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Final Fantasy XI Chocobo Digging Guide
Chocobo Digging 101 (aka: Lots of Pebbles)

Chocobo Digging in Final Fantasy XI
Altepa Desert East
Altepa Desert West
Batallia Downs
Bibiki Bay
Buburimu Peninsula
Carpenters' Landing
Gustaberg North
Gustaberg South
Jugner Forest
Konschtat Highlands
La Theine Plateau
Meriphataud Mountains
Pashhow Marshlands
Rolanberry Fields
Ronfaure East
Ronfaure West
Sanctuary of Zi'Tah
Sarutabaruta East
Sarutabaruta West
Sauromugue Champaign
Tahrongi Canyon
Valkurm Dunes
Yhoatar Jungle
Yuhtunga Jungle

Chocobo Digging Overview

Chocobo digging is a fun mini-game in FFXI, and one that can eventually produce great profits for the digger. It involves riding around on a rented chocobo, and stopping periodically to have the chocobo "dig" in the ground, to try to find an item. Chocobo digging provides many items that are used in crafting; at high chocobo digging skill levels, some valuable and rare items can be found. There is even a Red Jar furniture item that can only be obtained through chocobo digging! The zones listed above all have items that can be dug up with chocobo digging. This guide provides the details about chocobo digging, so read on to learn more!

Chocobo Digging Steps

Step 1: In order to start chocobo digging, you first need to be able to rent a chocobo! This requires a level 20+ character with a Chocobo License, which is obtained from the Chocobo's Wounds quest. You can dig in any of the zones listed above. When you're just starting out with chocobo digging, I recommend going to one of the starter cities or one of the cities from the first expansion, such as Rabao or Kazham (but keep in mind the expansion zones are usually dug up). Buy some Gysahl Greens from the merchant; if this is your first time, try taking 2-5 stacks, just to see how you like it. Rent your chocobo and head on out.

Step 2: Ride around the zone and dig, dig, dig! You cannot stay in one place and dig, as you won't get anything (or very little). Try changing zones every so often during your 30-minute chocobo ride. It will take approximately 60 seconds from the time you zone in until you can dig. (The actual time will fluctuate a bit, in my experience, and is often off by 5 or even 10 seconds.) Target yourself and press Enter to bring up the menu, from there you will see the "Dig" option; use that to have your chocobo try to dig something up! You can also type /dig as well, to make your chocobo dig. Every time you dig, one of your Gysahl Greens will automatically be fed to your chocobo. You can repeat the process until you run out of greens, or your chocobo riding time expires. Macros are quite useful, especially while you still have a wait time in between digging.

Chocobo Digging Macros
Level 1 Level 2 Note on Wait Time
/wait 16
/wait 16
/wait 11
/wait 11
When testing your time in between digging, don't forget that the 4 second scene where you're digging is part of that time. Count the time from the second you dig until the second you can dig again.

When you're out and about digging, check every so often to see if your chocobo digging skill has leveled, by using the second macro. (Be sure to adjust the times for your macros as you level.)

Step 3: Dig many, many times to continue on the grueling process of leveling your chocobo digging skill. To level up the hidden chocobo digging skill, you will need to repeat this process over and over and over and over for hours on end. I'm not kidding. Leveling in chocobo digging is an amazingly slow and arduous task; don't think you'll get rich quick with chocobo digging. Digging takes time, gil, and above all patience. It's rumored it takes 10,000 stacks of Gysahl Greens to hit the top digging level. (Or, in excess of 7 million gil.) Though occasionally you can hop on a chocobo and dig up something really cool your first time digging, it is not likely. Peruse the zone lists above to see what you can dig up, but be aware that the first time you go digging, you'll probably end up with an assortment of useless junk.

