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Thread: Hybrid Bard - DPS/Buff Build

  1. #1
    Telaran
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    Default Hybrid Bard - DPS/Buff Build

    I've been theory-crafting this build for a while and finally got a chance to run it last night. We had an ideal setup for the build with a 10 man raid from my guild just running over expert rifts. We had plenty of healing but no one else as support. I think the build would work great for any similar 5 or 10 man setup but not in a large raid where you're more likely to have a pure bard. I was pretty happy with the results, though I haven't used any parsers. Since it is a DPS/Buff spec, a parse would need to compare the entire group's output rather than just my own.

    32 Bard / 28 Nightblade / 6 Ranger

    The number of hotkeys required to run it effectively is pretty large, but individual rotations are fairly simple. I've got rotations for melee DPS, ranged DPS, and off-healing when necessary. The only thing lacking a little is AOE DPS, which is still possible in melee with NB.

    The macros I'm using:

    Attack Macro:
    cast Twilight Force
    cast Primal Strike
    cast Crippling Shot
    cast Quick Shot

    Finish Macro:
    cast Blazing Strike
    cast Flame Thrust

    AOE Macro:
    cast Fiery Chains
    cast Weapon Flare

    Opener:
    Conceal
    Dark Malady
    Power Chord
    Fiery Spike
    Finish Macro

    Melee Rotation:
    Power Chord
    Dusk Strike
    Finish Macro
    Power Chord
    Attack Macro
    Attack Macro
    Finish Macro

    Range Rotation (20 meter range):
    Power Chord
    Splinter Shot
    Finish Macro
    Power Chord
    Attack Macro
    Attack Macro
    Finish Macro

    Off-heal Rotation (20 meter range):
    Cadence
    Cadence
    Coda of Restoration

    Burst DPS:
    Scourge of Darkness (mix in to attack rotations)
    Riff -> Virtuoso -> Coda of Wrath spam
    Ebon Fury -> Dusk Strike/Dusk Strike/Finish Macro spam

    The trick with any rotation is to mix in Motif of Bravery, Focus, and Tenacity to keep Resonance up and use Motif of Regeneration and Grandeur when the healing is needed. I also usually keep Anthem of Fervor and Fanfare of Power up as my other group buffs.

    The main goals of this build:
    1. Minimize Energy Starvation (Anthem of Fervor)
    2. Maximize Finishers (Lingering Flame / Power Chord)
    3. Provide Melee and Range options (Nightblade or Ranger rotation)
    4. Provide Group Buffs (Motifs, Resonance, Anthem, Fanfare)
    5. Versatile and Fun Build

    Other Benefits:
    1. Great Burst DPS (Ebon Fury / Virtuoso)
    2. Can Off-Heal when needed (Bard rotation)

    I may look into taking the 2 points out of Triumphant Spirit and putting them in Extended Grief, so I can keep debuffs up too but so far, I just go burst DPS for boss fights.

  2. #2
    Telaran
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    No comments yet? Here's a couple followup questions for feedback from those interested in the build:

    1. What do you think of focusing on the Bard's strengths (buffs) while ignoring it's weakness (heals) in favor of bringing extra DPS from other souls? I'm going the opposite direction of those people making Bard/BD builds to try to use Deadly Strike to buff Cadence to useful levels.

    2. How do you like the addition of Power Chord to a DPS rotation? Combined with Lingering Flame, this means I'm never more than 3-4 GCD's from my next finisher.

  3. #3
    Telaran
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    I just ran my first two T1s last night with this build and it worked great. This feels like the perfect option for a 5 man support role for me. I was DPS-ing most of the time and was able to switch over to off-heals when needed.

    I'm real happy with how fast it plays. Anthem of Fervor and Power Chord really speed up the time between finishers compared to my usual DPS build.

    Keeping motifs up can still be a little tricky sometimes. It's a easier to lose track of motifs compared to a pure bard. I think the usual problem when I let a motif drop was getting too focused on DPS mode but I improved as I got more practice with the build in.

    My playtime is a little limited so I haven't bothered with parsers yet. I'd rather play than test. I have downloaded ACT though and will eventually get it set up and running so I can post a log.

