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Bard Basics Guide

Final Fantasy XIV, with its expansive universe and detailed class system, offers players a myriad of ways to engage in its rich MMO experience. Among its diverse class roster, the Bard stands out as a unique blend of ranged DPS prowess and party support capabilities. Venturing through the lands of Eorzea (and beyond) as a Bard offers a harmonious experience that’s both challenging and rewarding. Whether you’re orchestrating the battlefield with your melodies or unleashing a volley of arrows, understanding the nuances of this job is vital. Let’s probe into the Bard Basics Guide, where we’ll cover everything from your initial steps to mastering high-level content.

Becoming a Bard#

Before you can don the mantle of a Bard, you must first embark on your journey as an Archer. The city of Gridania is where your quest begins, amidst the verdant forests of the Black Shroud. Aspiring Bards must reach level 30 as an Archer (ARC) and complete the quest “The One That Got Away,” a pivotal point that marks your transition from a mere Archer to the esteemed role of a Bard.

This transition isn’t just about a change in title; it represents a fundamental shift in gameplay and responsibilities. Bards play a crucial role in any party, providing not only damage but also invaluable buffs through their songs. However, to fully embrace the path of the Bard, one must also complete the main scenario quest, “Sylph-management,” ensuring you’re well-acquainted with the world of FFXIV and its core mechanics.

Bard Songs#

The essence of a Bard lies in their ability to perform songs that empower allies and bewilder foes. Understanding and mastering your repertoire is key to becoming a formidable Bard. There are three primary songs in your arsenal, each serving a specific purpose and altering your gameplay:

  1. Mage’s Ballad: This melody is a boon for casters and healers, as it reduces the cooldown of their spells. When played strategically, Mage’s Ballad can significantly boost your party’s overall DPS and healing output.

  2. Army’s Paeon: A song that gradually increases the attack speed of all party members. It’s particularly beneficial during prolonged battles, allowing for more frequent attacks and abilities.

  3. The Wanderer’s Minuet: A powerful tune that adds a charge mechanic to your attacks, enhancing your overall damage. Ideal for bursting down high-priority targets or bosses.

Juggling these songs effectively requires not just an understanding of their effects but also a keen sense of timing and situational awareness. Each song lasts for 30 seconds with a short cooldown, necessitating precise rotation to maintain optimal buffs and DPS output.

Bard Rotation#

A Bard’s rotation is dynamic, adapting to the ebb and flow of battle and the requirements of the party. However, there are fundamental principles that guide an efficient DPS output while fulfilling your role as a party buffer.

Opening Rotation#

  1. Pre-cast The Wanderer’s Minuet - Ensure this song is active as you enter combat to take advantage of its damage-enhancing effects.
  2. Stormbite and Caustic Bite - Apply these DoTs (Damage over Time effects) to maintain consistent damage.
  3. Iron Jaws - Use this ability to refresh the duration of your DoTs on the target.
  4. Barrage + Refulgent Arrow - A powerful combo that significantly boosts your burst damage.
  5. Sidewinder - Use this when both DoTs are on the target for maximized damage.

Ongoing Rotation#

After the initial burst, your focus shifts to maintaining DoTs, cycling through songs, and using abilities as they come off cooldown. A key aspect of Bard gameplay is reacting to procs, such as Pitch Perfect and Bloodletter resets, integrating these into your rotation effectively.

AoE Rotation#

  1. Quick Nock and Rain of Death - Your primary AoE abilities. Rain of Death also has a chance to reset Bloodletter, enhancing your AoE DPS.
  2. Maintain Songs - Even in AoE scenarios, keeping your songs in rotation is vital for party support.

Bard gameplay is heavily reliant on maintaining a rhythm, weaving in abilities between your Global Cooldowns (GCDs) and reacting to procs to maximize your DPS output and party support.

Bard Gear#

Gear plays a significant role in optimizing your performance as a Bard. Prioritize equipment that boosts Dexterity, as it directly elevates your attack power. Secondary stats to look for include:

  1. Critical Hit Rate - Increases the chance and potency of your critical hits.
  2. Direct Hit Rate - Increases the chance of your hits being direct, offering a moderate damage boost.
  3. Skill Speed - Reduces the Global Cooldown of your abilities, allowing for faster attacks.

Progressing through endgame content, such as raids and high-level dungeons, will grant you access to gear that significantly enhances these stats. Participating in these activities is essential for collecting Tomestones and high-quality equipment.

Bard Quests#

Bard’s journey is punctuated with class-specific quests that not only enrich the lore behind this musical archer but also unlock potent abilities. These quests become available at intervals, starting from level 30 and continuing up to the current level cap.

Each quest looks deeper into the mystical aspect of Bards, teaching you new songs and abilities that are crucial for both your damage output and party support capabilities. Notably, the level 50 quest, “A Song of Bards and Bowmen,” and the level 80 quest, “A Harmony from the Heavens,” are milestones that significantly enhance your repertoire.

Engaging with these quests is not just about unlocking new abilities; it’s about immersing yourself in the lore of Eorzea and understanding the significance of Bards within this world. Each quest is a step towards mastering this complex yet rewarding job.

Final Thoughts#

The journey of a Bard in Final Fantasy XIV is a symphony of arrows and melodies, a test of both individual skill and teamwork. Mastery comes not from memorizing rotations, but from understanding the ebb and flow of battle and the needs of your party. As you progress, you’ll find the Bard’s versatility and utility make it a rewarding job for both casual play and high-stakes raids.

Mastering the Bard is an art, demanding dedication, agility, and a keen sense of timing. But for those willing to walk this path, the rewards are as plentiful as the melodies you’ll weave. Whether you’re providing the soundtrack to your party’s victories or standing alone on the battlefield, the life of a Bard is one of confront, camaraderie, and adventure. Welcome to the ensemble; your journey has just begun.

Bard Basics Guide
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