It’s no secret that there’s plenty of pressure on healers in Final Fantasy XIV. One minute your weekly Euphrosyne Alliance Raid is going fine and suddenly your tank is dropping to the single digits and there’s a couple of DPS dead when all you were trying to do was get your Glare on in front of Nophica.
Here are a few tricks the most seasoned healer mains know by heart that will get you over your healing anxiety, keep the party alive, and increase your damage as you progress through endgame content in Final Fantasy XIV.
1. Remember Your ABCs
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Always Be Casting. This is true for every job in Final Fantasy XIV, and it’s the same for healers. You want your global cooldown to always be rolling. Getting into this habit is a great way to maintain focus on the fight, get into a rhythm, and gain precious uptime on the boss.
If you’re someone who seems to always forget to apply your damage-over-time (DoT) spells as a healer, finding this rhythm is a natural way to build up that internal clock. Soon you’ll instinctually know when it’s time to refresh that Dia or Biolysis. When in doubt, keep spamming your main damage cast. You’re a healer but… you’re also a green dps. Dosis to your heart’s content, with an eye on your party list to toss out heals when needed.
2. Use Your Abilities
One of the downsides of leveling as a healer is that the jobs play quite differently at level 30 than they do at 90. The early game teaches us to use our spells to keep our party alive, but by the endgame, healers have a ton of incredibly powerful tools off of the global cooldown that can make those early spells redundant.
This means that a healer thinking ahead can keep up the offense, weaving in big heals inbetween their primary damage cast. For example, if you’re a Sage player who uses a lot of Eukrasian Prognosis shields, try to cut back and remember to rotate abilities like Holos and Panhaima in place of those GCD shields. And remember you have those spells as a fallback if things really go south.
Have a good understanding of all of your abilities. Know their cooldown times and start to plan what cooldown you will use and when. This is crucial for shield healers and Astrologian, whose abilities such as Earthly Star and Macrocosmos require forethought in order to be used effectively. Everything in your toolkit has a purpose and a place. Use everything. It is better to use a cooldown than hold onto it for that perfect moment that never seems to come.
3. Let Regen Do The Work
A common mistake for newer healers is impatience. As a healer, there’s a bit of anxiety if the party isn’t at full HP all the time. But here’s the secret: if there isn’t any upcoming damage, it doesn’t matter if the party is at 100%, 50%, or 25% health.
All four healers have access to heal-over-time (HoT) abilities. Use them to your advantage, don’t get impatient. Allow the Asylum or Sacred Soil you just placed to heal your allies. It’s unnecessary to use a regen ability and then cast heal after heal if the team is safe. If a raidwide is coming your way? Time to top off.
Spending GCDs to overheal is a waste of your MP and a loss of potential DPS. Harder fights in the game are tuned for Healer damage to matter. Dealing damage helps your allies too. Besides, who doesn’t like whaling away on a boss?
4. Know Buffs and Debuffs
The strongest aspect of Final Fantasy XIV is the ability to play every job on a single character. While you might be an Astrologian one-trick for now (been there) it’s important to know what your allies are capable of in battle.
As you move into harder content, this becomes more and more critical. In Extreme, Savage, and Ultimate content, bosses have DPS checks, and players at the higher end communicate to synchronize buffs and mitigation to aid their way.
As you play, be on the lookout for statuses with which you are enhanced. Damage-increasing party buffs like Dancer’s Technical Finish, Red Mage’s Embolden, Dragoon’s Battle Litany, and more all signal periods when you should be focused on damage.
In fact, Astrologian has one such buff in Divination and Scholar has a debuff in Chain Strategm. Learning to time these in the opening of a fight and on cooldown to align with your party’s buffs is a major evolution in your development as a player. Using these buffs to their full potential is a key aspect of being a complete healer.
White Mages and Sages, while without party buffs, each can benefit from buff windows. White Mages should time their personal buff Presence of Mind much in the same way to cast faster and send out more Glares. Sages should try to fit in their big damage ability, Phlegma in these windows.
5. Skip the Piety
Stats in Final Fantasy XIV are a little plain. For the most part, All stats and stat-increasing materia are used for the sole purpose of increasing damage dealt. One outlier to this general rule is Piety. Piety increases the amount of MP regenerated naturally, and through abilities like Lucid Dreaming. It is a common misconception that Piety increases healing potency but this is not the case in Endwalker.
In almost all circumstances, you can safely ignore piety. All four healers currently (as of 6.3) have ample methods to regain MP or prevent MP loss, some more than others.
Astrologian presently has the best MP economy, gaining 800mp for each card drawn, and having a Luicd Dreaming-like MP regen effect on their ability Astrodyne.
Sage gains MP for every Addersgall off-global cooldown used. White Mage has two charges of Thin Air for MP-free casts to use with high-cost spells like resurrections, Cure IIIs, or Medica IIs. Scholar might have it the worst as it stands, but as long as Scholars do not spam Succor shields and get the most out of their fairy skills, they too are fine with a minimum level of Piety.
Following the other tips above, like using OGCDs and avoiding overheal, is the key way to keeping your MP up, rather than relying on a mostly unneeded stat that could be better spent on Critical Hit materia, or Determination materia.
Determination raises the potency of damage and healing actions. While you are unlikely to notice the healing benefits in practice, you are much better off with Determination materia melds as a healer over Piety.
With these quick tips you’ll be ready to move onto the next stage of your healer journey. Hitting level 90 on White Mage, Scholar, Astrologian, or Sage is the beginning. Now’s the time to improve your play, and become the peak healer you know you can be. Let’s face it, we’re the real carries in Final Fantasy XIV.