I’m actually surprised with how many players I’ve encouraged to play FFXIV in the past few months. Truly FFXIV is my favourite game to play and after 7 years, I’m still not bored.
As someone who has a pretty bad memory, I can’t remember what starting the game was really like. Hell, half the time I can’t even remember what Class I first chose and my husband has to constantly correct me because I can never remember if I started as an Archer or an Archanist.
In my time playing FFXIV I have changed Jobs multiple times, though I never played every single Job until Endwalker when I calculated the fastest ways to get to the maximum level. I originally stuck to playing Casters and Physical Ranged DPS for the most part, though I had levelled up one Healer and one Tank so I could fill any roles that my group was missing.
Though I didn’t mean to play the “easier Roles” the reality is that Casters and Physical Ranged DPS tend to be easier for beginners to pick up than Melee DPS, Healers or Tanks. Of course, there is some overlap in simplicity between them all and each Role has an easier beginner Class/Job, but today I hope to give you some insight on what Class to start as, in case you’re having difficulty choosing.
Before I start, this list will include all of the Roles in the ranking, however, it will consider the difficulty of beginning as that Role. This post will also only cover the Classes you can start as, though I will cover the easiest Jobs to play at max level. As a side note, I’ve also written a thorough rundown of every Job in the game and what my opinion on playing them is.
Note: If you have any questions about FFXIV that you want me to cover feel free to leave them in a comment below, you can also ask me while I am streaming on Twitch, YouTube or in our community discord.
WHAT CLASSES ARE AVAILABLE WHEN YOU START FFXIV?
When players begin playing FFXIV they can choose between 8 Classes including, Gladiator/Paladin, Marauder/Warrior, Lancer/Dragoon, Pugilist/Monk, Rogue/Ninja, Conjurer/White Mage, Archer/Bard, Thaumaturge/Black Mage, and Archanist which becomes both Scholar and Summoner.
The following are the Role categorizations for each:
Tank: Paladin and Marauder
Melee DPS: Lancer, Pugilist and Rogue
Physical Ranged DPS: Archer
Magical ranged DPS: Thaumaturge and Archanist
Healer: Conjurer and Archanist
As you can see the Archanist is the only Class that can play as a Healer and DPS. This was meant to be a mechanic seen throughout the game, however, the idea was abandoned upon the release of the level 30 Jobs.
The level 30 Jobs also removed the Class Mechanic, meaning that players start as their specialized Jobs. Realistically this was a good choice as there was no real difference between the base Class and the specialized Job, other than the Archanist, though the mechanic of Soul Stones did create an unintended trolling factor which the game has still not implemented a way to fix.
You see, other than the Archanist being able to become a Healer or a Magical Ranged DPS based on the Soul Stone it uses, the only difference between the other Classes and their specialized Job counterparts is the inability to use certain Gear, Abilities, Spells and Skills. So, we unfortunately will witness trolls come into higher-level duties without their Soul Stones equipped, essentially limiting their usefulness. Straight up, just vote to dismiss them. Unless a player the content you are completing is level 35 or below, this is idiotic behaviour and the player deserves to be kicked.
It’s happened a lot less frequently these days and I haven’t seen a player troll like this in a few years, but you best believe I will vote to dismiss them as soon as the option is available.
Once players hit level 30 they will be able to acquire 3 additional Jobs, being the Astrologian (Healer), Dark Knight (Tank) and Machinist (Physical Ranged DPS). Although these Jobs can be accessed relatively early, I will not be including them in this list and instead will be adding them to other lists mentioned.
BEGINNER CLASSES RANKED FROM HARDEST TO EASIEST
At first, I debated ranking the classes from easiest to most difficult, but realistically the majority of the difficulty comes from which Role you choose to play. I’ve written this list with the lens that the reader has never played an MMO before, so your opinion/experience may differ from the pictures I paint.
You see, generally, FFXIV is a very intuitive game that doesn’t take very long to understand. The difficulty tends to be with learning and recognizing enemy mechanics as well as the amount of variance in buttons to optimize your rotation (the order of buttons you press to maximize damage). Though all Classes start generally basic, some begin showing some significant signs of difficulty beyond level 30. Some Jobs will begin showing their true colours at around level 60-70 leading a player to question if they want to continue playing the Job, especially for those that add a button or two and somehow make you feel like you need to relearn the whole Job.
