Image courtesy of Square Enix

Just when I thought my class ranking for FFXIV would be the most unpopular article I ever wrote. Yes, it’s time for us to take a look at the many races of Final Fantasy XIV and put them into a definitive order from worst to best. We’re not judging them based on which of the city-states they’re from. I don’t care if you’re from Ul’dah or Limsa Lominsa.

I’m also not paying any attention to the starting attributes of the playable races, this isn’t Final Fantasy XI. My criteria are simple: Emote quality, glamour quality, variety, and does it feel like the niche it’s trying to fill? As a side note, I’m only going to differentiate males and females on the FFXIV races where there’s a sizable difference between them. So if you’ve been wondering ‘Which FFXIV race should I pick?’, then this list is for you.

11. Hrothgar

Voted most likely to be named after a Magic the Gathering card.

What playing a Hrothgar says about you: Not everyone designs their character trying to live out their anime waifu fantasy. To which I’d ask, why did you pick Final Fantasy XIV? But that aside, the Hrothgar has become the race for the non-roleplayer. The person who is genuinely here for the story and to enjoy some end-game content. There aren’t many of you, and you take pride in the fact that not everyone looks like you.

Hrothgar in FFXIV
Hrothgar in Bozja in Final Fantasy XIV. Image Courtesy of Square-Enix.

Grading – While the Hrothgar emotes are okay, they struggle with facial animations beyond “worried concern” and “begrudging smile.” Their bulky size allows for them to show off the details of armor, but their constant hunch makes everything fit just a little bit awkward on them. Which is the best FFXIV race? Not this one.

10. Lalafell

Voted most likely to be sacrificed for better drop rates.

What playing a Lalafell says about you: I find that two types of people settle into playing Lalafell: No-nonsense bookworms and agents of chaos. If you play a Lalafell, you probably either comment with rotation corrections on “how to play” Youtube videos or type things like “Plz don’t punt me. LOL ><;;;;” Nevertheless, you’ve heard all the short jokes Eorzea has to offer, and you still take pride in your brains over brawn mentality. Power on little Lalafell.

Lalafell during Firmament Celebration
Lalafell during Skyrise Celebration. Image courtesy of Square-Enix.

Grading – Lalafell have some of the most classic and well-known emotes in the game, but their short stature absolutely cripples their glamour options. Some of the best gear in the game looks terrible on Lalafell because you just can’t see enough of it.

9. Roegadyn Male

Voted most likely to have all your Namedays come at once.

What playing a Roegadyn Male says about you: You probably played a Galka in Final Fantasy XI. There was a time when playing the Roegadyn male meant you wanted to be the big, burly, rough, and tumble He-Man type. Nowadays, many of those players have moved on to playing either Hrothgar or Male Au’ra. You’d probably like to move on as well, but you’ll be damned if you’re gonna fork over 10 bucks for a Fantasia. This is the part where I’d put in a positive thing about your race, but let’s be honest, if you’re playing a Roegadyn male in 2021, you can’t read anyway.

Grading – Roegadyn have some of the most over-the-top emotes, and to be honest, I really like them. I definitely score the Roegadyn high in emotes, and their massive stature and variety allow them to wear a lot of glamours pretty well. The Roegadyn male have just had their niche filled too heavily by other races over the years.

8. Miqo’te Male

Voted most likely to be named after a character who already exists.

What playing a Miqo’te Male says about you: There are only two people who play male Miqo’te. Girls who are tired of being hit on, and guys who are hoping someone will step on them. The catboys of Final Fantasy 14 are the favored race of the male LGBTQ+ community and experience a lot of dimorphism between the seekers and their keeper counterparts. Is it just me, or do all the Keeper boys look weird? Also, naming yourself some permutation of Graha Tia is the 2021 equivalent of being XxSephirothxX. Stop it.

Graha Tia as a member of the Scions.
Graha Tia as a member of the Scions. Image courtesy of Square Enix.

Grading – Originally, the Miqo’te were a female-only race, and sadly that’s how it feels. A lot of their emotes feel like re-flavorings of the female emotes. They have some dimorphism in their glamours, but a lot of the time, come across as pretty feminine. Overall, they’re okay.

7. Viera

Voted most likely to get a sunburn.

What playing a Viera says about you: You picked the bunnygirl, what more is there to say? Okay, fine, I’ll say more. Whether it was the ears, the cool face makeup, or the to-die-for accent, there are plenty of good reasons to pick a Viera. There’s also plenty of good reasons not to pick one, but dammit, you complained to SE to add them for 5 years and now you’re stuck with them.

Viera with a rocket launcher in Diadem
Journey through the Diadem once again with updates to the Ishgardian Restoration project. Image courtesy of Square Enix

Grading – I have a Viera alt because of course I do. I’d love to put them higher on the list, but there are a few reasons I just can’t. First, the headgear issue. Viera can’t wear most headgear and can’t wear many of the Modern Aesthetics hairstyles. They also suffer in the emote category, with most of their emotes being able to be replaced with /boredsupermodel. Nevertheless, they fill their niche nicely and definitely stand out in a crowd.

