Welcome to Dragoon guide from 1-70. In this guide we will discuss the general overview of how a dragoon fits in Eorzea.
What is a Dragoon?
A dragoon is a powerful melee DPS that wears heavy armor and focuses on heavy sustained single target damage with some AoE burst potential and a swift mobility kit via Jumps. Dragoons are quite mobile and allow for a very fun rotation plus their aesthetics are some of the best in the game.
Unlocking Dragoon and Role-Actions:
Dragoon is unlocked via leveling Lancer to level 30. A Dragoon is capable of using role-actions that are available to all melee dps classes. Some are a must and others are optional but here is the closest thing to a recommended list:
- Second Wind: This restores some of your HP scaling with your attack power.
- True North: This allows you to execute combos from any direction without losing the extra potency\effect for 15 seconds. Very handy in a lot of fights especially when the boss usually turns around a lot.
- Goad: This can be used on a party member to give them a TP refresh for 30 seconds. Very handy for Warriors on chained pulls and any other melee dps that would be struggling with TP.
- Invigorate: This restores 400 TP. almost a must especially in aoe fights.
- BloodBath: This is great to give yourself some extra leeching to help out your healers in times of damage.
Leveling lancer is pretty straight forward, and their skills are easy to grasp, despite unlocking your first combos quite late during the leveling stage. At first you start out with simple 2-skill combo, comprised of True Thrust & Vorpal Thrust. This is gonna be your bread and butter all the way to level 26 when you unlock the skill used to make this a 3-skill combo. Once you reach level 12 you will gain access to one of your main buffs that will be a crucial part of your rotation, applied via Heavy Thrust.
Heavy thrust deals a decent amount of damage while applying a buff that lasts for 30 secs that increases your damage dealt by 15%. Ideally you want to keep this buff on you for as much as you can during the fight. Heavy Thrust deals 180 potency if you use it to attack a target on its flank aka side (if you don’t, however, you will deal only 140 potency). The duration of the buff is long enough to make it easy to weave in every time its duration is close to 5-4 seconds. It is very crucial to get used to keeping it up 100% of the time at this stage because it really makes a difference and will be part of your main rotation later on.
At level 26 you will gain access to Full Thrust. This will evolve to be your main damage combo, as this is the final combo hit used in the True Thrust & Vorpal Thrust combo. This whole combo does not have any positioning requirement, meaning that you can execute it fully from the rear, flank or front. What should be aimed to be done is to apply Heavy Thrust then use that combo, keep an eye on the duration while spamming the combo, then refresh Heavy Thrust, and repeat. You must remember to use Heavy Thrust from the flank to ensure you deal the most damage with it, the buff will always be applied regardless, but 40 potency is a nice addition to the damage.
A great way to make the most use of your damage combo is to weave in the skill Life Surge right before you use Full Thrust. Life Surge ensures that the next weapon skill used is a critical hit, and it heals you for 50% of the damage dealt. Why is it good to use with Full Thrust? Because it is the hardest hitting skill in your combo (440 potency), so ensuring a critical hit should allow you to deal tons of damage as well as respectable self-healing.
Level 30 mark:
At level 30 you will unlock the Dragoon job, meaning that you will now have access to Jumps. The very first jump you will get is called Jump (doh). Jump is basically a blow delivered from above; you jump on your enemy dealing 250 potency and then jump back to your location, this all puts you in an animation lock phase, so make sure not to use it if you are going to get hit by an AoE. Jump is off the global cooldown which means you can use it in between your normal combo skills.
By level 38 you will get to use Disembowel. Remember how at level 8 you got this seemingly useless skill called Impulse Drive? Well now it is time for it to shine. Impulse Drive acts as the first skill in your second major combo, followed by Disembowel. Disembowel reduces the enemy’s piercing resistance by 10%, which simply means that they will take more damage from you (and any Machinists in your party). This is where your play style really starts to take shape.
The very basic idea to a Dragoon’s rotation is:
- Apply Heavy Thrust from the flank to increase your damage.
- Use the “Debuff Combo”, aka Impulse Drive + Disembowel to debuff your enemy.
- Use the “Damage Combo”, aka True Thrust + Vorpal Thrust + Full Thrust to unleash full damage on the enemy.
So in essence, the idea is simple, it just takes time to get it fully integrated in your muscle memory. The only tricky part would be keeping your damage buff from Heavy Thrust active all this time. The easiest way to do it is to test on a training dummy how many full combos can you pull through comfortably in its duration. Once you know your limit, you just need to refresh the buff at that limit every time.
At level 50 you gain Chaos Strike which applies a dot to the enemy. It is part of the Debuff combo so it now becomes Impulse Drive + Disembowel + Chaos Strike. However Chaos Strike deals its full damage if executed from behind. So this makes your positional skills a total of 2 for now: Heavy thrust from Flank, and Chaos Strike from Rear.
More on Jumps:
We said you will access jumps from level 30. Jumps in essence are off global cooldown abilities that have a long cooldown but various effects:
Jump: deals damage while allowing you to it the enemy once then go back to where you were. This should NOT be used for mobility as it really does nothing to help you “move”. It should also be used in conjunction with Power Surge cooldown which increases the power of your next jump by 50%.
Elusive Jump: Great to use for threat reduction and to quickly get out of harm’s way. It has a short cooldown so make good use of it to either get out of AoEs or get somewhere quickly, the jump range is quite nice (15 yalms) so also make sure not to jump off a ledge with it.
Spineshatter Dive: This one is best used for either mobility (to get to a target quickly) or for its CC ability ( it stuns for 2 secs so it can work as an interrupt). This also has a 1 minute cooldown so make sure to use it when it counts. If neither CCing or moving are essential, it still does 200 potency damage so it is nice to weave in for extra damage.
