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The Armoury System: Gladiator

The Gladiator (GLA) is the proto-typical tank, fitted with a sword and shield they focus the enemy’s aggression on themselves providing a stalwart wall of protection against any harm coming to their compatriots. GLA is capable of doing this through a two-pronged capacity. One such way is that their primary (and considered only) combo has the added combo bonus of generating enmity. The second being their capability to equip the heaviest armor in the game, and of course a shield at the same time. Shields provide no inherent defense in and of themselves, but they do provide the capability to Shield Block. Blocking with a shield reduces physical damage taken based on the stats of the shield. More Block Strength is more mitigation, while more Block Rate is a higher degree that the shield can block any attack. A balance needs to be struck between Block Rate and Block Strength by the player to make sure that a sufficient amount of total damage reduction is occurring. With too much Block Strength, but very little Block Rate, shield blocks occur rarely and while they may seem to block a lot when they do proc, the total damage being mitigated over the course of several minutes is a lot less than if the Block Rate and Block Strength were equal or near enough.

Due to the way FFXIV works, Enmity is calculated a bit differently than some games. To make it as easy as possible the developers made Enmity a simple function of a 1:1 ratio of Damage to Enmity. Meaning that a single point of damage is equal to a single point of Enmity. A player who inflicts 150 points of damage will incur 150 points of Enmity, which is simple enough to understand. Heals are worth on average half of what is healed, so a heal of 150 would equal 75 points of Enmity. GLA’s main combo has two Weapon Skills with enmity modifiers for their combo bonus. For example, Savage Blade has an enmity modifier of “x3”. So if a GLA were to deal 150 damage while using Savage Blade in a combo, the Enmity value would be equal to three times that damage. In this case, the damage value would remain as 150 and would not change, but the Enmity received would be 450 Enmity. In this way it’s easy to see how a GLA could easily hold hate from some of the strongest DPS in the game. For a short primer on Enmity, follow this link: enmity or the one above.

With Sword and Shield equipped a GLA is the King of Mitigation, taking the least amount of damage than any other, save their Job Paladin. As all GLA eventually don the mantle of the Paladin, it is this path that any player wishing to be a tank and take the least amount of damage should strive to undergo. They may not have the largest HP pool, or be able to easily heal themselves, but a GLA can take a beating and make it seem trivial because of its great capacity to mitigate. GLA is capable of both Parrying and Shield Blocking, along with their heavy armor, they make good tanks. However, as the player’s skill improves, GLA and their Job Paladin, eventually begin to show signs of confinement. While GLA and eventually Paladin are easy to get into, simplistic jobs with good mitigation, they pale in comparison to a properly geared and skilled Warrior. The difference however is entirely reliant on the player’s skill, as Warrior has much more to do and therefore requires more knowledge and skill to perform on the same level as a Paladin would already be performing at. While Paladin starts out at a higher baseline, they have less room to grow and because of this a well played Warrior will outstrip the well played Paladin simply because it has much more room to grow and become stronger based on the skill of the player. With that said, GLA and Paladin are still excellent tanks and are a great introduction to tanking in FFXIV.

GLA are not to be considered DPS, though they can put out a small amount in a pinch. Generally however, GLAs are rarely – if ever – seen outside of their Job, Paladin. This is because Paladin provides a wide range of enhancements without any downsides. In fact with Paladin, a GLA is capable of doing more damage than if they were on their class (GLA) with DPS cross-class abilities equipped. This is due to Paladin’s Sword Oath, which gives nearly +60% damage to each auto attack. And as Paladin (and GLA) have the fastest hitting weapons for auto attacks, this damage adds up over time and is constant so long as the mob is within range and the player is facing them.

Below you’ll find the listing of GLAs skills, their descriptions, a note about their utility and how good or bad they may be to utilize, as well as any relevant cool down information.

Fast Blade

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 1
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 150.
  • Casting Time: Instant
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 70 TP
  • Notes: Fast Blade is the beginning of the Rage of Halone (ROH) combo, better known as GLA’s “only” real combo, being both the highest damage combo and the one that triggers their enmity combo effects. Fast Blade however has no enmity bonus, or any bonus of any kind and has a high TP cost as well. But it is a necessary evil, however make sure to remember that it has no special properties and is only used to trigger the next skills, which will trigger extra enmity.

Rampart

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 2
  • Description: Reduces damage taken by 10%.
  • Casting Time: Instant
  • Duration: 20 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 90 Seconds (1 Minute & 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Rampart is the bread and butter of what it means to be a GLA. At Level 2 it only has 10% mitigation but at Level 14 it gets an Enhanced Rampart trait that *doubles* the mitigation to 20%. Providing a good size mitigation, especially when paired with Paladin’s Shield Oath. Being able to execute this every minute and a half brings a great deal of mitigation to GLA’s already stocked arsenal, allowing it to smooth the damage curve on the strongest of bosses. Rampart should be used whenever it’s up, cycled in with other mitigating cool downs so that it is always on cool down unless otherwise needed. It’s fast cool down allows it to be used several times in any given encounter of sufficient difficulty and thus saving it is ill advised as it will only lead to a greater amount of total damage taken during the encounter. That is of course, as previously said, if it is not needed as part of something more dangerous, something that may lead to death such as Twintania’s Death Sentence or Nael Deus Darnus’ Raven’s Beak / Raven’s Blight.

Savage Blade

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 4
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Additional Effect: Increased enmity (x3).
  • Casting Time: Instant
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: 200 Potency
  • Notes: The first enmity building skill that GLA gets. Savage Blade is weak by itself, weaker than Fast Blade when not in a combo. However in a combo it is quite a bit stronger, as well as offers a x3 Enmity modifier. Savage Blade is part of the ROH combo and as such can be expected to be used thousands of time in any player’s lifetime as a GLA or Paladin. It also has a very short animation, which means that the effect is applied almost immediately. This is useful on mobs or bosses where grabbing a large chunk of enmity quickly is important. While a combo’d Rage of Halone may net more enmity, it’s animation is incredibly long and the effect is only applied at the *end* of the animation. Meaning that while you may land the attack, the mob will wander to whomever hits it even for nearly a full second after you land the effect. This makes Savage Blade all the more important to use in a skillful fight where picking up adds quickly and keeping them still is paramount to survival.

Fight or Flight

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 6
  • Description: Increases physical damage dealt by 30%.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 20 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 90 Seconds (1 Minute & 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Fight or Flight is the best way to secure high Enmity in the beginning of a fight, or when battling to stay ahead of the belligerent DPS or healers in the group. Because it raises damage dealt by 30% and lasts for 20 seconds it also increases Enmity gained by 30% for all damaging skills. Being able to grab 30% more Enmity on a Savage Blade can make a quick difference in the life of a DPS and will make what could have been a dead healer, into a hale and healthy one, *without* a monster chewing on their face. Later on Fight or Flight gets a trait called Enhanced Fight or Flight extending the duration by 10 seconds for a total of 30 seconds of +30% physical damage. This skill should be kept on cool down, and is best paired with the cross-class skill of Bloodbath since they have the same cool down time and there’s no reason not to take the 25% conversion of physical damage to HP when the you’re already dealing 30% more damage. Doing it at any other time would be foolish and would make little sense. To help with this, a combined macro can be used to save space:
/micon “Fight or Flight”
/ac “Fight or Flight” <me> 
/ac “Bloodbath” <me> 

By inputting a macro like the above, each on its own line you create one button for two skills. It will automatically take the image of Fight or Flight and show the cool down timer on it as well. Pressing the macro once will trigger Fight or Flight, and pressing it a second time will trigger Bloodbath. This is one of the few ways in FFXIV that a macro can help to not only simplify things, but also to provide higher efficiency so that you can focus on the task at hand, and not managing all your abilities, weapon skills or spells.

Enhanced Vitality

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 8
  • Description: Increases vitality by 2.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Nothing much to say about this, this is the first trait for VIT that GLA gets, giving them 2 more VIT. The first trait of three in total, giving the equivalent of 29 HP.

Flash

  • Type: Spell
  • Level Acquired: Level 8
  • Description: Increases enmity in all nearby enemies.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 8 MP (Base)
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Flash is GLA and Paladin’s go to for crowd control and AOE enmity gathering. Though it is weaker than other skills in some ways, it has its own benefits. Flash by itself at this level isn’t that impressive. However at Level 20 when GLA gets Enhanced Flash the Blind effect helps quite a lot in scenarios where a group of mobs is being gathered. Having them all blinded for 12 seconds, then 6 seconds then 3 seconds for a total of 21 seconds until they all resist is a full 21 seconds of lowered accuracy, making for quite a few misses and a lot of reduced damage intake. Seeing as this is also used for enmity grabbing of large groups of mobs, it makes the skill that much better. Since it doesn’t use TP however it can be used to gain more enmity when either Pacified or elsewise unable to execute a Weapon Skill, or doing so would be unwise.

Flash’s Enmity works differently than other skills, rather than having a set amount it’s based heavily off of your stats. Weapon Damage, first and foremost affects the amount of enmity gained from Flash, then Strength, and finally Determination. No other stat or influence affects the enmity return of Flash. A common misconception is that the Blind effect provides additional enmity, but this has been shown to be false. Another benefit is that while healing’s enmity is spread across all engaged enemies, Flash hits every enemy for the same enmity. So if there are 10 enemies grouped up and a heal of 1,000 HP is landed, that 500 Enmity is divided by the number of enemies alive and engaged on the target list. In this case, each mob would have 50 points of Enmity towards the healer. If a single Flash generates 500 Enmity, then the GLA or Paladin would have 450 more Enmity than the healer. Additionally, Flash is an AOE centered on the caster, meaning even if the odd collision of FFXIV causes mobs to spread out in a circle, all of them within a certain range will be affected, making it a lot easier and less work to tag and secure enmity on many mobs at once. This exhibits another way that GLA avails itself as a good starting tank.

Convalescence

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 10
  • Description: Increases HP recovery via healing magic by 20% for self.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 20 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 120 Seconds (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Convalescence is one of the sorts of skills that requires communication to use, or knowing when a healer is going to be dropping heals onto the player. It wouldn’t do to have nearly topped HP and taking little damage to pop Convalescence, only to have one or two heals at most land. That would be a waste and considering the two minute recast of the ability, should not be wasted so frivolously. Good communication can ensure that the healers are able to use less MP, while healing for more than they usually would. At Level 32 GLA gets a boost to Convalescence through Enhanced Convalescence which adds another 10% curing boost bringing the total to +30% healing magic HP cured.

It should be noted that this works only on curing magic such as Physick, Cure, Embrace, and any other spell that cures HP through Healing Potency and not a skill such as Second Wind, Bloodbath, or a spell such as Stoneskin. So keep in mind when to use it and be sure to let your healers know. A good way to do it would be to make a handy macro for it:

/micon “Convalescence”
/ac “Convalescence” <me>
/p Using Convalescence! Incoming Heals are buffed for 20 seconds!

Doing so will alert your party without having to constantly type it out. If you’re using a VOIP like Mumble, Teamspeak, Raid Call or Ventrilo, then you don’t need to say anything either, simplifying matters for both yourself and your healers. It is up to your personal preference to put a “call” or “sound effect” in there, such as “<se12>” to make a noise to alert people to the chat that you are using Convalescence. Some groups find this obnoxious or annoying, while others find it helpful, always be sure to check with your group before using a lot of sound effects in a macro, so as to prevent annoying them. There are enough tanks who feel they deserve whatever they ask for, please do not help to perpetuate the stereotype that tanks are divas who must get everything their way.

Riot Blade

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 12
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: 80 TP
  • Combo Bonus: 230 Potency | Restores MP
  • Notes: This is the only Weapon Skill that GLA gets that does something other than garners additional enmity. And this is why most people say GLA only has “one” combo, in part because it’s true, it splits off at Fast Blade but it’s not a 3 part combo like the ROH one, instead Riot Blade is only a 2 part combo, unlike every other combo in the game by a melee. Riot Blade has a high TP cost because it restores MP, which is primarily used by Flash. The amount of MP restored is fixed and based on the your level so it will never rise above a certain amount until there is some sort of change in the level cap. At Level 50 it restores just shy of enough MP for a single Flash. Typically Riot Blade is used between Flashes to keep MP regeneration up so that Flash can continually be interspersed between each Weapon Skill. The order would look something like this: Flash → Fast Blade → Flash → Riot Blade → and then repeat. By doing this you maintain a high amount of Flashes to keep enmity glued to you, but you also work in Riot Blade’s MP recovery. This is one of the most effective and efficient ways to hold a group of mobs against hard hitting AOE DPS and the heals that are needed from tanking a large group of mobs.

