Bards weirdly seem to have better coverage and more usage in JRPGs.Bards appear to struggle in D&D because they have no obvious role in combat. In non-combat oriented FRPGing I've never had any trouble incorporating characters whose schtick is dealing with people, performing for them (either mundanely or using magic, typically illusions), outwitting and gulling them, etc.
I'm also a fan of a similar class/profession in Guild Wars 1 & 2 called the Mesmer. It was basically a mage focused on mind magic, chaos magic, and counter-magic: e.g., illusionism, enchanting, buffing, fast-casting, psionics, etc. So it was a bit like a bard, illusionist, enchanter, and psion rolled into one.
It's not as if the warlock is even mechanically required to interact with their patron or make lesser pacts along the way.Yes! Even the Hexblade is a pale imitation of what an 'Elric' class would be. I messed around with making a Class for it, but so much of it is spread around a bunch of classes/subclasses at this point.