Troubadour Guide (or Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About a Troubadour but Were Afraid to Ask)
Part 1 - AA's / Prestige Points
This guide is geared toward raiding troubadour and as such will not focus on spells and abilities that don’t work against raid mobs or other abilities such as those that increase run speed, harvesting or crafting.
Why pick your class over another
Troubadours tend to be middle of the road DPS’ers, lower than most scouts and mages, but even to higher than tanks. Troubadours also wear chain armor and have no hate generating spells or abilities, so make poor tanks. Troubadours are however, one of the best classes at raising the DPS of their group mates. INT based classes, such as mages, get the most benefit from Troubadours because several of their buffs target only spells cast (such as PoTM), or raise the INT stat for group mates.
The main goal in this tree is to get 2 ranks of Rhythmic Overture / Victorious Concerto. How you get there is up for debate, but the value of RO / VC is not. This is the single most devastating DPS ability that Troubadours (and Dirges) get. Many of the choices that I make in casting order, AA and adornment selection and reforging is geared toward getting the biggest VC’s I can. For the uninitiated, RO is the ability to “charge up” by clicking the ability and for the next 10-13 seconds (duration dependent on AA selection) “recording” almost all damage done by the troubadour. Then when VC is used, a percentage (not sure the amount) of the recorded damage is added to every attack by the group for the next 10-12 seconds). I have seen on Cooriador VC’s reach 2.5 mil damage per hit on a good “recording” (more about this is the casting order section). The only things that are not included in the recording damage for RO/VC are procs, such as PoTM or DoT ticks beyond the first “hit”. (For example, Chaos Anthem would only record the first tick and not any others)
But you have to spend a lot of points in this tree to get RO/VC – Here’s what I did:
Strength Line: Bladedance is needed at time for groups and raids, so I speced in this for its utility function. I went ahead and maxed out Turnstrike for the extra AoE protection for myself, but also because maxed out, it does single target damage. I also maxed out Bladesing because it improves the benefit of Raxxyl’s Rousing Tune, causing the entire group to have higher AGI, INT and WIS. 2 Points went into Bladeturn just to meet the minimum needed for Bladedance, but frankly it doesn’t do much in a raid unless I am in a tank group, so it’s really not needed otherwise
Agility Line: I wasn’t that interested in Dodge and Cover. Again, if I were in the main tank group, it might be more useful; but in this case, all I wanted in this line was Poison Concoction. I maxed that out in order to add additional DPS. Bump is also useful because it can be cast in conjunction with Sinister Strike. Bump to hide you and then Sinister Strike which does good DPS but the bard has to be hidden to use it. Wayfarer’s Watch has a point in it just to get to Poison Concoction.
Stamina Line: I used to be heavily speced here, but no longer. Lend Shielding would be good if you have a tank in the group, and Fortissimo used to practically be a requirement. However, changes in mechanics have made Fortissimo only useful if you are not able to max out your DPS otherwise and most raiding scouts should be able to do this through reforging with no problem. Round Bash is a decent DPS attack if you max it out, but I think the points are better spent elsewhere.
Wisdom Line: Don’t Kill the Messenger used to be important, but even with the recent changes to the crit system, I just don’t feel like the AA spend is worth it anymore. I would have to put an additional 10 AA’s into abilities that are not very raid-helpful and then an additional 2 points into DKTM, just to get 7.5 crit chance for the group. No thanks. However, I think Allegro is worth it, spending 12 points in the line to get 8% casting speed for the group. Even if capped, the casting speed over the cap converts to doublecast, so still useful for the mages in the group.
Intelligence Line: This is an iffy line for me. I needed to put points somewhere to get the 70 needed for the Sentinel’s Fate Attributes, but I was running out of strong choices. Minstrel’s Aria is good because it increases the weapon skills and casting skills of everyone in the group. Less resists and bigger hits means more DPS. Rhythm Blade is not particularly good DPS in and of itself, but it increases casting and melee skills for the caster, so I maxed it out and I use it in my pre-RO casting. Heroic Storytelling reduces arcane and noxious damage for the group by a small amount and gives a small chance to avoid stifles. Minstrel’s Melody is just filler to get the end line.
