Final Fantasy XIV: Leveling Up

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Hello future and present Eorzeans, thanks for returning to our Final Fantasy XXIV: A Realm Reborn Preview Series. Today, it’s all about leveling up.

If you’re an MMOer, you either love or hate the experience of leveling up; there’s really no in between.

If you love it, it’s because – let’s face it – you like lore. You like exploring. You like to get to know NPC’s, and you like to immerse yourself in the backstory. You live in this world, you may as well get the full experience of growing up in it.

If you hate it, it’s because you like to fight. You like to get to the end; you like big crits and super powerful abilities, and crawling up the ladder to get there is simply a pain in the ass.

[   MMO Leveling Formulas   ]

ffxiv28 s  Final Fantasy Preview #5: Leveling UpA few games have tried making leveling easier. The classic formulaic gather or kill quests are still in classic MMORPGs like WoW, but due to the public’s totally understandably weariness when it comes to repetitive grinding, they’ve been trying to get you to level cap more quickly.

Then there are games like TERA, which is sort of like WoW, except there are BAM encounters sometimes. There are also games like Diablo III or Marvel Heroes, where there’s a smooth, compelling story and great action combat, but the story ends halfway through your grind to endgame.

Other games have tried to embrace an “open world” concept, which does its best to eschew a pre-planned linear storyline in favor of encouraging you to go out and write your own story however you wish, à la Age of Wushu.

Now, before I say what I’m about to say, I’m going to have to offer you this disclaimer: I effing love FFXIV: ARR. I just do. I’m going to pre-order the crap out of that thing, and wish I could do it twice. So now you know I’m a little biased.

That being said, I think leveling in ARR is revolutionary, and literally has something for everyone. Even you, Mr. Endgame Racerface.

[   How Classes Work   ]

Before I get too far into descriptions of the different ways to level, we need to make sure we’re all on the same page about how classes work in ARR.

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There are different types of classes, and different types of gear available to them. We’re going to talk about this more in depth in a different preview article on classes, professions and jobs (they’re different), but for now, here are the basics:

  • You switch classes by switching weapons
  • Once you level your first class to level 10, you can then become any other class
  • Some class combinations work together to later help you learn a job. Once your first combat class is level 30, and your second one is level 15, if they’re the right combination, you’ll unlock an optional job. For example, if you’re a level 30 Lancer and a level 15 Pugilist, the Dragoon job unlocks.
  • A job is an advanced combat class, not a crafting class. Crafting classes are different, but also begin at level 1 and are leveled independently and can be learned by anyone.
  • To level a crafting class, you equip the tool of your trade, the gear set with bonuses to that trade, and you get to work. You can quest or craft to level up your crafting profession.

We’re not going to talk a whole bunch about crafting here, since that deserves its own article as well. But I thought it was important to make sure everyone knows that you can’t level crafting while you level your combat class, you can only get experience toward one thing at a time (by equipping the appropriate weapon or tool).

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That being said, let’s have a look at different ways to level your first combat class. Keep in mind that when you switch to a new class, you’ll need to travel to the city where that class’s guild resides and do the whole leveling process over again.

[   Questing   ]

There are two types of basic quests here: required and optional. You can level up without ever doing an optional quest, but you must move through the story to unlock certain things you’ll need in the game, like access to another class or the ability to travel around. Plus, it’s Final Fantasy – the cut scenes are gorgeous.

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The quests you must complete (as well as the quest mobs you must kill for that quest) are denoted by a special icon that looks like a “Q” on fire.

Just like most other MMOs, however, questing is probably the easiest way to get gear, cash and experience.

[   Levequests   ]

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Once you complete a quest to unlock them after level 10, you can complete Levequests. These are given at the Battlewarden, and appear in your questlog but look different than normal quests on your mini-map.

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To begin a Levequest, you need to find it in your quest journal and initiate it. All of the Levequests I tried were timed and instanced, although if you were on the same Levequest as someone nearby, they could tag the quest mobs as well.

[   Guildhests   ]

Once you’ve done your first Levequest, you’ll be able to sign up for Guildhest. A Guildhest is a five man group quest where you are qued up and instanced into an encounter with an objective.

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You must que for Guildhests at the Battlewarden, who is normally right next the the Levemate. If you have people in your party higher than the appropriate level, they’ll be scaled down.

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You must complete the Guildhests in the order they’re listed on when you queue up. When you’re finished, you must talk to the NPC at the start of the Guildhest quickly – once, I stopped to take a few screenshots after the kill and I was ported out before I could collect my reward.

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[   Hunter Log   ]

If you don’t like the whole questing and grouping thing, you can complete the entries in your Hunter Log. Found amongst the icons on the bottom left of your screen, your Hunter Log is a list of aggressive in your area.

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By completing the required amount of killing listed in the log, you’ll receive bonuses and experience. This log can be used the same way for gathering and crafting.

[   FATES   ]

Much like the random group encounters in TERA or Marvel Heroes, FFXIV: ARR has FATES, which were discussed in previous articles as ways to get a quick bit of XP and cash.

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If you’re in a level-appropriate zone and you see a purple circle on your mini-map, just head over and join the fray. If you’re too high or too low, however, you won’t be rewarded much.

[   Closing Thoughts   ]

Since this is beta, we can most certainly expect there to be more ways of leveling as more content is unveiled. This game is nothing if not complex and full of options in the best way possible.

Our next FFXIV previews will cover the class and job system, as well as crafting.