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FFXIV Endwalker Preview: All-New Tank Level 90 Actions and Changes

We have all the new actions and changes for Paladin, Gunbreaker, Dark Knight, and Warrior in Final Fantasy XIV's next expansion.

Let’s talk tanks. We got to take a look at a small section of the upcoming Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker expansion, including job changes and new regions. The frontline warriors of FFXIV aren’t getting as many changes as Summoner, nor as much shine as new Jobs like Reaper and Sage, but there are some key tweaks to their kits. Let’s take a gander at what will happen to Paladin, Gunbreaker, Dark Knight, and Warrior.

Final Fantasy XIV director and producer Naoki Yoshida said the team has made the changes to reward skilled tanks for using damage mitigation at the right time. Looking across the action changes, Paladin gets more damage and healing, Warrior moves to potency-based healing, Gunbreaker becomes a bit more flexible thanks to the addition of another cartridge and Dark Knight… Well, Dark Knight is still fine. 

For a further look at some upcoming Endwalker changes, we have outlines for Melee/Ranged DPS, Healer, and Tank from the last Live Letter. For more coverage on the critically acclaimed MMORPG, head over to our FFXIV: Endwalker preview hub and peep all our hot content. And keep your eyes peeled for Fanbyte’s dedicated Final Fantasy XIV section, The Linkshell, coming soon!

You can also check out the rest of our coverage of the media tour:

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.

FFXIV Endwalker Paladin

Paladin (PLD)

There are now three different types of healers. We have two different “pure” healers, two barrier healers, and, finally, the Paladin as it moves into something of a hybrid role. 

There are two major watchwords for this iteration of the Paladin. The first is “healing” and the next is “damage.” Much of the healing is tied to new Traits introduced after level 80. At level 82, Paladins get Shelltron Mastery. This upgrades Shelltron, the bread-and-butter mitigation tool, to Holy Shelltron. This improved ability still costs 50 points off your Oath Gauge, but increases the duration to 8 seconds and imbues the Paladin with two new buffs: Knight’s Resolve and Knight’s Benediction. Knight’s Resolve is a flat 15% damage reduction for four seconds. Meanwhile, Knight’s Benediction is a heal-over-time for 12 seconds with a potency of 250. 

Both buffs also factor into Enhanced Intervention, another Trait you recieve at level 82. Like Shelltron, Intervention is increased to eight seconds and imparts Knight’s Resolve and Knight’s Benediction to your (friendly) target. The healing fun isn’t over, though. At level 84, you get the Divine Magic Mastery II Trait. This adds a healing effect to Holy Spirit and Holy Circle — giving Pallies even more healing during their magic damage combo. The potency of the healing effect for both spells is 400. The final healing boost comes at level 88, where you get the trait Enhanced Divine Veil, which adds a 400 potency heal to the base ability. Divine Veil itself also underwent a slight mechanical change. The buff itself now ends when the barrier is cast, not after any additional HP recovery.

The other side of the coin is enhanced damage. At level 84, there’s a new Melee Mastery Trait that increases the potencies of Fast Blade, Riot Blade, Royal Authority, Holy Spirit, and Atonement. In the case of Fast Blade, Holy Spirit, and Atonement, we noted that the preview potencies were at or below current levels for those actions. As such, the pre-Melee Mastery versions are likely weaker than before. In addition, damage-over-time potency and combo potency of certain actions — Circle of Scorn, Prominence, Goring Blade, and Royal Authority — have been lowered. This would theoretically balance out the Paladin’s new healing prowess with less damage output. Potency numbers are still being tuned, though.

At level 86, Paladins get Spirits Within Mastery, which transforms the single-target Spirits Within into the area-of-effect Expiacion. The base Spirits Within no longer scales with maximum HP, while Expiacon delivers a 300 potency attack to one target and a 50% weaker attack to all other targets within five yalms (i.e. a fairly small circle). 

FFXIV Paladin new combo
A Paladin tries out his new combo on the moon.

