Home  >  Games  >  Final Fantasy XIV Online  >  Class Guides & Tier Lists

The Best Starting Classes in Final Fantasy 14 Online

Below, you’ll find our recommendations for the best starting classes in FFXIV that will help you learn the in’s and out’s of this MMO that’s growing rapidly right now. Unlike most modern MMORPGs, Final Fantasy XIV does not bind characters to a single class. Instead, it utilizes a job system (much like certain other Final Fantasy titles) that lets one character play everything, so don’t stress too much about choosing the perfect class because you’re not married to it. Dive in with one of top picks below and enjoy!

All FFXIV Starting Classes Ranked Easiest To Hardest

Let’s jump into our rankings of the best starting classes in Final Fantasy XIV. This list is ranked from easiest to hardest for new players, so if you’re looking for FFXIV’s easiest class, you’re in the right place! This list will be particularly helpful for those who may be new to MMORPGs.


Archer (Bard)

FFXIV Archer (Bard)
Image: Square Enix

Role: Ranged DPS | Starting Area: Gridania | Job Masters: Luciane and Jehantel Fointeaume

Archer is by far FF14’s easiest class for beginners to start with in FFXIV. As a ranged DPS, Archers can move freely while attacking. This means that they’re able to get in attacks when melee DPS cannot. It also means it’s a great job for teaching new players how to avoid AoE attacks, as there is no gameplay incentive to stand in one place.

Archers have very straightforward abilities and attacks. Their gameplay is reactive and largely based around RNG (which can be good or bad depending on your luck). Certain skills will have a chance to procure (or proc) other skills when used, meaning that gameplay will largely consist of pressing whichever buttons light up next.

Archers are primarily a support DPS job and have a lot of abilities that will buff party members. When Archers become Bards at Level 30, they gain access to “song” abilities that utilize a Song Gauge. These songs can increase damage, give speed boosts, buff defenses, and even clear debuffs from other players.

If you want to have freedom of movement and a lot of abilities that support your party members, Archer is the starting class for you!


Conjurer (White Mage)

FFXIV Conjurer (White Mage)
Image: Square Enix

Role: Healer | Starting Area: Gridania | Job Masters: E-Sumi-Yan and Raya-O-Senna

Conjurer is another of FFXIV’s best classes for beginner players. If you want to start the game playing as a healer, Conjurer is your only option. Luckily, it’s a very straightforward job that will teach you how to heal in FFXIV one step at a time.

Like the Archer, Conjurer is a reactive job — someone gets hurt, you heal them. There aren’t many shield or mitigation abilities in the Conjurer’s toolkit. They do have a lot of regenerative healing abilities, and they have great AoE heals and attacks. Unfortunately, most of those attacks have cast times, meaning that you will be locked in place. This puts conjurers at a disadvantage in high movement situations. The best strategy is to plant yourself at a good distance from the fight to avoid having to dodge enemy attacks.

When a Conjurer becomes a White Mage at Level 30, they unlock a Healing Gauge that will fill over time and cause lilies to bloom, which can be used to execute powerful healing abilities. At higher levels, using those lilies will nourish the Blood Lily, which can be used to execute Afflatus Misery, one of the most powerful AoE attacks in the game.

If you want to play a traditional healer from the start with a simple but effective DPS rotation, Conjurer is your best and only option!


Gladiator (Paladin)

FFXIV Gladiator (Paladin)
Image: Square Enix

Role: Tank | Starting Area: Ul’dah | Job Masters: Mylla and Jenlyns Aesc

Some people are born with a natural drive to protect others, and those people are tanks. The best option for a new tank starting FFXIV is the Gladiator. They wield a classic sword and shield, but don’t let that fool you⁠ — the Gladiator has a plethora of magical abilities up their sleeves as well.

Gladiators come with built in damage mitigation thanks to their passive shielding. The majority of their defensive skills are centered around protecting their party members. After becoming Paladins at Level 30, they unlock the Oath Gauge, which will increase with every auto-attack and is consumed to execute even more protective actions. Paladins also have a healing ability called Clemency that will restore HP to a single target and restore half of that amount to the player.

Because they spend so much time defending their party members, Gladiators lack a lot of personal mitigation abilities. Their ability rotation is also very rigid. Buttons have to be pressed in a specific order over and over, and this can become boring if it’s not your preferred style of play.

If you want to be able to protect your party members while dealing physical and magical damage and popping the occasional healing spell, Gladiator is the starting class for you!


Lancer (Dragoon)

FFXIV Lancer (Dragoon)
Image: Square Enix

Role: Melee DPS | Starting Area: Gridania | Job Masters: Ywain and Alberic Bale

If you value looking cool above all else, look no further than the Lancer. Lancers get access to some of the best-looking gear in the game, and they have some of the wildest abilities in their arsenal. Unfortunately, starting as a Lancer can be particularly slow; you have to put in the time to unlock the perks.

