Ul'dah is a city-state in Final Fantasy XIV located in the deserts of Thanalan in southern Aldenard. It is known as the most wealthy of the city-states, its flag bearing scales as a symbol of their commercial significance in Eorzea. The city-state was once exclusively populated by Lalafell, and the royal family is of this race, but the prospect of wealth attracted all peoples from across the world. The majority of the Syndicate members are Lalafell as well.
The bustling commercial hub of Ul'dah sits amid the desolate desert landscape of southern Aldenard. The city is organized strategically around the dome-shaped citadel at its center. Its towering fortifications and protective outer walls are visible for malms in all directions, and serve as a stark deterrent to would-be besiegers.
Visitors from every corner of Eorzea come to Ul'dah to partake of the city's famed recreation, most notably the fighting arenas and gambling halls. Ul'dahic culture is known for its affluence, and the wealth of the nation comes in large part from its abundant mineral resources and prestigious clothcrafting industry.
Historically, it is the sultan who claims sovereignty over Ul'dah, but true power is wielded by the Syndicate, an elite group of six of the most influential and richest members of society. Nald'thal is the patron deity of the city, and two great halls devoted to his two aspects can be found in the eastern and western sections of the city.
Emporiums and ServicesEdit
- Ramululu's Bric-a-Brac
- The Rudius
- Eshtaime's Aesthetics
All adventurers at some point visit the Aetheryte Plaza to align themselves to the crystal for teleportation. It is the closest crystal to the Market Wards of the three cities.
The most bustling part of the entire game. Adventurers from all over the world gather here to find parties or loiter with their linkshell communities. This avenue is popular for its adjacency to the Market Wards, Aetheryte Plaza, Ruby Road Exchange, and Gate of Nald. It also connects to the Platinum Mirage and the best-known repair NPC, and at the transition to the Sapphire Avenue is a chocobo stable.
The Gold CourtEdit
The Gold Court is the core of Ul'dah, with a gigantic pillar passing from the upper level down to a fountain above the lower level. The Gold Court is marked on both the upper and lower maps. There is now an NPC that can take you directly to the Market Wards, Mercantile Houses, and Hall of Flames. Additionally, the new entrance to The Hourglass, Ul'dah's inn, can be found here.
Ruby Road ExchangeEdit
The Ruby Road links the Emerald Avenue to the Gold Court and the Quicksand. NPC shop stalls line the pathway, offering low-grade materials and equipment for new adventurers. This area sees some of the most traffic in the game, and as it is at a transitional point between map sections it can cause many computers to stall while it attempts to load the NPCs.
Sapphire Avenue ExchangeEdit
The shops along the Sapphire Avenue offer low-level equipment and low-grade materials for new adventurers. Its counterpart is the Ruby Road Exchange, but sees far less traffic because it leads away from the more convenient locations in Ul'dah.
Gates of Nald and ThalEdit
Long ago, our city itself was split into two great sections...
The Gate of Nald to the north and the Gate of Thal to the east are the only two thresholds between Ul'dah and Central Thanalan. They are named for the two gods that make up Nald'thal, collectively one member of the Twelve. These two gates may be all that remains of a time when the city was divided. The larger gate of each is only opened for carriages and large groups such as parades, so individual adventurers are forced to use the side route.
Rather amusing to note, the Gate of Thal (god of death and the afterlife) is in closer proximity to the dangerous areas surrounding the Four Sisters and Cactus Basin Aetherial Gates, whereas the Gate of Nald (god of life) faces the areas immediately surrounding Black Brush, which is safe even for adventurers below Level 10.
Those who worship the word of Nald value achievement over all else. Pray to him, and be rewarded in the here and now. Through him, salvation lies in the affirmation of life, friend.
This is the temple of Nald, the god of life and twin brother to Thal. Their beliefs in earthly rewards conflict with those of the worshipers of Thal at Arrzaneth Ossuary, who believe in postmortem salvation through a virtuous life.
Here stands a statue of Nald similar to the statue of Thal in the Arrzaneth Ossuary. The two gods collectively make up Nald'thal, a member of the Twelve. Recently the symbol of Nald'thal has appeared beneath this statue, part of a larger divine message in the form of marked stones scattered throughout Eorzea related to the Seventh Umbral Era. Nald'thal is the only member of the Twelve to have more than one marked stone.
Erralig's Burial ChamberEdit
Next to the Arrzaneth Ossuary is Erralig's Burial Chamber, an instanced area only used in quests. It should be noted that while Ul'dah was founded by Lalafell, the coffins here are proportional to Elezen or Hyur.
The Coliseum ArenaEdit
Between the Gladiator's Guild and the Pugilist's Guild is a large arena that, due to its constant use, is restricted to staff and combatants. It may at one time have been intended as the location for Player Vs. Player duels, but currently only NPCs combat each other here. Certain quests pit players against NPC warriors, but they are of mediocre difficulty. Gambling is also common pastime here, with greater significance to Ul'dah's economy and culture than might be readily apparent.
The Royal PromenadeEdit
Gold and black carpet and tapestries decorate the pathway to a normally inaccessible door that leads to The Fragrant Chamber.
The Fragrant ChamberEdit
Normally closed off to ruffian Adventurers, the Fragrant Chamber is a rare sight for players. The Syndicate holds many meetings here. Beneath the romantic ambiance of the immense chandeliers is a table that seats eight, presumably to accommodate all six Syndicate members, the Sultana, and any important guest. This instance is used primarily in quests for the Immortal Flames.
