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A Grand Company (GC) is basically what we call factions in Final Fantasy XIV. By earning currency and ranking up in a Grand Company, you’ll gain access to a host of content like a Chocobo license for riding personal mounts, options to buy player housing, plus Hunts, Squadrons, and Player versus Player (PvP) content.
Each character you create in FFXIV has to choose one of three Grand Companies to join during the game’s story.
The three options in Eorzea are The Maelstrom of Limsa Lominsa, The Immortal Flames of Ul’dah, and the Order of the Twin Adder in Gridania.
How Do I Get a Grand Company?
Each player gets to choose a grand company as part of the game’s story Main Scenario Quests (MSQ) after reaching Level 20, and once you complete “The Bowl of Embers” trial where you face-off with Ifrit.
The quest to unlock grand companies is titled “A Hero in the Making”, and it’ll send the player off to each of Eorzea’s City-states, to hear the leaders of each give a rousing speech.
Upon returning to the Waking Sands, the player will then choose their Affiliation by choosing which MSQ to proceed with.
Is This Choice Important?
To put it simply… not really.
No matter which Grand Company you choose, you’ll still have access to the same type of rewards for each company. Just with a different look, to be more fitting to the company’s aesthetic.
It’s highly recommended that you visit all three Grand Company headquarters, and that you check out all the rewards available from the Company Quartermaster, and the Hunt Billmaster, to decide which aesthetic you like the most.
And if you change your mind later, you can always change grand companies.
The first change is free, and each subsequent change costs 50,000 gil.
Before one of the modern updates to the game, the company you chose was the one you would participate in PvP with. But now using the Duty Finder, you’re automatically enrolled as a freelancer, and will join whichever team needs players.
This may change during the FFXIV 6.0 update expansion Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, but not super likely.
And a myriad of the game’s side content is hidden away behind the Grand Company system.
So while the choice you make may not be as important, using the system most definitely is a large piece of the game.
How Do I Increase My Rank?
Once you join your grand company, you’ll be given the lowest rank: Private Third Class.
You’ll need to collect the currency to increase your rank.
This currency is called “Seals” and will differ in name depending on your choice.
Seals are earned by participating in various activities in FFXIV, Daily Roulettes and FATEs being the most common.
FATEs is the abbreviation for Full Active Time Event, which are random encounters that spawn all throughout Eorzea (and every zone of the game).
The player can see them as large light blue circles on your map, and to join one you’d simply enter the circle.
The objectives of these FATEs vary.
There can be any number of objectives, from defeating a certain number of enemies, to escorting an NPC down the road, to collecting certain materials or even facing a boss.
Either way, once you complete the event you’ll automatically receive the rewards.
Aside from FATEs, the other method is to do the Duty Roulette: Leveling, or Duty Roulette: Guildhests, both through the Duty Finder.
Basics of Provision, Supply and Expert Delivery Quests
At the headquarters of your grand company, there’s an NPC called the Personnel Officer. They’ll offer you promotions and allow you to participate in provision, supply, and expert delivery quests.
Each of these is slightly different.
Provision Quests are used by crafting jobs, and will allow you to submit the requested item in exchange for experience points (EXP) and seals. These must be completed by the requested class.
For instance, if you pick up the quest and craft the item as a Blacksmith, you must be a Blacksmith to turn it in.
Supply Quests are used by the gathering jobs of the game, and the same requirements apply: the same job that gathers the materials, must be the one to turn them in.
Expert Delivery Quests can be done on any job and do not offer any experience points, but will allow you to turn in your older gear for a number of seals depending on the item level of the gear.
So if you’ve been hoarding some old belts or rings, or a bunch of dungeon drops that are just taking up inventory space, feel free to turn those in for the extra seals.
What Are Squadrons?
Upon reaching the rank of Second Lieutenant, you’ll gain access to the barracks.
These allow you to form your own squadron of recruits, and eventually run dungeons with them.
However, there are a lot of restrictions, so think of this as more of a mini-game.
If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a plot of land in Eorzea, you’ll need to advance to the rank of Second Lieutenant in your respective grand company.
And you’ll need to have at least one job leveled up to 50 or above.
So to purchase any kind of housing in FFXIV, you’ll need to work within this Grand Company system first.
Of course, you still need the Gil for the land itself, as well as the permit to build the house too.
Lore of Grand Companies
According to the Encyclopedia Eorzea, The first known instance of Grand Companies appeared during the fifth astral era, during what is called The War of the Magi.
This is when the ancient magical civilizations Nym, Amdapor, and Mhach, all went to war with each other over magic.
It was these events that would lead to what we know as the Sixth Umbral Calamity, a great flood that would engulf the entire star.
It’s during this time when we see the warring nations, now faced with a calamity, bolster their ranks in an effort to survive the oncoming flood:
The Royal Marines of the Floating City of Nym would launch “Project Maelstrom” where they started creating an expanse of floating wards to hold off the flood. While the forces of Amdapor evacuated to the foothills of Abalathia’s spine, a mountain range in Dravania.
And the Mhach had decided to create an Ark powered by the dark magical beings they discovered known as voidsent. This ship would later come to be known as “The Void Ark”.
All of these civilizations are presumed wiped out by the flood.
The next emergence of the Grand Companies that we know today didn’t appear until the year 1570. At this time the Invasion of Garlemald to Eorzea was reaching its peak, and there was a plea to the city-states to reform the Grand Companies to combat this ever-looming threat.
At the behest of The Circle of Knowing, the city states Limsa Lominsa, Ul’dah, and Gridania, each formed The Maelstrom, The Immortal Flames, and Order of the Twin Adders, respectively.
These companies seek to bolster their ranks by recruiting adventurers.
What Does This All Mean?
A lot of the game’s mechanics were fused into this Grand Company system.
And while it had its time and place in the story, I have begun to fear the system has become outdated and irrelevant.
In the expansion Heavensward, we saw a departure from using the Grand Companies for the Hunt system, and began our tenure with Clan Centurio, with our hunts being relocated to the Forgotten Knight inside the city of Ishgard.
This would also later be brought to the cities of Rhalgr’s Reach and Kugane.
But in the FFXIV expansion Shadowbringers, during our time in Norvrandt we would be using Clan Nutsy.
The expert delivery missions would now be overshadowed by the restoration of the Doman Enclave, where you can trade in that old gear for a better profit… meaning actual Gil, instead of the seals.
While some of the grand company materials are still used in things like the workshops of free companies, it hardly justifies keeping an entire system around for a vendor.
The squadron mechanic was also introduced and then quickly overshadowed by the Trust system.
So the only real content that keeps the grand companies consistently relevant is PvP. But the question is, for how long?
In the upcoming expansion Endwalker, there was a new small-scale 4-player versus 4-player (4v4) PvP type announced. Could this spell the end for the Grand Companies?
If the system is no longer relevant in any aspect, is it worth keeping around?
Or could this be a precursor to us seeing the Grand Companies made relevant once more?
After all, 6.0 is supposed to be the conclusion to this 10 year arc we’ve been enjoying all of this time. And it has been referred to by producer and director Naoki Yoshida as “A New Dawn.”
Whether you sport the colors of the Maelstrom, Adders, or Flames, is all up to you.
The choice is not as important, so long as you choose one.
As a fellow member of the maelstrom myself, I would hope to see this system get an update and become relevant in the future.
After all, I did pledge my allegiance, “Til sea swallows all.”