FFXIV Guide: Tanking Fundamentals


Hi, I’m Wiks. And I don’t know how to start videos. Let’s cut to the chase shall we? You wanna tank and I can help you. Now in the interest of time I’ll be focusing on the basics of tanking dungeons up to around level 30 when your Job becomes available. If you are new to FFXIV or MMOs in general you should know about the Trinity system. All this system does is describe what each person’s role in the group is. In Final Fantasy the roles are: Tank Healer and Damage Dealer Which is also commonly referred to as DPS. The DPS kills things. The Healer keeps people alive. And the Tanks run in first screaming profanities at their enemies in order to keep their attention off the rest of the group. If that sounds appealing then tanking is right up your alley. Since this is a game made of ones and zeroes the attention of your enemies obviously has a numerical value which is referred to as Enmity in game terms and or by the community.

They can be a bit obnoxious sometimes. So your job as tank is to generate more aggro than anyone else in the group and survive while doing it. And what better way to survive than covering yourself in the heaviest armor you can find? Don’t worry if you’re just starting out and don’t have the cash to deck yourself out in high quality melded gear. You can clear the first few dungeons in basic lvl15 Bronze Armor Getting a high quality level appropriate weapon is your priority here. Even if you have to craft it yourself. While it’s not entirely necessary in your average group there’s always the off chance that a hardcore raider will join in and promptly make your job a living nightmare. Next you’re gonna want to dye that horrible mish-mash of colors into something more appealing to the eye. Good. Now go take some screenshots and post them on Reddit for some sweet sweet downvotes.

Now that that’s out of the way we can move on the the exciting stuff. Like the User Interface. Once you engage a hostile group all your enemies show up in this list. If the circles are flashing red you have the enemies attention. If they turn yellow you do not. While this tool is useful for keeping track of the entire group it doesn’t really provide an accurate view of your aggro in relation to your group members. But don’t worry the devs got your back. I present to you: The Aggro Bar If this bar is full you’re doing your job right. But other players have bars too. And if theirs is bigger than yours it might get embarrassing. ok seriously this is your only way of accurately gauging which enemy needs some attention before you lose it. Just remember this only represents the aggro table of your currently selected target. Ok now that you understand what aggro is and how to read it let’s look at the skills and abilities you’ll be using for the next few thousand hours. First thing to note is the difference between Weaponskills and Abilities Weaponskills have a short recast timer among themselves which we call a global cooldown.

And Abilities completely ignore this but get way longer cooldowns to compensate. Weave Abilities in between Weaponskills if you want to maximize aggro generation. Both Gladiator and Marauder generate aggro in a similar way. Both get a single target ranged attack, single target combos and an Area of Effect attack for groups of enemies. The difference between the two is in the play style. If you like a defensive approach go with the gladiator. And if you like hurting things go with the Marauder. Rest assured, both can fill the tank role in any content successfuly. Before we delve into the nitty gritty nuance of each class let’s go over the tool-tips and combos real quick. Take Skull Sunder for example. Very bad skill on it’s own with just 100 potency but If you use it after Heavy Swing it suddenly becomes an awesome 200 potency attack. That’s your basic Marauder combo. But that’s not all. See that Additional Effect: Increased enmity? That means that whatever you deal in damage with that attack will get tripled in aggro generation.

So your enemy will think that that 200 potency attack hurt like a 600 potency attack. All skills that have this Additional Effect apply a x3 increase in aggro generation except for the third combo skill Butcher’s Block and Rage of Halone. Both of these have a whopping x5 aggro multiplier. And is by far the biggest aggro generating single target skill you have. So long as you combo it for full potency. Also note that Abilities and Spells will not interrupt your combos so feel free to throw in a Flash or pop a cooldown when needed. Got all that? Good. Let’s delve deeper into the gladiator skill arsenal.

Convalescence and Rampart are your two major cooldowns when shit hits the fan. This means the “I might need it later” mentality kicks in and the first instinct will be to save it for when it’s already too late. Don’t do this. The early dungeons are forgiving enough to survive without cooldowns at all. Which means you can take this opportunity to get a feel for just how long the cooldwon is and what the skill does.

