Remember that this is only a guide to how to make the most of your job as a Bard. Never read the guides provided as a set way to play Bard, it is purely a personal job and takes development and understanding to play it to the best of your abilities. Take time to develop your own personal style.<This is a work in progress!>
What is the role of the Bard? A Bard uses the power of music to buff their party with various stat bonuses or even haste and refresh and debuff mobs so they are easier to kill.
How? There is Job Specific Equipment (JSE) for bard right from level 1 via instruments. Each instrument has varying stats to boost specific songs. With an instument equiped in the ranged slot we can put two songs on to the party but /BRD or no instrument equiped means we can only apply one song.
How to unlock Bard
Ok, this quest is real easy if you know where your going and what to do. To start this quest you must have a job levelled to 30, as all jobs need level 30 to start their opening quests then you will definately need to have one of the six starting jobs levelled to 30. I suggest obtaining a buffer into your level before attempting any quest just in case you die with no raise around but with Fields of Valor now just get Reraise for 10 tabs when you can.
Unlocking this job is seperated into 3 quests but are real easy. To flag the opening quest The Old Monument you need to speak to Mertaire who can be found in the Merry Minstrel Tavern in Lower Jeuno. Luckily for us Bki Tbujhja knows how we can help poor Mertaire. Once you have talked to both of these head to Buburimu Peninsula but DO NOT forget your Parchment which can easily be bought of the Auction House. Head to the beach in Buburimu Peninsula that is to the east on the map and on the east hand side there is a tunnel leading you onto another beach where the Song Runes are. Click the song runes for a cutscene. After the cutscene your quest log will change to A Minstrel in Despair and you can trade the parchment you have to the song runes and get a poetic parchment in return. Return to the Merry Minstrel Tavern and trade the poetic parchment to Mertaire for another cutscene. Ok 2/3 done, nearly there now!
The Path of the Bard, the final quest. Talk to Bki Tbujhja again who will tell you of song runes in Valkurm Dunes. Head to the secret (or not so secret anymore) beach in the dunes and select the song runes there for yet another cutscene.
Congratulations! You have just unlocked Bard.
Bard is a real quick job to level because parties just love you. Especially when you get Mage's Ballad at level 25 and Advancing March at level 29 which are refresh and haste respectively. To level Bard you need to do some research into your own job and other jobs as well to understand how to play this job class well. I will explain how songs effect different jobs and what to eat and wear to make you better.
Group 1 Merits
OK these levels are real easy to get up and don't need too much work ^^ but don't forget to get Signet and Fields of Valor provides additional buffs such as reraise, protect and shell and can give you fast EXP and some gil too. For these levels I suggest using White Mage subjob for curing yourself but it is your own choice. Bard get a B rating in Dagger skill so I suggest buying a real cheap dagger along with a Flute +1 (now don't worry, the +1 versions of instuments are no where near as expensive as equipment plus the NQ flute has no stats). In these levels you only obtain six songs which doesn't make the job too difficult just yet.
- Knight's Minne (Defence) Level 1
- Valor Minuet (Attack) Level 3
- Army's Paeon (Regen) Level 5
- Foe Requiem (Damage over Time) Level 7
- Herb Pastoral (Barpoison) Level 9
- Light Threnody (reduces resistance to Light Elemental Damage) Level 10
I can't tell you what songs are best for you to use at this level but at this level it should be rather obvious that when your attacking a mob use Minne and Minuet and if you start having issues with you HP cast Army's Paeon. It is suggested not to recast if they wear during a fight but a bard can not be interrupted if they are attacked and the skill ups will help ^^. If you choose to debuff a mob with Requiem then you will be helping youself a lot in the long run.
Congratulations! You have reached level 10 and making your way into the world of the bard. Now its time for some partying and put you to the test. Ok, maybe not so much of a test as these levels are real easy too just the dreaded Valkurm Dunes again. You can choose to carry on soloing through this portion of the levels via areas such as Tahrongi Canyon, Konschtat Highlands and La Theine Plateau. Levels 10-20 provide you with numerous more songs and equipment changes. Now to deal with a party situation. You need to know what will help your party members the most but remember you don't have to suit everyone just yet.
