Deciding on what class to play in FFXIV is the biggest decision you’ll make when starting FF14. The role you play influences the start of your story and what your multiplayer experiences will be like.
In this FFXIV guide, we’ll explain what you need to know before choosing a class. We’ll show you how roles work and how classes evolve into jobs and explore the other jobs you’ll have access to in the game’s expansions, including Endwalker.
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The difference between classes and jobs
After you create your character in FFXIV, you’ll have to choose your starting class.
Classes strictly refer to the starter roles you get to play, but you’ll eventually abandon them for their more powerful jobs. In the world of FFXIV, jobs describe the different character types you can play as. At the very beginning of the game, you only have access to a few character classes, which serve as lesser versions of the jobs they evolve into at Lv. 30.
The game’s expansions also introduce new jobs that don’t require you to play certain roles to a particular level. All you need to do to switch to the game’s new jobs is to meet a certain level requirement in addition to owning the job’s related expansion.
Your character can play every job. When choosing your starting class, you’re not locked into any archetype. You can freely switch roles in FFXIV.
Understanding the three roles
The classes you have access to in the beginning of the game also act as an introduction to the types of roles you’ll play in the game: tank, healer, or a damage dealer (DPS).
These three role are an essential aspect of the game’s multiplayer mode. When matching up with other players while playing dungeons, trials, and raids, you’ll be paired up depending on which role you’re playing. Dungeons, for instance, require one healer, one tank, and two DPS players. Each of the game’s numerous classes and jobs fall into one of these three archetypes.
Tanks are represented with a blue character icon. They lead the charge in dungeons by taking the brunt of enemy attacks. They are the living shields that fight at the head of the pack. They can protect themselves with spells and powerful armor. While they can hit hard, their main goal is withstand enemy attacks so healers and DPS can do their jobs.
Healers have green character icons. They support the party from the backline with spells that restore health or grant lifesaving shields. While they can dish out some punishment on their own with magical attacks, they primarily act as the team’s saviors. Healers can also dispel negative effects enemies cast on their party and some can even revive downed party members.
DPS characters have red character icons. These damage dealers either attack at close range or at a distance with weapons or magic. Their main goal is to dispatch foes with powerful attacks. Some specialize in dealing heavy damage to single enemies, while others can attack multiple adversaries at once. While the party relies on them to defeat all the enemies that stand before them, DPS characters need tanks and healers to keep them alive.
If you want to lead the charge in battle, then consider one of the four tank jobs: Paladin, Warrior, Dark Knight, or Gunbreaker.
Paladins are the shining knights of FFXIV. They are valiant fighters who wield swords and shields. They have tons of damage mitigation skills, and they also cast spells, meaning that some of their abilities have cast times. Paladins also have raw healing abilities and lots of other supportive skills.
Paladins are perfect for players who want an easily understood tank role with powerful defensive options and strong attacks. If you want to play as a Paladin, you must first become a Gladiator class and get them to Lv. 30.
Warriors are powerful brutes that are hard to put down. They are fierce combatants who cleave enemies with massive axes. Their fighting style involves hard-hitting moves that only get stronger with abilities that amplify their strength. They have great healing and sustaining abilities and are known for their big burst damage window, which has you ferociously slicing down enemies.
Warriors are a great option for players who want a tank role that shrugs off attacks and overpowers enemies. If you want to play Warrior, you must first become a Marauder class and get them to Lv. 30.
Dark Knights are the mirror image of Paladins: They are dark, brooding, and wield massive swords. Their combat style focuses on keeping up pressure on enemies with darkness-infused physical and magical attacks to build power. Dark Knight is known for The Blackest Night, which puts a beefy shield over a party member and is one of the best forms of mitigation in the entire game. Unlike the other tanks, it doesn’t have many skills to restore HP, and it’s generally seen as the more “selfish” tank.
