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  1. #1
    Community Member Bjond's Avatar
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    Default Bard T5: WC/Ice v Swash/Exploit

    Another decision point for my Bard Trapper: Warchanter T5 or Swash T5? For those of you that have tried it, my guess is that preference would depend on group v solo and trash v boss kill-rate. If possible, let's try to take that out of the decision -- I almost exclusively solo atm, but once I'm good with my own game knowledge and play, I will likely change that to mostly group. And, while faster boss kill is v.nice, sometimes there's a LOT of trash. If you can't deal with the trash quickly, it can deal with you.

    The expected realm of play will be ETR; ie. a great deal of leveling from 20 to 30, likely EN, maybe EH, and doubtful EE/Reaper unless I fall in with a congenial semi-static of ETR'ing peeps (could happen, but not planning for it or working to make it happen).

    Things I like about WC: +15% run is huge for general XP'ing, which this character will likely be doing much of for a long while. Considering all the running over the course of a character's life, I could see this alone equating to ~10% faster overall leveling rate. It's a soft-gain that would be almost impossible to quantify. Overall gain to group DPS far outshines personal DPS, too, but obviously only applies while grouped.

    Ice DC worries me, but my CHA-dumped build only really has about DC-7~8 compared to CHA-focused (CHA-10 from zero base invest, no level-ups, and non-PDK). Seems like an acceptable loss to me if my gearing can actually reach useful DCs anyway, but I'm not sure.

    DPS worries me, too. From my rough estimate, Swash T5 has about 30~50% more DPS than a T5 WC. But, Icing = Helpless = +50% damage. So, DPS difference is a bit in WC favor for iced trash (where ice sticks) and Swash for boss (where ice doesn't stick). And, if it's iced, it's not fighting back.

    And, one more tiny wonderment: WC 5th Core (BAB = Character Level). I want it if I go WC, but in application, how important is it? Is it meaningless at Level 24~26+ (ie. does BAB continue to increase to 20 CAP via epic BAB gains)? Is it worth giving up Evasion from a slightly heavier Rogue splash?

    --

    BTW, my biggest doubts about WC/Ice come from my own trials with it using a T5 WC'd Iconic. That test had TONS of snipers, though, which obviously don't clump up to make Spinning Ice at all useful. And, in birthday gear, even a CHA-built PDK can't really stick it reliably. Do those of you that play WC think freezing is icing or cake? What's the big draw / best gain for you?

  2. #2
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    I've played a lot of different bards, T5 in all 3 trees and everything in between. T5 Swashbuckler is a slight boss dps boost. T5 Warchanter is SO much better overall. I'm running a Warchanter/Spellsinger right now, not even swashbuckling, and stuff just dies. Between Spinning Ice and Soundburst (trademark Tilo), everything is helpless and goes down almost instantly. Even if you dump CHA, you can still use STR for Spinning Ice, you just wont get much of a bonus from the PDK 1/3 CHA mod. Get some Stunning/Insightful Stunning gear and you'll be fine.

    Even when I do pure melee DPS bard builds, I still take T5 in Warchanter and only go up to T4 in Swashbuckler. From what I've read about Exploit Weakness, it really only adds about +1 to your threat range on average over time. And I'm just not a fan of CDG. 20 second cooldown AND you have to first hit the target with some kind of stun first? I can see it being useful in higher reaper, but on EE/R1, you just don't need it. Freeze it and kill it.

    Also, if you are that worried about Evasion, when you get to epics use Shadow Dancer for evasion. It has a lot going for it (melee power, special attacks, survivability, trapping).

    As for archers, Deflect Arrows is fairly low in the Swashbuckling tree (T2) if you don't have it, and just make sure to have displacement up at all times.
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  3. #3
    Community Member Bjond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fivetigers33 View Post
    T5 Warchanter is SO much better [...] Between Spinning Ice and Soundburst (trademark Tilo), everything is helpless and goes down almost instantly.
    I'm a bit worried about my DCs since I can't cannith craft at all (maybe 1 item after a week of leveling it and farming mats). Let's suppose I have CHA=20 and gear on hand, @ L11 with a blasting chime for evocation, I'm about DC=19 or maybe 21 if I start tossing melee overboard on feats. Sounds pretty low to me.

    Spinning Ice 25s CD makes me wonder if it's worth it, but it does gain DC+4? over Frozen Fury, which would be about DC=25 @ L11 and DC=34 @ L21 for me. My dropped gear only gives Stun+6 @ L10, Evo+1 @ L11, and Stun+10 @ L21, which doesn't feel like it would be enough. I'm guessing I'd need a DC-focused Cannith set to increase CHA, Evo, & Stun in order to make frozen pay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivetigers33 View Post
    if you are that worried about Evasion, when you get to epics use Shadow Dancer for evasion.
    I'll likely be all over the map on ED (new character). But, it's good to hear you imply Evasion is just nice rather than "omg make sure you have it". My curiosity on Evasion stems from doing EN/EH/EE stuff. EN & EH are easy. H is a bit harder/slow, but not bad. When I step into EE, stuff is a bit harder until I starting thinking "this isn't so bad". That's when all of a sudden my HP has gone from Full+Shining to Zero -- and that's just from a trash pack. I'm wondering what kills me (the combat log is completely useless) and was thinking maybe it was an AE (have deathblock and all the regular immunities, so shouldn't be a DC instant).

  4. #4
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    Cannith Crafting doesn't take all that much to get it to decent levels. You can get a free crafting xp potion for completing the cannith crafting tutorial, and instead of selling all your loot to vendors, you can crunch it down for essence. I found you will generally get enough plat from chests and from selling scrolls/ammo/potions to cover any repair costs, so all the other loot can go toward crafting essence. If you are interested in leveling this up, I can give you some more specific tips and tricks.