Lancer is your best option for a melee DPS at the start of the game. Despite that slow start, it grows into a complex and fun job with long (but simple) ability combo rotations that will send your character flying all over the battlefield. Literally.

Lancers become Dragoons at Level 30, and Dragoons are known for their jumps. This job comes with several jumping attacks that, when executed correctly, are major spectacles. When mistimed, however, they can get you hurt or even killed due to their locked animations. While not a true support DPS, they do have a fair amount of abilities that help out the party by buffing damage.

Having this job levelled will also unlock some unique lines of dialogue in the Heavensward expansion. If you find yourself invested in the narrative, becoming a Dragoon is a great choice.

If you want to feel like a badass making sick jumps all over the battlefield while executing long ability combos, consider checking out the Lancer!


Arcanist (Summoner)

FFXIV Arcanist (Summoner)
Image: Square Enix

Role: Caster DPS | Starting Area: Limsa Lominsa | Job Masters: Thubyrgeim and Y’mhitra Rhul

Maybe you want to DPS, but you’d rather wield magic as your weapon. Maybe you also want to play a support DPS. Maybe you also want to summon pets. Maybe you also want to be able to resurrect other players. Arcanist has a lot going on, and that’s without mentioning that it turns into two different jobs at Level 30: Summoner and Scholar. This section will cover the Summoner side of things; keep scrolling for the Scholar overview.

Arcanists can do a lot of different things, and that means they have to manage a lot of different abilities. They have multiple pets with different uses that can be quickly swapped between, and they actually have decent mobility at times (for a caster).

Arcanists start out being able to summon cute little carbuncles (a Final Fantasy staple), but when they become Summoners at Level 30, they gain access to a wider variety of pets drawn from various bosses that you will encounter throughout the main story of FFXIV.

If you want to have a wide array of pets at your disposal and don’t mind managing a wide array of different skills and abilities, Arcanist (Summoner) is your best bet!


Pugilist (Monk)

FFXIV Pugilist (Monk)
Image: Square Enix

Role: Melee DPS | Starting Area: Ul’dah | Job Masters: Hamon, Erik, and Widargelt Beake

Who needs weapons? Not Pugilists! As the second melee DPS option available as a starting class, Pugilists (technically) use their bare hands to defeat their enemies while dancing around them with ease. Their playstyle is centered around freeform ability combos and positional attacks, meaning certain skills do more damage when performed while flanking or standing behind an enemy.

Movement is key when playing a Pugilist. The Lancer certainly jumps all over the place and has a few positional requirements, but the Pugilist is constantly circling their enemy, seeking the perfect point to strike. The Pugilist is also a more freeform class, cycling through different “forms” as they activate abilities. These forms allow them to mix and match combos based on what the situation calls for. Some may find this to be a more interesting playstyle, but the amount of options could also be daunting to a new player. Pugilist is an easy class to learn, but it can be hard to master in the long run.

Pugilists become Monks at Level 30, tapping into their chakra to unlock even more powerful attacks. From here on out, Monk abilities only get faster and more complex. Battles will consist of weaving together the appropriate attacks and making sure you’re in the right position to maximize damage.

If you can’t sit still and enjoy a bit of flexibility in how you attack your foe, Pugilist is the starting class for you!


Thaumaturge (Black Mage)

FFXIV Thaumaturge (Black Mage)
Image: Square Enix

Role: Caster DPS | Starting Area: Ul’dah | Job Masters: Cocobuki and Lalai Lai

If you read the Pugilist description and hated everything about it, you might be interested in the Thaumaturge. This is by far one of the least mobile jobs in the game. Thaumaturges are a dark and edgy caster DPS focused entirely on doing big damage and standing as still as possible.

Because of this, any encounter that requires a lot of movement is detrimental to the Thaumaturge. This job is played best by someone who studies fights and knows what’s coming before it happens. In other words, it may not be the best pick for your first job.

It’s also a job that suffers more than others from being slow to start. Cast times are long, and Thaumaturge focuses largely on switching between two phases: Astral Fire and Umbral Ice. Each phase has its own effect on the damage of elemental spells, how many magic points (MP) they cost to use, and the recovery of said MP. This creates a very simple ability rotation, and can make Thaumaturge boring for new players.

At Level 30, Thaumaturges become Black Mages and get access to more powered-up versions of their initial ice and fire spells. Eventually, they will unlock the Ley Lines ability, which creates a circle for them to stand in that reduces their cast times. This is a key feature of the job’s playstyle and reinforces the Black Mage’s need to stand still. The tradeoff for all of this is massive damage and the ability to create huge explosions.

If you want to see big damage numbers and don’t mind standing in one place to get them, give Thaumaturge a try!


