Forums » The Bard

A Plea To Bards

    • 2 posts
    January 28, 2021 7:23 AM PST

    Don't get lazy.. don't encourage dumbed down systems.

    So some history.. I played vanilla EQ out through Luclin and loved every minute of it. Bard really filled an itch that no game has since and eventually even went back to a classic EQ emulator server just to play bard more. The class went from being very noticeable who was a "good bard" vs "a bard" in Vanilla EQ to "i didn't know that was possible on bard" on emulated EQ. On the emulator I'd sit in Disco1 of Old Sebilis and twist to mana pump the healer while having a summoned eye out from the Singing Helm and use it to pull and keep the whole wing of that dungeon cleared.

    I've seen alot of hate for the old twisting system in this forum, but it's what really made the class iconic to this day and that no game has really recreated.. a limitless action economy class. Nothing forced you to twist the maximum amount of songs in combat or to twist songs to refill that healers mana faster in downtime when everyone else walked off a minute to get a drink (or even complicate it more by swapping instruments between song castings to maximize those song effects), but just having that option really allowed a noticeable difference in what the class could achieve.

    There's deff argument to be made that things like macros have become much more available these days to save your fingers and your sanity on downtime and simultaenously eliminating the aspect of song twisting (for any encounter that doesn't require you to switch targets for CC) to copy pasting someone elses macro negating the entire system. And if I just wanted to play EQ Bard then I should go play EQ.. this isn't EQ. But that doesn't mean we should seek out simplicity and ease over keeping yourself engaged. Games like 'Dead by Daylight' have a mechanic where randomly during an event a 'skill check' would be randomly triggered requiring you to hit a button within a small window of opportunity to succeed it and get a small bonus.. or hit a bigger time window to have no effect happen, or miss both windows and have a negative effect trigger. Reminds me abit of EQ2's crafting system with its minigame it had whenever you made items. Something like that could easily be applied to songs with the more you have active the more frequent the checks or the smaller the window with a failed check abruptly ending the songs and then having to take the time to recast the songs to get em going again.

    Hopefully I'm not alone in this want to bring back that aspect of the EQ bard that let a player shine.. in whatever form it'll take.

    • 954 posts
    January 28, 2021 4:00 PM PST

    I never played EQ **ducks to avoid rotting vegetables being thrown ** so when I joined these forums I wound up having to ask google what twisting was. From the description I've read in several places, it sounds like it was an exploit that the Devs never fixed. Whether because they decided that they liked it, or just that it would require too much change to the game engine to remove, I never found an explanation. If there was an official clarification of that back then, I'd be happy to learn more details.

    Regardless of why it was in the game, from what I understand it was a challenging exercise in hi-speed typing. If that is correct, then I'm sorry to say that I don't really want to do that in Pantheon. Mostly because Pantheon has been touted as having slower, more deliberate and strategic combat than many other games. That is part of its appeal to me, and the idea of typing as fast as I can throughout combat doesn't really resonate with that playstyle for me.

    But also because the Bard is going to be a CC role in Pantheon. I think that the Bard will already be needing to keep a steady rhythm of casting roots, mezes, stuns and the like on the mobs he is keeping locked down till the group is ready to kill them, as well as being ready to grab any new adds that come along as soon as they appear. I think trying to mainting twisting would serious multiply that burden to levels that I would not enjoy at all.

    Before it was revealed that Bard would be a CC role, I was personally hoping that it would be similar to the Vanguard Bard that I loved playing. But that is not to be. We don't have any details yet on Bard abilities or even a general theme on how they will control creatures. But I'm not discouraged. Mostly because, of the 12 classes that HAVE been revealed to any degree, I already like (enough to want to play) 8 of them.

    So I think I'll probably like whatever they make the Bard to be. I hope you do too.

    • 1857 posts
    January 28, 2021 11:13 PM PST

    Jothany said:

    I never played EQ **ducks to avoid rotting vegetables being thrown ** so when I joined these forums I wound up having to ask google what twisting was. From the description I've read in several places, it sounds like it was an exploit that the Devs never fixed. Whether because they decided that they liked it, or just that it would require too much change to the game engine to remove, I never found an explanation. If there was an official clarification of that back then, I'd be happy to learn more details.

     

    I sincerely doubt it was an exploit. Bard song buffs simply had a 3s casting time (not interrupted by moving neither interrupting melee attacks) and a 12s duration, which meant you could play 4 successive songs to maintain them all by playing them sequencially. That's just pure logic. Because songs continually played only looped every 6s, it was more efficient to twist, or continuously replay a damage song, as it made it tick every 3 s instead of 6.

     

    Of course you often met bards playing one and only one song (and you still do by these days on P99), and it usually feels very underwhelming as a group member.

