With plenty of combat jobs to choose from it’s normal to come across both veteran and fresh FFXIV players trying out a new class for the first time.
You’re not likely to master a job the moment you get your hands on it, but with practice and patience you can find one that you enjoy playing and becoming skilled at.
While some are straightforward for most to understand, others have common learning pitfalls that seem to always give newbies trouble.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most common mistakes that I personally see players make in game while learning each job.
Keep in mind, this post is not meant to crap on new players or people who do these things. Rather, it’s to try to explain why these actions are considered to be the wrong choice, and advise more effective practices.
Paladin – Unnecessary Clemency
It seems like once new Paladins unlock Clemency they’re always itching to use it and looking for moments where they can top off a half-full HP bar. And that’s totally understandable! It’s a video game, they probably enjoy the holy spell aesthetic of the job, and now they have a new tool to play with.
However, in many of the moments they choose to use it they have a healer right there in the party who can heal them, usually for free with an off-global cooldown ability. In many situations the healer may be letting the tank drop lower to make use of a strong ability (Benediction, Essential Dignity, Excogitation). Using Clemency when it’s not needed has about the same effect as standing there doing nothing.
Trading a damaging GCD for a healing GCD is something most healers try to do only when necessary. Tanks typically deal more damage than healers, so it makes sense that the bar for what qualifies as necessary should be even higher to warrant that trade.
I’ve seen Paladins start casting Clemency in the first pull of a dungeon when all their defensive cooldowns are available. Try to make use of your free oGCD mitigation tools first, including Hallowed Ground! If you feel panicked and start healing yourself with Clemency, Hallowed Ground had better already be on cooldown because that’s a stronger and safer tool to reach for before Clemency.
Warrior – Not Enough Bloodwhetting/Raw Intuition
Warrior is an absolute machine when it comes to dungeons due to the amount of self-healing they have, so it’s quite obvious when someone’s new to Warrior because they’re not making great use of those tools.
In a dungeon trash pull Bloodwhetting (or Raw Intuition if you’re below level 82) is basically Benediction with a 25 second cooldown. That’s bonkers, and you want to get as many uses out of it as you can.
You can use it at least once per pull, often you can use it twice. I recommend letting yourself drop a little bit then using Bloodwhetting as your first cooldown. Use one or two of your other mitigation tools to tide you over until Bloodwhetting is back up, and the incoming damage should be slow enough that the healer manages you easily.
Don’t use it while you’re still running. Wait until you finish gathering mobs and plant yourself before you press it. Bloodwhetting doesn’t last very long but you can get about four lifesteal AoEs (only three with Raw Intuition) out of it as long as you’re attacking the whole time.
Using it with Thrill of Battle doesn’t boost your lifesteal potency, but it gives you a higher HP cap to top yourself off to so it’s not a bad combo. Using it with Holmgang is a very strong combo as you can sit at 1 HP for the duration then pop Bloodwhetting right before it ends to heal yourself out of the danger zone.
Dark Knight – Using TBN on Nothing
By far the most common mistake I personally see among Dark Knights is players using The Blackest Night in a panic when they get low on HP.
Unfortunately The Blackest Night is not a heal. It’s a shield that lasts only about 7 seconds. When the shield is fully consumed it triggers its secondary effect of giving you a free cast of your Edge/Flood of Shadow damaging oGCD, which normally costs the same MP it cost to put up TBN.
Edge of Shadow isn’t some dinky little ‘whatever’ oGCD, it’s 460 potency! That’s even more than the final step of your basic combo, Soul Eater. So if your shield times out before it’s broken then you’re missing out on quite a lot of damage.
Its best use then is when you are about to take heavy damage in the next 7 seconds, and it’s not very useful if the boss is only going to hit you with an autoattack or two before it times out.
Pay close attention to the boss’ cast bar and practice preparing TBN for incoming tankbusters to get maximum value.
Gunbreaker – Surprise Superbolide Usage
It almost feels like trolling, and maybe sometimes it actually is, but the most obvious mistake I see new Gunbreakers make is pressing their invulnerability skill when the healer doesn’t expect it.
While all tank invuln skills prevent you from dying, Superbolide is the only one that takes away your HP. This means poor timing of the ability can be a big waste of both the tank and the healer’s resources.
The most infamous example is of course a Gunbreaker dropping themself to 1 HP immediately after a White Mage used Benediction to bring them to 100% HP.
It’s most helpful to tell your healer you’re going to use your invuln in the next pull so they know not to burn any of their powerful cooldowns on healing you before you throw all your HP away anyway.
White Mage – Freecure Fishing
This subject has been beaten to death, but it’s admittedly warranted because it continues to be one of the most common mistakes new White Mages make.