    Now if crafting just isn't your thing (I wasn't too keen on it a few years back), you should be able to find named gear that boosts your DCs and corresponding abilities. Just make sure you are looking for all the different types of bonuses (Enhancement, Insightful, Quality, etc.) I don't know how many past lives you've got under your belt, but Soundburst could be a stretch for you on EE. But Spinning Ice you should be able to get a workable DC through gear and maybe twist in the T1 Legendary Tactics from Legendary Dreadnaught if you can afford it.


    As for Evasion, it's really nice to have. But from how fast you are saying you die in some quests, it's not going to be the difference of whether you live or die. In your particular scenario though, choosing between artificer or rogue, rogue for evasion sounds like a no brainer to me (plus buckler in your offhand helps tons for survivability). Some enemies just hit really hard on EE+ difficulties though, so make sure you aren't neglecting PRR/MRR, dodge or ghostly.


    Out of curiosity, if you dumped Charisma, what is your main ability?
    Last edited by Fivetigers33; 01-28-2019 at 01:38 PM.
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  5. #5
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    You need a lot more information here, such as what kind of content you're intending to take the character into and the overall structure of the build.

    That being said, it would be very strange to take T5 Swashbuckler on anything other than a pure Bard aiming to take the Swashbuckler capstone.

  6. #6
    Community Member Bjond's Avatar
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    Goal: fun bard for ETR cycle. Mandatory pure solo-capable on HE/EN/EH (would love R1 heroic, but doubt it's doable on a fresh char). Runspeed desired. Trapping desired. Potential good groupie desired. Brand new 1st life character -- no PLs, almost no gear, no PDK (have it unlocked, but the race is too ugly to play).

    WARNING! Long wall-of-text incoming! No worries if you'd rather skip. Any whine/grumble/etc in that wall is due to general build-frustration and not directed at y'all. Thanks a bunch for all your replies. Whether I take advice or not, it always makes me think and is greatly appreciated!


    Below is my work-in-progress. I'm 100% sure the build below will cover my desires. BUT (ya, we all have one), I'd like WC/Ice if possible. I've got Ice doubts because it failed my iconic trial. Ice is so damn attractive, though -- if it wasn't for the DC (and the CD on Spinning). For the Ice version, rip out T4 & T5 Swash (leaving just 13 AP .. enough for skirmish & tack), rip out KO, and give it all to WC. Splash would only be 1 Art 1 Barb so I could take C5 from WC. I would love to run Ice, but I don't think I can swing the DC requirement. Wiki shows a lack of quality/insightful/etc evocation or stunning from named gear. I already have regular stun+6 and stun+10 gear, but not the extra stacking types you can craft.

    I can see cannith could fill the gaps, but I lack mats. I can't even make one useful item and I pickup every collectable I find. I'd need 2-3 full sets to level. That means it will be a year or more before I have a useful mat-pile from regular play unless I dedicate a serious effort into deliberate mat-farming and doing that for weeks on end makes me want to avoid playing at all. If you can adjust my estimates with stories about how to collect enough to make 10 gear sets in an hour, well, hell-yes I'm in. And, uh, one of the charming aspects of bard's runspeed is that if I ever do go mat-hunting, at least it runs fast.

    Undispellable drain immunity is absolutely mandatory for me (hence the 23 in VKF), unless there's an easier way to get it. Considered using sentient/purity, but there's are too many exceptions to where it works. There's even a list of weapons that should take it, but don't. And, I don't know when that list might either shrink or grow or if it's up-to-date. Too bad, 'cuz it sounded like it might be fun to have a talking weapon.

    BTW, that talking/sentient weapon concept is so fun it should not have been done as part of an item, but rather as a new slot on the character (eg. main-hand sentient slot) -- so peeps could use it from L1, just scale active effect count by level. On weapon swap, the jewel could even protest or praise the choice.

    I'm curious why you think Swash T5 is only interesting with capstone. Swash C3-6 is nice, but easy to pitch for more useful things. It's one of the attractions of Swashbuckler versus say Tempest. The compelling reasons to go pure don't come from the trees. It's a much more versatile class.

    Oh, and btw, I agree completely about CDG. It's rather worthless due to CD and because I can only get it to work on trash. Reducing 2~3 hits to 1 hit every 20s isn't worth 1 AP. I took C4/Panache over CDG. I'd only take CDG if I had spare AP and nothing else to buy.

    Code:
    L20 Draino Smash Hit
    16/2/2 Bard/Barbarian/Rogue
    Chaotic Good Human
    
    
    Level Order
    
    1. Bard            6. Bard           11. Bard           16. Bard
    2. Rogue           7. Rogue          12. Bard           17. Bard
    3. Bard            8. Bard           13. Bard           18. Bard
    4. Barbarian       9. Barbarian      14. Bard           19. Bard
    5. Bard           10. Bard           15. Bard           20. Bard
    
    
    Stats
                   32pt     34pt     36pt     Tome     Level Up
                   ----     ----     ----     ----     --------
    Strength         8        8        8       +8       4: INT
    Dexterity       14       14       14       +8       8: INT
    Constitution    14       14       14       +8      12: INT
    Intelligence    18       18       18       +8      16: INT
    Wisdom           8       10       10       +8      20: INT
    Charisma        12       12       14       +8      24: INT
                                                       28: INT
    
