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Bard Soul GuideFollow

#1 Feb 07 2011 at 2:14 PM Rating: Excellent
25 posts
Bard Guide 1.0

  • 1) Intro
  • 2) The Bard Soul
  • 3) Spending your points
  • 4) Secondary Souls
  • 5) PvE Guide
  • 6) PvP Guide
  • 7) Gear Guide
  • 8) Using Virtuoso
  • 9) Suggested Builds

1) Intro

Greetings! This is a more complete guide to the Bard soul, to follow up on my previous PVP one. As before, this is a work in progress, and with the continual changes in the beta, parts may get out of date. Also, any feedback is appreciated.

General Info -

The Bard is the support soul of the Rogue class. Unlike the other Rogue souls, it doesn't focus on any one aspect of gameplay, but rather provides many helpful and unique abilities. It also has some good AoE healing, something the other Rogue souls can't provide.

What Race is best for a Bard?

With the nerf to racial abilities, race is truly a matter of personal preference now. All the racials just provide small bonuses, so pick the one you like best.

Do I need special gear for this?

Nope, bards just use standard Rogue gear. While we may provide healing and elemental damage, don't pick cloth, we need the standard rogue stats.

2) The Bard soul - an in depth look at the abilities

For this part, I'll be going over the individual bard abilities, and providing rankings for usefulness in solo play, pve and pvp. As always, this is a subjective score - any feedback on abilities is helpful and appreciated. Also, as I haven't been able to test the endgame yet, the later talents and abilities are theorycraft for now.

Tree abilities

    Tier 1
  • Good Health - 5 points - Increases your maximum health by 2% per point. This talent is a solid investment for PvP and solo, but in a PvE group you should have a tank and healer, so you won't get as much mileage out of it as in other settings. Solo - 3/5; PvE - 2/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Bardic Inspiration - 5 points - Increases the duration of your Motifs by 3 seconds per point. This talent is pretty much a "Must Have" for any Bard. Longer Motifs means less time and energy spent recasting them. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5

    Tier 2
  • Talented Composer - 2 points - Increases the radius of your Motifs, Fanfares and Anthems by 5 meters per point. This talent really depends on your role. Solo and PvE players probably won't get as much use out of it as PvPers will. It it much more useful in the more fluid PvP situations. Still, if you need to free up points, this one can be skipped. Solo - 1/5; PvE - 2/5; PvP - 3/5
  • Anthem of Glory - 1 point - Plays an Anthem that increases the Armor Value of Party and Raid members. While the other anthems can be better depending on the situation, for only one point, this is hard to beat. You get a solid armor buff for your whole group. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 4/5; PvP - 4/5
  • Street Smart - 3 points - Reduces your enemy's Hit and Critical Hit chance against you by 1% per point. This talent is a wonderful choice for PvP and solo players. Not only will you take fewer crits, you'll also get hit less overall. Further, since it's a general reduction, it's good against casters and melee alike. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 1/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Invigorated Soul - 3 points - Your Cadence heals up to 5 party and raid members for 33% of the damage done per point. The second "Must Have" talent. This makes our main combo source also provide a steady stream of healing. No matter what you're planning on doing with your bard, don't leave home without this! Solo - 5/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5

    Tier 3
  • Street Performer - 5 points - Increases the effectiveness of your Anthems by 6% per point. This is a PvE talent for the most part. A solo player is only buffing themselves, and PvP builds have far better things to spend points on than this one. It shines in a group setting where the maximum number of people can make use of it. Solo - 1/5; Pve - 4/5; PvP - 2/5
  • Power Chord - 1 point - Plays a chord that deals weapon plus Life damage; 2 combo points. A great instant combo builder, solid for heavy movement situations, or when you need points and don't have time to play the full cadence. Take it, use it, love it. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 4/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Stage Presence - 5 points - Increases the effectiveness of your Fanfares by 6% per point. The counterpart to Street Performer. The same comments apply - save this for group PvE where every little bit helps. Solo - 1/5; PvE - 4/5; PvP - 1/5

