FFXIV Archer (ARC) Leveling Guide & Rotation | ShB UPDATED

How to level up your Archer (ARC) fast! Learn all about your skills, role actions, and how to level up HERE!

403 Issues SHOULD BE SOLVED: After a very convoluted hunt to discover why and how this was happening - I took a rather extreme approach to squash the problem. There should be no more of this issue going forward.

Tempted by the song of “ez ranged deeps”, ey? Aren’t we all! Well if you’re looking to have a shot at Archer, you’ve found the right place. Hopefully, our Archer Leveling Guide helps you out!

While this page focuses on Archer info like skills, traits, rotation, and playstyle notes. The GENERAL PROCESS that you follow is outlined in our FFXIV General Leveling Guide use it alongside this guide. Looking at that, we’re in the “A Realm Reborn Tier” as we’re only looking to level our Archer up to 30.

Archer Unlocking? Other basics?

How to unlock the ARC Class? Taken from Archer General Guide & FAQ – which you should read if you need more basic info about ARC.

Location: Old Gridania, Archers’ Guild (15,12)
NPCs: Athelyna, Luciane
Related Quests: (all in the same place)
> So you want to be an Archer
> Way of the Archer
> My First Bow
Others: You may also begin the game as Archer

Archers are Physical Ranged DPS classes, falling under the Disciple of War category. Also, if you’re curious about the job you turn into, Archers are the prerequisite class for unlocking Bard.

This guide has three major segments:

  • Archer Leveling Rotation & Skill Changes – How new skills affect your play.
  • Archer L1 to L16 – General reminders and notes.
  • Archer L16 to 30 – General reminders and notes.
  • I’ll mention it again, knowledge from General Leveling Guide is REQUIRED.

I put rotation changes up top as you might reference it often. Without further ado, let’s get to it.


Archer Rotation for Leveling, Skills, Traits, Etc.

In this segment we run down how each skill and trait affects your Archer’s rotation during the leveling process.

L1 Skill Unlocked Heavy Shot – ROTATION AFFECTED This is your “basic attack”.

L2 Skill Unlocked Straight Shot – ROTATION AFFECTED There is a small chance after using Heavy Shot that Straight Shot becomes usable. Basically, “Spam Heavy Shot, then Straight Shot when Available”.

L2 Trait Unlocked Heavier Shot  – This trait is what allows you to use Straight Shot. How it affects your rotation is already mentioned above.

L4 Skill Unlocked Raging Strikes – ROTATION AFFECTED: Your first DPS cooldown! Use it liberally while soloing or in dungeons. In dungeons, I suggest using this at the start of a new pack, and during bosses. Don’t hold on to it too much. Ultimately DPS cooldowns can be a very high level topic, but this is not the place for that.

L6 Skill Unlocked Venomous Bite – ROTATION AFFECTED: Your first DoT (Damage over Time) skill! OPEN every fight with this skill (Unless the monster is so weak that the DoT isn’t worth it – just heavy shot instead). Obviously, refresh it if it’s about to fall off. Typically in FFXIV you want to refresh DoT’s with a duration of 3s or less. If you’re fighting multiple monsters, using this on all of ‘em is legit.

L6 Role Action Unlocked Leg Graze – Your first Physical Ranged DPS Role Action! Causes Heavy on an enemy (slows movespeed). There is really not much of a use here, except letting enemies get to you slower. Only for desperation in dungeons or soloing… Very slim usage – can often be left unbinded as there are very few encounters where this is irrelevant.

L8 Role Action Unlocked Second Wind  – A burst self-heal which you’ll grow to be very familiar with. Helps with all types of content! Sustain during Boss FATES, emergency healing in Raids, etc.

L10 Role Action Unlocked Foot Graze  A ranged Bind (Target cannot move)! Useful for preventing melee enemies from reaching you. Practically speaking, this skill is great for stopping enemies so you can run away or interact with objects / NPC’s without being interrupted by damage.

L12 Skill Unlocked Bloodletter – ROTATION AFFECTED: Use it every time it’s available. Simple as that. It’s Off-GCD (OGCD) So you have no reason to delay firing this off ASAP.

L15 Skill Unlocked Repelling Shot – (Requires CLASS QUEST completion) Your basic mobility skill. For soloing, it simply helps you move faster in between mobs. For dungeons and especially raids, this is a great repositioning tool. 

L18 Skill Unlocked Quick Nock – AoE ROTATION AFFECTED: An INCREDIBLY EFFICIENT AoE attack that’s effective to use even against 2 targets. Obviously incredible at 3+ targets.

