As others have noted, the Bard class in its’ current state is EXTREMELY overpowered for groups due to both of its’ abilities, the breakdown why:
Range boost - Far too high, a 50% range boost to the group is very problematic in terms of balance for alot of reasons, the main one being it effectively renders many weapons whose range is supposed to be a great perk, like the Crystal Sword, obsolete, while also making many weapons whose low range is meant to be a significant downside, like the Void Bow, too strong, it also has the secondary problem of increasing shot speed rather than lifetime, making weapons like Blade of the Assailant and Symbiotic Ripper overpowered as they then completely lack downsides;
Energized - Bards in numbers or with divine pets can effectively give everyone in the group a legendary pet worth of bonus mp regen, further bolstering the overpoweredness of spamming abilities like tomes and Marble Seal;
It’s undeniable how problematic Bard is right now, can his ability please be either highly nerfed, say, 15% range boost and 10 mp a second energize, or reworked?
The main issue here is that Deca want to make this new content desirable to play, and with the way the game is currently, this means it will have to have good loot. Having a new top tier item which is outclassed by multiple UTs/STs doesn’t really make people want to get it, other than to show off that they have it. By making the gap between tiers larger, you eliminate this ‘problem’, but as a side effect introduce more power creep. This makes the UTs pale in comparison, but that’s what they’re trying to achieve anyway - make tiered items viable alternatives to using untiered items. How to balance this with currently existing content is an important thing to think about, so that’s a really good point you raise there.
Currently it’s a 50% range increase and 10 mp/s energize (equivalent to level 73 mheal or 167 wis). While I do agree that 50% is a lot, I am struggling to find situations where the Inspired buff will be used effectively in the current meta, because of its tiny radius (3 tiles). In a large group, many players will be outside of this area. Furthermore, I don’t think players will relocate to compensate for this larger range, unless they have a weapon which requires it.
This is because in the current meta, dps is king and anything else can be compensated for with heals. Range is really not needed, since everyone’s sitting at a ~3 tile distance from most bosses anyway - think of bosses like MBC, MBD, (Void in most phases), DDocks, CDepths, O2 etc.
I deliberately said in the current meta, as with Unity, a lot of things will change. The Bard class is not a release which should be seen as standalone, since Deca are planning to release the Bard class alongside the Unity client.
From this point, it’s mostly speculation - but it’s based off of years of experience playing this game. I’ll try to explain my thoughts as well as I can.
With Unity, we’ll have an increased field of view (by the way, the range of the Inspire ability is similar to the circle of players shown here), and with other updates on the horizon, such as IC/OOC (see this answer in the recent Q&A), the meta will adapt to these changes.
(from here on out it’s all speculation - take this with more than a few grains of salt)
Bosses won’t be facestomped as much as they are currently, since taking loads of hits and outhealing it all won’t be a viable strategy anymore, which means more focus will shift towards survivability rather than pure dps.
Staying at a larger range will mean you get to deal damage from a safer distance, this is especially noticeable on melee classes.
A small, organized group might benefit greatly from one or two bards, allowing them to focus more on survival rather than dealing damage. This would mean you need a good bard, someone who’s able to not only spam spacebar every 3 seconds, but think about their positioning (and maybe coordinate with another bard or two to make sure the entire group is covered).
I think the Bard would not be an as powerful class as some make it out to be, as it still requires quite a lot of skill to keep up the Inspired buff on a group consistently. Furthermore, most released content is balanced around the current range players have - the benefit of having an extra few tiles of range won’t be as huge for most bosses. Currently, most players don’t play at the maximum range their class allows (with the exception of melees), since the travel time of the bullets make it hard to hit moving targets that are far away.
Only the most melee unfriendly bosses (in small groups) will see a major shift in balance (i.e. Parasite Chambers, the Nest, Mountain Temple, LoD, Fungal, Crystal and probably more). Note that this is assuming that both the Bard class and IC/OOC is out. Without IC/OOC, there’s no need to shift the meta from facestomping, since almost all damage can be outhealed anyway.
All in all, I think Bard is a class which fits a niche quite nicely and will be desired due to its Energized ability. I think that initially, the community won’t find many proper uses for Inspired, other than allowing melees to stay a bit further away from the boss, but after IC/OOC changes, this’ll change, because players will be forced to focus more on survivability rather than pure damage.
Adding Armored with a certain radius (as long as it’s not tiny) would make Marble Seal pretty much obsolete, since the mseal requires players to stay close to the pillar. Adding berserk would mean it’s pretty much another warrior - not something that makes the class unique in my opinion.
There’s a lot of potential for interesting effects, why stick with existing status effects? Perhaps a buff which changes the duration of status effects (except maybe confuse/pet stasis?) would be good. Maybe a buff which gives a vit increase for the group - after the introduction of IC/OOC? For those who don’t know why - in the previous PT session for IC/OOC, vit had the effect of shortening the time you were In combat (reduced healing ability). There are other possibilities, ofcourse, but those strike me as potentially useful and different, but not necessarily borderline overpowered.
The new Inspired effect can make steamrolling things much easier. I know with IC/OOC, berserk and damaging were lowered from a 1.5x modifier to a 1.25x modifier, maybe when you introduce bard lower those effects to somewhere around 1.35 to balance it out?
Energized for 4 seconds (or however long it was) is quite a powerful effect. I get that it helps allies, but the thing is 4 seconds of energized gives you back 40 MP, which effectively lowers the cost of the ability down about 40 mana. I think the effect should be lowered to ~2.5 seconds, it would still benefit groups and all, but not nearly as much as it is currently.
