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The Suggestion Box: The Role System

2 Feb 2011

Right now, party play in FFXIV is somewhat of a semi-organized free-for-all. To paraphrase one community member, there is no real strategy to any party activity in this game. Instead of developing a solid party strategy, current party dynamics is to simply have enough bodies to throw at the enemy so players can spam enough damaging abilities to take it down quickly.

From that perspective, parties in FFXIV are akin to roving bands of barbarians.

I may be only speaking for myself, but I am not a barbarian!

So let’s get to it, shall we?

One of the aspects of FFXIV combat that is the most monotonous is building up TP. The only way to get it is to damage the enemy, usually by spamming your classes’ basic attack. That may make sense for a character who’s supposed to be the DD/DPS, but not so much for the party healer.

The Role System fixes that by having a player’s role determine how they gain TP.


  • HEALER: a character who heals the damage and cures the status ailments of other characters. At higher ranks a Healer can revive other characters that have been incapacitated on the battlefield. A healer gains TP (Tactical Points) whenever they take an action that heals damage, revives a character, or removes a negative status effect. 2/3 of a character’s equipped AP (Action Points) must help fulfill the Healer role to gain this benefit.
  • TANKER (AKA TANK): a character who keeps enemy hostile actions directed away from other characters, usually by redirecting those hostile actions to themselves. A Tanker gains TP whenever an enemy attacks them. The attack does not have to be successful in order to gain TP. 2/3 of a character’s equipped AP must help fulfill the Tanker role to gain this benefit.
  • DAMAGER (AKA DD, DPS): a character who deals damage directly to enemies. A Damager gains TP whenever they take an action that deals direct damage to an enemy or KO’s an enemy (e.g. Death spell).  2/3 of a character’s equipped AP must help fulfill the Damager role to gain this benefit.
  • CONSPIRATOR (AKA BUFFER/DEBUFFER): a character who bestows both positive and negative status effects to both allies and enemies. A Conspirator gains TP whenever they take an action that bestows a status effect on anyone, no matter how temporary. 2/3 of a character’s equipped AP must help fulfill the Conspirator role in to gain this benefit


This allows the Role System to serve two purposes.

1. Identifies how a player would fit in a given party dynamic. By checking a character, another player will see what role that character is currently prepared to fill, in addition to their name, class, and linkshell.

2. Positively reinforces the player to fulfill their role. Healers will gain TP by curing, which will allow them to use Radiance and Damnation to gain MP more often, which in turn will allow them to cure more, which will allow them to gain more TP. The same type of positive reinforcement would apply for Tanks as well.

In addition, the Role System works with the existing Armory System without any modifications being required. In fact, the Armory System’s flexibility is what makes the Role System so flexible. Several different classes can fill almost any particular role, as long as they have enough abilities equipped to support that role.


All abilities have a handy little statistic associated with them called Action Point cost. Using AP cost, we can classify each ability into one of the four basic party roles. Here is a small list of how FFXIV abilities would break down using the existing Action Point system.

FFXIV Ability Effect Healer Damager Tanker Conspirator Total AP
Puncture (Archer 2) Deals Damage 3 3
Shadowbind (Archer 6) Binds Target 3 3
Scouring Strike (Archer 12) Deals Damage, Removes One Buff 2 1 3
Red Lotus (Gladiator 2) Deals Damage 3 3
Phalanx (Gladiator 8) Deals Damage, Increases Enmity 2 1 3
Provoke (Gladiator 10) Increases Enmity 3 3
Skewer (Lancer 2) Deals Damage, Slows Non-Flying Targets 2 1 3
Moonrise (Lancer 8) Deals Damage, Reduces Target TP  Gain 2 1 3
Speed Surge (Lancer 10) Inflicts HP Drain 3 3
Bloodbath (Marauder 6) Next Attack Heals Self 3 3
Skull Sunder (Marauder 8) Deals Damage, Inflicts Damage Over Time 2 1 3
Defender (Marauder 10) Increases Defense, Reduces Attack, Increases Enmity 1 2 3
Taunt (Pugilist 10) Increases Enmity 3 3
Jarring Strike (Pugilist 14) Deals Damage, Stuns Target, Increases Enmity 1 1 1 3
Fire (Conjurer 1) Deals Damage 3 3
Cure (Conjurer 4) Heals Everyone In Range 2 2
Stoneskin (Conjurer 6) Grants Stoneskin 3 3
Banish (Thaumaturge 1) Deals Damage, Inflicts Astral Weakness 2 1 3
Sacrifice (Thaumaturge 4) Damages Self, Heals Everyone In Range, Grants Regen 1 1 2
Slow (Thaumaturge 8) Slows Targets In Range 3 3

Abilities that help fulfill more than one role, like Jarring Strike, would have their Action Point cost divided up between the roles they help fulfill. When a character equips enough abilities that their Action Points meets the requirements for a particular role, they become that role and gain that role’s TP benefit.

A Rank 10 Conjurer with 16 Action Points available equips Spirit Dart (0 AP), Tranquility (0 AP), Cure (2 AP), and Sacrifice (2 AP).

3 (2 from Cure, 1 from Sacrifice) out of her 4 equipped Action Points are in abilities that fulfill the Healer role. As a result, this Conjurer gains TP each time she heals any other character.

A Rank 10 Lancer with 16 Action Points available equips Light Thrust (0 AP), Heavy Thrust (0 AP), Skewer (3 AP), Trammel (3 AP), Moonrise (3 AP), and Speed Surge (3 AP).

8 out of his 12 equipped Action Points are in abilities that fulfill the Conspirator role. As a result, this Lancer gains TP each time he inflicts a status effect.

The elegance of this system is that it is simple to understand, flexible, and is based off existing FFXIV systems and mechanics. There is no need to create additional quests, equipment, abilities, or any other content! This makes it both quick and practical to implement, and easy to bring the player community up to speed on using it.

That being said, there are other things that can be implemented by Square-Enix, in addition to the Role System, that would really make this system even better.


  • Add a player search function that will list players by their current role.
  • Lower the rank of Silena, Paralyna, and Poisona from 28 to 18.
  • Add additional abilities that can cure party members of status effects like Bindna, Charmna, Silena, and Esuna/Erase.
  • Add additional Disciple of Magic weaponskills that can cure or bestow positive effects to party members.
  • Add additional abilities that increase enmity generation.
  • Significantly increase (by 100% or more) the SP awarded to parties that defeat Tough and Incredibly Tough opponents.

The above suggestions don’t affect the Role System directly, but they do make partying using the Role System more flexible and rewarding.

Well that’s it. Let me know what what you think. Hopefully, someone at Square-Enix will read this and steal my idea.