L20 Trait Unlocked Increased Action DamageThis does nothing that actually affects your gameplay, but simply increases your damage dealt by a %. Can’t complain.

L20 Role Action Unlocked Peloton AMAZING skill for movement! You’ll be surprised how much time this cuts in towns, questing, dungeons, make it a habit to always have Peloton up when you can! Keep note it doesn’t stack with Sprint. Newer players might think I’m memeing, but you too will come to love Peloton!

L24 Role Action Unlocked Head Graze A ranged interrupt! Stop enemies from casting their skills – while not super useful solo, it has niche applications in dungeons and raids. Just be aware you have it!

L30 Skill Unlocked Windbite – ROTATION AFFECTED: (Required CLASS QUEST completion) Another DoT, which has many OP connotations in 2/3 multi-target scenarios. Windbite should be your opening shot on enemies that will survive majority of its duration. Simply add it into your rotation “BEFORE” you’d usually do Venombite. 

Completing this quest and unlocking Windbite marks your final class quest as Archer. You now have the right to become a Bard!


Archer Rotation – L1 to 30 SUMMARY

Here’s an overarching shot of what your ARC rotation is in the early leveling process. Adjust to your currently learned skills.

ARC 30 Single Target RotationARC AoE Rotation

ARC L30 Single Target Rotation

    • Fire Bloodletter whenever it’s available.
    • Windbite if enemy will survive more than 9s
    • Venombite if enemy will survive more than 9s
    • Straight Shot if available.
    • Heavy Shot spam.
    • Use Raging Strikes liberally.

ARC L30 AoE Rotation

    • Quick Nock spam if 4+ Targets (Don’t Multi DoT)
    • Quick Nock if 3 Targets (Multi DoT still viable)
    • Multi DoT’s if 2 Targets  > Quick Nock spam.
    • For any scenario, use Bloodletter whenever available.
    • Use Raging Strikes liberally.

DoT’s still have the quick “9s lifespan” rule. If they die too quickly after the DoT, value is lost.

Archer Leveling: L1 to 30

As per the general leveling guide, this tier is divided into two sub-chunks. So I’ll be sub-chunking the following segments into two “tabs” as well. These two tabs represent A) L1 to 16, and B) L16 to 30.


Archer Leveling L1 to 30 Activity Flowchart

A rundown of things you can do to gain EXP – again split “to 16”, and “to 30”.

ARC 1 to 16ARC 16 to 30

ARC Leveling Activities to L16

Remember the universal truths: Main Scenario Quest is king, and always have your passive EXP buffs (FC, Food, Chocobo, etc)

Renewable EXP sources

    • FATES (Great when you're in queue)
    • Levequests (Actually good EXP but better saved for DoH or DoL)
    • Deep Dungeon -Palace of the Dead (Repetitive, terrible for LOW levels)

Burst EXP sources

    • Challenge Log* (Complete passively until nearing reset, then force it)
    • Guildhests (First completions per class is mega bonus EXP)
    • Hunting Log (Great source of EXP this early on)
    • Sidequests (Personal preference. Better if in tandem with MSQ!)
    • Duty Roulette: Guildhest (Pretty irrelevant...)

*Challenge Log won't be unlocked in this tier if it's your first time around. While you need to be L16 to initially unlock it, it can be used by any level character thereafter. 

Well, there’s not much to point your bow at this early on, but here’s where the arrow falls nonetheless. It’s slim, but you gotta start somewhere.

Of course, adjust this to your own personal preference.

ARC Leveling Activities to L30

Remember the universal truths: Main Scenario Quest is king, and always have your passive EXP buffs (FC, Food, Chocobo, etc)

Renewable EXP sources

    • Dungeons (Stable, "fun", massive EXP easpecially with rested bonus)
    • FATES (Great when you're in queue)
    • Deep Dungeon -Palace of the Dead (Repetitive, but fast)
    • Levequests (Actually good EXP but better saved for DoH or DoL)
    • Beast Tribe (EXP is meh, but great for getting cosmetic items)

Burst EXP sources

    • Duty Roulette: Leveling (The ultimate EXP source until L50)
    • Challenge Log (Complete passively until nearing reset, then force it)
    • Guildhests (First completions per class is mega bonus EXP)
    • Hunting Log (More for completionism or first timers, it's "alright")
    • Sidequests (Personal preference. Better if in tandem with MSQ!)
    • Duty Roulette: Guildhest (Pretty irrelevant...)

