It finally got to you. All that news about Final Fantasy XIV breaking its concurrent player record, your friends swapping the MMO of a lifetime to hang out in Eorzea, or you finally giving in to the online aspect of a Final Fantasy. No matter the reason, you hopped in and started your journey to become the Warrior of Light.
The problem is, since you're late to the party, most of your friends are already doing endgame content or way ahead of you. You want to level up and want to level fast. Or, in another scenario, you have one Job at a high level and want to level an alternate job. To be honest, this guide will be most helpful if you are power housing an alternate Job. Because in your first run-through, there's only one way to go: Main Scenario Quest.
Focus on your Main Scenario Quest
First time playing? Stick to your MSQ. Not only will you behold one of Final Fantasy's most impressive storylines, but MSQs also has it all. They give you great exp, unlock new features like dungeons, Chocobo riding, tell tales of Eorzea and how you will become its mightiest champion, and most importantly, it lets you progress further into the game.
If by any chance you are underleveled when picking the next MSQ or want to choose another Job, you can follow one of the topics below and when you get to the required level, get back to the MSQ. But I highly recommend sticking to one Job until you at least finish A Realm Reborn main quest, "The Ultimate Weapon," because you will unlock flight, and believe me when I say it will save you long hours of stranded running and calf's cramps.
Sidequests only to Unlock Content
Sidequests are one of the ways to gain an extra experience boost. Among those, you should definitely do your Class Quests every time you're able to. They pop up every 5 levels and early on give you new gear and skills. At 30, you get a brand new Job and unlocks more actions in your arsenal of onslaughts.
Nowadays, you should avoid doing Sidequests - unless you don't meet MSQ required level - alongside main scenario quests because there's a catch in FFXIV. If you get to level 50 while still adventuring in A Realm Reborn, experience prizes from MSQ and Sidequests are significantly reduced. Something around 90% less. The same happens if you hit 60 in Heavensward or 70 in Stormblood. You hit an invisible progression wall where your time and efforts don't pay off anymore, so you should keep progressing your MSQ until your growth is normalized.
If you're like me and feel a shiver run down your spine every time you open the map and see countless exclamation marks popping out, follow my example. I picked another class and leveled it up solely by doing the left-out Sidequests.
You must, however, look for Sidequests that are blue and have a little plus sign in their icon. Apart from giving experience, they unlock new features such as dungeons, levequests, guildhests, and other things like pets or emotes.
Complete your Hunting Log
You unlock Hunting Log as soon as you complete your level 1 class quest. Hunting Logs are some region-specific enemies that, when hunted - brutally and discriminatingly killed by a bloodlust player - give bonus experience. At first, all enemies will be close to the city-state of your class, so it is easy to hunt them down and net the experience while traveling. Eventually, the Hunting Log will expand across the entire continent. Still, every hunt is worth it because you get an even bigger experience bonus and unlock the next rank with each completed one.
FATEs are dynamic scenarios on the map with a clear objective. They are often battles, but some are escort missions or supply destruction. You can tackle these scenarios alone or with a group of passerby players or friends.
Looking at the map, you find some timed events in a circular blue zone. If you participate in it, you are rewarded with money and experience according to your contribution, ranging from bronze, silver, and gold.
If you have a party or other players are farming FATEs, take advantage of it. In case you're alone, bring your Chocobo companion together, so both get beefier. DPS classes queued for dungeons often takes a long time to find a party, so you should take advantage of this in-between to farm some FATEs, destroying the nests of innocent-looking nature creatures.
Levequests to Grab that Little Extra Exp
Curiously, Levequests are the last gasp of the original version of Final Fantasy XIV, which revolved some of its lore around these cards that gave quests to guild adventurers. Now, they function as a sort of repeatable quests. After completing a level 9 MSQ, you can pick the Sidequest "Leves of Bentbranch, Horizon or Swiftperch" to unlock Levequests. You need a currency called Leve Allotments to accept a Levequest, and you get three Allotments every 12 hours, up to 100.
Battlecraft levequests are simple fetch, kill, protect, and so on. They are separated into categories for every five levels and are helpful for those who want to level up independently without waiting for dungeon queues or getting annoyed by FATEs. If you are leveling up an alternate class, you will likely have many Allotments, guaranteeing many levequests.
Roulettes and Dungeons
Good ol' dungeons. Duty Finder in FFXIV is divided into several categories, but the ones that give the most experience are the traditional dungeons and, marginally, the Guildhests. Guildhests are unlocked after finishing the Sidequest "Simply the Hest" and function as a good-neighborly party tutorial. By completing at least one Guildhest, you open the Duty Finder: Guildhests, which randomly picks one of the available Guildhests for you to adventure through and earn a bonus experience daily.
