Did you know you can command your own little platoon of NPC adventurers? A lot of new players aren’t aware of this part of the game, since it’s kind of tucked away behind Grand Companies. Squadrons can be a good source of useful consumables if you pay attention to them, and you can even use them to help level your combat jobs if you’re intimidated or frustrated with the Duty Finder.
In this guide I’m going to cover how to unlock and recruit Squadron members, as well as what you should be looking for among those recruits. I’ll also tell you how to go about levelling up and building your team, and tips on how to complete both Squadron Missions and Command Missions consistently for easy rewards.
How to Unlock Squadrons
You’ll need to complete the level 47 quest ‘Squadron and Commander‘ at your Grand Company. This requires you to have the rank of Second Lieutenant or higher. It’s a fairly high rank, being the first rank of the highest ‘tier’ in your Grand Company. New players will likely be locked out until they can farm up the necessary Company Seals and complete the relevant quests.
It’s worth noting that this quest requires you to have unlocked the Challenge Log first. This is done by completing the level 15 quest ‘Rising to the Challenge‘. I really recommend the Challenge Log for new players as soon as they can access it. If you’re over level 15 and haven’t unlocked it yet, check out this post on the Challenge Log’s Tasks and Rewards for more information.
Once you’ve unlocked Adventurer Squadrons, there will be a new area available to you in your Grand Company’s Headquarters. One of the doors will now have the option labelled ‘Entrance to the Barracks’. Entering this takes you to the Barracks of your Grand Company which is where you’ll go to manage your Squadron’s members, recruits, training, and missions.
There’s also a Glamour Dresser and Armoire in this room, so you can glamour your team members’ outfits (or your own) easily. Normal glamour rules apply to Squadron members, so the items have to be the appropriate level and class for the person to wear. Your recruit must be at least level 51 in order to use glamours.
Squadron members are limited to the base classes (Gladiator, Marauder, Conjurer, Lancer, Pugilist, Rogue, Archer, Thaumaturge, and Arcanist) and they can reach a maximum level of 60.
How to Recruit New Members
The way you get new recruits is by completing tasks in the Challenge Log. That’s why it’s a requirement to have it unlocked before you gain access to Adventurer Squadrons. Each time you complete a task you have a chance of receiving a recruit’s application.
To check if you have new applicants, go to your Timers menu (default keybind Ctrl+U). Click on ‘Adventurer Squadron’ to see what mission is underway, how much time is remaining on it, and whether or not you have new recruits.
Which recruits apply to be in your Squadron depends on which categories your Challenge Log tasks are from. There’s a list here, where you can see the different categories that may entice each recruit. Note that the ‘Guildhests’ and ‘Dungeons’ categories no longer exist, and were rolled together into the ‘Battles’ category.
For example, ‘Making Like a Tree’ is a ‘Levequest’ category challenge, so once I complete that I might get an application from Nanasomi, a male Lalafell Archer. Or instead Kumokiri, a female Au Ra Gladiator might apply. Or, I might not get any applications at all.
To increase the chance of someone applying, use a Squadron Enlistment Manual. You can buy this for 2000 Company Seals under the Material Tab of the highest rank. It’s also a reward from certain Squadron Missions. This item boosts the likelihood that a completed challenge will earn you an applicant, and the buff remains active until a recruit applies to join.
Inside your Grand Company Barracks, you’ll find a table with Enlistment Papers on it. Here you’ll be able to review potential recruits and question them or dismiss them. Questioning just lets you see them up close before you decide to recruit or dismiss them. You can also select ‘postpone’ if you don’t want to decide right now.
You can stack up recruits and then go through them whenever you choose, but you’ll have to make a decision on each one before you can see the next one in the pile. It’s possible that the same recruit is in your pile of Enlistment Papers more than once, if they happen to be randomly chosen as the applicant when you complete multiple challenges. Perhaps you’ll be persuaded to let them join because of their persistence. Or you can break their heart twice.
