Final Fantasy XIV is about to increase its level cap with the Shadowbringers expansion, meaning there’s never been a better time to level grind a few extra classes to the current cap. But what’s the best and most efficient way to level up in Final Fantasy XIV?
The answer can be complicated and really depends on what you’re leveling, when, and how you want to do it. In this Final Fantasy XIV level grind guide, we’ll cover the fast and boring routes and the slower burns that shouldn’t leave you feeling too exhausted to dive into Shadowbringers this summer. Current events like the “Road to 60” buff further speed up the early leveling process. Playing on a “preferred world” helps, too.
Leveling Your First Battle Class
Final Fantasy XIV is built around battle content at the minute. You can absolutely live your life as a crafter or gatherer once you hit the level cap, but you’ll need to do so on a single battle class before you can turn your life around like that. You’ll need to plod through the game’s main storyline before you’re truly free to do your own thing.
There are plenty of ways to level up in Final Fantasy XIV, but new players should focus on the main scenario quests, something we touch on a bit in our FFXIV beginner’s guide. This way you’ll level up and experience the game and its locations as the developers intended. It won’t be a fast journey, but you’ll have to complete the main quests to do the top-tier stuff anyway, so you might as well just go with the flow.
Experience point boosting items are available, but the best ones are locked behind pre-order campaigns like the. You can grab the “Brand-New Ring” by completing the Hall of the Novice questline at level 15, a headpiece through Recruit-A-Friend, or several outfit sets bought through the Mogstation – the game’s microtransaction marketplace.
Leveling Another Battle Class
With your first class at max level and the main story over and done with, you’re free to experiment when leveling any subsequent classes. Final Fantasy XIV is different from most other MMOs. A single character is free to master every class, meaning side-quests will eventually run dry. Not that they’re the fastest ways to level these days. They’re mostly there for players to learn a little more about the land and its people.
So what do you do? Well, there are a bunch of ways to level subsequent classes, and while some are faster than others, they’re generally far more repetitive, risking player burnout that much faster. The ideal leveling process incorporates a few different methods; like running dungeons equal to your own level for sweet chain exp, and FATEs to bridge the gap between new dungeons.
For those just looking to level grind their way to the top, Palace of the Dead and Heaven-on-High are seen as the faster methods these days. They’re not for everyone.
Final Fantasy XIV is filled to the brim with these 4-player dungeons, and these can be some of the best ways to level grind. Take a look at your Duty List and you’ll notice specific level requirements beside each dungeon entry. You’ll want to run these dungeons at those exact levels to maximize EXP gains as chain exp – a bonus rewarded for killing enemies of the same level in quick succession – can really build up.
It’s not unnatural for dungeons to grant one or even two levels in a single run when all the bonuses align. Not bad for a 15-20 minute effort. Similar to dungeons, Guildhests are short tutorials available every five levels that offer a chunk of exp for your first clear. Get them done.
AI Squadron Dungeons
If you’re not in the mood to run with real players, running select dungeons with AI squadron members can fill in. You’ll have to contend with some wonky AI from time to time, but the raw killing power of these NPCs paired with massively increased exp rates can make short work of the 18-50 portion of the Final Fantasy XIV level grind these days. Reach the Second Lieutenant rank with your Grand Company to access them.
The FATE Grind
Once the bastion of level grinding, FATE farming isn’t quite the behemoth it used to be. Still, it’s a decent way to push through levels when you’re between optimal dungeon runs and/or waiting for a queue to pop. FATEs are found all over the game world, can usually be easily soloed with appropriate gear, and award a decent chunk of your exp bar for the few minutes they can take to complete.
Duty Finder Roulettes
Back on the topic of dungeons, the Duty Roulette feature is a brilliant way to gain some easy experience points no matter your level. Low-Level Roulette can be a bit of a chore at later levels due to losing access to fun spells and abilities, but when you come out of an easy dungeon with potentially ¾ of your level bar colored in at 62, it’s easy to forgive the snoozefest. Just stick a YouTube video on and don’t sweat it. Other roulettes won’t give the same kind of generous exp gains, but they all add up to our next talking point.
