UPDATED FOR 1.9
I am writing this guide to share my experiences as what I call a Blink Bard for WF’s. Below is what I’ve come up with along with some other builds. No I’m not claiming I’m the inventor of the spec I’m sure many others have thought of and used this spec, and no I’m not saying I’m perfect but it works for me. Not much has changed guide wise for 1.8 mainly updated the healing portion and added a note about our ports and such being disabled for Whitefall.
Credits: Kyera, Gaaz, Fujitasix
Other PVP guides: Quiescent presents: A Soul-By-Soul guide on how to PVP as a Rogue, and [PvP]*Amon and Company* !!All-in-One PvP Guide!![PvP] are both highly recommended.
44 Bard, 22 Riftstalker, 0 Bladedancer/Sab or other
Verse of Joy Build
51 Bard, 15 Riftstalker, 0 Bladedancer/Sab or other
Fujitasix's Battle Bard
Fujitasix notes: No rez in this build which you might want to accommodate, but it's got all the key physical buffs, loads of endurance, mobility, electrified munitions for the spamout, rapid fire shot / hasted shot if you get in a 1v1, fascination, virtuoso, on the double, guardian phase in a pinch, etc. Building CPs with swift at 35m > attempting to use cadence on anything other than an extractor, and you can sneak in for those quick restorations or just use a ranged finisher for a kill steal.
Regardless of build it has been noted that it may be of greater benefit to put the 3 points in rift barrier into Unseen Fury as the % of your enemies damage reflected back isn't as good as it seems.
When choosing a build be mindful of the following: Resonance (5% stat increase) is pretty good or you can go with improved anthems (+4% on competence speed bonus) speed movement and debuff should be essential when it's about pvp however if you have to have both you can sacrifice your Good Health and get them both.
I don’t use macros a whole lot, but here are some I have found useful:
#show Phantom Blow
cast Phantom Blow
cast Shadow Assault
cast Shadow Blitz
cast Shadow Stalk
cast Shadow Shift
cast Power Chord
cast Break Free
Note: You should have two separate keys for this, one with the macro and one with a unmacroed Virtuoso as there will be times you do not want to use Riff for it. (e.g. you have 4 combo points built and it comes off cooldown, its better to hit another cadence stop it then spam Virtuoso then to waste Riff for one point.)
#show Guardian Phase
cast [notactive] Guardian Phase
cast [notactive] Stalker Phase
One Button Motif Macro (This is from Subakna's 1.4 guide and was added to this guide per request from readers, his original guide can be found HERE )
* This is how I have mine set up, you don’t have to use bar 3 or the same key as me *
Add the following key bindings / macros in an ability bar which you usually don't use (I used bar 3):
First choose a key for the rotation, I took ` because it's it’s right next to my other buttons
Bind this key to the first position of the ability bar. In this case for me it’s Action Bar 3, Button 1
Save this setting and enter /exportkeybindings 1
Then for the next position:
Action Bar 3, Button 2
Save and export again /exportkeybindings 2
Keep doing this all the way up to whatever Bar number you’re using and Button 5
Once you make these macros all you have to do is keep pressing the key you bound and it will cycle through casting all the motifs:
#show Motif of Regeneration
cast Motif of Regeneration
#show Motif of Grandeur
cast Motif of Grandeur
#show Motif of Tenacity
cast Motif of Tenacity
#show Motif of Focus
cast Motif of Focus
#show Motif of Bravery
cast Motif of Bravery
I don’t like to Macro my Motifs as I like to be able to choose which ones to cast and when, I try to keep all of them running at all times of course but I normally prioritize Tenacity, Grandeur and Regeneration over Focus and Bravery if things are going poorly. You can of course keep Phantom Blow separate or all of the blinks if you prefer, I have never had a problem with my blinks in macro form but I understand some people don’t like macroing them together.
The premise of the Blink Bard is to be a mobile support powerhouse of buffs, heals, debuffs, and cc to your team, you are able to blink effectively all around a battle providing heals and buffs as needed, you can even blink through your enemy’s to either escape or get to people who overextend to try and save them if you like. The other advantage to this is you can use your blinks and Phantom blow defensively, under fire by multiple enemies? Blink out of them hit your phantom blow (either before you begin your blink hop or at one of your blink targets) for added survivability, they will try and chase you but between your 4 blinks (6 if using the Kyera Build/Foundation one) you’ll be nigh impossible to catch or pin down.
