Final Fantasy 14 has a pretty great job system, in that you can actually play each one on a single character. That said, choosing which job to start with and which job to main can still be a daunting idea.
While some jobs in Final Fantasy XIV are locked behind expansions or level requirements, we’re here to help you pick a job that suits whatever play style or aesthetic you may want.
It’s important to know that roles, classes, and jobs are all similar terms that refer to slightly different things, so we explain that, too. Listen, nobody said getting into FFXIV would be easy.
Roles, classes, and jobs in FFXIV, explained
Before we dive in, you should know the differences between roles, classes, and jobs.
“Roles” refer to whether your class or job is a tank, healer, or DPS (damage dealer). “Classes” refer to a specific set of jobs before they become jobs. All of the jobs available in the base game are part of a class before they hit level 30, at which point they get “job stones” and become full-fledged “jobs.” Jobs are just the fancy, leveled-up, complete version of a class.
The exception to the above are jobs that are locked behind expansions, which have no class prerequisites to unlock. For example, to play as a Samurai, you don’t need to level up a Pugilist or anything like that.
Below, we explain the basis of all of the jobs Final Fantasy 14 has to offer. Of course, there’s a lot to say about all of these, but we just give you a brief synopsis to help you make your choice.
All tank jobs in FFXIV
Tanks are the frontline of the party. With their tank stances, they generate more enmity (or aggro) from enemies, ensuring that they will be the main target for most enemies’ attacks. Tanks also have a ton of defensive abilities that beef up their defenses, reduce damage taken by allies, and even grant them a brief moment of invulnerability.
There are four jobs for tanks in Final Fantasy XIV: Paladin, Warrior, Dark Knight, and Gunbreaker.
Paladins are all about those holy vibes, with their swords, shields, and golden glowing sword attack animations. Paladins can also heal allies, and most notably, some of the skills for this job have cast times, which isn’t a thing for any other tank.
Its version of tank invulnerability, “Hallowed Ground,” grants actual pure immunity for a few seconds, making it so you don’t take any damage.
Paladin starts out as the Gladiator class in Ul’dah and becomes Paladin once you equip your Job Stone at level 30.
If you love rough-and-tumble wild styles, Warrior is the tank for you. A Warrior deals out damage with satisfying slams via its axe, and it also has a delicious amount of self-healing skills, meaning it can stay alive for quite a bit, even without a healer directly overseeing it.
Warrior’s tank invuln is “Holmgang,” which lasts a set amount of time and makes it survive an otherwise lethal attach with one HP.
Warrior starts out as the Marauder class in Limsa Lominsa and becomes a Warrior once you equip its Job Stone at level 30.
Dark Knight (DRK)
Dark Knight has cool, edgy skills where you summon shadows and sling your claymore for lots of damage. It notably has a beefy shield skill, “The Blackest Night,” that you can even cast on your allies in a pinch. Quite a few Dark Knight skills cost mana, so you’ll need to do a bit of mana management to keep your rotation going.
Dark Knight’s tank invuln is “Living Dead” which makes it unable to die, but if the Dark Knight isn’t healed properly during the invuln period, they will die instantly.
To unlock Dark Knight, you need the Heavensward expansion (though this is included with the free trial). It unlocks at level 30 in Ishgard.
Gunbreaker is the objectively cool tank, wielding a gunblade — which is, you guessed it, a combination of a gun and a sword. It fires off rounds with its attacks, dealing explosive damage. Gunbreakers are additionally known for having lots of OGCDs (skills that are off global cooldown timers) to press between regular skills.
Gunbreaker’s tank invulnerability skill is “Superbolide,” which instantly reduces the tank to one HP but makes it immune to incoming attacks.
To unlock Gunbreaker, you need the Shadowbringers expansion. It unlocks at level 60 in New Gridania.
All healer jobs in FFXIV
It’s in the name! Healers heal your party, though there are two distinct categories of healing jobs. Some healers focus on healing over time and others focus on giving shields to mitigate damage.
