Rise up Green DPS, we're taking you through all the basics of healing in Final Fantasy XIV.
Taking responsibility for your own action’s isn’t enough? If you like the prospect of being the babysitter for three or seven other adventurers seems enticing. Healer might be the job for you.
Enter Healer, the Green DPS
Now you read healer and thought that your only job will be to make sure no one dies. That is only part of your job, in Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) healers are much closer to their brethren in the rest of the franchise. Yes, they do have big spells that will save the rest of the party. But they can and should provide a significant amount of damage and beneficial effects in between the healing. You are a healer but one of them has laser guns. The other is a fairy that does the legwork, there is one with a big old staff. And lastly one that moonlights as a fortune teller with Uno cards.
The two kinds of Healer
Since the release of Endwalker, we differentiate two breeds of healer. We did before, but the Astrologian got a little facelift and we got that cool new kid, the one with the guns. So there are now Pure/Regen Healers and Shield Healers. In essence they all still heal, just the methods are different. One mainly works with an Heal over Time (HoT) the other one uses a shield to prevent direct damage.
How to Heal (and do damage)
Now, the game has lied to you, when it gave you those Global Cooldown (GCD) Spells. I know, it’s hard to accept. But hard-casting any sort of healing spell is reserved for when you run out of everything else, or the lower levels. Sometimes to get everyone back to fighting strength after a nasty party wide attack. While you level, you will unlock Abilities that are off Global Cooldown (oGCD). You use those instead, they might take a while to recharge but you can weave them in between your damaging spells.
So you’ll usually start out with slapping either a HoT or Shield on your patient and heal them up, as necessary with your oGCD’s as they come off cooldown. Now, this has many complicated numbers and calculations to factor in on paper. But you just have to develop a feeling for it. You can tell at some point how much damage your tank and your party will take from any given situation. Provided they don’t fail a mechanic. You’ll have to cure those ailments too. Just don’t be afraid to heal a little more than you think you have to, but also don’t throw out your massive heals for the little ouchies. This makes up the core of healing in this game.
Now damage, luckily all the healers are very straight forward with their rotations. Everyone comes with a Damage over Time (DoT) Spell, a single-target Spell and multi-target Spell. So when there is no healing to be done, make sure to keep your DoT up at all times, and spam your big damage Spell according to the situation.
Every healer has a kind of raise spell, they might have different names but they all do the same. Raise a party member from the K.O status for a good chunk of your MP. This will give the raised person a debuff, which will stack if you raise them again before the debuff times out. Normally you should avoid hard casting this when one of your DPS is down. But there will be situations where it is absolutely necessary to bring a tank or the other healer back up for a mechanic. Do keep in mind, that the priority for raising goes as follows. Tank > Red Mage > Healer > Other DPS.
Why the Red Mage you ask? Because these beautiful people can raise others (at least when they are above level 64) in 2.4 intervals. They are your best friends, when they remember they can do that.
Slidecasting, the Caster’s secret Sauce
Now, casters have a disadvantage compared to most of the other types of jobs. They have to stand still for usually 2.4ish seconds to cast any Spell. But lucky for them, there is a secret technique, made possible by the games servers. Slidecasting. Now, this tech is very much dependent on your latency and will cause your GCD to drift just a little. But when your castbar hits around the 0.45 seconds left to cast point. You should be able to wiggle yourself a little into any direction before you can cast again. Try this on a striking dummy of your choice to get the timing for your latency down. This is used for either making small adjustments to avoid damage, or simply to move yourself for a mechanic while keeping your damage up.
Let's go over the role actions, by Level 50 you’ll have them all and they make up some more or less essential Abilities in your kit.
Repose: This will put a target to sleep for 30 seconds, the target will wake up once it's attacked. This can be used to crowd control in hairy situations and is especially useful in solo content.
Esuna: The one fit’s all spell to specific kinds of ailments. Some debuffs will have a white line on top of them in the Party List, this means the debuff can be dispelled. While they are some debuffs that you can ignore, as dispelling them would just be a loss of damage, others should be dispelled, unless you want to raise them once it times out.
Lucid Dreaming: This one is essential to every casters kit. It will regenerate MP over 21 seconds. Use this as often as you can as soon as your MP drops below 80%.
Surecast: This one makes sure that most knockback and draw-in effects won’t affect you. And more importantly won’t interrupt your casts either. This is very important for uptime, unless said knockback is intentional for you to avoid another mechanic.
Rescue: This one is every healer's favourite. In theory, this is meant so you can pull party members to your side to not seem them being grinded up into paste. But some healers will also use it to live out petty revenge fantasies. Which we here at ESTNN don’t encourage. Unless..
The Four Healers
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of healing, you should have a solid grasp on what to do and how to make your party proud. Now we’ll introduce you to the four jobs that will grant you instant invitations into dungeons.
White Mage: The Final Fantasy classic, the White Mage is a pure healer. It’s very easy to pick up and master, offers some heavy healing and there won’t be many situations that will make you sweat as White Mage. While it might not offer much beyond heavy healing it is great for progression. And its Holy Spell is a favourite in dungeons, if you turned your brightness down. It starts out its career as the Conjurer.
Scholar: This one starts out as Arcanist in Limsa Lominsa, similar to its twin the Summoner. They are the pet healer, so a fairy will do a good amount of passive healing while it supplements that with an array of shield Spells. They are currently really good at damage and party utility, with their Chain Stratagem ability being beloved by many. Scholars offer a different kind of healing, while the other healers can heal more reactionary. As a Scholar you need to get a quick lay of the land and plan a few steps ahead. They’ll take a while to get used to but are very rewarding to play, if pulled off right.
Astrologian: Another pure healer that draws its energy from the stars.. And cards. During combat, you dish out cards to your comrades. Along with doing damage and healing of course. These cards will buff your party and let you work towards a big buff for yourself. Astrologians bring great utility to their parties. It is the job for you, should you want something busy with a great risk-reward balance. You’ll be able to pick this one up as soon as you start the Heavensward expansion.
Sage: The new kid, the one with the gun. You can pick it up in Limsa Lominsa once you hit Level 70. This shield healer has a bit of a learning curve, since it plays a lot different from other healers. It’s main thing is to switch between two modes that will alter its main abilities. In addition to that, there is a certain rhythm to learn. Reapplying your shield to your tanks and party, healing with your oGCD’s while dishing out heavy damage. It’s quick, snappy and most importantly, very flashy.
That is all we have on the topic of healers for now. You’ll find more guides, news and curiosities all around Final Fantasy XIV, here on ESTNN.