Lost Ark – Mage Female Class: Bard FAQ

Gameplay FAQ

General

Why should I play this class?

Bard is one of the three support classes in Lost Ark, the most important role in the game. Supports offer healing, shielding and damage buffs which can massively increase the damage of your entire party several times.

Bard specifically has the highest ceiling of any support class, able to buff your party’s damage far beyond anything the other two supports can provide. This comes at a cost, however: Bard is incredibly difficult to play well, and the short range of its abilities mean you have to play in melee range of the boss, dodging attacks and positioning buffs.

If you are looking for a difficult, but rewarding support, Bard is for you.

How does my identity work?

Bard’s identity involves a 3 bar identity gauge that can be used to heal or buff the damage of your party.

Using one of the two identity options will consume all full bars of gauge and do something based on the number of bars consumed.

Using the Awakening Symphonia will generate 1 bar.

Serenade of Courage (Z) 

Will grant your party a 5/10/15% damage buff for 8/12/16 seconds.

The efficiency of this buff scales with the Specialization stat.

In addition, grants Bard herself a 2 minute 15% damage buff. True Courage only increases this personal 2 minute buff, and will not affect the party wide damage buff.

It is recommended to prioritize two bar Courage, as it is the most efficient buff damage wise. However, do not be afraid to save up a three bar for a major burst window, or to send a 1 bar on an extremely good pattern. It is always better to have any buff rather than none.

Serenade of Salvation (X) 

Will heal any party member in the AoE by 4/6/8% of the casting Bard’s max HP a total of 8/12/16 times and lasts up to 14/18/24 seconds. 

Salvation works on a tick system, there are a set amount of ticks to be shared amongst all players inside. This includes full HP characters, who will still consume a tick. For example, the entire 8 ticks can be shared amongst 4 players, for 2 ticks of 4% healing each. However, Bard herself can step outside the Salvation and feed 2 people for 3 ticks of 4%, and 1 person for 2 ticks of 4% totalling to 8 ticks. This can be scaled up to funnel heal 1 person, and allow them to receive all 8 ticks.

Desperate Salvation works by adding an additional end tick that heals for 8/16/24% of Bard’s max HP. This results in 1 Bar Salvation being the most efficient heal wise, as the heal % to bar usage is highest with 1 Bar.

How do the Supports compare?

They all have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s a matter of personal preference.

In general, Supports will be significantly tankier than most classes in the game depending on their build, they are in extreme demand almost always, and will be extremely cheap to build. However due to a lot of the system design in this game they can feel somewhat unrewarding as the sense of progression isn’t as apparent as DPS classes. You have a lot of extremely powerful tools in your kit and provide the largest damage gain in the party, so your performance is paramount to the outcome of the raid. All three Supports are an amazing choice and utilize high swiftness making them very nimble, but can vary in their gameplay, here is some information to help you compare them.

Paladin

Long ranged support with heavy focus on consistent value through periodic heals and shields. Lowest ceiling of all supports.

Pros

  • Easiest Support
  • Extremely Tanky
  • Consistent AP Buffs
  • Best Counters
  • Long Ranged

Cons

  • Weakest Identity
  • Long Downtime on Shields
  • No Burst Healing
  • No Push Immunity

Bard

Short ranged support with the strongest damage buffs. Difficult to play and requires tradeoffs to achieve maximum efficiency.

Pros

  • Highest Ceiling
  • Best Identity
  • Strongest AoE Healing
  • Tons of Push Immunity

Cons

  • Most Difficult Support
  • Mana Starved
  • Short Ranged
  • Worst Counters
  • Low Versatility

Artist

Jack of all trades with a wide toolkit. Has a ton of options, but requires good positioning to get full value out of her spells.

Pros

  • Strongest Shields
  • Strongest Single Target Healing
  • Extremely Versatile
  • Best Brand (Drawing Orchids)

Cons

  • Skills require movement
  • Long Animations
  • Requires Positioning

What are the key pieces of my build?

Runes

A lot of Bard’s power comes from their Identity. As such, wealth runes are highly important to maximize meter generation.

As a mana hungry class, Focus runes are highly recommended.

Skill Points

Bard only requires a maximum of 384 skill points (enough to get all 8 skills to level 10). Additional skill points are useful at speeding up your chaos clear, but do not actively impact raid performance.

Desperate Salvation

Playstyle

In Raids, Bards focus on maintaining high uptime on our primary damage buff skills, Heavenly Tune and Sonic Vibration, as well as party utility through skills like Guardian Tune, Wind of Music, and Rhapsody of Light.

