FFXIV Arcanist Guide

FFXIV Arcanist Guide

Here's a Final Fantasy XIV Arcanist guide for parties by Wark_Kweh.

The Arcanist class. Basic info:

  • Guild is based in Limsa Lominsa
  • Pet class
  • Abbreviation: ACN
  • Role: Ranged DPS
  • Role Method: DoT(Damage over Time)/Debuff
  • Primary Attribute: Intelligence
  • Equips: Books, Cloth Armor
  • Supplementary Skills: Conjuror, Thaumaturge
  • Supplementary Crafts: Alchemist[Books], Weaver[Armor], Goldsmith[Accessories]
  • Jobs: Scholar[Healer-MND], Summoner[DPS-INT]

The Arcanist is a DPS pet class that can be unlocked in the far West end of Lower Limsa Lominsa, at Melvaan's Gate. It is the first pet class to be implemented in FFXIV:ARR, and as such establishes some basic mechanics for future pet classes.

The Arcanist gains access to two pets over the course of its level progression. As a pet class, the Arcanist is weaker than other players when it is without its pet, so you should always try and have a pet summoned.
The first, Emerald Carbuncle, is a DPS caster pet that is summoned by casting Summon. This Carbuncle will complement the Arcanist's natural DPS abilities and sports a basic wind spell, a knockback spell, a wind AoE spell [level 20], and a cool spell that boosts the duration of its master's DoTs [level 40].

The second pet, Topaz Carbuncle, is a tank pet that is summoned by casting Summon II. This Carbuncle will offset the Arcanist's natural DPS a bit by acting as a tank, but will balance a little less DPS with the added survivability of its master and its master's allies. Topaz Carbuncle gains access to a simple attack with increased enmity, an ability that does AoE damage with increased enmity, an ability that reduces its damage taken for a time [level 20], and an ability that stuns the target and increases enmity [level 40].

Topaz Carbuncle also sports a significant boost in HP (At level 20 my topaz carby had more HP than our tank). Most of the time in a party setting your Tank won't need help. More on this later.
All these pet skills show up on a separate hot bat that only appears while a pet is summoned. In addition to these pet skills are some commands that apply to all pets. These are and function thusly:
  • Away: Banishes (unsummons) your pet {correction from master_kilvin }
  • Heel: Commands your pet to follow you and stay close
  • Place: Commands your pet to move to a location specified by you [ground target].
  • Sic: Commands your pet to attack a target
  • Steady [toggle]: Commands your pet to do nothing until commanded {correction from indorri }
  • Guard[toggle]: Toggle on to have your pet attack anything that attacks it or you, or to attack anything that you attack.
  • Obey: Like Sic except when commanded to attack, it will only use its base attack unless you command it to use a specific skill.

I am doing most of this from memory, so I may have forgotten a skill or two. Please let me know if I have left something out. Also, I will only cover tips and info up to level 20 as that is all I could play in P4. If people find this helpful for party play, I may update this after the game is released and I get a chance to party up to 50. On to party advice.

In a party setting the Arcanist fills the role of DPS. In the duty finder you will queue up as a DPS class, though in the first few dungeons you should also be capable of being the healer in premade parties due to your sizable MP pool and your not insignificant heal spell Physick. I will write this guide in the assumption that you are playing the role of DPS, since that is what you queue up as in DF.

Know your method: The Arcanist is a DPS class that does damage primarily through DoTs(Damage over Time). Once the tank has established enmity(threat, hate, aggro) you should want to apply your DoTs to that target. Up to level 20 you will natively have Bio and Miasma, though you can cross-class into Aero[CNJ] or Thunder[THM] if you have them.

This does not mean that you should only cast Ruin while you wait for DoTs. You should only cast Ruin if you have absolutely nothing else to do. DoTs take priority, and DoTs on the Tank's target take priority over DoTs on secondary targets. When a DoT burns out, you will want to renew it. This is the essence of a DoT based DPS class. You will not see huge numbers like Thaumaturge or Archer but your total DPS will be similar if a bit less due to your secondary-role.

You will also find that some enemies are simply too frail to waste time on DoTs. For those enemies you would be best served just casting Ruin and letting your Carbuncle attack.

Know your secondary Role: We know about the primary roles in parties [Tank, Healer, DPS(or Damage Dealer if you prefer)], but there are secondary roles as well. You don't form a party around these like you would the primary roles, but they are important to know regardless. The secondary role of Arcanist is Debuffer. This means that in a party it is your job to put debuffs on the enemies to make them weaker. You only have a few but they are quite potent and it is important to keep them up as much as possible. Miasma applies a debuff that reduces the healing a target receives AND a 40% heavy. This is a significant debuff and it is applied on everything you cast Miasma on, which is most things.

Virus applies a unique debuff that reduces base Attributes by 15%! Up to level 20 it only reduces STR and DEX but after a trait gained in higher levels (Super Virus) it also reduces INT and MND. This is huge as it significantly reduces the capacity of a target to deal damage for a time. It is on a long cooldown so you will probably only be able to apply this one to one mob per two groups or so and you will always want to apply it to the strongest mob. You will also want to try and time it so that the debuff is active when the target is most aggressive. Later, Arcanist gets a spell called Eye For An Eye.

When cast on a party member or pet, if they are attacked there is a chance the attacker will suffer a 10% damage decrease debuff.

