Archer / Bard Guide

Archer (ARC) is the only ranged physical DPS in the game. Archer has instant cast times, and many single target skills with good damage. At higher levels, the archer gets a total of three very capable AoE attacks with decent range, and a circle that does unsuspecting damage. Due to the instant cast times, the archer is the only class capable of running around and attacking simultaneously. At level 30, Archer progresses to Bard (BRD) job (requires lv 15 pugilist).



Archers start in Gridania. The only weapon they can equip is a bow, and cannot use an off-hand. Their primary stat is Dexterity. Archers have instant cast times and most of their skills have a shared cooldown. However, due to their ability of kiting around monsters while attacking, they can take on monsters stronger than them by several levels as long as they rarely get hit. A usual combination of running around is E & A, or Q & D. Pressing the E or Q continuously, and using the A or D to steer around in a circle, so to not drag the monster out of its aggro range.

Archer Skills

  • DoT: Venomous Bite (Level 6), Windbite (Level 30), Flaming Arrow (Level 46)
  • AoE: Quick Nock (Level 18), Wide Volley (Level 50), Flaming Arrow (Level 46)
    • Wide Volley has a 15% chance to apply a buff that causes the next Rain of Death to cost no TP for 10s.
  • Buffs:
    • Raging Strikes (Level 4): Increases damage dealt by 20% for 20s
    • Hawk’s Eye (Level 26): Increases DEX by 15% and physical accuracy by 20% for 20s.
    • Quelling Strikes (Level 34): Reduces enmity/hate generated by each successive attack for 15s
    • Barrage (Level 38): Increases the number of strikes per auto-attack to two for 10s.
  • Heavy Shot (Level 1): Basic attack that does the most damage of skills.
  • Straight Shot (Level 2): Along with delivering a decent amount of damage, it applies a buff that increases chances of critical hits by 10% for 20s.
  • Misery’s End (Level 8): High potency damage that can only be casted when target is under 20% HP, does not share cooldowns with other skills.
  • Bloodletter (Level 12): An attack that does the same amount of damage potency as heavy shot, but does not share cooldowns with the other skills.
  • Repelling Shot (Level 15): This attack can only be used when very close to the targeted monster. As the name states, it repels you backwards pushing you away from monsters.
  • Blunt Arrow (Level 42): Silences target.
  • Shadow Bind (Level 10): Binds target for 10s.
  • Swiftsong (Level 22): Increases movement speed for yourself and all nearby party members within a certain distance. Cannot be used in battle and effect is dispelled as soon as any enmity is generated


  • Heavier Shot (Level 8): Adds to Heavy Shots a 20% chance that your next Straight Shot will deal critical damage, the actual buffs name is Straighter Shot.
  • Enhanced Dexterity I, II, and III (Level 14, 16, 32): Increases dex by 2, 4, and 6.
  • Increased Action Damage I, and II (Level 20, 40): Increases base damage by 10%, and 20%.
  • Enhanced Venomous Bite (Level 24): Extends Venomous Bite duration to 18 seconds.
  • Enhanced Raging Strikes (Level 28): Shortens Raging Strike recast time to 120 seconds.
  • Enhanced Quick Nock (Level 36): Extends Quick Nock range to 12 yalms.
  • Enhanced Barrage (Level 44): Increases the number of strikes per auto-attack to three.
  • River of Blood (Level 48): Grants a 50% chance that critical hits that DoT damage done by Venomous Bite or Windbite will reset Bloodletter’s cast time.

