Players usually think of wandering minstrels who provide support buffs and utilities whenever the term "Bard" is used. While this is true for most games and MMOs, Final Fantasy injects a bit of variety into the stereotypical support class. Instead of just being singers and musicians who provide utilities, Bards present gamers with a unique alternative to gamers looking to deal tons of damage while also providing various buffs to their teammates.
What is a Bard?
People have always thought of Bards as wandering minstrels who regale stories of heroes through their songs and poems. These musicians are typically seen in taverns or at feasts entertaining various guests with their art. However, people seem to have forgotten the origins of these minstrels.
Bards trace their roots to the archers of eld. These masters of the bow were always fielded in the plains of battle, providing uplifting songs while shooting down enemies with their masterful archery. Their music in war offers strength to the living and peace to the dying.
Bards are one of the many DPS classes that exist in the game. They primarily serve as one of the very few physical range characters. Gamers may find figuring out how to be an effective DPS is hard. Fortunately, this FFXIV Bard Guide can help players become the best-ranged character in the game.
How to Unlock Bard in FFXIV?
Players must first progress through the introductory Archer class to become a Bard. Upon reaching level 30,
they can interact with Luciane and accept the "Songs of Bards and Bowmen" quest to be taken into this field. Fortunately, players don't need to own any expansions to become one.
Other requirements include completing the "Slyph Management" quest, which is part of the main scenario questline. Players should also have completed the lvl 30 Archer mission "The One that Got Away." All of these sequences are in Gridania.
Gear and Materia
Bards need to increase their DPS capabilities by focusing on melding stats that will help them improve their attack power. Fortunately, choosing the right attributes is not that difficult. This class prioritizes the primary allocation like Dex while following secondary stats common to most DPS. Here are the points that Bards should focus on getting:
- Weapon Damage
- Critical Hit
- Direct Hit
- Skill Speed
Players should focus on getting weapon damage and Dexterity. However, when it comes to Materia, the priority is Critical Hit and then Determination. Crit Hit, Det, and Direct Hit help develop their DPS capabilities further.
The focus would be on DET, CRIT, and DH for gear. Mixing Skill Speed is optional. Here are the BiS items for this class:
- Asphodelos Harp Bow – SKS +36 | DH +36
- Augmented Radiant's Mask of Aiming – CRIT +36 | CRIT +36
- Asphodelos Himation of Aiming – DET +36 | DET +36
- Asphodelos Gloves of Aiming – CRIT +36 | DH +36
- Augmented Radiant's Hose of Aiming – CRIT +36 | CRIT +36
- Augmented Radiant's Sabatons of Aiming – DET +36 | DET +36
- Asphodelos Earrings of Aiming – DET +36 | DET +36
- Augmented Radiant's Choker of Aiming – CRT +36 | DH +36
- Augmented Radiant's Bracelet of Aiming – DET +36 | DH +36
- Asphodelos Ring of Aiming – DET +36 | DET +36
- Augmented Radiant's Ring of Aiming – CRIT +36 | CRIT +36
Players will go through all the available job quests since they are done in chronological order. However, there are specific missions that are more important because they provide various rewards that are essential to Bard's kit. These include tasks that unlock skills and offer items and coffers. Here are the crucial quests in the Bard Job questline:
- A Song of Bards and Bowmen (lvl 30) - unlocks Mage's Ballad
- The Archer's Anthem (lvl 35) - unlocks The Warden's Paean
- Bard’s-eye View (lvl 40) - unlocks Army’s Paeon
- Doing It the Bard Way (lvl 45) - unlocks Rain of Death
- Pieces of the Past (lvl 45) - rewards Choral Chapeau, Choral Ringbands, Choral Tights, and Choral Sandals
- Requiem for the Fallen (lvl 50) - unlocks Battle Voice and A Bard's Tale I and rewards Choral Shirt and Bard's Attire Coffer
- The Stiff and the Spent (lvl 52) - unlocks The Wanderer's Minuet
