Here is a great guide about starting out in FFXI in Bastok. The first quests to pick up, and other helpful hints. By the time you are done, you should be level 5-10 with a good amount of starting gil, as well as a good knowledge of how quests work in the game.
Starting Final Fantasy XI and finding out all of the things you can do can be a bit intimidating. There are things you can get done early, others you must wait on. Note: I am skipping the pregame items including creating a character etc. The guides already here cover the subject well. This guide is here to help Bastokans complete their first quests, the first Bastok mission, and get a decent jumpstart with their leveling. It is just a suggested way to start your game.
So you made a character and chose Bastok as your starting country. Excellent choice. Very first thing you'll see is a cutscene, the details vary, but basically you're welcomed to Bastok. Take your Traveler's Pass to the NPC marked on your map. Shouldn't be too far away. You get a whopping 50 gil, brilliant! You also see the residential area where you can enter your Mog House. No need to do that now. What I want to cover now is Quests.
Quests are given to you by NPCs throughout Bastok. Some are tougher than others. Usually they need an item and ask you to get it for them. Do that and you win a prize, lovely. You can take on numbers of Quests at the same time. Also certain quests are repeatable. Quests gain you fame. So what we'll do first is wonder around Bastok accepting Quests. This will give you a feel of the area and get you started. We will focus on the early, easier quests here. It varies on what area of Bastok you start in, there are 3 areas: Port Bastok, Bastok Market, and Bastok Mines. Even if you started in Port Bastok, go ahead and travel to Bastok Mines first. There are a number of NPCs to talk to here:
Gerbaum (located near the entrance to the Zeruhn Mines)
Quest: Kill enemies in the Zeruhn Mines and bring him 3 pinches of Zeruhn Soot.
Tami (near Residential Area)
Quest: Bring the grocery list to her husband Zelman in the Zeruhn Mines.
Wahid (outside of Auction House)
Quest: Bring him a Siren's Tear found in N. Gustaberg
That's good for now, now venture to Bastok Markets, more people here.
Arawn (standing with friend)
Quest: Talk to guards around Bastok and they give you stamps. This quest also helps ya learn the lay of the land.
Nbu Latteh (standing by the canal, near the Goldsmith Guild)
Quest: Bring her daughter a copper ring.
Brygid (further down the canal past nbu latteh)
Quest: Wear a robe and bronze subligar in front of her
Aquillina (house across from brygid)
Quest: Bring her 4 flint stones
Salimah (next house down)
Quest: She needs an ingredient for cooking. The ingredient varies by the time of day. Easiest for one starting out is a treant bulb that she wants between 6-11:59. This gives the least money, but is the easiest to find. Others: Wild Onion 12-17:59, Sleepshroom 18-5:59.
Foss (near Auction House)
Quest: Bring him 5 rusty buckets.
Now off to Port Bastok.
Powhatan (inside the bar)
Quest: Greet his guest at the air travel agency. Must be wearing a shell shield.
Quest: Bring him one zinc ore
NOTE: Go ahead and talk to the guard outside the warehouses(Erhardt) for your 1st stamp.
Benita (house past the warehouse area)
Quest: Talk to her mother in law, she'll tell you that you need bomb ash.
Coraan (house near benita's house)
Quest: Find him a Quadav Backplate
Take the stairs down and walk towards the drawbridge. Get your 2nd stamp here from Latifa.
Now off to level up in N. Gustaberg
Talk to the I.M. at the gate and ask him to cast signet on you. You now are taking part in your nation's Conquest. This also helps you gather crystals when fighting.
Next, talk to the guard next to the I.M. and accept your first mission. Missions are given to you by your country. The first few are easy. Unlike quests you can only take on one mission at a time. The 1st Bastok mission involves getting a report in the Zeruhn Mines and then taking it to the guard at the President's Office. Now exit into N. Gustaberg and get a taste of fighting. The enemies near the gates are the easiest. Huge Hornets and Tunnelworms are quite easy. Go ahead and fight in N. Gustaberg till you reach level 5. Doesn't take much time.
As you move west in N. Gustaberg you'll come across a river and bridge. Don't fight enemies past this area, they get harder. While near the water, you can obtain a quest item. Unequip your weapons and search around the water using your confirm button. This may take some time but eventually as you keep pushing the button near the water you will find a target that says "???" examine this target and find the Siren's Tear. If you're not at level 5, keep leveling in this area until you reach it. Then return to Port Bastok.