Since GLA and Paladin both get no real reliable AOE abilities other than Flash, Riot Blade is the only logical choice to use between Flashes as nothing else would be nearly as effective. That is, of course on any group of mobs over three. Three or under and utilizing the ROH combo with Flash interspersed is the best way to secure hate and keep it on you, but above three mobs and the GCD becomes so long and the amount of enmity capable of being spread through single target so thin that Flash’s enmity easily beats it out. Not to mention the sheer ease of constantly pressing a single button, compared to constantly watching enmity bars and switching between three targets trying to keep them all glued to you. But it’s good to conserve MP when possible as it regenerates slowly and if there’s only a few mobs between large groups, then it’s in your best interest to make sure to let your MP regenerate in between those pulls so there is enough to use on them. Else you’ll find yourself bottoming out your MP quickly and ending up losing hate and getting somebody killed. Or get yourself killed because a healer is afraid to cure you for fear of pulling hate. Enmity is always at the foremost thought of any tank, and all the ways to make sure to stay ahead in enmity is one of the cornerstones of being a tank in FFXIV, but also in any game.

Enhanced Rampart

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 14
  • Description: Increases damage reduction granted by Rampart to 20%.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 20 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 90 Seconds (1 Minute & 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This doubles the mitigating power of Rampart to 20%, up from 10%. It is one of the trademark abilities of GLA, allowing them to have it up at a high consistency and paired with their high mitigation give them even less incoming damage. Though it’s only 20% it is far from weak, with a proper party setup and Paladin being used with Rampart active and a Warrior utilizing Storm’s Path you have -20% Damage Reduction from Shield Oath, -10% Damage Reduction from Storm’s Path and -20% Damage Reduction from Rampart. All adding up to a relatively powerful damage reduction equal to roughly 46% mitigation. While mitigation suffers from Diminishing Returns often referred simply as “DR” the -10% from Storm’s Path is a debuff on the mob itself and thus reducing outgoing damage by 10% and is unaffected by the DR of stacking mitigating buffs, making it a bit stronger than it would otherwise, by around 4%.

Shield Lob

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 15
  • Description: Delivers a ranged attack with a potency of 120. Additional Effect: Increased enmity (x3).
  • Casting Time: Animation (When Shield hits the Mob)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 120 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Shield Lob has a range of 15 yalms, which is fairly far, but less than most Classes or Jobs are capable of landing attacks. It’s high TP cost is because it can instantly deal x3 Enmity as damage without requiring a combo and it can do so at range. It’s commonly used to pull, or used while kiting to keep ahead of mobs. Overall it’s a very useful skill but can quickly deplete TP due to its excessive cost. Considering it’s quick nature one might think that it would provide a faster Enmity raise than doing the slower, but higher potency combo. This is in fact untrue, but only by a small margin, tha tis only widened when ROH is actually used as part of the 3 part combo. With only Savage Blade and Fast Blade being used, they barely eke out ahead of Shield Lob for Enmity/Sec generation, or EPS. However they are massively more efficient in terms of TP expenditure, and as such should always be used unless a quick burst of enmity with no regard for TP is needed.

Keep in mind as well that all ranged attacks only actually ‘hit’ and are counted until the animation itself touches the mob. Which means the entire time that the shield is sailing through the air towards your target, any other enmity generated by other players will pull the mob to them instead of you, until that shield connects. Some animations and some skills are like this for all classes, but it is particularly annoying since you are essentially penalized for having a mob farther away from you. The animation is less than a second long, but depending on the range, not much less, which makes for a relatively long wait to acquire and secure hate. Because of this, Shield Lob should only be used, or primarily used, for pulling and securing a quick burst of initial hate from gung ho DPS and overprotective healers.

Enhanced Vitality II

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 16
  • Description: Increases vitality by 4.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Doubles the bonus VIT to GLA by 2, bringing the total to 4. This is not to be confused with adding 4 VIT *on top of* the already acquired 2 VIT from Enhanced Vitality I. These traits do not stack, they merely replace the previous one. Which means that the 4 VIT from this accounts for 58 HP of a GLA’s HP. Rather than 87 HP.

Shield Bash

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 18
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 110. Additional Effect: Stun
  • Casting Time: Instant
  • Duration: 3 Seconds
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 150 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Shield Bash is one of the best abilities GLA gets. It’s the only Class or Job that can repeatedly stun. Taking into the way FFXIV deals with DR, half then quarter than resist, we get 6 seconds, then 3 seconds, then 1 second of stun for a total of 10 seconds (with the Enhanced Shield Bash trait at Level 36) of one immobilized mob that cannot attack or move. In fact this ability is so clutch that in Turn 5 of The Binding Coil of Bahamut, a Paladin is practically needed during the Twister Phase in order to stun-lock an add that comes down. Without being stun-locked that add will instantly kill the person it comes into contact with. Unfortunately it’s obscenely high TP cost is justified for what it can do, and being able to stun any ability on any mob that is susceptible is something a GLA or Paladin should get used to doing. Being able to repeatedly stun lock is a tactic that should be learned and honed for each applicable encounter because the success of the encounter usually revolves around properly being able to stun a dangerous move. However, most end game encounters and mobs of any difficulty are immune to stun and pretty much any (or all really) debuffs, which makes something incredibly useful (preventing damage and monster attacks for at least 6 seconds) do little more damage than an auto attack.

Shield Bash should also be used when you cannot immediately grab enmity back (after it has been lost) or you simply don’t think you can beat out the initial few second enmity generation of another Class or Job for that particular mob. In that case, using Shield Bash to stun the mob can serve one of two purposes. One, you can stun lock it for up to ten seconds, and if your group’s DPS is good enough, the mob very well might be dead, resulting in no damage taken and no real need to tank on your part. Two, you can use the initial six second stun to lock the mob in place, preventing it from running off to a ranged DPS or healer, or whomever really, and instead of chasing it and trying to execute your enmity combo only to have it fail due to latency or server glitches based on distance, you’ll have it locked in front of you to wail on to your heart’s content. You should have just enough time to hit Fast Blade then Savage Blade before the stun wears off, if it did not completely pull hate to you by that point, another stun followed by a lone Rage of Halone should pull hate back and keep it glued long enough to repeat the combo properly.

Enhanced Flash

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 20
  • Description: Adds Blind effect to Flash.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 12 Seconds
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 8 MP (Base)
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This is the update to Flash that gives it the Blind effect, making the single most useful AOE ability given to GLA, even more useful. As already stated, the blind can last for a total of 21 seconds combined, which gives a relatively moderate effect. This blind effects makes it easier to dodge attacks and is better than any block or parry could ever hope to offer, as you’ll avoid all damage.

Provoke

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 22
  • Description: Gesture threateningly, increasing enmity in target.
  • Casting Time: Instant
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 40 Seconds
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: With a reach of max casting distance of 25 yalms, Provoke has an incredibly long reach. However, despite what the description says, this is not the Provoke from FFXI. It is not used to consistently raise enmity and keep hate, but rather used to steal hate or tank swap in some way. What Provoke does exactly is gives you the highest Enmity +1. So whomever has the largest Enmity that is attacking the mob, once you Provoke it, you will have their Enmity +1. This ability is the single reason that tank swapping can occur as it lets one tank instantly have all the enmity another tank has at the push of a button. It also lets a tank provoke off a DPS or healer who happens to have a good deal more enmity than you, and is useful in pulling due to its long range, allowing a pull to start followed by a Shield Lob to secure enmity. Many players will recognize this as a “taunt” where it forces the mob’s attention to you, which is similar but not exactly accurate as it only gives +1 Enmity on top of whomever has the highest. So if nobody is attacking, or a DPS or healer only happens to be a few points of enmity above yourself and you use Provoke to pull the mob back, just about any action from said people will pull hate yet again. This is also useful for when a tank dies and they lose all their accrued Enmity, a single Provoke once they’re alive allows them to not only recapture all that lost Enmity but also to resume tanking without having to constantly struggle for Enmity. Of course in FFXIV, the struggle or mechanics of Enmity are simplistic and at end game any struggle for Enmity is usually non-existent.

Enhanced Vitality III

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 24
  • Description: Increases vitality by 6.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: As with the other stat traits, this one replaces the others for a total of 6 VIT added, rather than *adding 6 VIT* to the last trait. Because VIT does nothing but give HP, this provides a GLA with an additional 87 HP. And as the maximum current trait for Enhanced Vitality, this is all the extra HP a GLA can expect to get from traits alone.

Rage of Halone

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 26
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Additional Effect: Increased enmity (x5).
  • Casting Time: Animation (Exceptionally Long, triggers at the final hit)
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: 260 Potency | Reduces target’s STR by 5%.
  • Notes: Rage of Halone, also known as ROH is the strongest Weapon Skill GLA gets, dealing 260 potency when under the effect of combo bonus. It’s also the highest Enmity modifier for GLA, clocking in at a massive quintuple Enmity. This means that even without being part of a combo, ROH applies more Enmity than any other skill GLA has at their disposal. This would be used all the time for a quick burst of Enmity considering how low cost it is and how much Enmity it nets, even with the 100 potency. However because the Weapon Skill’s application is oddly tied to the animation, and because the animation itself is very long, the Enmity and thus damage is not applied until the final hit, which introduces some odd lag with Enmity. This usually causes a mob to hit a person or two, potentially killing them while you’re using ROH. Which, of course is incredibly annoying and why most skilled GLA will use Savage Blade first because even though it’s Enmity modifier is only x3 instead of x5, it goes off nearly instantly, preventing a ping pong effect where the mob bounces between people due to the Enmity applied from ROH taking so long to take effect.

This Weapon Skill will be your favorite go to for all of your career. Not only does it hit the hardest out of all your Weapon Skills, but it also adds the most Enmity *while also* reducing your target’s STR by 5%. Later on, at Level 40 GLA gets the Enhanced Rage of Halone trait that increases the STR reduction to 10%. This helps tremendously for physical attacks and being part of your main combo means that it should practically always be on the mob, thereby reducing damage, not quite by 10% but a decent amount. For physical damage at least. Paired with Marauder’s Storm’s Path they provide a decent mitigating force that can be constantly reapplied without any worry of DR, and furthermore can be kept on the mob or mobs with a 100% uptime, preventing a lot of damage in general, but particularly taking the edge off of hard hitting ‘tank killer’ moves such as Death Sentence and Raven’s Beak.

Enhanced Fight or Flight

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 28
  • Description: Extends Fight or Flight duration to 30 seconds.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 30 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 90 Seconds (1 Minute & 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This trait boosts Fight or Flight making it last quite a bit longer and in so doing gives GLA more time to restore a bit of HP when pairing FoF with Bloodbath, and allowing them to quickly build a great deal of Enmity by increasing their damage output by 30% for even longer. The more ROH combos inflicted while under the effect of Fight or Flight the quicker and more secure Enmity will be stuck to you and the less effort you’ll have to output in order to keep the angry mob(s) away from your party members who just don’t seem to ever pay much attention to the Enmity Gauges on the Party List. Though, to be completely honest, with Paladin’s Shield Oath and all things considered, there really isn’t much else for you to do but spam your ROH combo all day and all night. However, you should always take a care when Fight or Flight is up to make sure to stick to your ROH combo until it wears off, or to do so as much as possible, because spells like Flash, or using cures or stoneskin won’t give any more Enmity and doing those while under the influence of Fight or Flight is a waste of the ability and its potential for increased Enmity.

Shield Swipe

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 30
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 210. Can only be used immediately after blocking an attack. Additional Effect: Pacification
  • Casting Time: Instant
  • Duration: 6 Seconds
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 40 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Shield Swipe is one of the better Weapon Skills GLA has. In fact, it may not be entirely accurate to consider it a Weapon Skill because while it does trigger the GCD, it does not interrupt a combo, which is incredibly good news. Additionally, the Pacification effect means that any affected by Shield Swipe (and not immune which almost everything in end game is, rendering this skill 99% useless) will be unable to use any Weapon Skills, thus reducing damage and preventing potentially dangerous skills from happening. At least, that is what I’d like to be able to tell you. The truth of it is, as I already stated, that at end game, where most skills like this would be incredibly useful, the bosses and even the adds in those encounters are all immune to debuffs such as this. That effectively makes two of GLA’s most useful abilities effectively useless, though Shield Swipe is still a high amount of damage at 210 potency, without any Enmity modifier attached and with no chance to Pacify any worthwhile target it’s mostly used to help a tank continue to deal damage without emptying out their TP. Because the TP efficiency is so high, it allows them to actually regenerate TP through their normal combat regeneration.

Though normally a GLA will never run out of TP unless they’re using cross-class skills like Fracture for additional damage as Fracture is a very costly attack and on any Class but Marauder is lacking 12 seconds of DOT ticking which diminishes the utility and strength of Fracture for other Classes, quite considerably, though not to the point that they’re useless. GLA does not have a lot of skills that need to be kept up, and so Fracture is a nice way to add a touch of damage and a bit extra Enmity from that damage, but nothing more and definitely not required. Later on I’ll get into what cross-class skills and abilities should be equipped and what their use is.