- Requiem on Ice (lvl 54) - unlocks Empyreal Arrow
- When Gnaths Cry (lvl 56) - unlocks Iron Jaws
- The Ballad of Oblivion (lvl 60) - unlocks Sidewinder and A Bard's Tale II and rewards Aoidos' Attire Coffer
- Sweet Dreams Are Made of Peace (lvl 70) - unlocks Refulgent Arrow, Straight Shot Master, and A Bard's Tale III and rewards Storyteller's Attire Coffer
- A Harmony from the Heavens (lvl 80) - unlocks A Bard's Tale IV and rewards Heavens' Eye Materia VII, Savage Aim Materia VII, and Savage Might Materia VII
How to Play Bard in FFXIV
As a Range Physical DPS, the job of Bards is to provide potent damage while popping buffs and utilities at the same time. Fortunately for players, there is no specific rotation for this class as it relies primarily on what abilities are available. Gamers need to understand the skill set of this job to make better combinations and know which powers should be used more often. Here are the all the actions available to Bards:
- Heavy Shot – deals 160 Potency damage with a 20% chance of activating Straight Shot Ready for 30s
- Straight Shot – deals 200 Potency damage and can only be used when Straight Shot Ready is active
- Venomous Bite – deals 100 Potency damage while inflicting 15 Potency Venom damage for 45seconds
- Quick Nock – deals 110 Potency damage to all enemies in a cone with a 35% chance of activating Shadowbite Ready
- Windbite – deals 60 Potency Wind damage while inflicting 20 Potency Wind damage over time for 45seconds
- Iron Jaws – deals 100 Potency damage which resets the duration of Caustic Bite or Strombite Effect if the target is afflicted with them while having a 35% chance of activating Straight Shot Ready for 30s
- Caustic Bite – deals 150 Potency damage that inflicts 20 Potency Poison damage for 45s and has a 35% chance of activating Straight Shot Ready for 30s
- Stormbite – deals 100 Potency Wind damage that inflicts 25 Potency Wind DoT for 45s and has a 35% chance of activating Straight Shot Ready for 30s
- Refulgent arrow – deals 280 Potency damage and can only be used when Straight Shot Ready is active
- Shadowbite – deals 170 Potency damage to a target and nearby foes with a Barrage Potency of 270 and can only be used when Shadowbite Ready is active
- Burst Shot – deals 220 Potency damage with a 35% chance of activating Straight Shot Ready for 30s
- Apex Arrow –deals 100 Potency damage to enemies in a straight line using up 20 Soul Voice wherein Potency can increase to 500 depending on the Soul Voice Gauge and can activate Grant Blast Arrow Ready when used while the gauge is 80 or higher
- Landonsbite – deals 130 Potency damage to all enemies in a cone with a 35% chance of activating Shadowbite Ready for 30s
- Blast Arrow – deals 600 Potency damage to the first enemy in a straight line and 60% less to the rest, which can only be used when Blast Arrow Ready is active
- Raging Strikes – increases damage by 35% for 20s
- Bloodletter – deals 110 Potency Damage and has 3 charges while sharing a CD with Rain of Death
- Repelling Shot – leaps 10 yalms away from a target
- Mage's Ballad – deals 100 Potency unaspected damage while activating Mage's Ballad to everyone in a 30 yalms radius, which increases damage by 1% for 45s, and has a 80% chance of granting Repertoire, which reduces the cooldown of Bloodletter and Rain of Death by 7.5s while granting Mage's Coda
- The Warden's Paean – cleanses one status ailment from self or any party member or creates a barrier nullifying any debuff for 30s if the target is not enfeebled
- Barrage – triples the number of times a single-target weaponskill is activated within 10s, can increase the Shadowbite's Potency to 270, and starts Straight Shot Ready for 30s
- Army's Paeon – deals 100 Potency unaspected damage that activates Army's Paeon to self and friendlies in a 30 yalms radius, which increases DH by 3% for 45s, and has an 80% chance of granting Repertoire
- Rain of Death – deals 100 Potency damage to a target and nearby foes and has 3 charges while sharing a CD with Bloodletter
- Battle Voice – increases DH of self and nearby friendlies by 20% for 15s