Sentinel’s Fate Attributes: There are a few ways to go with this. You need at least 16 points spent to get RO/VC. I went ahead and took Precise Blades to add the accuracy and resistibility component to Rhythm Blade. Again, I use this for the RO buildup, so those things matter. I also chose Swift Voices to add improved recovery speed to Allegro. I don’t see recovery speed on much and it is one of the few stats I have a hard time capping, so that is why I went with it. However, I could certainly see spending the points to speed up the reuse of Dance of Blades, or increase the damage and lower the recast of Bump.
And of course, get Rhythmic Overture / Victorious Concerto
This is a weaker tree than most and as such, I have spent fewer AA’s here than anywhere else. I did not target any of the Sentinel’s Fate abilities or the end line Energizing Ballad. Energizing Ballad is useful to bring up a singles character’s mana if necessary, but again, it just seemed like there were better places to put the points rather that spend an extra 30 or so in this tree to get there.
First Row: Enhance Night Strike and Perfect Shrill – damage increase and debuff increase. I am contemplating removing Night Strike and adding Depressing Chant (Arcane resist debuff increase)
Second Row: Painful Lamentations – Casting Speed and Damage increase. I could see Dancing Blade here as well to further decrease arcane resists
Third Row: Choral Rebuff – reduces spell resists, Thunderous Overture – increase damage and reduce casting time, Aria of Magic – increase proc chance, and Rejuvenating Celebration – increase STA and health regen. A note about Elemental Concerto and Arcane Symphony here: The wards that are added by these abilities have not scaled with the increase in the power of the mobs we face. These wards, even with additional AA’s to increase them, crit at less than 2K. When you regularly see 400k+ spell hits, the wards are like tissue paper and not worth the points spent any longer. Maybe they will get an upgrade in the future.
Fourth Row: Demoralizing Processional – improve debuff and Perfection of the Maestro – increased duration. I used to spec into JCap here, but resue is normally maxed now and with a hard cap, additional reuse is useless.
Expertise: Harmonization – increases duration of all buffs (including RO) – it’s a must-have. I also chose Resonance which increases range of all spells for your group. This is handy especially in AoE fights if the mobs are not all grouped together well. I used to be speced in Sonic Interference, but it was low DPS and I really never noticed the mobs getting interrupted. Abhorrent Verse would be useful if you were in a group with a tank and/or if it lasted longer. A 15 second threat transfer in the mage group isn’t very useful though.
Sentinel’s Fate – As I mentioned, I didn’t spec for any of these. There are a couple of abilities that increase damage of spells you use (Mental Chaos and Mind Tap) but these are not the top tier DPS abilities for Troub’s any longer and I just felt like the points were better spend elsewhere. Harbinger’s Ballad is useless if your group is capped in reuse, Stunning Lullaby doesn’t affect raid mobs and as I mentioned, Ballad of Warding doesn’t really help the ineffective wards. Resonating Concerto could be useful (decrease power costs and further increase range of spells), but not enough so to put another 23 points into the tree to get it in my opinion.
The Shadow’s AA line has a lot of viable options. I’ll try to lay out the ones I feel are valid.
General – I chose to max out HP’s and diety pet attribute bonuses. I could see doing max power or food/drink duration as well.
Scout – I chose Strengthened Links to give additional mitigation to the group. Not being in a tank group, this could be debatable, but I chose it mostly because my group is usually the squishiest and I didn’t want to completely neglect defense. I also chose Offensive Prowess to further improve the weapon and spell skills of the group and Enhance: Quick Strike for the DPS increase. Cheap Shot is not usable against raid mobs and Sinister Strike reuse doesn’t help much unless you choose to also spend the extra points in the Bard tree to improve Bump also, so I skipped those. I also of course took Evasive Maneuvers.
Bard – I chose Shrieking Cry and Franking Chorus for the extra damage and Intoxicating Notes as a decent damage proc. Defensive Ballad would probably taking the defensive stuff too far for the mage group and Chorus of Reflection should be useless as a Bard in a raid. I also took Dexterous Sonata.
