FFXIV Jobs Guide - All The Roles and Playstyles

FFXIV Jobs Guide
raphael 24.12.2019 0

FFXIV jobs guide

Currently, there are 17 standard jobs in Final Fantasy XIV. It's quite a lot, especially if you're a new player. Trying to figure out which job to level first is a bit of a challenge. It is why we created this guide that will talk about all the jobs, the role that they play in group content as well as their playstyles and relative levels of difficulty. You can also level all the jobs on a single character – it's not gated by anything, but the time you're willing to spend. Without further ado, let's get right into it.

Table of contents

FFXIV Roles

   Tanks

   Healers

   Magic DPS

   Ranged Physical DPS

   Melee DPS

Summary

Roles in FFXIV

Each Final Fantasy XIV job fits into one of the three roles that are a staple of the MMORPG genre. We're talking about tanks, healers, and DPS (damage dealers). The last one includes the highest amount of jobs, so it's further divided into subcategories: physical ranged DPS, magic ranged DPS (casters), and melee DPS.

There's no way to build your character for a role different than intended by the developers. Final Fantasy XIV doesn't offer that much freedom in terms of personalizing your character's kit. You can choose different gear that can boost specific stats, but it's not enough to make a tank deal more damage than a DPS unless the damage dealer plays extremely poorly. So if you want to heal your teammates - pick a healer. If you want to soak damage in the frontline – choose a tank. Finally, if you want to destroy the enemies with powerful spells or attacks, you need to select your job accordingly.

The full list of jobs and roles in Final Fantasy looks like this:

Tanks

Healers

Caster DPS

Ranged DPS

Melee DPS

Paladin

White Mage

Black Mage

Bard

Dragoon

Warrior

Scholar

Summoner

Machinist

Monk

Dark Knight

Astrologian

Red Mage

Dancer

Ninja

Gunbreaker

Samurai

It's also important to note that everybody deals with damage in battle. It's especially significant if you're after a perfect optimization for the endgame content. During raids, tanks are hitting the boss for the whole time. Meanwhile, healers also have access to damage spells and abilities. They should use them whenever they can afford to (in situations when nobody requires instant healing). This concept can be challenging to grasp at the start, especially for people who spent a long time playing other MMORPGs.

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It's pretty much unique to FFXIV. Some veteran players say: every job is a DPS job. Of course, tanks and healers won't be able to reach the numbers put out by designated damage dealers. However, their contribution is significant. In easier content, it's mostly the matter of finishing an encounter slightly faster. In the most challenging endgame fights, it might be the deciding factor between victory and defeat.

The starting jobs that have been present in the base version of the game (since Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn), are connected to combat classes. In order to unlock one of these jobs, you first have to unlock and advance the corresponding class to level 30 and complete the proper quest. Back then, the experience cap used to be level 50, so a lot of jobs get access to really important abilities at that point. The newer jobs are only available with the specific expansions and they often have higher level requirements.   

FFXIV Tank Jobs

The most important task of a tank is making sure that they're getting targeted by the enemies. It allows their teammates to dish out damage and provides healing comfortably. Final Fantasy XIV features an Enmity system. The tank has to remain at the top of the target's Enmity list to make sure that the rest of the party is safe. 

Every character can generate Enmity by attacking, casting spells on the target, or healing allies who are in combat. If tanks don't do their job properly, it's usually the strongest DPS who gets targeted by the boss. Enmity is the equivalent of Threat in World of Warcraft and other similar mechanics in multiple MMORPGs.

The recent Shadowbringers update made it significantly more straightforward. Each of the tank jobs has a costless toggle ability that massively increases their Enmity generation. Additionally, their standard weaponskills produce more of that resource. The majority of physical jobs (and all tanks) spend most of their time in combat, performing their basic combo. Since Shadowbringers, it's also the most efficient way for tank jobs to generate Enmity.

Paladin

One of the original tanks in FFXIV – it's connected to the combat class called Gladiator. Paladins are noble guardians that protect their team by standing in the frontline. They fight with one-handed swords and shields.

