This article is only a guide. Information expressed in a guide is usually more opinion than fact and should be taken as such. Guides are written by players, based upon their experiences, successes and mistakes, and are meant to aid other players. However, there may be differing opinions than those expressed in a guide. Strategies and information in guides may not work for everyone.
With their bodies that double as deadly weapons, monks attack enemies with explosive strength. As one of the six standard jobs, Monk can be chosen by players at the very start of the game. Monk is designed as a Hand-to-Hand weapon specialist, and is capable of wreaking havoc with fast and furious punches. Preserving Final Fantasy tradition, Monk retains many classic abilities including Martial Arts, Chakra, Max HP Boost, and Counter. Complete with a full set of powerful weapon skills, Monks are a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Attacks are extremely fast and consistent, and only get faster as level increases.
Monk ranks amongst the most powerful damage dealers in the game.
Access to the most powerful Hand-to-Hand weapon skills.
A Monk's Blunt type of damage is strong versus undead.
Chi Blast, when enhanced by a lot of +MND gear and many Boosts before use, can cause amazing damage versus any monster. This attack is also a basis of many HNM strategies.
Must compete with many other melee players for party slots.
Equipment selection is very expensive at mid- and high-levels.
Incapable of participating in the Distortion skillchain until level 60.
Very gear-dependent job class.
Has difficulty being efficient against high-defense monsters.
Has little access to armor that provides good defense.
Relatively poor spike damage dealer. (But, remember monk by no means is a Spike damage dealer class)
Final Fantasy XI allows players to choose between five different races, each with its own strengths and weaknesses in terms of stats. While certain races' stats are better matched to some jobs more than others, the differences are never so profound as to prevent any race from playing any particular job (except for Elvaans and Black Mage). All players can excel at any job they so choose, provided they have the skill and the equipment; the race selection is mostly an aesthetic decision.
Well - the choice of race is easy - pick what you enjoy most! Remember each race has strengths and weaknesses. Just a few examples: Elvaan have high strength and mind, but low accuracy; Mithra have good accuracy but lack in strength; Galka have great Strength and Vitality (their smallest weakness being an average agility); Tarutaru really lack strength but have a good Dexterity and Agility score; Hume have no real weakness but no real strength either. All can, and need to be, enhanced by the gear you use. (If you are playing an Elvaan, you will want to equip more gear that enhances accuracy, Mithra require more strength-enhancing gear, etc. Even Tarutaru can become good monks using the right gear.) Take your pick, play what you like!
Warrior is by far the most popular and useful support job for Monk in almost every situation. All of the Warrior's abilities are powerful and aid Monks immensely in the damage department. Having Warrior equipped as a subjob allows a Monk to be one of the best damage dealers in the game.
A common misconception made by newer players of the game is to assume that subbing Warrior is only useful if you wish to tank. This is not the case. Warrior is by far the most powerful damage-oriented subjob in the game, and is without a doubt the "best" subjob for a Monk player who wishes to do more damage in almost all situations from level 1 all the way to level 75.
Berserk is a very useful ability, which gives an immense increase in attack, but leaves Monks very susceptible to taking large amounts of damage. Attack Bonus gives Monks a +10 increase in base attack that is present the entire time, being a trait. Defense Bonus on the other hand also gives Monks a +10 increase to base Defense which helps decrease the damage dealt to a Monk slightly, compared to other subjobs that do not offer other types of defensive abilities; also a trait. Double Attack is a no-brainer to why it helps, as it enables a Monk to attack up to five times in one round!
However at later levels, about 72 and beyond, Monk will often be subbing NIN for the defensive bonus of Utsusemi.
The ability Sneak Attack at level 15 thief directs a boost in power to weapon skills, adding a guaranteed critical hit if used from behind. However, due to Sneak Attack's weak nature when Thief is equipped as a subjob, this ability is almost a complete waste if not used with a weapon skill. Furthermore, since most Monk weapon skills are multi-hit, only a select few will receive a noticeable boost from a Thief's abilities at all. After level 60, the addition of Trick Attack makes this subjob a more appealing choice due to its ability to allow a Monk to transfer his/her enmity to another player, thus not worrying about placing too much stress on the healer. Another benefit of Thief as a subjob outside of a party situation is access to the Treasure Hunter ability, which will greatly aid a player's efforts in making money, as well as Evasion Bonus.
