Accumulating EXP in Final Fantasy 15 is one of the most important things to help you in battle. Though AP is significant in giving you vital new abilities and boosts, it's through EXP (or experience points) and levelling up where your party will increase their better stats, allowing them to take on more powerful enemies, deal out more damage and survive longer.
While the game is reasonably good at dishing EXP in line with the difficulty of the situations you're facing in the story, there's many ways to increase your EXP gains easily, making the roadtrip a little smoother and late game dungeons and tombs easier to tackle.
Final Fantasy 15 EXP - how to get fast EXP and level up easily
Rest in hotels for a hefty multiplier - Sleep can impact your experience point gains in two basic ways; sleeping in a campsite can allow Ignio to cook up a delicious meal that increases the rate at which you gain experience points - more on that shortly - and sleeping in a hotel increases their value when tallied and applied to your character.
Different locations provide more of a boost than others, but as with most things in life quality comes with a price; caravans give you a 1.2x boost for just 30 Gil, whereas luxury hotels will give you twice or three times the experience you've banked - though you need to caught up an eyewatering amount of Gil for the privilege.
Here is a quick breakdown of the types of areas you can sleep:
- Caravan (most rest areas) - 30 Gil, 1.2x EXP increase
- Motel (Longwythe Rest Area, Taelpar Rest Area, Old Lestallum, Lestallum's hotel) - 300 Gil, 1.5x EXP increase
- Luxury hotels; Galdin Guay's The Quayside Cradle (10,000 Gil, 2.0x EXP increase) or Altissia's The Leville Royal Suite - (30,000 Gil, 3.0x EXP increase)
The best value for the first half of the story is a Motel for 300 Gil (and are easy to find throughout the adventure), and when you hit the late game, it's best to save up some cash (our fast Gil page provides the fastest sources of money), go on a spree of quests and missions for masses of EXP, then visit luxury hotel for the best returns. Since you can't visit Altissia until the second half of the game, it's perhaps worth waiting to play the most lucrative side-quests and dungeons until then.
Once you've done several rounds of this - completing side quest chains, finishing dungeons then sleeping at a hotel - you should be at a high enough level to tackle the toughest end game content without grinding at all.
An important caveat - especially in the early to mid-game - is that end of story chapters will automatically cash in any experience you have accumulated. To avoid this, either get as much EXP between story chapters and sleep in a motel or hotel before you progress, or equip the Nixperience Band to one of your party members. This is an item added to your inventory when you download the free Holiday Pack DLC from the PSN or Xbox Live stores, and allows you to rest, camp or finish story chapters without tallying EXP. Since you receive a good dose of easy EXP from story events - finishing chapters, boss encounters - it's worth saving it up and then cashing it in later.
Preparing EXP boosting foods: Though you can buy meals that boost EXP at a small handful of vendors, between their cost and having to go out of your way to purchase them, we'd recommend having Ignis prepare them at camps instead. By using the aforementioned Nixperience Band to stop you tallying EXP while camping and preparing these special meals, you can seriously boost the amount of EXP you receive.
Though the food you prepare boosts EXP for only a certain amount of time (though several Ascension nodes can lengthen their duration) these boosts increase both combat and mission complete EXP gains, and should be applied as much as possible.
The two recipes we'd recommend require a few steps to unlock and some small expense to prepare, but the payoff is worth it:
- Cup Noodles (20% experience increase): When you complete Chapter 8's Power Plant story mission, head to the Cup Noodles vendor on the main road and Gladio will flag up a new quest, 'The Perfect Cup'. The choice of food you respond with changes the next part of the quest, but the easiest by far is the egg, which has you go to the fairly straightforward Rock of Ravatogh dungeon and pick up an egg on the critical path that's on the way to the end Tomb (the other food choices involve more challenging enemy encounters). Once done, camp and you'll learn the Cup Noodle recipe after a cutscene, giving the party a 20% experience boost. If you want to cook more in future, the sole Cup Noodle ingredient can be purchased for a scant 220 Gil at the Cup Noodle vendor.
- Fat Chocobo Triple-Decker (50% experience increase): This is unlocked by completing the 'A Feathery Feast' quest as part of Wiz's quest line (started by the Friends of a Feather Chocobo quest). Completing it will add the Fat Chocobo Triple-Decker meal to his restaurant inventory (at 1,200 Gil a pop), but it also unlocks the Stacked Ham Sandwich recipe for Ignis to make on the road. To prepare it, purchase the Garula Sirlion and Fine Gighee Ham ingredients from the Wiz Chocobo Post vendor (at 120 Gil and 400 Gil respectively) and pick Aegir Roots that grow just north of Galdin Quay; see below for its exact location, or chat to the local Galdin Quay vendors for it to appear on the map..
