farm the resources they need.
If you are a Crafter you are going to want to choose a Specialty and though there have been dramatic changes to the way that Crafting functions, the main being that all Crafters now have the same skills meaning that switching between crafters is much easier, since you only have two Retainers without paying extra your goal is going to still going to want to be one Battlecraft Retainer and 1 Gatherer.
Botanists work best with Carpenters, Culinarians, Weavers and Gardeners
Miners work best with Blacksmiths, Armorers, Goldsmiths, Alchemists, Leatherworkers and Gardeners
Battlecraft works best with Culinarians, Alchemists and Leatherworkers
Note that this is only in regards to intermediate materials that will be used for larger Crafts as if you are planning on Crafting finished products you will need almost all of these Crafters at some point.
There are very clear pros and cons for each of these Crafters and sometimes the Marketboard gets extremely messy causing raw resources to actually be more profitable than the intermediate or finished product. This is why it’s going to be important to diversify what you craft and potentially even think about tapping into multiple fields even if you don’t have the Retainer to supply them.
This is also why it is extremely important that you have a Battlecraft Retainer as no matter what happens you will always have a fall-back in case your crafting specialty’s Market crashes.
In my opinion, if you were to only have two Retainers I would choose Botanist and Battlecraft. My reasoning for this is that it covers the most ground. You can make clothes and Lumber tremendously easily as they only need one type of ingredient and when you focus on the other Crafters you get what you can from the Battlecraft Reatainer and get the other resources through Mining yourself.
Of course, at the end of the day, your decision will need you to take a close look at what is selling well on your server, though there are some general truths based on the type of server you are on:
Servers with heavy roleplay will need Weavers, Leatherworkers and Armorers the most.
Servers with lots of raiding will need Culinarians and Alchemists the most frequently and the remaining jobs at the beginning of each large patch.
Of course, there is a lot of room for cross-over on both types of servers as there are always players looking for particular glamours which will need a variety of resources from all Crafters to complete.
In terms of Gardening, the reason I recommend a Botanist is because they can bring large stacks of seeds for you to Crossbreed. Although on my server many of the first sets of seeds you need to crossbreed are extremely inexpensive, some tend to be a lot pricier than others sometimes making it worth sending your retainer on a journey once a week to build up a stockpile.
If your server has extremely inexpensive seeds and you don’t have any difficulty getting the ones you need see how much Soil costs on your Server and if it is over 1,000 Gil per Grade 3 Soil you may want to use the Miner to grab these for you as you need.
Although I personally wouldn’t send my Retainers on Ventures for Topsoil, I tend to avoid Crossbreeding as I tend to be forgetful and will 100% let 90% of my plants wilt. That being said, Retainers can only bring back a single Grade 3 Topsoil every 40-60 minutes, meaning you’re not really going to get a whole lot out of this and it tends to be better to just use Poetics.
Technically players can farm lower tiers of Topsoil and yield more at a time, though this may not be optimal unless you are provided with a substantial amount of extra crop. Otherwise, sometimes the most beneficial thing to do is simply farm Crystals in order to ensure you have enough Crystals to fuel all of your crafts. I personally had to go this route many times since I craft a ton of things all at once typically spending at least 2,000-3,000 Crystals in one go.
While I can’t pretend that this is the most ideal use of a Gatherer retainer, it sometimes is the only option especially when you’re in the deep end of the Marketboard. Luckily for players, they can do this with either Miners or Botanists, so it doesn’t matter which they have.
RETAINER IF YOU WANT TO MIN -MAX YOUR RETAINERS AND MAKE LOTS OF GIL
A min-maxing composition for Retainers tends to be a Battlecraft Retainer and a Miner, though many players who are heavily in the rabbit hole of crafting tend to make the purchase of an extra retainer so they can have the Miner, Botanist and Battlecraft.
The reason most players will opt for a Miner over the Botanist is simply the fact that many of the Metals you will need to craft Gear and Weapons require two or more resources for the intermediate craft. Otherwise, Lumber or tends to only take 1 resource that a player can spam farm for the most part.
That being said, depending on your server many Cloth and Lumber resources are extremely inexpensive on the Market Board due to the ease of Gathering. This is mostly true of the newer Lumber and Cloth though as some of the older content that players don’t farm as often are well in the 5,000-10,000 range for a single piece. Still, it is much easier to gather these in my opinion and I tend to use my Botanist less frequently to get actual resources and rely more heavily on it to bring back Crystals.