Enhanced Convalescence

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 32
  • Description: Improves the HP recovery increase granted by Convalescence to 30%.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: 20 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 120 Seconds (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Enhanced Convalescence brings up the curing buff from 20% to 30% making it half as strong as it was (a gain of 50%). With this, healers will be able to cure for more while not expending any more MP, when used with proper communication or with a macro that was showed above with Convalescence, the skill becomes much more useful. It can be used to let a White Mage continue to cast Cure when they would normally cast Cure II, saving them a good bit of MP in the process. The same goes for Scholar and Physick versus Adloquium.

Awareness

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 34
  • Description: Nullifies chance of suffering critical damage.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 15 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 120 Seconds (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Awareness used to be one of the most useless abilities, namely because it worked to prevent any critical from happening, not just damage. Which meant a healer could not potentially score a crit heal. Which meant that you weren’t able to get stronger heals from a Scholar who relies primarily on critical builds in order to increase their overall healing prowess. With one of the first updates to the game Awareness was fixed but still had a hard time finding its niche. This issue was caused by absolutely none of the mobs in Turns 1-5 of The Binding Coil of Bahamut being able to perform critical hits. And while in a dungeon, that isn’t considered end game mobs could crit, Featherfoot was often perceived as better because it increased Evasion by 15% and nullifying any damage whatsoever always has led to more damage reduction overall versus preventing critical damage for a short period of time.

While mobs can resume critical hits in The Second Coil of Bahamut, Awareness now has a place among end game, though the short duration and the sheer low critical hit rate of every end game, and non-end game boss or mob in the game make it much less useful than one would think. There are no abilities yet that increase critical hit rate for a mob, which renders Awareness of middling utility. At best it gets used by itself when no other buff is up, or it gets paired with another, weaker defensive buff, like Foresight, to make both equal something more than the sum of their parts.

Enhanced Shield Bash

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 36
  • Description: Extends Stun duration inflicted by Shield Bash to 6 seconds.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 6s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 150 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This upgrade doubles the duration of Stun, from 3s to 6s max. And because of the way Diminishing Returns works, it effectively doubles the total time any given mob can be stunned. From a maximum of 5 seconds (3+1+1) for the unenhanced Shield Bash to a maximum of 10 seconds (6+3+1). All in all, a great enhancement to an already great Weapon Skill, even taking into account the high probability nearly everything in end game will be immune to it.

Sentinel

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 38
  • Description: Reduces damage taken by 30%.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 10 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 180 Seconds (3 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Sentinel is the strongest mitigating ability in the game when you discount Paladin’s Hallowed Ground. It is capable of reducing all incoming damage, both magical and otherwise, even relatively ‘unknown’ damage types by 40% (only exception being something like Everyone’s Grudge and moves like it). It is balanced by having a very short duration of only ten seconds and a recast of three minutes. This, along with Paladin’s Hallowed Ground are the two main abilities that any GLA (and Paladin) should hold until they are needed. They are excellent to use when MP is low, or when a big hit is coming to more than halve the incoming damage when paired with Shield Oath.

Sentinel is a potent but short lived ability and should be treated carefully because of that. By all means it needs to be used at strategic points or moments of, “I’m going to die!” As long as you keep that in mind, Sentinel will serve you well, but remember that like most abilities in this game there is a slight animation delay or lag, and to trigger the ability a half second or more (depending on your latency) so that you are under its effects by the time the damage starts coming your way. If not, you’ll take full, unmitigated damage but still waste the CD and can potentially die at that point as well. As if the other two problems weren’t bad enough.

Enhanced Rage of Halone

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 40
  • Description: Increases strength reduction inflicted by Rage of Halone to 10%.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Long, only applies at the final hit)
  • Duration: 20 Seconds
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: 260 potency |Reduces target’s STR by 10%.
  • Notes: The best buff to Rage of Halone possible, besides making it stronger of course. The further reduction of STR helps a GLA to stay alive longer by weakening the physical attacks (which are the main source of damage and death to a tank) of the given mob(s) or boss. It also scales excellently, and comparatively is stronger versus the more powerful monsters which have a load of STR to back up their powerful abilities. Though we cannot see what their STR values, so we cannot be sure that Weapon Damage instead is what fuels their high powered attacks, anecdotal evidence shows a decent difference in damage incurred on hard hitting bosses like Twintania with the STR down debuff inflicted.

Tempered Will

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 42
  • Description: Immediately cures Bind and Heavy, while preventing knockback and draw-in effects.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 10 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 180 Seconds (3 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Tempered Will is one of those niche abilities, useful for only some abilities by mobs and mostly best utilized when doing annoying Dailies or something of that sort in a Beastman Stronghold. This is because Tempered Will removes the incredibly annoying Heavy debuff planted on you while you’re running through trying to finish a quest or a beastman daily quest on a chocobo or any other mount. This allows you to jump off and remove it before sprinting so you can quickly be on your way again, while the other Classes have to either erase it or suffer through the heavy effect which apparently has no DR and continually reapplies with maximum duration.

The reason this ability is nigh useless in combat is that any ability that will typically move you, is one you want to avoid anyways because the damage dealt is something that is usually avoidable. With there being only two known exceptions; one being, Twintania Divebombs, while you’ll want to avoid them as much as possible, many strategies call for the tank to run out and grab the new snake adds as fast as possible and there is a chance they will be hit by a Divebomb during that time. Tempered Will assures that they’ll only take damage and won’t be knocked into the wall of fire and die instantly. The other instance is in Turn 9 during Heavensfall or Iron Chariot, but mostly Heavensfall. As Heavensfall is a completely unavoidable skill that hits the whole arena, not having to move so that Nael stays still and you’re able to continue to DPS and build Enmity is a good time to use Tempered Will, allowing you to avoid one out of the two Heavensfalls that should occur. The other is Iron Chariot which you should easily be able to avoid, but if not, or you have to secure hate and don’t want Nael running around the arena, it would be useful there. There are other niche places to use it at, like Titan to avoid being knocked off by an accidental landslide or Leviathan’s body slam. However both are completely avoidable and generally if you are caught in them, it’s too late to remember to hit Tempered Will before the ability goes off as it only *prevents* Knock Back and Draw In, but does not stop them while they’re mid-progress.

Enhanced Awareness

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 44
  • Description: Extends Awareness duration to 25 seconds.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 25 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 120 Seconds (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Adding ten seconds to the fifteen second duration of normal Awareness, Enhanced Awareness brings the ability out of near uselessness and into the light of mediocrity. It still isn’t anything to write home about, but twenty five seconds of guaranteed no critical hits is far from useless. With the additional uptime it becomes a mildly effective means of reducing damage as there’s a larger window for crits to occur in, but there is still a great deal of room for improvement.

Bulwark

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 46
  • Description: Increases block rate by 60%.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 15 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 180 Seconds (3 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Bulwark, at first blush looks to be an absolutely incredible skill. After all most people would look at the 60% and presume that it adds to their already existing Block Rate, which most GLA or Paladins at 50 with proper gear would have in the neighborhood of 25% Block Rate. Adding them together we get 85% Block Rate. Unfortunately this is not how Bulwark works, it instead increases your *current* Block Rate by 60%. An easier way to understand this is to say that it increases your current Block Rate by 1.6, which is the same as saying “Block Rate x 1.6” and in the case such as this where you already have 25% Block Rate, activating Bulwark will net you 40% Block Rate. Still a significant boost, just not as high as many people believe it to be.

However with a proper build and good shield Bulwark can greatly help to mitigate damage and help to trigger Shield Swipes on a reasonably consistent basis. Bulwark however is a RNG type of skill (Random Number Generator) meaning that there is only an increase in the chance to Block, and still entirely plausible for you to miss ten or more chances to block in a row, thus killing you if you were relying solely upon Bulwark for damage mitigation. This is why pairing certain skills or abilities together is so key. Pairing Bulwark with weaker but still effective skills will help to cover in case Bulwark fails to make your shield block proc, while also reducing the total damage incurred. The encounter will dictate the type of combination, but a preferred one is Bulwark and Foresight, or Bulwark and Awareness. That way if a Shield Block does occur, it can reduce further damage, and if not then there is some mitigation effect ongoing to prevent further harm to you. As long as you keep in mind that it is only an increase to the chance to Shield Block, then you’ll be able to use it properly. It is also good to keep in mind that Bulwark effective raises your Block Rate (depending on your shield this will change) anywhere between 2%~5% if it is used on cool down every time it comes back up. However because some areas of end game fights are more dangerous than others, it would often be best to wait until you are familiar with the fight before keeping Bulwark on cool down, and only if you do not expressly need it for an upcoming part of the encounter.

Enhanced Sentinel

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 48
  • Description: Increases damage reduction granted by Sentinel to 40%.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 10 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 180 Seconds (3 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: An additional bonus of 10% mitigation to Sentinel gives it a crazy powerful boost even more than it had before. The implications of this should be so obvious nothing more needs to be said. It turns an excellent ability even better when properly utilized and timed. Though keep in mind that it is still only ten seconds long and so it must be properly timed or else a great deal of the mitigation is wasted.

Circle of Scorn

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 50
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100 to all nearby enemies. Additional Effect: 30 potency DOT.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 15 Seconds
  • Recast Time: 25 Seconds
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: The only DOT that GLA naturally gets, and AOE as well. It’s a circular skill centered around the player which gives you a decent range, which is quite a few yalms further than Flash’s range. This can be used to pull or initially grab hate from multiple mobs at once, followed quickly by a Flash. Because Circle of Scorn does not rely on the GCD or MP, or TP of any sort it can be used whenever you wish, usually best weaved between GCD skills in order to maximize its effectiveness. Though there are some cases where it’s simply best to use Circle of Scorn first off.

Because it’s off GCD and costs nothing, there is absolutely no reason not to keep COS off cool down, which means to use it as soon as the ability is usable. However keep in mind that it is an AOE and will wake up any mobs nearby, in some cases where you sleep mobs to run past in certain speed runs, or the Cyclops in Turn 7 need to be petrified, make sure to avoid using COS in situations like that. More than once I’ve seen a Paladin use COS just as a Renaut was popping behind him, it instantly aggroed him and one shot him for 30,000 damage and the party wiped.


And that very long list is all of the GLA skills that are currently in the game. Seeing as a skill, trait, ability or spell is typically gotten an average of every two levels for most jobs, there will be quite a lot more to add once the level cap of the game is raised. That being said, GLA is rarely used by itself. One rarely mentions GLA without mentioning Paladin. And that is the next section we’ll cover, Paladin and the Job related skills obtained therein!

Paladin

The Paladin (PLD) is a stalwart ally, a knight waiting to protect those who cannot defend themselves. Normally in the world of Final Fantasy a PLD is one who wields White Magic, but in FFXIV they have largely hamstrung PLD’s ability to cure themselves. They have no innate curing spells like in 1.0 and their cures are so weak as to be laughable and useless unlike most other Final Fantasies, including FFXI. And so PLD is left with mostly being the best at mitigating damage and occasionally using Stoneskin for (at current HP levels as of 2.28) an ~800 HP shield. This is a highly unfortunate side effect of having too many members in a party, with FFXIV: ARR being one of the few games that has a single party at eight people, much larger than FFXI’s 6 person party and double what most games allow in a standard party setup. Due to this each role needs to be firmly cemented, and because of that belief Healers have to be insured to be needed, while other games may have the Tank taking a large amount of damage, if they are left unaided for a few seconds they are usually okay. In FFXIV: ARR the way the systems are made is that the bosses deal such high amounts of damage that without a Healer consistently targeting and healing the Tank, said Tank would die in short order, and often times there is a requirement to have two Healers who can alternate and cast heals reliably and continually in a chain on both the party proper and the Tank(s).

This was a requirement due to the larger party size to discourage people from odd setups with only a single healer and more damage dealers in order to skip certain phases of content or alter the way the devs thought players should proceed in their battles. This is evidenced quite clearly when we see players coming up with Single Healer or Single Tank strategies that completely break what the devs obviously intended and allow players to clear content with less difficulty over some of the mechanics.

As an aside, this is also the result of a mechanic-heavy game based upon memorization and rehearsed movement. Because of the movements and mechanisms of each boss fight in the game it is required for players to both memorize the movements and when certain mechanics will be triggered and then to rehearse how they should move and deal with them, all the while maintaining the maximum efficacy of their specific role. Because of this the mechanics in FFXIV: ARR have grown enormously towards the side of “unrecoverable” in terms of mechanics.

