This guide is intended to help you level Astrologian to level 90 from any given starting point, while also beginning to slowly suggest fundamental strategies and techniques. Habits develop early, and practice makes permanent.
This guide is not intended to be a complete guide on how to heal in dungeons, trials, or any other content. However, the following section is intended to give some strategies to the mindset of a healer in XIV, and I recommend you read it if you have never been a healer in specifically XIV-related max-level content before. If you feel confident in healing in XIV, please feel free to skip to the relevant level section for you.
You will continually gain gear doing role quests and in dungeons as you level, as well as gain access to various other sources of gear depending on what you are doing. If you are fresh leveling through a Main Scenario Quest (MSQ), you will be rewarded with gear, or coffers that give you access to High Quality-grade gear for your level. Additionally, as you do roulettes to gain exp you will also gain access to Tomestones of Poetics, which can be exchanged for gear of high item level (ilvl, as demarcated in-game) at levels 50, 60, 70, and 80.
Gear is important on healers to ensure your spells do enough healing and enough damage from pull to pull. Please make some concerted effort to ensure your gear is relatively close to your own. It’s okay for it to be a few levels below, but once you start hitting dungeons with gear level 10 levels or lower than your own current level, it will start to get difficult.
Know Your Role
You will hear this over and over in guides and resources in XIV, and this guide is no exception. Contrary to basically any other MMO and most RPGs:
Your primary job in XIV as a healer is not to heal, it is to do damage. You will only heal when necessary to prevent death, as opposed to only doing damage when there is no more healing to be done.
This does not mean play so risky that someone does, in fact, die. People will incur damage either by mechanics or mistakes, and it is our primary role to mend those. Please push yourself however you feel most comfortable.
A note on job quests
Job quests have not been re-introduced for Astrologian since Shadowbringers, but still exist up to level 70. Lots of key actions are locked behind doing these job quests. Make sure to go to the Aethenium Astrologicum in Foundation (Ishgard), see if you have any to do, and stay up to date on them at all points. Do these as you level up the job normally.
- The most important job for us is to ensure the tank of the party stays alive. It should be self-evident, but they are the ones who are best suited to hold mobs’ attention/aggro. Other party members will quickly die when incurring damage from trash mobs in pulls.
- All healers have very strong Area of Effect (AoE) abilities that will damage multiple enemies. These are usually announced in tooltips with phrasing like “delivers an attack with a potency of 130 to target and all enemies around it”. These are your primary damage tools in dungeons. Ours is called Gravity.
- For bosses, you want to put your Damage over Time (DoT) spell on the boss to start and keep that up as often as possible, refreshing when it falls below three seconds. Ours is called Combust.
- Your best usage of abilities to keep a player healthy will be to use your Healing over Time (HoT) effects. On trash pulls, this will be your Aspected Benefic on the tank. During bosses, if the whole party takes damage, this will be Aspected Helios. These spells are often better uses of your time than Benefic and Helios unless the heal is needed immediately.
- Weaving moves that are known as off-Global Cooldowns (oGCDs) will be the best way to start feeling in control of a dungeon. At higher level dungeons and higher levels of play, these will be your primary form of healing. We get more of these as we gain levels.
Trials and Raids
- In Full Party content, Astrologian will often be the main Regen Healer of the group. Like with dungeons, your primary job is to keep the main tank and party alive. Use HoTs.
- Try not to overheal your co-healer too much! This is very difficult to coordinate, and it is better to assume you will be the main source of healing. Try your best to see what they are doing and act accordingly, but:
- Minimize your time spent doing nothing. Every second lost on your Global Cooldown (GCD) will add up and lead to last Malefics in the fight, or might make you feel more ‘behind the damage upkeep’. Playing safe and reactionary to damage often is actually more dangerous than keeping high uptime on your GCD.
- Some higher level content will have healer-specific mechanics. These vary from fight to fight. Otherwise, play the fight as if you were a caster DPS job.
- There is a healer mechanic that does rarely show up to be mindful of, known as “Doom”, eponymous with the debuff’s name that the mechanic revolves around. Not all “Doom” debuffs are the same, but if you see “Doom” ever, it is possibly a mechanic that requires the person to be healed to 100% max HP or the effect removed with Esuna. This is very rare and you may never see it, but be mindful of it.
While you can only access Astrologian at level 30, you can sync as low as level 15 (Sastasha). You want to be following the basic priority system as outlined above: using HoTs before Benefic and Helios if you have access to them, weave as many oGCDs between GCDs while your GCD itself is still on cooldown, and doing damage as much as possible. If the mob in question will live for at least 15 seconds, use Combust before Malefic.
Essential Dignity is a very powerful ability you will always have access to, since it is unlocked at level 15. This ability is an oGCD heal that gives a strong burst of healing based on the target’s missing HP, capped at 30% total remaining HP. Try to hold off using this ability until the tank is somewhere between 30-50% remaining HP to feel its true effect.