  4. #4
    Rift Disciple Upright's Avatar
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    1. On a 5-man motifs are largely a waste. Can pre-pull then forget about them
    2. Try using bladedancer to enhance cadence. It boosts healing and damage
    3. I can pull about 600dps with my battle bard and still heal for lots (1200+dps) on my main dps build
    4. With battle bard I can solo heal T1s and some T2

  5. #5
    Soulwalker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Upright View Post
    1. On a 5-man motifs are largely a waste. Can pre-pull then forget about them
    2. Try using bladedancer to enhance cadence. It boosts healing and damage
    3. I can pull about 600dps with my battle bard and still heal for lots (1200+dps) on my main dps build
    4. With battle bard I can solo heal T1s and some T2
    Link to build?

  6. #6
    Plane Touched Reyo's Avatar
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    While the build can do bits of everything, the points are really spread out. For instants, your highest dmg finisher is headshot but you have to use NB finishers to maintain fiery stacks. You're using primal, dusk, blazing strikes and twilight force but have none of the improvement talent nor attunement.

    What this means is that you are getting only half of the potential for the point spent. While you're putting say 50% points into support, 10% into ranged, 40% into melee, you're getting 40% support, 5% ranged, 20% melee out of them.

    A 51pt bard using cadence and coda only will give about 250 dps. If you want to be able to do rdps, you can invest 7-8 points into ranger and be able to do around 340dps using QS and HS. If you really do not wish to obtain the bard rezz, vitality and verse of joy, you can still invest 31 points into ranger. This will give a much higher dps overall, and you still have your pet dpsing while you heal.

    And forget about powercord, it does really low damage and is only good for when you suddenly need that extra cp for a quick coda of rest to save the group or when you're on the move.

  7. #7
    Plane Touched Reyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acteon View Post
    Link to build?
    Prolly referring to the deadly dance bard.

  8. #8
    Rift Disciple Upright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acteon View Post
    Link to build?
    http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=1M...IbqVosz0z.Vhhz

    You can run the rotation 2 ways:

    more damage:
    riff -> deadly strike -> cadence -> cadence -> cadence -> deadly strike ... repeat from deadly strike

    more healing

    riff -> deadly strike -> cadence -> cadence -> code of restoration -> cadence -> power chord -> deadly strike ... repeat from 1st cadence

    In either case you still get 3 boosted cadences from each deadly strike. For me cadence crits at about 420 in 5 man groups and just under 500 in 20 man raids.
    Last edited by Upright; 05-19-2011 at 10:28 AM.

  9. #9
    Soulwalker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Upright View Post
    http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=1M...IbqVosz0z.Vhhz

    You can run the rotation 2 ways:

    more damage:
    riff -> deadly strike -> cadence -> cadence -> cadence -> deadly strike ... repeat from deadly strike

    more healing

    riff -> deadly strike -> cadence -> cadence -> code of restoration -> cadence -> power chord -> deadly strike ... repeat from 1st cadence

    In either case you still get 3 boosted cadences from each deadly strike. For me cadence crits at about 420 in 5 man groups and just under 500 in 20 man raids.
    Nice! Thanks!

  10. #10
    Telaran
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    Finally, some nice feed back! I think I'll really need to parse, and you've given me a good idea of what to look at whenever I get to more thorough testing. Until then, some counterpoints on my thinking:

    Quote Originally Posted by Reyo View Post
    For instants, your highest dmg finisher is headshot but you have to use NB finishers to maintain fiery stacks.
    Headshot vs NB Finishers is also physical vs non physical. And it probably isn't higher damage once you include the Fiery Stacks you are maintaining with NB. Look at the sum of everything not just base value of two finishers. That's part of the reason to use Lingering Flame.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reyo View Post
    You're using primal, dusk, blazing strikes and twilight force but have none of the improvement talent nor attunement.
    Attunement is only +3%.
    Primal Death is about +15% damage of one minor attack (30% chance +50% damage)
    Improved Blazing Strike is about +5% damage for one finisher (10% chance +50% damage)
    Eventide is +10% damage on two useful attacks - this is the hardest talent for me to pass up
    Nightstalker is nice but in the end is only +9% damage (+30% damage for 30% of the fight) - I know it can be maximized by using Ebon Fury at the right time, but it's too high in the tree

