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Bard

Bard (BRD) unlike ARC takes some of that Job specific specialization and pushes ARC into a support role. In fact almost all of their Job abilities are support based, even the damage dealing ability Rain of Death. Though they did end up changing the additional effect of Rain of Death from -10% damage dealt inflicted on all affected to -10% evasion which really isn’t useful considering the staggeringly high TP cost of Rain of Death and its general weakness compared to their other abilities which they could and should be using to increase damage. Since it’s so infinitely easy to hit the accuracy cap there is really no reason for Rain of Death to be used for an accuracy cap reduction and it’d only be temporary anyways and isn’t something good to be counted on.

That being said, BRD is primarily going to be used as a support during stressful times in the middle of any sort of fight or dungeon, making it incredibly useful but also highly relied upon. To that end you need to know what all the songs do and how to use them effectively. Particularly during the more stressful encounters where your team mates might not have the ability or capacity to say what song they expressly need at that moment or what they’ll need coming up. It’s a good idea to understand that while BRD is a support hybrid role it is also very much a damage dealer and you shouldn’t unnecessarily gimp yourself in order to be more supportive. Of course there are times when you should and you’ll be rewarded with an easier progression if you do, but you shouldn’t *always* be singing a song. You don’t need to do that as soon as your MP is up, just do it as it’s needed. Most of the time your group will call out what they need, TP song during downtime, Ballad during intense moments where the Healers particularly need to keep their MP up and the sort, the rest of the time you’ll be using Foe’s to increase the damage of your mages and that’s pretty much all you’ll be doing as BRD. Of course you’ll still need to do your damaging abilities all the while and if you can toss in an extra Foe’s now and again (it doesn’t reduce your damage like the other songs do!) you’ll increase your overall group’s DPS and your mages will thank you. But make sure not to do it at the cost of dropping your MP to the point that when you’re asked for another song you can’t keep up the full duration or you can’t even have the song active.

Mage’s Ballad

  • Type: Song
  • Level Acquired: Level 30
  • Description: Refreshes MP of all nearby party members while lowering own damage dealt by 20%. MP is drained while singing. Refresh effect is lost if party members move out of hearing distance, and ends upon reuse. Cannot be used with other songs. Radius of 20y.
  • Casting Time: 3s
  • Duration: Until MP runs out or Song is cancelled.
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Mage’s Ballad refreshes MP to all party members, including the BRD casting it. However the MP drain beats out the MP gained from the song and you still can’t sing the song and recover MP as a net positive even when you are using Battle Voice alongside Mage’s Ballad. This is going to be your second most requested song, specifically because Healers the world over will need it in just about every event and every endgame encounter that currently exists. Even in non-endgame encounters you’ll need this.

As it is, your ability to recover other’s MP is incredibly useful and most fights are tuned with this in mind, giving you the capacity to help guard against MP bottoming out and therefore giving your Healers the extra bit of a push in order to heal past the various phases and stages in the game that require your Scholars and White Mages to constantly spam heal everybody they can in order to prevent people from dying. Of course there are also good instances of using this when somebody in your party has died and you need to be able to recover that MP of a raise plus the added cures they’ll need as that person will need to be more carefully monitored until their weakness wears off.

Mage’s Ballad at Level 50 restores 79 MP per tick, and with Battle Voice active it restores a whopping 158 MP per tick. This gives the various mages in your group an easy access to recoverable MP and makes it dramatically easier for them to recover the MP that they’ll lose when spam healing or otherwise going through a heavy period of spell usage. It is, without a doubt impossible or nearly impossible to do any endgame encounters without a BRD. Their MP recovery alone allows them to use Ballad for longer periods of time, which makes the total MP recovered for other parties even longer. Added on top of that already beneficial effect, the traditional MP recovery that most Jobs get is so small and meager that it isn’t enough to supplement even very careful and miserly usage of spells. A WHM or SCH will still run out of MP when properly using their spells in most endgame events.