    Skills
             Bd Rg Bd Bn Bd Bd Rg Bd Bn Bd Bd Bd Bd Bd Bd Bd Bd Bd Bd Bd
              1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
             ------------------------------------------------------------
    Perform   4     2     2  1     2     2  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
    Concent   4     2     2  1     2     2  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
    Disable      5              5  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
    Open Lo      5              5  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
    Search    2  3  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
    Spot      2  1     3        4     1½       1½ 2  2  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
    Balance   4           1  4                          2  3  3  3  2  1  23
    Hide      4     2     2  1              4  2  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
    Move Si   4     2     2  1     2     2  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
    UMD       4     2     2  1     2     2  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23
    Jump      4        3     2        3                             1  3  16
    Swim      4                                                            4
    Listen    3                                                            3
    Tumble    1                                                            1
             ------------------------------------------------------------
             44 14 12 11 13 13 15 14 12 14 14 15 15 15 15 16 16 16 16 17
    
    
    Feats
    
     1        : Single Weapon Fighting
     1 Human  : Shield Mastery
     3        : Precision
     6        : Exotic Weapon: Kama
     9        : Improved Single Weapon Fighting
    12        : Improved Critical: Slashing
    15        : Greater Single Weapon Fighting
    18        : Improved Shield Mastery
    21 Epic   : Inspire Excellence
    24 Epic   : Improved Shield Bash
    26 Destiny: Lasting Inspiration
    27 Epic   : Blinding Speed
    28 Destiny: Perfect Two Weapon Fighting
    29 Destiny: Wind through the Trees
    30 Epic   : Overwhelming Critical
    30 Legend : Scion of: Arborea
    
    
    Spells
    
    
       1. Cure Light Wounds (1), Focusing Chant (3), Merfolk's Blessing (5), Summon Monster I (8), Detect Secret Doors (20)
       2. Cure Moderate Wounds (6), Blur (6), Invisibility (8), Glitterdust (11)
       3. Displacement (11), Good Hope (11), Haste (12), Cure Serious Wounds (14)
       4. Dimension Door (14), Neutralize Poison (14), Cure Critical Wounds (15), Otto's Sphere of Dancing (17)
       5. Shadow Walk (17), Greater Dispel Magic (17), Mass Suggestion (18), Mind Fog (20)
       6. Heroes' Feast (20), Otto's Irresistible Dance (20)
    
    Enhancements (80+1 AP)
    
    Swashbuckler (35 AP)
        • Confidence, Swashbuckling, Uncanny Dodge, Panache
             1. On Your Toes III, Tavern Shanties III
             2. Fast Movement
             3. Skirmisher, Resonant Arms III, Two Steps Ahead
             4. On the Mark III, Battering Barrage II
             5. Thread the Needle, Exploit Weakness
    
    Vistani Knife Fighter (23 AP)
        • Knife Expertise, Knife Juggler, Knife Specialist
             1. Undead Hunter, Mist Stalker, Acrobatic III
             2. Mist Stalker, Haste Boost III
             3. Fan of Knives, Mist Stalker, Intelligence
             4. Celerity, Mist Stalker
    
    Warchanter (11 AP)
        • Skaldic: Constitution, Weapon Training, Song of Heroism
             1. Inspired Bravery II, Poetic Edda III, Rough and Ready III
    
    Occult Slayer (8 AP)
        • Weapon Bond
             1. Ear Smash III, Parrying Bond I
             2. Knockout III
    
    Harper Agent (3 AP)
        • Agent of Good I
             1. Strategic Combat
    
    Human (1 AP)
        • Skills Boost

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjond View Post
    I've got Ice doubts because it failed my iconic trial. Ice is so damn attractive, though -- if it wasn't for the DC (and the CD on Spinning). For the Ice version, rip out T4 & T5 Swash (leaving just 13 AP .. enough for skirmish & tack), rip out KO, and give it all to WC. Splash would only be 1 Art 1 Barb so I could take C5 from WC. I would love to run Ice, but I don't think I can swing the DC requirement. Wiki shows a lack of quality/insightful/etc evocation or stunning from named gear.

    I can see cannith could fill the gaps, but I lack mats. I can't even make one useful item and I pickup every collectable I find. I'd need 2-3 full sets to level. That means it will be a year or more before I have a useful mat-pile from regular play unless I dedicate a serious effort into deliberate mat-farming and doing that for weeks on end makes me want to avoid playing at all. If you can adjust my estimates with stories about how to collect enough to make 10 gear sets in an hour, well, hell-yes I'm in. And, uh, one of the charming aspects of bard's runspeed is that if I ever do go mat-hunting, at least it runs fast.

    Undispellable drain immunity is absolutely mandatory for me (hence the 23 in VKF), unless there's an easier way to get it. Considered using sentient/purity, but there's are too many exceptions to where it works. There's even a list of weapons that should take it, but don't. And, I don't know when that list might either shrink or grow or if it's up-to-date. Too bad, 'cuz it sounded like it might be fun to have a talking weapon.
    There might not be insightful or quality stunning gear, but what you are looking for is combat mastery. Executioner's helm has quality combat mastery and there are plenty of items with insightful combat mastery on them.

    If you are going INT based, you really need more than 3 AP in Harper. Know the Angles is a 2 minute buff that adds 1/2 your INT mod to the DC of your Tactics (ie Spinning Ice), so you wouldn't even need insightful combat mastery gear (unless for some reason they stack even though they shouldn't based on description). Plus there's all that melee power and eventually INT to damage which means you could drop Two Steps Ahead at least from swashbuckler.

    Also, as a bard you get UMD. Get some scrolls of Greater Restoration. I know you are big on negative level immunity, but these scrolls are a decent alternative to having to have AP in Vistani. You can still do vistani, but if you don't, you could use better weapons than daggers. But if I was making your character with that class split, I'd ditch vistani and put those 23 AP into Harper. There's even some trapping stuff in there.

    About T5 swash only being good for the Swash capstone, he didn't mean it's actually good. Just that if you are going for the capstone, you might as well put points in the swash T5.

