I don't want you to agree with me. I want you to hear me out for a bit. I avoided posting this on reddit because I usually get downvoted with absolutely no disagreement or explanation as to why I got downvoted.
I'm not complaining about Bard's balance. In terms of power, he is perfectly fine. But I feel like we lost track of what he was *supposed* to be. *His kit screams utility support but his role is damage.* I'll get to that later.
**A bit of Bard history. You can skip this paragraph**
If you have been around since Bard's release, you would have known that Bard was meant to be a roaming utility support. But on release, he was extremely weak while also being difficult to play. This resulted in him being outclassed by supports which not only had more powerful tools, but they were also easier to use. His damage was laughable. His heal was/is useless to make up for it. Nobody plays around Bard E in SoloQ and his ult was the only useful tool in his kit at the time, which people would abandon for a Nami or a Braum ult instead.
Over time, Bard received well rounded buffs everywhere. I would say that in terms of identity (not balance), season 6 was his best. He fulfilled the role of a roaming utility support who has multiple tools to control the game while also having enough damage on the side to give presence in lane.
**Imagine if Mundo was given an AP scaling on his Q and turned into a poke mage without touching the rest of his kit. That's what happened to Bard.**
I think that analogy gives a very close picture. Bard was supposed to be a utility support. Meaning that he *does* deal damage, but that isn't supposed to be his main role. A few seasons back, not landing good stuns and ults consistently as Bard meant that you would lose the game. Because Riot kept buffing his meep damage and refused to touch anything else, effectively turning him into a botlane APC that I don't have fun playing. It drastically decreased his skill floor too. Instead of dominating teams through CC, well executed ults and engages, you now get to rightclick people to death. Using the rest of his kit is so unsatisfying that I stopped lining up Qs to stun and used them as damage instead. I started ulting only when I need to engage on an enemy because why risk losing a teamfight if I can play it safely and rightclick people to death. It's pathetic.
Compare how you feel if Thresh hooks you vs if Bard lands a stun on you.