Introduction to Healing in FFXIV
This page contains the landing page for all our our Healer resources related to Final Fantasy XIV.
What is the Healer Playstyle?
Healers in Final Fantasy XIV are, as expected, responsible for keeping the party alive. However, their responsibility does not end there. Ensuring the party's survival is very rarely a full-time job, and healers are expected to contribute damage as well. It is such a core part of the role that healers are often jokingly called "green DPS." In reality, it is not far from the truth.
Balancing healing and dealing damage is the core of healer gameplay, and a healer's skill is often measured in DPS. High DPS in itself does not signify skill, but encounter knowledge, raid awareness, risk assessment, and efficient use of cooldowns and mitigation are all reflected in a healer's DPS.
Ultimately, a healer's job is to contribute to the group's success as much as they can, and the game's highly scripted encounter design encourages healers to learn when healing is needed and when it is not. The focus placed on dealing damage is simply a consequence of looking for the most impactful way to support the party when healing is unnecessary. After all, defeating the enemy faster is the most effective form of mitigation, and shorter encounters give the party fewer opportunities to make mistakes.
Other Role Responsibilities
Esuna is a healer role action that can remove certain debuffs from allies. Debuffs that can be cleansed are marked by a small, white line above the debuff icon. Debuffs without this line cannot be removed by traditional means. Most cleansable debuffs are extremely detrimental and intended to be removed, so it is important to keep a close eye on the party frame.
Each healer has its own (mechanically identical) version of Raise, allowing them to revive defeated party members during an encounter. Just as killing the enemy is the best way to prevent damage, dying is the best way to lose damage. To minimize the damage loss and avoid failing mechanics due to not having the correct number of people, it is vital to raise fallen allies as soon as it is safe to do so.
Summoner and Red Mage also have raises, but they often act as the backup raise because it is a larger DPS loss for them than it is for a healer. However, if the healers do not have Swiftcast available or cannot spare the MP to raise someone immediately, raising someone sooner far outweighs the additional damage loss of the caster performing the raise. Raise priority is extremely situational and should ideally be discussed ahead of time.
All healers have access to the same six Role Actions, ranging from core abilities to niche utilities. Our Guide to Healer Role Actions will teach you how to make the most of them.
What Are the Healer Jobs?
There are four healer jobs in the game, and they are split into two sub-roles: "pure healers" and "barrier healers." The sub-role distinction is only important for high-end duties like Extreme/Unreal trials and Savage/Ultimate raids. In these encounters, the sub-roles complement each other to even greater effect.
Pure healers specialize in directly restoring HP with powerful, on-demand burst healing and healing-over-time effects. In return, they have limited access to mitigation and shielding. White Mage and Astrologian are pure healers.
Barrier healers are focused on preventing damage with more mitigation tools and on-demand shielding. They have less access to direct HP restoration and sustained healing. Scholar and Sage are barrier healers.
A Conjurer becomes a White Mage upon completing their level 30 job quest. This makes Conjurer/White Mage the only healer that is available from character creation. White Mage provides little party utility, instead focusing on its high personal DPS and on-demand healing. The simplicity and accessibility of its kit allow the job to be both powerful and beginner-friendly.
Astrologian is a support-focused healer with a busy, dynamic playstyle. It deals the least personal damage of any healer, but its raid buffs can more than make up the difference in a coordinated party. Astrologian's kit rewards careful planning and execution, and its job mechanic emphasizes playing around coordinated raid burst windows.
Scholar is the original barrier healer, stemming from the Arcanist base class. Arcanist is a magical DPS class that branches into both Scholar and Summoner. This means that Scholar and Summoner share the same level even if you only play one or the other. The only requirement for switching between them is completing the other job quests. Arcanist is the only class associated with more than one job.
The Scholar and the faerie, its healing pet, come as a package deal. The faerie supplies a steady stream of small, single-target heals, and it can be commanded to use several additional healing abilities. Much of Scholar's gameplay comes down to the Aetherflow Gauge which can be used for either healing or damage. It rewards efficient healing and resource management by letting you convert excess Aetherflow to damage.
Sage is the newest healer, introduced with the Endwalker expansion. It excels at staying on top of the situation with its plentiful mitigation and shielding and a steady flow of passive healing. Its signature mechanic is Kardia, automatically healing the designated ally when the Sage casts offensive spells. Between its high damage potencies and Kardia, Sage is the healer that is most heavily incentivized to maintain high DPS uptime.
Unlike Scholar's Aetherflow Gauge, Sage's Addersgall stacks can only be used for healing. Using Addersgall heals also restores MP, so the stacks must be spent at regular intervals to avoid wasting any. Instead of trying to conserve stacks, Sage's resource management is about finding impactful opportunities to spend enough stacks to avoid over-capping.
The most effective healer is the one you want to play. Overall, healer balance is quite good. Even when there are noticeable discrepancies, it will almost never affect your ability to clear content. Your familiarity, comfort, and motivation will make much larger differences in your performance than any objective differences between two jobs.
There are excellent reasons to play any healer. The most important thing is simply to identify the one you want to play. For a detailed comparison of each healer's strengths, weaknesses, playstyle, and role, check out our Healer Selection Guide.
Healer Omni-Best-in-Slot Gear
The best-in-slot (BiS) gearsets provided in the individual job guides are optimized exclusively for their respective jobs. These omni-BiS gearsets are instead optimized to be shared between all healers with minimal losses compared to the individual job BiS sets.
Tips and Tricks
UI, Keybinds, and Game Settings
FFXIV provides a great deal of control over the User Interface (UI), keybinds, camera settings, and more. Take advantage of these options and set yourself up for success by making sure your UI and controls work for you. Our Healer UI and Settings Guide will show you some of the systems and settings that are particularly relevant as a healer.
There are many subtleties to FFXIV's combat system. They are applicable to all roles, but many of them are especially relevant for healers. Slidecasting, GCD clipping, damage snapshotting, and regen/DoT ticks are some of the most common mechanics that healers interact with. For an explanation of these mechanics and many more, check out our Guide to Combat Mechanics for Healers.
- 20 Apr. 2022: Guide added.
More FFXIV Content
- Icy Veins is Getting a New Look
- FFXIV PLL #76 Recap - 6.4 Live Letter Part 1
- FFXIV PLL #75 Recap - 6.3 Live Letter Part 2
- Join Us Live on Twitch for the Icy Veins Podcast
- FFXIV PLL #74 Recap - 6.3 Live Letter Part 1
- Final Fantasy XIV will be in AGDQ2023 on Friday, January 13th
- FFXIV Announces Return to PAX AUS
- "Tales from the Dawn": Final Story Released