Any FFXIV DPS tier list, especially one for melee DPS, is an exercise in speed! The red-coded “damage per second” Jobs aren’t quite as vital as tanks or healers, but you still need them to beat down bosses before enrage timers and countdown clocks ruin your day. To that end you might need a little help! You might want to take a look at which is the best FFXIV melee DPS class for you.
Well, good news. Melee DPS is looking pretty close right now. Any tiers between them are somewhat down to personal preference (percentage differences in damage among them hovers in the low single digits). Any Job is totally viable, then, but some are more appealing for different playstyles. That’s what this particular DPS tier list is here to help with: especially considering melee DPS in FFXIV tends to be a bit more complicated than the ranged classes. But whether you’re just starting out and trying to pick a beginner role, or just looking to get more up close and personal, it’s time to go over what these fast-footed powerhouses pack.
If you’d like to see the other DPS categories instead, you can find them here:
Prospective tank players can also check out our rankings here:
And finally, our thoughts on FFXIV healers can be found here:
Note: While we do have details on Job actions going into Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, those skills and especially their potencies are currently subject to change. As such things will probably change dramatically when we get our hands on the reworked Jobs and upcoming Reaper for real when Endwalker is live.
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B+ Tier: Dragoon – FFXIV Melee DPS Rankings
Dragoon is one of the original melee DPS Jobs in FFXIV. Today it remains one of the best: just a very stolid, approachable choice that continues to improve with every expansion. It’s also occasionally hilarious as your multiple evasive maneuvers (like Spineshatter Dive and Elusive Jump) can cause you to fall to your death rather than save you from an attack…
Besides mobility, the Dragoon’s personal DPS is basically above average. It then bolsters its good, but unremarkable numbers with multiple party buffs: Battle Litany and Dragon Sight. The former grants a higher Critical Hit rate to nearby party members. That’s nothing too much to write home about, but it’s never a bad thing, as Critical Hits are generally the most desirable random effects in FFXIV. Dragon Sight then gives the Dragoon and just one other player five percent extra damage for 20 seconds. That’s weaker than similar buffs that are partywide (or at least potentially partywide), but it lasts slightly longer and combines well with those Critical Hits.
Beyond that, Dragoon is mostly about building lengthy damage combos while timing them to land alongside buffs like those mentioned above. One nice thing is that, while there is some RNG involved with said buffs, most Dragoon bonus damage is guaranteed. You just need to place yourself correctly when attacking. These “positional” attacks are less harrowing than those on the Monk. Yet they also keep you from mentally checking out.
All in all, the Dragoon gets a sharp nod for simple reliability and ease-of-use for the vast majority of players (especially newcomers).
B Tier: Ninja – FFXIV Melee DPS Rankings
In a vacuum, Ninja is inarguably a contender for the best FFXIV DPS Job. Period. Trick Attack is an all-time classic and highly in-demand ability that defines this Job’s utility in most endgame content. It grants five percent extra damage against a single target (e.g. a raid boss) from all sources. That may not sound like much, but it’s quite hefty when it affects literally everyone in your party or alliance.
The difference is in the way the extra damage is applied. Other Jobs’ damage buffs are limited in some way: be it by random chance, a localized area of effect, only applying to a single teammate, or some combination of the three. With Ninja the extra damage is guaranteed from all sources because it’s actually a debuff on your foe, not a buff on your friends. As such it’s more “guaranteed” — except of course if you use it while an ally is dead, frozen, stunned, etc.. That’s a huge difference-maker in higher tier content.
Trick Attack is just one skill, too. Ninja also grants itself 15 percent extra skill speed more-or-less indefinitely, alongside powerful ranged nukes and damage over time. The Job even passively moves faster than any other class, which is a nice little bonus when dodging enemy AoE attacks. All of which makes Ninja undoubtedly the most versatile melee DPS in FFXIV… if you can use it well.