Should a single person make a mistake or something of the like the whole party is unable to recover from it and it hampers both progression and capacity to learn and grow, instead people get hung up on small mechanics that are reduced to simplistic Pass or Fail checks. By doing this SE has made it so that only very specific combinations of a party should be possible to succeed and by altering that party setup they have designed the fights to encourage (quite emphatically) a wipe, in order to stop people from attempting such. This is evidenced in the fact that the game doesn’t actually *need* two Tanks most of the time, but because of the party size they’ve included a second Tank slot so people “had something to do” so to speak. This has resulted in relatively annoying and boring mechanics that involve Tank Swaps and stacking weaknesses inflicted on Tanks in order to force them to swap with another Tank and thus maintain the double Tank requirement of a party. But by doing this they have effectively hampered the ability for most players to think outside the box, and when players are capable of doing so, they generally break the fight(s) in such a way as to avoid the most devastating or annoying mechanics.

The major point to take away is that people would not actively seek to break and make fights easier like this if the mechanics *were* recoverable, or they increased the difficulty of the fight but allowed the party to continue on. At least then the average group would not repeatedly have to do the first few minutes of the same fight over and over until they get over the singular hurdle they have. If they were recoverable, groups could display their skill and capacity to problem-solve together in a team environment and create interesting strategies on the fly and specific to their situation. By making the mechanics recoverable people would experience more of the fights without having to get bored of certain sections and it’d reduce player fatigue as well as the relatively common in-fighting amongst groups that do this sort of content.

However, that is not the case and there is nothing that is currently being sought to remedy this, and most players erroneously led to believe that memorizing mechanics is a skill capable of being lauded. And so when any person attempts to raise this as an issue, the community reacts violently and decries the people or person making the accusation that they simply are not skilled and they do not want to see the game turned into something overtly easy. All the while not seeing that the game itself is incredibly easy, and most skilled players are able to breeze through the content, and learning the content itself is easier than many other games out there because it is simply a mechanical set of fights. Discover and beat the mechanic and the fight becomes easy, rigid and relatively lacking in fun but easy all the same.

Tangent aside, this accurately helps to explain why PLD is unable to cure themselves properly and instead are left with a secondary and not very potent option. This option is Stoneskin which creates a barrier equal to 10% of the PLDs current HP snapshot at the time of casting. However, this is easily overwritten by a WHM or healer and often ends up being done by one of the Healers in the party during difficult content. Because of this it makes it hard for a PLD to assist the Healer in their duties apart from Convalescence which cannot be used consistently enough to be considered beneficial to the role of the Healer. If the game had less players in a party or anything of the sort, then we could easily expect PLD to have potent cures that would allow them a greater depth and complexity and would finally put them back onto level footing with the unfortunately superior Warrior Tank Job. Having to time cures between strikes and use Riot Blade Combo in order to restore MP would help a PLD to add much needed complexity and depth without breaking out of their mold.

In fact it would help to strengthen the image of PLD as it was shown in other games, but for some reason is held back in FFXIV: ARR from being the Job it has always been. Not a single PLD uses Cure because of how impossibly weak it is, if it were stronger or PLD weapons had some form of Magic Damage on them in order to make them stronger with spells this might be different, but there is no sign that this is going to change or that SE sees any sort of issue with this and so we are left with a PLD who essentially cannot heal themselves in any content that is worthwhile to bring a PLD to in the first place. Instead they focus on all their multitude of mitigation techniques.

Everything that a GLA is, a PLD is and more. PLD takes GLA’s abilities and ups the ante by way of their various additional abilities, particularly and most importantly is Shield Oath, which passively reduces all forms of damage taken, increases Enmity by a fair margin (1.6x) for damaging abilities while reducing damage dealt by 20%. There’s no real reason why a PLD should have their already poor damage reduced, they have nowhere near the worry of eclipsing another DPS, and so reducing their damage feels silly and almost pedantic in a way. PLD has no real issue with Enmity aside from the starting volleys due to their lack of what’s often referred to as “Snap Threat / Enmity”.

Snap Enmity

What is Snap Enmity? Well, simply put it’s the capacity to generate a sizeable burst of Enmity in a very short period of time, this cannot be continued and so it’s like a sprint versus a marathon like normal accumulation of Enmity. Through doing this the Tank allows their DPS and Healers to go all out and attack or heal with reckless abandon, often used to try and kill an add before it triggers a powerful mechanic that causes an unrecoverable event. This is where PLD’s major failing is unfortunately as the only abilities PLD has that generate immediate Enmity are Shield Lob, Rage of Halone, Savage Blade, and Flash. Of these Rage of Halone is usually the strongest but it has a severe weakness in that it’s animation is incredibly long and the game waits for the animation to fully play out before the damage or Enmity is applied.

This means that when Rage of Halone is used to apply a large chunk of Enmity, the animation will go off but in the middle of it the mob will usually run off to whomever gained Enmity before the PLD was capable of finishing the animation. This occurs to the same extent with Shield Lob where the animation must first “hit” the mob before it’s counted, and so a mob can easily start attacking another player as the shield is thrown out through the animation. Savage Blade incurs much less Enmity than either but suffers from less issues as the above because it’s animation is relatively short but it does require close proximity and like the other skills only works on a single enemy at a time. Flash works on multiple enemies but its Enmity can be relatively weak and is not truly useful for Snap Enmity because it must be casted and costs MP which is quickly depleted before a large chunk of Enmity can be accumulated, it also resets the GCD making it hard to use as a skill to weave in between Weapon Skills, though not impossible, and a skilled PLD will use a Rage of Halone combo on the main mob in a group and weave Flash in between the Weapon Skills in order to maintain Enmity on both mobs but keeping the current focus on the singular one.

This keeps the DPS capable to attack the focused mob without worry of Enmity, and it allows the Healer to heal without worrying that the secondary mob is going to turn on him or her and attack because the Tank is keeping (to a lesser extent) Enmity up on that monster too. However, none of these generate large amounts of Snap Enmity in the way Warrior does.

Warrior is capable of pre-charging five stacks of Wrath and utilizing Steel Cyclone which has a large AOE and a high Enmity modifier in the range of 5-7x damage, with its potency being 200 and unaffected by the -25% damage of Defiance. So in reality it’s Enmity multiplier is anywhere between 10-14x damage, which is an incredibly high amount of Snap Enmity in a very short period of time. By pre-charging five stacks of Wrath necessary to get off Steel Cyclone, and sitting on Infuriate the WAR can invoke several options. For one, they can use Infuriate to generate five stacks of Wrath again and use Steel Cyclone yet again for the largest amount of single and AOE Snap Enmity possible in the game. Or, they can use Inner Beast to reduce damage taken while healing themselves a little and while making sure to deal a goodly bit of damage. Lastly, if their Enmity is sufficient but they are aware it will wane soon, they can use Unchained which frees them from the 25% damage penalty for a set period of time.

By pairing Unchained with Berserk, Maim and Storm’s Eye a WAR is capable of doing devastating amounts of damage, approaching that of a proper DPS almost (without any buffs for the DPS of course) which dramatically increases their Enmity. They can then use Overpower to hit all mobs with a conal skill that deals damage and has a x4 Enmity Modifier, or if they are attacking singular mobs they can go about their usual Enmity Combo and secure rock-solid Enmity in less than a ten seconds.

I would like to say that this is a niche event and that WAR lacks something PLD has, but aside from PLD’s ability to be invincible or nearly so for almost ten full seconds, PLD has nothing much on WAR’s capacity when played in the right hands. A relatively simple fix would be to give Circle of Scorn a large chunk of Enmity to it, giving a PLD a good tool for AOE Enmity and Snap Enmity at the same time like WAR has, but they do not allow that for whatever reason and seem to find PLD is fine as it is, and in many ways they *are* right. The need for very high Snap Enmity isn’t incredible, it is definitely nice and useful to have, but it does not specifically make or break a group, event or strategy. Something to keep note of is that PLD’s abilities are relatively straight forward, there’s nothing deep or complex about them. Some people will like that and others will hate it.

It’s completely up to the person but there are benefits and negatives alike to this sort of framing to the Job. The benefits is that PLD plays very proactively compared to WAR which is played far more reactively, though a good WAR knows how to be proactive at the right moments to get the most out of its skillset, by the large WAR is far more reactive than PLD. PLD has no real direct way of recovering HP unlike WAR, which has a few select ways, and while they’re weaker than they were before they certainly are nothing to scoff at. PLD is designed to be able to read the battle and see everything clearly, and without complex maneuvers needed or anything really aside from cycling through cool downs and doing the singular Rage of Halone combo to maintain Enmity, there’s really nothing much for PLD to do. You can try and get fancy by using Stoneskin when it’s possible to be used but it doesn’t help much and as it’s been stated it is often overwritten by a WHM or SCH doing their job.

But being able to survey the battlefield allows a PLD to act something like a commander if they’ve got the foresight and capacity to relay orders and watch for mechanics. This is one of the major benefits of being PLD; the ability to monitor the party and the field of battle to understand mechanics and learn what to do. By doing so you’re able to get a deeper understanding of what the fight is doing and how your friends and party members are carrying out, it’s a lot easier for a PLD than a WAR to do this because a WAR when played properly is always busy doing something while a PLD has time to read the battlefield while mechanically using their Rage of Halone combo and occasionally using their defensive abilities. Even if surveying the entire battle was too much for a PLD, they can monitor the boss that they’re tanking currently and begin to read and plot out the movements and mechanics that are used by that particular boss. In doing so they’re able to learn when to best use their defensive abilities and in future iterations of the fight they’ll be able to proactively use their defensive skills to greater and greater effect.

This is part of the memorization process of any particular fight, which almost all of them are heavily based on unrecoverable mechanics that need to be countered in some way to survive. By being a PLD you are able to have a less complex job and that affords more time to monitor and observe, allowing you to see when would be best to use specific abilities and when it’s safe to do something slightly reckless, like going to pick up a group of adds to take off your party members. If done properly you should be able to do so without drastically affecting the flow of the fight otherwise, while any Job can do this, PLD is much better suited due to their less demanding skills and combos.

By the same merit however, once the fight is memorized and you’re using Rampart, Sentinel, etc. all in the proper locations with maximum efficiency, there’s nothing else to do. Suddenly the extra time afforded and clarity of the Job becomes more and more boring and less useful. Pressing three buttons for the main combo with another few thrown in here and there to make sure to keep using those defensive skills and to use Shield Swipe when it procs is pretty much all the Job entails after you’ve memorized what you’re supposed to do in that specific fight. This is the fault that a lot of the community erroneously believes that PLDs in general are just bad players, but it’s largely untrue since even the best players are subject to boredom and the fatigue that playing something that allows them too much time without the capacity to actually *do* anything. This often makes even the most seasoned player slip up and miss something important in the midst of a battle because their brain has essentially gone on auto pilot as they do their Rage of Halone combo, Flash occasionally, use a defensive ability and the like.

But in a way it’s a good thing that PLD is less chaotic and reactionary than WAR, because it allows aspiring Tanks to first play PLD, get a feel for the Job and how it is to be responsible for holding the boss still while they gain experience and eventually master PLD, they can move onto a more demanding Job like WAR. Since WAR takes so much more concentration it can be said that PLD is a proper stepping stone to the more difficult and complex Job, with several more things to keep track of WARs generally have a harder time of using their abilities proactively, and save Vengeance or Inner Beast, most of WARs abilities are actually better suited to a reactionary approach instead. This gives the once time PLD player quite a lot more to do and allows them to build on their skills that they learned while a PLD. That isn’t to say that the player base despises PLDs or would prefer WARs at every turn.

That isn’t true, though it isn’t without some merit as a skilled WAR will always outshine a skilled PLD of similar capacity, simply because of the way the two Jobs were made. One is limited but stronger out of the gate and requires less understanding, less gear and less skill to play effectively, but because of this the Job (PLD) has less room for growth. It exists in a far more narrow band where it can do better or worse entirely dependent upon the player’s capacity. But there comes a point when no matter how good a player is the Job is simply holding them back and not allowing them to play to the full strengths of their skillset. It’s also true that some players are simply better at a slower, more relaxed Job than one that is much more chaotic and complex, and that should definitely be factored in when choosing a Job and playing it. Some play styles are just best for certain Jobs and don’t fit in well with others. If you like to make sure you know what’s going on and are able to use your abilities just before an attack comes, a PLD is usually best as a WAR is more focused on reacting to events than actively trying to prevent them from happening. To an extent WAR has this capacity but with so much going on it can be very hard to pull attention away from the myriad of responsibilities to be able to time abilities perfectly.

Aside from Inner Beast and Vengeance, the rest of the abilities are better suited to being used after something happens, though a smart WAR can of course use them proactively if they know how the fight is progressing and have the presence of mind to be able to pull off such maneuvers without interrupting their flow of combat. But it is quite a bit harder than PLD and not always as suited, whereas a PLD’s defensive abilities are best used prior to a big hit coming in, as it’ll be less effective once they’ve already been hit. It might prevent them from dying from the following attacks but those are generally weaker and it’s best to mitigate the largest, most devastating attacks rather than the flurry of weaker attacks, and by the time the next large attack comes the PLD, if they mistimed their use would likely not have any defensive ability to use and could die from the resulting full damage ability. While a WAR would have the sufficient HP to weather the additional damage and then could recover some of their HP through a few of their abilities.

