Final Fantasy XIV may be the first mainstream RPGMMO — an RPG first and an MMO second. And in true Final Fantasy fashion, there are staggeringly long cutscenes and plenty of content geared for the solo player.

Let’s say you want to fly solo. Which class should you pick? You’ll be out there all on your own — no backup’s coming if you get in over your head. That means you need survivability. Burst damage. Maybe some self-healing. And a little extra health never hurt anyone, right?

Fortunately, there’s a number of classes to choose from that will fit the bill. For our FFXIV Best Solo Classes list, we’re going to focus on seven: the Archer/Bard, the Marauder/Warrior, the Red Mage, the Gladiator/Paladin, the Rogue/Ninja, the Gunbreaker, and the Samurai. Let’s get started!

Looking for the top starting classes in FFXIV? Check out that list here.

Ridin’ Solo: FFXIV Best Solo Classes

Certain quests require you to complete Duties and Trials, the FFXIV equivalents of dungeons and boss battles. Until Shadowbringers, you’ll have to queue up with other players for those via the Duty Finder. Even once you hit Shadowbringers, you may find that the NPC Trust system for tackling duties with friendly NPCs leaves something to be desired. In short, expect to still group up with other players from time to time. Still, there’s hundreds of hours of content waiting for you, and only you.

There’s something here for everyone, whether you enjoy taking a punch with a smile before punching back or prefer to wipe your enemies off the face of Eorzea before they can draw their swords. Let’s take a look at the FFXIV Best Solo Classes for 2021!

1. Archer/Bard

Bard - FFXIV
Image: Square Enix via HGG / Mitch Gentry

The Archer/Bard is a ranged damage dealer with a high degree of survivability. You keep foes at arm’s length with Straight Shot and Heavy Shot, loosing arrow after arrow like a cat-eared Legolas. And when they get up close and personal, you have crowd control with abilities like Rain of Death and Quick Nock that melt multiple targets at once. The toolkit even includes self-healing with Second Wind and damage mitigation with Troubadour.

But your real power lies in your Bardic songs.

Your DoT attacks Venomous Bite/Caustic Bite and Windbite/Stormbite will, like any attack, occasionally earn critical hits. Keep those up with the timer reset afforded by Iron Jaws. And, as long as you have a song like Army’s Paeon, Mage’s Ballad, or The Wander’s Minuet up, those crits will proc for bonus buffs or unique ability charges. Yeah, your songs buff you and any others allies nearby in addition to doing a bit of damage at the target. Your angelic voice can stop hearts as sure as your arrowheads can.

Finish your enemies off with the DoT-fueled Shadowbite or Burst Shot, then tell people you’re changing your middle name to “Burst Damage.”

2. Marauder/Warrior

Warrior - FFXIV Best Solo Classes
Image: Square Enix via HGG / Mitch Gentry

Perhaps you prefer to get up close and personal yourself. The Marauder/Warrior is a vicious axe-wielder that cleaves a path to victory through steel and bone. Tanks are no stranger to soaking up punishment, but then you can turn around and dish it right back in spectacularly violent fashion thanks to core rotation abilities like Heavy Swing, Maim, and Storm’s Path.

Like the Bard, even target rich environments won’t be enough to overwhelm you. Overpower and its combo Mythril Tempest will strike multiple enemies at once for maximum effectiveness. Of course, you are a Tank — role abilities for damage mitigation like Rampart and Reprisal can keep you on your feet. You can even self-heal thanks to a slew of abilities like Storm’s Path, Thrill of Battle, and Equilibrium, though some of those are gated behind Job quests. Keep up with your class quests.

The Beast Gauge is your resource mechanic, charging with certain early-game abilities to power your late-game ones. And yeah, they tend to do more damage. Whether single-target or multi-target, the Marauder/Warrior will emerge victorious.

3. Red Mage

Red Mage - FFXIV Best Solo Classes
Image: Square Enix via HGG / Mitch Gentry

The Red Mage is a strange class. Let’s get that out of the way upfront. You’re a damage-dealer first and foremost — at least, that’s what it says on the tin. In practice, you’ll be healing, resurrecting, and generally flexing to fill whatever need is most pressing. That’s what makes Red Mage so practical for a solo player.

Your core abilities like Riposte, Jolt, and Verthunder deal damage. And you have Black and White Mana, a resource offered by certain abilities which triggers ability mutations and serves as your class resource to manage. But once you hit Stormblood content, you should also have unlocked Vercure and Verraise, which heal and resurrect respectively.

Sound like Healer abilities, right? Because they definitely are.

Vercure will be your ticket to keeping yourself and others alive, while Verraise can bring the actual Healers back into the fight when they’re knocked out. Proper management of your Black and White Mana becomes critical with late-game abilities like Verflare and Verholy if you want to get the most mileage out of them.  Just don’t forget to heal — first yourself, then others.