Now, this is generally rare, but there are some cases where I enjoy playing a Job when it’s a lower level because the rotation feels smoother, but more often there are Jobs I hate playing at low levels because I only enjoy the end-game rotation. I will make sure that I factor these changes into my rankings as it would be pointless to simply take into account the low-level rotations.
9. THAUMATURGE / BLACK MAGE
Ranking the Thaumaturge / Black Mage was genuinely difficult for me. In theory, it’s one of the easiest jobs with a very straightforward rotation, but it has tremendously long cast times and players can’t miss attacks as not only will you be losing damage, but your Ice Phase drastically reduces the cast length of your Fire Phase, which deals more damage.
Although one could argue having to move as any job can be difficult and though this has some truth to it, the Black Mage doesn’t have as much luxury as the other Casters as Cast Sliding isn’t really possible. (Cast Sliding is moving right as your cast is about to complete, thereby still causing your damage to go off).
You see, while every job requires players to get comfortable to maximize their damage, Black Mages have to take it one step further and learn when they can enter their different phases.
At it’s core, there are two elemental phases for a Black Mage, an Ice Phase and a Fire Phase. The Ice Phase has shorter cast times but deals less damage while the Fire Phase has a very long cast period and deals damage that is comparable to a Melee DPS.
Now, the gimmick of the Black Mage is that you build stacks of each element, essentially rotating between the Ice Phase and the Fire Phase which will reduce the player’s cast times thereby raising the player’s damage output and the survivability of the player.
If players miss a beat they will lose a lot of damage as the Black Mage’s only purpose is to churn out damage. At higher levels, players do have access to some recovery tools as well as Abilities for movement and faster cast speed, but for the most part, if they are used during less ideal times they can essentially be wasted and some have relatively long cooldowns.
Many Black Mage mains will initially clear content on another Job so they can learn the phases to pre-plan their rotation during the Duty. This is not a requirement, but it can be helpful especially if you are not at the stage where everything is built into muscle memory, including the mechanics of a fight.
Honestly, I had the Thamatuge higher up on the list at first, but I remembered how difficult it was for me to figure out how to actually play it well without relying on my instant casts for mobility as they deal even less damage than Ice Phase.
I can’t think of another job I need to pre-plan battles with and while I do have to practice fights more before I’m any good with some Jobs, it’s even more apparent with the Black Mage.
That all being said, the Thaumaturge/Black Mage is awful to do content with when farming solo in the overworld. Since Mobs are able to cancel your casts, half the time you’re trapped into not being able to attack and even a Chocobo Companion doesn’t help a whole lot. This was the initial reason I stopped playing the job when I first took up FFXIV, but I still whip it out in Trials and Raids whenever I want a good challenge.
8. PUGALIST / MONK
While at first, the Pugalist is quite a simple job, contrary to popular belief I believe it’s one of the more difficult jobs to master.
You see, the FFXIV community has been up in arms about whether the Monk or Ninja is more difficult to play and I’m one of the odd players who adamantly believes it’s the Monk.
Now, the reason a player finds a job difficult is going to vary and my reasoning for the Monk being more difficult is because you have to keep track of a lot more than the Ninja. I’ll go more into depth about this in the Ninja section.
Essentially the Monk has one of the oddest rotations in the game, though this makes it tremendously interesting to play, it can make it hard for players to learn as you have a 6-button rotation that alternates based on if you have your buffs up or not.
Your rotation looks something like: 1-2-3; 4-5-6; 1-5-6; 4-2-6; rinse and repeat. Now, you do build muscle memory for this and it becomes a lot easier, however, you also have to remember your positional (the location you stand to deal the most damage per attack) and you are the only Job in the game that does not have any ranged attacks, meaning you will always need to find ways of staying close to the boss while avoiding any AoEs.
Now, while this is true of all Melee DPS, being able to safely maneuver while throwing your Weapon is still more damage than not being able to damage at all because you’re not in range. Admittedly, you have a few dashes that you can use to either get to a mob or to a fellow teammate to make these transitions much easier, however, this takes quite a bit of practice and you will need to be swift with switching between targets. Again, this simply takes practice, but for me, it was harder to master than most jobs.
Shockingly, the Monk is one of my favourite Jobs in the whole game. I play it much better than Ninja, but a lot of that has to do with my enjoyment of playing it. I’m sure I can become a much better Ninja and bring it to the skill level I have with Monk, I’m just genuienly not interested.
If you’re up for a challenge, I strongly recommend the Monk. Do expect a lot of target practice on a Training Dummy though, especially if you’re a player who likes to maximize their damage output.