Shields and You

Shields make up the bulk of what a PLD is iconically defined as, and they are great tools for both offense and defensive for a PLD. They are what draw a lot of people to the Job in fact, as many like the look and feel of a Knight. Furthermore, shields come in all sorts of sizes with a variety of different stats attached to them. While most of this was gone over in: Final Fantasy XIV - Stats more specifically under Shield Block the general gist is that a Shield should have a good frequency of blocking as well as a decent block strength.

A shield is absolutely useless and actually *weakens* you if it has LESS mitigation than a Parry, as a Shield Block supersedes a Parry. To put it simply, the easiest way to generally find the best of two shields with similar stats is to take both values of Rate and Strength, and add them together, making one sum for each shield. Then compare them, whichever shield has the higher sum is the one that is better 99% of the time. Only if they are equal do you continue to looking at the stats more in depth, does one offer Skillspeed while the other offers Parry? Such things like that will help you to determine which is best, as well as the weighting of their stats. Kite Shields, like the Holy Shield and High Allagan Kite Shield generally have equal stats, meaning Block Rate and Block Strength are equal to one another, which is usually the sign of a good shield. Otherwise you need to look at how often it activates by using the formulae previously listed above in the stats page.

Or simply look at the stats and if one seems abnormally high or low you can be it’s probably not the best shield. Having a balance is more important as it lowers the Damage Curve, which is just the plotting on a graph of the damage you take in any given encounter. By lowering the Damage Curve itself you’re able to make the Healer work less by incurring less damage overall. While a shield with a high Block Strength but low Block Rate may block nearly 40% of incoming damage, it activates so sparingly that from one encounter to the next the Healer is unable to count on you taking a certain degree of damage and instead has to assume you’re going to take the full value of damage and heal you as much as if you had a weaker shield.

Because of this there can be some merit to having lower Strength but higher Rate, so long as the mitigation amount from Block Strength does not dip below Parry’s mitigation amount and considering that the high strength and high rate shields are equal using the simple trick above, it’s almost always best to go with the lower strength and higher rate shield simply because it lowers your total Damage Curve much easier and helps the Healer to expect what sort of damage you’ll be taking. This isn’t by any means completely definitive but it does cover the majority of all scenarios.

Paladin Job Skills and Abilities

Unlike Classes, Jobs gain abilities, spells and weapon skills entirely through quests that belong to their quest chain. That is to say that the quest that initially unlocked the Job will continue every five levels thereafter until the current cap of level fifty is encountered. At level fifty the highest and usually best skills are imparted, as well as Artifact Armor, which is a decent starting point for most Jobs fresh to the cap of FFXIV: ARR, though the Item Level of such gear is woefully lacking compared to the highest sets currently in the game. Job abilities add to the niche utility of the Job, further strengthening it in that specific area and allowing it to perform its required duties far better than any Class could hope to do.

Jobs are unlockable at Level thirty and beyond and require the character to have two Classes unlocked and leveled, the Main Class needs to be Level thirty or higher and the Sub Class needs to be Level 15 or higher. The Main Class is where the Job takes all of its base abilities, spells, and weapon skills from and they do not count towards the additional Cross Class slots that the Job has available. However each Job only has two additional Classes that they can select Cross Skills from, which are skills, spells or abilities that are open to multiple other Classes from a specific Class. Such as Foresight or Cure for PLD, as Marauder and Conjurer are the only two Classes that PLD is capable of receiving Cross Class Skills from.

In order to unlock PLD you first need to have GLA to level thirty or higher, and have CNJ to fifteen or higher, it also helps immensely to have MRD up too as most of the abilities a PLD will find useful are pulled from MRD instead of CNJ as one would naturally think, but as we’ve already gone over CNJ and White Magic in general holds very little utility for PLD in its current state. Every five levels there is another quest for PLD and every five levels another ability is unlocked, to keep things simple the quests and acquisition is going to be left out, and it will be assumed that those reading this will be aware that the level stated to acquire the skill or ability does not mean that said ability is going to be automatically unlocked, but instead will understand that the quest must first be completed (and any previous in the line) in order to acquire the specific ability or skill. With that out of the way, we’ll dive right into PLD’s abilities and skills.

Sword Oath

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 30
  • Description: Increases the potency of auto-attacks by 50. Cannot be used with Shield Oath. Effect ends upon reuse.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: Persists through death. Deactivated by using Sword Oath again or switching to Shield Oath.
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 10 MP (Base MP)
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Sword Oath is a good boost to overall DPS, as PLD has the fastest swinging weapons in the game, the boost to auto attack is quite welcome and very potent. While 50 Potency may not seem like very much, considering that PLD’s normal auto attack is roughly 80 Potency, the augmentation of Sword Oath is well over a 50% boost to PLD’s auto attack damage. And while it may not seem like much, auto attack damage usually accounts for a total of 30-40% of most any physical job’s total damage. However, it’s not quite as potent because PLD is already quite weak, and though it does have fast sword swings, there’s really almost no case in which you’d use Sword Oath except when solo, and things when solo are so anemic that a combo and a half is usually enough to finish them off completely without even breaking a sweat. During that time there won’t be more than two to three auto attack actions going off and so as you can see Sword Oath isn’t quite as useful. If it perhaps augmented all other attacks as well, then it’d be fairly strong and would have a chance to be considered potent and useful in some setting, but as it stands the things a PLD would *not* use Shield Oath in are usually events or encounters that are so easy that Sword Oath is also useless.

With so little in the game being soloable or remotely low-manned, Sword Oath remains cast to the wayside collecting dust. While its buff is relatively significant to the auto attack, the majority of the damage does not come from auto attacks and therefore it manages to weaken itself. The only other possible use for Sword Oath could be in an Off Tank strategy where there are no dangerous AOEs going off and no quick Tank Swaps needed, because if there were the risk of Tanking with Sword Oath instead of Shield Oath is too great to risk the very small boost to DPS. However, that being said a skilled PLD could switch in and out of Sword Oath and Shield Oath as necessary to make sure their normal and most damaging combo (which is also their Enmity combo) does not pull hate away from the Main Tank and cause unnecessary confusion or damage to the rest of the party.

There is also not so far a fall in terms of Enmity Generation as many people seem to think, being only a ~60% difference between Sword Oath weapon skills and Shield Oath weapon skills. Because Sword Oath increases damage output by roughly 62.5% for auto attacks, the Enmity Generation of auto attacks is actually slightly HIGHER than that of Shield Oath, however every other ability and weapon skill loses out by 60%. By doing so, when damage is not a concern, which is only primarily in situations such as simple dungeon runs, Sword Oath is a viable alternative to Shield Oath provided the PLD is well practiced at holding Enmity without the relatively massive boost Shield Oath provides. With proper gear a PLD can easily hold hate off of any DPS or gung ho Healer while maintaining a slightly higher damage output. The main difference is this is only really viable in areas where the Healer is quite skilled and has no issues keeping the Tank up, and doing so does not gimp into *their* capacity to DPS or the damage dealt to the Tank is minimal enough that they can essentially shirk it off without the use of Shield Oath’s -20% damage taken buff.

Either way, Sword Oath has no real place for a PLD outside these scenarios, it’s still best to use for soloing even if the mobs die incredibly fast, there’s no reason really *not* to make sure that you’re doing as much damage as possible, even if it barely changes the outcome of the fight more than a second or two. Every little bit helps and especially while farming, assuming you lack any other Job that is sufficiently geared or leveled, the differences can add up over time. However, if you have to stop and heal up more with Sword Oath on, which is highly unlikely unless you’re grinding out FATEs then it may be more prudent to use Shield Oath the prevent that additional source of damage and take each fight at a slower pace in response. If you do have another, more damage oriented Class or Job, those are always best to use while farming, simply due to their much higher kill speed and the general weakness of normal mobs won’t be able to cause any sort of significant threat to any moderately geared player with a modicum of skill.

Cover

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 35
  • Description: Take all physical damage intended for another party member. Can only be used when member is closer than 10 yalms.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 12s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: An ability that is iconic to PLDs everywhere in almost every form of Final Fantasy, except they somehow managed to make this form one of the weakest. While it doesn’t require the target to move behind the PLD as it did in FFXI, and thus was largely useless, even though FFXI bosses and mobs tended to deal less AOE than in FFXIV: ARR. FFXIV: ARR gives PLD a very short distance, only 10 yalms which is equal to a little less than ten steps by your character while they’re walking, not running or jogging. This incredibly short distance makes it very hard to be able to Cover any person who would actually need it as many strategies call for Healers and DPS to be far enough away on the mob or far enough away in the arena itself for them to already be out of range of Cover just by where they’re normally standing. On larger mobs like Twintania the distance a melee DPS would usually stand is far enough away that Cover usually won’t work without stepping inside the model and risking being caught in a Conflagration or worse, spinning Twintania around accidentally and causing a Plummet on the entire party.

This is further impacted that almost every single DPS or Healer you run into will run *away* from the mob and subsequently you as Tank making Cover completely useless. It also only works on physical attacks, and every boss worth mentioning uses a mixture of both physical and magical damage, making Cover an iffy choice to use to try and help somebody to stay alive. Without cures and without a proper working Cover PLD is really quite helpless to act like the White Knight that comes in and saves the day. The best job you can hope to do as PLD is to keep solid hate so that the mob doesn’t spin around, and hope that whatever is hitting your friends is killed fast enough or handled in whatever way that it needs to be before it kills them. While I’m fully aware that this seems counter intuitive to many Tanks, this is the deal that’s given to PLD and in general Tanks in this game.

Shield Oath

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 40
  • Description: Reduces damage received by 20%, while lowering damage dealt by 20% and increasing enmity. Cannot be used with Sword Oath. Effect ends upon reuse.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: Persists through death. Deactivated by using Shield Oath again or switching to Sword Oath.
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 10 MP (Base MP)
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Now we get to the best ability that PLD imparts to us. Shield Oath is a powerful mitigating force and though defensive abilities suffer from Diminishing Returns (DR) they are still very useful. However it needs to be mentioned that as good as this ability is (and it is the best ability PLD gets!) there are some inconsistencies and misconceptions. For instance, even though the Enmity modifier is 2x, it’s not exactly 2x. Technically it is but we’ll explore why this is the case. The second is that the lowered damage output doesn’t make a drastic difference in terms of Enmity or DPS, as the latter PLD doesn’t really have much anyhow and the former is a non-issue in almost every single encounter in the game. Enmity with Shield Oath or Defiance is just simply not an issue and it is not the primary focus of a Tank. Unlike FFXI and many other MMOs where the battle to retain the highest Enmity against other members is integral to what a Tank is, this game has far too many unrecoverable mechanics to allow that, if they did then people would die all the time and rarely would be able to progress due to having to consistently watch and monitor their Enmity to make sure it didn’t go too high like in several other available MMOs out there. This reduces one level of complexity that many wish they hadn’t, but that is how the game is and the players are forced to adapt to it.

As to why Shield Oath doesn’t exactly double Enmity, it’s a simple factor of the reduction of damage. Shield Oath doubles all Enmity, including that from damaging sources, which are the prime method of generating Enmity (Flash aside, which is only used for groups of mobs) for PLD. Because of this you’re doubling the reduced damage from your baseline, so while Shield Oath does in fact double Enmity, it doesn’t provide you twice the Enmity you’d normally get versus no Oath or Sword Oath. The formula for Enmity with Shield Oath is as follows:

 (Damage x 0.8) x 2 = Enmity 

If we assume that we’d normally do 100 points of damage for a single attack, say for doing Fast Blade, then we get the following expression:

 (100 x 0.8) x 2 = Enmity 

Expressing the parenthesis we get:

 80 x 2 = Enmity 
 160 = Enmity 

This means that instead of 200 Enmity as we would have assumed, or the text would lead us to believe we actually only get 160 Enmity, a reduction of almost half at 40% less than the anticipated value. This is because Shield Oath multiplies against your outgoing Damage, and due to Shield Oath reducing the damage you deal by 20% you can easily express this as the amount of Enmity increase (2x) against the new baseline for your damage (0.8) which is the decimal expression of -20% damage. Multiplying the two together we get an Enmity Value of 1.6. Meaning that Shield Oath actually only increases a PLDs Enmity over that of Sword Oath or no Oath by +60% or by multiplying your normal damage done by 1.6x.

