A mule or an alt is an alternate character created expressly for supporting the player's primary character by holding additional items or gathering resources. A player can create up to fifteen mules to support the primary character for USD $1/£0.70 more per mule added to the monthly rate to play the game.
Japanese players use the word "souko" (倉庫, storehouse, warehouse) for mule characters.
Reasons for Creating a Mule
There are many different reasons why players will chose to create secondary characters.
- Storage space
- Main characters have a finite limit on the amount of items they can have. Even having completed Gobbiebag, Mog Safe, and Mog Locker expansions, making use of the Armor Storer and Event Item Storer, and maximizing Mog Storage with furniture like Mannequins, some people like to have items on hand for multiple jobs at multiple level caps. This is probably the most common usage for a mule.
- Easy access to shops, regional vendors, and auction houses
shops and regional vendors to help gather the crafting supplies they need for a bout of synthing. Tenshodo Membership is handy for mules residing in Bastok, Jeuno, Norg, and Nashmau, since they can pick up items from the Tenshodo shops. Another benefit of having multiple mules in different places is being able to set up a bazaar in place where your wares are most likely to be purchased.
- Many people will create mules to level another craft to 100, since characters can only have one craft to 100. Because Cooking doesn't really benefit as much as other crafts from fully leveled subcrafts, many people chose to level cooking on a mule, while focusing on other skills with their main characters. Another common main-mule craft pairing is Woodworking and Goldsmithing, which helps in the production of elemental staves (such as Apollo's Staff) without requiring the help of other players. Crafting mules are frequently leveled enough to get their Chocobo License for easy travel to other cities. Some people will even get their mules Rank 5 or pay for an Airship Pass for them.
- Since the fishing update that introduced fatigue, players that are trying to catch 10,000 moat carp for their Lu Shang's Fishing Rod will often create mules to help out with the fishing. They can fish on their main character until fatigue sets in, then send their fishing gear off to a mule and continue fishing with the mule until the mule is fatigued as well.
- Another common job for mules is Gardener. Characters are limited to 10 pots for growing plants, and because a lot of the desirable harvests rely on experimentation and long growing times, it's helpful to have more than one character growing things.
- Little bit different but very useful is a Whitemage mule with all teleport spells and without the teleport key-items(!!) this results in a mule, that can teleport everyone to all possible locations without leaving his spot. This means also, that's not necessary to level BLM to 17 for Warp. At rush hour it's possible to make very good Gil offering teleport services.
- People will also create mules simply to do some of the more lucrative scroll quests (while others will have their multipurpose mules quest in order to make some money). Aspir, Drain, and Warp are the scrolls most commonly quested by mules, but there are many others. Of these three, Drain is the more difficult to quest, as it requires a character to be either Rank 2 in San d'Oria or on Mission 2-3 if they're Windurstian or Bastokan. However, it doesn't take long to level a San d'Orian character high enough to be able to handle Save the Children. Another benefit of raising a mule's reputation is that they can do Mog Safe expansion quests, and have even more storage space.
- Some people create a mule with Treasure Hunter so that they can farm items whenever they want without inconveniencing their main characters inventory space, auction spaces, or location. These mules will be as high as Level 75 THF, and have done many quests such as Mog Locker expansion, and multiple Gobblin Baggy quests. It's not unheard of to see a TH Mule to have the Assassin's Armlets for the TH+1.
Locations for Mules
Just as there are many reasons to create a mule, there are also many locations for them to reside. Most mules require access to a Delivery Box and a Delivery NPC, which means most will reside in one of the cities, or near a Nomad Moogle in the Outlands. People will often create mules to reside in places they don't go to frequently, but like to be able to have easy access to that location's Auction House and shops.
Mules are most commonly found in the starter cities where they were created, but many players will move a mule to a far-flung place, either temporarily for a specific reason (quests, reputation, guild enrollment), or permanently.
Since each of the starter cities has a distinct set of guilds, it's common to have mules residing in these cities sell items related to that city's crafts.
- Home of the guilds for Bonecraft, Clothcraft, Cooking, and Fishing, Windurst is a good spot for both Cooking and Fishing mules. Windurst shares its Auction House with Kazham, which makes it is a good place to sell things that people are likely to need while they're leveling in Yuhtunga Jungle and Yhoator Jungle, typically from levels 24-33.
- San d'Oria
- Jeuno is the hub of activity in Vana'diel (though it's getting some competition from Al Zahbi/Aht Urhgan Whitegate). This is the best place to buy or sell any gear for levels 20 and up, high level crafting items, and consumables, such as ninja tools, food, medicines, and ammunition. The Tenshodo Headquarters is located here, and there are many useful shops. Jeuno shares its Auction House with Tavnazian Safehold, Al Zahbi, Aht Urhgan Whitegate, and Nashmau.
Less Common Locations
For players with very specific needs, some of the more difficult to reach locations might be worth the effort of placing a mule. As long as they have their Delivery Box and an Auction House, they can provide useful services for their main characters.
- At first glance, Rabao seems an unlikely location for a mule, but it shares the San d'Oria Auction House, is a good spot for moat carp fishing, and the local vendors have a regular supply of Kuzotz goods, such as Watermelons and Thundermelons, which are in high demand for melon juice. The Mythril Rings also seem very popular with goldsmiths. Another specialty in Rabao is Irmilant who will repair Lu Shang's Fishing Rods.
- Kazham is also unlikely, but it shares the Auction House with Windurst, and Elshimo regional goods, such as Kazham Pineapples and Pamamas, are local. Vendors also have supplies of Fish Mithkabobs and Roast Mushrooms at reasonable prices. It should also be noted the only source in the game for Seedbed Soil, a popular jug pet for Beastmasters level 33-65, is from an NPC in Kazham.
- For those who like having their mules earn their keep, Norg is an interesting choice. Assuming the mule has leveled their Tenshodo Reputation before arriving in Norg, the Ninja scrolls obtained through Norg quests have a high value on the Auction House. Other benefits of a mule in Norg is access to the Tenshodo shops, and the Bastok Auction House.
- Al Zahbi/Aht Urhgan Whitegate
- Al Zahbi/Aht Urhgan Whitegate are interesting places for a mule to reside. They share the Auction House with Jeuno, and when the expansion was first released, the taxes for listing items on the Auction House were actually lower than in Jeuno. This was too popular though, and the taxation was revised. There are many guild shops as well as vendors with new items introduce in the expansion, including food, and items for Corsair and Puppetmaster.
- Nashmau also shares the Auction House with Jeuno, and has its own collection of vendors for new items. Nashmau also has the shortest walks from Nomad Moogle to Sender to Auction House. In fact, it requires no changing of areas, and one can see all three in one screen at a time. The only setbacks are the lack of Storage and Mog Locker access.
Very Unusual Locations
There are many unusual locations for mules throughout Vana'diel, such as a bazaar mule in the Hall of the Gods selling Prism Powder and Silent Oil for those who forgot theirs on the way to Sky, or one selling food supplies in Valkurm Dunes. Without delivery services or auction houses in the unusual locations, these specialty mules are higher maintenance than a more usual mule, but some people obviously find them useful. Since the addition of the nomad moogle to Selbina mules in Valkurm Dunes have become much more common, selling all sorts of foods and consumables such as shihei, bolts and arrows