The more damage you mitigate the more bored the healer becomes. Which means they might start DPSing just to have something to do. And that’s exactly what we’re aiming for with this calss. Boring the Healer into action. At around level 18 you realize that you don’t actually have to throw your shield at enemies to make it useful. And decide to start Bashing enemies in the face with it. Turns out that stuns them for a while. The interesting thing about your stun is that it’s on the global cooldown, which means you can spam it. There is a downside however. Classes usually have an off Global Cooldown Stun to interrupt boss mechanics. For Gladiators this becomes considerably more difficult if you don’t know the fight or time a weaponskill poorly. At level 20 you get an interesting trait that makes Flash even more unique. It now blinds your enemies. So you can dodge their attacks more easily. If you reapply Flash just as the Blind wears off you can keep it going for over 20 seconds on an entire group.

Then of course you have Provoke which would need an entire guide of it’s own to explain properly. But here goes the short version. When you use it on a target it instantly puts you at the top of it’s aggro list. But only just. If the player in 2nd place even farts he’s gonna get aggro back. So this one is best used just before a high aggro weapnslkill. If you die during a boss fight all that aggro you’ve built up during the fight is lost and Provoke is the only way of getting it back quickly. Finally you have Fight or Flight. A very useful Ability for establishing aggro but since it only affects physical damage your Flash gains no benefit from it. So optimally you’ll want to pop this just before you start your single target combos. There a few cross-class skills you should pick up as well. Some will not be accessible after you switch to Paladin so these are not mandatory. I’m just gonna suggest some easily obtainable ones that you might find useful while leveling. So Pick up Raging strikes for some extra aggro, Foresight for some extra mitigation, Cure is really nice early on especially with Convalescence.

Unfortunately it scales horribly so don’t expect much from it by the time you hit 30. Once your Flash has been upgraded pick up Featherfoot. It synergises well with the Blind effect giving you another strong mitigation cooldown. And pick up Shade Shift so you have something to amuse yourself with. Now let’s see what the Marauder can do. First up the rather lackluster Foresight. It may seem that Foresight is the same as Rampart but what it does differs greatly. Foresight doesn’t just mitigate damage taken by 20% it increases your Physical Defense stat by 20% That is far less mitigation than Rampart. And it’s completely useless against magic attacks. That being said use it anyway. It’s still better than nothing. Next up is an alternate combo called Maim. It gives you a straight up damage buff so keep refreshing it throughout the fight. Speaking of damage buffs you also get Berserk, one of your signature moves. For a few glorious seconds you skyrocket to the top of the DPS list and you probably stay there.

Because you just murdered everyone and everything. Pair it up with Bloodbath. And you’ve just made the Healer obsolete. Well, at least until Berserk ends and you have to go sit down for a few seconds. Or hell, just wake up your Healer and tell them to Esuna that Pacification right off. Overpower is of course your all-purpose AoE Weaponskill. The cone is very wide so use it and get a feel for it’s range. You also get Brutal Swing as your stun move. It works somewhat differently than the Gladiator’s. Since it’s an Ability you can use it during the Global Cooldown for interrupting boss moves or just doing more DPS. If you notice you’re about to lose aggro on an enemy you can also use this ability to keep it in place for a few seconds while you build up more aggro. Finally you get Mercy Stroke for that off chance 200 potency is just enough to finish off the enemy.

But hey, free damage so can’t complain too much. For your cross-class skills pick up Raging Strikes, Convalescence, Provoke for obvious reasons, Flash ignores the Pacification debuff and conserves your TP so feel free to use that whenever you don’t have a good angle for Overpower. And pick up Invigorate form the Lancer class if you wanna go nuts with Overpower ever once in a while. Ok after all that we’ve established a decent theoretical base. Now let’s apply that knowledge in an actual dungeon run. Step 1 is forget you rebound everything since the last time you gave up on making a guide. Step 2 is look for where the fuck you put Flash.