- Sword Madrigal (Accuracy) Level 11
- Dark Threnody (Lowers resistance to Dark Elemental Damage) Level 12
- Sheepfoe Mambo (Evasion) Level 13
- Earth Threnody (Lowers resistance to Earth Elemental Damage)Level 14
- Army's Paeon II (Regen Tier II) Level 15
- Foe Lullaby (Sleep) Level 16
- Water Threnody (Lowers resistance to Water Elemental Damage)Level 16
- Foe Requiem II (Damage over Time Tier II) Level 17
- Wind Threnody (Lowers resistance to Wind Elemental Damage) Level 18
- Scop's Operetta (Barsilence) Level 19
- Fire Threnody (Lowers resistance to Fire Elemental Damage) Level 20
Ok, now your song list is expanding and your not sure what songs to use! This is where you need to look at what jobs you have and how the party is doing. If you have a Warrior or Paladin Tank I would suggest using Minne for the defence boost however if you have a Ninja, Thief or Dancer in Party they may appreciate Mambo for the Evasion if they are tanking or pulling. As for the rest of the party, assume you have one song left to sing for them so we could give them Minuet or Madrigal for attack or accuracy respectively. I would suggest try using Minuet for the attack but if party members are missing too often cast Madrigal. Now with these songs you will need to ensure that you keep them up as much as possible so edit your chat filters so you can see when they wear off. Just a note that if you want to be a helpful Bard then the healer in the party would probably appreciate it if you cast both Peaon on your party members if their is a lack of MP or too much damage being taken. Now don't forget your Damage over Time and if there is the chance of a link be ready to sleep the link with Lullaby ^^. Also Remember to pay attention to your party members. They may suggest another song which might be more appropriate.
Now for level 20, see I told you levelling bard was fast but it does get more confusing now. These levels open further oppurtunity for bard to make a normal party Impossible to Gauge. Lost track of all your songs yet? No, it gets worse!
- Knight's Minne II (Defence Tier II) Level 21
- Enchanting Etude (Charisma) Level 22
- Ice Threnody (Lowers resistance to Ice Elemental Damage) Level 22
- Valor Minuet II (Attack Tier II) Level 23
- Lightning Threnody (Lowers resistance to Lightning Elemental Damage) Level 24
- Spirited Etude (Mind) Level 24
- Mage's Ballad (Refresh) Level 25
- Learned Etude (Intelligence) Level 26
- Horde Lullaby (Area of Effect Sleep) Level 27
- Quick Etude (Agility) Level 28
- Advancing March (Haste) Level 29
- Vivacious Etude (Vitality) Level 30
This is where your party needs to be prepared to listen to you. If your mages havent learnt to stand away from party just yet try and encourage them to stand away from the party but at a distance feasible for healing or nuking etc. Now any mage job, so White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage, Scholar and Summoner will appreciate Mage's Ballad. As for other MP users such as Paladin, Blue mage and Dark Knight if you know your spell casting range try and land them with ballad too, if not nevermind. Now your mages have Ballad what else to give them? Well a healer can never have enough Mind so Spirited Etude is best. A nuker can never have too much Intelligence so pop a Learned Etude on them. The Etudes are single target so no worries about range ^^. Now for your main party, this is where you can personalise Bard to you. You can never go wrong with March but only use it if your party are constantly hitting. Attack will help all Damage dealers so strongly suggested and again Accuracy is needed if you feel party is missing too much. You may need to do experimenting with every party but a good Bard will not always get it right. Now you don't have to play that way, you can purely play bard how you want and if your party are happy with your style then by all means and it means you have learnt a valuable lesson very quickly. You don't NEED to follow a traditional bard.
Realistically, it would be better to get your mage's ballad onto all jobs that may be using MP. So as a rough guide here is some positioning (this is a very mage heavy party and is rather unlikely). So say your party includes White Mage, Black Mage, Paladin, Blue Mage, Samurai, Ideally for all mage jobs to get Ballad you would need to organise the member locations like such...
For another party style: WHM, PLD, WAR, MNK, THF
Congratulations on reaching level 30! You're doing really well. Now your party songs won't change too much during these levels so just rinse and repeat your usual cycles. As for debuffs this is where your work will be cut out.
- Hunter's Prelude (Ranged accuracy) Level 31
- Dextrous Etude (Dexterity) Level 32
- Fowl Aubade (Resistance against Sleep) Level 33
- Magic Finale (Dispel) Level 33
- Sinewy Etude (Strength) Level 34
- Army's Paeon III (Regen Tier II) Level 35
- Light Carol (Light Elemental Resistance) Level 36
- Foe Requiem III (Damage over Time Tier III) Level 37
- Raptor Mazurka (Increase movement speed) Level 37
- Earth Carol (Earth Elemental Resistance) Level 38
- Battlefield Elegy(Slow) Level 39
- Water Carol (Water Elemental Resistance) Level 40
Like I said above your songs don't change too much but any Ranger in your party would love a Hunter's Prelude, this is a single target spell so not to worry about range with this one. As I said you are now able to debuff a mob with relative ease. Battlefield Elegy is a must ^^ as is your new higher tier Requiem. As for Finale, this is situational, if you see a mob buff itself with anything be quick on the dispel or your party may struggle. Good luck and don't forget Mage's Ballad!!