     

    Players often make it a big deal of "tired hands", but let's be honest : Games in the last decades asks for way more mechanical movement and higher APM than bard twisting ever was. Bard was simply way more active and tiring than other classes back then, but not that much for today's standards.


    This post was edited by MauvaisOeil at January 28, 2021 11:16 PM PST
    • 584 posts
    January 29, 2021 7:12 AM PST

    The way it worked was...

    The game was broken up into 'Ticks' as they called it. A tick happend every 6 seconds. So when it came to things like HP or Mana Regen it would happen on the tick every 6 seconds.

    Most Bard song effects would have a 2 tick duration although some would have a 3 tick duration. So basically they lasted 12 seconds or 18 seconds depending on the song. There were only a few songs that had only 1 Tick duration such as your AoE Mezmerize song, and some few songs that might have a 4 tick duration such as the Endure Breath song, but these were exceptions. Obviously some songs were Instant effects like Direct Damage songs that just did their effect once and had no duration.

    All songs took 3 seconds to cast. At the finish of the cast the song would PULSE and the effect would start on your target or your group if it was a buff effect.

    If you just let a song continue to channel (ie kept singing it), it would PULSE again every 5 seconds and renew the duration of the effect (or apply it's instant effect again), always making sure that it renewed before the next 'Tick' happend.

    So let's talk about a 1 song Twist. This is basically when you stop singing and immediately restart singing the same song.

    If you were using a Direct Damage song, if you sing it once and then leave it singing, it will pulse it's damage every 5 seconds.
    But if you stop singing and then start it up again it would then pulse every 3 seconds.
    So an active Bard could be doing more dps by actively pulsing his song every 3 seconds and the Lazy bard could just passively let his song pulse on it's own every 5 seconds.

    Now let's talk about a Multi-Song Twist. So let's take 4 songs that have a 2 Tick duration and Twist them.

    First we sing Song1 and at 3 seconds the effect pulses. Song1 will now last 12s.
    We then stop singing and start Song2 which will pulse at 3 more seconds. Song1 duration is now 9s. Song2 duration is 12s.
    We then stop singing and start Song3 which will pulse at 3 more seconds. Song1 duration is now 6s. Song2 duration is 9s. Song3 duration is 12s.
    We then stop singing and start Song4 which will pulse at 3 more seconds. Song1 duration is now 3s. Song2 duration is 6s. Song3 duration is 9s. Song4 duration is 12s.
    We now immediately stop singing and start Song1 again which will Fade in 3 seconds, so we need it to refresh it just as it's fading.

    Obviously you now just repeat, refreshing each song in succession just as it's effect is fading.

    Like other casters who had a chance to 'Fizzle' a spell (ie the spell fails to cast), Bard songs also had a chance to 'miss a note' when you tried to start it, so you would need to attempt to restart it. Depending on your reaction time, this would cause a delay before you restart the song. This meant that the Bard needed to be diligent and catch it quickly so he could keep up his 4 song Twist. Since this would mean that songs would fade for a time before getting refreshed. If the player had slow reflexes, every extra second before he restarted his song would mean 1 more second of a faded song before it got reapplied.

    When you started dealing with Songs that had 3 Tick durations it became a little easier to keep up all 4 songs without any fading, but a really good bard could actually sometimes Twist in 5 songs instead of 4 with very little fade times.

    Very good Bards would also be able to adjust their Twist on the fly by dropping a song and adding in another song in it's place without missing a beat. Perhaps giving a Fire Resist buff right when it's needed when the Dragon is about to breath Fire on the group, and then switching back to his origional Twist until the Dragon's breath attack is about to come off cooldown and hit the group again.

    Eventually in a later expansion, EQ added a special command called /melody where you could type: /melody 1 2 3 4

    This would then Twist your 4 songs (or however many you included) in order and then repeat. It would also auto-restart songs if they 'missed a note' during the sequence. Obviously if you got stunned or silenced or otherwise prevented from singing you would need to re-issue the /melody command and it would start over at the beginning. So in these cases you might need to manually complete the current Twist yourself when the stun wears off before re-issuing the /melody command to make sure you didn't have some songs fading for long periods since the Melody would start over as if it was a new Twist.

    As you can imagine this made Twisting songs much simpler and started a trend of some very lazy Bards.

    You could also create macro's that would sing multiple songs in sequence, but these Macro's couldn't take into account 'missed notes' and so Good bards still did it the manual way until /melody came out.

     


    Also of note:

    Many songs had an Instrument association that would amplify the effect of the song. If you had the correct instrument equipped when the song pulsed it would add the Amplification to the songs effect. So a DoT might tick for twice or three times more damage when you used the Instrument. Some songs actually Required the instrument or it would not even pulse at all, and you might just get a failure message saying something like 'requires a percussion instrument'.

