FFXIV: What Are Squadrons & Are They Worth It?

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Adventurer Squadrons were added to Final Fantasy XIV back in Patch 3.4. This feature allows players to recruit a team of NPC adventurers enlisted with their Grand Company and send them on missions to attain rewards.

If you’ve always dreamed of commanding your own team of cat boys and tiny potato people, XIV has just the feature for you.

Squadrons aren’t immediately obvious, either. You’ll access them through your Grand Company, which is fairly easy to just ignore outright as a new player.

By assembling a team of NPCs, you’ll be able to send them out on missions of their own, rewarding you with items and experience.

It’s a fairly low effort activity to keep up with once you get the ball rolling, so we’ll cover how you can get the most out of your squadron.

But let’s start with the basics first.


How Do I Unlock Squadrons?

To unlock your Squadron you’ll need to be level 47 and have reached the rank of Second Lieutenant in your Grand Company of choice.

You’ll also need to have the Challenge Log unlocked – this is easily done, since the quest required unlocks at level 15.

Just head to Limsa Lominsa and speak to I’tolwann at the Drowning Wench.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve picked Immortal Flames, Twin Adder, or Maelstrom – just head to their headquarters once you’ve hit the prerequisites and look for the quest “Squadron and Commander”.

The longest part of unlocking Squadrons is the journey to level 47, but ranking up with your Grand Company can take a little bit of time too.

If you want to unlock this feature as soon as possible, consider ranking up with your Grand Company alongside your normal leveling.

Once you’ve completed “Squadron and Commander”, a new area will become available in your Grand Company HQ – The Barracks.

In the Barracks you can manage your members, recruitment, and missions.

There’s also an armoire and glamour dresser which can be used to glamour your recruits (or yourself).


How Do I Unlock New Recruits?

New recruits will become available as you complete entries in the Challenge Log.

Snowman Seserikku Lalafell Squadron Recruit / FFXIV screenshot
Image source by u/Miau_Fufu / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

Every time you complete an entry, you’ll get a chance at unlocking a new recruit. These can be viewed in the Barracks alongside all the other relevant Squadron information.

You can recruit up to eight members at once.

Although missions only require a party of four.

This gives you a little bit of flexibility in composing your team for the needs of the mission.

You’ll start out with just three members, so it might not pay to be too picky at the start. Bulk out your roster and then boot out any unwanted characters as your options grow bigger.

If you’re not having much luck with finding new recruits and want to boost your odds, you can purchase a Squadron Enlistment Manual from your Grand Company.

This costs 2000 seals and buffs your chance of getting a new recruit – and it lasts until someone applies.


Who Should I Recruit?

Your recruits are restricted to the same base classes as player characters:

Marauder, Archer, Lancer, Gladiator, Thaumaturge, Pugilist, Rogue, and Arcanist.

Their max level is 60, and you won’t be able to “promote” them to more specific jobs like Paladin, Warrior, or Bard, for example.

Squadron members at level 50 / FFXIV screenshot
Image source by u/angelichowl / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

Stats are distributed according to class.

Some classes will have an even balance, some will have one particularly high stat while being low in all the others.

You want to keep your party as diverse as you can so you can meet whatever stat requirements the missions demand.

Though your recruits will join your team as a certain class, they’re not bound to that class by any means. You can change a recruit’s class by using a Contemporary Warfare book – these can be purchased for 3000 Company Seals from the Grand Company vendors.

You can also earn these as bonuses for completing missions under certain conditions.

With that in mind, there’s only two permanent factors to bear in mind with your recruits.

You can’t change their gender, but this only really affects their appearance and glamour options.

You also can’t change their race, and this does have an impact on your squadron’s potential performance.

Race can affect Chemistry bonuses. Chemistry is essentially a bonus which gives you a chance at additional rewards depending on who the recruit is teamed up with.

If you can meet that condition, you have a chance at earning additional items, currencies, or free Contemporary Warfare books.

For example, some recruits might have a ten percent chance at gaining some Materia if they’re partnered up with someone of the same race.

This sort of allows you to customize your team based on the rewards you’d like to gain from your time managing the Squadron.

Chemistry can be changed, too.

When returning from a mission, new ones can appear and you’ll be prompted to choose between the two. You can see what the new Chemistry bonus is before accepting it, but you can’t change back if you decide it’s not the one you wanted.


How Do I Level Up My Squadron?

By speaking to the Squadron Sergeant, you’ll be able to dispatch your team on missions.

Depending on your play style, you should consider making use of the Training Regiments first.

Serpent Squadron Sergeant Enlistment Papers / FFXIV screenshot
Image source by unknown / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

You can use these to boost your Squadron’s stats in specific areas on a temporary basis, basically optimizing their skills for a specific mission.

These take an hour to complete, and you can complete up to three a day.

Ideally you want to get these done before sending them off on a Squadron Mission, but if you don’t have the time, you’ll just want to focus on Squadron Missions for the biggest EXP gain.

Squadron Missions take 18 hours of real world time to complete.

So you’ll need to come back the following day to send them out again!

Alongside your Squadron Missions you’ll also be assigned Priority Missions. Only one of these can be completed per week, so you’ll want to pick the one that gives you the rewards most appropriate to your goals.

And finally, you can undertake Command Missions.

These work similarly to Shadowbringers’ Trust system in that you’ll be accompanied in battle by three recruits.

These can be slightly fiddly, since the AI isn’t great and you’ll have to experiment a lot before you find a system that works consistently for you.

On top of that, the rewards vs time invested ratio just isn’t that great.

If you want to play as efficiently as possible, just focus on those Squadron and Priority missions.

Managing a Squadron is necessary to attain the highest rank within your Grand Company, too.

So if that’s something you’d like to do, it’s best to get started with this feature right away.

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