What bugs me most is that people who played bards and TRed or LRed to test the new swashbuckler say it doesn't feel like playing a bard... This is enough reason for me to say that bards still need another melee focused tree that feels like playing a bard. It doesn't have to compete with swashbuckler though in melee dps, but should have enough melee dps to beat down mobs in a decent amount of time.
The warchanter always felt like playing a bard, you didn't have enough melee dps to compete with a barb but you had enough melee dps to solo some mobs in a decent time. On top you had strong buffs for melee partymembers, these vanished with the changes to several game mechanics and new loot enhancements. One of the main reasons why many warchanters are not playing anymore. If you feel useless because of missing dps and no kind of buffs to compensate for it anymore it's harder to have fun with a toon. The possibility to toss heal scrolls when needed is devalued by all the self healing toons running around atm, many players not only don't need self heal, their toons have enough stuff to help healing others, so that's not a bard specific trait anymore.
#GENERAL BARD Changes#
To fix the song problem which are one of the main reasons less people play bards atm (and swashbuckler didn't fix any of them) I think we need the following changes (some already got mentioned):
1. All songs should be converted to a bardic type of buff that stacks with all other soures.
2. Inspire Courage +attack and +damage needs to be converted to a +x% buff. This might hit the low level bards but is the only option to scale with the current endgame and future updates that are going to increase the power of characters even further.
3. Ironskin song, probably would be better to be a stacking +2/4/6% stacking physical damage reduction. Any DR value doesn't scale from level 1-28, especially becoming useless in epic content when mobs hit for 200dmg. (And yes the barbarian DR should be changed this way too, since it doesn't scale with current endgame anymore)
4. Inpire recklessness, needs to be bardic type of buff as already mentioned in 1. Currently it only offers a -10% fort debuff because most melees are wearing a doublestrike item already and they don't stack.
5. Inspire greatness, I always didn't like this song because I thought every melee who needs more attack already has a+2 competence bonus to attack item anyways. 20 HP are more or less useless in endgame content and +1 fort save... not enough benefit to make me waste time singing this song.
6. combining some songs would help with all the players who prefer to zerg and are impatient to wait for buffs.
And if you now give the warchanter capstone the ability to double your song effects then I'd say this can compete with the evasion of the swashbuckler tree. On top this would make a pure bard warchanter a real warchanter who deserves this name.
Then there is only the frozen fury enhancement which is IMO completely 'broken' and needs some work, because unless you are a PDK there are no possibilities to go charisma based as melee warchanter so we either need two versions of this enhancement, one cha and one str based or some options on the warchanter tree to use charisma as attack and damage mod.
With these changes I would even say if you add some more self and in combat healing warchanters might not need any additional dps increase. And we would have a bard which plays like a real bard and warchanter.
You can use the spots of the enhancements that increase damage if you get hit by ice damage for adding new self healing options if needed. Apart from that I can't repeat all the other nice stuff players had mentioned who would like to stay a viable thf warchanter.
Biggest problem of the current warchanter is not the lack of dps, it's the uselessness of the current bard songs. A warchanter was always relying on his own songs to buff himself as well, even that is not working right atm...
Only touching spellsinger tree slightly. Spellsingers won't be overpowered if they get CC, spell dps and healing. Because they don't need to be top notch at every of these 3 things so they wouldn't be overpowered. Clerics/FvS can be build to do decent dps and still heal good enough for most groups/raids ( they don't need to because of all the selfsufficient toons atm, but they can be build to be good at both). Wizards can be build to be good at CC and still be good at nuking, not as good as a nuking sorc, but not very far from that.
So why don't we just give bards the option to be very good at CC?
Especially the spellsinger core ability could make all bard spells count as level 9 spells when cast.
So currently they can build for healing, but without mass heal they are never going to be as efficient at healing as a cleric/FvS in many raid situations. I know there are bards who build to be very good solo healers, but if you play a cleric/fvs it's much easier and needs less skill to heal at that level.