There’s a trait called Freecure which gives you a 15% chance that casting Cure will make your next Cure II (cast within 15s) cost 0 MP. Cure II normally costs 1000 MP so that sounds pretty good.
But running out of MP is exceptionally rare, and if you want to get ahead of any potential MP problems then just use Lucid Dreaming whenever it’s off cooldown. If you’re still paranoid, then have a stock of Ethers on hand.
Also, if you thought Freecure was good value, let me introduce you to Holy, an AoE spell that damages enemies and stuns them so they can’t attack for several seconds. That’s offensive and defensive work at the same time! So efficient!
If you and your tank have appropriate level gear for the content you’re doing, you’ll have time to cast a mix of damaging spells and healing spells. If you spend all of your time casting your weakest heal instead of attacking, the enemies will stay alive for a long time and your tank may run out of defensive cooldowns.
But let’s say your tank is undergeared, or they make a mistake and don’t mitigate fast enough at the start of the pull. If your plan was to spam the weakest heal on them until you get a proc, that might not actually be strong enough healing to keep them alive. Spend the MP on the strong heal when they need healing, and worry about your MP if you actually get low.
Scholar – Overwriting Shields
Most healers have two different AoE healing spells, one of which is a flat heal and the other is a weaker direct heal but with an added shield or regen effect.
Scholar only has one AoE healing GCD which is Succor, filling the role of weak direct heal with a shield on top.
It’s common for new Scholars to panic a little when they see the party at low HP and repeatedly cast Succor, getting no use of the shield and effectively just using their GCDs on a very weak heal.
What would be more effective (assuming they’re high enough level to use these skills) is to convert a cast of Succor to a big flat heal with Emergency Tactics, or to use an oGCD heal like Whispering Dawn, Indomitability, or Fey Blessing.
And of course lowering incoming damage with pre-emptive shields and mitigation goes a long way to entirely avoid those panicky situations that would require multiple GCD heals.
Astrologian – Giving Cards to the Wrong Players
Usually it’s just a small thing, like I might notice that the Astro gave the Ewer card to the Samurai and not the Dancer. Or maybe they gave someone two cards in quick succession, so the first one was partially wasted. Sometimes I’ll also see a very new Astro who puts all the cards on themself, perhaps not even realizing they’re supposed to target other people.
Blue-bordered cards with crosses on the sides (Balance, Arrow, Spear) give 6% more damage to Melee DPS and Tanks, while Purple-bordered cards with circles on the sides (Bole, Ewer, Spire) give 6% more damage to Ranged and Caster DPS and Healers. Giving cards to the wrong role only gives a buff of 3% damage.
If for example your party had no Melee DPS, you would generally give those cards to the Tank. If there were no Ranged or Caster DPS you would usually give those ones to a Healer. In these choices between wrong role DPS and right role Tank/Healer sometimes it can be correct to intentionally choose the wrong role DPS depending on other factors like gear, player skill, and weakness debuffs.
If the card you drew isn’t ideal, remember you get one redraw per card so make use of that! Also, while you can draw cards before combat you only want to use cards while actually in combat or else you won’t get the secondary effect of a Solar/Lunar/Celestial astrosign in your job gauge.
Sage – Defaulting to Prognosis Healing
If you’re coming over to Sage from a different healer then you might be used to responding to incoming damage primarily with GCD heals. White Mage and Astro can often heal the party back up with a single Medica II or Aspected Helios (1000 potency over 15s), and White Mage in particular is never too upset about using a lily heal (Afflatus Rapture is 400 potency) because that lost offensive GCD gets ‘refunded’ later with an Afflatus Misery.
But if you approach Sage with the same mindset, you’ll end up spending 2-3 GCDs trying to heal the same amount of HP because your GCD heals are not as strong. Too often I’ll see a new Sage respond to damage with Eukrasian Prognosis (100 potency heal + 320 potency shield), then when they see the party is still alarmingly low HP they start spamming Prognosis (300 potency). Even when combined those still don’t reach the recovery of a single Medica II/Aspected Helios.
The first thing you reach for should almost always be an oGCD cooldown, and some of them should be used before the damage happens. Physis II and Kerachole (after level 78) are both stronger heals than Prognosis and provide other effects. If you need the healing immediately, Ixochole, Holos, and Pneuma are all things you should use before looking at Prognosis.
Even if you find yourself in an absolutely desperate situation, Eukrasian Prognosis into Pepsis (a move that’s almost certainly off cooldown because it never gets used) is more flat healing than a Prognosis.
Monk – Delaying GCDs to hit Positionals
This isn’t a Monk-specific error (all Melee DPS have positionals), but Monk’s faster GCD speed makes newer players especially prone to making this mistake.
