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  1. #1
    Player
    Jpec07's Avatar
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    838
    Character
    Isaac Talonguard
    World
    Cactuar
    Main Class
    Paladin Lv 70

    Beginner's Overview to Tanking in FFXIV


    A casual omnitank's guide
    Patch 4.1

    Table of Contents
    Foreword
    I'm writing this guide in hopes to try to help new players acclimate to tanking in FFXIV. I've been tanking in this game since patch 2.55, first as a PLD, then as WAR and DRK as well, and this follows years of tanking in WoW. There is already a ton of excellent information out there on the specifics of tanking with specific jobs, but I've found that information aimed at people who have never tanked before, or who have never tanked in FFXIV, to be incredibly lacking. This guide aims to cover that gap, and help guide players to find excellency on their own, and hopefully enjoy themselves along the way.
    (10)
    Last edited by Jpec07; 11-20-2017 at 12:32 PM.
    __________________________
    A dungeon party with two summoners always makes me egi.

    Beginner's Overview to Tanking in FFXIV: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/352455
    Learn to Play (it's not what you think): http://www.l2pnoob.org/

  2. #2
    Player
    Jpec07's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    838
    Character
    Isaac Talonguard
    World
    Cactuar
    Main Class
    Paladin Lv 70

    __________________________________________________

    So you've chosen to tank. I can't say I blame you; it's one of the most rewarding activities in any MMO I've played, and several other players feel the same. The tank jobs in FFXIV also lend themselves pretty well to the task, all of them meeting the basic requirements while maintaining a distinct feeling and gameplay. What are those requirements, you ask? Read on, my friend!

    MMOs like FFXIV are built around the idea of playing with friends, and completing cooperative tasks to break open the loot piñata and get more gear (so you can do even more challenging cooperative tasks to break open more loot piñatas...it's a vicious cycle). Since you've chosen to tank, this means you should already be familiar with the idea of group gameplay, but let's take a moment to deconstruct it (like a good millennial should).

    Any piece of content in an MMO has one main goal: defeat the enemy before they can defeat you. That's how you progress. That's how you level up. That's how you win.

    Playing in a group typically means working together to accomplish this against more challenging enemies. In some games (like Guild Wars 2 and Diablo), each character is generally self-sufficient, and the strength you gain in numbers is the ability to output higher amounts of damage and win the DPS race.

    However, let's say that the enemies start hitting really hard - so hard that party members are in danger of dying, and that you're in danger of failing the encounter. When this happens, you need someone to offset the damage your party members are taking; you need a healer.

    Healers exist in MMOs to keep the group alive. They cast spells that undo the damage that party members have taken and restore them to a fuller capacity. Doing this allows the party to keep killing enemies, which allows them to succeed.

    But what if the damage is going out faster than the healer can keep up with? What if it's too widespread for them to account for? What if too many people are being hit too hard for them to handle? What if the enemies have an enmity system (more on that later) that causes them to target healers?

    All of those questions are where the concept of a tank comes in.

    Tanks exist to fulfill two primary functions in a group setting: (1) focus enemy damage on themselves, and (2) survive. In a sense, tanks exist to control the flow of enemy damage to the party. Their entire toolkits are built around these functions, and give them the ability to accomplish these in greater capacity than other members of the party. If a tank is able to make sure that they take every hit their enemies put out--and survive those hits--they'll be contributing to group success in the best way possible.

    If you're new to tanking in general, you should focus on those two things, and this guide is here to teach you how to do that.
    (5)
    Last edited by Jpec07; 11-20-2017 at 12:52 PM.
    __________________________
    A dungeon party with two summoners always makes me egi.

    Beginner's Overview to Tanking in FFXIV: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/352455
    Learn to Play (it's not what you think): http://www.l2pnoob.org/

  3. #3
    Player
    Jpec07's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    838
    Character
    Isaac Talonguard
    World
    Cactuar
    Main Class
    Paladin Lv 70

    Enmity 101 and Positioning
    __________________________________________________


    Enmity 101

    We begin our discussion by talking about enmity. In FFXIV, Enmity is a number assigned to each character by an enemy that determines how important it is for them to kill that enemy. This is calculated based on damage dealt, healing done, and through certain actions and skills.

    For new tanks, you should become obsessed with enmity, and generating as much of it as you can on as many enemies as you can.

    Getting enmity as a tank is relatively simple: look at the tooltips for your abilities, find the ones that increase enmity, and give priority to those. This is generally your tank stance, your enmity combo, your long-range pull, and your AoE enmity move(s). I'll go into a little bit more depth on these later, but the idea is that you should be using these as often as you need to in order to keep a comfortable enmity lead over your healers and your DPS.

