So you wanna become a big FF14 player?
Alrighty then, buckle up, laddie, don’t put your hands in the air, and get ready for Mr. Yoshida’s Wild Ride! This guide is a compilation of veteran players’ opinions and the experiences of yours truly, but right now, let’s establish a few moments beforehand.
This game is Japanese. And by that I mean it’s a good old JRPG story-heavy game that doesn’t let you go free roaming in every location that you have from expansions, you gotta go through story segments first and foremost. This leads us to our first segment and – FFXIV Leveling Tips:
Do Your Main Story Quests
By the grace of Yoshi-P (Yoshida Naoki’s nickname that fan base gave to him) and the dev team, MSQs shower you with EXP so much, that it can and probably will get to a point when your main class is going to get to the cap – and that’s when you want to change your class without EXP skip. Additionally, you’ll open up more options to level up fast not only as a DoW/DoM (Disciple of War/Magic) but as a DoH/DoL (Disciple of Hand/Land), thanks to new areas dedicated to such activities in later expansions, like how it got to be in HW (HeavensWard, the first expansion, also a part of free trial). Personal advice, if you don’t care about story and lore – skip through ARR (A Realm Reborn, base game spanning as patches 2.0-2.5) ASAP and go to the end-content of HW (2.4-2.5) to open up the crafting leveling areas, such as Firmament and Iddylshire, instead of leveling up DoH/DoL as you go. Simple enough, right? WRONG, THERE’S MORE.
Get Your Buffs
Oh boy. That’s a big one. First of all – get in touch with your inner Obelix and get your FÜD. You’ll eat FÜD – you’ll feel GÜT, mein freund. Every food item gives you 3% of overall EXP to work with, and believe me – it REALLY helps. Eating it twice gives you a max time limit of 1 hour and it’s really cheap, so go for it.
The next step – get your EXP buff armor and accessories. Thanks to the glamour system, you’re probably not going to look like the main character of Disco Elysium, but these are essential items that speed the process up by different margins. Some are pre-order exclusive (e.g. Mephina’s Earrings for ShadowBringers pre-order) so you don’t need to bother about them, but pre-existing ones – you’ll have to get, which we’ll talk about in depths later.
This one, though, is kinda hard if you’re socially anxious, because it’ll require communication. You’ll need to join an FC (Free Company, a Guild basically), which makes it so that you’re going to get the Heat of the Battle buff. Depending on how good the management of FC is, it’s going to be either tier I (5% boost), II (10%), or III (15%). Now, remember what I’ve said about EXP buff items? One of them is directly tied to you bringing in one of your friends into the game or being brought in by one. The difference is that the bringer gets it instantly, while the friend has to be subscribed for 30 days.
Also mentors. Players that have a crown near their nicknames. Doing runs with a mentor in a party gives you a 20% buff until lvl 20. But WARNING – they have a bad rep because some of them… lack mentoring skills.
Oh, another thing – to join an FC and use the “Bring a Friend” function, *it’s mandatory to buy the game*, which I’d… Advise not to do if you’re going in blind and/or can’t afford to pay up each month. The game does give you 30 days of free subscription when you buy it – but the free trial includes the base game + HW expansion, which is A LOT of content. But I digress.
Our next stop is the reason I’m suggesting doing the MSQs first if leveling up fast is your priority. It’s called “Armory Bonus”, and many people misunderstand the way it works. For example – you’re a THM/BLM (Thaumaturge/Black Mage) that thought “ME CAST FIST NOW” and become a PGL/MNK (Pugilist/Monk). But then you look at the lvl 1 of it and it’s just… Bruh… That’s where Armory Bonus tags in. Because you have a higher-level job, your secondary jobs are going to get a 100% EXP buff on non-reward gains, like crusading on mobs. And when that secondary job gets to a 70 lvl – it will be 50% buff from that point onwards until you hit your 80 lvl cap.
Another rather obscure buff advantage is gained through a server choice. It’s called “A Preferred Server”. You create a new character (not alt character) on a server that is marked as “Preferred” and you have a double-EXP bonus for 90 days. Simple, but hard to use because they are usually full already.