Now this needs to be explained a bit further not to confuse people, this does *not* mean that while in Shield Oath if you deal 200 Damage you’ll only multiply that by 1.6x to get your total Enmity. This is not true, the 1.6x value is denoting that the difference in Enmity Modification from Sword Oath, or no Oath to Shield Oath is only an increase of 60% or 1.6x the damage. While in Shield Oath your damage is already cut and any damage or Enmity generating actions are increased two fold. This means that Rage of Halone, which is normally Enmity x5, becomes Enmity x10. Of course you could make it more complex by multiplying the resulting Enmity Value from Rage of Halone by 2 but the easier way is just to double all of the Enmity Modifiers for existing skills, every skill gets multiplied by two and those that don’t have an Enmity Modifier act as if they had an Enmity Modifier of one, and so they would then have an Enmity Modifier of x2.

So while *in* Shield Oath, all Enmity is doubled, and you don’t need to worry about the value of 1.6x, as that was simply to show the difference between the various stances that PLD can use. Of course, Shield Oath is somewhat weaker than WAR’s own Defiance. Shield Oath reduces Damage by 20% which is like increasing Effective HP by 20%. You take damage equivalent to if you have 20% more HP, so a PLD with 1,000 HP would take a hit as if they had 1,200. WAR on the other hand has 25% more HP, a boost to their Critical Hit Rate, a 20% Healing Received boost, the same Enmity modifier of x2 and 25% less damage. However unlike PLD, WAR has Maim and Storm’s Eye which together impart a 30% damage boost to all of WAR’s attacks, negating the 25% damage reduction and giving them what is essentially a 5% damage buff over their base form without Defiance and no other buffs. This is relatively unfair it seems and should be easily fixed by just upping Shield Oath to be 25% damage reduction and an equivalent loss in damage output. That would certainly help to even up the odds, though it gets worse when we factor in Vengeance has a 30% damage reduction and that Inner Beast, which restores 100% damage dealt as HP, and can be used every 8th or so weapon skill (~22s) for a six second 20% damage reduction, giving them a relatively good uptime, already more than equivalent Effective HP and Inner Beast which has more up time averaged out than Rampart does to PLD. But that just seems to be the way things are built so far and we’ll see if they ever decide to change PLD or WAR any to compensate for this discrepancy.

Be that as it stands, Shield Oath is still incredibly good by reducing damage by 20% from all sources and making PLD the best mitigation Job in the entire game. Though PLD does suffer from DR because of the way the game engine uses multiplicative functions instead of additive, we end up with less effectiveness for every additional mitigation PLD gets. To start off with the difference is relatively mild, but the more abilities stacked up the greater and greater the difference becomes and it begins to get extreme. With a 38% Shield Block while in Shield Oath instead of a 58% reduction in damage we get a 50.4% damage reduction. Stack this further by having a Shield Block of the same strength, while under the effect of Rampart and we get not 78% damage reduction but 60.32%. Furthermore if we stack Sentinel as well we end up with only 76.102% reduction instead of the 100% value we’d likely expect. This was more than not done to prevent a PLD from stacking all of their defensive abilities and having a 5-7 second version of Hallowed Ground. Still, 76% mitigated is still a very large amount, enough for a PLD to keep themselves alive long after they should have since fallen down from the hurts they received.

This happens because when using decimals smaller than a whole number, the amount gets smaller and smaller, or in this case less and less effective. For our case Shield Oath is represented in the game as: Damage x 0.8. For every additional ability that reduces damage you multiply the reducers together, so 0.8 for Shield Oath is multiplied against 0.8 for Rampart and instead of reducing 40%, which would be expressed at 0.6 we get 0.64 instead. The more decimals you multiply against one another the greater the effect becomes until you’re more than 20% off where you should with all PLDs applicable buffs being applied as well as a hefty Shield Block.

However, this also works in the player’s favor by allowing the same event (although opposite) to happen to offensive skills. Skills that multiply damage, or increase it by a flat percentage work together and are multiplicative; this is why each Job has generally two skills to increase damage. One that simply multiplies the damage they do, and one that weakens the mob to their type of damage, this prevents a heavy multiplicative effect from activating and keeps the damage roughly stabilized. However if you were to use say Raging Strikes (1.2x), Blood for Blood (1.1x) and Maim (1.2x) you’d come out with a total damage boost of 1.584x. And while that doesn’t seem like a lot, every little big helps and it makes stacking damage boosts to be more effective than pacing them out, which is coincidentally the exactly *opposite* of what you want to do with defensive skills.

Because PLD is the proactive warrior it is, it is best to spread out its defensive skills to directly counterattack the difficult abilities and damaging events that come from the specific encounter. By doing this you negate, or greatly diminish the DR applied to stacking defensive skills and you greatly mitigate the damage received from the hardest hitting attacks in the game. Because of this you lower your overall damage received more than if you were to stack multiple defensive buffs all at one time for one or two of the large hits, even though it may feel like you’re taking more damage in that moment, you’re able to take less overall because the defensive buffs aren’t reaching DR where they are less effective.

Spirits Within

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 45
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 300. Potency decreases as HP decreases. Additional Effect: Silence
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 1s
  • Recast Time: 30s
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Spirits Within sounds like a good ability on paper, and by all rights it’s the strongest attack PLD has, and it’s off GCD and only have a short cool down of thirty seconds. It even Silences, and because no Job or Class can actually land Silence as a spell or debuff that lasts greater than a single second, it doesn’t suffer from the DR and eventual resistance to the debuff that every other debuff in the game gets, particularly stun, but it’s seen with Blind and Slow as well. This makes it relatively safe to use if others are in charge of stunning a powerful move through Silencing as you won’t interrupt their ability to Silence, nor will you cause a DR to occur and wipe the group because the boss resisted Silence while it was doing a mechanic that required Silencing.

However, as with most things this comes with a fairly negative side effect. Because Silence is only really usable by PLD or BRD off GCD and not interrupting their capacity to do their job (MNK has silence but it involves reducing their damage and using a specific form which may or may not be ready when it’s needed) it is often placed on PLDs to help with silencing. And so a great ability becomes one that is relegated only to interrupting a mechanic. Furthermore, because the game is so strict with mechanics, you can bet that ANY boss that CAN be silenced will NEED to be silenced because it will have some incredibly overpowered unrecoverable mechanic that is meant to be countered with either Spirits Within or Blunt Arrow. This gets repetitive and highly annoying as any other boss that you might be able to stun a move and show off your skill is otherwise completely and utterly immune to the silence effect and cannot be silenced mid cast by it, or any other silencing skill. Most of the debuffs are actually like that in the game and bosses are simply and utterly immune to the vast majority of them, making debuffs as a whole pretty useless unless that boss has a particular mechanic which then you’ll be REQUIRED to use that debuff in order to prevent a wipe.

Hallowed Ground

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 50
  • Description: Renders you impervious to most attacks.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Very Long ~1s)
  • Duration: 10s
  • Recast Time: 420s (7 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This is a widely recognized ability for people coming from FFXI. Mostly this is very similar to Invincible from FFXI, but for whatever reason they decided to change it to Hallowed Ground. It’s roughly unchanged from FFXI, instead it’s now somewhat beefed up since it negates almost every bit of damage possible to be inflicted, including magic, which FFXI’s version doesn’t do. There are a few rare instances where Hallowed Ground does not negate damage, but those are scenarios where an “Ultimate Attack” sort of deal is going off, one that will usually wipe the party if the mechanics prior are not satisfied. Good examples are Ifrit’s Hellfire, Garuda’s Aerial Blast, and Titan’s Earthen Fury. Aside from moves similar in nature to these, where the survival of a single PLD wouldn’t make a very large difference anyways, Hallowed Ground negates all damage inflicted towards the PLD.

This ability however, like most things in FFXIV: ARR comes with a relatively massive downside. The animation for this ability is oddly long, nearing a full second, and the game waits for the animation of the barrier to finish before it actually applies the invincible effect. By doing this, it is VERY common for a hit to slip through before the animation finishes playing and the PLD in question to die, with the recast ticking down as if adding insult to injury. This occurs as well with WHM’s Benediction, both skills are supremely slow to start off for some reason and lead to wipes and deaths all the time.

Hallowed Ground is more of a “Panic Button” than an ability to be used in conjunction with a strategy, though there are strategies that utilize this ability the skill is most often used when something goes wrong. Except in moments when something truly goes wrong, you don’t have the luxury of precognition to be able to use the ability several seconds before you’re about to be slammed hard, this causes countless deaths and worse is that the recast is triggered, meaning you as the PLD did not put the ability up at the wrong time or too late, but that the animation of the ability and the way it works due to SE’s coding essentially killed you. This isn’t particularly fair and quite a lot of people dislike this mechanism but as of yet there’s been neither word nor hint as to how, if ever, this will be fixed.

Unfortunately this makes the ability a true Wild Card, making it hard to figure out when is best to use. Often when you NEED to use it, you’re down and out with no other abilities and your Healers aren’t going to be able to keep you up any longer, or are dead themselves. During this crisis you’d naturally want to be able to trigger Hallowed Ground and expect it to work, but at that point in the fight you’re generally a single swipe from hitting the ground and more often than not, without a healthy dose of luck or if you manage to trigger Hallowed Ground well in advance of the next attack, you’ll end up dying while the little animation of a barrier plays out. This plays out much the same for WHM when they attempt to heal you, and the animation takes so long to play out (nearly a full second) that the Tank generally gets hit the same time that the Benediction goes off, and so the ability gets wasted in much the same way that Hallowed Ground does, and yet the Tank doesn’t survive. Several times it’s been witnessed that the animation goes off on the Tank at the same time as they die, and they fall to the ground anyways.

So long as these failings are kept in mind, Hallowed Ground can be used effectively, though it will always remain a Wild Card until the devs manage to finally fix the animation lag. It makes no logical sense to make the activation of skills, spells or abilities to be non-instant. All abilities can and should be like Brutal Swing, where the effect of the Stun hits instantly but the animation is fairly long and plays out afterwards. This is a good use of instant ability and yet retaining the unique animation. Holding back players due to the desire to keep an animation synced with the ability is aged thinking and hopefully they’ll change this one day to make Hallowed Ground and Benediction useful.

Cross Class Abilities

Every Job gets access to two additional Classes from which they’re able to pull available skills from. Jobs get half the amount of Cross Class Slots, from 10 (for Classes) down to 5 (for Jobs). This makes Cross Class skills all the more meaningful as you cannot simply add from whatever you might need, but it also severely hampers them by only giving you access to two Classes, usually only one of the Classes has skills that are useful and you might pick one or two from the other. With PLD this is largely the case with MRD and CNJ being the two Classes they have access to, MRD skills are by the large more useful than the CNJ ones, with only one skill truly being recommended to be used. I’ll only be listing the skills that should be considered and ignoring the others, so if you don’t see it on the list below, you’ll know that the abilities that were left off aren’t useful for a PLD. If you want to change your role significantly then go as a Class, PLD is a Tank first and foremost and all its abilities should, in one way or another, help that role.

Foresight

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 2 MRD
  • Description: Increases defense by 20%.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: An increase of 20% Defense may seem like a lot but with the way Defense is currently in the game it equals roughly a 2% reduction in damage, which isn’t very much. However as the game progresses and Defense gets higher and higher, Foresight will get slightly stronger in turn. However I cannot see it ever becoming quite strong as a difference of ten Item Levels only increases DEF on a body piece by two measly points. This means that DEF is going to very slowly increase, hardly more than ten points for each new set of gear that gets released (which is every 6 months with the tick-tock cadence of updates). Which means that after a year of updates Foresight will provide an additional DEF of roughly 2-3 points, with each point of DEF equating to roughly 0.045% damage reduction, this amounts to about 0.1% less damage taken from physical attacks with the use of Foresight after a year of updates at the present cadence.

This doesn’t make the ability useless, though if there was something better or more useful then I would assuredly suggest that in its stead, it does reduce damage even if by a little bit and so it remains a Tank oriented trait that has some, if small, utility. This is best paired with Awareness to lower the damage received by a touch when the inevitable normal attacks hit, and it’ll help to reduce any Critical Hits that manage to slip through as well. If they ever give PLD more abilities or the level cap raises, then perhaps there’d be good reason to drop this, but for now it’s useful enough to keep. Of course you could argue that equipping Cure and using that a few times throughout the fight you’d recover more HP than Foresight could prevent. But that thinking is logically skewed because often you’ll be topped up and end up wasting your MP as you won’t cure anything, another issue the game has at its core making PLD and Healers less effective than they really should.

Fracture

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 6 MRD
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Additional Effect: Damage over time Potency: 20
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 18s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 80 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Fracture is useful insofar as you have a spare slot that you can fill in. It’s not going to make or break you as a PLD and it barely increases your DPS, but it’s something else to do while you’re spamming your ROH combo. Take it though since you won’t be able to fill up all five slots with incredibly useful skills and Fracture is better than having an empty slot. Only use it when TP isn’t an issue, like when the mob flies into the sky in one of FFXIV’s patented “breather periods” which are mechanically designed to let the player’s TP regenerate while the mob flies up, or somehow goes untargetable. Add in that as a PLD you’re able to use Shield Swipe for low TP but damage similar to the averaged out damage of a ROH combo, and in doing so you’ll have plenty of TP for Fracture use. Keeping up the DOT gives another thing to look out for and it helps to stave off boredom to some extent.