    "But Jpec!" I hear you say. "What about Provoke and Ultimatum?!" Well, nooblet, I'm glad you asked! Provoke and Ultimatum are what are known in the MMO world as 'taunt' skills. These skills are designed for use in group content where you need to immediately gain control of enmity on a single or multiple targets. They're typically reserved for multi-group content where you need to switch out with another tank (also called a "tank swap"), but can be helpful when you're first learning the role.

    Keep in mind that it literally only gives you an enmity lead of 1 point. If you use Provoke or Ultimatum, you need to immediately follow it with an enmity move to regain a comfortable lead that your BLM or SMN won't immediately strip away with a series of unfortunate critical strikes. You also don't want to use these in rotation, and should save them for if you need them. They also don't work in FATEs.
    _________________________


    Positioning

    The other thing that's important for a tank to know how to do for this is positioning of enemies. This is something that takes a bit of practice, but if you can learn how to do it, it will help distinguish you as a better tank.

    Think of it this way: when you're in 1 on 1 combat in the game, you're fighting your opponent face to face. If you were to turn and face away, they'd have a clear shot at your back--and if they were to turn and face away, you'd have a clear shot at theirs. Anyone hitting anyone else's back does more damage, so the goal of positioning is to make sure that the enemies are facing away from your team, so that they are most exposed.

    Another reason to face enemies away from your party is that it can make it easier for your team to dodge enemy attacks. Several enemies have attacks that produce areas of effect, or AoEs—these are the large, bright graphical areas that cover the ground sometimes, usually pulsing orange in some way (called a “telegraph”). Many patterns of these AoEs are aimed towards the enemy’s primary target, so if everything is facing away from the party, that’s less that they have to move.

    “But Jpec! Now all of the AoEs are piling up on top of an around me!” This is when you learn to dance, and avoid as many of the AoEs as you can. This part takes practice, and honestly, even the best tanks will mess it up. Do the best you can, apologize if you mess up, and you’ll be fine.
    (6)
    Last edited by Jpec07; 11-20-2017 at 12:28 PM.
    __________________________
    A dungeon party with two summoners always makes me egi.

    Beginner's Overview to Tanking in FFXIV: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/352455
    Learn to Play (it's not what you think): http://www.l2pnoob.org/

  4. #4
    Player
    Jpec07's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    838
    Character
    Isaac Talonguard
    World
    Cactuar
    Main Class
    Paladin Lv 70

    Stances, Mitigation, and Pacing
    __________________________________________________


    Stances

    Starting at level 30, tanks will get abilities that will help them fill their role a little bit better. These persistent buffs are called “tank stances,” and tend to have two effects: increasing enmity generation and increasing passive mitigation. In leveling, you’ll also get something commonly known as a “DPS stance,” which simply increases your damage output.

    Each tank has different stances that have different effects:
    Paladin (PLD):
    • Tank Stance: Shield Oath (acquired level 30) - Reduces damage taken by 20%, while reducing damage dealt by 15% and increasing enmity. Cannot be used with Sword Oath. Effect ends upon reuse.
    • DPS Stance: Sword Oath (acquired level 35) - Deals additional damage with a potency of 75 after each auto-attack. Damage affected by weapon delay. Cannot be used with Shield Oath.

    Warrior (WAR):
    • Tank Stance: Defiance (acquired level 30) - Increases maximum HP by 25%, while reducing damage dealt by 20% and increasing enmity. Increases own HP recovery via healing magic by 20%. Effect ends upon reuse. Using certain actions while under the effect of Defiance will increase your Beast Gauge, increasing parry rate to a maximum of 10%. Effect ends upon reuse.
    • DPS Stance: Deliverance (acquired level 52) - Increases damage dealt by 5%. Effect ends upon reuse. Using certain actions while under the effect of Deliverance will add to your Beast Gauge, increasing critical hit rate by a maximum of 10%.

    Dark Knight (DRK):
    NOTE: Dark Knight is strange in that their “DPS stance” is actually not a separate status from their “tank stance.” Tank stance is actually a combination of buffs, both of which should be active when you need the extra mitigation.

    Your “Tank Stance” as a Dark Knight is using both Grit and Darkside.

    Your “DPS Stance” as a Dark Knight is using just Darkside.
    • Grit (acquired level 30) - Reduces damage taken by 20%, while reducing damage dealt by 20% and increasing enmity. Effect ends upon reuse.
    • Darkside (acquired level 30) - Increases damage dealt by 20%. MP regeneration stops during battle and Refresh statuses granted by others have no effect.

