With a massive MMORPG like Final Fantasy XIV, there's plenty of playstyles available. For jobs alone, players can choose from a current total of 20 battle jobs. Four of those are healers, and healers can be divided between shield healers and pure healers, with two in each category.
The difference between the pairs is that the shield healer's main job is to mitigate damage. While they can heal like any other healing job in the game, they excel at putting shields on parties before damage hits, making them a proactive job. Conversely, pure healers are the reactive sort. They have some shield and mitigation available, but their primary kit's purpose is healing big damage after it hits the party.
Here’s our tier list for healers, separating between the two types.
S Tier Pure Healers
A Tier Pure Healers
S Tier Shield Healers
A Tier Shield Healers
FFXIV pure healers, ranked:
S Tier: Astrologian
What Astrologian may lack in personal DPS, they more than make up for in the DPS they can provide to the party. Even after FFXIV took away Astrologian's shield healing flexibility, the job persists as the best pure healer in the game.
The card minigame that Astrologian plays throughout all of its skill weaving adds additional DPS to the rest of the team. Playing the correct cards to the proper roles will give people a six percent damage increase for 15 seconds. Every card has a seal, and once three seals are reached, Astrologians can also give that six percent damage boost to the entire team with its skill Divination. Earthly Star may be the other most difficult part of Astrologian's kit to master, as it requires knowing the fight and damage output, as well as keeping track of the skill's timer. Still, it damages enemies and heals allies, making it the second-most important thing to learn about the job behind the card system. Astrologian's level 90 skill, Macrocosmos, does damage and also stores damage dealt over time, and then heals a percentage of that once the skill goes off. Astrologian may be hard to master, but that hard work pays off in dividends.
A Tier: White Mage
As the only starting healer to choose at character creation, White Mage proves many players' first introduction to healing. White Mage is a job that is easy to pick up and play, and doles out a massive amount of healing. This is a simple job that does great damage, and is forgiving in its skill timings. There’s also plenty to learn and perfect within the job, though the learning curve is a lot kinder than any other healing jobs available.
High-end gameplay White Mage is flexible, great at healing raid-wides, and proves useful to have around. The only thing it's really lacking in are further damage reduction tools or shields, but a good White Mage can thrive despite this. After all, the job still has Aquaveil, an individual damage reduction skill, Temperance, which reduces damage in a radius and also increases healing potency, and Divine Benison, a single-target shield. Its level 90 skill, Liturgy of the Bell (commonly referred to as Lily Bell), can pump out massive amounts of healing if it’s positioned and timed well. White Mage is a great pick for players new to healing, or who just want to be really, really good at healing big numbers without a lot of extra bells and whistles.
FFXIV shield healers, ranked:
S Tier: Sage
The crown for the most flexible healer in-game goes to Sage. The newest healer added to the game from Endwalker's expansion has a treasure trove of tools to heal in dungeons, high-end content, or just out and about in Fates or quests.
Sage's movement alone makes it a force to be reckoned with. The Adersgall Gauge, fills over time, and that resource can be used to get instant casts to heal, shield, or mitigate. You can even use it to damage, and the damaging skill is also an instant cast, allowing Sages to reposition while also keeping damage uptime. The Eukrasia skill in Sages kit augments some skills like Dosis, Diagnosis, and Prognosis, doing a bit less outright healing and instead adding shields. Sage's level 90 skill, Pneuma, is a laser beam that heals in a radius and also does damage in a straight line in front of the character. Sage can do a little bit of everything, look good doing it, and relax a bit in a dungeon because of the many things in their tool belt.
A Tier: Scholar
Moderately difficult to play and hard to master, Scholar takes second place for shield healers. It wasn't always this way, when Sage came along there was simply a new shielder in town that proved easier to play with more movement tools available. Scholar is still a powerhouse in what it can do, even if it’s a bit more rigid and harder to master.
There's a novelty to the Faerie management system, but proper positioning can take time to learn, as well as when to dismiss your summon with Scholar’s skill, Dissipation. Scholar’s Aetherflow gauge allows them to use skills like Energy Drain, Lustrate, Sacred Soil, Indomitability, and Excogitation. These skills can do damage, provide damage reduction, single target heal, area-of-effect heal, and also heal after a certain damage threshold. There are rewards to reap for perfecting Scholar’s kit, though it plays quite differently from any other healers with its Faerie. Still, any Energy Drain mistiming and skill ceiling difficulty could be worth it for Scholar's level 90 skill Expedient. Who doesn't love having damage reduction up while their movement speed is increased?