There are several reasons why the Archer class in Final Fantasy XIV changes into the Bard class at level 30.
The story makes sense of it, but the easiest way to explain it is that it’s a classic Final Fantasy job that needed to be in XIV.
If you don’t know much about traditional fantasy books or have never played Dungeons & Dragons, the Archer’s change into a Bard might come as a surprise.
The other ads all make a lot of sense. They are just higher-level, more specialized versions of the basic classes you start with.
It makes sense that a Lancer who uses a spear would eventually join the Dragoons.
And it would make perfect sense for a Gladiator to use their sword and shield for something more important and become a Paladin.
You might even be a little bit disappointed if you wanted Archer to become a more specialized, pure-ranged DPS role.
But don’t worry, Bard is just Archer with a few more utilities.
How Does Archer Become Bard?
Archers will be able to choose the Bard starting class when they reach level 30.
Just finish the job quest called “The One That Got Away.” That’s your last Archer class quest. Once you’ve finished it, talk to Luciane in New Gridania to get the “A Song of Bards and Bowmen” quest.
So far, all of your Archer quests have been given to you there, so it’s not too far away.
When you finish the quest, you’ll learn a little bit about what Bards do in battle and why your character suddenly wants to become one.
You’ll get a Job crystal as a reward, which you can use to give your Archer some new musical skills.
If you like the idea of being an Archer, don’t worry—you’ll still be throwing arrows everywhere.
You just have a couple of extra tools you can use.
The Bard class is the closest thing XIV has to a support class, but DPS is still its main focus.
As a last quick point about this topic, Bards can also learn to play music for other players in real time.
This has nothing to do with how the game works, but if you’ve ever been walking around a city and heard “Darude – Sandstorm” or “Megalovania” from Undertale, it’s usually because of a Bard.
The Lore Explanation of Why Archers Become Bards
If you follow the Bard storyline (and don’t skip almost every cutscene after about two lines of dialogue), you’ll find out that the first Bards were Archers who started plucking the strings of their bows to make music, which made their teammates happier.
In the quest “A Song of Bards and Bowmen,” one of our characters sees a famous archer return to Gridania.
Several students of the Archer’s Guild offer themselves as possible students. They all want to become masters of their craft.
He turns them all down and instead gives lessons in poetry, song, and verse.
Our character is the one who takes him up on this offer. So starts our journey as a Bard.
Bards play a lot like Archers, but they have some extra skills that can help the party do more damage.
Do I Need To Turn My Archer Into A Bard?
Well, there’s nothing you need to do.
You can play as an Archer up to level 80 if you want to.
Will people in dungeons or trials take you seriously? Most likely not.
Someone will eventually pull you up on it, but it might take a long time.
My friend got almost through the Shadowbringers storyline and all the dungeons and trials that went with it without ever changing his Pugilist into a Monk.
But you won’t have access to most of the skills that make your job feel finished.
Even though you can technically level them up, they’re not going to grow much more as multiplayer content becomes more important.
You won’t do as well in dungeons, and it won’t be as fun to play your class.
So, yes, you can completely ignore Bard and just stick with Archer.
But it won’t get you very far, and you’d be much better off using your time to find a job you can keep until the end.
What Other Options Do I Have For Ranged DPS?
As far as ranged DPS goes, you only have two other choices right now.
One of them probably isn’t what you’re thinking of at all.
The most obvious replacement for Archer would be a Machinist, an engineer-type character who uses guns and is built for DPS only.
You lose a little bit of the “fantasy” feel, but you can still fight Eorzea’s enemies from a distance.
In the Heavensward expansion, you can become a machinist once you reach level 50. The job itself starts at level 30, so if you just hit level 50, you won’t be able to play through Heavensward as a Machinist right away.
Dancer, which was added in Shadowbringers, is the other option for physical ranged DPS.
It starts at level 60 and can be gotten from an NPC in Limsa named Eager Lominsan through the quest “Shall We Dance.”
Dancer, on the other hand, is probably more different from Archer than Bard, so it might not be for you.
If neither of those options appeals to you, you might want to look into one of the magical DPS classes.
All of them have their twists and ways to play, and learning any of them can be a lot of fun.
Who needs arrows when you can call magical creatures to fight for you instead?
But, in all honesty, Bard isn’t that different from what you’d expect an Archer to become at high levels.
So, if you’re set on archery, you should take the time to find out what the Bard can do before you write it off.