    The key to any of these is knowing when to use them and when to not. For most tanks, and especially when you’re learning the role, the rule of thumb is to keep your tank stance on while you’re tanking, and use your DPS stance when you’re off tanking or doing solo content. If you do this and successfully complete the dungeon, chances are that you’ll receive no complaints, and that you’ll even net a few commendations.

    As a note, there are a lot of guides out there that talk about when to switch from your tank stance to your DPS stance in the middle of a fight, and how to maximize your DPS. While there is nothing wrong with doing this, I want to reiterate that this isn’t something I recommend while you’re just starting out. Your tank stance is a tool to help you do your job, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using that tool to its fullest extent, and how you see fit. Still, there are circumstances that might call for more output, and I will explore some general rules for how to find those circumstances, if you want to. While I don’t recommend it for beginners, it is worth knowing how to do.
    _________________________


    Mitigation

    Mitigation in Final Fantasy XIV is a strange beast, especially when you compare it to the models employed by other games. Some other games have tanks relying heavily on active mitigation models that require them to jump through hoops to mitigate damage. Other games have tanks build up mitigation on their gear, relying fully on passive mitigation to control the incoming damage and help them survive, maybe relying on a couple of cooldown abilities to help soak big spikes. Final Fantasy XIV on the other hand makes tanks use cooldown abilities, often in conjunction with one another, to soak incoming damage. Passive mitigation plays very little in tank gameplay, and nor do tanks need to perform complex rotational actions to accomplish mitigation.

    It’s important in tanking to know how the game processes damage. This is going to get a little bit theoretical, but it’s good to know for when it comes to knowing how some of the other abilities work. Now, let’s talk about the combat table, which we can think about as a series of dice rolls to determine how much damage you take. Each roll has a different effect, and if one effect activates, the game doesn’t do any further checks. This is important, because it informs how different abilities can interact with one another.

    When an enemy attacks you, the game checks the following sequence of modifiers:
    • Critical Hit - Increases damage. Can be counteracted with Awareness.
    • Block (PLD ONLY) - Reduces damage according to your block percent. Percentage cannot be modified by abilities, but block rate can be increased with Bulwark (+60%), Sheltron (100%), and Passage of Arms (100%). Fun fact: prior to 4.0, block didn’t used to work on abilities labeled “magic” (which really basically meant “special” attacks like ultimate abilities in trials - I still think the localization team messed that up, but I digress).
    • Parry - Reduces damage by 20%. Damage reduction cannot be affected, but parry rate can be increased through Defiance (0-10% depending on beast gauge), Anticipation (+30%), and Raw Intuition (100% for all attacks from the front).

    Once these effects are checked against, the damage is then run through any static modifiers, including plain-percentage mitigation buffs and stat-based mitigation. The total from that is then subtracted from your HP, and you’ve taken damage for the healer to deal with.

    Now then, the cooldowns that you have can be broken into three categories. These aren’t official by any means, but they are how I generally determine which one to use.
    • ”Rotational” Cooldowns - These are abilities with relatively long duration (usually more than 15 seconds), short cooldown (120 seconds or less), and tend to have a minor effect. These abilities are used to absorb what’s called “white damage” - akin in name and meaning to white noise.
    • ”Tankbuster” Cooldowns - These are abilities with relatively short duration (usually less than 10 seconds), long cooldown (150 seconds or more), and tend to have a pretty substantial effect. What’s a tankbuster, by the way? Some bosses have abilities that they can use on a set interval that deal extremely heavy damage, and that are usually predictable (either via boss animation, attack sequence, or with a cast bar). When you’re tanking a boss, you will generally want to save abilities that can help you mitigate a lot of damage for such attacks.
    • ”OH SH*T” Buttons - Hallowed Ground (PLD), Living Dead (DRK), Holmgang (WAR). These abilities have incredible mitigative ability, and can literally save your life if nothing else is available. Take note, though, that all of these abilities take a few moments from the time you activate them, so you need to be careful and plan ahead for when you think you might need them.

    Now, let’s run down the cooldowns. I’m not going to list what they do, since that information can be found anywhere. Instead, I’ll focus on how to use it, and how well it interacts with other cool downs (I’ll list ones it complements and ones you should avoid stacking):

