So…I’ve been playing Bard as my main since Reborn launched. I love the class and will run end game content with it whenever I can, but Bard is so underwhelming compared to Musketeer that even my own Fellowship, knowing that it’s my main healing class, requests me to play Musketeer over Bard on 15 Shards.
Below is the result of my testing with +6 Bard Mallets, and +5 Musket.
The green cells denote the ability to heal multiple allies at once. Numbers in parentheses are cooldown times. According to the numbers I pulled from the combat log, even though I’m using a weaker Musket, Musketeer is out healing the Bard per second on Renew and Turret, along with having the ability to bounce Cure Wounds to the entire party.
Bard does have a higher Cure (assuming the difference in +5/+6 doesn’t outdo the 13% difference), and although there’s an extra second in recharge time and the crescendos take longer to reach allies than the Musket orbs, I feel that’s justified considering you can’t miss with Crescendo heals.
While I haven’t gotten clear numbers/results for Shield Orb vs Song Shield, it’s worth noting that Shield Orb from Musketeer has an 8 second cooldown whereas Song Shield only goes off when using Crescendos, again causing longer cooldowns for Bard.
Now, in order to try and make up for far less healing, I’ve looked a LOT at Encore, hoping it’d greatly increase the amount of healing Bard puts out. I did testing regarding how long it takes to get 100 Empowered Notes while running Cure Wounds, Gentle Healing, and Harm (my most used combo with Empower)
I tried to decrease the amount of time between Empowered Notes by increasing different stats, but so far testing isn’t promising (Although Luck may be doing something, I’ll be running more when I have the time) Using those numbers (and rounding to one Empowered Note per 5 seconds to give benefit of the doubt to the game), I calculated how much time it would save per Crescendo.
On average, Bards will save anywhere from 1 to 1.6 seconds on Crescendos for healing. However, if you hold that crescendo and don’t use it for 1 to 1.6 seconds, Encore as a whole is being wasted. On top of this, due to the fact that each Empowered Note counts as 1.5 notes, if you get an odd number of Empowered Notes during a Crescendo buildup, Encore is being wasted. The worst part, however, is that using Encore, your Healer is relying on RNG to get heals up.
Using your level 30 talent to save, on average, one second and possibly even losing that benefit, while relying on RNG to give you that and still possibly losing the benefit if you get an odd number of Empowered Notes is making it hard for me to justify it to people asking me about playing Bard. If it were up to me, and this may be a bit radical, I’d like to see Encore changed to make Crescendos require 8 notes instead of the 12. This would bring more healing to the class, eliminate the RNG aspect of Encore, and be far more reliable.
I understand that Bard is more support oriented rather than pure healing, but with the disparity here it’s hard to justify bringing a Bard into later game content. While it’s possible there are others out there, I’m only aware of one other player who routinely plays Bard in level 15 Shards. Compare this to the spread of the other classes for other roles: There are plenty of Warrior and Paladins end game, as well as all the DPS classes. Bard is the only one that appears to have a lack of players at the top tier content. I’m also nowhere near as good at math as I’d like to be, so if my numbers are off anywhere, I’m more than happy to recalculate.