Forums » The Bard

Bard Song Mechanic

    • 34 posts
    August 28, 2018 3:00 PM PDT

    (Minor edit)
    My idea for the Bard game mechanic revolves around the role/character of the bard. The bard is the soul of the group; they are what keep the group inspired through the dark times and try to keep the group as harmonised as their music. So base their mechanic around the actual mechanics of music. 

    Music is universal, it passes through us and, although we each experience it in our own way, music connects us. The Bard is simply a conduit for music, binding the group together with songs of joy, bravery and sorrow. The Bard more than any other class should be focused less on DPS and most on buffs and debuffs. The Wizard weaves mystical forces, the Bard weaves and binds our souls together (or tears them asunder). The Monk strives for inner balance, the Bard looks to balance between party members and the environment, and to unbalance their enemies. Clerics keep the party alive, Bards keep their party going. Enchanters dazzle and manipulate the mind, the Bards sing to the soul.

    1) The core idea would be to remain in harmony. The songs would be short-medium length, and they would not all "mix" together. They could be based on the Camelot Wheel below, moving one or two spaces left or right, or up or down between the major and minor keys (buffs/debuffs).

    2)Each tune has it's own key and if you mix into another song that is out of tune, either the former song immediately loses it's effect and/or the next song is less potent than if it were to be mixed in key.

    3)The bard could raise the tempo of his songs, which would speed up the song so he can get into another song, but tire him out more, consuming more energy/mana/whatever. 

    4) The bard could raise the volume of his songs, increasing their potency, but also increasing his mana consumption.

    5) Changing from a minor to a major key would be changing from a buff to a debuff, but you could not have both songs at the same time, although you can have a buff and a debuff active at the same time, you simply need to switch between songs in time to keep both active.

    6) If the music is inharmonic, then there are penalties (tbd). For example, dropping the Mezz, reducing the amount of ongoing mezzes from 2 to 1, the party is debuffed, the enemy now agroed big time on the Bard, ect.

    7) Critical tensions would be Timing and Performance, just as they are in real performance.

    8) Of all the classes, Bard will be the least soloable (Music is meant to be shared! Who wants to sing for only themselves?). besides if you want to solo, I'm pretty sure you're looking to play the wrong game.

    9) The bard can more easily recover from/cover over/incorporate dischordant songs as she progresses.

    10) Maybe different songs affect races/classes differently based on disposition. A warrior likes a jig but a paladin dislikes it.

    For more on this, check out the thread on the "Symbiote" idea.

    https://www.pantheonmmo.com/content/forums/topic/5163/symbiote

    Camelot Wheel
    https://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/sticker/harmonic-mixing-camelot-wheel/582226/


    This post was edited by Mobius at August 28, 2018 5:32 PM PDT
    • 34 posts
    August 28, 2018 4:07 PM PDT

    I've also seen a lot of suggestions that rely on a Bard = Battery + Mez formula, which is fine, but the playstyle should reflect the class. It should be dynamic and involve risk to the entire party, as the entire party also greatly benefits from the Bard. A failing Bard should be as punishing as a failing healer or tank.

    • 13 posts
    August 28, 2018 7:30 PM PDT

    Mobius,

     

    I love these ideas!  The mixing of multiple songs in the original EQ was exciting, but still was simply button mashing in a repetitive rythm.  This concept would allow the bard to be almost like the heart acts in the body - constantly adjusting as necessary to keep all the organs fed and functioning correctly.  This sounds like an exciting idea to me, one the main reasons I enjoy the Enchanter so much as they attempt to control the situation.

     

    I would also like to see some of the Vanguard concepts introduced, at least in terms of being able to design your owm songs.  I don't remember every detail from Vanguard, but I do remember playing a bard in the Beta and thoroughly enjoying the challenge of creating a successful song.

     

    Great post!

