When Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn first released, large group battles known as FATEs were the best way to level to 50. However, as the game was patched things changed, and now it’s better to level in the various dungeons on your way to 50. You can still level via the FATE battles, but dungeons are an overall better experience because you generally earn more experience points, and you learn how to play your class.
From level one to level 15, there are no dungeons you can play, so you must rely on quests and killing random enemies (mobs). Quests and guildleves are the best source of experience points until you can start running through dungeons. If you complete as many quests as you can find and your daily allotment of guildleves, you will hit level 15 in no time.
Once you reach level 15, you can run through the Satasha dungeon. This is a great starting dungeon because it teaches you how to play your class in a party environment, while not being too demanding. The same can be said for the next dungeon, Tam-Tam Deepcroft, which you can run through at level 16. Each dungeon has a unique set of gear that is almost always better than crafted or purchased gear. It’s also free, which is helpful when first starting out.
When you reach level 17, it’s time to get settled because you’ll explore the Copperbell Mines dungeon until you reach level 20. This dungeon is a little bit harder than the first two and requires a bit more teamwork, but overall, you haven’t hit a real challenge yet. The game is still preparing you for what’s to come, especially since tanking and healing will be vital as you start running higher level dungeons.
From level 20 to level 24 you will run through the Halatali dungeon. Once again, teamwork is the lesson plan of the day. This dungeon is a bit more challenging than the rest, but as long as you work together, there isn’t much to worry about as you run through Halatali. It’s not until you reach level 24 and start running through the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak that you really face your first challenge.
You will run through Toto-Rak until you reach level 28. There are different paths you can take and fairly challenging mid and final boss battles. The tank will have to worry about a good number of adds when fighting the second and third bosses, and there are multiple areas throughout the dungeon in which party members can be sectioned off if you run ahead. This dungeon teaches you to stick together and allows the tank to get comfortable maintaining hate on multiple enemies during a boss battle.
At level 28 you can start running through Haukke Manor. You’ll be in Haukke Manor through level 31, which means this will be your first dungeon run as a job instead of a class. The individual battles in Hukke Manor are harder than any previous dungeon, and it’s easy to die during the final boss if you don’t pay attention to the adds and work as a team to turn off the lamps in the corners of the room. While this dungeon is a test of skill, you haven’t hit the hard stuff yet.
Brayflox’s Longstop is the dungeon you’ll run through from level 32 through level 34. This dungeon will test a party’s ability to stick together. If you wander too far off the beaten path, you can “aggro” an entire zone and potentially wipe your party. It’s important to stick close together, while the bosses in Brayflox force teamwork on you. You’ll have to deal with multiple enemies, and the final boss is a true test of tanking and healing ability. The tank will have to dodge effectively, while the healer will have to manage the poison that will spread through the party.
When you reach level 35, you will finally reach your first true challenge with The Sunken Temple of Qarn. This is significantly harder than any previous dungeon, so much so that it was toned down since the launch of the game to make it easier. Many adventurers will need to run through this dungeon for their Grand Company, and it’s not easy. Several of the normal dungeon enemies must be killed on specific platforms, while the Bees can severely damage a tank, causing the healer to pay close attention. The first boss requires the entire party to stay on their toes, the second boss ignores hate management and the final boss is essentially a laser show of dodging.
The next three dungeons, Cutter’s Cry (level 38-40), The Stone Vigil (level 41-43) and Dzemael Darkhold (level 44-46) are fairly straight forward. By the time you reach these dungeons, you’ll be very familiar with the party structure and how to play your job. Stone Vigil can be a bit daunting if you’re not paying attention, but once you’ve run through it a couple of times, it won’t be too much of a hassle. It’s all about the healer doing his job and the tank pulling enemies back to avoid fighting too many mobs at once.
At level 47 you can partake in the Aurum Vale dungeon, which is the last dungeon you’ll face before you begin endgame activities. The first room of the dungeon can be deadly if you have a tank that doesn’t know how to properly pull. The first and last boss in the dungeon require all four party members to remove a specific status ailment to survive (the healer can’t remove it with a spell). The second boss requires all party members to dodge effectively or risk dying to a single attack. This is a true test of your abilities to determine if you’re ready for the level 50 content.