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 five are melee DPS Jobs with different pros and cons both in playstyle and raid composition.
Dragoonfocuses 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 Jump 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 bringto 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, there are two different sets here. One of them is for the Maiming Jobs ( Dragoon and Reaper) and the other is for the Striking Jobs ( Monk and Samurai ). Ninja is just Ninja and utilizes it's own gear set, Scouting, along with Dexterity accessories. These two sets are also maneuvered in such a way as to make the Slaying accessories match melds as closely as possible.
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.
Your Role Actions are incredibly important to your overall survival and ability to clear fights in a raid setting.
- and can both be used to heal yourself after taking accidental extra damage, or to survive an upcoming hit when heals are slow. There are also times where you and your healers can bake their use into the healing rotation of the fight, because using them costs you zero DPS.
- reduces the damage dealt by the boss. Most outgoing boss damage is magical, but the additional 5% mitigation can save your party from tens of thousands of damage, depending on the raid-wide attack or tank-buster you use it on. Often best to plan your uses and be consistent about hitting it there every time.
- allows you to hit positionals when you are not in position for them. This is absolutely vital in every encounter. While you generally can hit every positional, it is almost always necessary to be ready to use this action for certain mechanics with forced movement.
- negates effects that would yeet you away from the boss. This is mainly used to avoid those mechanics that would otherwise force a disconnect and therefore reduce your melee uptime. It takes a little while to register the buff on you before it will work, so make sure you press it a little bit before the knockback is coming out.
- exists, too. It can stun enemies in the overworld and (very rarely) in instanced encounters. Can be useful for certain dungeon mobs.
Only use ranged actions if you will lose a full GCD spin to the disconnect. They are very rarely more beneficial than just figuring out a better and more efficient way to handle the mechanic. Most of them have snapshots that allow you to peel off to dodge and return to the boss within the span of a single GCD. During progression on a new fight where every pull is a wipe anyway, it is often suggested for you to push your limits as a Melee DPS to learn the timings on forced-disconnect mechanics.
Each of the Melee DPS Jobs plays differently, so tiers do not properly illuminate what makes them more or less difficult to play.
- Dragoon has very static GCDs but a lot of off-GCDs to weave in-between, regularly with double weaves necessary. Easy with lower ping, and has incredibly busy burst windows every minute.
- Reaper has very little weaving, but a relatively fluid GCD rotation and two gauges to track. Appears to have many moving parts, but is actually very straightforward.
- Monk has a very fast GCD with regular decision-making required for your next GCD hit and very rigid burst windows. This job is generally straightforward, but requires third-party tools for maximum output.
- Samurai has a fast GCD with very little in the way of decision points. Freestyle Samurai performs marginally worse than absolute max performance Samurai , ignoring raid buffs. The job is hard to mess up, but harder to master.
- Ninja has a faster GCD and a relatively static overall rotation. The biggest barrier to entry is learning your Mudra combinations for the various Ninjutsu. Trick Attack windows can feel hectic with many buttons in a short period of time.
If you find the Melee DPS playstyle to your liking, I recommend trying out every one of the options and see which one clicks the best for you.
In this game with the current landscape, there is not a clear winner or loser in the way of meta picks. Most groups tend to run a team of two Melee DPS, one Ranged DPS, and one Caster DPS. As things currently shake out, all five of the Melee are relatively well-balanced, with Monk and Dragoon tending to be favored most, due to and , respectively, coupled with generally higher overall performance in the standings. It generally comes down to a full party composition, rather than a single individual "best choice" pick.
That all said, in any situation, you will bring more to your raid group by playing the Job you are most comfortable playing, rather than taking the "meta" pick, especially while progressing in a new encounter. Comfort with your rotation allows you to focus more on learning new mechanics, and you can always swap to a "meta" pick on reclears to speed things up, assuming you can pull the same percentile on the other Job spec.
- 20 Apr. 2022: Guide added.
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