Because the bard is extremely underplayed and undervalued I decided to make a basic guide too show off the awesomeness of the Bard class!
To become a Bard, you have to play the archer class. Bards must be males and Dancers have to be females. They're gender locked classes.
Bards are a supportive class by nature, they however are capable of dealing decent damage!
Bards use two types of weapons: 'bows and instruments'. Both of those weapons deal damage based on DEX.
Both weapons also use arrows as ammo. The bow uses it for everything, while the instrument only uses arrows for skills (Musical strike / Arrow Vulcan).
DEX - Almost always get 80-90 dex. Any build.
VIT - Higher for PVP and WOE and even MVP, but don't ever get more then 90 vit.
AGI - Good for PVM, and leveling. I personally prefer getting 20-30 agi as a FS bard, or ~70 as a strafer.
INT - A good stat to have to enhance your Poem of Bragi! Dont go 50+ int.
STR - Get a bit of STR (up to 20) for pure WOE support. Only for carry weight. NOT REQUIRED!
LUK – Not usefull
All songs have a 7x7 area of effect around the bard, after leaving the area the buff stays active for 20 seconds.
Music Lessons: Increases your movement speed when playing a song and increases their effectiveness!! ALWAYS MAX THIS!! Melody Strike: I usually get 1 level into this. It takes (at rank 1) 1 sp and you do about 50% of the damage a DS does. With 90 base dex, this hits decently hard! Very good to use while you're playing your songs. Frost Joker: Always get 5, 40% chance to freeze ALL enemies on screen. If other players dont have a Marc/Evil Druid card, they'll be beautiful ice sculptures waiting to be hit by your Wind Arrow Double Strafe (or Arrow vulcan when trans). Dissonance: Prequirement for all your songs. Deals really low damage in a 7x7 area. NEVER actually use it and keep it at lvl 3. A Whistle (Song): +20 flee and +10 PD at rank 10. For every 10 agi you have +1 flee, for every 10 luk +1 PD. Pretty bad. Assassin Cross at Sunset (Song): 30% aspd at rank 10. For every 10 agi +1% aspd. This doesn't work with the following skills: Two-Hand Quicken, Spear Quicken, Adrenaline Rush. So you'll only help out rogues/alchemists/assassins/monks with it. Its great for buffing emp breakers or buffing those classes in PVM. A poem of Bragi (song): 40% cast time AND after cast delay reduction at rank 10. Every 10 dex -1% casting time, every 10 int -1% after cast delay. This is THE BEST bard skill. It makes everything broken. Priests wont have any delay on their buffing skills or heals, wizards can just spam spells nearly instant. ALWAYS get this to 10. Apple of Idun (Song): +120 HP regen and +35% max hp at rank 10. Every 10 vit adds 5 HP reg and 1% max hp. Its great for making those tanky classes tankier. Its horrible for 'healing' your party. Encore: Repeat the last Song (or Ensemble) you played for 50% of the SP cost. Pretty good for SP management! Adaptation to Circumstances: Cancels the song/ensemble you're playing. (This actually is very rarely used, as you can just switch weapons to stop the song)
Ensembles have a 9x9 area of effect around the BARD + DANCER couple. THEY CANNOT BE PERFORMED WITHOUT A DANCER. The Dancer and Bard need to BOTH have the Ensemble learned to play.
Lullaby: Everything in the area has a chance to sleep. Useless Into the Abyss: Skills no longer require gemstones (Hocus Pocus usually only costs 1 gemstone instead of 2). Its okay.. nothing special. Loki's Wail: EVERYONE in the 9x9 area cannot use skills. Only the Caster of Loki's Wail can stop the cast. Excellent for WOE, garbage for PVM. Eternal Chaos: Reduce everyone's Defense to 0. (Only lowers VIT def, not ARMOR def) Invulnerable Siegfried: Gain elemental and status resistance to ALL elements. Sounds amazing, but pretty hard to get value from. Mr Kim A Rich Man: (At rank 5) increase XP gain by 180% if monsters die within the area. Its only usefull for leveling. If people 'main' a bard class, they dont get this duet. Drum on the battlefield: At rank 5, increase ATK by 150 and DEF by 12. Pretty strong, you have to fight inside the duet to benefit from it though. Can be tricky to use. Ring of Nibelungen: At rank 5, increase ATK of level 4 weapons by 350! Pretty strong if your party uses level 4 weapons, tricky to use.
