At some point or another, every FFXIV player comes to the realization that they made a mistake with what type of Retainer they have whether it’s choosing whether your retainer is a Battlecraft Job or a Gatherer or simply the reality that sometimes it’s time you switch what job you main.
While the latter tends to be less impactful on a player, though still very annoying, the more annoying element is having to re-level a retainer especially when you’re trying to get a particular task done.
I thought it would be a great idea to torture myself this week and reset all of my retainers to level 1 in order to get an accurate idea of what levelling looks like as it has been years since I’ve done it, though I will not pretend that I was being completely selfless as I recently got myself a third retainer so I could also begin researching how much a player can expect to make with all three types. Expect a post on that and what kind of Ventures you want to send your Retainers on based on your playstyle soon.
So let’s get to talking about Retainers and how to quickly and efficiently level them up. I will not only be covering the fastest way, but I will give you tips along the way about what you can expect from each type of Venture as you level.
Note: If you have any questions about FFXIV that you want me to cover feel free to leave them in a comment below, you can also ask me while I am streaming on Twitch, YouTube or in our community discord.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO RESET A RETAINER?
There are actually a number of reasons why a player may debate resetting their Retainer, though all of them tend to have something to do with trying to maximize the amount of Gil you are making.
Realistically the average player will not be thinking too hard about their Retainer and will simply be happy with the fact that they have extra inventory space and are able to sell their useless crap on the market board. I was the same way for a long while until I started crafting full-time and started needing more and more resources.
Initially, both of my Retainers were Battlecraft Retainers, one being a Red Mage (my main job) and the other being a Black Mage, the job I would commonly switch to when there was no new content for a while. This was ideal for me for a while because it meant I could always give my Retainers my hand-me-downs whenever I got new Weapons or Gear, but started becoming a problem when my husband began maining DPS and Healer and no longer had as big of an interest in tanking.
Beginning Shadowbringers onward I began alternating between Redmage and one of my Tanks, often completely forgetting about my poor Black Mage and thus leaving one of my Retainers significantly under-levelled for a time until I had the opportunity to level my Black Mage and get a decent Weapon to throw onto my Retainer.
While this isn’t always an issue, especially if you are bringing back resources that are lower-levelled or choosing to only send a Retainer on Quick Explorations, I was doing the Field Explorations at the time and had been making a good chunk of Gil since a lot of the things my Retainer was bringing back were quite pricy. Although this sucked, it didn’t convince me to reset my Retainer but I would completely understand if it did upset someone.
For me, the pivot point was when I was spending hours of my day Gathering hundreds of a single resource when I could have been doing other things. While I admittedly enjoy Gathering in FFXIV, I was selling about 10 different types of resources at the same time as farming the Firmament for achievements and struggled quite a bit to try to set a schedule for myself that included doing battle content that I enjoyed. So, here I am… sitting on a Botanist, a Miner and a Red Mage, all varying levels since they were reset.
WHAT IS THE FASTEST WAY TO LEVEL UP YOUR RETAINER?
Hands down, no questions asked the best way to level up your Retainer is going to be by sending them on Quick Explorations each hour as soon as it unlocks at Level 10. This is going to be an extremely tedious task to do as it means you’re going to constantly need to check your timer menu, but it reduces the amount of time it takes to level a retainer from 1 to max by weeks if not months.
Each Quick Exploration will provide a player with about half a level of experience, though by the time a player reaches level 65-70 with these Retainers, it will begin taking 3 Quick Ventures. At the time of updating this post, I am in the mid-70s with my Retainers, I am about 3 weeks in and I’d say on average I send my Retainers on 10 Quick Explorations a day, minus the days where I am streaming or am pulled into Real Life stuff.
If a player has 3 hours to play FFXIV a day it will take 2-3 months to level up your Retainer to the maximum, but this is where you can somewhat hyper-optimize how you deal with your retainers.
