Choosing your race in Middle-earth: Dwarf and Hobbit

Here is the second half of our Lord of the Rings Online guide to races, which covers some tips and tricks to help players starting out in Middle-earth and those who've been wandering its lands as well. As we said with the first half of our guide, its purpose isn't to say which race is the best pick for which class --but to just give some insight. So without further delay, lets get to everyone's favorite cranky, stout race -- Dwarves!
Dwarf


Stout, determined, strength and a commitment for anything found underground -- these are the things which Dwarves are known for and rightly so. Another somewhat secretive race, as they enjoy living within fortresses constructed below great mountains. Dwarves are master miners and forgers of stone and metal alike -- able to create items of incalculable strength and beauty alike. Proud and unflinching in the face of danger, these Dwarves fight alongside the Free Peoples of Middle-earth; however an ancient mistrust between them and the Elves still exists.

Passive skills for Dwarves:
  • Lost Dwarf-Kingdoms - reduced Fate (-8)
  • Stocky - reduced Agility (-8)
  • Sturdiness - increased Might (+15) and Vitality (+10), improved common damage mitigation (+1.0%)
  • Unwearying in Battle - increased Morale and Power regeneration (+0.5 each) in combat, reduced out of combat (-1 morale, -0.5 power)

Playable Classes for Dwarves: Champion, Guardian, Hunter, Minstrel

Dwarves all call various mountainous lands their home. As a starting Dwarf you can choose from one of these five high places: Blue Mountains, Lonely Mountain, Grey Mountain, Iron Hills and White Mountains. As with any of the other races, these only affect your given starting title -- nothing more. Keeping to the lore of Lord of the Rings, players are only able to choose the male Dwarf since females are far less common. The starting areas for Dwarves are Silver Deep Mine and Ered Luin, the latter is shared with the Elves. This mountainous (surprise!) area is what you would generally expect for a Dwarven race. Lots of cave crawlers and such inhabit the area along with plenty of questing to be had like any other starting zone. Although you have to share the area with the sometimes-snooty Elves, it's good to know that there are other free peoples with which you can complete harder tasks.

Analysis
As far as deciding which class to go for as a Dwarf character, Guardian is a superb choice. Not only because of their Sturdiness and Unwearying in Battle passive skills, but also because their final racial trait gives Dwarves a +2% to their shield block chance. These two abilities give any Dwarf an edge in shielding their fellowship members from damage.

Don't feel like you have to be a Guardian if you choose to play as a Dwarf, because they also get a racial traits that Champion classes can make good use of -- such as a head-butt attack and improved damage with all axes.

Some may even find the humor in a stout, Dwarven Minstrel that bandies about healing his allies with a deep, throaty voice. The Hunter class is still plenty viable and while there may not be any outstanding Dwarven traits for these trackers of the wild -- you can still perform quite aptly as a Dwarf.
Hobbit

Hobbits are simple folk, who have gone largely -- and happily -- unnoticed throughout the history of Middle-earth. Carving homes into the sides of green sloping hills, these are a people who know how to kick back and enjoy the waning afternoon over a few meals. Known as "Halflings" because of their overall size when compared to a man -- they couldn't be more improperly nick-named. While they may revel in simple things such as farming, gift-giving and eating -- Hobbits are capable of great things indeed.

Nimble, clever and far more sturdy than their build suggests, Hobbits are not to be underestimated. Their greatest strength comes from their kind and giving spirit, which enables them a sort of tough nature that surprises many of the free peoples.

Passive skills for Hobbits:
  • Hobbit Courage - Improved Fear Resistance (+1.0%)
  • Hobbit Toughness - Improved Vitality (+15)
  • Rapid Recovery - Improved out of combat Morale Regeneration (+1.0)
  • Resist Corruption - Improved Shadow Mitigation (+1.0%)
  • Small Size - Reduced Might (-8)
Playable Classes for Hobbits: Burglar, Guardian, Hunter, Minstrel

As a Hobbit, you will be able to call one of these lineages your own: The Stoors, the Fallohides and the Harfoots. Just as with any of the other racial titles, these only give you just that -- a title after your character name. The starting area for Hobbits is all over the place, literally. You'll start out in Green Hill Country, where directly after arrival (and a particular scary scuff with a Black Rider) you'll find yourself off to the tiny town of Archet. After helping deal with the problems (re: Bandits) there, your final location will be Little Delving.

Analysis

Small and stealthy, Hobbits make good Burglars -- but that's probably quite obvious because of their size. Looking at their traits reveals that, beyond a Hobbits' natural stealth, they know how to play dead too -- which could come in handy if you're the healer and need to keep alive during a Fellowship wipe. When looking at the race from a melee combat stance, it's easy to assume a Hobbit couldn't do much physically -- but you'd be wrong for assuming such a thing. At level 13 Hobbit players can earn an extra 20 might simply by defeating spiders, which gives them a nice boost to their thwacking ability.

Their size being misleading is only half of their beneficial racial abilities, at later levels a Hobbit can give a Hope buff to other players in their Fellowship -- which doesn't stack. So in conclusion, the Burglar is a fine choice for a Hobbit player, but so is a Minstrel considering their self-preservation abilities. Even a Guardian would be a good choice for Hobbits, given their increased Vitality. The Hunter class can also benefit from the natural stealth and feign-death abilities. So don't feel like you've got to absolutely become a Burglar or Minstrel as a Hobbit as they can tear it up with the best of them.

This article was originally published on Massively.