Bard Skills:

  • Mage’s Ballad (Level 30): Regenerates MP of all nearby party members while lowering own damage dealt by 20% as long as it is active. MP is drained continuously. If party members move out of range, effect will end, as well as if the skill is recast. Cannot be used simultaneously with other songs.
  • Foe Requiem (Level 35): Reduces all nearby enemy resistance by 10%. MP is drained continuously. If monsters move out of range, effect will end, as well as if the skill is recast. Cannot be used simultaneously with other songs.
  • Army’s Paeon (Level 40): Regenerates TP of all nearby party members while lowering own damage dealt by 20%. MP is drained continuously. If party members move out of range, effect will end, as well as if the skill is recast. Cannot be used simultaneously with other songs.
  • Rain of Death (Level 45): Delivers an AoE attack to the target and the enemies around it. It has two additional effects, the first lowering the targets damage by 10% for 20s. The second effect gives a 15% chance that the next quick nock will cost no TP for 10s.
  • Battle Voice (Level 50): Doubles the effectiveness of all songs for 30s excluding Swiftsong.


Moving is generally optional and Bards can easily take down targets without kiting. Other ranged targets can attack moving targets unless they have long cast times, which then can be interrupted by moving out of range.

  1. Start by using both DoTs, Venomous Bite and Windbite
  2. Use Straight Shot to acquire the 20s critical hit buff
  3. Use Bloodletter whenever available
  4. Use Heavier Shot until you get Straighter Shot
  5. Use Straight Shot whenever you have Straighter Shot
  6. Refresh and DoTs or buffs that wear off
  7. When target’s HP is low, use Misery’s End

For AoE rotations, it’s relatively simple.

  1. If targets are generally staying still or targeting a tank, use Flaming Arrow on the ground they’re standing on. Keep in mind if there are patrols, you cannot dispel the skill whenever you like and it will aggro if it steps in your circle.
  2. Use Wide Volley until you get a free cast of Rain of Death
  3. If Rain of Death gives you a free cast of Quick Nock, use Quick Nock
  4. Go to step 2 until you run out of TP.
  5. If you run out of TP, Army’s Paeon, Battle Voice, and Raging Strikes will give you continuous TP and allows you to still do full damage for the next 20s.

Cross-Class Skills

As Archer, you can use cross-class skills from all classes. Once you are a Bard, you can only use cross-class skills from Pugilist and Lancer. Playing as a Bard out of dungeon isn’t very rewarding as early levels, as most of your skills are used to assist others. Generally I have Bard on either way, considering that skills from other classes aren’t very strong on Bard, and all useful skills are from the two classes listed.

  • Featherfoot (Level 4 Pugilist)
  • Second Wind (Level 8 Pugilist)
  • Haymaker (Level 10 Pugilist)
  • Internal Release (Level 12 Pugilist)
  • Mantra (Level 42 Pugilist)
  • Feint (Level 2 Lancer)
  • Keen Flurry (Level 6 Lancer)
  • Invigorate (Level 22 Lancer)
  • Blood for Blood (Level 34 Lancer)


How do you kite?

Generally, walking backward is super inefficient in kiting. Not only do you walk backwards slowly and pretty much get hit the whole time, you risk having the monster walking out of aggro range and resetting, therefore having it regain all of its health. It’s best to run the monster in a circle, holding down E or Q strafing sideways, and adjusting with A or D when needed. You can still attack and jump all the time. That way you can run the monster in a large circle, avoiding most hits and attack the monster all the while.

What is Limit Break?

Limit break is an action only available while in a party. There is a total of three levels of limit break, each resulting in a different effect. There is no halfway limit break and once you use it, it will completely reset regardless of how much you have stored in the next bar. Bard’s Limit Break (LB) is an AoE Heal (Shares with Healers). You should only use Limit Break at 3 bars and if most of your party is dead (e. g. HM Trials) as the actual heal is very weak.

Useful Macros

This macro makes it so that you don’t have to worry whenever Bloodletter comes back up due to either cooldowns or River of Blood.

/ac “Bloodletter” <t>
/ac “Heavy Shot” <t>

This macro makes it so that if you need a buff, you don’t need to choose which one. I’ve set it based on what I consider least important to most important. You can change the order, or buffs to your own wishes.

/ac “Internal Release” <me>
/ac “Hawk’s Eye” <me>
/ac “Raging Strikes” <me>

This macro jumps away from a target and pressing it again binds the target.

/ac “Repelling Shot” <t>
/ac “Shadowbind” <t>

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