Bard is extremely customizable, allowing for a variety of playstyles. You can opt for a defensive build using tripods like Endless Protection and Wind of Protection, or a more offensive build focused on generating as many Serenades of Courage as possible.

Stat Allocation

Most Bards will run a full Swift build with Specialization as the secondary stat on the necklace in order to build meter quicker, to maximize the uptime on their shields and damage. The increased CDR is the most effective way to increase your utility, while the Attack and Movement speed is a bonus and can help with positioning and casting.

With higher level CDR gems, you can choose to sacrifice some Swiftness for Specialization to increase the damage of your Serenade of Courage.

It is not recommended to go under 1500 Swiftness. Even with an extremely optimized party, the natural downtime in actual raids begin to cause issues when dropping below this number.

It is not recommended to go for Spec focused builds that lean towards 50%+ Spec unless it is a dedicated Spec build.

Gameplay

Bard gameplay is focused around four major aspects:

  • Damage Buff (“AP”/Attack Power)
  • Note Brand
  • Defensive Utility
  • Identity (“Bubbles”)

Is Swiftness Bard Better than Spec Bard?

In general, swiftness builds excel over spec builds in every single aspect.

In terms of party care/party survivability, swiftness has the advantage. With a full swiftness build, you have a 20-25% reduction in your cooldowns over spec builds. This means you have full uptime on your defense reduction ( Guardian Tune), as well as shield ( Wind of Music). Spec builds have longer cooldowns, so you have gaps in your defense when your skills are on cooldown.

In terms of party damage output, swiftness also has the advantage. Swiftness builds have 100% uptime on their attack buff. Between Heavenly Tune and Sonic Vibration, you almost always have some kind of attack buff active for your party. This means that you always have a sustained 21.7% attack buff, resulting in higher damage output.

Spec bards don’t have 100% uptime on their attack buffs even with level 10 CDR Gems.

So this means that you are losing quite a lot of damage output since your attack buffs will fall off compared to a swiftness bard. But what about the increased effectiveness of the Serenade of Courage buff that a spec bard has?

A spec bard’s Serenade of Courage is 7.4% more damage than a swiftness bard’s. So the question is, does this burst of 7.4% more damage make up for the lack of uptime of the 21.7% attack power buff?

The answer is no. Even if you pair with the burstiest classes in the game, Swiftness bards provide more overall damage output.

However, in terms of increasing burst damage output in a certain window, spec still has the advantage. So what’s the point of sacrificing overall damage output for burst damage? Only in certain fights, there are some mechanics that you can ‘skip’ if you phase the boss past a certain HP (usually in overgeared parties).

Can I Solo Brand with Sound Shock?

Short Answer: Yes, but you will lose out on a significant amount of meter over the course of a fight.

Long Answer: When running Sound Shock, you have to constantly recast it to maintain brand uptime. With the Maintained Explosion tripod, you have to recast the spell roughly once every 5 seconds or the debuff will expire. This is not difficult to do, but you do have to prioritize it, and Sound Shock gives barely any meter. This means that you are losing out on meter gain from spells such as Prelude of Storm or Wind of Music, which you want to cast off cooldown.

To test this, you can go to Trixion, equip your build, and see how long it takes you to generate a full three bubbles while maintaining 100% uptime on your brand. With a standard Inferno build, you will take 5-6 seconds more to fill your gauge while maintaining Sound Shock. As you add higher level gems, more swiftness/spec, and more meter generators, the gap only grows larger. In an actual raid, you also will have to dodge boss patterns, which adds even more forced downtime.

When Should I Run Sonatina? When Should I Run Stigma?

Sonatina and Stigma are the two most common skills run in Bard’s eighth skill slot. Both provide extra mark uptime, which works well in conjunction with your primary brand (typically Harp of Rhythm).

Stigma provides significantly more meter, but needs to be positioned properly and has a longer cast time. It has better stagger, making it more valuable on gates with stagger checks.

Sonatina casts instantly, making it harder to miss, and has Weak Point, making it more useful on destruction checks (Hanumatan Armor, Caliligos Horn, Valtan G2, Akkan).

If you are unsure about which one of the two to run, it is generally recommended to start with Sonatina. Once you are experienced, you can decide whether the tradeoff of Stigma is worth switching.

How do my Attack Buffs work?

Heavenly Tune adds 15% of Bard’s base Attack Power onto affected party members, and multiplies the new base Attack Power by 6%. The formula goes as,

(DPS AP + 0.15% of Bard Base AP) * (1.06 + any Party AP). This buff does not increase with engravings such as Cursed Doll or Increase Mass.

