Chocobo Racing

A Beginners Introduction
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Isiliden MorningstarJune 22, 2017

Overview | Movement | Stamina Management | Items | Course Features | Abilities | Racing Chocobo Window | Breeding | Achievement Guide


Should I Bother?

As of patch 3.25, chocobo racing is probably the best way to farm MGP if you're looking for a constant farming source. Winning a race in R-300 (the highest racing class) gets you upwards of 1,000 MGP per win, and if you do this along with Cuff-A-Cur in between races, you can in theory get somewhere around 18,000-19,000 MGP per hour under normal circumstances. I'll be honest that I have no idea how this compares to MGP farming through Triple Triad, as I haven't really done it for a while, but I know this handily beats the Indolent Imperial farming people used to do.

Notably, even lower ranks are capable of giving you good MGP income as well. Even if you're getting about 400 MGP per win, which is around what you get towards the lower levels, you're getting around 8,000-9,000 MGP per hour if you're consistently winning.

Progressing through chocobo racing also gives you access to chocobo challenges, added in Patch 3.25. These challenges will gradually become available to you as you go, and the first time you clear each of them, you receive a significant lump sum of MGP. While you won't be able to clear them all until you progress more or less all the way through chocobo racing progression, they will altogether net you a nice sum of 445,000 MGP - and that doesn't even count MGP buffs, which can be used to boost your winnings from challenges. If you make sure you have the +15% MGP buff up whenever you clear a challenge, you'll earn 511,750 MGP from these challenges in total! (The 'Make it Rain' event's +50% MGP does NOT affect chocobo challenges, but it does affect races.)

That said, if you've tried out chocobo racing already and you can't stand the 'lag' aspect of the movement, you may want to find other ways to get MGP. The 'lag' is caused by the movement being calculated on SE's side of things rather than on your own computer ("server-side" movement). Unfortunately, this aspect of the game never changes. Believe me when I say it is quite possible to get used to it, but if you don't think you ever can get used to it, then finding another MGP source might be a better idea.


Movement

Server-Side Movement

Chocobo racing is unique in FFXIV for the fact that it uses server-side movement. Basically, throughout the rest of the game, the server (Square Enix's end of things) trusts the client (your machine) in large part when it comes to where your character is. There are a few checks to make sure your client isn't flat-out lying, like teleporting your character wildly around the world. Other than that, though, your machine is the one figuring out what your keyboard or controller inputs mean and how to move your character accordingly, then just sending the results to the server.

In chocobo racing, it's the opposite - your machine makes no attempt to handle your keyboard or controller inputs, instead just sending those inputs directly to the server. The server then figures out what to do with them and tells your machine where to move your chocobo.

The end result: your controls are less responsive, but your position is more accurate, especially relative to other chocobos.

You might ask why they do this, when it makes the controls feel so much less responsive. There are actually a number of benefits to this, though. It allows you to know for sure if a chocobo is ahead of you, for instance, which is important in many facets of the game.

Acceleration

As you may have gleamed from the tutorial, holding whatever key or button you have assigned to Move Forward will cause your chocobo to accelerate up until it reaches its maximum speed. Once it reaches that point, holding the key will cause your chocobo to remain at that speed.

How fast your chocobo's speed increases when you hold the key depends on your chocobo's Acceleration attribute, while your chocobo's maximum speed is, unsurprisngly, based on the attribute of the same name. (We'll cover attributes in more depth later.)

When the key is released, your chocobo will decelerate at a fixed rate which is independent of any of your chocobo's attributes, until it reaches a minimum speed.

All chocobos, regardless of attributes or anything else, have the same minimum speed. They cannot possibly go slower than this speed, regardless of what status effects they are under.

Deceleration

By pressing the key or button that makes your character back up, you can slow down your chocobo, cutting their speed quickly. This is useful if you're trying to escape a Briar Caltrops and you think the Caltrops user will continue to accelerate, for instance. It can also be used if you just got Frenzied and you're low on stamina, and you really need to slow down quickly. The chocobo ability Breather causes you to recover stamina while you hold the deceleration button down, making it a more attractive option.

