During a hands-on preview session with Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, we checked out how all Jobs are changing once the expansion launches. Everything — from tweaks to existing skillsets and new actions past the current cap of level 80 — was available for all Jobs. But here, we’re going to focus on the Melee DPS Jobs: Ninja, Monk, Dragoon, Samurai, and, of course, the newcomer Reaper.
As a current Ninja and Monk main, and soon-to-be Reaper main (because it is very good), Endwalker comes with some updates that have me hyped up to be throwing hands (or blades) again. For those who also like to square up against your enemies, we have detailed explanations of how each Melee DPS Job has been adjusted. We’ve also included screenshots of the tooltips for new actions and traits up to the cap of level 90, which should help you anticipate what to expect when Endwalker rolls around.
For a more in-depth look at the other Jobs, we have you covered if you play Magic/Ranged DPS, Healer, or Tank. You’ll also want to read our interview with director and producer Naoki Yoshida about development and creating new Jobs for FFXIV. For more coverage on the critically acclaimed MMORPG, head over to our FFXIV Endwalker preview hub and peep all our hot content.
You can also check out the rest of our coverage of the media tour:
- Tank Changes and All New Job Actions to Level 90
- Healer Changes and All New Job Actions to Level 90
- Ranged/Magic DPS Changes and All New Job Actions to Level 90
- Tour of the New Zones — A Walkthrough of Old Sharlayan, Garlemald, and Thavnair
Please note that this article is based on playing an in-development build of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, and content in the final version is subject to change.
While Ninja has gotten a bit streamlined, it also has some cool new tools that will change up the way the Job currently plays.
One major thing to note is that the Huton Gauge now tops off at 60 seconds (instead of 70). This is in accordance with the development team’s goal of aligning cooldowns and timers with intervals of 30, 60, 90, and 120 seconds. However, to help with Huton upkeep, a new GCD weaponskill called Huraijin (Lv. 60) refreshes an active Huton by 30 seconds. It also straight up grants Huton for a full 60 seconds if it’s not active. Since it’s not a combo weaponskill, you can get all the benefits on its own. Additionally, the oGCD Assassinate now turns into Dream Within a Dream at level 56 instead of them existing as two separate actions.
Past level 80, you get Phantom Kamaitachi (Lv. 82), which is a strong AoE weaponskill that can be used once while Bunshin is active, and Hollow Nozuchi (Lv. 86), which enhances your AoE weaponskill Hakke Mujinsatsu when executed on enemies inside an active Doton area. Another nice feature is that Bhavacakra gets a potency boost to 300 once you hit level 84; at level 88, it gets a boost 400 if used after dispelling Meisui (Hellfrog Medium doesn’t get the same treatment, however). Lastly, you get Forked Raiju (Lv. 90) and Fleeting Raiju (Lv. 90), which are combo weaponskills that also act as gap closers and become available after casting Raiton.
New Ninja Actions and Traits
With this being a brand new Job, I won’t necessarily be going through every single action — you can get much more detail with my full impressions and explanation of the Reaper Job. However, I’ll highlight the big takeaways and general function of Reaper’s unique capabilities.
Broadly speaking, Reaper relies on building and expending the Soul Gauge (red top bar) and the Shroud Gauge (blue bottom bar) with various weaponskills. Basic GCDs and oGCDs feed into Soul. Upon reaching 50 Soul points, you’re granted strong attacks like Blood Stalk (single-target) and Grim Swathe (cone AoE), which then activate the Soul Reaver effect.
Under Soul Reaver, you can use Gallows (single-target rear), Gibbet (single-target flank), and Guillotine (cone AoE), which all feed into Shroud. The catch with Gallows and Gibbet is that they turn into an Enhanced version after using the other — meaning you’re encouraged to alternate between the two to deal extra damage.
Upon reaching 50 Shroud, you can go into the Enshrouded phase. Activating Enshroud is your burst damage window. You have 30 seconds to expend Lemure Shroud points by using the attacks Cross Reaping and Void Reaping (single-target that also get Enhanced when alternating between each other) or Grim Reaping (cone AoE).
Past level 80, you’re given an extra layer of skills to execute while in the Enshrouded phase, providing a bit more complexity and damage opportunity. Using the aforementioned attacks while Enshrouded leaves behind Void Shroud points. These can be used for additional attacks called Lemure’s Slice (single-target) and Lemure’s Scythe (cone AoE) — you’ll be doing a lot of weaving at this point. Lastly, Blood Stalk will switch to Unveiled Gallows and/or Unveiled Gibbet at level 90 when alternating properly between Gallows and Gibbet. This will further ease your ability to maintain the Soul Reaver effect.
There are several buffs and abilities that accelerate your accumulation of Soul and Shroud points while dealing some damage, so be expected to be doing even more weaving and cooldown timer-watching. It’s a lot. You also get cool portal abilities called Hell’s Ingress and Hell’s Egress that let you teleport to and from the spot it’s activated.
I say all that to say this: Reaper may seem confusing at first, but it’s pretty intuitive considering I was able to get the hang of its level 90 skillset in a couple hours.
