Dragons rule the skies above Coerthas, relentlessly attacking the Ishgardian people as part of a war that has lasted for over a thousand years. How is man, confined to the ground, able to hold his own against such a fearsome foe? The answer lies with the Dragoons, a group of brave warriors trained specifically to take down dragons. They may not have the power of flight, but they’re taught to command the sky with their gravity-defying jumps. Our Dragoon Guide will cover all that and more.
The Dragoon is a timeless staple of the Final Fantasy franchise and an exceptionally important job in the lore of XIV. Whether you picked Lancer as your starting class or you switched to the job simply because you love Estinien that much, this guide will cover everything you need to know about playing Dragoon in Final Fantasy XIV.
Let’s get started!
Melee DPS Role Basics
Dragoon is one of FFXIV’s many melee DPS jobs. As a melee DPS, you’ll need to be within melee range of enemies in order for most of your attacks to hit. Learning how to navigate the battlefield in order to dodge point-blank attacks and AOEs is key to excelling in this role. Thankfully, Dragoon offers a lot of mobility with its jumps, which we will cover later.
As a Dragoon, you’re primarily focused on dealing damage, though you have a couple party utility actions up your scaly sleeves. Your main focus should be on attacking rather than supporting others. However, the few party buffs you do have also benefit you, so don’t ignore them.
DPS players are largely responsible for mechanics that require you to step away from the boss, such as activating items, absorbing meteors, and so on. Tanks usually need to keep enemies focused on them, and healers need to stay focused on the tank (and you). There are always exceptions to these situations, but it’s important to pay attention and learn DPS-specific mechanics for encounters. Don’t be afraid to ask your party members if you don’t know what to do!
Melee DPS Role Abilities
Melee DPS all have access to a standard kit of role actions. They are:
- Second Wind (LVL 8): Instantly restores a portion of your HP.
- Bloodbath (LVL 12): Restores HP as you deal damage for 20s.
- Leg Sweep (LVL 10): Stuns target for 3s.
- Feint (LVL 22): Lowers the target’s damage dealt for 10s.
- Arm’s Length (LVL 32): Counters most knock-back and draw-in effects (with exceptions).
- True North (LVL 50): Nullifies all action direction requirements (aka, positionals).
Second Win and Bloodbath are great for healing when you’re questing solo or if you’re panicking during a boss fight. Leg Sweep is mostly useful in solo situations where you’re overwhelmed by a lot of enemies.
Feint is a great mitigation ability that you can use to reduce damage for partywide attacks. It’s not necessarily expected that DPS use this in casual play, but it’s a great action to keep in mind if you ever want to help out your party. Arm’s Length should also not be forgotten as using it can negate entire mechanics for dungeon bosses or trials.
True North is not very important to the Dragoon, as they have minimal positional requirements. It’s up to you whether you leave this on your hotbar or not.
The Dragoon Job and Leveling
With the basics covered, we’re ready to dive (pun intended) into the specifics of the Dragoon job.
The Dragoon begins as a Lancer. You can choose Lancer as your starting class during character creation, or you can talk to Jillian in Old Gridania (x14.1, y5.8) to pick up the quest “Way of the Lancer.” Once your Lancer hits Level 30, you’ll unlock the quest “Way of the Dragon,” which will reward you with a Dragoon soul crystal.
Dragoons are all about killing dragons, and dragons can fly. Therefore, a Dragoon must be able to jump. You will unlock all kinds of jumps as you level up. In essence, these are ranged melee attacks. Most of them will act as gap closers, but there are exceptions to this.
This means you need to be careful about when you use your jumps. Most of the time, it shouldn’t be an issue, but you don’t want to lock yourself into an animation in the center of an AOE or right before a platform shifts. It is not uncommon for Dragoons to accidentally launch themselves off a platform with a poorly timed attack. Again, this won’t be a huge issue, but it’s important to be aware of the timing of your rotation with regards to boss mechanics.
Positional attacks in Final Fantasy XIV are based on your location relative to the circle surrounding your current target. The circle is open in the back, has two forward facing arrows on each side, and one large arrow pointing out from the front that indicates which direction the target is facing.