    • 287 posts
    August 29, 2018 5:22 PM PDT

    This does sound exciting... so long as latency/FPS doesn't have too much of a negative impact on the "timing" of key presses.  I love the idea of creating songs though.  I never got to play Vanguard but looked up this song composition guide and it seems pretty cool:
    http://vanguard.wikia.com/wiki/Song_Composition_Guide

    If the PRotF bard is like this it should be very exciting.

     

    • 34 posts
    August 29, 2018 8:18 PM PDT

    Darch and Reno thank you for your kind support! I never took the chance to play Vanguard, but that bard class certainly looks a lot like what I had in mind.
    Good point about latency being an issue, Darch, but from what I've seen the gameplay is slow enough that even near-geriatrics like myself would have enough time to judge what the party needs or will need and react fast enough. I don't see this as necessarily a quick twitch mechanic, but one of observation, attention, planning and improvisation. 
    Like the Master Tempo button on a CDJ, I think the Bard would keep time, leaving it up to the player to find the right song for the right occasion (and plan a few songs down the road). 

    On another note, since the enchanter is arcane-based, perhaps the Bard should be archery-based in it's dps? Makes sense for them to sit back and concentrate on the battle and the party. Ofc a bard dancing and weaving through battle with a short sword is also pretty in keeping of the role and incorporates a bit more fluidity to the role. 

    What do you think?

    • 120 posts
    September 2, 2018 2:39 AM PDT

    I like your post very much, Mobius. 

    The only thing I would state is that as a bard, one should still be able to traverse the world alone and have a chance to survive perhaps defeat certain foes. 

    The Vanguard bard system alignes very much with the way I would see a bard in a new game. I really see me spending time in creating and adjusting songs and such depending on my encounters.

    As a reply to your latest question I would say: Perhaps it's an idea to have the bard ranged dps'ing when he's doing his long duration/casting buffs/debuffs. And he could switch to close combat mode (wearing one offhand instrument for example). In close range he might get some short songs/duration or damage songs in. This in combination with several combat arts that are purely for close combat encounters? 

    He wouldn't be the highest dps'r at range or in close combat, but he could still be effective at both distances. The most of his ca's could indeed be ranged. By allowing a 50/50 mix of the two it would be very fun and complex but it could shift the focus from playing music primarely to damaging foes. 

    It does look like an entirely different mechanic then what we've seen so far from Pantheon's classes and how they are presented so far. It could work if the so called mana-pool for bard would be the actual singing of songs. So the more balanced his musical act is, the more mana is gained or regenerated. If he for example just plays one song over and over, his mana regen would be less efficient then if he would be using multiple songs. If you see what I mean?

    Again looking at that Vanguard system, songs could have properties. And as long as the bard plays various songs rendering X-types of properties or such, his mana will be regeneration fluently. 

    Assuming that bards will not be having such manabursts like dps'rs or healers, his mana issue should be easy enough for him to solve as long as he's keeping attention to playing different songs. A bard would be one of those classes if played correctly, would hardly run low/out of mana. And that would be because they don't have that critical mass damage or heal capacity in them, so it would be less of an issue struggled less to keep their mana up. (Again as long as they play their part correctly. Literally then!) Does that make sense?

    • 34 posts
    September 2, 2018 1:59 PM PDT

    Barin999, great comments thank you :)

    1. I stand corrected regarding the Bard. Come to think of it, you're right: the lone wandering minstrel is pretty iconic.  

    2. You're spot on with Bard combat, as she weaves in and out of combat as she weaves music through the battle. This is similar to the Ranger combat mechanic, apparently.

    3. I do worry about trying to do too much with the Bard. I would prefer them to be battle-flow focused in a group setting, giving them a unique role, rather than DPS light + battery+mez. The fear is that as they try to do too much they may be good at nothing.

    4. I really like your idea about mana pool tied to performance. 

    5. They might have mana burst for instant emergency mez (unexpected add), or mana xfer to a teammate (healer low on mana). This would tie in some risk to the performance. 