The real meaty damage abilities all arrive at level 90, when Paladins get Blade of Faith, Blade of Truth, and Blade of Valor. These are the “sea of swords” attacks shown in the Endwalker Job Actions preview. Confiteor used to be the odd ability used to end your Holy Spirit/Holy Circle spam at the end of Requiescat’s buff duration. Now, Confiteor combos into Blade of Faith, which combos in Blade of Truth, and culminates in Blade of Valor for a big finisher combo; in fact, the other three actions simply replace each other on your action bar. 

Blade of Faith, Truth, and Valor all restore MP. But, unlike Confiteor, they deal full potency to a single target and 50% of that to all remaining targets within five yalms. (They all have a 25-yalm range.) While Confiteor currently deals 800 potency, the Endwalker iteration will seemingly drop a bit (it was at 450 potency in the preview). Whereas the additional actions added up to a total of 1,470 potency (with the added falloff for additional targets). Blade of Truth also hits enemies with a damage-over-time for 80 potency over 21 seconds for your first target — and with the 50% falloff over 21 seconds. This DoT cannot be combined with Goring Blade’s DoT, however.

There’s also a change to Requiescat itself. It now has a flat 400 potency, but gives you five stacks of a Requiescat buff that increases magic damage dealt by 100% and lowers spell cast time to zero. There’s still a limited duration to use those spells within, but it’s now 30 seconds, and every spell cast uses one stack. This means you have more time to spam Holy Spirit/Holy Circle, giving you breathing room to move during an encounter and an obvious cue to use the last stack on the new Confiteor combo. Basically, you get more damage for the magic combo while looking like a badass to boot.

Shelltron Mastery (Lv. 82) – Trait

  • Upgrades Shelltron to Holy Shelltron.

FFXIV Holy Shelltron Trait

Holy Shelltron (Lv. 82)

  • Block incoming attacks
  • Grants Knight’s Resolve, reducing damage taken by 15%
  • Duration: 4s
  • Grants Knight’s Benediction, gradually restoring HP over time.
  • Cure Potency: 250
  • Duration: 12s
  • Oath Gauge Cost: 50

FFXIV Holy Shelltron

Enhanced Intervention (Lv. 82) – Trait

  • Extends the duration of Intervention to 8 seconds.
  • Grants Knight’s Resolve to target, reducing damage taken by 10%
  • Duration: 4s
  • Grants Knight’s Benediction to target, gradually restoring HP over time.
  • Cure Potency: 250
  • Duration: 12s

FFXIV Enhanced Intervention

Divine Magic Mastery II (Lv. 84) – Trait

  • Adds a healing effect to Holy Spirit and Holy Circle.

FFXIV Divine Magic Mastery II

Melee Mastery (Lv. 84) – Trait

  • Increases the potency of Fast Blade to 200, Riot Blade to 170, Royal Authority to 130, Holy Spirit to 270, and Atonement to 420.

FFIXV PLD Melee Mastery

Spirits Within Mastery (Lv. 86) – Trait

  • Upgrades Spirits Within to Expiacion.

FFXIV Spirits Within Mastery

Expiacion (Lv. 86)

  • Delivers an attack to target and all enemies nearby it with a potency of 300 for the first enemy, and 50% less for all remaining enemies.
  • Additional Effect: Restores MP

FFXIV Expiacion

Enhanced Divine Veil (Lv. 88) – Trait

  • Adds healing effect to Divine Veil.
  • Cure Potency: 400

FFXIV Enhanced Divine Viel

Blade of Faith (Lv. 90)

  • Deals unaspected damage to target and all enemies nearby it with a potency of 250 for the first enemy, and 50% less for all remaining enemies.
  • Combo Action: Confiteor
  • Combo Bonus: Restores MP.

FFXIV Blade of Faith

Blade of Truth (Lv. 90)

  • Deals unaspected damage to target and all enemies nearby it with a potency of 350 for the first enemy, and 50% less for all remaining enemies.
  • Combo Action: Blade of Faith
  • Combo Bonus: Restores MP.

