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Monday, September 23rd 2019, 5:18pm

[PMB 10.1] How to Bard (PvE Assault)

Hello everyone, my name is Yuumi from the guild Rage quit (P2P), and I've been playing assault bard since the end of the 8 patch on different characters from both servers.

This guide is meant for Raids, compasses and solo PvE content on the P2P server. Though you still may find it useful for F2P, there might be some important game aspects missing here (such as assault shell skills), or the class balance can be different from what you see in your game.

Pros of playing a bard:
  • Highest AoE damage
  • One of the best single target damage dealers
  • Ranged zone is usually much safer than melee
  • Based on utility bard can provide for their team, it's the most desirable DPS class for PvE content
  • You use the same afk brain rotation every time

  • No burst damage
  • Lame tear skills
  • If fight mechanincs imply getting cc'd randomly, you'll lose A LOT of damage
  • Even if you know when cc is going to happen, you still lose more damage than players of other classes
  • The least desirable class for PvP content
  • You use the same afk brain rotation every time

Important changes brought by recent patches:
  • Bard is no longer the first choice for a support role, as it was taken by Engineers.
  • Tunes of War spell no longer requires an active Aspect of Support.
  • Many rubies were grouped, thus letting players make a fully functional build on lower levels, and take all the control rubies they need for the end game content.

Bard PvE assault build
76 talent points, 70 rubies

Talent tree:

Dissonance/Disharmony, Solo & Requiem, Dancing, Singing, Flying Blades — your main damage skills. I will go into specifics in the Rotations section.

Lullaby — rank 1 for solo content or when your team is strong with crowd control; rank 3 when no one but you seems to bother.

Romance & Crushing Throw on rank 1 for short cc.

Overture on rank 3 for situations when your support doesn't dispel, or died in combat (or you can change the support and save yourself 6 talent points here). Be careful, only rank 3 doesn't have a cast time, so if you don't have enough talent points for r3, it may be better to put them into something different.

Ghost Shield on rank 3 — can be great for when your tank needs some additional damage reduction.

Resonance Barrier — an awful defense skill that shares the global cooldown with every other skill and consumes your tempo. Does provide a great deal of damage reduction though. It's mostly useful for players who are behind in gear, since you already have enough passive damage reduction from Musician's Curse and Untouchable rubies. Sometimes, the game will treat your character as the source of the damage they received. Basically what it means is that the damage reflected by the Resonance Barrier will be directed at you (Kyros/Hiero bosses).

Expression & Entree — overall great crowd control spells; they do however require you to leave your nice and comfy ranged zone and go straight into melee. There are three things to watch out for when you decide to use them:
  1. Does your tank have agro: there are some packs where it's easier for the group to slow them with soft cc thus letting the tank keep their mass taunt cooldown (e.g. Duck River Run, Emerald Isle). Each individual mob will try to attack the player who does the most damage to it, so going close will most likely be deadly.
  2. Is there any AoE from around the mobs: some packs do damage passively to anyone around them (Firefrost, Lumix Isle).
  3. Do mobs have "Immobilize" effect on them: Immobilization is a soft cc spell that "roots" its target in place. Mobs with this effect on will ignore the agro, and will simply attack the target closest to them. Wardens, summoners, and scouts are able to apply it.

Entree can also be used as a last resort teleportation spell.

Denial Talk — always great to have an extra purification spell at hand.


Sonata — the main reason people want you in their party. Switching to raid interface even for a group adventure will let you see the debuffs that can be cleansed.

Tunes of War — the second main reason to take a bard. Apply this buff to the highest DPS in your group during combat.

Racial skills:

Foul Trick/Sudden strike — long lasting (3 seconds) control effects. Must be applied from melee.

Steel Luster — a shorter (2 seconds) control spell. Use this one when it's more important to interrupt the mob rather than to keep it constantly cc'd, or when you can't go melee.

Deterrence — fear (2 seconds). Use it when you want to move the mob in a certain direction (for example, to prevent other group members from doing AoE damage around that target).

Bard's rotation

1. On targets with low amount of hp (e.g. KoE mobs)

Start with a Flying Blade to apply the Omen of Death debuff. Continue with spamming Disharmony on the target (it should die after 1 or 2 casts).

2. AoE damage (anywhere, from Al Rihat to high-level compasses)

The most efficient way to do AoE damage is the following: cast Disharmony until you have 3 stacks of Dagger Waltz (running Double Attack helps to get them faster). Then, after making sure you have at least 1 stack of Requiem, use Dancing Blade. Keep in mind that it's gonna do slightly more damage to the targets around the main one (as opposed to what it says in the tooltip). Repeat until the pack is dead.

Some people still prefer to use Singing and Flying Blades in their AoE rotation, and there are 2 downsides to that.

First, the cooldown of Requiem is 2 seconds longer than Solo, which means there will be 2 seconds when you can only use Disharmony on a single target, or alternatively, AoE with Crescendo which will drain your Tempo and still do lower damage compared to simply spamming Dancing Blade.

Second, if you're using Double Attack, Flying Blade will consume 2 stacks of Requiem every time it procs. That will leave you with even more time when you can't do AoE damage.

