Final Fantasy XIV - Summoner

I am emerging from a weekend-long Final Fantasy XIV binge, squinting and blinking as I see the real-world sun for the first time in several days. It’s an addiction, my friends, and one I don’t see letting up anytime soon. Final Fantasy XIV is ludicrously compelling.

My project for the weekend was to start an Arcanist and level it up to 50, and I managed to accomplish this in two days. My total time spent on this project was less than 20 hours, if you subtract all the time I was distracted by other stuff in the game (I was also dabbling with Blue Mage and some story quests). If you don’t believe me, I did most of it while streaming on Twitch. You can watch the archived footage to see for yourself (though Twitch will delete the archive in two weeks).

Now, maybe the best part about the Arcanist job is that it evolves into not one but two separate jobs, Summoner and Scholar.

For the uninitiated, in Final Fantasy XIV, the starting jobs (any jobs that start at level 1) evolve into new jobs at level 30. So, for example, the Thaumaturge becomes the Black Mage, the Rogue becomes the Ninja, and the Archer becomes the Bard.

But the Arcanist becomes both the Summoner and the Scholar. You can switch between these two jobs at will, and all of your EXP is shared between them. So, let’s say I level up my Summoner to 55 — my Scholar will also be level 55, even if I didn’t play it at all (I can also switch back to Arcanist, which will also be level 55, but the Arcanist won’t gain any new skills after level 30). And even better, the Summoner is a DPS job while the Scholar is a healer. Effectively, this means that I can level up a DPS job to 90 (the current level cap), and at that point I will also have a level-90 healer that I can switch to if I ever need it.

So in about 20 hours of game time, I got two (well, three if you count Arcanist) jobs from level 1 to level 50.

So how did I accomplish all this in just two days?

Final Fantasy XIV - Summoner

This is far from my first job in Final Fantasy XIV, and I’d already learned a whole lot about power-leveling in the past. With this project, I just threw everything I knew into a blender and made myself a super-potent power-leveling smoothie. So let me walk you through my methodology in case you, too, want to power-level a character to 50 (and beyond).

I should point out that this guide assumes you’ve already finished the MSQ (main scenario quests) to at least level 50, and that you are rolling an alt job. If you haven’t done the MSQ yet, you should focus on that — the MSQ will provide plenty of EXP for your first job.

Prep work

Final Fantasy XIV - Inn

There are a few things you can do before you even start leveling to ensure you’ll have a smooth ride.

Preferred World – If you create a brand-new character on a Preferred World, or transfer an existing character to a Preferred World, you will get a double XP bonus for 90 days. I play on Famfrit, which happened to be a Preferred World while I was power-leveling. However, because I didn’t create a new character (just a new job on an existing character), I didn’t qualify for the bonus.

Having an existing high-level job – If you already have a high-level job, any other jobs you create on the same character will get an automatic EXP boost. So, if you have one job at level 60, then you start a new job on the same character, that job will have an EXP boost all the way up to 60.

Menphina’s Earring – If you pre-ordered the phenomenal Shadowbringers expansion (I did, apparently), you should have an item called Menphina’s Earring. This takes up your earring slot, but it grants you a 30% EXP bonus all the way up to level 80.

Brand-new Ring – The Brand-new Ring is another piece of jewelry that grants an EXP bonus. This one grants a 30% EXP bonus, but only to Disciple of War or Magic jobs — this doesn’t work for crafting jobs. You can earn this ring by completing all of the Hall of the Novice challenges.

Rest EXP – You’ll passively earn an EXP bonus when you’re in one of the game’s main cities. This accrues even if you are logged out of the game, so I always rest in an inn before I log out of the game. Unfortunately, I had already burned all of my resting EXP bonus on my Blue Mage before I ever rolled Arcanist.

