Friday, July 24, 2009

Preliminary Elegy Tests

Went out to sea to play with some goldfish at the Holla end of Al'Taieu. Naked party!

Base stats:
Wind Skill - 241 (225+16 from merits)
Singing Skill - 241 (225+16 from merits)
Chr - 75 (70+5 from merits)

NB: durations measured in seconds

naked elegy on goldfish
w/o instrument (i.e. completely naked) : 90
w/wrong instrument: 180
w/horn: 216

w/o instrument (+15 singing/12CHR): 180
w/o instrument (+15 wind/0CHR): 90
w/o instrument (+45 CHR/2.Macc): 180
w/o instrument (+24CHR): 180
w/o instrument (+16CHR): 180
w/o instrument (+6CHR): 180
w/o instrument (+0CHR -- completely naked again, just to check!): 90

w/o instrument (Terra's/EarthGrip): 180
w/o instrument (Terra's Only): 180
w/o instrument (Apollo's /+2CHR): 180
w/o instrument (Fire's): 180

Conclusion: Those 90-second elegies are the interesting part. I wasn't resisted once, but 90s was the lowest duration I got -- and it was pretty easy to predict when it was going to happen. 180 is the base duration for the song, so I was surprised that I could get 180s from not only +Singing Skill/CHR, but also by adding as little as 2pts of CHR from Apollo's Staff, alone. Wind Skill while not using an instrument obviously did nothing, but I had to check, anyway. Also interesting is that I could wear a Fire Staff (which does nothing for any bard stat), and still get a 180s duration.

It seems like if you're not using a wind instrument, the game ignores any wind gear you may be using and treats you as if you were -- naked. Whereas if you are not using a wind instrument, but are wearing an inappropriate stat, you are 'clothed' and don't get the half-resist penalty.

The results were so blatantly consistent that I decided to switch to Battlefield Elegy and see if anything changed.


naked battlefield elegy
w/o horn (completey naked!): 60secs
w/wrong instrument (but otherwise naked): 120secs

Conclusion: Same deal. Half-resist while naked. No resist when using an instrument, but no duration bonus. Decided that waiting 2-3mins and hoping for Elegy to get interesting was a waste of time, so went out to see if the same naked-penalty applied to low-lvl mobs.


naked carnage elegy
orcish stonechucker: 180s

Conclusion: Naked penalty doesn't apply, or my CHR stat is so far over the mob's that I don't get half-resists.


I had no way to isolate singing skill, because the only gear I have with singing on it ... also has CHR on it. This would not be a problem if I owned a singing earring. And I would own one, if people hadn't jacked the price up half a mill in the last 2-3months. -_-;;

Because I can't isolate the singing skill, I'm not sure if I unintentionally found the CHR of goldfish (75ish+) and CHR is the only part affecting the partial resist. I hope to find someone who can lend me an earring or test it for me, themselves ... soon. The result with the Fire Staff, however -- in lieu of being able to use a singing earring -- makes me think that at higher levels there's some kind of weird 'naked-penalty' for bards. At least as far as Elegy duration goes.

Also: Goldfish are completely unsuitable for more detailed Elegy-specific testing. I was using Threnody to hold the Goldfish and getting an interesting range of resists, though -- so using Threnody as a substitute test-song may be a possibility.

Haste vs. Fast Cast vs. -Songcasting

A quick summary of the separate effects:

*Increases melee attack speed
*Decreases spell recast timers
*Does not decrease the casting time of spells, only the recast.

Applicaton: Useful for Bard Elegy and Lullaby recast builds. Elegy recast can be a problem in very fast merit parties. You have the option to use both the stronger Carnage Elegy and the weaker Battlefield Elegy to pull in a merit situation, but I prefer to keep only the stronger elegy on my macro bar. If my elegy isn't up for whatever reason, an elemental threnody is an acceptable alternative as a pulling tool.

Fast Cast
*Decreases casting and recast times of all magic (Ninjutsu, Songs, Cures, etc.)
*Gear effects are typically labelled with the amount of -%Casting
Ex: 5% Fast Cast on the Royal Redingote = ~5% -Casting and ~2.5% recast

Application: This is my favorite effect to stack. Bard has a fair amount of Fast Cast gear. The Marduk's set is ~8%. /RDM has a Fast Cast Job Trait that gives ~5% at a subjob of lvl 15 and ~10% Fast Cast at lvl 30. These effects are not additive -- which means that ~10% is the best you'll get out of the Subjob.