It can take you up to 4 seconds to start doing AoE damage which might be a bit frustrating when you have classes in your team who can AoE instantly (like a demonologist). Here's a tip for that: if you know that after the current combat you'll need to clear a pack, make sure to cast Requiem as your last spell in this one (maybe even save a few stacks of Dagger Waltz), so you'll be ready to use Dancing Blade much faster.

3. Single target damage in long combats

Start with Solo, continue with Singing Blade, Flying Blade, Dancing Blade, repeat. Use Disharmony every time you lack tempo, and make sure to cast Dancing Blade with 3 stacks of Dagger Waltz.

I saw some people argue there are better ways to start your rotation, so here are the most common ones, and why not to use them:
  • "Starting with a Dancing Blade" — you either don't utilize the Dagger Waltz stacks, or spend too much time gaining them.
  • "Go Flying Blade first so you won't have a non-critical Disharmony" — I'd rather have a single non-crit Disharmony than to delay full rotation by 2 seconds (especially this patch, when fights against bosses in heroics take 20-40 seconds).
  • "After Solo, use Flying Blade, then Dancing, then Singing" — I don't know where it comes from, but both the damage of Flying Blade and the Deep Wound effect are powered by Singing Blade. So if you skip SB at the start, you will do decreased damage for at least the next 8 seconds. At the same time, the damage of Singing Blade will be low, no matter if powered or not. So you can even change the rotation to be "Singing Blade > Solo > Flying Blade > Dancing Blade" thus eliminating the issue of having a non-critical Disharmony at the start.

For a perfect rotation, you want to do it within 8 seconds (which is the cooldown of Solo and the duration of the Deep Wound effect). You also need to cast powered Flying Blade as early in your rotation as possible.

A small tip to make your rotation faster: Solo, Disharmony and Flying Blade can be cast close to the end of channeling Singing or Dancing Blade — you don't need to wait until full cast. Spells cast this way will still be powered/crit.

Also, Martyr's guidance doesn't share a global cooldown with your class spells, so you can use it at the same time with Solo when the combat starts, instantly restoring the Tempo spent on casting Solo. It does have a 5 minutes cooldown though, so better save it for the fights where your team needs to burst faster.

Tunes of War is a great buff and you should always cast it on the highest DPS in your group (unfortunately, it will most likely be someone other than you). If you have voice communication, try to use it every time they say they're bursting. If not, simply at the start of combat.

Since bard's rotation is all about speed, I suggest you use a hotkey to select the group member you want to buff (F1 - F6 by default), then after casting the Tunes of War, use "Assist Target" key (F by default), so you won't lose much time on that.

Spoiler Spoiler

Damage share of a typical single target rotation (2min 39s fight)


Monday, September 23rd 2019, 5:24pm

Stats to take

Proficiency: increases your damage by 0.1% per stats point. Directly affects the tooltips of your damage skills. The higher the number on the tooltip, the easier it is to get to 100% of Determination, and maintain it on that level (which is the reason why low level characters can't benefit from Determination).
On average, you should run around 200 points of Proficiency.

Brutatlity: increases your damage based on hp lost by your target and how fast they lose it. Statistically, for a bard in fights longer than 20 seconds, Brutality increases damage by 0.1% per stat point. Doesn't show on tooltips.
You can make your Brutality equal to Proficiency, which is optimal for most cases.

Determination: increases your damage by 0.15% per stat point at 100% determination. Most DoTs in the game will be affected by determination value at the time when you apply them. Doesn't show on tooltips.
Getting 500 Determination is a good start.

Special stats

Critical Damage: since bard's damage is always critical, it will always be increased by the Critical Damage stat.
With low gear, run 180 - 250 CD (~0.32% damage increase per stat point).
On higher gear, 250 - 320 CD (~0.29% damage increase per stat point).

Double Attack: makes your single target rotation feel a lot smoother, and will also let you AoE faster.
Pick 180 - 250 DA if you just started with this class. Once you're confident enough with your rotation, you can remove it to get a bit of a DPS boost.
Statistically, 180 - 250 points of Double Attack increase your damage by 0.08% per stat point.


If you're looking for descriptions of talents/rubies, I will add a link to talent calculator in the comments.

Effects & Their Duration

On target
  • Omen of Death — 15 seconds — your Dissonance and Disharmony on that target will be critical for as long as the target has this effect.
  • Dancing Blade — technically a DoT applied for 1.7 seconds at the start of your channel. If you cancell the spell, the effect will be instantly removed from target.
  • Anguish — 3 seconds — the timer refreshes every time a new stack is added.
  • Deep Wound - 8 seconds — the damage of this DoT is powered by the Passionate Song ruby.

On self

  • Solo — 30 seconds — increases the damage of up to 3 next Etudes (translation mistake: it says "duration" instead of "damage" in-game).
  • Requiem — 30 seconds — your Etudes deal up to 50% of their damage to the targets around the main one (channeled Etudes deal a lot more than that, could be due to broken Determination mechanics).
  • Dagger Waltz — 15 seconds, the timer refreshes each time you get a new stack; stacks up to 3.
  • Dance of Passion — 20 seconds — there is a translation mistake, the correct description would be: Dancing Blade increases the damage of your next Singing Blade by 20/40/60/80%.
  • Passionate Song — 20 seconds.

Feel free to comment and ask any questions you have about this class.

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