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.
Available after completing the quest Path of the Bard. A bright tune to soothe a party's wounds... A brisk march to raise a party's spirits... A forbidden chant to weaken a party's foes... The bards of Vana'diel use music as their weapon.
A bard uses songs as its main advantage to boost the partys stats. Bards have many magic spells but no Job Abilities.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Extremely sought after by party leaders.
Has the ability to strengthen the performance of every party member.
Can weaken enemy with slow songs that stack with a WHM/RDM/NIN's slow, and weakens resistance towards elements.
Lowers downtime for recovery after battles by being able to refresh MP and Regen HP.
When used well, a BRD can dramatically increase exp/hour in any party.
Soul Voice, the bards 2 hour ability, is very powerful, for example 2 attack songs with Soul Voice from a lvl 75 bard give an equivalent of Mighty Strikes to the melees, or a double march song the equivalent of Hundred Fists
Physically weak and poor in combat.
Extremely dependent on party, without others cooperation, they are unable to do their job correctly.
Can be one of the most frustrating jobs to do, in particular when a party refuses to cooperate. Parties often demand too much of BRD's at higher levels, and they may be responsible for more than 8 songs at a time.
Cast time on songs are generally 8 seconds, and situations can change greatly within that time frame.
One of two jobs that must be concerned with positioning of all members of a party. (Bard & Corsair since 2006)
Lack of Job abilities.
Extremely consistent and repetitive actions. Bard's will often be using the same songs over and over again in a party, running from the same two spots over and over again, and may never use some of the songs they learn other than for skilling up purposes.
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.
The most common choice, WHM as the support job gives access to a number of abilities that greatly help the party and generally help reduce party downtime by reducing the strain on the main healer with spells such as status effect cures, curaga, and Bar-ra spells. Early on, debuffs such as paralyze and slow also help, but as a BRD begins reaching higher levels; these spells have reduced effectiveness or are resisted outright.
A less common choice, this support job offers slightly higher Charisma in comparison to White Mage or Red Mage. If the player's Beastmaster job is leveled equally in comparison to Bard, it is possible to Charm strong enough monsters as pets to send against foes (particularly useful for solo combat, in which Bards are sorely limited). The downside of this support job choice is a lack of spells offered by alternatives.
Mostly, this support job is used for a Bard pulling in high level parties, substituting Utsusemi: Ni for Blink and Stoneskin from /WHM or /RDM. With the proper party setup and cooperation, the loss of curative spells from the /WHM or /RDM is balanced by better survivability and faster pulling speed thanks to Utsusemi: Ni's shorter cast time and more consistent damage absorption compared to Blink.
The /COR subjob adds one more global buff effect of the player's choice. As of a late 2006 update, it is possible to have two BRD songs and one COR roll active. (Previously, the COR roll would be counted as a song, and dispel one of the BRD effects; this was recognized by SE as a bug.) Further, a BRD song and COR roll with similar effects (like atk+ or acc+) will stack. This subjob also supplies the BRD/COR with buffing abilities that are not available to the main job, but supplement its intents -- like adding Ninja's Roll (eva+) to the standard atk+/acc+ repertoire for melee fighters, or even adding bonuses to pets for parties in which the BRD/COR is supporting a large number of DRGs or SMNs. The /COR will never be able to use the Evoker's Roll gained at COR40, but the hMP effect Healer's Roll can impressively complement the performance of Mage's Ballad and Mage's Ballad II between battles. Swapping in Corsair's Roll just before the death of a battle target can be used to increase the experience points gained. This combination is still rarely explored, but has great potential in a properly-assembled party.
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