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Bard

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Icon class bard
The music-loving, fast-running bard is one of the most difficult-to-categorize classes in the game, due to its wide range of abilities and unique coding. The premise is simple enough: bards are a hybrid class who sing Songs to help allies or hinder foes, while also (usually) fighting in melee. The sheer variety of the available songs, coupled with the bard's ability to twist up to four songs at once, make the class one of the most situationally customizable in the game.

Unlike the other hybrid classes, the parent classes of the bard are not clear-cut. The bard combines many of the core abilities, skills, and equipment from the Warrior, Rogue, and Enchanter classes, and also shares at least some utility roles with virtually every other class in the game. In high-level play, the bard's roles are often the most similar to a cross between a rogue and an enchanter, since the bard's numerous pulling, buffing, and crowd control abilities become emphasized more and more as the game goes on. However, at all levels of play, the bard has a variety of options for accomplishing his or her goals and can fill in, to one degree or another, for the role of any other class.

Almost any group of five characters can be greatly enhanced by adding a bard to it, regardless of what the group's existing classes are. The one exception would be a high-level group with no healer that intends to take on at-level content without kiting or root rotting. Such a group tends to need a real healer, since the bard's regen songs and other tricks usually won't suffice for that.

How it PlaysEdit

The SingingEdit

All bard songs have a three-second cast time, and most have no recast timer, which means that most can be freely used and woven together as the situation dictates, as long as they are memorized. The duration of most bard songs is twelve seconds, which means that maintaining four songs (or, on a laggy connection, three) is usually all that a bard can manage at one time. Maintaining more than one song at once is commonly referred to as "twisting," "weaving," or putting songs "in the melody." It can be done manually (by activating and stopping each song in turn, usually by use of a hotkey for each) or semi-automatically (by using the /melody command, followed by the spell gem numbers of the songs to be twisted--see melody for more information).

The short duration of songs is one of the major balancing factors of the class, since bard songs that last longer than twelve seconds are very rare(amirite, ladies?), and are usually not combat-related group buffs. By the same token, this means that although most bard songs could be said to provide some benefit to almost any group the bard could join, bards do not have the time available to maintain them all. In other words, to paraphrase Rappapart of The Concert Hall, any songs a bard is singing must be worth one fourth of that bard's spellcasting potential at the time he is singing it. This is one reason why, although there are numerous bard songs, most bards stick to using only a limited number of them--the ones best suited to their (or their party's) current situation and class composition.

The very first bard song, Chant of Battle at level 1, provides a modest increase to the Strength, Dexterity, and AC stats of the bard's group. As the bard grows in levels, new songs become available.

Thanks to songs (and related abilities) the buffing capabilities of the bard are numerous. Their combat song options include such effects as melee haste, melee overhaste, attack rating boosts, AC boosts, stackable damage shield effects, modest runes and partial runes, hp and mana regeneration buffs, contact innates, and more.

Some bard AA abilities also have song-like effects, but may usually be activated instantly.

The FightingEdit

Bards use autoattack as their primary mode of dealing melee damage, and do not receive many combat abilities over the course of the game. However, the effectiveness of a bard's autoattack is still a respectable contribution to a group's DPS, and is intended as being comparable to a beastlord's personal damage (not including what is dealt by the warder pet): about 65% of a tanking warrior's. This will of course vary depending on equipment and the current state of game balance. When fighting together with other players, bards are usually expected to melee while singing unless the nature of the fight in question prohibits it.

Like the other melee and hybrid classes, bards gain access to a number of disciplines as they level up. Most of these come into play at levels 51 and above. Some of the most notable are the level 55 Deftdance Discipline, which allows the bard to automatically dodge incoming attacks for a brief period, and the level 69 Thousand Blades discipline, which greatly enhances the bard's melee accuracy and critical hit damage multiplier (but not the odds of one happening) for one minute.

Bards can attack at range using throwing weapons but cannot use bows and have no special abilities related to ranged combat. Since bards can sing songs while moving do not use throwing weapons when singing.

The AurasEdit

The bard class is among those who receive aura abilities at level 55 and above. Bards currently receive two lines of auras but can have only one of them active at a time:

  • The Aura of Insight line of auras, which begins at level 55 and continuously provides overhaste and spell damage focus for nearby allies. Such auras do not functionally stack with the similar song lines bards have available: both icons will appear in the buff windows, but for each effect (haste or spell focus) only the highest value will be used in the game's calculations.
  • The Aura of Rodcet line, which currently includes only the level 82 Aura of Rodcet, provides a pulsed HP and mana heal on all nearby allies every six seconds and stacks fully with the bard's health and mana regeneration songs, making it valuable for maintaining the party's mana during long battles and other situations where using out of combat regeneration is not feasible. The gradual healing it provides is also of value to bards while kiting.

Bard auras are particularly useful because they are long-lasting, persistent effects that will always be active even when the bard situationally would have to be singing something else, unlike most songs which require constant refreshing to be kept active.