    • 2573 posts
    September 9, 2018 7:07 AM PDT

    Nice thread Mobius.  I remember seeing someone share the following as a theory crafting exercise for bards back in July of 2017:

     

    "Wall of text incoming!
     
    Hi there! My name is Rand118 and I wrote this theory-crafting post before I realized I couldn't post on Pantheon's official forums!  So I'll just leave this here...
     
    I have loved the Bard class ever since I first played it in the original EQ.  I was a high schooler going into junior college as a music major when I first got into EQ, and now I'm eeking a living in Dallas as a twitch streamer by day and a classically trained singer/music arranger by night, so you can see how the Bard is right up my alley!  Gotta use that Master's in Vocal Performance! I LOVED the mechanics of twisting songs in EQ, so much that I put in the crazy hours of camping/farming/tracking/cajoling high level friends to help me get my Singing Steel Short Sword. To this day, getting my Bard epic is one of my all-time greatest gaming achievements!  I played Bards in Rift, EQ2, and other MMO's, but I've never gotten the satisfaction I had mastering the unique playstyle of the EQ Bard.
     
    That being said, I can definitely sympathize with people not wanting to have to experience the same pain of constantly twisting 3,4, maybe even 5 songs constantly to be an effective bard (my carpal tunnels cringes at the thought!). So, I've been theory-crafting about how to keep the good parts of bards from other mmo's (flexibility, buffs, debuffs, quick switching roles, quick travel, increased mana/hp regen) without the pain of constantly twisting songs.  So here's my proposed mechanic of Refined Song Twisting!
     
    At its core, this system has two parts: Fanfares/Codas (played at the beginning and end of a song rotation, respectively) and Melodies (or motifs, phrases, lines, whatever you want to call it) which are the actual spells.  The idea behind this system is that there are 4 or 5 different Fanfares/Codas which determine how the Melodies (spells/buffs/etc.) affect your party and enemies.  So, similar to twisting songs in original EQ, you'd play a sequence of songs, but depending on which Fanfares/Codas you played before and after the songs, you'd change what the Melodies would do.  

    Here's an example: start the rotation with Fanfare of Inspiration (which causes your songs to buff the party), play Melody of Alacrity (attack speed haste), Melody of Mind (spell dmg buff), Melody of Endurance (Health/armor buff), and Melody of Virtuosity (crit chance buff) and end the rotation with Coda of Intimidation (which causes songs to debuff enemies).  Because you ended the rotation with Coda of Intimidation, every song you play also causes a debuff to enemies surrounding you: Alacrity causes an attack speed slow, Mind causes reduced cast speed/spell dmg debuff, Endurance causes an armor/magic resist debuff, and Virtuosity causes reduced dodge.  You only play the song rotation once (eliminating the need to continuously twist songs), but if you want to change your buffs/debuffs, quickly mez an add, or get some hp/mana regen going, you'll need to start a new rotation.  That's the gist of the system!
     
    The result of this system should be a unique mechanic to Bard that is completely different than other spell casters that makes the Bard into an elite buffer, but must be close to his/her party to impart the buffs and can quickly change his song rotation to react to different situations any party needs.  This is similar to the original EQ Bard, but would hopefully alleviate the pain of constantly twisting while still remaining active, fun, and unique.  Let's go into more detail on my ideas for how to flesh out the system!
     
    Like the original EQ Bard songs, each Fanfare/Coda/Melody would have a short cast time (maybe 3 or 4 seconds) that would require a bit of a setup to get the entire song rotation going.  This makes sense gameplay-wise so that the Bard can't instantly change buffs/debuffs in a way that would be too overpowered.  It also makes sense logically because playing a song takes time, so 10-15 seconds of casting puts together a cohesive song/piece that has a certain effect on the party and the enemies.  There may be times when the song falters or you need to shorten a song for emergencies (say you need to mezmerize an add, you interrupt your buffs/debuffs to play one fanfare/melody to get a quick mez, then go  back to your complete buff/debuff composition).  It would also require balancing for how many buffs/debuffs you can maintain at a time, so that a Bard can't just play EVERY melody he knows and apply every buff/debuff/DoT/DD/regen spell all at once.  Luckily, I have an idea for this, as well!
     