Without a BRD every group would suffer immensely as their mages, particularly the Healers would run out of MP at crucial moments, or were forced to be even more careful with their MP likely not healing people to full or as aggressively as they should leading to deaths. A death would spell the end of any endgame encounter without a BRD for refresh (MP recovery) because in dying you’re expending over a thousand MP just to raise (which takes time in and of itself forcing more healing pressure onto one of the healers who has to drain more MP to keep the tank(s) and party alive) and heal the person who died so they don’t immediately die again upon being sneezed at. Additionally the massive damage boost of Foe’s Requiem to the mages is quite immense and can be applied for a long period of time without any damage detriment.

And that brings us to the main issue of Mage’s Ballad, in that it lowers the damage dealt by BRD by 20%. This isn’t a coincidence then that BRD gets access to a +20% action damage trait that effectively cancels out the reduction from using any of the BRD songs that give a dramatic loss to DPS. So in essence a BRD operating under the effects of one of those songs is really just a normal BRD before they get their action bonus traits. Though that still leaves BRDs at a relatively high disadvantage, but it’s not quite so large. Instead of their Heavy Shot and Bloodletter (the most used skills a BRD has for damage) being 120 Potency instead of 150, it is actually at 150 Potency instead of 180 as it would have been with the two action damage up traits that added a total of 30 potency to BRDs most used skills. That is to say that it added 20% more damage, and that both of BRD’s most used skills are the same 150 Potency.

Foe Requiem

  • Type: Song
  • Level Acquired: Level 35
  • Description: Reduces elemental resistances of all enemies by 10%. MP is drained while singing. Effect is lost if targets move out of hearing distance, and ends upon reuse. Cannot be used with other songs. Radius 20y.
  • Casting Time: 3s
  • Duration: Until MP runs out or Song is cancelled.
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Though it seems to suggest that the damage bonus would be 10% or 11% as you’d probably expect from other abilities, it is more on the order of 15-16% for reasons we don’t really understand. It’s likely that it’s lowering the stats that everybody has but most likely forgets because it’s only really augmentable through material or having a Primal weapon on you and those are your resistances. Since we can’t easily move them around it’s not exactly a simple affair to understand how much a change or shift in resistance rate alters the damage mitigated or taken. We do know for an extent that it’s more potent than increasing or decreasing either Defense or Magic Defense but only some minor theories. The major theory is that each Level has a particular threshold, for Determination that’s 202 at Level 50. Other stats are very likely to have a different normalcy threshold for a particular Level.

The assumption is that once you’re brought down below that level you take more damage than you should. Most bosses are tuned for Level 50 players and it should stand to reason that their DEF, MDEF and Resistances are all tuned around that model. So what happens when you decrease their resistances by 10%? Well, since it scales up or down so much faster than either DEF or MDEF what you get is a much larger change in damage delta. This means that the 10% makes a larger difference than you would normally expect it to make. Because it’s dipping below what the game believes to be normal, putting it into a sort of quasi Level Difference check, or as we used to refer to it back in 1.0 (and it’s also present in almost every game) dLVL, or difference in level. It used to be some time ago that FFXIV had a dLVL that would apply various penalties or boosts depending on where you were in terms of the dLVL. The higher level your enemy was when you were fighting them the more likely you were to miss, the higher chance for you to receive Critical Hits and pretty much all the nasty things possible. In FFXIV: ARR we don’t have a dLVL per se, but in a way we still do.

The game considers what is “normal” for any specific level and assigns a set of values for each stat in the game. For example 202 DTR at Level 50 is what the game considers “normal” and when we’re working in our formula for damage we find that in order to take out that normalcy to find our projected damage output we have to subtract 202 DTR from whatever our current value is. Anything over and we’ll have a damage boost, if it stays the same we get nothing from having 202 DTR, it’s simply our “dLVL” sort of stat that assures the game that we’re a certain level. If we were to have anything less than 202 DTR through whatever means possible (currently there are no means) then we’d have a damage penalty against anything that was Level 50 or higher. It seems a tad complicated until you go through it a few times but it eventually makes sense.

