So first week of bards is getting close to being complete and I have had a lot of fun with a bunch of song singing characters through most of the games.
Although there is a long way to go there is already a clear distinction between two styles of bard; one being a rogue with songs the other being a caster who uses songs as their magic.
For me the song casting bard really captures my imagination more than the thief-bard, its personal preference but if i want to play a rogue type i would rather roll a thief/ranger/brigand/assassin or whatever other numerous classes are on offer.
A special mention to the minstrel in lotro (screenshot below) not only does the bard use song magic they are also the healer in the game (which is a really interesting variation – the closes I’ve seen to a healer bard before is rift which is a support class with a little healing).
The other exceptional bardish thing about lotro is that your bard can actually play their musical instruments – when you have a musical instrument equipped you can play musical notes using the number keys – I can see this being so much rpg potential if you were a skilled musician in real life!. Even as a hack button masher it was a lot of fun to strum out the lute and have some nice hobbits start dancing along.
So far the most disappointing bard in a game has been Dungeons and Dragons online.
DDO gives you very limited songs to sing that give you temporary buffs which leaves you as a rogue most of the time. On the upside using two weapons has some nice combat animations its just a pity that the characters in DDO are perhaps the most ugliest I have ever seen – well they just manage to scrape above everquest1 but they are blurry and low detailed even on the highest settings.