    Tier 4
  • Coda of Fury - 1 point - Plays a coda that uses combo points to deal weapon plus life damage to the target and up to 8 surrounding enemies. Our AoE finisher - it does pretty good damage, hits a big group and is only one point. No real reason to skip this. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 3/5; PvP - 3/5
  • Deafening Music - 5 points - Increases the damage of Coda of Wrath and Coda of Fury by 3% per point. This one buffs our damaging finishers. It's not bad, but it's definitely more for the solo rogue. The other finishers tend to be more useful in group settings. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 1/5; PvP - 3/5
  • Extended Grief - 2 points - Increases the duration of Coda of Cowardice and Coda of Distress by 50% per point. This is one of those talents that's far better than it looks at first. For just 2 points, you can reduce the damage and healing a group of enemies do and increase the damage they take for a full minute. A solid investment. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5

    Tier 5
  • Improved Anthem of Competence - 1 point - Your Anthem of Competence now affects party and raid members while they are in combat. Very nice mobility buff for you and your whole team. Definitely worth the single point it takes. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 2/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Riff - 1 point - Plays a succession of notes that deals weapon plus Life damage. Awards 5 combo points. Another no-brainer, this gives us the ability to get 5 combo points instantly. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Coda of Restoration - 1 point - Plays a Coda that uses combo points to instantly heal up to 5 party and raid members. Yet another "Must Have" talent, this gives us an instant cast aoe heal. Solo - 3/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Triumphant Spirit - 3 points - Increases the amount healed by Verse of Vitality, Coda of Restoration, and Motif of Regeneration by 5% per point. Tier 5 is jammed with excellent talents. This is another that no bard should skip. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5

    Tier 6
  • Verse of Fascination - 1 point - Plays a Verse that mesmerizes surrounding enemies for 8 seconds. Our Aoe crowd control. Handy in nearly any situation. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 2/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Resonance - 5 points - Increases all of your ally's attributes by 1% per point if your ally is affected by your Motif of Focus, Motif of Tenacity, and Motif of Bravery. Resonance is a great talent for solo and pve, and decent in pvp. The only issue is it sometimes gets pretty hectic, and people can miss one of the buffs. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 4/5

    Tier 7
  • Virtuoso - 1 point - All codas do not consume combo points for 15 seconds. Our capstone is fantastic. Fire it off and spam codas as much as you can. This talent is a game changer at the right time. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5