Dark Knights are great for players want a well-rounded and edgy tank to play as. To play as a Dark Knight, you need the Heavensward expansion, and you have another job at Lv. 50.
Gunbreakers are tanks that have a more involved moveset that makes them feel a bit like a DPS character. They fight with a gunblade that is, unsurprisingly, a sword that can shoot bullets. The job uses combos to gain resources and do even more combos. If you love weaving skills, this is the job for you.
Gunbreakers are an ideal role for players who want to play a tank but also want a play style that’s a bit more involved compared to their counterparts. To play as a Gunbreaker, you need the Shadowbringers expansion and have another job at Lv. 60.
If you want to be the magical backbone of your party that keeps everyone alive, then consider playing a healer. The role has four jobs: White Mage, Scholar, Astrologian, and Sage.
In FFXIV, White Mages fit the classical idea of a healer in most other games. They use their canes to draw upon nature to attack enemies, and cast restorative magic to aid allies. They can heal their teammates in large bursts or over time with different spells. Their lily system allows them to heal in huge amounts quickly, while also dealing damage.
White Mages are great choices for players who want a clear set of powerful options for protecting their party. To play as a White Mage, you must choose the Conjurer class and get it to Lv. 30.
Scholars are unique healers who can summon fairies to help the team. While they can cast healing abilities and lifesaving shields for the party, a Scholar’s companion assists them by using their own skills to protect the party as well. You must control both your fairy and yourself to keep up shields.
Scholars are good for players who like the idea of having passive support system from a summoned ally. To play as a Scholar, you must start as the DPS Arcanist class, and then switch to the Scholar healer job at Lv. 30.
Astrologians are healers who use magic and special cards to aid their team. Their support abilities focus on regenerating health over time. They also cast special buffs for their party by pulling cards from a deck. Different cards buff different roles, so hand out buffs carefully and efficiently.
Astrologians are great for healers who want flexibility in how they support their party. To play as a Astrologian, you need the Heavensward expansion and a character at Lv. 50.
Sages use magical, floating, laser-shooting guns to heal and provide shields for their party. Using Kardia, you’ll select a party member to be your focus, and this party member will get healed as you use damage-dealing skills.
Sage is ideal for anyone who wants to focus on doing damage more than healing. (But you should still watch HP levels and heal!) To play as a Sage, you’ll need the Endwalker expansion and a character at Lv. 70.
If you want to be a damage dealer and like the idea of attacking up close and personal, consider one of the four melee DPS classes: Monk, Dragoon, Ninja, or Samurai.
When playing a melee DPS character, there is one aspect of combat they have that other jobs do not: positionals. Each of these jobs have attacks that are their most effective when they hit enemies at a certain angle, like from behind.
Monks are living weapons that get right in the face of their enemies to fight. They use martial arts to kick and punch and deal damage to their opponents. Monks must move a lot, as most of their abilities have positionals. It uses many different forms and combos to deal damage.
Monks are great for players who want an involved fighting style with a lot of movement and combos. To play as a Monk, you must choose the Pugilist class and get it to Lv. 30.
Dragoons are high-flying damage dealers. They use their polearms to stab enemies and can take to the skies with leaping attacks that impale enemies. Their combat style focuses on a few combos and positionals, with special buffs allowing you to ramp up your skills. They’re known for their jumping abilities, which sends them leaping toward the enemy.
Dragoons are great for players who want a straightforward and powerful job. To play as a Dragoon, you must get a Lancer class up to Lv. 30.
Ninjas employ mystical arts to deal damage and augment their attacks. Their ninjutsu skills allow them to mix and match different seal jutsus to perform a wide range of attacks and close-range spells to defeat enemies. Mastering all their moves requires remembering how to combo different abilities together, which could intimidate or excite players.
Ninjas are great for players who want an involved, flexible style of combat with a lot of options. To become a Ninja, you must first get a Rogue class to Lv. 30.