    Compare all of those abilities to one thing I'm getting from bard: Anthem of Fervor. Rogues suffer energy starvation. By including that, I use 13% less energy which means I can attack 13% faster which should increase overall damage by 13% over a long fight. And it affects the entire group. The investment is high, but I get other buffs along the way and bring them to my group instead of only myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reyo View Post
    And forget about powercord, it does really low damage and is only good for when you suddenly need that extra cp for a quick coda of rest to save the group or when you're on the move.
    Power Chord does less damage than the quick shot or primal strike you'd replace it with, but using a 2 point combo builder means there are 4 cool downs between finishers instead of 5. The real question is whether Power Chord +20% finisher damage is better than 2 quick shots or 2 primal strikes. I think it probably is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reyo View Post
    A 51pt bard using cadence and coda only will give about 250 dps. If you want to be able to do rdps, you can invest 7-8 points into ranger and be able to do around 340dps using QS and HS. If you really do not wish to obtain the bard rezz, vitality and verse of joy, you can still invest 31 points into ranger. This will give a much higher dps overall, and you still have your pet dpsing while you heal.
    I agree that more points in ranger and fewer in nightblade would probably give a little better ranged DPS but I'd like to avoid a pet build. If I had to try something, it would probably be this: 32 Bard / 23 Ranger / 11 Nightblade.

    I actually have a separate bard spec that I can switch to for our out-of-combat res if needed. This is a small group build, pure bard would be best for raids.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reyo View Post
    What this means is that you are getting only half of the potential for the point spent. While you're putting say 50% points into support, 10% into ranged, 40% into melee, you're getting 40% support, 5% ranged, 20% melee out of them.
    Definitely some fuzzy math here. I'd like to think that the total effectiveness of this build, as with any good hybrid, is greater than the sum of its parts.

  11. #11
    Rift Disciple Dungeoness's Avatar
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    DPS Bard builds are a tough sell for me. While I don't think a 51 point bard should be the status quo, I do feel like there are a lot of useful things between 32 and 44 points that I find hard to spec out of, especially now with the rez at 36.

    In a raid setting, you really want Fanfare of Knowledge, though for 5 mans it's not necessary. Verse of Vitality is a handy "oh sh*t" button when Coda of Restoration isn't possible, or enough. Verse of Rebirth is something that Bards have been asking for since alpha, and I've used it several times since the patch. I guess where you stop in the Bard tree is ultimately dependent on what you'll be doing with it.

    With buffing, and damage/healing boosted with Deadly Dance in mind, I'd probably try out something like this, http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0M...cbVVoskVz.Vhhz.
    I'm raging with ire, an ocean of fire.
    My Wrath is the path to all I desire.

  12. #12
    Telaran
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silatt View Post

    Attunement is only +3%.
    Primal Death is about +15% damage of one minor attack (30% chance +50% damage)
    Improved Blazing Strike is about +5% damage for one finisher (10% chance +50% damage)
    Eventide is +10% damage on two useful attacks - this is the hardest talent for me to pass up
    Nightstalker is nice but in the end is only +9% damage (+30% damage for 30% of the fight) - I know it can be maximized by using Ebon Fury at the right time, but it's too high in the tree

    Compare all of those abilities to one thing I'm getting from bard: Anthem of Fervor. Rogues suffer energy starvation. By including that, I use 13% less energy which means I can attack 13% faster which should increase overall damage by 13% over a long fight. And it affects the entire group. The investment is high, but I get other buffs along the way and bring them to my group instead of only myself.
    This is actually similar to the build I was planning for my Rogue at 50. I think you're making the wrong comparison here, specifically for Eventide. If anything, I think you'd drop points from Ranger to pick it up, though I'm not 100% sure which is better. If we examine it in a 32 second bubble for simplicity's sake, you would use 6 globals to cast 3 Twilight Forces and 3 Crippling Shots. If you went Eventide instead, you would cast 4 Twilight Forces at +10% damage and 2 Quick shots, vs 3 Twilight Forces and 3 Crippling Shots + .5% overall damage from the Ranger crit talent. I'm not sure which would win, but if you're in melee range using Dusk Strike and Twilight Force (Do they share a cooldown?) things start to look a lot better for Eventide.

    If Eventide is better, then it becomes a comparison of 1% crit vs. each point to pick up all the Nightblade buffing talents, which is more the way I was planning to go, but I'm curious what your experiences would indicate.

  13. #13
    Soulwalker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dungeoness View Post
    DPS Bard builds are a tough sell for me. While I don't think a 51 point bard should be the status quo, I do feel like there are a lot of useful things between 32 and 44 points that I find hard to spec out of, especially now with the rez at 36.

