Introduction to Dark Research

A brief overview of the new research trees introduced with the Dark World reset.

With the release of the Dark World reset, we were introduced to a variety of new Dark World boosts.  Three key sources of these new boosts come from the new research trees added: Dark Combat Research, Research Rewards, and Dark Economics Research.  

Dark Research

When it’s available, the Mad Moogle Realm Boss can be very helpful for free-to-play players, as it drops chests that contain Unlock Dark World Troops and Unlock Dark World Economics items.

Dark Research Mad Moogle

Dark Combat Research

Similar to previous pre-Dark World Combat Research, this section contains boosts focused exclusively on combat — Dark Troop, Warrior, Mage, and Cavalry Armor Attack, and HP boosts are all included.  This research section also includes several boosts for crystal play as well as Dark Upkeep Reduction, although VIP 110 had already reduced that to 100%.

The very first research in this section is Dark Infusion, which kickstarts us on our path towards building our dark army.

Dark Research Combat

The most important research of Dark Combat Research necessitates the use of Unlock Dark World Troops items, which are actually research tomes even though the name doesn’t suggest it.  

These unlock items are used only for unlocking Dark Warriors, Mages, and Cavalry.  There are no Dark Sieges (yet), and the unlock items needed for each troop type is the same per tier.  The values below are rounded up for simplicity, and each troop type is exactly a third of the total needed.  At present, Tier 4 is the highest troop tier available, requiring 126 million unlock items in total.

Troop Tier Approximate Total to Unlock All Troops
Tier 1 1 million
Tier 2 5 million
Tier 3 20 million
Tier 4 100 million


Note that there is an Instant Unlock T4 item available for purchase in packs, but it unlocks only that tier of troops and does not complete any research prior.  If you purchase this item, make sure you go back and complete your missing researches or your new T4s will be a bit squishy and not up to par.

At the end of the Dark Combat tree is a “teaser” research, which is currently unknown as to the boosts or value.

Research Rewards

The Research Rewards tree is essentially the Dark World’s equivalent to the old Adventurer’s Research tree.  There are eight new Research Rewards tomes that can be used to boost specific attributes, as detailed in the table below.  Tomes can be won in events or bought in the Moogle Market. I recommend maxing out your Chrono research reward tomes to quickly increase your Dark Troop March Size, Research Time Efficiency, and Dark Troop Training Speed.

Dark Research Rewards

Boosted Attribute Research Tome Type
Dark Troop Attack/HP/Armor Event
Dark City Defense & Dark Crystal Defense Guild
Dark Warrior Attack/HP/Armor Monster
Dark Cavalry Attack/HP/Armor Credit
Dark Mage Attack/HP/Armor Empire
Dark Rally Legendary
Dark March Size/Research Time Efficiency/Training Speed Chrono
Dark Enemy Attack Resistance/Armor Piercing/Cripple HP Leaderboard

In a shocking display of friendliness towards chart-makers, the required tomes per level are the same for all Research Rewards researches.  Level 10 is currently the maximum level achievable, and the below chart shows the number of tomes needed to reach each level in its respective research.  9020 tomes are required in total to max each research to level 10.

Research Rewards Level

Tomes Needed





















When performing research in this tree, pay attention to the speeds used.  The majority of researches in this tree can be accelerated using Research Reward Speed Up items (which can be bought from the Moogle Market).

These seven types of research, however, require Dark World Speed Up items to be accelerated (which require the use of Dark Gemstones to purchase).

Dark Economics

Similar to Dark Combat Research, only certain research types require Unlock Dark World Economics items — specifically only those pertaining to Dark Troop March Size and Dark Troop Rally Size.  Don’t neglect this section! Dark Economics contains a surprising amount of combat-related research that you wouldn’t expect to find hiding in an economics research tree.

The below chart shows a summary of the unlock tomes required for Dark Economics.  Much appreciation to Kato from 1101 Pallareth Pass for her beautiful chart, featuring my favorite Final Fantasy character (a Moogle!).

Dark Research Economics

Research Summary

All in all, the majority of Dark World researches are heavily focused on combat.  Boost values are fairly small in comparison to the high numbers we saw prior to the Dark World reset, so that is taking some getting used to.  Each tree contains a multitude of research that can keep us busy for quite some time, and most are eventually attainable without purchase (if you have some patience).  Last but not least, when researching don’t forget to skill King Noctis for research time efficiency to optimize your dark speeds.  Also, take advantage of research mini-events to reap back more rewards for your actions!  Do you have any other tips or tricks on researches to focus on?

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