FFXIV: What is an Alliance & How Does It Work?

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An Alliance in Final Fantasy XIV is a party of 24 players. Technically Alliances are made up of three individual 8-player Full Parties, and they’re mostly used to clear Alliance Raids.

FFXIV presents you with a lot of information to absorb in your first fifty hours or so with the game.

There’s a ton of gameplay mechanics, fleshed out side activities like the Gold Saucer, and a bunch of different ways to connect with other players.

You’ll be introduced to multiplayer content at a slow trickle, with a few easy four-player dungeons, eventually working up to eight-player Trials.

Before Patch 5.3 it was possible to play through the entirety of Final Fantasy XIV without ever encountering an Alliance. Now you’ll have to clear the entire Crystal Tower Alliance series to progress from A Realm Reborn to Heavensward – so let’s run through a quick primer on Alliances to get you started.


How Are Alliance Parties Composed?

Let’s first cover the different types of parties for context here.

Light Parties, used to clear dungeons and some very early trials, are composed of one healer, one tank, and two DPS.

Full Parties, typically used for trials, double that with two healers, two tanks, and four DPS.

Alliances are somewhat different.

What they basically do is up the DPS in each individual party at the cost of one tank – one tank, two healers, five DPS roles.

So for an alliance that’s a total of three tanks, six healers, and fifteen DPS.

Believe me, you’ll need them.

Coordinating two tanks can feel complicated enough sometimes, and I dread to think how complex a situation would be to demand six of us. The Shirking would never stop!

And if you don’t have 24 friends running around Eorzea, don’t worry. You can join Alliances through the Party/Duty Finder.

Obviously, this is going to be a mixed bag of players with varying levels of experience (and patience) so pugging any content might not always end in a clear.

Ridorana Lighthouse 24-man raid FFXIV screenshot
Image source by MTQcapture / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

What Are Alliance Raids?

There are two types of raids in Final Fantasy XIV.

If content is referred to as a “Raid”, it’s eight player Full Party content.

Alliance Raids are the big ones, built for 24 players.

These are really exciting challenges, although it can be daunting going through them for the first time. A lot of players have already done these time and time again, and won’t wait around to explain mechanics to new players.

I’d suggest getting ahead of the curve and doing some reading on Alliance Raid mechanics before you get started.

The first Alliance Raid you’ll probably encounter is The Crystal Tower.

It’s in the intermission phase between A Realm Reborn and the first expansion, Heavensward.

Previously it wasn’t necessary to complete The Crystal Tower to progress the main scenario questline, but last year’s Reflections in Crystal patch made it mandatory.

The storyline is incredibly important – it basically sets up the entirety of Shadowbringers. So if you’re invested in the story I’d definitely set aside some time to soak it all in!

Each expansion also has its own Alliance Raid.

Heavensward has The Shadow of Mhach, an exciting sky pirate adventure.

Stormblood featured Return to Ivalice, which merged XIV with the rich world of Final Fantasy XII.

And perhaps most excitingly (for me, at least) Shadowbringers took a dive into the strange, beautiful world of the Nier series with YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse.

This being Final Fantasy, all of this content has an accompanying storyline which justifies their presence in the world (although in the case of Nier, it’s basically just because Yoshi-P loves Nier, which is fair enough).

So not only do you get some uniquely challenging content and rewards, you get more of that Final Fantasy lore goodness.

It’s emotional, it’s nonsensical, it’s dramatic – all in wildly varying measures.

This is where XIV is in a really unique position as an MMO. It can reference other games, not just in the Final Fantasy series, and it’ll all still kinda make sense as a whole.

Personally I’d be totally happy for every Alliance Raid to reference earlier entries in the series.

Give us another chance to take Sin down with Tidus and Yuna, or hand the Empire some Sephiroth style super soldiers.

The people of Eorzea have probably seen enough meteors for a lifetime, though.


Can I Use Alliances Outside Of Raids?

The simple answer is no, not really.

You can form them outside of the Duty Finder, sure.

But they’re only really used for Alliance Raids, and there isn’t really anything else that supports their use in the game.

You’d think that they’d be a natural fit for Hunt targets, but they haven’t really been implemented in that way.

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