One of the major captivators in any MMORPG is the variety of roles and classes it has to offer. Whether you prefer to get up close and personal with a plethora of melee weapons or wreak havoc from afar with destructive magicks and other long-range armaments, FFXIV has a class, or as we call it a job for everyone. In our FFXIV Machinist rotation guide, we will go over one of those jobs and break it down for you so that not only is it easier to pick it up but also equips you with the knowledge to perform well.
Foundation Of A Machinist
Machinist (MCH) is one of FFXIV’s physical-ranged damage dealers, starting at Level 30. Having a history of being reworked quite a bit, it has gone from being a convoluted mess in Stormblood to a more streamlined & accessible job in Shadowbringers. Plus, it’s fun to play and has free movement unlike certain melee jobs with animation locks.
One of the core tenets of any job in the game is to “Always Be Casting” often abbreviated as the ABCs, and we aren’t referring to the English alphabet. This means that your job actions on the global cooldown (GCD), barring some exceptions, should always be in use. The GCD is the universal time it takes for your actions to be refreshed after they are used.
The value by default is 2.5 seconds; however, it can be reduced as you get better gear, melding material, and by using buff foods. Not being mindful of your GCDs and letting them remain unused will lead to several gameplay repercussions, especially in higher-end content.
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First up in our FFXIV Machinist rotation guide, we will break down the actions in the job’s arsenal.
Basic GCD Actions
- Split Shot (turns into Heated Split Shot at Lv.54 )
- Slug Shot (turns into Heated Slug Shot at Lv.60 )
- Clean Shot (turns into Heated Clean Shot at Lv.64 )
- Spread shot (Frontal Cone AoE action; turns into Scattergun at Lv. 82)
- Heat Blast (Lv.35)
- Auto Crossbow (Frontal Cone AoE action; Lv.52)
GCD Actions With A Separate Recast Timer
- Drill (Lv.58)
- Hotshot (turns into Air Anchor at Lv.76 )
- Flamethrower (Frontal Cone AoE action; Lv.70)
- Bioblaster (Frontal Cone AoE action; Lv.72)
- Chain Saw (Straight line AoE action; Lv. 90)
Offensive Abilities off the Global Cooldown (oGCDs)
- Gauss Round (Lv.15)
- Ricochet (Radial AoE action; Lv.50)
General Machinist Buffs & Abilities
- Reassemble (Lv.10)
- Hypercharge (Lv.30)
- Rook Autoturret (Lv.40 & turns into Automaton Queen at Lv.80)
- Rook Overdrive (Lv.40 & turns into Queen Overdrive at Lv.80)
- Wildfire (Lv.45)
- Tactician (Lv.56; recast goes down to 90 seconds at Lv.88)
- Barrel Stabilizer (Lv.66)
Before we proceed with our FFXIV Machinist rotation guide on how these actions come together, we must first look at its job gauge. Machinist has two gauges: the Heat Gauge & the Battery Gauge. The bar on top shows the amount of Heat you’ve accumulated along with the duration of Hypercharge. The one underneath it shows you how much battery power is amassed during a fight while simultaneously displaying your summon duration.
The former allows the usage of actions such as Hyperchage, while the latter allows you to place your turret and later on summon the Automaton Queen in battle.
Understanding The Combat
Combat in FFXIV starts at a slow pace mainly due to the lack of actions available at the beginning and its global cooldown of 2.5 seconds. However, it picks up as you reach higher levels and unlock more actions to use, including those that are not on the GCD timer.
These are called oGCDs, and in part to the game’s system of weaving them inside your basic GCD combo, the combat speeds up tremendously. Not only do you have to manage your skillset in its entirety, but you also have to properly execute raid mechanics and stay on your toes. An example of weaving would be as follows:
Standard Single-Target GCD combo:
Split Shot → Slug Shot → Clean Shot
With oGCDs weaved in:
Split Shot → Gauss Round → Slug Shot → Ricochet → Clean Shot
After using your GCD actions, you have roughly 2.3-2.5 seconds in which you can add 1 or 2 oGCD abilities while your standard recast timer recovers. This is known as weaving. It allows you to deal more damage and be efficient throughout the fight.
Some actions have different GCD recast times; Heat Blast and Auto Crossbow are two examples of such skills with a recast timer of 1.50 seconds. This reduces the number of oGCDs you can weave down to one, so be mindful of these factors and don’t forget to read your tooltips in-game!
Every time you use a standard combo, you’ll gain 15 Heat points & 10 battery points (5 points for each combo action, ten battery points upon completing the combo).
Once you have 50 Heat points, you’ll be able to use Hypercharge, which increases the potency of your actions by 20 and lasts precisely 7.5 seconds. At levels 35 and 52, it will also enable the use of Heat Blast and Auto Crossbow, respectively.
