Bards and You


Dalayan Elder
In light of the recent discussion on about 4.3 loot being looked at, I though I would make a post about Bards, and their life on SoD. Buckle your seat belts because this will be a long read. (there will be no TL;DR)

We will start this with Bards through the Tiers. Bards offer great utility to their allies, through the two beneficial songs they can play, and have a wide variety to choose from. Once they have their Relics they will either play 2 of those, Mostly Fiery and maybe a Resist Song/Regen Song/Mots depending on the situation. As you gather experience and items, you will increase the strength of some of your songs. This too applies to the Detrimental song you will be able to play, slows, dots, pacify, charms, mezes, Bards are the Jack of All Trades, Master of None, this is something everyone, whether or not you have played a bard, can agree on. But lets get in to the details.

As I mentioned in the 4.3 post, Bards are not the class to play if you are looking for something that puts out high dps numbers or is a tank/dps hybrid early on. Bards through out the tiers are merely there for their songs, but are still very fun to play when you get down into it. Bards have alot of good points leveling up and during the lower tier with their ability to help enchanters CC, the ability to slow/kite mobs that dont summon, and basically bring alot to the table for groups/raids at the cost of not doing much dps.( BUT DO NOT LOSE HOPE, You do later become a dps machine). Bards get alot of good AAs, including, but not limited to,

Sonic Blades - Innate Magic Based DD Proc
Jayla's Insight - Gives you information on a NPC's Class, Level, Bane, Resists, and many other stats
Item Adept - Increased Proc Rate on weapons
Glamour of Shiritri (My personal favorite) - Increases your faction standing with EVERYTHING by 1 level of Faction. (Ready to Attack = Threateningly, Threateningly = Dubious, Dubious = Apprehensively, ect, ect)
Extended Notes - Increases all song ranges up to 25%
Sionachie's Crescendo - Further increases the range of GROUP ONLY songs.
Speed of the Wind (My second favorite) - short max movement speed buff at the cost of 500 mana (useable anywhere)

Theres a lot to bards, and are not a simple class. They can be a very big part of a raid with their songs. The biggest beneficial songs are;

Song of the Blademaster - 60% (spell)haste, with increased Strength, Dex, Attack, and a small DS, amounts affected by Brass Instrument Mod.
Relic: Fiery Warcry of Tarhyl - Increase DD Damage by 13%, Increase Bane DD and DoT Damage by 18%, Increase DoT Damage by 13%, Increase Melee Haste v3 by 22% (Not affected by instrument mods)
Relic: Lcea's Lament - HP Regen +22 per tick, and Mana Regen + 20 per tick.(Not affected by instrument mods)
(You can only play 2 at a time)

And the Detrimental songs are;

Relic: Chant of Destruction - 200 point base Magic damage DoT that also lowers the Magic Resist of the target. (affected by instrument Mods)
Tuyen's Chant of Venom (Pre-Runic 2) - 80 point base poison damage dot that also lowers the Poison Resist of the target.(affected by instrument Mods)
Runic: Denon's Dissonant Duet - 100 point base Poison damage DoT that also lowers the Poison Resist AND AC of the target.
(You can only play two Detrimental Songs at a time)

Brusco's Bombastic Bellow - 200 point base Magic Damage DD that stuns the target for 4 seconds.(affected by instrument Mods)
Brusco's Overbearing Bellow - 300 point base Magic Damage DD that stuns the target for 6 seconds.(affected by instrument Mods)
Brusco's Belligerent Bellow - 1200 point base Magic Damage DD that stuns the target for 10 seconds and can only be used with a flute equipped, which is how it got its nick name "Flute Nuke". (affected by instrument Mods)

Those would be a bards most used songs in groups/ and most raids, especially around mid/end game. As I continue on, things will go into more detail, like how much Monks benefit from the Song of the Blademaster,as it gives Strength and Dex, which affects their fist dps.

Our next topic will touch on the tomes that Bards like to read.

