Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Trying to Make Peace with Bard

I spent this weekend bouncing a little bit between a few games. There’s just so much I really want to play right now and not enough time.

I picked up Yoshi’s Wooly World and have been slowly making my way, world by world, through it – concentrating on finding all the little yarn Yoshis. At the rate I’m going, it’s going to take a while.

I really tried to make some progress with WildStar, but the lag was back full force this weekend. The game would often freeze in the middle of battling something or take 5 seconds to respond to me looting a kill. So I decided to put it down once more until it sorts itself out. That seems to be the ongoing story of WildStar and I.

Back to Bard

Most of my gaming time this weekend I spent working on leveling Zuri’s Bard through Heavensward. Yes, I’m aware that I was trying to level Dragoon (and I still am). But I’m also aware that patch 3.1 is looming ever closer, and I have doubts on taking a class from 40 to 60 in that time. Maybe if my server had a healthier FATE train running in HW, but we really don’t. Seems very few people moved on from N. Than.

Last week, the Lodestone featured information about the new 24-man raid, The Void Ark. It’s pretty much what I expected with an intro requirement of ilvl 175. Chances are, it won’t be dropping gear equivalent to the Eso armor I’m working on getting for Tai… so truthfully, The Void Ark is something I’d much rather be running on Zuri.

There’s no way in Eorzea that I’m doing a second grind for Eso armor on Zuri. I don’t care what class I decide on her in the end. So, all of these things pointed me to the fact that I just need to suck it up and get Zuri to level 60 so I can start raising her ilvl for the raid.


A lot of time this weekend was spent soloing a million (moogle) quests to push from level 55 to level 57. I remember most  of these quests from running them solo on Tai, so it wasn’t difficult to blow through them all again. I finally unlocked Iron Jaws at level 56, which does what I expected it to do, and does help out with the Bard rotation.

I’m still struggling with adjusting to the new Bard, however. It’s especially difficult when I’m coming from a higher level Dragoon, which feels more fluid, precise, and survivable than Zuri does.

The millions of quests have helped me puzzle out a semi-rotation… or what I expect one should sort of look like. I know that Bard is a bit more spontaneous, but there’s still a rhyme and reason to the order you poke buttons. I understand how my skills work and what they all do (which is a good thing), and I’m forming a grasp on how to perform while using Wanderer’s Minuet. All is well while I’m soloing in the wilds.

Then comes the dungeons and it’s like everything just derps out of my head. I know part of it is due to a desire to push out damage faster than the new Bard class will let me. Everything gets jumbled and I’m suddenly hitting skills way out of order, or trying to do too many things at once, and totally missing my Iron Jaws reapplication until it’s too late.

I’m trying so hard to be a good Bard, I swear!

When I’m put in a dungeon group, I suddenly feel clunky, slow, and worst of all, ineffective. Even with the best armor the game can give me at this point, I hardly feel like I’m contributing anything to the DPS. That’s when I’m reminded why I put Bard down.

I guess it didn’t help that the dungeons I ran this weekend were the Aery and Vault, two I don’t particularly love all that much. It also doesn’t help that the Vault was a particularly difficult team, and we beat the final boss just by the skin of our teeth (literally just the tank standing).

I just haven’t struggled this much through normal dungeons on a Bard since… ever.

I still keep telling myself that I need to push through, though. Better gear will make things better. More practice in dungeons will teach me better DPS rotations. I remember feeling as lost and frustrated with Dragoon back in the 2.0 days… before I practiced and practiced in Crystal Tower and finally got the hang of it.

That’s what I’m hoping to do in Void Ark. I’m hoping a 24 man dungeon will allow me to practice with Bard in a group setting that’s not so stressful. It’s weird how in FFXIV, the raids are what ended up teaching me how to play my class the best. I think the Void Ark is the only chance I have at learning and making peace with 3.0 Bard.

The Awesome

Not everything was frustration with Zuri this weekend. There were just enough positive things to keep me moving forward. Part of this was due to cosmetics.

Working through the quest lines, I started earning the level 56 Bard armor set by default. First, they handed me the chest piece, and I started to eye it heavily. I liked the way it looked on Zuri, even though the bright green sash wouldn’t have been a first choice.

It wasn’t until I earned the third piece, the boots, that I realized what this set was… It was a recolor of the Shikaree armor set that you could earn as drops from some HM dungeons.

Now let me just say… you don’t know how much I wanted that Shikaree set, and how I eventually gave up on it because the only piece that ever did drop for me was the boots. So when I saw the boots again, I realized why I liked the doublet… it was a dyeable version of the armor set I wanted so much last year!

Zuri may look sad, but the armor is lovely.

This instantly inspired me to find which quests gave me all the other pieces, and I quickly put the set together and dyed it to my liking. That bright green sash is still a pain in the tail, but I’m pretty content with the way it looks and will probably be holding on to this for glamour reasons.

I also finally decided to splurge and picked up a Fat Cat minion from the market board. At 350K, it was the lowest I’ve seen one. I don’t regret it. Now, if only the CatBats will come down that low in price.

Playing through the main scenario has allowed me to brush up on the storyline and catch on to things I have forgotten. And while some events are sad, I got to see certain characters again, and am enjoying revisiting the HW main scenario.

Yes, I’m talking about you.

At this point, I’m telling myself to keep pushing through. I’m not sure if I’ll ever fully come to terms with Bard, but I’m going to keep trying, I guess.

DPS Complexity

Oh, and I want to end this post with a link out to this Reddit thread about DPS Complexity Since Heavensward. It’s something I feel, too, and something that turns me away from playing many DPS classes.

I start thinking, “This class could be fun.”

But, then, I look at the guides and the rotations and just Nope out of there, often overwhelmed. Dragoon is one exception because… well, I don’t even know. It’s straight forward, doesn’t deviate too much, and makes sense to me, I guess.

I want to clarify that while I think there should be complex classes to play, there should also be more variation of what makes something challenging. The OP on that post discusses it better, so I just encourage folks to take a look at it.