Bloodbath

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 8 MRD
  • Description: Converts 25% of physical damage dealt into HP.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 90s (1 Minute, 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This is simply a good ability, there are no downsides to this except the fact that PLD doesn’t deal much damage, but the ability itself is sound and useful so it should always be equipped. This ability is best paired with Fight or Flight and the synergy between them is amazingly potent. They both have the same Recast, allowing you to combine both skills into a single macro for easier use and less crowding on your action bars. Because of this you can stack them together, dealing 30% more damage which provides more HP recovered through Bloodbath’s 25% HP recover. There is literally no case in which the two should not be paired, while the little bit of extra HP isn’t going to make or break you, it will help out and being at your strongest, dealing the most damage possible will give you the most HP back.
/micon “Fight or Flight”
/ac “Fight or Flight <me>
/ac “Bloodbath” <me>

By using this macro you’ll be able to sync the two CDs within a second of each other and because their time is the same you’ll know that as soon as the icon glows again and is usable that you’ll be able to use Bloodbath as soon as you trigger Fight or Flight. This compacts two slots on the action bar into one that is easier to use. Simply press the ability twice in a row and it’ll execute Fight or Flight and then Bloodbath, this works best (obviously as most things in MMOs and FFXIV do) with a turbo style mouse that can hit the button multiple time by being held down, but even without this is useful for consolidating your abilities and keeping everything smooth.

Mercy Stroke

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 200. Can only be executed when target's HP is below 20%. If delivered as the killing blow, up to 20% of your maximum HP will be restored.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 90s (1 Minute, 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: While it may not seem much on paper, with a minute and a half cooldown and a relatively meager potency equal to a combo effective Savage Blade, it does have the potency to restore a full fifth of your HP which in most cases is going to be approaching over 1.5k HP. This ability would be much better by far if it had a timeframe in which you hit it and it would give the HP back. The potency of the healing isn’t enough to warrant your DPS from slowing their damage, or in more realistic senses, outrightly stopping DPS so you can get the last hit at 1% HP with Mercy Stroke. It simply isn’t that useful and with it being off GCD it’s a nifty little boost to overall DPS. Not much, but anything is better than nothing.

As it’s healing is roughly equal to a single cure from a good Healer, there’s no real reason to trouble yourself over the execution of the skill. It’s best to TRY when possible, but not get hung up over it, and you’ll eventually be able to shorten a fight enough by using it whenever it pops up, saving you more HP than it could recover by killing multiple mobs before they were able to inflict another round of attacks, or a devastating TP move. Get it, use it and try to trigger the healing effect, but don’t hold it just for that because you’ll end up wasting its usefulness and end up taking more damage because you didn’t kill the mob(s) slightly faster. However when soloing this is an excellent thing to use when a mob is dying and you’re low on HP as it can stop you from having to cure or rest up between attacks. However, at the same time it’s almost always a better idea to go on a proper damage dealing class when soloing to speed things up, but if you lack the ability, gear, or knowledge to play another Class or Job effectively then this works well.

Stoneskin

  • Type: Spell
  • Level Acquired: Level 34 CNJ
  • Description: Creates a barrier around target that absorbs damage totaling 10% of target's maximum HP.
  • Casting Time: 3s
  • Duration: 30m
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 10 MP (Base MP)
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Stoneskin is the only real effective white magic spell that PLD can get any mileage out of. Due to Cure barely healing 300 HP, Stoneskin equivalently is capable of protecting against 10% of damage dealt. And with Healers commonly spamming you as the Tank with heals, a Cure can and often does get wasted because you’re already or nearly at full HP by the time yours goes off, so Stoneskin can get around that pesky capped HP problem by giving you a barrier equal to 10% of your current HP snapshot. This can be augmented further by drinking a Mega-VIT pot increasing your HP by a thousand or more, and giving you about an extra hundred HP barrier. Of course a WHM will overwrite your own and there isn’t a single boss out there that won’t be able to break it and damage you with any of their normal attacks, but it still helps.

Casting Stoneskin before a major attack like Raven’s Beak can help you stay alive, many PLDs manage to cling to live by less than 500 HP and Stoneskin can make the difference between life or death, especially if the WHM doesn’t have time to get it off. It is, therefore one of the more useful skills but it does have a long and annoying cast time of three seconds, which means without proper timing it will often get interrupted and completely invalidate your efforts. In doing so you’re setting yourself up to either lose hate by repeating the cast in an attempt to get it off, or your WHM sees you’re casting Stoneskin and instead throws a cure your way assuming you’ll get that Stoneskin off.

By not getting it off the WHM wastes an attempt at Stoneskin on you with its buffed trait, Graniteskin which boosts the HP barrier from 10% to 18%, nearly doubling the effectiveness of it. Of course this is more effective on WAR than PLD, but regardless it’s still a useful ability and if you have the capacity to time it, is incredibly useful at later legs of a fight where Enmity is rock-solid and you can afford the attention to your casting instead of anything else. By doing so you allow yourself to be more effective and become more like what a PLD should be, helping to keep themselves alive.

Skill Usage

Below we’ll talk about efficient and skillful use of those abilities that we get as PLD, whether or not you set certain skills for your Cross Class just follow along as if you equipped the ones outlined above, as they number the total number of slots you’re able to have and there aren’t really any other skills, spells or abilities that make any real sense to use in any situation that you’ll find yourself in on PLD. As always, these are recommendations based on testing and knowledge of the game, if you feel you want to do something else, well that’s entirely up to you and there’s no “wrong” way to play the game, so long as you’re comfortable with people not inviting you to events or not being as effective in your role. If you want to play a DPS PLD then by all means that is your prerogative, but don’t be surprised when people don’t invite you back to an event or try to avoid you when you’re gathering for another.

There are set ways to do things and there’s certainly nothing wrong with messing around and trying out new and different methods that may or may not work for the sake of relieving stress or boredom, but it shouldn’t be assumed that everybody will think the same way. A lot of people are concerned with their time and having it wasted in one way or another and a person “trying something new” even if it’s better will often be seen as a person breaking out of the mold for the sake of being special and wasting people’s time. This is not something (the above) that should be done with randoms or a PUG, but instead should be done with friends who understand and are amenable to the proposition.

Enmity Breakdown and Efficient Use

The Enmity modifiers for PLD skills are as follows [Modifier under Shield Oath]:

  • Savage Blade: x3 [x6]
  • Shield Lob: x3 [x6]
  • Rage of Halone: x5 [x10]
  • Every other WS/Skill: [x2]

That’s it; we have three attacks with Enmity Modifiers and nothing else. At 50, RoH becomes the most efficient quick use of TP, outstripping everything else, including Flash by a respectable margin. Alone, though it’s only 100 Potency with Shield Oath it becomes a x10 Modifier. For a paltry 100 damage, it’ll product 1,000 Enmity.

For quick and easy reference, consult the table below:

i.imgur.com_4s7s9ae.jpg

Combos

First off, there are only two combos and that’s only if you get technical. I prefer to think of them as a singular combo with one variant for MP regen.

Your main combo will be of course Fast Blade → Savage Blade → Rage of Halone, with Riot Blade replacing Rage of Halone when you’re in need of MP. Riot Blade at Level 50 restores exactly 133 MP, regardless of the damage you do, so keep that in mind when you watch your MP pool.

Riot Blade should only be combo’d when you’re in need of the MP and keep in mind it restores enough MP for a single cure (133MP) But to get that MP you’re sacrificing x3 Enmity and the ability to chain an additional x5 Enmity skill. Which are worth even more when you’re under Shield Oath (which should be always in a party setup!).

Shield Lob should never be used to boost enmity unless you are kiting or out of range of Rage of Halone and cannot quickly close the gap. Only then is it worthwhile. Any of PLD’s enmity boosting WS can be done separately in order to take advantage of a quick, enmity boosted attack and are far more efficient in terms of both TP use and Enmity accruement, largely due to Shield Lob’s low Potency compared to the weakest of the Enmity Combo; Savage Blade’s 200 Potency vs. 120.

While PLD does not have a unique system like Wrath, a lot of its abilities are fairly situational. If you’re constantly popping Rampart, Convalescence, Awareness, Sentinel and Bulwark together in an effort to supercharge your defense, then you’re not only getting diminishing returns on Rampart & Sentinel (due to their multiplicative nature) but you’re also making it harder on your healer. Not only are these skills better used like building blocks for your situation rather than an unyielding wall but they’re more effective as well due to the way mitigation is calculated.

Convalescence should be used when you know that you’ll either be spam-healing, or you’re going to get continual healing support to make it worthwhile. Depending on your setup with Convalescence active an average PLD should be able to gain an additional amount of curative power by around 200HP per cure. Which, is around 3-5% of total HP.

The mitigation abilities should be spread out to the best of your ability. This is done to create a stable amount of damage taken. That helps both you and the healer to make sure you don’t die. A proper tank needs to take into account not just their own wellbeing but that of his or her party. If you mitigate a massive amount of damage (~64% w/o block or parry) but only do so for a short while, then the rest of the time you’re taking higher damage, that creates added strain on your healer. It is in the PLD’s best interest to keep things as stable as possible by distributing defensive buffs in order to minimize the spikes and drops of damage intake.

Defensive Buffs

Below each of the skills I’ll show the CD after their effect wears to simulate trying to keep all defensive skills up by staggering. I am going to add a delay of 5s between each skill because it not only helps to stagger them so they stay in a constant flow of metered mitigation but also because people aren’t machines and stuff happens to prevent us from using a skill immediately as the previous goes down.

Foresight:

Foresight is small enough that it can be used consistently without any issue, the more DEF you have the more effective this becomes. It’ll still likely be under 10% mitigation for launch and probably shortly afterwards as each point of DEF is ~0.0445% mitigated. Still, this is the weakest defensive buff PLD gets access to and because of that its reasonably safe to keep it up as much as possible. Because it adds to defense it doesn’t conflict with the multiplicative effect of Shield Oath, Sentinel or Rampart and so it can be used in conjunction without greatly diminishing their effect.

Cooldowns In Play

  • Foresight: @ 95s

Rampart:

Rampart’s duration and effect as well as it’s CD put it in a prime position to be used consistently to assist in mitigation while not having such a long CD or short duration as to make it difficult to keep up. This should also be used sparingly throughout the battle unless you’re having a relatively breezy fight, in which case you should be able to save it for when the boss gets lower in HP and the need is greater. Use personal judgment based on play style and boss fight here.

Cooldowns In Play

  • Foresight: @ 75s
  • Rampart: @ 65s

Convalescence:

Best used when HP drops below 45% or whatever is your comfort zone. This is also good to use in preparation for Spirits Within which benefits greatly from higher HP. By using this your damage won’t be mitigated any more than usual but your healing and that of your healer’s will have greater efficacy which allows them to make up for the mitigation loss.

Cooldowns In Play

  • Foresight: @ 55s
  • Rampart: @ 45s
  • Convalescence: @ 95s

Awareness:

This is more situational, but seeing as crits are a x1.5 damage modifier and assuming the fight doesn’t have a specific crit mechanic that makes this more useful for a set window, this will help cut down on the extra damage from criticals. In my experience they don’t happen an incredible amount, but they do pop up at a regular frequency against bosses and therefore in this rotation Awareness has use.

Cooldowns In Play

  • Foresight: @ 35s
  • Rampart: @ 25s
  • Convalescence: @ 75s
  • Awareness: @ 95s

Sentinel:

Normally this ability is best saved for moments when you’re expecting to be hurt, and I would still advise against using it unless you know when to expect the major moves that you’ll need this for. Three minute CD and 10s duration make this primarily a clutch skill. Still, when you know the fight and know when to expect the high damaging attacks this can be put into rotation, and is specifically useful when your HP drops. This I feel is best placed here because Awareness will only mitigate against crits. Which means you’re still taking full damage otherwise and so a PLD is more likely to need higher mitigation to compensate, again use at your discretion.

Cooldowns In Play

  • Foresight: @ 25s
  • Rampart: @ 15s
  • Convalescence: @ 65s
  • Awareness: @ 85s
  • Sentinel: @ 165s

Bulwark:

This can be rotated in to provide additional mitigation. With Holy Shield and beyond, assuming that the block rate increase from this is additive and not multiplicative (which wouldn’t really make sense, but I have neither confirmed nor denied it nor seen testing on it from reputable sources) then it should provide a very high block rate of around 80%. This can and should be used to help proc Shield Swipe, on its own and can be fit into the rotation as your personal preferences and the situation dictate.

