Introduction to Physical Ranged in FFXIV
This page contains an introduction to Physical Ranged as a role in FFXIV, providing information on gearing and insight into what you can expect as a new player when playing the role for the first time.
What Is the Physical Ranged DPS Playstyle?
The physical ranged DPS jobs in Final Fantasy XIV are unique in the fact they are the only jobs in the game who can maintain uptime and full mobility regardless of what is going on in the current encounter. While their overall damage output is lower than their Melee and Caster counterparts, Physical ranged make up for that by providing one of the strongest mitigations in the game alongside the ability to handle long-range mechanics while maintaining uptime on the boss. Physical ranged is considered its own role, thus, just by bringing one, the group's main stat attributes are increased by 1%. This roughly translates to similar damage gains across the party.
What Are the Physical Ranged DPS Jobs?
There are currently three different physical ranged DPS Jobs as of Endwalker: Bard, Machinist, and Dancer. All three are have their own pros and cons, and each job has a unique playstyle that may attract you to the job itself. All of the Physical Ranged use the same type of gear, Aiming, and use utilize the same main stat, Dexterity.
Bard is the original physical ranged DPS that was released with A Realm Reborn. The job starts off as Archer and gains access to its job stone upon reaching level 30 and performing the associated job quests up to that level. Bard's rotation consists of two main mechanics: upkeep of their DoTs ( Stormbite and Caustic Bite) and maintaining their song rotation ( The Wanderer's Minuet, Mage's Ballad, and Army's Paeon). Each song has its own unique, constant raid buff that boosts the damage of all party members, in addition to a unique gimmick with specific abilities each song will proc for the Bard. Each time a song is used, it will grant a single Coda that can be stacked up to three times and used with ( Radiant Finale to provide even more raid buffs. To top this off, the job also comes with the raid buff Battle Voice. Needless to say, Bard does a tremendous job of buffing the entire party.
If that was not enough, Bard also comes with two unique utility actions and one not-so unique mitigative action. Troubadour is something shared across all three Physical Ranged jobs, but with differing names and animation flair. What Bard does have unique to itself are the utility actions The Warden's Paean and Nature's Minne, with the former being single-target cleanse, and the latter being a raid-wide healing buff.
Machinist was released with the expansion Heavensward and has no base class. The job starts at level 30. The Machinist rotation consists of three major mechanics: maintaining Heat Gauge, maintaining Battery Gauge, and maintaining your Multi-Tool actions. Both gauge systems are gained just by using your combo actions and using your Tools, Air Anchor and Chain Saw. Heat gives you access to a quick burst phase called Hypercharge while Battery allows usage of your Robot, Automaton Queen. Multi-Tool actions are given their placement in the opener and, outside of scripted downtime, will maintain their placement in the rotation from there on forward. The nature of Machinist is a set rotation, so unlike its Physical Ranged counterparts, this job is very static in nature. Machinist has no raid buffs; instead, it has increased potency in its rotation compared to Bard and Dancer, focused around burst damage in the form of flexible resource dumping.
The shared mitigative action Machinist has is called Tactician and functions the exact same as the other two variants. Aside from this, as of Patch 6.3, Machinist has regained access to Dismantle. This is a massive improvement to Machinist's viability in raid-type encounters. Only thing to keep in mind with this is a target is required to apply the mitigation. Think of it like a single-target version of Reprisal.
Dancer, released with the Shadowbringer expansion, has no base class and this job starts at level 60, making it slightly easier to level as opposed to the other jobs in the role. Dancer is unironically as close to a DDR simulator as you are going to find in this game. The job centers around three things; their RNG combo system that stacks proc on top of proc, a slightly flexible resource system in the form of Esprit and Feathers, and performing its dance step abilities to provide raid buffs to their Dance Partner (determined by Closed Position) as well as the party itself. Dancer shines exceedingly well when buffing another player who is performing well themselves. Due to the nature of the raid buffs this job comes with, your performance is highly dependent on the person you have decided to Dance Partner
Dancer comes with multiple of healing actions in the form of Curing Waltz and Improvisation. Like the other jobs in this role, Dancer comes equipped with Shield Samba, functioning the same as the other actions listed above.
Physical Ranged DPS Omni-Best-in-Slot Gear
Unlike most other roles, physical ranged has a moderately easy time gearing all three jobs at the same time. Machinist will want to avoid Skill Speed like the plague in most cases, but Dancer and Bard both like the substat in small amounts. Omni-gearing can be achieved by intelligent usage of differing melds on weapons and swapping out a gear piece on the 2.5 GCD set for a Skill Speed piece so that you will never need to remeld. The gearsets can be found below. In specific cases, some jobs may not be at an optimal Skill Speed tier due to how the gearing for that tier works.
Knowing your Role
Let's be honest, we are not playing this role because we want to be the highest DPS in the group. That should never be the case among similarly geared players. If you have come to the conclusion you want to play physical ranged, it is because you have found the freedom of movement and utility fun, and you enjoy being helpful to the group in ways other than just straight damage. It is not very hard to deal appropriate damage on these jobs, so what is going to make you attractive to other groups is going to be things other than DPS.
There are a few things that physical ranged excel at, and at first they may not be obvious. Due to the lack of difficulty of the jobs themselves, taking on certain raid responsibilities can take the burden off other players in your group and allow others to focus solely on dealing damage.
Most of the role actions for Physical Ranged center around crowd control. While not all of them are useful in end-game content such as raids and trials, most of them do have a purpose in other content. On top of their role actions, one of the main perks to bringing a Physical Ranged is the healing and mitigative actions they bring to a party. Using these actions in an optimized way can save runs and reduce the amount of hours your group spends progging an encounter. We will go in-depth on how these actions work, when to use them and how each Physical Ranged works within the game in the link below.
- 20 Apr. 2022: Guide added.
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