Final Fantasy XI can be a difficult game for new players, and even veterans alike. When reaching level cap, you will often find yourself having to resort to one of two things; Being carried by more established players, or clawing together pieces of equipment to at least carry your own weight before joining a linkshell or forming more organized groups targeting more challenging content. This page exists to list some pieces that should be reasonable to obtain for a group of one to three characters (be they a single player, or a group of friends) to obtain and help get your jobs more respectable.
Please remember that virtually every piece on this guide is functional at level cap, even if there are superior options, and this guide just serves as some examples of reasonable to obtain pieces that will take you from naked and afraid to capable adventurer status.
For those who have exhausted this list and are ready to to tackle some slightly harder challenges, please consult Part 2 Here
With one of the highest base damages, and average to slightly high delay, this greataxe is a fine option for Warriors on a budget. Dropped by Antican Consul, a 21-24 hour respawning antican that can be taken down by a solo thief, ninja, or dancer (subbing Dancer if not already playing dancer) a small group of two should be adequate to kill the monster, leaving only its scarce droprate as a roadblock to having it.
An average damage axe with average delay, dropped by the lottery monster Zoraal Ja's Pkuucha and also not being Rare, two of these can be wielded on any of Warrior, Dark Knight, or Beastmaster to good effect. Lacking any specialized stats and not having particularly high damage, there are certainly better, but as a good team of two should be able to kill the Colibri and its master, this is an easily farmed and usable weapon.
Dropped by the lottery monster Aquarius, this is another moderately damaging axe available at an earlier level, but this time, it is suited for those who use ranged weapons, particularly, Rangers. As it is a 100% drop, and the crab can be fairly easily duoed or even soloed, its an easy and effective piece to pick up. Pairing one of these with a pair of Archer's Knives or using said knives for Corsair will also be a good idea.
One of the possible rewards from defeating Shiva Prime, these are capable, reliable hand to hand weapons for both Monk and Puppetmaster, and a reasonably patient Red Mage or Summoner, Paladin, or some other jobs should have little trouble with the prime avatars.
Dropped from Chaneque These are among the best hand to hand weapons for fighting any piercing weak monsters such as Puks and Birds. They also have reasonable damage and delay making them great choices for anything not piercing resistant. The mandragora is relatively easy to defeat and not very threatening for a good duo
The best hand to hand you can get for Monk before the level 70ish range, these have a somewhat rare droprate from Western Shadow which should be reasonable to defeat by level 70 solo or level 65 for a good duo, but these are fairly competitive with level 70 hand to hand weapons. A good replacement to these or earlier listed hand to hand weapons would be Hades Sainti, which are generally quite cheap on Era's Auction House.
Dropped by Citipati, unfortunately there are few easy to obtain and good daggers for Dancer, but for Thief this is a suitable mainhand dagger off a timed spawn monster that should be a reasonable duo for two characters at level cap. The drop rate isn't particularly high but this is one of the higher base damage knives for a thief.
Everything said about Shiva's Claws goes for Garuda's Dagger. A reward from Garuda prime, while its damage isn't particularly high, it is reasonable, and makes for a great mainhand dagger for thief at 65, or offhand dagger when not using a Thief's Knife. Its also a reasonable offhand weapon for a meleeing Red Mage as it provides a lowish delay and some decent attack.
In Lieu of any better and easy to obtain daggers for Dancer, these two drop from relatively easy notorious monsters, Emela-ntouka and Hovering Hotpot respectfully, and when paired should provide adequate results, however, it would likely be cheaper to collect materials for a pair of Bone, Beetle, or Demon Knives, have a user craft them, and then use them until you can obtain better. Still, these are fine options to use as most other auction house available, and affordable daggers only have a few more damage points and no major stat perks over this pair.
Similar to Garuda's Dagger or Shiva's Claws, this is one of the better swords for a budget Blue Mage, or a good offhand weapon for a Thief who lacks any other weapons to offhand, since the attack is so high. A possible reward, this weapon is suitable right up to 75, however around 72 a slew of affordable "Anelace" swords should be available.
For Windurstian or Sandorian Red Mages either of these swords will perform great, but for Paladins, they only have selection of the Wise Wizard's Anelace. Their damage is a bit low compared to may endgame swords, however, they are comparable to the popular Joyeuse, so they may help you gauge your expectations for when you manage to obtain that sword. In any event, the low delay and accuracy of the fleurets make them effective for red mages, and the raw attack of the anelace make either suitable as offhanders, or even mainhanders.
