FFXIV Jobs Guide - Find Your Favorite Playstyle!
Choosing the right role and playstyle is incredibly important in every MMORPG. Even if all the characters can be divided into three standard categories (DPS, tank, and healer), there are still significant differences. They can often manifest in purely mechanical aspects of the game like combos and unique skills. However, they also have a huge impact on the visual side of things – the design of armors and weapons, as well as ability animations, can all create an amazing theme for every character.
FFXIV Jobs are the game's advanced character classes. The original ones become available to the players after reaching level 30 on the corresponding class. The jobs that have been added to the game later (in the expansions) require a fair amount of progression in the Main Story Quest. The job system in Final Fantasy XIV is unique – you can level all the classes and jobs on a single character and then freely swap between them by equipping different weapons. It makes picking a wrong class in FFXIV much less devastating than in many other MMORPGs. You can try all the roles and playstyles on your main! As for now, there are 17 regular jobs – 10 from the original game and 7 that got introduced in the expansions.
FFXIV Roles Within a Team
Final Fantasy XIV is one of the MMORPGs that embrace the holy trinity of roles. Every character can be categorized as a DPS, a tank, or a healer. The game has a bit of its spin on it – everyone has multiple damage-focused skills, and even tanks and healers should contribute to the overall party damage numbers. On the highest level of play, healers spend the majority of their time casting offensive spells. They only resort to healing when it's really necessary.
There are multiple jobs for each role, but DPS is by far the most abundant. That's why this category is divided into three smaller ones: melee, physical ranged, and magical ranged. It is the complete list of roles and jobs assigned to them:
Tanks are responsible for absorbing the incoming damage and keeping the attention of the enemies. In Final Fantasy XIV, you can do it by generating Enmity (making the monster hostile towards you). The tank role has received multiple reworks over the years. For quite some time now, the playstyle has been relatively simple. You don't have to use any special taunting skills. Instead, the tank jobs just received toggle skills that increase their Enmity generation (before the Shadowbringers rework, there were two stances – one for damage and one for tanking). It allows them to use their most efficient damage-dealing combos and easily keep aggro of their enemy. The tank jobs are Warrior, Paladin, Dark Knight, and Gunbreaker.
Healers want to keep their tanks and other teammates alive. They often have multiple healing and shielding abilities that allow them to do so. As you may or may not know, skills in Final Fantasy XIV can be divided into 2 categories. The first one is the Global Cooldown (GCD) skills. They have a casting time and put all your other GCD skills on a short cooldown (base is 2.5 seconds, but it can be further decreased). Then, there are off Global Cooldown (oGCD) abilities. They can be used almost instantly between the GCD skills, but they have longer internal recast timers. Most healers want to use as many GCDs as possible for damage, and only heal with the instant cast abilities (when possible). While playing this role, you have to remember that you're not supposed to keep your whole team at 100% HP at all times, you just want to prevent them from dying, while wasting as little resources as possible. The healer jobs in FFXIV are White Mage, Scholar, and Astrologian.
DPS characters only have a single goal – to deal as much damage as possible (and optionally increase the damage output of the rest of their team). Besides that, they only have to worry about positioning and avoiding various AoE attacks in the boss fights. At the same time, these classes often have the most difficult combos and rotations to pull off, and you're going to have to do it consistently to maximize your damage output. Some of these classes are mostly egoistic, focused on their personal DPS output. Others can be somewhat supportive, with multiple damage buffs for all their teammates. While all these characters serve a similar purpose, they can differ greatly in terms of playstyle, ease of execution, and multiple other aspects. Melee DPS jobs are Dragoon, Monk, Ninja, and Samurai. Meanwhile, the ranged physical ones are Bard, Machinist, and Dancer. Finally, the spell-casting magic DPS jobs are Black Mage, Summoner, and Red Mage.
As we already mentioned, the original version of FFXIV (and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn) only had 10 jobs. Moreover, they were all associated with specific classes – the initial class choice is made in the character creation process. Each one of them can advance to a single job, the only exception being the Arcanist, who has two development paths. Still, while creating a character, you'll have to choose a class that advances in one of the 10 original jobs. The other ones only become available after you progress the main storyline (finish the original campaign). Let's take a look at all the classic FFXIV jobs.