Tome of Magic Mastery
Tome of Critical Evocation
Tome of Striking
Tome of the Mind
Tome of Infection Mastery
Tome of Enhanced Strength (And Dex)
Tome of Bodily Resilience
Tome of Bodily Avoidance
Tome of Vitality

Those tomes are in order of importance to a bard after finishing AAs. There are other tomes that are useful, but I listed the tomes I believe are more important to a bard.

Now we will talk about the Class Tomes for a bard, which are what help them shed their "Play songs and Afk" life style and let them enter the race of their allies in terms of dps.

Rhythm of the Blademaster - 2.5% chance to flurry per rank while the bard is playing Song of the Blademaster. (This only applies if the Bard himself is singing the song. You will not benefit from this tome if are not playing this song, but another bard is playing this song. You need to play it.) This tome caps, at Rank IV, 10% Flurry chance. This is the main tome that brings bards into the dps race, while not making then rival top dps, they are at least in the charts.

Crescendo - 10% increased spell damage per rank against NPC's with 15% or lower hit points. This tome caps out at rank IV, for 40% increased spell damage. This is what makes the "Flute Nuke" Brusco's Belligerent Bellow extremely strong.

and the lackluster class tome

Quiet Reflection - Increased the Bard's Meditation Cap by 25 points per tome, capping at 100, putting bards at a 230 meditation skill.

Now that you know alittle something about bards, and their songs/tomes/AAs, Lets get into the real purpose of this post. As I stated in the post, I talked about how lack luster bard dps is until they come across their 4.3 weapon. Bards see a huge dps increase with this weapon + the class tome Rhythm of the Blademaster. All in All, Bards end up in a good spot dps wise by T12 with that weapon, the problem is the climb, and the then restricted play style bards are limited to with this weapon. Thade touched on it in the post I linked earlier, and I agree with him fully. My idea to free Bards from this limited play style was to take it from being a clicky, make it have a worn effect, offering less attk, but still have decrease stamina loss, and not being effected by a instrument mod, and include Secondary as a slot.

This would open up more weapon combinations, as well as open up the detrimental song for bards to be able to Slow, Resist Debuff, CC, ect again without sacrificing their mediocre dps.

There are also another point I want to touch on, that I have touched on in the past about Bards.

Song Range

For almost all content up to T10/11, Bard Song ranges are not normally an issue because raids are normally stacked together to be in range for heals. There are no issues about range during these tiers. the problems start to rise in the T12-13 range for a lot of encounters. As Bards have no way other than AAs to increase song range, it quickly becomes obvious we need something to help us in that department in order to keep our songs on the raid. The biggest problem i have is the AA, Sionachie's Crescendo, which I explained earlier, increases GROUP ONLY songs. the only Group Only Song bards end up using is Song of the Blademaster, which basically wastes this AA, I have offered an idea to rework the third, lackluster tome into something to increase song ranges. another issue is the range of our detrimental songs, which would also benefit from the tome rework I mentioned in another post. If not a Tome Rework, then maybe somehow change this 1 AA to affect all songs? or maybe just Non Group Only songs?

Feel free to ask any bard related questions here, or request information on something you would like to know about in detail, whether it be about item choices or exp spots, and I, or someone else, will answer it to the best of out abilities, also if anyone would like to add anything to this post, feel free.
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Dalayan Elder
This is by far not done yet! Im going to go in depth later, within this post, about how to play a level 65 bard, popular soloing areas to kite in, stances and when to use them, and various other things.


Dalayan Elder
At level 65, Without relics, You wont be doing much in the dps department, BUT you can do so much more for your group/raid, such as CCing, lowering resists of mobs, but and overall support role until you get your relics, because before relics, bards arnt much at 65.

Once you have relics though, you become a source of great utility able to increase the dps of your group/raid by up to 40%. Depending on the encounter, and who you have in your group, you can change your beneficial songs accordingly. In a group with even just 1 Monk, I suggest playing Song of the Blademaster and Relic: Fiery Warchant of Tarhyl. Combined with the increased Str and Dex from Blademasters, as well as haste if you lack an enchanter, you also offer 13% spell focus for DDs, including procs, and 22% "overhaste".

