I too played at launch-2006, taking some breaks in between. Partying is alot different now because theyve added these books called Grounds of Valor. You click on them and they give you a few different "pages" which tell you to kill a certain amount of monsters. You can also set it to repeat so you dont have to go back to the book. Everytime you kill, say 6 skeletons like the one in Gusgen mines, you get a boost of experience, usually starting around 6-700. The more you experience in an area, the more the boost accumulates and the more experience you get. It does have a cap, usually around 2000. Gusgen mines is a very easy place to do this so alot of people go there for the mid-lower teens into the 30s. The faster you kill the skeletons, the faster your requirement of 6 fills up and then you get the bonus and it resets. In the mid/upper 30s and up Crawlers Nest is a popular place to gov party. You can go wherever you want though, if you have a couple of buddies and you just want to play with them you can explore areas and find good spots that match with the grounds of valor pages. This isnt that common just because the bigger the alliance is the easier it is to kill the monsters as the experience the individual mobs give isnt the goal, its the experience boost for killing the certain amount of them.
As for which jobs, If you plan to join up with the alliances then it really wont matter much, it'll be more about what jobs you want to take to endgame and do missions/quests with rather than what is needed to gain experience. If you guys plan on doing some duoing/trioing, which can be alot of fun but as I said you cant beat the exp from alliance groups, then I would highly recommend unlocking the dancer job as it is the best subjob for survivability, allowing you to use TP to cure, drain MP, enfeeble mobs, ect. You even get a dance that costs no TP and allows you to cast sneak/invis on yourself (it doesnt count as magic aggro either) and while it doesnt last as long as the magic version it has been extremely useful to me. If you all subjob Dancer than you shouldnt have any problems with no mage healer, otherwise subbing whm would be a must. As for which job to pick for a main, I say just go with whatever you guys have interest in. One thing people tell me is to pick a few jobs to get to level cap, because its good to have diversity/flexibility when doing endgame events for when, say an alliance already has enough of one job for a particular event so you could just come as something else that time so you dont miss out. If it was like the old days, where it took months and months to reach cap, I would understand picking one job to go with being a bigger decision, but as you can reach level cap in a few weeks (less if youre hardcore or have people that let you leech off of Abyssea parties) I dont see it as much of a factor anymore. Imo, just pick a few jobs you like and run with them. If there is one particular job you really like then you can still use other jobs to join events where your main job may not be needed that particular time and then use the resources you acquire towards making your main job better.
I myself started a new character and I am very much enjoying Beastmaster, both for its abilities to solo and to get parties/alliances out of sticky aggro situations. Starting off was a little difficult but the more levels you gain the more abiltiies you get that make it so much easier, such as the ability to tame and charm an aggro and then use the ability "leave" to get rid of it or the ability "snarl" for jug pets which lets you transfer all of your hate onto your pet. My highest on my old character was a 75 blackmage and on this character my highest is 60 beastmaster so my experience when it comes to the newer endgame content is limited, but ive read and talked to people ingame alot so I have a pretty good understanding of the basics.
Edited, Jan 21st 2013 10:06pm by aadrenry
Edited, Jan 21st 2013 10:08pm by aadrenry