A sword with surprisingly high damage, and great perks, its paladin exclusive, but its available off Antican Praefectus which should be reasonable for some high leveled characters to obtain and the sword will provide tangible bonuses even in endgame situations.
Most Great Swords are difficult to come by without fighting level 78+ NMs, however the Arondight here has reasonably high damage, and is available off Cancer which should be about as difficult as Aquarius, making this an easy greatsword option for newer levelcap players should there be no Balin/Balan/Balmung on Auction House.
Dropped off Bonnacon, the Tredecim Scythe is a in the same league as the Berserker Axe, having some of the highest damage, but also packing a forced critical hit every thirteen swings, it is a great endgame scythe for any Dark Knight.
Not quite as outstanding as the Warrior or Dark Knight offerings, Dragoons still end on a reasonably strong note with the Colossal lance, dropped by Ocean Sahagin, a 21-24 timed spawn NM that may have more than one spawn in Seaserpent's Grotto, this is a great holdover polearm until a Cletine or Sky Strider can be obtained.
These can be a challenge as they are dropped by Tonberry Decapitators which hit rather hard and use Mijin Gakure for high damage, still a good pet job should be adequate to take them down over time, and a pair of these will suit any ninja well into endgame levels. While there are other options prior to these, many are just more effort for less reward so I opted to list the Fudo.
Another moderately decent weapon, Samurai players can try to kill Shii for this reasonably effective weapon. Its damage is a bit low compared to other two-hand damage dealers, but thats generally true for Great Katana anyway, and while not common, that double attack can cause some surprising spikes during occasional weaponskills. A Hagun or Onimaru will still be better weapons, but you will do fine with the Sukesada in the short term while waiting for the other two to appear on the Auction House.
Short and simple, saving yourself some time, buying, or having a pair of these crafted is likely the best way. Four darksteel ore mined from Gusgen mines, twelve iron ores, Two mahogany logs/lumbers and four fire crystals will net you a pair of these. The damage is respectable and the attack is great, so if you intend to use a club on white mage, these are great and usually cheap.
Unfortunately there are few replacements for elemental staves, with all the benefits they offer. However if you can manage to find the highly contested Roc, and have a white mage who needs a staff, this is a great option until an elemental staff collection and/or Iridal/Chatoyant Staff can be gotten to replace it
Theres few pieces comparable to Vali's Bow, and like Retaliators, its from Fei Yin, but this time, off Eastern Shadow so making a trip with a small group around level 67+ and getting one of these for any Rangers would be well advised.
Both these guns are among the best options, and both are also crafted from two darksteel ingots and some other reasonably obtainable materials. Hellfire offers similar benefits to the Vali Bow, albeit for markshmanship and at a much higher level, while Corsair's Gun is the highest base damage gun a corsair can use without HQ, making it one of the best Quickdraw guns. Outside of these two guns are more specialized guns like Coffinmaker, Murderer, or Basalisk, but Hellfire trumps all three of those, and Martial Gun is another great option that makes Slugshot that much more accurate for both Corsair and Ranger.
As the instruments for Lullaby and Finale are string, and most Bards are asked for Ballads, Marches and Minuets,. this flute is well suited for any bard, and even better, its earned in the quest Wandering Minstrel Making it an early, and great long-term instrument for any bard, until they diversify their collection or strive for a Gjallarhorn.
Dropped by Demonic Tiphia in Crawler's Nest, you may want to bring a friend if you intend to take this piece. However it does grant rather small bonuses so nobody is going to look at you weird if you just wear a RSE satchet, or ranged weapon instead of this.
A collection of shields, most better shields are either crafted, purchased for Conquest points, Imperial Standing, or Allied Notes or off significantly harder foes, but these four provide a great spread of features for one hander PLD, RDM, WHM, and others. Master Shield increases your chances to block in general, the Charging shield grants a PLD a bit more MP, as well as being the popular Kite size shield and having decent defense, while Aboubeur's pavise grants Shield Mastery which reduces chances of being interrupted during spell casting if a shield block occurs. Lastly is the Viking shield which is well suited if you are seeking to boost your damage consistency. They are available from Southern Shadow Sacrificial Goblet Shankha and either Steelfleece Baldarich or Bloodtear Baldurf and should be reasonable for most duos of fledgling 75 characters, and even some soloists.
