Being the Warrior of Light can get exhausting. No one would blame them for wanting to take a vacation after everything they’ve accomplished throughout the Main Scenario Quest of Final Fantasy XIV. Thankfully, there was a game mode added in Patch 6.2 that will allow your WoL to take a hard-earned break from being a world-renowned adventurer and engage in some classic farm sim gameplay — the Island Sanctuary.
This new content grants you your own personal island in the Rhotano Sea. Burgeoning businesswoman Tataru Taru is funding a new venture that will see you developing the land and bringing industry to this abandoned isle. Here, you’re able to gather resources, construct buildings, capture animals, and raise crops. However, this gameplay mode exists entirely separate from the existing gathering and crafting jobs and systems to allow all players to enjoy the experience, whether they’ve leveled those jobs or not.
Let’s get into it!
Unlocking Your Island Sanctuary
The only prerequisite for unlocking Island Sanctuary is completing the Main Scenario Quest “Endwalker.” Speak to the Clueless Crier in Old Sharlayan (x11.9, y11) to accept the quest “Seeking Sanctuary.”
Once you’ve unlocked your island and inevitably left it to do other things, you may be wondering how to return to your Island Sanctuary. This can be done by teleporting to the Moraby Drydocks aetheryte in Lower La Noscea and speaking to the nearby NPC Baldin, who will ferry you back to your island.
If you go AFK for too long on your island, you will be booted from the area and placed in front of Baldin, who can send you back once again.
You can also visit other players’ islands by speaking with Baldin. You don’t even need to have unlocked your own Island Sanctuary to do this. Just complete the Main Scenario Quest “The Ultimate Weapon” (i.e., finish A Realm Reborn), and you’ll be able to take a brief vacation to another player’s sanctuary. Up to sixteen players can explore an island at once. You can only visit the islands of your friends, free company members, and party members. However, the player needs to enable access to their island and be present on it in order for this to work.
Arriving in Paradise
The quests will loosely guide you through the first stages of setting up your Island Sanctuary, but they don’t explain everything to you and things can quickly get a little confusing. While in this stage, we recommend thoroughly exploring the main hub area of your island and speaking to all the NPCs you find in order to unlock all the features.
Island Sanctuary grants you two duty action buttons: Isle Return and Isle Sprint. Isle Return sends you back to your hideaway, and Isle Sprint does exactly what it says on the tin. These both have 5-second recast timers, so you can spam sprint as much as you want and return whenever you feel like it. You can also summon mounts on your island, and they have an increased movement speed to make getting around quicker.
Most of the activities you perform on the island will earn you Island EXP. This increases your Sanctuary Rank. There are ten ranks in total, and the amount of EXP needed to rank up will increase as you progress.
Island Sanctuary features its own menu of unique actions called the Islekeep’s Index.
You can access pretty much everything you need via your index. You can look at your Isleventory—this is the inventory dedicated to holding your gathered materials. That’s right, you don’t have to worry about overfilling your personal inventory! Everything you gather on the island is kept in a separate space.
The index gives you access to your crafting menu, gathering log, and minion management menu. You can also use it to manage your hideaway and view the necessary materials for renovation and workshops (more on that later). The question mark icon displays all the game’s tutorials in case you find yourself confused. Your cowrie totals are displayed at the bottom as well.
Lastly, but most importantly, you can change the mode from this menu. The blue button allows you to quickly and easily switch between gathering, sowing, watering, culling, feeding, petting, beckoning, and capturing modes. Your current mode will display itself at the top of your screen. Some modes, like feeding, require you to equip a type of item in a slot that will appear beside the mode button.
Island Sanctuary also comes with two new island-specific currencies: Islander’s Cowries and Seafarer’s Cowries. Islander’s Cowries can only be earned by selling your isleventory materials to the Enterprising Exporter in your Cabin. They can be used to purchase materia for crafter and gatherer jobs, as well as glamour prisms, dispellers, hi-cordials, and fieldcrackers.
Outside of EXP, Seafarer’s Cowries are the primary currency that you’ll use to expand your hideaway as you progress. They can also be used to purchase rewards from the Horrendous Hoarder. You earn Seafarer’s Cowries by running your workshop, realizing “visions” (aka, completing the tutorial), and completing your challenge log.
