FFXIV Gladiator (GLD) Leveling Guide & Rotation | ShB UPDATED

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

Friends suckered you into the shield? Or are you one of those “career tanks”?  Jokes aside, if you’re looking to rise as a Gladiator, you’ve found the right place. Hopefully, our Gladiator Leveling Guide helps you out!

While this page focuses on Gladiator 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 Gladiator up to 30.

Gladiator Unlocking? Other basics?

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

Location: Ul’dah – Steps of Thal, Gladiator’s Guild (6, 10)
Related Quests: (all in the same place)
> So you want to be a Gladiator
> Way of the Gladiator
> My First Gladius
Others: You may also begin the game as Gladiator

Gladiator are a Tank class, falling under the Disciple of War category. Also, if you’re curious about the job you turn into, Gladiator is the prerequisite class for unlocking Paladin.

This guide has three major segments:

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

Gladiator Rotation for Leveling, Skills, Traits, Etc.

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

L1 Trait Unlocked Tank Mastery – Passive free stats. It’s basically the groundwork that says, “This is a tank class”. Nothing that really affects your gameplay here.

L1 Skill Unlocked Fast Blade – Your first, and most basic attack! Don’t worry, you’ll get combo skills soon enough.

L2 Skill Unlocked Fight of Flight – Is a DPS cooldown. While FFXIV players can go on and on about burst windows, just keep in mind that in the leveling process, use this LIBERALLY. Optimization can come later, heh.

L4 Skill Unlocked Riot Blade – You can now chain Fast Blade into Riot Blade  is now your basic “rotation”. It restores MP, but that isn’t relevant right now.

L6 Skill Unlocked Total Eclipse – An AoE attack that’s typically best used against 3 or more targets. This is also your default method of gaining threat against multiple enemies for now.

L8 Role Action Unlocked Rampant – Your super basic tank damage mitigation / toughness cooldown. Don’t look down on it, though! Rampart is the “gold standard” of tank CD’s. It’s long, it’s strong enough, it doesn’t have a super long CD. This is great! Protip: Never pop CD’s when you’re “about to die” – try to pop it “when things are starting to get hairy, or a little before that”.

L10 Skill Unlocked Shield Bash – A spammable, long duration stun. Keeping it real, this only has one use early on. If you’re in a dungeon and your healer is a little slow… Simply help your group out by Shield Bashing every enemy in a cycle, so your healers can keep up.

L10 Skill Unlocked Iron Will – A stance that switches on or off that increases your enmity generated. Simple as that. Honestly, as long as you’re the only tank around (Soloing, Dungeons, anything non-raid) just have it on.

L12 Role Action Unlocked Low Blow – An instant OGCD (Off-GCD) Stun. Newer Gladiators and Paladins might laugh at this given you have Shield Bash, this is undoubtedly superior as it doesn’t interrupt your own GCD – think of it as your primary stun.

L15 Skill Unlocked Shield Lob – A basic ranged attack that has increased enmity. It’s never bad to pull a mob with this as it usually tells your friends to focus on that guy. Aside from an opener, it’s pretty bad unless you’re too far to attack your target.

L15 Role Action Unlocked Provoke – An ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL tank skill for dungeons and raids. Please bind it in such a way where it won’t be too hard for you to press it. In terms of leveling and early dungeons, use it to pull back enemies that aggro to others, just make sure you follow it up.

L18 Role Action Unlocked Interject – A “pure interrupt” not tied to a silence or stun. What else can I say, you can randomly interrupt enemy skills with this. It’s only very rarely used on boss monsters.

L22 Role Action Unlocked Reprisal – an incredibly powerful cooldown that isn’t typically useful in the leveling process – but shines in raids. Practice on using it during boss cast bars!

L26 Skill Unlocked Rage of Halone –  Ah, finally! Your combo finisher. Fast Blade > Riot Blade > Rage of Halone is your bread and butter. For quite a while, this will be your strongest attack sequence. It has a bonus of having increased enmity gained, which is welcome in any dungeon.