    In a raid setting, you really want Fanfare of Knowledge, though for 5 mans it's not necessary. Verse of Vitality is a handy "oh sh*t" button when Coda of Restoration isn't possible, or enough. Verse of Rebirth is something that Bards have been asking for since alpha, and I've used it several times since the patch. I guess where you stop in the Bard tree is ultimately dependent on what you'll be doing with it.

    With buffing, and damage/healing boosted with Deadly Dance in mind, I'd probably try out something like this, http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0M...cbVVoskVz.Vhhz.
    I wish i could see some video of this build in action.

  14. #14
    Telaran
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dungeoness View Post
    DPS Bard builds are a tough sell for me. While I don't think a 51 point bard should be the status quo, I do feel like there are a lot of useful things between 32 and 44 points that I find hard to spec out of, especially now with the rez at 36.

    In a raid setting, you really want Fanfare of Knowledge, though for 5 mans it's not necessary. Verse of Vitality is a handy "oh sh*t" button when Coda of Restoration isn't possible, or enough. Verse of Rebirth is something that Bards have been asking for since alpha, and I've used it several times since the patch. I guess where you stop in the Bard tree is ultimately dependent on what you'll be doing with it.

    With buffing, and damage/healing boosted with Deadly Dance in mind, I'd probably try out something like this, http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0M...cbVVoskVz.Vhhz.
    I agree that I don't like having pure builds be the standard in a game with so much customization possible. That's probably why I'm trying to make a useful DPS/Buff spec. I've accepted that I'll have a 51 point Riftstalker but I haven't accepted a 51 point Bard yet. The one problem I have with the BD spec is you're forced to melee and when you can't you're nothing more than a 36 point Bard.

    As far as what I'm missing out on, Verse of Vitality is great but its cooldown is long enough that I basically never used it, constantly saving it for when it was really needed. I haven't played any pure bard since hitting 50, but Verse of Joy has an even longer cooldown so again, it's very situational and not frequently used. I don't like these 44 and 51 point skills with such a long cooldown. It would be nice to have Fanfare of Knowledge and I'd like to be able to provide that buff to mages and clerics, but I just couldn't fit it in. It's stupid that there are 24 points between Fanfare of Power and Fanfare of Knowledge. Of course Verse of Rebirth is nice to have, but it is out of combat and I have another build I can switch to when necessary. If you don't have a second bard build figuring out 4 extra points may be worthwhile.

  15. #15
    Soulwalker
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    The one problem I see with the "Dancing Bard" build is mobility ("Dancing Bard" = Deadly Strike / Deadly Dance BD Bard build...yes it is TM'd ). You have to be in melee to get your Deadly Strike off, but you can't move while casting Cadence. Basically, for any encounter where there's movement (for PvE), or for any PvP whatsoever, you're screwed.

    So I created a variant of this build using RS.

    http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=0M...RV0skVz.VIoc0q

    Yo lose all NB talents and you give up 5 points in BD, bringing you down to 13, and you give up 4 points in Bard, bringing you down to 32. Yo lose out on:
    BD Tree: 15% Dex
    BD Root: Maim, Precision Strike, Dauntless Strike (none of which will you use very often in this build)
    Bard Tree: Coda of Fury, some Stage Presence (or whatever else you want to pull form the Bard tree)
    Bard Root: Verse of Captivation, Verse of Rebirth (sucks to lose these but oh well)
    Here's what you gain:
    4 Shifts on 30s cooldowns (that's one per 7.5 seconds), 3 of which are direct-to-target.
    15% Crit for 10 seconds after shifting (for bigger Cadence heals)
    15% AP (bigger Cadence heals)
    15% damage from Stalker Phase on 2 of the 4 shifts
    6% damage reduction
    6% increased self healing or 12% Endurance, your choice
    Using this build, you could potentially keep the rotation up constantly, even in mobile fights.

    After your first Deadly Strike, you do:
    Cadence, Cadence, Coda of Resto, Cadence, Power Chord
    That's 8 seconds. Then Shift to target and Deadly Strike. Repeat. You can almost keep this up using the three targeted shifts (9 second rotation between shifts, so you lose out on one second). You also get the added benefit of almost always having the +15% crit and 15% damage from shifting, so you will heal for more. Hopefully this would make up for the loss of healing/DPS from removing NB.

    This is all theory at this point, but it seems like the lack of mobility is a big problem for the Dancing Bard, and this solves it.

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