FFXI is very group-oriented, if you wish to obtain xp at the fastest rate, grouping is the way to go.
However, if you find yourself in a poorly configured group, you may gain xp at a very slow rate, or worse, end up with negative xp.
XP / Hour Ratio:
Below 1000: Bad
Above 6000 : Phenomenal, yes this is possible
So what is the secret to getting a good xp / hr
I. Party Configuration
II. Party Level Range
III. XPing in the right area
IV. Working together as a TEAM
I. Party Configuration:
Making a PT is more than just grabbing first 6 people you see. It takes some time to fill out a well rounded PT, but it will pay off in the end. A basic
party requires two elements, a tank, and a source of healing. As long as you have these two elements, you have a functional party. A successful party will have those 2 elements covered, then squeeze in as much damage dealing jobs as possible. Finally, there are the catalyst jobs, they act as multipliers for your damage and healing source, and help reduce downtime.
A tank has two roles: one is to absorb damage, two is generate Hate, as in keeping the monster’ attention on you. A person that can absorb damage well, but can not hold agro does not make a good tank. A tank should always have up to date Armor, less Defense = more damage taken = less Hate. See Section III for more details in Hate management. If you don’t have a good primary tank, then you’ll need a “secondary tank” so you can take some heat off your primary tank.
Having a “secondary tank” is not a requirement, and is redundant in most cases. For the early levels(pre 40), anyone with high Defense and Provoke will work as Tank, at the later stages of the game it’s usually PLD/WAR, NIN/WAR, WAR/NIN.
On the surface, this appears to be fairly straight forward, keep everyone alive through heals, but it’s actually more intricate than that. For a good xp PT,
you’ll need one major healing source and a backup healing source, or 3 or more minor sources of healing.
Jobs that fit into this category are: Major(WHM, RDM, SMN/WHM), Minor(BLM/WHM, BRD/WHM, PLD). Don’t forget your debuffs(i.e. paralyze, slow, blind), mitigated
damage = less healing. Contrary to popular belief, a WHM is not required for a successful PT. WHM is a great source of healing, however, the job does not
contribute much to the party in any other way. As long as you have a steady source of healing, your PT will be fine. e.g. A PLD with 2 BLM/WHM as healers,
not only is this a functional group, it’s a great group, because your healers double as damage dealer as well. Finally, factor in player mentality, just
because a job can heal, doesn’t mean the player will heal. See Section III, Working as a TEAM for more details.
More damage = faster monster death = more XP.
However, you do not want to deal so much damage in one fell swoop that the agro is drawn from the tank to yourself. Jobs that fill in this role are RNG, DRG,
BLM, THF, DRK, MNK, SAM. Just remember that your job is to deal damage, not take damage. Hate decreases over time, that’s why you want to deal damage in a
steady stream, not in one fell swoop. See Section III for more details in Hate management.
Finally we have the Catalysts, also known as downtime reducers. Jobs that fill in these roles are BRD and RDM, these classes can effectively double the
efficiency of your group. Mana regen keeps downtime to minimal, key elements here are Ballad1(25), Ballad2(55), and Refresh(41). Post 41, you’ll find
your “best xp PTs” will have at least one of these jobs.
Sample Party Configurations and Analysis:
WAR, MNK, WAR, THF, BLM, WHM
This party can work, but your xp rate will most likely be slow because you will have massive downtime with only one source of healing.
Pld/War, Drk/War, Drg/War, Blm/Whm, Blm/Rdm, Brd/Whm
This PT appears to be lacking in healers, however, you have 4 minor sources of Healing. This is a very functional Party, and it’s loaded with fire power.
Pld/War, War/Mnk, War/Thf, Whm/Blm, Whm/Rdm, Rdm/Whm.
This appears to be a very safe party, with so many healers, how can you go wrong? The problem with this party is it’s lacking in true damage dealers. You’ll take quite a bit of time to kill mobs.
Remember I broke things down into “elements”(tank, healer, dmg) and not specific jobs. I want to be as broad as possible when filling out a PT because you can have certain job combos that cover multiple elements. Some combos can fill duo roles, most “support classes” are healers, blm/whm is damage/healer, pld/war is tank/healer. Damage is damage, you dont have to limit yourself to melee damage instead of magic damage.