Samurai is a rather uncommon subjob that gives access to Store TP at level 20, and Third Eye at level 30. Hasso and Seigan sadly do not benefit Monks whatsoever (unless using a staff) since Hand-to-hand is not considered a two-handed weapon type. At Level 60, the ability Meditate is obtained, which allows the Monk to WS more often. This is a fun choice for Ballista, although in a pure damage race it still loses to the Warrior subjob. For a party, stick to Warrior or Thief.
This is a popular choice in lvl 74+ EXP party for the so called tp-burn parties where no actual tank is present. The Ninja subjob is used for one reason only: Utsusemi. Utsusemi allows a Monk to solo many things for fun, to tank many prime NMs, and to prevent death from dealing too much damage in EXP parties. It is also used in Dynamis to reduce a player's death rate.
This subjob has a lot of utility outside of a party situation. Spells like Sneak and Invisible allow a player to save money when going on dungeon raids for coffers or other adventures, and it is also a very good choice for soloing since it allows a player to remove otherwise nasty status effects. The White Mage support job is also the primary choice for all Monks to enhance the Chi Blast ability against enemies that simply cannot be dealt significant damage through punching. In many endgame situations the Chi Blast is the only way a monk deals damage, and in addition to that the monk needs the Stoneskin and Cures to keep himself alive while waiting for the Chi Blast timer.
Dragoon is the best subjob for a Monk at levels 20-29 for straight damage dealing. However the Provoke ability will be lost which can be essential in some party situations. From 30-69 Warrior is clearly the best subjob, in terms of damage, for a Monk. From 70-75 there has been some debate as to whether the DRG or WAR SJ is best in terms of damage. The DRG subjob, at level 70 and above, offers Attack Bonus, Accuracy Bonus, Jump, High Jump and 5% Haste from the Wyvern Earring which can compare to the Berserk, Double Attack and Attack Bonus offered by the WAR subjob. As a side note Boots that have the hidden Kick attacks +Damage effect also effect Jump damage.
Usable for fun solo situations only, not a subjob for any party situation or endgame activity. A rather non-typical sub job, this provides some very odd benefits to a Monk. The first of these is from a statistical view for it gives the monk even more HP, VIT and MND than a WAR sub, but at the expense of the offensive bonuses from other sub jobs. At level 10 the sub gives Undead Killer and Holy Circle, giving the monk even more anti-undead power. At 70 the Auto RefreshJob Trait is also obtained which can greatly assist with soloing and skilling up guard.
The Red Mage subjob allows soloing freedom like the White Mage subjob in the fact that it also allows de-buffing paired with standard curing capacity, although the true nature of a Red Mage's abilities start at level 34, when you gain access to the En-spells. since En-spells are dealt out on a per hit basis, a 2 hitting weapon gets 2 En-spell effects per attack round. While the overall damage is somewhat lesser that your standard melee subjobs, you gain a greater versatility in your damage capacity. Your ability to take less damage while soloing becomes more noticeable when once Phalanx and Stoneskin becomes available.
The Subjob Dancer makes a Monks HP almost Limitless. When combining Monks Ability to Attack fast and the ability to Absorb HP from the target with Drain Samba II obtained at 35 for Dancer and 70 for Monk.Not to mention Curing Waltz II Obtained at 30 for Dancer, 60 for Monk can be very helpful with a recast of 8 seconds, Healing 150~200 HP in your Chakra Gear setup. Due to Monks already high Vit and it being a Main Stat. in Curing Waltz II makes it a very helpful and effect ability. For Monks that sometimes seeing a issue with Accuracy, Dancer Gets the Job trait Accuracy Bonus at Lv.30, very helpful for Raging Fists and Asuran Fists(Both multi-hit weapon skills) Later on. Making Dancer a great subjob for soloing or for Partying later on in your Levels.