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How to maximize your island sanctuary in Final Fantasy 14 without being too sweaty

The Final Fantasy 14 community is one of the best and most welcoming in the world of MMOs, but that doesn’t negate its sweatiness. In August 2022, Patch 6.2 introduced the Island Sanctuary as a private space for Warriors of Light to relax and unwind while participating in some Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley-adjacent tasks like planting crops, building structures, and decorating a tropical paradise.

The space is meant to be what the name implies—a sanctuary, a haven, an oasis away from the pressures of extreme raids and saving the world. Catch animals and give them stupid names! Keep Christmas decorations up all year! Roleplay with yourself and spam emotes to your heart’s content!

To no one’s surprise, it took approximately 2.8 seconds for the most elite FF14 try-hards to effectively suck the fun and intended purpose out of the new game mode. Spreadsheets quickly appeared on Reddit, listing exactly what to harvest and craft each day to hit the next level as fast as possible. Instead of enjoying the ride and the vibes, there was suddenly a sense of urgency, with people treating the Island Sanctuary as a limited-time event and not a permanent addition to the game. And to be honest, it sucks. Why can’t we just go at our own pace and appreciate the gift Yoshi-P has given us?

Accept this simple fact before you begin: if you’re just now starting Island Sanctuary, you will not catch up to everyone at Island Rank 20 in a day or two. It’s going to take real-world time. That’s okay. That’s the point. Don’t open another tab right now to search “Island Sanctuary max level in two days.” Make peace with this and fix your character a mai tai. No grinding allowed.

As it turns out, reaching Rank 20 is much more enjoyable as a marathon and not a sprint. The mounts, minions, and glams you can earn aren’t going anywhere, and your sanity won’t either if you just follow these easy guidelines.

If you’re new to the massive world of FF14, you’ll need to finish the Endwalker expansion before you earn the right to relax in your own private paradise. Save the world first, drinks in a coconut with a little umbrella later.

After getting caught up with the main story, head to Old Sharlayan and find the Clueless Crier to pick up the quest “Seeking Sanctuary.” That’s all you need to do to trigger the Island Sanctuary questline.

Complete Visions as soon as they become available

To make any progress on your little piece of paradise, you’ll need to complete a series of quests called Visions. Think of them as tutorials: each covers a specific aspect of island living, from how to catch animals to how to start gardening. Getting heaps of Island EXP for doing things you’d have to do anyway is a no-brainer, but plenty of players get easily distracted by the neverending grind of gathering.

The first four Visions alone will grant you almost 15,000 Island EXP, so get them done before focusing on anything else. After constructing your cabin, some land for crops, a pasture, and your first workshop, you’ll be in a good position to start making some real headway on your since-untouched utopia. Finishing these quests will also reward you with a few fat stacks of Seafarer’s Cowries, the main currency for the Island Sanctuary. Earning Island EXP will increase your Island Rank, giving you access to more tools, upgrades, and places to explore. Seafarer’s Cowries aren’t only used for buying baubles–you’ll need them to improve your facilities.

Automate as LITTLE as possible

Your island is filled with little mammets—workers ready to lend a helping hand as you refine your space. As tempting as it is to send these little guys out to chop wood and pick up rocks, that’s just throwing experience away. Send mammets to do some supplementary gathering if you’d like to have extra crafting materials on hand, but whenever possible, do it yourself.

If you’re dreading it, put some YouTube on and turn your brain off as you pick flowers to put in your pouch, just as Yoshi-P intended. Squeeze in a bit of time each day gathering and tending to your animals and crops while waiting for dungeon queues to pop. Spending just 20 or 30 minutes a day completing simple tasks on your island is enough to keep things running smoothly.

Also, if you’re not at Island Rank 10 yet, I’m sorry. No flying mounts for you. At least you’ll get your steps in.

Conserve your Seafarer’s Cowries (to start, anyway)

As you tend to your island, the Seafarer’s Cowries you earn can be used to purchase exclusive mounts, minions, glamours, Orchestrion Rolls, home goods, hairstyles, Materia, and lots more from the Horrendous Hoarder in your Cozy Cabin. In particular, it helps to save up the 100,000 cowries you’ll need for the most expensive mount on offer—the Garlond GL-IIT, a half-motorcycle, half-tiller for all your sowing needs.