Level 1-20

Final Fantasy XIV - Carbuncle

Okay, now let’s dive in! If you’ve done all (or even most) of the things mentioned in the previous section, your first 20 levels are going to breeze by. Here are the activities you should focus on during this phase of your journey:

Hunting Log – Every starting job in Final Fantasy XIV has its own Hunting Log. This is a list of enemies to slay, and when you complete an entry in the log, you’ll get a burst of XP.

Job Quests – Every 5 levels, a new Job Quest becomes available to you. This is generally accepted at the guild for that particular job (the Arcanist’s Job Quests, for example, are available at the Arcanist’s Guild in Limsa Lominsa). This gets you a bit of EXP, but each one also generally gets you class-appropriate gear and skills.

Guildhests – You won’t have access to any dungeons until you reach level 15, but you can do Guildhests. These are four-person instances that are generally pretty short. Two Guildhests become available every five levels, and each one grants bonus EXP for first-time completion. I wouldn’t recommend running these over and over again, but you should definitely claim the first-time bonus for each one.

Final Fantasy XIV - FATE

FATEs – FATEs are in-world events that anyone can participate in so long as they’re currently active. They’ll appear on your map as blue circles, so they’re pretty easy to find. If you are too high-level for a FATE, you’ll need to sync your level before you can participate. However, you should only be doing FATEs that are around your current level. So, for example, if you’re level 10, you should only participate in FATEs that are about level 7-13ish. Otherwise the EXP gain isn’t going to be worth it.

Level 20-30

You’re going to notice a definite slowdown in leveling at this point. You’ll want to continue doing all of the things mentioned in the previous section, but you’re going to notice that the amount of EXP you need to level up is increasing at a faster rate than the EXP you earn for these activities. Don’t worry, it’ll get faster again once you hit 30, but the 20-30 stretch is going to be a little slow.

Dungeons – You can now participate in Final Fantasy XIV‘s dungeons. Sastasha should be available at level 15, and more will be unlocked as you level up. These are actually a really good source of EXP, so it’s not a bad idea to run them over and over again.

Levelling Roulette – The Levelling Roulette becomes available in the Duty Finder at level 17. Basically, it throws you into a queue and randomly assigns you a dungeon and a party. You can do this as many times as you want, but the first time you complete it each day will result in bonus EXP. You should always run your Levelling Roulette once per day (well, until you hit level 50).

Palace of the Dead – The Deep Dungeon (A.K.A. Palace of the Dead) is a randomly generated dungeon that works a bit differently from other dungeons in the game. Here, you will start at level 1 and level up as you progress through the dungeon. When you leave the dungeon (whether you failed or not), some of that EXP will be transferred from your Deep Dungeon character to your actual character. You’ll enter the dungeon by talking to the Wood Wailer Expeditionary Captain at Quarrymill in the South Shroud, but you’ll have to complete a side quest before it becomes available.

Final Fantasy XIV - Guildleves

Guildleves – Guildleves are repeatable quests that are marked on your map by a card icon. You can complete these for EXP, gil, and sometimes even loot. These aren’t going to be the fastest way to earn EXP, but when you’re grinding from 20 to 30, they’ll come in handy to fill in some of the gaps in your levelling routine.

Level 30-40

Final Fantasy XIV

You should keep doing all of the things in the previous two sections, but more options are going to be opening up in the 30s, which will start to make this go faster.

More Dungeons – As you level through the 30s, you’re going to unlock more and more dungeons. Keep running dungeons that are on or around your current level.

Frontline Roulette – Okay, so this is the real Beast Mode. At level 30, you unlock Frontline, which is one of Final Fantasy XIV‘s PvP modes. Don’t worry, Frontline puts you on a large team, so you’ll have plenty of slack to learn and screw up without singlehandedly causing your team to lose. Basically, stick with your team as closely as possible, and watch what they do to see if you can figure out how the map’s objectives work.

Frontline also has its own Roulette, and the Frontline Roulette gives you absolutely stupid amounts of EXP — but only once per day. Generally, you’ll queue for about 5 minutes, and a match will last up to 20 minutes, meaning that in 25 minutes, you’ll earn a boatload of EXP. You should definitely do this every single day.

