Artifact equipment is the job-specific equipment in Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV obtained through a series of quests. Typically the armor sets are inspired by early-franchise depictions of traditional jobs, although many sets are of original design.
The Artifact equipment for any given job comes in five pieces—head, body, hands, legs and feet—and one other piece that varies with the job. The first quest usually rewards a level 41 weapon and is accessible at level 40. The next two quests are available at level 50 and each yield one more piece in the set. The remaining three pieces are involved in the "Borghertz's Hands" line of quests, requiring adventurers to seek out Treasure Coffers in various Rise of the Zilart dungeon areas.
Unlike Final Fantasy XI, the Artifact equipment is obtained through the jobs' respective quests, and its importance ranges from being something earned by new recruits through various trials to being legendary relics that must be sought out. At level 45, players get to take the head, hand, leg and foot armor pieces from successfully doing the quest. At level 50, the final class quest gives access to the class specific armor.
Improved, recolored versions of the armor called Vintage equipment could be obtained using Allagan Tomestones of Mythology. When they were removed in patch 2.4, Vintage equipment could be instead be obtained from trading the "antique" items obtained from Snowcloak, Sastasha (Hard), and Sunken Temple of Qarn (Hard). Starting with the release of Heavensward and 3.0, Vintage equipment was added to the job quest rewards for newer players to ease the item level spike at level 50.
Note that the new jobs added in Heavensward do not have quested Artifact or Vintage equipment, and instead obtain theirs at level 60.
The Heavensward patch 3.05 introduced a new generation of Artifact armor at level 60, obtained with Allagan Tomestones of Esoterics or, changed in later patches, through completion of a job's level 60 quest and through trading Centurio Marks at the Forgotten Knight. This equipment is initially in an "Antiquated" state at item level 200, but can be upgraded to item level 210 with certain materials obtained through Alexander: Gordias (Savage). The set obtained through normal quests comes with a generic weapon, but the Artifact weapon may still be obtained through the Forgotten Knight by being purchased with Centurio Seals, or by obtaining it in normal quality from the expansion's relevant Anima Weapon questline.
Stormblood has a third tier of Artifact armor generally themed around previous characters in the series (such as Black Mage's new Artifact being patterned after Vivi), or a different take on the original job than previously depicted by the game (such as Dragoon's new Artifact being patterned after a dragoon from Final Fantasy V). This tier of artifact armor and its corresponding weapon is upgraded through Eureka Anemos by trading Eureka Crystals and Anemos Crystals, and must be brought from Antiquated to normal, then to +1, +2, and finally Anemos tier before it reaches its full strength and can be dyed.
The new jobs, Samurai and Red Mage, do not obtain artifact armors at level 60 as the jobs introduced in Heavensward did, but do gain an equivalent to an Artifact set immediately upon obtaining the job at level 50; Red Mages obtain a Red set of archetypal Red Mage's clothing, and Samurai obtain a Nameless set of a black, open-chested kimono and hakama. Neither job, however, has an artifact weapon at this tier, instead being given a normal base weapon. Both class' artifact armors at level 70 do come with an artifact weapon and gear, which are patterned after the equipment of each job's tutor and may be upgraded at Eureka Anemos, as with all other level 70 artifact armors and weapons.
As per tradition, the newly added Gunbreaker and Dancer jobs do not obtain new gear at level 70 though are given their own armor sets when unlocked at level 60. The Gunbreaker receives an Outsider set, consisting of an outfit loosely based on Squall Leonhart's outfit and the Dancer receives the Softstepper set, being based on previous Dancer depictions. Acquisition of the fourth tier of artifact armor gained at Level 80 is integrated into Shadowbringers' Main Scenario Quest as completing a Role Questline grants the player one of the Cardinal Virtues' broken Crystal. This crystal is then taken to Grenoldt in the Tempest. As thanks for striking inspiration to construct items for the Ondo, he also offers the adventurer the level 80 artifact gear and weapon of any class that reaches their cap. Rather than being coffer sets, they are selected piece by piece from a list and come in the form of weathered gear. Unlike previous artifact sets, the player is not required to complete the corresponding specific job quest first to unlock them.
- The player community in FFXI has adopted "AF" as the abbreviation for Artifact gear and its variants, a phrase that has carried over to FFXIV. Though the higher-level sets are referred to by NPCs and the UI as "Relic" and "Empyrean" equipment, the players have taken to calling them "AF2 and 3" or "AFv2 and v3".
- With the possibility in Final Fantasy XI to rapidly power-level a character to maximum through Abyssea, many players will opt not to quest for Artifacts because they become obsolete relatively early. Similarly, Artifacts are often treated as a cosmetic/glamour item by players in Final Fantasy XIV due to how swiftly the Artifact tends to be replaced, though in this case there are no specific quests to perform beyond that of normal job-progression.
- Level 50 Artifacts can be entrusted to an NPC for storage in both games, allowing collectors to keep their inventory open. Level 60 and 70 Artifacts may not be stored in a similar manner.