Root Abilities

  • Cadence - Deals weapon plus Life damage over 2 seconds, generates 1 combo, plus 1 per second spent channeling. Our basic combo generator. You're going to be using this one most of the time. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Motif of Bravery - Plays a Motif that increases attack power and spell power of party and raid members for 15 seconds. Solid buff for our group. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Coda of Wrath - Plays a Coda that uses combo points to deal weapon plus Life damage to a single target. Our single target finisher. It's pretty good, but in group settings we tend to have more useful things to do with our combos. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 1/5; PvP - 3/5
  • Fanfare of Vigor - Plays a Fanfare that increases endurance of party and raid members for an hour. Decent buff, but so many souls provide an endurance buff, you're usually better off playing one of the other fanfares and letting someone else pick up the endurance buff. Solo - 2/5; PvE - 1/5; PvP - 2/5
  • Motif of Focus - Plays a Motif that increases the Critical Hit and Spell Critical Hit of party and raid members by 5% for 15 seconds. Like Bravery, you want to keep this one up always. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Anthem of Competence - Plays an Anthem that increases movement speed by 15%. Very nice buff, good in lots of situations. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 3/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Motif of Regeneration - Plays a Motif that heals up to 10 party and raid members every 3 seconds for 15 seconds. For a minimal energy cost, we can heal nearby group members with an aoe HoT instantly. Keep this up as much as possible. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Coda of Cowardice - Plays a Coda that uses combo points to increase the physical damage taken by a group of enemies by 5%; duration is based on points. A great debuff, it will increase the weapon damage enemies take. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Fanfare of Power - Plays a fanfare that increase the strength and dexterity of your party and raid for an hour. Better than vigor as this buffs two attributes, and these buffs are less common. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 4/5; PvP - 4/5
  • Motif of Tenacity - Plays a Motif that reduces all damage taken by party and raid members by 5% for 15 seconds. Again, this buff is amazing, keep it up as much as possible. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Coda of Distress - Plays a Coda that uses combo points to increase the non-physical damage taken by a group of enemies by 7%; duration based on points. This is pretty much a straight up damage boost for you and any casters. Keep it up as much as you can. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Anthem of Defiance - Plays an Anthem that increases the magical resistance of party and raid members by 31. Protects your group against magic effects. Not quite as useful as Glory, since many casters can provide resist buffs already. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 4/5; PvP - 3/5
  • Motif of Grandeur - Plays a Motif that increases healing received by party and raid members by 5% for 15 seconds. All our Motifs are worth keeping up if possible, but this one is the one you can most afford to skip if needed. Solo - 3/5; PvE; 5/5; PvP - 4/5
  • Anthem of Fervor - Plays an Anthem that reduces the cost of abilities for party and raid members by 10%. This is the anthem you want. 10% cheaper everything for your whole group is simply amazing. Use it and enjoy. Solo - 4/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Verse of Captivation - Plays a verse that mesmerizes a single enemy for 8 seconds. Our single target CC. Worth taking if you have the points to get here. Solo - 5/5; PvE - 4/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Motif of Encouragement - Plays a Motif that causes up to 5 surrounding critters to follow the rogue for 15 seconds. Getting beat by a guy with a lute is bad; when he beats you up with a posse of bunnies, that's just downright pathetic. 5/5 across the board for the awesomeness factor
  • Fanfare of Knowledge - Plays a Fanfare that increases intelligence and wisdom of your party and raid for an hour. Probably the best of the fanfares, this will help your casters. Solo - 0/5; PvE - 4/5; PvP - 3/5
  • Verse of Vitality - Plays a verse that instantly heals party and raid members. Instant AoE heal; the only downside is the 1 minute CD. Solo - 3/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5
  • Verse of Joy - Plays a verse that rejoices party and raid members, restoring 50 mana per second, 5 energy per second, 5 power per second, and 5 charge per second. Amazing ability for your team. Definitely a must have for the PvE bard. Solo - 3/5; PvE - 5/5; PvP - 5/5

Edited, Apr 18th 2011 12:39pm by Selinya
#2 Feb 07 2011 at 2:14 PM Rating: Excellent
25 posts
3) Spending your soul points - a general discussion on speccing a bard

Speccing a Bard depends largely on what you want to do with it. PvE bards will probably want to invest the full 51 points for Verse of Joy, while PvP bards need to pick up other abilities from their secondary souls. With that in mind, here are some general points.

Good Health and Street Smart - PvE bards can skip these, unless they're going for the full 51. You shouldn't really be tanking, so there are better places to spend points.

Street Performer and Stage Presence - Normally, I'm all for making our buffs better. We have many unique buffs, and it's what we specialize in. However, these suffer from two big problems. First, we can only have 1 Fanfare and 1 Anthem running at once, so you won't be getting the full boost you could. Second, considering the "1 at a time" nature of these buffs, 5 points each is a bit too expensive. Skip these unless you need them to get a root ability or unlock a higher tier.

Deafening Music - Unless you're solo, we're better off using our other Codas most of the time. Giving your whole raid an extra 5% damage or healing everyone instantly tends to make more of a difference. It's not a bad place to spend points, but again, many other places might be a better use for 5 points.

Root abilities - If at all possible, you want to get to Anthem of Fervor for PvE or Verse of Captivation for PvP. These are incredibly useful for us, and well worth taking.

Fanfares - I've definitely changed my perspective on Fanfares after this last beta. So many souls can provide the Endurance buff that Vigor just isn't worth using most of the time. Our other two fanfares give boosts to two attributes, not just one. Don't overwrite what someone else can already give; use one of the other two if possible.

4) Secondary Souls

This is a general overview of the 7 secondary souls available to a Bard (I'll cover the PVP soul later in the PvP section of this guide). I'll try to provide a general look at what we might want out of each soul, and provide a rating for solo, pve and pvp.


The Assassin soul can buff our crits and provide steal for pvp, but in general, you're probably better off with one of the other souls. Still, it does have some nice abilities.