    As for Cannith Crafting, are you in a guild? Have any friends that have been playing a couple years? What server are you on? And you don't need 10 gear sets. You'd need like 6ish, 12ish, and 20ish. And just craft around named gear.
    Stratis on Khyber

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjond View Post
    I'm curious why you think Swash T5 is only interesting with capstone. Swash C3-6 is nice, but easy to pitch for more useful things. It's one of the attractions of Swashbuckler versus say Tempest. The compelling reasons to go pure don't come from the trees. It's a much more versatile class.
    Swashbuckler T4 is nearly useless and even getting to 20 AP in Swashbuckler usually involves taking sub-par abilities. Swashbuckling Stance, Skirmisher and Different Tack are all game-changers. En Pointe is nice at higher levels when you can afford it's unreasonable spell point cost. Fast Movement is decent if you've got mostly Bard levels. The rest? Meh.

    However, it does depend on what you're planning to do.

    In terms of your build, it seems all over the place.

    Intelligence at Primary stat
    - This precludes any sort of offensive casting/special abilities as a Bard.
    - If you are going Intelligence, you probably want to be a Gnome/Deep Gnome for Color Spray.
    - Strategic Combat doesn't work with shield bashing, so there's little sense in taking Improved Shield Bash.
    - If you go with Charisma-to-damage, you can take FvS for Divine Presence (and potentially Smite Weakness or even Just Reward).
    - For that matter, if you're doing Intelligence as your primary stat, you should seriously consider going with Eldritch Knight instead.
    - Intelligence doesn't work well for melee dps builds because Intelligence replaces Dexterity in such builds. This not only wastes the (nearly mandatory) Dexterity in your belt slot but it means your AC is far less than it ordinarily would be. In theory, it can work well with Wizard Eldritch Knight builds because (a) they're forced to take Int anyway and (b) they can potentially just go with Beacon of Magic instead of Silent Avenger.

    Barbarian
    - Ear Smash is nice enough, but it's one of those abilities you take if you're already planning on investing in Occult Slayer, not an ability you purposefully take the class/tree for.
    - Not using either Rage or Focused Wrath raises the question of why you're taking those levels in Barbarian in the first place.

    Weapon
    - You're clearly planning to use a Forester's Brush Hook. However, it's only useful in the 15 - 25 level range, it's not better than Hand Axe/Light Mace in that level range and it's considerably worse than those weapons outside of the level range.
    - Forester's Brush Hook makes little sense with a 20+ investment in Vistani Knife Fighter. Over any level range you care to name, your VKF-buffed Dagger is going to be better than any Kama option.
    - If you're using Daggers, going Dexterity to hit only requires 1 AP in Assassin. Dexterity is natively used for the Van Richten's and Crabshell Bucklers, so it allows you to effectively use Improved Shield Bash.
    - If you're not planning on using Daggers, then don't take Vistani Knife Fighter. If you're really desperate for undispellable Energy Drain immunity, just take Shadowdancer and Sealed Soul (which also means you don't need to spend levels in Rogue).

    Miscellaneous
    - Blinding Speed is useless if you've either got Speed gear or can cast Haste. You can definitely do the latter and might end up with the former.
    - Dire Charge is the near-universal choice for melees in the level 29 Destiny slot. I can see some other options for specialized builds. I can't think of any build where taking Wind through the Trees makes much sense.


    I think you need to start by asking yourself why you're playing a Bard. The most common reasons:
    - To generate incredible critical profiles for high dps.
    - Freezing attacks
    - Healing/control casting
    - Buff songs

    If you're not doing any of these things (which you aren't), you're probably trying to cram a square peg into a round hole and should be using a different class rather than Bard.

    Last Note: Your "Iconic Test" will lead you astray. There are no Iconic options for Bards, which means the base equipment you get for an Iconic will always be bad for virtually any Bard build. The only time such an "Iconic Test" works is if the Iconic is purpose-built for a certain use of that class and that use makes sense with modern mechanics (rather than the mechanics as they existed when the Iconics were created). Bards are, in general, what I'd term an 'advanced class' because they normally require some fairly complex balancing decisions rather than just following an obvious script.
    Last edited by Hjarki; 01-28-2019 at 08:16 PM.

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    I have switched between these melee builds recently:
    T5 Swashbuckler 12 6Fighter 2 Using hand AXE exploit weakness and strike with no thought
    T5 Warchanter 12 6 Fighter 2
    41 pt Vistani 17 2 fighter 1 FVS

    The Vistani is significantly the best out of those. The dps is top notch. Decent survivability. Great CC. Single target freeze and dire charge for aoe stun.

    T5 Swash is the next best. I found the killing aspect so much better than the war chanter. You still have an aoe stun, single freeze plus a single Insta kill to help control the field.

    I'd only go Warchanter(with the splits I mentioned) if I wanted to be the ultimate group guy with the buffs it provides or if I don't plan to play at cap, since I find dire charge and single target ice give me good cc anyway.

    Just a comparison from someone who has played and compared some builds recently.
    Server: Thelanis
    Guild: Fallen Immortals
    Toons: Soza, Sozz, Sozza, Sossa (bards)

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoBoDaClown View Post
    T5 Warchanter 12 6 Fighter 2
    Were you swashbuckling with this build, or had points in Warchanter and fighter stuff?
    Stratis on Khyber

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fivetigers33 View Post
    Were you swashbuckling with this build, or had points in Warchanter and fighter stuff?
    Swash for fighting.