The first dungeon is unlocked at MSQ level 15. At level 16, you unlock the second one and with it the Duty Roulette: Leveling, one of our holy grails. Leveling Duty will randomly throw you in one dungeon or trial out of all you have unlocked - excluding Experts and Savages difficulties. After completing it, you will get a boatload of bonus experience. Like all Roulette, the bonus is only valid once a day.
Furthermore, whenever you unlock a new dungeon, you get a bonus the first time you complete it. This is true for all your classes. So if you are leveling an alternate class, it's worthwhile doing one dungeon after another to collect the completion bonuses. Healers benefit the most from this, as their queue time is practically non-existent.
Down the road, you will unlock many others Roulettes, and whenever power-leveling, it's common to run through all of them daily. There is one Roulette in particular that players severely underrate, but you shouldn't. The Frontline.
Frontline is the PVP battleground of Final Fantasy XIV, and although it is not very balanced and somewhat chaotic, the daily bonus experience is exorbitant. Killing other Warriors of Light is rewarding, which makes sense, being that we're besting other champions of the world.
Aiding your fellow Beast Tribe
Beast Tribe Quests are the equivalent of daily quests in the Final Fantasy world. While they do not give you as much experience as the previous options, you can earn extra items by increasing your reputation with the Beast Tribes, such as mounts and pets. Each expansion has its own beast tribe, so it is recommended to do the quests for that expansion as long as you have not reached the max level.
Shadowbringer's Beast Tribes deserve a special mention, as the three daily beast tribe quests from the Fae Tribe grant an average of 15% of the experience needed to reach the next level, and you can complete them in less than ten minutes.
Roguelike Deep Dungeons
Deep Dungeons is a roguelike instance that has multiple floors and its own leveling and item system. Currently, we have two Deep Dungeons. Palace of the Dead is intended for those at level 1 to 60 and Heaven-on-High from 61 to 70.
When queueing for one of the Deep Dungeons, you'll fall into a party with three other members without a fixed composition. It can be four DPS or four healers, for example. In Palace of the Dead, everyone starts at level 1 if queueing for the first floor and will level up while progressing. Heaven-on-High begins at level 61.
Every 10 floors, you face a boss, and if you triumph, a checkpoint awaits you on the other side. You can continue from the floor you stopped on if you decide to leave. With each checkpoint, you obtain a large amount of experience, and that's why Deep Dungeon is an excellent place to level up. Heaven-on-High follows the same logic.
Although the experience is not as good as running dungeons with completion bonuses, and you still run the risk of dying halfway through the floors and losing your progress, Deep Dungeons also give other rewards, such as mounts that sell for an extravagant price on the Market Board. From my point of view, Deep Dungeons are a nice change of pace or if you haven't played a class for a while. The leveling up system helps you get situated as skills are unlocked on the fly, and the rotation comes back to you.
You can unlock Palace of the Dead by completing "The House that Built," which starts in New Gridania and requires level 17, and Heaven-on-High by completing "Knocking on Heaven's Door" in The Ruby Sea after level 61.
Food, Rested, and Armory Bonus for more Experience
Furthermore, you can do any of the above boosted by eating food. Every food gives +3% experience. Free Company - FXIV guild equivalent - grants bonuses that increase experience +15% for defeating enemies. There is some equipment for those who pre-ordered the game or recruited a friend to boost experience gains. But most importantly, there are the Rest buff and Armory bonus.
You earn the Rested status by logging off in Sanctuary, that is, havens where no monster dares enter because of high-leveled NPCs that can best even you with their hands tied. The rest buff will give a 50% EXP gain and charge up to 1.5 level bars. If your bar is blue, that means your character is rested. So remember to always log out in a Sanctuary.
The Armory bonus reinforces my advice that you should only level one Job using MSQ and then your alternate Jobs. If you have a high-level Job and decide to level up a lower-level Job, the lower one will gain bonus experience until it reaches the same level as the highest level. It's as simple as that. In other words, when you finish A Realm Reborn, you'll probably be around level 50. With flight, you can choose another class and gain a 100% bonus exp in ALL activities. Profit all around.
The bonus drops to 50% when you reach level 70, and it will probably change when Endwalker comes out in November. So if you want to optimize your time, stick to one class, take it to unreachable heights, and rejoice in the bonus when you tire of healing your friends and want to go over to the rebel side of the force and crush your opponents' skulls.