Number two in a series.
A little over a year ago, I talked about all of the really stand-out cross-class skills in Final Fantasy XIV. Astute readers will note that some of the abilities I reference in that article no longer exist, and several of them have completely different effects now. It's almost as if the game has completely relaunched or something. It's crazy.

This might not sound like a big deal, but it is because cross-class skills are one of the big aspects of character customization in the game. You level up as an Archer with the expectation that you'll pick up a few more skills along the way to augment your strengths. So which ones are worth picking up?

As of the last beta weekend, there are a lot of skills available, and I went through everything as best I could to try to pick out what's available. So now you can plan out your leveling in advance and know just what you want for those 10 extra slots in your class.

Pulling a cat-niss.  Get it?  It's funny.Archer

Straight Shot (Level 2): The damage on this skill is entirely forgettable, but the boost to critical is more worthy, especially if you're already running a crit-happy setup. Lancers or Pugilists can make good use of this, and Marauders might find a place for it within their more offensive tanking rotations.

Raging Strikes (Level 4): A straight damage buff. Note that the wording is damage dealt rather than attack power, which means that it theoretically will also affect damaging spells (I haven't played around with that aspect). It's a solid option for DPS, although the long cooldown means you can only use it in a pinch.

Venomous Bite (Level 6): If you're playing a Disciple of War DPS with the right approach, this is valuable; it's less up-front damage but more of a slow bleed over time. Again, however, you need the right setup for it to be valuable, especially since there's more direct damage available to dedicated DPS chains.

Hawkeye (Level 26): This manages to be much more useful to everyone by buffing both accuracy and Dexterity, which means that it goes from a pure DPS buff to a possible tank buff as well. The recast isn't too punishing, either. Marauders, Pugilists, and Lancers will probably get the most out of this, but Gladiators can find some use as well.

Quelling Strikes (Level 34): The only semi-active threat mitigation available, this sounds a lot better than it is, mostly because so much of threat in this game is determined by how aggressively your tank plays. Plus, it's a short-term passive reduction with a long recast. It's worth having around if you find you have threat problems, but it shouldn't be a must-have.

It would be super awesome if eventually this class could do something other than tank.Gladiator

Savage Blade (Level 4): Completely worthless outside of unusual small-group setups. The only other class that would want this has its own version as part of a combo chain.

Flash (Level 8): This ability poses an endless question to Marauders about its value. On the one hand, it's a flat enmity boost to several targets without requiring conal positioning, which is nice. On the other hand, it costs MP (not really a Marauder's strong suit) and isn't readily spammable. I'd take it when you're tanking, but you should get used to tanking without it because it's not wholly reliable.

Convalescence (Level 10): I had initially misread this ability, but it seems that the description means it increases the HP restored not to you but by you. My misreading limits its utility to Marauders; the correct wording makes it infinitely valuable for Marauders, Conjurers, and Arcanists. Unless I read it right the first time, in which case it's just another tanking tool.

Provoke (Level 22): See, like this. This is just another tanking tool. Marauder ho!
Increases enmity in target.

Awareness (Level 34): Not only is this just for tanks, but I'm not sure it's all that great for tanks either. Reducing the chance of a crit when you're struggling is good, but a flat reduction in damage would be better than rolling the dice and hoping you un-crit a crit, so to speak. Yes, it's worth taking to reduce spikes, but it should be your last pick.

what the forkLancer

Feint (Level 2): Feint has some legs for tanks, oddly. For solo fights, the battle is over too quickly for that slow to really make a difference to incoming damage. But against bosses, sometimes having a bit less incoming damage can be pretty nice. Unfortunately there's a better option for tanks to inflict this. Still, Archers might get some use out of it for more of a debuffing approach.

Keen Flurry (Level 6): A straight tanking defensive skill. Marauders and Gladiators will both love it.

Impulse Drive (Level 8): A straight backstab, essentially. Pugilists will get great use out of it when fully buffed up and ready to go; trying to weave one in during Greased Lightning chains is a bit awkward, but it pays dividends.

Invigorate (Level 22): Through the first version of Final Fantasy XIV, Invigorate was almost mandatory for Disciples of War and arguably good even for casters. The relaunch has changed that so that casters no longer care. In some ways it's even better now, since TP normally replenishes slowly and this gives you a battery on demand. Get it.

Blood for Blood (Level 34): First of all, BFB is universally horrid for tanks because of that damage-suffered bit. But it's pretty nice for both Pugilists and Archers trying to pull in higher numbers because they're avoiding damage anyway. It might also be good for Thaumaturges and Arcanists (since, again, it's a boost to damage dealt rather than attack power). And considering its duration and recast, I'd say it's hard to get a better damage booster on short notice.

This caused some conternation among those unfamiliar with harnesses.Marauder

Foresight (Level 2): Another straight defensive cooldown; Gladiators can just toss it on and offer their thanks.

Skull Sunder (Level 4): Another skill that's functionally identical to Savage Blade above.

Fracture (Level 6): It's Venomous Bite with a weaker DoT that lasts longer. If you want to go for that "death from a thousand cuts" approach, there's some support for that here. Still, much as with Venomous Bite, it might be more advantageous just to focus on killing things faster. However, Gladiators might like it as a linger enmity builder in the right circumstances.