Steering

Picture each course like it's a track that has "lanes." In the absence of any steering you do, your chocobo will continue along the "lane" it's currently in. This means that, unless the course gets thinner or wider, your chocobo will remain about the same distance from each wall.

If the course does get thinner or wider, the distance between you and each wall will decrease or increase, respectively, proportional to one another. If you're about the same distance from each wall and you don't steer, you'll remain about the same distance between both walls regardless of how thin or wide the course gets, for instance.

Due to the server-side nature of movement, steering will appear to be less responsive than it actually is. This means that when you begin steering, it will look like you begin shifting slower than you actually are, while when you release the steering button, you will continue to shift for a few moments afterward. It's important to keep this in mind for the purposes of collecting items and dodging things.

In general, steering's primary purpose is to dodge negative course hazards and run around other chocobos. It's also useful for helping you cut corners faster - try to steer over into whichever lane is the shortest when a turn is approaching.

Jumping

You can jump over some things to avoid them, such as ground panels and certain other hazards. Some item boxes will require you to jump to obtain them. As with steering, you will occasionally find that there is some delay in this action due to serverside movement. Usually, this can be mitigated by simply jumping earlier than you think you need to.

Keep in mind there is approximately a one-second cooldown after you land during which you cannot jump again.

Jumping does not affect your ability to accelerate or steer, and does not affect your stamina usage.

Jumping cannot be used to dodge any items, including Briar Caltrops.

Miscellaneous

The server-side movement may make it difficult to tell at first, but there IS player collision in chocobo racing. If you're unfamiliar with that term, that means that any chocobo can't move directly through another chocobo. If you're right behind another chocobo that's going slower than you and you seem to suddenly slow down, that means you're slamming into their butt, and you are literally never going to pass them unless you strafe to get around them. This is another reason that server-side movement is useful to have.


Stamina Management

General

The ins and outs of stamina are complex, and we're not going to cover them in detail in the beginner version of this guide.

The basic premise is this: think of your chocobo like a car. Your stamina is your fuel. Just like having a faster car means lower fuel-efficiency, going faster on your chocobo makes you consume more stamina per unit distance. Trotting along at a slow pace will give you fantastic stamina efficiency for the distance you're covering, but you probably won't win if you do it often. Meanwhile, going at a full sprint will drain your stamina in a way which is sometimes unsustainable, but you need to do it intelligently and sometimes sparingly to achieve the best possible performance.

The aforementioned concept leads to the conclusion that, in the absence of other factors, you get the fastest time, more or less, by using your stamina evenly across a race.

However, that doesn't mean you always want to do this. Sometimes, you'll need to speed up to grab a good item, or slow down to avoid a briar someone ahead of you is using.

In general, it's better to use a bit more stamina early, since many items can grant you additional stamina. If you are being too frugal with your stamina early, you may receive stamina from items that you are not able to use before the race ends.

Stamina-Affecting Items

For a basic idea of what items do, talk to the Race Chocobo Registrar in Chocobo Square and ask her "What kind of race items are there?"

There are five items that affect your stamina - two that affect your stamina positively if you use them, and three which have a negative effect on your stamina if another player uses them on you.

The good items for your stamina: Choco Potions (yellow) will instantly restore 10% of your stamina on use. Stamina Tablets (light blue) will allow you to sprint as fast as you like for 10 seconds without using any stamina, while also protecting you from any item-induced stamina loss.

The items that may hurt your stamina: Bacchus's Water (red wine-glass looking thing) will send your chocobo into a Frenzied state for 15 seconds, during which you are forced to sprint, and your stamina usage is also significantly increased for as long as the effect lasts. Briar Caltrops (red thorny icon) will create briars around the user after a short delay, and any other racers in those briars will lose stamina rapidly as long as they stay in them. Finally, Choco Meteor (red rock icon) will drop a meteor on all racers in front of the user, massively reducing their stamina while slowing them down to a crawl for a time.

Be mindful of how the item situation is affecting your stamina condition, and sprinting or conserving appropriately, is one of the most important skills in racing.