7. ROGUE / NINJA
The Rogue / Ninja is often referred to as the most difficult job to play in FFXIV. While I understand why, I somewhat disagree as it’s incredibly straightforward and requires players to simply be aware and patient.
While the Ninja has a simple 1-2-3 Combo it gains a series of Mudras, which are essentially abilities that must be pressed in a particular order to cast specific spells. Though you have 3 buttons for your Mudras you have 7 Spells attached to them, though only 4 are used regularly, 1 at the beginning of a Duty or if its buff falls off and 2 that never see the light of day.
Admittedly it does take practice to remember which pattern you want to utilize to deal the type of damage you want to deal, but I can’t say this ended up being difficult for me as it became muscle memory after about 2 dungeons.
Now, two things are difficult about Ninja. First, you need an extremely tight-knit rotation as all of your skill’s cooldowns flow effortlessly into each other to deal the maximum amount of damage, but second because if you hit the same Mudra twice you will summon a bunny which essentially wastes the Mudras and deals no damage.
Realistically this is where I fumble, though it’s not because it’s difficult as much as I’m terribly impatient and will often button mash instead of slowing my roll.
The bunny mechanic tends to be the reason players state that Ninja is much harder than the Monk, however, as my issue with this is a matter of patience rather than actual difficulty I can’t place it as more difficult than Monk.
In my opinion, building muscle memory for Ninja is much easier and faster than with Monk and while you will still have to do positionals with the Ninja, I tend to find it a lot easier to do.
I think the best way to sum it up is, if you’re someone who panics or tends to misclick then Ninja is going to be much harder than Monk. It is much less forgiving since it’s a pretty greedy DPS, you have a few cooldowns to keep track of, but they are much less frequent than Monk and it’s simply about memorizing your rotation rather than keeping an eye on buffs.
6. ARCANIST / SCHOLAR
The Archanist as a Healer is pretty easy until it becomes the Scholar. Now, this is more about personal playstyle more than anything. You see, there are two types of Healers in FFXIV; Pure Healers and Barrier Healers. The Scholar is a Barrier Healer.
Essentially Barrier Healers work mostly with Shields and don’t have the strongest heals, meaning that the player must pre-emptively take care of the group rather than reactively take care of them.
While both types of Healers can shield and Heal, recovery is much easier to achieve on a Pure Healer.
If you’ve Healed in other MMOs, the Scholar should be fine to pick up without too much difficulty, however, if you’re new to Healing I strongly recommend that you either try a different Role at first or choose the Conjurer/White Mage.
If you’re adamant about playing Scholar, it’s going to be terribly easy at first as your pet Eos will do most of the Healing for you, however, you cannot grow too comfortable with this as the higher the content level, the less effective Eos is and you will need to chuck out the Shields and Heals pretty regularly.
In my experience, things go downhill most often when my healer is a Scholar. A lot of this simply has to do with skill as skilled Scholars will be able to keep a group up easily and effectively, my husband being one of these Scholars. It’s just undeniable that you need more practice and confidence than you do with other Healers.
5. LANCER / DRAGOON
The Lancer/Dragoon is an extremely, extremely, extremely straightforward DPS job. There is absolutely no variation in the Lancer’s rotation and every skill you use leads into the next.
It’s the only job that has one extremely long rotation, though there are skills you “weave” throughout that you want to use in a particular order to deal the most DPS.
To me, the Lancer is incredibly boring, but it was easy to learn and relatively easy to master. The thing is, every time you press a button in your rotation the next ability will glow, essentially showing you the circle of attacks you do throughout the whole fight.
If you’re going to start learning how to play Melee DPS, I think this is the job for you since it will help you learn positionals and has the slowest global cooldown so you can pace yourself a bit more.
The only downfall to playing the Dragoon is that you don’t really have much mobility as your only way of getting yourself back to the boss is to use one of your attacks, which want to weave into your rotation and not simply save for mobility
4. CONJURER / WHITE MAGE
The Conjurer/White Mage is by far the easiest Healer to play in the game. Though Healing is one of the harder Roles to play in FFXIV, for casual content you can typically spam heal and still rarely run out of mana. Though this isn’t optimal, it just speaks to how easy the Job is.
Today I ran an Alliance Raid with my White Mage (a 24-man Duty) and got through even the hardest-hitting mechanics simply by placing a regen on players so I could focus on attacking.