Army’s Paeon

  • Type: Song
  • Level Acquired: Level 40
  • Description: Refreshes TP of all nearby party members while lowering own damage dealt by 20%. MP is drained while singing. Refresh effect is lost if party members move out of hearing distance, and ends upon reuse. Cannot be used with other songs. Radius 20y.
  • Casting Time: 3s
  • Duration: Until MP runs out or Song is cancelled.
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Army’s Paeon refreshes TP, giving it back to both the BRD and everybody else in range. The TP gain is significant enough to make a marked impact on all involved in the range. As a BRD you are essentially trading your MP for TP for yourself and your party members. Don’t mistake though, it’s not a bad trade off, in fact it’s really quite good! Additionally your allies will be able to make sure to put up their abilities and weapon skills without any worry about their TP dropping out. This is usually not needed unless in very specific instances.

If your DPS die for some reason this song is good to be used because you start with 0 TP when you’re revived. This allows your DPS to quickly start pushing out their rotation instead of having to rely primarily on their auto attack damage until they have enough TP and their cool down for Invigorate comes up. Regardless of what happens a DPS death is a very real possibility and it’s often worth it to cut down on your DPS for a short while to help a fellow party member out who could contribute to the fight instead of weighing it down dealing very little damage because the BRD preferred not to use Paeon to help him out.

In The Second Coil of Bahamut Turn 8 you’re able to attack the Avatar for an exceedingly long time, and in doing so you’re not getting any of the typical breaks that any of the other bosses in the *entire game* allow you to have. This means that by not having the boss jump or become invulnerable, and with the entire fight a large race against the clock (until he goes critical and kills everybody with a huge attack) your TP suffers dramatically as a DPS. Even as a BRD who really doesn’t need to use quite as much TP as others they still feel the pinch of the constant outpour of damage. Considering that the Avatar has a staggering 1,000,000 HP (yes, you saw that right one MILLION HP) and you only have about 11 minutes before the Avatar goes into a rage and wipes the entire party with an ability that cannot be blocked or countered. Regardless of what happens you’ll likely need a TP song in here for your melee because they’ll be dumping all of their best skills to pump out the most damage they can in those 11 minutes.

Of course you also have to pay attention for when a Healer is going to need Ballad, or when a mage (if you’ve got them) is going to need a Foe Requiem. In a fight like this it’s often best (provided you have more than one mage DPS) to start it with a Battle Voice Foe Requiem which helps kick off the fight with a strong output of DPS from the damage dealers and also means that since you used BV in the beginning of the fight that when you’ll need it a little later on it’ll be useful and available. Either way you look at it using Battle Voice Foe Requiem in the beginning of a big fight like this prevents the issues of missing out on using BV as many times per fight as possible. Of course you should also remember that BV doesn’t affect you as a BRD, or in fact any BRD only other players.

Rain of Death

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 45
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100 to the target and all enemies near it. Additional Effect: Lowers target's evasion by 10%. Additional Effect: 15% chance next Quick Nock will cost no TP for 10s.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 200 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Rain of Death is useless. I know people don’t like to hear that but this ability used to be really good as a -10% Damage Dealt debuff to any caught within. Now it’s a 10% reduction to evasion which is like saying it increases everybody’s accuracy by at least 10%. This is completely useless for a number of reasons, chief among them is the fact that capping accuracy is not only the easiest thing in FFXIV: ARR, which allows you to hit a 100% accuracy rate, but it’s also the first thing any experienced DPS is going to do. Even at the cost of damage loss they’ll do it because to not be able to make a hit means you’ll not only break your combo but you’ll lose it entirely. It’s not so small as you just need to redo that ability, instead if you were on your third hit of a three hit combo you’ll be forced to start over from the very beginning. This drastically lowers DPS and furthermore wastes a good chunk of TP as the starter for any combo is always going to take more TP and deal less damage than the later abilities or skills would.

