Change your mind, change your playstyle…
Well, okay, so that’s not the way the saying went, but that’s pretty much what’s happening in my world now that Zuri is a level 60 Bard.
I spent months procrastinating on leveling to 60 because I felt unhappy with the way Bard played with the addition of Wanderer’s Minuet. I jumped around from class to class trying to decide on what to do with her. I tried Machinist, but found it more frustrating than Bard. I enjoyed Dragoon, but I already have a level 60 Dragoon that’s well-geared. I have reservations about other DPS (Black Mage/Summoner), and yet others (Ninja) I have already leveled to 50 on another character.
So, for the sake of just finishing the HW expansion MSQ, I forced myself to level Bard to 60. I studied the theories on the best Bard opening rotation and the overall how-to-Bard info I could find. Unlike other DPS classes, there isn’t a how-to-Bard thread in the official DPS forums. Instead, there are just the notorious They Broke My Job and Angry Bard posts.
It’s hard not to let your thoughts be colored by the discontent when that’s what you primarily hear from the vocal bards on the boards. Time and again, we hear that our DPS is sub-par due to being expected to support the group.
And yet, I still found myself going into dungeons with a melee DPS mentality. Focus down that mob, put out as much DPS as a rotation will allow, try to keep all dots rolling.
Trying Something Different
When it came to solo content for quests, I was doing just fine with Zuri. When it came to dungeon running, I found myself lost and struggling to keep up, usually DPSing along with a melee.
As I was reading through guides and Reddit, I ran across this particular comment:
Here, they were discussing the concept of multi-dotting mobs, which I, despite having played Bard for years, never considered. This was mostly because I thought spreading damage around was making it more difficult for a tank to maintain hate. I thought that (aside from certain mobs which stacked and were easy to kill quickly), any kind of AOE I did was a Bad Thing.
Maybe that was true when I first started playing FFXIV and the game was full of new tanks. But, I don’t think that’s so much the case now. I mean, Black Mages and Summoners do AOE on trash all the time in dungeons.
So, I decided to try it during my low level roulettes this week. I dotted everything I could reach in between my major skill cooldowns and pumped out the AOE damage whenever I could on trash mobs. It felt like things were dying faster, but I was still holding my breath waiting for someone in the party to complain that I wasn’t focusing my fire constantly.
Instead, I’ve been earning commendations, which is a surprise. After running so many expert roulettes as a Dragoon (who usually gets totally ignored), I almost forgot what a commendation looked like.
Now, I have no idea if this is The Best Way to Bard. But it’s certainly a change in approach for me, and a change in the way I look at DPS done by the Bard. I’m going to continue to experiment with the kind of damage it can do as I also continue to gear up.
Speaking of gear, I know I wrote about how happy I was to not only get my upgraded Law bow last night, but to also get the majority of my left side geared up using the new Sky Pirates armor (thanks to a wonderful FC crafter!). Sure, it set me back a good chunk of gil. But it was much cheaper than trying to get them off the marketboard, and saved me so many leveling roulette runs in the long run.
I can always make the gil back, but I can’t get back my time and sanity. XD
My goal is to get Zuri to an ilvl where she can start joining on things like Void Ark and (maaaaaybe) Alex 1. I should also pick up my crafting and gathering sometime… it would be awesome to be able to make these kinds of things for myself one day.
Oh, and on the Tai side of things, I’ve just been running new dungeons for unlocks with the FC folks. I’m leveling Paladin (halfway through 54 now) through beast tribe, hunts and the rare requested dungeon.
Last night, I tanked my first HW dungeon for a couple of the FC guys who needed just a little EX boost to get them to the next level. I did surprisingly okay on holding aggro against a lvl 59/60 and lvl 56/57 Ninjas when all was said and done. Practicing low-stress tanking runs with the FC helps a lot. I’m glad I picked up that poetics armor as I felt that helped a bit, too.
So, have you been playing FFXIV lately? What have you been up to?