Unlike most MMORPGs, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn allows players to switch between classes while sticking with the same character. You won't need to created multiple "toons" if you want to play as a different class or job. However, you can't change classes until you reach level 10 on your starting class. Therefore, it's important that you select a class that you'll enjoy for at least the first 10 levels. In addition, when a class hits level 30, you transition to a job, which may play slightly different than you imagined. With this in mind, here are essential class breakdowns to help you make the best choice.

Arcanist

The Arcanist is the most versatile class in the bunch because it's the only class that serves two purposes. As one of only two classes with a proper healing spell, the Arcanist may have to back-up heal from time to time. However, an Arcanist is primarily a damage dealing class that uses damage over time (DoT) spells alongside their summoned pet, Carbuncle.

By the time an Arcanist reaches level 15, he or she can summon two versions of Carbuncle. The initial summons (learned at level four) is a ranged damage dealer (DPS). The second summon is obtained at level 15 and serves as a tanking pet. This is especially effective during early dungeons. If a tank dies or is overwhelmed by the number of enemies, an Arcanist can use the tanking Carbuncle to control the hate until the tank gets a handle on things.

When an Arcanist reaches level 30, it can become a Scholar or Summoner (or both). A Scholar is primarily a healing class, trading in Carbuncle for a healing fairy, but retains the ability to use DoTs for damage. A Summoner gains new and better pets, as well as more damaging abilities. However, having a tanking pet available becomes less important in parties as your level increases. It's still very good for solo purposes, though.

Archer

As the name suggests, an Archer is a ranged DPS class. It is the only class that can attack from a distance while moving, which makes them very effective in certain battles. They get multiple DoT attacks as they level up, but when they hit level 30, they change to the Bard job. While Bards retain all of the Archer DPS abilities, they gain songs that help the party. Some songs lower their DPS, such as Mage's Ballad, which replenish MP for all party members within range.

Despite the fact that Bard is more of a support job than Archer, it's still one of the best DPS jobs in the game. You just need to be aware that supporting the party is your primary job. If the mages are low on MP, you need to play Mage's Ballad. If the fight has been going on for awhile, you may need to play Army's Paeon to replenish TP. These songs take priority over dishing out the damage.

Conjurer

A Conjurer is the only primary healer at the beginning of the game. While it has a few damaging spells, including DoT spells, your primary function is to keep the party alive. Fear not, you can still solo just fine with a Conjurer, and since you have the ability to heal, you can solo better than some other classes. Conjurers also gain the Cleric Stance ability at level six, which increases their damage while cutting healing potency. This is your primary tool for soloing, but it also works during dungeons when the party doesn't need to be healed immediately. At level 30, a Conjurer transitions into a White Mage, but not much changes aside from having more healing options at your disposal.

Gladiator

The Gladiator is one of two tanking classes at the beginning of the game. It's your job to make sure every enemy looks at you and only you. You won't party much until level 15, but from that point forward you need to know how to control groups of enemies and keep them focused on you, despite the best efforts of your party members trying to inflict as much damage as possible to the enemy. The difference between a Gladiator and a Marauder (the other tanking class) is that a Gladiator has higher defense, lower health and uses a few spells (mainly Flash) to retain hate.

A Gladiator has to pay more attention than any other job, which makes it less appealing to most people. In fact, if you play as a Gladiator, you will almost never have to wait to enter a dungeon. There are so few tanks in Final Fantasy 14 that anything you do via the Duty Finder (almost all dungeons) provides instant access to Gladiators. When you make the transition to Paladin at level 30, very little changes. You gain a few more tools for holding hate, but you're still a tanking job.

Lancer

The Lancer is one of two melee DPS classes in the game. Its primary purpose is to inflict as much damage as possible. As the Lancer levels up and eventually becomes a Dragoon (without a pet, sorry), you need to pay close attention to your position relative to the enemy in order to inflict maximum damage. Certain attack combos will require you to be at the side or behind the enemy. In addition, Lancers and Dragoons have a few status effect abilities, such as Slow.

Marauder

The other tanking class besides Gladiator is the Marauder. Just like a Gladiator, the Marauder's primary function is to hold the attention of the enemy or group of enemies. The difference between a Marauder and a Gladiator is that a Marauder has much higher HP, but lower defense. This means it takes more damage, but has more HP to compensate.

In addition, Marauders have more abilities that allow them to inflict a decent amount of damage. Once a Gladiator becomes a Paladin at level 30, they learn a couple of abilities that increase damage, however a Marauder, and especially a Warrior (level 30), can dish out the damage almost as well as a melee DPS under the right circumstances. This makes the Marauder an ideal choice for an off tank or in any situation when only one tank is needed for a portion of the fight.

Pugilist

Alongside Lancers, Pugilists are the other melee DPS class in Final Fantasy XIV. They fight almost exactly like a Lancer, moving around an enemy to get the best positioning for each attack combo. The main difference between a Pugilist and a Lancer is that a Pugilist changes stances as they perform attack combos. Some attacks are only accessible via specific stances. Once a Pugilist transitions into a Monk at level 30, their stances become even more important, as they may be called upon to stun or silence an enemy.

Thaumaturge

The only burst damage DPS class in the game is the Thaumaturge. The Thaumaturge transitions into a Black Mage at level 30, and uses elemental spells to inflict significant damage. They attack a little slower than the other DPS classes and jobs, but they deliver big burst damage, especially once they reach level 50 and learn Flare.

A big downfall of a Black Mage, other than their low defense, is the fact that they can't cast while moving. In many of the endgame dungeons and boss battles, movement is key. A Black Mage has very few spells that can be used while moving, and what they do have isn't very damaging for the most part. So while the Black Mage dishes out big damage, it comes at a cost.