It's one of the two original tanks. Paladin has always been the more pure defensive choice. The class that can advance into them is called Gladiator. They wear plate armors while wielding swords and shields in combat. The shield provides passive blocking that contributes to a reduction of incoming damage. Besides the standard combo and tank abilities, they also have a healing spell called Clemency. Obviously, they can't be played as healers in any serious circumstances, but this skill can be a lifesaver in certain emergencies and during the leveling process. Moreover, this job has a damage over time skill called Goring Blade and a few strong burst damage abilities with long recast timers.
They also have multiple useful defensive cooldowns. Cover allows them to take damage instead of a single party member - it's a great skill if your healer gets targeted. Their ultimate cooldown is called Hallowed Ground, and it provides almost complete immunity to damage for a short period of time. It's often considered the single best tank skill in the entire game – it's also significantly easier to use than most other long cooldown skills. Overall, Paladin is a relatively simple tank job that serves as a great introduction to the role.
Warrior is the second tank in the game's first roster of jobs. In the beginning, this class worked a lot as an off-tank, due to many offensive skills and powerful combos that utilize their Beast Gauge mechanics. If you want to specialize into Warrior, you first have to reach level 30 as the Marauder class. These characters fight with two-handed greataxes and wear plate armors.
The Beast Gauge is arguably the most important element of Warrior's kit. You generate that resource with your basic combo to spend it later on, even more devastating attacks like Decimate and Upheaval. At the same time, you have access to a cooldown ability called Inner Release that allows you to use these Beast Gauge skills without any cost temporarily. Like every other tank, Warrior also has a few defensive cooldowns, including the ultimate called Holmgang that keeps you from dying (your HP won't go below 1 – it's a powerful cooldown, but it requires some cooperation with the healer, so you don't die just after it ends).
While Paladin has a regular healing spell in the form of Clemency, Warrior has multiple ways to restore his own HP. Thrill of Battle and Equilibrium are instant cast oGCDs, and a weaponskill called Storm's Path regenerates some of their Health during the standard combo. While in endgame content, you'll still only be able to play as the main tank, this job still has a much more selfish and self-reliant playstyle. The inherent sustain takes a fair amount of weight away from your healers, allowing them to focus more on DPS – especially in the easier encounters.
It is the most traditional healer class in the entire game. Their kit is heavily focused around restoring the missing health of your party members. At the same time, many White Mages heals are GCDs, so using them means that you're not dealing damage. On the other hand, if you're allowed to focus on damage, you should be capable of reaching the highest DPS out of all healing classes. The burst from Afflatus Misery is especially valuable.
White Mage is an advancement of the Conjurer class. They wear cloth robes and use canes to cast their spells. They have multiple healing spells and abilities as well as a single AoE shield called Divine Benison. Like every healing class, they have some simple damage spells, including a DoT attack. White Mage is by far the easiest healer job to play in Final Fantasy XIV.
Scholar is the second healer job that has been in FFXIV since day 1. It's also one of the two jobs that Arcanists can specialize into. They wear cloth armors and use books to empower their spells. While White Mage was mostly focused on the old-school healing, Scholar has been more about shielding your allies to mitigate the incoming attacks (this division is not as clear anymore though). Moreover, they have access to summoning skills.
The Scholar gameplay often looks like this: you summon a faerie that's going to do all the healing. Meanwhile, you focus entirely on dealing as much damage as possible. Of course, Scholars also have a ton of great heals and shields, but you're not going to use them if necessary. When you get closer to the level cap, you're going to receive a more powerful summon called Seraph that's on a longer cooldown (faeries can be kept up all the time). You can order your summons to perform specific actions via skills assigned to your hotbar. In general, Scholar is a more versatile and complex job than White Mage. The more interesting playstyle comes with a steeper learning curve and higher difficulty.