They want so badly to hit their weaponskill at the correct positional that they won’t press the button until their character is in the right spot. But when you delay your GCD, you don’t get that time back and you end up using fewer GCDs in the fight overall.
Most of Monk’s GCDs are around 300 potency, and it’s not worth risking that just trying to get a 60 potency positional bonus.
Keep the GCD rolling and if you do end up missing the positional just brush it off and try to be in the right spot earlier next time.
Dragoon – Improper Weaving
I think part of the reason this mistake is common on Dragoons is because Lancer is a common pick for brand new players.
You can weave up to two oGCD abilities between your GCD weaponskills, any more and you’ll delay your GCD, landing fewer hits over the course of the fight.
Some of Dragoon’s oGCDs interact with each other such as High Jump, Mirage Dive, and Geirskogul/Nastrond so you use them in a specific order. Your two party damage buffs (Dragon Sight, Battle Litany) have different durations, so using the longer one before the shorter one is also ideal.
You also have Life Surge which is an oGCD that should be slotted before specific GCDs for the most damage.
When you combine the very high number of oGCD abilities on this job with the fact that FFXIV doesn’t teach the concept of weaving, it makes sense that new players fumble trying to juggle so many skills off cooldown.
Learning an ‘opener’ (specific sequence of GCDs and oGCDs to start the fight) and committing it to muscle memory is a good way to make sure your cooldowns are lined up for the rest of the encounter.
Ninja – Single Target Doton
Probably the most commonly sighted mistake on this whole list is Ninjas placing Doton on the ground during a boss fight. Partially because the whole party can see when it’s used, so it’s the easiest to spot when used incorrectly on a single target.
I understand why it happens, especially if someone is coming from another job like Bard, Samurai, or any healer, where you apply a DoT and reapply it when it falls off.
But on Ninja you have limited charges of Mudra to use your Ninjutsu, and the 3-step Doton (560 potency) is both weaker and slower than the 2-step Raiton (650 potency) when there’s only one enemy. This is especially egregious at level 90 when Raiton combos into Forked/Fleeting Raiju for even more damage.
If you’re forced to use a 3-step because you’re using your level 70 Ten Chi Jin skill in a single-target scenario, you should be using Fuma Shuriken-Raiton-Suiton.
Samurai – Misusing Meikyo Shisui
Samurai’s rotation revolves around building and spending Sen, which are the big symbols on the job gauge sometimes referred to as ‘stickers’.
You get these Sen by using different combo finishers, so normally it takes multiple GCDs to build each Sen. Under Meikyo Shisui you can press the finisher without having done any preceding combo steps, allowing you to skip your weaker weaponskills and build and spend Sen with your stronger ones.
Some common misuses of Meikyo Shisui are: Overwriting Sen. If you already have all the Sen you need, spend them with Iaijutsu and then continue to use remaining Meikyo stacks.
Breaking your combo. Try to finish your current combo before using Meikyo. Once your three Meikyo stacks are used up, you’ll have to start a new combo from the beginning.
Using non-finishers. You should always use your Meikyo stacks on weaponskills that give you Sen (Gekko, Kasha, and Yukikaze). Gekko and Kasha are ideal because they deal the most damage, refresh your buffs, and their combos take the longest to get to normally.
So an example of a Meikyo window in ideal conditions might look like: Meikyo > Gekko > Higanbana > Kasha > Gekko. You avoid overwriting any Sen by spending with Iaijutsu, and you use all your stacks on Gekko and Kasha for the most damage.
Reaper – No Soulsow and Harvest Moon
Harvest Moon is one of Reaper’s strongest GCDs in both single target and AoE scenarios. It’s also a ranged spell so it’s useful for keeping uptime when forced out of melee range. But importantly, you have to prepare this attack in advance by casting Soulsow!
Much like Ninjas can reset their Ninjutsu charges between dungeon packs by using Hide, Reapers can reset their Harvest Moon by casting Soulsow with no cast time when not in combat.
If you’re in the middle of combat and the enemy becomes untargetable, you might find 5 seconds to stand still and recharge Soulsow.
If you didn’t use Harvest Moon before this point then you’ve missed out on building a second one, so remembering when a fight lets you build an extra Soulsow will lead to both extra damage and flexibility for uptime.
Bard – Not Aligning Buffs
At level 90 Bard gains an additional partywide damage buff, Radiant Finale, and the mistake I see most often by Bards in level 90 content is that they’re not using it at the same time as their other big damage buff, Battle Voice.
Damage buffs in FFXIV are multiplicative, which means that when combined they’re stronger than the sum of their parts. Since Battle Voice and Radiant Finale have similar cooldown lengths, it works out well to use them together every two minutes.