    All Tanks
    • Rampart: This the fundamental rotational cooldown. You’ll want to use this one to absorb white damage on trash and bosses.
      - Complements: Everything except Hallowed Ground
      - Note for Paladins: At level 62 and above, this dramatically increases the effectiveness of Intervention
    • Convalescence: This is the other really good rotational cooldown. You’ll want to use this one to absorb white damage on trash and bosses, or any time when you can predict that you will need more healing.
      - Complements: Living Dead, but it also stacks well with most other cooldowns.
      - Never Use With: Hallowed Ground
    • Anticipation: Not many tanks take this ability because of how low Parry is on the combat table.
      - Complements: Awareness
      - Never Use With: Raw Intuition, Bulwark, Sheltron, Passage of Arms, Hallowed Ground
      - Note for Paladins: Because Parry is below Block on the combat table, your block rate will supersede the increased parry chance from this ability.
    • Reprisal: This is a really good ability to help mitigate raid wide damage, because it affects all output by a single enemy. Very useful for boss fights, but not very useful for trash pulls.
      - Complements: Everything except Hallowed Ground
    • Awareness: This ability isn’t anything special on its own, but it pairs extremely nicely with abilities that increase block and parry chance, because of how the combat table works. A lot of tanks disagree and won’t take it, but that’s their loss.
      - Complements: Anticipation, Raw Intuition, Sheltron, Bulwark, Passage of Arms

    Paladins
    • Sentinel: This is one of the quintessential tankbuster cooldowns for Paladins. You’ll want to use this when you know you’re going to take a lot of damage. Note, though, that you should only stack cooldowns on top of Sentinel if you know you’re going to need the extra mitigation.
      - Complements: Everything except Hallowed Ground
    • Bulwark: For Paladins, this is the bread of “bread and butter” for white damage mitigation, and is extremely useful for doing huge pulls. Bulwark + Awareness is extremely potent, and makes Paladin an excellent choice for mitigating damage during speed runs.
      - Complements: AWARENESS
      - Never Use With: Hallowed Ground, Sheltron, Passage of Arms
    • Hallowed Ground: The PLD “OH SHIT” button. Note again that this ability will take a couple of seconds to take effect, so plan ahead. Anything stacked on top of Hallowed Ground is wasted because Hallowed Ground is JUST that good.
    • Sheltron: Sheltron should be used for every tankbuster. It’s not great for trash pulls, but every little bit helps?
      - Complements: Awareness
      - Never Use With: Bulwark, Passage of Arms
    • Passage of Arms: The mitigation, duration, and cooldown of this ability is makes it rival Rampart in terms of efficacy for the tank, but it negates your damage output and also has a utility component to consider. You should only typically use this ability to help mitigate ultimate abilities on trial and raid encounters.

    Warriors
    • Thrill of Battle: This ability is an excellent way to not only give you increased ability to soak damage, but to provide a bit of extra self-healing (the extra HP you gain is added to your current HP).
      - Complements: Convalescence!!!
    • Holmgang: The WAR “OH SHIT” button. Note again that this ability will take a couple of seconds to take effect, so plan ahead. Unlike Hallowed Ground, this ability can be effectively used with other abilities.
      - Complements: Thrill of Battle
      - Important Note: Holmgang also has a draw-in effect and binds both you and your opponent in place while the effect is active. As a result, you should try to avoid using Holmgang if you're expecting an avoidable but hard-hitting AoE.
    • Vengeance: This makes Warriors thorny. It’s good for white damage, really helpful for trash, and is strong enough to be useful in concert with other abilities for tankbusters.
    • Raw Intuition: This is WAR’s best job-specific trash cooldown when used correctly. Due to the increased chance to take critical damage if the enemies manage to surround you, it is highly recommended to pair this with Awareness to guarantee that every hit you take will be mitigated at 20%. In that combination, it matches Rampart in terms of effectiveness.
      - Complements: Awareness
      - Never Use With: Anticipation
    • Shake It Off: New to 4.1, WAR gets a shiny new tankbuster cooldown. While trash will chew through the barrier this generates pretty quickly, it can make a big difference in how much damage you take from a tankbuster or ultimate ability.
      - Note: This ability will eat Thrill of Battle, Vengeance, and Raw Intuition, so use with caution. As of this writing, I do not know if Thrill of Battle increases the strength of the barrier created.

    Dark Knights
    • Dark Mind: Really good for spell-type tankbusters, which cannot be parried. Use with Dark Arts for even better effect! This ability makes The Chrysalis trial silly to tank as a Dark Knight.
    • Dark Arts + Dark Passenger: While a lot of guides say not to use this (because it's expensive), you can use it to put a fairly potent (in my experience) blind effect on your opponents. This used to be extremely useful when paired with Dark Arts + Dark Dance, which would increase dodge chance, but was removed in 4.0.
      - Don't Ever Use With: Blood Price
    • Shadow Wall: The closest thing DRK has to a tankbuster cooldown. This ability should be used in concert with something else, as it is somewhat lackluster on its own, providing the mitigation of Vengeance with a shorter duration, longer cooldown, and without the thorns.
    • Living Dead: DRK’s “OH SHIT” button. As with the other two, remember that this takes a couple of seconds to take effect, so you’ll want to plan ahead.
      - Complements: Convalescence
      - Don’t Use With: basically anything else. Because of how Living Dead works, it has the potential to absorb infinite damage. As such, if there’s a period of time when you know you’re going to take absurd amounts of damage, Living Dead’s mitigation will only be diminished by other cooldowns used. Just make sure to communicate with your healers.
    • The Blackest Night: Many guides may recommend saving this ability for tankbuster abilities, but because of its short cooldown, there is absolutely no reason not to spam this on cooldown, even in lieu of Dark Arts. Doing so can make DRK mitigate more damage than either of the other two tanks.

