Easing Into Eorzea: Classes

A New Guide Series

With so many new people coming back to Final Fantasy XIV, some of which my doing… I thought it might be useful to start a new guide series to explain some of the concepts of the game that do not quite map up to the western MMO traditions.  Simply put there are some ideas in this game that just are not obvious at first glance.  My goal with this new series is to help a player “ease into” the game by presenting the concepts as simply as I can.  Today I will be addressing the first real decision, which generally speaking is what class to play.  If you are familiar with Final Fantasy 3, 5 or Tactics… you will have a basic understanding of the Class and Job system at its most rudimentary level.  Today I will delve into some of the ideas and try to iron out the rough spots.

What is a Class?

The class is the most basic unit of the Final Fantasy XIV job system.  These are the things you start the game as and represent the building blocks for larger concepts.  Each class and therefore job is represented by a single weapon type.  When you equip that weapon you become that job, additionally the user interface provides a simple way to swap between weapon profiles and these can even be hot keyed.  Every player can ultimate learn every class, but each time they start with a fresh class they go back to level one.  This means you should probably hold onto your starter gear, as each time you reset  back to level one you will need it to equip.  The classes are loosely grouped into larger entities known as the Disciples of War and the Disciples of Magic.  Similarly the crafting professions are grouped into Disciples of Hand and Disciples of Land… but I will get into crafting at a much later discussion.  You will often see large blocks of these classes referred to in game by the abbreviations of DoW or DoM.  When you see this, it means all classes within that larger family can use the item.

Starting Cities

One quick note is that the various Classes are scattered around in three different starter cities.  At around level 15 in your main storyline quest you will unlock the ability to travel between the starter cities through Airship.  Additionally if you are stubborn and determined enough they can be travelled between over land routes, however at very low levels this becomes a dangerous proposition.  For sake of giving an idea of the layout of the classes here are the starting cities and which classes begin there.

Gridania
  • Archer
  • Conjurer
  • Lancer
Limsa Lominsa
  • Arcanist
  • Marauder
Uldah
  • Gladiator
  • Pugilist
  • Thaumaturge

What is a Job?

Jobs can be thought of as the evolved state of a class.  At level 30 each of the classes evolves into a larger role, gaining new abilities every 5 levels.  As you level your base class continues to level with you, but through the equipping of a Job Soul you also inherit new abilities.  This is somewhat of a double edged sword as these new abilities give you much more power to fill a role your class was designed to accomplish, however at the same time it greatly limits the ability to use cross class abilities.  Each Job is a made up of a recipe of two classes, for example Warrior is a combination of 30 Marauder and 15 Lancer.  In order to quality for the quest to unlock warrior you need to have leveled both jobs to the required level before the new jobs master will speak with you.

Disciples of War

Gladiator

The Gladiator is your traditional sword and shield tank.  They focus on mitigating large amounts of damage, but tend to have significantly lower hit points to compensate.  They can be one of the more challenging classes to level in that they get most of their really class defining abilities significantly late in the game.  While most classes have a complete combo chain by the time they begin dungeoning around level 16, the Gladiator does not complete theirs until 26.  However for those who master it, it becomes an extremely formidable class.

Class Weapon:  Sword and Shield

Starting City:  Uldah

Primary Stats:  Vitality, Strength

Natural Exit Job:  Paladin (30 Gladiator, 15 Conjurer)

Cross Class Abilities:  Conjurer, Marauder

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Warrior (30 Marauder, 15 Gladiator)

Marauder

The Marauder is the two handed wielding tank.  They focus on having a massive hitpoint pool coupled with some ability to regenerate that health to tank.  They however have significantly fewer ways of stopping incoming damage to compensate.  They are one of the easier classes to level due to the fact that at low levels they have both extremely solid damage dealing ability and high survival.  Additionally when they evolve into a Warrior the get a threat generation and health increasing buff that as well as a rage generation mechanic allowing them access to special abilities at the cost of 5 rage.  From 30 until the Paladin gets their tank buff at 40 they become the strongest tank, and then that evens out during the 40-50 level climb.