Ruthlessness, Cruel Vengeance and Magnify Pain all buff our crits, which is nice. Silent Footsteps, Improved Stealth, Slip Away and Elusiveness are great for PvP. So is Incapacitate, Blinding Powder, and Foul Play. Unfortunately, to get to some of these, you have to spend too many points in other abilities you probably won't be using as much.

Overall though, Assassin mostly buffs melee physical attacks, and we're a ranged Life based soul. You can make it work, but it probably isn't worth it.

  • Solo - 3/5
  • PvE - 1/5
  • PvP - 3/5


The Bladedancer offers a Bard survivability, energy return and accuracy. It makes a great complement for PvE, and is decent for PvP too.

Combat Expertise, Ambidextrous, Combat Efficiency, Combat Culmination and Vivacity all help out a PvE rogue with energy return and accuracy. Sadly, most of these are too deep in the tree to get, unless we skip some of the better Bard root abilities. Combat Pose/Preparation in the roots are good too, but we already can buff Dexterity.

PvP Rogues will probably like the various dodge and mobility talents. Quick Reflexes, Strike Back, and Sprint are all nice things for a Battle Bard.

Again though, except for the most basic talents, we have to spend too many points in things we won't use to get to the good stuff. Overall, this soul is a solid secondary one, just don't go too deep.

  • Solo - 3/5
  • PvE - 4/5
  • PvP - 2/5


Marksman really doesn't have much to offer the bard. Most of its talents buff specific marksman abilities or bow attacks in general, things we won't be using much at all as a rogue. It's marginal at best for PvP and downright bad for PvE.

The few things you might want are Repelling Shot, Static Shot, On the Double and Hasty Departure. These are all reasonably reached in the tree, but you're still going to have to take talents that won't do much for you to get to them.

All in all, this soul can be useful in pvp, but there are better choices.

  • Solo - 1/5
  • PvE - 0/5
  • PvP - 1/5


The Nightblade goes surprisingly well with the Bard, especially the early parts of the tree. It has lots of abilities that buff general attacks or non-physical damage, both of which we can use. Even pvp bards can get stuff out of it, as it provides stealth and some nice ranged CC. A solid choice for a secondary soul.

All the good stuff we want is in the lower part of the tree. Both PvE and PvP bards will be interested in Blazing Fury, Unstable State, and possibly Coup De Grace. PvP bards might want to check out Improved Twilight Force too, for a ranged slow.

Overall, the Nightblade beats out Bladedancer slightly, as all the good stuff is at the very bottom of the tree, where it's easily accessible to just about any build of bard.

  • Solo - 4/5
  • PvE - 5/5
  • PvP - 4/5


So, we get to the ranger... From what I've seen, the ranger seems to be a popular choice for a Bard secondary. However, it is definitely better suited to PvP than PvE.

PvE bards might want the Instincts in the roots and Eagle Eye and Opportunity from the tree (though opportunity requires a bigger investment than most might be willing to make). However, pvp bards can take Enduring, Crippling Shot, and Bolster too. They might even want to invest a few points beyond these to unlock Escape Artist.

A note on the Pet - If you take Ranger as a secondary soul, you will get access to the pet, but unless you invest heavily, You won't get access to the better ones. Is it worth it? That's a personal preference, but it seems to me that it's more for a solo build than anything else.

Overall, Bard makes a better secondary to Ranger than Ranger does to Bard.

  • Solo - 3/5 (5/5 if invested heavily for the better pets)
  • PvE - 1/5
  • PvP - 2/5


And now for the riftstalker. This is probably the best secondary soul for a PvP bard, and makes a good secondary for pve bards too. Riftstalker has some damage boosting, a ton of survivability, and enough mobility to put you on the "Meep-Meep" side of a Wyle E Coyote cartoon.

PvE bards can definitely use Unseen Fury and even Ruthless Stalker. However, they really don't have a reason to go deeper.