    The only other thing to note in terms of mitigation is self healing, which is how WAR and DRK compensate for a lack of shield. The amount of healing received is tied to certain skills and abilities, and you can find out which ones from the ability tooltips.
    _________________________


    Pacing

    Pacing can be defined as the rate at which you progress through a dungeon or encounter. At the end of the game, most groups are used to running at a pretty frantic pace, but while you’re leveling, especially if you can group with other people who are also leveling, you’ll tend to find that people are willing to go a little bit more slowly.

    Tanks generally control the pace of the dungeon, as it is the tank’s job to pull enemies and hold their focus. Once one group of enemies is done, you go to the next and the next, and use your pulling to control the pace at which the group runs the dungeon.

    A lot of guides will say that you should start running and pull as much as possible as far as possible so that the group can burn all of it down as fast as possible. While this can work in some instances, it does make some assumptions of your group - namely of your comfort with such pulls, your group’s ability to burn the enemies down quickly, and of your healer’s capacity to keep up with the damage that such a huge pull will inflict upon you.
    1. You should only pull what you’re comfortable pulling. If someone starts pulling for you or if people complain, explain that you’re not comfortable doing larger pulls. You can apologize if you want, but remember that you’re playing this game for your own enjoyment. While your role is one that ultimately supports the group’s success, you are not beholden to the group for how you enjoy the game. Don’t be a jerk, be humble and accommodating and honest, and you’ll be fine.
    2. You can never assume your group has good AoE DPS. Some jobs don’t have very good ability to sustain AoE DPS output, and some don’t have very good AoE DPS at all. If you do a huge pull and start taking a ton of damage, you will very soon start to tax your healer’s ability to keep up, and will see their MP bar decay very quickly. Once it’s empty, they can no longer heal you, and if you’re still taking a lot of damage at that point, the group will very likely wind up wiping.
    3. You can never assume your healer will know how to keep up. If you start pulling lots of enemies, you’re suddenly going to start taking a LOT of damage very quickly. Most seasoned healers will know how to handle this and even expect it, but every now and then you’ll encounter a healer who doesn’t know how to handle big pulls. In these cases, you should take care to accommodate your healer’s confidence and ability. If you start dying too much? Use a few more cooldowns than usual and pull smaller next time. If you are constantly hovering near the top of your HP bar? Pull more if you’re comfortable with it.

    In general, when you start a dungeon run, you have two options for determining how to pace yourself at the beginning: (1) ask the group whether they want you to pull quickly or if they mind a slightly more leisurely pace, or (2) pull the first group of mobs and pay attention.

    Regardless of which method, you need to pay attention at the beginning of the dungeon to know how you can pace your run. If in your first pull, all of the enemies die extremely quickly and your healer doesn’t have trouble keeping up, then the group is able to handle that size of pull, and can possibly go faster. If, however, the enemies take a long time to die, or die one at a time at relatively long intervals, or if your healer seems to be having difficulty keeping up with the damage, then you need to slow down. Smaller pulls will end more quickly and will have overall less stress on the group.

    In general, you should start small and work your way up.

    All in all, though, the most important thing you can do is communicate with your group. Marking your kill priority, using ready checks and countdowns, explaining how you’re going to handle certain rooms or pulls, discussing boss mechanics, and checking in with your healer between pulls are all good practices, and will help to set you apart from other tanks.

    ALSO: MAKE SURE THAT YOU ALWAYS THANK YOUR HEALERS AND GIVE THEM YOUR COMMENDATION UNLESS THEY WERE DOWNRIGHT AWFUL. WITHOUT THEM, YOU ARE LITTLE MORE THAN A FLIMSY PIECE OF METALLIC MEAT.
    (9)
    Last edited by Jpec07; 11-27-2017 at 05:36 AM.
    __________________________
    A dungeon party with two summoners always makes me egi.

    Beginner's Overview to Tanking in FFXIV: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/352455
    Learn to Play (it's not what you think): http://www.l2pnoob.org/

  5. #5
    Player
    Jpec07's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    838
    Character
    Isaac Talonguard
    World
    Cactuar
    Main Class
    Paladin Lv 70

    Minimizing Danger, Maximizing Output
    __________________________________________________


    Why DPS?