There are four jobs for healers in Final Fantasy XIV: White Mage, Scholar, Astrologian, and Sage.
White Mage (WHM)
White Mage is the most “straight-up” healer, with a pretty simple repertoire of big healing abilities. It has an elegant flower motif, and you build up flowers, which you can use to dish out damage. White Mage heals over time, in addition to big healing bursts.
White Mage starts out as the Conjurer class in Gridania and evolves once it becomes level 30 and you equip your Job Stone.
Scholar is a shield healer, using a fairy to help execute some more healing skills. You’ll need to manage stacks of Aetherflow to help you deal damage or cast powerful healing spells.
Notably, leveling Scholar will automatically level Summoner (the magical DPS job) alongside with it. If your Scholar is level 65, so is your Summoner, even if you’ve never played your Summoner.
Scholar actually starts out as the DPS Arcanist class in Limsa Lominsa. However, once your Arcanist becomes level 30, you can unlock both Scholar and Summoner (the casting DPS job).
Astrologian performs heals over time, but it also has special damage buffs to hand out with a tarot card-like aesthetic. Placing these buffs helps you build up a gauge to place even bigger buffs. Astrologians also just look so dang cool. (That’s me being biased. I love stars!)
Astrologian can only be unlocked if you have the Heavensward expansion and it starts a level 30 in Ishgard.
Sage is known for using skills that passively heal your tank, so you’re healing while also dealing damage, to an extent. Sage is another shield healer that uses its special noulith weapons to use skills that have a high-tech vibe.
Sage can only be unlocked if you have the Endwalker expansion. It unlocks at level 70 in Limsa Lominsa.
All melee DPS jobs in FFXIV
As the name implies, melee DPS are jobs that need to be within melee range to deal damage to their enemies. All of these jobs have positionals, which means that certain attacks do more damage depending on if you’re hitting its flank or rear.
There are six jobs for melee DPS in Final Fantasy XIV: Monk, Dragoon, Ninja, Samurai, Repear, and Viper.
Monks need to manage chakra and cycling through different forms to perform powerful punches and kicks. They can combo their moves to unleash powerful “Blitz” moves. They use special fist weapons to fight.
Monk starts off as the Pugilist class in Ul’dah and changes once you hit level 30 and equip your Job Stone.
Equipped with a lance and fancy dragon-esque armor, Dragoons use leaps and jumps to impale their enemies. When they build up their dragon gauge, they can attack using special beefed up attacks.
Dragoon starts off as the Lancer class in Gridania and changes once you hit level 30 and equip the Job Stone.
Ninjas use daggers to slice their enemies, alongside executing ninjutsu to attack their enemies. You literally have to press different buttons to do different hand sign combinations and activate certain skills.
Ninja starts off as a Rogue class in Limsa Lominsa and changes once you hit level 30 and equip your Job Stone.
Samurai slash through enemies with their katana, collecting different “sen” as indicated by colorful snow, moon, and flower shapes on its respective gauge. After using specific skills to build up sen, you’ll consume it to deal different types of damage and use different skills.
You’ll need the Stormblood expansion to play Samurai and it unlocks at level 50 in Ul’dah.
Using a scythe, Reaper uses a ghastly avatar to help dish out damage to enemies. Reapers slash through enemies to build up their soul and shroud gauges, which can be expelled to get your avatar to dish out more damage.
To play Reaper, you need to have the Endwalker expansion. It unlocks at level 70 in Ul’dah.
Viper isn’t out yet! It’ll be making its debut in Dawntrail, but we know it uses two blades to take down enemies and there are certain attacks when the blades connect by the hilt to turn into one cool double-edged weapon.
Viper will be locked behind Dawntrail and it’ll unlock in Ul’dah, likely at level 80, based on jobs from previous expansions’.
All ranged DPS jobs in FFXIV
Ranged DPS are the most mobile of the group, with their skills having no cast times, allowing them to freely move around as they attack.
There are three jobs for ranged DPS in Final Fantasy XIV: Bard, Machinist, and Dancer.
