• The Majesty of Dancers and Bards

    Song and dance are powerful tools. They can be used to express oneself, used to protest, used as a social activity and used as a career. And, where Final Fantasy is concerned, can be very versatile and valuable weapons. Today we look at the power of song and dance, tools used by Bards and Dancers to combat foes, enhance their alliesí strength and ultimately have a cracking good time while doing so. Letís take a look at these underrated classes, and some of the characters who embody the power and passion of a performance. Letís start with the humble bard, shall we?

    Sing Me A Song, Piano Man
    Bards are probably best known as the folk who sing tales of heroes and dragons and all sorts of fantastic legends. Thatís true enough, but the bards of Final Fantasy do more than just tell tales; they live them. We have a broad line-up, so letís jump straight into it! The Onion Kids show off their bard outfits. Classy, ain't they?

    The Onion Kids (III)
    The original bards, the Onion Kids of Final Fantasy III receive the bard job from the Water Crystal. In the NES version of the game, the bard class is used purely to provide buffs to the party. However, in the DS remake, the bards can also damage enemies by using their Sing command, which changes depending on the harp equipped. In addition to harps, bards can also equip knives, though this limits the effectiveness of their Sing command.
    Prince Edward of Damcyan. Monarch, Musician and, uhh, Lover.
    Edward Chris von Muir (IV)
    While the origins of the bard class lie with the Onion Kids of Final Fantasy III, this is perhaps the first sight that western audiences received of the bard class. Edward, also known as Gilbert and Gilbart in some lands, is the crown prince of Damcyan. As such, he is expected to know a fair bit about politics. However, Edwardís passion lies with music, and so he disguises himself as a bard and traverses the countryside, seeing the world and sharing his music.

    One cannot argue that seeing more of the world will increase his political clout, but it might be worth noting that Edward begins as a very fragile and weak man. Bards are not well known for their physical prowess, and Edwardís personality reflects this as well. He grows stronger though, mirroring his positive change in personality, and become quite a useful party member, both in battle and plot-wise. Final Fantasy V's Lenna as a bard, courtesy of RedChocobo on deviantArt.

    Warriors of Light (V)
    Much like the Onion Kids of Final Fantasy III, the Warriors of Light gain access to the bard class through a crystal shard. This time, however, it is the Fire Crystal and not the Water Crystal that gives them the power. The bards of Final Fantasy V have access to a wide range of abilities through song, including buffs to strength and speed, replenishment of health and debuffs like stop and confusion. A change to the bard mechanic in Final Fantasy V is that many of the buffs are continuous, meaning the bard will continue to sing until they are attacked, killed or silenced.
    A Hume bard from the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI. FFXI celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, so check it out!
    Bard Class (XI)
    After a lengthy departure from the series, the humble bard appears as a playable class in Final Fantasy XI, the massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. Just in case you were one of the few people who had their head buried in the sand and thought Square Enix skipped XI for some reason. Bards predominately play a supporting role, using their wind instruments, string instruments and their voice The character Deuce from the yet-to-be-released-outside-Japan Final Fantasy Type 0, formerly known as Agito XIII.to perform a variety of songs. Their strengths lie in buffing their party members, as they have very limited abilities to damage or harm enemies. The class is available to be unlocked once a player reaches level 30. Get out there and sing up a storm, folks!

    Other Band Members
    Bards exist in a few other games as well. Final Fantasy XIV will have bards as a playable class after patch 1.21, and will be an offshoot of the archer class. Final Fantasy Type-0, as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy collection features a character named Deuce. Her abilities are very similar to that of a bard, using her flute to provide support to party members.

    Bards are also a playable class in Final Fantasy Tactics as a male only class, though in Tactics Advance 2: Grimoire of the Rift the class is unique only to Hurdy the moogle. In Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light the bard class appears alongside the musician class. They are incredibly similar in nature, with the musician being a slightly more advanced version.

    Thereís the brief overview of bards throughout the series. Their musical talents are very useful and quite underrated, with only one unique bard present in the series in the form of Prince Edward. Their counterparts, the dancers, donít fare much better either though. That, my friends, is a story for another time. We'll take a look at the dancers next week!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Majesty of Dancers and Bards started by Jiro View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. VeloZer0's Avatar
      VeloZer0 -
      In FFT bards have such terrible stat growth that there are whole strategies revolving around leveling down your characters in the bard class and leveling up in a non-sucky class to gain stat in advance of what you should normally be capable of at any given level.

      Quote Originally Posted by Jiro on Edward View Post
      and become quite a useful party member
      Were you just checking to see if anyone was actually reading?
    1. Jiro's Avatar
      Jiro -
      Quote Originally Posted by VeloZer0 View Post
      Were you just checking to see if anyone was actually reading?
      Perhaps I was He was a pretty decent hitter when I played last, after he stopped falling over that is.
    1. VeloZer0's Avatar
      VeloZer0 -
      I think it more like a Stockholm Syndrome-ish thing. After having do deal with him sucking so bad for so long one gets excited to when he just goes to regular sucking.
    1. Jinx's Avatar
      Jinx -
      I always just let Edward die and let my other characters get the XPs. He's so useless. :P

      But very well written article.
    1. Depression Moon's Avatar
      Depression Moon -
      Quote Originally Posted by VeloZer0 View Post
      I think it more like a Stockholm Syndrome-ish thing. After having do deal with him sucking so bad for so long one gets excited to when he just goes to regular sucking.
      Lol. Yeah, I've never found Edward mildly useful last time I played I just left him dead in battles. That's just one less person for me to heal. He's a waste of my MP and potions.
    1. Sephex's Avatar
      Sephex -
      In the FFIV versions where you can have him near the end of the game Edward isn't half bad.
    1. Shlup's Avatar
      Shlup -
      I demand more bards!
    1. ShinGundam's Avatar
      ShinGundam -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shlup View Post
      I demand more bards!
      There is nothing more satisfying than beating a bunch of behemoths with bards and dancers.
    1. Jiro's Avatar
      Jiro -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shlup View Post
      I demand more bards!
      Tell Square Enix, not me! I covered all the bards! I was disappointed to hear that there weren't more unique bards. They're such a cool class!
    1. Del Murder's Avatar
      Del Murder -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shlup View Post
      I demand more bards!
      A common phrase uttered in almost every merit party in Final Fantasy XI. Bards were so used and abused in that game. Poor Bards.
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