    Going back a few pages here, what is the role of a tank? In a group context, the tank is specialized around two tasks: (1) holding hate, and (2) surviving. While the majority of this guide has focused on teaching you how to do those two things, there is another very important task that tanks can perform to improve group success: they can DPS.

    “DPS” stands for “damage per second,” and is a term borrowed from WoW, where damage-dealing characters tended to measure their performance based on the amount of damage they could do per second.

    “But Jpec! Why should I care about my damage output? Shouldn’t I only care about the two things you mentioned above?” Well, tender nooblet, there is actually a very good reason to care about your DPS. Because the goal of the entire group is to kill the boss, anything you can do to help accomplish that goal is worth doing, including maximizing your damage output. Killing things faster also has the added benefit of what many call “mitigation by proxy” - the faster the enemies’ HP goes down, the less time they have that they can damage you. Some groups are even so efficient at killing the boss that they can “push phase” - that is, drive the boss to reach certain HP thresholds that trigger changes in the boss’ behavior. Entire mechanics can be skipped in this fashion, which can drastically improve your group’s chances at success (depending on the fight).
    _________________________


    When Should I DPS?

    The answer to this question is simpler than it might seem. Due to the nature of mitigation in Final Fantasy XIV, there is generally very little keeping you from maximizing your DPS output at any given moment, whenever you are in range of an enemy and not incapacitated in some way. So as a general rule, you should seek to maximize your DPS as much as possible whenever you are able to hit your enemy.

    Keep in mind though that your first job is to tank. This means that any DPS optimization you may wish to perform is fully secondary to your first two tasks of holding hate and surviving.
    _________________________


    Stance Dancing

    A lot of the more advanced and in-depth job guides for tanking will touch on a practice called “stance dancing” (even if they don’t call it this). The idea is that in combat, you can switch between your DPS stance and your Tank stance quickly and with little or no consequences in terms of resources, allowing you to further enhance your DPS output.

    If you know a fight, and know when to expect big damage coming in, and when you need to be in your tank stance, this practice is perfectly fine, if not entirely necessary for most content. Between the damage dealers and the healers, there shouldn’t be too much if any need for you to sacrifice the mitigation provided by your tank stance in order to do a little bit more damage. If you stay in your tank stance the entire time, you’ll meet success more often than not in most content in the game. This isn’t to say that you can’t stance dance, but it is absolutely not necessary for most players.

    A lot of guides and a lot of posts here and on Reddit, though, say that stance dancing is an essential talent for tanks, and that even rookie tanks should be practicing swapping out their stances mid-combat to prepare them for the bleeding edge where it might be necessary.

    This is a load of hogwash.

    I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH; YOU DO NOT NEED TO, AND NOR SHOULD YOU PRACTICE STANCE DANCING IF YOU ARE NEW TO TANKING, OR NEW TO TANKING IN FINAL FANTASY XIV.

    In any group, your primary roles are holding aggro/hate and staying alive. Until you are fully confident in your ability to accomplish BOTH of those roles without putting undue strain on the rest of the group (read: your healers), you should be staying in your tank stance. Other guides may say otherwise, but you need to be fully conscious of what your job in the dungeon is before you start taking risks.

    “But Jpec! I want to start practicing, and my healer says it’s okay! How will I know when I can switch?” Well, nooblet, there are a series of questions you should ask - a flowchart, if you will, minus the chart bit:
    1. Should I have hate right now?
      Yes: Move on
      No: DPS Stance
    2. Do I have a strong enmity lead?
      Yes: Move on
      No: Tank Stance
    3. Am I tanking more than one mob?
      Yes: Tank Stance
      No: Move on
    4. Is the enemy doing a lot of damage?
      Yes: Tank Stance
      No: DPS Stance

    In general, that’s the best thought flow to follow, as such, you should only use DPS stance in situations where you either shouldn’t have hate, or where you have a comfortable enmity lead, and aren’t taking a lot of damage.

    Also note, if you do decide to begin experimenting with stance dancing, you may need to rely on your enmity combo more than if you just stayed in your tank stance - especially if paired with other jobs that have the ability to suddenly boost their output in strong bursts. But if you keep an eye on your enmity gauge and your HP gauge, you should be successful.
    _________________________


    What About Stats?