PvP is where the Riftstalker as a secondary truly shines. Baseline, you get a blink. Pretty much all the survival and teleporting talents are useful for PvPing. And with Shadow Mastery, the CD is only 30 seconds on average. What really makes this awesome is the later Phase Shifts remove roots, stuns and snares, and with a single talent can make you immune to them for a brief time too. You can even get an extra CC near the top of the tree.

Sadly, Exceptional Resilience was recently nerfed. Even so, in its current state it is still a great talent to take. 6% less damage from any source works well for nearly any situation.

  • Solo - 4/5
  • PvE - 2/5
  • PvP - 7/5


Surprisingly, the Saboteur makes a good secondary soul for the bard. It's better for PvP, but even PvE bards can find some good in it. You won't be using the charges much, but the bombs, traps and general talents all make this worth taking.

PvE bards can take Nimble Fingers for the 15% dexterity boost and be done, unless they really want to grab the bombs. PvP bards, on the other hand, can definitely use the bomb and trap talents. Even the debuff charges can synergize with the bard debuffs nicely. And the 50% stun/root duration from Combat survival is always good.

Overall, the saboteur doesn't offer much beyond the early points. Still, those early points are solid, and can bring a surprising edge to a bard's ********

  • Solo - 3/5
  • PvE - 1.5/5
  • PvP - 3/5

Edited, Feb 24th 2011 2:49pm by Selinya
#3 Feb 07 2011 at 2:14 PM Rating: Excellent
25 posts
5) PvE Guide

This part is a general guide for playing a PvE Bard - what you're expected to do, and how to make your job easier and life better for your group.

Make sure when you're invited that everyone knows you're a bard. The other Rogue souls are DPS mostly, so be sure that people know why you're there.

Keep your Motifs up! These are amazing buffs for the whole group, make sure you're keeping them going, especially if you have Resonance. My general order of importance is Regeneration > Focus > Bravery > Tenacity > Grandeur.

Try to stay in the middle of the group. We don't need to be up with the melee, but neither should we be in the back with the casters. Stay in the middle and keep an eye on the whole group.

Watch the party bars. We can really help the clerics out with our aoe healing, so don't just focus on the target. Keep an eye on your group and fire off a Coda or Verse if needed.

Be sure to use the debuff Codas too. The mobs will be doing less damage and taking more, helping to speed your run along.

6) PvP Guide

Some general tips for PVPing a bard. From my previous post -

First off, you're not a dps or a healer or a tank; you're a Bard. Try to play like one of them and you'll be miserable and perform poorly. Bards are a unique role, and require a player to go into it prepared to play a different style.

Also, don't worry about the scoreboard. Topping the charts isn't our job, helping our team win is. We're support.

With that in mind, some general tips:

* Pregame/Match Start Make sure you buff everyone with a Fanfare.
* Use Anthem of Competence to help your team reach objectives first.
* Before hitting the enemy, stealth while you can. Having access to stealth is a huge advantage you have over the other 3 classes, don't discount it.

General Tactics

Your job is to provide buffs and supplemental healing to your team, while debuffing the enemy team. Try to stay near the front lines, but don't worry if you do get exposed, we're pretty survivable. Save your Shadow Shift for these times, and you should be able to get to safety. As we don't really top the charts and we tend to be very mobile and annoying to take down, we don't usually get focused the way a healing cleric or mage might.

Also, don't forget your stealth. We can potentially take 2 opponents out of the first (granted, one is a very short duration, but still) if we're in stealth. Also, if they can't see you, they won't be targeting you.

Keep your Motifs up! They're the reason you want a Bard on the team, and the difference they make over the course of a match is noticeable. Everyone has their own preferred order, but my general order of importance is Regeneration > Tenacity > Focus > Others. Regeneration is a wonderful buff - it might not save someone's life the way a spike heal can, but you can buy them time.

Finishers are another area of personal preference. If possible I try to get a Cowardice or Distress out when our teams first collide. Distress is very nice for this, as you can make the whole enemy team take more damage for a minute if they've clustered. After that though, I try to save my points for a Restoration. Instant cast AoE heal that heals your whole team can really make a difference.

One change I have made is for the Fanfares. I tend to run Power now instead of Vigor, as many other souls can provide the endurance buff.

