There is no shortage of DPS jobs in Final Fantasy XIV, but one role, in particular, has the most variety – melee. These jobs get up close and personal to the enemy, dealing massive damage through physical prowess alone.
The number of melee DPS jobs outnumber every other category, with five different playstyles to choose from, and another on the way in FFXIV's upcoming expansion, Dawntrail. At their core, these jobs function the same – dish out as much hurt as possible by chaining your abilities while maintaining the correct positional placement for attacks to deal the most damage.
Some of these jobs have been around since FFXIV's relaunch of A Realm Reborn, though they have seen some significant revisions to fit with the classes introduced in later expansions. This tier list won't consider previous incarnations of these jobs and refers to them by their playstyles as of Patch 6.45.
Here is how we rank the current melee DPS jobs as of Final Fantasy XIV Patch 6.45:
S Tier Melee DPS
A Tier Melee DPS
B Tier Melee DPS
C Tier Melee DPS
S Tier Melee DPS Classes: Samurai
While Samurai mains everywhere cry out about losing the Kaiten ability, Samurai remains the top dog regarding how easy the job is to pick up and how deadly it is in the right hands. A well-played Samurai is incredibly lethal in both PvE and PvP content.
The Samurai focuses on performing a series of combos to collect their job resource known as Sen. Upon execution of the ability Iaijutsu, a different effect is triggered depending on the number of unique Sen they've gathered. One Sen gives a damage-over-time effect, two Sen create a potent AOE attack, and three Sen unleashes an attack that the Samurai puts their whole chest into.
Mixed with the abilities linked to the Samurai's Kenki Gauge for other powerful skills to weave into their combos, the variety of paths a Samurai can take to deal damage is simple enough to learn without feeling like you're juggling too many things at once while not being a monotonous "1-2-3" skillset.
A Tier Melee DPS Classes: Reaper
The newest addition to the melee DPS job pool comes in at a close second. Reapers are powerful members of a party's makeup, handing out damage left and right like a "going out of business" sale.
Reaper's rotation is simple, maintaining a standard 1-2-3 combo while keeping up their debuff and using various abilities once proc'd and off of cooldown. The brunt of the Reaper's damage lies in the short-lived window of their Enshroud ability that the entirety of their combo is working towards by building its job gauge resources.
While a masterful Reaper can be seen as one of the best of the best, and the job itself is easy to understand, the fact that its rotation has only slight variations causes it to become predictable and less exciting in terms of "fun to play." Reaper has been around for a shorter time than its older sibling, Samurai, so the job will likely see some revisions in future expansions.
B Tier Melee DPS Classes: Ninja
The first job released outside of the initial group after A Realm Reborn's re-launch of FFXIV, Ninjas, contrary to the image of an assassin that they portray, rely less on stealth and more on its powerful ninjutsu.
Ninjas have the unique ability to perform signs to change the effect of their Ninjutsu skill, giving them an extensive toolset for any situation. Mastering the job, however, requires memorizing which order to cast the three different signs to use the ninjutsu of choice. It will become second nature to those who play Ninja long enough, and while any job can fumble its rotation, the fact that there's more room for error in casting the wrong effect lowers Ninja on the list.
C Tier Melee DPS Classes: Dragoon
A staple class in the Final Fantasy franchise, Dragoon has existed since FFXIV's inception. There's a reason this high-flying DPS job appears in almost every Final Fantasy game to date – when they're not backflipping to their demise.
At level 90, Dragoon's rotation is lengthy, having two different routes of combos to take, with six actions each. Their job gauge relies on the High Jump ability, which doesn't reside in its main rotation. Dragoons must weave High Jump into their rotation when it's available and, upon execution of Geirskogul, incorporate two other abilities into the mix. On top of that are the different skills and buffs that this job is responsible for keeping up with, making Dragoon a little overwhelming at higher levels for novice players.
C Tier: Monk
One of the oldest DPS jobs alongside Dragoon, Monk has seen some heavy revisions during FFXIV's lifetime. This job’s multiple combos trigger various abilities to change into different fighting forms, applying multiple buffs and debuffs if chained correctly.
Monk's rotation branches off into two paths, and certain skills only apply their full effects when in a specific fighting form. While making sure their buffs and debuffs are maintained, Monks are also building their Chakra Gauge to unleash powerful attacks. While that may seem simple enough, there is also their secondary Master's Gauge, which incorporates the skill Perfect Balance and requires using abilities in the correct order to achieve the desired effect. There's a lot to track and maintain as a Monk – almost too much. Monk can feel like a juggling act, and not everyone is capable of juggling.
Every melee DPS job in Final Fantasy XIV is a viable option. A novice Samurai isn't inherently better than a veteran Monk just because of the job stone they have equipped. Each job will take time to master, though some don't have as steep of a learning curve. Regardless of your Warrior of Light's chosen job, they will play an equally integral part in their party.