    When a Bard was Twisting 4 songs, he would also need to switch his instruments for each song to make sure he always got the Boosted effects to his Buffs or DoT's.

    Instruments always were equipped in the 'Secondary' or 'Offhand' slot. In the early days of EQ it also required your Mainhand to be empty since you needed a hand free to 'strum' the Lute or 'beat' the drum. If the Bard was also trying to be in Melee swinging his swords or poking his daggers at the Enemy, he would constantly be un-equiping his weapons, equiping his instrument as the song pulsed, then quickly un-equiping the instrument and re-equiping his weapons... repeat... repeat... repeat... all while starting and stopping his songs at the right moments in succession.

    This all had to be done manually in those early days of EQ, as there was no command to swap weapons and such. In a later expansion they finally allowed you to keep your Main hand weapon equiped while using an instrument, so you only needed to manually swap your secondary weapon with your instrument without un-equiping your main weapon.

    In an even later expansion they added a special UI called a 'Bandolier' which allowed you to have pre-set weapon equips and then use a Hot-button to automatically swap your weapon slots to the pre-set choices. This combined with /melody made things a lot easier.

    You could even macro Bandolier swaps along with songs so that it would start singing and then swap to your instrument after 2.7 seconds and then at 3.1 seconds Bandolier swap back to your weapon.

    /melody and Bandolier are obviously the 'Dumbing down' features that the OP of the thread was talking about.


    This post was edited by GoofyWarriorGuy at January 29, 2021 7:34 AM PST
    • 22 posts
    January 31, 2021 7:08 AM PST

    And even later, they added instrument mods as armor effects that eventually surpassed the bonus of the actual instruments meaning you no longer had to use instruments at all.


    This post was edited by Gladare at January 31, 2021 7:09 AM PST
    • 954 posts
    January 31, 2021 1:28 PM PST

    Thanks for the explanations all. It makes twisting a bit clearer.

    I still don't think I want to be typing that frequently in order to be considered a good Bard.

    And I do plan on being a Good Bard.

    • 809 posts
    January 31, 2021 2:22 PM PST

    A great bard looks good, while making the group look good.

    I suspect you will achieve that Jothany, regardless of Pantheon's implementation of the class.

    To Metamorphosis - I thoroughly enjoyed twisting two decades ago, and will adapt to whatever bard mechanic VR choses for this century. Hopefully it will be fun for both lazy and accomplished bards. Time will tell...


    This post was edited by Kumu at January 31, 2021 2:31 PM PST
    • 954 posts
    January 31, 2021 3:15 PM PST

    Kumu said:

    A great bard looks good, while making the group look good.

    I suspect you will achieve that Jothany, regardless of Pantheon's implementation of the class.

    To Metamorphosis - I thoroughly enjoyed twisting two decades ago, and will adapt to whatever bard mechanic VR choses for this century. Hopefully it will be fun for both lazy and accomplished bards. Time will tell...

    Thanks Kumu. I suspect that I might never look quite as good as you while 'Barding' :D

    But I will certainly be trying to play the class as well.

    • 986 posts
    February 3, 2021 5:45 AM PST

    I was in the category of people whispering me "I didn't know bards could do that!"  I could twist 3-5 songs depending on the situation (with mezs, charms and lulls while still twisting 2-3 buffs).  Prioritizing which songs to twist was the most engaging and rewarding part of playing the bard to me.  What I didn't enjoy was the instrument and weapon swapping but then they made instruments obsolete by having item buffs be stronger than instruments themselves (as Gladare mentioned).  That, combined with super extending the length of the Bard song really cheesed the class in my opinion.  The weapon/instrument swapping went from tedious to non-existent.

    • 2 posts
    February 3, 2021 7:29 PM PST

    There were some instruments early on even in EQ's life that made instrument swapping more manageable ie Drums of the Beast I recall saving up specifically for that one. Instead of having to move around 3 items you just had to hold the drum on your mouse icon and swap it with your primary melee weapon so you could much more effecient with your melee damage uptime and focus more on the fight rather then on juggling items.

    • 106 posts
    February 4, 2021 5:54 AM PST

    Darch said:

    I was in the category of people whispering me "I didn't know bards could do that!"  I could twist 3-5 songs depending on the situation (with mezs, charms and lulls while still twisting 2-3 buffs).  Prioritizing which songs to twist was the most engaging and rewarding part of playing the bard to me.  What I didn't enjoy was the instrument and weapon swapping but then they made instruments obsolete by having item buffs be stronger than instruments themselves (as Gladare mentioned).  That, combined with super extending the length of the Bard song really cheesed the class in my opinion.  The weapon/instrument swapping went from tedious to non-existent.