The 18-hour expedition will provide you with the same amount of experience as 3 quick explorations. This means that you can send your retainers on 5 Quick Exploration Venture and then one long Mission and still be able to get the most out of your Ventures. I would try to avoid sending your Retainer out on 6 Quick Ventures unless you don’t mind waiting up if you haven’t aligned your timings correctly.
If you can get more than 6 Quick Ventures completed in a day I would strongly avoid sending your Retainer on the longer Venture as it will cut the amount of XP you can get.
THE ONLY TIME I SUGGEST ANYTHING OTHER THAN QUICK VENTURES
I’ve personally gotten a lot of junk when I sent my retainers out on Quick Ventures and while I don’t really mind that much since I have a good amount of Gil, for players who are newer to the game I would strongly recommend you send your Retainers out on specific Missions if you have the Gear and the patience to look at the Marketboard.
The reality is that I was sending my Retainer on low-level Ventures frequently as the highest-level Ventures that provided resources were quite frankly over-saturated with players either farming these resources by hand or sending their Retainers out on Ventures.
Players are going to need a good deal of patience when it comes to researching what items are even worth anything, but you can expect to make a couple thousand if not more if you do things this way.
Quick Explorations can provide you with some expensive items, this is undeniable, but by the 8th time I got a single Lightning Crystal I somewhat lost my mind. Why is it always a Lightning Crystal? I mean, yes I do need lightning Crystals, but not one at a time… please.
Typically this is best done when on Battlecraft Retainers as Leathers tend to be harder to get since they are a mob loot drop. I wouldn’t stop on a single resource for too long unless you find that it is selling extremely well and the profits become more important than the experience for you.
In my opinion, it tends to be better to rush the levelling as it will cause your retainers to return faster from Ventures and will allow you to get more of said Materials once you have good enough Gear, however, when you are a newer player chances are you will be levelling alongside whatever Retainer you are trying to push and thus have decent enough Gear for it to get some worthwhile loot.
At the bare minimum, I would suggest looking at what the most recent resource you can collect is and see how much it sells for. Depending on what the cost is, you can make your decision to farm it or not. If you’re too lazy to do that while levelling up or don’t have the Gear, don’t sweat it too much.
DOES GEAR SCORE AFFECT QUICK EXPLORATION?
You would be shocked, but no Gear score and iLvl has absolutely no effect on Quick Exploration. In fact, if you’re simply looking at things from a Gil perspective your Retainer’s level doesn’t really matter when it comes to whether or not a Quick Exploration will be profitable.
The loot table is quite massive when it comes to these Ventures and though of course, it would be best to have a maximum level retainer so you have a higher chance at getting newer loot, many of the pieces of loot I’ve gotten in this trial have been between 3,000 to 80,000 Gil. The semi-unfortunate reality of this is all the profitable items tend to take days to sell and I’m finding even with 3 retainers
Admittedly, this will be good profit for players who don’t have much to sell on the Marketboard, but I’ve been finding myself desynthing a lot of these rewards or auto-selling them if they are under 5,000 Gil since I don’t have much space in my retainers.
I know that might sound like insanity to a good deal of players, especially those who are not as good at farming Gil, but I promise you once you find your flow in the Market things that don’t cost 10s of Thousands feel worthless and you may end up like me who is always on the lookout for sprouts in Limsa Lominsa to hand out Mounts and Minions.
It’s always a good idea to have a variety of different types of products on the Market Board. Some slow high-profit items and some lower-priced quick-selling items.
Finally for the point that should excite you the most… the best part of levelling up your Retainer by using Quick Exploration is you only need a level 1 Weapon the whole time, meaning that if you are restarting your Retainer from scratch you won’t have to farm your Gear and can simply put the best Gear on once the retainer is at maximum.
The only catch to levelling up a Retainer is that it can only be levelled up to the same level as that job you’ve assigned it to. So, if your Bard is level 60, the maximum your Bard Retainer can be is 60 until you continue levelling your Bard.