In light of the recent discussion on about 4.3 loot being looked at, I though I would make a post about Bards, and their life on SoD. Buckle your seat belts because this will be a long read. (there will be no TL;DR) We will start this with Bards through the Tiers. Bards offer great utility to their allies, through the two beneficial songs they can play, and have a wide variety to choose from. Once they have their Relics they will either play 2 of those, Mostly Fiery and maybe a Resist Song/Regen Song/Mots depending on the situation. As you gather experience and items, you will increase the strength of some of your songs. This too applies to the Detrimental song you will be able to play, slows, dots, pacify, charms, mezes, Bards are the Jack of All Trades, Master of None, this is something everyone, whether or not you have played a bard, can agree on. But lets get in to the details. As I mentioned in the 4.3 post, Bards are not the class to play if you are looking for something that puts out high dps numbers or is a tank/dps hybrid early on. Bards through out the tiers are merely there for their songs, but are still very fun to play when you get down into it. Bards have alot of good points leveling up and during the lower tier with their ability to help enchanters CC, the ability to slow/kite mobs that dont summon, and basically bring alot to the table for groups/raids at the cost of not doing much dps.( BUT DO NOT LOSE HOPE, You do later become a dps machine). Bards get alot of good AAs, including, but not limited to, Sonic Blades - Innate Magic Based DD Proc Jayla's Insight - Gives you information on a NPC's Class, Level, Bane, Resists, and many other stats Item Adept - Increased Proc Rate on weapons Glamour of Shiritri (My personal favorite) - Increases your faction standing with EVERYTHING by 1 level of Faction. (Ready to Attack = Threateningly, Threateningly = Dubious, Dubious = Apprehensively, ect, ect) Extended Notes - Increases all song ranges up to 25% Sionachie's Crescendo - Further increases the range of GROUP ONLY songs. Speed of the Wind (My second favorite) - short max movement speed buff at the cost of 500 mana (useable anywhere) Theres a lot to bards, and are not a simple class. They can be a very big part of a raid with their songs. The biggest beneficial songs are; Song of the Blademaster - 60% (spell)haste, with increased Strength, Dex, Attack, and a small DS, amounts affected by Brass Instrument Mod. Relic: Fiery Warcry of Tarhyl - Increase DD Damage by 13%, Increase Bane DD and DoT Damage by 18%, Increase DoT Damage by 13%, Increase Melee Haste v3 by 22% (Not affected by instrument mods) Relic: Lcea's Lament - HP Regen +22 per tick, and Mana Regen + 20 per tick.(Not affected by instrument mods) (You can only play 2 at a time) And the Detrimental songs are; Relic: Chant of Destruction - 200 point base Magic damage DoT that also lowers the Magic Resist of the target. (affected by instrument Mods) Tuyen's Chant of Venom (Pre-Runic 2) - 80 point base poison damage dot that also lowers the Poison Resist of the target.(affected by instrument Mods) Runic: Denon's Dissonant Duet - 100 point base Poison damage DoT that also lowers the Poison Resist AND AC of the target. (You can only play two Detrimental Songs at a time) Brusco's Bombastic Bellow - 200 point base Magic Damage DD that stuns the target for 4 seconds.(affected by instrument Mods) Brusco's Overbearing Bellow - 300 point base Magic Damage DD that stuns the target for 6 seconds.(affected by instrument Mods) Brusco's Belligerent Bellow - 1200 point base Magic Damage DD that stuns the target for 10 seconds and can only be used with a flute equipped, which is how it got its nick name "Flute Nuke". (affected by instrument Mods) Those would be a bards most used songs in groups/ and most raids, especially around mid/end game. As I continue on, things will go into more detail, like how much Monks benefit from the Song of the Blademaster,as it gives Strength and Dex, which affects their fist dps. Our next topic will touch on the tomes that Bards like to read. Tome of Magic Mastery Tome of Critical Evocation Tome of Striking Tome of the Mind Tome of Infection Mastery Tome of Enhanced Strength (And Dex) Tome of Bodily Resilience Tome of Bodily Avoidance Tome of Vitality Those tomes are in order of importance to a bard after finishing AAs. There are other tomes that are useful, but I listed the tomes I believe are more important to a bard. Now we will talk about the Class Tomes for a bard, which are what help them shed their "Play songs and Afk" life style and let them enter the race of their allies in terms of dps. Rhythm of the Blademaster - 2.5% chance to flurry per rank while the bard is playing Song of the Blademaster. (This only applies if the Bard himself is singing the song. You will not benefit from this tome if are not playing this song, but another bard is playing this song. You need to play it.) This tome caps, at Rank IV, 10% Flurry chance. This is the main tome that brings bards into the dps race, while not making then rival top dps, they are at least in the charts. Crescendo - 10% increased spell damage per rank against NPC's with 15% or lower hit points. This tome caps out at rank IV, for 40% increased spell damage. This is what makes the "Flute Nuke" Brusco's Belligerent Bellow extremely strong. and the lackluster class tome Quiet Reflection - Increased the Bard's Meditation Cap by 25 points per tome, capping at 100, putting bards at a 230 meditation skill. Now that you know alittle something about bards, and their songs/tomes/AAs, Lets get into the real purpose of this post. As I stated in the post https://shardsofdalaya.com/forum/threads/4-3-loot-balancing.30519, I talked about how lack luster bard dps is until they come across their 4.3 weapon. Bards see a huge dps increase with this weapon + the class tome Rhythm of the Blademaster. All in All, Bards end up in a good spot dps wise by T12 with that weapon, the problem is the climb, and the then restricted play style bards are limited to with this weapon. Thade touched on it in the post I linked earlier, and I agree with him fully. My idea to free Bards from this limited play style was to take it from being a clicky, make it have a worn effect, offering less attk, but still have decrease stamina loss, and not being effected by a instrument mod, and include Secondary as a slot. This would open up more weapon combinations, as well as open up the detrimental song for bards to be able to Slow, Resist Debuff, CC, ect again without sacrificing their mediocre dps. There are also another point I want to touch on, that I have touched on in the past about Bards. Song Range For almost all content up to T10/11, Bard Song ranges are not normally an issue because raids are normally stacked together to be in range for heals. There are no issues about range during these tiers. the problems start to rise in the T12-13 range for a lot of encounters. As Bards have no way other than AAs to increase song range, it quickly becomes obvious we need something to help us in that department in order to keep our songs on the raid. The biggest problem i have is the AA, Sionachie's Crescendo, which I explained earlier, increases GROUP ONLY songs. the only Group Only Song bards end up using is Song of the Blademaster, which basically wastes this AA, I have offered an idea to rework the third, lackluster tome into something to increase song ranges. another issue is the range of our detrimental songs, which would also benefit from the tome rework I mentioned in another post. If not a Tome Rework, then maybe somehow change this 1 AA to affect all songs? or maybe just Non Group Only songs? Feel free to ask any bard related questions here, or request information on something you would like to know about in detail, whether it be about item choices or exp spots, and I, or someone else, will answer it to the best of out abilities, also if anyone would like to add anything to this post, feel free.