Besides the standard weaponskills and defensive abilities, Paladins also have access to multiple holy magic spells. Some of them can be used to heal and assist their allies. Others are cast to smite their foes. Paladin's playstyle is divided into two parts: their weaponskill rotation and the spell combo. It's an exceptional tanking job that provides a lot of utility. At the same time, its kit is relatively straightforward what makes Paladin a viable choice for a beginner tank player.

Warrior

Warrior is the second tank job that has been introduced in the base version of the game. Marauder is the combat class that can advance into this job. It has a relatively high damage output for the role due to the Beast Gauge and powerful weaponskills associated with it. The Warrior's weapon of choice is a greataxe.

They also have an ability called Inner Release that temporarily allows for using the gauge skills without having to gather or spend the actual resource. Moreover, Warrior has some powerful self-healing tools. The biggest downside of this job is the relatively low amount of party-wide utility. Overall, Warrior is one of the more selfish ranks. It's not the most challenging job in the game, but managing resources and cooldowns can be tricky at times.   

Dark Knight

It is the first tank job that has been added in one of the expansions – more specifically, Heavensward. Dark Knights fight with greatswords, and similarly to Paladins, they have access to some powerful spells. In this case, it's dark magic.

There are two main reasons why people play this job. The first one is purely cosmetic. Many players like this kind of edgy, anime aesthetics that Dark Knight is all about. The second reason is the ability called The Blackest Night. It's an instant shield on a pretty low cooldown. It makes this job extremely reliable in the frontline but also introduces a vital MP management factor. On the other hand, Dark Knights currently have the lowest damage output of all tanks. That being said, the high survivability and active playstyle make this job the most sought after as the main tank.

Gunbreaker

Gunbreaker is the newest tank job in Final Fantasy XIV, as it has been introduced in the Shadowringers DLC. It's an incredibly stylish character that uses gunblade as their weapon. It has the highest damage output of all the tanks. A vast portion of it is connected to an ability called Continuation that enables weaving in additional attacks.

This part of their kit also makes Gunbreaker pretty tricky to play. It requires the most actions per minute out of all tanks. This job has access to several defensive and self-healing abilities, but they don't offer as much instant power as some tools available to Dark Knights or Warriors, which makes them tough to use. On the other hand, Gunbreaker has some valuable utility options, as well as the aforementioned high damage output. 

ffxiv healer jobs

The healer role in Final Fantasy XIV plays out much differently than in most other MMORPGs. It requires a lot of flexibility as well as good situation awareness. The exact responsibilities of healers depend mostly on their party members. If your teammates take a lot of unnecessary damage – you have to spend your time, cooldowns, and resources on keeping them alive.

In a perfect scenario, you should be able to cast much more offensive spells and abilities than the healing ones. In FF14, you only heal when it's necessary and when it's not – you DPS. You should never overheal since it's a waste of resources and damage. On the other hand, you can't be too greedy with your GCDs, because it might result in one of your allies dying. The ability to assess the situation and always make the right decision is what separates a great healer from a mediocre one. Sadly, these situations are distinctive, and covering all of that in a guide is pretty much impossible. However, you will quickly get better at it as you keep playing the role.

White Mage

The most standard healer in Final Fantasy XIV. White Mage has access to the most powerful heals, but using them often requires sacrificing some damage. This character is reasonably easy to pilot – it has by far the most straightforward kit of the three healers. Its defensive skill set consists mostly of instant heals and healing over time actions. This job is the advanced version of the Conjurer class. 

White Mage's offensive tools are incredibly straightforward, too (this part is true for all the healers, though). Their Healing Gauge allows them to use an incredibly powerful damage spell called Afflatus Misery – you can't use it too often as it's heavily gated by the resource generation, but it's a nice boost. This part of their kit pushes White Mage over the line – providing them with the highest personal DPS potential of all healers. The main drawback of this job is the low amount of party utility as well as a somewhat uninteresting playstyle.

Scholar

This job is a unique combination of a healer and a pet character – it shares a combat class called Arcanist with another job. Scholars can summon faeries (and later Seraph) as assistant healers. Some people say that faeries do more healing than Scholars, who are just a DPS job in disguise of a healer. That's not necessarily true, as this job has plenty of great defensive spells and abilities, and many of them apply barriers that can absorb incoming damage.