And about sonic dps spells... I think bards don't want to nuke as good as sorcs/wizards (otherwise I'd say they just don't know that bard is the wrong class for them :P ), but bards are missing the possibility to deal at least decent damage with their spells so that they are not forced to go melee if they want to kill a mob.
That's why I think it wouldn't be overpowered if spellsingers would get 1-2 new spells/SLAs to deal damage so that they can have all the 3 things they want(CC,spell dps and healing), just at the right degree. (Clerics/FvS already got spell dps and healing and bards won't be able to compete with them at same player skill level and CC is something which only works if you have the highest DCs otherwise you can just skip it :S )
And I think it's not a mistake that some positive energy stuff is split between spellsinger and warchanter. Because warchanters are still bards and sometimes cast healing spells.
There were many other great suggestions in this thread that could be used to be combine with my suggestions to get great spellsinger and warchanter trees, and just make these kind of bards a viable class again.
We don't need a complete overhowl of the spellsinger and warchanter tree, we need scaling and stacking songs better capstones and only some slight changes to each tree and the whole bard experience would be back.
Adding Buffs to the base bard songs instead of having so many different songs would also be nice.
And to the second graphs of geoffhanna, posted as a response to varg:
And I think casting needs to differentiate between spell dps and CC. Because if spellsingers get same DCs as wizards or at least are only 1-2 DC points off, then their spell dps should be much less than a nuking sorc and even less than a wizard build for CC (because you still have songs and group healing). But yeah, still good enough spell dps to be able to kill something with it.
Apart from that the healing capabilities listed are plain wrong. Spellsingers have same healing capabilities as swashbucklers? Do Swashbucklers have the same SP amount as spellsingers? Because the SP amount is helping healing too. If I have 1800 SP I can heal much more than with 900 SP. And spellsingers usually have feats that also help boosting the cure spells if needed...
And when I look at the warchanter graphs... if that's going to be the goal for the warchanter tree... than please just delete the tree. It doesn't even get top notch healing, although healing as a bard is already more difficult than healing with a cleric/FvS. And you need someone who is good at playing his bard to even reach the healing of a mediocre cleric/fvs player... On top of that he has nothing but buffs to contribute to the party. 2.5/10 melee dps is nothing I'd call contributing and nothing that looks like the ability to solo even EN quests.
Looks like the incarnation of boring gameplay to me, unless you have some tendencies to punish yourself in your free time. :S
It's worse than playing a healbot cleric and even they are not very famous...
And some players mentioned FvS and Sorcs are now better at melee than warchanters... isn't that a flaw of design if a class that is mainly build around buffing is weaker in melee combat than a class that has so much nice damage spells, which still can be used while meleeing, even if they are not as strong anymore they are much stronger than the bard spells...
I know it's hard to balance out the bard gameplay experience and enhancement trees. That's why I would favour some general changes that bard songs are stacking and scaling with the endgame again and in the future. Then I think we only need slight adjustments of the current enhancement trees so that most long time bard players are going to be happy.
"We don't like to break existing characters"
If that is really your intention the swashbuckler tree should have never hit the live servers(at least if you use it as excuse now to take/delete the melee capabilities from the warchanter tree). Because as far as I can see you say swashbuckler is the new melee focused tree for bards and warchanter needs a new role. I already feared this would happen when reading about the swashbuckler on the lammania forum.
And don't forget some players were farming equipment for their melee focues bard since years, some finally managed to get an eSoS. Swashbuckler is build around light armors and one handed weapons where the warchanter melee until u22 was build around thf or twf and medium armor...
If you really wanted to make the swashbuckler the new and only melee focused tree for bards you should have thought about that stuff, especially if you really intent not to break existing characters.
But now we have a new melee dps bard tree with nice melee dps, experienced bard players just think it doesn'T feel like playing a bard anymore... enhancement tree inserted in the wrong class?
And if you are only aiming for some design goals:
- crowd control
- spell dps (not at the level of wizard/sorcs, but enough to get some mobs killed)
- caster buffs
(- healing would more or less be included since SP pool and empower healing give a great boost to healing anyways)
- decent melee dps (not at the level of swashbuckler)
- melee buffs
- some additional healing (+ defense)