It’s somewhat of an ongoing joke that’s not a joke that the White Mage is actually a DPS job that is disguised as a Healer and this is honestly pretty true. You can get away with not healing for extended periods and then do a full heal to 100% making it one of the safest Healers to be around no matter what the content.
The nicest thing about the White Mage is the fact that it has an insane amount of mana-saving skills. You should never run out of mana when playing the White Mage as it takes actual effort to ignore your toolkit.
You have so much utility as a White Mage and a good amount of “place it and leave it” spells that can keep a team up. Honestly, I’d even recommend it for players who have never healed before and only have ranked it here because healing tends to be more difficult than other Roles since you’re essentially the person who ensures your whole team is safe.
3. ARCHER / BARD
The Archer/Bard is a very easy Job to pick up, especially because you have a tremendous amount of mobility, no cast times and you have a good amount of mercy if you break your rotation or miss a beat.
There isn’t too much of a rotation for the Archer/Bard as it’s simply placing Damage Over Time (DoTs) and playing your songs/placing your team buffs.
Otherwise, you’re pretty much hitting one button over and over again with the chance of other skills being triggered.
The only difficulty when it comes to Archer/Bard is keeping track of your buffs, though this becomes tremendously passive as you get used to the pacing of the job. There is a bit of focus you’re going to have to have with skills that have charges, but realistically this is much easier to keep an eye on than your buffs in my opinion.
Although the Archer/Bard is very easy to pick up, I would strongly recommend looking up a rotation guide because it will help you align your skills and songs. Though I would recommend this for all Jobs, since the Bard has many buttons and it’s unclear where’s best to put certain skills it tends to be more of an early priority for me since it can really help you hammer down what your future muscle memory is going to be like.
2. MARAUDER / WARRIOR
I can’t lie. I wanted to put the Marauder/Warrior as the easiest Job in the game, but it has to take the number two position simply because it’s a Tank.
While Tanking isn’t difficult in Final Fantasy, it does require a bit of effort and practice to be a good one.
Tanking has become a lot more simplified from when I first started playing FFXIV and if you’re Tanking as a Warrior it becomes hyper-simple.
You see, Warriors basically can’t die… they simply have too much sustain and self-healing. It’s extremely common for a Warrior to finish off a boss if a team wipes, being able to take it down without the risk of dying.
The rotation for the Warrior is the easiest in the game and realistically, it’s pretty boring when you’ve played it for too long. Still, I love my Warrior and will regularly pick it up if I need to take a break or zone out and I would highly recommend everyone have a max-level Warrior even if they don’t plan on Tanking regularly.
Having a Warrior in your back pocket tends to be nice in FFXIV, especially if you’re planning on doing things like FATE farming with friends or completing unsynced content that requires at least one Tank.
For the most part, it has a 1-2-3 rotation with a few spenders and is the perfect Tank to pick up if you’ve never Tanked in a game before.
The nicest thing about having a Warrior in your back pocket is that you’ll typically have very fast queues for playing a Tank and you won’t have to be tremendously skilled to make it through casual content.
There’s also a lot of room for mistakes when you’re playing Warrior. Though obviously not advised, you can get away with failing a bunch of mechanics and still not be at risk of dying if you know how to keep yourself up with your mitigation. I think the highest number of vulnerability stacks I had was 7 and even then I didn’t need a healer to take care of me since I’m so comfortable with my self-healing and mitigation.
The Summoner branch of the Arcanist has become the easiest Job to play in the game. Though the Summoner used to be much more complicated with a lot more to pay attention to, it’s over-simplified now and offers a great amount of friendliness to beginners.
Now, many players complain that the Summoner is way too easy, but I have to say that I’m somewhat glad. I do really miss the old Summoner as it was one of the Jobs I played regularly, especially during Stormblood, but FFXIV was somewhat lacking a starter Class that remained simple and the version of the Summoner that appeared in Shadowbringers was much too complicated for no significant damage bonus.
While I do sympathize with players who have been playing Summoner for years as the Job no longer looks or feels the way that it used to, I do feel like it’s a very strong Job and has opened the possibility for newer or less skilled players to access harder content. Please note that this is not a read of your skill if you enjoy the new Summoner and it is your main job as this is only a comment on the structure of the actual Job rather than how it’s played.
You see, the Summoner has a tremendous amount of movement since it has a good number of instant casts and provides the team with extra healing and damage. It is also extremely forgiving and while there is a way to “maximize your rotation” it is nowhere near as strict as the majority of Jobs and a player can select which Summon they use based on what is about to occur in content.
