Basic Numbers

I figured it deserved its own page.

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.