The team is hard at work on OrbusVR: Reborn, getting things ready for our first Beta Test which will take place beginning Friday, November 9th. In the mean time, here's a quick preview of the new class you'll have an opportunity to play, the Bard.
The Bard is intended to be a support class, pitching in with some healing capability as well as a lot of utility which allows them to either enhance the capabilities of their allies, or dampen the effectiveness of their enemies.
The core mechanic of the class is playing an instrument, which is based around the marimba. This is a percussion instrument with a pleasing tone. The Bard's primary instrument features 5 keys that you play with two mallets. In addition to this, you can equip up to 6 globe-shaped secondary instruments, each of which represents an effect that the Bard places on the surrounding area. Up to 3 of these globes can be activated at once, and depending on what globe instruments you have active, notes will appear on your primary instrument. Playing these notes at the correct time will power up the corresponding globe as well as the instrument itself. The more power the instrument has, the stronger the effects are in the game world.
Bard magic is represented in-game as a "wild, colorful" type of magic, similar to how one might think of music itself in the context of a magical power. Each globe has an ongoing effect that is always active, and then a crescendo effect that can be activated by hitting the globe once it is fully charged.
Here are a few of the instruments that are currently available to test:
Instrument of Speed: An instrument which increases the movement speed of all nearby allies. The crescendo will instantly refill the Stamina bar of all nearby allies.
Instrument of Inspiration: An instrument which increases the Wisdom of nearby allies, leading to faster Super ability charging. The crescendo of this instrument will greatly increase the duration of any currently-active Super abilities.
Instrument of Gentle Healing: An instrument which gently heals all nearby allies over time. The crescendo will send out up to 3 bolts of healing, prioritizing allies with the lowest health.
Instrument of Harm: An instrument which slowly damages nearby enemies over time. The crescendo of this instrument will send out a bolt of energy which will travel in a (generally) straight line and strike the first enemy dealing damage.
Instrument of Justice: An instrument which periodically pulses with crackling energy, damaging nearby enemies as it moves. The crescendo sends out a powerful blast of 5 bolts which fly forward, dealing damage to the first enemy they strike.
Instrument of Defense: An instrument which places a debuff on nearby enemies, causing their projectile attacks to deal less damage. The crescendo of this instrument places a protective shield on the battlefield which can absorb enemy projectile attacks.
Instrument of Protection: An instrument which places a debuff on nearby enemies, causing their damage over time abilities such as poisons to deal less damage. The crescendo of the instrument will cleanse alies in a short distance of one harmful effect.
At launch, we anticipate having 10-12 total instruments to choose from for the Bard.
As a reflection of the wild magic of the Bard, offensive capabilities function similar to how projectiles work for enemies -- they shoot in the direction the Bard is facing, and have a bit of a wild path to them. Healing capabilities on the other hand when the crescendo is activated are "smart heals" -- they will automatically track to the closest nearby allies that are the lowest on health.
As a Bard, the challenge of the class begins with choosing your instrument loadout. Although you can only activate 3 at a time, since you can equip up to 6 orbs, you have the opportunity to bring a variety of effects appropriate for each fight with you into battle. Switching between instruments at the correct time will be key to getting the most benefit from your abilities.
During actual combat, your primary goal is to hit the notes for your songs on the correct beat, while at the same time monitoring your globes to use their crescendo effects as often as possible, and also moving around the battlefield and turning your instrument so that it is facing your enemies so that offensive attacks will hit them. Of course, you're also relying more than other classes on your passive, always-on effects from your globes to deal damage or give healing over time; the Bard favors a slow and steady rather than massive burst approach to the game.
This is definitely one of the most unique classes that will appear in OrbusVR, and we're excited to see how it plays in practice and to get your feedback on it! Note that all of the above (especially the effects of the orbs) is subject to change, and there will not be talents implemented yet for the class during this Beta test.