Before level 90, Bards can still try to line up their Battle Voice buff at the beginning of the fight with other party members’ two minute cooldowns, and then for the rest of the fight use it whenever it’s off cooldown.
These other party members’ abilities might be buffs on the party like Astrologian’s Divination or Dragoon’s Battle Litany, or they might be a debuff on the enemy like Ninja’s Mug or Scholar’s Chain Stratagem, so keep an eye out depending on your party’s composition.
Machinist – Mistiming Hypercharge
From a very early level Machinists are introduced to one of their core mechanics – the heat gauge. Managing this heat gauge seems simple enough, but there’s one principle that might not be instantly obvious to newcomers to the job.
When you use Hypercharge you’ll want to spend your next five GCDs on Heat Blasts, a process that takes about 7.5 seconds. So if one of your hard-hitting tools comes off cooldown during that time you’ll be forced to either drop a Heat Blast or delay the tool, potentially costing you a use during the fight.
What you want to do is start your Hypercharge and Heat Blast window when your tools (Drill, Hot Shot/Air Anchor, Chainsaw) have more than 8 seconds remaining on their cooldowns to ensure you don’t drift their cooldown and you get to use them as many times as possible throughout the encounter.
Dancer – Not Enough Standard Step
Many fledgling Dancers initially assume Standard Step is only a means to refresh their 60s Standard Finish buff, but it should actually be used whenever it comes off its 30s cooldown because it just does a lot of damage.
It takes about 5 seconds to perform a two step Standard Step (720 potency), so it’s equivalent to replacing two standard combo GCDs which are weaker, ranging from Cascade & Fountain (500 potency) to Reverse Cascade & Fountainfall (620 potency).
Just make sure you’re in range to hit the enemy! Your standard combos have a range of 25y while Standard Finish only reaches 15y, so don’t be standing way out from the boss when you use this skill.
Black Mage – Mismanaging MP
Black Mage is a tough job to learn so it’s hard to fault anyone new to the job for making mistakes, rather it’s expected.
One mistake I’ve seen is for players to swap back to their ice phase before they’ve used up all their MP. Since you deal more damage with your fire spells you actually want to spend as much time there as possible, switching to ice only to regain MP.
Despair is a powerful spell that you use towards the end of your Astral Fire phase because it drains all of your remaining MP, but it requires at least 800 MP to cast.
Since your filler fire spells (Fire, Fire IV, Paradox) cost 1600 MP, using Despair too early (2400+ MP) drops you to 0 MP and forces you into your ice phase when you could’ve kept casting more of your strong fire spells.
Likewise, casting a filler fire spell below 2400 MP means you no longer have enough mana to cast Despair.
Playing Black Mage can feel like a lot of pressure but practicing your MP management will go a long way towards success with this job.
Summoner – Casting Physick
I blame Square Enix for this mistake more than I blame the players because Physick’s heal scales with the Mind stat, while Summoner’s mainstat is Intelligence, and the game doesn’t tell you this. You just think “Oh Summoner has a heal just like Red Mage, neat!”.
No, not neat! Your Vitality/HP keeps going up, and your Mind doesn’t, so the higher level you are, the less useful the heal is.
At level 90 a Summoner’s Physick will heal them for a measly 1% of their HP. Even at level 50 it only heals about 7% of your HP, while Cure and Cure II from a White Mage heal for about 25% and 40% HP respectively.
Once you reach Heavensward content and beyond, you might as well leave this spell on the shelf.
Red Mage – Always Backflipping
Red Mage is known for having both spells and swordplay as part of its aesthetic, so it’s natural for it to have abilities that let it quickly get itself in and out of melee range.
One of those abilities is Displacement, a 15y backstep that also deals damage. It shares a cooldown with Engagement, which is a melee range attack that doesn’t move the player.
While Displacement is a useful tool if you need to move away from the boss, very often it gets new players killed because they are new to the fight. They don’t know what’s going on and backflip into a danger zone or just straight off the arena entirely.
It’s usually safer to just stand right behind the boss with the melees, use Engagement by default, and Displacement only when you’re certain of where you need to be.
If you see someone doing something wrong, it’s ok to tell them in a polite manner! Being friendly before jumping into giving advice sets a better mood. Explaining the reason behind an action can also sometimes help the person accept it as useful advice rather than a scolding.
Obviously you’ll run into people making other mistakes than just what I’ve listed here, but maybe you’ll run into someone who you can give a friendly nudge in the right direction. Or maybe you’ve gotten a nudge of your own.
Remember there’s no shame in being new and making mistakes as long as you’re making an effort. Resist the urge to get defensive if someone gives you advice, even if it’s delivered in a rude or passive-aggressive manner. Staying open to feedback helps you improve by leaps and bounds so you can succeed at whatever job you’re learning. Good luck!