Who Should You Recruit? (Races and Classes)
You can have 8 recruits in your Squadron Roster, though each Squadron Mission only requires a party of 4. This lets you mix and match members to make the best party for the situation. A diverse composition can give you more options to suit your needs, so a variety of Tanks, DPS, and Healers is recommended. You should definitely have at least one Tank and one Healer for Command Missions, but I recommend having two of each available for Squadron Missions.
If you’re just starting out, your roster begins with 3 out of 8 recruits, so you should just accept any applicants you get to fill out your roster. Once it is full then you can start removing people in favour of new recruits.
Some classes have very high stats in one attribute at the cost of the other two, while some classes lean towards being more balanced between all three. Marauder (Physical), Conjurer (Mental), and Archer and Rogue (Tactical) are kind of like ‘specialists’ who are your go-to team members if a mission calls for a very high skill in a particular attribute.
The other classes have less polarized stats, with slightly more balanced stats. This can still work for you to complete missions, but will require more attention to shuffling around your general Squadron Attributes values. You may need to spend time balancing those out before you can tackle a tough mission. For this reason, I prefer the above ‘specialist’ classes with high values in one primary attribute.
It’s important to know that your recruits can actually change classes, so you’re not locked in to whatever they start as. You can buy Contemporary Warfare books (Defense for Tank classes, Offense for Physical DPS, and Magicks for Magical DPS and Healers). These items are available from your Grand Company Vendor for 3000 Company Seals, or you might earn some from Squadron Missions as Chemistry rewards.
The only permanently distinguishing features of your recruits are their race and gender. Gender won’t affect anything but appearance and restricting the potential glamour you can use. The reason you may prefer having recruits of one race over another is because of Squadron Chemistry.
Every recruit can have a bonus called Chemistry, which thematically makes your units better based on who they are teamed up with. There are two components: a condition and a reward. The condition is often about the party makeup, and usually concerns race or class combinations. There is also a condition that just requires the recruit to be above level 50.
The Chemistry reward is either a boost to the recruit’s attributes or earned experience, or a chance to receive bonuses at the end of the assigned mission. For example, a Chemistry reward may give you materia, crafters’ scrips, Contemporary Warfare books, or gil.
Chemistry can be changed as well. When a recruit returns from a mission there is a chance that a new Chemistry will be discovered. Interact with the recruit in the Barracks and you’ll see their current and new potential Chemistries. Simply select ‘Confirm Chemistry’ at the bottom of the window to change to the new one.
The potential Chemistry only lasts until the next mission, so if you don’t ‘Confirm Chemistry’, it will be lost as soon as you take on a new mission, where you may or may not be offered a new one, in blue text on the Mission Debriefing Window.
Some recruits already have Chemistry when they apply to join your Squadron. Make sure to check these in case they’ve got a valuable one. It may be reason enough to enlist them into your unit if it saves you the trouble of trying to reroll Chemistry later.
Unless you’re actively rearranging your Squadron’s classes, there’s little use for the Warfare books. You can’t even sell them on the Marketboard. Gil is always nice to have I suppose, but I don’t think the few thousand gil you can get is worth it, especially considering that you need to spend Company Seals to undertake these missions.
This leaves materia and crafters’ scrips as the preferred rewards. Personally I prefer keeping Chemistry with the crafters’ scrips because you can’t just buy them from the Marketboard. It takes time and effort to farm them, outside of the weekly Custom Deliveries.
If you’re still levelling up your Squadron you’ll want one of the two boost rewards. The experience boost is obviously best to get your recruits levelled up as quick as possible.
You could also get some benefit out of the attribute boost to help you complete required missions. Since it’s a percentage based boost, try to match the attributes to the appropriate classes. A Marauder gets the biggest benefit from Physical ability boosts, while Conjurers have the highest Mental ability. For Tactical boosts, Archers and Rogues have very high base stats so they’re the best candidates for this type of Chemistry.
I would actually recommend changing your recruit’s class to fit their Chemistry if you roll a good one, since classes are easy to change but Chemistry is complete luck.