    Roughly:

    38 Warchanter,
    14 swash
    11 kensa
    4 or 8 divine presence or kta depending on final build levels
    Up to 13 to spend elsewhere: I'd normally spend on defence (stalwart at the time)



    Next time I'd do something totally different but I'm commenting on what I have experience with.
    Last edited by BoBoDaClown; 01-28-2019 at 10:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoBoDaClown View Post
    The Vistani is significantly the best out of those.
    Vistani is fantastic for heroic leveling or low-end epic play. The difficulty that crops up with Vistani is that you can overrun the doublestrike cap (rendering all of that bonus doublestrike pointless) and it can't match the awesome critical profiles of the highest dps Bard builds.

    Contrast a Vistani/Warchanter build with a Hand Axe/Focused Wrath build. Your daggers have 15-18/x3 19-20/x6 in LD/T5 Warchanter, for 1.85 critical multiplier. The Hand Axe version is 15-18/x5 19-20/x8, for 2.45 critical multiplier.

    Vistani will receive +20 Melee Power. Hand Axe receives +13 Melee Power on the trip through FB. Vistani receives +1[w] on d4+3. Hand Axe receives +3[w] on d6+3 for 38.5 vs. 58.5 base damage in LD with 5[w] weapons. Vistani will additionally get a +6% damage boost.

    The combination of the additional melee power and T5 Warchanter 6% damage bonus yields an additional 9% damage. The critical advantage for the Hand Axe is 32%. When you add on that 20-point gulf in base weapon damage, Hand Axe is generally ahead even if you're not at the Doublestrike cap.

    Light Mace builds also fall into the same category. The 14-18/x4 19-20/x7 for a Scourge Warchanter is a 2.30 critical multiplier, or 24% more than the Dagger. They've both got the 6% T5 Warchanter bonus, but Vistani has a +14 Melee Power advantage (about 6% more damage without Reaper enhancements). The base weapon damage is nearly identical (+1[w] for Dagger, better die type for Light Mace). That being said, Light Mace won't stack Vulnerability and the current selection of high end light maces is... poor.

    Knight's Training will also open up interesting options once it goes live.

    I do believe that Vistani is the most accessible route to a decent Bard build. It starts out strong and only starts to lose ground in Epic levels at higher difficulties. But if I were to make a list of "top 5 Vistani builds", none of them would be Bard builds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    Vistani is fantastic for heroic leveling or low-end epic play. The difficulty that crops up with Vistani is that you can overrun the doublestrike cap (rendering all of that bonus doublestrike pointless) and it can't match the awesome critical profiles of the highest dps Bard builds.

    Contrast a Vistani/Warchanter build with a Hand Axe/Focused Wrath build. Your daggers have 15-18/x3 19-20/x6 in LD/T5 Warchanter, for 1.85 critical multiplier. The Hand Axe version is 15-18/x5 19-20/x8, for 2.45 critical multiplier.

    Vistani will receive +20 Melee Power. Hand Axe receives +13 Melee Power on the trip through FB. Vistani receives +1[w] on d4+3. Hand Axe receives +3[w] on d6+3 for 38.5 vs. 58.5 base damage in LD with 5[w] weapons. Vistani will additionally get a +6% damage boost.

    The combination of the additional melee power and T5 Warchanter 6% damage bonus yields an additional 9% damage. The critical advantage for the Hand Axe is 32%. When you add on that 20-point gulf in base weapon damage, Hand Axe is generally ahead even if you're not at the Doublestrike cap.

    Light Mace builds also fall into the same category. The 14-18/x4 19-20/x7 for a Scourge Warchanter is a 2.30 critical multiplier, or 24% more than the Dagger. They've both got the 6% T5 Warchanter bonus, but Vistani has a +14 Melee Power advantage (about 6% more damage without Reaper enhancements). The base weapon damage is nearly identical (+1[w] for Dagger, better die type for Light Mace). That being said, Light Mace won't stack Vulnerability and the current selection of high end light maces is... poor.

    Knight's Training will also open up interesting options once it goes live.

    I do believe that Vistani is the most accessible route to a decent Bard build. It starts out strong and only starts to lose ground in Epic levels at higher difficulties. But if I were to make a list of "top 5 Vistani builds", none of them would be Bard builds.
    My Vistani build plays really well r4-r8 endgame (r8 is an outlier for me - but still performed well. r4 to r6 is my standard depending if I'm in duo or group. I'm not hardcore in my game time, so feel this is doing well.) - a load better than my hand-axe swashbuckler kensai; admittedly my gear has improved a little since but not that much. I'm at 100% double strike, but can't see massive gains without opportunity cost. I am missing 3% iconic past lives.

    I'm not convinced on light maces - due to the lack of decent weapons.

    Perhaps I will try the swash brute again, but just commenting on my direct experience. Pain is also a nice weapon - perhaps the non reduction of vorpal damage helps in reaper - not sure.

    Note: I'm not comparing to a FB, as I haven't played one.

    I like all of Vistani T5: a chunk of prr/mrr in the tree, +10 damage, a regular +1 to crit range and multi, and mist stalker when I see danger.

    I could see myself trying out a FB at some point; however, I do like the 17 bard as I like to keep the ability to group heal, but I feel like most of my healing in raids tends to be single target, such as tank healing, so it might be time to drop some bard levels.
    I was seriously unimpressed by war chanted 5 for dps purposes.
    Last edited by BoBoDaClown; 01-29-2019 at 12:34 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoBoDaClown View Post
    Note: I'm not comparing to a FB, as I haven't played one.
    The following would be an example of what I'd consider a 'max dps' (or close to it) Bard build (note: 12 racial AP are used, but they can be trimmed off from the utility in Warchanter amongst other places) - it was the basis for the numbers I was citing above.

