Updated Thu, Aug 29, 2013 by Xerin
Leveling in FFXIV: A Realm Reborn can be daunting at times, especially starting around level fifteen when the game starts letting go of the training wheels and begins opening up more options but starts providing less direction. The goal of this guide to help walk you through until level 30, at which point you should be able to finish the last twenty levels without much of a hitch.
One thing to make clear – quests are valuable for one specific reason – they are one time ordeals. If you do a quest that is a non-class specific quest then it is done for good. With this in mind, never ever clear the quests in the starting zone outside of your own until you start leveling up other classes. Don’t start leveling up another class in earnest either until you hit level 30.
There is some strong reasoning behind this. First, you get a bonus for leveling up other classes based on your highest level class. The higher your level, the more XP your battle classes will get as you level up. So you’re wasting XP if you do it any sooner than 30, outside of maybe getting a Conjurer to level 8 for Protect.
Next, quests are valuable because you can use them to advance really quickly and do not have limits like guildleves have. So if you do a quest that you’re 5 levels over right now, when you are on another class on the same character that is five levels below where you’re at, you won’t have that quest available to you which isn’t fun.
Food is a must while leveling. Consume it whenever the buff dissipates. It can be obtained cheaply off of the market and you should swim in different level appropriate foods as you quest through the game. The XP bonus is worth it.
Most of the leveling experience, especially in the first twenty levels, is a tutorial designed to teach the basics of the game. Many features will not unlock until you go through the various quests. Including the dye quest, which is around level 15 in Vepser Bay (I think) in Western Thanalan.
FATEs are repeatable and are as much XP as one quest. They are an efficient way to level no matter what. Go to where level appropriate FATEs are, complete them, and move to the next one. Do this over and over and you will level rather quickly.
Some classes are not as efficient as others. Conjurers will not level as fast as a Lancer. However, Conjurers will have a slightly easier time getting into the duty finder. It’s not that big of a deal, especially since you can change classes on the fly.
You get a 50% bonus XP if your class is below the level of your highest class for FATEs, Guildleves, and monster kills.
Your hunting log gives a considerable XP bonus for killing NPCs that you’ll kill anyway while questing. In the 10-20 area we’re talking 5k XP for killing a few enemies.
While leveling I totally neglected my hunting log which caused me to miss a ton of XP and backtrack a bunch. Don’t be like me in that regard, be sure to check it often.
Super crazy bonus - your hunting log can tell you locations to "hunt." Look for enemies at or around your level, that is where the quests will be.
The first five levels are mostly done within the city and surrounding areas of the city. The quests differ a little bit between the major city states and there isn’t really a lot to say other than your class quest and your story quest will give you most of your progression and you won’t even be able to leave the city until some of the quests are completed. The low level FATEs are mostly available right outside of the city gates and there are no other options for leveling at this point.
If you are leveling an additional class, then do your class quests and grind outside of the city on mobs at or a few levels above your level.
The next five levels feature more of the same and will be in the same maps (Lower/Middle La Noscea, Central Thanalan, Central Shroud, etc.). You’re going to primarily want to follow your story quests (the one with the cool quest border) for these levels, as it’s going to take you pretty much to the best spots to level / quest at.
Here is where people make a strong argument to NOT side quest and just follow the story quests and do the FATEs. I find that the first 10 levels on another class are easy enough to not worry with it and make your life a bit easier.
At level 10 Guildhests open up which will give you a HUGE XP bonus on the first completion. Do those as soon as the quest becomes available. You’re still going to be stuck mostly in the same city-state and you can’t leave until you finish your story quest (which wraps up around level 15). So once more, follow your story quest, do the side quests, etc.
Guildleves open up, but you only get 3 allowances every 12 hours, so you’ll want to think really hard about consuming them now when leveling is rather easy or just saving them (you can have up to 99) for later levels or other classes. So far the theme is “save everything and just grind enemies FATEs” but realistically that’s all you can do up until this point.
At this point you can finally leave your city-state and you’re going to want to once again follow your story quests because they open up three new dungeons for you to complete. I did a lot of side quests and didn’t unlock the airship until 17 and was woefully overleveled for a lot of the content, so you may or may not want to rush through your story quest as your level permits.
As a note, at this point you can farm dungeons over and over to level if you so desire. You don’t get a huge chunk of XP, but it’s a noticeable amount.
At this point, around level 20, you’re going to get more dungeons, Guildhests, and your story is going to let you fight a boss who, after completing it, gives you a ton of XP and allows you to join a Free Company which decides your quest progression path from this point onward.
You have a few options for grinding; the best FATEs are in Eastern Thanalan (in my opinion), Upper La Noscea (the western side of the map), and East Shroud in the mid-twenties. Once you get your mount then grinding FATEs becomes trivial since you can easily move between them without worrying so much about them being completed by the time you arrive.
Your hunting log can be a really impressive source of XP at these levels too. You get 8k or so for killing enemies that you would kill normally, or 10% of a level at level 25. So it’s sort of kind of a big deal as far as XP goes.
After level 30 you’re going to pretty much be set on the process of questing if you want to, doing dungeons and Guildhests when they become available, and grouping up to do FATEs. You can also just grind the levels away if you so choose, that’s a viable option as well.
Go forth and explore the world! Just remember to eat food, keep your buffs up, and have fun!