How To Improve As Dark Knight — Shadowbringers 5.5
On this page, we will show you some of the most common mistakes players make when playing as a Dark Knight Tank in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers (Patch 5.5).
Keep Your GCD Rolling
Maximizing your total GCDs cast is almost always the primary suggestion for improving at FFXIV, and for good reason. You only need to waste about 0.04 seconds on every GCD to lose an entire cast every minute, which will negate a hefty chunk of even the most careful resource planning. Make sure you are utilizing the ability to queue up casts by pressing your next GCD shortly before it comes off cooldown. This will cause it to be executed immediately by the server and fill in those tiny gaps that can drain away a surprising amount of potency.
Fight for your Uptime
A lot of mechanics will tempt players with more comfortable or straightforward resolution if they stand around out of range for some period of time. As a melee job, giving these mechanics a wide berth will impact your performance just as much as bad rotational habits. Your #1 priority is always to resolve a mechanic cleanly, but high-performing players are always seeking to grab extra casts by trimming down their movement to what is strictly necessary. Learn the limit of max melee range well and stick within it as much as possible.
Avoid oGCD Drift
Just as you always want to be using GCD skills as soon as they are available, the same holds true for offensive cooldowns. Raidbuffs will almost all align naturally with your 60-second cooldowns if both are diligently used as soon as possible. Gaps between when your oGCDs are ready and when you use them will steadily accumulate and eventually cause you to miss buffs, sometimes causing you to lose entire uses of your cooldowns.
Keeping track of all of Dark Knight's cooldowns can be a bit daunting, but a simple trick is to mainly eye your. Because Blood Weapon is the first cooldown used in your opener and should maintain its position at the start of your burst window, you can think of it as the trigger that sets off all of your other burst.
Plan Your Mitigation
Encounters in FFXIV generally operate on a fixed timeline, with elaborate mechanics and random targeting to make up for the lack of randomness in phasing. As you get familiar with each fight, you should build up a plan for how you mitigate each major instance of incoming damage and stick to it. Not only will this help the healers out immensely by providing consistency in how much they need to heal at each point, but you may discover new places to use your cooldowns for greater effect. Bosses will not always wait until your burst is finished to rev up their tankbusters, and good attention to the timeline can allow you to push your mitigation forward into less busy spots in your rotation.
Advanced Combat Tracker is a tool that parses your combat data and records it so that you can check the when and how of all incoming and outgoing damage. FFLogs is the main repository for these logs, and offers an interface to view events, timings, damage values, buffs, and so on in exact detail. Even if you lack the capability or desire to use a parser yourself, other people can upload their own logs for any encounter where you are present and allow you to examine your performance that way.
XIVAnalysis is another tool for examining your performance. Feed it an FFLogs link, and it will present a list of potential errors as well as an extremely handy visual timeline for casts, cooldowns, and raidbuffs. No technical expertise or familiarity with the ins and outs of FFLogs navigation is required to pinpoint rotational errors or cooldown drift. Note that at this time, XIVAnalysis is still in the process of being updated for the Endwalker expansion. The rotational suggestions are now mostly fixed, but still contain some errors. The visual timeline is still functional and very useful for assessing your performance.
- 27 Nov. 2021: Guide added.
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