The Hero’s Journey
Gaining experience and leveling in FFXIV:ARR
One of the things that complicates the FF MMO’s relative to their competitors is the single character concept. In most MMO’s, you will have multiple characters, each bound to a single class (or in RIFT’s case a calling). Each character has full access to the leveling path for the game.
The Final Fantasy MMO’s focus on player identity first and foremost. You tend to play a single character and that character can occupy every role (be it class or job specific). This means the same character returns to the same leveling content multiple times. For a game like FFXI, this doesn’t create much of a problem, since all leveling content was grinding content more or less.
But Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is joining the world of quest hubs, for better or worse, and that adds a complication to the single character model. Quests which were part of one class leveling path have been completed and are no longer available for subsequent class leveling. FFXIV:ARR gets around this a couple of different ways. Through use of multiple leveling systems and starting hubs, you have lots of content to level lots of classes.
The complexity to the system, however, is that your first pass though a given level range you will likely progress through not only the main city story line, but also the solo quest hubs in the region. This works quite well your first pass through. On your subsequent classes, however, this content is not available.
Chances are, on your second time leveling 1-10, you will be needing to take some time thinking about how to gain exp and level up.
The paths to gaining exp in FFXIV:ARR are generally:
Both your Main story line (one time only!), or your class quests, the experience gained by your story line is a must for all players. The main story unlocks most of the content in the game (if you can’t access something, it’s typically because you aren’t far enough in your main story), while the class quests unlock some abilities, the job system, as well as granting some basic leveled gear on completion.
The quest hubs are, like most modern MMOs, the traditional “one and done” system. Your first time into a city, there are a number of general “collect bone chips” or “kill sewer rat” quests. These can only be completed once, so the most use you can get out of them is leveling 2 or 3 of your classes. The rest of the time you wish to work on an alternate class, this isn’t an option.
Guildhest are single (4-man) group instance “training” content. These “mini-instances” start out fairly simple, but get more difficult as you progress. The idea of “once and done” from above is also for the Guildhest as well, the first time you finish the Guildhest on your character, you get a very substantial bonus credit. Any subsequent time, the xp/coin reward are fairly minor. Because of this, most players don’t view the Guildhest as a viable leveling path. However, I have noticed a number of players have found a set group able to auto-queue them for grinding purposes does a fairly good job leveling–depending on the difficult and speed of completion of the Guildhest. The lack of down-time for the hest helps make up for the lack of “large xp gain” at the end.
Each class has a personal log and you are rewarded each time you initially complete an activity in the log.
For adventuring classes, this is the Hunting Log. Each class hunting log gives you a page of creatures to kill in your leveling tier (1-10, 11-20, etc.). You have to complete everything on a page to open up the next page. Each page includes at least one creature that may take a bit of searching and, we can hope, that higher tier pages include some really unique finds. If you are having issues finding a location of a creature, this website has a very good listing of locations!
For gathering and crafting classes, the logs are based around discovery. When a harvester finds a new type of item (copper ore, zinc ore, bone chips, etc.) or when a crafter successfully completes their first attempt at an item (bronze spatha, bronze ingots, etc.) you check off a line in your journal.
Every time you check off a line (be it hunting, gathering or crafting) you get an XP payout. Completing entire pages gives another bonus. These logs provide a good method to accelerate your leveling and are particularly useful in providing direction for secondary (and later) class progression.
The dungeons in FFXIV are the first of the fully repeatable content in the game. Each dungeon unlocks at a specific level, and grants very good experience and gear for its level. Additionally, if someone in your party is completing the dungeon for their first time, you will all be given an increase to your experience on completion of the instance. For full write-ups on unlocking and boss encounters, please visit our Party Content page.
In general, this is my preferred leveling path for my characters. However, this isn’t an option for many players, as some classes/roles often find themselves waiting in long queues to find a dungeon group. Because of this, they will need to find other viable options for leveling.
