Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Hands-On with Bard

A couple of weeks ago we had the chance to sit down with an early build of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers at the media tour. During our time with the upcoming expansion, we had a chance to check out all of the Job changes.

You can find our master post about the media tour, and a list of links to each job here.

This article is based on play of an in-development build of FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers, and content in the final version is subject to change.

Ranged DPS Role Actions

Role Actions in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers will no longer be selectable. Once players obtain the level of the Role Action, it will be automatically unlocked. Depending on the Role, players will have a different number of actions available to them.

Bard will have the following Role Actions.

Bard

Bard has seen some ups and downs over the expansions. Stormblood’s incarnation of Bard was well received and it seems like that feedback was taken to heart. They have received more ways to fish for Straight Shot, more DoT manipulation abilities and the longest tooltip in the game (probably).

The first ability that jumped out to me was Shadowbite, a new 60 second cooldown that is basically Bard’s AoE version of Summoner’s Fester. It deals damage to enemies around a target, but the damage skyrockets on a particular target if is affected by one or both of your DoTs. But that is mostly because I want it on Summoner.

Barrage has seen a pretty amazing change in that it now, in addition to tripling the number of strikes for a single target weaponskill, it also immediately grants you Straight Shot/Refulgent Arrow Ready. Hmm, it is almost like they are trying to tell us something. The capstone level 80 ability is Apex Arrow, a line AoE attack that uses 20 of Bard’s Soul Gauge to deal quite a bit of damage. On top of that, the damage of the ability is increased by an as of now, indeterminate amount if your gauge is higher than 20. I can’t wait to see the exact numbers when it is closer to release.

At 78, Bard gets the trait: Enhanced Army’s Paeon, which is an amazing achievement in tooltip verbosity. To break it down, as I understand it: when you sing Army’s Paeon and you gain Repertoire stacks, you can switch to Mage’s Ballad or Wanderer’s Minuet to receive a general haste buff for 10 seconds. Or, if you can’t immediately switch songs, you can let Peon drop and receive what amounts to an IOU in the form of the Army’s Ethos buff. This lasts for 30 seconds and if you then switch to either song that would have activated the haste buff before, it will still happen. That’s some great quality of life for those instances where bosses leave you singing to nothing in particular as they fly away.

As far as Role Actions, all three Ranged DPS lose both TP and MP regeneration abilities, due to the system changes. This really highlights that in Shadowbringers, Bard is very much on the DPS side of the Support/DPS spilt that Ranged DPS classes have been straddling for a long time.

Bard has never been a Job that I was interested in playing, just one that I kept track of. That is honestly not going to change, but hey Bards, this stuff seems nice!