Unlike the White Mage, Scholar can provide a lot of defense and utility, without losing too much damage. It's because they have a ton of useful oGCDs that can be weaved between spell casts. Scholars can also move more freely during combat because they have some instant cast damage spells. This job is quite complex, but it offers a lot of utility, including a powerful raid buff.

Astrologian    

It is another complicated healer job – even more so than the Scholar. Astrologian has been added to the game in the Heavensward expansion, and it somewhat combines the kits of the two previous healers. At the same time, Astrologian features some complicated mechanics that make using its full potential quite challenging.

Besides the generic healing and damage-dealing spells, they have access to the Arcana Gauge that's connected to a card drawing mechanic. These cards can be used to buff your party's damage output. Moreover, there are special abilities that can influence or empower your cards. The job can also swap stances, depending on if you want to focus more on pure healing or shielding. All of that is combined with a ton of valuable cooldowns, including a strong raid buff. It's a useful and flexible job that's pretty hard to master because there's a lot of stuff to keep track of.

Caster DPS jobs in FF14

The three ranged magic DPS jobs are all very different from each other. They face separate issues and require other skill sets from their players. The general rule (sometimes referred to as the ABC rule) is that you should Always Be Casting. Running out of MP shouldn't be a big problem for the DPS casters, and all the time spent on walking around or sightseeing is a DPS loss.

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Of course, it's not as easy as it sounds. During a boss fight, there will be situations that can force you to stop using spells. The target might move out of range or execute a strong AoE attack that forces you to reposition. Depending on the specific job, it might be more or less annoying.

Black Mage

Black Mage is often called the most "selfish" DPS job. It's because they don't offer pretty much any utility to their party. On the other hand, they can carry their teammates in terms of sheer damage. Black Mage currently has the highest damage potential of all the Final Fantasy XIV jobs. Since it is present in the game from the beginning, this job is connected to a combat class called Thaumaturge, as they both use the elemental spells to destroy their enemies. 

If you only look at the mechanical difficulty and the complexity of rotation, you'll notice that Black Mage is relatively simple. It might seem a bit counterintuitive for a job with such high possibilities. Even an average player should be able to dish out a massive amount of DPS when hitting a Training Dummy. There is a catch, though, and it lays in long casting times. Black Mages can't really move that much between spells what forces them to position well – it also makes following the ABC rule more difficult. The general Black Mage spell rotation consists of two phases. Fire Phase lets you deal a ton of damage, but also depletes your MP. Meanwhile Ice Phase allows you to restore that resource exceptionally quickly.

Summoner

It is the second caster DPS that has been in the game from the beginning. It's the main pet job in FFXIV, and it shares the combat class – Arcanist - with the Scholar we described earlier. Summoner is pretty mobile, and it combines a high damage output with respectable utility options. Their DPS routine utilizes substantial damage over time effects, standard offensive spells, and various attacks executed by their pets.

While mechanically, they're relatively easy to play (caster classes tend to include less button-mashing than melee damage dealers), this job is very elaborate. The full Summoner's rotation consists of multiple phases and spreads over two minutes of spell casting! You pretty much have to be able to go over this whole cycle, if you want to play the job efficiently. On the other hand, Summoner has access to instant cast damage spells that give more mobility and a great utility tool in the form of Resurrection.

Red Mage

The last caster DPS job has been added with the Stormblood expansion. Red Mages technically use melee weapons called rapiers, but they don't use them that often. It's the only caster job that has access to weaponskills. Red Mage is one of the easiest jobs to play, that's often recommended to new players. While reaching really impressive DPS numbers might be impossible, you will deal good damage and bring a ton of utility. Moreover, the job offers quite a simple yet engaging play style.

The overall gameplay of Red Mage is based on two mechanics. First is a trait called Dualcast. It allows you to make every second spell that you use an instant cast – no matter how much time would it usually take (it's handy for instantly resurrecting allies with Verraise). The second crucial part is the job gauge that collects White Mana and Black Mana. Getting enough of both, lets you perform a powerful combo that consists of your empowered weaponskills and some spells as finishers. The resource management can still be somewhat tricky for someone who's used to much simpler MMORPGs, but Red Mage definitely is one of the easiest jobs to pick up. Moreover, it's a good idea to learn the game as DPS, because the mistakes you make as a tank or healer can end up in people dying. Mistakes made as a damage dealer, usually result in killing the target a little bit slower, at best.