Level 40-50

Final Fantasy XIV - Quest Accepted

You’re almost there, my friend! At this point, you’re probably noticing that the EXP you gain from all of the above activities (with the exception of Frontline Roulette) is dropping off. Guildleves and Guildhests are still somewhat viable, but they’re definitely going to start feeling pretty tedious by now. Your best option at this point is to keep doing dungeons, while completing any remaining Hunting Log entries during dungeon queues.

However, another option is going to open up to you in the early 40s.

Beast Tribe Quests – There are five Beast Tribes in A Realm Reborn, and four of them will give you daily quests for EXP, Reputation, Beast Tribe currency, and loot. The fifth Beast Tribe, the Ixali, has quests that are specifically related to crafting classes. The other four, however, are:

  • Amalj’aa (located in Southern Thanalan)
  • Kobold (located in Outer La Noscea)
  • Sahagin (located in Western La Noscea)
  • Sylph (located in East Shroud)

Beast Tribe quests are admittedly not the best way to earn EXP, but by the time you’re in the 40s, you’ll probably be tired enough of the other activities that you won’t mind a slightly slower EXP gain; it’s nice to just be doing something different for a little bit.

Beyond 50

Final Fantasy XIV - Summoner

I’ve not gone very far beyond 50 on my Summoner at this point, but I’ve power-leveled other jobs before this, so I can tell you a bit of what to expect for post-A Realm Reborn power-leveling. There are several more options that open to you at 50.

More Roulettes – At level 50, you’re going to have a lot more options in your Daily Roulette section of the Duty Finder, and each of them has a daily EXP bonus. You don’t have to do all of your Roulettes every day, but this is going to be your primary means of leveling up at this point. Frontline EXP payout scales to your current level, so even as you’re approaching level cap, this is going to be the most lucrative EXP farm.

Raids – If you’ve not done Final Fantasy XIV‘s raids, you’re missing out. Both the Crystal Tower and the Binding Coils of Bahamut are must-plays, and they become available once you complete the MSQ of A Realm Reborn (they’re available at level 50 for subsequent jobs).

Hunts – While your Hunting Log ends at level 50, the spirit of the Hunting Log continues through each expansion. Hunts are accepted at a bulletin board in the main town for each expansion (Ishgard for Heavensward, Rhalgr’s Reach for Stormblood, The Crystarium for Shadowbringers), and they can be completed daily. There are hunting boards in A Realm Reborn, but your targets are a lot more consolidated in the expansion content, making them faster to grind on a daily basis (I rarely bother with ARR hunts). Basically, I use these as something to do while I’m waiting for dungeon queues.

Wonderous Tails – At level 60, you’ll gain access to Wondrous Tails, which is completable once per week (starting on Tuesday). Basically, you’re given a journal (by Khloe Aliapoh in Idyllshire) with a grid of 16 activities in it. Every time you complete an activity, you’re given a sticker, and once you earn nine stickers, you can turn in the journal for a reward. That reward will be greater based on how the stickers are arranged (you’re essentially trying to line them up on a 4×4 grid, and the more lines you make, the bigger your reward), but your base-level reward will always be a massive EXP payout that scales to your current level. This is generally worth about 1/2 to 2/3 of a level worth of EXP.

More FATEs – You’ve probably seen a reduction in the viability of FATE grinding as you get into the 40s. This continues into the 50s, but with the Stormblood expansion, FATEs are suddenly a fantastic way to grind EXP again. This continues into Shadowbringers. In fact, this should probably overtake Hunts as your go-to activity between dungeon runs. Just make sure you are doing FATEs that are close to your current level.

More Beast Tribe Quests – While there are Beast Tribe quests in Heavensward and Stormblood, it’s the Pixies in Il Mheg (in the Shadowbringers expansion) that will really skyrocket your EXP-earning potential. You can only do three Pixie quests per day, but each one is worth more than 300,000 EXP. So it’s definitely worth the grind once you hit level 70.

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