In Final Fantasy XIV, a skill’s potency determines how powerful it is. The greater the destructive potential of an attack, the more damage it will inflict.

Hovering over an attack in the Character Actions panel will reveal its Strength.

However, it does provide a rough estimate of an ability’s strength by comparing it to your character’s base auto attack.

It would take a lot of math to explain how Potency influences your damage output precisely, but I’ll try to summarize it without going into too much detail.

How Does Potency Work?

For the sake of illustration, I’ll be using the attack and Potency stats from my Gunbreaker’s rotations and gear.

The figures won’t be precisely the same across every employment, but the premise remains the same.

There is an Auto Attack value of 106.40 on my character’s weapon. The Delay of this weapon is 2.80 seconds.

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

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

The two talents, Brutal Shell and Solid Barrel, each have 100 Potency: Keen Edge, with 200.

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

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

With Continuation’s added rotational steps, that total grows even higher.

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

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Compare that to a simple Gunbreaker AOE rotation.

AOE attacks will normally have reduced Potency because they hit anyone within a specific area. If I’m doing my job well, that means anything now attacking me with melee attacks.

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

That’s a total of 570 Potency, well below the 900 I typically achieve with a single target spin.

It sounds like a dramatic drop, right? The numbers soon add up in the heat of battle, though, when you consider that my area-of-effect rotation deals damage to numerous adversaries for less than a third of what my single-target rotation would.

Should I Educate Myself On Potency?

Damage in Final Fantasy XIV is determined by a number of factors, one of which is a character’s potency.

In terms of DPS production, it is not the final word.

The reason is, that it complements other metrics such as Direct Hit and Strength. Potency, on the other hand, offers a reliable numerical value.

There is no rise or decrease in power as you progress through the levels.

Understanding Potency in relation to your abilities is crucial if you want to get into the finer intricacies and specific statistics.

In any case, if you’re just a casual player, you don’t have to worry about Potency.