    Code:
    12/6/2 Bard/Barbarian/Favored Soul
    Aasimar
    
    
    Level Order
    
    1. Bard . . . . . .6. Barbarian . . .11. Bard. . . . . .16. Favored Soul
    2. Barbarian . . . 7. Bard. . . . . .12. Barbarian. . . 17. Bard
    3. Bard . . . . . .8. Barbarian . . .13. Bard. . . . . .18. Bard
    4. Favored Soul. . 9. Bard. . . . . .14. Barbarian. . . 19. Bard
    5. Bard . . . . . 10. Barbarian . . .15. Bard. . . . . .20. Bard
    
    
    Stats
    . . . . . . . .36pt . . Tome . . Level Up
    . . . . . . . .---- . . ----. . .--------
    Strength. . . . .8. . . .+8. . . .4: CHA
    Dexterity . . . 14. . . .+8. . . .8: CHA
    Constitution. . 14. . . .+8. . . 12: CHA
    Intelligence. . 15. . . .+8. . . 16: CHA
    Wisdom. . . . . 10. . . .+8. . . 20: CHA
    Charisma. . . . 18. . . .+8. . . 24: CHA
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28: CHA
    
    Skills
    . . . . .Bd Bn Bd Fv Bd Bn Bd Bn Bd Bn Bd Bn Bd Bn Bd Fv Bd Bd Bd Bd
    . . . . . 1. 2 .3 .4. 5. 6 .7 .8. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
    . . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
    Perform . 4. . .2 . . 2. . .2 . . 2. . .2 . . 2. . .2 . . 2. 1. 1. 1. 23
    Heal. . . 1. . . . 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 .2½ 4. 1½ 1 .23
    Bluff . . 3. . .2 . . 1. . .2 . . 2. . .3 . . 2. . .2 . . . . . 3. 3. 23
    Diplo . . 3. . . . . .2 . . 2. . .2 . . 2. . .3 . . 3. . . . . .3 .3 .23
    Hide. . . 4. . .2 . . 2. . .2 . . 2. . .2 . . 2. . .2 . . 2. 1. 1. 1. 23
    UMD . . . 4. . .2 . . 2. . .2 . . 2. . .2 . . 2. . .2 . . 2. 1. 1. 1. 23
    Intim . . . .5. . . . . .4. . .2. . .2. . .2. . .2. . . . . . . . . . 17
    Tumble. . 4. . . . . . . . . . 3 . . 3 . . 3 . . 3 . . . . . . . . 1. 17
    Jump. . . . .2. . . . . .4. . . . . . . . .1. . .1. . . . . . . . . . .8
    Balance . 4. . .2 . . 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
    Swim. . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
    . . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
    . . . . .32. 7 10. 6 10. 8 10. 8 10. 8 11. 9 11. 9 11. 7 11 11 12 12
    
    
    Feats
    
    .1. . . . : Extend Spell
    .3. . . . : Weapon Finesse
    .6. . . . : Single Weapon Fighting
    .9. . . . : Improved Single Weapon Fighting
    12. . . . : Improved Critical: Slashing
    15. . . . : Greater Single Weapon Fighting
    18. . . . : Shield Mastery
    21 Epic . : Improved Shield Mastery
    24 Epic . : Improved Shield Bash
    26 Destiny: Perfect Single Weapon Fighting
    27 Epic . : Overwhelming Critical
    28 Destiny: Perfect Two Weapon Fighting
    29 Destiny: Dire Charge
    30 Epic . : Precision
    30 Legend : Scion of: Arborea
    
    .1 Aasimar: Bond of the Fallen
    
    16 FavSoul: Grace of Battle
    
    .4 Deity. : Follower of: Aureon
    
    
    Spells
    
    Bard
    1. Detect Secret Doors (1), Expeditious Retreat (3), Feather Fall (5), Focusing Chant (9)
    2. Blur (7), Glitterdust (7), Rage (9), Soundburst (13)
    3. Displacement (13), Haste (13), Good Hope (15), Charm Monster (18)
    4. Dimension Door (18), Freedom of Movement (18), Cure Critical Wounds (19)
    Favored Soul
    1. Divine Favor (4), Nightshield (4), Command (16)
    Enhancements (80+12 AP) Frenzied Berserker (34 AP)
    • Die Hard, Frenzied Toughness, Frenzy
      1. Extra Rage III, Cracking Attack III
      2. Body Blow III, Blood Tribute III, Extra Action Boost III
      3. Blood Trail III, Supreme Cleave III, Constitution
      4. Crazy Strike III, Constitution
      5. Focused Wrath II, Raging Blows
    Warchanter (21 AP)
    • Skaldic: Constitution, Weapon Training, Song of Heroism, Fighting Spirit
      1. Enchant Weapon, Rough and Ready III
      2. Iced Edges III
      3. Ironskin Chant III, High Spirits III, Frozen Fury III
    Aasimar (16 AP)
    • Stronger Bonds, Charisma, Stronger Bonds II, Charisma, Stronger Bonds III
      1. Fight the Wicked, Improved Recovery
      2. Fight the Wicked
      3. Fight the Wicked, Blessings I, Improved Recovery
      4. Divine Form
    Swashbuckler (14 AP)
    • Confidence, Swashbuckling
      1. On Your Toes I, Tavern Shanties III
      2. En Pointe III, Fast Movement
      3. Skirmisher, Smooth Flourishes
    War Soul (7 AP)
    • Smite Foe: Melee
      1. Divine Presence III, Toughness I
      2. Smite Weakness
    Destiny (24 AP) Legendary Dreadnought
    1. Legendary Tactics III, Extra Action Boost III, Constitution
    2. Constitution
    3. Critical Damage I, Haste Boost III, Constitution
    4. (none)
    5. Advancing Blows, Devastating Critical
    6. Master's Blitz, Headman's Chop
    Twists of Fate (35 fate points)
    1. Sense Weakness (Tier 4 Fury)
    2. Reign (Tier 3 Fatesinger)
    3. Legendary Shield Mastery (Tier 2 Sentinel)
    I like the Vistani tree, but I think it raises the "why are you playing a Bard?" question. If you're going with a full Vistani build, that's basically your build right there and you're just looking at the value add from whatever class you choose. The 'value add' for Rogue, Cleric, Favored Soul and Wizard all tend to be much greater than Bard.

