Shard Farming: Leveling Your Archer Alt

This is part 2 of a guide to making 100k+ gil per hour using low-level alts. Prices and profits have been updated for 5.58. See the intro for an overview of the process.

Now the work begins. We want to create an Archer and hit level 10 as fast as possible while completing the first few guild quests along the way. To do so, we’ll seize opportunities to multitask, coordinating our kills so that class quest, side quest, main quest, and Hunting Log objectives overlap whenever possible. In addition, we’ll occasionally “bloodport”—use death as a source of free teleports back to town—rather than running back or waiting for the fifteen-minute Return cooldown.

Character Creation

Don’t fuss over your character’s appearance: this alt is strictly expendable once the shards are delivered. Either use the default model or copy over some pre-saved appearance data, then pick a name and pull the trigger. The intro cutscenes, as you may already know, come in three parts: the universal “Eat, Pray, Love” “Hear, Feel, Think” intro, the city-specific intro (with the merchant), and a second city intro segment with a voice-over. As of August 2019, all three can be skipped.

MQ 1: “Close to Home”

Once you’ve emerged from cutscene fade-to-black, run through “Coming to Gridania,” the tutorial quest offered by Bertennant. This will lead you to Mother Miounne, who will give a mostly skippable introduction to an adventurer’s life in Gridania. She sets you three tasks:

  • attune to the Aetheryte
  • learn about markets
  • visit your guild

Run to the Aetheryte first; while there, speak to Bernadette, who offers “A Good Adventurer Is Hard to Find.” Next, you’ll need to visit Parsemontret in the market district of Old Gridania. (Take the exit east of the Aetheryte Plaza to get there fast.) Click through and accept “Parsemontrenomics,” which involves about running around the market stalls and procuring supplies through coercion.  While you’re still in the market, visit Sasamero (Independent Culinarian) on the east side of the northern market stalls and buy 5 Boiled Eggs and 2 Mint Lassis (total cost: 47 gil) for later use. Grab the Lancers’ Guild Aethernet Shard while turning in the quest to Ceinguled.

If you pre-ordered the game way back when, you’ll have a Moogle Cap waiting in your mailbox, so head back through the market stalls and west to the Delivery Moogle (10, 8) to pick it up. Equip the hat immediately. At this point it’ll be faster to use the Mih Khetto’s Amphitheatre Aethernet Shard to get back to the Aetheryte Plaza. If you didn’t pre-order, just use the Lancers’ Guild Shard to warp back to the Plaza.

In either case, you’re now ready to visit the Archers’ Guild. Head east of the Aetheryte Plaza and be sure to activate the Aethernet Shard outside the guildhall, since you’ll be coming back here a lot in the next hour or so. Deliver Bernadette’s message (“A Good Adventurer”) to Chansteloup who, in turn, will give you a new quest to kill six forest funguars (“Population Control”). You’ll be hunting funguars anyway, so this is a “twofer.” Speak to the guild receptionist, accept the intro quest, and arrange an introduction to GM Luciane.

ARC 1: “My First Bow”

Your first quest for the Archers’ Guild is a mini-Hunting Log; the mobs can all be found a few steps into the Central Shroud. Use the Aethernet to reach the Gridania Aetheryte Plaza and head south, dropping by the Carline Canopy just long enough to turn in “Close to Home.” Your next main scenario quest won’t be ready for a few levels yet.

Outside the Blue Badger Gate, you’ll find ladybugs and squirrels in abundance. Eat one of the Boiled Eggs you bought earlier, then dispatch three of each enemy. (Continue to use Boiled Eggs as the buff expires each half-hour; you won’t need more than five.) Next, head south to the fork in the path and turn left to find your forest funguars. Pick off six to fill your quota for both “My First Bow” and “Population Control”, then head back to Gridania (Return > Aetheryte Plaza > Archers’ Guild). Turn in “Population Control” to Chansteloup, then visit Luciane to complete “My First Bow” and gain access to your actual Hunting Log. Conveniently, the mobs you just slew also appear as the first three log entries. Head right back out the way you came and take down another four of each: ladybugs [HL 1], squirrels [HL 2], and funguars [HL 3].

While hunting your funguars, look out for a FATE entitled “Clever Girls” on a nearby bridge. You’ll get a decent experience boost for participating, and if you manage to kill (or at least tag) four of the anoles, you’ll also check off HL 8 quickly and easily. From this point onward, it will be worthwhile to complete any nearby FATEs within a two-level range. The key here is “nearby”: if you run across the zone to join a FATE, it will likely finish before you arrive.

If you’re done with funguars, didn’t nab “Clever Girls,” and still haven’t reached level 5, proceed to the water sprites [HL 6] and black efts [HL 7] in the nearby river (the East Vein). Note that the sprites have a ranged attack and therefore cannot be effectively kited. Once you’ve hit level 5, aggro a bunch of nearby enemies (water sprites work well) and bloodport back to the Gridania Aetheryte Plaza. Aethernet to Archers’ Guild and turn in “My First Bow.”