The 6% AP buff is additive with other AP Party Synergies, such as Soulfist and Machinist, resulting in their effective synergies being ~5.66% effective.

Serenade of Courage is a base 5/10/15% DMG buff for the party, and this amount is multiplicative with Spec Scaling, “efficiency of the Serenade of Courage buff applied to party members”. The formula goes as,

(15% DMG buff) * (Spec Scaling, eg 1.8512% from 1700 Spec) = 27.77%

When Should I Run Vital Point Hit?

Vital Point Hit increases the stagger of Bard by 36%. Bard has a variety of strong stagger options in their kit, so the engraving can supercharge your stagger contribution in raids.

Bard’s stagger is mostly concentrated in a few spells (you may not know this, but a single cast of Sound Shock with an overwhelm rune has the same stagger as a whirlwind nade!), so the engraving can lose a significant amount of value if you do not run Sound Shock or Soundholic.

Later raids have a lot of stagger checks – Ivory Tower, in particular, has one in every gate! Most of these checks are fairly generous and designed to be completed without Vital Point Hit, but it can help the group, especially classes that need to use their heavy hitting skills or identity on stagger checks.

It is important to note that Vital Point Hit is mandatory if you plan to bus. Stagger checks are designed to be completed with a full party. With less raid members, you will need to pick up the slack for the bus riders. It is recommended to have +12 VPH books so you can swap it with another engraving (typically Expert or Desperate Salvation, which are not recommended for buses).

Can I Run Conviction/Judgment?

Conviction – Chance to proc on hit with the skill it is attached to and gain a ‘Conviction’ Buff.

Judgment – Chance to proc on hit with the skill it is attached to and gain a ‘Judgment’ Buff. Consumes Conviction. When consumed, gain Combat Resource Recovery by 100% and reduce skill cooldowns by 15% (multiplicative) for 6 seconds. 30 sec cooldown on buff ending until ‘Conviction’ can proc again.

Due to being a swiftness class, the primary benefit of Conviction and Judgment is the 100% MP recovery. The cooldown reduction is also very nice, especially if you can fit your awakening into the buff window to reduce its cooldown.

If you want to use these runes, it is recommended to put your Conviction on Harp of Rhythm, and then consume the buff with Sonic Vibration. Alternatively, if running Sound Shock, place your Judgment on that, and put Conviction on Sonic Vibration.

Can I run Spec Bard?

Spec Bard is NOT a budget build. It requires level 9+ gems on EVERY skill as well as full runes and maxed out tripods to even consider. Without those, you are literally just playing an inferior version of the standard build.

The playstyle is very similar to that of the standard Swiftness Bard, with a few key differences

You do not have 100% uptime on your Damage Buffs, so you will need to hold them and cast them before your DPS use their main damaging abilities ( Snipe, Doomsday, Surge, etc.)

You always use three bar Serenades of Courage, since the base strength (5/10/15%) is what is increased by the Specialization stat.

You need to always be building gauge. The goal of this build is to compensate for the lower uptime on your Damage Buffs by constantly having an active 28% Serenade of Courage.

Spec Bard is extremely hard to play properly and requires a lot of investment to shine. However, if you are willing to play around those downsides, it can be viable.

Spec Bard uses the exact same build as the standard High Meter Generation build, just with both rings and earrings swapped to Spec.

Are there any settings changes that can help me out?

There are a few settings you can change in game to help with being a support.

These are all entirely optional, change them to your liking.

  • Settings > Gameplay > Name Tags

Here you can disable a ton of the titles/guildes/names people have to make it easier to keep track of specific people.

  • Settings > Gameplay > Combat Related Settings > Show Damage

Here you can make your Damage font size very small or completely hide it altogether if you want to have the smallest amount of screen clutter.

  • Settings > Gameplay > Combat Related Settings > Show Combat / Pet

Here you can do things like disable other peoples’ pets and combat effects to make the screen less cluttered for yourself.

  • Settings > Gameplay > Combat Related Settings > Show HP Bar

This setting can help tracking your teammates’ HP Bars.

  • Settings > Community > Notifications and Interactions > Emoticon Settings > Adjust emoticon bubble size > Minimize

This setting can help with Emote usage overlapping onto your teammates names/health bar.

  • Settings > Community > Macro Text

Here you can assign a message you want to commonly use for communication, these are unique to each of your characters. Generally only used for Identity and Awakenings due to how long their CD is.

Note: I suggest having them sent to your party to not spam other members.

  • Settings > Hotkeys > Skills > Select Dropdown next to Skill

You can now use any of these premade macros on a specific skill.

Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 7106 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

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