Take a look at your items, you may find that you have acquired the items for a particular quest. If so, great work, you can take the item to the NPC at any time. If you have gotten lucky and acquired 12 of an item, take a trip to one of the Auction Houses and try to make some gil. ALWAYS check the going prices of items before you sell. Early items like a treant bulb or a bat wing may seem insignificant, but may sell for a lot. Level 5 is a good time to look for a stronger weapon as well, but if you havent made enough money yet, you'll get there.
Now make your way back to Bastok Mines and give Wahid his Siren's Tear, a lil extra gil for ya. This quest is repeatable by the way. Now take a look at your key items and examine the grocery list(this is done for a reason) Now go to the lower level of Bastok Mines, near the Alchemist Guild there is a guard(Tall Mountain), 3rd stamp. On your way to the Zeruhn Mines there is a walkway leading up that is blocked off, go left here to find another Guard(Deadly Spider). 4th Stamp.
Head to the Zeruhn Mines. NOTE: Get the map if you have the money, 200 gil i believe. If you have it, go to Bastok Market , straight ahead there are some merchants, one sells the map. Return to Bastok Mines and go to the Zeruhn Mines. While here, kill whatever you can, decent leveling can be done here and you need to do it to acquire the Zeruhn Soot. As you take this path there is a fork, take the left way and find Zelman(I-6).
Talk to him and he'll ask you to get the Meat Jerky for his wife. Continue down the other way, keep fighting the bats and worms. While leveling and collecting soot you need to find the NPC Makarim. Using the map you can find him at around H-11. Talk to him and he'll give you the report. Keep fighting here until you get the 3 pinches of Zeruhn Soot. Now exit the mines and talk to Gerbaum to complete the Minesweeper quest.
The Groceries quest can be completed now but you only get 10 gil. You need to go to the Bat Lair's Inn and purchase the Meat Jerky for Tami. Give her the Meat Jerky and you will receive the Rabbit Mantle. Nice piece of back armor for starting out. If you can't afford the jerky, i suggest waiting until you can. No need to finish the quest for 10 gil.
Now move on to Bastok Market and travel to the west gate. Talk to the guard(Pavel) here and get your 5th stamp. In between the Armor shop and Weapons shop is a house where you can accept another quest. Talk to Michea who is in need of a copper ingot. Now make your way to the Metalworks near the Residential Area. There is a downstairs area with a Goddess Statue, talk to the guard(Elayne) here and receieve your 6th stamp. Now move up to the 2nd floor and go to to the Presidential Office. Talk to the guard Naji to complete your 1st Mission! Talk to the 2nd guard here to accept Mission 2. Now behind the President's Office are 2 cannonrys, Romualdo is in the one on the right, talk to him for your 7th and final stamp.
On your way out of the Metalworks you can talk to Cid in his lab and get the info on mission 2. You may also visit the Eatery and talk to Hungry Wolf and accept his quest. You won't be able to do this just yet but you'll have it there. Now you can go to Arawn and finish the Stamp Hunt quest.
Note: After this, i usually get a cheap fishing rod and do some fishing in Bastok Market with little worms. I know some people hate fishing, but I find it nice to take a break now & then and just fish for a while. Plus, it helps complete a few more quests. If you do decide to fish, you can catch rusty buckets for Foss, a copper ring for Nbu Latteh's daughter(there's 2 quests done) and also catch moat carps. 12 moat carps sell for big gil at the Auction House.
If and when something catches your hook and it says "You're positive you can't reel this one in" or "You feel something terrible will happen" CANCEL! Give it up and try again, you'll only break your rod and have to buy another. For more info check the extensive fishing guides here, I dont need to be typing up a guide that's already here lol.
You're now level 5 or higher and close to purchasing some good armor. Check this site for guides sorted by job to get the info you need to do so. Hope this guide can help those who turned the game on and had no clue what they got themselves into.
Congrats! You've completed your first three quests (possibly more), your first mission, and have a headstart on leveling. You've gotten to know the area and should be comfortable with how quests and missions work. You've taken part in the conquest and hopefully have made some gil at the Auction House. And in very little time. Now go out adventuring and make Bastok proud!