Welcome to Dragoon guide from 1-60. 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 cross-class skills:
Dragoon is unlocked via leveling Lancer to level 30 (which also acts as your base class) and Marauder to level 15. Dragoon can use extra cross-class skills from marauder and pugilist. A recommended list is:
- Second Wind: unlocked via leveling pugilist to level 8. This restores some of your HP scaling with your attack power.
- Internal Release: unlocked via leveling pugilist to level 12. This increases your crit chance by 10% for 15 secs.
- Mantra: unlocked via leveling pugilist to level 42. This increases the healing received by nearby party members by 5%
- Mercy Stroke: unlocked via leveling marauder to level 26. This is used only when the target is below 20% HP, deals damage by 200 potency.
- BloodBath: unlocked via leveling marauder to level 8. 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 12 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 170 potency if you use it to attack a target on its flank aka side (if you don’t, however, you will deal only 100 potency). The duration of the buff allows you to normally deal 2 combos before having to refresh it, and since you won’t get any skills that drastically change this kind of playstyle for a while its crucial to get used to it in that period.
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, then apply it again, 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 70 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 (360 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 200 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. At this point you will also gain access to your DoT skill called Phlebotomize. You should aim to apply this right after using Heavy Thrust to benefit from the damage increase, and refresh it as necessary.
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.
- Apply Phlebotomize to get the DoT ticking.
- 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. Don’t worry about it however, as when you reach level 40 that burden will be removed off your shoulders via a trait that makes Heavy Thrust buff last 24 secs. This is very enough time to apply the dot and execute the two combos with the buff active. (assuming you don’t get interrupted in the middle). But till then, simply apply Heavy Thrust before each combo.
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 long cooldown so make sure to really use when it counts, 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 170 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 for 15 seconds, empowers Jump and Spineshatter Dive and grant you access to 1 extra skill after each combo. The trick is that the extra skills activate at random, which means you just have to pay attention to which one becomes available and position yourself accordingly. The buff is replenished by 15 secs each time you execute a full 4-skill combo so as long as you got that covered, you should always have it 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. While the 4th combo hits extend your buff, this one shortens it, but for good reason. Geirskogul deal a large amount of damage to all targets in a cone in front of you (200 potency), but also reduces the remaining time on your buff by 10 seconds. This makes it viable to use in 2 ways:
- You can use it twice in succession for quite aoe burst but at the expense of your buff, this will deal a lot of damage and great for burst aoe times. But remember that it already has a 10 sec cooldown and you will lose your Blood of the Dragon buff in the meantime. This is only doable if you have Blood of the dragon at full duration (30 secs), since you will need time to wait for Geirskogul’s cooldown.
- You can use it in your single target rotation to add in an extra kick. The only thing you have to be aware of is to use it while you have around 15-20 seconds left on your buff. The reason for this is that you want to have enough time to do a 4-skill combo to replenish your buff again, making sure you don’t drop off.
Main Idea again at level 60:
- Heavy Thrust + Phlebotomize
- Debuff Combo (Impulsive drive > Disembowel) + Blood of the dragon before Chaos strike + 4th skill (Fang and claw\Wheeling Thrust)
- Damage combo (True Thrust > Vorpal Thrust > Full Thrust) + 4th skill
- 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.
- 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 is Flank, Chaos Strike is Rear. The 4th skills also have a rear\flank position and the best way I found is to keybind them into special keys (mine are at X and Shift+X) and you mark them; Like X is always flank, Shift+X is always rear. That way when see it become available you instantly go to where that button is.
- The question most dragoons ask themselves when AoEing: Doom Spike or Ring of Thorns? The answer is simple: Doom Spike is great for burst aoe damage since it deals a lot of damage but costs a lot of TP. Ring of Thorns is awesome for sustained AoE damage, since it deals less damage but also costs less TP. The Heavy Thrust combo with Ring of Thorns is in my opinion, weak. First off, you will use more TP per aoe that way, you will deal aoe damage less consistently, and the damage increase that Ring of Thorns will have is almost similar to Doom Spike anyways.
- Invigorate is a cooldown that you should get used to. It restores 400 TP (and later on via a trait will restore 500 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!