Cooldowns In Play

  • Foresight: @ 5s
  • Rampart: Ready for Use
  • Convalescence: @ 45s
  • Awareness: @ 65s
  • Sentinel: @ 145s
  • Bulwark: @ 160s

As you can see with some delay between each skill one can reasonably keep up a rotation. Five seconds is cutting it close but allows the CDs to come off as they become available, except for Sentinel and Bulwark. Rampart can be used after the last skill or you can wait 5s for Foresight to be back up or go ahead with Rampart, then Foresight and then continue on while Awareness and Convalescence come off cooldown. Sentinel and Bulwark however will still be on CD which is why they’re best used for specific uses and are only capable of being included once every other rotation. The rotation can be modified for personal tastes and utility for the specific fight. Such as rotating Sentinel and/or Bulwark in sooner to take advantage of their longer CD so it’s ready when the boss uses a specific move.

Offensive Buffs

Fight or Flight:

It’s long duration and high potency helps it to counteract the effects of Shield Oath and therefore should be used almost exclusively with the enmity WS or combos. It lasts for 30s which even with a standard 2.5s GCD you should be able to get 12-13 WS in. That’s a 30% bonus to damage which correlates directly to a 30% increase in enmity. Twelve actions allow you to get in 4 RoH combos, odds are you won’t be able to do that exactly and it’ll be rounded down to ~3 combos and change. If so it’s best to do 2 RoH by themselves than to do Fast⇒Savage as you’ll spend 10 less TP and gain more enmity than the Fast Blade⇒Savage Blade combo will net you. However the full RoH combo nets a much larger amount of enmity than spamming three Rage of Halone’s by their lonesome.

  • Synergy With:
  • Bloodbath: This is also good to pair with Bloodbath so more HP is recovered through the increased damage.
  • Spirits Within: As the highest damage it’s best paired with both Bloodbath and Spirits Within for the added damage:hp. These three skills have a high synergy and work well together.
  • Mercy Stroke: Additionally Mercy Stroke benefits the same by stacking with this because it has a higher chance of killing the mob due to higher damage. Mercy Stroke additionally works with Bloodbath and Fight or Flight very well. In the event the mob does not die, Bloodbath still nets HP based on its high 250potency which is augmented by Fight or Flight.

I don’t think cure needs to be touched on much; it’s weaker than I personally feel it should be but if their goal is to let PLD cure a bit while focusing mostly on enmity and mob management I find that’s certainly more enjoyable than learning to time casts of cure between every other attack. There are some lingering questions about its utility versus straight enmity generation, as it wastes a bit of time one could be garnering enmity but it has saved my life multiple times and unless a WHM or SCH (whom I believe will be best paired with PLD tanks) changes at 50 and in 50 raids I imagine there will still be a good need/use for PLD’s to know how to properly use their curing, despite its flaws. Though in practice this is entirely different than theory, Curing has gotten weaker as patches have been introduced and has been almost completely phased out by Stoneskin. So always be sure to utilize Stoneskin instead of Curing, as it’s not only stronger but overall is best until SE sees fit to update PLD’s Magic Damage or give them some trait that boost their Curative Power naturally.

Mitigation

Mitigation in FFXIV is multiplicative. Which means anything that cuts damage by a percentage is going to be multiplied by themselves before the damage. This leads to diminishing returns when stacking. Reference the below:

  • Shield Oath: -20% Damage
  • Sentinel: -40% Damage
  • Rampart: -20% Damage

Added up these would seem to equal a total 10s duration mitigation of 85% to all incoming damage. But that’s not the case and here’s why:

Before any damage reduction from these abilities is calculated they are multiplied together as such, the formula and order doesn’t matter all percentages become their decimal counterpart:

  • Shield Oath: 0.75
  • Sentinel: 0.6
  • Rampart: 0.8

Then you express them in a formula: (0.75 x 0.6 x 0.8), which comes to 0.36 or 64%. Rather than a total of 85% if they were additive, because of their multiplicative nature they gain reduced efficacy. This works the same for Blocking and Parrying which would then be multiplied against the total mitigation you have.

360STR w/ Holy Shield: -23% Damage becomes:

 0.77 x 0.36 = 0.2772 or 72.28% mitigated. 

Which means the most we are currently capable of mitigating, is ~72% of damage incurred, again still quite a lot less than if the abilities were additive. With block rates being what they are, a PLD would need to use Bulwark to have a good shot at blocking a majority of the hits throughout that 10s window.

It should be noted that used separately the effect is less pronounced:

  • Rampart & Shield Oath: -40% mitigation, (5% Loss)
  • Rampart & Sentinel: -52%, (8% Loss)
  • Sentinel & Shield Oath: -55%, (10% Loss)
  • Rampart & Sentinel & Shield Oath: -64%, (21% Loss)

This also makes it so Blocking and Parrying is reduced in efficacy as illustrated above. This makes it even more important to only stack them together when necessary as their efficacy gets reduced. I did my mitigation testing on a stable source of damage, a hallmark of testing efficiency from FFXI: the cactuar. And since 100 Needles doesn’t get affected by defense I wasn’t able to accurately test how Defense factors into overall mitigation and its multiplicative nature. It’s likely that Defense functions the same way and in that case you’d find your total mitigation by (DEF x 0.445)(0.75 x 0.6 x 0.8) and then you can include your Parry/Block mitigation to find the absolute max while blocking and under said skills.

Enmity

Enmity as we all are aware is the accumulated representation of actions that cause the mob(s) to target and stay attacking a particular character. One point of Enmity is equal to one point of damage, or two points of standard curing.

  • 100dmg = 200hp cured

This makes Enmity easier to test but I imagine it also makes it a lot easier to balance from a developer standpoint. If you have a standard baseline that Enmity is based off of you can easily multiply and affect Enmity production therein without much difficulty. This game lacks the more complex but fundamentally flawed version of Enmity from FFXI which has both Cumulative Enmity (CE) and Volatile Enmity (VE). Where in FFXI, Cumulative Enmity and Volatile Enmity both have a respective cap of 10,000 each, for a total of 20,000 Enmity cap, FFXIV: ARR uses a different method, making it a 50,000 Enmity gap possible between players rather than a flat value.

What this means is that there is no set “cap” in the game, the Enmity is not based on a set value but in relation to each of the party members who have the capacity to incur Enmity or are on the Hate List so to speak. This means that a Tank can have 50,000 Enmity over the next person, but no more, and as that person catches up, the Tank can therefore increase their Enmity up to that 50,000 limit over the lowest person in the group. This can only be a problem really if there is a single person in the group who is doing absolutely nothing and incurring zero Enmity throughout the entire fight, or has recently died and is not doing any Enmity Generating actions. This will suddenly shift the whole dynamic of the Enmity built up so far in the fight and clamp the value down to whatever the difference of total accumulated Enmity of the highest player (usually the Tank, hopefully) compared to the lowest player, which would be the recently revived player who starts at zero points of Enmity.

Even with this, it’s really hard for even an intentional griefing player to disrupt how the Enmity is capped in the game. As getting 50,000 Enmity over another player is quite hard, unless the fight is particularly long and even in fights where people stand around doing nothing getting carried in a merc for profit, there usually aren’t any issues with Enmity. This often is resolved by the lack of Enmity incurring actions by the player, which removes them from the Enmity List entirely. By not doing anything they aren’t placed on the list and as a result don’t drag down the Enmity cap of 50,000 to compare with their 0. They’d have to do some action that accrued a small amount of Enmity then do absolutely nothing, and that’s incredibly rare to happen, even when people are leeching off a merc group. What happens far more often is the person leeching dies and gets removed anyhow.

A Note On Curing

Any enmity produced by curing is split across all mobs on the enmity list. If there are currently 5 mobs then a 100hp cure will give you 10 enmity per each mob. This is useful to know because as a tank, every time you get a cure the mobs all get similar enmity. It also means if you’re focusing too much on one mob even though you may have flashed the others a bit, they can still switch target to the WHM even if nobody is directly attacking them.

Any action that has an additional effect of “Increased Enmity” (Flash is unique and I’ll get into that below) has an attached modifier. This modifier takes the damage done and multiples it by itself, the solution is the produced Enmity. So for example, Savage Blade has a modifier of x3:

 100dmg Savage Blade x 3 = 300 Enmity, which is equal to 600hp Cured. 

Enmity Modifiers

I did additional testing with multiple people in different areas to confirm these numbers. They weren’t all exact to the specific point, but were enough that the modifier was satisfied. Else they would have ended up being odd numbers like “2.984” which is not likely. Just listing the modifiers for the various skills again down here since they belong:

  • Shield Lob: x3
  • Savage Blade: x3
  • Rage of Halone: x5
  • Shield Oath: Every action/spell x2, when there is an Enmity Modifier in play, that modifier is multiplied by x2 as well. Actions under Shield Oath:
    • Cure = 1E per 1hp cured
    • Shield Lob: x6
    • Savage Blade: x6
    • Rage of Halone: x10
  • Flash: Unique, does not possess a flat modifier like the above. For more info see below.

    ==Flash is a Menace to Game Mechanic Theorists==

Flash is an entirely different beast. It is modified in order of strength by Weapon Damage → Strength → Determination. I did extensive testing today and still was unable to find the formula, however I learned quite a lot about it. Firstly, it needs to be known that while Flash has a similarity to the DMG formula, the value is static, it won’t randomly move around like damage does. Secondly as of my current understanding, Flash while not perfectly linear manages to be fairly so. However it more closely resembles a Normal Distribution or a Bell Curve.

What this means is that there is a specific value that rests at the “peak” and around that “peak” is where STR/DTR have the highest efficacy. As values move away from this central point, the effect of STR/DTR diminishes. To the point an addition of 10STR will have varying efficacies based on Weapon Damage and how much STR/DTR a person currently has. If they have over that value, then you receive diminishing returns as you continually add more. If what they have is under the “peak” then STR provides an increasing return until it hits the peak in which it plateaus and then drops. It is my assumption that the higher the Damage of the weapon, the wider this “peak” is.

  • While more testing needs to be done, each point of Damage appears to equal ~5E. What makes this harder to pin down is that different Damage shifts the location of the “peak” and therefore STR/DTR change their efficacy/returns.
  • STR has been observed to be anywhere from 0.2E to 0.8E per point of STR. This was done testing lower level weapons, I will do more testing later to acquire higher level weapons in a set progression, this will allow more trends to be witnessed and provide better understanding.

Clearing Up Misconceptions and Little Known Facts

  • Does Flash’s Blind produce additional Enmity?
    • Tenuous no. If it does it’s inconsequentially small. My testing wasn’t able to show it had more efficacy than 1STR, which is less than a single point of Enmity. I’ll do more thorough testing and respond with any exacts that I can determine. Update: There is no additional Enmity allowed from Flash’s Blind affliction. No ability in the game which inflicts an additional debuff incurs any additional Enmity solely from the procing of their particular debuff.
  • Do critical hits produce extra enmity independent from their increased damage?
    • No, they only produce more by way of higher damage.
  • While Cure is divided amongst engaged enemies, Flash is the same hate to each of them at full value.
  • Do you incur additional enmity from attacking/claiming?
    • No, though it may seem that way because a mob will continue to attack whomever it was attacking if you equal the enmity of the current tank. It takes 1pt over in order to make the mob turn.

Final Words

These are, the only abilities you should bother with and as they number five they are all you’ll need. I didn’t mention Raise or Cure or Protect because of how useless they are in a group setting and if you’re soloing you really should be fine as PLD in Sword Oath, or just move to a different Job or Class that is more proficient at killing. Cure, as we’ve established is highly anemic and unless something changes there’s absolutely no reason to ever equip this spell as the best you’ll ever do is in the neighborhood of 300 HP. Protect grants a 15% increase to DEF, but a WHM casting it provides 15% Magic Defense as well which is far better and even if there is no WHM a SCH should be casting it on you, invalidating the reason to carry it around in a slot. If you’re soloing you shouldn’t have to worry about damage because all encounters that you’ll solo are so weak and pathetic that they will barely scratch your armor while in Sword Oath, let alone actually merit using Protect.

And finally we have Raise. This is only mentioned because if you’re solo there MIGHT be some merit to having it. This is only to be able to raise the random passerby or lower level character who unluckily ran into a mob harder to kill than they thought. This is more of an encouragement to be a nicer player and help those out who have fallen nearby, as it cannot be used in battle like other Jobs, it’s useless in any actual encounter, but is useful in the overworld for being able to help people who have died. There’s no reason to equip it in a dungeon because it’s always best for the person who has died to return and catch up to prevent Weakness. Often people will return before you can get a cast off in the overworld, but that’s just how it is. Some people might want to stay to retain FATE credit or get back into the fight regardless of their Weakened status, and the ability to do so is a good thing and should be commended, especially at larger FATEs like Behemoth and Odin.

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Article By: Penguin Writer


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