Let’s try this again. First you want to pull with your Tommahawk or Shield Lob. Your Damage Dealers will likely go for this enemy first giving you some time to position and establish aggro on the rest of the group. Couple of AoEs should be enough to keep aggro off the Healer. Now we go back to single targeting. If you’ve built up a good aggro lead on a target you can move on to the next one as it will likely die before you lose aggro. Next make sure to keep an eye on your Damage Dealers.

At least one of them will likely not pay attention to your subtle hints about what to kill first. So you just might have to deal with high damage going out to different targets. Use your single target combos while tabbing between them. On rare occasions you may get a couple really good Damage Dealers that can pretty much make it impossible to keep aggro on separate targets at once. Don’t worry this only happens in early game and with relatively undergeared tanks. But you still need to know how to deal with it. So let’s talk about marking. These are Marx. Put them on your hotbar. And press them when you have a target selected. That’s it. Now the downside is that the DPSers might not care about marks and all your work putting them up in which case just let the DPSer attacking the wrong enemy keep it.

I must stress that you should only use marks as a last resort though. Your tanking will improve a lot faster if you don’t rely on everyone playing nice all the time. It may be stressful for a while but you’ll thank me by the time you hit endgame and the real tanking begins. Now if everything is going well and aggro is solid your next focus is proper positioning and mitigation. After initiating a pull you need to position the pack of enemies or boss between yourself and the rest of the group. Essentially have the enemies back exposed to your allies. This is to prevent your melee Damage Dealers form accidentally pulling any roaming enemies or getting hit by a stray cleave. Also keep in mind that some melee classes have positional requirements for maximum damage. So always keep at least one of the enemies flanks and back readily accessible to your DPS. I also need to mention that keeping your enemies still is important for DPSers that have positionals. That means you want them moving and turning as little as possible.

Sometimes doing that is harder than it sounds you don’t wanna stand in AoEs and take avoidable damage after all. Well there is a way around that. You see those AoE marks on the ground? If you don’t move out of it before it disappears it’s gonna hit you no matter how far you run. Essentially that determines whether you get hit or not. But that also means that you can step right back into position as soon as that ground mark disappears no matter if the attack animation went off or not. And since the enemy can’t turn while casting the attack you can keep it perfectly still this way. And all the Pugilists will love you for it. You should also be aware that your own flank and back matters. For instance you can only Parry or Block an attack coming from the front. Your enemies also have a harder time hitting you at all if you’re facing them so enjoy dodging while you can.

All that alone should provide some significant mitigation. But don’t neglect your cooldowns. Pop a Foresight or Rampart early on in the pull so your healer has some extra time to apply DoTs and such. Well, if they’re DPSing at all. If you see that red and black buff come up next to your healers name you can rest assured they’re dishing out some punishment. Or they’re frantically trying to figure out why their heals suck all of a sudden. If your healer is especially confident don’t be surprised if your HP dips below your comfort level. They probably know what they’re doing, just pop a Convalescence when your HP hits the double digits so they can return to DPSing faster. Finally you need to keep in mind that the Tank role puts you in a position of leadership by default. Since you’re the one who has to initiate every pull you’re the one who has to set a pace for the dungeon. Moving from group to group fast or slow is all up to you. So pay attention if your healer needs MP, look at the chat and see if anyone’s asking for a TP break.

And if you’re tanking a dungeon for the first time don’t hesitate to tell your group members. You’d be surprised just how much more forgiving people can be just by knowing that little detail. Ok if you got all that you’re well on your way to becoming an excellent Tank. This is far from everything you need to know mind you but it should serve as a good foundation to build on. See you next time. C’mon just a little bit more. C’mon. Just a couple auto-attacks c’mon. Ok. Now let me get this in all it’s glory. Uhh also let me down 20% of my HP. Just so we get the perfect shot, yo. It’s gonna be awesome when it doesn’t kill it. It is. And BAM. what? What?! You didn’t get it your auto-attack killed it. Fuck me. *laughter* God damn it. He jinxed you. Ugh… My god. Even… Even with the perfect set up you can’t get this fucking thing to work properly.

Read More: FFXIV: Shadowbringers Scholar Job Introduction