A few adjustments to your leveling mentality here, mainly the addition of  Duty Roulette: Leveling, as a daily burst, and straight queuing Dungeons as an option as well.

Of course, adjust this to your own personal preference.

Archer Leveling L1 to 30 Important Notes

Here we talk about important things to keep in mind during the process – essentially some straight shots to make sure you hit so you don’t get shafted.

ARC L1 to 30 Gear Updates:  Needed?

TLDR: Not really significant. This applies to both sub-tiers. Just make sure to pick up whatever along the way, or find dirt cheap upgrades in the MB or wherever (quests etc).

More detailed answer?

In all honesty you DO NOT NEED to put much thought into your gear from Level 1 to Level 30. Simply “get what you can”, with Weapons being the highest priority. You can get gear from Quests, buy from NPCs, Marketboard, Crafting, GC – it’s purely up to you and your budget as to what you wanna get.

Of course getting gear will increase your efficiency (being a little stronger helps kill speed), but this tier is pretty “newb friendly”, and designed as such – PLUS you “outgrow” gear by gaining levels so rapidly that tryharding on gear up to Level 30 is pretty irrelevant.

Just try not to run around naked, and get “what you can” without being outright negligent.


Important notes to keep in mind

ARC 1 to 16ARC 16 to 30

As always, Main Scenario Quest takes the highest priority.

There are too many skills that get unlocked here for me to talk about individually, which is why the skill unlock / rotation segment above should be your guiding light in that regard.

Limited Burst EXP sources take priority: Newly unlocked Guildhests, Challenge Log entries, Hunting Log.

Renewable EXP sources if you need to grind: FATE’s are great, followed by Levequests and if so you choose, Sidequests. (Deep Dungeon: POTD – can you zone it from Level 1? Even if you could, I don’t think I would…)

At level 15 you get access to your first Dungeon, Sastasha, but I don’t see much reason to grind there, unless you wanna burn rested EXP and want to hit 16 ASAP.

At 15 you should catch up and do your class quests, as you do get a skill form it – Repelling Shot. It’s not much, but it does help walking around. Typically you don’t want to keep your class quests incomplete anyway.

A note on Levequests: Can be an attractive source of EXP. Every tier has “good and bad” levequests so it’s up to you if you wanna go try them out. Main downside is using them up in place of DoH / DoL. Consider using them if you’re at or near the Levequest allowance cap!

As always, Main Scenario Quest takes the highest priority.

Starting L16, you open up Duty Roulette: Leveling, which is you should be doing everyday! This is an important source of EXP – it’s a huge daily burst! Also at L16 you can unlock Challenge Log if you haven’t already.

Overall, the same concept applies. Daily and Weekly bursts of EXP > Basic Renewable EXP sources of your choice > Other side activities to alleviate boredom or monotony.

 Renewable EXP sources? At this point it’s Dungeons, FATES and Deep Dungeons, and maybe some Levequests. Weirdly enough, Archer feels terrible in Deep Dungeons, but great in Dungeons (and “ok” in FATEs). Burst EXP sources? Roulettes, new Guildhests, Hunting and Challenge Logs.

L18 unlocks Quick Nock skill: This is a pretty damn underrated “breakpoint” for Archer leveling. Honestly, this skill is so unbelievably powerful for this level. It allows you to AoE down mobs efficiently while most other classes simply don’t even HAVE an AoE skill. This places dungeons a little higher on your “priority” list, as there’s quite a bit of AoEing down mobs here.

The early ARR dungeons aren’t that exciting, but at least Quick Nock makes it a little faster for you. No joke, it’s relevant. Imagine running a dungeon with zero AoE (It’s the reason why most tanks will not speedrun / pile up these low level dungeons).

at L20 If you haven’t unlocked your Companion (combat Chocobo), do so now. You can begin the process now – it entails getting your first mount as well (at least for most new players).

At L20, you unlock the Role Action Peloton, which you should get used to using all the time. I mentioned it in the rotation segment, but it bears repeating here – any increase in speed is welcome.

At level 30 get your class quests done, as it’s one of the prerequisites to transform into Bard!

Levequests notes, same as usual. Sad to take ’em away from crafters and gatherers, but it’s viable EXP. Definitely use them up if you’re overcapped on allowances.

Stop at Level 30! Unlock your advanced job as soon as you can!
(Archer turns into Bard at Level 30)

Archer L30 Onward: Unlocking Bard

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING ONCE YOU HIT ARCHER LEVEL 30.
Unlock Bard ASAP!

How to become a Bard? Unlocking Bard requires a Level 30 Archer, and completion of the L30 ARC Class Quest. From there, return to your guild and it should point you to the quest! See: Unlocking all jobs.

