FFXIV: Bard vs. Machinist Comparison

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Bards and Machinists both serve as physical ranged DPS in FFXIV. Though they both favor dealing damage to enemies from afar, the two jobs are able to remain distinct from one another in their play styles.

To become a Bard, you’ll first need to hit level 30 on archer and complete all the archer class quests. Once this is done, speak with Luciane in New Gridania (X:15.4, Y:11.9) to and accept the quest “A Song of Bards and Bowmen”. As a Bard, you’ll play songs in combat to enhance the battle prowess your allies while dishing out some offense with a bow.

Becoming a Machinist requires you to first gain access to Ishgard. Once you arrive in the Holy See, look for Stephanivien in the Foundation (X:8.1, Y:10.1) and accept the quest “Savior of Skysteel”.

Machinists tend to focus more on their own damage output instead of supporting the party. They primarily use firearms in battle, but also deploy a number of other gadgets to help with their offense.


Bard & Machinist Lore

Job Quest Cutscene / FFXIV
Job Quest Cutscene

In FFXIV, each class has their own set of quests that tell a unique storyline.

These stories help flesh out the world of Eorzea and add a bit of flavor to the many different jobs you can choose.

Bards and Machinists are no exception to this. Here, we’ll take a look at how the stories for these two jobs are set up.


Bard Lore

Jehantel, the Godsbow / Final Fantasy XIV
Jehantel, the Godsbow

Bards are often thought of to be synonymous with minstrels, performers who wander the land and earn their coin through the gift of song. However, not many know that the Bards of eld were much more battle oriented.

These Bards were bowmen who were said to have sung during battles to steel their comrades.

Before you can become a Bard, you must first complete the level 20 Main Scenario Quest “Sylph-management” and all Archer class quests. The Archer storyline concludes with the class quest “The One That Got Away”.

After these requirements are met, you can become a Bard through the quest “A Song of Bards and Bowmen”. This quest can be accepted from Luciane in New Gridania (X:15.4, Y:11.9).

Upon accepting the quest, Luciane will tell you that a man named Jehantel has returned to the Twelveswood. Jehantel is a legendary Archer and Bard, leading to many members of the Gods’ Quiver seeking him out in hopes of becoming his pupil.

The Twelveswood / FFXIV
The Twelveswood

You’ll find many of these hopefuls have returned disappointed, claiming Jehantel only wishes to teach others of poetry and verse.

Despite this, you venture out into the Twelveswood in search of the living legend.

When you meet the seasoned Bard, you accept his offer of being taught poetry and verse.

This excites Jehantel and he directs you to a moogle named Pukno Poki to help him retrieve a stolen charm.

After recovering the charm and presenting it to Jehantel, he explains that it is an item known as the Soul of the Bard. With this, you become a Bard under Jehantel’s mentorship.


Machinist Lore

The Skysteel Manufactory / Final Fantasy XIV
The Skysteel Manufactory

The Machinists’ Guild is known as the Skysteel Manufactory and can be found in the Holy See of Ishgard.

With the city-state’s engineers continually inventing new ways to deal with the Dravanian threat, it inspired them to establish the Manufactory.

With the invention of the aetherotransformer, people can now convert their mana into lightning-aspected energy that powers the Skysteel Manufactory’s weapons.

To become a Machinist, you’ll first need access to Ishgard. This is gained through the level 50 Main Scenario Quest “Coming to Ishgard”.

Once you are able to enter Ishgard, head over to the Skysteel Manufactory in Foundation (X:8.2, Y:10.2). Accept the quest “Savior of Skysteel” from Stephanivien, the organization’s chief and inventor of the aetherotransformer.

When you first speak with Stephanivien, he’ll introduce himself and the Skysteel Manufactory while extending an invitation to become a student of the organization. After the introductions, speak with him again to accept the invitation and start “Savior of Skysteel”.

Chief Stephanivien / FFXIV
Chief Stephanivien

Upon starting the quest, Stephanivien will welcome you to the Manufactory once more and explain their goal of developing weapons for warfare. However, before you get into the more experimental devices, you must first learn how to use a Machinist’s basic tools, namely the firearm.

To get yourself better acquainted with this weapon, Stephanivien looks to introduce you to Rostnsthal, a master of marksmanship. Unfortunately, at this point, a woman named Joye walks in and says that Rostnsthal is nowhere to be found.

You set out for La Noscea in search of this marksman along with Stephanivien and Joye. You do eventually find him near Camp Overlook and he agrees to be your mentor after some convincing.

From this point forward, you can continue your adventures in Eorzea as a Machinist.


Playstyle Differences

Ranged Attack Animations / Final Fantasy XIV
Ranged Attack Animations

FFXIV does a great job of balancing the many different classes while keeping each of them unique, even if they fill the same role in a party.

Here, we’ll take a look at some job skills and mechanics between Bards and Machinists that set them apart.


Bard Playstyle

Bard Performance Animation / FFXIV
Bard Performance Animation

Taking up a bit of a support role, Bards will cycle through their song abilities during a fight to help optimize the party’s damage output.

Their offensive capabilities can be erratic with the random nature of the Repertoire system.

While a Bard has one of their songs active, party members within the song’s range will experience a boost to their stats. There is also a chance that it will trigger an additional effect known as “Repertoire” that benefits the Bard’s abilities.

The effect of Repertoire will depend on which song the Bard has active. To offset the randomness of this Bard mechanic, they also have damage over time (DoT) abilities.

The Wanderer's Minuet / Final Fantasy XIV
The Wanderer’s Minuet

In a nutshell, the Bard is all about maximizing uptime for their songs and DoTs while being mindful of any Repertoire procs.

Here are some abilities that are essential to the Bard’s kit:

Action Level Description
Venomous Bite 6 Deal damage while also applying Venom, gradually damaging the target over 45 seconds
The Wanderer’s Minuet 52 Deal damage to target and increase the critical hit rate of party members within range by 2%
Iron Jaws 56 Deal damage and reapplies Caustic Bite and Stormbite to target, resetting their duration to maximum

Machinist Playstyle

Reassemble Animation / FFXIV
Reassemble Animation

Machinists tend to be more direct in their offense when compared to their more artistic counterpart.

Their skills are less RNG-related and have a typical skill rotation combo that melee damage dealers are familiar with.

Machinists also gain access to two resources that help them dole out the offense – the Heat Gauge and the Battery Gauge. Both gauges are filled by using certain Machinist actions in battle.

When using the Heat Gauge, the damage potency of certain actions will be boosted. Meanwhile, the Battery Gauge is used to deploy contraptions like turrets or even a mech to fight alongside the party.

Reassemble Description / Final Fantasy XIV
Reassemble Description

Overall, the Machinist’s strategy in battle is pretty straightforward – deal damage!

That being said, the job still has plenty of nuances to keep in mind to both optimize its output and keep it unique.

These are a few of the Machinist’s notable abilities:

Action Level Description
Reassemble 10 Guarantees the next weapon skill used is a critical direct hit
Flamethrower 70 Inflicts damage over time on enemies in a cone before you
Automaton Queen 80 Deploy a mech to fight alongside the party
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Marco Cadayona

Shower singer by day, bard main by night. Gamer since 1992.