Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail Hands-On with Bard

6 Jun 2024

Last month we had a chance to play a preview build of Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail as part of the North American Media Tour. During our hands-on time, we were able to experience many of the Job changes that are in the works. For the Jobs that we weren’t able to personally get hands-on with, we still had an opportunity to look into the changes that will be coming when Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail arrives on July 2 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, Mac, Windows, and Steam.

You can see all of the Bard changes, along with our thoughts below. Additionally, you can view the upcoming changes on our wiki by clicking on the Dawntrail tab on the Bard Job page.

You can also find more coverage of the Dawntrail Media Tour here.

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

Come on in, Bards. You know, it seems like I’ve seen fewer of you lately. On our show about Physical Ranged DPS, the vibe check on Bard resulted in at best, a resounding meh. In Dawntrail, they’ve fixed one of the most maddening issues, consolidated your procs in a neat way, and given you a couple of new DPS buttons. But the more things change, the more some things stay the same.

Your procs are not one of those things. Now instead of becoming Straight Shot or Shadowbite ready both procs have been consolidated into a new buff called Hawk’s Eye. That means that if you were to press Burst Shot and proc this buff, you could consume that proc to use Shadowbite, and vice versa with Ladonsbite. That’s a nice little change that should make moving from AoE situations into single target feel much smoother. We’ll get right into the best change now, finally songs do not require a target. They are still classified as Abilities, so there’s that. But now you can use them in downtime or outside of combat at all. Next is another one of those things that haven’t changed- Radiant Finale. Yeah, it still kind of sucks that you must use it in the opener with only one Coda. Please don’t use these song changes to try to sing songs before the pull… Please don’t let that be a thing.

We have a few more changes before we get into the new stuff. Wide Volley is back! You learn it at 25 before it is eventually upgraded to Shadowbite. Good for level synced content or leveling, and hey maybe it has the same old animation (I didn’t get to test that), that’d be neat. Battle Voice gets a duration buff, pushing it up to 20 seconds instead of 15. That makes it even with Raging Strike, which makes me wonder why they aren’t the same button? Is it just me? Anyway, Pitch Perfect is now an AoE which is a great fix for Bard’s annoying disjointed AoE rotation. Finally, Troubadour has been buffed, it now reduces damage taken by 15% up from 10. It takes until level 98, but that’s the same across all Physical Ranged DPS. There might be a few familiar annoyances, but some of these changes are directly in line with overall community feedback. That’s great to see.

Ok, OK, what’s new? Heartbreak Shot is the first at level 92. It is an upgraded version of Bloodletter with a new animation and a little more potency. Most Jobs got this treatment, it will be nice to be blinded by brand new effects. Second Wind is upgraded to be more potent at level 94, just to make us think things will hit harder in Dawntrail- we’ll see. Next up is a new AoE Weaponskill, Resonant Arrow. You can only use this skill after pressing Barrage and receiving the Resonant Arrow Ready buff. Now, this is not replacing your triple Refulgent Arrow or buffed Shadowbite that Barrage already gives. This is a cherry on top, and it hits as hard as Blast Arrow. As your capstone at level 100 there is Radiant Encore. This is an AoE Weaponskill follow up to Radiant Finale that increases in damage depending on how many Codas you had active when you cast that skill. So, you’ll probably use it in the opener at its’ reduced damage, which is annoying, but the max would make it your hardest hitting singular attack. With this, Resonant Arrow, and the Barrage buffed Refulgent Arrow before it, that burst is a bit spicy.  

So not everything is fixed. There are still some major issues, at least when it comes to the top end and usability there. But despite that, I think that the overall vibe here is positive. It looks like Bard will at least be a little smoother and more engaging to play.

Bihu Attire