(this is a sidebar to explain how haste works. There are 4 types of haste. Item, Spell_v1, Spell_v2 and Spell_v3. Spells of the same "v" do not stack, such as GoE and Song of the Blademaster are both V1. Warcry, a Warrior AA, and Fiery Warchant of Tarhyl are both v3. The higher haste of the spells will be applied over the lesser, while they do "Stack" as in you can have both buffs on you at the same time. V2 haste is normally some sort of short term haste, such as but not limited to, Boon of the Vulfwere, and Legacy of the Dragonkin. So all together you are looking at, Worn Haste, that stacks with spell haste, so say 32%, then GoE, 77%, Fiery Warchant, 22%, and Boon of the Vulfwere is 60%, adding up to 191% bonus haste, with 100% as a baste attack speed, puts you at 291%.)

Dont get me wrong though, Rouges and Rangers benefit from Song of the Blademaster too, as it also adds attack, so if you are in a group with say, 1 rogue, 2 rangers, and 1 monk, Song of the Blademaster, and Fiery are your best choices, depending on what it is you are doing. Raiding might force you to do something alittle different as, Fiery and Melody of the Shield to help the raid take less spell damage. Fiery and Hymn of the Savior to cure any disease/poisons and also increase healing by 3% and a 3% Deathsave chance. If you are in a Caster group, as to say 2 wizards 1 mage and an enchanter, you would do Fiery and Lcea's Lament, as they do not benefit from anything Song of the Blademaster has to offer.

Now we will move on to your Detrimental songs, including DDs, and how you should go about using them to maximize dps. Your basic rotation is Relic: Chant of Destruction, and one other detrimental song, whether it be a slow, another dot, a mez, ect. from there you would then use your level 63 Bellow, Brusco's Overbearing Bellow. This is a higher damage, shorter cooldown bellow than your level 55, Brusco's Bombastic Bellow, which you would use after Overbearing. The rotation would go, Relic DoT, Det. song #2, Overbearing, Bombastic. You would then reapply your relic DoT, as they only last 3 ticks, for a total of 18 seconds. After reapplying your Relic DoT, Overbearing Bellow should be off cooldown, and depending on what your second detrimental song is, you can either use the bellow, or if you are applying some sort of CC, I would reapply the second detrimental first. Whether you apply the second detrimental first, or do the Bellow then second detrimental, after those two are complete, Bombastic should be coming off cooldown and you can recast it, if you are fast enough in reapplying everything, you might even have 1-2 seconds before it comes off cooldown. As an edit, I would like to recommend, thanks to Burglecut, using Brusco's Arrogant Bellow as your second Detrimental, as it has no cooldown, and pulses, allowing it to be considered a second Detrimental song.

Bards are deadly casters, as most of their songs do not interrupt their melee, so while you are doing all this casting, you are still swinging your weapons, procing procs, and cutting down the enemy. Ill will go over briefly the difference between your Relic DoT and your Runic DoT. I find that, with my current set up, Runic > Relic by alot, because not only are you more melee than spell dps at this point, (4.3 sword, Rhythm of the Blademaster IV), it also will affect any other Melee dps attacking your target. Runic: Denon's Dissonant Duet is a 100 point base Poison damage DoT that also lowers the Poison Resist AND AC of the target. This means that your melee hits, and those of your allies, will hit harder, as they are mitigated less. There are times where you will come across poison immune, or high poison resist npcs, and then you would swap back to your Relic for that time, but outside of that, your Runic, while is it alot lower in damage, offers alot more utility and increases the dps of others as well as yourself.

