FFXIV Classes and Combat – Part One

I recently did a review on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which discussed in brief aspects of the game that I enjoyed, aspects that could be considered negative and spoke very loosely about the game overall. Because it’s a big game and to fit a fully in-depth review into one video would make a webpage much too long.

I glossed over combat in particular, because there’s a lot to combat in FFXIV that adds up to make a really fun experience overall. I’d like to do the game a little bit more justice – and perhaps humour any readers who wanted to know more – by going into a bit more depth about the combat that’s available in the game and why I enjoy it so much. Thus, this is part one in… two? Maybe three. You know what? I don’t have this all planned out yet, so it could be two or three parts. Regardless, this is part one, and we’ll be focusing in this post on the Holy Trinity of class types and how they play in Final Fantasy XIV.

Please also take this with a grain of salt and the knowledge that the up and coming Stormblood plans to bring small but important quality of life changes to all the classes.

The term “Holy Trinity” (am I allowed to use that in today’s day and age, or does that offend somebody?) when used in regards to an MMORPG often dictates how the game is going to play when you’re in a party with other players. There will be, in this specific order:

The tank, the guy that makes all the monsters hate them enough to want to wail on them until they’re a bloody smear on the floor.

The healer, the guy whose job it is to make sure the tank does not become a stain on the floor and to keep the party topped up on health where necessary.

The DPS, the guys who are all totally replacable because they outnumber tanks and healers ten to one in any given game. Oh, and they also bring the damages, turning monsters into red bloody smears instead.

Final Fantasy XIV makes no bones about the fact that it uses the Holy Trinity system, which is perfectly fine and it lets you know precisely what to expect. But here’s the real kicker, the thing about this game I love: Final Fantasy XIV lets you level any class on just one character… and lets you swap between them at will.

It hearkens back to the earlier games of the series, where your party members could be equipped with “Jobs” which changed their role in the party dramatically. FFXIV employs a similar job system, and it can get a little complex, but I promise that the system itself is better than I probably make it sound.

You start the game by picking the class you want to start off as. Tanks should pick either Gladiator or Marauder. Healers should pick the Conjurer. DPS can pick any of the remaining, where Pugilist and Lancer are physical melee DPS, Arcanist and Thaumaturge are magic casters, and Archer is ranged physical. What’s important to know about these classes is that you will get the chance to pick up any and all of the others. They all level independently from one another too, so you’ll go back to level one on a brand new class that you pick up. You’ll also typically pick up a minimum of one extra class later on so that you can unlock a “Job” – and this is where it probably sounds confusing.

Basically, each main class of the game can “evolve” into a Job that has all the same basic skills, but can also learn new ones. Lancer, for example, can become Dragoon starting at level 30. Thaumaturge can become Black Mage. Conjurer can become White Mage. All the additional skills you learn are invaluable, which makes acquiring your class’ respective job very useful to do. But it does, on paper, sound very complicated. I promise, it isn’t. You basically just need to level your main class to thirty, and one secondary class to a minimum of fifteen.

(Hint: if you level all base classes to fifteen, you can then level your favourite of the classes up to thirty and instantly unlock your job. But only do this if you don’t mind grinding special quests called Levequests, and special map events called FATEs for experience.)

It should be stated that Final Fantasy XIV has necessary dungeons in order for you to progress with your story, so if you play DPS class in particular, you could wind up waiting a long time for your dungeon queues. Tanks and Healers generally find parties quicker due to being in shorter supply. So hey, if you enjoy tanking or healing, there’s an extra bonus! And, as tanks are the rarest of all the three of the trinity in FFXIV, tanks actually get special achievements for completing dungeons on their tanking classes: do enough dungeons on your Warrior, your Paladin or your Dark Knight and you can get a special mount to ride around on. (A lion, a war bear or a black coeurl, in fact. The black coeurl is especially awesome.)

There are also extra classes that become available to you if you purchase the expansion contents and get at least one of the main classes up to level fifty. These are as follows:

Heavensward Jobs: Dark Knight (Tank) – Astrologian (Healer) – Machinist (DPS)

Stormblood Jobs: Samurai (DPS) – Red Mage (DPS)

In total, that means you have a lot of choices! Every class brings something unique to the table, and every class also features a similar style of rotation-based gameplay (where using skills in specific order creates combo chains that improve the potency of those skills or outright unlock new skills for you to use.)

We’ll be talking about that next, too. Check back in for Part 2 of this little series, where we’ll look at Rotation, Rotation, Rotation.