FFXIV Arcanist (ACN) Leveling Guide & Rotation | ShB UPDATED

How to level up your Arcanist (ACN) fast! Rotation, skills, reminders, and the best places to be in any level – HERE!

Aching to level yer’ Arcanist? Lured in by the pets? Don’t sweats. Well you’ve found the right place. Hopefully, our Arcanist Leveling Guide helps you out!

While this page focuses on Arcanist 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 Arcanist up to 30.

Arcanist Unlocking? Other basics?

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

Location: Limsa Lominsa – Lower Decks, Arcanist’s Guild (6, 10)
Related Quests: (all in the same place)
> So you want to be an Arcanist
> Way of the Arcanist
> My First Grimoire
Others: You may also begin the game as Arcanist

Arcanist is a Magical Ranged DPS class (commonly referred to as “caster), falling under the Disciple of Magic category. Also, if you’re curious about the job you turn into, Arcanist are the prerequisite class for unlocking Scholar and Summoner.

This guide has three major segments:

  • Arcanist Leveling Rotation & Skill Changes – How new skills affect your play.
  • Arcanist L1 to L16 – General reminders and notes.
  • Arcanist L15 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.

Arcanist Rotation for Leveling, Skills, Traits, Etc.

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

L1 Skill Unlocked Ruin – Essentially, this is your “basic attack”. Or basic spell, I guess.

L2 Skill Unlocked Bio – An instant cast DoT (Damage over time) spell. Always open fights with it, and renew it when its duration is 3s or less. While this is a good habit to form, the initial form of this DoT is actually horrible – the enemy life expectancy has to be 24 seconds for it to be good.

L4 Skill Unlocked Physick – A basic healing spell. Nothing else to say here! 

L4 Skill Unlocked Summon – Calls forth a blue caster-type minion that helps you DPS! Emerald Carbuncle is cute ain’t it? 

L2 Skill Unlocked Miasma – A second DoT! Like its predecessor, it’s still quite unimpressive. Only worth if enemy life expectancy is around 21 seconds. 

L8 Role Action Unlocked Addle – Reduces targets INT (reduces enemy magic damage). Has almost no use in non-boss encounters and basic leveling activities.

L10 Skill Unlocked Egi Assault – Has different effects depending on which summon you’re using. Blue pet: AoE attack. Yellow pet: gives you a chunky self shield. 

L12 Skill Unlocked Resurrection – Revives a dead ally, even in combat, but at the cost of a lot of mana, a huge cast bar, and your newly returned friend suffering a stat penalty. That being said, this is one of the most important skills in group content.

L15 Skill Unlocked Summon II – Brings Topaz Carbuncle by your side – a yellow “support” / tank type pet. The self-shield (from Egi Assault) is pretty useful for tougher solo encounters.

Summon I – Blue is more suitable for AoE (dungeons), while
Summon II – Yellow is more suitable for single target and most solo content.

L18 Role Action Unlocked Swiftcast – Primarily used to speed up Resurrection. Advanced usage is “continuing to DPS while moving”. In group content, I highly suggest simply saving it for res during the leveling process.

L18 Skill Unlocked Energy Drain – An off-gcd nuke that gives you your first stack of Aetherflow! USE THIS AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN, but never “overcap” your Aetherflow. Aetherflow is used to execute certain skills. The first of which is Fester. This is the cornerstone mechanic of any Arcanist-evolved class.

L18 Skill Unlocked Fester – Ah, your first skill which REQUIRES Aetherflow to use . It’s a single target nuke that is stronger for each of YOUR DoT’s on the target. 

While your DoT’s may not be the best, keeping them up so you have a more powerful Fester is worth it.

L24 Role Action Unlocked Lucid Dreaming – Gives you mana! Use this early and often as there’s almost no point holding on to it. Don’t wait until you’re low on mana.