Cadence is macroed with power chord so you can cast a combo point generator while moving or in-between blinks and also if you are being heavily energy drained, it will fire off instead of the cadence as it costs less power. I’ve had this save my rear countless times going off scoring combo points so I could continue to heal, damage; w/e was needed at the time. I include Breakfree so it fires off immediately if I’m spamming cadence to get combo points going but I also have a separate button for it so when I’m refreshing motifs or using my cc I can hit it, you could macro it to the blink button but I don’t as one of the blinks can also break cc on you.
Note: Gaaz pointed out that macroing Break Free can be bad, his reasoning: Imagine this, power cord is on CD, you are slowed, you slightly move while hitting your macro = break free wasted. What he says can be true and should be taken into consideration when deciding on rather to macro Break Free or not.
It’s also a good idea to have a separate Cadence if you do not want to have power chord going off and want to wait a lil bit longer to get a cadence off, I’m not a fan of this myself but it does have its uses. Power Chord doesn’t heal in itself so doesn’t proc your trinket or greater’s while Cadence will. To me this is more of use your best judgment in a situation to see what is going to do more, waiting for cadence for procs, or hitting the macro allowing power chord to go off if energy starved to build combo points to use codas and etc.
You have two Stances, your tank one Guardian Phase, and your dps one Shadow Stalk. Do not turn one on and leave it like that, there’s very little times where you have to remain in guardian, unless your being heavily focused or are low rank you should try to remain in stalker for the extra damage. Don’t get me wrong Guardian phase is great to have, I find myself stuck in it a lot since most of my enemies have figured out I’m pumping out heals and buffs like mad and tend to try and focus me into a crispy critter. Still I try to switch my stances on the go depending on what I’m doing and what’s going on, a good bard will master this over time.
Fanfares: 1.6 made it where you can run all 3 you should however keep in mind it still has a 3 second cast, you’ll have time to maybe put one up before heading into battle and will have to find downtime during battle to apply the other two.
They tend to get purged a lot, DO NOT waste 3 seconds in a heavy battle to try and reapply a fanfare, I have seen far too many new bards do this, you should be maintaining motifs and building points to heal your rear off if things are going to hell. To be clear, there will be times where your healing and what not is stable and yes you should recast them even during a fight if things are stable and your not being purged/eradicated to death.
Anthems: This is something that mirrors your stances in the fact you should never put one on and leave it, Defiance is for magic resists and after a lot of talk with fellow bards and testing yeah its crap as small amounts of focus negate it. Glory is alright, extra armor never hurt anyone however I use it rarely, only if there’s multiple bards covering Competence and Fervor do I do so (or if all we are facing are melee’s).
If your facing down power drainers especially more than one switch to Fervor, if your facing tons of magic wielders go to Defiance (debatable if it’s even worth it, I say no currently), if you’re facing a ton of melee then yes use Glory. Competence can be used when running the objective, or when trying to reach objectives when forced to go by foot. It also can provide greater chances for your team to escape, as you can make it work in combat via soul points and when paired with Adhesive bomb if you've specced for it can be a great tool.
Remember, a good bard will be switching between anthems as the situation calls for them.
As much as some don’t like it yes you can heal, and you can heal pretty well if you gear for it. Please note that you cannot directly save someone and you are nowhere near as good as a Cleric, comparatively our heals suck majorly, but some healing is better than none in most cases and if the enemy team lacks any kind of a healer or bard it can be an advantage.
Frozen Deep One Tear (Recommended as wards are never wasted)
Hailstone Tideshard (Recommended as wards are never wasted)
Crystal Vine (I no longer recommend this, but will leave it in the guide for reference purposes.)
Cauterizing Gem (I no longer recommend this, but will leave it in the guide for reference purposes.)
Either one of the healing trinkets are acceptable however if your able to either pug or guild run River of Souls do so and get the warding Trinket.
Spirit Wolf Totem (Use only if you don’t have SHoE or Token of Warding)
Sacred Heirloom of Eth(Pretty nice still, replace with one of its bigger brothers from HK or ID if possible, otherwise your choice to use this or Token of Warding.)
Token of Warding (Since wards are never wasted I consider this to be BIS along with the two warding greater’s.)
The above are essential imo, you will be spamming Cadence a lot, and no its not for its healing which is weak, it’s because it will proc the above items for you and your team. Besides cadence spam with procs from the items, you have your 5 point finisher which will be in most cases Coda of Restoration. The only time you won’t use this will be to get an Annihilate up for the buff to ap, or if your team simply doesn’t need the heals fire of a Coda of Fury. Make sure you are maintaining Coda of Jeopardy if Spotters or Illuminate isn't on the target your team is trying to bring down.