That being said, Rain of Death also costs way too much TP. Weighing in at an incredible 200 TP it’s so heavy that using it 5 times in short succession is going to basically bottom out your TP to zero. That is absolutely ridiculous and it should have been altered to be more useful when it was changed. They ended up giving the -10% damage dealt to WAR’s Storm’s Path which makes a lot more sense and is also more useful for them since they can keep it up 100% being that Storm’s Path is only 60 TP instead of the outrageous 200 TP that Rain of Death is.

So the short of it is, don’t use Rain of Death. It’s not useful and even if you’re using Wide Volley and happen to get a free proc it’s not so bad that you completely ignore its use, but it deals less damage than Quick Nock or Wide Volley, has a useless additional effect and more importantly has the worst TP to damage ratio in the entire game. Not to mention that by using this instead of another Wide Volley you’re dealing 10 Potency less than you normally would, and still not beating out the TP to Potency benefits of Quick Nock even when factoring in the probability of triggering both a free Quick Nock and a free Rain of Death. So no matter which way you look at the ability, from a debuff perspective, or from a DPS perspective the ability just plainly sucks. There’s no real way of getting around it, you can use it if you want but it’s not worth it and I suggest not even keeping it on the bar.

Battle Voice

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 50
  • Description: Doubles the effectiveness of all songs. Does not work with Swiftsong.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 30s
  • Recast Time: 300s (5 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Battle Voice is like Soul Voice from FFXI’s BRD except slightly different, though not a whole lot. So if you already know the general gist of Soul Voice from FFXI you’re pretty good to understand how FFXIV: ARR handles Battle Voice. The only exception is that it doesn’t double the effect on yourself. Let me restate that to be clear: you do not receive double MP when singing Ballad, and you don’t receive double TP when singing Paeon.

You do however still get the general buff from the unbuffed version of the song. That is to say you’ll still refresh 79 MP when using Ballad and Battle Voice, you just won’t get the 158 MP that everybody else is getting. That’s because if you were, you’d never run out of MP and then you’d never stop singing Ballad for the full duration of 30 seconds of Battle Voice. This means you’d have a very high Ballad upkeep or you could use Ballad with Battle Voice to restore everybody’s MP without lowering yours and then switch to Paeon or something else immediately for absolutely no repercussion. So we can understand to a degree why SE has added that little limitation.

That being said, everything is doubled except the bonus of Foe Requiem and Swiftsong but both are to different degrees which I’ll explain further. Foe Req. is doubled but the difference is less than a straight doubling. Just as it increases damage by 15% to 16% it doesn’t scale perfectly linearly when you’re under Battle Voice. We aren’t sure why this is exactly and to date nobody has given a satisfactory explanation to suit me or any other mechanics tester. That being said, the boost is closer to 25% than the 30% or higher you would expect of a straight “double effectiveness” that Battle Voice says it gives.

Regardless of the slight difference it’s still very useful to use alongside Foe’s and it’s an excellent way to use Battle Voice at the start of the fight if you know you’ll need it five minutes or more later. A lot of fights later on will be less than five minutes or close enough to it that you’re not able to use Battle Voice like that in the beginning. Regardless of that you should definitely keep in mind just how much it takes for you to recover your Battle Voice and how the pace of the fight is going or specifically has gone in the past so you can gauge if you’re able to double up on Battle Voice or even in some cases triple up on it depending on how long the fight is supposed to last.

Swiftsong however is completely unaffected by Battle Voice. I suppose the devs just didn’t want people to be able to run really fast, probably about as fast as a Sprint nearly without any negative side effects. Though at the same time, considering that Swiftsong immediately fails if you’re aggroed by anything much less attacked, I don’t see the utility of making it exempt from Battle Voice except to do it because they wanted to. There’s no mechanics that are known that it would have interfered with and even if it did there’d be relatively easy ways to get around movement speed interaction issues. Still, it doesn’t affect it and while there’s no real reason that it’s that way, there’s also no real downside to it either. I mean, the ability is fine enough on its own if you’re moving about but it’s not such a dramatic increase that it’s going ot make a huge difference to you or your party either way you put it. So while there’s no effect on Swiftsong, it really doesn’t matter because we don’t actually have a use for it.