Marauder (Warrior)

FFXIV Marauder (Warrior)
Image Square Enix

Role: Tank | Starting Area: Limsa Lominsa | Job Masters: Wyrnzoen and Curious Gorge

If the Gladiator is a gleaming beacon of protection for their party, the Marauder is a bloody bastion of defense. They shun the sword and shield and favor the greataxe, and they live for the thrill of battle and excel at taking big hits and keeping themselves alive.

While Gladiators have rigid ability rotations, Marauders are more freeform. This could make them harder to handle if you are new to tanking. They also have a cone AoE attack instead of a circle, which can be tough to line up when taking on groups of enemies in dungeons.

When Marauders become Warriors at Level 30, they start getting self-heal abilities and personal mitigation skills. They also unlock the Beast Gauge, which can be used to pop off powerful attacks. Warriors will get an ability called Nascent Flash that absorbs incoming damage as HP and gives 50% of that HP to a targeted party member while also reducing their damage taken by 10%. All of this makes the warrior slightly more reactive than the Paladin. This can be more fun, but could also be more confusing to a new player (especially if you’re new to tanking).

If you want to go beast mode in order to take and deal out big damage, check out the Marauder!


Arcanist (Scholar)

FFXIV Arcanist (Scholar)
Image: Square Enix

Role: Healer | Starting Area: Limsa Lominsa | Job Masters: Thubyrgeim, Alka Zolka, and Surito Carito

Once the Arcanist reaches Level 30, they can take on the caster DPS job Summoner, or they can become a healer and take on the mantle of Scholar. This job is not technically available at the start, but it is worth mentioning if you want to heal but don’t want to play Conjurer.

Where Conjurers are reactive healers, Scholars are preventive. They have less traditional healing abilities than the Conjurer, but more shielding abilities that can keep your party alive. In tight situations, Scholars can even prevent parties from wiping. Being an evolution of the Arcanist, Scholars are also a pet management class. They get fairy summons that assist them with healing their party members.

As a preventive healer, Scholars benefit from knowing what’s going to happen in a fight and may not be the best pick for your first job. They have to carefully manage their class resources to ensure that they have the proper amount to cast heals and shields exactly when needed. Running out of MP at a crucial moment can spell disaster for the entire party.

If you want to keep your party from getting hurt rather than heal after the fact and like having a little fairy friend to help you, consider playing an Arcanist (Scholar)!

FFXIV Jobs and Classes Explained

But what is a job in FFXIV, and why does the game also have classes? A job is simply the evolved form of a starting class. The starting classes exist to give you a basic idea of what a job will play like in the long run. Once you reach Level 10 in your first class, you will gain the ability to pick up other classes and switch between them by equipping different weapons. Don’t stress out if you choose something you don’t like during character creation; you can always change later!

When you reach Level 30 in a class, you will receive an equippable soul crystal (commonly referred to as a job stone) that will allow you to access more abilities and turn your class into its final job form. Just like with classes, you can switch between jobs and you’re not tied down to your first pick. There is never a reason to unequip this crystal and revert a job to its starting class, as it will only limit your available skills.

All jobs are viable options when it comes to completing story and group content as long as you learn how to play them. That being said, there are certainly some jobs that are easier to learn than others, and others still that aren’t available at the start of the game. Several jobs aren’t mentioned in the above list because they aren’t available as starting classes. While the Rogue (which becomes the Ninja job) is technically a starting class, it is not available to play until you reach Level 10 in another starting class, and it won’t be available until at least Level 15 if you start the game in a city-state other than Limsa Lominsa.

Dark Knight (tank), Astrologian (healer), and Machinist (ranged DPS) are all available once players reach Heavensward, and they start at Level 30. Players with Stormblood will get access to the Samurai (melee DPS) and Red Mage (caster/melee DPS) jobs, which start at Level 50. Lastly, those with Shadowbringers will be able to unlock Gunbreaker (tank) and Dancer (ranged DPS), which start at Level 60. If you are interested in playing any of these jobs, I suggest picking a starting class with the same role (tank, healer, or DPS).


Join the High Ground

That’s it for our ranking of the best starting classes in Final Fantasy XIV! Even with our recommendations in mind, remember that you can always switch to a different job after you reach Level 10 if you don’t like what you started with. FFXIV is a versatile game with lots of options, so don’t let yourself feel bound to a single job!

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media for more guides like this. Happy gaming!

Final Fantasy XIV Online Navigation


Continue the Adventure!

Sign up for an account at High Ground Gaming, and access all these amazing perks:

  • Custom profile page
  • Save articles to favorites
  • Rate articles
  • Post comments & engage with the community
  • Access the HGG Discord
  • Enter giveaways
This is a pre-registration form. Fill in the following details to verify your email address first. You will be able to access the full registration form and register for an account after the verification.

Join the Discussion

Give feedback on the article, share additional tips & tricks, talk strategy with other members, and make your opinions known. High Ground Gaming is a place for all voices, and we'd love to hear yours!


Forgot Password?

Join Us