Turning on either of these auras costs no mana and often frees up a slot in the bard's combat twist by filling in a buff role that would normally require singing a song. The downside to relying on auras in this way is that their range is very limited, often too small to cover the casters and healers they are intended to benefit. Also, when the aura buff does eventually end, it may take the bard a little while to notice that the icon has disappeared, depending on what he or she is paying attention to at the time. This can potentially lead to the group going for a long time without the benefits of the buff in question.

Hard-Coded Differences from Other ClassesEdit

Some of the gameplay differences between bards and other character types are deeply ingrained in EverQuest's programming, and have been for a long time. These differences include the following:

Mana differencesEdit

  • Bard mana regeneration can only increase or decrease as a result of two possible factors:
  • As a consequence of the above, bards are unaffected by the mana-influencing components of all buffs, debuffs, and other spells and abilities that regenerate or drain mana. Any other effects of the ability in question will still apply to the bard.
    • For example, if a debuff reduces hit points by 800 per tick and mana by 400 per tick, the bard will suffer the 800 points of damage each tick but not lose any mana.
    • This also means that bard mana regeneration is not increased by the bard's own songs that assist with mana regeneration. These songs are intended to benefit other, non-bard party members. However, if such a song also has an HP regen component to it, the bard will benefit from that part of it.

Spellcasting differencesEdit

  • Bards can sing songs and use clicky effects while running. For all other classes, this is basically impossible due to motion-based spell interruption unless they are using a spell or clicky with an instant cast time.
  • Bards can continue swinging their weapons freely while the casting time of a song is counting down. Other classes cannot do this while in the process of casting spells.
  • Bard songs are not affected by any of the conventional spellcaster focus effects. Instead, bard songs use their own unique form of focusing in the form of resonance.
  • Currently, no effects exist in the game that can increase or decrease the casting time of a bard's song. This is highly beneficial for bards when facing raid bosses who use debuffs that increase how long it takes to cast a spell.

Hate DifferencesEdit

  • The maximum amount of hate that a bard can generate per action is capped at a very low number. A side effect of this is that, under normal circumstances, bards have one of the hardest times holding aggro out of all of the classes, even when the bard wishes to do so. The bard's chant DoTs are an exception to this rule, and deliver an amount of hate comparable to other DoT spells. Because of this, chants are commonly used in the twist of a bard who intends to tank.
  • Historical note: when EverQuest was originally released, the aforementioned hate cap did not exist. As a result, bards originally had a hard time avoiding holding aggro in many situations, due to their songs affecting all nearby party members at once and generating a correspondingly large amount of hate.

Equipment OptionsEdit

WeaponryEdit

Defenses and AccessoriesEdit

  • The bard ...
    • Uses plate armor in most high-level loot distribution systems. Also has access to some low- and mid-level chain and leather armor, including the Fungi Tunic.
    • Can use most shields, although this prevents dual-wielding.
    • Is counted as a hybrid class for charms and other equipment that are available based on class archetypes.

InstrumentsEdit

  • Bards are the only class in the game that can wield held instruments, a type of equipment whose main reason for existing is to increase instrument resonance modifiers.
  • Although many classes can wear some equipment that has instrument resonances included among its modifiers, only bards can take advantage of the instrument resonance effect.


Should I Play a Bard?Edit

StrengthsEdit

  • Casting while running is a huge advantage in numerous situations, particularly for pulling, kiting, and crowd control.
  • Along with enchanters, bards are one of only two classes who can consistently mesmerize foes of comparable level.
  • At level 63 and beyond, bards gain access to the Fading Memories AA ability, which tremendously increases a bard's pulling and content skipping options.
  • The Selo's Accelerando line of songs make bards the best short-term outdoor runspeed buffers in the game, although the necessity of this has decreased somewhat in recent years with the advent of LoN mounts.
  • Bards are the only class that can continuously provide overhaste to their party members. Currently, groups with a bard are the only ones who can continuously reach the 125% hard cap on melee haste.
  • Likewise, they have some of the strongest damage shield buffs in the game, and stack with all all other forms of it.
  • They can usually solo effectively, being among the most powerful kiters in the middle levels and remaining quite respectable in that capacity throughout the game. See chant kiting and swarm kiting for examples of bard kiting strategies.
  • They're an important class for maximizing raid DPS when setting up groups for an event.
  • The patch-added Melody command allows bards to twist songs automatically, making the class much more accessible than it originally was for newbies, boxers, and people who are used to playing other classes.