Also, on the whole T14 weapons and T15 armors being too strong to the point where they outclass most UTs thing, here’s my solution:
Have a semi-rare drop from O3 (Or if O3 actually has a bit more dungeon to it then the wine cellar, then have it have a chance to drop there as well) that can be combined with a UT at the tinkerer (or maybe a new NPC) to upgrade the item by improving it’s stats so it can compete with the higher tiered items from O3.
Note that the upgraded UTs don’t have to exactly follow the originals, for example, an upgraded EP could shoot in more of a cone pattern.
Now a problem with this would be if a new dungeon around the same difficulty level as O3 came out, this would mean that people would still have to grind O3 for this item in order to upgrade their equipment. My idea for this would be to either not have all the UTs be upgrade-able and instead only have some (not ideal), or to have their be multiple types of this item from O3, and if/when a new dungeon comes out around the same difficulty level, give one of those drops to the new dungeon.
I don’t know, kind of a somewhat complex idea, but I personally think it would be cool to see done.
I’ll crunch the numbers for you.
Assumptions: 75 wis (+7 from T14 robe) -> 5.42 MP/s from wis, T6 Lute costs 100 MP
Energized lasts 4.5s
Pet needed to permanently apply
Energized: Level 65 Magic Heal (6.8022 MP/s from pet)
Inspired: Level 83 Magic Heal (17.9133 MP/s from pet)
Your proposed situation:
Energized lasts 2.5s
Pet needed to permanently apply
Energized: Level 91 Magic Heal (24.58 MP/s from pet)
Inspired: Level 85 Magic Heal (19.58 MP/s from pet)
Honestly, I don’t think it would make that big of a difference. In organized raids, the requirement for a maxed legendary pet would be added, and you’ve got (darn well near) perma energized in the group.
While I’m on the topic of numbers, let’s take a look at the effects of having Energized permanently applied to a group of players.
Each player has level 90 Heal and Magic Heal
Each class will use WC tops and no ring with the new item’s stats
Each player uses their ability before they’re full on mana
The group will have 35.0% - 37.4% more ability usage (except for Rogue and Warrior).
For level 70/70 heal/magic heal pet users, this becomes 71.2% - 82.1% more ability usage
I like the thought you put into this idea. There’s a few things I’d like to point out though:
First of all, this would require quite a lot of work, creating new, stronger versions of (a lot of) UTs. Getting the balance right for each of them would be quite a large amount of work for Deca.
Secondly, this would amplify the amount of grinding necessary to get the UTs you want, or even ‘complete’ an account by owning one copy of each item (quite a few players I know have this goal).
This second one in particular I’m not a huge fan of. O3 will already be run quite a lot (as much as the entering requirements allow for it), because the new tiered items heavily outclass tiered items and most UTs, and because it drops the new ‘best’ items in the game.
Besides these two points, it also further amplifies power creep, as new strong UTs will be available. It might be a way to give older players a new reason to farm mid-game to (current) end-game content, but I think adding stronger counterparts of early to mid-game UTs to new dungeons (like they did to the Thicket with the skull and robe) is a better way to go.
True, it wouldn’t be unique. But I think it would be a nice UT. Kind of like how the lifebringing lotus doesn’t follow the traditions of other traps, any UT/ST items that would do something other than the healing effect on a lute could get an effect that fills a different role from the normal one. While it wouldn’t do to have something like that as a standard, I like it when they do something with a UT that makes it really different from other items. But, I guess they could easily do that exact kind of thing without changing the tiered lutes, in which case I hope they give the bard some interesting UT items.
The increased range is an unique mechanic and I think that energized is a good buff, but I see two problems with the Bard. First is the increased range. I have reservations about the wisdom of giving everyone a buff like this. If this were only applied to the Bard, it would be okay, but if you apply it to everyone else, there’s probably going to be a lot of unintended consequences.
Second, it seems that the Bard at is curent rate is the most altruistic class, that is, whenever it uses it’s ability, it gains the least benefit compared to the group. For every other class, if they use their ability, they will have some thing (whether it be damage, warrior speedy, mystic beserk, rogue invis, or ability to make their own choice for healing) that benefits them more than the group, but in the case of Bard, everyone gets buffed at the same rate. Personally, I don’t care as much that much about this, but there is a possibility a lot of players can be turned off by this.
For the item changes, I support them, but I personally think that abilities that benefit from wismod should get more wis (for example, the Scepters should get more wis starting from t4). Also, I’m a little bit aprehensive about the nerfs to items below t6. I support basically all of them, but to be honest, I don’t have to rely on lower tiered abilities so I have no stake in this. However, lower skilled players are going to be screwed over really hard by these changes and this will not go over well for them. This move is 100% going to generate a lot of backlash.
Yes, but so will any nerf to an item or buff to a dungeon.
People will complain about basically everything - sometimes justified, such as the standard key boxes getting snapped.
Thing is, you can’t keep buffing things, and ensuring progression might require a sacrifice sometimes. (Another example: the whole OOC system’s changes)
Its not the fact of needing to buff things, but to add more progression to the game. Most midlands/highlands can be skipped with a standard level 20 character and a max common pet with a player who’s got somewhat of a grip on mechanics. Everything besides godlands is essentially just glorified training grounds, with little progression to going straight to godlands and running those dungeons.
Frankly imo, godlands should be buffed to the point where you should essentially have to be atleast max def/speed to survive in it, rebalancing dungeons to find some more in the midlands/highlands and adding some more stuff to do/hunt for.
Overall, even an arguable point, noobs can probably get the hang of godlands after one or two wizards.