As for what spec to run for PvP, that's largely a matter of personal preference. My current spec I intend to PvP with at 50 is this -

Selinya's Bard PvP spec

You get most of the mobility and survivability talents from Riftstalker, letting you teleport around the battlefield and keeping you alive. Between that, your heals, and your buffs, you're going to be a giant pain in the rear to kill.

The Rogue PVP soul and bards

Sadly, the PvP soul really isn't for us.

The left branches have some nice upper talents, but you first have to spend 10 points on increased physical damage, which is about as useful to us as a screen door on a submarine. All our bard damage abilities are Life based, so the first two tiers don't help us at all.

The right side has some nice survival abilities, but we can get better ones from Riftstalker or bladedancer. The one ability I would love to get is Expedited Wounds, but I can't justify spending the points to get there.

The root abilities are nice too, but again, we can get better stuff in other trees. Only if you're going to 15 for the healing debuff is it worth it.

If you're going to use the PvP soul, I really recommend taking it and leaving it alone. Even baseline, Break Free makes it worth using. It's too bad that the rest of the tree isn't better for us.

Edited, Feb 24th 2011 6:51pm by Selinya
#4 Feb 07 2011 at 9:56 PM Rating: Good
25 posts
7) Gear Guide (General)

One question that seems to pop up is about what gear a bard needs. Despite having heals and dealing elemental damage, we don't get much at all out of wearing mage gear. Our abilities, like the rest of the rogue souls, scale with the standard melee/physical stats.

Some stats may vary, depending on your soul configuration and whether you're doing PVP or PVE, but there are some general guidelines to follow:

    General Stat Priority
  • 1) Melee hit - We do elemental damage from ranged, but our attacks are based off our main weapon and calculated like a melee hit, so cap this if you can. Focus won't help, as that's just spells.
  • 2) Dexterity - This boosts our crit, attack power, defenses, pretty much everything. This is your next big stat.
  • 3) Attack Power - Again, our abilities are based off the melee attack formula, so boosting this will boost your damage and healing.
  • 4) Crit - While crit is good for all rogues, it's less good for us. Most of our abilities are channeled or smaller hits. If you have a choice between crit and AP or Dex, you're better off taking the AP/Dex; they'll do more good in the long run.
  • 5) Endurance - We're not a tanking soul, but we do have to be a bit closer than most of the ranged souls. And in PvP, you'll want to prioritize this over most other stats, as we tend to be a primary target.

A note on strength - While strength does help us, dex does more for us. Most of our gear, however, comes with strength on it, so don't worry too much about it. You'll get plenty as you gear up.

Obviously, gear should be chosen to suit your playstyle. You do want to stick to leather though. Trion has done a great job at making all the souls for a class use the same array of stats. Stick to rogue gear, you'll get the best results.

8) Using Virtuoso

Some notes are needed for Virtuoso, since the in game tooltip doesn't fully explain it. The most important tip is, be sure to have 5 combo points on your target before you activate Virtuoso. It will do nothing if used on a target with no points on it.

Also, Codas still use energy, but determined by the number of combos on the target. Again, having 5 on your target before activating is best.

Finally, Virtuoso, unlike some other talents that modify skills, is on the GCD. So if you need it in an emergency, be sure to count on the GCD needed to activate it.

9) Suggested Builds

The PVE Bard - This build is the standard 51 in Bard to unlock Verse of Joy. 8 in Nightblade will boost your Cadence damage (and healing) by 24%, as well as giving you a long lasting CC if needed. The 7 in Bladedancer are for the Hit talent and to unlock the +Dex buff if needed. The last 2 in Bladedancer are purely at your discretion.

PVP/Tank Bard - For a more durable and mobile bard. This gets you up to Verse of Captivation in Bard, while picking up the survival talents in the tree. 32 in Riftstalker adds a large amount of survivability and mobility. You'll have 7 phase shifts to help you move around the battlefield, and plenty of talents to help keep you alive. You also get an excellent CD in Planar Refuge, as well as an extra CC if needed. The third soul is purely a personal choice. I would recommend Bladedancer, Infiltrator, or Saboteur; all 3 come with very solid baseline abilities with no points in them.