Once you’ve maxed out your Squadron’s levels, it’s not really necessary to rely on bonus attribute stats from Chemistry, as you should be able to reach the required attribute thresholds with just a little planning. Might as well take the free reward bonuses instead.
How to Level Your Squadron
You begin with three recruits at level 1. The first thing you’ll need to do is recruit a fourth member so you can undertake missions. New recruits you enlist will be one level lower than your lowest level member. This makes replacing recruits much less painful, since you won’t have to start from scratch at level 1. Once your squadron is fully levelled, any new recruits will be level 59.
The best way to level up your recruits is with training courses, and by sending them on Squadron Missions. They’ll also earn experience from Command Missions which can be repeated with no limit, but they give less experience and cost more Company Seals. On top of that, they require you to invest the time and effort to accompany them through the dungeon.
I suggest you just do three Training Regimens and the highest level Squadron Mission you can tackle. This is the most efficient, hands-off experience your recruits can earn each day and it should level them up quickly. Keep an eye out for Chemistry that increases earned EXP as well.
Training courses are available from the Regimen Board on the wall of the Barracks. They take 1 hour to complete and are used to rearrange your Squadron Attributes. These are separate from your recruits’ attributes, and added to them to give you the final totals which are compared to your mission thresholds. You begin with a cap of 200 Squadron Attributes, and at maximum rank you’ll have 400.
The top row of regimens will increase one attribute by 40 at the cost of 20 from each of the other two. The middle row of regimens will decrease one attribute by 40 and increase the other two by 20 each. Use these to adjust your bonuses as needed for those tough high level missions.
There’s another regimen on the bottom row which does not affect your attribute distribution but does give the squadron a bit more experience than the other courses. Use these every day to help level your recruits. Recruits that are currently on a Squadron Mission will be greyed out and won’t receive experience.
Each regimen takes one hour to complete and you can have your squadron do three per day. Try to get these in before you send them on an 18 hour mission. If you won’t be online long enough to check back in on them, you’ll probably want to just assign them a Squadron Mission instead, since they get more experience from these.
Speak to the Squadron Sergeant to see a list of Squadron Missions. Each unique mission can be completed once per week. In the Priority Missions tab, only one of these 18 missions may be completed per week. Check the Priority Mission section a little further down in this post for recommendations on which rewards to prioritize depending on your goals and activities.
When you assign your Squadron to a Squadron Mission, you’ll see three target values at the top right for each of the three attributes. If your Squadron’s value surpasses the threshold, the number will be blue. The more of these numbers are blue, the higher the chance of success. The Squadron Sergeant will have a text box near the bottom describing the unit’s likelihood to succeed.
Having enough of all three attributes will be a guaranteed success. Two out of three will be a 67% chance, and one out of three will be a 33% chance of success. Obviously you want to maximize your odds so that you don’t send them out for nothing. At 18 hours per mission, your Squadron only has so many missions they can take on before the weekly reset.
Breakthrough Missions (Squadron Progression)
Breakthrough Missions are special missions that are required to complete for Squadron progression, and unlock the next tier or set of missions. These missions will only succeed if all three attribute values meet the threshold. If even one stat is too low, the mission is guaranteed to fail.
Make sure your recruits are levelled and tinker with your Squadron Attribute values using the Regimen Board to make sure you meet the target values.
Mission Affinity (Bonuses to Recruit Chemistry)
Some Squadron Missions have a Mission Affinity randomly assigned to them. If there is one, it will be for one or more races, or one or more classes, or a mix. There can be up to three affinities assigned to a mission.
What these affinities mean is that if you send a recruit on that mission who has an applicable affinity, their Chemistry condition is waived, and their Chemistry reward drop chance is a guaranteed 100%. If their Chemistry bonus was a percentage boost to an attribute, the boost is doubled.
This double boost comes in really handy for completing tough missions before your recruits are max level. It’s most effective on those ‘specialist’ classes with very high attribute values. Marauders, Conjurers, Archers, and Rogues are the classes that capitalize on these Mission Affinities, provided you’re able to get one with good Chemistry.