Rear positionals can be hit inside the open space at the back of the circle. Flank positionals can be hit anywhere between the edges of the open rear space and the arrows on the sides of the target circle.
Dragoon does not have a ton of positionals, so this isn’t something to stress yourself out over. There are three attacks with positional damage bonuses.
- Chaos Thrust (LVL 50) and, consequently, Chaotic Spring (LVL 86) have a rear positional buff.
- Wheeling Thrust (LVL 58) has a rear positional buff.
- Fang and Claw (LVL 56) has a flank positional buff.
We’ll talk about where these actions fit into your rotation later. If you miss a positional, the attack will simply do less damage. Hitting positionals is great for your DPS, but you shouldn’t put yourself in dangerous situations just to try and hit them. Additionally, there are some stationary bosses that you can’t hit positionals on because their backs are outside of the arena.
Dragoon Job Resources
The Dragoon’s job gauge is called the Dragon Gauge. It unlocks at Level 70. That may seem a bit late compared to other jobs, but this was due to a change in how its related abilities function in the Endwalker rework.
The Dragon Gauge consists of two resources and a timer bar. You will collect Gaze of the First Brood and Firstmind’s Focus. These are commonly referred to by players as eyes and scales respectively. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll refer to them as Gaze and Focus.
Using the action Mirage Dive will grant you one charge of Gaze. When you gain two charges, you can use Geirskogul (LVL 60) to activate Life of the Dragon, your damage burst phase. This will turn Geirskogul into Nastrond (LVL 70) and allows you to use Stardiver (LVL 80).
Using the actions Raiden Thrust (LVL 76) and Draconian Fury (LVL 82) will grant you a charge of Focus. These two actions are upgraded versions of True Thrust and Doomspike that appear under Draconian Fire, a status effect granted by a handful of different abilities. Collecting two charges of Focus allows you to execute Wyrmwind Thrust (LVL 90), a high potency line AOE attack.
As you can see, effectively using the Dragon Gauge is less about resource management and more about performing your rotation correctly. Its main use is letting you know that you need to acquire more Gaze or Focus and telling you how much time you have left until Life of the Dragon expires. This makes Dragoon a pretty straightforward job in terms of mechanics, as you will primarily be focusing on getting your rotation right.
General Tips for Playing Dragoon
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you out as you learn your abilities!
- Attack animations are very important for Dragoons, especially with jumps. As we already mentioned, make sure you’re careful when using jump actions so you don’t launch yourself into danger — or worse, to your death.
- Life of the Dragon is your burst phase (often called the Life Window), but you can delay it in your rotation by using Geirskogul before High Jump and Mirage Dive. The next time it comes around in your rotation, it will launch you into your Life Window.
- While in your Life Window, make sure to use Nastrond three times and Stardiver once to maximize your DPS potential.
- You have many jumps that are gap closers, so you can use them to stay in melee range of the boss or quickly return to it during phases with a lot of movement.
- Don’t forget about Elusive Jump! This is a useful evasion ability that can get you out of harm’s way.
- Never use Stardiver without buffs. It’s your highest potency attack, so you want it to do as much damage as possible.
Dragoon has a rotation based around a five-part weaponskill combo that alternates between two different variations. We will refer to these as the Chaotic Spring combo and the Heavens’ Thrust combo.
The Chaotic Spring combo should always be used first, as it applies the Power Surge damage buff and a damage over time ability to the enemy. The combo is as follows:
- True Thrust
- Chaotic Spring
- Wheeling Thrust
- Fang and Claw
This combo contains all three of Dragoon’s positionals on the last three abilities. Make sure to hit those (rear, rear, flank) in order to maximize your damage.
The Heaven’s Thrust combo does not apply any effects, but it does do a lot of damage. Note that after completing the Chaotic Spring combo, True thrust becomes Raiden Thrust. It goes like this:
- Raiden Thrust
- Vorpal Thrust
- Heavens’ Thrust
- Fang and Claw
- Wheeling Thrust
Your single target rotation will consist of you repeating these two combos over and over while weaving your OGCD abilities between the weaponskills.