Ensembles sound amazingly broken on paper, but are very hard to use effectively. You ALWAYS need a partner with you, with exactly the same skills. You cannot move in Ensembles and the skill effect disappears immediatly when you leave the area, unlike the solo supporting songs.
There are two kinds of bards, a 'battle' bard AKA strafer bard and a Full Support (FS) Bard.
I'll be going over both builds and their pro's and cons.
This stat distribution allows you to keep spamming Double Strafe at a high speed and deal a crapton of damage! You're basicly a Strafer Hunter with more SP, but less damage. You can also play a song, and spam Musical Strike for pretty high damage.
Bard skills don't really matter for this build. You probably want to get Frost Joker & Poem of Bragi for the freeze+Double Strafe strategy explained at Tips & Tricks below.
1 Adaptation to Circumstance1 Encore10 Music Lesson5 Musical Strike3 Dissonance5 Frost Joker10 Poem of Bragi10 Assassin Cross of Sunset1 Apple of Idun1 Loki's Wail1 Eternal Chaos1 Invulnerable Siegfried
Head: Apple of Archer (PooPoo Hat for WoE)
Middle Headgear: Binoculars Or Sunglasses 
Lower Headgear: Gangster Mask
Weapon: +10 Gakkung  with 2x Archer Skel (Or Hydra for WoE)
Weapon: +10 Harp  with 2x Archer Skel (Or Hydra for WoE) - Use an Oriental Lute if you dont have good gear yet.
Shields: Buckler 
Armor: Tights 
Garment: Muffler  or Ragamuffin Manteau
Footwear: Boots  or Crystal Pumps
Accesory: 2x Glove 
The Bard Card set is also pretty decent for a strafer bard. I'm not sure if it performs better or worse then Dex/ATK boosting cards.
Full (woe) Support Bard:
This stat distribution allows you to keep your songs going without needing SP breaks. You're able to dish out decent damage with Double Strafe / Musical Strike and are quite tanky! Excellent for WoE/MvP.
1 Adaptation to Circumstance
10 Music Lesson
1 Musical Strike
5 Frost Joker
10 Poem of Bragi
10 Assassin Cross of Sunset
5 Apple of Idun
1 Loki's Wail
1 Eternal Chaos
1 Invulnerable Siegfried
Equipment: Head: Apple of Archer (PooPoo Hat for WoE) or Cap  with Stalatic Golem Card
Middle Headgear: Binoculars Or Sunglasses 
Lower Headgear: Gangster Mask
Weapon: +10 Compostive Bow with Status Cards
Weapon: +10 Harp  with 1x Golem Card + 1x Status or Archer Skel
Shields: Buckler  With Thara Frog card
Armor: Tights  With Marc card
Garment: Muffler  with Raydric card or Ragamuffin Manteau
Footwear: Boots  with Verit card or Crystal Pumps
Accesory: Safety Ring / Rosary / Rosary 
I highly suggest NOT using the bard card set for a WoE bard.
- Metaller (Silence), +5 ATK and 5% silence chance. Silence is countered by the target's VIT.
- Savage Bebe (Stun), +5 ATK and 5% stun chance. Stun is countered by the target's VIT.
- Plankton (Drowsy), +5 ATK and 5% sleep chance. Sleep is countered by the target's INT.
- Marina (Ice), +5 ATK and 5% freeze chance. Frozen is countered by the target's MDEF.
- Magnolia (Cursing), +5 ATK and 5% curse chance. Curse is countered by the target's LUK.
- Lord of Death (MVP) random chance of inflicting Coma (HP drops to 1). (Its a MVP, wont happen)
Tips & Tricks:
- Song Flashing: Play a song for 1 second, switch weapons and start strafing. The effect of the songs lasts for 20 seconds so you dont have to keep playing!
This allows you to play several songs in rapid succession to buff your party with all their effects in just ~4 seconds! Very high SP cost (And RIP your ears).
- If you have a Soul Linker, you can buff yourself with your own songs.
Soullink -> Bragi -> Back to bow -> Spam frostjoker till enemy is frozen -> Double Strafe with wind arrows for MAXIMUM DAMAGE.
- Soullink allows you to move at normal speed while playing (solo) songs. It also unlocks the Dancer counterparts of the Bard songs you've learned. Its pretty great!
- Trans only: Soullink -> Bragi -> Swap weapon to bow -> Back to instrument/shield -> Tarot Card
For any tips, advice or recommendations. Please message me on the forums, or ingame!