Summoner is the second choice that's available to the Arcanist class. Because of that, they also use cloth armors and robes. Similarly to Scholars, they also have the ability to summon servitors. However, that's where the resemblances end – Summoners are a magic DPS class. They're also the closest that FFXIV gets to a pet class. That being said, if you're counting on a true pet-focused playstyle with micromanaging your minions, you're going to be disappointed. Summoner does have a very long and complex rotation that features cycling through multiple summons (when you reach higher levels, you're going to unlock powerful creatures like Bahamut and Phoenix).
Besides that, Summoner plays more or less like a standard caster DPS. You keep your damage over time curse (Bio) on your target at all times, while spamming your standard offensive spells and moving around to dodge AoE. At the same time, your basic summon will fight alongside you. There are three options to choose from. Ifrit deals the most single target damage, Garuda is best for AoE, and Titan provides extra survivability – the last one is only useful in solo play.
Summoner is one of the very few jobs that can easily sacrifice a little bit of damage for greater mobility. They have two damage spells. One of them is slightly weaker, but it has a shorter casting time, leaving you more room to weave in oGCDs and reposition. All in all, Summoner isn't one of the easiest DPS classes, but they have an interesting, versatile playstyle and a huge damage potential.
It is the most traditional caster DPS in Final Fantasy XIV. Black Mage is relatively close to all the sorcerers and mages that you may know from other MMORPGs. It's an advanced form of a class called Thaumaturge – they wear cloth and use a staff to cast their magic. Black Mages destroy their enemies with powerful elemental spells, most notably using fire and ice. They have a unique mechanic called Elemental Gauge that allows them to attune to these sources of power. Astral Fire makes their magic more powerful but also more expensive in terms of MP. Meanwhile, the Umbral Ice provides you a lot of Mana recovery. The general gameplay loop consists of spending most of your resources on the fire spells and then changing to the ice to regenerate them quickly. The full rotation includes using both elements.
After you get used to this rotation, playing Black Mage is not difficult at all. It's a very selfish job. It doesn't really have any party buffs to offer. Instead, it has access to an extremely high personal DPS and manageable playstyle. The biggest difficulty that you're going to face when piloting a Black Mage stems from the long casting times. Your strongest Blizzard and Fire spells will root you in place for a long time – this makes weaving oGCDs and moving around somewhat difficult. Luckily, you can use the combination of Ley Lines and Between the Lines to teleport to a previously set spot. Still, knowledge of all the AoE boss attacks in the game is extremely valuable for this job. If you spend too much time running around and dodging, you will lose out on DPS. At the same time, if you keep getting hit by the AoE, you will die extremely quickly. There's much more emphasis on strategy and positioning than mashing your buttons as quickly as possible.
Dragoon is one of the melee DPS jobs in Final Fantasy XIV. They're known for the long polearms that they use as weapons and an acrobatic style of combat that utilizes leaps and jumps. They're an improved version of the Lancer character class. They're the only DPS characters that wear plate armor, which makes them slightly more durable. While using abilities like High Jump, Stardiver, and Dragonfire Dive might seem really spectacular, the actual gameplay of Dragoon is relatively simple for a DPS. It's actually one of the jobs that are often recommended to players who want to learn to play the role.
While most traditional weaponskill combos consist of three attacks, Dragoon has a slightly more complex one. Their basic rotation utilizes five different skills. Besides, this job has access to two positional attacks: Fang and Claw that requires attacking from the side and Wheeling Thrust that needs you to position behind the target. Finally, Dragoons have a great, long-cooldown party damage buff in the form of the Battle Litany. In general, melee DPS can be more difficult to manage than ranged (avoiding AoE without losing DPS might be quite a challenge). That being said, Dragoon is a great choice to get the hang of this playstyle.
Monk is a really interesting melee DPS job. They have a unique playstyle that places heavy emphasis on positioning. It's not extremely difficult, especially when you start getting used to it, but it might be overwhelming for beginners. Some players have trouble keeping up with their rotations even when they don't have to move around and make sure that they're in the right position. Monks also have a somewhat different weaponskill combo. Instead of going through a set pattern of the same skills, they can cycle through stances. It provides a bit more flexibility to their rotation.
