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Which job should you choose in Final Fantasy XIV?

ffxiv classes jobs guide
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Picking the right role from all the different FFXIV classes (which subsequently become jobs) is a crucial choice. The difference in playstyle for each is vast and finding the job that resonates with you is really important. Luckily you're able to change your job at any point in the game if you've reached the appropriate level, so you can try all of them out eventually. 

This means you can play more than one, but not everyone has the time to hit level cap in all of them. With this handy guide, you can get a feel for each of the FFXIV classes and jobs, and whether they are better suited to beginners or those with several hours under their belt. Here's an overview of each job listed in order of appearance, role, and ease of use.

The FFXIV jobs are:

  • Monk
  • Bard
  • Ninja
  • Black Mage
  • Dragoon
  • Summoner
  • White Mage
  • Scholar
  • Paladin
  • Warrior
  • Machinist
  • Astrologian
  • Dark Knight
  • Red Mage
  • Samurai
  • Dancer
  • Gunbreaker

FFXIV A Realm Reborn jobs

Monk

  • Type: Melee DPS
  • Prerequisite class: Pugilist
  • Difficulty: 2/5

Monk is all about a constant flow of attacks to sustain a high level of DPS. With the ability to unleash rapid flurries of kicks and punches, the Monk's at their best when flowing effortlessly through their rotation. Once you master that, you'll feel like a damage-dealing god.

Bard

  • Type: Ranged physical DPS
  • Prerequisite class: Archer
  • Difficulty: 3/5 

Focused more on supporting the other members of your group. The Bard uses a mix of ballads to rally the team to victory. Damage output is low compared with other FFXIV DPS jobs, but the Bard makes up for it with their support abilities. Unlock this role and glide around the perimeter of the battlefield flinging arrows at anything naive enough to drift within range.

Ninja

  • Type: Melee DPS
  • Prerequisite class: Rogue
  • Difficulty: 3/5 

Ninja is one of the more exciting jobs in XIV. Weaving the hand-signs of Ten, Chi, and Jin, you can pull off devastating attacks. The myriad combat combos the Ninja has at their disposal means will prepare you for any situation.

Black Mage

  • Type: Magic Ranged DPS
  • Prerequisite class: Thaumaturge
  • Difficulty: 4/5

Even among the game's heaviest of hitters, few can match Black Mage. Transform yourself into a veritable turret that spits damaging destruction to anything in its path. MP management is critical in keeping your damage above all others, but learning the rotation isn't too tricky. 

The challenge comes when you're moving and not casting spells: this is a real hindrance to your overall damage dealing, and can make you pretty vulnerable. 

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Dragoon

  • Type: Melee DPS
  • Prerequisite class: Lancer
  • Difficulty: 4/5 

Like being the star? Dragoons are the flashy job in FFXIV as they roam the battlefield with their lance in hand and make quick work of enemies with assertive attacks. Dragoon skills slowly introduce you to the rotation and the importance of positioning.

Summoner

  • Type: Magic Ranged DPS
  • Prerequisite class: Arcanist 
  • Difficulty: 5/5 

With the ability to wield the force of the Primals—magical beings worshipped by Final Fantasy XIV's beast races—Summoner is for many the most engaging FFXIV job. With Primals as battle pets, the Summoner commands them to sow chaos amid enemy ranks. Master the placement and management of your pet fully while also slinging spells is challenging, but rewarding.

White Mage

  • Type: Healer
  • Prerequisite class: Conjurer
  • Difficulty: 2/5 

Fancy dipping your toe in the world of healing? Then White Mage is for you. Primarily employing HP-restoring spells, White Mage is there to keep everyone in the fight. Quick responses to incoming damage from your opponents is essential in keeping your party in the land of the living.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Scholar

  • Type: Healer
  • Prerequisite class: Arcanist 
  • Difficulty: 4/5 

Cross Summoner with a healer, and you'd get Scholar. This is a pet job summons healing fairies to help keep your friends alive with shields and heals. There's a steeper learning curve with the Scholar—since you must manage your pet and yourself—but an experienced Scholar is indispensable to any team.

Paladin

  • Type: Tank
  • Prerequisite class: Gladiator
  • Difficulty: 2/5

The classic 'board and sword' tank job, the Paladin is the holy shield of your party. With a wide array of defensive tools, Paladin is a great introduction to tanking. Keep the enemy focused on you and prepare yourself appropriately, and you'll your squad's knight in shining armour.

Warrior

  • Type: Tank
  • Prerequisite class: Marauder
  • Difficulty: 3/5 

Fuel your strength from the damage you take, focus, and burst with rage to keep yourself alive; that's the Warrior way. Smashing up the place with a massive axe and keeping all eyes on you is the name of the game here. Cooldown management is essential to being a capable Warrior: they're the perfect role if you're looking to progress from physical DPS to tanking.

FFXIV Heavensward jobs

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Machinist

  • Type: Magic Ranged DPS
  • Prerequisite class: None
  • Difficulty: 3/5

The Machinist obliterates targets with their impressive, but quirky arsenal. Planning your attacks is vital: get the most out of this role by efficiently filling your heat and battery gauges to lay waste to enemies.

Astrologian

  • Type: Healer
  • Prerequisite class: None
  • Difficulty: 3/5

Looking to the stars to help light the way in battle is the remit of this card-wielding healer. The Astrologian is the middle ground for healers: with a great mix of HP-replenishing spells and shields to adorn on the party members, they're useful in most situations. On top of that, you get to throw out cards that buff your party.

Dark Knight

  • Type: Tank
  • Prerequisite class: None
  • Difficulty: 4/5 

The Dark Knight (not that one) is the Paladin's polar opposite. Pulling from the darkness to power themselves up, Dark Knight swings a massive sword to keep opponents at bay. With two gauges of resource to maintain, playing as a Dark Knight takes a lot of concentration. But, once mastered, you'll be the edgiest tank in town.

FFXIV Stormblood jobs

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Red Mage

  • Type: Magic Ranged DPS
  • Prerequisite class: None
  • Difficulty: 1/5

While the Red Mage uses white and black magic, their primary purpose is to deal damage. As proficient in swordplay as in magic, Red Mages are easy to grasp. Mixing up your magic use and hitting the right procs at the right time allows you to unleash decent damage and power up a flurry of sword swipes. With healing and resurrection powers in their wheelhouse, too, Red Mage is one of the most useful FFXIV DPS classes in the game.

Samurai

  • Type: Melee DPS
  • Prerequisite class: None
  • Difficulty: 2/5 

A combo-based job, the Samurai causes serious pain. While they tend to be focused on themselves only, the Samurai is still as stylish as it is deadly. Their combos are easy to understand, and you'll be kicking out significant damage in no time.

FFXIV Shadowbringers jobs

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Dancer

Type: Physical Ranged DPS

Prerequisite class: None

Difficulty: 3/5 

The Dancer's mesmerising movements demonstrate martial discipline in the form of, well, dance. Chaining the right dance steps together to perform the perfect routine is the ultimate test of a Dancer. Those who put in the practice will be rewarded in damage and utility to the party.

Gunbreaker

  • Type: Tank
  • Prerequisite class: None
  • Difficulty: 3/5 

The Gunblade (yes, the one Squall uses in FFVIII) is the weapon of choice for this tank. With magical bullets for offensive and defensive purposes, the Gunbreaker is bang in the middle on the damage mitigation and damage output spectrum. Power up its magic bullets to produce a ruinous combos every 30 seconds, and ensure that you'll look flashy while keeping the enemy at bay.