Your AOE rotation is much less complex than the single-target. It starts with Doom Spike (LVL 40) into Sonic Thrust (LVL 62) into Coerthan Torment (LVL 72). Upon combo completion, Doom Spike will become Draconian Fury (LVL 82).
This is the basic combo, but Dragoon is loaded with OGCD abilities that apply AOE damage. Most of these are line AOEs, so be careful with positioning.
Your characteristic jumps are all OGCD abilities that can be weaved into your combo. The first of these is Jump (LVL 30) which becomes High Jump at Level 74. This is your most important jump, as using it will allow you to execute Mirage Dive (LVL 68) and work your way towards your Life Window.
Elusive Jump (LVL 35) will launch your character backwards 15 yalms. Remember that this is not backwards from the direction your camera is facing, but backwards from the direction your character is facing. Use this action to quickly get out of an AOE or, with creative use, launch yourself closer to an enemy.
Spineshatter Dive (LVL 45) is a gap closer attack with two charges. Dragonfire Dive (LVL 50) is a gap closer AOE attack.
Geirskogul, as we have mentioned, is a key action to pulling off your rotation and entering your Life Window, as is Mirage Dive. Nastrond and Stardiver will be the key attacks to use during your Life Window.
Moving away from jumps, Dragoon has a few buffs up its scaly sleeves. Life Surge (LVL 6) is technically a defensive ability, but it should be viewed as more of a buff. It causes your next weaponskill to crit and heals you for a portion of damage dealt. It should usually be used on Heavens’ Thrust, and you should prioritize using it while other buffs are active.
Lance Charge (LVL 30) is a simple damage dealt increase. Battle Litany (LVL 52) is a partywide critical hit rate buff.
Dragon Sight (LVL 66) is a damage buff you can place on another player that boosts both them and yourself, lasting for 20s. This should be placed on another DPS player, but which one you choose is up to you. In a dungeon party, you only have one option, but in eight-man content, you will have to use your best judgment.
Lastly, Piercing Talon (LVL 15) is an ability that has little use in high level play. It’s a ranged attack that you will only use while chasing dungeon pulls or in phases where you are forced to be at a distance from a boss.
As with any other job, your AOE rotation is your friend when you’re burning through dungeon mobs. You can use Piercing Talon for enemies at a distance (especially at low levels) but don’t pull packs of enemies for your tank.
Also try to time things so that you aren’t wasting resources on packs of mobs right before you enter a boss fight. This will become easier with experience as you get a feel for your rotation.
Trials, Raids, and Dungeon Boss Fights
Bring the damage to the party and keep that single-target rotation rolling! If you’re performing your rotation correctly, your buffs and your damage over time effect should stay up with little effort. Don’t forget to use your other buffs when they are available.
As we have stressed multiple times throughout this guide, be careful with your jumps and animations. Many trials, raids, and dungeon bosses have arenas that contain portions that you can fall off of. Some will deal damage to you, and others have rings around them that will one-hit kill you. Getting a good feel for your animations as you learn the job and its rotation is key for Dragoon players.
Stats and Materia Melding
At max level, you’ll probably want to start melding materia to your gear if you plan on using Warrior in high end content. Melding materia increases various stats, and this can be accomplished by finding Materia Melder NPCs in major cities or by requesting melds from other players who are capable of melding. If you have a crafting class at Level 19, you can complete the quest “Waking the Spirit” in Central Thanalan to learn how to meld your own materia.
Meld priority for Dragoon is as follows:
- Critical Hit
- Determination and Direct Hit Rate
- Skill Speed
Your Determination and Direct Hit Rate should be pretty close to each other, but prioritize Determination. Skill Speed will affect the timing of your rotation; it’s not a high priority, but it may be beneficial in certain high-end fights.
As always, melding materia is not worth it if you are not at max level. Do not worry about melding your gear until you hit this point and want to use a job in high end raiding content!
Join the High Ground
We hope this guide has taught you a thing or two about playing a Dragoon in Final Fantasy XIV. This job is a classic element of the franchise and a joy to play at high levels in FFXIV. It can even earn you some job-specific dialogue in the Heavensward expansion!
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