FFXIV Dark Knight Leveling Guide

Level up your Dark Knight (DRK) ASAP! Setting up – Early Rotations – Gear Checks and more!

If you’ve found yourself here, you’re likely leveling up a Dark Knight. You’ve found the right place. Hopefully, our Dark Knight Leveling Guide helps you out – especially with setting up and the early L30+ rotation!

Dark Knight Leveling Guide Navigation:
Page 1: Unlocking, L30 Skills & Rotation, L30 Gear, Class Quest List
Page 2: Leveling DRK 30 to 50 (Basic info for now)
Page 3: Leveling DRK 50 to 60 (Basic info for now)
Page 4: Leveling DRK 60 to 70 (Basic info for now)

For those who jumped right into this page, we will add a little blurb about unlocking Dark Knight, if you haven’t already.

Unlocking Dark Knight (DRK) Job

Quest Name: Our End
Quest Location: The Pillars (X:13, Y:9)
NPC Name: Ishgardian Citizen

You will be rewarded with the Soul of the Dark Knight, your main hand weapon (Steel Claymore), and a free coffer of 30 left side gear (Steel Cuirass and Padded Velveteen Trousers). Equip them as soon you have them!

Since Dark Knight starts at level 30 (although unlocked if you have a level 50 character), there are a few things you have to “catch up to”… Namely, your Skills, Rotation, and to a lesser extent, Gear.

Fresh Level 30 Dark Knight Rotation & Skills

Thankfully, there aren’t too many skills unlocked by L30 so you won’t be overwhelmed.

DRK Rotation Summary

The DRK rotation is all about mana management. While it doesn’t fully show yet at this low level, traces of it are seen.

Grit is your tank stance, which reduces damage and increases enmity.
Darkside is a substance that STOP MANA REGEN but increases damage.
Blood Weapon converts damage to MP, but cannot be used with Grit.

It’s useless to go into detail this early at L30, but at least the above gives you an idea of the “shuffling” and “tradeoffs” of the various DRK “stances”.
In the next tabs, we will mention ALL AVAILABLE SKILLS and the context wherein they’re used.

L30 DRK Tanking Basics

This should be your basic flowchart when inside dungeons.

Do I need Grit (L30) ? (Probably yes)
Is Darkside (L30) on? (It probably should be)
Unmend (L15) Ranged pulling skill (Optional)
Unleash (L6) x2: AoE Bonus Enmity
– (More experienced tanks can ditch one or both of these Unleashes)

Single Target rotation on one enemy

Hard Slash (L1)
Spinning Slash (L4): Bonus Enmity.
Power Slash (L26): Bonus Enmity.
You can do this once per enemy in the pack.

After the enemy group is “near death” and the risk to you is lower, start asking yourself these questions:

  • I should have full or near full mana by the next enemy group…
  • Can I SAFELY off Grit (L30)?
  • Should I use Hard Slash (L1) > Syphon Strike (L10) to regain mana?
  • Can/should I save Blood Weapon (L18) for the next pile?

After the enemies die, make sure to OFF Darkside to regain any lacking mana before the next pull.

L30 DRK Single Target Rotation
L30 DRK Basic Single Target Rotation

It feels a bit strange discussing a single target rotation in the context of a tank (I guess for soloing and “last enemies in a pack”). It seems redundant after the above tab but here it is.

  • Can I SAFELY off Grit (L30)?
  • Is Darkside (L30) on? Can I Darkside?
  • Is Blood Weapon (L18) available? Can I maximize the mana gained?

Hard Slash (L1)
Spinning Slash (L4): Bonus Enmity.
Power Slash (L26): Bonus Enmity.

I desperately need mana!

Is Blood Weapon (L18) available?
Hard Slash (L1)
Syphon Strike (L10) Regains mana on hit!

L30 DRK Basic AoE Rotation
L30 DRK Basic AoE Rotation

It’s pretty bad. You cannot contribute any meaningful AoE damage this early on.

4 Enemies or less: Use single target rotation on one of them.

5 or more: Unleash (L6) spam.

Sadly, even FOUR targets isn’t enough for Unleash to outrun your single target rotation.

L30 DRK Misc (Cooldowns, Utility)
L30 DRK Misc skills (Cooldowns, Utility)

Grit (L30): Tank stance which increases toughness and enmity produced.

Darkside (L30): Increases damage but SHUTS OFF mana regen.

Blood Weapon (L18): CANNOT BE USED WITH GRIT. Increases damage, converts damage to MP, reduces TP cost of skills and increases “skill speed”. Quite a huge buff, which you should maximize each time it’s up.