This is a generic outline of your standard xp group, you’ll be following this pattern most of the time. However, there are other party combos out there that
will work, and some might work even better. Some examples are: Pet group, multiple BSTs and Summoners; Mass AOE BLM group; a PT of all BLMs and RNGs for
fighting worms. Don’t limit yourself, do try different combos, as long as the xp keeps rolling in.
II. Party Level Range
Simply speaking, xp is gained by checking the level of mob against the highest lvl member of your PT. The ideal party would be where everyone has the same
level, any disparity would cause the party to be weaker/less efficient. However, we can’t always fill out a group where everyone is the same level. When a disparity in level exists, the frontline melee jobs, especially the Tank, should be highest level. Support classes and mages can get away with being at much lower level, Healers would heal same amount, BLMs would nuke for less, but still do significant damage if using the correct elemental spell. On the other hand, melees would miss a lot and tank would take a lot of damage if they’re low level. General rule of thumb is to keep all members within 2 levels of each other, the higher level you go, the more this rule can
Sample Party Configurations and Analysis, subjobs ignored for sake of brevity:
PLD(20), DRG(20), DRK(20), RDM(20), BLM(20), WHM(20)
This is a very well rounded PT with all elements covered, and loaded with firepower. This group should do very well.
PLD(24), DRG(20), DRK(20), RDM(20), BLM(20), WHM(20)
This is a general problem I see with alot of newbie PTs, they have ONE member that’s way above the rest. You’ll end up with either mobs being too difficult or
xp will be too low on mob. Explain the situation to the “offending” member, and replace the member with another within level range.
PLD(16), DRG(20), DRK(20), RDM(20), BLM(20), WHM(20)
In this PT, you have a tank that’s way below the rest of the PT, the PLD would not be able to tank well for the team, you’re better off finding a higher level
tank. This PT would not do very well.
PLD(20), DRG(20), DRK(20), RDM(20), BLM(20), WHM(16)
In this PT, you have a primary healer that’s way below the rest of the PT. However, this would not hinder the group’s performance too much. This PT would
still do very well.
PLD(50), DRG(50), DRK(50), RDM(45), BRD(45), WHM(45)
In this PT, half of your PT’s members are way below the rest of the PT. However, all of these are support classes, this PT would still do fairly well facing such an enormous disparity in level range. If you’d reverse the disparity, and have PLD DRG DRK at 45 while the rest at 50, the PT would not work at all.
III. XPing in the right area
Level of mobs to fight
“We’re better off chaining evens and tough cons”. I cringe every time I hear that, because that’s the sign that I got myself into a poor xp group. Another
simple litmus test is almost every kill that your Party (PT) makes should net you at least 100 xp. If your PT is not able to do that, then there’s something
wrong with the PT. Mobs in an area usually have ranges of 3 to 4 levels. You want to fight mobs that are in the “XP sweet spot”. The level of monsters
you’d take on will be Very Tough(VT), Incredibly Tough, and IT+. Your PT will level up(hopefully), when you get to the point where most of the stuff is
Tough, and an occasional VT, it’s time to move on to new mobs or a new area. Xp difference between VeryTough and Tough is quite dramatic, and because of
that, you want to keep your grp’s level range as close as possible, sometimes even 1 level can make a big difference.
What mobs to fight
Generally , you want to fight stuff that is easy for your group to take, avoid stuff with nasty Area of Effect attacks. Pay attention to your PT’s setup. A
PT with 2 Rangers is very powerful, but you don’t want to take that PT to fight skeleton type mobs, a PT with 2 monks on the other hand, would be perfect.
Also be aware of mobs that are “overcon” and “undercon”:
Overcon – Mobs that are very weak for their level.
You want to fight as many of these as possible.
e.g. worms, mandragoras
Undercon – Mobs that are very powerful for their
level. You want to avoid fighting these.
e.g. ghosts, marlboros
Where to level
You want to fight in an area where you have a steady stream of mobs to pull from. People like to XP in areas that have easy mobs and next to towns. Kazham
is an example of a great leveling spot turn bad because of overcrowding. Even your favorite “secret” leveling spot may not be available the next time you
go there. When a place is too crowded, it’s better off going to another area, rather than trying to compete with another group, you’ll just end up with 2
PTs screaming at each other because there’s not enough mobs to support 2 groups.
IV. Working together as a TEAM
There is no “I” in TEAM. Remember you’re in a group, it’s not about personal glory, you do whatever is best for your team. No one really cares about how uber you are, you dont need to keep reminding your team, “LOOK!