Bloodbath (Level 8): Again, the text says "offensive ability," and I have no choice but to assume that includes spells. This is the payoff for the earlier lackluster tricks because Bloodbath is still a very solid skill. It also has a recast that coincides perfectly with several attack-boosting skills. Go ahead and do the math for what happens when you pop Raging Strikes, Blood for Blood, and Bloodbath on the third hit of a combo. It's nice.

Mercy Stroke (Level 26): A very nice execution attack that combines higher up-front damage than other weaponskills outside of combos with a potential heal if you time it right. Timing it right is tricky in groups, but this has applications for pretty much every single class that can use it solo and many classes in group content as well.

STRUTPugilist

Featherfoot (Level 4): Alas, Featherfoot has lost its MP qualities and now simply serves as an Evasion buff. Thus, it's largely of interest to tanks. If you have to pick up a defensive cooldown for your caster, this is probably the one to grab, though.

Second Wind (Level 8): Second Wind has always been a really tricky skill to balance; it has to be useful, but it also has to be appropriately powerful instead of absurdly so. This incarnation works well for what it's supposed to be. DPS classes will get a bigger heal than tanks, but every physical class can get a nice free heal out of it, and it helps solo and group survivability without allowing anyone access to endless health.

Haymaker (Level 10): A high-damage attack that also inflicts a Slow? The only reason this isn't strictly better than Feint is that it triggers only on evasion, which makes it perfect for tanks and less usable for other classes. It also combines very nicely with Featherfoot.

Internal Release (Level 12): This and Straight Shot work together nicely to support builds based on critical hits for DPS players. Outside of that, well, it's not useless, but there are better options to take up the slot. Don't discard it, but don't pick it up first if you're not aiming for a crit-heavy build.

Mantra (Level 42): Also known as What I Originally Thought Convalescence Did. Very useful for Marauders, Conjurers, and Arcanists -- the former because the class heals itself in several ways, and the latter two because they will actually be healing. Of course, it comes very late in the game for its utility, so you can't really just dip into Pugilist to pick it up.

Look, look, look at my pet!Arcanist

Ruin (Level 1): Utterly useless. If the debate regarding elemental strengths and weaknesses had gone a different way, it might have a place, but as it stands, its one notable aspect (no elemental affinity) is wholly irrelevant. Ignorable.

Physick (Level 4): Cure with a different animation. While Cure was quite the trick back in the day, these days most physical classes will not be healing for substantial amounts mid-battle with a healing spell. If you feel the need to have one, pick one or the other and go to town.

Virus (Level 12): I think Virus doesn't quite last long enough to be the debuff it could be when compared to its recast, but it's a very nice debuff. Plus, it's free and instant and well worth considering if you're building a debuff-centric incarnation of an Archer or a Gladiator/Marauder who wants more active incoming damage control.

Eye for an Eye (Level 34): This could be a very nice tanking cooldown if not for a fact that I simply can't remember at the moment, which is whether or not Arcanists get a talent to greatly improve this ability. If they don't, this is worth nabbing on either. If they do, the weaker version is a bit more questionable. It's no Protect.

I kind of miss back when Conjurers were black and white mages in one, but the ship has sailed.Conjurer

Cure (Level 2): Physick with a different animation. As I said, this used to be masterful and is less so now. Thaumaturges should grab one or the other, though, just as a backup.

Aero (Level 4): Wind damage DoT. Fits nicely with an Arcanist's usual pattern, so it's worth picking up there.

Protect (Level 8): Absolutely vital for soloing. Protect lasts a long time, increases defense substantially, and is generally more than worth having, whatever your class. In parties, your healer will generally have access to it, but it's still vital for healing Arcanists.

Raise (Level 12): This ability is totally useless until it isn't. Unlike dying in Final Fantasy XI, dying in FFXIV doesn't carry a huge penalty, but depending on where you're bound you might really want to not release. I usually have Raise equipped in one of the later slots on my characters just because it comes up often enough to be useful.

Stoneskin (Level 34): Another great skill for soloing and a good skill for casters in general. Stoneskin isn't quite as useful as Protect, since in practice it often ends up falling off within a few hits. But it's still a solid buffer between your internal organs and various forms of harm.

Is that a staff, or are you just circumnavigating the planet?Thaumaturge

Thunder (Level 6): This is a lot like Aero, really; the numbers are different, but the Arcanist-boosting effect is the same. it's worth it there but not elsewhere.

Surecast (Level 8): Solo, this is pretty useful. Interrupts are a little random, but there's nothing as bad as dying because you can't quite get Cure to go off or trying to kill a target with one more spell when you keep getting interrupted. In groups, I'm pretty sure it doesn't allow you to cast and move at once, which cuts down its utility sharply. Nice, but not a must-have.

Swiftcast (Level 26): This is the marquee shared skill of Thaumaturges, and it is crazy useful. Arcanists can use it to replace a dead summon instantly, Conjurers can cast big heals with impunity, and even non-casters can use it to bust out an instant heal now and again. It's worth grabbing immediately on caster classes, no questions asked.

As you can see, most classes have at least something to offer other classes, even if it's not all that much. There are some combinations that work better than others, but as you start making a new character or return to your old one, this should help you know what to level and what you can comfortably ignore.

From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every Saturday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.

This article was originally published on Massively.