The Basics of Combat in Final Fantasy XIV

| Tags: | Author
The Basics of Combat in Final Fantasy XIV

Weaving? Debuffs? Combos? Potency? We go through all the basics of combat in Final Fantasy XIV.

Greetings traveler, if you have just started playing Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV). You must have some questions. Allow us here at ESTNN to answer them and give you a rundown of what to expect. This little handy guide will cover how to fight properly, how to spot mechanics, damage types and what is expected of you.

ABC as easy as 1-2-3

Players in FFXIV are expected to know their ABC, not the other letters though. ABC stands for Always Be Casting. FFXIV has, especially for people coming from World of Warcraft, an infamous 2.5 second Global Cooldown (GCD). Giving the impression that the game is slow, and we’ll get to that in the next part. It will do you well to commit this ABC to memory. Keeping that GDC rolling throughout combat is essential. Even if you are a caster or melee, you are expected to keep using your Weaponskills/Spells with no interruptions. And in ideal cases, you keep doing your rotation while dodging mechanics.

Most Jobs have Weaponskills/Spells you can use while moving, they may not be the heavy hitters but doing any damage is better than doing no damage. So if for any reason, you can’t use your regular abilities, use them. And while it is impossible to keep the GCD rolling all the time, you should strive to keep it rolling as much as possible.


We know, weaver is a crafting class, but we are talking about a different kind of weaving here. Now, the aforementioned 2.5 second GCD seems to make the game feel a little slow. But that’s when we introduce Abilities, those are off the Global Cooldown (oGCD) and can be used between Weaponskills/Spells. This is the secret sauce to FFXIV’s combat. And most Jobs, will usually have something to weave between GCD’s. Most of these oGCD’s will have a short animation lock that will sometimes clip with your GCD’s. You should avoid that. Usually, you should be able to cram at least one oGCD in there, but some rotations require more than that for optimal damage output.

Auto Attack

This is something a Melee will have to deal with but it technically applies to everyone. Consider it a kind of passive damage you’ll do to the enemy as long as you are in range. This will depend on your Job, weapon and equipment and will start automatically as soon as you use your first skill on an enemy.


This is relatively straight forward, Weaponskills/Spells and some Abilities will combo into another one. Indicated by a dotted line rotating around the next thing to press on your hotbar. Not only will this result in a Potency bonus, but sometimes apply additional effects or build resources.

What is Potency?

Technically it is a multiplier at the end of a long complicated calculation no one really knows yet how to work out. But, the higher the Potency, the more damage you’ll do. So this is the best thing you can do to determine if for example, a single target attack would do more damage than a multitarget one. You’ll want to pump out as much Potency as possible at all times.


Buffs and Debuffs and You

These are straight forward, one will enhance certain aspects of your character or the Enemy. While the other one will stifle them. There is a wide variety of them, so we won’t go over every single one. But there are some you can use. They either come with the usage of a Weaponskill/Spell or an ability.

Buffs, you want to keep up at all times, so use them as much as you can. There will be some that will overwrite others, or do the same thing but better. In most optimal cases, you want to spread them out so nothing goes to waste.

Debuffs work mostly the same. There are very specific cases, where you want to keep them up before a very nasty ability. Or when everyone is ready to fire out of all cylinders and do their big damage abilities.

DoT’s and HoT’s

Those who are familiar with MMO’s might already know about these terms, but we’re gonna elaborate on them anyways. A DoT is a damage over time Weaponskill/Spells or Ability that will do a set amount of Damage over Time. The HoT on the other hand, is Heal over Time Weaponskill/Spells or Ability. That can be put on yourself or in some cases party members to regenerate health with every Tick. Tick refers to the Servertick of FFXIV, which is currently set at three seconds.

As an example for this, we will use Conjurers/White Mage’s Aero Spell. It has a flat Potency 50 and will apply an additional 30 Potency every three seconds for eighteen. For a total Potency of 230.

Keeping your DoT’s and HoT’s applied at all times should be a priority. And HoT’s should usually always be on the Tank.


Taking Snapshots

When an enemy casts an ability, or you see one of those yellow/orange markers on the ground. The game will take a snapshot of you as soon as the Castbar is full or the marker disappears. That is when the game determines that it will hurt you. Knowing this, you can simply run into the animation, even the very nasty ones and don’t take damage. However, there are some that cause continuous damage for a set time.


Or threat or aggro. Most people will refer to it as aggro determines the order of attack for enemies. You can see that order, listed in your Party-List when targeting an enemy. Or on the Enemy list itself. On the enemy list, you can see enemy’s targeting you marked by a red square. Yellow/Orange when you are next in line or green when they aren’t even considering you yet. You generate Enmity by healing, doing damage or generating Enmity with certain abilities. Tanks are usually the only ones who have to deal with this mechanic.

This should be enough to take you through Final Fantasy XIV. You’ll find more detailed Guides on the different Job Types and other Mechanics here, on ESTNN.

The Basics of Combat in Final Fantasy XIV
Timo Reinecke
Has once claimed that FSH is the only job in FFXIV worth playing and stands by that firmly. Top Guy, Smart Guy, Educated Speaker. (sometimes) Writer of all things FFXIV, FGC, News, Reviews and More