The reason we unlock ASAP is, not only to get a new skill at L30 (In your case Mage’s Ballad), but most if not all new skills and traits going forward are for BARD and not ARCHER, so you have no reason to stay as an ARC any longer.

Archer Leveling – Related Reads

Some good reads and related links here:

Summary and Closing

And with that YOU’RE DONE WITH LEVELING Archer! Congrats! Hopefully our Archer Leveling Guide helped you out. May your arrows always find their mark.


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FFXIV Archer (ARC) Basics Guide & FAQ – Shadowbringers Updated!

403 Issues SHOULD BE SOLVED: After a very convoluted hunt to discover why and how this was happening - I took a rather extreme approach to squash the problem. There should be no more of this issue going forward.

Ambitious to be an Archer? Allow yourself the advice found in our FFXIV Archer Basics Guide & FAQ! As implied, this is for players wanting to know the absolute basics, and answer some of the most common questions regarding ARC.

Likely, one of the main reasons you’re here is either unlocking Archer, or wondering about the eventual advanced job you can evolve into, Bard.

How to become an Archer? Unlocking ARC:

Primarily, you can begin your journey into Eorzea and start the game as an Archer – simply choose it as your starting option upon character creation.

If you didn’t start as an ARC, you can unlock the Archer class by going to the Archer Guild in Gridania – New Gridania (around 15,12), look out for the quests either “Way of the Archer”, or “So you want to be an Archer”.

Other unlocking prerequisites? I’m 99% sure you need to complete the Level 10 class quest of your STARTING CLASS if you want to unlock any other new ones.

Why should I play or choose Archer?

This question is semi irrelevant as, along with any of the other base classes, the only reason you’re an Archer is simply a stepping stone into Bard. But, I’ll give you a little description of what to expect anyway.

Archers (and eventually Bard) are your resident ranged, well, Archer. While not typically known for heavy hits, they have more of a DoT / Supportive playstyle. They aren’t your typical “Hunter / Sniper”, and more of a “Ranger / Naturalist”. If Bards sound like a bullseye to you, then hurry and level your Archer!

You’ll do well to learn a little more about what you’ll eventually BECOME:
FFXIV Bard Basics Guide.

Archer Crafters and Gatherers?

I often get asked “What Disciple of Hand or Disciple of Land classes go well with ARC?” Another related question to this is “Should I level them with my Archer simultaneously”? 

Leveling up your DoH and DoL classes should be thought of as a separate goal all on its own. I suggest leveling up DoH classes all together, and all DoL classes together (except the optional Fishing). Do not try to align your combat class levels to your non-combat levels. Trust me.

My only advice related to this is to never cap your levequests. If you’re at max leve allowances, feel free to spend them on Fieldcraft, Tradecraft, or Battlecraft leves just to uncap ‘em.

What’s the best race for Archer?

TLDR: I don’t know a single person who changes race for their main class for stats. The gain is not even .1% from worst to best. My advice? Choose for aesthetics.

If you REALLY wanna do it, check out our FFXIV Racial Stats Guide, which, FAIR WARNING – I am about to recheck and update next week. But honestly, it’s best you don’t even click on that – THE MICROSCOPIC INCREASE IN STATS IS NEAR IRRELEVANT.

Related Archer Guides – Read More!

Here are a few useful links for you:

Upcoming Odds and Ends

Here’s a few things we’ll be adding on here in the near future:

  • A small skill list for “human readability”, as the in-game one seems like the best source for EXACT information.
  • List of relevant links for this for Archer, and some links for Bard.

Feel free to suggest anything else via comment or socials!

Summary & In Closing

Well that’s it for our Archer Basics Guide & FAQ. There’s not much to say but these are really basic little guides to help out the budding or confused ARC, and hopefully future BRD! Hopefully we answered a few of your questions.


Join our IRL Cross-World Linkshells (socials lol): 

Contact us about anything and everything. Don't be shy! Love our guides and want to let us know? Got questions or corrections? Suggestions for improvement? TALK TO US! How, you say?

Comment below if it's about this guide. Message us on any of our socials above about anything.  We're organizing our email situation if you're into that.

FFXIV Bard (BRD) Basics Guide & FAQ – Shadowbringers Updated!

403 Issues SHOULD BE SOLVED: After a very convoluted hunt to discover why and how this was happening - I took a rather extreme approach to squash the problem. There should be no more of this issue going forward.