One last thing to mention is that you don’t need to sing a song after you Battle Voice in order to have it gain its bonus. Instead in order to maximize on the duration of Battle Voice you are better off using the song of your choice first. As the casting time is around 3 seconds or so you actually save around 5 total seconds from Battle Voice if you sing the song you want first *then* trigger Battle Voice. In doing so you save about a 1/6th of the time of Battle Voice, giving it back to the actual duration of the ability rather than having the ability active and then doing nothing while you cast one of the songs and all that time is basically lost because it’s not doing anything.

While it may not seem like a drastic amount that’s up to two ticks that can be added back to being influenced by Battle Voice which is up to 316 MP given back rather than half that for the same time period. Every little bit helps and it makes a larger impact on the battle as a whole than you might think. Because MP is often such a precious commodity 300 MP at the right time can mean the difference between an AOE heal going off at the right time or the Healer(s) waiting for enough MP and then an AOE going off on the entire party or just the Tank, killing them or more people and having the whole party wipe because of that. And it all could have been avoided by properly utilizing your abilities in the right order.

A lot of FFXIV: ARR plays like this, many small differences and alterations add up to a very big difference that has a large impact on the battle and flow of combat as a whole. While you can’t see it immediately you do later see how much easier or harder something was just because of the small differences that people have changed in their rotations or stats. By allowing your mages to get a bit more MP or your DPS to get a bit more TP you’re pushing the limits of your supportive nature and giving your party the best you’ve got, which allows them in turn to give the best they can. By pushing each other to your limits you’ll be able to more easily tackle the toughest content in the game without a massive issue.

Cross Class Skills

Unlike MNK or DRG BRD gets access to the best abilities if you truly think about it. They get access to both of the top DPS in the game without having to settle for a Tank subset of skills like either do. While MRD doesn’t have necessarily bad skills they aren’t anything compared to MNK or DRG. This makes BRD particularly strong and was one of the main reasons why SE nerfed Internal Release and Blood for Blood to be 10% instead of 20% each. This made BRD quite a bit weaker, but it also affected other Jobs. The main reason it was done though was because SE felt BRD was just too strong for its role, which is supposed to be a Hybrid of DPS and Support, though not perfect at either.

Regardless, BRD has some amazing choices to choose from and when I say choose I really just mean dropping Feint because it’s almost completely useless for what you get from using it and instead using the other five abilities listed below. I’ll explain in detail at the appropriate area.

Internal Release

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 12 PGL
  • Description: Increases Critical Hit Rate by 10%.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 60s (1 Minute)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: As BRD revolves almost completely around getting Critical Hits it would stand to reason that Internal Release would be among the top of your list for cross class abilities that you’d want to include. Obviously Internal Release’s +10% Critical Hit Rate is going to make BRD deal more damage through more Bloodletter procs and by way of that you’ll reduce your TP consumption at the same time of increasing your DPS output quite decently.

Internal Release is paramount to use with Straight Shot, giving you a +20% combined Critical Hit boost and additionally providing you with the necessary groundwork for using your DOTs. Of course you *should* by all means fully buff your DOTs but if you’re trying to get them out as fast as possible you really only need the two critical abilities buffed before you go. And in the event Internal Release isn’t up, Straight Shot is an absolute must, you should never use your DOTs without one or the other up and if Internal Release is up you should always use it alongside Straight Shot so you have twice the crit bonus instead of just gimping along with a single buff of the two. This is especially true because Straight Shot is so easily applied that it shouldn’t even be an issue. In reality you should never be without the crit buff from Straight Shot and therefore this advisement is completely worthless. But in the event something happens (as it always will find a way to) you’ll be better off knowing what you should do in the event all your buffs go down, particularly your critical hit buffs.

