Bards: wut? you mean I have to play music all day? sign me up!! :D

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Bards: wut? you mean I have to play music all day? sign me up!! :D

Post  -Freed- on Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:23 pm

this is probably the first of several guides I'll be doing. again, some of this is theory, but most of it is basically a good amount of experience.

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THE BARD

The bard is a mainly supportive class, with various songs that give useful buffs to allies, or cause disruptive effects on foes. it has a more consistently higher damage output than hunters, due to their high SP and Double Strafe spammability. in general, a bard's main focus will be three(or two, if not a WoE enthusiast) skills: Magic Strings, Frost Joker(unbarring octave in iRO), and Classical Pluck.

now then, onto the builds.

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STAT BUILDS

There are serveral bard builds, though in general the most useful of them all is the Full Support Bard.
the main stat for all bards is dex, as it allows higher damage output, and greater accuracy. it also boosts the effectiveness of Magic Strings, which is vital.

Full Support Bard
STR: very low
AGI: low-moderate
VIT: moderate-high
DEX: MAX
INT: very high
LUK: none
this build focuses on the DEX and INT bonuses given to Magic Strings, and gives the bard a really good SP pool to spam out Double Strafe when hunting, and Frost Joke when WoEing. STR is mainly applied here as a weight enhancer, in case you feel that your cap is not enough. of course, it can be replaced by the kafra shop weight limit increase tickets. the main way of leveling with this build is with a party, giving support with strings or any of the other useful songs.

AGI Bard
STR: none-very low
AGI: high-very high
VIT: low-moderate
DEX: MAX
INT: low-moderate
LUK: none
this is more of a leveling build; it'll give you good DPS(Damage Per Second) and Double Strafe speed, at the cost of limited survivability, and low SP pool compared to a Full Support bard. the AGI gives you good Flee rate, though, so it tends to counteract the lack of hitpoints. the main way of leveling this build is by soloing through high-exp yield creatures.(more on that later.)

Hybrid Bard
STR: none-very low
AGI: moderate-high
VIT: moderate-high
DEX: very high-MAX
INT: moderate-high
LUK: none
the Hybrid build isn't a very popular one, due to it being a jack of all trades, but master of none. it's more of a personal preference in this build; choosing what to increase is mainly determined by the playstyle of the bard. DEX must always be kept very high, however, as it is vital for damage and strings. you may choose to be an AGI/INT Hybrid, with good DPS, good flee and massive SP pool, or an AGI/VIT Hybrid, with high DPS, high flee and survivability. this is mainly dependant on where and how you desire to train, be it solo or with a party.

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SKILL BUILDS

Archer: (for all builds)
-Double Strafe 10
-Improve Concentration 10
-Vulture Eyes 10
-Owl Eyes 10
IGNORE ARROW SHOWER. it is absolutely useless, and should not be taken unless you're a minstrel and want Arrow Vulcan.

Bard (Solo)
-Amp 1
-Encore 1
-Music Lessons 10
-Unbarring Octave 5
-Unchained Serenade 3
-Magic Strings 10
-Impressive Riff 10
-Song of Lutie 10
If, by chance, you are unable to find a Dancer to partner with, then this build should be useful. it provides good support with the three main song skills(strings, riff and lutie), and U. Octave gives you a very decent defense mechanism. this build is only suggested if you have absolutely no way of getting a Dancer partner.<_<

Bard (Duet)
-Amp 1
-Encore 1
-Music Lessons 10
-Unbarring Octave 5
-Unchained Serenade 3
-Magic Strings 10
-Impressive Riff 10
-Classical Pluck 1
-Acoustic Rhythm 3
-Mental Sensing 5
If you do have a reliable Dancer to partner with, then you can use this build. Classical Pluck is an amazingly useful and dangerous skill, especially in WoE situations. Mental Sensing can be used in a party, in order to increase the EXP gained. Acoustic Rhythm is just there due to the skill requirements for Mental Sensing. the Fire/Water resistance it gives could be useful, however.

Bard (Mixed)
-Amp 1
-Encore 1
-Melody Strike 1
-Music Lessons 10
-Unbarring Octave 5
-Unchained Serenade 3
-Magic Strings 10
-Impressive Riff 10
-Song of Lutie 5
-Classical Pluck 1
-Acoustic Rhythm 2
If you like to keep things balanced, though, you could try this build. Melody Strike is useful to poke monsters with status arrows or just to get an EXP boost when in a party (every party member that strikes a monster increases the EXP gain from that monster by 25%). Classical Pluck and Acoustic Rhythm are there in case you team up with a dancer, which would be in WoE, most of the times. Song of Lutie is useful, due to its secondary effect(increases the max HP of everyone in the song area by a fixed %).

In general, Bard builds are not that different from one another. Magic Strings is a must, as is Impressive riff and Classical Pluck, if you're going to WoE or such.

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Leveling
This is more of a broad leveling suggestion, as you can basically go to any monster if you're in a party. there are some specifics that prove to be quite useful, though. I won't cover levels 1-30, as those are honestly a piece of cake.

Lvl 30 :
-Floras can be a good source of EXP. if you are not that good at getting money, try to use normal arrows or iron arrows instead of fire arrows. you will not get that good of an EXP rate, but you'll save some good money for better equipment.

Lvl 35-50 :
-Greatest Generals, provided you have crystal arrows, can be a great source of EXP. you need to be careful of poison spores and the dreaded ninetails(I hate that thing. <_<), though.

-Dokebis, if you're in a party, can also be extremely good exp, if doing the repeatable quests. silver arrows are quite expensive, though. the costs can be lowered if you have the Arrow Crafting quest skill, and zargons; those provide 50 silver arrows each.

-Hodes can also be good EXP with a party. just be careful of frilldoras, and the MVP that spawns there.

Lvl 50-80 :
-Geographers are basically all there is, if you want a good EXP flow. you will need a good amount of DEX, and fire arrows. a Carded Flame Bow can be extremely useful in here, speeding up the grind by a lot.

-Partying with people can also be highly productive, if you're a Full Support Build. places like Glast Heim, or the repeatable exp quests can be good.

80-99
-Hill Winds are the best there is for a Bard, provided you have the equipment necessary for that. you'll need at least 150 DEX, a Windy(Mandragora Card) Earth Bow(preferrably upgraded), and lots of fly wings. BE WARNED, THE GRIND WILL BE HORRIBLE. I mean, truly horrible. T_T the upside to this is that the loot from hill winds is extremely good to sell on NPCs, and you can make money quite easily there.

-Of course, partying is always the second best option. if you have a good enough guild, you can go to Biolabs and support the party, it'll net you great EXP. there's also the Thor volcano dungeon, which is probably the most crowded level for the high-level folks, mainly due to the TKM leech that can be done there. Rachel Sanctuary can also be a good place, if you have a well-organized party.

After this, you can Trascend. I have no idea how to level after that point, because I've neved made a Trans character, heh. <_<
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And that's basically all there is for this guide. if requested, I can add some equipment pointers and such. I hope this can help any newcomer bard with the job.
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