Becoming a Bard? I believe you’ve bumped into the right place for BRD job info! We talk about basic information and FAQs in our Bard Basics Guide. Read on if you’re expecting to learn about unlocking BRD, Bard Job Identity, trait and skill list, crafters and gatherers related to BRD, and link to other important Bard info!

Bard is a Ranged Physical DPS job, and one of the starting nine jobs introduced in 2.0 A Realm Reborn. BRDs were the only Ranged Physical DPS at the time, until 3.0 came out with Machinists.

How to become a Bard? Unlocking BRD:

First and foremost you need to have a Level 30 Archer, and have completed the L30 ARC class quest, “The One That Got Away”. After doing this you can unlock the actual quest to become a Bard, “A Song of Bards and Bowmen” which is issued by the Archer guildmaster Luciane in Gridania – New Gridania.

Also, you need to complete a level 20 MSQ, “Sylph Management”, which realistically should be done by the time you’re looking to unlock Bard. 

Note that, upon completing A Song of Bards and Bowmen you MUST EQUIP the “Soul of the Bard” to actually formally BECOME a BRD. Interestingly, in the old days, unlocking Bard required L15 Pugilist – thankfully that’s no longer the case.

Rushing to or want to know how to unlock a certain class? Learn more:
FFXIV Job Unlock & Requirements Guide.

Bard Playstyle & BRD Job Identity

If you’ve asked yourself, “Why play, try, or choose Bard?” – here’s my attempt at selling you the BRD class.

As a ranged character, Bards feel really “safe” to play. Managing your DoT’s is another major aspect of FFXIV’s BRD so if you’re into that. HOWEVER, don’t go into bard thinking you’ll have that “sniper” “assassin” longbow character – Bards are undoubtedly in the supportive spectrum of DPS classes and their average DPS shows it. They’re also above average in the “hectic” rotation scale.

Aesthetically and thematically, the FFXIV Bard isn’t something you always see in modern MMORPG’s. It’s a hybrid of a “Magical Songstress”, and “Mystic Archer” if I’m to use my own scrubby descriptions – but it does such a good job of MASHING those two together both in form and function. Speaking of mashing things together, your keyboard will soon know that too.

DISCLAIMER

DISCLAIMER: This is not meant to be a blurb that aligns with the current meta. That changes from patch to patch. Our goal here is to provide you with an idea of what the job is trying to be, getting cues from both the Developers’ concrete decisions on job design, as well as our own feedback.

What Crafters & Gatherers should Bard level?

While it’s common in MMORPG’s to think you want to craft your own gear as you level up your BRD… I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT.

Leveling up your DoH and DoL jobs should be thought of as a different activity completely. To be honest, if you’re a newer player, simply ensure that you DO NOT OVERCAP Levequests (always have less than 100).

The only relation a combat job has to a crafter or gatherer class is “which classes do you need to repair your gear”? My advice, ultimately, is pretty much all or nothing – level up all DoH classes in tandem. As a separate project, level up all DoL classes in tandem (with the optional Fisher).

What’s the best race for Bard?

Racial stats are (was?) a thing. However, I highly recommend not caring about it. The difference in performance between the “best” and “worst” race for you is not even 0.1%.

My advice? Pick for aesthetics. Will you stay the same job forever? If you change mains, will you race change? Ultimately, the difference is so microscopic that I cannot in good faith tell you that racial stats are an integral part of your character.

I won’t even link the Racial Stats Guide, as I haven’t checked up on this in a while – and I don’t want to cement the idea that the “best race” really matters.

Related Bard Guides – Read More!

Here are a few useful links for you:

Upcoming Odds and Ends

Here’s a few things we’ll be adding on here in the near future:

  • Adding a “links to further resources”, we’re doing a site restructure so once those links are set, they’ll go in here.
  • Human-readable, newbie-friendly skill and trait list.
    > I used to have the in-game skill list here, but I found it useless as the in-game one is better… I’d rather have a new player friendly rundown.
  • More descriptive job identity? Pics?
    > I dunno… pictures of the job gauges? A gif of some flashy skills?
  • Feel free to suggest anything else via comment or socials!

Summary & Outro

Well that’s about it for a really, really basic guide that hopefully points some lost souls in the right direction, or answers some of your questions regarding Bard.


Join our IRL Cross-World Linkshells (socials lol): 

Contact us about anything and everything. Don't be shy! Love our guides and want to let us know? Got questions or corrections? Suggestions for improvement? TALK TO US! How, you say?

Comment below if it's about this guide. Message us on any of our socials above about anything.  We're organizing our email situation if you're into that.