Pet tips and tricks: As a pet class, the strength of an Arcanist is split between the character and the pet. So to maximize your strengths, a level of understanding and control over your pet is required. Here are some tips:
  • Choose the right pet for the right situation: Emerald Carbuncle will put you at your maximum damage output, while Topaz Carbuncle will offer you and your allies a greater capacity to survive.
  • Keep your pet alive: The summon spells are both costly and time consuming so you want to avoid needing to cast them as much as possible (sometimes it is necessary though!) You are given a couple of tools to keep your pet alive (Physic & Sustain), and while it is nice if a healer chips in it is NOT their job. They need to keep the tank and other players alive and your Carbuncle doesn't even show up in the party list for them. So be mindful of Carbuncle's HP.
  • Listen to requests: Listen does NOT mean become subservient. Many times a Tank will ask you to switch to Emerald Carbuncle. This is generally a sound suggestion as you already have a tank and Emerald Carbuncle will maximize your DPS which is your role. But don't be afraid to switch back to Topaz Carbuncle if the need arises. We'll go over this later. The essence of this point is that if somebody makes a request of you, it is usually for a good reason but always be prepared to autonomously make the best decision you can.
  • Make use of your pet's skills and commands:
  1. If you must use Topaz Carbuncle to help a tank, be sure you Place Carbuncle wherever the tank is. This keeps all the mobs exactly where the Tank wants them (remember the Tank is in charge of tanking so you should sync Carby with him) and keeps his main target from spinning (and thus making AoEs harder to dodge and making it harder for LNC and PUG to get their positional bonuses). As a general rule, your Topaz Carbuncle should be standing where the Tank is standing and doing what the tank is doing.
  2. Use your pet to deal with adds (mobs that join the fight from outside) or mobs that the tank loses hold of. This works best if you communicate your intentions to the party beforehand. If a mob breaks away from the tank and goes after your healer, you can Sic Carbuncle on the mob and once Carbuncle gains the target's attention you can Place him by the Tank to drop the mob off. You can do this with either Carbuncle and with any stray mob. This helps the Tank stay still and the Healer keep on healing.
  3. Keep Emerald Carbuncle away from your Tank's target: Emerald Carbuncle has a knockback ability that will push your Tank's target away and this is super frustrating. You can avoid this by keeping Carbuncle far enough away from the target that it doesn’t use its knockback spell. Heel him to keep him by you or Place him a distance away. You can also toggle his disposition to Obey and he will only cast his default attack spell unless you tell him otherwise.
  4. *Keep in mind that *ALL pet commands are unavailable while you are casting a spell. Hopefully they change this in the future. **
Skill Tips and Tricks You know some basics for party play now and a little bit about how the Arcanist and his Pet fits in to the party. So let’s get into some Arcanist-specific skill tips.

  • DoTs apply damage based on a system "tick". In order to reduce strain on servers and to synchronize as much data as possible, the game runs communications in "ticks". One system tick occurs every 3 seconds in real time. So when a tooltip says that a DoT does 30 potency damage over 15 seconds that means the damage will be applied 5 times (or every 3 seconds) for a total of 150 potency.
  • Your DoTs have a low initial potency (though over time they have moderate to high potency) so you may begin applying them as soon as the tank gets enmity on a target. Your DoTs won't be able to steal enmity from the tank before he can get a decent amount built up.
  • A mechanic available to the Arcanist is the Aetherflow mechanic. Early on, you will gain a skill called Aetherflow. This skill restores your MP a bit, but more importantly (once the Aetherdam trait is learn) it grants a stack of Aetherflow. Some of the Arcanist's skills can only be used if a stack of Aetherflow is available to consume. Shortly after this mechanic is introduced you will gain a skill called Energy Drain. When used, Energy Drain reduces your stack of Aetherflow by 1. Something you will want to do as an Arcanist is gain a stack of Aetherflow as soon as you can and hold onto it. This will allow you to benefit from its HP/MP restore when you need it. So that this doesn't go to waste, when the skill Aetherflow is off cooldown, use EngeryDrain followed immediately by Aetherflow to keep the stack up at all times. This will boost your DPS as well as keep a stack of Aetherflow in reserve in case it is needed.
  • Time your usage of Virus for when an enemy is about to become very aggressive or when the Tank is in trouble as it will further mitigate his damage taken so the Healer can get his HP back up.
  • You have a healing spell as potent as Cure. Use it. Keep your pet healed. Assist the Healer from time to time (but only when necessary). If the tank takes a big hit that would require a couple Cures to fix, toss a Physick in there. It will save your Healer both time and MP and you have some pretty nice MP restoration skills.
  • Prioritize your DoTs. Keep them going. You can tell the difference between your DoTs and an ally's DoTs by the green timers on yours (hopefully they make this a little easier to determine at a glance). After DoTs, make sure your pet is ok and doing what it is supposed to. After that, check your cooldown on Aetherflow. If it is ready to go, burn your stack with Energy Drain (and later Bane) and refill your stack with Aetherflow. Try and keep that skill on cooldown and your stacks up for emergencies. After that, if there is nothing left to do and you don't need to renew your DoTs, cast Ruin. For weak enemies that die too quickly for your DoTs to be worthwhile, just cast Ruin.