Levequests are mini quests granted by a Levemete NPC inside of quest hubs. In your journal (J), you will see an allotment of Levequest allowances. These allowances continue to build up over time. The current build speed is 3 allowances every 12 hours.
A Levequest is a minor task given by the NPC to you, the player. When you complete the minor task, you are granted XP and coin (and sometimes an item), based on a number of aspects. The reward granted by Levequest depends on a number of factors. Each of these factors grants an increase to the exp given at completion of the levequest. These factors include:
- The base level of the levequest (reward listed in your journal)
- The actual level of the levequest, +/- given at initiation.
- The speed of completion
- Locating and killing a “bounty target” during the mission (at low levels, this is an imp)
- Locating and Finding a chest for additional reward mid-leve. (Note: at higher levels, you will start to sometimes gain white and pink items from these chests)
As you are leveling through your different classes, it is often difficult to remember where each Levemete NPC is located, as well as in what level range. I put together a listing of the Levemete NPCs to help myself keep track of where I need to be going. You can view this listing in our Levemete Location Guide. This listing is very useful, not only for locating Levemetes, but also gaining a general idea of what level a region is for questing, grinding, and our final leveling method, FATEs.
FATE stands for Fully Active Time Event and represents the Square-Enix take on dynamic content. FATEs are events that spawn semi-randomly throughout the world, allowing all players in a region to participate–and awarding exp, coin, and GC Seals (for more info on GCs, check out our GC info page). Difficulty of FATEs varies substantially–by level, player involvement, as well as general difficulty. Some FATEs are just harder than others. Each FATE, however grants rewards based on your involvement in the event. The best way to level off FATEs is to grab some friends, form a group (up to 8 man) and work together to grind out your rewards. Even on a competitive night (a lot of other groups out in the area) you can get large amounts of exp and GC Seals by grinding out fates.
Knowing where to go to do FATEs is the secret to doing this well, however. Each zone has different fates, active at different times.
Luckily, however, FATEs spawn in the same level range as the Guildleves for the region. You can use the same listing from above to determine great ideas to grind XP at any level. While this list is not yet complete, I will be adding to it as I open each area of the map and progress though the game. The levels given below are general, and range. However it will give you a good idea of starting points for each level bracket.
FATE Location Guide
Limsa Lominsa – La Noscea
- Red Rooster Steed – Lower La Noscea – Level 5
- Summerford Farms – Middle La Noscea – Level 5 (far north side of zone is low teens)
- Swiftperch – Western La Noscea – Level 10
- Aleport – Western La Noscea – level 15
- Moraby Drydocks – Lower La Noscea – Level 20-25
- Costa del Sol – Eastern La Noscea – Level 30-35
- Wineport – Eastern La Noscea – Level 30-35
Gridania – The Black Shroud
- The Bannock – Central Shroud – Level 5
- Hyrstmill - North Shroud – Level 5
- Bentbranch Meadows – Central Shroud – Level 10
- Hawthorne Hut – East Shroud – Level 15 & 20
- Quarrymill – The South Shroud – Level 20
- Camp Tranquil – The South Shroud – Level 30
- Fallgourd Float - North Shroud – Level 25-30 to the West & 35-45 to the North
Ul’Dah – Thanalan
- Scorpion Crossing – Western Thanalan – Level 5
- Horizon - Western Thanalan – Level 10
- Camp Drybone – Eastern Thanalan – Level 15
- Little Ala Mhigo – Southern Thanalan – Level 25
- Forgotten Springs – Southern Thanalan – Level 30
- Camp Bluefog – Northern Thanalan – level 40
- Ceruleum Processing Plant – Northern Thanalan – level 48+
- First Dicastrial Observatorium of Aetherial and Astrological Phenomena - Coerthas Central Highlands – Level 35
- Camp Dragonhead - Coerthas Central Highlands – Level 35-40
- Whitebrim - Coerthas Central Highlands – 40-45
- Revenant’s Toll - Mor Dhona – Level 46+
- Saint Coinach’s Find - Mor Dhona – Level 46+