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Exploratory Missions are an upcoming feature in Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward. By riding an airship owned by a Free Company or with House Haillenart in Ishgard, players can journey into uncharted floating islands in the Sea of Clouds above Abalathia's Spine.
These should not be confused with the unmanned Exploratory Voyages that Free Company airships may be dispatched to undertake.
Players must first have completed the Main Scenario quest "Heavensward" to undertake Exploratory Missions.
Each sector has three difficulty modes: Easy, Normal, Hard. Please note that only Free Companies can enter Hard versions, and only if their airship had previously journeyed to the sector during a voyage.
When undertaking exploratory missions using a free company airship, players must form a party of at least two people. All participants must be within the company workshop, and the party leader must be part of the Free Company. Players from outside the Free Company can join on exploratory missions.
An airship can only dispatch players if it has sufficient rank, and must not already be in transit to the Sea of Clouds or performing Exploratory Voyages. An airship will require 20 minutes to return after dropping a party off before it can be used again.
The rank requirements for each difficulty is as follows:
- Easy: 10
- Normal: 25
- Hard: 50
Players can also journey to the Diadem via Ishgardian airships, either solo or in a party of up to eight people.
Unless queued as a full party, item lot rules is set to "Greed Only" and party must be compatible with two tank, two healer, and four DPS ratio for matchmaking purposes. In addition, only Easy and Normal versions may be accessed.
Players can only remain in the instance for 90 minutes, and will be unable to go on another Exploratory Mission until 120 minutes elapse from entering. There are no further restrictions on entry or item lotting rules. Since island exploration features both combat and gathering, job changing is permitted while within the instance.
Unlike most instanced duties, there is no set clear condition, as the focus is mainly on exploration. Players will be awarded Allagan Tomestones of Esoterics by completing objectives, however.
Flight can be enabled by examining the Aetherial Turbulences on the starting island, and must be attuned each time a player enters an instance.
Each instance may be shared by a maximum of nine full parties. Note that the starting island cannot be chosen.
Multiple parties may engage in an enemy, similar to FATEs, and damage dealt determines how rewards are distributed. Treasure chests come in Bronze, Silver, and Gold categories.
During combat, gear will spiritbond at a much faster rate than in other content.
Throughout the floating islands are gathering nodes and fishing holes.