We recommend hoarding your Seafarer’s Cowries as you rank up. There are some cool rewards you can buy right away, but you will need those cowries to pay for expansions down the line. You can buy your goodies once you’ve maxed out, or you’ll slow your progress.
The majority of the upgrades that you will make to your island also require several hours of real time to complete. A good goal is to upgrade as much as you can each day, and then leave everything to complete construction overnight.
Living the Island Life
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into all the things you can do on your Island Sanctuary
Managing Your Hideaway
Your Hideaway is the central hub of your island. It contains plots that you can build various structures on, as well as your pasture and cropland. The hideaway and its features can be expanded as you gain island EXP and rank up.
The first structure you will construct is your cabin! It contains an orchestrion to play music, reward vendors, and a lot of neat furniture for you to gpose on. You can also find relevant NPCs hanging out in and around your cabin.
The appearances of all structures on your island will change as you upgrade them. If you find that an upgrade doesn’t suit your aesthetic, you can use Island Prisms to glam over your buildings and their surroundings. Level 90 crafters can make these prisms themselves, or you can purchase them off the market board.
Letting Your Minions Roam Free
It’s a minor feature, but releasing minions on your island can really give the place a personal touch. Up to forty minions can be released across different areas of your hideaway. They will run free and display new and unique dialogue!
Note that, as of right now, you can only release forty in total — not per separate area.
Gathering and Crafting
Much like any good farm life sim, Island Sanctuary is centered around a material gathering system with a small crafting system attached to it. As we mentioned earlier, it’s totally unconnected to the primary gathering and crafting systems of FFXIV, so you don’t need to worry about having your gatherers leveled. You can use any job to perform island gathering.
There are gathering nodes all around the greater island. These appear as sparkling resource elements, and they show up on your minimap with different icons to indicate resource types. There are several different types of resources to gather, and they will require different kinds of tools.
The game doesn’t explicitly direct you to this, but you can also dive underwater and gather items there! It’s crucial that you do this, as there are some necessary construction materials under the sea.
At first, gathering can be done with your bare hands, but you acquire less materials this way. As you rank up, you’ll unlock crafting recipes for more and better tools to gather with. Tools allow you to gather two different resources from one node. Eventually, you will encounter nodes that only yield one resource. These nodes require higher quality tools that you can craft down the line.
In addition to crafting your own tools, you will also be able to craft tools for the mammets that work on your island. You will give these tools to mammets with quest markers to expand parts of your hideaway.
The last elements of crafting have to do with your pasture. You can craft different kinds of restraints to capture animals in the wild that will be consumed upon use. Once caught, you’ll need to feed them. You can craft different types of feed using resources you find in the wild or grow in your cropland.
Capturing and Caring For Animals
As we just explained, you can capture wild animals and keep them in your pasture. There are three different levels of restraints that correspond to different sizes of animals. The game won’t let you waste lesser restraints on animals that are too large, so don’t worry about losing them if you aren’t sure they’re capable of capturing something.
Capturing animals is a bit like catching Pokémon — there’s no guarantee that the animal will stay in the restraints. You may need to make multiple attempts to catch particularly frisky creatures.
Once caught, you will be able to give your animal a nickname by speaking with the Creature Comforter. Pasture animals will grant you with leavings, which is just another type of collectible resource. Leavings do not include items necessary for construction or crafting, but they are crucial to workshop production, which we will cover in a later section. Collecting leavings also grants you a good chunk of island EXP!
In order to gain maximum leavings from your pasture, you’ll need to keep your animals in a good mood. This involves feeding them properly. There are three different types of feed, and each type will improve their mood a certain amount:
- Sweetfeed will improve an animal’s mood to “Content.”
- Greenfeed will improve an animal’s mood to “Chipper.”
- Premium Greenfeed will improve an animal’s mood to “Gleeful.”
Once you gain the ability to craft it, we recommend feeding your animals Premium Greenfeed exclusively, as there’s not much of a reason to give them anything else.
Your cropland allows you to replant seeds you collect in the wild to produce, of course, crops. Thankfully, Stardew Valley this is not. The farming mechanics are fairly simple. Plant your seeds in a plot, water them regularly, and they’ll be ready for harvest in a couple days. Note that if it rains while you’re visiting your island, you don’t need to water your crops that day.