    I loved twisting  but after epic  swapping was really just  lute of howler/drum mainhand swaps  tell /melody then my loved bard main became a box to a shaman. 

    • 27 posts
    February 14, 2021 1:04 AM PST

    Twisting was what it was.  It was what it took to play the class maximally, so we did it.  It did not define the Bard IMO, nor would a macro or auto twist diminish it any more than auto-attack diminishes a melee class over having to click a button every few seconds to swing your sword.

    I want a great class with a compelling reason to play it and itemization and design that makes it valuable to the party and the player.  If it has all of that, I'm in, if not I will play something else.


    This post was edited by Kulanae at February 14, 2021 1:04 AM PST
    • 12 posts
    February 21, 2021 7:36 PM PST

    Kulanae said:

    Twisting was what it was.  It was what it took to play the class maximally, so we did it.  It did not define the Bard IMO, nor would a macro or auto twist diminish it any more than auto-attack diminishes a melee class over having to click a button every few seconds to swing your sword.

    I want a great class with a compelling reason to play it and itemization and design that makes it valuable to the party and the player.  If it has all of that, I'm in, if not I will play something else.

    I loved my EQ Bard and didn't mind twisting songs back in the day (except when people just had to ask me questions in chat while twisting..."N2o I4don'1 k2no3w w4ho - damnit!") 

    Today, however, I could honestly live without the whole twisting part or would hope they would come up with a newer method for it, sort of like VGs Composition system. Something less RSI inducing. It would allow for more creative play with planning out your songs, building sets, etc and less time and money wasted at your doctors office :) 

    • 986 posts
    February 26, 2021 8:48 PM PST

    Fyerwall said:

    I loved my EQ Bard and didn't mind twisting songs back in the day (except when people just had to ask me questions in chat while twisting..."N2o I4don'1 k2no3w w4ho - damnit!") 

    Today, however, I could honestly live without the whole twisting part or would hope they would come up with a newer method for it, sort of like VGs Composition system. Something less RSI inducing. It would allow for more creative play with planning out your songs, building sets, etc and less time and money wasted at your doctors office :) 



    LOL!  Yep @ the "112211" - "****!"
    I also appreciated the composition system in VG and could do without the spam of twisting, but I definitely hope there is a level of being able to switch up songs on the fly within a couple of seconds.

    • 50 posts
    March 2, 2021 9:46 AM PST

    One of my favorite memories in EQ was a guild picnic my guild was having in the Arena (one of the pvp enabled locations on a pve server).  I was the only bard in my guild, in my 40s or 50s, while the rest of my guildies at the time were between 30 and 70.  After a lot of roleplaying and chatting we decided to have a series of grand melee fights (all v all pvp).  I was far from the highest level, and I couldn't put out anywhere near the damage of many others, but I had spent a majority of my time hunting down rare abilities and learning about all the things my class could do.  The moment they said "GO" I AoE fear bombed the whole guild who started running away from me like a wave moving away from a stone dropped in the water. I quickly twisted in a Charm on the highest level Warrior in the guild who I then controlled like a pet to start taking out the high dps Necro's and Mages, and I Mezzed the ones my warror pet coulndt get to quickly. The Melees kept rushing back toward the middle to fight after the fear fell off them, only to get hit by another pulse and run away again. Over and over there was a pulse around me as they rushed in, and rushed out none having any clue what was happening. After a few minutes I stood victorious over an extremely puzzled guild who were all wondering wtf just happened and saying things like "I had no idea bards could do that".  We fought it again, and I won the same way. Then a third time where they decided it would not be a grand melee but a 40 v 1 with the whole guild vs me.  They took a lot of casualties, but eventually positioned the casters out of range of my AoE fear and managed to take me down.

    The EQ Bard could do a lot of stuff that no other class could do so long as you as a player were willing to do stuff that no other players would have to do. Twisting was a part of that, but there was also so much more you had to learn about the class.  You had to always keep a hundred unique songs, abilities, and clickies in the back of your mind at all times so that you would be prepared whenever they would be useful.  You had to hunt down many of those songs/abilities/items through extensive world travel and questing.  You had to find unique items that could fill in the gaps for spell types the Bard class didn't have access to.  In most players hands the bard was mediocre to average, but in the most capable and dedicated hands, it was unparallelled.  MMOs have become a genre where most classes are being streamlined to remove the need for skill, knowledge, or creativity; where only gearscore matters, and there is margional room to be better or worse than any other person playing the same class with the same gear.  I want the Pantheon Bard to break that paradigm in honor of the EQBard so that it punishes lazy players, but also has no ceiling to stop extremely skilled players from doing amazing things. Maybe not soloing a whole guild, but amazing none the less.


    This post was edited by Telepath at March 2, 2021 9:50 AM PST