WeaknessesEdit

  • Bards can fill almost any role in a group, but not every role at the same time. The twelve second duration of most bard songs means that the party can expect to have, at most, four of them running at once under normal circumstances. As a result, bards must learn when to focus on what, in order to be effective. When bards get it wrong, or when their party messes up their efforts, the result can be very messy.
  • The short duration of most songs can be particularly troublesome when crowd control is suddenly needed. When multiple foes are attacking, the bard typically must stop twisting some of his or her regular songs (usually a buff) in order to use mesmerization or charm songs instead. This can create awkward situations in which a group whose damage output was very high (due to buff songs) suddenly experiences a massive drop in its offensive abilities when the bard needs to mesmerize several foes at once. Any problems with this are made even worse if respawn occurs during the fight because the party is now taking too long to make kills, or if the healer runs out of mana due to the fight lasting a long time and the bard's mana regeneration songs suddenly ceasing to be maintained.
    • Because of this weakness, most bards work hard to keep pulls single, or at least thoroughly under the party's control, such as through chain pulling or domino pulling.
  • There are times when the three-second casting time of a crowd-control song feels just a bit too long.
  • Relatively speaking, the normal melee damage output of a bard is not very high. Much of this discrepancy results from the limited double attack and triple attack capabilities of bards compared to other melee classes who use the same weapon types.
    • Certain disciplines, AA abilities, and clickies can greatly help with this at higher levels.
  • Although the Fading Memories ability is an extraordinarily powerful pulling tool, there are times when a regular feign death ability would be much more practical, or even necessary in order to survive. Bards do not have such an ability.

Bugs and NuisancesEdit

  • Due to the way /melody works, using an item's clicky effect while /melody is active will often cause the bard's song gems to lock-up temporarily. If they lock up, the fastest way to fix them is typically to type /stopcast and resume using one's /melody hotkey again. This is most often only a problem in the high level game--for instance, when using the clicky on the bard's Epic 1.5 or Epic 2.0 weapons.
    • This glitch does not seem to be a problem with clickies that have an instant casting time.

TriviaEdit

  • Among the classes with mana, bards use their mana for the smallest number of ability lines.
  • Bards get the Meditate skill (originally granted them for the purpose of helping them memorize songs a little faster), but since it is capped at a skill of 1, it has no appreciable effect on the bard's mana regeneration.

Combat SkillsEdit

LEVEL TRAINED SKILL PRE-50 CAP POST-50 CAP
1 No 1 Hand Blunt 200 270
1 No 1 Hand Slashing 200 270
1 No Bind Wound 150 200
1 No Defense 200 270
1 No Hand to Hand 100 110
1 No Offense 200 270
1 No Piercing 200 270
1 No Throwing 113 120
10 Yes Dodge 125 180
17 Yes Dual Wield 210 260
26 Yes Instill Doubt 100 100
53 Yes Parry 75 195
58 Yes Riposte 75 80

Musical SkillsEdit

LEVEL TRAINED SKILL PRE-50 CAP POST-50 CAP
1 No Singing 235 235
5 Yes Percussion 235 235
8 Yes String 235 215
10 Yes Meditate 1 1
11 Yes Brass 235 235
14 Yes Wind 235 235

TradeskillsEdit

LEVEL TRAINED SKILL PRE-50 CAP POST-50 CAP
1 No Baking 250 300
1 No Brewing 250 300
1 Yes Fletching 250 300
1 No Jewel Crafting 250 300
1 No Pottery 250 300
1 No Smithing 250 300
1 No Tailoring 250 300

Language SkillsEdit

LEVEL TRAINED SKILL PRE-50 CAP POST-50 CAP
1 Yes Barbarian 100 100
1 Yes Combine 100 100
1 No Common Tongue 100 100
1 Yes Dark Speech 100 100
1 Yes Dark Tongue 100 100
1 Yes Dwarven 100 100
1 Yes Elder Dragon 100 100
1 Yes Elder Erudian 100 100
1 Yes Elder Tier'Dal 100 100
1 Yes Elven 100 100
1 Yes Erudian 100 100
1 Yes Faerie 100 100
1 Yes Froglok 100 100
1 Yes Giant 100 100
1 Yes Gnoll 100 100
1 Yes Gnomish 100 100
1 Yes Goblin 100 100
1 Yes Halfling 100 100
1 Yes High Elf 100 100
1 Yes Kobold 100 100
1 Yes Lizardman 100 100
1 Yes Ogre 100 100
1 Yes Orcish 100 100
1 Yes Thieves Cant 100 100
1 Yes Tier'Dal 100 100
1 Yes Troll 100 100

Other SkillsEdit

LEVEL TRAINED SKILL PRE-50 CAP POST-50 CAP
1 No Alcohol Tolerance 270 200
1 No Beg 200 200
1 No Fishing 200 200
1 No Sense Heading 200 200
1 No Swimming 200 200
12 Yes Forage 55 55
17 Yes Sneak 75 75
20 Yes Sense traps 75 120
24 Yes Safe Fall 40 40
25 Yes Hide 50 50
30 Yes Disarm Traps 100 100
35 Yes Track 100 100
40 Yes Pick Lock 100 125

See AlsoEdit

Bard Spells, Disciplines, and Abilities List

Classes
Bard  ·  Beastlord  ·  Beserker  ·  Cleric  ·  Druid  ·  Enchanter  ·  Magician  ·  Monk  ·  Necromancer  ·  Paladin  ·  Ranger  ·  Rogue  ·  Shadowknight  ·  Shaman  ·  Warrior  ·  Wizard

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