Barely a challenge at all, the Challenge Log is a weekly checklist of activities that award a silly amount of experience points for everyday things like running roulettes, clearing dungeons, and completing FATEs. Completing a dungeon to see another chunk of your EXP bar tossed at you out of the blue is a great feeling. Hunting Logs are an older version of this idea. It awards respectable exp for hunting down specific monsters and can be completed once on each class.
Originally conceived as a fun pastime for players to test their wits as they climb the leaderboards, Palace of the Dead, and its Stormblood equivalent Heaven-on-High, is now little more than a glorified level grind goldmine. These randomly generated dungeon crawls grant a good amount of exp after every tenth floor. But be warned; die before you get there and you’ll be cast back down to the first floor in the set.
Recommended Method – Use FATEs and Hunting Logs to reach level 16. Run dungeons equal or one level below your own, and save your daily Low-Level roulette and Challenge Log rewards to quickly bridge the gap between new dungeons. Or just run dungeons with your Squadron until around level 50 and then go back to following the recommended route. Slow and steady wins the race.
Grind Method – Tour the world doing level-appropriate FATEs or stuff yourself into the repetitive nightmare that is Palace of the Dead.
Final Fantasy XIV has slowly introduced more and more ways to boost experience point gains. By stacking as many of the items down below on at once, you can boost your experience point gains from battle up to as much as 250%. The armory bonus is an invisible boost that applies to any combat class that doesn’t match your current highest level.
- Armory Bonus (100% below level 60, 50% thereafter)
- Rested (50%)
- Free Company Action or Squadron Battle Manual (Up to 15%)
- Wearable items (varies)
- Food (3%)
How to grind crafting classes
A subset of classes in Final Fantasy XIV, Disciples of the Hand are a collection of crafting-based classes like Blacksmithing, Culinarian, and Goldsmithing. There are a total of eight crafting classes right now, and we don’t anticipate another arriving anytime soon. Leveling these classes can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but each one can help the other making each new class a little easier than the last. Just like combat classes, there are a few different ways to go about leveling.
Craft one of everything
While not absolutely necessary, new crafters can enjoy a burst of experience points simply by crafting an item for the first time. Notice that little checkmark next to that item you just whipped up for the first time? You can do that for any item on your recipe list, and doing so grants a one-time experience point bonus.
You’ll want all the practice you can get if you’re new to crafting, so ticking off each item isn’t a bad way to chip away at your experience bar. The more you raise the item’s quality, the more exp you’ll get when you finish the craft.
Available at around level 50, these weekly turn-ins are quick and easy to pull off. Simply check the week’s delivery list, buy the necessary items from the appropriate vendor, and craft six of the requested items as best you can. You’ll earn plenty of experience points when delivering these items, and you’ll even get “scrips” used to purchase powerful crafting gear.
Grand Company turn-ins
Often overlooked these days, your chosen Grand Company will request a random level-appropriate craft from you each day at the turn-in counter. Just like levequests, handing in a high-quality item will net more experience points. It’s a quick and easy way to get some bonus experience each day.
Probably the best (and cheapest) way to level any crafting class at this point is to devote yourself to Levequests. These repeatable quests task players with delivering certain items to NPCs for a generous amount of experience points. They come in a few flavors, but “Charity” Guildleves, denoted with the image of two female crafters, tend to offer the greatest time/experience ratio as you can turn in 3 sets of items at a time.
The experience point rewards are generous and multiply for high-quality crafts. Better yet, most will reward you with the materials you used to craft the item in question, making it that much easier to repeat the Levequest over and over. If you’re rolling in Gil, you can even buy the required items and pass them off as your own.