- The Wanderer's Minuet – deals 100 Potency unaspected damage that will provide Wanderer's Minuet bonus to self and nearby party members within a 30 yalms radius, which increases Crit Rate by 2% for 45s, and has an 80% chance of activating Repertoire
- Pitch Perfect – deals varying Potency on a target depending on the Repertoire Stacks (1 – 100, 2 – 220, and 3 – 360) and can only be used when Wanderer's Minuet is active
- Empyreal Arrow – deals 200 Potency damage
- Sidewinder – deals 300 Potency damage
- Troubadour - provides 10% damage mitigation to self and friendlies for 15s
- Nature's Minne – provides a 20% increase in HP recovery for 15s when using healing actions for self or friendlies
- Radiant Finale – increases self and party mate's damage depending on the number of different Codas that are active in the Song Gauge (1 – 2%, 2 – 4%, and 3 – 6%) and can only be used when there is at least one coda activated
- Leg Graze – inflicts 40% Heavy for 10s
- Second Wind – recovers 500 Potency of own HP
- Foot Graze – binds target for 10s and unbinds the target when receiving damage
- Peloton – provides bonus movement speed to self and nearby party mates for 30s
- Head Graze – disrupts the target's action
- Arm's Length – conjures a barrier that nullifies most knockbacks and vacuum attacks for 6s and slows down by 20% of enemies who hit the shield for 15s
Bards need to observe five gauges that appear in their kit. Fortunately, these meters are not that complicated to understand. Here are all the mechanics in this class:
- Mage's Ballad – a Song Gauge for Mage's Ballad displaying the remaining duration of the status
- Army's Paeon – a Song Gauge for Army's Paeon displaying the remaining duration of the status
- The Wanderer's Minuet – a Song Gauge for The Wanderer's Ballad displaying the remaining duration of the status
- Soul Voice Gauge – increases the tandem with Repertoire and is exhausted when Apex Arrow is activated
- Coda – displays the active codas (Mage, Army, Wanderer) that are generated upon the use of the representative skills and allows the use of Radiant Finale
The best thing about Bards is that players do not strictly need to follow any rotations. Messing up a combo doesn't reduce the effectiveness of this class in battle, but it does affect the GCD and weaponskill recast. For those who still want to be very precise with their combinations, here are the best skill rotations for the Bard:
- Stormbite > The Wanderer’s Minuet > Raging Strikes > Caustic Bite > Empyreal Arrow > Bloodletter > Burstshot/Refulgent Arrow > Radiant Finale > Battle Voice > Burstshot/Refulgent Arrow > Barrage/Sidewinder > Burstshot/Refulgent Arrow > Barrage/Sidewinder (whichever is available) > Burstshot/Refulgent Arrow x3 > Empyreal Arrow > Iron Jaws > Pitch Perfect
- The Wanderer’s Minuet > Mage’s Ballad > Army’s Paeon
- Mage’s Ballad > Army’s Paeon > The Wanderer’s Minuet (for multi-target)
- Stormbite > Caustic Bite > Iron Jaws > Apex Arrow > Blast Arrow > Refulgent Arrow > Burst Shot
Rotations Depending on Songs
- The Wanderer’s Minuet: Pitch Perfect > Pitch Perfect > Empyreal Arrow > Bloodletter
- Mage’s Ballad: Bloodletter > Empyreal Arrow > Sidewinder > Bloodletter
- Army’s Paeon: Empyreal Arrow > Bloodletter
- Burstshot/Refulgent Arrow > The Wanderer’s Minuet > Burstshot/Refulgent Arrow > Raging Strikes > Empyreal Arrow > Burstshot/Refulgent Arrow > Bloodletter > Burstshot/Refulgent Arrow > Radiant Finale > Battle Voice
FFXIV Bard Tips
- Always have a song to ensure the party benefits from the buffs.
- Empyreal Arrow should be used as much as possible.
- ABC (Always Be Casting) is essential. Do not be idle. Either provide utilities to the team or DPS.
- Bards should be careful with their positionals. As Ranged DPS, they can freely move around, making them susceptible to accidentally going out of range of buffs and heals.
The main trick to understanding Bards is to know which skills should be used during specific songs. This mechanic might take some time to get used to for new players. However, these techniques can significantly help gamers become excellent Range Physical DPS.