Welcome to Paladin guide from 1-60! In this guide we will be covering progressing in levels as a paladin and the basics and tricks about endgame tanking.
Before we start the guide please note that this is to be taken as merely extra info on the class, and not as THE proper ultimate way to play it. Remember to have fun playing the class enjoying it in your style as these are merely guidelines that would help you get better understanding of your class.
To unlock paladin you need to get Gladiator to level 30 and Conjurer to level 15. And as a valuable tip, levelling Marauder up to 26 or even just till 8 will give you a couple useful cross-class skills to use.
As a paladin you don’t have that many “fancy” cross class skills to use but some are very useful.
Foresight: unlocked by getting Marauder to level 2. It increases your Melee defence by 20% for 20sec.
BloodBath: unlocked by getting Marauder to level 8. All your physical damage gives you back 25% of it as HP.
Mercy Stroke: unlocked by getting Marauder to level 26. You can execute an attack on target with 20% HP or less to deal a hefty amount of damage and if it was the killing blow, you get 20% of your HP back. Good on trash.
Protect: unlocked by levelling Conjurer to level 8. Increases your defence for 30 mins, will usually be cast by healer.
Stoneskin: unlocked by levelling Conjurer to level 34. Gives you a shield of 10% of your maximum HP for 30 mins till it is destroyed by a hit. Has a 3 sec cast time.
Cure: unlocked by levelling Conjurer to level 2. It’s a very weak heal beyond level 12-15 but it can be used for a trick later at max level.
The ones in bold font are the ones that I currently use, though now that you have them all in sight, you can take the ones that fit your play style.
What is a Paladin?
The paladin is one of 3 available tanking jobs in FFXIV. Paladins focus most on survival and group support than the other two tanks. They do not pack as much punch as the other two tanks, but the party is usually a lot safer going in with a paladin, as they have several methods to contribute to overall party survival other than merely tanking the enemy. They are also considered the one tank that takes the least physical damage from bosses and trash as they have the added benefits of blocking (in addition to parrying and dodging) and they can debuff enemies to decrease their strength. However, they are also the “simplest” tank to learn when it comes to rotations, and their simplicity is viewed by many to be a downside as your rotations are very simple and straight forward. But if you are more of a support player rather than a more damage oriented player, then paladin is for you.
Getting started around level 18:
At this level range (15-18) you’re nearing your first dungeon, Sastasha! As a tank, especially if you’ve just picked the role, you are the engine of your party. You’re the driver. People will move when you move and stop when you stop. So you need to learn and get used to always taking the initiative in pulls and in exploring a dungeon. Since it is never known when a mob pack can jump in your face and you certainly prefer the mobs being initially pulled to you rather than picking them off team members.
Let’s review the skills you currently have:
You have 2 rotations at this point.. an aggro\enmity rotation and a mana regenerating rotation. Mixing these two will be the key to sustain tanking mobs for long periods of time.
Aggro Rotation: Fast Blade > Savage Blade.
Mana Rotation: Fast Blade > Riot Blade.
Never use only Savage blade or Riot blade without it being part of a Chain or Combo by making sure you always use Fast blade first.
You have an AoE snap aggro skill, and a ranged single target skill. Flash and Shield Lob. By this time you should be used to using your cooldowns such as Fight or Flight and Rampart. Knowing how to use your cooldowns effectively is the key to survival.
At this point, you’re quite a weak tank. Any tank is. Especially as you are not geared (though I recommend doing the Hall of Novice training to get very good armour before you venture on your first dungeon.). so don’t worry if mobs are hard to keep in check, but use that as a good lesson because if you managed to tank mobs here, then everything else at later levels is gonna be even easier.
Tanking Strategy: to start off, you need to have great knowledge of the dungeon and the mobs. Scout the mobs and anticipate how many would be pulled if you started to run in, and use Shield Lob on the nearest target while running in. This will assure that they will all be coming to you AT FIRST. Now you gotta work for that aggro. Once they are all somewhat around you, use 2-3 Flash to make sure they will be fixed to you for now. Then use your aggro combo while rotating targets, which means you use Fast Blade on a target, then switch to another and use Savage Blade, then another, etc. and every time you use melee attacks, use a Flash. This will make sure mobs are fixed to you like glue, but will also be taxing on your mana, to compensate, replace your aggro combo with your mana combo whenever your mana reaches around 50% to get it a bit up.
This will be the essence and basics of your tanking from now to 60. So getting used to it now and dedicating your focus on it will really pay off later on as it will turn into more of a muscle memory thing.
Next Stage at level 26:
At this level you get an addition to your aggro rotation that will empower your aggro much more than what you were used to. You gain Rage of Halone. This will be used after Savage Blade in the aggro combo. It deals more damage and generates much more aggro, plus it debuffs the enemy’s strength so they will deal less damage. Nothing more will change dramatically around what you have been doing so far other than getting used to your new skill.
