Do you prefer to get up close and personal with your foes? Keep them at arm’s length with bows, guns, and spells? Or would you rather be the unsung hero of every dungeon crawl that ensures everyone’s still standing at the end? Whatever your flavor of fantasy, there’s a Final Fantasy XIV class for you.
This week, we’ll be diving into the details with our guide to all the classes in Final Fantasy XIV. In this FFXIV class guide, we’ll cover each of the class types and their role on the battlefield, as well as the different specializations you can take to really nail down your playstyle.
Let’s get started!
Class Roles Overview: DPS, Tanks, and Healers
A party in a dungeon or raid must function like a well-oiled machine to achieve success. This means that everyone has a role to play in the proceedings. Knowing your role, how you mesh best with your team, and what’s expected of you is crucial to gaining victory.
But perhaps you simply prefer the flash and bang of a blunderbuss or spellcasting. Combat Classes (and their associated Jobs — a FFXIV term for specific subclasses) are divided into two main schools: the Disciples of War and the Disciples of Magic. The former handles the swish-swish-stab and traditional booms, while the latter deals in the arcane arts. But at the end of the day, they all peddle in damage.
Instead of focusing on whether they’re Disciples of War or Magic, let’s instead break down the classes by role — DPS, Tank, and Healer — with a handy list and brief overview of the classes within those roles.
Which Role is Most Important? All of Them!
As any veteran of MMORPGs can tell you, the DPS is obviously the most important part of any team. They’re the ones dealing astronomical amounts of damage in mere moments to clear a room of baddies. Some DPS classes favor melee combat, while others might launch arrows or destructive magic. But for all their potency, DPS classes often lack for survivability. Make sure to stay out of any AOE attacks and keep up a graceful ballet of death through the dungeon.
In contrast, the Tanks are actually the most important member of any party. While the damage dealers dance around and the healers flail wildly in the dark, the Tanks hold the focus of every ill-meaning foe in the area and take all the hits meant for the others. Is there any more noble or altruistic pursuit? Rhetorical question. That isn’t to say Tanks don’t deal any damage — they should keep up a steady flow of offensive abilities. But above all, their focus should be on holding the line and keeping the aggro on themselves.
While DPS and Tanks are fundamental to any group-based content, let there be no doubt — the Healers are in fact the most critical allies to have in your corner. Like Tanks, a good Healer will maintain a stream of damage throughout the dungeon. But while the Tanks hold the aggro and take a beating, the Healers keep the Tanks alive with potent healing spells. Healers will even heal the DPS players, if they should be fool enough to linger in an AOE.
Remember, you can change classes on the fly in Eorzea, so don’t feel stuck if you end up picking a class that doesn’t suit you. The ability to play as the class of your choice is just a short questline away.
FFXIV Class Guide — DPS Classes
DPS Classes/Jobs make up the lion’s share of a group’s damage output. They offset this massive damage potential by being some of the squishier classes in the game — maybe not as bad as Healers, but you still need to be careful. And every second spent healing a DPS player is a second spent not healing a Tank. As DPS, you need to be quick on your feet, excellent at prioritizing targets, and adroit when it comes to dodging AOEs.
Physical Ranged DPS
Bards, Dancers, and Machinists belong to the Physical Ranged DPS group, dealing damage with bows, guns, and glaives. That doesn’t mean they don’t employ magic, just that their core toolset revolves around putting something sharp and metal downrange. They have decent evasion abilities as well, so make sure to use them between bursts of damage.
The Dragoon, Monk, Ninja, Samurai, and Reaper classes fit into the Melee DPS group. They’re at home on the battlefield right up in the faces of their foes, swinging blades or throwing fists at chest-bumping range. As a result, they are a little less squishy than the ranged DPS classes, but still rely on some solid evasion skills to get around. The Monk, Ninja, and Samurai incorporate some complicated ability combos as well, meaning that their skill ceiling is high — and the learning curve higher.
Magical Ranged DPS
In the Magical Ranged DPS group, you’ll find the Black Mage, Red Mage, Summoner, and Blue Mage. These classes sling spells from a distance, and wizards aren’t exactly renowned for their fortitude and physical endurance. These are the “glass cannon” DPS classes that unleash boiling fury with an array of spells, but can’t take more than a few hits before getting knocked out of the fight.
As an addendum, the Red Mage and Blue Mage are only technically DPS, bringing their own unique mechanics into the mix as well. Red Mages can learn some Healer abilities, for instance, and can flex their role slightly on the fly. Blue Mages are FFXIV’s only “limited class,” where abilities must be learned by battling the denizens of Eorzea and acquiring their unique abilities.
FFXIV Class Guide — Tank Classes
On the Tank side of things, the goal is to hold enmity — or aggro — keeping all the enemies in sight focused on you and you alone. This starts with a bit of damage, but most Tank classes also incorporate unique abilities to increase enmity generation and otherwise withstand the torrent of damage coming their way. Tanks aren’t exempt from the need of careful positioning around AOEs, but with a good Healer, there aren’t many storms they can’t weather.
The Dark Knight is a zippy Tank meant to deal a bit more damage than your average Tank. In the interest of balance, this means he’s a bit squishier as well. But don’t let that dissuade you. If you’re looking for an active Tanking experience and big ol’ swords, this is the way.
The Gunbreaker, likewise, wields a firearm in the pursuit of damage output and general scariness. Because nothing attracts an enemy’s attention like a firearm — well, firing. Their gunblades offer some solid defensive abilities as well, although like the Dark Knight, they’re a little squishier than the rest.
The Paladin is the quintessential MMORPG Tank. It’s built to withstand incredible amounts of punishment, emerging from the plume of smoke and flame with a smirk. You’ve got a handful of decent damage abilities here, but the real focus here is on simply soaking up damage like social media soaks up data.
And lastly, the Warrior is another archetypical Tank class that leans a bit more toward damage and offers more in the way of crowd control than the Paladin. You’ll wield massive axes in the service of protecting your allies by blinding your enemies with the blood of their comrades.
FFXIV Class Guide — Healer Classes
Healers have one job, and it’s right in the name. Keep health bars topped off and stay alive at all costs. Damage dealing as a Healer is an afterthought — essential for maximizing your groups efficacy, but only to be addressed once any and all other tasks are crossed off the to-do list.
The Astrologian employs the magical powers of luck and card games in dispensing that healing goodness. Their learning curve can be a bit higher, as card combos rely on knowing your class and reading the situation well, but for the veteran Healer they’re an excellent way to heal your group and read their fortune too.
Sages belong to the “sufficiently advanced technology seems like magic” school of the Healing Arts. They deploy an array of Sharlayan nouliths — otherwise known as floating, stabbing rods of health — to aid their party and blast enemies with some damage besides.
Scholars bring summons to the party, offloading some of the healing duties to familiars that dance in and out of the battle. Faster than you can say “fairy-god-parents,” you can purge any debuffs from your party and top off their health bars.
Finally, the White Mage is the purest Healer. Sure, they can deal some damage, but you won’t find any greater source of healing in Eorzea. This is the Healer role at its most fundamental, distilled down until all that’s left is health bars on your HUD. And boy, can you ever fill them in a hurry. Especially with those stackable DOT heals and late-game AOE heals that take so much MP. Just remember to keep an eye on your mana pool, you magnificent healer you.
Join the High Ground
Hopefully, this FFXIV Class Guide helped you identify your next (or your first) class for your Eorzean adventures. Variety is the spice of life, so don’t be afraid to pick up a few classes at once and try them all out. You never know which one will click best with your playstyle. And being able to fill multiple roles really helps with duty queue times. Especially if one of those roles is Tank or Healer.