These two actions are a bit special because their recast timer is lower than your standard GCD actions, and they do not scale with Skill Speed. Furthermore, gaining 50 battery points will allow you to summon your turret to assist you in combat.
Basic Multi-Target Combo
When it comes to your AoE rotation, Machinist doesn’t have a combo per se, but you do have several AoE abilities that can be used in combination to get the job done. Spread Shot (turns into Scattergun at Lv. 82), Auto Crossbow, Ricochet, Flamethrower, and Bioblaster are the actions that form your multi-target arsenal. The universal rule is to use AoE skills when facing three or more enemies. Using these skills against two or fewer adversaries will result in damage loss.
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Extreme Firepower – A Machinist’s Arsenal
In the previous section, we went over the foundation of your standard GCD combo, building your gauges, a bit on the idea of weaving, and the AoE actions at your disposal, along with breaking down some of the early actions and what their functions are. In this one, we will go a bit deeper into Machinist’s skill set and discuss some of its hard-hitting actions and buff abilities. With that being said, the first three actions on the agenda are as follows.
Drill, Air Anchor & Chain Saw
These actions are the most powerful skills at a Machinist’s disposal. With crackling high potencies of 550 and fairly lenient recast times, it’s important to remember that these actions are one of two things that the job’s rotation revolves around.
Furthermore, using Air Anchor and Chain Saw grants 20 points to your Battery Gauge. This brings the total gauge points up to 40. Keep in mind that Chain Saw is a straight-line AoE action and deals 65% less damage to every enemy except the first one. It also has a recast timer of roughly 60 seconds.
This action serves as a buff. With a recast time of 55 seconds and two charges, Reassemble guarantees that your next weapon skill is a guaranteed critical direct hit. It’s a strict rule to always use this skill with either Chain Saw or Air Anchor, as they’re the strongest cards in your deck. However, keep in mind that this buff does not impact damage over time effects.
Another thing to note is that you will never be forced to use Reassemble with Drill at level 90. In order to better align your actions, it’s highly recommended that both charges of Reassemble be used with Air Anchor and Chain Saw only. It also ties into your Queen’s potency increasing as the Battery gauge goes beyond 50 points.
It is the second of the two things that a Machinist’s rotation is based on. Using this on an enemy afflicts them with a debuff of the same name lasting for 10 seconds. When the enemy is under this debuff, each weapon skill you use within those 10 seconds will increase the potency stored in wildfire by 150 to a maximum of 900.
Wildfire explodes once the timer expires, dealing damage to the enemy based on the potency stored within. Upon use, it turns the action on your hotbar to Detonator, which allows you to control the explosion timer though it’s only meant to be used in very specific situations. The action has a recast of 120 seconds.
Next up in our FFXIV Machinist rotation guide is the Barrel Stabilizer; this action instantly raises your Heat Gauge by 50 points upon use, thus enabling the activation of Hypercharge. Keep in mind that this action can only be used in combat. Like Wildfire, Barrel Stabilizer has a recast of 120 seconds. Remember that you mustn’t overcap your Battery and Heat gauges as it results in damage loss and impacts your performance at a base level.
Automaton Queen & Queen Overdive
Unlocked at level 80, this is the upgraded version of your Rook Autoturret. Using this skill requires 50 Battery Gauge points, and it summons an AI-controlled Machina to fight alongside you. It has a separate set of actions that it uses until the timer expires. It ends with a two-part hard-hitting combo of Pilebunker and Crowned Collider.
Queen Overdrive, too is the upgraded version of Rook Overdrive. Using it allows you to prematurely execute Pilebunker, after which the Machina returns to whence it came. Remember that the duration of Automaton Queen goes from 10 seconds up to a maximum of 20 seconds as the battery gauge exceeds the minimum cost of deployment, i.e., 50 points.
It also includes a potency increase as the gauge goes beyond 50 points. However, Overdrive should only ever be used if the boss is about to die. This allows you to get that last bit of damage out, but it’s a huge damage loss in every other situation.
A frontal cone AoE skill with a potency of 50. It also inflicts damage over time of the same potency to all enemies in a cone in front of you. Note that this skill shares a recast timer with Drill. Bioblaster is a situational action as you only need to use it against three or more enemies. In single-target or 2+ enemy encounters, Drill would need to be prioritized over it.
Arguably the least useful skill in your repertoire. Having a recast of 60 seconds, Flamethrower is a frontal cone AoE lasting for 10 seconds and dealing damage with a potency of 80. Upon execution, it will cancel auto-attacks and trigger weapon skill cooldowns as it’s also on the GCD but has its own recast timer like Drill.