Lathered

The Lathered condition causes you to use a bit more stamina. The Training Course tutorial advises against remaining Lathered, but early on you will actually be able to spend a lot of time Lathered without issue.

In general, don't worry about Lathered too much yet. The only thing you need to know about it now is that if you're conserving stamina, try not to remain in the Lathered state too long. You can easily get out of the state by decelerating down to a lower speed level.

Gauging Stamina

There's an easy way to gauge how you're doing on your stamina at any point in a race: look at the amount of stamina left and add it to the progress percentage shown in the quest log section of your HUD (center right of your screen by default).

If the sum is above 100%, you're doing well, and could probably stand to use your stamina more liberally.

If it's below 85~90%, you're liable to burn out sooner than is ideal, so unless you see an item coming that will improve your stamina situation, you should probably conserve a bit more.

The aforementioned numbers are merely guidelines; you are encouraged to find out what works best for you in this regard.


Items

Item boxes will appear on the course in predetermined spots, based on your course and class. Whenever you do the same course on the same class, you can count on the item boxes being in the same place as last time, so learn the most reliable way to grab them and stick with it. Lining yourself up in advance so that you are running straight at a box helps a lot when it comes to making sure you hit it.

As you approach any item box, the bottom right corner of your screen will display the items that box will dispense and the order it will dispense them in. Every time you or another chocobo passes the box, the leftmost item will be given to that player, and all other items will shift one place to the left, meaning the next person will get the item that was formerly second from the left.

You can only see the next four items at any given time, but each item box will distribute up to eight items, one for each racer.

In general, item boxes tend to distribute more powerful items in later slots, thus generally giving preferential treatment to players trailing the pack.

Blue item boxes tend to have more items that are beneficial to their user, while red boxes tend to have more items that are detrimental to their user's opponents. Much like item box placement, item box color is based solely on the class you're racing in, and won't change unless you change class.

This page won't go into the individual items in detail. If you'd like a basic description of all the items, go to the Race Chocobo Registrar in Chocobo Square, select "Learn about chocobo racing," then select "What kinds of race items are there?"


Course Features

Panels

Panels will appear on every course at set points in the course. The colors of the panels and the points at which they appear are always the same until you ascend to higher classes.

There are four different panel colors. Two are good to hit, and two are bad to hit:

Blue panel (good) - will grant you a short boost of speed.

Green panel (good) - will instantly restore around 7% of your maximum stamina.

Purple panel (bad) - will afflict you with the Heavy status for 5 seconds, slowing you down.

Red panel (bad) - will make you instantly lose about 15% stamina. Avoid these at all costs!

Panels can be jumped over with a well-timed jump. In early classes, you'll be able to just run around all the panels you see, but try to practice jumping over a panel once in a while, because in higher classes, you will encounter bad panels lined up in a row, such that you'll have to jump over them.

Course Hazards

Later in your first chocobo's career, once you go into R-60, there will be enemies running around the course once in a while. Which enemies you see depends on the course.

In Sagolii Road, you'll see Cactuars walking side to side once in a while.

In Costa del Sol, you'll see Bells floating around.

In Tranquil Paths, you'll see occasional Mandragoras buried in the ground at specific points. You can jump over these.

In all cases except Bells, running into any of these will temporarily slow you down, forcing you to re-accelerate up to your maximum speed again, while also chunking off a small amount of stamina, on the order of 1-2%. Bells won't slow you down or hurt your stamina, but they'll prevent you from using items or abilities for 10 seconds on contact. Get in the habit of avoiding them when you can.


Abilities

Abilities are active and passive effects that your chocobo can learn as it ranks up. You've probably noticed that using an item is assigned to the first button of your first hotbar by default. Many abilities can actively be used in a race, and if so, these will show up in your second button of your first hotbar by default.

