The design of musical classes in several MMOs has often bugged me; I wrote about it back in 2007 with respect to LotRO’s Minstrel, and later I found Rift’s Bard to be of a similar nature.
“[…] The Minstrel, could work very well: I like playing support and healing classes, and this was a strong consideration for a while, but I’ve played healing classes to death in WoW, and the whole Minstrel ‘strumming his instrument in the middle of battle’, if you know what I mean, just seems a bit weird.
“Hey guys, here’s a little number I wrote the other day.”
“Die! Die! Die! You Orc bastards!”
“Thank you. Thank you. I’ll be here until the end of the battle. Try the salmon it’s delicious.”
This morning my brain peeled open like a xenomorph’s egg, and an idea slowly felt its way out with probing, grasping legs. So I thought I’d release it into the wild, in the hope that it will lay its own eggs within the chest cavity of a suitable host, where the essence of the idea can gestate, and burst forth in gory glory one day.
Google Search tells me that it’s not an entirely original idea. Google Search is an arse. “Oh, you thought you had an original idea, did you? Well, here are 52,300 results that I think you’ll find are of a similar vein. And I found them in but a little over 0.15 seconds. Mweh, mweh, mweh!” Oh shush, you.
Regardless, the simple idea was to have a special sword with which the Bard/Minstrel attacks. The blade of the sword has been masterfully crafted with holes along the length of the blade, as well as a myriad of tiny tubes which run from the hilt down most of the length of the blade. The grip of the sword has keywork similar to a clarinet. As such, the Bard/Minstrel’s weapon ‘sings’ as it is swung through the air, and the art of the class comes from channelling their magical song through carefully practised sword strokes. Thus the class attacks in melee and sings at the same time, accompanied by the music of their weapon. Out of combat buffs, healing and the like, would still come from a natural musical instrument, but I liked the idea of a musical MMO class that could stand in the midst of battle and channel their songs and chants, while not having to whip out a delicate lute and carefully strum ‘I care not for these ladies’ towards a rapidly approaching enormous armoured ogre crotch.