    My idea is to have 4 combat Fanfare/Codas and one Travel Fanfare.  The Bard can only use 2 at a time, a Fanfare at the beginning of the song rotation, and a Coda at the end of the rotation.  These 2 primers, if you'd like to think of it that way, would change how the Melodies affect those around the bard.  Here are my initial Fanfare/Coda ideas:
     
    1)Fanfare/Coda of Inspiration - causes songs to buff the Bard's party members
    2)Fanfare/Coda of Intimidation - causes songs to debuff the Bard's enemies
    3)Fanfare/Coda of Soothing - causes songs to regen and cure debuffs on party members, mesmerize enemies, lowers aggro radius of enemies
    4)Fanfare/Coda of Pain - causes songs to damage enemies, root/snare enemies, interrupt spell casting
    5)Fanfare/Coda of Travel - causes songs to increase running speed (Selo's!), grant invisibility, track enemies, find corpses
     
    We'll get into the actual melodies in a moment, but the idea behind these fanfares is that the Bard has to decide which Fanfares/Codas work for his team composition.  If there are many melee members on the bard's team, he'll want the physical combat buffs of Inspiration and debuffs of Intimidation.  If there are more casters and energy using monks/rogues, he'll want the regen of Soothing and the buffs of Inspiration.  If the Bard is soloing, he'll want the Damage of Pain and the speed of Travel, or possibly the debuffs of Intimidation.  Different enemy types and different party members would require the savy Bard to change his compositions to best take advantage of his circumstances!
     
    Now let's look at the actual Melodies which would give us the specific effects of the Bard's songs. This is the most detailed part of the system, so would need some refining based on how Pantheon's stats work and the details of how  Visionary Relms' classes work.  However, my idea is that there is a melody for each different character stat, and depending on which Fanfare/Coda combo surrounds the melodies, the different melodies will cause different effects. I also toyed around with Melodies that were related to elements, like fire, wind, water, etc., but that seemed to Shaman-y.  I thought melodies that were related to emotions and characteristics had a more Bard-y feel!  So, here's my initial list of Melodies:
     
    1)Melody of Alacrity - agility/speed manipulation (Inspiration - attack speed haste, Intimidation - attack speed slow, Soothing - remove DoT's, Pain - DoT, Travel - out of combat move speed SELO'S!)
    2)Melody of Power - strength manipulation (Inspiration - melee dmg increase, Intimidation - melee dmg reduction, Soothing - remove debuffs, Pain - Direct Damage)
    3)Melody of Mind - intelligence manipulation (Inspiration - spell dmg increase/casting speed increase, Intimidation - reduce cast speed/spell power, Soothing - Mezmerize, Pain - Silence/interrupt, Travel - Invis)
    4)Melody of Endurance - stamina/health manipulation (Inspiration - health/armor buff, Intimidation - armor/magic resist debuff, Soothing - health regen, Pain - root, Travel - track humans)
    5)Melody of Soul - wisdom/perception manipulation (Inspiration - vision buff/night vision/analyze enemy, Intimidation - reduce aggro range, Soothing - party mana regen, Pain - enemy mana drain, Travel - corpse find)
    6)Melody of Virtuosity - dexterity manipulation (Inspiration - increased crit chance, Intimidation - reduced dodge/ac, Soothing - energy/stamina regen - Pain - snare, Travel - track animals)
    7)Melody of Charm - charisma manipulation (Inspiration - raise charisma/faction/reputation, Intimidation - taunt/aggro increase, Soothing - reduce aggro/fade, Pain - fear, Travel - give sustenance/food/water)
     