Your chocobo will learn an ability once it reaches rank 10. The ability is randomly decided. However, it is not necessarily permanent - you can buy an item called a Lethe Water from the Tack & Feed Trainer in Chocobo Square, under "Race Items," for an insignificant amount of MGP. Once you have this, you can talk to the Race Chocobo Trainer, select "Unlearning Race Abilities," and delete the ability. If you do so, you will learn a new ability next time you rank up. You can repeat this process to get a new ability to try each rank-up if you desire.

Your first chocobo will only have the capability to possess one ability, but if you look at the Chocobo tab under Parameters, you will see there is a Hereditary slot also, which is empty on your first chocobo. Basically, once you retire your chocobo, you will be able to make its ability become a Hereditary ability. It then has a 50% chance to pass that ability on to any offspring it creates. If it doesn't pass it on, the offspring will receive a hereditary ability from its other parent, so either way, all chocobos past your first will have the capability to possess two abilities at once.

You can also buy ability training manuals from the Tack & Feed Trainer standing to the left of the chocobo racing desk. These used to be hilariously overpriced and not worth it, but 3.25 changed this, so feel free to buy a few of those to try out as well. Keep in mind you will only be able to buy lower-grade abilities at first. You will unlock higher-grade abilities as you complete more Chocobo Challenges. For more on that, see [Intermediate] Chocobo Challenges.

The individual abilities will not be explained in this Beginner post. You are encouraged to buy a few Lethe Waters and try a few of them out to see how they work and how you like them. If you're dying to know what they are and how they work in general, please see [Intermediate] Ability Types.


The Racing Chocobo Window

If you open up the Chocobo section of your Gold Saucer window and look at your Parameters and Pedigree tabs, you'll see a lot of numbers and symbols and stuff.

This is not going to be a long guide on this, because you don't need to worry about any of this stuff yet! Seriously, don't. None of it really matters much for your first chocobo.

That said, to give you a basic idea of what everything is (listed in order from top to bottom, starting in the Parameters tab):

Your Rank at the top of all tabs is your chocobo's current "level," and is increased by racing with your chocobo and gaining experience points. Chocobos can go up to rank 50, but can be retired for breeding at rank 40 (more on that in [Beginner] Breeding).

Your Rating, directly below your Rank experience bar, is a rough gauge of how "good" your chocobo is, and determines what classes your chocobo is eligible for. Your first chocobo will gain +1 rating every time it ranks up, but later chocobos can potentially gain much more rating per rank-up.

The Attributes section at the top of the Parameters tab shows five different attributes of your current chocobo: Maximum Speed, Acceleration, Endurance, Stamina, and Cunning. These will increase naturally as you rank up your chocobo. You can also increase them further by using feed, but doing this on your first chocobo will have almost no effect on your performance, and is a waste of MGP or money. (If you're really curious about what the Attributes do, you can find a more detailed explanation of them under [Intermediate] The Five Chocobo Attributes.)

The Race Ability section shows which ability or abilities your chocobo currently possesses. For more on abilities, see [Beginner] Abilities.

Racing Capacity just shows your rating again.

Training Capacity shows the number of times you can train your chocobo using feed. You can obtain feed either from the Tack & Feed Trainer NPC in Chocobo Square or from an NPC called the Feathertrader in Bentbranch Meadows. Again, it's highly suggested that you just don't worry about feeding right now. The results will barely be noticeable. If you really want to know more about training, see [Intermediate] Training.

Preferred Weather shows your chocobo's weather preference. This can either be Fair, meaning your chocobo prefers sunny weather, or Foul, meaning your chocobo prefers rainy or stormy weather. (This isn't terribly important right now, but if you're dying to know what that means, check out [Intermediate] Weather and Weather Preferences.)

Under the Pedigree tab, Pedigree displays five different star ratings for the five attributes mentioned in the Attributes section. Along with the number shown next to "Pedigree Level" in the Grade section, these star ratings are what determine your stat maximums as shown in the aforementioned Attributes section. These all have to do with breeding, so you can find more on this in [Beginner] Breeding.

Finally, the Appearance tab shows your chocobo's color and gives you the ability to change its barding if you desire. All bardings you have available can be used, and you can even have the same barding you have on your companion chocobo on your racing chocobo. Unfortunately, your chocobo's color can't be changed except through breeding a new one.