There are some very niche uses for it, but overall you’d be better off using Spread Shot/Scattergun (base potency of 140/150), Bioblaster, and Ricochet against multiple mobs. In encounters with two enemies, using Flamethrower is a slight gain, but then again, its uses are limited.
Utility And Role Actions
It’s not just about dealing damage in a raid. Mitigating incoming damage and preventing the boss from using specific actions is part of it too. To that end, Machinist has some actions at its disposal. In this section, we will go over those actions and how they can lead to a much less painful raid experience.
Prior to level 88, this action will have a recast of 120 seconds. Once you unlock Enhanced Tactician, however, it will go down to 90 seconds. This action gives the entire party a buff mitigating 10% of incoming damage & lasting for 15 seconds. Note that it can’t be stacked with Dancer’s Shield Samba and Bard’s Troubadour.
A pretty basic action that restores your HP. With a recast of 120 seconds and 500 cure potency, using it properly in certain situations can save you. The healers will thank you for making good use of this skill lest they constantly use resurrection.
We can not stress how important this action is. Not just for its 20% Slow debuff on enemies attacking you but also for its knockback prevention. With a recast of 120 seconds, use it for knockback attacks in raids that would otherwise result in incapacitation.
A simple action, yet its use is crucial in certain raid mechanics. Having a recast of 30 seconds, Head Graze allows you to interrupt specific actions of any opposing target. The indicator is a glowing effect around the enemy’s cast bar. Whenever you see this glow, be sure to use the action to interrupt it or prepare to tackle the consequences.
A traversal buff with a recast of 5 seconds. It increases the movement speed of all party members and lasts for 30 seconds. However, this effect ends when you enter a battle, and the skill has no effect if used during a fight.
An action that slows an enemy’s movement by 40%, Leg Graze can only be used against filler mobs. It lasts for 10 seconds and has a recast of 30 seconds.
It All Comes Together
Proceeding further with our FFXIV Machinist rotation guide, we will now go over the actual opener of a Machinist and how to continue with the rotation. One thing to note is that your experience playing the game is impacted by latency.
Latency is the time it takes for a small data set to be transmitted from your device to the game’s server on the Internet and back to your device again. The differing values of delay can impact your rotation, thus forcing you to adjust and improvise to perform at a set benchmark.
With that in mind, here is what a basic opener for a Machinist looks like:
Reassembled Air Anchor (Gauss Round + Barrel Stabilizer) → Drill (Ricochet + Gauss Round) → Split (Ricochet) → Slug (Gauss Round + Ricochet) → Clean → Reassemble + Wildfire + Chainsaw → Automaton Queen + Hypercharge → Heat Blast x5 (Gauss Round + Ricochet) → Drill
After the opener, keep the GCD rolling and make sure that Gauss Round and Ricochet charges are constantly being used. Not doing so results in overlapping, which means they do not refresh. Don’t forget Drill, Chain Saw, and Air Anchor as those are also GCDs & should always be used when they are off cooldown. Note that with each GCD in the opener, you are weaving two oGCDs (Gauss Round + Ricochet). This is double weaving, and it is the optimal way to play (more on that below).
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How To Prevent GCD Clipping
Another thing you need to be aware of is the timing of Hypercharge and when you should be using it in relation to Drill, Chain Saw, and Air Anchor. A full cycle of Hypercharge has a duration of 7.5 seconds in which you can fit 6 GCDs. These phases are where you essentially do the bulk of your damage, for example, the opener.
Due to this, you must never enter a Hypercharge cycle if any of those three actions have less than 8 seconds on cooldown. With that in mind, it is a bit technical as using Hypercharge too early will result in you missing the sixth GCD. This is clipping.
We recommend checking out the video below by Xenosys Vex. In it, he explains how timing your oGCDs with your GCD recast can allow you to avoid clipping. The logic applies to all jobs with abilities similar in nature. For a Machinist, this applies to Wildfire and Hypercharge.
Video Source: How to time your oGCDs
Rotation Cycle And Raid Content
In a way, a typical rotation is a cycle of openers or burst phases with downtime in between that repeats throughout the battle. Depending on the fight, the timing of each phase needs to be adjusted.
This is a trial and error thing, as the more you know about a fight, the better you will be at adjusting to it. Being comfortable with your rotation in order to focus on the mechanics without stressing over job actions is crucial. Such fights are too many to count, but some examples would be Savage Raids like Edenverse or specific Extreme Trials with multiple mechanic set pieces such as Zodiark’s Fall and Hydaelyn’s Call.
Next is Ultimate Raids. It’s the highest tier of content and requires you to be knowledgeable about your job and the game at its core. Going into these without sufficient experience will hold you back from performing at your peak while also impacting the group at large.
