Every DPS Job in Final Fantasy XIV has its perks. Melee DPS places you in front of the danger to throw sequences of strong attacks. Magic DPS lays down big damage from afar while managing cast timers. On the other hand, there are the Physical Ranged DPS Jobs that may not hit as hard, but use distance to their advantage while buffing and protecting the party. This FFXIV tier list for Ranged DPS Jobs puts Bard, Machinist, and Dancer in perspective as they are in Patch 6.2.
By going through this list, not only will you learn which Jobs shine most as Ranged DPS, but it also can help you pick the one that suits you better in terms of playstyle. Ranged DPS Jobs have gone through a considerable amount of adjustments over the years — they were even casters for a while. However, their core concepts have been maintained.
In general, these classic long-range attack classes — Bard, Dancer, and Machinist — tend to be picked by newcomers attracted by the safety that attack from afar comes with. They’re not wrong, since distance often gives time to respond to mechanics or to dodge attacks that could be deadly if playing as a melee Job. This doesn’t make them a simple or less powerful group of DPS Jobs, though.
While they all share the same role, Bard, Dancer, and Machinist bring different things to the table. This list will parse each Job’s identity and how they help party composition. It will also account for the current endgame scenario since fights such as the Extreme Trials or Savage Raids are the instances in which the Jobs’ capabilities are truly tested.
This doesn’t mean that the tier of a Job cannot change in future patches. After all, every fight is different, changing what the parties will need. Also, it is important to keep in mind that this tier list is not a way to belittle any of the Jobs. FFXIV is a very balanced game in terms of each Job’s capacity to be effective in endgame content. Every Job is viable as long as you are playing optimally and enjoying it — and any boss can certainly be defeated. Here is the FFXIV ranged DPS tier list!
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S Tier: Dancer – FFXIV Ranged DPS Tier List
When Dancer was introduced with Shadowbringers, it was immediately clear how effective the Job was going to be (even though some aspects needed tweaks). If understood from the perspective that a good Ranged DPS not only has potential for dealing damage but also has good utility as part of its kit, Dancer is ahead of its class. Another striking characteristic of the Job that secured it as the best Ranged DPS is how easy it is to perform well as a damage dealer and support for the group.
Although ranged DPS jobs aren’t too difficult to play, the streamlined nature of Dancer makes it all the more attractive. Beating enemies won’t demand long combo chains and is instead based on procs (the percentage-based chance a particular skill becomes available). It’ll require keeping an eye on actions in your hotbars lighting up, but the flow is easy to get used to. Even though the Job does have its share of gauges to monitor, the FFXIV team also streamlined them. The Fourfold Feathers build up and give you access to Fan Dance attacks, while the Esprit Gauge builds up naturally for a strong weaponskill.
Dancer’s main mechanic is the ability to buff a specific party member throughout the encounter by using Dance Partner as well as buff the entire party with Step Actions and Finishes. This functions like a rhythm game where correct inputs determine the strength of your party-wide buffs. It’s a fun and digestible mechanic that gives Dancer its identity and makes you a valuable party member.
In contrast with Bard, Dancer can apply its buffs just as consistently while having a less punishing system in case you make a mistake. At first glance, the Step and Finish mechanics may seem difficult to perform during fights. Although there are more button presses required here than performing a song as Bard, messing up the dancing sequence does not have dire consequences on your rotation. It’s not a huge problem since the cooldown of the skills is pretty fast, too. Overall, these are powerful buffs that can be done consistently while leaving a lasting impact.
Besides all that, Dancers have a dash skill that gives the Job a lot of mobility, which has up to three charges. It’ll help you run from massive AoEs or reach the party to stack for a mechanic much easier. The Job’s damage output is pretty straightforward and its rotation does not feature a DOT (damage-over-time) skill, which gives you one less thing to manage in a fight.
Dancer can even mitigate damage, give a shield to the whole party, or heal them with direct healing as well as with healing over time skill. Because of these, Dancers become a fundamental tool to increase the party’s survivability. Progressing through new encounters by helping keep the party alive to clear a fight becomes easier thanks to a Dancer.
Overall, Dancer brings incredible utility to any party. While its personal DPS output may be a bit lacking in some fights, it more than makes up for it as a crucial support role. Its general ease-of-use and unique mechanics also make Dancer easy to recommend for players of all skill levels.
A Tier: Bard – FFXIV Ranged DPS Tier List
The traditional bow-user has its place among the ranged DPS in FFXIV as a strong Job and incredibly useful once mastered. As the first Job of this group to be in the game, Bard has gone through a lot since A Realm Reborn, but its identity as the musician-buffer of the party has never changed. At the same time, it also kept a variety of mechanics to manage in order to perform well, making it more demanding to play optimally compared to Dancer.