In order to become a Monk, you first have to be a level 30 Pugilist. It's a class that wears leather armors and fights with fist weapons. In general, this job is quite complex. Besides the positionals it also has a few skills that aren't that easy to use. Keeping up the stacks of Greased Lighting is relatively difficult, and it's crucial if you want to optimize your DPS. Monk works really well with other physical damage dealers thanks to an ability called Brotherhood. It's a party-wide damage buff that only applies to physical attacks. It's definitely an interesting class with a nice martial arts theme and strategic gameplay, but we can't recommend it to new players.
Ninja is a really difficult melee DPS job with access to one of the most powerful team damage buffs in the game. It's a more specialized version of the Rogue character class. They wear leather armors and fight with dual daggers. Ninja's kit is really complex, and the traditional Japanese names of skills don't exactly help with the learning process. A Ninja player has to use special oGCD skills called Mudras to perform powerful Ninjutsu attacks. Different sequences of Mudras are required for various strikes. Moreover, Ninja has some positional attacks and a special resource necessary to perform some of the most powerful abilities.
If you're new to FFXIV, you definitely should start with a different job. Executing all of Ninja's combos and mechanics correctly can be overwhelmingly difficult for an inexperienced player. Moreover, even if you do it, your personal damage output likely won't be as high as other jobs. It is because of the aforementioned supportive skill called Trick Attack. You use it on an enemy (usually a boss) in order to temporarily increase all the damage it takes by 5%. It's an incredibly valuable ability, and whole teams synchronize their most powerful burst attacks to fit in that extra damage window. This high value of Trick Attack cuts both ways. On the one hand, it makes sure that Ninja is always a desired member of every party.
On the other hand, it makes up for a large part of the job's power budget. You can't have the most powerful buff and, at the same time, hit like a truck with your combos. As a result, Ninja loses some personal DPS, which hurts their ability in small groups and solo play.
Bard is the bowman job in FFXIV. The class that advances into it is even called Archer. They also wear leather armors and shoot enemies with their bows. It's a somewhat supportive ranged physical DPS job. They can deal significant amounts of damage with attacks like Refulgent Arrow and Burst Shot, while also providing minor team-wide buffs with their songs. Bard has three main songs: Mage's Ballad, Army's Paeon, and Wanderer's Minuet. They also have a long cooldown party buff called Battle Voice.
Besides, there's one more unique aspect of playing Bard. It's one of the very few jobs in Final Fantasy XIV that don't have a combo or rotation set in stone. Instead, Bard relies on proccing special effects and using these procs to perform more powerful attacks. You don't see such fluidity too often in FFXIV, as the game is mostly designed around performing specific combos and mastering your rotation. That being said, it doesn't necessarily make Bard a difficult character to play. Mechanically, it's quite easy – you just have to pay attention to the procs.
Heavensward has been the first expansions to Final Fantasy XIV. It was released in 2015. Besides raising the level cap and introducing plenty of new quests and locations, it also brought three playable jobs – Dark Knight, Astrologian, and Machinist. In order to access them, players need to have at least one level 50 job and complete the chapter called Seven Astral Era in the Main Scenario. It is the only way to reach the city of Ishgard, where you can take the quests required to unlock these jobs. They all start at level 30.
Astrologian is the third healer job in Final Fantasy XIV. You can safely say that it's the most complex one out of the three. Besides simple healing, shielding, and damage spells, it has a unique mechanic called Arcane Deck. It allows them to draw cards that can be used to buff a teammate's damage output. Astrologians wear cloth robes and use star globes as their magic weapons.
Moreover, this job has access to two special stances. Diurnal Sect adds health regeneration to all their actions, while Nocturnal Sect provides shielding instead. Because of these two "modes," Astrologians are sometimes seen as the most versatile healer. They also have multiple great defensive cooldowns and a single powerful team-wide damage buff called Divination. Overall, it's a really powerful and useful job, but we don't recommend it as your first healer. After all, this role within a team comes with great responsibility. If you're a new player, adding some complicated mechanics on top of a healer's usual duties can have truly unfortunate consequences.
