Final Fantasy 14's latest offering, Shadowbringers, is the third expansion to the game. In 2006, Final Fantasy XII was the highest-rated Final Fantasy game until Shadowbringers usurped that title. The game's story and writing were universally praised by players, and along with that, the game received various tweaks that made it more fun to play. Along with the tweaks and sweeping, immersive storyline, there were two classes added: Gunbreaker and Dancer. FF14 was reworked to such a degree that it might seem like a sparkling new game.
Just as Dragoons were invoked during Heavensword, with its focus on dragons and the skies, and the Samurai and Monk were invoked during Stormblood, due to its eastern flair; the Shadowbringers expansion appeals to the themes of the Dark Knight, as it mirrors the path of the Dark Knight's lore. You'll adapt and become what's necessary to fight evil corruption, and master the light and the darkness within. Just as the tonality of the expansion might suggest, many of the adjustments made were focused on the Dark Knight job.
Learn how the system has been reworked with Shadowbringers and how you can be a master of the Dark Knight job, by following this guide.
Role of the Dark Knight in FF14 Shadowbringers
Despite having had a "DPS stance", Dark Knight is a tank class in FF14, and remains so. That comes with all of the benefits and responsibilities of a typical tank class. They'll have access to the heaviest armor, defensive abilities that allow them to take the most damage, and have a move set that allows for temporary invincibility. Those perks also come with some responsibility in a team setting, as a tank must keep the damage focused on themselves and survive the tank-unique mechanics during raids and dungeons. Because a tank is so necessary to completing dungeon and raid content, Dark Knights will often be awarded the "Hero in Need" XP and Gil buff bonus when participating in the daily roulettes.
The tanks, in general, received a rework in Shadowbringers, changing from two stances to one that is a defensive stance but does not decrease damage. It increases enmity generation so that tanks will have an easier time holding enmity. The tanks have also acquired a new area of effect combos to continue to hold that enmity lead while surrounded by groups of enemies.
How has Shadowbringers Changed the Dark Knight's Role in FF14?
Initially, the role of a Dark Knight was easy to learn but difficult to master, as its primary function entailed spamming a single move, Dark Arts. Satisfying the mana requirements needed to constantly use Dark Arts provided the real challenge.
Shadowbringers has provided the Dark Knight class with an extensive rework. The aforementioned Dark Arts ability has been removed and is now triggered automatically as a special buff. To gain access to that buff, you'll need to reach level 70 and then unlock The Blackest Night skill. The Blackest Night will still bring up a damage-reducing barrier, but now once it is depleted, it will trigger Dark Arts instead of increasing your Blood Gauge.
Now, you'll be using Dark Arts to make two zero mana damage abilities: Flood of Darkness and Edge of Darkness. Both of those abilities will grant another gauge called Darkside, which increases damage dealt by 10%. Darkside no longer causes you to stop regenerating MP and can be extended up to 60 seconds.
To summarize, Dark Arts is no longer the go-to spam ability for Dark Knights to deal with damage. Instead, there is a much more robust combat system that is a lot more fun to play. Also, you can conjure a shadow clone of your Darkside at level 80, this shadow clone will fight alongside you for 120 seconds.
Dark Knight Tips for FF14
- Darkside duration can stack for up to 60 seconds. Use Flood of Darkness and Edge of Darkness together, for 30 seconds each, and then enjoy a full bar of the Darkside buff.
- The Blackest Night will keep you and your allies alive. Since it creates a barrier worth 25% of the target's HP, it won't be as effective on DPS and healers, but will still provide a meaningful gap between life and death in the heat of battle. The Blackest Night is obtained via a Job Quest at level 70 and is considered one of the Dark Knight’s most powerful tools.
- Quietus and Bloodspiller no longer use all of your mana and, combined with Dark Arts, you can use them without costing mana at all.
- Dark Missionary, the 10% damage reduction ability, will be very helpful in the midst of raid and trial bosses during their ultimate attack phases.
- Grit will be useless outside of group content, and only then, if you are the main tank. As its only function now is to increase enmity, it may be beneficial to turn this off during solo and off-tank play as it no longer reduces damage.
How to Unlock the Dark Knight Job in FF14?
Dark Knight is unique in that it is a job class that isn't immediately available. You'll need to be level 30 and reach the city of Ishgard during the quest "Before the Dawn". Then speak to the Ishgardian Citizen at the pillars and accept the quest "Our End". At the end of the quest, you’ll be able to unlock the “Dark Knight Job.”