Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is the much more successful re-launch of FFXIV. I have been playing it quite a bit lately, and in my opinion it is the most entertaining MMORPG to come out in quite some time.
If you are thinking about picking up the game (which I highly recommend), I will be posting some tutorials and guides over time in between my Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 posts, starting with this FFXIV leveling guide.
The first thing to mention is that in Final Fantasy XIV, you can level up every class with a single character. There are currently 8 main classes in game: Gladiator, Pugilist, Marauder, Lancer, Archer, Conjurer, Thaumaturge, and Arcanist. These are the 8 classes which you can currently level up. Advanced classes like the Monk and Bard share levels with their parent class (Pugilist and Archer in this case) – so if you have a 50 Archer, you unlock Bard just by doing a quest.
It is important to make this distinction because different leveling paths are recommended for different characters. You will have to level more than one class in FFXIV – not only do the advanced jobs require multiple classes as a prerequisite, but you can also use up to 5 select abilities from other classes when using your main class.
Methods for Earning Experience Points in Final Fantasy XIV ARR
- Grinding: Grinding refers to killing enemy monsters for experience points. “Experience Chains” do exist in FFXIV – each time you kill an enemy at your level or higher, if you kill another one within a short amount of time, you get bonus experience points. The higher the chain goes, the more experience points you earn, but the shorter the time between kills. Chains cap out when there is only 10 seconds on the timer after a new enemy kill. Solo grinding is not very effective past level 10 in FFXIV, but grinding does work in part
- Questing: Quests provide experience points much like in other MMORPGs, similar to WoW. Additionally, there are Levequests which provide experience points and are somewhat akin to daily quests.
- Dungeons: In FFXIV, there are a variety of 4-man dungeons spread throughout the levels that you can complete for experience points. Most dungeons are unlocked by completing the main story line quest, although Nedrick Ironheart in Vesper Bay and Sibold in Ul’dah will unlock a few more dungeons you can access while leveling. The dungeon closest to your level typically provides the fastest experience points in FFXIV.
- Guildhest: In the Duty Finder, you will find something known as a “Guildhest”. Guildhests are essentially short instanced fights which result in experience points and gil upon completion. There are 2 Guildhests available every 5 levels starting at level 10 and ending at level 40, but you have to complete all available Guildhests to unlock the next tier, regardless of current level.
- FATEs: Full Action Timed Events, or FATEs, are dynamic world quests that spawn constantly throughout the game world. They are marked on the map zone wide for whatever zone you are currently in and are denoted by a pink emblem. FATEs provide a massive experience points reward upon completion, but do not provide quite as much experience points as dungeons. DPS players waiting in a queue can complete FATEs for experience points. FATEs also provide seals for your Grand Company, which you can use for a variety of rewards and to increase your rank.
Below, we will discuss exactly how to use these 5 methods for the optimal leveling experience in FFXIV.
Leveling Your First Class in FFXIV
Leveling up your very first character is very straightforward, but also time consuming: you simply follow the main story line, your class quests, and all quests offered at quest hubs that you travel to for the main story line. Note: Main Story quests are designated by the blue surrounding the quest exclamation point in the journal and floating over top of quest givers.
The main story line is very long in FFXIV and results in a large amount of experience points. It also involves the completion of 8 low level dungeons and 4 trials that are part of the storyline. You also get class quests every 5 levels at the guild of your main job (at 30 this may split off to a different NPC, depending on your advanced job choice). You will want to keep up with these as they provide new skills and eventually your set of artifact armor.
Normally, players recommend just chaining FATEs to level up. However, if you are a brand new player, you will want to quest most of your way to level 50. First, consider that the main story quest is required to unlock all end game content. If you do not follow the main story quest, you cannot access any of the end game dungeons. Better to do it while you can actually get experience from it rather than wait until you are 50 when you get nothing.
In addition to the main story quest, you should do all the side quests you encounter on your way to level 50. Additionally, you should do every Behest one time to get the gil completion reward. The reason is that it is not very easy to get gil right now in FFXIV, and your static quests are thee best way to get some gil. You can choose the gil rewards and sell them off and have a nice stack of gil by the time you hit 50. Teleporting around all the time for the main quest is not cheap either, so in the end you will actually save time. You will need gil to buy the materia and starter weapon for your relic quest (about 50k or so depending on class).
FATEs and Levequests are something you can do as you go along, but you will not need to for EXP purposes. I would not necessarily go out of my way to do them, but if they are nearby, you can always do these as well.