Bard is the most traditional of the ranged DPS, and it uses a bow to fire off arrows. (While it does bring out instruments as part of its kit, there are no actual instruments you have to equip.) A Bard has different gauges depending on the songs it plays, which may reset attack cooldowns.
Bards start off as Archers in Gridania and change once their Job Stones are equipped at level 30.
Machinists use guns and robots to attack their enemies. You can build up your heat and battery gauges to execute specific attacks and summon automations to help you dish out damage.
To unlock Machinist, you need to have the Heavensward expansion. It unlocks at level 30 in Ishgard.
Dancer is the most supportive of the three ranged DPS jobs, as you set a “dance partner” in your party to receive your buffs. You’ll need to press specific highlighted buttons to beef up your attacks, and you throw chakrams and use fans to attack your enemies.
To unlock Dancer, you need Shadowbringers. It unlocks at level 60 in Limsa Lominsa.
All magic DPS jobs in FFXIV
Magic DPS tend to be more stationary, as most of their spells involve cast times. (It’s admittedly hard to pigeon hole magic DPS into one category, as they’re all kind of different from each other.)
There are four jobs for magic DPS in Final Fantasy XIV: Black Mage, Summoner, Red Mage, and Pictomancer.
Black Mage (BLM)
Black Mage deals out powerful fire, ice, and thunder spells, but its cast times are the longest among the group. You’ll need to change between fire and ice forms to help manage your MP. Fire spells cost lots of MP but deal out tons of damage, whereas ice spells deal less damage but help you replenish your MP.
Black Mage starts as the Thaumaturge class in Ul’dah and evolves once you equip your Job Stone at level 30.
Summoners call forth the power of Primals to do their bidding in battle. Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan weave in and out of battle, providing you with elemental abilities between your own attacks. As you grow stronger, you’ll be able to summon demi-primals such as Bahamut and Phoenix, which will provide you with even stronger spells and utility.
As mentioned in the Scholar section, Summoner levels alongside Scholar, so if you have a level 70 Summoner, you also have a level 70 Scholar, even if you’ve never played it. Two birds, one stone!
Summoner starts off as the Arcanist class in Limsa Lominsa (the same one as Scholar) and you can equip its job stone to become a full-fledged Summoner at level 30.
Red Mage (RDM)
Red Mage alternates between white and black “mana” to switch between elements and using its “dualcast” ability to send off powerful spells without a cast time. After casting enough of each type of skill, you’ll be able to do a cool melee combo with your rapier. Notably, Red Mage is helpful since they can resurrect party members near-instantly.
If you want to play as Red Mage, you’ll need the Stormblood expansion.
Just like Viper, this job isn’t out yet! It’s coming with Dawntrail and there’s only a little bit of public information about it. The job doesn’t have a resurrection skill (like Black Mage) and it uses artwork to deal elemental damage.
Pictomancer will unlock in Gridania, probably at level 80, based on other expansions’ jobs.
Limited Jobs in FFXIV
These jobs are special, and the game uses the term “limited” to describe them, since you can’t really take them into regular dungeons or content without toggling specific limitations. You can’t necessarily main these jobs, and both have a collection element to them, where if you want more skills, you’ll need to go out hunting for them.
Blue Mage (BLU)
Blue Mage is a magic DPS that learns enemy’s skills. Taking out a bee enemy may teach you “Final Sting,” which dishes out a ton of damage in exchange for... killing yourself. Taking out a siren may teach you “Song of Torment” and killing a Tonberry will indeed net you an iconic stabby knife move. You can even learn iconic skills from bosses, which makes Blue Mage a pretty fun job to mess around on.
Blue Mage also has a separate mini-game type thing dedicated to it, called “The Masked Carnivale” where you have to use specific spells to defeat enemies.
Blue Mage unlocks at level one in Limsa Lominsa.
This is a limited job that is going to come out in a later Dawntrail patch and we don’t know much about it. We can probably guess that it involves catching monsters to deal damage for you, similarly to how the Beastmaster characters we’ve seen in Bozja work, but that’s all we really can guess right now.