With a Mission Affinity giving you a guaranteed drop for gil, scrips, or materia, it makes your squadron missions feel a little like sending your retainer on ventures. You just check in on them the next day and see that they’ve brought you some valuable stuff.
Priority Missions (Exclusive Items Once per Week)
In the Priority Missions tab of your Squadron Missions, you can complete one of these high level missions per week. If your Squadron is unsuccessful you can continue to send them on it throughout the week until they succeed.
The level 40 missions have lower attribute thresholds (a total of 1190) and reward you with 5 consumable items. The level 50 missions have higher requirements (a total of 1325 attribute points) and reward you with 10 consumables.
There are nine types of rewards, which I’ll go over here.
Priority Seal Allowance
A Priority Seal Allowance increases Company Seal earnings by 15% for 120 minutes. I can’t say I’ve ever farmed Company Seals with this, so I have no experience with this item myself.
I suppose if you were trying to reach the final rank, or stock up on high value items from your Grand Company Vendor, this may find some value. To me it just seems like adding a middleman though. If you’ve got one, use it, but I wouldn’t recommend prioritizing this reward.
Gold Saucer VIP Card
A Gold Saucer VIP Card increases MGP earnings by 15% for 120 minutes. The VIP Card applies to everything in the Gold Saucer that earns you MGP, including GATEs, Minigames and the Fashion Report. It does not include MGP from Challenge Log tasks.
If you’re saving up for those big vanity items, I definitely recommend using this at least once a week for the Fashion Report. It’s a huge amount of MGP in one shot, so you get really good value out of the boost.
Jump into a couple of GATEs while you’re there and maybe complete a couple Challenge Log tasks for more potential recruits. This card is incredibly useful for speeding up your MGP farming.
Squadron Battle Manual
The Squadron Battle Manual increases combat EXP by 15% for 120 minutes. This buff only applies to experience earned from fighting enemies. It doesn’t increase quest or roulette rewards. As such, the best use of this buff is when doing at-level content.
For example, after you’ve done your levelling roulette, queuing up for the highest levelling dungeon available to you will earn you lots of combat experience from the dungeon mobs and maximize the bonus from this manual. Grab these manuals to speed up levelling secondary Jobs.
Squadron Survival Manual
The Squadron Survival Manual increases gathering EXP by 20% for 120 minutes. This is a great boost to use when bringing your gatherers into the next expansion’s content, or completing leves for really fast levelling.
It does not affect turn-in reward EXP, just EXP from gathering from nodes.
Squadron Engineering Manual
The Squadron Engineering Manual increases crafting EXP by 20% for 120 minutes. If you’re still levelling your crafters, this is a significant boost as long as you plan ahead and make use of its long duration by stocking up on materials and elemental shards and crystals.
It does not affect turn-in reward EXP, just EXP from crafting items. Remember that you earn more experience the higher you fill the quality bar, even if the end result doesn’t end up being HQ.
Squadron Spiritbonding Manual
The Squadron Spiritbonding Manual increases spiritbonding speed by +3 for 120 minutes. This one is quite possibly the least useful for the average player, and I would avoid it. Spiritbonding is a somewhat murky mechanic which most people don’t actively pursue, especially not in specific two hour windows of time.
The only thing I could think would make this useful is if you were already planning on doing some massive amount of quick synthesis on your crafters. Extracting materia from spiritbonded crafting gear yields valuable crafting materia. The amount of materials and elemental shards or crystals required makes this a pretty prohibitive activity.
Squadron Rationing Manual
The Squadron Rationing Manual increases meal effect duration by 15 minutes for 120 minutes. If you rely on endgame consumables for your progression raiding, this is probably what you want to pick up.
It’s especially useful at the beginning of a raid tier while you’re learning savage fights for the first time. Everyone tends to buy up the HQ meals on the Marketboard and the prices are high. With this item, you won’t have to worry quite as much about how many meals you’re using, or your buff running out in the middle of a pull by accident.