During the game, the player character may find work by asking the Adventurer's Guild for Guildleves, decorative cards which each hold a quest for the character to complete. These include Regional Levequests, which involve combat or gathering outside town, and Local Levequests, which involve crafting. The Regional Levequests can be completed alone or with a party of other players, with everyone being able to reap the benefits of the quest. The Local Levequests can only be completed alone. Additionally, each class's specific guild will offer three story quests for adventurers at levels 20, 30, and 36.
What'll it be, then? Don't tell me you just happened to wander into my Quicksand not knowin' what you wanted.
The tavern known best to players as the Adventurers' Guild. It is owned by a Lalafell named Momodi, the client for several early-level Guildleves. At one time one could access an inn called The Hourglass here. Unfortunately due to the amount of traffic in this particular building, players are now forced to use the "back entrance" located in the Gold Court, which is strangely nowhere near the original entrance.
Amajina & Sons Mineral ConcernEdit
Welcome to Amajina & Sons Mineral Concerns - proud miners of Thanalan, from the Copperbells to the Nanawas. We've even some shafts open to the public, seein' as how they're picked clean an' all.
The Mineral Concern is the Miners' Guild. Ironically they are supposed to have restricted access to the Nanawa Mines in Thanalan, but adventurers can enter the mines freely. They appear to be an underground brothel, as evidenced by the dancing Miqo'te on stage, but this is not mentioned in the class quests. The "sons" are competitive twin Lalafell that appear in the Miner quests.
Arrzaneth Ossuary is the temple of Thal. His aspect is that of death and darkness, that which we shall all come to know in time. Many of the poor and destitute worship here. For it is they who seek a better place in death than they knew in life.
The Thaumaturges' Guild is run by worshipers of Thal. Their belief in salvation after death via virtue puts them in conflict with the worshipers of Nald in the Milvaneth Sacrarium, who believe in salvation during life through the pursuit of one's goals. They see themselves as guides from the realm of Nald (life) into the realm of Thal (death).
The Thaumaturges act as assassins, targeting man and beast alike to take revenge on behalf of the dead. On the side they are notorious for attempting to sell expensive funeral services to people all over Eorzea, and are accused of secretly hoarding the earthly possessions of the dead meant to be laid alongside them.
The Ossuary itself contains a statue of Thal. The twin gods are collectively Nald'thal, a member of The Twelve. Recently the symbol of Nald'thal has appeared beneath both statues, part of a larger divine message in the form of marked stones scattered throughout Eorzea related to the Seventh Umbral Era. Nald'thal is the only god to have more than one marked stone.
Eshtaime's Lapidaries welcomes you. Here we care to the jeweling needs of Eorzea's opulent.
The Goldsmiths' Guild. Goldsmiths are known to design each piece with a specific model in mind, an honor and coveted complement any lady would dream of.
There is also an instanced storage room behind the guild hall. It is an instance only used during the Goldsmith quests. It contains a variety of things like stacked chests and boxes and a large oriental screen.
You will find the finest alchemists and healers in Eorzea within these halls. Our treatments are second to none.
The Alchemists' Guild. Frondale's is essentially a pharmaceutical research center, and even acts as a hospital for some Ul'dahns.
No doubt you've heard of our gambling halls, but our contribution to the economy of Ul'dah does not stop there. Gil from all over Eorzea makes its way here. We lend that Gil to others, and in doing so earn even more for ourselves.
The Platinum Mirage is the Pugilists' Guild, but also a loan company of sorts. They also house gambling halls. The Pugilists themselves are fists for hire that collect debts for the Platinum Mirage, by intimidation if not by force. They are the equivalent of the real world mafia.
Our charge is to better the appearance of folk Eorzea over. For in doing so, we better their sense of self-worth.
The Weavers' Guild. In addition to producing some of the finest cloth in the continent, they have a tradition of putting on theatrical performances as a means of promoting clothing sales. Some might say that the guild as a whole is derived from the vanity associated with wealth. If you can afford to look rich, then you are rich.
Welcome to the Coliseum, the place where legends are forged and felled, our very own Flame General Raubahn Aldynn being one of the few who've managed to avoid the latter.
The Gladiators' Guild, owned by the leader of the Immortal Flames. The guild building itself is connected to an arena which currently can only be viewed from above. Spectators come from far and wide to gamble over the matches here. It was bought by Flame General Raubahn Aldynn, earning him a place in the Syndicate. Its violent practices have earned it the nickname "the bloodsands".
Ul'dah is by far the most densely populated city in the game. Its geographic placement between Limsa Lominsa and Gridania automatically make it a commercial hub for adventurers in spite of the barrenness of the outlying region. It is also the place where the Main Scenario quests converge after the brief narratives unique to each City-State are completed. It is the Hydaelyn equivalent to the Grand Duchy of Jeuno, the main difference being that it is a starting nation.
Ul'dah has seen some of the worst server instability because of its player population density, including instances where the entire Thanalan region would crash. The Inn, original accessed via the Quicksand, was shut down for several weeks shortly after its release, attributed to the traffic in that area putting a strain on the server. Square-Enix was unable to get it to function until they created a "back door" in the Gold Court, the core of the city.
Primarily due to the lag and the resulting player complaints, Square-Enix has developed a Mercantile House to allow players to spread into the other two City-States.
A few factors have made this a futile attempt to distribute people:
- It is easier to set one's Retainer from within Ul'dah's Market Ward.
- The long-established population density makes it is easier to find parties in Ul'dah.
- Many Linkshell communities have made Ul'dah their gathering spot.
- The more popular Grand Company of the three is Ul'dah's Immortal Flames, primarily due to the convenience of not having to leave.
- Ul'dah has seen the worst effects of the Seventh Umbral Era, being the only city-state to endure full-scale invasions of powerful Deepvoid. After the final save maintenance, chocobos could be ridden in town.