FFXIV Blade of Truth

Blade of Valor (Lv. 90)

  • Deals unaspected damage to target and all enemies nearby it with a potency of 420 for the first enemy, and 50% less for all remaining enemies.
  • Combo Action: Confiteor
  • Combo Bonus: Restores MP
  • Combo Bonus: Damage over time
  • Potency: 80 for the first enemy, and 50% less for all remaining enemies
  • Duration: 21s
  • Damage over time effect cannot be stacked with that of Goring Blade.

FFXIV Blade of Valor

FFXIV Endwalker Warrior

Warrior (WAR)

Warrior is largely the same with the big change here being to Nascent Flash, which no longer gives HP based on damage dealt. More on that later.

This is one of the Jobs with some notable changes coming pre-level 80. First up, Berserk/Inner Release is no longer a straight buff for 10 seconds. Instead, it grants the Warrior three stacks of Berserk/Inner Release for 30 seconds. Each stack of Berserk guarantees weaponskill attacks are critical and direct hits, with an additional effect of extending Surging Tempest duration by 10 seconds each time for a maximum of 60 seconds. What’s Surging Tempest? That’s the new name for the buff component of Storm’s Eye. Though it does the same thing.

Each stack of Inner Release allows the use of Beast Gauge actions without cost and guarantees critical and direct hits. The nullification Stun, Sleep, Bind, and Heavy is now the additional effect of the ability, with a longer duration of 30 seconds. The extension of the Storm’s Eye’s buff is down to 10 seconds pre-activation, though the maximum is still 60 seconds. Oh, and the recast timer for Berserk/Inner Release is down to 60 seconds.

Raw Intuition has seen its mitigation dropped from 20% to 10%, but it now heals for 400 potency for each weaponskill successfully delivered during its duration. It just trades mitigation for some healing. I wouldn’t worry about this much anyway because Raw Intuition becomes the new Bloodwhetting action when you get the Raw Intuition Mastery Trait at level 82. (If you also accidentally read it as “bedwetting,” you’re not alone.) Bloodwhetting reduces incoming damage by 10% for eight seconds and heals for 400 potency on each weaponskill hit. The big change outside of duration are two new buffs: Stem the Flow and Stem the Tide. Stem the Flow reduces damage taken by 10% for four seconds, while Stem the Tide creates a barrier around the Warrior that absorbs damage equivalent to a 400 potency heal for 30 seconds. Bloodwhetting also shares a recast timer with Nascent Flash, just like Raw Intuition. Why? More on that soon (again).

Onslaught now has three charges and no Beast Gauge cost, giving you way more mobility in line with gap closers on the other tanks. Upheaval also loses its Beast Gauge cost, but provides a bit of potency to boot. The base ability has two charges with the third coming from the Enhanced Onslaught Trait at level 88.

Nascent Flash is now a flat 400 potency heal for each weaponskill successfully delivered. That’s a big hit to the self-heal inherent to the ability, but some mitigation has been added via Traits to make up for that. Nascent Glint has been boosted to 100% of Nascent Flash’s heal to compensate, and lasts eight seconds now. The second Trait you receive at level 82 is Enhanced Nascent Flash, which gives Nascent Flash the same two buffs available to Bloodwhetting: Stem the Flow and Stem the Tide. If you’re by yourself? Use Bloodwhetting because you get more mitigation — Bloodwhetting’s 10% plus Stem the Flow’s 10% — plus the heal. In a party, use Nascent Flash to provide allies with Nascent Glint.

At level 84, there’s also the new Enhanced Equilibrium Trait that adds an additional 200 potency heal-over-time to Equilibrium for 15 seconds. Melee Mastery is another level 84 Trait that increases the potency of Heavy Swing, Maim, Storm’s Path, and Storm’s Eye. There’s less of a hit to potency for the pre-Trait versions compared to Paladin, but combo potency did take a hit across the board. Another solid bit of healing is the new Enhanced Shake It Off Trait, adding a 300 potency heal to the barrier ability. But bear in mind those exact numbers are still subject to change. 

