It's obvious that Bard has been one of my favorite jobs in FFXIV for years because I just like how it feels in battle. However, when you choose to roleplay as a Bard, it comes with some expectations.
On one hand, being a Bard is pretty great. You can get away with being a little eccentric, outgoing and over the top. I've noticed that being a well-traveled storyteller or musician serves as an icebreaker when meeting potential RP players across many different situations. Especially if you have a fancy glamour or hat!
On the other hand, if you introduce yourself as a Bard in RP, sooner or later, people are going to have the expectation that you can actually play music, recite poems or tell stories. So before you decide on roleplaying a Bard, it's good to have a few tricks up your sleeves for those occasions!
The good news: FFXIV has a music performance system in game for your Bard to use. You can unlock this feature at level 30 Bard. The quest is in Gridania near Mih Khetto's Amphitheater.
The bad news: Unless you're a PC keyboard music wiz or a musician who has a MIDI keyboard linked to the game (I've met some who do), it's not so easy to use the music system.
BUT... let me introduce you to Bard Music Player.
This is a tool that allows you to sync MIDI music for use with the performance feature in FFXIV. I've used it for years and watched as it's become a more and more robust program over time. It can now impressively handle multi-track MIDI files, which tend to sound especially nice on the Violin family instruments that were release last year.
There's not much setup involved, and all the information you need is on the website itself. You just:
- Download the tool from the main page.
- Bind all of your performance keys in FFXIV properly - see the manual here.
- Wherever you place the tool's EXE file, create a separate folder called "songs".
- Put MIDI files in the songs folder.
- Launch the Music Player and follow the manual on how to play a song for performance.
This may seem like a lot but once you've set it up and tried it a few times, it's not that difficult to use. You can make playlists of your favorite songs and just let your Bard play through the list, or you can select specific songs and impress your RP partners!
You can edit your own MIDIS or find a load of MIDIs that the BMP community has created here. You can also join their Discord server for lots more music, or for support if you run into any snags trying to use the program.
Just keep in mind that FFXIV does not allow players to upload video of Bards performing copyrighted material. This can result in a ban if you do. You can play those songs in game, just don't record and post them anywhere.
So now that you know how to do it and what to use, go out there and make some music, Bards!