FFXIV: What is Sprout & When Does It Go Away?

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Sprout is a term used to refer to new players in Final Fantasy XIV. This is because new players are marked with a special “Sprout” icon next to their name, so they can be easily identified by other players.

The Sprout status goes away when you exceed 168+ hours of total playtime and finish the Stormblood Expansion.

And it’s perfectly reasonable to not really know what this little icon is!

You can complete the core game, beat the first expansion, and have literally hundreds of hours in the game and still be a Sprout.

You might even be looking around at other players who look so much more advanced than you and experience a moment of existential dread when you realize that they’re all still Sprouts too.

Sprout Icon next to character name / FFXIV
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Well the good news is that the status is temporary, and it will disappear once you hit a couple of simple criteria.


So When Do I Lose My Sprout Status?

You’ll have to accrue 168+ hours of playtime and complete the Stormblood expansion up to Patch 4.5 content. Basically you have to get right up to Shadowbringers’ door before that little green icon goes away.

168 hours sounds like a lot of time (and to be fair, it is).

But I know players who have exceeded 600 hours in the game and still haven’t lost their Sprout status!

XIV’s definition of a “new player” is probably a bit loose.

But once you’ve unsprouted by hitting these criteria then there’s no going back, unless you take quite a long break from the game.

After 45+ days of absence, an unsprouted player can be marked with a flower icon that designates them as a Returner.

Returners get access to The Novice Network and an experience bonus when playing with Mentors up to level 20.

This is totally optional for returning players, though – so you can decline Returner status if you wish.


What’s The Point Of Being A Sprout?

XIV is an intensely community-focused game. It’s also really dense with features, lore, and years of story developments that can feel a little overwhelming for new players.

By marking people new to the game with the Sprout icon, it becomes easier to identify people who might need a little bit of help and support.

For the most part, the Sprout system works really well.

Back when I still had the status, experienced players would regularly help me out. Some even gave me gifts and gil in the middle of the street!

Obviously you can’t count on that kind of generosity everywhere. But it’s a wonderful thing to experience.

Mentors marked next to name / FFXIV
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Certain players will also be marked as Mentors.

Mentors have completed some fairly exhaustive criteria to be considered good role models and educators for new players.

The main method in which Mentors support Sprouts is The Novice Network. It’s basically an in-game chat channel where there’s no such thing as a stupid question.

The Novice Network is only available to Sprouts and Mentors, but you won’t be enrolled in it automatically. You’ll have to seek an invite from a Mentor if you want to make use of it.

Consider asking politely in a main city’s chat for the fastest results.

'Welcome To The Novice Network' Notification Screenshot (FFXIV)
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Can I Turn Off Sprout Status Myself?

Yes, you can – but as mentioned above, you get quite a few benefits from that little green leaf icon.

Don’t let all the memes and anxieties stigmatize what is intended to be a helpful system for everyone.

Besides a little bit of extra support and leniency from the more experienced part of the community, you also get access to The Novice Network and an experience boost when partnered up with Mentors.

But if you still really want to turn that Sprout off, just type /nastatus into the chat window and press enter.

This basically works as a switch that you can flip on and off until you’re no longer eligible to be a Sprout – once you’ve reached Shadowbringers and exceeded the necessary amount of playtime.

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