FF14 Ranged Physical DPS jobs

Similarly to casters, the three ranged DPS jobs also have vastly different identities and playstyles. Some of them are more geared towards buffing their party. Others are focused mostly on personal DPS. The ABC rule also applies to physical damage dealers, but they have to use weaponskills and often weave in abilities between them constantly. Overall this role has high mobility thanks to lack of spells and high safety, as they can keep their distance away from the targets.

Bard

It is the only physical ranged DPS job that has been a part of the game since day one. Bards are an advanced version of the combat class called Archer, and they use bows as their weapons. It's an exciting job that has a very fluid playstyle, and it offers a lot of utility to the whole party, while still being able to deal significant damage.

Unlike any other physical DPS job, Bard doesn't have a clear rotation. Instead, they have a single spammable attack and multiple proc-based skills that become available when you get an RNG proc. It requires the player to be much more reactive than merely following a set in stone rotation. It's an interesting way of keeping players engaged in the game. This playstyle fits some players incredible well while being unbearable to others. At the same time, Bards rotate between songs that feature stacking mechanics, which unlock even more special attacks.

Machinist

This action-packed job has been added to FF14 in the Heavensward DLC. Machinists shoot their opponents with all kinds of firearms. They have a great looking, technologically advanced skill set that's capable of dealing a considerable amount of damage. They're the most efficient physical ranged job in terms of raw DPS.

On the other hand, Machinist is very demanding if you want to execute it properly. There's a lot of button mashing required to play this job optimally. Moreover, some combos might be impossible to perform if you have too high latency. During specific time windows, you're going to have to weave abilities really fast - significantly quicker than other jobs, and the input lag can be a huge factor in it. That being said, if your Internet connection is good enough and you like pressing a lot of buttons in short succession - Machinist might be a perfect fit. Your efforts will be rewarded with flashy animations and big numbers on damage charts.

Dancer

It's one of the newest jobs in the game, as it has been introduced in the most recent Shadowbringers expansion. It's a ranged DPS that, similarly to Red Mage, sometimes has to get close to the enemies. Dancers bring a ton of buffs and utility to their party, while not providing too much DPS – they're almost a support job.

At the same time, Dancer is quite difficult to play. The job features proc mechanics in its basic weaponskill combos and some unique stuff like choosing a dance partner and combining different dances to deliver high potency attacks and buff their allies. Dancer brings a lot of value to the party, but we wouldn't recommend it for beginners.

Melee DPS FF XIV jobs

We might be stating the obvious here, but melee DPS jobs have to stay close to their target in order to deal damage. It can sometimes cause some undesired downtime related to dodging AoE or following the boss. It gets even harder if you try to flawlessly execute the positional attacks that some of these characters have. Similarly to other roles, melee DPS range from more supportive jobs, to some selfish ones – there are also significant differences in terms of difficulty. 

Dragoon

Dragoons are fierce dragon slayers that perform acrobatic jumps and hit their enemies with polearms. It's one of the original FFXIV jobs, and it's connected to a combat class called Lancer. Dragoon has a very stable rotation that's based mostly on their standard weaponskill combo (it consists of five attacks instead of the three that most other jobs have).

This lack of variance makes Dragoon relatively straightforward, even if staying close to the boss, and hitting positionals sometimes can be a bit of a challenge. The jump abilities are pretty strong and visually impressive, but they do lock you in place for a short time. That contributed to the popular notion that Dragoons are the most likely to die in an encounter. That being said, if you're aware of your surroundings, you can easily weave in these jumps and still avoid getting hit by AoE. Overall, Dragoons have a high personal DPS, some valuable utility, and they're one of the most accessible jobs to play.