Troubadour – Demoralizing Chorus, Master of Ceremonies and Stealthy Strike for the damage increases and Aria of Health for the extra 2.5% HP’s. I was speced into Court Jester, but gave that up for the extra HP’s recently. It wasn’t giving up too much though – +15% recovery and casting speed but only for a single target at a time. I also chose Lyrical Master and Upbeat Tempo. Harbinger’s Chorus is useless because I didn’t choose DKTM.
When the cap was 320 AA’s , it was only possible to put 50 points into this tree and you had to choose ONE end line. Now that the AA cap is raised to 350 you can also put upto 100 points in this tree. The only caveat is that if you choose 2 end line abilities here, the first is 2 points and the second one is 20! I do think it is worth it though. I chose Attribute Prowess (for the AGI) and Spirit and Body (for the 5% Max Health). Then I maxed out the Potency and Crit Bonus abilities. As a note, I did not pick the reuse ability because reuse is maxed out and hard capped. Enhance Rhythmic Overture is a must-have because it makes your VC’s bigger, period. I did not choose Enhance Dex Sonata, because I felt 1 AA:1 crit chance seemed a little expensive. Accelerando is another of those abilities that improves upon already capped stats. Veil of notes is useful (hit it if the healer goes down) but ultimately I gave it up to get more HP’s. For the end line, I chose both Deadly Dance and Cadence of Destruction. Both figure well into my RO charge because of the increase in potency from both. Songspinner’s Note just seems weird to me. If I am close up, it improves the attributes of the group, but if I am ranged it improves healing to just me. Didn’t seem as useful as the other two in raid and certainly wasn’t worth another 20 AA’s.
2 important items are here. Dragon Claws is essential for RO/VC and Dragon’s Vitality for Max Health (10 AA’s for 8% health is the best ratio in the AA trees).
To get to Dragon Claws, I maxed out all except Quick Tactics which improves Casting Speed, which I didn’t need. By the way, Punishing Evasion adds so much damage to Evade, that it went from a little-used deaggro to the most damaging single target combat art we have. It is really good to max this out.
I also speced the Dragon Wrath line. Dragon Wrath does decent damage but be careful with it because if you are ranged and use it, it will port you to the mob, which may not be ideal given your situation.
I could see not choosing the Dragon Wrath line and spending the points elsewhere, but probably not on the Dragon tree, because the Dragon Scales line is mostly heal and defense related for the troubadour only, and Dozekar’s line is focused on the Trouby taking damage.
For prerequisites, I chose Invigorating Ballad to improve group max health by 5% and to increase group incoming healing by 5%. I also chose Soul Sonata to add a siphon component to several Troubadour debuffs (This is a very underrated ability IMO). Paralytic Venom is a Potency debuff that is really hard to measure and is of questionable usefulness. Advance Scout give the group a short Flurry buff, but being in the mage group, it isn’t that useful.
I went down the Reverberation line. I won’t say much about the Bagpipe Solo line because I haven’t really ever tried it. However, if you play a bard that needs to be much more or a heal / power support bard and less caster DPS buff, then you would probably want to take this line instead. Once you pick a line, there is not a lot of choices to be made. I put max points in everything in the line and the only ability I did not choose was Energetic Melody. It is certainly useful as another proc for the troubatour, but you have to choose between that and Mamba of Blades, which is a group Doublecast and Attack Speed buff. I opted for the group buff instead.
Prestige Points (Troubadour)
Dagger Storm is a class-changing ability. It does monstrous amounts of damage, especially to a single mob and is by far our biggest “nuke”. Generally when I look at my parse, Dagger Storm is the top ability, right behind auto-attack damage and ahead of VC. Requiem is a straight up damage increase for the group. Both are important, so the only question is how to get there. I went with Potency and Crit Bonus. I put 5 in each in order to get the second line buffs (Accuracy from Strength and Power from the Soul). I had 6 points left so I put them in Enhanced Vigor for the max health improvement. I am not sure exactly how ability mod or weapon damage bonus compares to Crit Bonus and Potency, so I have tended to stay away from those stats. If anyone has data on exactly how it is used or guidelines for those stats, I would love to see it.
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