FFXIV Game Controller Targeting Tips and Tricks

FFXIV Game Controller Targeting Tips and Tricks by AwwComeOnNow

One of the things I still see asked a lot, and don’t see a guide for, is effective targeting with a controller.

I think that I’ve got it pretty well figured out and would love to share my knowledge.

So, without further ado…

AwwComeOnNow’s Guide for Quick and Effective Targeting with a Controller!

For the purpose of this guide, I will use the name of the PlayStation buttons, as that is the controller that I use and am familiar with. If you use an Xbox controller, just use the table below to see what button it corresponds to.

PS3/4 X-Box Use
X A Target Closest Enemy
O B Untarget all
[Squ]are X Right click context menu
[Tri]angle Y Jump
R1/L1 RB/LB Tab Target
R2/L2 RT/LT Hotbar Actions
R3/L3 R/L Stick Click Sheath/Lock on/ First Person
Dpad Left/Right Same Cycle Through current Filter
DPad Up/Down Same Cycle Through party list.

I will not be going into setting up target filters for the different type of targets and key binds. The methods laid out in this guide do not rely on any of the target filters.

Types of Targeting

  1. Hard Targeting Hard Targeted Enemy:
    1. This is the main type of targeting that is used in the game.
    2. The icon for a Hard Targeted target is a nice big arrow pointing downwards above their head.
    3. If you character is auto attacking, there will be a periodically rotating circle directly above the target arrow.
    4. Hard targeted enemies will have a heavy gold background in the Enmity List
    5. Hard targeted party members will have a Hard Blue Box around their name in the party list.
    6. Hard targeting anything can normally be accomplished by having your character face the object and pressing X. I believe this is supposed to target the nearest target-able thing. But it seems to take into account which direction you’re facing.
  2. Soft Targeting Soft Targeted Enemy:
    1. The icon for a Soft Targeted is a a thin lined circle on top of (drawn around the torso area) of the target.
    2. Soft targeting gives us a similar function as a KB/M users <mo> targeting function.
    3. A Soft Target is a temporary target that will either reset to a Hard Targeted enemy or character after using a skill, or become a Hard Target if no other Hard Target is selected.
    4. A Soft targeted enemy will have a faint yellow glow behind their name in the Enmity List.
    5. A Soft targeted party member will also have a light yellow glow behind their name in the party list.
    6. A Soft target will become a Hard Target if you hit “X”, or if you cast a spell while you do not have a Hard Target already set.
    7. Pressing “O” while soft targeting will either clear the target, or switch back to your hard target if you had one. (Thanks to /u/kovensky)
  3. Focus Targeting Focused Target:
    1. The icon for a Focus Target is a smaller, less pronounced arrow pointing downwards above their head.
    2. Setting a Focus target is done by pressing [Squ] while having the desired target selected. There will be a menu item to “Focus Target”.
    3. You can also create a macro that will set your Focus Target for you. (“/focustarget <t>” will set your current Hard or Soft target to Focused)
    4. Setting a Focus Target gives you the ability to monitor the health, buffs/debuffs, and spell casts of a target without having to directly target them.
    5. It also allows you to use the <f> tag in a macro. This allows you to set an action to perform on the Focused Target, regardless of what your Hard and Soft Targets are. (i.e. “/ac Cure <f>” will always cast cure on your focused target, as long as you are in range)

Here is what it looks like when auto attacking a Hard Targeted Focus Target. They arrows nest neatly inside one another, with the Auto Attack circle above the arrows.

Navigation and Selection of Different Target Types

There are a handful of ways to target the various things you encounter. Ill go over some of the main buttons that I use to quickly select what I need to.

  1. Enemy Targeting
    1. “Tab Targeting” on the PC refers to tapping the Tab button to cycle through on screen enemies.
      • When using a controller, this is achieved by pressing L1 and R1 WHILE you have L2 or R2 pressed.
      • Tab targeting will cycle left and right (L1/R1) through the enemies on screen.
      • Tab targeting will make Hard selections, not soft.
      • You do not need to have a target already for this to work. Pressing it with no target will select the first enemy to your left or right.
      • The problem most people run into with this is that the “Left and Right Cycle” does not care if the enemy is engaged or not. It also does not care how close you are to the enemy. It is an absolute, X Axis of your screen, pixel by pixel, Left and Right of the currently targeted enemy.
      • To overcome this little difficulty, I tend to point the camera strait top down, so that the only enemies that it is able to cycle through are the ones on screen, which should only be the ones you are fighting.
    2. “Enmity List Cycling” is the PC Equivalent of selecting an enemy name directly from the Enmity List
      • Pressing L1+ Up and L1 + Down will cycle up and down through the list of enemies in the Enmity List.
      • Enmity list cycling uses soft targeting.
      • This is especially useful for selecting enemies with a certain amount health (Burn the lowest? Start on the highest?), or getting back on the boss after getting off adds.
      • If no enemy is selected, pressing either up or down will start the cycle from the very top of the list. If an enemy is selected, it will cycle up or down from the selected enemies name.
  2. Friendly Targeting
    1. Party List Cycling
      • Pressing Up and Down on the D Pad will cycle up and down through the party list.
      • If you do not have a party member targeted, the list will begin to cycle from your name, regardless of if you press up or down. Otherwise it will move up or down from your selected target.
      • Cycling up and down cycles with soft targets. (Note For Scholars: Using Embrace from your hotbar with a soft target will not switch back to your hard target, or create a hard target after casting. Eos/Selene’s skills don’t count as your action, so they do not trigger this effect, and the target will remain a soft target.)
      • With Automatic party sorting enabled, this will allow you to directly target your MT and OT with 2 or 3 Taps on the Down dpad, Or Up twice to select your pet. (With no previous party member selected)
    2. Alliance List Cycling
      • Pressing L1 +Left or L1 + Right on the Dpad will cycle through the 2 Alliance lists if they are available. If no alliance member is selected, it will start on the lowest letter Alliance, on the First tank in the list.
      • As of right now, there isn’t a huge need to target alliance members. But this seems the most reliable method if need be.

In Practice (A Summation)

  1. DPSing –
    • Try to mainly use Tab Targeting (L2/R2 + L1/R1) to quickly snap between different enemies. Especially if there are only a few on screen.
    • Use L1 + up and Down for more control over what you’re targeting. Most useful when there are a bunch on enemies on screen, and Tab Targeting is unreliable.
  2. Tanking –
    • Tab targeting can be a bit easier for a tank, since (in most cases) the mobs should kind of line up and circle around you. Tabbing left and right isnt as bad.
    • Enmity list cycling is helpful for quickly grabbing that mob that you lost hate on. Since a running Mob can be difficult to Tab Target, L1 + Up and Down will guarantee that the mob you’ve lost is the mob you’re targeting.
  3. Healing –
    • Pressing Up and Down to select your party members will be your primary targeting method.
    • Get used to Hard targeting your tank, and then using soft targeting to heal other party members. Doing this will make sure you’re always ready to heal the tank after healing others.
    • Scholars, learn to use embrace with Soft targeting to double the amount of healing you have control over.
    • Use party targeting along with DPS Targeting styles to lay down some damage when you get a chance.


  • L2/R2 + L1/R1 To quickly tab though enemies.
  • L1 + Up and Down to Cycle through the Enmity List
  • Up and Down to cycle through the Party List
  • L1 + Left and Right to cycle though Alliance members.

And that’s it. Please let me know if you see any mistakes, or feel any improvements can be made. I hope this helps as many people as possible play the game just a bit better.

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