Chocobo Digging Skill Levels

There is a hidden skill for chocobo digging, that will level up as you dig. As mentioned above, this takes a very long time! There are 10 skill levels, and as you progress it will take less time from when you zone in to when you can start digging, and beween each dig. There used to be rumors about a "testing system", which claimed that in order to advance to the next level, you need to dig up a certain item; this has been debunked, as many people have leveled all the way up without digging up any specific items. Some characters use up more stacks of Gysahl Greens than others, to get a certain digging skill level. There may be a system that is based on the percentage of digs versus how many items are dug up; or maybe it's a system like crafting where there's a chance to gain a "skillup" with each attempt -- nobody knows.

Since we don't know exactly how the chocobo digging skill is raised, your best bet is to keep trying to dig, in zones that aren't completely dug up. At low skill levels you'll have a hard time discerning if the zone is dug up or not. I leveled up by beginning a digging session in a starter city, digging through to a telepoint, getting a new chocobo there and digging to Jeuno. In this way you cover a lot of different zones, decreasing your chance of being stuck somewhere that is already dug up.

The currently known chocobo digging skill levels are listed to the upper-right; it's a welcome surprise when you do finally level up! Note that the time between digs and the time after zoning in are slightly different for some people, based on the speed of your FFXI client or computer; the list provides an overall view of the reduction in time as your skill level increases. As your digging level moves up, you will dig up more valuable results, on average. Some of the more valuable items in the Chocobo Digging Results lists can only be regularly dug up by chocobo diggers of very high skill.

Time, Weather and Moon Phases

Apart from the items that can be dug up in specific zones at any time, there are some items that can only be dug up under specific conditions. These are based on the time of the day, the weather in the zone, and the moon phase.
Chocobo Digging Skill Levels
Level Time Between Digs Time After Zone
Level 1 16 seconds 60 seconds
Level 2 11 seconds 60 seconds
Level 3 6 seconds 60 seconds
Level 4 0 seconds 50 seconds
Level 5 0 seconds 40 seconds
Level 6 0 seconds 30 seconds
Level 7 0 seconds 25 seconds
Level 8 0 seconds 20 seconds
Level 9 0 seconds 15 seconds
Level 10 0 seconds 10 seconds
Chocobo Digging Tips

Watch the Clock!

I find that using a timer is extremely helpful when I'm chocobo digging in higher zones where I could potentially get my ass beaten by monsters if the chocobo riding time runs out, and I'm not prepared for it. Make sure that you know how long your ride will last. If your character is level 15-19, your chocobo ride will only last 15 minutes. If your character is level 20 or higher, your chocobo ride has a standard time of 30 minutes. Each +1 you have from Chocobo Riding gear will add 1 minute to your ride time -- wearing the entire set adds 15 minutes in total. Note that Chocobo Riding gear will not work if you are under level 20. Set your timer accordingly, to let you know when your chocobo digging time is almost over.

Dug up Zones

A zone can be "all dug up", where you can dig many times and nothing shows up. This will occasionally happen in some of the more popular zones, like Yuhtunga Jungle; even at low chocobo digging skill levels, if you dig 20+ times in a zone and haven't obtained anything, it's safe to assume that the zone is dug up. If this happens, there's nothing to do but move on. Also, if you've been digging for awhile, and you start getting a lot of digs with no items in a row, try zoning.

Goblin Diggers

Have you been told to follow a Goblin Digger? If you follow one around for long enough, they'll dig around, drop an item, and move on. You can then attempt to dig up the item that they dropped. When you see this happen, you will get the message: You feel something close nearby. While you get this message, you will be unable to dig up "regular" items in that zone, but can only dig up the items listed below.

The items that Goblin Diggers leave can be used in the quest Orlando's Antiques in Mhaura. Personally, I don't feel that it's worth it to take the time to do this. The game is very particular about where you dig; I once tried for 30 minutes to get an item after seeing the gobbie drop it, only to get frustrated and quit. You can rarely get anything good from this, and you need 8 of the items to trade in for the Orlando's Antiques quest, so that's a lot of patiently following goblin diggers (and they don't bury items very often) in order to do the quest.