Completing “The Rematch” at L30 marks your final class quest as Gladiator. You now have the right to become a Paladin!


Gladiator Rotation – L1 to 30 SUMMARY

Here’s the shell of what your GLD rotation is in the early leveling process. Adjust to your currently learned skills.

GLD 30 Single Target RotationGLD AoE Rotation

GLD L30 Single Target Rotation

      • Fast Blade > Riot Blade > Rage of Halone
      • Fight or Flight whenever you can maximize its duration.

It’s a bit unexciting, I know. I suppose its more about “tanking knowledge”, but pretty much every dungeon pre level 30 doesn’t really lend to skill expression…

GLD L30 AoE Rotation

      • 3 Targets is the bare minimum for Total Eclipse spam (4+ preferred).
      • Once a there’s only 2 enemies left, revert to single target.
      • Fight or Flight whenever you can maximize its duration.

Yeah, tank rotations are pretty unexciting this early on.

I know dungeons are pretty junk early on, but here’s the lowdown:
Shield Lob your preferred “main target”, then Total Eclipse a few times to gain aggro (continue spam if 3+ enemies), then do single target combo.

Liberal use of stuns (Low Blow is free!), moreso if your healer is derping.

Gladiator 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.


Gladiator Leveling L1 to 30 Activity Flowchart

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

GLD 1 to 16GLD 16 to 30

GLD 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.

GLD 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 (GLD L1 to 30)

A few tough nuts you gotta pick up on, so you don’t end up with aggro when you discover you missed something big.

GLD 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

GLD 1 to 16GLD 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 – Shield Lob. Not the most useful skill, I’ll admit, but you gotta do these quests anyway so do them while they’re relevant.

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.

As a Tank class, you have MASSIVE agency on how quick (or slow) a dungeon can go. If you’re new, don’t be too cocky. A protip is only gather “more than one pack” if you’re sure your healer isn’t panicky, and DPS can kill them “in time”.  Your own cooldowns, FoF and Rampart GREATLY help this.

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.

Again, as a Tank, don’t expect long queue times for dungeons – so it’s a great source of EXP. A “geared” low level tank that spams dungeons can actually pull 2~ groups at a time, to maximize your own AoE Total Eclipse.

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 Paladin!

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.

As you start doing dungeons and start looting gear, make sure you loot TANK GEAR and not generic “Disciple of War” LEFT-SIDE pieces.

Tanking Gear and YOU

So by now you may have noticed that some left-side pieces are for “Disciple of War”. These generic pieces are often bad for you. Why? The tanking class specific gear (usually “usable by GLD MRD etc etc”) have vastly higher armor and magic defense ratings. Get those!

This info is important from here on, since doing dungeons/roulette is a very good source of EXP.

If you’re one of those “pure POTD” types. Well… Back into the hole for you, I suppose!

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

Gladiator L30 Onward: Unlocking Paladin

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING ONCE YOU HIT Gladiator LEVEL 30.
Unlock Paladin ASAP!

How to become a Paladin? Unlocking Paladin requires a Level 30 Gladiator and completion of the L30 GLD 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 Spirits Within), but most if not all new skills and traits going forward are for PALADIN and not GLADIATOR, so you have no reason to stay as a GLD any longer.

Gladiator Leveling – Related Reads

Some good reads and related links here:

Summary and Closing

And with that YOU’RE DONE WITH LEVELING Gladiator! Congrats! Hopefully our Gladiator Leveling Guide helped you out. Keep your hopes and shields up high, tanking gets funner and funner as you level up, don’t worry :)


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7 thoughts on “FFXIV Gladiator (GLD) Leveling Guide & Rotation | ShB UPDATED”

  1. Do I have to keep on going through the main scenario as a gladiator or can I do it as a paladín now since I have the soul crystal ?

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