At level 30, you will begin having access to the core internal mechanic to Astrologian, known colloquially as the “card system”, in-game known as the arcana system. Use Draw and Play as frequently as possible, these cards are the core purpose behind playing Astrologian in content. This may take some practice to memorize cards, but there are tools in-game and graphics available to help you know which card is meant for melees and tanks, and which card is meant for ranged and healers.
You can ignore Undraw. This ability is quite literally worthless. I am unsure why it still exists.
At 50, you will have access to Astrodyne. Astrodyne is the main ability your cards revolve around. Use it when you have access to three seals.
Lastly, level 50 will also unlock Synastry. Synastry will grant a given target a buff that any time you heal any target with a single-target spell (this is currently in Endwalker limited to Benefic and the initial heal of Aspected Benefic, NOT the HoT portion), they will receive an additional 40% heal of the value of that spell. The buffed target does not have to be the target of the healing spell. This is a very strong buff for dungeon pulls, and is phenomenal at helping heal a Dark Knight out of Walking Dead.
Level 58: Collective Unconscious
At this level you will unlock Collective Unconscious (CUnc, or CU). CUnc is an ability (meaning it is an oGCD) that has two key effects. The first will give everyone inside the effective radius a buff that reduces their damage taken by 10%. This buff is interesting in the following ways:
- This buff is applied instantly when the button is pressed.
- The buff will disappear after the first server tick it recognizes you are no longer holding the bubble. This means, if you use the ability and let go immediately, everyone will get the buff and it is guaranteed to last at least three seconds, usually longer.
Additionally, this ability will also give everyone in its radius a potent HoT that will total 500 potency over 15 seconds. You do not have to hold the bubble down for a long period of time to catch one instance of damage, and please do not try to maximize holding this ability down to continue refreshing the HoT. You are better off continuing to do damage after you have weaved it in briefly.
This ability is great for catching raidwide damage, and for helping with tank upkeep in dungeon pulls. 10% mitigation and a 500 potency HoT is a lot of effective survivability!
Level 60: Celestial Opposition
Compared to CUnc, Celestial Opposition (COpp, or CO) is a very simple ability, however it is quite powerful. Every 60 seconds this ability will heal everyone for 200 potency, then give them a 500 potency HoT over 15 seconds, much like half of CUnc’s effects. This is also an oGCD, great for raidwides, and when stacked with the other oGCDs, you can see how Astrologian quickly is becoming a job with many powerful tools to keep the party alive without having to press Benefic or Helios.
Level 62: Earthly Star
Ah, Earthly Star. One of the most iconic abilities for Astrologian. This ability got a tremendous radius increase in Endwalker, so even one of its core weaknesses in the past has been mostly eradicated. Here is how Star works:
You place down the ability. It is a ground-targeted one, which will make sense when you try to use it. If used immediately, it will then have:
- A healing potency of 540 and a damage potency of 205
If you wait 10 seconds, the Earthly Star will become a Giant Star, and Stellar Burst will now become Stellar Detonation. It will now have:
- A healing potency of 710, and a damage potency of 310
In essence, you want to place this ability down ahead of time, before the healing needs to be done. Use this ability often! 310 potency is a lot of damage. Do not hold this ability just for the heal, even as potent as it is. Start using it right as the tank starts setting their feet in dungeons, and a bit before you would want to use the heal in the first place in Full Party content.
Level 70: Minor Arcana
Minor Arcana is an ability like Draw in some ways. It will gain you either a Lord or Lady of Crowns, which can then be executed using Crown Play. Lord of Crowns is an AoE damage ability, Lady of Crowns is an AoE heal. Be as aggressive with this as you can, but making sure Draw’s cooldown is cycling is more important.
Level 74: Celestial Intersection
Celestial Intersection is an ability which heals the target for a small amount (200 potency) and then gives them a nice shield totaling 400 potency, for a total of an effective 600 potency oGCD. Use this liberally on the tank, regardless of whether it is a dungeon or Full Party content. Using this before the tank pulls mobs in dungeons is nice too, as the shield gives a nice buffer for picking up the full pull.
Level 76: Horoscope
Horoscope is a fascinating oGCD which might be more confusing in the tooltip than it is in practice. Horoscope is an oGCD buff on all targets within 20 yalms of you. You can reactivate this ability immediately to again lightly heal all targets with the Horoscope buff within 20 yalms within 10 seconds.
If you heal a target with the Horoscope buff with either Helios or Aspected Helios, it is upgraded to the Horoscope Helios buff. This will refresh the buff timer and increase its duration to 30 seconds, and upgrade the heal from 200 potency to 400 potency.
If either Horoscope or Horoscope Helios’ buff falls off, the target will be automatically healed for its corresponding amount.
In dungeons, this is your lowest priority weave during pulls. In Full Party content, this is a nice buff to try and apply before using a Helios to give yourself a free 400 potency in additional healing within the next 30 seconds.
