Another one of those Minstrel versus Rune-keeper threads showed up in the forums recently. I saw several responses that echoed this notion that rune-keeper DPS was superior and Minstrels only had moderate DPS output. My recent experience with running up new characters on Laurelin doesn’t match that “common wisdom”.
It may be different at end-game, but the burst damage a minstrel can do–and now sustain–seems to eclipse a rune-keeper’s DPS in the middle levels. I just ran a minstrel and a rune-keeper through getting their legendary pages: Both started at 39. Both ended at 41. I could clear the Bitter Stair or Skathmur with the minstrel much faster than the rune-keeper.
Part of this comes from a fundamental difference in the classes: Healing and damage are front-loaded bursts for minstrels where rune-keepers are end-loaded over time. Moving through the areas, my rune-keeper required more positioning and preparation like dropping my rune of restoration and building up over-time heals before and in the beginning of combat; the minstrel just ran from mob to mob blasting them and self-healing only when needed. Mobs didn’t last long enough for over-time DPS or critical/devastating hits to result in faster kills for the rune-keeper.
This isn’t really new; the Minstrel’s makeover in Update 6 was amazing, and it’s been a struggle deciding to keep the rune-keeper as my main because the minstrel is so fun. What is new is power management. Before the power revamp, I would have to moderate my skills use and use Anthem of Composure for power regeneration rather than Anthem of the Free Peoples for morale regeneration–the latter being critical when tackling that four-mob cluster of orcs and Angmarim in Skathmur. This time around, I could spam codas and never run out of power.
In long fights, the rune-keeper may do more DPS over time, but in short fights the minstrel’s consistent burst damage and lack of power issues will blow through landscape content faster, at least at the middle levels.