Written by Bad Demoman 12th July 2017

Samurai is one of the two new DPS classes introduced to Final Fantasy 14 in Stormblood. It’s by far the more popular of the two (Who would’ve known that fans of a Japanese series would LOVE playing as a Samurai?). It occupies a similar design space as the Monk, being a “selfish” DPS with little-to-no Raid Utility, but incredibly high damage. Now, I’m not a DPS player. My history in FF14 pretty much begins with Warrior before switching to Paladin. Then I unlocked Dark Knight at level 50 and became the Edgiest Edgelord in all of Eorzea - in other words, exclusively Tanks. So the Samurai was a lot for me to get used to, as was evident by how much time I spent on the floor. Uh...I mean, meditating.

The Story Quests for Samurai find you apprenticed under Musosai, a Samurai who has travelled from Doma to Eorzea and is causing quite a stir. You’ll travel across the world seeking out evil-doers and putting them to justice - by murdering them, of course. It’s an interesting enough story, if a tad cliched. Seeing Eorzea from Musosai’s viewpoint really makes you appreciate the world. He sees much evil, but also appreciates the beauty of the land. Although I have no idea how he didn’t freeze over in Ishgard in his robes and sandals.

As per usual, there's some twists that I won’t spoil here, but they were reasonably predictable to be honest. Since Story Quests no longer give abilities for the most part, you’d be forgiven for thinking you might be able to sit this one out. But I can’t recommend this, as the level 60 job quest WILL give you an ability, even though all the others don’t. Besides, it alleviates some of the grind. It’s that, or doing the same dungeons over and over again, so you might as well.

In combat, the Samurai mostly revolves around managing a few aspects. You’ve got 3 different combos to execute, but they all have very clear uses. Two of your combos will apply a buff to yourself, either increasing your damage dealt or decreasing the delay between abilities. The third will apply a slashing resistance debuff against your foe, increasing your damage as well as that of any blade users in your party. These combos are also intrinsically linked to the Samurais main mechanics - the Sen Marks and the Kenki Meter.

Sen enables your Iaijutsu abilities. Each combo you do gives you one Sen mark - although they all give unique marks, meaning that you need to do all 3 in order to get a fully charged Sen. One mark will allow you to apply an extremely long Damage over Time effect, while 2 marks gives you an Area of Effect slash. Having 3 marks gives you access to my personal favourite, and I would imagine most people will feel the same. After sheathing your sword and performing a short cast, your character will unsheath and strike lightning fast, dealing a huge amount of damage. Iaijutsu feels extremely satisfying, and I often surprise myself at quite how much damage I’ll deal. Enemies will be there one second, gone the next.

Kenki is a builder-spender mechanic. Kenki is built by doing certain abilities, including your combos. It gives access to a wide variety of moves - from mobility both towards and away from your opponent, to strong attacks that fit in the blank space between your combos, to the ability to empower your next attack. Combining Kenki and Sen is key to achieving the highest possible damage on Samurai - Empowering your Iaijutsus through use of Kenki can lead to some insane damage, especially on the Damage over Time and the huge hit from having 3 marks. Thanks to Kenki, the Samurai will always be busy doing something. I find Samurai can be quite difficult to get a hang of, especially in later levels, when proper management of all your resources becomes key.

As a non-DPS player, I had an absolute blast playing Samurai, and friends who I’ve spoken to have said much the same. It’s extremely rare not to have at least one of them in your party nowadays, and with good reason - The Samurai is a unique and awesome addition to Final Fantasys roster, and while personally I’ll be sticking to Tank, the Eastern Swordsman has become my DPS class of choice.

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Bad Demoman

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