Monk

The second original melee DPS job is even more reliant on the positioning. Monks use effective martial arts in combat. They are quick fighters that can attack their targets with all kinds of kicks and punches. They use fist weapons, and they're an advancement of the combat class called Pugilist. Technically, Monks don't have a fixed weaponskill combo. Instead, they switch between forms (or stances) that allow them to execute different weaponskills. In reality, it works as a "one-two-three" combo that sometimes replaces one of the skills to refresh a self-buff or a DoT on your target.

Beyond that, Monk has access to a stackable damage and attack speed buff called Greased Lightning. It's to some extent connected to their toggle abilities called Fists of Earth, Fists of Wind, and Fists of Fire. Not letting any of your buffs run out and hitting all the positionals is difficult, but the strong attack speed boost makes this job feel really good. Monk has access to a raid buff that only affects physical damage, which makes this job more valuable in parties that have little to none caster DPS characters.   

Ninja

It's another job that has been a part of the game since the beginning of Final Fantasy XIV. It's connected to one of the combat classes – Rogue. The names like Ninja and Rogue can be a little bit misleading – the character is not a stealthy assassin that can sneak up and delete the target. Instead, we receive a mechanically intensive damage dealer that has very strong supportive tools – Trick Attack remains one of the most powerful raid buffs in the game and a great bonus to Ninja as a job. Most raiding parties are specifically planning to dump as much damage into the boss, inside the duration of Trick Attack. 

Before the introduction of the Dancer, Ninja used to be one of the most supportive DPS jobs. Since then, a lot of its utility has been stripped down – resulting in a somewhat underwhelming DPS job that has a lot of its value crammed in a single ability. At the same time, it's still one of the most difficult jobs to play because of the high amount of actions per minute required to optimize DPS, as well as quite a complex kit with multiple interactions between different abilities. Similarly to the Machinist, Ninja can also be really difficult or simply impossible to execute with high latency.

Samurai

Samurai is the newest melee DPS job. It's the only one that has been added in an expansion – Stormblood. At the same time, it's the most selfish one of the four. Samurais provide no buffs or utility to their party. Although, just like Black Mages, they provide a ton of raw damage output.

Samurai is pretty difficult to play. It's a dynamic job that has a lot of complexity in its kit. They accumulate two resources: Sen and Kenki. They can both be spent to execute powerful attacks. The core of the job is still based on a "one-two-three" combo, but much more beyond that comes into play. Even though Samurai can be tempting as a thematically interesting, strong DPS, we wouldn't recommend it to new players. Making such a complex job your first main, might not be the best idea.

FFXIV Job Guide - overview

These were all 17 Final Fantasy XIV jobs. We hope that at least a few of them seemed interesting to you. There are some restrictions, especially the strict three role division and the fact that each job is limited to a single role that we discussed at the beginning, but FFXIV still offers a plethora of possibilities. Jobs within a single role can have vastly different playstyles and designs. There's also a special one, designed for single player content - Blue Mage, but it's restricted to very specific activities. If you're interested in more specific tips regarding each one of them, make sure to take a look at the job guides posted on our blog.

Keep in mind that some of the play patterns will be present in multiple characters, but the distinctions are always really significant. Each job that you can control has its unique identity – even if each one of them ultimately fits in one of the three broad categories of healer, tank, and DPS. If you really enjoy a specific job, but it's not that strong at the moment, don't worry! Play what you like and a new patch might bring you some extra power! 

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No matter which one you choose first, you're going to have a great time adventuring in the magical realm of Eorzea. You'll get to explore the fascinating stories told in the main scenario quests, as well as the multitude of side quests that feature plenty of memorable characters. There's also plenty to do after you finish your progress through the main story since the PvE endgame content like raids and dungeons can be a lot of fun! 

Final Fantasy XIV is a successful MMORPG developed and published by Square Enix. The game includes fantastic worldbuilding and great storylines that make the journey through Eorzea a fun and engaging experience. There's also plenty of challenging endgame activities if you wanted to test your skills! Each character starts in one of the three major cities: Limsa Lominsa, Gridania, and the city of Ul' dah. You can also learn about the continuing storyline of the Warrior of Light. 

If you're interested in more content about FFXIV and a variety of other popular online games, make sure to follow our blog. You can find all kinds of guides and articles to read if you want to learn more about your favorite MMOs. We would love it if you be so nice to share some of our best texts with your friends!  

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