Level 80: Neutral Sect
Neutral Sect is nigh-unequal in its power. It is a 20-second oGCD buff for you that increases your healing magic potency by 20%: meaning only your GCDs - like Aspected Helios - will be buffed in healing. Your oGCDs - like COpp - will not be buffed.
Additionally, this will grant all your Aspected Helios and Aspected Benefic casts while under the buff and additional effect of granting the healed target a potent shield in addition to its already potent HoT. This starts making a singular cast of these spells reach astronomically high numbers of healing.
During very intensive healing sections, this buff will be the party’s best bet at survival. At this point, your dungeon pulls will mostly be alternating from pull-to-pull: using Neutral Sect in one pull, and Synastry in the other. These will be the strongest boons to keeping your tank alive.
As a preface, I will be breaking down these levels not by skills but instead by dungeons. This is a little different, but better for healers overall since leveling the job is more about the pulls in dungeons than a rotation or other mechanic.
In the interest of those who wish to level fresh but not want to be spoiled, these dungeons will be demarcated by their level and not their formal name.
This dungeon has relatively simple pulls with straightforward bosses mechanically (do mechanics, clear fight), until halfway to the second boss. The 2nd and 3rd full pulls from boss 1->2 and both full pulls (especially the final one) from boss 2->3 all can get quite high with the damage intake on the tank. Even in a good party, expect to be using cooldowns and GCD heals a-plenty on these bigger pulls.
The final boss is rather simple in terms of healing, but there are random damage splashes that will go out constantly. Heal these up as you are most comfortable with.
At level 82 you will unlock upgrades to Malefic and Gravity. These do not change anything about what situation you use which spell (Gravity at two targets, Malefic otherwise), but it does change how often Combust is worth using. Of course, when chasing the tank and pulling mobs, try to put Combust up on as many mobs as possible while running to set feet. Otherwise, as soon as there are five mobs in a pack, Combust is strictly a damage loss over Gravity II.
The level 83 dungeon has many forced single pulls of trash. The opening section is two sets of single pulls: just pop Div and card cooldowns immediately, but save Neutral Sect for the final pull before first boss, as this is one of the only big pulls in the entire dungeon.
The pulls between the first and second bosses are all static single encounters.
The pulls before the final boss are two sets of bigger double pulls, use Neutral Sect on one, and Synastry on the other.
There are no significant upgrades to our kit in the levels we will be actively playing this dungeon.
The level 85 dungeon is primarily composed of big pulls and long breaks. You will notice dialogue boxes from character models inside the arena, these character models will all become mobs you have to hit. In particular, be mindful of a mother and her children before the second boss: the dialogue time with them is lengthy, so stay your hand with cooldown popping until it’s obvious they are close to being targetable.
Every single pull section has some very big pulls, so assume that if there has only been one pull and there is no clear and obvious wall stopping your progress, you can pull further. These pulls can get pretty spicy too, so again make sure to rotate cooldowns. There is one pull in particular before the second boss that if done in full will have your tank suffering a hefty amount of damage: you will notice it because there are two giant floating mobs in the pull.
You will enter this dungeon at level 85 with a bunch of healing potency increases; these increases are noticeable, but their importance is dependent on how many GCD heals you have to do.
More importantly at level 86, we gain Exaltation. This ability is an oGCD mitigation that heals at the end of its duration. It is very good to throw on your tank at the start of a big pull.
This dungeon is mostly a ‘standard’ expert-style dungeon until after the second boss, with two double pulls before both first and second bosses. Nothing of particularly severe note to mention, play it as normal.
After the second boss, the rest of the pulls are static and forced to be singular. Pop cooldowns as normal, do not save anything.
At level 88 you will acquire a second charge of Celestial Intersection. You will probably not notice it much in this dungeon, but in some places with long walks before entering combat you will probably gather the second charge before starting to use them.
The final boss has one heal-like check where the boss will cast two raidwides back-to-back toward the middle-to-end~ish of the fight. There’s not much reason to hold CDs, so just pop oGCD AoE healing after sustaining raidwide damage throughout.
Before the first boss, be wary of a pull where there is a singular mob with very high HP, who will spawn other high HP mobs who do nothing. This is a lore-focused, static encounter. Do not burn any cooldowns, just hit Malefic and Combust until you can move on.\
After the first boss, make sure to stand in the dark blue AoE indicator between trash pulls, they will give you a significant stat boon for the large pull before the second boss.
If you happen to hit 90 while in the dungeon, you will unlock Macrocosmos. Use this ability as often as possible during trash pulls, it is a large amount of AoE damage as well as providing a significant top up for your tank–if given even just a small amount of time to charge, it will fully heal the tank immediately upon execution of the ability. Please note: Macrocosmos is the same amount of damage as Malefic on a single target. For more information on how Macrocosmos works, refer now to the Basic Guide.