Class Weapon:  Two Handed Axe

Starting City:  Limsa Lominsa

Primary Stats:  Strength, Vitality

Natural Exit Job:  Warrior (30 Warrior, 15 Gladiator)

Cross Class Abilities:  Gladiator, Puglist

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Dragoon (30 Lancer, 15 Marauder)

Puglist

The puglist is your traditional hand to hand combat fighter.  While they technical use a weapon, these are an assortment of often wicked looking fist weapons.  They are likely one of the more difficult classes to play in the game, in that they use a complex combo system that takes some ramp up time to reach its crescendo.  Additionally several steps in the combo have a positional requirement of either being to the side of the encounter or behind it.  As a result it takes serious dedication to be able to play the puglist and later the monk with proficiency.  However to those devoted to the class they can do amazing things with it.

Class Weapon:  Fist Weapon

Starting City:  Uldah

Primary Stats:  Strength, Critical

Natural Exit Job:  Monk (30 Puglist, 15 Lancer)

Cross Class Abilities:  Lancer, Marauder

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Bard (30 Archer, 15 Puglist)

Lancer

The dragoon is relatively heavy armored spear wielding combatant, that has been represented in many Final Fantasy games through the Dragoon.  They are known for intense single target burst and sustained damage through a combination of dots and combo attacks.  Similar to the monk however they have a number of these attacks that require either a side or back facing component.  However unlike the monk they are not as tied to this mechanic and can alter their rotation to fit moments when they simply cannot be behind or to the side of a target.  The weakness of the class is they get relatively little AOE damage until very late in the  game, and even then they come with some constraints.  Most players take the Lancer class in order to evolve into the Dragoon, with their iconic jump attacks.

Class Weapon:  Spear

Starting City:  Gridania

Primary Stats:  Strength, Critical

Natural Exit Job:  Dragoon (30 Lancer, 15 Marauder)

Cross Class Abilities:  Marauder, Pugilist

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Monk (30 Puglist, 15 Lancer)

Archer

The archer is your traditional bow wielding hunter or ranger type class.  They have a series of dots and bow strikes that whittle down the target.  The true strength of the class is they have the ability to move and cast at the same time.  This means that even though a large number of the archer attacks have a cast time they can do so while moving, making them the ideal class for kiting or the ability to move while dpsing.  The weakness however is that they are relatively light geared and the Achilles Heel of the class is that they lack a DPS limit break like the Puglist and Monk have.  Once they become a Bard however they more than make up for this issue with the ability to play songs that regenerate Mana or TP depending on which your party make up needs worse.

Class Weapon:  Bow

Starting City:  Gridania

Primary Stats:  Dexterity, Critical

Natural Exit Job:  Bard (30 Archer, 15 Puglist)

Cross Class Abilities:  Lancer, Pugilist

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Black Mage (30 Thaumaturge, 15 Archer)

Disciples of Mind

Arcanist

The Arcanist is an odd bag of tricks at the beginning of the game, and I easily consider it the most difficult of the classes I have personally tried to start.  That said they become immensely powerful and have the benefit of being the only class with two natrual exit jobs currently in the game.  The slow start comes from the fact that this is a pet class, and the pet that you receive early on is not your tank pet.  This is a similar dilemma to starting a Warlock in World of Warcraft, and much the same you end up “tanking” for your pet early on.  However once the Arcanist does get a tank pet they have the ability to fight multiple targets at the same time with ease.  At its core this is primarily a damage over time class with a large bag of tricks that allow them to wear both the hats of a healer and a dps for a good amount of their playtime.  It is personally not a class for me, but those who love it do so immensely.

