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Bonding is a Monk supportive role using Life Bond or Life Barrier and other Protection Prayers spells to reduce damage to the party and vital NPCs. The word bonding comes from the build's primary skill, Life Bond. Maintaining all the enchantments, will take most of the bonder's time, but it can still have some utility as well and drastically reduce the damage taken by the party.
Bonding reduces elemental and physical attack damage by maintaining enchantments. Areas featuring enchantment removal or lots of Mesmer/Necro direct damage or life stealing are generally unfavorable for bonding teams.
The term “bonder” can refer to any party member using maintained enchantments on party members, but this guide only covers the use of Protection Prayers.
There are 3 basic skills for the Bonder:
1. Life Bond is cast and maintained on all other party members and redirects half the attack damage of the target to the Bonder instead, and reduces much or all of that redirected damage.
2. Balthazar's Spirit is cast and maintained on the Bonder and provides 1 energy every time the Bonder takes damage. Life Bond redirected damage counts, so the Bonder gets one energy every time any party member takes attack damage.
3. Blessed Signet provides the caster 3 energy for each maintained enchantment. With typically 7 maintained Life Bonds (one for each other party member) and Balthazar's Spirit maintained on the Bonder, Blessed Signet can provide the Bonder 8x3=24 energy. If you want to maintain more than 4 enchantments, you will have to add Mantra of Inscriptions to your skill bar. With high enough levels of Inspiration Magic, this can lead to a net gain of energy instead of just a reduction of loss.
The Bonder casts Balthazar's Spirit on him/herself and Life Bond on each party member, and casts Blessed Signet as often as it recharges. Once set, the bonder's job is to avoid death and keep casting Blessed Signet to maintain the bonds. Balthazar's Spirit should be one of the first four enchantments cast since you want it to be one of the one preserved in case you run out of energy.
In a bonded team the bonder is both the most important character and also the most vulnerable. The bonder should routinely start combat way behind the rest of the party to avoid initial aggro.
When bonds are lost, the Bonder has to consult the maintained enchantment icons to determine who is not bonded, and recast any bonds that were lost. This can be easily seen by counting the number of downwards arrows on your energy bar. For most folks, this is hard to do during combat unless the character announces the fact and retreats toward the bonder.
Its a good idea to have a high energy set for emergencies, because if your energy ever reaches zero, you lose all but the first four enchantments you cast.
Avoid long activation combat Rezes as that puts too much squeeze on the delicate energy-Blessed Signet casting cycle.
Due to Blessed Signet's limitations, maintaining 8 enchantments is comfortable, 9 is difficult, and 10 is just about out of the question.
Adrenaline gained from Blessed Signet is negligable.
Maintained enchantments have radar range, so don’t let the party get too far ahead.
The elite skill Life Barrier can be substituted for Life Bond. If so, Balthazar's Spirit is not needed. Life Barrier doesn’t return any damage back to the bonder, which is good, but also its bad since the Bonder cannot use Balthazar's Spirit to acquire more energy. It ends if the ally takes damage while your health is below 50%. Both enchantments can be used on the same targets (for small parties, or when only a few characters are being bonded) for damage reduction from one half down to a quarter. Life Barrier should always be applied first as this reduces the damage redirected to the bonder.
Heroes can be bonders. Since Heroes will not voluntarily maintain enchantments outside of combat, you must force them to by disabling the enchantment skill via shft-click, then cast it manually for them.
You must choose the 2ndary skills for the Hero bonder carefully. Bonder energy degen combined with hero's willingness to cast away all their energy will often cause zero energy and loss of bonds. If you do not disable all the hero's energy skills figuring to cast them manually, you must avoid quick recharge spammable skills. Long activation skills such as Rezes should be avoided as the Hero will often run down all energy instead of aborting and casting Blessed Signet. A single short cast/long recharge spell is acceptable. Generally, equip the Hero with signets and accept the fact that the Hero will provide little additional support for the party, other than bonding.
Since Hero bonders have little skill support, its generally best to post them well outside of combat and let them maintain bonds outside of danger. Martyr is a good out-of-range skill for a Hero bonder.