Introduction to Melee in FFXIV
This page contains the landing page for all our our Melee resources related to Final Fantasy XIV.
What Is the Melee DPS Playstyle?
Melee DPS jobs in Final Fantasy XIV are defined by the range of their Weaponskills being just 3 yalms. This is referred to as "Melee Range" because it requires your melee DPS jobs to remain close to the boss at all times to maximize their damage output. Everything you do in any encounter is done in such a way as to maximize what we refer to as "Melee Uptime" - the amount of time your Weaponskill GCD actions are spinning compared to how often that GCD stops due to your inability to hit the boss.
Many raid strategies focus on maximizing melee uptime by pairing the melee DPS with the tanks (who also are melee jobs) so that both groups can stay close to the boss for mechanic resolutions.
What Are the Melee DPS Jobs?
There are currently five different melee DPS Jobs as of Endwalker. Dragoon and Reaper share the Maiming gearsets, Monk and Samurai share the Striking gearsets, and Ninja alone uses Scouting. All but Ninja utilize the Melee-exclusive Slaying accessories, while Ninja shares the Aiming accessories with the Ranged DPS Jobs. All five are melee DPS Jobs with different pros and cons both in playstyle and raid composition.
Dragoon focuses on a static string of GCD Weaponskill combos, weaving a large quantity of off-GCD abilities in between casts of their Weaponskills. The Job is very easy to pick up and play to a reasonably decent extent. Maximizing output takes somewhat more dedication. Their iconic Jumping skills combine with draconic skills to fuel their damage-dealing capabilities. They sport to boost raid damage and to boost a specific team member's damage every two minutes. These two actions give them a large contribution to the overall output of the raid team.
Reaper focuses on a relatively fluid array of GCD Weaponskill actions with a strong focus on hard-hitting GCDs after properly building up two different gauges. The overall flow is very simple once you understand it, but it boasts a high barrier to entry due to the seemingly complicated nature of its gauge interactions with its burst windows. Utilizing the powers of the void and a voidsent Lemure, the Reaper's damage primarily comes from this dark pact. They bring to slightly boost raid damage, though it is more beneficial as a jumpstart to the burst cycle every 2 minutes. In addition to this, they bring , which is a nice little additional bit of raid utility that your healers will appreciate, if you properly coordinate.
Monk focuses on strings of GCD Weaponskill combos that maintain personal damage buffs and a damage-over-time effect to pad out time between burst windows. These windows play out not unlike a fighting game, inputting a specific button combo to unlock a specific finisher to deliver powerful attacks every 40 seconds or so. Favoring fisticuffs by nature, Monks subdue their opponents through flurries of blows with a fast GCD timer and a wide array of dynamic striking maneuvers. They also pack to boost raid damage and increase their personal rate of Chakra generation every 2 minutes. In addition, they have , which brings additional utility to the healers, if you coordinate usage properly with them.
Samurai focuses on a relatively fluid string of GCD Weaponskill combos to generate Sen and Kenki in order to activate their most powerful actions in their burst windows. All of their off-GCD actions, aside from , utilize the generated Kenki to deal damage, causing the job to have a rather impactful ebb-and-flow that meshes well with its aesthetic. Brandishing a katana, you utilize to decimate opponents in the style of the classic Samurai of ancient Japanese culture. Samurai is considered a "selfish" DPS class because it brings absolutely nothing to raid damage other than its own personal output (which, admittedly, is sizeable!). They do, however, have , which allows smart Samurai to mitigate incoming damage from raid-wide damage to make healing easier.
Ninja is technically a melee. All of its strongest attacks are ranged magic actions, and it gets to use them every 20 seconds. It even uses the same accessories as the physical ranged DPS jobs. You can be a true Japanese fan by playing as the iconic Ninja and utilizing their diverse array of Ninjutsu actions to destroy the enemy. On the plus side, they do have , which boosts raid damage every minute and is still the strongest raid damage buff in the game. Alongside that, they also have , which can mitigate incoming damage from raid-wides to help the healers.
Melee DPS Omni-Best-in-Slot Gear
Because of the varied nature of the Melee DPS Jobs, making an omni-effecient BiS takes quite a lot of effort. Most of the time, swapping between the Melee jobs will require re-melding several pieces of gear in order to maintain optimal performance for whichever Job you are switching to. Despite these limitations, we go to great lengths to work together and make our melds in our normal BiS sets as compatible with one another as physically possible, to cut down on the need for re-melding gear. You will notice that Ninja is notably absent from any of these considerations - this is because Ninja shares none of the gear with the rest of the Melee Jobs, so its sets have no bearing on the compatibility.
Knowing your Role
Playing a melee DPS job can be very difficult, especially if you are used to the freedom of movement enjoyed by healers or ranged DPS. Being tied to the boss to deal your maximum damage can be complicated in some encounters, so the following sections will cover some specific optimization concerns when learning to play any melee DPS job.
Every melee DPS job has multiple tools to return to melee range after needing to disengage for mechanics concerns. The difference between the good and great Melee players, however, is moreso in learning to cheat at max melee range rather than running away. Most encounters in the game allow nearly perfect melee uptime with proper strategies and movement on your part.
Every melee DPS job needs to maintain positional requirements to maximize their damage output. If a skill gives you a "Flank" bonus, you need to strike the side of the boss. "Rear" means you must hit the back side of the boss. These slices each take up a 90 degree chunk of the targeting circle, with the two flanks obviously on either side, and the opposite slice to the rear being the front, where tanks stand. The only benefit you gain from attacking the boss from the front is a swift, painless death. In situations where you cannot land your positionals, you have access toto eschew the necessity of being in proper position to gain the benefits.
- 20 Apr. 2022: Guide added.
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