In FFXIV Determination vs. Critical Hit can stump a lot of new players. Determination, appropriately, determines a few different things about your character. Whereas Critical Hit sounds risky due to its random nature. You’ll see the both stats on gear for a variety of different classes (from healers to DPS), too, and it’s just as important on everyone. But what do Determination and Critical Hit actually do in simple terms? Let’s break down the comparison in our guide to FFXIV Critical Hit vs. Determination, just below!
The short version is that higher Determination and Critical Hit stats will boost your damage (both magical and physical) as well as healing. The complicated version is that, while this sounds like two means to the same end, Determination is rarely prioritized in builds. Whereas Critical Hit gets top billing.
The reason has to do with how Determination boosts the damage and healing of your actions. The stat adds a flat bonus to the end of your skill and spell calculations. That means it’s technically always useful. Not to mention it is actually quite good at lower levels! The rub is that your gains are limited. Determination isn’t a bad thing; it just doesn’t add enough to be worth maximizing. It’s almost always overshadowed by much better stats — stats like Critical Hit — that you can add to your build.
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Once you get into serious stat maximizing — like customizing your Relic Weapons and “pentamelding” (i.e. attaching up to five pieces of Materia to each piece of gear) — Critical Hit becomes exponentially better. Literally. Critical Hit affects both damage dealt and healing done, just like Determination, so it’s not just good for DPS Jobs. Critical Hit then multiplies in both effectiveness and frequency as the stat rises (unlike Determination which simply adds that flat bonus). So whenever you have a lot of headroom to add Critical Hit, you want to fill it up as much as possible. It only gets better as you add more.
Things are even worse for Determination than it sounds. After Critical Hit, Direct Hit Rate is often the second most desirable damage stat. That’s finally followed by Determination in third place. Even that assumes you don’t focus on Skill Speed or Spell Speed, Piety for mana regeneration, or something else entirely. Determination is what you add when there’s nothing else you want.
However, there are some exceptions. Some classes provide guaranteed Critical Hits and/or Direct Hits via certain buffs. The skill “Inner Release,” for example: This makes Determination more valuable on Warriors than Direct Hit Rate, since Inner Release and other Warrior skills provide guaranteed Direct Hits anyway. You can more-or-less skip adding an entire stat on this class as a result. Always pay attention to your Job’s skill descriptions and upgrade accordingly!
Beyond class-specific considerations, every stat in FFXIV also has a ceiling. This isn’t determined by your character at all. Rather, it’s split up across individual pieces of gear. Most equipment in the game can be “melded” with Materia — which adds one of a few different types of stats (Determination, Critical Hit, Piety, etc.). For reference, Determination Materia is red and known as “Savage Might Materia.” Critical Hit Materia is also red and known as “Savage Aim Materia.”
But even with all the Critical Hit Materia in the world applied to, say, a pair of gloves you can’t exceed the maximum Critical Hit allowed on said gloves. If their max Critical Hit stat is 147, you can stack Critical Hit Materia all day, but the bonus will never go beyond that 147. To check the upper limits of your stats, try to meld a piece of Materia to a piece of gear. You’ll see the maximum numbers at the bottom of the interface.
The game will thankfully warn you when you’re about to go over the cap. The number will appear red in the Materia “melding” (i.e. attaching) menu. Furthermore, a set of orange warning text will say that you’re going overboard before asking you to confirm the meld. If you’re already about to max out one stat, that leaves your other Materia slots free for others! Instead of Critical Hit, for instance, you might apply more Direct Hit Rate or Determination. The next best choice depends on your Job and personal preferences.
Materia is the primary way to permanently upgrade stats to a character build, so it’s vital to understand this process when you get into endgame combat (as well as crafting and gathering for that matter). Things like in-game food will only take you so far! Though they make a big difference in Savage Raids and the like.
This should hopefully help you understand Determination vs. Critical Hit in FFXIV just a bit better (along with how stats work in general). Go forth with this new information and hit some monsters really, really hard. Just maybe try doing it with Critical Hit first and foremost (unless Determination gets a rework someday).