Breeding

Once you reach rank 40 on your first chocobo, you will gain the ability to retire it and subsequently breed it. You can also continue to rank it up to 50, but there isn't much of a point in doing this for your first chocobo or two.

Retiring Your Chocobo

Retiring your chocobo is required in order to breed it, and, while you can rent breeding stock chocobos to breed with, you cannot breed two chocobos if they are both rented breeding stock - one of them must be yours.

Speak to the Race Chocobo Trainer NPC in Chocobo Square to retire your chocobo. Note that this is a permanent action - you will not be able to race any chocobos you retire again. Yeah, this kind of sucks, and it's something I hope they change eventually.

When you retire your chocobo, it will ask you to "praise" one of your chocobo's abilities. This is essentially asking which of your two abilities you would like to make "hereditary" and potentially pass on to your next chocobo. For your first chocobo, this choice will be trivial, as you only have one ability to begin with - so just choose the one you have. For subsequent chocobos, you'll have to decide which of your current abilities you value more whenever you retire it, as you can only make one of them hereditary.

Upon retiring your chocobo, you will receive an inventory item called a Retired Chocobo Registration Form. Hold on to it.

Renting a Breeding Stock Chocobo

You're going to be leaving the Gold Saucer in a second, but before you do, you should pick up a Covering Permission from the Tack & Feed Trainer under "Race Items." This item represents the chocobo that you're going to breed your chocobo with. There are two things to note:

  • One, make sure you pick a permission of the opposite gender of your newly retired chocobo - M is male, F is female. Can't make babies otherwise!
  • Two, you probably noticed that the Covering Permissions also have grades, denoted in their name, in the form "Covering Permission G-X." In general, you just want to buy one that matches your current chocobo's pedigree (1 for your first chocobo). Your new chocobo will not be any better if you pick a covering permission above your current chocobo's pedigree, though picking one below your chocobo's current pedigree will have adverse effects on the results.

In theory, picking a higher pedigree covering permission gives you a chance to inherit higher-tier abilities from the breeding stock you rent, but the abilities of breeding stock chocobos are random and probably won't be what you want. Furthermore, you'll only have a 50% chance to inherit these. As such, it's generally best just to save MGP and stick with a covering permission that matches your chocobo's current pedigree. More info on all this later in the guide.

Once you have bought your Covering Permission, you'll want to go unlock chocobo breeding.

Unlocking Chocobo Breeding

Once you reached rank 40 on a chocobo, a quest icon should have appeared above the Chocobokeep in Chocobo Square, the NPC standing to the right of the desk who's wearing a chocobo suit. Pick that quest up; it should be called "Like Sire Like Fledgling."

Follow the quest and it'll guide you to Bentbranch Meadows in Central Shroud. Speak to the Chocobo Breeder there and the quest will finish, allowing you to commence breeding.

Speak to her again, select "Chocobo Covering," and drop your Retired Chocobo Registration Form and your Covering Permission in the two appropriate slots. There's a small gil fee to start the breeding, but hopefully that isn't a problem for you, so hit the button to start the process.

Starting the process will give you an item called a Proof of Covering. You'll need to turn this in to get the baby chocobo later. If you look at its tooltip, you'll see a date and time - this is the time when you'll be able to collect your baby chocobo and start racing it. Until it completes, you can't really race at all unless you want to buy another chocobo from the nearby Feathertrader NPC, but there isn't much point to this, as you can only buy pedigree 1 chocobos this way.

Once the time comes, you get your baby chocobo from the same NPC you talked to to breed, using the "Fledgling Adoption" dialogue option.

Registering Your Fledgling

After you've collected your baby chocobo, the Proof of Covering in your inventory will turn into a Fledgling Chocobo Registration Form. Take it back to the Race Chocobo Trainer in Chocobo Square and select the "Race Chocobo Registration" dialogue option. You'll be prompted to name your new chocobo like you named your first one.

Look at That Baby!