    Stats are another interesting component of Final Fantasy XIV that are worth discussing before closing out this guide. As with many other MMOs, your character has a stat sheet comprised of several stats. These fall into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary stats are those that have a tremendous impact on performance versus the amount of stat available; for tanks, that means Strength (directly increases attack power) and Vitality (directly increases total HP). Secondary stats are those that have a comparatively minor impact on performance versus the amount of stat available, but which can have a noticeable effect on performance when stacked. For tanks, that’s Tenacity, Determination, Skill Speed, Critical Hit, and Direct Hit.

    When it comes to stat priority, Strength beats everything else by a long shot. “But Isaac! Strength only increases your damage output! Shouldn’t I be focusing on Vitality instead?” Well, nooblet, I’m glad you asked. Strength is the best damn stat out there for increasing your damage output as a tank. It does it leagues better than anything else, and is so good that its ability to mitigate “by proxy” far exceeds any mitigation you might get from the other stats.

    But why not Vitality? Shouldn’t I prioritize that instead? Well, there’s two reasons not to. First, you can’t--at least not in endgame. All of the gear that tanks can equip at level 70 have entirely as much Vitality as they can get, so you will automatically be maximized in terms of how much Vitality you can have. But there is a second reason. Vitality doesn’t actually do anything to mitigate incoming damage. It gives you a bit more flex room, and makes it so that you can take more damage before dying, but all of that damage you take is damage that your healer is going to have to heal back up. As a result, Vitality does nothing to help you take less damage - it just makes hits proportionally smaller than they were before without doing anything to help your healers.

    Now then what about secondary stats? Well, noobean, I’m glad you asked. There tends to be a lot of discussion on the internet about how the secondary stats line up with one another. For some jobs, stacking one versus another can have a very great impact on performance - none of those are tank jobs. In general, the difference in performance from picking one secondary stat over another is so minuscule that you’ll never notice it. We’re talking fractions of fractions of a percent difference here. If you consciously prioritize one stat over another? Yes, you may see some of that stat’s benefits more clearly, but otherwise it will only have a negligible effect.

    “If they’re not important, does that mean I shouldn’t meld materia into my gear?” Silly noobicile. Just because the effect is minor doesn’t mean you should ignore it! Remember, this section is about optimizing your DPS output, and anything you can do to that end without jeopardizing your ability to hold hate and survive is absolutely worth doing! Besides, melding your gear will immediately make you more well-equipped than a lot of other tanks out there, and will give you more performance to boot.

    So then, which stats should you pick as a tank? That’s up to you! While Strength should definitely be your first choice when it is available, the other stats are all good and will all help you succeed. Tomes have been written on what they do and which ones are better for which jobs (and by how much), but generally the difference is so tiny that you can just take whichever secondary stat you want based on what it does and how it affects your gameplay. Below, I’ve written a basic rundown of each stat, and why you might care about it. Keep in mind, though, that you will need to “stack” that stat (read: pick gear with lots of that stat and then fill in any materia slots that you can to prioritize said stat) in order to really notice its effects (note: the order here is not any kind of priority - you get to determine that for yourself).
    • Tenacity - Affects the amount of physical and magical damage dealt and received, as well as HP restored. The higher the value, the more damage dealt, the more HP restored, and the less damage taken. Only applicable when role is Tank.
      - What It Does: A little of everything. This is the only stat outside of Defense and Magic Defense that actually provides passive mitigation.
      - Why You Might Want It: It’s the One True Tank Stat, in that it is the only stat that directly contributes directly to your main roles of holding hate and surviving (particularly the surviving bit). It makes you take less damage AND makes you easier to heal, while also boosting your baseline damage output. No matter what you’re doing as a tank, Tenacity helps you do it better.
    • Determination - Affects the amount of damage dealt by both physical and magical attacks, as well as the amount of HP restored by healing spells.
      - What It Does: Determination basically makes every attack and spell you make hit harder.
      - Why You Might Want It: It makes you hit harder. For DRK and WAR, this means more self-healing from your self-healing abilities. For PLD, this means more healing from Clemency. For everyone, it means more DPS output.
    • Skill Speed - Affects both the casting and recast timers, as well as the damage over time potency for weaponskills and autoattacks. The higher the value, the shorter the timers/higher the potency.
      - What It Does: Skill Speed (SkS or SS) makes things go faster. It lowers your global cooldown (GCD) and causes some abilities to reset faster.
      - Why You Might Want It: Do you like a more frantic pace of gameplay? If so, Skill Speed is stat for you. It makes things go a lot faster, and can make it so everyone can get more attacks into their buff windows (Berserk for WAR, Blood Price/Blood Weapon for DRK, Fight or Flight for PLD). In my opinion, it tends to help break up the monotony, because it makes things go fast.
    • Critical Hit - Affects the amount of physical and magical damage dealt, as well as HP restored. The higher the value, the higher the frequency with which your hits will be critical/higher the potency of critical hits.
      - What It Does: Critical Hit (Crit) gives you a higher chance to get a critical hit - basically, it gives your abilities a chance to hit a bit harder, based on how much crit you have. Crit has an exponential growth curve of effectiveness because the stat affects both how much you crit, and how much harder your crits hit for--the stat becomes more effective the more of it you have.
      - Why You Might Want It: More DPS. And more healing for PLD’s Clemency, maybe.
    • Direct Hit - Affects the rate at which you physical and magical attacks land direct hits, slightly dealing more damage than normal hits. The higher the value, the higher the frequency with which your hits will be direct.
      - What It Does: Direct Hit (DH) is the newer, shinier cousin of Crit. Because it doesn’t exist natively on endgame gear, Direct Hit has a higher impact on your ability to do damage than almost any other stat. Where it gets dicey is that at some point, due to its exponential growth rate, Crit will be a better return on investment (though I don’t know if that’s actually possible with current gear levels and stat budgets).
      - Why You Might Want It: More DPS. It doesn’t affect your ability to heal, but it is far and away the best DPS-boosting secondary stat out there (though Materia V and Materia VI for DH tend to be very expensive for this very reason).
    (6)
    Last edited by Jpec07; 11-20-2017 at 12:28 PM.
    __________________________
    A dungeon party with two summoners always makes me egi.

