FFXIV: What is Potency & How Does It Work?

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Potency is a term that describes the effectiveness of an ability in Final Fantasy XIV. The more potency an attack has, the more damage it will deal.

You can check an attack’s Potency by hovering over it in the Character Actions screen.

It’s not exactly clear-cut as a concept, but it tells you how powerful an ability will be, using your character’s basic auto attack as a consistent measure.

Explaining exactly how Potency affects your damage output requires a lot of math, but I’ll try and sum it up without getting into too many numbers.


How Does Potency Work?

For this explanation, I’ll be using attacks and Potency numbers from my Gunbreaker’s rotations & equipment as an example.

The numbers won’t be exactly the same across every job, but the theory remains the same.

My character’s weapon has an Auto Attack value of 106.40. The weapon’s Delay is 2.80.

So every 2.80 seconds, my character will automatically attack for 106.40 potency.

In contrast, the opening attacks of my single target damage rotation can be fired off one after another.

Keen Edge has 200 Potency, and following skills Brutal Shell and Solid Barrel have 100 each.

Performing all three skills in succession will also give me a filled Cartridge slot, which I can spend to use Burst Strike, which has 500 Potency.

So in basic terms, I can reach a total of 900 Potency in more or less the time I can auto attack twice for a total of 212.8.

With the further steps in my rotation provided by Continuation, that number gets even higher.

All this in the time it would take to fire off a handful of auto attacks.

Compare that to a basic Gunbreaker AOE rotation.

AOE attacks will typically have less Potency because they hit anything within a certain area. In my case, that’ll be basically anything currently smacking me with melee attacks (which should be everything if I’m doing my job right).

I’d open with Demon Slice and Demon Slaughter, which have 150 and 100 Potency respectively, and would then have the option of using a Cartridge to use Fated Circle for 320.

That’s 570 Potency in total, where my single target rotation gets to 900.

It sounds like a dramatic drop, right? But when you consider that my AOE rotation is hitting multiple enemies for over half of what my single target rotation would, those numbers quickly add up in the heat of battle.

The Temple of the Fists Battle Scene / FFXIV Screenshot
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Do I Need To Learn About Potency?

Potency is just one factor out of many in FFXIV that all impact how much damage you deal.

It’s not the last word in your DPS output by any measure.

This is because it works in conjunction with other stats, like Direct Hit and Strength. But unlike those statistics, Potency provides a consistent number.

Potency does not increase or fluctuate as you level up.

So if you really want to get into the finer details and precise numbers, understanding Potency in relation to your abilities is an important step.

That said, if you’re a casual player, feel free to pay Potency no mind!

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