FFXIV: What is Item Level & What Does It Mean?

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Item level is a way of measuring the quality of gear in Final Fantasy XIV. Each piece of gear will have an individual level, which will then contribute to your character’s item level as a whole.

Truth be told, there is a lot of gear available in XIV. Sometimes, it feels like simply walking down the street is enough to reward you with a whole new wardrobe.

And with the changes to A Realm Reborn’s leveling experience, it’s easier than ever to charge through the base game’s experience.

You’ll be changing clothes at breakneck pace, and it’ll all go straight into your Armory Chest (which is just a separate inventory that contains weapons, armor, and jewelry).

If you’re ever curious about your item level status, you can see your overall item level in the character screen, and individual item levels by hovering over the gear itself.


When Should I Worry About Item Level?

It’s probably not going to be a major concern until you get to endgame content.

Because along with measuring an item’s quality, your overall item level will also “gate” you from accessing certain content. This is not going to be a concern for A Realm Reborn, unless you’re doing something incredibly wrong.

Item level gates will become more frequent as you reach current content – Shadowbringers and the post-story patch content.

At that point in the game, you might have to put a bit more work in at your current stage to progress.

Item details and item level menu in FFXIV
Image source by u/HronkChaos / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

How Do I Increase My Item Level?

We’ve all been here.

Built up a good head of steam, charged through a bunch of quests, watched a ton of cutscenes. Pumped to see what comes next, or excited to join your friends in the next set of dungeons.

But despite reaching the right point in the story, you can’t enter the dungeon or trial you need to beat.

You’re standing right outside, but it won’t let you in – because you don’t have a high enough item level.

If you run into this problem before Shadowbringers, I’d recommend heading to one of Rowena’s Representatives first.

You may have amassed a small fortune in Allagan Tomestones after hitting level 50, and you can give your item level a huge boost by buying and equipping some of their goods.

Otherwise, you’re looking at hitting the dungeons.

If you’re purely looking for item level boosts you’ll want to tackle the ones closest to your character’s current story progress. Obviously this option is subjected to RNG – items useful to you may not drop at all, and if they do, somebody else in the group might roll need on them too.

But you’ll still earn some EXP and gil as you fight through them, so it’s not a waste of time either way.

If neither of those options sounds good to you, then you can always head to the marketboard in any major city. Here you can just buy gear upgrades with cold hard cash, either collected or crafted by other players.

But this can get very costly later on, so if you’re stuck in Shadowbringers, I’d suggest doing your Duty Roulettes for the latest Allagan Tomestones.

With enough of those, you can head to Eulmore and pick up high item level gear from the vendors on the top floor.

It might take a bit of time, but it’ll let you save your gil for other more important things. Like that fancy glamour you want, or the opportunity to stand outside of a housing plot for twelve hours hoping the game decides to let you buy it.


Anything Else I Should Know?

Since every player in XIV can play every job, organizing your gear can become a chore all by itself.

It’s ridiculously easy to dabble in multiple jobs and end up hefting all that gear around with you all the time.

Eventually you’re going to end up with a lot of it.

Some you’ll need right now, some you might need later.

Thinking about item level alongside that can get quite overwhelming.

Luckily, XIV offers a bunch of ways to easily organize and optimize your gear.

There’s a button above your current equips in the character screen that will instantly equip the recommended gear for your current class. This is a quick way to equip the best items from your chest without sifting through the categories manually.

You can use this in combination with the Gear Set feature to quickly swap between jobs without all the fuss of inventory management.

And you can save sets or even map them to hotbars for ease of use!

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