The change to Nascent Flash may soften the Warrior’s ability to pull wall-to-wall in even the toughest dungeons, but you gain a bit more control over the heal when you really need it in all other cases. Overall, the Job is still in a great place.

Enhanced Shake It Off (Lv. 76) – Trait

  • Adds healing effect to Shake It Off.
  • Cure Potency: 300

FFXIV Enhanced Shake it Off

Bloodwhetting (Lv. 82)

  • Reduces damage taken by 10%
  • Duration: 8s
  • Grants Stem the Flow, reducing damage taken by 10%
  • Duration: 4s
  • Grants Stem the Ride, creating a barrier around self that absorbs damage equivalent to a heal of 400 potency
  • Duration: 30s
  • Shares a recast timer with Nascent Flash

FFXIV BloodWhetting

Raw Intuition Mastery (Lv. 82) – Trait

  • Upgrades Raw Intuition to Bloodwhetting.

FFXIV Raw Intuition Mastery

Enhanced Nascent Flash (Lv. 82) – Trait

  • Grants Stem the Flow, reducing damage taken by 10%
  • Duration: 4s
  • Grants Stem the Ride, creating a barrier around self that absorbs damage equivalent to a heal of 400 potency
  • Duration: 30s

FFXIV Enhanced Nascent Flash

Enhanced Equilibrium (Lv. 84) – Trait

  • Grants healing over time to self.
  • Cure Potency: 200
  • Duration: 15s

FFXIV Enhanced Equilibrium

Melee Mastery (Lv. 84) – Trait

  • Increases the potency of Heavy Swing to 200, Maim to 130, Storm’s Path to 120, and Storm’s Eye to 120.

FFXIV WAR Melee Mastery

Orogeny (Lv. 86)

  • Delivers an attack with a potency of 150 to all nearby enemies.
  • Shares a recast timer with Upheaval.

FFXIV Orogeny

Enhanced Onslaught (Lv. 88) – Trait

  • Allows a third charge of Onslaught.

Enhanced Onslaught

Primal Rend (Lv. 90)

  • Delivers a critical direct hit to target and all enemies nearby it with a potency of 700 for the first enemy, and 70% less for all remaining enemies. 
  • Stacks of Inner Release are not consumed upon execution.
  • Can only be executed while under the effect of Primal Rend Ready, granted by Inner Release.

FFXIV Primal rend

FFXIV Endwalker Dark Knight

Dark Knight (DRK)

Dark Knight is a really weird case… Over in the healer role, Scholar feels like the job with the least changes. Here in the Tanks, that’s Dark Knight. While some potencies have changed slightly — Flood of Shadow and Edge of Shadow both took a hit — the timers and effects are mostly the same here.

The changes pre-level 80 include a shift in Delirium, which changes from a flat buff for 10 seconds to an instant cast ability that gives you just three stacks of Delirium. Each stack allows the execution of Quietus or Bloodspiller without cost (the new tooltip doesn’t say that, but that’s how the ability works in the live game) restoring MP when landing either weaponskill. Three attacks are notably less than what’s currently possible to comfortably cast during one Delirium, making this something of a nerf. However, the duration is now 30 seconds, giving you more breathing room to work with. 

With few tweaks and changes to talk about, let’s move on to the new stuff. At level 82, Dark Knights gain a brand-new mitigation button, Oblation, which reduces damage taken by a party member or yourself by 10% for 10 seconds. It comes with two charges.

Then at level 84, you get the Enhanced Unmend Trait, which reduces the recast time of Plunge by five seconds when you execute Unmend. It’s not the most exciting change, but it ensures you always have a gap closer. This level also gives you the Melee Mastery Trait, increasing the potency of Hard Slash, Syphon Strike, and Souleater.

FFXIV Dark Knight New Abilities
A Dark Knight tries out some new Job Actions.