6. Hyur

Voted most likely to use the default character model in games.

What playing a Hyur says about you: In a world of fantastic races and creatures, you chose to play as a human. While some might argue this is a lack of sense of wonder or imagination, in Eorzea, you might stand out by being ordinary. Playing a Hyur means you don’t want to be locked out of anything, and the Hyur serves as the jack-of-all-trades race to ensure that won’t happen. Balanced and basic, it’s hard to go wrong.

Patch 5.2 introduces the character of Gaia, designed by famed FINAL FANTASY developer Tetsuya Nomura

Grading – The Hyur have a massive selection of hairstyles that are pretty good, and basically every glamour is made with them in mind first. Their emotes are a little weak in my opinion, and they can easily get lost in a crowd, however.

5. Au Ra Male

Voted most likely to not be old enough to drink.

What playing an Au Ra Male says about you: Playing a Dark Knight not broody enough for you? Well, the Xaela Au Ra Male can provide you with the ultimate edgelord fantasy. If you play a male Au Ra, you’ve probably at some point in your life named a sword “Soulstealer” or something to that effect.

Au'ra seen during the Werlyt Sorrow storyline. Image courtesy of Square-Enix.
Au’ra seen during the Werlyt Sorrow storyline. Image courtesy of Square-Enix.

Grading – I give both the Au Ra male and female credit for one thing: Dimorphism. I love that we finally have a race where the men and women actually look quite different. I have to dock points from the male Au Ra because they have one facial emote: brooding scowl. They struggle to do any positive emotion. Nevertheless, easily worth a top 5 slot.

4. Au Ra Female

Voted most likely to take one year of Japanese and tell your friends you’re fluent.

What playing an Au Ra Female says about you: Full disclosure, my wife plays a female Au Ra and I don’t want to sleep on the couch tonight. If you’re playing a female Au Ra, you either are a giant weeb, or you didn’t want to play a female Miqo’te because “everyone plays a female Miqo’te.” You secretly think dragons are cool, but not cool enough that you actually want to look like one. Low-key scaley suspicion.

Grading – As long as you’re okay with being a J-Pop idol, this is the race for you. They’ve got a solid set of emotes, and most glamours work well on them. Some headgear looks awkward depending on which horns you pick, but overall a solid choice.

3. Roegadyn Female

Voted most likely to get a concussion on the door frame.

What playing a Roegadyn Female says about you: You tried making a Hyur and said “Not tall enough.” So you made an Elezen, and that wasn’t tall enough. So you tried making a Viera, and that one burned down, tipped over, and still wasn’t tall enough. And at long last, you made your Roegadyn woman. You probably want to bench press your partner, and I’m here for it.

Grading – What else is there to say? I love their over-the-top emotes. Their massive frames let them show off glamours really well. While they don’t have the most hairstyles, they certainly have some of the most unique. They stand out in a crowd, and if your fantasy is to tell a woman that her daughter calls YOU “Mommy” too, you’re not going to do much better.

2. Elezen

Voted most likely to get the writer of this article laughed at.

What playing an Elezen says about you: Tall, graceful, spiritual, the long-lived elves have been a staple of fantasy since time immemorial (I.E. Tolkien). If you picked an Elezen, you have opinions about high fashion and a bottle of Perrier water in your fridge.

Alphinaud and Estinien.
Alphinaud and Estinien. Image courtesy of Square-Enix.

Grading – A lot of people will be surprised with how highly I rank Elezen, but I believe them to be the most underrated race in the game. People just try to build them wrong. The Elezen embody elegance and must be built that way. If you try to build them as your J-pop waifu, it’s not going to look right. They have a solid lineup of emotes, wear glamours well, stand out in a crowd and yes, fill their niche. Male Elezen = Bishi. Female Elezen = elegant lady. Get it right or pick another race.

1. Miqo’te Female

Voted most likely to win due to nepotism.

What playing a Miqo’te Female says about you: Yes, full disclosure, I play a female Miqo’te. That said, so does freaking everyone. They are the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Final Fantasy XIV. According to the FFXIV Census, they are far and away from the most played race. Now, what does it say about you? You’re a trans girl living out your dysphoric catgirl fantasies, or you’re a weeb who didn’t buy into the Au’ra hype. Maybe both. There’s also a third option for what it says about you, but I can’t say it in a PG-13 rated article.

M'naago in FFXIV.
M’naago in Final Fantasy XIV. Image courtesy of Square-Enix.

Grading – It’s no surprise the Miqo’te women are so beloved. Their lineup of emotes is second to none, and their feline frames wear most glamours extremely well. While their ears can cause some awkwardness with helmets, they also help them to stand out in a crowd along with their signature tails. They fill their niche extremely well and can fit a wide variety of characters. I appreciate the dimorphism between the keepers of the moon and the seekers of the sun, although I’d like to see it played up more in the story.

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Lead image courtesy of Square Enix