(Quick lesson on Bard stances, will be slightly detailed. As you know /s 1 is your Normal stance, and does nothing, and drains no stamina, /s 2 is +10% haste, at the cost of 10% avoidance, /s 3 is +10% avoidance, at the cost of all your haste. as it applies a 10% slow. . Your main stance you will like to be in when you have decent weapons are are going for dps, is your 4th stance, which increases your damage, and accuracy. Outside of that, if you are tanking and a mob bashes you, it will interrupt your currently played detrimental song, if you dont like having to keep re applying because a mob keeps bashing you, you can go into your 5th stance which will prevent your songs from being interrupted. your 6th stance is your 100% parry stance which will make you parry all melee blows, but you still take spell damage. Your last stance, is very situational and I will admit that I almost never use it myself, but that dosnt mean it is not useful. It gives you immunity to stun, mesmerize, fear and charm, as well as increased resistances as long as stamina is available.)

Now if you are a Bard and you do have your 4.3 weapon, as well as Rhythm of the Blademaster tomes, your playstyle will be alot different. You are limited to what beneficial songs you can play without completely ruining your own dps, so 70% of the time you will be playing Song of the Blademaster. As far as your rotation goes, you will ALWAYS apply your sword clicky first, it lasts about 3.5 ticks, increases your attack by a large amount, and reduces the amount of stamina you drain by 35% while applied. This means you can stay in your dps stance (/s 4)for an insane amount of time without running out of stamina. Another, hidden effect, is that it will give you a 100% change to double attack with your primary and secondary, completely separate from the double attack skill. That means 4 attacks per swing, 2 in main hand, and 2 in offhand. The downside to this is that it is considered a detrimental effect, which means not only does it take up 1 of your Detrimental song slots, it also will override any buff if you are fully buffed (15 slots). From there, you would apply either your Relic or your Runic or other detrimental song, depending on which you have, and what type of group you are with. From there you follow the same rotation of DDs, Overbearing, then Bombastic, and then reapply your sword clicky. After that, you reapply your DoT, or other Detrimental song, and then Overbearing should be off cooldown. You then have time to reapply your sword and other detrimental song before Bombastic is off cooldown, and after using Bombastic, Overbearing should be off cooldown.

As you can see, you are almost always pressing a button as a bard. One of the bigger things to remember is that your Bellow's can proc wrist effects, so Wrists with Procs > Wrists without procs due to the constant casting you are doing. The only songs that can proc your wrists are song that cost mana, so your dots, mezs, non runic charm, pacify and the likes will not be able to proc your wrists.

That is all for How to Play a Bard, Ill make a post later on Zones and Areas where a bard can duo/solo kite without much effort.
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Dalayan Elder
I realise I skipped over some pretty important things I should explain about Bards. Focus Effects that increase elemental damage, such as , or do not affect Bard Songs. They do, however, apply to your procs, so your Sonic Blades, Werefrog Illusion, ect. This includes Damage Increment. Bards main source of damage/song amplification is of course, Instrument and Instrument Mods. Your base modifier is 100%, or as you see on most items in client, 1.0. this means an item with 1.1 Wind Instruments will increase songs related to Wind Instruments by 10%. 2.0 would be by 100%, and so on. Bards DO NOT need all instrument modifiers, but having swaps for certain occasions, or even having one item with a "All Instrument" modifier is suggested as swapping songs will also make you want to swap items to make those songs stronger. The big ones are your AE Slow/Runic - Stringed, 4.3 Sword, Relic dot - Percussion, Song of the Blademaster - Brass, Psalm of the Four - Singing and Your Bellows, Which are Wind. As far as which you would want equipped at all times , Percussion, Wind, Brass. The others would be situational, and if you can itemize it, you can include Stringed and Singing too. Another thing to note is that Elemental Damage does apply to your Bellows and DoTs. So Magic Damage will increase the damage of your Relic dot by 1/3 per tick, and Bellows by the full amount. So 15 Magic damage would be applied over your three ticks of your dot, so 30 damage per tick would then become 35 per tick. and your 200 damage bellow would then be a 215 damage Bellow.