I just did 200 pts of dmg!!!!”. If you do SO much damage that you’re taking agro away from tank, you’re not helping your team, you’re being a hindrance. I’ll try to list some common mistakes for each class. If you find yourself in a bad xp group next time, ask yourself, am I doing whatever is best for my team? If you’re not sure, ask your PT, what can you do to make things better. If someone has more experience in the game(Rank 5+ is a good indication), listen to what they have to say, it just might make you a better player.
WAR – If you’re the main tank, use Provoke as soon as mob reaches your PT, and use it every 30 secs after it cycles, do NOT try to “save it” until the mob charges your caster. As a tank, you’re suppose to die before anyone else. If don’t like that idea, don’t play a WAR.
THF – Your damage comes from Sneak Attacks and Trick Attacks, you’re worthless to a group if you can’t get any of those in. If your group doesn’t understand how those 2 attacks work, take some time to explain it to your group.
WHM – Your best Cure spell may NOT be your highest Cure spell. By using the highest Cure spell, you will be less efficient mana-wise, and generate more
Hate because you’re getting hate in huge bursts.
BLM – The best damage spell may NOT be your highest level spell. Whenever possible, use ONLY elemental damage spells that are strong to the mob you’re
fighting. This is very important if you want to be as efficient as possible with your mana. If you dont know what the mob’s weakness is, ask your PT. Magic Burst is expected, if you don’t know how to MB, learn it as soon as possible. Remember you have elemental debuffs also, learn how each of them work. Control your Hate, you should not be tanking! BLM/WHM is a very capable healer, don’t restrict yourself to a damage dealer only. 2 BLM/WHM + another minor healing source will keep a party covered in the healing
RDM – You’re a Red MAGE, not a Red Warrior. As you level up, this will become more and more apparent, you will be casting more than meleeing. If you want to
play a Melee class, don’t play a RDM. Don’t be afraid to be the primary Healer, you can heal almost as good as a WHM. Post 41, you’ll be loved for your Refresh. However, don’t forget your other roles, debuff, MB, healing. You will be the busiest class in the game.
PLD – If you’re the main tank, use Provoke, and use it as often as you can. As a tank, you’re suppose to die before anyone else. If don’t like that idea,
don’t play a PLD. Have up to date Armor. You generate hate by using Heals on yourself and others. You should be resting between fights to regenerate Mana, forget about your TP, you’re there for tanking, not doing damage.
DRG – Keep your Wyvern alive, it contributes a significant amount of damage. If your Wyvern is about to die and your Call Wyvern ability is not ready. Consider sacrificing TP between fights to keep it alive. With the new Spirit Link ability, you should always have a wyvern fighting beside you.
DRK – Don’t abuse Souleater. The most glaring mistake in the game is the abuse of Souleater, think twice before using it. Remember you’re there to deal
damage, not receive damage. Don’t abuse Souleater at the expense of your Healers. Did I mention don’t abuse Souleater?
BRD – Learn to play different songs for melee and mage. Make sure your PT has the melee and mage adequately separated and spend your time running between the two. This job requires the most running. Pass lvl 25, your mana should not be at 100%, because you’re always regenning mana with your own ballad.
SMN – The advanced class of advanced classes. Don’t bother getting summoner pass 25 if all you got is Carbuncle. Mass Blink, Mass Stoneskin will be your
primary role in a PT.
This game is not all about leveling, but when I want to level, I want to level at the most efficient manner. What I wish to accomplish is to cure the “Low
xp is better than no xp” mentality. By following the outlines above and with a little common sense, there’s no reason not to have a decent XP party(2000 xp/hr), nothing fancy. Dont group for the sake of grouping, gaining xp at a snail’s pace, if you cant find a good PT, go do quests, farm Gil, or just take a walk outside. However, some people don’t care about leveling, each person has their own way of enjoying the game. If you find yourself into a bad PT, just take a bow(make up an excuse :P) and find yourself a new one, forcing the issue would just make a bad situation worse. This guide does not take into
consideration of personal feelings. Sometimes the best thing to do is to kick someone out of PT when they level or else you’ll get a huge dip in XP. You’d not have many friends if you did that. Explain the situation, maybe they will listen. Sometimes it’s not possible to XP together with your closest friends
simply because of level range, you’d be grouping for the camaraderie.