Reaper Actions (Level 1 to 50)
Reaper Actions (Level 51 to 79)
Reaper Actions (Level 80 to 90)
Alright, this is going to be tricky to explain, so bear with me. Monk has some major changes that will significantly affect the way the Job currently plays. The crux of Monk’s update is the way Chakra works, for it’s going to be a much more prominent mechanic moving forward. Meditation itself functions the same — granting Chakra to use for unique attacks when you have five stacks — but now it unlocks at level 15. You also get a new attack called Steel Peak at level 15, which evolves into The Forbidden Chakra at level 54. The new Howling Fist is unlocked at level 40, then turns into Enlightenment at level 74. The aforementioned attacks require five stacks of Chakra.
Now, there’s a new subset of Chakra called Beast Chakra consisting of three different types: Opo-opo Chakra, Coerl Chakra, and Raptor Chakra, all related to the Monk’s existing Forms. You obtain each of these by executing a skill with the corresponding Form while under Perfect Balance (Lv. 50). With three of the same Beast Chakra, you can execute the revamped Elixir Field (Lv. 60). With three Beast Chakra of two types, you can execute Celestial Revolution (Lv. 60). With one of each Beast Chakra type, you can execute Flint Strike (Lv. 60).
There’s another layer on top of that. Elixir Field grants Lunar Nadi, Flint Strike grants Solar Nadi, and Celestial Revolution grants whichever Nadi you’re missing. Once you have both Nadi and three more Beast Chakra of any type, you can execute the revamped Tornado Kick (Lv. 60). That may seem like a lot to juggle. To help streamline these mechanics, all the aforementioned skills are mapped under the same action called Masterful Blitz — it will just change according to the state of your Beast Chakra and Nadi.
While we lose Shoulder Tackle, we instead get to make it clap with Thunderclap (Lv. 35), which is a no-damage gap closer that can also be used to dart towards allies. At level 72, we get a new buff called Riddle of Wind, which cuts auto-attack delay by half. At level 82, the Arm of the Destroyer AoE weaponskill becomes Shadow of the Destroyer. At level 86, Flint Strike evolves into Rising Phoenix. Lastly, at level 90, Tornado Kick turns into the powerful new Phantom Rush.
Monk’s New Beast Chakra and Nadi Mechanics
Other New Monk Actions and Traits
Dragoon players should feel at home with the adjustments and additions coming to the Job. One major change is that Blood of the Dragon, which still unlocks at level 54, will be a passive trait instead of an ability you need to activate. Life of the Dragon‘s function remains intact, however.
The big addition to Dragoon is Draconian Fire (Lv. 76), which is an effect that is granted upon using Fang and Claw after Wheeling Thrust in a proper combo, or vice versa. This replaces the existing Raiden Thrust Ready. Now, Raiden Thrust (Lv. 76) is subject to the effect of Draconian Fire (more on that later). At level 82, finishing a combo with Coerthan Torment will also grant the Draconian Fire effect, and Doom Spike will convert to an upgraded version called Draconian Fury while under the Draconian Fire effect. At level 86, Full Thrust evolves into Heavens’ Thrust and Chaos Thrust becomes Chaotic Spring — stronger versions of their preceding weaponskills.
There’s yet another layer to the Dragoon skillset. Once you hit level 90, executing Raiden Thrust or Draconian Fury will grant one point of Firstminds’ Focus. When you accumulate two points of Firstminds’ Focus, you can execute the new Wyrmwind Thrust, which is a strong line-style AoE attack.
Dragoon has a few other notable tweaks and additions. Spineshatter Dive gets two charges at level 84; the same goes for Life Surge at level 88. The cooldown for Battle Litany is reduced to 120 seconds (down from 180). The same goes for Lance Charge, which is now 60 seconds (down from 90 seconds).
New Dragoon Changes, Actions, and Traits
Of all the Melee DPS Jobs, Samurai feels the most similar to its current state. Still, there are a number of changes and additions you’ll have to anticipate. First off, the Iaijutsu abilities get some slight potency reductions (in addition to Hissatsu Guren). Third Eye no longer grants Merciful Eyes or Hissatsu Seigan because those abilities are gone. Instead, Third Eye boosts the Kenki gauge by 10 in addition to its damage reduction effect. Although there is no difference in function, the damage buff granted by Jinpu and the cast-time reduction granted by Shifu now have proper names: Fugetsu and Fuka, respectively. Additionally, the AoE attacks Mangetsu and Oka grant their corresponding buffs instead of just extending their duration.
Beyond level 80, you get Shoha II (Lv. 82), which is an AoE version of Shoha that requires the same conditions in order to execute. Hyosetsu (Lv. 86) is a new AoE attack you can combo with Fuga that also grants Setsu on the Sen Gauge. Tsubame-gaeshi and Meikyo Shisui both get two charges at level 84 and 88, respectively. The biggest addition to Samurai is Ogi Namikiri at level 90 — a powerful cone AoE that also adds a stack of Meditation. This move is granted by using Ikishoten. You also get a new Iaijutsu ability at level 90 called Kaeshi Namikiri, which is another powerful cone AoE.