When Dark Knight reaches level 86, you get the hilariously-named Salt and Darkness. (That’s how Dark Knights will feel when they see how few changes were made.) This ability causes all enemies standing in Salted Earth to take additional unaspected damage with a potency of 500. That’s a big boost in AoE damage to Salted Earth, to be fair! This can’t be assigned to a hotbar, so it likely takes over Salted Earth’s spot. Salted Earth itself now just drops at your feet rather than a targeted location — saving folks from programming that same damn macro literally every Dark Knight player, including Yoshida himself, uses.

The last few additions all affect your Living Shadow. At level 88, the Enhanced Living Shadow trait increases the potency of your shadow’s attacks to 300. (Yes, this probably means a small potency nerf for base Living Shadow, as this is the normal potency in Shadowbringers.) Finally, at level 90, there’s Enhanced Living Shadow II, which upgrades Flood of Shadow when executed by your living shadow to Shadowbringer. Shadowbringer is the Dark Knight’s level 90 action, dealing unaspected damage to all enemies in a straight line with a potency of 600 for the first enemy, then 50% less for all remaining enemies. It has two charges and can only be executed while under the effect of Darkside. The Living Shadow’s version of Shadowbringer is slightly weaker, but with less damage falloff: 450 potency, and 25% less for all remaining enemies. 

The team has essentially kept Dark Knight mostly the same and just added more damage onto the pile. Even the new “ultimate” ability is basically an extra Flood of Shadow you get to cast… sometimes, but with a bit more oomph. Cool?

Oblation (Lv. 82)

  • Reduces damage taken by a party member of self by 10%
  • Duration: 10s
  • Maximum Charges: 2

FFXIV Oblation

Enhanced Unmend (Lv. 82) – Trait

  • Reduces recast time of Plunge by 5 seconds when executing Unmend.

FFXIV Enhanced Unmend

Melee Mastery (Lv. 84) – Trait

  • Increases the potency of Hard Slash to 210, Syphon Strike to 110, and Souleater to 110.

FFXIV DRK Melee Mastery

Salt and Darkness (Lv. 86)

  • All enemies standing in the corrupted patch of Salted Earth take additional unaspected damage with a potency of 500. 

FFXIV Salt and Darkness

Enhanced Living Shadow (Lv. 88) – Trait

  • Increases the potency of attacks dealt by your simulacrum to 300.

FFXIV Enhanced Living Shadow

Enhanced Living Shadow II (Lv. 90) – Trait

  • Upgrades Flood of Shadow executed by your simulacrum to Shadowbringer, which delivers an attack to all enemies in a straight line before it with a potency of 450 for the first enemy, and 25% less for all remaining enemies.

FFXIV Enhanced Living Shadow II

Shadowbringer (Lv. 90)

  • Deal unaspected damage to all enemies in a straight line before you with a potency of 600 for the first enemy, and 50% less for all remaining enemies.
  • Maximum Charges: 2
  • Can only be executed while under the effect of Darkside.

FFXIV DRK Shadowbringer Skill

FFXIV Endwalker Gunbreaker

Gunbreaker (GNB)

The cool gun kids were the last tank added to the game, but they’re still getting a good bit of flavor and changes in Endwalker. The ability to gain another Cartridge already adds a good bit of flexibility. There’s also a Trait upgrade that gives Heart of Stone more mitigation and a general trimming in terms of overall hotbar actions, which were awfully bloated on Gunbreaker compared to other tanks. 

In the latter respect, the branching combos that involve Gnashing Fang and Continuation are now entirely dual button affairs. Previously, you began with Gnashing Fang and moved to either Savage Claw or the Continuation action, Jugular Rip. Continuation would become Jugular Rip, Abdomen Tear, or Eye Gouge depending on the buff gained from the base Gnashing Fang combo. Now, that combo — Gnashing Fang, Savage Claw, and Wicked Talon — is a single, context-sensitive button that changes with each use. The latter actions, aside from Gnashing Claw, can no longer be assigned to a hotbar.