The Solo Bard - You'll get a Greater pet, good healing, and some nice CC. Also, some solid AoE damage options. You also have some good escape and damage boosts too. Like before, the third soul is purely optional - choose what works best for you. I tend to take bladedancer, as 15 seconds of extra dodge is really useful.

Edited, Apr 18th 2011 12:39pm by Selinya
#5 Feb 09 2011 at 5:09 AM Rating: Excellent
130 posts
Nice write up :) Thanks a bunch. Lot of players will find it usefull.

Some pointers I found out while testing a Bard.

Not to generalize but every Bard should take 8 points in Nightblade. It increases their healing done by a large margin. Blazing Fury and Unstable State are to good to pass on. Coup de Grace will increase your damage, but not your big heal, so not very useful for Bards.

Also I do not agree with your comment on PvP soul. It is amazing for a support soul. It has all the goodies in it to reduce incoming damage. A dead Bard can not buff and support heal ;) Reason being that Cadence, your core skill, has only 20 yards range. This implies that you will be in front of all the ranged, making you a direct target for the enemy casters.

Anthem of Glory is only very specific. As you can only have one Anthem active all the time, I would skip it for PvE and for PvP, except maybe for a raid, where the tank could need the extra armor.

Street performer is an amazing skill for PvP and PvE. Buffing is our core mechanism increasing our buffs by 30% is very good. Same goes for Stage Presence. Both should be 5/5 for a true Bard.

Fanfare of Vigor combined with Stage Presence is the best endurance buff in the game. It is a shame it will be overwritten by the last buff cast but if the raid wants a endurance buff, bard should do the buff.

Fanfare of Power is very situational especially for PvP. Endurance is king in PvP and if you do have more casters then melee, it is better to cast Vigor. PvE FoPower is almost always the choice to use as it increases our healing.

Anthem of Defiance combined with Stage presence will buff all resist by a large amount. Same reason as Vigor, bard should use this buff, not a specific caster.

Anthem of Fervor is amazing but very situational. Like all our motifs, a bard should rotate their fanfares and Anthems also, depending on the situation. It is not I have a fanfare active and forget, same for anthem. This anthem also contradict or increases Verse of Joy.

All in all you could say, except for a few skills, a true bard should get all the skills in the soul, especially because Verse of Joy is love from every healer in the game ;)

Also about PvP experience, which I tested the most.
- Not every bard will have stealth, it depends on your secondary souls
- It does not matter in which order you play your motifs as long as you keep them up
- We do top charts. At 35 I was doing more then 100k healing done in every WF (black garden) No other healing class could beat that :)

Edited, Feb 9th 2011 6:29am by Shoomy

Edited, Feb 9th 2011 8:21am by Shoomy
#6 Feb 09 2011 at 2:24 PM Rating: Good
25 posts
Shoomy wrote:
Also I do not agree with your comment on PvP soul. It is amazing for a support soul. It has all the goodies in it to reduce incoming damage. A dead Bard can not buff and support heal ;) Reason being that Cadence, your core skill, has only 20 yards range. This implies that you will be in front of all the ranged, making you a direct target for the enemy casters.

The main reason I don't really like the PVP soul for a Bard is that you can get far superior options from the Riftstalker soul.

Sample 21 in Riftstalker

For the same 21 points that you could place at maximum in the PVP soul, you can get from Riftstalker:

  • 3 Phase Shifts, each on a separate 30 second CD, one of which removes Snares, Stuns and Roots
  • 30% less damage from any source after any crit for 10 seconds.
  • A 15 second physical absorb shield that can absorb up to half your health after Phase Shifting, meaning you can keep this up permanently.
  • A damage reduction that, while it doesn't last as long, is on a 2 min CD, as opposed to Ignore Pain's 5 min CD
  • 9% more endurance and 20% more armor passively, and a self endurance buff too
  • 2 Phases you can choose from, to either increase your damage by 15% or buff your survivability immensely

I guess for me, it's a pretty easy choice - a Break Free on a 2-5 min CD, or one on a 30 sec CD that's also tied to a teleport.