While caring for your crops doesn’t net you any island EXP, harvesting them does gift you with a large amount, so it’s worth taking care of your cropland!
The last aspect of island life is surprisingly industrial. Within your hideaway, you can construct workshops wherein mammets are able to produce a wide variety of island handicrafts. This is the most complex aspect of Island Sanctuary gameplay if you choose to master it, but you can still engage with it in a less-invested manner. You can manage your workshop by speaking with the Tactful Taskmaster in your hideaway.
If you are familiar with Animal Crossing’s turnip exchange, the workshop economy will sound familiar, but it is a little more complex. Your workshops operate on seasons, within which there will be five working days and two rest days. These are real-time 24-hour days, and the mammets make handicrafts in real time as well. Handicrafts will take either four, six, or eight hours to complete.
You can schedule multiple handicrafts to be produced in a single day. If you chain together multiple items from the same category, you will develop Groove, which provides a small increase to the amount of Seafarer’s Cowries you earn for exporting the handicrafts.
Scheduling handicrafts does not immediately allocate resources to them! In fact, you can schedule handicrafts without having the resources to make them. If you don’t collect enough resources before the production time (or if you accidentally use them elsewhere), the handicraft will not be produced and your mammets will be very sad.
All of this comes with a supply and demand system that you will have to parse to figure out what to produce. In the Supply & Demand menu, you can view the popularity, supply, demand shift, and predicted demand of all the handicrafts you can produce.
With common sense and some help from the filters, you should be able to figure out opportunities for decent profits. High popularity indicates that you will get more profit, as does low supply. Popularity will shift on a weekly basis, while supply changes daily (and there’s no good way to predict these changes at the moment).
Demand shift shows how supply has changed, but this is not a particularly useful metric in making production decisions. Finally, predicted demand will show you the popularity for next week. This has no relation to demand shift, but it does let you plan out what to stock up on for next week’s production.
If you don’t care about min-maxing your profits, it’s not too hard to just pick things that are popular and/or in low supply. You can use common sense when looking at the current and predicted supply and demand to figure this out. It’s also not necessary to micromanage your production schedules, but if you like this kind of gameplay, there are a lot of resources out there to help you become an Island Sanctuary workshop pro. Reddit user u/Sewer-Rat has compiled a ton of resources on workshops and the sanctuary as a whole. Additionally, the good people at FFXIV Teamcraft have created a tool to help you workshop calculate to your heart’s content.
After workshops come granaries. These are super useful facilities staffed by mammets that will go out into the wilds to gather resources for you. You can select an area of the island for them to explore, and the menu will display a preview of the resources that can be gathered there. You can manage your granaries by speaking with the Excitable Explorer in your hideaway.
Granary expeditions can be sent out for up to seven days, but it’s recommended that you only send them out for one at a time while you’re still ranking up. Extending expeditions costs more Seafarer’s Cowries, and you’ll need those for other things.
If you’ve been gathering pretty steadily, by the time you unlock the granary, you will probably have a pretty stocked isleventory. Granaries won’t bring in a ton of resources all at once, but they are very helpful to pad out your own gathering. For example, if you find yourself with a ton of logs and sand, and you can send the mammets out to collect rocks and vines.
We recommend using the granaries to focus on the areas you find yourself constantly running low in. Do a bit of gathering on your own whenever you play, and when you get tired, send the mammets out to compensate for whatever you have the least of before you log out. When you come back the next day.
Landmarks don’t really serve a functional purpose, but they do look super cool and grant a good chunk of island EXP.
There are three landmarks you will be able to construct as you progress: the Quixotic Windmill (Rank 3), the Towering Tree Fort (Rank 3), the Boiling Bathhouse (Rank 5), the Lominsan Lighthouse (Rank 9), and the Water Otter Fountain (Rank 9, permit obtainable from the Horrendous Hoarder).
Landmark construction and placement is truly just a way to customize your island to your liking. Pick the ones you like and place them in the locales where you want to see them.
Ranking Up Your Island Sanctuary
Many of the things you can do on your island will reward you with island EXP. Some activities will obviously give you more than others.