Virtuoso is will make you and your team godlike for 15 seconds, I use Riff to get a quick 5 points on someone unlikely to die quickly, or a pet, and hit Virtuoso and spam the crap out of Coda of Restoration. I normally use this on initial pushes for objectives then save it for oh crap moments during the matches. It’s on a 3 min cooldown, you do not want to waste it, so learn when to use it and what to use it on for maximum benefit. There are other items in game besides those I listed above, pick what works best for you, there are also better but the ones I listed are easy to get except for the Sacred Heirloom of Eth that is rather annoying to obtain due to its poor drop rate.
Lastly for healing you want to always keep all motifs going however these 3 provide healing in some way, Tenacity, Grandeur and Regeneration. Remember while you can heal and at times really well it’s not your primary focus, you are there to heal, buff, debuff, cc and damage when your able, good bards can excel at one, great bards will master all of it.
You have some cc but while it’s not a lot it can be very useful. Captivation and Fascination can be great tools.
Fascination- Use when there’s a cluster of enemies and when near an objective, say the fang or a control point in codex. If it hits try and get the control point or pick up the fang if you’re the only near it. It has a 30 sec cooldown so use it wisely.
Captivation- This doesn’t have a cooldown and you can cycle through and hit as many people as you want with it, I like to use it on casters or healers who are in the back to disrupt them. However it should be noted that while its cooldown free it can only be active on one target at a time and is affected by diminishing returns, thus might be best saved to shut down healers or high dps only instead of cycling it.
Planar Disruption- Best used when a caster is in the middle of a long cast or big hitter, being able to pay attention to their casting bar is crucial to make the most use of this ability.
Note: You can also interrupt the same enemy trice: Captivation, Captivation then Planar Disruption.
Rift Prison- Imprisons your Target effectively taking them out of the fight for 6 seconds. Use it on healers dps, etc.
We don’t have a whole lot in the way of Debuffs, but we do have a few, Rift Disturbance, Coda of Cowardice, Coda of Distress, and Coda of Jeopardy.
Rift Disturbance- Lowers 10 enemies around you spell power and attack power by 42, it also does damage. It lasts 15 seconds and it’s important to note is cooldown is only 8, so you shouldn’t refresh it immediately.
Coda of Cowardice- 5% more physical damage to enemies around your target for 30 seconds when used with 5 comb points. I use this if my team is mainly melee based and there’s no one else doing it or has a similar debuff. It’s good against big clusters, or against a hard to kill players when your team is trying to focus them down.
Coda of Distress- 7% more non-physical damage against enemies around your target for 30 seconds when used with 5 combo points. If I’m mage heavy, and come 1.6 it will be nearly a guarantee with FOTM crowd I use this. Use it in clusters of enemies or when focusing a hard to kill target for your team.
Coda of Jeopardy- causes the target to take additional physical damage for 1 min (talented) can only trigger once every 3 seconds per attacker. You should maintain this is Spotters or Illuminate isn't on the target.
0 Point Souls
There are plenty of choices for the 0 point, I prefer Blade Dancer or Ranger myself, Blade Dancer is a decent one for Side Steps, and Saboteur can be great for Adhesive Bomb, but really it’s up to you. The best thing about the 0 point is you can change it at will without having to respect, I can tell you how many people I’ve came across that don’t know that. I use Ranger to gain a 30 meter ranged attack to help in building combo points, a ranged finisher, and yes the pet.
Yes he is lvl 30, yes he hits like a decayed wet noodle, and yes he doesn’t do anything really other than oink when an enemy is close. Now on to the good things, first he shares your valor (thought this has been nerfed for low level pets) and the lil feller has 4k hp and can take a few hits, secondly yes people will waste time trying to kill him, third and one of my favorite tricks, you can tell him to be passive, park him in a strategic location and if crap hits the fan blink to him to escape. One example is in codex at dex, park him los on the cliff, and blink to him if dex gets over run.
And he seems to squeal anytime a stealthed enemy comes near you, not sure if that’s a bug or what but if I can’t see an enemy and I hear that squeal I know a rogue is nearby. Be careful though smart enemies won’t kill him but rather use him to build their own combo points if their an enemy bard, which you should be doing the same if you can find an enemy lvl 30 pet, if you notice this dismiss him. And once he dies, don’t waste 8 seconds getting him back out, not worth it.
The Goal for this guide remains to give lowbies a spec they can survive in more or less with low gear and make a contribution to the team, if anything is wrong please let me know and I’ll do my best to correct it. As a reminder due to changes in Whitefall pvp map we can no longer blink our way back to our base while holding the stone.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to your feedback.