The popular Empress Hairpin off Valkurm Emperor is a great piece, giving most physical jobs more accuracy, crit rate, and a huge boost to evasion which will aid with survival.
Until you reach level for a Vermillion Cloak or Artifact heads, the Rain hat off Noble Mold is a good piece for maximizing MP and raising potency for Healers and Bards. It also provides small boosts to Dancer's Waltzes and Beastmaster Charm success rates.
Outside of the Walahra Turban, this is the last particularly easy to obtain head piece, but it ends on a good note, offering a nice amount of attack. Dropped off Ga Bhu Unvanquished in Beadeaux, any character level 65+ shouldn't have too much trouble with getting this piece.
For Bards, this piece remains best in slot for song potency for some time, only replaced by some of the best, and hardest to obtain pieces. Its obtained off Novv the Whitehearted in Seaserpent's Grotto, and shouldn't be too hard a fight.
A pair of hooded bodies, these two work as holdovers until you obtain artifact for some jobs, or other far later pieces. However in the case of the Shaman's Cloak, it is a reasonable sidegrade or even upgrade for Black Mage, and Scholar. Red Mage gets far more from its AF head, but Black mage gets bigger benefit from the cloak paired with AF hands, and Scholar while getting more from head/body combination, still can enjoy this body until they can obtain them. They are obtained from Myradrosh and Centurio X-I respectively.
One of the easiest to obtain damage dealing bodies, particularly for Dragoon, however, numerous crafted and artifact bodies are comparable, so only go after this if you have no better options, or wish to save space. Even with that in mind, camping Ose who can be pretty difficult, both to spawn and kill, when you could simply buy a Scorpion Harness, or numerous other crafted or Conquest point items, its hard to justify, but its still a great piece that will push your damage that bit further.
This entry simply exists to remind you that if you truly have nothing better and artifact, and RSE aren't cutting it, checking conquest points or the auction house for some small upgrades can actually return some cheap, and effective pieces.
While there aren't too many great hand options outside of harder content, RSE, or Artifact/Conquest points, for the three jobs that can use these, they are brilliant, and work all the way to level cap. Dropped by Mee Deggi the Punisher
These quested hands with wide job selection are great options from early to late game, as they rival some of the highest evasion hands you can get for most jobs.
I haven't confirmed these myself, but for players who have poor RSE missmatch to jobs, and AF that doesn't quite do the job, a coffer key and some luck in Garliage can turn up this pair of gloves which will work fine for weaponskilling or general use. Be aware these do not replace WHM or RDM AF gloves, nor Hume or Tarutaru RSE hands for melee, as those gloves generally give equal or better benefits, and of course, Check CP and the Auction House for some deals and consider picking up items like Dusk hands and Feet for jobs that can use them.
While options for legs are a bit scarce unless you want to tackle something bigger, these San d'Orian Conquest Point legs are brilliant for your first pair of endgame legs. If your Job or Race lack better AF/RSE, these are fantastic, If they are reasonably affordable however, Dusk Trousers are better than these. And for a sidegrade, getting a subligar from Rank 2 Bastok conquest and having someone craft it into one of the high quality versions should be relatively cheap and suit more jobs than those listed here.
While the jobs that can use them are better suited to Royal Knight's Breeches, and other jobs will make do with AF, Crow, RSE, or similar, these are great for a holdover mage piece until you bite the bullet and buy Errant legs. These are also usable 8 levels sooner, and are obtained from Citipati who also has that Harpe from the weapon section that many thieves may want, and they drop more commonly, so consider them! For Red Mages, you can probably find some Magic Cuisses on AH for rock bottom price, so if you don't want to take a trip to kill a corse, those will work fine.
A true staple of FFXI low to high level equipment, these drop from Leaping Lizzy and will do the job until you can get better. But remember, some jobs benefit more from RSE or AF.
Dropped by the highly contested Simurgh these are more luxury pieces that also happen to enhance Trick Attack for Thief, and evasion/ranged accuracy. If you can get them? Great, but they're not must have pieces.
