Having read several forums and views about the bard’s weaponry, I have came to the conclusion that the bard is an extremely devastating character, one far stronger (in terms of damage) as compared to a warrior and only slightly less than a barbarian. Here’s my reason why:
In my opinion, three types of weapons stand out most. Jester’s Swords of anything, King’s Swords of anything and the Civerb’s Cudgel. You might be thinking now, why am I suggesting Jester’s and Civerb’s Cudgel? The reason is that they are weapons which multiplies TOTAL damage.
At lower levels, the weapons used is quite irrelevant. Almost any combination of two swords will suffice hell. However, you would have to think for the future. In nightmare or hell difficulties, you are going to need much better weapons. Some common beliefs are that two King’s swords would be the ultimate combination to have. Others say that knockback is of utmost importance. But I feel that nothing beats a bard who can kill 2-3 hell difficulty Blood Knights with ONE single swing.
By about level 20, the bard should be doing 30-40 character damage. Using a CC combined with a Jester’s weapon, the bard would be doing 0 to 720 damage per blow (with an average of 240) against demons, which makes up the main bulk of hell. This is because CC multiplies total damage by a factor of 3 against demons, while jesters multiplies that number by 0-6 times (2 being the average). This means that the damage you will see on the screen will be multiplied by 0 to 36 times. Would any other combination of weapon yield that kind of damage? I do not think so. Furthermore, the suffixes of Bat and of Leech can occur on a jester’s weapon, making the bard a powerful stealing machine.
At higher difficulty settings, though damage of the CC/Jester combination is very high, there may not be sufficient to-hit. **However, it is still possible with some +dex items or even +to-hit items. ** An alternative would be to use a King’s sword (preferably of Haste, of Vamps, or of Blood). This usually yields an average damage of 300-400 per blow, meaning that even the toughest monsters in hell/hell cannot survive more than three hits. In this way, I could fend off the strongest mob due to the effective rate I am destroying the enemy.
A powerful add-on to this damage system is the undead crown or the helm of sprits. Again, you might say why I chose such pathetic helms when I have a larger mana ball. Reason is simple. Since you are doing so much damage, why not make full use of the damage? Since life stealing is dependent on the damage you deal, large damage done = large amount of life stolen. Hence, mana can be conserved and used for other purposes such as dealing with ranged attackers which runs away from you, in particular witches.
A helpful tactic to know is Telekill. In summary, this just means that you move your cursor over your intended target and right-click (to cast Teleport) and left-click immediately after that. In this way, you will teleport to a position next to the enemy and swing immediately. With practice, you will be able to kill witches and advocates with great ease.
From personal experience (of multiple 40+ level bards in Hellfire SP, MP and V&K mod), I find that the combination of CC and a King’s Sword of Haste really rocks. My lvl 41 HF SP bard can go into hell/hell lightly armoured (an obsidian shirt of stars), but with a CC/KSOH combination with a helm of sprits. On melee levels, I never have to heal/drink reds and in fact always gain more life than I lose them. On ranged levels, I change to a KSOV and telekill and hardly ever need to drink a blue. as any hits on me would be compensated by the huge life drain I get from the helm of sprits.
With the high damage potentials of the above-mentioned combination, there is no fear of mobs at all. In fact that level 41 lightly armoured bard frequently charges into MOBS of knights, drakes and survive to tell the tale (usually without losing a single drop of blood). Thus the need for knockback or blocking is not there at all. Who needs knockback when the enemies are going to die in the next blow? The high-damage set-ups provides a much better and faster revenue to kill monsters than most other set-ups I have found. Of course, the use of CC means the loss of the ability to hit three enemies but a jester’s sword or a sword of peril will function almost equally well.
In summary, some of the best weapon combinations are the CC/jesters, CC/kings and kings/jesters. After all, what can beat a bard who regularly hits for over 500 points of damage in one swing. I have even seen my bard gained over 100 life from helm of sprits with one hit, indicating that I have dealt over 2000 damage with that hit.
One catch though is that jester’s weapons are sold for only a short period of time at griswolds. Certainly characters over level 15 will not be able to purchase such weapons.