While it’s certainly easier said than done, the best way to rank up is to engage with all of the available systems at once. There’s not so much to do that it takes a long time; remembering to actually do all of it is the tough part. Here’s a quick checklist of everything you should be doing on a daily basis to rank up your Island Sanctuary:
- Scheduling handicraft production in your workshops.
- Sending out granary expeditions.
- Planting, watering, and harvesting crops.
- Feeding and collecting leavings from your pasture animals.
- Constructing new structures.
- Upgrading existing structures.
- Completing expansion quests for mammets.
- Gathering, gathering, gathering!
Gathering is what ties everything else you do on your island together. Building structures requires materials. Expanding your hideaway requires materials. Crafting requires materials. Running your workshops requires (guess what?) materials.
The best strategy for gathering is to focus on gathering what you need to complete those goals. However, you may reach a point where everything on your island is maxed out and you haven’t ranked up yet. If you reach this point, don’t worry! Just keep gathering. Gather commonly used building resources for the new unlocks at the next rank. Gather materials you need for certain handicrafts.
If you’re truly at a loss, just gather anything. It doesn’t matter — it all gives you island EXP. Log in, go through that island checklist, and then gather while you wait for duty queues to pop. Gather while you wait for your friends to get online. Gather while you watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show.
It’s also critical that you do run your workshops and sell handicrafts, as you will need Seafarer’s Cowries.
If you just keep gathering and engaging with all the systems on your island, you will rank up!
What You Access at Each Rank
Here’s a quick overview of the features you will access at each rank:
- Rank 1
- Tools: Stone Hatchet
- Structures: Cabin I
- Rank 2:
- Tools: Makeshift Net, Stone Hammer
- Areas: Cropland I, Pasture I
- First Pathfinder Expansion
- Rank 3:
- Structures: Workshop I
- Rank 4:
- Structures: Cabin II, Landmarks
- Areas: Cropland II, Pasture II
- Second Pathfinder Expansion
- Rank 5:
- Tools: Shovel
- Structures: Granary I, New Landmark
- Third Pathfinder Expansion
- Rank 6
- Tools: Makeshift Restraint, Copper Scythe
- Structures: Worksop II, Granary II
- Rank 7
- Tools: Bronze Gig
- Structures: Cabin III
- Areas: Cropland III, Pasture III
- Fourth Pathfinder Expansion
- Rank 8
- Tools: Makeshift Soporific, Bronze Beakaxe
- Structures: Workshop III, Granary III
- Rank 9
- Fifth Pathfinder Expansion
- New Landmark
- Rank 10
- Flight Capabilities
Remember to save up your Seafarer’s Cowries for those Pathfinder expansions!
Island Sanctuary Rewards
You may be wondering why this is all worth doing. If you’re not in it for the experience alone, there are some pretty cool rewards you can get through ranking up and earning Seafarer’s Cowries.
Various mounts are available for purchase with cowries, as well as glam and fashion accessories. There are also new hairstyles, orchestrion rolls, chocobo barding, and furniture items.
Once you upgrade all your buildings, you will receive the highly coveted Isle Farmhand outfit. This glam will let you flex to everyone that you have maxed out your Island Sanctuary!
What to Do When You Hit Rank 10
Firstly, if you manage to get to Rank 10 without upgrading all your structures, you should do that right away.
You can now explore Island Sanctuary’s systems at a much more casual pace. Set out to capture rare animal spawns, purchase rewards from vendors, and pursue island-related achievements. Micromanage your workshops, if you’re into that. There will certainly be future updates to Island Sanctuary, so it’s smart to stock up on materials for the future.
If you want to stop actively engaging with Island Sanctuary content but still want to earn cowries, you can set up care for your pasture and cropland with their respective mammets, then set a weeklong granary expedition. The place will run itself!
Join the High Ground
Okay, so maybe Island Sanctuary isn’t exactly as relaxing as we thought. Rest assured, while it sounds like a lot of hard work, it can be a welcome distraction from combat-centric content. It’s certainly a great way to pass time while you’re waiting on queues to pop (especially if you play DPS)!
We hope that you were able to learn how to live on island time with this guide. For more Final Fantasy XIV content, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media!