Class Weapon:  Book

Starting City:  Limsa Lominsa

Primary Stats:  Intellect, Piety

Natural Exit Job:  Scholar (30 Arcanist, 15 Conjurer), Summoner (30 Arcanist, 15 Thaumaturge)

Cross Class Abilities:  Scholar (Thaumaturge, Conjurer), Summoner (Thaumaturge, Archer)

Secondary Exit Jobs:  White Mage (30 Conjurer, 15 Arcanist)

Conjurer

The Conjurer is your traditional full time healer class.  At low levels it is the only class that can actually queue as a healer, and it offers the strongest brute force healing throughput of all of the classes.  This comes at a few costs however.  Firstly the class has very limited offensive capabilities until late in the game when they get one of the better AOE attacks in the form of Holy.  Secondly they will suffer with issues regarding mana efficiency and while they can brute force heal through most anything, they can only keep it up for a short period of time.  This means to heal as a Conjurer means you need to heal strategically without actually spamming needless heals.  Being the “full time” healer class means they have a pretty broad palette of abilities to help them mitigate incoming damage.

Class Weapon:  Staff

Starting City:  Gridiania

Primary Stats:  Mind, Piety

Natural Exit Job:  White Mage (30 Conjurer, 15 Arcanist)

Cross Class Abilities:  Thaumaturge, Arcanist

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Scholar (30 Arcanist, 15 Conjurer), Paladin (30 Gladiator, 15 Conjurer)

Thaumaturge

The Thaumaturge is your traditional MMO glass cannon.  They have amazing damage throughput at the cost of having little to no defense.  One of the issues with playing most offensive spellcasters is the problem with mana.  This class gets around it with a unique fire/frost system allowing them to switch elements to frost to regenerate their mana quickly before going back to fire for quick damage output.  They offer some of the best and most reliable AOE damage in the game, and early on they were the kings of FATE grinding with the early access to Blizzard II.  If you like to live on the edge in a “burn the target before it hits you” style, then this is the class for you.  Additionally they get a lot of nice abilities like Quick cast that let them turn a lengthy cast time into an instant.

Class Weapon:  Rod

Starting City:  Uldah

Primary Stats:  Intellect, Piety

Natural Exit Job:  Black Mage (30 Thaumaturge, 15 Archer)

Cross Class Abilities:  Arcanist, Archer

Secondary Exit Jobs:  Summoner (30 Arcanist, 15 Thaumaturge)

Summary

Hopefully this little guide will have helped you figure out which class you want to play.  The important thing to remember is that in Final Fantasy XIV you are deeply benefitted by having lots of different classes.  Personally I have a high level Warrior, Dragoon, Bard and am working on getting up a White Mage so that I can do pretty much every role that might be called upon me.  This is one of the great freedoms of the game, the ability to switch things up and try out new things.  Like I said once you get to the point at which you unlock airship travel, you can move around freely between the three capital cities and try all of them out.  If you have any direct questions, let me know and I will try and cover the topics loosely in future guides.

Additionally if you have always wanted to give Final Fantasy XIV a shot, there is a free 14 day trial that should allow you to test the waters.  Of note my characters are in the Aether Data Center and on the Cactuar server.  Feel free to drop Belghast Sternblade a line and say hello if you make it into game.

8 thoughts on “Easing Into Eorzea: Classes

  1. One nitpick: Lancer/Dragoon is actually *more* reliant upon the positioning on their attacks – unless they are in proper positioning, you *cannot* continue in the combo, whereas Pugilists/Monks only lose out on the additional bonus (so extra damage, etc.) inherent in being positional – they still get to continue their combo.

    Pretty solid though. 🙂

    • Yeah my thing with Lancer/Dragoon is there are situations where it is perfectly acceptable to just drop out the positional attack if moving to the side or back arc either endangers the player or the party. While it sucks to lose Heavy Thrust and the Backstab combo, Full Thrust combo can whittle down mobs effectively in most situations especially if it is either that or turn yourself into a venn diagram 🙂

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