Do not use it only to buff your other abilities, Internal Release should be saved - if you have to - for the DOTs so that you can get the most out of River of Blood and increase your Bloodletter procs. After all, that’s BRD’s main mechanic and it should be pushed to the forefront of your strategy and thought process as much as possible.

Second Wind

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 8 PGL
  • Description: Instantly restores own HP. Cure Potency: 450. Cure potency varies with current attack power.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Second Wind is BRD’s only self-heal and as such it’s incredibly important to have. While BRD won’t take a lot of damage on their own they’re still pretty flimsy and they don’t have a lot of HP to weather much damage coming their way. That is why it’s absolutely paramount that you use Second Wind when it’s needed instead of tapering off your damage to be extra cautious. Of course as a BRD you should *always* have your eye on the battlefield and therefore it should be pretty easy for you to make out what’s going on and appropriately avoid it. After all with that macro you’re not doing a lot of looking at your action bar so you have plenty of time just to run around and stay mobile without worrying about getting caught off guard by some nasty AOE attack because you’ll always be able to move at a moment’s notice.

However when that’s not possible, or when you’re caught in an AOE that nobody can avoid - which there are plenty of those in FFXIV: ARR - you’ll be glad you had Second Wind on your side to make it through the little bits of damage you do get. Otherwise it’s a great tool to lighten the burden of your Healers so they don’t have to spend as much MP keeping you up at full HP. Because your HP pool is so much smaller than most you’ll have to be a bit more careful. You’re not quite in mage territory but you’re pretty close and because of that you’ll need to be a tad more watchful of your HP than normal. This also means your Healers are going to be watching you more, making sure your HP doesn’t dip too far because you won’t be able to hang around at lower percentages of health like your DPS teammates do, you simply don’t have the total HP to be able to survive any more hits after a certain point and your Healers will know this.

Almost specifically because of BRD’s relatively low HP does Second Wind become more useful. This is because it heals more of your total HP as a percentage because it’s not based on your max HP like say Stoneskin or Lustrate. Instead it’s a set amount, usually in the neighborhood of 300 to 400 HP and you’ll get much more mileage out of it because it’ll heal more of your total HP than it would just about any other Job, save perhaps BLM who also has access to Second Wind.

Mantra

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 42 PGL
  • Description: Increases HP recovery via curing magic by 5% for self and nearby party members.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Mantra is, as you might guess a strict support ability that only helps during niche encounters. However, the ability itself isn’t really that useful when properly used. As a BRD however you’ll generally be quite far from any of your teammates making Mantra’s really short range and required stacking to be effective pretty useless. However, there are still times even a BRD has to stack up and in those instances of mass AOE damage coming out you would want Mantra to be active. Considering that it’s only 2 minutes for a recast and the general event doesn’t spam you with horrible AOEs so much that every two minutes you can’t spare a Mantra because you already used it, it’s not exactly a completely useful ability. Of course if you have a MNK then Mantra is even less useful, but there isn’t a whole lot of other things you can put in its place and so generally most BRDs choose to keep Mantra on as a “I’ll use it if and when there’s a need for it,” rather than knowing that there is a pressing and imminent requirement to use it in a particular fight.

You also can’t discount the foresightedness of not worrying about rearranging your action bar when a fight comes up. As much as it’s a good idea to specifically build for certain encounters it lacks certain amounts of realism. This is because as humans we tend to forget things, especially if we haven’t adjusted or done anything in that area for a while. So while making a specific Action bar setup for a specific fight isn’t a *bad* idea, it does mean we need to be more vigilant with our action bar and setup. Either we need to go through the honestly long and drawn out method of creating macros to equip all the actions we’ll want to be able to use, or we need to remember to manually switch the one or two actions out if we’re not doing a specific fight or setup. This makes it a lot more complex and complexity increases the chance of mistakes and failures.