Im not sure if it is intended or not, but Conjuration affects your dots as well, and is applied as a per tick damage. so +5 Conjuration would be equivlent to 15 Elemental damage, to all dots, but seeing as it it really hard to gear around conjuration as a bard, it shouldnt really be a problem.

More information to come! Please if you have a request and would like to know my opinion or are unsure about something bard related, please feel free to ask me, and ill do my best to reply in a timely fashion.


Dalayan Elder
Tevinter mentioned I should list some items that, as a bard, you will want to collect coming up the tier, or to go back and get if you dont already have one. Other than the obvious items like Dissonatatus, Bladedancer's Enmity, and basically other end game items, other items you should look out for, or try to get are;

Call of the Ancient or Piccolo of Petrified Winds - these flutes are the best you can get for your Refuge bellow, Brusco's Belligerent Bellow, which requires you to equip a flute to use, unlike your other bellows. That is not to say that the bellow uses the mod on the flute, If you have another item with a higher wind mod than your current flute, it will base its damage off that, you just need the flute equipped to be able to cast it in the first place.
Experimental Staff of Skycalling - This item in the hands of a bard is a force to be reckoned with. High proc rate of a Magic Based proc, which is further increase by the Bard AA, Item Adept, as well as the tome Manual of Triggered Casting. This item is not only good on a low tier bard, but in the hands of a end game bard, with tomes like Crit Evo, Magic Mastery, and Tome of the Mind completed, it starts to rival the dps output of Ortananoch, Custodian's Demise, but still comes up short. In certain situations, it is better than Custo sword against Constructs/Clockwork, and Undead bane NPCs if you do not have a Paladin/Enchanter to enable critical blows.
Constructed Lute - This item is very useful, and is very easy to acquire. While the pet summoned is not a very high level, that dosnt matter as long as it is attacking from the front of an NPC, It can still Aux, and help mitigate some of the damage being dealt to whomever is tanking.
Strings of the Marching Dead - This item is a Undead slow clicky, which allows you to slow an undead npc, without using up one of your Detrimental song slots.
Strings of the Gelid - I, myself, do not find myself using lich much, and there are other items that offer a faster cast time of the same clicky, but it is also the highest stringed modifier currently in the game, allowing your slow song to be 190% better.
Bracelet of the Overfiend - I am in no way saying this item is only good for bards, over all, its a great item for any class that melees as it offers another life tap proc that stacks with Werefrog Illusion.

These are all of the items I can think of right now, but im sure ill remember more, so expect edits!
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Dalayan Elder
Ortananoch, Custodian's Demise, now being a staple, and with the nerf of the 4.3 bard sword Dissonatatus, Bladedancer's Enmity, These are a list of weapons, and which hand they should be in that are better dps;

Experimental Staff of Skycalling - Offhand
The Caretaker's Will - Offhand
Yivslayer - Primary
Core of Ygg'sar - Offhand
These are not listed in any order, as depending on what tomes you have done as well as items you have for skill mods, their dps may vary.

If you dont have any of those, but have max Hand to Hand and Gloves of Aerial Vibrations, you might even be better off having no weapon. (This is an exaggeration, but having not parsed it, it could be true sadly, rip 4.3 sword)


Dalayan Elder
It's crown by the way if u feel like checking my tomes or anything I haven't been on in a while imma try and install tonight. Hopefully with fixed NPC models!


Dalayan Elder
4.3 sword is in no way worth using in its current form unless you don't have R2. It has a nice ratio and all but the massive aggression isn't worth it and R2 with a decent string mod is going to beat it easily. Just get a pred instead. We'll see if it gets any changes but I would use yiv/caretaker's.


Dalayan Elder
Yiv/Caretakers would be best. and with the newest item that has been found in Upper Thaz, Soulsong, it is the newest best primary for bards.


Dalayan Elder
Just an FYI. Much of the upper thaz loot is incorrect on fomelo and getting a patch today to update to final stats.

As an example, this new bard sword does not have RNG and ROG on it
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