Other available gear:
*Rostrum Pumps:
*Warlock's Mantle:
~2% (available as a latent effect while /RDM)
*The ACP body and the Moogle expansion hat can be potentially augmented to
~5% each. The hat, however, would take using two separate augments -- whereas the ~5% on the ACP body is contained in a single augment.

*Calculates as part of your casting speed, only.
Ex: Minstrel's Ring and Sha'ir Manteel (Manteel has additional 2% Haste effect that applies only to recast timers)

Application: Most useful for reducing the time it takes to buff pt members. Time spent buffing is time not spent pulling, curing, or using -na spells on PT members. In combination with Job Abilities and HQ Instruments, this stat will allow you to spend as little time as possible casting buffs that last as long as possible.

-Song Recast
*Applies only to the recast times of songs.
Ex: Sha'ir Gages (-2 Seconds to all song recast timers) and Sheikh Gages (-4 seconds to all song recast timers)

Applicaton: The single most powerful way outside Bard JA's to reduce the recast timers of your songs. The gages are part of the Sha'ir BRD JSE set available at lvl72. The primary drawback to using the gages is losing 5 singing skill from the AF1 Choral Cuffs (and as much as 10 singing skill if they're AF+1). The general rule of thumb is to wear these when you can reliably land debuffs, and to wear the +skill when you can't. There's an (untested?) rumor that singing skill is more powerful than wind skill, which makes wearing the choral cuffs very attractive in many situations (and they're available much earlier in a bard's career).

These separate effects can be used as tools to achieve a number of desirable bard goals I'll be going over in my next post. They include:
*12-second Lullaby Recast (Applicaton: Dynamis and large links)
*12-second Finale Recast (Application: Sea Jailers, the popular Lamia No.13 Assault, etc.)
*Max -Casting gear (Application: Buffing merit parties)

I'll be treating the Bard Group2 Job Abilities in a separate post on merits.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


A M.Acc+2 Earring! Does it come in a CHR flavor? I'd like one, please. ._.;

Conclusion: Some people have all the luck. And singing earring is wildly overpriced on Lakshmi, these days. Tragedy.

Marduk's Jubbah Set

Expensive Salvage gear. It's also (mostly) good for bard.

The stats in full:
(Image credit

Rough Costs
Head ~3.5million
Body ~10million
Hands ~1million
Legs ~150K
Feet ~170K
*Varies on each server.

Conclusion: Most bang for your buck is the Shalwar. They're a great debuff piece. However, the Marduk's Tiara is the best -- overall -- that you can wear. The Jubbah is nothing to sneeze at, but if you only want it for the Refresh? Dalmatica is 9million cheaper on my server -- to say nothing of V.Cloak. The introduction of Einherjar has made Dalmatica a possibility for many players without needing to camp HNMs. Granted, the abjuration only drops from Odin.

Fast Cast Facts
FFXIclopedia lists the Fast Cast effect of the body as ~5% and the Fast Cast effect of the set as ~10%. Many people add these numbers together and assume that the full set gives you ~15%. This is incorrect. Wearing full Marduk's will net you ~8% actual Fast Cast effect (source: BG). Wearing only a manteel (~11% real song casting) will give you a similar effect for songs only, but will not reduce the casting or recast times of spells like Cure, Stoneskin, and Utsusemi. FFXI calculates Fast Cast and Haste as approximately 1% slower than the effects are labeled. So in order to reach the 50% Haste from gear cap, you'd have to wear a listed 51%-53%, assuming you lose 1% haste from every piece of gear you're wearing.

Full Marduk's set is a personal choice. It is not the fastest possible way to cast songs. It has useful regen and refresh effects. The MP bonus is good. The CHR bonus on the body is excellent. Nothing beats the Marduk's Tiara. Whether or not you want to invest the time and the money in the gear is your choice. On the bright side! If you are lotting Marduk's at this point in time you will probably be the only one who wants the gear. My group often floored Marduk pieces before I joined. Take heart: if you plan to join an experienced Salvage group as a bard, the field is usually wide open.