Squadron Gear Maintenance Manual
Use a Squadron Gear Maintenance Manual to decrease gear wear by 30% for 120 minutes. If you repair your own gear, this could save you some uses of Grade 7 Dark Matter. Since those are available from NPC vendors, it really boils down to saving gil though, which may not be important depending on your goals.
Priority Aetheryte Pass
A Priority Aetheryte Pass decreases Aetheryte teleportation fees by 40% for 120 minutes. You can get a lot of use out of this, don’t get me wrong. There are times when I have a long laundry list of in game daily or weekly tasks to do and it requires a lot of teleporting. Often I’m teleporting between expansion zones which incurs the maximum fee.
However, you might find this a tedious use of game time, and not find yourself in this situation regularly, especially not if you’d want to get value out of the two hour duration. Also, gil might not be important enough to you to grab this over your other options.
My top picks are the Battle, Survival, or Engineering Manuals to help you level your Jobs faster. If you’re already levelled, then go for the VIP Card if you’re a Gold Saucer fan, or the Rationing Manual for convenience while raiding. If none of that applies to you, the Priority Aetheryte Pass or Gear Maintenance Manual will always save you currency, if your goal is to have a lot of gil.
If you’ve ever used the Trust system for Shadowbringers content, Command Missions with your Squadron work largely the same. You’re accompanied by three NPCs of your choosing, with yourself filling the fourth spot of the standard composition of 1 Tank, 1 Healer, and 2 DPS.
The available dungeons include some, but not all of those between Halatali (Level 20) and The Fractal Continuum (Level 60). Your recruits will need to be high enough level to enter. Any treasure chests you open will drop the loot directly into your inventory.
In order to earn the highest rank in your Grand Company you will need to complete at least five unique Command Missions, so you’ll have opportunities to dabble and play around with orders and Battle Tactics.
These Battle Tactics are buffs to a recruit’s HP, damage, or mitigation. It’s not something you need to worry about, but if you enjoy tinkering, you can set them by speaking to your recruits in the Barracks and selecting ‘Display Orders’. By default they only have ‘Independent’ available, but they may unlock or level different tactics from completing Command Missions.
The NPCs will use single target attacks, so they’re not the most efficient adventurers. However, you have command over them and can choose when they engage and disengage, so you can go at your own pace. This may be useful if you have a low level Job to get a feel for. You can do so in a Command Mission without worrying about letting others down.
I found the A.I. to be a little unreliable in a couple of respects. The Marauder on my team would not pick up aggro on every enemy all the time, so I found myself as a Black Mage taking quite a lot of damage in some situations. The healer was decent, but it seems like you will frequently be targeted for typically random mechanics, such as the Toxic Vomit puddles on the last boss of Brayflox’s Longstop.
After the mission, you’ll be returned to the Barracks where you can speak to the Squadron Sergeant for a Mission Debriefing. You’ll receive Squadron experience, gil, a high-grade company-issue tonic, and your recruits will gain tactics or mastery in those tactics.
If you’re just trying to level your Squadron, don’t bother with these missions. They cost more Company Seals and reward less experience than Squadron Missions. The only benefit is that they’re unlimited and you can do as many as you feel like.
To me, the time investment just isn’t worth it, and you should stick to sending your Squadron off on training or missions while you do other things.
Aside from ranking up in your Grand Company, I would only use the Command Missions if you’re looking for experience for your own low level Job. It’s a low pressure way to get the hang of a dungeon or new job if you feel stressed about letting your fellow party members down.
Squadrons are required in order to attain the highest rank with your Grand Company, so you’ll probably find yourself dabbling in them eventually. It can also be kind of fun to put together your own little team of adventurers, customizing them and earning rewards when you send them on missions.
Overall, it’s a pretty interesting system that can come in handy to earn you some nice consumables once a week, as well as gil and a few small extras like materia or crafters’ scrips. On top of that it gives you a nice option to take on low level content with NPCs, in case you’re feeling shy levelling a new Job.
I hope you’re able to get your recruits up to par and then glamour them to be a spectacularly dressed elite unit. Let me know if you have any questions that weren’t covered by this guide and I’ll do my best to answer those as well.