If you open up your race chocobo window now that you've registered your new chocobo, you'll notice that its attribute maximums are higher than your first chocobo's. This is the reason to breed - you keep getting better chocobos!

You might ask how this makes a difference, and that's a good question. Basically, while there's some randomness in your rank-up attribute gains, all attribute gains you receive, both from rank-ups and from training your chocobos with feed, are proportional to your maximums.

Your starting chocobo had attribute maximums consisting of straight 100s. So if your new baby chocobo has an attribute that has a 140 maximum, you will on average gain 1.4 points for every 1 point your starting chocobo gained. This means that, on average, once you get to rank 40 on your new chocobo, that attribute will be on average 40% higher than it was on your starting chocobo.

Ultimately, once you get to the best possible chocobos, they can have attribute maximums of up to 500! This means your chocobos will keep getting better and better until they become several times better than your starting chocobo - and eventually, you'll start to really notice the difference this makes in how fast your chocobo races. You'll also be able to ascend into progressively higher classes, earning more and more MGP the higher you go.

Color Inheritance

A baby chocobo will inherit one of its parents' colors randomly, with a 50% chance of each. This means that for your first breeding session, there will be a 50% chance that your new baby chocobo will be a different color, and a 50% chance it'll be the default color like your first one. Every time you buy a Covering Permission, a random color for the breeding stock chocobo will be rolled, so if you're fishing for a certain color, you may have to spend some MGP to get it.


Achievement Guide

Off to the Race I-IV

Reward for tier I: "Bug Boy/Girl" title
Reward for tier III: "Senior Jockey" title
Reward for tier IV: "Veteran Jockey" title

Getting these achievements is simple: just race. Tier I of this achievement is the easiest achievement out there: just enter your first race and that's it. Tier IV of the achievement, however, is probably the most time-intensive achievement in the minigame, and probably the one you'll get last.

Notably, races where you come in last still count towards this achievement, so if you really want to max it at minimal effort, you can AFK race for 3,000 races. This won't get you very much MGP, though.

Breaking the Maiden / Winning Jockey I-II / Winningest Jockey

Reward for Winningest Jockey: "The First Across" Title
"Winningest Jockey" achievement required for "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Saucer" Achievement

These achievements require you to accrue wins in chocobo racing, which really isn't that hard in lower classes. If playing normally, you will very likely get Winningest Jockey before you get Off to the Races IV.

Ride to the Challenge I

Reward: Race Barding

This achievement is earned from completing all 15 challenge races currently available (as of 3.25) under the "Chocobo Challenge" option under the registrar. For more on Chocobo Challenges, see [Intermediate] Chocobo Challenges.

Go Forth and Multiple

Reward: "Chocobo Breeder" title

This achievement doesn't take terribly much time to accomplish. To earn this achievement, race a chocobo until it reaches rank 40 (not rating). Once you do, a quest should surface that enables you to breed. For more information, see [Beginner] Breeding.

Pedigree Champ

Reward: Racing Chocobo Mask (glamour headpiece)

This achievement is fairly time-consuming to achieve. Basically, your first chocobo is pedigree 1, but when you breed your first chocobo, its pedigree will be 2 instead. Once you raise your pedigree 2 chocobo to rank 40 and breed it, you will get a pedigree 3 chocobo (if you did it right). That process repeats, with each chocobo you raise being +1 pedigree higher than the last, and you earn the achievement when you receive your pedigree 9 chocobo from the breeder.

So basically, to get this achievement, you will have to raise and breed eight chocobos in total to rank 40, much like you did your first one.

Training Day

Reward: "Chocobo Trainer" title

This achievement requires you to do everything the Pedigree Champ achievement requires.

Once you've done that, you have to breed a chocobo that has has 17 or more stars lit in the "Own" Section of the Pedigree tab. To do this, you'll probably have to do some selective breeding and possibly some inbreeding. Once you get such a chocobo, you have to raise it up close to rank 50. This should get you to the 285 rating mark, earning you the achievement.

It's a long road to this achievement, and if you're looking for guidance on how to get there, read on!


More Reading

For Intermediate and Advanced Guides check out The Moogle Post.