This guide is a working progress but should hopefully contain enough info the get the general idea behind XP partys.
Welcome to the guide. It's primarlily aimed at new players who are new to XP partys in FFXI.
Generally players solo from levels 1 to 10 or 11 because quite simply it's the easiest way to gain XP at those levels. Once you hit the 10 or 11 mark, for many jobs it becomes quicker to gain XP in a group or a party.
Where to Party
By far and large, the most common XP area at these levels can be found in the Valkurm Dunes. Depending on which nation you started in, you will take different paths to get there:
- Windurst: East Sarutabaruta -> Tahrongi Canyon -> Buburimu Peninsula -> Mhaura -> Ship bound for Selbina -> Selbina -> Valkurm Dunes
First of all you will notice that both Bastok and San d'Oria have far fewer areas to cross to reach Valkurm Dunes. Geographically Windurstrians are the furthest from the 'Dunes'. Don't be fooled though, all nations undertake a perilous journey, regardless of how far they have to travel.
Once you journey out of the starter areas or 'zones' of Ronafaure, Gustaberg and Sarutabaruta, i would recommend NOT fighting any mobs, providing your sole purpose is to reach the Dunes. The difficulty of mobs significantly increases and they will likely kick your ass. I would give ALL mobs a wide berth as well, unless you know that they do not Aggro. Aggro is a game mechanic of FFXI where mobs begin attacking you for apparenty no reason. Usually the reason will be that they 'saw' you or 'heard' you. As long as you keep your distance, they'll have no reason to be upset. Alternatively spells such as Sneak and Invisible or the items Silent Oil and Prism Powder will conceal you from 'aggro'ing'.
When you finally reach the Dunes, you'll be looking for the map co-ordinate (G-9) where you will find the little town called Selbina. This will be your first place of safety and will be able to access your Mog House via a Nomad Moogle.
How to Find a Party
To express the FFXI world that you wish to Party, you need to be Looking for Party. To do this, you need to go into the menus, select the party tab and then select the option 'seek party'. You should be a little green icon appear next to your name which means you've been successful in turning this on. Now any other player who is looking to form a party knows that you would like to join one.
Typical Party Set-ups
So you've been invited to a party. The first thing you will notice that on the bottom left of your screen, where you normally see your HP, MP and TP, you will see these same stats for your party. If the party is full, there will be 6 names there. Your party leader will tell you where you will be 'camping' in Valkurm Dunes. If you ask nicely, someone will escort you to camp, as you all want to get there safely. Deaths en-route means less Experience Points overall after all.
If you go back into the 'party' tab of the menus, you will now see a new option called 'party members'. In here you can find out further information about our party, mainly what job they currently are. A good party will have a variety of jobs. There are several roles within a XP party and you need to find the right balance to gain XP effeciently.
The typical roles are:
(example jobs that fit these roles)
A good party in the Dunes will have at least 1 healer, 1 tank, 1 support who can back-up heal and 3 damage dealers. Not all partys will fit into this criteria however as some jobs can cover more than 1 role. For example, a Black Mage is primarily a damage dealer but with white mage sub job, they can back up heal too. A Warrior is primarily a damage dealer but with a shield (or later ninja sub job), can be used as a tank. Ultimately, as long as all these roles are covered, your party should be a good one.