Your opinion: In higher level trials(60+), do you look forward to having a bard in party? are they on par with cleric or shaman? anything else you like to add about this class.
Mmm on par with cleric or shaman
That's really like comparing apples with oranges. Late game, bards are not so much the same as their cleric and shaman healing counterparts.
A healing cleric/shaman is a staple to a party, because the party NEEDS some sort of healing to finish a dungeon. Bards on the other hand; their true role lies in buff support, rather than healing. You don't NEED buffs to finish a trial, but are they worthwhile? Yes.
Back when I was a newbie bard
, people were often surprised that I chose to use bard instead of healing or DPS. Most people didn't see the point in a buff that only lasted a short duration, but as I've progressed; I've seen a much different perspective now. Especially in late game now, people have begun to "see the light" in terms of the benefits of support.
Back in the days of 60 and 65 cap, people often wanted to push towards maximum crit rate. You'd often see people trying to get 80-100% mcrit/crit rate on their own (with procs), so they could crit without the need of anyone else. However since the transition to 70 and 75 cap, people have started to realize that you can fork out much more DPS by lowering your crit rate (to like 70%) and focusing on damage directly (such as mattack/pattack procs), and letting a support bard fill your gaps to reach 100% crits.
Between crit rate buffs, song of illusion, burning metal, music of life, concerto, and attack damage songs; if you can play all these songs in cycle and keep them all active, a bard is generally considered to be equal to .5 healer AND 1 DPS for a party.
There are alot of of people who dislike bards simply because the benefit they provide isn't visibly seen by stats on the examine screen. There are also those who have had bad experiences with bards who don't really offer 100% support. But I will say that "good" bards can really make a huge impact; both in dungeons and PvP late game.
It all depends on who you ask really. Some people will scoff at bards, and others swear by them. But I certainly see them as being useful, even late game.