You’ll earn enough for a few of these goodies pretty quickly, but stop and turn your head away from the store until you’ve expanded your home base and upgraded your island. Conserve those pretty blue shells until you’ve done everything that needs to be done—the shop isn’t going anywhere.

You’ll need about 11,000 Seafarer’s Cowries for all upgrades and quests. It’s worth noting that collecting 100 materials in your sanctuary and crafting 20 Isleworks Handicrafts each week will reward you with an extra 2,000 Cowries as part of your challenge log. If you have any excess inventory, you can also sell materials for a few extra shells if you’re particularly desperate.

Upgrade your buildings (and build everything you can)

Tempting as it sounds to shun civilization and instead chat with a volleyball named Wilson while relaxing on your faraway cay, industry is the key to success. Building workshops, landmarks, and granaries will net you thousands of EXP. The only caveat is that building things takes actual time to complete–but that’s a great opportunity to take a break from the brain-melting monotony of harvesting popotos and cracking boulders.

Each time you upgrade your workshops and granaries, they become more efficient. Boosting your workshops to Rank 5 will increase your yield of Seafarer’s Cowries by a whopping 40%, while boosting your granaries to this rank will pop an extra six rare resources into your pouch. Upgrades also take time and require materials you’ll need to gather, but this is something you can’t skip if you want to make any headway.

Oh, and once an upgrade is complete, interact with the signboard near the impacted building. Lots of people don’t do this and wonder why their next quest isn’t triggering.

Keep your workshops active at all times—and don’t overstress about efficiency bonuses

We’ve reached the predominant way to maximize your island with minimal stress and interaction. Once your buildings have been upgraded as far as they can be, Island Sanctuary becomes less of an oasis and more of a sweatshop. Production should never stop, because as long as you’re crafting something, you’re going to get EXP and Seafarer’s Cowries.

If you have all four of your workshops stacked full of projects, you’ll get almost 7,000 EXP each day. The amount of Cowries you’ll get depends on what you’re making, but passive income is passive income.

When picking what to craft, grouping certain items of the same type will trigger an efficiency bonus. For example, if you craft two accessories back to back, you’ll get two of the second accessory while only expending the materials for one.

Understandably, this is where the sweaties appeared during the early weeks of Island Sanctuary, and this is where the spreadsheets and outside programs come in. Jumping onto Reddit, there’s a dedicated post mapping out what you should make each week to net the most rewards. But does this matter in terms of EXP?

No. No, it doesn’t.

Craft what you want. Make 8,000 puka shell necklaces. (That’s not an in-game item, but it should be. ’90s fashion is back. Someone inform Square Enix.)

Handicrafts with higher popularity will be worth more Cowries, and the predicted popularity of an item is listed in the workshop interface. It’s decidedly not sweaty to look at the Reddit post if you’ve already reached max level and just want to make the most moolah without taking the time to map it out yourself. There are only so many hours in a day, and you’ve got Hildibrand quests to do. Also, you need all those Mandragora mounts.

Keep all of the above in mind and follow these instructions if you’re getting burnt out

Internalize everything written above. Then follow these steps if five minutes is all you’re willing to spend on island growth each week. Sometimes, you need a break from the content designed to give you a break.

Get all of your structures to Rank 5Fill your pasture with Chocobos, Island Does, Island Stags, Lemurs, and Star Marmots–these will always drop fur as their primary Leavings.Have one granary forage from the Mossy Mountains and one forage from the Meandering Meadows.Run every workshop to craft an Isleworks Iron Axe, a Bronze Sheep, and an Isleworks Bed, in that order.????????????Profit!

It’s impossible to fully automate your island, but the above method will take care of 95% of the work. All you’ll need to do is harvest a few logs each week to maintain enough materials to keep the workshops working. If the last few levels of your Island Sanctuary feel daunting, just set it and forget it.

“People will surely want to take a break once in a while and lie around on the beach or relax at home with friends, family, or their partners,” FF14 director Naoki Yoshida said in an interview about the Island Sanctuary back in early 2023. Somehow, he was both totally right and utterly wrong.

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