Once you’re in the event you cannot change your action slots around and you’ll force your entire group to leave or else continue on without some of the better cross class skills that you might need. In a situation like that it’s almost always best to ask the group to come back because you forgot something. However if you’re not particularly hurting for that ability or group of abilities and your party is already pretty far in and leaving would not only reset but make your group have to redo all the parts up to where you are, it might be best to suffer through it. And then perhaps you’d remember to set a more generalized setup that allows you to use your niche ability without taking the place of something overly important. That or you actually make a macro for it and tie it into a job change macro so you don’t have to think about it.

Feint

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 2 LNC
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 120. Additional Effect: Slow +20%
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 10s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 80 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Feint is pretty useless at endgame. It’s not that the slow effect is bad, but it’s not worth it really. The amount of TP for the damage is abysmal and the effect is really weak when you compare to the short cast time of just 10 seconds. All in all it’s not something even a DRG uses and they have access to a 500 TP Invigorate and are able to throw out more TP draining abilities than any other Job can in the same period of time without worrying about the immediate loss of their TP.

As if that wasn’t good enough reason to leave Feint (which might seem nice to use as a support BRD on the surface) we also have Lethargy by a BLM which can be cast every 30 seconds and inflicts both a Heavy and a Slow effect of 20% each. This has the same detriment as Feint but without the TP cost and it also has no MP cost. It’s capable of reapplication every 30 seconds and lasts for 12 seconds total, 2 more seconds than Feint lasts all for an instant cast ability that is off GCD and can be used every half minute. This gives BLM the ability, or multiple BLMs to push Heavy onto a mob for a decent amount of time without concern for their MP or TP. As it’s off GCD it serves the purpose better and while using Feint wouldn’t interrupt a combo like it would on DRG or MNK, it does detract from using an actual damaging ability or weapon skill that BRD should have ready to go.

Because BLM can do it and easily stay out of range, executing Lethargy between their Astral and Umbral cycle rotations they should have all the time in the world to get it off and not worry about any negative issues involved like Feint would naturally bring. While it may seem odd to have a BLM help with support they have the capacity and they do have the time as they aren’t able to move around quite as much they can stand still and while they’re waiting for Umbral Ice to regenerate their MP they could toss out an easy Lethargy. Actually a BLM could do it at pretty much any point that they weren’t actively casting for that matter.

Invigorate

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 22 LNC
  • Description: Instantly restores 400 TP.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Fast)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This is an obvious choice to get. It’s been talked about in several other pages such as: Final Fantasy XIV Armoury - Pugilist and Final Fantasy XIV Armoury - Lancer both of which cover the basics really well and even get into the advanced discussions about it. There’s not much more to add other than use this ability. There’s absolutely no reason as a physical DPS that you wouldn’t simply salivate over having Invigorate. It’s necessary as the TP regeneration in FFXIV: ARR is pretty terrible and isn’t enough to get you through several minutes of constant attacking on its own. Even with Invigorate the ability to get through that much TP use is really strained. So, get this ability, equip it and keep it forever because you’ll never want to let it go.

Blood for Blood

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 34 LNC
  • Description: Increases damage dealt by 10% and damage suffered by 25%.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: 80s (1 Minute 20 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Also discussed at length in Final Fantasy XIV Armoury - Pugilist and Final Fantasy XIV Armoury - Lancer however unlike those two places BRD gets a bit more mileage out of Blood for Blood because they’re almost always going to be out of range of any attack coming at them. Because of this they rarely have to worry about clicking off the buff when they know they’re going to get hit. Exceptions to this are when a group AOE is coming that nobody can avoid and a BRD notices they still have Blood for Blood active. Because of that it’s a good idea to still pay attention to your buffs and the timer remaining versus what’s going on in your event.

However, by the large a BRD should have a drastically easier time getting the full use out of Blood for Blood. Of course it’s only 10% damage boost now for a relatively unfair 25% damage taken debuff, but it’s still one of the only ways BRD has to actively push their meager potencies to a higher level. That being said, without always being in melee range a BRD shouldn’t have to worry nearly as much as a DRG or MNK do when using Blood for Blood and as a result they should be able to easily keep the ability on them the entire time. Once again, so long as they are doing something that’s going to get them hurt or an AOE is coming up that is going to do damage to the whole group or specifically to the BRD that they can’t avoid (like the missile tethers in Turn 8).