    Like I said, this is the most complicated, nitty gritty part of the system and would require fine-tuning and in-depth development.  However, the idea is that you have many different melodies to choose from, and you create a song rotation based on what the situation requires.  In my rough theory-crafting, I used 7 common RPG stats (Strength, agility, intelligence, endurance, wisdom, dexterity, and charisma) and used a melody that related to each stat.  With 7 melodies to choose from, I'd say 3 or 4 should be the max the Bard would be allowed to use in a rotation, otherwise the song would be too complex and the composition would fall apart.  This keeps the Bard from using EVERY buff all the time and also makes logical sense.  A composition that has too many melodies/motifs/ideas going on at once just becomes noise and wouldn't inspire anyone! Let's look at an example fight using these Fanfares/codas/melodies!
     
    The Bard is in a group with a warrior tank, 2 rogues, a monk, and a cleric.  As the monk goes to pull, the Bard starts his composition: Fanfare of Inspiration, Melody of Alacrity, Melody of Power, Melody of Virtuosity, and closes with a Coda of Intimidation!  This combination of songs gives the group attack speed haste, a melee dmg buff, and increased crit chance while debuffing the enemies' attack speed, melee dmg, and dodge chance.  With such a melee heavy group, the damage of the party should be greatly increased while significantly decreasing the damage taken by the warrior.  After your foes are vanquished and the monk moves on to the next pull, the Bard starts up a Fanfare of Soothing, followed by the Melody of Soul and Melody of Endurance to regenerate health and Mana, ending with a coda of Soothing to increase the effects of the regen!  This system would also allow flexibility by allowing the Bard to choose to use the same Fanfare and Coda to increase the effects of the buff/debuff/regen while reducing the versatility of the song by no longer causing effects to both allies and foes.
     
    This may seem like a super complex system, but what this system (or something like this) accomplishes is to create a unique casting system that fits the Bard theme, allows for players to have a high ceiling for perfecting rotations and providing flexible bonuses to their group, while also requiring less key strokes during a battle that can cause finger pain/carpal tunnels/tedium than the old song twisting.  I make no claims to being a game designer or expert on creating game mechanics, but I am very passionate about the Bard class and would love to see a complex, rewarding, unique playstyle that would make Bards challenging and coveted by the groups they join!
     
    Please feel free to comment, criticize, give suggestions, or chat about my idea for the Bard.  I stream on twitch as Rand118, so you're also welcome to come by my stream and discuss the Pantheon Bard with me there.  I can't wait to dive into Pantheon, hopefully as a talented, in-demand Bard!"  --  Rand118
     

    This post was edited by oneADseven at September 9, 2018 7:07 AM PDT
    • 34 posts
    September 9, 2018 8:09 AM PDT

    Thanks for taking "note", oneADseven! Also thank you for going back and finding this post and sharing it - it is a terrific, much more detailed, breakdown of the vocal system and completely in line with what I had in mind. You can see the writer put a lot of thought into it. His/her system also "changes key" through the Fanfare/Coda element (moving from buff to debuff would be akin to moving from Minor Key to Major - e.g. C Minor to E-Flat Major), and the Melodies are pretty much what I had in mind.

    Two things:

    1. There is an element I think is missing though, which is the "performance" aspect to the Bard. For me Bards aren't just singers, they are all-round performers who also incorporate juggling, dancing and minor magic tricks into their storytelling. Intead of Mez being associated with the music, perhaps the Bard should have physical "flourishes", somatic elements that distract/entrance/entertain the friend/foe (maybe she jingles a set of shiny keys to distract the goblin, or whatever). This way you can run a somatic mez while buffing/debuffing with voice. If you falter in your performance, though, the mez has a chance of being interrupted. (edit) This also means, even if silenced the Bard can keep that mez.