RETAINER TO COMPLETELY AVOID
No matter what the Retainer I strongly recommend everyone avoids is the Fisher as fish are not used often enough in crafts for it to be worth it. That being said, as soon as I said the Botanist was the easiest to gather for I immediately remember just how ridiculous my inventory has always been after fishing.
For the most part, players can stand in the same spot while Fishing and can catch a ton of Fish with no problem. The only issue/frustration with fishing is that some fishing spots have too much RNG especially when you are looking for a particular Fish
Still, of most of the resources on the Market Board, FIsh is plenty because of the amount of AFK you can do. Though not necessary by any means players can go as far as to set up a one-button macro to press any time your controller shakes or you hear the sound queue.
Most Fishers I know only fish while they are watching TV or watching Twitch streams and will still have more than enough Fish for all their needs leading them to only need to do it infrequently.
SO WHAT VENTURES SHOULD I SEND MY RETAINER ON?
By far this is going to be the most subjective portion of the guide and players will need to do a significant amount of research on their Market Board in order to consistently make Gil as there is no way to reliably make Gil. Still, some of the less demanding Ventures have pretty decent outcomes when it comes to Gil though these tend to rely on RNG.
I personally rotate what Ventures I send my Retainers on depending on Marketboard trends and how much effort I want to actually put into my Retainers for that day, so don’t worry you’re about to get a number of options you can rotate between.
I’m going to break this part into sections based on how much effort a player wants to spend on their Ventures, as the most optimal way to make Gil is by changing what kind of Ventures you send your Retainer on based on the Market demand.
FOR DAYS YOU CAN ONLY DO A SINGLE VENTURE & DON’T WANT TO PUT IN ANY EFFORT
I only recommend this for players who are only able to play FFXIV for less than an hour and have no time or interest at all in doing marketboard research. This is extremely valid and I can’t judge you for it, especially since you’re still going above and beyond players who refuse to send their retainers on a single Venture.
If you really don’t want to think about your Retainer and still want to make a decent amount of Gil you’re going to want to send your Retainer to the highest-level Field Exploration Venture, Highland Exploration, Woodland Exploration or Waterside Exploration. These will provide players with the highest yield of Allegan Pieces and if you are at the beginning of an expansion have the chance to bring back the newest Minion associated with this release.
If you have reached the middle of an expansion I would strongly advise against this unless you simply want a small but reliable source of Gil that comes from your Retainers.
There are a few ways to maximize this profit and I will cover the majority in the next section, though no matter what kind of Retainer you send on the highest level Field Exploration you will want to ensure that you have unlocked the Donation Basket in the Doman Enclave as this will guarantee you get 20,000 extra Gil each week. While this isn’t a whole lot, this is pretty much always guarenteed when you are sending your Retainers on the most long exploration Ventures.
UTILIZING THE 2-5 HOURS YOU ARE ONLINE BEFORE A LONG VENTURE
For players who want to get the most out of their Retainers with relatively low effort, I strongly recommend weaving in Quick Explorations while you are online for periods over an hour and then as you are logging out you send your Retainer on the longer Exploration in order to make use of the 18 hours you are logged out.
Generally, this will be more rewarding than sending your Retainer out on sending your Retainer on one long Venture and one short Venture is more rewarding than sending them on two Quick Explorations though this will heavily depend on RNG.
I personally wouldn’t risk the RNG, especially after testing the fastest ways to level up your Retainer. On average, I was bringing home items that were worth about 1,000-3,000 Gil with infrequent pulls that were between 50,000-100,000 Gil. Of course, in between those, there were absolutely useless drops including a shocking amount of single Crystals which I still feel is a weird part of the loot table.
I will say, for no-braining it can be a decent amount of Gil, but if you’re willing to even put in even a small amount of Marketboard research you can average 16,875 Gil per hour without the need of Crafters.
Of course, there is a good deal of variance in this amount of Gil depending on what kind of Retainers you have and what day of the week it is, but I will cover all of that variance in the next section.
SELLING RAW MATERIALS USING HUNTING/MINING/BOTANY
There are two steps to this that you will want to follow. First, you will need to commit to Marketboard Research and second, you will need to figure out what your priority for types of sales are.