    Beginner's Overview to Tanking in FFXIV: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/352455
    Learn to Play (it's not what you think): http://www.l2pnoob.org/

  6. #6
    Player
    Jpec07's Avatar
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    Isaac Talonguard
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    Paladin Lv 70

    __________________________________________________

    If you’ve made it here, I want to thank you for reading this guide. It’s taken a long time to write and has taken a lot of consideration, but I really wanted to try and address a knowledge gap that I’ve seen between veterans and rookies in this game without requiring 1-on-1 coaching time. While I am by no means the best tank, I’ve been tanking for a while, and wanted to compile the things I wish I’d known when I started in this game, and common questions I’ve heard from other rookie tanks.

    It is my sincerest hope that this guide has been helpful, and that it will open the door for more people to enter this wonderful world of tanking.

    I'm hoping to maintain this with each patch as changes are made (if there are any that apply). Check the first post for the latest patch I've updated with.

    If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to post them, and I and the other folks here in the forum will do what we can to answer them.
    (5)
    Last edited by Jpec07; 11-20-2017 at 12:23 PM.
    __________________________
    A dungeon party with two summoners always makes me egi.

    Beginner's Overview to Tanking in FFXIV: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/352455
    Learn to Play (it's not what you think): http://www.l2pnoob.org/

  7. #7
    Player
    Ferth's Avatar
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    You can edit your first post to exceed the character limit. or... well you've already done that...
    (0)

  8. #8
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    Canadane's Avatar
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    King Canadane
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    I quick glance at this shows some good beginner tips and assessment rundowns. As a career tank, I give you my approval!
    (4)

  9. #9
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    Tracewood's Avatar
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    Eugene Tracewood
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    Midgardsormr
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    Handy guide.

    So asking as a WAR beginner, when I get to the point of trash pulling in dungeons do I pull in Defiance and stay there? Or switch to Deliverance and do some AoEs then pop back into tank stance?

    Same with bosses, full time tank stance or do most WARs just stay in Deliverance and pray the healer is good? I've seen so many tanks do this in 70 dungeons.
    (0)

  10. #10
    Player
    Jpec07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracewood View Post
    Handy guide.

    So asking as a WAR beginner, when I get to the point of trash pulling in dungeons do I pull in Defiance and stay there? Or switch to Deliverance and do some AoEs then pop back into tank stance?

    Same with bosses, full time tank stance or do most WARs just stay in Deliverance and pray the healer is good? I've seen so many tanks do this in 70 dungeons.
    For beginners, I'd recommend sticking in Defiance until they're confident they can tank the boss without losing hate or making the healer work too much harder.

    My experience with the Stormblood dungeons has been that it's generally gear-dependent. If you're fresh to 70 and haven't upgraded anything, it's probably better to pull small and stay in Defiance rather than switching to Deliverance. As you gear, though, and as you learn the dungeons, more opportunities will open up for you to switch between Defiance and Deliverance (and since they removed the penalty for switching, there's nothing wrong with experimenting to see if it's a terrible idea - as long as you switch back before doom happens, if it's going to).

    Ultimately, it's all about communication and gauging what your group can support.
    (2)
    __________________________
    A dungeon party with two summoners always makes me egi.

    Beginner's Overview to Tanking in FFXIV: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/threads/352455
    Learn to Play (it's not what you think): http://www.l2pnoob.org/

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