    In terms of Warchanter T5, the personal dps is slightly lower than T5 Swashbuckler. In a full group, the overall dps will be better. However, it's mostly a matter of bang-for-the-buck. Swashbuckler just isn't very good between Skirmisher and Exploit Weakness, so when you're going that far up in the tree you're really looking for the 5th/6th Core in my opinion. Also, for Light Mace in particular, Exploit Weakness doesn't stack with Pulverizer - making T5 Warchanter strictly better in that case.
    Last edited by Hjarki; 01-29-2019 at 04:02 AM.

  15. #15
    Community Member Bjond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fivetigers33 View Post
    what you are looking for is combat mastery.
    Ah, yep -- stunning slightly more indirectly than just searching on "stunning". That works!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivetigers33 View Post
    scrolls of Greater Restoration.
    I tried that. It fixes the negative levels and any stat damage, leaves a savaged SP bar; ie. no real change, still need a shrine. As far as I can tell, the only way to keep from loosing 2/3 of my mana is to be immune. I have it on my main now and it's fantastic.

    Even if VKF consisted of nothing more than 23 AP for drain immunity, I'd still spend it. I know this opinion doesn't match experienced folk at all, but the only thing that would make me change my mind is a plethora of in game experience showing it as not needed. 'Course on my character that has it, I can no longer tell when it's doing any good. Hmm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivetigers33 View Post
    And you don't need 10 gear sets. You'd need like 6ish, 12ish, and 20ish. And just craft around named gear.
    Yeah, that was hyperbole. I was hoping you'd say "oh, I just run this farm route <insert link> 3 times and it gives enough for me to craft whatever I want". Implying guild-resources are necessary to obtain required mats is a bit depressing. It makes me think the mats really are crazy-rare and hard to get.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    Swashbuckler T4 is nearly useless and even getting to 20 AP in Swashbuckler usually involves taking sub-par abilities. Swashbuckling Stance, Skirmisher and Different Tack are all game-changers. En Pointe is nice at higher levels when you can afford it's unreasonable spell point cost. Fast Movement is decent if you've got mostly Bard levels. The rest? Meh.
    Ah, preacher, meet choir. I feel exactly as you do about Swashbuckler abilities and it's likely one of the reasons I'm more drawn toward WC -- it has nicer abilities enroute and more runspeed (which I really want), though it's "game-changers" aren't as obvious as MORE CRIT.

    However, while I think your ideas are great for DPS (hell yes, I'd make a Haxe wrath swash for dps -- it's an obvious win on paper), it's all you're focused on and dps is NOT the purpose of this character. This character is for maximum exploration, not maximum exploitation. DPS has to be "good enough" and more DPS is always welcome, but it's not worth punting everything else.

    Also, this character will be TR'ing, unlocking EDs, and karma farming. Sealed Soul is T5 and can't be twisted (can it?). It can't be used unless I'm locked into the ED. That's not happening until I'm done playing the character and just want to park it at some epic level for occasional special use. That leaves VKF or Sentient for drain immunity.

    I think a bard/barb/rog|art trapper is an extremely versatile high-speed exploration mix that can also diverge into other roles, such as collectable farmer or challenge runner if/when I get tired of playing/tr'ing it. Going with other weapons is definitely a potential solution IFF I can find decent L20 and L26 sentient-capable swash weapons. I think those two levels should cover L20->L30 trips pretty well -- and there's always the (nearly) effortless and quite nice Barovians at L29 if I want to pause at L30 for a while and don't mind XP'ing a 3rd jewel. Sentients are unusable on my main, so this would find a v.good use for otherwise wasted fodder from that char.

    Thanks for all the feedback and sorry if I didn't quote and respond to each one -- I read them all and they're all very helpful. I'd love to punt VKF entirely from this build and considering other sentient capables (such as Haxe) might be a way to do it -- and farming them up will give my main something to do besides XP.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjond View Post
    I tried that. It fixes the negative levels and any stat damage, leaves a savaged SP bar; ie. no real change, still need a shrine. As far as I can tell, the only way to keep from loosing 2/3 of my mana is to be immune. I have it on my main now and it's fantastic.
    Have you considered getting a cleric hireling that can cast Deathward and Divine Vitality? I do a lot of end game raids and reaper, and yes every once in a while I am caught off guard and half my SP is gone. But 99% of the time if you know what you are up against, Deathward and/or a spell absorption item will get the job done.



    To add a little more info, beholders are one of the only enemies that will both dispel your Deathward AND give you negative levels. Beholders can be frozen and stunned. They might get 1 spell/attack off before you can land something, but if you have a spell absorption item on, their first attack does nothing (in terms of damage/neg levels) and then you stun/free/hold/whatever them and kill them. When the beholder is dead, take your spell absorption off and put back on whatever your normal gear was. Now if you used clickie for deathward, you might be SOL until you find a shrine. But if you have a party member or hireling with Deathward, just re-cast it and carry on when you are done with the beholders.