Recommended Method – There isn’t much reason not to abuse Levequests all the way to the level cap. They’re fast, convenient, and award a metric ton of experience points compared to other methods. Custom deliveries offer quick and easy bonus experience each week, and the scrips are an added bonus. Feel free to complete those if and when you’re able.
Grind Method – Craft, craft, craft. Preferably without using Quick Synthesis.
Like any class in Final Fantasy XIV right now, crafting classes can utilize a bunch of buffs to increase their gains. Stacking them will make for a much faster crafting experience and should be in effect at all times. They won’t do much when turning in Guildleves, but they’ll really help speed things along when doing actual crafts.
- Rested (50%)
- Company-Issue Engineering Manual (50%)
- Free Company (guild) buff or Aetherial Wheel (Up to 20%)
- Food (3%)
How to grind gathering classes
The final type of Final Fantasy XIV class is the humble Disciple of the Land. With just Fishing, Botany, and Mining available right now, these gathering classes are far less in number than their crafting counterparts – but they go hand-in-hand in numerous ways.
Leveling these classes will be fairly uneventful, but their predictability and relative simplicity make them great candidates for things to level while you watch a movie or listen to a podcast. Grinding still won’t be the fastest way, but it sure is less demanding of your attention. For those willing to pay a bit more attention, Leves will be the way forward yet again.
Grind by gathering
Similar to crafting classes, discovering a new item awards bonus experience points. If you see any “unknown” items on the gathering list when you open up a node, successfully gathering them for the first time will uncover their true identify and give a decent amount of bonus exp compared to each swing at the same item.
Chain bonuses for successful swings at the same item in a single node means farming the same Ash Log might not actually be a bad idea. Just uncover each new item in a new area and then go after the one with the best gathering chance. A simple swing and a miss will reset that beautiful chain bonus. Just stick a movie or audiobook on in the background and get to work.
Gathering Levequests – or Guildleves – usually ask you to gather a specific amount of items from a specific amount of nodes. Too many failed gathering attempts can lead to drastically reduced exp rewards.
It’s a good idea to burn Gathering Points (GP) on abilities during these missions to increase gathering percentages, so stock up on Cordials, bring some decent stat-boosting food, and hope the odds are in your favor. They’re not all too different from regular gathering, but they do require some simple math to ensure you hit their goals.
Locked behind the game’s first major expansion, Collectables feel like a combination of traditional grind gathering and Levequests.
Available through timed nodes, time management is key as you follow the clock around zones and rely on your class abilities to gather specific items. Get lucky with your appraisals and you’ll turn these items in for some very impressive experience points. Better yet, the scrips you earn for doing so can then be exchanged for some simple end-game gathering gear.
Grand Company Turn-Ins
Just like the crafting classes, your chosen Grand Company will request a new item each and every day. Deliver a high-quality item to them to get another chunk of exp added to your progress bar without much effort.
Another repeated activity, custom deliveries are just as good for gathering classes as they are for crafters.
Identify the requested item on the list, locate it out in the field, and do your best to gather it at the highest collectability value you can. Turn in six of these for a big chunk of weekly experience points and some scrips for your troubles. You can use these on new equipment or books that will unlock sometimes incredibly rare and valuable gathering nodes.
Recommended Method – Hit new nodes until around level 15 and then rush Levequests until around level 60. Get yourself some good gear and just focus on Collectibles and Custom Deliveries after that.
Grind Method – Just keep hitting the highest level node you can comfortable chain. Missing a swing mid-combo will hurt every time.
Similar to the crafting classes, gatherers can make use of a number of exp boosting items to speed things along. Given the need to actually gather during Levequest grinds, these bonuses are far more important to gatherers than they are to crafters. Keep as many of these stacked as you level for the easiest time. Stock up on Company-Issue Survival Manuals. They don’t last long.
- Company-Issue Survival Manual (50%)
- Free Company buff or Aetherial Wheel (Up to 20%)
- Food (3%)
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