Given that each dungeon you do will result in close to a full level combined with the fact that there are a lot of side quests you encounter in the towns you are sent to for the main story quest line, you will end up getting well ahead in levels. You should be around level 25 for example by the time you hit level 17 in the main story quest line. This is how it should be.
If you are falling behind, you are probably missing quests. If you cannot find the quests and your current level starts to fall behind the recommended level for the quest lines, consider doing the low-level dungeon duty roulette once a day until you catch up. Each run provides you with a full level.
Leveling Up Your Next Class in FFXIV
Leveling up your second (or third or fourth) class on the same character in FFXIV is a completely different task from leveling your first class. With no quests to perform, the only consideration left is speed and efficiency. In this section, I will discuss the fastest ways to level up in FFXIV.
Update for Patch 2.1
The release of patch 2.1 brought the “Duty Roulette: Low Level” option to FFXIV. Once a day, players can get a massive experience point bonus for completing a low-level duty roulette run. In addition, the amount of experience points provided for defeating enemies has increased while in dungeons. The end result is that experience points for running dungeons has massively improved.
Here is a sample of what you can expect from Duty Roulette:
This was for completing Satasha, the level 15 dungeon on my level 25 Marauder. I received 60k experience points for the Duty Roulette bonus, which was about 60% of full level at 25. In addition, you also get bonus experience points for being a “class in need” (typically about 5% bonus over quest reward). You also get a “first time” bonus for clearing the dungeon with new players (about another 5% bonus).
Given that the run itself took under 30 minutes, this is an amazing source of experience points. Additionally, I earned around 60,000 experience points from defeating enemies during the run (though that was with rested experience points). The 6763 experience points in the picture above was from defeating the boss. Each enemy rewarded around 750 experience points in the run above.
In addition to a daily low-level Duty Roulette run, players will also want to undertake the Duty Roulette Guildhest option. This will only reward about 1/4 the bonus experience points that you will get from the low-level Duty Roulette for dungeons, but since Guildhests only take a few minutes to complete, they are worth it.
Note that you can only get the big experience point reward from each Duty Roulette once per day. While dungeon kills do provide more experience points than they used to, without the Duty Roulette bonus, dungeons still do not provide as much experience points as FATEs.
Level-Appropriate Dungeons Now Best for EXP
Once you use up your Duty Roulette bonuses, if you want to level more, you should queue for dungeons that are level-appropriate. When you fight enemies in dungeons near your level, you get a massive amount of experience points for each kill. However, the amount of XP per kill does not increase as you level up, while the amount of experience points required to level does go up. Each dungeon providers higher and higher experience points, making it of utmost importance to fight near your level.
As an example of this, enemies in Copperbell Mines will only pay out about 750 experience points no matter what level you are. When you are level 17, this is great. When you are level 40, this is terrible. You want to queue for the highest-level dungeon you can based on this information:
- Level 15: Satasha. Unlocked by working on the main storyline.
- Level 16: The TamTara Deepcroft. Unlocked by working on the main storyline.
- Levels 17-20: Copperbell Mines. Unlocked by working on the main storyline.
- Levels 20-24: Halatali. Unlocked by talking to Nedrick Ironheart in Vesper Bay (Western Thanalan).
- Levels 24-28: The Thousand Maws of TotoRak. Unlocked by working on the main storyline.
- Levels 29-32: Haukke Manor. Unlocked by working on the main storyline.
- Levels 32-35: Brayflox’s Longstop. Unlocked by working on the main storyline.
- Levels 35-38: The Sunken Temple of Qarn. Unlocked by talking to Nedrick Ironheart in Vesper Bay (Western Thanalan). This is a tough dungeon; you may want to consider running Dungeon Finder for Brayflox’s Longstop if you are just running as a pick-up.
- Levels 38-41: Cutter’s Cry. Unlocked by completing the Dishonor Before Death quest. This quest is issued by Sibold in Ul’dah (located near market boards).
- Levels 41-44: Stone Vigil. Unlocked by working on the main storyline.
- Levels 44-44: Dzemael Darkhold. There are two ways to unlock this dungeon: via the Fort of Fear quest given by Carrilaut at the Observatorium (Coerthas) or from your free company commander once you reach Sergeant First class.
- Levels 47-50: The Aurum Vale. Unlocked by talking to Nedrick Ironheart in Vesper Bay (Western Thanalan).
