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Final Fantasy XIV is easily one of the best MMORPGs on the market right now. One of the things that makes it so awesome is the way it supports playing with a controller. Few MMOs have managed a high level of depth with a controller, usually resorting to watered-down complexity to accommodate for the lack of mouse and keyboard.
Square Enix, though, is uncompromising with its controller support. Nothing about the game changes whether you’re playing on PS4 with a controller, PC with an Xbox controller, or PC with a mouse and keyboard.
However, you will need to do some tweaking of the settings in order to make the most of the controller. Here are some of the most helpful tips for setting up an awesome FFXIV experience using a controller, whether you’re playing on console or PC.
Note: I will refer to controls based on the PS4, but note that these apply to the Xbox controller as well. R1 is RB, L1 is LB, R2 is RT, and L2 is LT.
1. Use Extended Cross Hotbars
If there’s only one tip you take from this, make sure it’s this one. By default, you get eight slots for spells on your Cross Hotbar. You have to hit R1 to cycle through your other bars, and this is woefully inefficient once you get to harder content.
But thankfully, there are Extended Cross Hotbars in FFXIV, and they’re quite easy to use. To enable these, go to Character Configuration, then Hotbar, then Custom. Once there, you’ll see options to enable the Extended Cross Hotbars. You can choose which bar is bound to L2 + R2, R2 + L2, double-tapping L2, and double-tapping R2.
Once you have these setup, you’ll have more than enough slots for all of your skills and abilities, which makes playing on a controller a joyous experience.
2. Set Up Targeting Filters
Outside of not having enough slots for skills, the biggest issue with playing on a controller is targeting enemies. When you’re in a raid and there are a number of enemies and allies on the screen at the same time, it can be rather difficult to cycle through the ones you want. With a mouse, you simply click on the enemy you want to target, but that’s not an option with a controller.
To get your filters up and running, go to Character Configuration, then Targeting, and lastly Filters. Once there, you’ll want to check Enable Customizations. From there, turn on cycling, which will let you manually control whether you’re targeting enemies, all, friendlies, etc. This will make it much easier to only target what you want.
3. Use the Autorun Button
I played for probably 50 hours before I figured out how to autorun with a controller. As is always the case in MMORPGs, you’ll need to spend a bit of time moving across vast landscapes. Instead of holding down the movement button all the time, you can simply start moving in a certain direction and press L1 to autorun. Press it again or pull back on the left stick to stop. It’s a game-changer!
4. Use the Chat Shortcuts
One thing a controller can’t do well is type. There’s no tip I can offer you that’ll make typing with a digital keyboard easier. But what you can do is access the chat shortcuts to deliver quick messages to your Free Company or party.
The game calls it the Auto-Translate feature, and it has a ton of different options for what you can say. And as you can probably expect from the name, it automatically translates it to any supported language.
Also, you might want to consider hooking a keyboard up to your PS4 so you can chat more easily, but thanks to the shortcuts, you can get by without one.
5. Access Virtual Mouse Mode
There’s a virtual mouse in FFXIV, which is accessible with a simple button combination—and if you’re using a PS4 controller, you don’t even need to worry about turning it on, as you can simply move your finger across the touchpad and tap (not click).
If you’re using an Xbox controller, or you just want to put the game in virtual mouse mode, you can do so by hitting L1+R3. Hitting the same combination of buttons will exit mouse mode and get things back to normal.
And that’s it! Now you should have a much easier and more convenient time playing FFXIV with a controller.