Samurais are powerful fighters with heavy-hitting attacks. They wield katanas that deal massive damage to single targets, and they also have a few area of effect attacks. Their combat style focuses on building resources from combos and spending different amounts to pull off various special attacks.
Samurais are great for players who want to deal big damage. To play as a Samurai, you must have the Heavensward expansion and a character at Lv. 50.
Reaper deals damage with a scythe while also summoning a demonic avatar to help fight. To successfully play Reaper, you’ll need to manage buff stacks, a resource bar, and your avatar. They also have a unique movement ability, allowing them to move through portals that they create.
Reapers are great for players who want a lot of different combos and resources to manage. To play as a Reaper, you need to have the Endwalker expansion and a combat job at Lv. 70.
Physical Ranged DPS
If you want to deal damage but keep your distance, try one of these physical ranged DPS classes: Bard, Machinist, or Dancer.
While physical ranged DPS characters are focused on dealing damage like their melee counterparts, they also have abilities that support their party.
Bards use the power of music to power up their abilities. Their bows can attack enemies and play songs that augment their skills and can boost the strength of their party. They place poison and windbite on enemies, dealing damage over time, while their various songs can support their party throughout an entire fight.
Bards are great for players who want to supplement the party and have mobile combat. To play as a Bard, you need to get an Archer class to Lv. 30.
Machinists use technology to deal a barrage of damage. They shoot at their enemies with guns and can deploy various automatons to fight alongside them. While they don’t support their party like other physical ranged DPS characters, they make up for it by summoning a powerful robot to deal extra damage. Machinists also need to do lots of skill weaving to pull of their big damage numbers.
Machinists are great for players who want to fight alongside a robot companion. To play as a Machinist, you must own the Heavensward expansion and get a character up to Lv. 50.
Dancers are graceful fighters that, well, use dance moves to fight. While not as strong as the other physical ranged DPS, their abilities can pick a “dance partner” to buff their damage output. Their combat style is rhythmic, requiring you to press specific buttons in a sequence to pull off their most important skills.
Dancers are great for players who want an involved combat style that has a lot of party utility. To play as a Dancer, you need the Shadowbringers expansion and a character at Lv. 60.
Magic Ranged DPS
If you like the idea of casting spells to damage enemies in FFXIV, then try one of these magic ranged DPS characters: Black Mage, Summoner, Red Mage, or Blue Mage.
These characters require time to cast their spells, so they aren’t as mobile as their physical ranged DPS counterparts, but their attack power offsets their lack of movement.
Black Mages cast high-powered magical spells. They have longer casting times than most, so expect to stick to a good position while you cast explosive and deadly magic. At higher levels, these mages must change the type of magic they cast to regenerate their mana so they can continuously bombard the enemy with attacks.
Black Mages are great for players who want to let loose powerful spells to devastate enemies. To play as a Black Mage, you must get a Thaumaturge class to Lv. 30.
Summoners fight enemies with the aid of different allies. Each of the summoner’s creatures have different attack styles, giving this class a handful of damage options. Some of these allies even augment the Summoner’s attacks to make them more powerful. This role is a bit more complex as Summoners need to manage their own spells while controlling their companions.
Summoners are great for players who like the idea of summoning minions to help them fight enemies. To play as a Summoner, you must get the Arcanist class to Lv. 30.
Red Mage is a unique class that mixes melee damage with black magic for attacks and white magic spells to protect and heal. They use a rapier to stab and swipe at enemies while also casting. These characters deal a range of elemental magic damage, while also helping with healing and even a resurrection spell.
Red Mages are great for players who want a character that can do a little bit of everything. To play as a Red Mage, you need the Stormblood expansion and a character at Lv. 50.
The Blue Mage is a unique limited job that has some restrictions. Their play style involves learning attacks from monsters to build up their repertoire of skills. However, because of this special mechanic, Blue Mages can’t be used in most situations like main story quests or dungeon roulettes.
To play as a Blue Mage, you need a class at Lv. 50.