Dragonfire Dive: This is a very powerful jump that deals really high damage to all enemies near the target. This is absolutely great for AoE situations or if you know that this is gonna be a single target fight it can simply be used whenever available. However, it does not work with Power Surge, so save that for Jump.
By level 60 you would have been introduced to 2 new additions: Blood of the Dragon and your 2 new combo skills that convert your existing combos into 4-skill combos instead of 3-skill combos while Blood of the Dragon is active.
Blood of the Dragon is a buff that lasts initially for 20 seconds, empowers Jump and Spineshatter Dive and grants you access to 1 extra skill after each combo. The buff is replenished by 10 secs each time you execute a full 4-skill combo up to a maximum of 30 seconds. This means that as long as your combos are rolling, your buff should always stay up. Something that should be noted is that the new skills also have positional requirements. Fang and Claw deals its full damage from the Flank (290 potency), while Wheeling Thrust deals its full damage from the Rear (290 potency).
You also gain Geirskogul. Geirskogul deals a large amount of damage to all targets in a cone in front of you (220 potency), it has a 30 seconds cooldown so always use it when it becomes ready, or save it when you know you will need the extra kick.
Main Idea again at level 60:
- Heavy Thrust
- Debuff Combo (Impulsive drive > Disembowel) + Blood of the dragon before Chaos strike + Wheeling Thrust.
- Damage combo (True Thrust > Vorpal Thrust > Full Thrust) + Fang and Claw
- Weave jumps and CDs in between the global CDs, like Life Surge before Full thrust and Power Surge before Jump.
Once you break down the main idea it will be very simple to maintain. All it needs is just practice.
At this point, you should be accustomed to your dragoon and noticed how hard you can actually hit with the job. The journey from level 60-70 only plays on existing features and adds in a couple interesting new ones.
The first addition you will notice is Sonic Thrust at level 62. This skill chains off Doom Spike, your only aoe spammable AoE skill. This makes Dragoon’s aoe damage more powerful and less expensive. This is because Sonic Thrust refreshes your Blood of the Dragon buff by 10 seconds, deals more damage than Doom Spike (170 potency) and costs slightly less TP than Doom Spike, making this your new bread and butter for AoE fights alongside spamming Geirskogul.
The biggest change will be at level 64 when you get the trait Lance mastery. This trait links Fang and Claw with Wheeling thrust. The idea of the trait is simple: As a Dragoon you are used to performing a combo, then wrapping it up with either Fang and Claw or Wheeling thrust. Now, when you finish your combo with Fang and Claw you can use Wheeling thrust right after it making your combo a 5-hit combo instead of a 4-hit one. Same thing goes for Wheeling thrust. This essentially means your combos become something like this:
- Heavy Thrust
- Impulse Drive + Disembowel + Chaos Strike + Wheeling Thrust + Fang and Claw
- True Thrust + Vorpal Thrust + Full Thrust + Fang and Claw + Wheeling Thrust
As you might have noticed, it gets slightly more tricky because now you are executing really long combos, so a lot of practice is needed but once you get it all sorted, it will be so much fun.
At level 66 you get access to a damage cooldown Dragon Sight which allows you to tether yourself to a party member, increasing the damage of both of you as long as you stay in range (12 yalms). Not much to it other than using it when needed.
The Apex of your combat state is reached via the new Life of the Dragon trait. Don’t be scared with the big tooltip of it, the idea is very simple. Your jump skills will now also proc a new skill called Mirage Dive, which basically deals damage and adds a stack to your dragon gauge. This means that now you have to get used to using this after each jump skill you use (mainly Jump and Spineshatter Dive). After you get 4 stacks, you will notice a pulsing eye on your gauge which means you are ready to unleash the real power of the dragon you hold. To unleash your stacks you need to use Geirskogul once you have 4 stacks. This will turn your blood of the dragon into the life of the dragon and you will notice the effect is now red instead of blue. Once this happens Geirskogul turns into Nastrond which is a meaner, faster skill that does everything Geirskogul does but better. It has a 10 second cooldown and it deals 320 in a line.
One thing to note is that when you are in Life in the dragon you can’t refresh the duration of your life of the dragon using your melee combos anymore. This means if you time it right, you can have 30 seconds of the buff when you activate it, meaning at least 3 Nastrond uses. Once the duration reaches 0 you will be returned again to a normal 20 second duration Blood of the Dragon which you keep up using your normal methods.
This guide will not contain an “endgame” rotation because i believe the best rotation is the one you discover yourself through practice. You will still be using the same general lines of your level 60 rotation, all you have to adjust yourself to is using a 5th combo skill instead of 4. This also means that heavy thrust should be refreshed after 2 full 5-hit combos to ensure comfortability. Make sure to use Mirage Dive after each jump skill and don’t use two jumps in a row, that way you waste Mirage Dive procs.
- Beware when using your damage cooldown (Blood For Blood) since not only does it allow you to deal more damage, but it also causes you to TAKE more damage. So make sure not to pop it in times of heavy damage to you otherwise your healers might have trouble healing you
- The main concept of a dragoon is to juggle between your two main combos while weaving in all the extra abilities and buffs and jumps. Easiest way to learn it is to first get the combo part by heart, through repetition. Till your muscle memory takes charge. Then use the rest in between the global cooldowns so that it can be the smoothest.
- Positioning is very important as dragoon, and before being daunted by it, its really simple once you break it down. Heavy thrust and Fang and Claw are Flank, Chaos Strike and Wheeling Thrust are Rear.
- Invigorate is a cooldown that you should get used to. It restores 400 TP . Dragoons in general are TP-heavy DPSers. Even their single target damage on the long run will starve them out of TP. So this is recommended to use every time you reach around 400 TP. It is also great to give you TP for some extra AoE.
Enjoy your dragoon!