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Final Fantasy XIV: Best classes to start with

Class is in session

Picking the best Final Fantasy XIV class to start with seems like a daunting task, but despite having to make a choice as soon as you start the game, it's not as big of a deal as it seems. FFXIV makes finding your ideal class and settling into it comparatively straightforward, though, so you’re not locked into a bad choice for hours of battles and dungeon exploring.

However, some classes are easier to learn than others and have more to offer, especially if you're playing by yourself. We break down what the best FFXIV starting class is and how to go about changing it below.

Does my FFXIV starting class matter?

A man with purple hair in a ponytail, hidden under a green brimmed hat with a white feather, is standing in a dimly lit stone hall.

You'll wear many hats during your journey, but picking the right one to start with makes life a lot easier.

Some longtime FFXIV players might tell you that your starting class doesn’t matter, but that’s only partially correct. It’s true that, after A Realm Reborn, you get access to new classes whose only prerequisites are based on your character’s level, and not a previous job. However, unless you’re buying level skips and burning through expansions, you still have to contend with leveling.

Some instanced battles outside of dungeons also require you to fight alone, so since you can’t always rely on party members for help, you need a good, well-rounded class to get you through the story.

You’re only stuck with your starting job for a few hours, so if you’re unhappy with your pick, you can just switch to something else.

How to change classes in FFXIV

A Final Fantasy XIV Miqo'te with purple hair, wearing a gold neck band, white shirt, black vest, and heavy metal gauntlets, is sitting against a red leather seat back with an attentive expression on his face

Changing class is as easy as visiting a new city.

Every class in FFXIV starts with a quest from the class’ associated guild or society, and each of the three major cities in A Realm Reborn is home to a few guilds. Visit, speak with the questgiver, and complete the quest to unlock that job. You can change jobs by equipping its associated weapon – a grimoire for Arcanist, for example, or a bow for Archer.

Bear in mind that changing classes by equipping a weapon removes all of your previous equipment. Make sure to save your loadouts as Gear Sets, so you don't waste time re-equipping your class gear every time you change.

Ul’Dah classes

  • Thaumaturge
  • Gladiator
  • Pugilist

Limsa Lominsa classes

  • Marauder
  • Arcanist
  • Rogue

Gridania classes

  • Lancer
  • Conjurer
  • Archer

FFXIV – Should you level multiple jobs?

A FFXIV Miqo'te wearing red mesh armor is infused with light that emanates from his chest.

The power of a good hat.

Whether you should level multiple jobs depends on which one you start with and how you plan to play. The old wisdom used to be that if you pick a DPS character, you should also level a tank or healer to help shorten queue times while waiting to party up for dungeons, as most people tend to choose DPS classes. 

That’s not quite as important now that Square Enix has implemented duty support for a good many main story dungeons, a system that lets you party up with NPCs and avoid queue times entirely.

However, if you want to play with others or engage in dungeons and activities outside of the main story, it’s worth playing a desirable role – tank or healer – so you’re not stuck waiting for 30 minutes or more.

Unless you’re on a server with an XP multiplier, though, we recommend sticking to two jobs maximum until you finish leveling one. That reduces the level grind, but still gives you some variation to play around with in case you want or need to change things up.

Best Final Fantasy XIV starting class

A FFXIV Miqo'te wearing a long black robe is standing on thick red carpet in a dimly lit stone hallway

Magic users beware: Your early-game gear doesn't look the greatest

You should tinker with classes and see which ones suit your style before settling on one or two, but we recommend considering these to start with.

Gladiator (Tank)

Gladiator is technically a tank class, but it gets several DPS-oriented actions as well. If you want a more active tanking role that goes beyond just attracting aggro, this is the class for you. Completing the level 30 Gladiator quest unlocks the Paladin class, and while it has a mixed reception in the FFXIV community, it’s a lot more fun to play than Warrior.

Arcanist (Ranged Magical DPS)

Arcanist throws a touch of healing and support in with DPS actions, and it offers the most variety in the early game. Arcanists use elemental and unaspected magic to deal damage via summoned familiars. They can also heal, generate shields for themselves, raise fallen allies, and debuff enemies.

The carbuncles you use for elemental spells have different attack styles that lend themselves well to basic skill rotations, and you can specialize as a Summoner or Scholar after finishing the level 30 Arcanist quest.

Lancer (Melee DPS)

Lancer isn’t the flashiest class, but it is reliable and a good introductory to position-based attacks that some advanced classes make use of. Lancers attack from all sides, including from above, and deal a respectable amount of damage, while taking advantage of their role actions to sustain themselves and weaken foes. 

The real draw here, aside from leveling into a Dragoon, is the class story that spans Lancer and Dragoon and has close ties with the main story narrative once you reach Ishgard.

You can also just watch the story on YouTube if you end up not liking the Lancer class.

Conjurer (Ranged Magical Healer)

Conjurer is a tough one to recommend for leveling. You get just two offensive spells, which means most battles outside of dungeons can take a while, and Fates in particular are tough to complete alone. 

However, it and the White Mage class you eventually level into are among the best support classes in the game, with powerful healing spells that are perfectly suited to challenging battles and raids.