Since Monks, Ninjas, and Samurai already want the gloves from Castle Oztroja, this pair of boots are equally nice, and dropped by the other NM's neighbor Quu Domi the Gallant and you will be hard-pressed to find more than 3% haste in the foot slot on any job period.
Another drop off Bonnacon who drops the Tredceim Scythe, this piece can be a game changer for White Mages, and nothing even comes close to these when it comes to reducing cure casting times.
Ending on a pleasantly weird note, these are among the only haste boots for Puppetmasters, and are fantastic. Better still, they're off the reasonable to defeat Hazmat but unfortunately he can be a bit difficult to spawn, and the boots have a rather low drop rate. Still, with only Usukane and Enkidu boots as competition, these are fine for a level 75 puppetmaster's haste build.
Earned from a quest chain in San d'Oria, the Tiger Stole will help keep your physical damage consistent. Easy to obtain, needing just a few rabbit, lizard, and tiger hides.
An extremely popular neck for any job inflicting non-magical damage, other than scarce drop rate, the only difficulty is actually finding him up, as Argus is an easy kill for most jobs 50+
While it may take some effort getting the needed Goblin Drink, Goblin Wolfman has a reasonable drop rate on this fantastic Paladin neck, and shouldn't take too many tries to obtain.
Substantially easier and cheaper to get than an Enfeebling Torque, Dune Widow is reasonably easy to find and defeat, and with persistence, the somewhat low droprate shouldn't stop you from obtaining it. Full transparency, I was able to defeat Dune Widow around level 50 to 55 on BLU/NIN over the course of a bit over an hour, using kite and damage methods. I wouldn't recommend this, but that should show how reasonable to defeat this NM is.
While this is a sidegrade to Ranger's Necklace, which is gifted while obtaining the Ranger job, that neck is limited strictly to Ranger, so this becomes an attractive piece for Corsair, and even benefits Quickdraw. Despite its high level, its actually dropped by the level 60-ish Mind Hoarder so happy hunting!
Both of the above earrings are special, rather than being off Notorious Monsters, they are farmed off normal monsters in Beadeaux and Eldieme. Be aware that the ones in Eldieme have particularly long respawn times and neither earring has a high drop rate so be prepared for a long grind.
Centurio XII-I drops this adequate earring, providing a point of Dex and AGI in the ear slot, it synergizes well with Bounding Boots, and Empress hairpin.
While the initial suggestion is to get the Moldavite Earring, being far easier to get and it does have more utility at endgame assuming you can pair it with other earrings, mid and endgame, you also benefit from the Cassandra and Helenus earrings. When paired, it treats one ear as having a Moldavite earring, and the other as having essentially +5HP, +5MP, and 5 Magic Accuracy, which is huge for things like Quick Draw on Corsair, landing enfeebling effects or nukes reliably, and other nice little perks. But depending on your time and investment you may want to kill just Mysticmaker Profblix rather than Blighting Brand and Eldritch Edge so be aware you have options.
Another drop from Zoraal Ja's Pkuucha and a solid endgame damage dealer earring, for those not on the list, collecting some silver ores, and either tiger fangs, or coral fragments will allow you to have a crafter make some Fang or Coral earrings as an alternative,
Unlike other set items, I have a hard time recommending this pair. While objectively they are among the best earrings for Ranged Attacks, they are rather far out and less convenient to get than the other paired earrings/rings. Further, you can get about 70-75% the performance from a pair of Drone Earrings (+3 AGI) which come in significantly earlier than either of these earrings. So if you want to minmax that little bit harder, enjoy camping Goaftrap and Goblintrap but I still think larger gains can be made elsewhere when you can get almost as good for a few insect wings.
While there are tons of capes, it pains me to say a lot of them are obsolete and overshadowed in the face of a few pieces that are just too plentiful, and common to purchase such as Amemet Cape, Rainbow Cape, and a few others. With that said? Bat Cape is one of the easiest to get evasion backs before Boxer's so its well worth considering a trip to kill Old Two-Wings
For the Rangers and Corsairs who don't want to go broke on their way leveling to endgame, or just want to save some ammo when pulling skilling, or building TP, the Frugal cape off Kegpaunch Doshgnosh is a nice way to save some ammo with a 5% chance to not consume ammo fired.