You also gain a skill at 22 called Provoke. This is your Taunt ability but it works in a distinctive way. Using it puts you on top of the aggro list for an enemy so that they come for you, but if you don’t increase that aggro after that, it will go back to the target it was attacking almost immediately. So using it is simply to provoke a target, then immediately follow up with a Shield Lob. This will make sure the enemy comes for you and stays there for a bit till you focus him down with aggro combo. Never use Provoke to pull a fresh mob or pack, it’s useless then and wasted.
At this level you become officially a paladin and you gain your first stance which is called an Oath. At this level you gain Sword Oath, which is your more damaging stance rather than a tanking one. While the other two tanks get a tanking stance at this point, you have the difficulty up a bit by being given a DPS stance instead. But don’t worry, your tank stance is gonna come soon enough.
As a Paladin, you should ALWAYS have an Oath active. So just because you got a DPS stance now doesn’t mean that you will cast it aside, it will help. The Oath adds more punch to your auto attacks which might not sound like much, but it is still better than not having anything at all. Tanking the dungeons from 30-40 range is gonna be a difficult task but if you got around your tanking in the lower dungeons, it wouldn’t be any different here. Just stay true to your feel and put aggro on top of your priority list (and of course surviving).
This is where you get your tank stance, called Shield Oath. While you’re the tank in any dungeon or group content, you need this active. The oath reduces the damage you take by 20% (so it’s like a permanent Rampart) but reduces the damage you deal by 15%. But it also increases all the aggro you deal dramatically. Once you get this stance, all the tanking you have been doing will get so much easier. And you will be surprised by that, I guarantee. But, this is where also most paladins “slack” because of the stance bonus, don’t. do exactly what you were doing and enjoy a more relaxed but not slacking attitude, and tanking is gonna be very fun.
Your rotation at level 50 is exactly the same as you are used to, the things you are going to have to get used to are the new cooldowns such as Spirits Within, Hallowed Ground. Your aggro combo is the same as it always has been. Fast blade > Savage Blade > Rage of Halone. And your mana combo is still Fast Blade > Riot Blade. Your pulling and
AoE tactics are the same, while you just have more cooldowns to juggle around to increase your survival. From 52 onwards though, things will get more exciting.
So now that we are at level 60, here is a rundown of your new found abilities and how to properly use them.
You got 3 combos now to juggle:
Aggro: Fast blade > Savage blade > Rage of Halone.
Mana\DoT: Fast Blade > Riot Blade > Goring Blade.
DPS\Slight Aggro: Fast Blade > Savage Blade > Royal Authority.
You now got a single target heal that can be used on anyone and it is encouraged to use on other party members as well. Clemency is equivalent to a Cure II from a Whitemage. It uses little bit more than one third of your mana so you can only use it twice in succession, but used properly, this heal can literally prevent wipes. Every time you heal a party member you are also healed for 50% of the amount, so don’t be selfish.
You also get Divine Veil which can shield everyone else BUT you before a big damaging AoE attack. And you also have one of my favourite CDs, which is Sheltron. It allows you to block next attack in 10 secs, and regens MP. It really helps keep your mana up.
As always, your pulling rotations and everything is the same, so in tactics, there is no change.
Tricks and Tips:
- Cover is often an underrated cooldown. This can help you soak the damage intended for a party member (as long as its physical and they are in the radius). It can be really helpful as it will allow the healer to just focus on you instead of having to go all over the place, useful when bosses target a member for hard hitting attack.
- Divine Veil works in a unique way in which it only buffs you, and then you have to be directly healed in order for it to spread to other people. If you have a good healer he should notice and immediately give you a cheap heal to spread it. however, not all healers you meet have this insight, and sometimes you have to trigger it yourself. This is why I have Cure cross-classed into my paladin. Despite it being very weak, it’s much more cheaper than using a Clemency on yourself to trigger it IF you are at full health. If not, then clemency is fine.
- Stoneskin is useful if you can shield yourself up before a heavy attack that the boss is doing, or even shield a vulnerable party member till the healers get them up.
- At some stages, you can switch to Sword Oath and activate Flight or Flight to burn some extra damage on the boss once you got your aggro established. This is suggested because with the proper use of CDs like Rampart, Foresight, Bulwark you can give yourself defence similar to Shield Oath while still maintaining the damage. It is nice to do at the start after a couple of aggro combos to push the enemy quickly into a phase or to just speed things up. BUT if you started to feel you’re too squishy or aggro is slipping, then switch back to tanking stance and proceed as normal. High damage numbers are satisfying but not at the expense of the group.
Wish you Happy Paladining!