Ok, so I'm going to whine and complain a lot in the post - if you're not interested you can stop reading here. The boards are abuzz with new content from the SA expansion...except of course the UO Bard forum, which hasn't had a new post since Sept. 9th. Why is it that bards get so little love? First a little bit of history. I've maxed out pretty much every useful skill in this game (and some non-useful ones) including combat, crafting, support, whatever, I've done them all but I'll always think of myself as a bard. My main character is a 6x legendary bard/mage (never did like peace much), and I also adjusted my tamer with 120 discord and music and it's a killing machine. My days in UO go back to when bard skills were a strict percentage test - meaning 100 provocation + 100 music equaled 100% success chance. At that time, bards were considered among the most powerful in the game, along with Tamers & Mages. Let's see what has happened since then. Bard skills became difficulty based - which means that one day you could provoke/peace everything in the game 100% of the time, and the next day you couldn't even make an attempt! You had to get to 120/120 to become relevant again - the new skill cap was an out-and-out penalty for bards. At the same time, let's consider if you were a mage, tamer or other character at the time. If you were a mage, one day GM magery was all you could hope for, and a 50% success rate on 8th circle spells. The next day, you could become a legendary mage, with 100% success on 8th circle, not to mention 120 eval which meant a lot more damage, and 120 med. For a tamer, one day you had great difficulty as a GM Tamer taming requiring 20 attempts for dragons and nightmares. The next day, you could work towards legendary taming, which meant much higher success in taming and control. For warriors, higher weapons skill and tactics meant far more damage. Beyond the change in skills, all other classes were rewarded with new items and abilities as well. Mages got mage armor (as opposed to leather, cloth or nothing) before. They also got items that could help with faster casting, faster recovery, lower mana cost, spell damage increase, slayer spellbooks and more. I'd say Mages these days can cast 4x as many spells and do 3x as much damage (12x better total) compared to the good old days. Tamers got a nerf with control slots, but eventually they got Rune Beetles, Greater Dragons and new tameables time and again. Warriors got damage and swing speed increases, enhanced bandages, specialized damage types, and more. Let's see, what have Bards received over the years. Well, I am thankful for flutes of renewal - those were a nice perk - but let's face it every other class got access to super slayers as well, and renewability with powder of fortification. Then as expansion after expansion passed with bards receiving nothing, we were finally rewarded with with the Dreadhorn Flute. It's doesn't give huge bonuses compared to a ring of the elements, jackal's collar or any of the dozens (nay hundreds) of weapon and armor pieces that benefit other classes, in fact it does nothing different at all but I was excited - only to learn that it's not even an exceptional item making it totally useless. So at this point, while every other class has benefited from marvelous new equipment, skills, pets, etc., bards have exactly what they had for the past decade - a lute or drum or tambourine just the same as always. Honestly, I'm not asking for ways to make the bard class more powerful. I believe that it is still among the most powerful in the game, and I'm happy to see a variety of templates having success at champ spawns etc. (I have an additional rant regarding how bards are not properly credited for kills - confirmed by an EM - that I'll address in a separate thread). Although I would like to see some type of benefit like faster recovery, or as a guild-mate suggested perhaps a positive buff ability (kind of like the opposite of discord) to friendlies, but overall I think bards are strong enough. What I am asking for is a little creativity and love. For example, snake charming was added in the new expansion - and isn't limited to bards! How about some nice (not necessarily more powerful) equipment so I can carry something other than my GM tambourine around? I'm sure there are others out there who would like a little love. Thank you.