This is the next tank job added to the game. The combination of the edge, over-the-top aesthetics and a few convenient skills quickly made Dark Knight the favorite choice for most tank players. These characters wear plate armors and slash their enemies with two-handed greatswords. Even though their look can suggest otherwise, Dark Knights have the lowest personal DPS, even though they can occasionally provide a strong burst of damage with the combination of Delirium and multiple Bloodspiller attacks. They have a unique resource called Blood Gauge that allows them to perform their most powerful damage skills.
One of the reasons why Dark Knight is so beloved amongst the tank players is the oGCD ability called The Blackest Night. It has a 15 seconds recast timer, and it shields its target with 25% of their maximum HP.
As a tank, you will almost exclusively use it yourself (TBN has a hefty Mana cost, using it on a tank provides much more value than on a squishy DPS or healer). This ability can single-handedly save your life in emergencies, it's also a great way of conserving your HP and giving some more breathing room to the healers. You'll also have access to a few strong defensive cooldowns like Shadow Wall and Dark Missionary. However, Living Dead is by far the weakest tank ultimate in the game. Dark Knight has an engaging and active playstyle, but it's actually not that difficult to pilot. We can recommend it to everyone who wants to get into the tank role. Just remember, your individual DPS will be really low – it can make playing solo slow and miserable.
We have already covered the tank and healer that got implemented in Heavensward. Now it's time to talk about a DPS. Machinists are ranged physical damage dealers that wear leather armors and shoot their enemies with firearms. It's one of the most difficult jobs to play in the entire game. Machinist combos are faster than most other jobs because they have a few weaponskill with a shorter base GCD (1.5 seconds instead of 2.5). It makes this job somewhat limited to players with really good mechanics and low ping (sadly, high latency can significantly impair your DPS as a Machinist).
It's a great character for players looking for an extremely fast and active playstyle as a damage dealer. It's also one of the few technology-themed jobs with the ability to summon a Rook Autoturret and, later on, a powerful robot called Automaton Queen. They have a unique resource called Heat that can be used to enter the Hypercharge and increase your damage output. You also have a team-wide defensive cooldown called Tactician that can help your party mitigate some incoming damage. It's really valuable if you keep it for some type of unavoidable AoE. We definitely can't recommend Machinist for beginners since it's one of the most difficult jobs. That being said, if you have what it takes, then go for it!
The Stormblood expansion arrived in 2017. It once again raised the level cap and added new chapters to the game's main scenario. It also made two new jobs available to the players – Red Mage and Samurai. This time, both of them are designed as DPS characters. The unlocking process is also a little bit different. All you need to do is hit level 50 at one of the other jobs and go to the city of Ul'dah to take the proper job quest. No actual main story progression is necessary.
Red Mage has a very interesting design – this job is supposed to be a combat mage that combines casting spells with melee weaponskill combos. They wear cloth armors and fight with rapiers. It might seem somewhat complex at first, but it's actually one of the easier DPS characters to play. Probably the most difficult part is keeping the Balance Gauge intact. It has two parts – White Mana and Black Mana. You should try and keep it as close to even as possible because you'll need both of these resources for your combos.
Red Mages have an incredible passive trait called Dualcast. It allows them to cast every second spell that they use instantly. You should always aim to use the Dualcast proc on spells with long cast times – this is how you get the most value out of it. This trait provides Red Mage with a fair amount of utility – they can instantly resurrect a fallen comrade with Verraise. In normal circumstances, the casting time would take 10 seconds, but this passive is a gamechanger. Red Mage DPS is somewhat mediocre, but players often like to see them in the party due to the potential usefulness of instant resurrections and a team-wide damage buff in the form of Embolden. It's a really fun and relatively easy job to pick up.
Some players believe that Samurai is a melee counterpart to Black Mage. It's an entirely selfish DPS job that's focused solely on dealing as much damage as they can (which is a lot, if they execute their rotations perfectly). They have to juggle two important resources – Sen and Kenki. At the same time, Samurai is arguably a bit more difficult to play than its spellcaster equivalent. There's much more to keep an eye on than just the standard weaponskill combo.
