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Rogues - Ultimate DPS, not very solo friendly
Rangers - Fastest leveling class
Bard - A group's best friend
As with all dps classes in Vanguard, they all are quite fragile. But they have some very nice abilities that will help them get out of almost any situation. All three classes can dual wield swords, hammers, axes, daggers.
The rogue class gives you an escape ability that allows you to drop aggro in combat and can sneak and hide yourself away from harm. They are usually the top DPS class in every battle situation. But if you're going for the solo route, they tend to take longer because they have no heal abilities (there's a quest that gives you a mask as a reward that gives you a healing ability later on in the 40's), so you're going to have to kill everything fast and rest after every battle.
The ranger class has alot of buffs that helps you in close range or ranged fighting depending on your style. They get the stealth abilty like rogues as well, but not the escape ability. Rangers have a small heal ability, they have roots and snares that allow them to run away from aggro as well. When it comes to soloing they are the most superior class (outdoors). Kiting is your best friend, get a crafted bow with the AoE snare effect and kite away. They also get pets, can charm animals, and have a speed buff.
The bard class is somewhat similar, they have invis songs, mez songs, speed songs, etc. They are a welcome sight for any group builds because of all the support they can add. More damage, mana regen, speed, crowd control, etc. They solo well too, but they lack the DPS to kill at a fast rate. Out of the three they have the lowest DPS. As mentioned before theres a quest for a mask that gives them an ability to heal, its a rogue/bard only mask.
I personally chose a ranger class and never looked back. Its just so much fun playing a ranger because they have the least amount of downtime when it comes to soloing. I guess you can say the ranger is a balance class mixxed with the rogue and bard abilities. They have the best of what rogues can do, stealthing to get through tough areas and high DPS. Then they have a good buffs thats compareable if not superior than the bards (besides the extra damage boost bards give). If you're engaging in combat rangers can crowd control somewhat with roots and charming animal type mobs and pet can off tank for a short while. When APW first came out, I was able to out dps rogues and monks but not often. I basically soloed level 45 to 50 just kiting roughly 10 to 25 mobs at a time depending on the area and non caster types, something a bard can do but at a much slower pace.
All three classes are fun to play, you can try them all out and come to your own conclusions on what kind of playstyle you would prefer.
Thanks for the replies. I'm not planning on soloing per se, but I will be playing a lot with my girlfriend if you know what I mean haha. We'll probably eventually try to find a guild or something, but I like hopping on and soloing stuff when I don't have a lot of time to play too.
Don't the rogues have some type of lock pick/pick pocket/disarm traps skill? Are they that useful?
Does the ranger speed buff apply to their attack speed?