Final Fantasy XIV Dawntrail media tour: Tank and melee DPS job abilities in Dawntrail

Ready to blast.

Here’s the good news and the bad news for folks going into Dawntrail: If you like how your existing job plays in Final Fantasy XIV, you are probably going to still be happy with it after the Dawntrail levels because… well, not a whole heck of a lot has changed for the vast majority of jobs. That’s not to say that you haven’t gotten new abilities to hit along the way or anything, or that your abilities haven’t been upgraded. It’s just that most of those upgrades are passive or kind of reward what you’re already going to be doing.

As such, there’s not a whole lot to say about the majority of jobs going into Dawntrail, but I am going to do my best just the same because you deserve to know what you are getting. It might sound like only the new jobs get excitement, but speaking as someone who plays other jobs, I am excited about what’s coming! They’re just not new abilities that are going to rework my rotation. The journey from Shadowbringers to Endwalker had bigger rotational changes for Gunbreaker than Endwalker to Dawntrail, in other words.

There was a technical issue and the full flair didn't capture.


Your sword explosion now includes more swords, Atonement is now not just spamming the same ability three times in a row, and Sentinel gets a buff. All of this is fun and fine, but it is not going to make Paladin feel all that different in actual play. I’ve already said my piece about the changes to Goring Blade only working when Fight or Flight is active, so there’s not much more to add there. I still do feel like Shield Lob kind of needs an upgrade of some sort, but that’ll have to wait. Regardless, Paladin is still the best mixed-range tank and very durable to boot.

Angry Au Ra noises


Vengeance his harder now, and you now get a couple bigger hits as you spam out abilities while under Inner Release. The self-healing and sustain hasn’t really been touched much from Endwalker, but your new abilities don’t add more on top beyond the obvious interaction with Bloodwhetting.

Keep your cat in a box.

Dark Knight

Honestly I think Dark Knight’s upgrades are kind of the weakest of the bunch; rolling Delirium and Blood Weapon together is consistent, but all of the upgrades are seemingly just improved potencies for what Dark Knight already does without even having new triggers. It’s possible I kind of missed something for the job, but I don’t think so. I will note that it got a similar change to its gap-closer to Gunbreaker, which loses the damage aspect; I’m not a fan of that.



You get Continuation for your AoE cartridge spend now. Be happy. Also, using Bloodfest now triggers the Lionheart combo, not Gnashing Fang as the Live Letter had suggested. This combo does not have a Continuation element, but it does hit hard, and it also has an AoE component; my guess is that it’s both an effort to get people to use Bloodfest on AoE pulls as well as being more interesting than chain-executing Burst Strike to Hypervelocity three times in a row. (An idea I cannot argue with.) It still feels the way it already did, in other words.



So Dragoon is definitely simpler now, but in a way that feels… smoother rather than anything else. You no longer have to build up to Life of the Dragon; instead, you hit Geirskogul, then you hit Nastrond, and so forth. Mirage Dive is no longer a resource-builder but just an oGCD to hit between Jumps. Your main rotation is largely similar, but it’s easier to recover from a drop and less painful to start cold with your buildup. The loss of Spineshatter Dive is felt, but you do get an upgrade to Dragonfire Dive after you execute it, so that’s all right.

Dragonball Z jokes get you banned.


Despite all the talk about Monk being significantly different, I didn’t really think it was; it’s more that you have a more straightforward path to opening both the Lunar and Solar Nadi during your Perfect Balance phases and more reason to swap back and forth between various skills to fully digest temporary buffs. I also appreciate that the various Riddles have been changed to feel more like opening chakra, more of a buff-then-release in a useful off-cooldown nature.



Obviously, the big change to Ninja is that you no longer need to maintain Huton, with the ability changed to be an AoE Hide with an appropriate followup. Much like what I said about Bloodfest, this feels like a reason to mix up AoE a bit more instead of the current “Doton-then-combo.” Armor Crush, meanwhile, is what builds up buffs to make Aeolian Edge do more damage on the regular. Add in a more Ninja-themed upgrade for Mug, and ultimately it seems as if the changes are meant to help differentiate it from Viper as the magical Dexterity melee.


So I’m going to be honest, I looked at my notes and this is all that was there for Samurai:

I’m not sure how I did that. I was taking notes longhand in a notebook. How it embedded a YouTube video we may never know.

All joking aside, Samurai’s changes are mostly about ease of use and getting another big triggered attack along with upgrades to the job’s existing attacks. These are not major changes aside from some specific AoE ranges, but they do make the job feel more spry and neat. Visually, they are cool abilities! If you enjoy playing Samurai, you are still going to enjoy Samurai in the expansion! It’s just that none of them has a major impact on how you play the job in practice; it’s the same basic rotational experience.

Yes, this was just for the screen.


It’d be wrong to say that Reaper underwent any major changes either, but it does now get a follow-up to Plentiful Harvest, for example. The biggest change is one that comes up elsewhere but is most relevant to Reaper in terms of melee jobs, which is that abilities that used to fill up a chunk of a gauge now leave the gauge untouched but let you just immediately launch as if the gauge were full.

This is kind of significant because it helps avoid overflowing your gauges, but it also slightly changes how you prioritize and rotate through things during your openers even if the net experience is largely the same. It is, I think, generally a good change; you still want to smartly stockpile your resources ahead of boss pulls in dungeons, but you have a little more wiggle room and fewer moments of “well, I just completely wasted that ability like a doofus.”

“But wait,” you say, “my job isn’t listed here!” And you’re right; while I have less to say about the jobs than I did when I was writing about Endwalker (for reasons already outlined), I still have enough to say that there’s too much for one column. I promise that I have not forgotten about your job. It’s in the next article.

(Except Bard. I have absolutely forgotten about Bard.)

Square-Enix paid for both travel and lodgings during my stay in LA for this particular event. There was actually a really nice Japanese garden at the hotel. I sat there for a bit. It calmed my nerves. Not thematic, but this is a true story.
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