Instead of giving support players the option to create a traditional Priest or White Mage-style spellcaster, Lost Ark features the Bard, a musical support class that wields a Harp into battle with healing “songs” and group buffs. As soon as you finish creating your Mage, you can choose whether to subclass as a Sorceress or as a Bard during your first visit to Trixion, which happens pretty much right after you exit the character creation screen. Once you’ve chosen to subclass as a Bard, you’re ready to get started! With this Lost Ark Bard PVE Build guide, we explain which skills, attributes, cards, and engravings you will want to rotate between most often.
Much like the Paladin, the Bard is naturally well-equipped to keep other teammates alive and imbue their attacks with increased power. In fact, the Bard is the purest support class in Lost Ark, though simultaneously this makes it the least savvy with DPS. That loss of direct power comes with a caveat; Bard is the one class in Lost Ark that is absolutely mission-critical in endgame PVE content such as Guardian Raids and Abyssal Dungeons. The sharp decrease in overall DPS (relative to other classes) means that it’ll take more time to finish quests when playing by yourself. You can certainly spec for higher DPS – we’ll show you how to do that in this exact guide – but remember that the Bard is a team player first and foremost!
Hat tip to Youtube account KaidGames2 for providing a powerful Bard PVE build that we’ve modeled our own baseline Bard off of, though it’s important to note that this is a class that you’ll want to experiment with often as you and your team face different challenges.
Lost Ark Bard PVE Build Guide
The Bard is a much tougher class to play than its contemporaries. This is marked as an Advanced Class, and rightfully so. You need to pay more attention to your Serenade meter and the exact timings of each of your skills in order to successfully keep your party from death’s door. Not only do you need to activate your skills at the best possible time to gain the maximum advantage, but the Bard is also very squishy, meaning that you need to keep yourself out of harm’s way in order to stay alive while keeping your teammates afloat. The good news is that speccing your Bard is a lot simpler than learning how to play a Bard with finesse.
This class build guide works a bit differently than our other ones, seeing as how the Bard operates as a sort of “Swiss Army Knife” that can shield and heal party members while boosting everyone’s DPS output. You may need to use all of your available skills at different points in time. Don’t worry: you can get away with a basic rotation, but some endgame bosses or combat encounters may challenge you to switch things up, so be prepared for that eventuality!
As with the Paladin, the Bard’s class identity features a sort of duality in its specialty skills. Instead of filling up a single meter, however, you intermittently fill up three individual bars that work as a resource pool that you can spend on your two Serenade skills as you see fit. You have an offensive-focused Serenade (Serenade of Courage, which boosts your damage output for two minutes) and a support-focused Serenade (Serenade of Salvation, which heals the entire party). The potency of either of your Serenade skills is determined by how many Serenade bars you manage to fill before unleashing your musical prowess.
Swiftness and Specialization are your two most important combat stats, bar none, no matter how your skills, cards, and engravings are set up. Increasing your Swiftness, which is the absolute most important stat you can improve, makes you able to heal and buff your party members much faster, and it makes you able to move quicker – keeping you out of harm’s way. Specialization simply makes your Serenade bar fill up faster, and it potentially creates a more potent effect when you use your Serenade skills. Healing is also based on your maximum total HP, meaning that you should be building up as much Vitality as you can while gearing out your Bard.
Lost Ark Bard PVE Skills
Assuming you’re already at least level 50, have already completed the North Vern area, and have earned enough skill points to have a total pool of 244 skill points to allocate, you should have access to everything mentioned in this skills section of our Lost Ark Bard guide.
You will likely need to use each of your different Bard skills at different points. However, you might not always be in a group while completing quests or Chaos Dungeons, which you should be able to solo if no one is around to help. You might just want to know which abilities you’ll likely rely on most often – like a baseline skill loadout that you can build off of (and return to) whenever. That’s why I’m referring directly to KaidGames2’s excellent skill setup, which is well-balanced in that it improves everyone’s survivability and gives you and your teammates a sizable bump in DPS.