4. Gladiator/Paladin

Paladin - FFXIV Best Solo Classes
Image: Square Enix via HGG / Mitch Gentry

You ready to soak some damage? The Gladiator/Paladin is the quintessential tank, with less overall damage output but plenty of ways to stay vertical through every round of the fight.

You can still hit back, of course — the Fast Blade into Riot Blade combo draws blood, and following up with either Rage of Halone or Goring Blade for the DoT forms a withering onslaught. But where the Gladiator/Paladin really shines is in taking a punch, spitting out a few teeth, then grinning right back at Death. You’ve got a potent self-heal after the Level 58 Job quest in Clemency, incredible damage mitigation in Sentinel and Hallowed Ground, and the tank-typical Rampart and Reprisal besides.

For Duties, Trials, and Raids, make sure to toggle your Iron Will on so you hold aggro. Other tanks may out-damage you, but few will ever handle damage quite like you.

5. Rogue/Ninja

Ninja
Image: Square Enix via HGG / Mitch Gentry

The Rogue/Ninja may be the most technically complex class on this list. So much so that to adequately cover the ins and outs would be beyond the scope of such a piece. Let’s skim the summary anyway, shall we?

The key to the late-game abilities of the Ninja is the Ninki Gauge and the mudras. In order to truly practice Ninjitsu, you must become an artist, like a graceful ballet dancer or musician. Y’know, except your instruments are your blades and your art is death.

Your mudras and abilities will mutate and combo with other abilities in magnificent chains. Ten Chi or Jin can serve as the base for Fuma Shruiken, Ten to Jin for Hyoton, and many more such combinations you’ll have to learn through practice. And your Ninki can be spent on potent strikes like Hellfrog Medium and Bhavacakra.

Rest assured, if you take the time to master the art, there will be few who can match your violent and beautiful displays of martial prowess.

6. Gunbreaker

Gunbreaker - FFXIV Best Solo Classes
Image: Square Enix via HGG / Mitch Gentry

Whether shooting or slashing, the Gunbreaker is a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

While being a tank means they should soak a fair bit of damage, you may find in practice that the Gunbreaker is among one of the squishiest tanks in the game. But what they lack in defense, they make up with offense. Combining abilities like Keen Edge, Brutal Shell, and Solid Barrel slam your opponent with damage while also healing yourself and mitigating incoming damage. Now that’s efficiency.

You’ll store up Cartridges in your Powder Gauge, which can be used to unleash vicious late-game combos based on Gnashing Fang, as well as one-off attacks like Fated Circle and Burst Strike.  And of course, all the tank role abilities like Rampart and Reprisal are there to grant you that extra edge in survival.

With abilities like Abdomen Tear, Jugular Rip, and Eye Gouge, you’ll be fighting dirty. At least you’ll be the one walking away, right?

7. Samurai

Samurai - FFXIV
Image: Square Enix via HGG / Mitch Gentry

Honor, nobility, and justice — all principles a Samurai might be about. But as a solo player in FFXIV, your main concern is getting business done and living to fight another day. Fortunately, the complicated and flexible toolkit available to the Samurai is well-suited to the task.

Like the Ninja, the Samurai has a unique resource management mechanic (or two) — the Sen and Kenki Gauges. Combo actions building off the quick-strike Hakaze can end up granting you one Sen besides other perks, like Shifu into Kasha reducing your cast timers or Jinpu into Gekko increasing your damage dealt. And all these combos offer big boosts to your Kenki Gauge.

Your Kenki can be used for certain late-game abilities, while others include even more layers of resource management. The Iaijutsu abilities, for example, offer stacks of Meditation that power other abilities in turn. Samurai is basically one giant Rube Goldberg machine of combat dominance. If you have the patience for it (like its partner in complicated crime, the Ninja), it can be a very rewarding class for the solo player.

Our Top Pick for the Best Solo Class in FFXIV

Which one is the best of the best? Considering all factors — accessibility, flexibility, and effectiveness for solo players — the choice becomes clear: the Archer/Bard.

Bard offers just the right combination of damage bandwidth, self-preservation, and enough complexity to keep the late-game interesting while not overwhelming new players with layers of interwoven mechanics. And when the time comes to add others to your party, you have a few party buff options to keep them in tip-top fighting shape. For these reasons and more, it’s our choice for the best of the FFXIV Best Solo Classes for 2021. (Pre-Endwalker)

Remember that, despite your best efforts, certain main story quests will require you to run Duties and Trials with other players. And you just might find along the way that they’re a pretty good time. The Duty Roulette is a great way to level alt classes after all.

Join the High Ground

Hero shot of Red Mage
Image: Square Enix via HGG / Mitch Gentry

We hope you enjoy your adventures in Eorzea, whether you’re by yourself as one of the FFXIV Best Solo Classes or with a party of like-minded adventurers. If you liked this guide and want more content like it, be sure to give us a follow on Facebook and Twitter. Questions, comments, or concerns? Voice them in the comments section below. 

Special thanks to Rito Sakurajima for their assistance with the images for this piece.

You’ll have to excuse us — the Leap of Faith GATE is about to start. Until next time.