During the lowest buying/selling seasons:
If a player is willing to be patient with their sales (between 1-2 days for something to sell) they will easily make 11,250 per each Venture they send their Retainer on.
However, if players are relatively impatient and simply want to sell things within the hour that they list it they can make at the very minimum 5,000 gil for each Venture they send their retainer on.
This is most easily done with Battlecraft Retainers, but it is possible with all Retainers and during large patches, these values tend to double or triple with there being very little difference in profit margins between fast-selling items and slow-selling items.
Essentially to get this speedy amount of Gil players must only do Hunting, Mining or Botany explorations which at the shortest will take 40 minutes and will provide you with more loot depending on how high the stats are on the Gear you’ve given your Retainer.
It is best to focus on Materials that were recently released during the beginning of an expansion and older resources during lulls of content, though this is not a hard-set rule.
Typically players are focussed on farming the newest resources. Your goal is to keep track of between 5 to 10 resources that are selling regularly and figure out when is best to sell them.
When I do this I do a mixture of resources, some being extremely fast sellers that don’t sell for a lot, some that are mid-tier sellers that sell generally frequently and ones that take a couple of days to sell that have high profits.
Now, there is a decent amount of risk with this as Marketboards fluctuate extremely quickly and a resource that was selling for 700-800 a piece can drop down to 300 in a matter of hours. As unfortunate as it is, it’s relatively common and depending on how much inventory space you have you may want to hold onto these resources or take on the undercutters.
I personally save my resources if the Market board is crashing too much, but that’s mostly because I generally have use for the items I was sending my Retainers for. This isn’t very helpful for players who don’t craft and realistically holding onto an item for extended periods of times will still be a bit risky as it doesn’t mean that item will go back up in value.
If possible I would try to get a hold of sales for about a month using Universalis and see what the rise and fall of that item is like and focus on those that have very little fluctuation even if they aren’t the top sellers. If you’re willing to gamble, see what items have skyrocketed in price and try to sell those before they drop, however, I’ve had varying amounts of success with this.
It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a weekday or weekend as either there are too many players online who try to take advantage of these skyrocketing prices or there are too few players purchasing these skyrocketing prices leading to the chance of that item never being purchased at a decent price.
If you really don’t want to think about what you want to sell and you can make more than 10,000 Gil a day from sending your retainer on these Ventures I strongly recommend gathering the latest ingredient for Raid Meals or Crystals if you have a Gathering Retainer.
Speaking of, if you are online for less than 5 hours on FFXIV I would always send your Retainer on the long Exploration at night, however, unlike the no-thought methods I would do a bit of research on what Minions are selling for decent prices from the Explorations. While this is RNG, the amount of Gil you lose from not getting as many Allegan Pieces tends to be outweighed by a decent-selling Minion.
On many servers, the Gatherer Minions tend to be more consistent in high value, though many have been nerfed due to Materiel Containers.
I’d realistically say if you can never see yourself Crafting just go the Battlecraft Route, but if you can see yourself Crafting do one Battlecraft and one Gatherer so you don’t have to level it later (especially if you have your Gatherers up).
I would never recommend two Gatherers, especially when it comes to selling raw resources, but since chances are you’re going to be getting many more resources than you will be selling, especially if you are playing for extended amounts of time, you can take a few yields of low-income selling.
If you are playing for more than 6 hours you will make more of a profit from 6 hours of shorter Ventures than 5 hours of shorter Ventures and 1 hour of longer Ventures. Obviously, there will be some variance in this based on the current Market Board situation on your server.
NICHE RETAINER VENTURE STRATEGY (SEALS)
A very niche, yet extremely profitable way of doing Ventures is by sending your Retainer on Quick Explorations in order to convert the Gear you get into Seals.
This doesn’t typically work the best when players are on a Combat oriented server, however, it can yield enormous profits on roleplaying servers.
In my experience, servers that have large amounts of Combat focused players tend to have a hold on resources that can be sold for Seals and there are only small gaps in between where a player can jump in and be successful with selling these resources. However, on roleplay servers, there tend to be fewer players doing Duty content and thus fewer Seals among players, sometimes making this Market more profitable than even selling raw resources.
Now, no matter what the income you make from completing Ventures this way is less reliable than all the rest, however, if you have a resource you are selling with Seals that hasn’t seen too many negative fluctuations this may be the easy option for you to make quick Gil.
