As my Minstrel enters Moria levels, I have been tossing around plans for traits. I am doing so here because I do not use the official forums and I would like to hear from non-Minstrels, who may not frequent the official Minstrel much forum anyway. I will hide the rest below the break for those completely uninterested in shop talk.
I have mostly been soloing because (1) population can be sparse below 50 and (2) wow Minstrels solo nicely in Book 7. He is slower than my Hunter on little targets but far better at big targets. At 53, I am heavily traited for Warrior-Skald for the damage bonuses, notably the improved Ballad of Resonance (+20% damage). I use Herald’s Hammer (more melee damage), Light in the Dark (more ballad damage), Powerful Voice (cheaper attacks), and Unrelenting (Piercing Cry ftw!). I plan to add Medium Armor Use, not to wear medium armor but to increase my resistance cap from 30% to 40%. Protector of Song gives me Battle Hymn (in-combat morale regeneration from Anthem of the Valar) and Strength of Voice (+10 seconds ballad buff duration). I would love to get the boost for three Protector of Song traits (another +10 seconds ballad buff duration), but I will need five Warrior-Skald traits to equip the legendary trait Call to War (super crits). I will probably try Flow of Harmony (effectively +60 in-combat power regeneration) at 57 until I get Call to War, to see how that goes. I like the idea of having six to eight buffs active all the time.
For groups, I want at least four Protector of Song and two Watcher of Resolve. Damage prevention beats healing, and the +armor will beat out the WoR trait set bonuses. Keep Battle Hymn (I love it so much) and Strength of Voice, add Flow of Harmony and Glorious Anthem (+15 seconds ballad duration). Dump all the Warrior-Skald traits and pick up Focused Performance (faster healing) and Life-Singer (cheaper healing), which gets the cheaper healing set bonus.
Here is where I am wondering: is Master of Tales worth it? The set bonus for four Protector of Song traits adds more armor to Tale of Warding, and it would be a stellar group buff to mate that with +60 Fate and +60 Will. I would take a hit to net power regeneration, but everyone else would benefit. That would mean taking Smooth Voice, which is not a stellar trait but it lets me buff the group before fights. Or I could go with Medium Armor Use to take advantage of the improved tale armor. I find myself drawing more aggro than I would like in groups. Or Unrelenting, because I love Piercing Cry, but that seems suboptimal for a group situation.
If I know that I will have a competent group that will keep aggro off the healer, Medium Armor Use is useless, and I should go with the improved group buff (or Piercing Cry for stuns, woo!). My PUG history suggests this is hit-and-miss; I understand the “huntard” complaints much more after grouping with ones who do not apply the rules of “cure the nasty poisons,” “kill adds on the healer,” and “do not use Strength Stance against elite masters.”
My other worry about Master of Tales is that re-traiting legendary traits is expensive. Switching four class traits when I go from solo to group mode is not too bad. If I switch between Call to War and Master of Tales frequently, that will eat my money. In this case, I would have Call to War, Fellowship’s Heart (super heal) and Rally (in-combat rez) all the time, with Call to War doing nothing in my group build. If I wanted to stay in grouping mode for a long time, I could drop Call to War in favor of Song of the Hopeful Heart (-dread), for the Watcher or for poorly equipped groups. If I wanted to stay in solo mode for a long time, I could drop Rally in favor of Anthem of the Wizards, which I have not heard of anyone using much.
The more I write, the more I am liking the idea of Medium Armor Use and minimal re-traiting over Smooth Voice and Master of Tales. I could even solo a bit in group mode, although I would be missing a lot of damage. I am not resolved, however, and I would like to hear about your experiences (or math!) with/as Minstrels.