A Guide to Levelling in Final Fantasy XIV

Levelling in Final Fantasy XIV should never be a struggle for your main, but making the process more efficient for your alts is essential for enjoyment. All the way from level 1 to 80, here is a guide to levelling combat jobs in the game.

A Guide to Levelling in Final Fantasy XIV - Header

Levelling in Final Fantasy XIV is not a one-time concern due to the game’s alt job system. While most MMORPGs lock the player into their starting class, Square Enix allowed all jobs on a single character. As such, most players will eventually encounter the challenge of levelling a new job. Alternatively, new players may wonder how they will hit the level cap before the next expansion, Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. The experience of progressing alts and your main will vary somewhat, but both can rely on these useful tips. Here is a guide to combat levelling in Final Fantasy XIV.

Main Scenario Quests

This is the first and foremost priority for every player. The main scenario quests (MSQ) are simply the story of the game, and they are essential in many ways. To begin with, they have some significant exp rewards, trumping most side quests. While they fall short of dungeon and raids in regards to exp, they are often significantly quicker. As far as your starting job is concerned, you shouldn’t need to spend much time grinding to continue the story. So long as you occasionally do a roulette or side activity, you should never hit a progression barrier.

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This is why most veterans will tell new players to just focus on the story at first. It’s undoubtedly the quickest route to get your main to the next level milestone. However, another important thing to consider is that many other lucrative side activities are unlocked through the story. The game doesn’t allow players to simply stray off and encounter new content once they hit the right level. In many instances, there is a mandatory MSQ to complete first. Spending time grinding in the early game simply slows down your level progression, and results in the least diverse gameplay.

Levelling in Final Fantasy XIV means prioritizing your main job, which the MSQs will cover. However, it’s possible that this method, in combination with others in the guide, will see it over-levelled. Hitting the level cap early means the bountiful MSQ exp will be wasted going forward. If players are willing to pause the story on occasion, it’s worth considering allowing another job to catch up before continuing. When planned out well, you can end the latest expansion with multiple jobs hitting the max level.

Don't grind before the MSQ.

Don’t grind before the MSQ.

Duty Roulettes 

Outside of your main job, this will become an essential part of the daily grind. That being said, it’s advisable to do these daily, even during the MSQ. So long as you have enough time to spare, the addition of Duty Roulettes will likely double your progress. They are simply a random match- making system in the Duty Finder for a variety of different dungeons and raids. However, where they stand out is in the exp rewards, which are significantly boosted once per day. This means that each type of roulette gives bonus rewards upon your first completion each day. The early game only includes one available roulette, but more will unlock as you progress.

The Levelling Roulette is particularly generous with its rewards, as is the Alliance Roulette. Others such as the Level 50/60/70 Roulette, Trial Roulette, and Normal Raid Roulette, have lesser but still beneficial exp rewards. Doing a combination of the above should easily see a minimum of 1 level per day post 50. While the content you run will be random, the exp rewards are synced, so even low-level dungeons are worth doing.

Perhaps the most controversial roulette when levelling in Final Fantasy XIV is the Main Scenario Roulette. The reason for this is due to the two dungeons involved being excessively long. They contain unskippable cutscenes, making them all the more tedious. Castrum Meridianum will take an average of 20-25 minutes per run, while The Praetorium will take roughly 45 minutes. It’s a sizable time-sink, but it’s compensated by some of the highest possible exp rewards. The roulette, while tedious, can make the difference between an additional level each day. It’s advisable to have another activity, such as a TV show, on the side, and just mute the cutscenes.

A roulette a day at least.

A roulette a day at least.

Hunting

This mechanic is introduced early but then proceeds to fluctuate in its usefulness. In the early stages of a job, the hunting log is a useful exp farming tool. Each job begins with a log of targets that once found and killed, give hefty exp rewards. Completing an entire page of the log will additionally provide a significant bonus. Doing this is one of the fastest routes to level 16, which is a requirement to unlock your first roulette. If you are starting an alt job, this needs to be your first priority. Doing so while wearing an exp boost ring acquired from the Hall of the Novice is also advisable.

The returns on the hunting log diminish quickly after the first two pages. You will then want to unlock The Hunt from your Grand Company. This can be commenced via the quest “Let the Hunt Begin.” This will unlock the ability to hunt marks designated in Mark Bills provided daily and weekly. At this stage, it’s essentially useless for levelling, as it only rewards a unique currency called Alliance Seals. However, it’s essential you unlock this so you can progress to more lucrative hunts in the following expansions.

Clan Hunts are unlocked in Heavensward by completing “Let the Clan Hunt Begin” in Foundation. Veteran Clan Hunts are unlocked in Stormblood via “One-star Veteran Clan Hunt” in Kugane. Similarly, Nutsy Clan Hunts are available in Shadowbringers by completing “Nuts to You” at the Crystarium. These act the same way, by hunting targets on mark bills, but they provide exp rewards in addition to a currency. Adding these to the daily grind can shave a significant amount of time off your levelling in Final Fantasy XIV.

Hunts post-Heavensward provide exp.