Goblin Diggers can bury one of the following items: Goblin Cup, Fish Bones, Chicken Bone, Rotten Meat, Goblin Die, Fingernail Sack, Teeth Sack, Beastcoin, Silver Beastcoin, Mythril Beastcoin or Gold Beastcoin.

Variety is the Spice of Digging!

While some zones are more popular than others for chocobo digging, it can be useful to check out the less common areas. When you have a lower level digging skill, it's good to visit all the zones, giving you the most chances for a skill-up as you move along and zone. Once you reach a higher chocobo digging skill level, you may want to revisit the lower zones to get the rare items that you can now dig up.
No one is sure of all the ways in which the weather elements in a zone can affect chocobo digging. My personal preference is to dig on the days these elements are strong to. So in the Yuhtunga Jungle where there are water elementals, I dig on Firesday. In the Konschtant Highlands where there are lightning elementals, I dig on Watersday. (You can find a table of elemental strengths and weaknesses on the gardening page.) And yes, this does complicate things when you have a zone that has more than one element. Some people I know like to dig on the same day as the elements, as they think that elemental weather increases your chances of a successful dig.

Crystals and Clusters - The standard elemental crystals and clusters can be dug up at certain times. Whenever there is a single weather element out, you can dig up crystals of that element; during a single fire element weather, you can dig up a Fire Crystal for example. When there are double weather elements displayed, you can dig up clusters of the element, such as a Fire Cluster during double fire weather. (Very rarely, you can dig up Water Crystals in Jugner Forest even when there isn't a Water weather element present; nobody knows why, it just happens!)

Elemental Ores - Under very specific conditions, you can dig up one of the eight elemental ores: Dark Ore, Earth Ore, Fire Ore, Ice Ore, Light Ore, Lightning Ore, Water Ore, Wind Ore. These are relatively rare, even for highly skilled chocobo diggers, but they can be dug up in the right circumstances. The following list contains the known information about digging up elemental ores:
  • As seen with the /clock command, the moon MUST be in the waxing crescent phase, which occurs right after a New Moon. This is the only time that elemental ores can be dug up. Because of this, most of the zones right around Jeuno are "dug up" quickly during the waxing crescent phase of the moon, as people try to hurry and dig up ores.
  • There must be some sort of weather in the zone to dig up an elemental ore. For most zones, this means that you will see a single weather element.
  • Elemental ores cannot be dug up in either Altepa Eastern Desert or Altepa Western Desert, or in the Yuhtunga Jungle or Yhoator Jungle. Other than those four zones, all chocobo digging zones can provide elemental ores.
  • The elemental ore dug up is based on that Vana'diel day; during Firesday, only Fire Ores are dug up, while Dark Ores are found only on Darksday, and so on.
  • The six starting zones (two each of Ronfaure, Sarutabaruta and Gustaberg) around the starting cities do not display weather elements, but weather can still be present. This makes it harder to dig up ores those zones; you have to trust the weather checker or what you think the weather looks like. That said, it's also easier to dig up ores there because they're not overcrowded. Half of my ores were dug up by surprise in one of those zones. Just don't expect to dig up ores (there or in any other zone) if the weather checker for the area is forcasting all sun for the next three days!
Mushrooms - The various mushroom items (Reishi Mushroom and King Truffle) are much more likely to be dug up during rain weather (single or double Water elements.)

Gardening Seeds - The six starting zones (two each of Ronfaure, Sarutabaruta and Gustaberg) around the starting cities each have a specific gardening seed that can be dug up. However, these can only be dug up during the night in Vana'diel; you won't find them when doing chocobo digging during the daytime!

Chocobo Digging Summary

Chocobo digging is a great way to pass the time, and sometimes dig up some very nice items. The upcoming changes with chocobo raising will add extra possibilities; be sure to check back in the future as we learn more about them!

Last Updated: July 18, 2006

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