From Sanctuary Shard
The four barding skills are being rolled into two skills and paired up with a revised hiding/stealth, deception, and mystisicm. The Musicianship and Intonation changes have been completed.
Design Change II
After much discussion with Mith about what makes one skill equal to another skill we came to the conclusion that the barding skills of music, peace, prov, and discord are not "fair" and equal to other skill sets such as taming, combat or even the new plans for magic. My resistance to changing barding was based on how Mith and I balance "UO classes", and a significant change to that was fraught with many repercussions.
To explain, if you consider the UO skills, you will notice that there is what we call a "4 by 4", four sets of four skills that represent the core skills of "UO Classes". The mage with magery, eval, meditation, wrestling. The melee with weapon, tactics, healing and anat. The tamer with vet, lore, anat and taming. And finally the bard with peace, prov, discord and music.
But, ignoring that, we began with the proposal that Barding would be well served by two skills, not four. Musicianship and "Barding", where Barding contains peace, prov and discord as abilities with the same skill usage delay it has now across 3 skills.
When we considered this, we realized that we did indeed have two other sets of two skills that could be paired with the two bard skills for a slightly broader "Rouge Bard" class. With that in mind let me break it down for you.
- Musicianship and Intonation - Implemented
One will be the skill check skill and the other will be the effectiveness skill, like eval is to magery. Unlike previous designs, there will be no "cost" to using the skills, but they WILL require the off-hand weapon slot free. This will allow players to fight with a one-handed weapon, but they will lose parry and shield making the choice of devotion and precision more complicated. Certainly, our arm and disarm will work, but they may end up gaining a reasonable delay between uses or a staminal cost so it can't be spammed continually.
We will work to convert the equipable instrument art to the off-hand so they can appear on the paper doll.
- Spell Song
The Mysticism skill planned for the new magic system will be moved over to be firmly in the "Bard Magic" Camp. It will have the range of its aura's expanded to a possible maximum of 6 tiles. The Mysticism skill already has a broader application of spells than the other four and feels very much like the Bard Masteries UO implemented in later releases. It will retain its elemental association of water for fiction purposes, but it will also require an instrument. This will obviously use mana.
- Instruments will be spell channeling so mages can cast with them equipped.
Like the other new magic skills Mysticisim's support skills will be eval for damage and spirit speak for beneficial, with a bonus for high mana, but there will be a "bonus" for having high music.
- Rouge Skill Set
This path took us to the next potential fork: Hiding/Stealth with Deception. Its been the intention to combine hiding and stealth into one skill and converting Deception to a one-handed weapon (no shield) skill that makes use of hiding as its support skill. As you can see, this dove tales really nicely into the Bard changes and deception will allow instruments in the off hand.
The current thoughts are that Deception will be implemented as a series of "leaps" that are made from a hidden state allowing the player to do such things as: leap and stun, leap and whirlwind AOE attack, leap and administer a DOT, leap and debuff, leap back and heal. When combined with poisoning, we feel this combo could be really high DPS, but it will suffer from the armor restrictions native to hiding/stealth. Deception will obviously use stamina.
This design gives us a really nice "Rogue Bard" that can have 3 different primary implementations; Songs+Blade, Spells+Blade, Spells+Song, with the third rolled out in secondary slots.
The mysticism skill will have some healing, some damage, some Buffs, and some Debuffs, but is limited to caster centric AOE OT spells and it will not rival in power the other magic skills. Its primary advantage is the ability to play the spell songs over a long period of time reducing click factor and allowing the player to focus on either barding, combat or with this new design -- both.
The player will probably require either spirit speak or healing as a primary method of healing.