FFXIV: What is a DPS Check & How Does It Work?

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In FFXIV, DPS checks are mechanics in enemy encounters where the party must deal a certain amount of damage to the boss, or take out additional enemies before time runs out. A DPS check could take multiple forms, but they all boil down to the same concept.

DPS stands for Damage Per Second. It’s also the catch-all term for all jobs outside of the tanking and healing roles.

Ranged, magical, melee – they’re all DPS.

How does the game make sure you’re still paying attention and not just mindlessly pressing buttons?

DPS checks.

You’ll have to stop stabbing that giant monster for a moment and go beat up one of his friends, or face potentially dire consequences.


Why Do Encounters Use DPS Checks?

Because otherwise, the party would just be running in circles hitting skills and dodging AOEs for ten minutes straight!

It keeps things fresh and challenging.

DPS checks force players to re-prioritize their targets.

Otherwise we’d all just be burning down the boss’ health bar, which might sound great, but makes for some pretty boring encounters when you’ve been doing it for a while.

Truth be told, you don’t need to worry too much about DPS checks if you’re just cruising through the story content or doing regular difficulty stuff.

I mean, you’ll definitely have to be aware of the mechanics.

But you don’t have to get your skill rotation down to a precise art to eke out every single possible point of damage.

An early example of the DPS check is the Primal, Ifrit.

You’ll fight him in the Bowl of Embers as your very first introduction to Trials, heading into his arena with three other players.

It’s not a hard fight, even if you don’t know what to do.

Ifrit cutscene screenshot from FFXIV
Image source by MTQcapture / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

But once Ifrit has lost fifty percent of his health, he’ll summon an Infernal Nail.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that half of the newbie groups I tanked Bowl of Embers with straight-up ignored the Infernal Nail.

It doesn’t move, it doesn’t attack you, and when you’re staring down the jaws of a fiery hellbeast, the Nail definitely doesn’t seem like it should be a priority at all.

But if the group fails to destroy the Infernal Nail in time, Ifrit’s next attack – Hellfire – will deal upwards of 1000 damage to the entire party regardless of where they’re standing.

At this point in the story, that’s more than enough to wipe the group and force a restart.

Destroying the Infernal Nail doesn’t prevent Hellfire from being cast.

But it reduces the damage it deals considerably.

You’ll battle Ifrit again on Hard and Extreme difficulties, each requiring eight players.

On these difficulties, the DPS check mechanic remains, becoming more challenging.

Multiple exploding nails, summoned at multiple times throughout the fight.

Ifrit’s multiple difficulties are probably one of the best examples of how DPS checks can keep players on their toes.

No matter how good your healers are, no matter how good your footwork is, you’ll still need to pay attention to these mechanics to succeed.


What Happens If We Fail The DPS Check?

There are a range of possible consequences, although the most obvious is a wipe – a full (and more-or-less instant) party kill.

Failing DPS checks can also result in following attacks by the boss dealing out more damage, and thus being harder to recover from.

If you’ve already got a few people down, this can be the final Infernal Nail in the coffin, so to speak.

Failing them can also result in party-wide debuffs, further hampering your progress in the fight.

But as we’ve already touched upon, there isn’t much you need to do to prepare for DPS checks besides being aware of their presence and the consequences, unless you’re taking on the very latest high-end content.

Simply knowing your rotation and staying alive will be enough to make it through most of the challenges the Main Scenario Quests present you with.

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