- Sound Shock (Skill Lv 7) – Maintained Explosion (T1), Sacred Shock (T2)
- Wind of Music (Skill Lv 10) – Quick Preparation (T1), Melody Increase (T2), Wind of Protection (T3)
- Prelude of Storm (Skill Lv 7) – Quick Preparation (T1), Melody Increase (T2)
- Stigma (Skill Lv 7) – Sustain Enhancement (T1), Brilliant Stigma (T2)
- Soundholic (Skill Lv 10) – Sound Concentration (T1), Sustained Enhancement (T2), Focus Fire (T3)
- Heavenly Tune (Skill Lv 10) – Quick Preparation (T1), Tough Tune (T2), Intense Tune (T3)
- Sonic Vibration (Skill Lv 7) – Tenacity (T1), Brilliant Wave (T2)
- Guardian Tune (Skill Lv 7) – Mind Enhancement (T1), Endless Protection (T2)
- Awakening: Orator
You can respec your skills at any point to play with different combinations of skills and upgrades. Once you unlock the Book of Coordination and begin to play with different custom endgame builds based on Lost Ark’s robust skill system, you get 340 skill points and access to all of the engravings that you may not have yet earned. This is a great way to experiment with different builds while you work your way toward level 60.
Note: Cards in Lost Ark give you a noticeable benefit when equipped as a complete set. The card set that is most beneficial to any PVE Bard, regardless of build, is the Farewell, Weapon set, which grants an HP bonus of +12% when all six cards are equipped in the Card Collection menu.
Lost Ark Bard Engravings
From here, you want to continue specializing your engravings and combat stats to make your build more concise around your exact playstyle. As you progress further, you are strongly encouraged to focus your build around one of the two class-specific engravings that apply to the Bard: True Courage or Desperate Salvation. True Courage makes your Serenade of Courage more powerful; likewise, Desperate Salvation does the exact same thing with Serenade of Salvation, making your healing impact way more powerful. In both cases, you do not need to change your stats at all! Make sure to be focusing on Swiftness and Specialization in that order, no matter how you choose to specialize your Lost Ark Bard. You should consider developing both engravings so that you can switch between them as the need arises.
All engravings are slowly earned by collecting and reading Engraving Recipe Books, which are obtained through quests, Chaos and Abyssal Dungeons, as well as Guardian Raids. It takes time and effort to unlock and power up each engraving to tier three, so you want to be deliberate in how you spec your engravings here. You can view a full list of engravings and their descriptions and effects in Lost Ark’s Book of Coordination menu.
True Courage Bard
The True Courage engraving description is as follows:
- Lv. 1: Serenade of Courage makes outgoing Damage +10% and Crit Rate +10%.
- Lv. 2: Serenade of Courage makes outgoing Damage +15% and Crit Rate +10%.
- Lv. 3: Serenade of Courage makes outgoing Damage +20% and Crit Rate +10%.
The True Courage Bard is focused on boosting the damage of everybody in the party, including the Bard. These buffs stack up pretty quickly when you wait until all three Serenade bars are filled before unleashing the full brunt of your Serenade of Courage, but it’s important to note that this buff only lasts for two minutes no matter how many bars you fill. You should stack this engraving up with other damage-boosting engravings such as Grudge and/or Cursed Doll.
Desperate Salvation Bard
The Desperate Salvation engraving description is as follows:
- Lv. 1: When the recovery effect ends, an additional recovery effect is activated, recovering 8% of your Max HP.
- Lv. 2: When the recovery effect ends, an additional recovery effect is activated, recovering 16% of your Max HP.
- Lv. 3: When the recovery effect ends, an additional recovery effect is activated, recovering 24% of your Max HP.
Your Desperate Salvation Bard is dedicated to keeping the party alive, supercharging her Serenade of Salvation to give it a much more powerful healing effect. This is the one you’ll want to equip when going against some of the most challenging bosses and when your party’s DPS output is already quite powerful. It’s worth complimenting Desperate Salvation with other engravings that boost your healing and shield effectiveness, such as Expert and Emergency Rescue.
That’s all she wrote for our Bard PVE build guide! Bards are the lifeline of the party, making them a necessary addition to any party while you travel across Lost Ark’s plethora of raids and dungeons. If you’re hungry for more Lost Ark knowledge, here’s our guide on 16 things you might have missed.