Eagle Eye

And there you have it, a comprehensive look at Archer and Bard in all their bowman glory. Of course they’re completely different beasts when you get down to it because one is strictly focused on damage and the other adds in 90% support with one real damaging ability that really isn’t going to be used by any sane player on BRD. Of course this makes them a bit of an odd duck in the lineup of FFXIV: ARR because no other Job or class is a support. You could argue that a SMN or SCH has some support capacity but it’s nothing compared to a BRD. You can do any fight with two WHMs and no SMN at all no matter what the fight or event is in endgame (or elsewhere obviously, but endgame is more relevant and also harder) and you might miss their influence some but you can still easily complete the mission without severe impairment.

Now try the same thing without any BRD at all and all of a sudden you’re having significant issues with MP, TP and overall the progress of the fight is being dramatically affected. Without a BRD you have no boost for your BLMs and while you get access to another DPS that can deal more damage, a BRD still does really good damage even if they aren’t a top DPS like MNK or SMN. That plus they can throw out incredibly helpful and useful songs that make all the difference in the tight moments of a fight towards the end where the boss is going into a rage mode and you need to end it quickly before it kills you. At that point without a BRD you have no access to additional MP, so nobody can die and everybody has to perform every maneuver perfectly as they can without ever messing up or taking a tiny lag spike or mistake. This invariably leads into more stress for the group to carry out a better execution of their usual strategy and they also lack a physical DPS that can be at range and move around as needed. BLMs and SMNs no longer have their added boost to power lowering their overall damage output and their MP as a whole suffers though not to the extend the Healers will.

Healers become anemic and overly sparing with their healing because they know that they’ll need every trick in their bag to make sure that they come out ahead in terms of MP management and use. Without access to a Ballad a Healer has to be ultra cautious about how they deal with their party member’s HP pools. This can easily lead to a death if the Healer is forced to make a tough call about leaving somebody at a relatively low amount of HP so that they don’t waste any MP curing them when they might need that MP later for a Tank or for the whole group when an AOE hits. However that lack of a heal can also cause that DPS to die and suddenly there’s only 7 party members in play instead of 8. A BRD could have easily prevented that and all the other misfortune that would befall a group without them. This is why you’ll rarely - if ever - find a group doing any endgame content without at least one BRD.

With that, we’re pretty much done with Archer and Bard as a whole. These two are the only types of Class or Job you can currently play if you’re interested in a Ranger type play style or if you’re more interested in the physical DPS distance types. These are often very popular in MMOs and while SE doesn’t really have a mold for BRD - instead preferring to go with the traditional “Holy Trinity” of Tank, Healer, DPS despite having more hybrid models and eschewing the FFXI approach of Healer, Tank, DPS, Support, Hybrid which I guess would be more like a Sanctified Pentagon - players the world over recognize it’s great utility and use as a mix between a good DPS and a good support. It is, unfortunately neither truly, and so it excels at neither. But it does add up to one very fun, very interesting Job and Class combination that cannot be gotten anywhere else in Eorzea to date. When the new expansion hits sometime later in the life of Eorzea we’ll see the advent of Musketeer and its Job but until then there remains only one ranged physical DPS in FFXIV: ARR and that is Bard and its accompanying Class Archer.

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Final Fantasy XIV - Armoury System Armoury System Sub Article
Final Fantasy XIV Armoury - Archer Archer Part 1 Armoury Article
Final Fantasy XIV Armoury - Archer Part 2 Archer Part 2 Armoury Article
Final Fantasy XIV Armoury - Archer Part 3 Archer Part 3 Armoury Article
Final Fantasy XIV Armoury - Archer Part 4 Archer Part 4 Armoury Article


Article By: Penguin Writer


Games | Role Playing Game


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