In other smaller changes, Superbolide’s duration has been increased to 10 seconds, up from eight seconds. All the more time to terrify your healers!

When it comes to the new kit, Gunbreaker is somewhat similar to Dark Knight. At level 82, you gain access to the Heart of Stone Mastery Trait, which turns Heart of Stone into Heart of Corundum. The latter still reduces damage taken by a party member or yourself by 15% and gives your target the Brutal Shell barrier if it’s up. There are two additional effects, though, similar to Paladin’s Holy Shelltron and Warrior’s Bloodwhetting. The first is Clarity of Corundum, which reduces damage taken by 15% for four seconds, while the Catharsis of Corundum restores HP when it falls below 50% — or when the effect ends after 10 seconds. Just a bit more mitigation has been added. 

At 84, you gain the Enhanced Aurora Trait, which allows you to accumulate two charges of Aurora. The Melee Mastery Trait comes at the same level, and increases the potency of Keen Edge, Brutal Shell, and Solid Barrel. At level 86, Gunbreaker gets the Enhanced Continuation Trait, which adds the “Ready to Blast” buff for 10 seconds after using Burst Strike. This allows the Continuation button to turn into Hypervelocity, which delivers an instant attack with a potency of 200. Hypervelocity does not cost a Cartridge like Burst Strike, so it’s just a meaty follow-up for more damage. 

Gunbreakers gain their third Cartridge at level 88 when they gain the Cartridge Charge II Trait. This also changes Bloodfest to fill up three Cartridges instead of two. Not only does this give the Gunbreaker more combo flexibility, it also allows them to use their final action and still have a Cartridge left over. At level 90, you gain Double Down, an action that costs two Cartridges and deals a whopping 1,200 potency to one target (plus 20% less damage to all remaining enemies nearby). That’s the strongest tank AoEaction, which you can align for No Mercy for 20% more damage. Whew, that’s the tender vittles!

Heart of Stone Mastery (Lv. 82) – Trait

  • Upgrades Heart of Stone to Heart of Corundum.

FFXIV Heart of Stone Mastery

Heart of Corundum (Lv. 82)

  • Reduces damage taken by a party member of self by 15%.
  • Duration: 8s
  • Additional Effect: When targeting a party member while under the effect of Brutal Shell, that effect is also granted to the target.
  • Grants Clarity of Corundum, reducing damage taken by 15%
  • Duration: 4s
  • Grants Catharsis of Corundum, restoring HP when HP falls below 50% or upon effect duration expiration
  • Duration: 10s

FFXIV Heart of Corundum

Enhanced Aurora (Lv. 82) – Trait

  • Allows the accumulation of charges for consecutive uses of Aurora. 
  • Maximum Charges: 2

FFXIV Enhanced Aurora

Melee Mastery (Lv. 84) – Trait

  • Increases the potency of Keen Edge to 210, Brutal Shell to 110, and Solid Barrel to 110.

FFXIV GNB Melee Mastery

Enhanced Continuation (Lv. 86) – Trait

  • Become Ready to Blast after executing Burst Strike.
  • Duration: 10s

FFXIV Enhanced Continuation

Hypervelocity (Lv. 86)

  • Delivers an attack with a potency of 200.
  • Can only be executed when Ready to Blast.

FFXIV HyperVelocity

Cartridge Charge II (Lv. 88) – Trait

  • Increases Powder Gauge capacity to 3 Cartridges.
  • Executing Bloodfest stores 3 Cartridges.

FFXIV Cartridge Charge II

Double Down (Lv. 90)

  • Delivers an attack to all nearby enemies with a potency of 1,200 for the first enemy, and 20% less for all remaining enemies.
  • Cartridge Cost: 2

FFXIV Double Down

We hope this illuminates how you’ll protect the rest of the party from the frontline in the new expansion. Be sure to check out all of our preview coverage related to Final Fantasy XIV in the run-up to the launch of The Linkshell, our Final Fantasy XIV vertical coming soon!

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker is coming to PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 on Nov. 23, 2021. Early Access begins on November 19.

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