Equip the Moogle Charm - Using this accessory gives you a 20% experience increase to a single character while they wear it, but can only be found in late game dungeons and tombs. The above methods are better in the long term, but look out of this when you can to give your desired party member a boost.
Play the story and complete side-quests: The game does a reasonably good job at scaling the story so you can go from one story beat to the next without having to worry too much about external grinding, but if you equip the Nixperience Band and stock up on EXP before cashing it at certain resting points, these rewards can go a little further.
Ultimately, however, you need to dig into side-quests and explore dungeons for the most gains, and while the general principle of 'the tougher they are to earn, the more you'll get' applies, there are some quests that give our easier EXP than others:
- Dino's quests (you meet him during the story) are low in value but can give you an easy and valuable in the early game, starting at 500 EXP and end at 3,000 EXP
- Vyv's photo quests (first started at Lestallum) offer EXP at around 1,000 EXP and increase to 4,000 EXP per mission
- The Professor's Protege quests from Sania (first started when you enter Duscae at Coernix Station - Alstor) start at 3,000 EXP and go all the way to 15,000 EXP for some straightforward missions (mostly frog hunting and some monster slaying)
- Photo Ops (all over the world) offer low EXP gains (between 200 and 350 EXP each) but are very easy to tick off when you stumble into them
- Taking down Adamantoise nets you a cool 50,000 EXP and 50,000 Gil as a reward for the marathon battle.
- Very late game, but the 'Legend' quests from Randolph offer 10,000 EXP or thereabouts for each tough monster defeated
Killing things - Combat is a reliable and repeatable way of earning experience points. Quests come and go, but no matter how many you kill there will always be monsters, especially in dungeons. The quicker, more aggressively, or more efficiently you kill a foe the more you'll earn at the end Battle Report, so make the most of teamwork, select weapons and spells appropriate to a monster's weaknesses, and dish out as much damage as you can. Seek out higher level foes for greater rewards, but also bear in mind that earning a few hundred EXP from a group of monsters you can kill in a few seconds may be more profitable than spending 20 minutes wearing down a huge beast for a few thousand, particularly if you're using EXP bonuses.
Ascension nodes that boost EXP - While these are few and far between compared to the AP bonuses, you can get a minor top up to EXP from using your Chocobo and the Regalia:
- Choco-racer (99 AP) - Gain 50 EXP every time you win a Chocobo race
- Choco-bonus (99 AP) - Gain 10 EXP regularly when riding a Chocobo
- Roadlife (99 AP) - Gain 10 EXP regularly when riding in the Regalia
Catalyst in Magic - There are catalyst items that give an EXP boost when the created magic is used. While there are many in the game to offer bonuses, the 'Debased items' - Debased Banknote, Debased Coin and Debased Silverpiece - are common drops that you won't miss if you're using them regularly, while the 'Rare Coin' comes in handy too. As with anything else to do with catalysts, the stronger the effect / number of items used, the better the EXP pay off will be.
Need more help? Our Final Fantasy 15 guide and walkthrough can provide tips on the open-world's many quests and activities. Learning how to get AP fast, EXP fast and Gil fast in Final Fantasy 15 will aid you in the many optional dungeons and tombs - including how to open and explore their locked doors. And if you want to get around easier, you can rent a Chocobo, learn the infinite sprint trick and later in the game, get the flying car Regalia Type F. There's also more to see and do with DLC, such as with Episode Gladiolus DLC with its hidden Picker-Upper item locations and Rugged Attire Score Attack reward.
Final Fantasy 15 EXP farming - How to get experience particularly fast
If you find a good spot to kill enemies over and over again quickly and efficiently, and you don't mind the time to do so, it's a good way to get EXP. If you were to grind or farm, we'd recommend putting time into AP farming, which is a resource much more difficult to come by, and also gives you a decent amount of EXP and Gil too.
Above is a particular farming method from Shirrako on YouTube which combines a lot of the above multipliers, and essentially has you spam EXP catalyst magic on a particular mark over and over, gaining around 1 million EXP, going from around level 60 to 80 in a fairly short amount of time.
Additional reporting by Mat Hall