Besides the raw damage, Samurai also has access to a defensive skill called Third Eye and a self-heal in the form of Merciful Eyes. During combat, these characters have to perform multiple combos to access all the valuable self buffs that their kits provide. It's a hard playstyle that requires a lot of focus and presence of mind. The flow of the class and the difficulty level are somewhat similar to Ninja, but Samurai is much more centered on individual damage output.
Finally, we have arrived at the most recent, 2019 FFXIV expansion. Besides the usual added content, Shadowbringers introduced two playable jobs – a supportive DPS called Dancer and a flashy tank called Gunbreaker. This time, the level requirement to unlock them has been increased to 60, but the main story progress remains irrelevant.
The tank role received a fourth representative in the FFXIV Shadowbringers DLC. Gunbreaker is another relatively high-tech job within the game. These characters wear plate armors and fight with gunblades. They have a relatively high damage output (for a tank) and an engaging, nuanced playstyle with multiple combos. Gunbreakers are often viewed as the least durable tanks that can be a problem since this role's most important task is to absorb damage and survive. Their ultimate cooldown is called Superbolide – it makes you immune to damage, but reduces your HP to 1.
They have access to a Powder Gauge that can store up to two cartridges that can later be used on devastating attacks like Gnashing Fang and Burst Strike. They also have a really interesting ability called Continuation that allows for weaving in additional oGCD attacks into your combo. A vast majority of Gunbreaker's kit revolves around offensive skills, but they also have a few survivability-focused cooldowns like Heart of Light and Heart of Stone. Overall, it's a satisfying and well-designed job, but it's also probably the most difficult tank to play.
As we just mentioned, Dancer is a physical ranged DPS that's heavily focused on buffing their teammates. It's probably the most supportive damage dealer in the entire game! Because of that, their personal DPS is somewhat lackluster. They fight with throwing weapons and wear leather armors.
This job has a unique and difficult playstyle. Dancers have to adjust their combos based on the procs that they're receiving. Besides, their dance mechanic requires picking a dancing partner – it's a party member who's going to receive the Dancer's buffs. After you do that, you have to perform the correct combination of dancing steps – this part is somewhat similar to Ninja and their Mudras. They also have a great self-buff called Devilment that can also be applied to the dance partner and a defensive cooldown called Shield Samba. Dancer isn't a job for beginners, but it can be a valuable addition to most parties if you're able to pilot it.
FFXIV Jobs – Summary
As you can see, there's a lot of variety that stems from your job choice. All the 17 options have their own identities, as well as some unique playstyles and mechanics. Besides the role that they can fill within a team, their difficulty levels can also be significantly different. It's important to understand that Square Enix made all the jobs locked to a specific role. It's impossible to turn a tank into a DPS by changing your build or equipping different items. There's not that much that you can do in altering your build, item progression in FFXIV is relatively linear with only a few actual choices to make. Every character can deal some damage and use it to progress through low-level content, but it's only going to get you so far. Whether you like it or not, every Final Fantasy XIV job has a pretty much optimal build and a perfect rotation.
We hope that this guide made choosing the right job a little bit easier! Remember, don't be afraid to experiment – you can play all the FFXIV jobs on a single character. The one that you level first doesn't have to be your main or anything like that. You can simply pick a job that looks cool and then try out other ones as you keep playing Final Fantasy XIV. We strongly recommend starting with one of the easier characters since FFXIV can get challenging as you get closer to the endgame.
How many jobs can you have in FFXIV?
Final Fantasy XIV features 17 standard combat jobs.
Can you change jobs in FFXIV?
You can freely change your FFXIV jobs by simply equipping another weapon. You just have first to unlock the jobs that you want to play through special quests.
Does race matter in FFXIV?
In terms of combat and stats, race choice doesn't matter at all. It only affects aesthetics. The race choice can provide you a few extra stat points, but you're going to get thousands of them from your endgame gear, which makes this small amount meaningless.