    2. The problem is risk. With a Bard, what about what you are doing is generating risk/hate? For damage dealers and healers it's the amount of damage dealt/healed. For the Bard, however, you need some element of risk, which for me should be tied to the performance (because who hasn't wanted to murder teeth-grindingly bad performers?). Sure a mez will generate a lot of hate from that one enemy, but if he's perma-mezzed then it's kind of a yawn-fest.

    Cheers!

     


    This post was edited by Mobius at September 9, 2018 8:12 AM PDT
    • 6 posts
    October 22, 2018 8:09 PM PDT

    Oh hey, oneADseven quoted my post from the Fantheon forums from way back when!  Funny to see a post that looked so familiar since I wrote it back before I got access to the pantheon forums, lol!  I never posted it here because it was so long and I'm sure people get tired of ANOTHER Bard mechanics post.  I thought it would be great to have a similar, but less "carpal-tunnel inducing" twist mechanic for the bard, since EQ bard is my favorite MMO class EVER.

     

    Mobius, I love your idea of Mez being some sort of physical "flourish" rather than just music.  As a singer, the visual aspect of a performance is often MORE impactful than the auditory aspect!

    As to your "risk" aspect of the bard, I would say that, like the enchanter, the risk is that after mez wears off and the tank is trying to get aggro, sometimes the mob just WON'T de-aggro the bard.  With how difficult every mob is in Pantheon (from what we've seen), I'd say there's a very real risk the bard BECOMES the tank on the last mob that was mezz'd for several minutes.

     

    Cheers to all you lovely bards!

    Rand.

    • 21 posts
    November 12, 2018 9:18 AM PST

    Rand118 said:

    *snip*

    As to your "risk" aspect of the bard, I would say that, like the enchanter, the risk is that after mez wears off and the tank is trying to get aggro, sometimes the mob just WON'T de-aggro the bard.  With how difficult every mob is in Pantheon (from what we've seen), I'd say there's a very real risk the bard BECOMES the tank on the last mob that was mezz'd for several minutes.

    I hope that's not the case and not for the bard's sake. For the tanks out there that just want to do their job, it would be incredibly frustrating to have routine group pulls where a bard or any other CC class does their job and then the aggro generator of the group/raid cannot do their job based on what I see as flavor mechanics.

    The roles we have are there for good reasons and promote a gameplay expereience that I think nearly all of us here want. Anything that routinely gets in the way of those roles should be avoided. I think that role based gameplay should be the foundation of the moment to moment experience in the game and any design for flavor and any notion of "realism" that gets in the way should be worked around in whatever way is neccessary. Sticking aggro due to long term mez seems to be over the line if a tank type can't taunt it off relatively easily. It's more about that character than the CC'er in my mind.

    Fade makes this a non-issue as long as we can use it often enough. *evil grin*


    This post was edited by diableri at November 12, 2018 9:21 AM PST
    • 560 posts
    November 12, 2018 9:38 AM PST

    Agreed about “anything that routinely gets in the way of those roles should be avoided”. But that should also appy to abilities like Fading Memories. I don’t want a guaranteed get-out-of-jail-free song/ability. Where’s the risk then? Let’s keep some peril tied to something as powerful as CC. Make bards interesting/challenging, not OP.

    • 3 posts
    November 19, 2018 11:37 AM PST

    Harmonic mixing is essential when DJing, especially on modern devices where tempo control doesn't affect pitch. I use the calemot scale with Mixed in Key to help me choose songs I know will go well together.

    That said, I worry that attempting something like this will make the repetitive nature even more limited... now, of the 50 songs we have, only 4 can be repeated in a certain order? If a scenario comes up like an added mob and we are currently playing a song that doesn't mix well, what happens? There would need to be the option of stopping all songs and starting up a completely different "key".

    I'm not totally opposed to your idea and think it is clever, but I worry that it will even more greatly limit what can be done. That said, it could be very useful in helping us know what songs don't stack and what songs do stack...