L26 Trait Unlocked Corruption Mastery – Transforms Bio into Bio II, which is just better all around. Stronger initial damage, stronger DoT. Doesn’t change your rotation in any way – the key even rebinds itself…

L26 Skill Unlocked Bio II – This isn’t really an unlock – the previously mentioned trait simply upgrades your old Bio. 

L30 Skill Unlock Bane – Finally, some consistent AoE! Spreads your DoT’s to all nearby targets, but weakens them on the “new targets”. There’s some math and situationality of when to bane and when to manual DoT – let’s save that discussion for Summoner related discussion as it’s irrelevant now, and irrelevant for Scholar. 

Completing the L30, “Sinking Doesmaga” quest and unlocking Bane marks your final class quest as Arcanist. You now have the right to become a Scholar or Summoner!


Arcanist Rotation – L1 to 30 SUMMARY

Here’s a by the book summary of what your ACN rotation is in the early leveling process. Adjust to your currently learned skills.

ACN 30 Single Target RotationACN AoE Rotation

ACN L30 Single Target Rotation

    • Energy Drain up? Use as an OGCD if possible.
    • Have Aetherflow? Fester, use as an OGCD if possible. DoTs must be up!
    • Miasma > Bio (Unless enemy is on brink of death)
    • Egi Assault (If Blue)
    • Ruin Spam

ACN L30 AoE Rotation

    • Apply DoT’s one one guy, then Bane (Definitive value at 3+ targets, not bad at 2)
    • Energy Drain up? Use as an OGCD if possible.
    • Have Aetherflow? Fester, use as an OGCD if possible. DoTs must be up!
    • Egi Assault (If Blue)
    • Ruin Spam

Wow, now that I typed it out – pretty much Bane is the only difference.

While your DoT’s may not be the best, keeping them up so you have a more powerful Fester is worth it, even if your full or “good enough” DoT duration won’t tick. Don’t sweat about optimizing it this early on.

Arcanist 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.


Arcanist Leveling L1 to 30 Activity Flowchart

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

ACN 1 to 16ACN 16 to 30

ACN 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.

ACN 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.

Important Notes (ACN L1 to 30)

Here are the important things to keep in mind during the process.

ACN 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

ACN 1 to 16ACN 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 – Summon II, which is pretty alright. It’s a better summon for soloing.

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. Burst EXP sources? Roulettes, new Guildhests, Hunting and Challenge Logs.

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 level 30 get your class quests done, as it’s one of the prerequisites to transform into either Scholar or SUmmoner!

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!
(ACN turns into Scholar or Summoner at Level 30)

Arcanist L30 Onward: Unlocking ADVANCEJOB

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING ONCE YOU HIT Arcanist LEVEL 30.
Unlock Scholar or Summoner ASAP!

How to become a Scholar or Summoner? Unlocking Scholar or Summoner requires a Level 30 Arcanist, and completion of the L30 ACN 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 (SCH gets Adloquium, SMN gets Summon III – Ifrit), but most if not all new skills and traits going forward are for SMN/SCH and not ARCANIST, so you have no reason to stay as an ACN any longer.

Arcanist Leveling – Related Reads

Some good reads and related links here:

Summary and Closing

And with that YOU’RE DONE WITH LEVELING Arcanist! Congrats! Hopefully our Arcanist Leveling Guide helped you out.


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6 thoughts on “FFXIV Arcanist (ACN) Leveling Guide & Rotation | ShB UPDATED”

  1. Thank you soo much! I’m a newbie in this game and ACN is my favourite class. This guide really helped me out :)

  2. Hi, nice guide! A bit late here :D. I was wondering what’s the best job choice to go for if I’m with a friend in a party that has a MRD/WAR ?

    1. You can’t go wrong with a healer, I suppose..? White Mage is the more upfront one. Avoid tanks since he is one. DPS ain’t bad either, maybe a Black Mage for AoE dungeoning (but requires some patience to master for raiding)

  3. I’m new to this awesome game and arcanist so this has realy helped me out.ThankyouI’m also a blackmage which I’m also loving!

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