Unmend (L15): Ranged pulling skill.

Unleash (L6): AoE enmity generating skill with weak damage.

L30 DRK Role Actions
L30 DRK Role Actions

Long story short, for general use:
Provoke > Low Blow > Rampart > Any

For more detailed info, check our Tank Role Actions Guide.


Fresh level 30 Dark Knight: Gear Check

The free gear you get from completing the Dark Knight quest is, ultimately, lacking. You only get a chest and leg armor, while lacking Helm, Belt, Gloves, Boots - and the entire 5 right-side accessories. If you plan to maximize your options in leveling - you wanna shore this up ASAP.

Ignore this section if you’re one of those pure PotD types.


  • Sunstone Tier + MELDING VITALITY I, OR
  • Sphene Tier + MELDING STRENGTH I.

Personally, I prefer Sunstone, with or without VIT I melded.

L30 DRK Basic of the Basic gear
WeaponSteel ClaymoreFree from coffer
HeadHQ Steel CelataMarketboard / ARM
BodySteel CuirassFree from coffer
HandsHQ Steel GauntletMarketboard / ARM
BeltHQ Steel Plate BeltMarketboard / ARM
LegsPadded Velveteen TrousersFree from coffer
BootsHQ Steel SabatonsMarketboard / ARM
EarringHQ Sunstone EarringsMarketboard / GSM
NeckHQ Sunstone ChokerMarketboard / GSM
WristHQ Sunstone BraceletMarketboard / GSM
RingHQ Sunstone RingMarketboard / GSM
RingHQ Sunstone RingMarketboard / GSM

Dark Knight Class Quests: Where!?

It happens to everyone, don't worry. We will be listing the relevant chunks per tier on the respective page of this leveling guide as well, for easy reference.

Dark Knight Job Quests 30 to 50
30Ishgardian JusticeFoundation1112Fray
35The Voice in the AbyssFoundation1112Fray
40Heroic RepriseFoundation1112Fray
45Declaration of BloodFoundation1112Fray
50Our AnswerFoundation1112FrayDark Knight’s Armor Coffer
Dark Knight Job Quests 50 to 60
50The Wages of MercyCoerthas C.H.1316Unflinching Temple Knight
52The Knight and the Maiden FairFoundation1312Sidurgu
54Kindred SpiritsFoundation1312Sidurgu
56Original SinsFoundation1312Sidurgu
58The Flame in the AbyssFoundation1312Sidurgu
60AbsolutionFoundation1312SidurguChaos Armor Coffer
Dark Knight Job Quests 60 to 70
60In Memories We WalkedFoundation1312Sidurgu
63The Widow and Her LoveCoerthas Western Highlands3236Sidurgu
65The Orphans and the Broken BladeDravanian Forelands3223Sidurgu
68We Can Never Go HomeThe Churnign Mists2835Myste
70Our CompromiseFoundation1312SidurguAbyss Armor Coffer

Dark Knight Leveling Guide Navigation:
Page 1: Unlocking, L30 Skills & Rotation, L30 Gear, Class Quest List
Page 2: Leveling DRK 30 to 50 (Basic info for now)
Page 3: Leveling DRK 50 to 60 (Basic info for now)
Page 4: Leveling DRK 60 to 70 (Basic info for now)

I'm sure you're itching to level up - and I hope you took the above preparations to heart! Just continue onwards with the links just above!

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FFXIV 3.0 Dark Knight (DRK) BiS for Heavensward

HEAVENSWARD UPDATED! DRK Best in slot guide! “I need BALLAD AND PAEON!”, DRK Esoterics buy order, melding and more!

Sadly, there isn’t any Piety on ’em! Welcome to our Dark Knight Best-in-slot gear guide! We discuss here gearing options for BOTH DPS CENTRIC DRK’s and PARRY/EHP CENTRIC DRK’s. So no matter which camp of tanking you follow, or whatever your group needs – you can see both options right here!

Navigation: Dark Knight BiS
DRK BiS | Discussion | Esoterics Buy Order

Heavensward Dark Knight Best-in-Slot

TANK BiS DISCLAIMER: I don’t buy into the whole ALL TANKS SHOULD DPS or ALL TANKS SHOULD HAVE MAX EHP! It all depends on your group, level & speed of progression, and personal preference. As such, I will list both options. (Related Read: Parry vs DPS)

For the sake of “interchangeable filler slots”, Chaos <-> Gordian serve as natural replacements to each other (May or may not be discussed within guide, but take that as an ‘unspoken truth’).