If you go a full 32 into Riftstalker, you can pick up 3 more Phase Shifts, one of which is the amazingly powerful Flashback.

Why I recommend the Riftstalker over the PVP is simple - Most of its perks are either passive or on much shorter CDs than the PVP soul. Also, Riftstalker has far superior mobility compared to the PVP soul. As you said, we need to be within 20, Riftstalker not only helps us survive there, it can help us stay there too.

Edit - And as for Vigor, my point was that many souls can provide endurance buffs already. I know ours can be stronger, but it's better overall to take a slightly weaker endurance buff from someone else and buff other stats, than to play ours and have the cleric / warrior / mage one sit there unused. In nearly every situation, I'd rather have 2 buffs than 1.

Edited, Feb 24th 2011 6:52pm by Selinya
#7 Feb 10 2011 at 9:49 AM Rating: Excellent
130 posts
Point taken about Riftstalker and a good point it is :) Will investigate/test when I am or near level 50.

I can see what you mean about Vigor or Fanfares/Anthems as a whole. I am more of the assumption that you play your specific buff depending on situation. Big hitting boss, give endurance. Heavy magic fight give resists and so on. Instead of play one buff and forget about it. It is also a way to protect the bard mechanism as there is, imo, to much overlap in buffing from other callings.
#8 Feb 10 2011 at 9:22 PM Rating: Decent
2 posts
Shoomy wrote:

Not to generalize but every Bard should take 8 points in Nightblade. It increases their healing done by a large margin. Blazing Fury and Unstable State are to good to pass on. Coup de Grace will increase your damage, but not your big heal, so not very useful for Bards.

Shoomy, could you please clarify this for me? How does damage increase result in a large improvement to healing done?


Edited, Feb 10th 2011 10:23pm by rpmarens
#9 Feb 11 2011 at 9:51 AM Rating: Good
25 posts
rpmarens wrote:
could you please clarify this for me? How does damage increase result in a large improvement to healing done?


Cadence is a Life based combo point builder, so it receives a 15% damage boost from Blazing Fury and 9% more from Unstable State, since it's not a physical attack, for a total increase of 24%. Invigorated Soul makes your Cadence heal all nearby party and raid members for 100% of the damage done, so those 8 points in Nightblade make your Cadence heal for 24% more. They'll also buff the damage done by Riff and Power Chord.

And to Shoomy, the reason I listed Coup De Grace is simple. Unless you're going the full 51 points in Bard, if you're taking Nightblade already, Coup De Grace is a better option than Deafening Music. They both boost damage by 15% and they both cost 5 points. The reason Coup De Grace is superior is it buffs all finishers, not just Codas. I listed it as an option, for those who want hybrid builds, or for PVP bards who might be trying to get deeper in the tree.
#10 Feb 11 2011 at 2:57 PM Rating: Excellent
130 posts
Selinya wrote:
And to Shoomy, the reason I listed Coup De Grace is simple....

Seen that also. Mentioned it because it only increases damage not our core mechanism like buffs and healing output. For me Coup de Grace is not really important as I play the bard as a support class not for damage. But can see it being useful for some play styles.
#11 Feb 19 2011 at 5:24 PM Rating: Good
25 posts
Updated for current beta build.
#12 Feb 24 2011 at 1:46 PM Rating: Good
25 posts
Updated for Head Start release build.
#13 Feb 26 2011 at 2:07 PM Rating: Decent
1 post
Very nice post. Thanks for the info.

Edited, Feb 26th 2011 5:56pm by Deadwest
#14 Mar 07 2011 at 3:11 PM Rating: Decent
2 posts
This is an amazing thread and I thank you for the information presented in it. I'm finding though as playing a Bard in dungeons that missing is supremely frustrating and that the 5 points in Bladedancer are pretty much mandatory. :S
#15 Mar 10 2011 at 11:38 AM Rating: Good
25 posts
Updated for patch and gear guide.
#16 Apr 18 2011 at 10:11 AM Rating: Excellent
25 posts
Updated for 1.1 patch, and added Virtuoso guide and some suggested builds.
Necro Warning: This post occurred more than thirty days after the prior, and may be a necropost.
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