ARC 5: “A Matter of Perspective”

The first part of your next quest requires you to snipe some not-too-hidden archery targets with your Heavy Shot attack. All six targets are in the southeastern half of New Gridania. Track them down, then use the main plaza Aetheryte to warp to the Archers’ Guild for the second half of your quest, which involves killing 8 each of opo-opos and microchus. Both live in the North Shroud, so head to Old Gridania (via the Lancers’ Guild Aetheryte Shard or Mih Khetto’s if you picked it up earlier) and take the Yellow Serpent Gate to the west. While you’re in the North Shroud, go ahead and kill 4 mitelings [HL 4] near the stables west of the zone entrance. Then head north along the path to find both the opo-opos and midge swarms [HL 5] on a hillside to your right. You may want to alternate your kills of each species, so that the melee-only midges (easy kiting) will provide a brief healing break between (ranged and hard-to-kite) opo-opos.

After you’ve slain 4 swarms and 8 opo-opos, head north across the bridge to find your microchus. There are two different groups of these, level 6 and 8 respectively. The level 6 ones, to the east of the path, are the faster kill, but it’s not worth waiting for a respawn if the level 8s are up and the 6s aren’t. Slay eight of these, then warp home (Return > Aetheryte Plaza > Archers’ Guild). Complete “A Matter of Perspective” and equip your new shortbow and tunic.

MQ 4: “To the Bannock”

Now head back to Miounne at the Carline Canopy (Aethernet from Archers’ Guild to Aetheryte Plaza) to resume the main scenario quest. She’ll send you to the Bannock in the Central Shroud for further training. Follow the main quest line just long enough to reach level 10, collecting any outstanding Hunting Log entries on the way. As of August 2019, “Passing Muster” seems to look at item level rather than required level, so you should be fine wearing what you have from your quests. Next you’ll be dispatched to the north end of the zone for “Chasing Shadows,” an easy instanced battle with plenty of skippable cutscene padding.

The next few quests are straightforward hunting and/or fetch missions. Grab the side quest “Splitting Shells” from Maurelin, to be completed later. On the main scenario front, pick up and complete “An Eft for Effort” from Galfrid, which will give you credit for HL 7 if you don’t have it already. While you’re hunting efts, snag enough water sprites to complete HL 6 as well. Next comes “Eggs over Queasy” (kill chigoes) followed by “Surveying the Damage” (collecting ground-spawn items). During the latter, you’ll easily kill the four yarzons needed for “Splitting Shells.” Head east to Gabineaux’s Bower to deliver “Surveying” and accept “Butcher of Greentear” (kill 6 hoglets). If you missed “Clever Girls” (FATE) earlier, you’ll complete HL 8 just by finishing the next quest, “A Soldier’s Breakfast.” When you turn that one in back at the Bannock, don’t forget to hand in “Splitting Shells.”

At this point you are likely at least a quarter of the way through level 9, though how far into the level depends on your luck with FATEs and chain kills along with your XP gear and food buffs. What you do from here depends on your exact experience level:

  • If you’ve already hit 10, you can head back to town.
  • If you are still level 9 (but have ≤ 7,500 XP to go; most common scenario), head to Spirithold just long enough to kill the 4 trickster imps for HL 9. Then go south from Bentbranch toward Galvanth’s Spire and kill 4 roselets to complete HL 10 and receive your Rank 1 HL bonus. This should put you at 10 or close enough that a few random kills will finish the job.
  • If you are just barely level 9 (unlikely), go ahead and complete the “Spirithold Broken” battle, making sure to kill 4 trickster imps while you’re in the neighborhood. Then, outside Spirithold, report to Alestan, who will direct you to Miounne for turn-in and reward. Complete your Rank 1 Hunting Log as outlined in the previous bullet point. When you return to Gridania, visit Miounne to complete the quest, which should push you into level 10.

Return to the Gridania Aetheryte Plaza and warp to the Archers’ Guild. Just one quest to go before you begin reaping the fruit of your labor.

ARC 10: “School of Hard Nocks”

Like “A Matter of Perspective” before it, this quest has two parts: target practice and actual hunting. The targets, found in the Bentbranch area of the Central Shroud, are a little better hidden than their level 5 counterparts. Still, they’re not too hard to find; when you’ve rounded them up, bloodport back to town (the Qiqirn Scrambler camp in the cave at (17, 19) is great for this) and warp to the Archer’s Guild.

Next, Leih will have you kill eight tree slugs and eight northern vultures. Both can be found in the Honey Yard (East Shroud); the easiest way to get there is to warp back to the Lancers’ Guild and take the nearby ferry to Sweetbloom Pier. You’ll find the vultures soon after you enter the Honey Yard; the slugs are a bit further south. Both are melee-based mobs who spend a lot of time using short-ranged, easy-to-dodge abilities. Don’t get too greedy with the vultures, though, as they can gang up on you if you stray too far into their spawn area—instead, pick off the outermost two or three and wait for them to repopulate. For the slugs, pass up the level 12 specimens you encounter first and opt for the faster level 10s at (12, 26), near the Central Shroud zone line. Unlike the vultures, you can basically kite these all over the place without fear of neighboring aggro mobs. Finally, once you’ve filled your quota, warp back (Return > Aetheryte Plaza > Archers’ Guild) and finish “School of Hard Nocks.” As part of your reward, your character may now enlist in other guilds. We’ll proceed to take full advantage of that fact in the next section.

Shard Farming: Making 100,000 Gil an Hour with Alts

Data for the original Shard Farming guide was gathered on 30 Sep 2013. The guide was most recently updated on 2 Aug 2021, using version 5.58 of FFXIV. It may not reflect current market conditions or changes introduced in subsequent patches.

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