Consistency And Experimentation
We will now delve into the section of our FFXIV Machinist rotation guide, where we will focus on achieving consistency and improving your rotation. It’s no surprise that you need to put in the practice and effort into any area where you want to see progress. To that end, you have the option to practice your rotations in-game at various striking dummies across Eorzea’s several maps. Here’s a quick list of the locations for the striking dummies in the base game and each expansion.
Striking Dummies (A Realm Reborn):
- Central Shroud – The Bannock (X: 24.0, Y: 19.5) (X:23.4, Y: 20.5)
- Middle La Noscea – Summerford Farm (X: 26.2, Y: 17.4)
- Western Thanalan – Scorpion Crossing (X: 26.3, Y: 24.7) (X: 26.3, Y: 23.7)
- Coerthas Central Highlands – Whitebrim Front (X: 13.1, Y: 17.1)
- Coerthas Central Highlands – Whitebrim Front (X: 13.5, Y: 16.8)
Striking Dummies (Heavensward):
- Coerthas Western Highlands – Falcon’s Nest (X: 31.5, Y: 38.7)
- The Dravanian Forelands – Tailfeather (X: 32.7, Y: 24.7)
- The Dravanian Hinterlands – The Collector’s Quarter (X: 22.8, Y: 16.7)
Striking Dummies (Stormblood):
- The Fringes – Castrum Oriens (X: 9.9, Y: 11.8)
- Yanxia – Namai (X: 31.0, Y: 16.5)
- The Azim Steppe – Reunion (X: 34.0, Y: 27.0)
- The Lochs – Porta Praetoria (X: 10.5, Y:20.5)
Striking Dummies (Shadowbringers):
- Kholusia – Stilltide (X: 35.7, Y: 26.9)
- Amh Araeng – Mord Souq (X: 27.4, Y: 14.6)
- The Tempest – The Ondo Cups (X: 32.0, Y: 19.3)
Striking Dummies (Endwalker):
- Thavnair – Yedlihmad (X: 23.4, Y: 34.0)
- Labyrinthos – The Archeion (X: 31.3, Y: 13.5)
- Ultima Thule – Base Omicron (X: 30.6, Y: 26.9)
Stone, Sky, Sea
You can also unlock Stone, Sky, Sea in Kholusia and Thavnair for their respective expansions. This will allow you to see how well you’re doing in simulated content based on whether you can clear the test battle or not. Complete the prerequisite quest found in Idyllshire at (X:7.4, Y:6.1).
Then talk to the NPC in Eulmore – The Derelicts at (X:9.2, X:10) to unlock the training area for Shadowbringers. Subsequently, speak to the NPC at the Radz-at-Han Aetheryte plaza to get the quest for Endwalker’s location. You could also purchase or craft a level 80 dummy for use at your personal or Free Company estate.
Latency And Gameplay
Earlier in our Machinist rotation guide, we briefly touched upon how latency can impact your rotation and overall performance. If your latency is above 150ms, you will not be able to double weave as consistently as someone playing on <50ms. Attempting to double weave on high latency will result in damage loss, and to avoid that loss, we suggest single weaving instead. Normally it’s subpar, but due to the damage loss resulting from inconsistent double weaving and its repercussions such as GCD drift, single weaving would give you more consistent numbers overall.
Each fight is different in design. Some have several instances of scripted downtime where the boss becomes untargetable, or you are forced to do mechanics which require halting all activity. The timing of such instances varies across each fight. Thus, you’ll have to adjust your opener based on which GCD leads into your burst (wildfire and hypercharge). We recommend checking out The Balance. It’s a really helpful community with tons of resources and up-to-date information regarding optimization of all jobs, tincture usage, other topics, and much more!
You’ll first have to learn the mechanics and fight structure in a new raid. Mistakes are bound to happen, so don’t stress over it & keep practicing. The more comfortable you are with your job, the better you can react and adjust when doing new content.
Potency Adjustments In Endwalker
With Endwalker’s release, all potency and gearset values have been readjusted. As stated by the dev team, this was to prevent number inflation on-screen and lower computational stress. The overall changes have not impacted the balance of FFXIV, and the game performs as well as before.
Analysis has shown that, as of now, the values are somewhat based on patch 4.5 before the release of Shadowbringers. Overall, the performance of jobs in relation to content is as good as ever and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
That brings us to the conclusion of our FFXIV Machinist rotation guide. Our goal was to ensure you gain knowledge about the fundamentals of Machinist and its practical application. We hope you find this guide helpful as you go up against Fandaniel and Zenos amidst the Final Days. Forge ahead, Warrior of Light!
Next: FFXIV Mystery Miners