BECOME A CRAFTER & USE HUNTING VENTURES
Intermediate crafters are somewhat of a staple to every crafting community and players can make a decent amount of Gil a day and generally have the most options when it comes to what a player can sell on the Market Board.
With that being said, I would argue that this is the portion of the Market Board that requires the most research as you will constantly have to weigh when you should sell raw resources and when you should sell the intermediate crafts.
There are a lot of times I’ve screwed myself over by not doing enough research on a resource, crafting dozens of them and selling a few for a decent price only for the Market to crash and end up resulting in the raw resource being more worth selling than the crafted resource.
Sometimes the good weeks of sales ate the cost of the bad weeks, but this wasn’t always the case.
You see, the thing about intermediate crafting is that you don’t really know why the items you’re selling are being bought unless you grow familiar with the finished products. So, even if an intermediate craft sells well for a few days or even months there is no way to be certain that this will continue, especially when the other crafter doesn’t see the profit margins being good enough or worth continuing.
I would never get too comfortable with a single craft, even more so than raw resources because not only can the Crafter end up quitting the craft that requires your resource, but players may end up getting the resource you’re crafting in large amounts when they desynthesize Gear.
Not to forget, there are a number of intermediate crafts that can be purchased for a number of currencies in the game such as Bicolour Gemstones or Beast Tribe Currencies, chances are when players end up completing this content they will want to make the most out of it, ultimately ending up with sudden crashes to the Market. I saw this the most when Dawntrail was announced and resources I was selling for 6,000 Gil each dropped to 1,000 Gil each. At first, I thought that it was another crafter who was trying to sneak into the Market, but I found a Vendor that sold that resource for extremely inexpensive and realized this is probably where the wave of resources came from.
I strongly recommend that players have a Gatherer and a Battlecraft Retainer for this as this will allow players to quickly craft a couple of resources at a time instead of having to hoard resources. Although there’s a Market for high amounts of resources a player does not need to actually craft a lot of resources in order to make a good amount of Gil. That being said unless you are crafting Weapons and Gear chances are you won’t even need to make high-quality items, meaning you can simply Quick Craft all of these resources. This will obviously depend on the Gear of the person purchasing your gear and how long the expansion has been out, but more often than not the people buying resources have Scrip Gear or Pentamelded Crafted Gear.
For a while, I only sold high-quality intermediate crafts, but I found the time it takes to do a proper rotation to get a high-quality item isn’t really worth the time since in a lot of cases a HQ item only sells for a couple thousand more, that being said, HQ simply sell less frequently than normal quality items, so finding an item that sells for decent at normal quality is going to be the most ideal in all situations.
This is especially true when it comes to resources that are under level 80 due to the changes to Crafting that make it possible to make an item that is 10 levels below you 100% HQ every time with just one button.
No matter how you slice the cake the answer will always be Hunting Exploration will make you the most Gil no matter what you do with the resources. This is solely because it is the only way to guarantee mob drops in the whole game which are used for almost all crafts in the game, Gear, Furniture, Minions, you name it.
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer for what you should sell from Hunting Ventures as this constantly changes based on what your server’s main crafters are working on. These will always range in levels and types of resources meaning that a player will regularly need to change what they are gathering in order to get the most out of their Ventures.
If a player doesn’t care what they sell and simply wants to sell things quickly, I strongly recommend selling whatever ingredient the top-tier food requires at the moment as this is always guaranteed to sell quite quickly but for significantly less than most other resources. Still, this is a decent passive income especially when it doesn’t require thought and sales happen within the hour you are getting the resource.
No matter what, if you play less than 5 hours of FFXIV a day, always send your Retainer on a long Venture to finish your night as this will pad your income. Don’t just spam the most recent Exploration Venture as these are typically oversaturated with players farming it and the real Gil comes from the Minions from these Ventures, making older Exploration Ventures more worth it in many cases. The only time this isn’t true is once an expansion releases.
If you are not having luck with Hunting Ventures always send your Retainer on Quick Exploration. Though the Gil profit is nowhere near as good overall, it provides you with the chance to get high-profit items or at the very least Gear to desynth or exchange into Seals.
Finally, if you have a Crafter always make sure to utilize it if it’s more profitable to sell an intermediate craft. Factors to take into account for this is how long a raw resource takes to sell, how large stack sizes that are selling for each are and whether the profit margin is sizeable enough to outweigh the cost of Crystals you use and any extra time you spent farming resources.