Guide: Six essential things FFXIV doesn't teach you (before you play Endwalker)

 

Final Fantasy XIV is a critically acclaimed MMORPG that has been gaining a lot of attention recently, securing itself as one of the hottest MMOs on the market. With its latest expansion, Endwalker, set to release Dec. 7, Square Enix's MMO is sure to get an influx of new players — one of which might be you.

 

So before you jump into the vast universe of FFXIV, here is a list of sux things newer players should know that the game won’t tell you itself.

Global cooldown

The Global Cooldown (or GCD for short) is a universal cooldown that all classes have, which dictates how often you can use most spells and weaponskills. It can be reduced and made faster by having Spell Speed (SpS) or Skill Speed (SkS) on equipment.

 

The difference between the two is that Spell Speed makes the Spell GCD faster (useful for Magical Ranged DPS and Healers), and Skill Speed makes the Weaponskill GCD faster (useful for Melee DPS, Tanks, and Physical Ranged DPS). Using spells or weaponskills puts other spells and weaponskills on the GCD, making them unavailable until the global recast timer is resolved. If a spell on the GCD is canceled mid-cast, your other GCD abilities will still be available.

GCD rotation. Notice how even though 1 was cast, 2 also goes on cooldown.

Off-global cooldowns

There are abilities for each class that aren’t affected by the GCD that have independent cooldowns. These are referred to as Off-Global Cooldown abilities, or OGCD for short. They have various effects depending on the class you’re playing, and can generally be used at any time. Using OGCDs in between GCDs is commonly referred to as weaving.

The Target Ring and you

 Most enemies in FFXIV have a target ring that appears when you target them. This target ring is most relevant for Melee DPS classes, but every class should be aware of where a target is facing. This ring is important because Melee DPS classes have positionals on their GCD abilities, where they must strike enemies on their flanks or rears to gain extra potency or effects on their abilities. Tanks need to understand this as well because they control where the target faces and some targets attack in an area of effect in front of them. To avoid hitting everyone, tanks need to face targets away from the party.

 

For Melee DPS classes, hitting positional requirements on weaponskills is essential for maximizing your damage potential.

 

The Rear positional is located opposite of where your target is facing, in the open space on the ring. The Flank positional is located on each side of the target ring. To hit a positional, you must move your character to the target’s flank or rear before using your GCD. Most Melee DPS position themselves either southwest or southeast of the target, allowing for ease of access to both flank and rear. If a target ring has no opening in the rear and is a full circle, that means GCDs on the target have no positional requirements, allowing you to attack the enemy from any direction at full benefit.

 

A normal Enemy Target Ring. The opening in the rear means that the target has positionals. The lines indicate where the flank ends, and the front begins.

 

A non-positional Enemy Target Ring. Take note of how there’s no opening in the rear.

 

Weaving

Weaving is the term used for using OGCDs while your GCD timer is spinning. Under most circumstances, you can use two OGCDs within one GCD rotation without delaying your next GCD. This is heavily dependent on your job, SkS/SpS, and your ping.

 

You always want to use your GCD abilities whenever they’re available and use OGCDs between GCD casts. Weaving on a Caster or Healer is a bit more complicated than weaving on the other classes, due to cast times on spells. To weave on a Caster/Healer, take advantage of instant-cast GCDs such as Dia and use OGCDs during the GCD spin as normal.

What weaving should look like.

ABC: Always be casting

No combat class in the game should ever experience downtime. You should always be pressing something on your hotbar: always be attacking, always be casting. More casts equals more damage, and the entire game is balanced around how much damage you can deal within the shortest amount of time. Endgame raids have “enrages”, which are invisible timers that end the encounter after a period of time, forcing players to do sufficient levels of damage within the timeframe. Damage is helpful for every piece of content; nobody wants to be stuck in a dungeon for more than 30 minutes because there are people in the party who don’t attack. Don’t be that guy.

Healers are DPS too!

While Healers are there to keep your party alive, they don’t require you to be healing 100% of the time. Healers also have damaging spells that are meant to be used to contribute to the success of every encounter. If your party is fully or relatively healthy, damage the target instead.

 

Playing a Healer in Final Fantasy XIV requires finding a balance between dealing damage and healing the party. This balance varies depending on the content you’re in, and it’s up to you to find it — most of the time, incoming damage on the party is predictable and does not require a constant stream of heals. Keep everyone alive, and when you can ensure they won’t die, deal damage instead.

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