Now that the hype around Final Fantasy XIV’s latest expansion, Shadowbringers, has settled, it seems like the perfect time to properly explore some of the extraneous new inclusions that got packed in with it. Namely, the new jobs. More specifically, the brand new Dancer job, which I’m convinced is the best and most enjoyable job to play in FFXIV.
Since completing the Shadowbringers main storyline about a month ago, I’ve been focusing on leveling the relevant jobs required for the excellent role quests. It was the perfect excuse to get started on my Gunbreaker, which might very well be straight up the coolest tank in the game.
After being thoroughly impressed by what Square Enix did with the Gunbreaker (it’s the busiest tank job by far, with fun DPS rotations), I turned my gaze to the other new job introduced in Shadowbringers: the less appealing Dancer. Or so I thought.
Whereas the Bard used to be the utility job of Final Fantasy XIV, that position has since been usurped by the Dancer, leaving the Bard to just be an echo of its former glory. You must understand that I’ve been a Bard main since the beginning, which probably explains my distaste for the new kid on the block.
However, somewhere in between my gushing over how cool Gunbreaker is and frustration at leveling up Red Mage for my final role quest, I finally decided to give Dancer a shot, and dare I say, it might just become my new main job in Final Fantasy XIV.
What’s so impressive about Dancer is the fact that it doesn’t play or feel anything like other DPS job in Final Fantasy XIV. In this game, almost every DPS job has a very strict rotation you have to follow if you want to play optimally.
That kind of experience is fun, as I quickly learned when I leveled Samurai back during the Stormblood days, but it’s the unpredictability of the Dancer that’s so compelling.
Dancer plays somewhat similarly to the Bard, which is a class that’s highly reliant on procs, and rotating between three different songs and DoTs you have to keep up at all times. You’ll play a song, hit the relevant skills on your hotbar, then wait for your procs.
The Dancer takes that concept even further.
At the Dancer’s very core, you have to make sure that your dance effects are always in play. When you first start playing the job, you’ll learn the Standard Step action, which allows you to perform a very basic dance in combat and gives you a damage boost.
It’s not just a matter of clicking on Standard Step and immediately getting a buff, though; activating Standard Step prompts you to play a quick-time event-like mini-game where you have to press the appropriate buttons to perform the dance correctly to get the buff.
As you level the job further, you’ll gain access to Technical Step, which is a more complex dance that gives you an additional buff.
Just the simple act of pushing the right buttons to get a buff immediately makes Dancer feel so distinct and different from the rest of the classes.
And then there’s the Closed Position action to take note of, which simply allows you to select another party member as your dance partner. Your partner will share all buffs and effects you apply, effectively increasing their DPS output even further.
Finally, there are, of course, the AoE and single-target rotations to familiarize yourself with.
The absolutely beautiful thing about Dancer is that the rotation feels a lot more fluid and flexible than other DPS jobs. The basic rotation for both AoE and single-target only consists of two buttons, but every action has the chance of proccing more powerful abilities that just flow well into one another.
New Dancers would be tempted to hit all their procced abilities as soon as they light up, of course, but the optimal way to play would be to hit them only when you’re sure all your damage buffs are in effect. Then, go crazy.
Watching the Dancer in motion is a thing of beauty, as every action leads into each other seamlessly, and as you get used to the way this job works, it almost starts to feel like a trance-like experience.
Closed Position, dance, dance, rotation, hit every lit up button on your hotbar, repeat.
Dancer’s fluidity makes it feel like one of the most fast-paced jobs in Final Fantasy XIV, and there’s nothing else quite like it in this game.
I haven’t had this much fun in FFXIV since the implementation of the much-needed Bard changes in Stormblood, and the release of both Gunbreaker and Dancer in their incredibly polished states in Shadowbringers just goes to show how far this game has come.
The Dancer starting gear being so cool and exotic-looking definitely helps as well.