Despite a diverse amount of MMORPG's under my belt, I have never leveled a crafting or gathering profession in any of them. Without a doubt, in most games, having one leveled gives you a stable income and makes earning in-game money such a breeze once you have invested the time and resources into doing them. To this young lad however, they just felt monotnous and I found plenty of ways to make a stable income doing other tasks like soloing difficult creatures for other players or doing some absurd escort adventure like my past escapades in Final Fantasy XI. As a skilled gamer, there were just other ways for me to make my MMO-earnings.
But now, I'm spending a lot of my time in Eorzea playing Final fantasy XIV and the game does not cater to my style of income-gain. The game is fully instanced and none of the gear that can be obtained through intense grinding sessions can be traded or sold so the whole 'kill for Gil' thing doesn't really exist. Yea, selling instances was an option but in the end, I just helped people do them for free because I simply did not have the heart, or any reason for the matter, to get paid to do such easy tasks. And alas, since the dawn of patch 2.1, I really want a house and my magic dream home isn't going to materialize itself with flies coming out of my wallet.
So then it happened, I turned to a gathering profession. In the end, I already knew earning millions of Gil in an instant is a stretch but maybe later down the road, I could take advantage of some future market only accessible to those who pulled from the earth. An investment, ya'know? Like college... With that said, It was only fitting I went with Mining.
Oh, the daunting task of grabbing a pick axe and getting to work. You have to run from Node to Node, select an item to mine, and click on the item you want over and over till the Node expires (generally after 4 or 5 whacks at it). It felt like forever before I leveled from 1 to 10. It was just so boring and made me feel brain dead as I robotically pushed a single button over-and-over again. Of course, what I didn't know was Square Enix put in a system that allows you to level professions through missions in the form of LeveQuests. Turns out, it's the greatest system ever because it pours so much bonus experience onto your lap all while still teaching you how to mine properly (if you want to be efficient that is). Also, since LeveMates (the people you accept the missions from) are scattered at various cities all across Eorzea, you had to do a bit of traveling.
Now, I'm not going to sit here and talk about how monotnous Mining is, but rather talk to you about the exploration I had gone through. FFXIV has a pretty fantastic day/night cycle and the game's natural graphics just give it so much life. Yea, I sat there pushing one button over and over, but during my adventures, getting to watch the game's scenery for the first time ever was pretty epic, having just skipped through it for levels and story the first time around. As I mined, I saw beautiful sunsets, I looked up at the moving stars, and I even watched the animals native to the area fall asleep and wake up. It was rather fascinating to be honest. Eorzea is a living breathing world and it's so much more immersive than other games I had the opportunity to play in the past. It's the little things that teach you to appreciate what passionate game developers really do for a game.
As for leveling speed, I'm going to say it was rather fast. About 1 hour of levequests gave me 5 levels per tier (lv.30 to 35, 35 to 40, etc.). It only felt long because of how tedious the job itself was but really, it happened so quickly. But what I got out of leveling mining was the ability to revisit aspects of the game I totally over-looked. While I always knew the rocks in thanalan glowed orange at night, getting a good view of them once more was really nice.
To all those who are unsure about gathering classes, I suggest it especially if you appreciate a video game's artistic aspects. The mining itself will burn you out but one-hour per day is doable. Also, if the scenery isn't motivating you enough, I think I have made over 1 million gil mining high level stuff so well, there's always that, ha!