As a unique trait of this Job, Bards don’t necessarily have a set combo or rotation as found in Dancer or Machinist. The Job works with priorities, procs, and oGCDs. There are certain skills that should be prioritized once they’re ready from cooldown or whenever there is a burst window in which skills and buffs are aligned together with the party. Due to how some of its skills work, Bards also need to keep track not only of procs but also maintaining uptime of DOT abilities. There’s quite a bit to juggle when playing a high-level Bard, but by using its skills optimally, Bard can cause a lot of damage!
The other aspect to Bard is its ability to always have an active buff for themselves and other party members via the Song Gauge. It’s Bard’s main feature and has several functions that influence your flow in combat depending on the active Song — party-wide boosts to Critical Hit rate, Direct Hit rate, or GCD speed, while having access to additional attacks for yourself. It’s less complicated to juggle compared to Dancer’s Step mechanics, but as a trade-off, personal DPS is a bit more involved for Bard.
When you’re done cycling through your Songs (and accumulating Coda’s granted from Songs), you then have access to a massive increase in damage with Radiant Finale. This is the big payoff for Bard and the key to optimizing utility. The job also has very useful skills such as Troubadour that can mitigate damage and even an Esuna-like skill, The Warden’s Paean, which removes negative status or shields a player. And to add to personal DPS output, building the Soul Voice Gauge gives you the big hitter in Apex Arrow.
What makes Bard sit in A-tier for us is how punitive it can be in case of mistakes. To keep track of your procs/rotation, DOT uptime, Songs, and so on can get quite overwhelming in scenarios of progressing through difficult fights such as Savage raids or Extreme trials. Making mistakes as a Bard will cost not only your DPS output but your party members’ as well. With the timing and long windows of Songs, recovering from a fumble and getting your rotation back in sync will make things harder.
Bard is not a “carry” DPS with enough damage to compensate for the relatively weaker buffs for other players. Also, the job’s kit has only one escape skill, Repelling Shot, which can only get you away from danger to only one direction in contrast with the three-charge dash skill that Dancers have.
In the end, Bard is still a strong Job choice, but it will demand preparation and time to master in order to get the most out of it. The burst damage opportunities are satisfying and as long as you stay on top of your rotation of Songs, you’d be fulfilling your role perfectly fine. And you can play your own music as a minigame outside of combat, which is a neat perk!
B Tier: Machinist – FFXIV Ranged DPS Tier List
Maybe one of the most stylish jobs in FFXIV, the Machinist comes with a wild arsenal of weapons to bring enemies down. Among the ranged DPS jobs, Machinist has always presented itself as the brute force long-range damage-dealer reaching personal DPS numbers the other two would struggle to compete with. While Machinists offer all this damage potency, it is a pretty selfish job adding minimal utility to help the party overall. It’s actually the one that will benefit from buffs that other Jobs have in their kits. So, If you want to chase high DPS numbers and look pretty cool during the fight, maybe Machinist is the ranged DPS you’re looking for!
Despite having a considerable number of attacks in its rotation, Machinists are pretty straightforward to play. It has less busywork to maintain damage output if compared to Bard, but it is a little more complex than the Dancer. Machinist revolves around two gauges: Heat Gauge and Battery Gauge. Similar to Bard, there aren’t set combos to follow, rather you have a rotation that focuses on increasing the level of your Heat or Battery Gauge. This is what gives you access to powerful skills. Thanks to that, it is pretty easy for even new players to reach optimal DPS output if they learn how and when to use skills in the kit.
As of Patch 6.2, Machinist got some notable changes to how its Battery Gauge works. Essentially, the Battery Gauge has been changed to affect the damage output of its summon (Rook Autoturret and Automaton Queen) rather than their duration on the field. While this helps sync with a party’s timing window, it seems there isn’t a net benefit for Machinist’s effectiveness.
While Machinist is relatively easy to play optimally, it is the least mobile Job among the three Ranged DPS. Dancers can dash out of danger and Bards can throw themselves back to escape an attack (or fall off a platform Dragoon-style), but the Machinist has no comparable tool. This makes the Job a bit more punishing in situations of bad positioning, demanding from players familiarity with the fight and patience to optimize it for a specific encounter.
To give Machinist some justice, the Job does help the party with the Tactician skill which mitigates damage. But the real star of the show for Machinist is the Automaton Queen — along with your arsenal of weaponskills, summoning the Queen is what this Job is all about, leading to chunky DPS and satisfying gameplay.
Although the job is not designed to support the party, it can still hold its own and make an impact for the party in endgame content. After all, to compensate for the Job’s lack of utility compared to the other two, Machinist has a variety of buffs for its own skills. With abilities such as Wildfire and Hypercharge as well as Traits that increase the potency of specific skills, Machinists are ready to hit hard enough so the party won’t necessarily miss the buffs they could get from the other ranged DPS Jobs.