That brings us to the major downside for Ninja players: complexity. Ninja has next to no margin for error when executing the majority of its big skills. Most of its abilities, executed via strings of commands called “Mudra,” require some light memorization — like (very short) combos in a fighting game. Messing up these combinations still expends one charge of your Mudra, actively preventing you from trying again until they refill. You even get a little “dunce cap” in the form of a rabbit on your head that shows nearby players how you messed up. You are, mathematically and visually, punished in ways most other Jobs are not. Some big skills also hold you in place: Assassinate has a lengthy animation lock while Ten Chi Jin ends if you move before properly executing the lengthy ability.
All of this is why Ninja consistently tops the charts for endgame content… At least on paper. It’s also why many players try it exactly once before permanently shying away from it. The Job tends to retain patient, dedicated players. Anyone who isn’t either of those things gets punished for it in the long-term. Hence why it lands in the middle of the pack when weighed against all potential users.
B Tier: Samurai – FFXIV Melee DPS Rankings
Every DPS subcategory (i.e. Ranged, Magical, and Melee) has a loner. These are the so-called “selfish” classes: the Black Mage, the Machinist, and of course the Samurai. They provide very little utility (i.e. bonuses for allies), but theoretically make up for it with extra-large damage numbers. For the longest time the Samurai didn’t quite live up to that category. After some smart changes, though, they’ve gotten much better.
This also means Samurai is fairly simple to use. You just run through your personal damage combos while making sure your damage buffs are active as often as possible. As a class that starts at Level 50, this also makes Samurai a great side Job for tanks and healers looking for a place to start with the red role.
Along the way you also get some unique, interesting skills. Meditate, for instance, lets you rebuild your Job resources during downtime in combat. This comes in handy more often than you might think, as many bosses have long animations during which they can’t be damaged — such as when Ultima, the High Seraph casts Ultimate Illusion, or similar super attacks.
Unfortunately, Meditate is the only guaranteed option Samurai has to make up for its range limitations. When dodging point-blank AoEs, or otherwise performing mechanics that require moving away from a boss, they need to save a bit of Kenki (one of their Job resources) for Hissatsu: Yaten. At Level 56 this provide a buff that lets them spam Enpi — a weak ranged attack — for more than triple its usual damage for 15 seconds. It’s a bit fussy thanks to the backstep and gauge requirement. Not to mention any backwards jump in FFXIV can run the risk of throwing you off a cliff during certain encounters… But it looks cool.
Beyond that, the Samurai feels ironically slow despite its Shifu buff providing extra weaponskill speed. You need to perform three distinct melee combos to power your bread and butter finisher: Midare Setsugekka. And before that you’re likely going to cast Higanbana (a lesser finisher that triggers damage over time. After which you still need to channel the big moves for several seconds.
C+ Tier: Monk – FFXIV Melee DPS Rankings
Monk absolutely has its defenders. It should, too, as the Job is very fun and frantic to play with a very unique personality — something that’s gotten increasingly rare as FFXIV sands off its rough edges in favor of approachable classes.
It also has a long history of being finicky as all hell. That’s gotten better after several reworks — with more on the way — but Monk players seemingly need to watch every new set of patch notes to see if something is about to break their usual rotation. Monks rely fairly heavily on random chance and more heavily on positional attacks than any other Job, too, making them both slightly unreliably and complex.
Brotherhood, for instance, is their group damage buff. It functions a bit like Ninjas’ Trick Attack. Though it trades the initial burst of damage for another buff grants the Monk a chance to gain Chakra (its primary Job resource) any time an affected ally uses a skill. This means you will sometimes get shafted (gaining next to no Chakra at all) or inundated with more than you can use, thanks to the inherent randomness. Brotherhood is also an AoE skill, meaning any allies standing outside its range won’t see any benefits at all.
Altogether Monk is an odd duck. It doesn’t totally excel at any one thing, but requires a lot of micromanagement to use at all. That also makes it very interesting to use. Monk players tend to be pretty protective of their class as a result, even though what their “identity” actually looks like shifts dramatically from patch to patch.
On that note, with yet another major Monk overhaul arriving alongside Endwalker, now isn’t the best time to learn the DPS Job. Much of what it does will be removed and/or adjusted in the next expansion. Better to try someone else while you wait to see what the class looks like in the very near future than redo all of your own keybindings in just a few weeks.