    If you are dead set on having permanent immunity to negative levels, you could be Warforged. KotC Paladins get it too, as well as Undead Wizards. The Eldritch Knight tree is pretty cool now and plays similar to bard.
    Last edited by Fivetigers33; 01-29-2019 at 11:17 AM.
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    Want to know my build?
    https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthrea...il-of-the-Bard

  17. #17
    Community Member Bjond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fivetigers33 View Post
    Have you considered getting a cleric hireling that can cast Deathward and Divine Vitality?
    Did that on my main for a bit (kinda -- my main at the time could cast DW directly, hire for Vitality). It just got really old to read the wiki "use DW here" and then end up having it dispelled. It was rarely beholders, though. It kept happening over and over while flagging up for the Abbot raid. I think .. at least that's what I was doing most when I got so fed up with it I decided to back off and nuke it from orbit (so to speak).

    I think what I'll do is level with VKF until I actually have a Sentient weapon with enough of the Purity for immunity. That covers L15->Lsentient. Then I can strip VKF and give that 23 AP to something else -- either all WC so I can grab C5 BAB = Character Level or Spellsinger C3 for Fascinating Undead with the rest in WC.

    Bard 18 Barb 1 Art 1. T5 Swash with Frozen Fury & WC:C3 to start. I'm going to see if I can't get DC high enough for reliability. A reliable FF beats KO -- 1/3 the CD, same CC duration, plus the target is helpless and won't wake up when I hit it. No evasion, but it can get C5 in either Swash or WC or both if I skip on Spellsinger after punting VKF. Gotta pass on Haxe & Lpick Wrath -- too scarce in low epics and can't afford the AP if I'll be spending heroics with VKF.

    I'm wondering if I'll talk myself out of Barb-1 and swap 10% runspeed for Evasion via Rogue-2. I'll likely spend a fair bit of time staring at PDKs to see if I can convince myself they're not too ugly to play. All-in on CHA would help with FF DC and short-swords are plentiful in epics.

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    I love immunity to neg levels. On my swash, I tend to grab it from Shadowdancer.
    I have an enlightened spirit warlock with Purity filigree, that's definitely also pleasant.
    But T4 VKF just for this looks like a hefty price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    The following would be an example of what I'd consider a 'max dps' (or close to it)

    Sure - I'm not after max dps - I'm after as high as possible dps (big priority), with defence, cc and healing. Thanks for the build though - I will try something like it at some point to see how it plays.

    Your enhancements:
    Frenzied Berserker (34 AP)
    Warchanter (21 AP)
    Swashbuckler (14 AP)

    I like the Vistani tree, but I think it raises the "why are you playing a Bard?" question. Because I like bards.If you're going with a full Vistani build, that's basically your build right there and you're just looking at the value add from whatever class you choose. I don't necessarily disagree with you that it is a mutt build. But isn't it slightly more bardy than the one you linked?
    My build uses the same amount of AP in Warchanter and Swashbuckler, but has an extra 5 bard levels.
    The 'value add' for Rogue, Cleric, Favored Soul and Wizard all tend to be much greater than Bard. Could be, but I'm building a bard (I only play bards), and adding to it from elsewhere - using Vistani in a similar way that you used FB.

    In terms of Warchanter T5, the personal dps is slightly lower than T5 Swashbuckler I found it significant - +5 dam, +1 effective crit range with a high multi weapon, an insta kill, plus some nice defence. In a full group, the overall dps will be better. However, it's mostly a matter of bang-for-the-buck. Swashbuckler just isn't very good between Skirmisher and Exploit Weakness, so when you're going that far up in the tree you're really looking for the 5th/6th Core in my opinion. Also, for Light Mace in particular, Exploit Weakness doesn't stack with Pulverizer - making T5 Warchanter strictly better in that case.
    None of this is to say that FB isn't a very good build (not talking raw dps here - talking full comparison). I will definitely try it at some point. I have different bard builds I want to try in the future (I think this Knights Training stuff might be further proxy 'nerfing' Swashbuckler and further reducing its desirability - there might be some interesting bard ideas coming through this feat). I am simply commenting on my experiences with 3 main types of melee builds.
    Last edited by BoBoDaClown; 01-30-2019 at 12:44 AM.
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  20. #20
    Community Member Bjond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cru121 View Post
    I love immunity to neg levels. On my swash, I tend to grab it from Shadowdancer.
    I have an enlightened spirit warlock with Purity filigree, that's definitely also pleasant.
    But T4 VKF just for this looks like a hefty price.
    Yeah, 23 AP is HUGE, but every tree is a road paved with fluff leading to a few nice desires. VKF's yellow brick road is far nicer than most: non-dagger VKF skips 20mp 4 hit 6 dmg 1W, but still gains Drain Immunity 12 M/PRR Deflect Arrows QuickDraw 10% Double 25% Neg 30% Action Haste 2 Will FE/Undead 2vEvil 1ability Fan-of Knives. It's the least "fluffy" fluff in game. I can drop 1 AP at random while blindfolded into VKF and be pleased.

    Yeah, the stuff I'm missing is VERY nice and might still tempt me into giving this bard the kiss I have in bank already and picking up dagger traits. But, VKF is so nice overall, I don't feel like I'm wasting the AP, just not fully maximizing the opportunity of being there.

    Besides, I have VKF dagger char. I wanted a full JOAT, wanted to try a Brush Hook (& maybe Dream edge). Lots of skills, vastly different combat strategy, different weapon. Next TR my main will swap SWF for TWF to further differentiate styles (might even LTR for that if I get impatient).

    edit
    The real missed opportunity is 41 VKF. But, if I ever badly want more DPS, I can keep the underlying build and still do that by chopping the head off Swash and feeding it to VKF (pure enhancement change for a few plat). 41 VKF beats T4/5 Swash blindfolded with one hand tied behind it's back.
    Last edited by Bjond; 01-30-2019 at 11:14 AM.

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