For bards looking for a bit more skill to help land debuffs or raise song potency when applicable, the timed spawned Acolnahuacatl should be a reasonable duo kill to reward this skill cape to go with your Minstrel's coat.
Part of a lengthy quest requiring drops from 5 notorious monsters, all of which should be relatively easy by level 55 or higher, if you're a monk, this is a great piece for either tp building, or fewer hit weaponskills like Howling Fist. Otherwise, getting the Virtuoso belt listed below is highly recommended.
Theres no contest between these pieces, however, a thief with some tools can very easily obtain a Life Belt from a chest in Fei'Yin between spawns of Belladonna which offers an alternative or placeholder piece should the Rafflessia be camped or uncooperative with its drop. Better still, you can pass the lifebelt onto a friend if so inclined. These are great belts for multihit weaponskills like Raging Fists, Asuran Fists, Penta Thrust, Hexa-strike, Rampage, and Dancing Edge.
Since King Arthro can sometimes be in high demand, and some jobs (notably white mage, and puppetmaster) are not present on the Velocious belt, A suitable substitute until a Swift belt can be obtained is a Headlong Belt off Chonchon
While there aren't too many Ranged Attack belts available outside of endgame events, this one can be earned off Prankster Maverix and will certainly hold you over until you can get the relic belt, buccaneer belt, or one of the ones off assault. Its also not bad as a Trick Attack or Quickdraw belt
Depending on your Race, and needs, the Era Custom NM Ruebezahl in Zi'tah drops the entire collection of LV70 RSE belts, which can provide nice mage belts for nuking or healing with generous amounts of MP and INT or MND, or physical belts, be they for weaponskilling, or absorbing incoming blows with additive HP, VIT, STR, and DEX. Worth a look for sure. Just be prepared for a long fight as hes not overly difficult, but takes reduced damage and has a lot of HP. Hes also a four hour respawn last I heard.
And as usual, if you aren't sure what you want or need and you have the rank and conquest points, do check what the Conquest Vendors have to offer, belts like this can work when you have nothing else.
A good mid to late level Mage Ring with catch all stats, not standing out in any one category, its easily gotten off Voluptuous Vilma or her counterpart Rose Garden, both of which spawning at the same time under largely the same conditions.
Dropped near the EXP camps in East Ronfaure (S) by Skogs Fru which should be a reasonable fight for characters 63+ solo. With a little Store TP and good baseline accuracy, this is a good slot filler until you can obtain something better, or when paired opposite other rings.
Another pair of accessories that come alive when both are worn, these act like a second Virtuoso belt. Along with a number of other pieces on this list, and some suggested Auction pieces, you can have formidable Accuracy and Attack on numerous jobs. For example, a Thief with a Ifrit's blade offhanded, Walkure Mask (A HP version of Valkryie's mask from BCNM60,) these rings, Virtuoso belt, Assault Jerkin, Peacock Amulet, and purchasing Dusk Trousers, Amemet Mantle, and two fang earrings will be stacking a monstrous +77 attack, and +35 accuracy during a weaponskill like Dancing Edge (which is where you would want to wear all of that.) There are better combinations, but as these rings are all jobs and really do grant huge accuracy and decent attack, they're great for jobs with multihit weaponskills, or while building TP if you lack a Raja's Ring. Get em off Lamina and Hyakinthos
Theres little to say about this piece. A good boost to HP with virtually no penalties unlike Bomb Queen Ring, and off the easy Bloodsucker makes this ring attractive for tanking uses, sublimation charging, and other HP dependent things such as Blue Mage breath spells. And you can even camp it while farming the ring below.
And in the same neighborhood as the prior ring, you can pick up another good tanking ring. Get it off the slime type Sewer Syrup
This solid paladin ring for both generating hate, and recovering some HP and MP while in the sweet spot, is a bit off the beaten path, but the monster its from is relatively easy for a good duo or even sole players who are properly prepared. Just truck your way out to find Megalobugard and bag this ring.
A big part of my impetus to work on this guide, I feel like I am one of the only players aware this ring exists, let alone having one on both my main and alt. This here goes to show you that you don't need to save for a Flame Ring, or settle for a Ruby ring if you would rather socket one of these into your build alongside a Raja's ring, Ecphoria, or even a Molioness's Ring for your DRK players. Bring a friend and get yourself one of these today off Burlibix Brawnback