Getting To Level 15 & Where FATEs Fit In to FFXIV Leveling Post Patch 2.1
If you are a DPS class and you want to power-level, no doubt you have noticed that queue times for dungeons can be quite long. While waiting in queues, you can boost your leveling speed by running FATEs out in the game world. There are some particularly good camps, which I will discuss below.
Levels 1-8: Grinding Near Starting Town
Grinding is the fastest way of getting up to level 9, particularly if you purchase a decent weapon or two off the auction house (should only run a few hundred gil max). It generally is not worth your way at this point to go out of your way for FATEs. If a FATE spawns near you, go for it, but do not sit around waiting for them to spawn. Instead, find a mob-rich area with thick spawns that you can XP chain. Outside of whatever city you start at works just fine here. Grinding can take you from 1-9 in about 15-20 minutes, so this part is very fast.
Level 9-12: FATEs and Grinding Near Starting Town
Once you hit level 9, grinding starts to lose its appeal as the amount of exp required to level increases at a much faster rate than the amount of XP earned per enemy kill. By level 11, it is quite slow to grind and you will want to do some FATEs.
What I recommend here is to pick a grinding spot, but keep an eye on the map for nearby FATEs. As soon as a FATE spawns, you want to drop what you are doing and complete it. A good FATE at this level is generally worth 1/4 to 1/3 of a level, so you only need to do a handful of them to hit level 13.
Level 13-20: FATEs Near Aleport (La Noscea)
At this point, I recommend traveling to specific spots in the world to find the best camps. From levels 13-20, I prefer Aleport. This area has a lot of FATEs in a small area plus has a lot of players running FATE groups. From this point on, always try to join an 8 man FATE group. You get bonus experience points for FATE completion when grouped, plus the experience points kills from FATE enemies really add up.
One particular FATE of note is the Iron Contra Affair. This quest is a collection FATE where enemies continuously spawn until you turn in a set of items. Rather than turning in the items, you can get on a group of 8 and just grind off the monsters as they spawn, racking up XP chains of #70 or higher. You can get 1 full level or more in just 5-10 minutes of farming in this FATE. Of course, some people turn the quest items in ahead of time, ending the fun early. Regardless, FATEs in this area are your best bet.
Level 21-30: FATEs Near Highbridge (Thanalan)
Highbridge (the little town to the west of Camp Drybone) has a great set of FATEs and the first big FATE chain. By chain, I refer to a FATE that has multiple parts which spawn one after another culminating in a final boss worth a lot of experience points. Each part of the FATE you finish, you get a reward. The particular FATE chain here is called “Attack on Highbridge” or something along those lines. It has 3 parts. Completing the full chain takes 10-15 minutes and provides a full level!
While waiting for this FATE to spawn, you should complete other nearby FATEs. You can sync down to the level 17 and 18 FATEs that spawn to the west as well if you want steady action.
Level 31-42: FATEs Near Coerthas
Coerthas has a large number of FATEs for a wide variety of level ranges. Just like Highbridge, there is a great FATE chain which makes Coerthas really worthwhile. In particular, the Svara’s Fall FATE chain is really good. It culminates in killing the dragon Svara, resulting in about 38k experience points if you are at the target level (a bit less for lower level players).
From levels 31-38 I recommend staying around Camp Dragonhead, and from 39-42 you can head over to Whitebrim Front. Even at 39 though you should head back to Dragonhead once you see the Svara quest pop.
Level 42-50: FATEs Near Ceruleum Processing Plant (North Thanalan)
The FATEs around the Ceruleum Processing Plant in North Thanalan provide for the fastest leveling experience in the game. The FATE chain Dark Devices is particularly good. Not only is it a great FATE chain that provides massive experience points in rewards, but the “The Plea” quest features fast spawns that you can grind on rather than complete the FATE. During this grinding process alone you can rack up 100k XP+. Make sure you are in an 8 person party to get the full effect. Another good FATE is Gorgomish, a 30 minute FATE that spawns in the northwest corner and provides about 50k XP upon completion.
You can ride these FATEs all the way to level 50.
FFXIV Leveling Guide Video Walkthrough
The video below goes over the information presented in this guide and shows on the map specifically where the camps are you should target:
I will be following this post up with a guide on what to do when you are level 50. The main story quest continues at 50, but in order to complete the missions, you will have to gear up in a more traditional end-game.