Hunts post-Heavensward provide exp.

Beast Tribes

The beast tribes are a feature of the game many players can easily miss. Like many of the game’s side activities, they are hidden behind blue marker side quests. However, what works against the beast tribe quests are there first impressions. Players will first encounter the various tribes during A Realm Reborn. While some tribes also allow you to level your crafting and gathering jobs, the focus in this guide is combat. The first four tribes that satisfy this are the Sahagin, Sylphs, Kobolds and Amalj’aa. Unfortunately, their rewards are meagre, with their usefulness being almost entirely redundant once you hit Heavensward.

Players should not allow this poor first impression to put them off engaging with future beast tribes. While it improves somewhat in Heavensward, it doesn’t truly start benefiting players so highly until Stormblood. The Kojin and Ananta provide daily quests (a minimum of 3) that provide huge exp pay-outs. They don’t provide enough to level up on their own, but their addition is hard to pass up.  Similarly, the Pixie tribe in Shadowbringers provides an abundance of exp for levelling in Final Fantasy XIV.

The advantage to this method is they are often extremely quick and easy, especially if you’ve unlocked flying. To start the Stormblood beast tribes, you must first head to The Ruby Sea. The Kojin quest that unlocks the feature is called “Heaven-sent.” The Ananta quest “Brooding Broodmother” is unlocked in The Fringes. However, it requires players to complete various other blue marker quests in the area first. Finally, the Shadowbringers Pixie tribe quests are unlocked in Il Mheg via “Manic Pixie Dream Realm.”

Beast tribes are worth it as of Stormblood.

Beast tribes are worth it as of Stormblood.

Squadrons

This is yet another feature that is hidden deep within one of the game’s systems and is thus easily missed. Upon joining a Grand Company, players should be turning in their seals to receive promotions. While it’s hard to see the benefits of this at first, eventually the rank of Second Lieutenant will also provide a squadron. This is essentially a group of npcs that players can run older dungeons with instead of other players. They have their own levels, and so they need training and regular outings to improve, but it’s worth the hassle.

After completing a few squadron missions, the player will unlock command missions, which allows them to run the dungeon personally. While the AI for your team is not ideal, the correct use of the command hotbar will see you through. Your squadron also compensates with pretty high damage, so it’s not as slow as the Trust System. The exp is also extremely generous and is a great way to start levelling post 20.

The players that will benefit the most from access to squadrons are the DPS players. Anyone with prior experience as a DPS will know that the Duty Finder ques are much longer. The wait time to enter a dungeon can really cut into your available grind time. As such, being able to immediately enter dungeons, even with lesser AI, can prevent your DPS levelling from falling behind. However, after level 50 the rewards are significantly less effective, and essentially useless after level 60. Players should only use it as an early-stage method of levelling in Final Fantasy XIV.

Invest in your squad. They will pay you back.

Invest in your squad. They will pay you back.

Deep Dungeons

The two available Deep Dungeons, Palace of the Dead and Heaven-on-High, are some of the quickest levelling methods for DPS. These roguelike instances comprised of randomly generated floors, provide a lot of exp. They also have independent levelling systems for each run, so you can start them immediately. Another advantage is that they have no fixed party requirements, so 4 DPS can run it together.

Palace of the Dead is unlocked at level 17 in New Gridania with the quest “The House That Death Built.” Upon defeating the 50th floor in the dungeon, players will then be able to unlock the Stormblood Deep Dungeon. Heaven-on-High can be accessed in The Ruby Sea via the quest “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” They can be run with a party or solo, but progress is reset upon failure or trying a new job.

While this method is quick, it is rather repetitive and can lead to some frustration. There is a meta to the ideal approach to Deep Dungeons that not every party understands. Ideally, players should be rushing to the exit as quickly as possible and not splitting up. Unfortunately, you can’t help occasionally getting a player who refuses to cooperate. They may wander off on their own or refuse to leave without fully exploring. It can lead to a frustratingly long experience, especially with so many traps to avoid. Thankfully, it’s hard to deny that it’s one of the fastest means of levelling in Final Fantasy XIV. Palace of the Dead is the quickest route to level 60, while Heaven-on-High will ferry you to level 70.

If you get a good party, it's quick and easy.

If you get a good party, it’s quick and easy.

Take Your Time

All of the above-mentioned methods, especially in combination, can make levelling from 1 to 80 a fairly easy experience. That being said, no one should expect it to be over in a matter of days. A healthy approach should result in at least a few weeks of grinding. This will prevent a feeling of burnout that could very easily turn you off the game. Additionally, levelling multiple jobs at the same time is also a way to spread yourself thin. Set yourself goals and take time to enjoy each job, rather than rushing through to start the next.

It’s also important to acknowledge that there is no pressure to level an alt job. If you are content with a single job then that’s your right and no one will criticize you for it. But once you’ve hit max level, it’s a shame not to reap the bonus rewards of roulettes and MSQ content. Levelling in Final Fantasy XIV is a chance to experiment and expand your horizons, without being a requirement. Rather than restarting from the beginning, it’s a chance to take the next step forward.

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