As already mentioned in our previous class tier lists, all of the classes in Final Fantasy XIV are balanced to the point that they are mostly equal in terms of performance. However, there are significant differences between these classes in terms of the complexity of using their kits and the fun that you could have playing them. Below is the tier list of all the DPS classes: Ranged Physical, Melee Physical, and Magic Ranged with Patch 5.4 in mind.
Ranged Physical DPS (The Bard, The Machinist, And The Dancer)
As of patch 5.4, the effectiveness of Ranged Physical DPS in Final Fantasy XIV has fallen down to the ground like a rock. This does not mean that the ranged DPS classes are heavily nerfed in the latest patch. The melee and caster DPS classes just received significant buffs across the latest patches leading to patch 5.4.
Nevertheless, the ranged physical DPS classes are arguably the most enjoyable to play as. There is so much mindless fun in just dishing out all your skills without doing calculations in your head. The Bard, the Machinist, and the Dancer are equally mediocre compared to the rest of the DPS jobs since they have the lowest damage output. Their defensive utilities are also underwhelming and compared to other DPS jobs.
Melee Physical DPS
The Monk is the strongest job in patch 5.4. The Monk could get to the same level as the Black Mage or the Samurai in the personal damage department. However, the Monk outperforms both the Black Mage and the Samurai due to the Monk’s utility specifically the Brotherhood skill. Brotherhood increases damage done by all party members by 5%. The real deal though is the Meditative Brotherhood, which gives you a 20% chance of opening a chakra when a party member with the Brotherhood effect executes a weaponskill or casts a spell.
Patch 5.4 is definitely made for the Monk. It is now less of a headache playing as them. The complexity in playing as the Monk is you have to play like a fast-paced Dragoon with less defense. Everything in their GCD also has a positional in order to trigger the extra damage which makes them redundant in a party with the Dragoon.
The Samurai is the best beginner-friendly control among the DPS because of the straightforward nature of its combat. The only weakness of the Samurai is its support arsenal. This job does not want a fast GCD but you will be weaving a heavy amount of oGCDs while keeping track of pets, ability charges, and movements. It could get hectic but it is not that bad that it becomes unmanageable.
The Samurai is faster than the average DPS but not as fast as the Ninja and the Monk. Since controlling the Samurai is mostly a brain-dead activity, there is a good chance that you will misalign your cooldowns so watch out for your rotations.
The Ninja is a strong DPS with a nice utility and can close the gaps quite well. This job has a little bit of complexity in utilizing their skills because of the faster global cooldowns due to its Hyuton buff. This complexity is just present in the beginning as it would get less complex in the endgame content. Their positionals, speed, and Mudras make them a mess to control before endgame.
The Ninja’s oGCD game is also insane within their Trick Attack window every minute. This is supplemented by performing basic combos while waiting for the cooldown. The Ninja is also the highest cooldown per minute tied with The Monk.
Dragoon is one of the most beloved jobs in Final Fantasy XIV. They are the showcase of how unique the battle system of this game. While not as fast the Ninja, the Dragoon is much more complex due to its many buff windows and jump abilities. These skills must be lined up in an optimal setting in order to pull off the maximum damage.
The Dragoon has many positionals, so you have to watch out for your position. The Dragoon is much more effective if you are attacking your enemies from the side or the back. Melee uptime in the endgame is difficult for this job, but it is rewarding since definitely, the Dragoon is the best melee DPS in higher levels leading to the endgame.
Magic Ranged DPS
The Black Mage
No one can beat the Black Mage in the DPS department in terms of raw power. It should not be forgotten that the game is not played in theory. The Black Mage performs well in theory and in practice. If you want the best DPS, there is nothing better than this.
The Black Mage though is a very awkward job to start. They are probably one of the worst jobs throughout leveling in terms of performance and playstyle. The rotation for AOE and Single Target skills gets boring real quick. Once you hit level 60 though, things will get interesting as the core loop of maintaining Enochian through the fire and ice kits is available. Everything should feel smooth-sailing while able to dish an obscene amount of damage. There comes a point that the Black Mage can output damage equivalent to other classes’ combo finishers by merely spamming their spells.
The Summoner is a micromanagement hell. If you are not comfortable juggling things constantly then the Summoner is not for you. The Summoner’s arsenal is maintaining pets and damage over time. The Summoner is a complicated job to play but they are rewarding for being a good utility to a party and, of course, the resurrection spell.
Multi-targeting is easy with the summoner. It is a shame that the Summoner was heavily nerfed in the Shadowbringers expansion, yet, this job is one of the strongest damage dealers still. The Black Mage is still a lot better as a DPS without the painful micromanagement. Even if you master the Summoner’s kit, it cannot compare to other DPS classes in their maximum damage output.
The Red Mage
The Red Mage is one of the better jobs in Final Fantasy XIV and has now caught up to the Summoner class in all measurable aspects. The Red Mage saw a minor boost in patch 5.3, and it received a significant boost in the latest patch. The potency buffs increased a percentage in damage, as well as little niceties here and there that eventually accumulate, making the Red Mage a utility expert in the party. Remember, the Red Mage is built for progression rather than pure and raw DPS.
The Red Mage is the easiest caster in the game, which makes them the easiest DPS regardless if it is a caster, ranged, or physical DPS job. The Red Mage’s Embolden is being unfairly compared to the Monk’s Brotherhood skill. It is worth noting that the majority of the raid buffs have 120-second cooldowns anyway. Embolden’s effect may degrade over time, but it’s 10% buff in the first few seconds. The Red Mage has a lot of potency buffs in its kit while dishing damage themselves.