DRK SlotDPSNo gil to meld?Parry & EHP
WeaponDeathbringer-Gordian Greatsword
HeadChaos BurgeonnetChaos Burgeonnet
BodyGordian Plate Mail of FendingChaos Cuirass
GlovesChaos GauntletsGordian Gauntlets of Fending
BeltFabled Belt of Fending Gordian Tassets of Fending
LegsGordian Breeches of FendingChaos Flanchard
BootsChaos SolleretsBest 210 MixGordian Sollerets of Fending
NeckFabled Necklace of SlayingGordian Neckband of FendingFabled Necklace of Fending
EarringsGordian Earrings of SlayingGordian Earrings of SlayingGordian Earrings of Fending
BraceletFabled Bracelet of SlayingFabled Bracelet of SlayingGordian Wristbands of Fending
RingGordian Ring of SlayingGordian Ring of SlayingGordian Ring of Fending
RingFabled Ring of SlayingFabled Ring of SlayingFabled Ring of Fending
FoodBaked Pipira Pira-Almond Cream Croissant
Liver Cheese Sandwhich

SINCE MELDED RIGHT SIDE IS SO STRONG FOR TANKS, tank gear should be thought as two separate entities: Leftside (armor) and right side (accessories). There’s a million ways to setup the right side, but the left is pretty much set in stone given your goals. (Purely ignoring the top accessories and using melded is A GREAT CHOICE / OPTION)


Dark Knight Accessories: Choices & Melding

Considering crafted right as BiS for tanks is 100% legit

Equip onSlot 1Slot 2Slot 3Slot 4Slot 5
Chrysolite Earrings of FendingSTR IVSTR IVSTR IVSTR IVSTR III
Chrysolite Bracelets of FendingSTR IVSTR IVSTR IVSTR IVSTR III
Chrysolite Ring of SlayingVIT IVVIT IVVIT IVFREEVIT III+
Chrysolite Ring of SlayingVIT IVVIT IVVIT IVFREEVIT III+

For the (FREE) Slot, you can put ACC, DET or SS (rings).

Here’s how it works. Melded accessories will always have the highest overall power level. However, they will never be as tanky as a Fending accessory, and never be as strong as a Slaying one. The melding strategy above makes it so you can wear crafted from A1S to A4S no problemo.

DRK BiS Discussion, Notes & Options


Going for PURE SLAYING right side is a bit greedy, but definitely possible with a competent team. So we identify the suckiest accessories to replace with crafted.

  1. Fabled Ring of Slaying: It has accuracy… so it has that goin’ for it. Personally, I wouldn’t waste eso on these.
  2. Fabled Wristband of Slaying… SS/DET. Again, I wouldn’t buy these and just go for crafted.

The A3S legs are a KEY PART of this set, and hopefully you’ll get em! The Chaos counterpart is a poor filler – I wouldn’t waste eso on it.

Tanking / Parry DRK Set

Legs & Head – interchangeable: In the tanking list above we use Chaos Head and Chaos Leg. Keep in mind that this can be changed for Gordian Head, Gordian Leg. So if you’re lucky enough to get one of the gordian pieces early, just shoot for the gordian counterpart as well. A small but worthwhile to note value point, thay may save you over 1k ESO.

Chaos Cuirass is a MASSIVE increase in HP, Armor, MRes, Parry… basically a huge part of your defensive game. Tanks who choose to Gobtwine the chests over weapon are very common, and you should be one of them!!!

3.0 Dark Knight Esoterics Buy Order

“What should I purchase first with Esoterics for my DRK!?” Well, here you go!

DPS Dark Knight

  1. Weapon: The Deathbringer should be bought FIRST for DPS DRK’s. No question.
  2. Chaos Helm: Might as well, plus save A3 pages for Legs!
  3. Chaos Boots
  4. Fabled Belt
  5. Fabled Necklace, Ring (Any Order)
  7. Chest can be bought if you want to help your raid group. It’s quite the upgrade still.

With very few pieces needed, this set is powerful and easy to obtain.

On belt: If you have the Illuminati Gobcoat, buy it sooner than you would have.

PARRY / EHP Dark Knight

  1. Chest: Get these first and Gobtwine it if you can!
  2. Legs: Hmm.. (If you have the A3S legs – you can push this waaaaay down or optional)
  3. Weapon: You can buy this at any point during 1-3.
  4. Fabled Necklace, Ring (Any Order)

Navigation: Dark Knight BiS
DRK BiS | Discussion | Esoterics Buy Order

I hope you don’t break your back in search of your Dark Knight gear!

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