Not that I need to write a guide, but the information out there isn’t the clearest out there. Mainly because there are options depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. I mean, obviously you want to hit level 80, but what else are you doing?
- Are you trying to maximize money?
- Are you trying to go as fast as possible?
- Do you already have a level 80 job (e.g. MSQ complete)?
- Are you leveling crafting at the same time?
- Do you have a PILE of levequests available (3 come automatically per 12 hours, caps at 100)?
- Do you have a few ranks in the GC to purchase consumables?
Don’t bother with any gathering profession until you’ve unlocked flying for that expansion. Seriously, unlock that stuff. It’s faster than you think and a HUGE time saver in the long run.
Consumables / Gear
- Anything with 3% experience should be active at all times, you can find cheap food almost anywhere.
- Your GC sells books that doubles exp, last for 18 hours, and work up to level 50, for up to 1m exp. You’ll need a dozen or so per job.
- Your FC buff will give 10% bonus exp.
- The pre-order earring (20% bonus exp) doesn’t work for gathering.
- From 50-80, job quests reward books that double xp. You will get more than you need.
- You can buy gear in all capital cities. Not worth buying tools, and marginally for armor (not at all if you level 2 at a time).
- I do not recommend any jewellery purchases, or materia.
From 1-50 the job quests give more than ample rewards. You won’t get any jewellery, which is fine for the early levels. After 50, you will upgrade you gear at 53, 63, and 73. Why these levels? Because that allows you to equip everything but a belt with very good stats to get you to the next 10 levels. You can buy from the market board, which can be a bit pricey, or just complete the job quests at x3, x5, x8 and x0 to get basic versions.
This stuff mainly applies to Miner/Botanist – Fisher is all about Ocean Fishing and way more zen.
Every 5 levels you can access a Class quest. For normal quality items, buy them from the market. For high quality items, you need to farm them. Use the 100GP skill that increases HQ chance. I suggest that you “bank” 2 of them and get half way to the 3rd. So complete the level 20 quest, gather up until lvl 33, complete 2 quests and that should be enough to unlock the 3rd.
These come in 2 flavors – a simple delivery and then a timed event. Early quests are more delivery focused, and once you hit 50 all quests are the later one. The ones prior to level 50 are also split across towns based on level ranges. Avoid those early ones like the plague.
You really want decent stats for these. There’s nothing worse than having a 40% chance to collect the base item… things drag on.
I would STRONGLY recommend having flight available for any levequest.
tldr; don’t do levequests before level 50.
Not worth it for levelling.
From 1-60, you can buy all the material from the Market Board – and you really should. From 61+, you won’t be able to buy the material, you’ll need to actually gather it. This part can be tedious, as even with good stats, you’re going to have a 5% chance to collect a HQ item. Do them as they become available, they give great experience and odds are you can sell the gear for 20k per piece.
Starting (1 to 10)
This is simple enough, you just harvest for your given class, needing a level 5 node to pick from. North Shroud for Botanist, Central Thanalan for Miner. Get to 10 and head back to complete the class quest.
Choice A – Levequests or Diadem (11 to 50)
If you have TONS of Levequests, you can just pound through levels with relative ease, assuming you are just teleporting around or playing the market board for items. It is not braindead though, and it can cost you some gil.
Alternatively, you can head to Foundation and then Firmament (take The Brume exit). This will give access to some minor quests and unlock the Diadem. This is an instanced location where you start off heading to the left, take an air current, and land on an island with tons of nodes. If you have flying, this is ultra easy mode. This is brain dead and you will end up with Ishguard materials by the truckload. You can use these to level a crafting class, or sell them on the market for some rather easy gil. This is super brain dead and easy leveling up to 50.
You’ll unlock job quests every 5 levels. You can technically skip them all, as they have no impact on the ability to collect material from the Diadem and you buy the quest items on the MB.
Choice B – Levequests or Diadem (50 to 60)
Experience slows dramatically at 50 because your dbl exp consumable won’t work anymore. If you don’t have a pile of Levequests, then stay in Diadem. Diadem becomes extremely brain dead at this point – you can turn on a movie and just get to it.
I would strongly suggest Levequests instead from 50 to 80. They are much easier to locate (capital cities), come in batches, and should be giving a couple levels per turn in.
50 to 80
Levequests are the way to go, and you should pump up the difficulty for better rewards. You WILL need to use skills to maximize the harvesting, so that means some decent investment in jewellery to have enough GP. Pick up 2 of them, they should be in the same zone, and then go to work. This part goes relatively quickly as it’s much more streamlined than the 1-50 portion, and the maps are generally better designed.
Remember, it is always better to collect a base material than to miss a HQ one. Hit the base one for a chain of #4, and you can get a 100% chance on the final swing.
The only Gil you will receive is from the quest rewards. You won’t be able to sell any material gathered. If you want to recoup that money, then you should use this time to keep Retainers leveled up and once at 80, consider how market rates work on your server.