And to finish it off – you need to learn about Rested Bonus. Certain peaceful zones in-game are called Sanctuaries are marked with a Crescent Moon symbol near your XP bar and the chat log will announce you being in one. Basically, you just chill in that zone for a bit, and the longer you stay in – the better is going to be your buff. That includes logging off in one because it stacks up to 4 IRL days and gives you a 50% EXP buff.
After those steps, proper math will show you some big boi numbers. Depending on circumstances, you can get tons of buff EXP, but as I’ve said – some options are already locked off, because of pre-orders. And while the remaining features do just fine, some of you might think back to the simpler times. The Power-Leveling times. Well, guess what – NOT HERE, BOYO. There is only ONE class that can be leveled that way – and it’s Blue Mage, and in Japanese, Blue Mage means “SHENANIGANS”. This class is a joke/challenge class. Case in point:
And with that option out of the line – what is there for you to do? Here, come closer, I’ll tell you.
It’s the easiest part of leveling process. During your main class leveling, you have to find an NPC called “The Smith”.
He is located in the hub areas of Ul’Dah, New Gridania, and Limsa Lominsa’s Upper Deck. They stay near the inns in the Adventure’s Guilds which you’ll be acquainted with during your starting MSQs. After the training, they give a Brand New Ring – a ring with 30% EXP buff until 30 lvl.
After that your preparations are complete – you’ll have to do your Hunting Log – basically, hunt down targets in the world. There’s also a Challenge Log that resets after some time, so you can do that too. Alternatively, if you’ve discovered PotD (Palace of the Dead, a side-quest dungeon/challenge Tower. To do it you need to complete a side-quest called The House That Death Built at lvl 17 in New Gridania) during your main class MSQ leveling – you can go through floors 50-60 until you get to the necessary level to run proper dungeons. Well, as long as you’ve completed floors 1-50 previously with a party or solo (NOT RECOMMENDED FOR SOLO). Do your class quests ASAP. And last, but certainly not the least – there is an activity called Squadron Management. After joining a Grand Company (PVP faction) you can get a promotion by exchanging GC seals. At a high enough rank, your GC will give you people to command and send on missions. If they are successful – you’re getting some good old EXP after a few hours of IRL time.
This is the part when things become *mundane.* You can continue doing PotD runs and none would be the wiser, because it’s easier than waiting for the party. Matched Party PotD runs are fast to create and do, and while they give less EXP than dungeon spam – they are guaranteed to be almost lightning fast to queue and clear for a person that doesn’t have a party to run through stuff for a few hours.
Another point of this leveling step is MSQ importance. As you move through the story, you’ll get to do “roulettes”, which is basically a random dungeon select that matches you with random people to go through an already cleared content for a multiplied EXP reward.
Doing roulettes is a once-a-day activity that resets during a certain hour of a day for different timezones, so if you do your roulettes right before the reset – you can do it two times in a row. Helps when you’re almost done with a level.
Note about guildchests – you can unlock them in all of the ARR zones, but I’d suggest you to use the Thanalan one, the crystal near Waking Sands (Western Thanalan, Horizon Aetherstone). The lad will be on the right side of the crystal if you’re looking from the entrance. Onto the next point.
This is where all of those buffs come to shine the brightest. Dungeon Spam. Basically – doing the highest available dungeon nets you more EXP than PotD, but it requires a party. Unsynched won’t help you here. Another thing with DS is your ROLE. You see, there’s a certain… privilege that DPS jobs lack compared to tanks and ESPECIALLY healers. When you queue for a dungeon – DPS is going to wait for 1-10 minutes. Tank – 1-3 minutes. Healer? Flash in his prime.
Options are on the table, just choose which one fits you the most.
It’s like lvl 10-60, but PotD floors 50-60 are going to be replaced with HoH (Heaven-on-High, the same type of a tower-dungeon, complete side-quest called Knocking on Heaven’s Door at Ruby Sea while being lvl 61 or higher) floors 60-70 plus Bozjan Front farming (that’s a VERY big subject to talk about for another time), while tanks, healers and people with cultist leader levels of charisma enjoy their dungeon spamming routine. Not much to talk about here, really.
To be honest – I hate grinding. FFXIV has so much more to offer than just getting buff and becoming the biggest gun on the Wild West. But I hope this leveling guide will help you, Warriors of Light. Go forth, accomplish more great deeds, but more importantly – create more memories with your close friends in the game, because that’s what’s truly important, to connect and live. Until next time!
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