Site Search & Forums of Interest

If you ever have trouble searching for the information you want in a forum, use Google site search. Yes, I have it bookmarked.

It works beautifully on BG, KI, and Alla without you having to log in or be a member. Just use the domain names (helpfully linked here) and enter your search terms in the second box.

*Warning: Alla is slightly more difficult to search with this method, though you will end up in the ballpark.

Basic Numbers

Things I wish I'd known before I started playing BRD.

Song Durations
2:00 = No instrument
2:00 = +0 Song Instrument (ex. Storm Fife while not in Salvage or Assault)
2:30 = +2 Song Instrument (ex. Faerie Piccolo)

Conclusion: If you sing with a +0 instrument or the wrong instrument, you may as well have been singing with no instrument. The only difference is that with no instrument, you can only have one song effect up at a time. If you have no instrument, you are roughly as effective as someone /BRD.

Application: If you sing Marchx2 and Balladx2 in rapid succession, the Ballads will overwrite each other. Assuming your order was Victory March (2:30) - Advancing March (2:30) - Ballad II (2:00) - Ballad I (2:00) you, and possibly your healer if they were standing in range of march, will end up with Advancing March & Ballad I. It's safest to stick to Pianissimo+BalladII unless you're absolutely sure that your mages are out of range of melee songs. Or reverse your ballad order. But personally? I'm locked into the habit of casting BalladII first.

This is also the reason to buy March, Madrigal, and Minuet instruments if you never buy any others. If you are ever included in a swap rotation you will want the longest song duration you can get so that melee have songs for the full or nearly full duration of the swap.

BRD Skill
The only number that matters is Singing+Instrument. All bard songs are calculated with combined skill. The only thing that matters for buffs is the final number. Singing skill, Wind skill, and String skill are separately irrelevant. The game calculates your effect from the combined total of your numbers. If you are using a wind instrument, that number is Wind+Singing. If you are using a string instrument, that number is String+Singing.

Application: The radius of your buff songs is determined by the level of your skill. At higher levels your songs will have a wider area of effect. Some bards have string skill sets just to ballad mages in Dynamis. When discussing things with other bards, it's also helpful to know what your combined skill number is. Any time I refer to a skill number, it's understood that the number represents Singing+Instrument.

Valor Minuet IV Cap

Base skill at 75: 450
Needed to cap: 462 (+12)

Blade Madrigal Cap Source: Kirschy
Base skill at 75: 450
Needed to cap: 508 (+58)

Application: Functional in merit parties. Minuet and Madrigal merits will noticeably affect how your melee parse in both attack and accuracy. Consider this when you decide to merit. If you merit nothing else on bard, please consider capping minuet and unlocking Nightingale/Troubadour for swaps. These should be minimum requirements for HNM shells. Everyone should aim to hit the Valor Minuet cap, at least!

NB: These numbers assume you are using the +2 instrument. Please use the +2 instrument.

March Tiers - Source: BG and this Blog
NB: These numbers represent Wind Skill + Singing Skill and apply only to Victory March, which is uncapped. The effect of Advancing March is capped.

The first column represents the Haste effect, and the second represents the skill level required. Remember that these are Wind Skill + Singing Skill numbers. Base is 225 Wind + 225 Singing or 450 Skill total.

56/512 : 487-505 (Tier One)
57/512 : 506-512 (Tier Two)
58/512 : 513-532 (Tier Three)
59/512 : 533-545 (Tier Four)
60/512 : 546-552 (Tier Five)
61/512 : 553- (Tier Six)

Application: You have to be wearing +37 skill to break tier one and +56 skill to break tier two. Merits are +32 by themselves. Tier one and tier two are acceptable numbers for above-average bards. Tier four can be reached with perfect gear -Gjallarhorn. Anything above tier four requires Gjallarhorn.

Conclusion: The overall effect is, unfortunately, still tiny. Break tiers for bragging rights and slightly(?) better parses. The effect of Haste and Fast Cast stacks in a nonlinear way that resembles an exponential curve. The more of it you have, the more you get out of it.


For the bored, the not-quite-indifferent, and the curious among the Bards of Vana'diel -- in the hope that it might entertain, encourage, and inform.

*Address any questions to
*Comments are welcome on all entries.