Not to mention, the Summoner doesn’t have as many buttons as the majority of Jobs, causing it to be one of the Job that individuals with physical disabilities recommend. We don’t see Jobs like this often in video games, especially in FFXIV where it can be overwhelming trying to make Hotbars and figure out keybinds that are comfortable for players.
Of course, the Summoner isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free kind of Job. You still need a decent amount of skill to complete harder content with it. It does, however, give you a big step forward if you’re nervous and is a Job you don’t have to build much muscle memory for.
As a whole, it’s simply about understanding what each segment of your rotation is like. Is it instant cast? Is it healing? Is it longer casts? Then it’s about figuring out if you’re going to have to move a lot during the next phase or if that phase contains a lot of Raid-wide damage.
Even if you don’t hyper-optimize these elements, you’re fine, since your support of the team is simply a cushion and players would have to adjust if they didn’t have a Summoner anyways.
Much like having a Warrior in your back pocket, I strongly recommend everyone have a Summoner in their back pocket. It can make solo content extremely face roll and it can make certain content possible without Healers.
We saw this recently in the Moogle Tomestone event. Typically a Raid would require 2 Tanks, 2 Healers and 4 DPS, but we saw compositions of 1 Tank and 7 DPS as long as there was a Summoner on the team. Of course, this isn’t always possible and the Raid that players spammed was pretty unique with how damage was spread over the fight, but it was a testament to how powerful the Summoner can be without needing the most effort put into it.
Though it should be fairly clear what my opinions on the most beginner-friendly Classes are, I thought I would summarize everything.
If you’re hoping to play DPS and you’re tremendously new to MMOs or want something easy and straightforward, go Archanist. This will also give you access to one of the Healers, Scholar, and though it’s one of the more difficult Healers in the game, you won’t have to level up two Jobs.
If you want to Heal and want a good amount of safety in case you make mistakes or teammates take a lot of damage, go, with Conjurer, because it has the strongest heals and rarely runs the risk of being out of mana.
If you want to Tank and have never Tanked before, go Maurader. It’s going to be extremely straightforward and helps you learn the mechanics of Tanking without ever running the risk of dying. However, if you have Tanked in other games, I strongly recommend choosing the Gladiator instead as it gives you a much better understanding of how to Tank with all the other Tanks. It’s not extremely complicated, it just doesn’t have nearly as much sustain as you would have when playing the Maurader/Warrior.
If you’re interested in Melee DPS, I would always recommend you start as a Lancer. Though I personally hate playing Lancer/Dragoon and put it down as soon as I hit maximum level, I think it provides the best understanding of how Melee Jobs work in FFXIV. I haven’t played other MMOs that have required positionals every few attacks so this was a bit of a learning curve for me. While yes, certain attacks did in other MMOs, they tended to be long-cooldown skills or enhancements you could put on your Weapons. Simply put, due to the long global cooldown of the Lancer/Dragoon players will have time to think then react while the other Jobs will require you to press buttons more rapidly and thus be a bit more difficult to think as you simply need to react.
Overall, the Class you choose is going to have to be based on your personal play preference. Realistically the Jobs I prefer are unlocked at level 30 onwards and I still find myself switching Jobs and Roles regularly to help ensure that I don’t get bored of the game.
That being said, do not feel any shame playing one of the “easier Jobs.” FFXIV is not a d**k measuring contest and just because you play a Job with more rapid global cooldowns does not make you a better player. Quite frankly, some of the best players I know main the Summoner because they know the usefulness of its utility. These same players can chuck out tons of damage with Jobs like the Ninja, but they choose to main Summoner because it has a bigger team spirit. I’m somewhat in the same boat, I choose to main Red Mage for the most part because I can resurrect players every other cast (as long as I have mana), while I have mastered a few of the higher damage dealing Jobs and have very little downtime with them, I’d prefer to be able to help in a rough situation than to measure my d**k.
With that being said, just because a Job outputs the most damage in theory, doesn’t mean that the person playing it will always be able to do this. There are so many circumstances where I’m playing Red Mage and I’m on the top of the aggro list even though we have several Melee DPS, or there are ample amounts of times where a Black Mage or Samurai is at the bottom of the list even though they technically both deal the highest damage in the game.
At the end of the day, you have the freedom to switch in and out of any Job or Role at any time. Start as something tremendously simple to learn the ins and outs of the game, if you enjoy it stick with it and if you don’t just mess around!