In some MMORPGs, picking a class to suit your taste and playstyle is as uncomplicated as buying your favorite beverage. Do you want something fizzy? Then get a soft drink. Something to make you think you're way more witty than you actually are? Beer will do. Something to fill your bladder in under 0.2 minutes? Ice tea, baby. So it is in many MMOs, where players find that game's version of their favorite class and hit the "play" button without thinking. It's a sad commentary on the tired and bland class design that's come from the Holy Trinity of game design, but that's a discussion for another day (or column).
Instead, I want to devote today's Road to Mordor to sorting out the nine playable classes of LotRO, because they are very often not what you'd expect from MMORPG class stereotypes. I've met a lot of players who end up playing -- and falling in love with -- a class that they would never touch in another game, due to that unique Turbine Twist™ that's put into each class. So whether you're rolling your very first character in LotRO or thinking about taking a walk in another class' shoes, hit the jump for a handy guide to these nine classes.
- What you might expect: A dual-wielding, high-DPS rogue with stealth capability...
- The Turbine Twist™: ...who also is a wiz at crowd control and at starting Fellowship Maneuvers at will.
- Signature Ability: Hide in Plain Sight, which lets you drop all aggro, vanish into stealth even in combat, and regain control of the situation. Or, y'know, just avoid dying.
- Fellowship Role: Burglars may be one of the least-played classes in LotRO, but they are always welcome into groups. They do decent damage, are able to lay down a bit of CC to manage multiple mobs easier, and can trigger FMs when the group needs them the most.
- What you might expect: A typical paladin, with heavy armor and healing abilities...
- The Turbine Twist™: ...who has a pet and absolutely incredible buffs.
- Signature Ability: Last Stand, which makes you undefeatable for a short period of time. Couple that with In Harm's Way, and suddenly you're absorbing half of everyone's damage -- without it killing you.
- Fellowship Role: As buffing hybrids, Captains are extremely group-friendly and can fill the role of a DPS, tank or healer depending on one's build. As with most hybrid classes, Captains give up being the best at anything for a well-rounded balance of abilities.
- What you might expect: A heavy weapons, heavy armor DPS warrior...
- The Turbine Twist™: ...who is terrific at AOE damage and has the ability to fill in as a tank.
- Signature Ability: Relentless Strike, a whopper of an attack that not only does big damage, but can't be blocked or parried.
- Fellowship Role: Damage. Damage, damage, damage and more damage. Occasionally, a Champion might step in as an off-tank, but DPS is where his strengths lay.
- What you might expect: A solid, heavily-protected tank...
- The Turbine Twist™: ...who uses a lot of reactive abilities and shield strikes.
- Signature Ability: Protection, which gives a nice defensive buff to another member of your party while enabling you to react to attacks against them.
- Fellowship Role: Guardians are almost as typical a tank class as they come, so expect to be up front and center in all of the fights. They also have the ability to start Fellowship Maneuvers, which is a welcome ability for a tank to have.
- What you might expect: A bow-wielding ranged class...
- The Turbine Twist™: ...who can melee a bit, lay down traps and has excellent travel abilities.
- Signature Ability: Find the Path, a nice 15% speed boost to both the Hunter and her entire fellowship.
- Fellowship Role: Massive gobs of damage, which is always welcome as long as you don't grab aggro and quickly die thereafter. Think of Hunters as LotRO's mage class, weird as that may sound -- a glass cannon.
- What you might expect: A mage...
- The Turbine Twist™: ...who isn't a mage at all, but a conglomeration of a pet class, a debuff class, a crowd control class and a healer/buffer all in one.
- Signature Ability: Share the Power, which transfers power from you to an ally. Need more power yourself? The suck some from enemies with Power of Knowledge.
- Fellowship Role: Lore-masters excel in groups by juggling multiple roles -- using their pets, recharging healers' power, mezzing mobs and throwing down some damage while they're at it.
- What you might expect: A healer wrapped in a weak, granny-like shell...
- The Turbine Twist™: ...who uses music to heal -- and lay enemies to waste.
- Signature Ability: War-speech, which throws you into a lesser healing mode while making your Piercing Cry a truly awesome offensive weapon, as well as unlocks other offensive abilities.
- Fellowship Role: Healing and buffing -- what, did you think you'd find a magical PUG where they'd want a healer to do damage instead? Ha!
- What you might expect: A controversial break in Tolkien's lore...
- The Turbine Twist™: ...who can do terrific damage and healing, depending on the situation.
- Signature Ability: Essay of Exultation, a two-in-one package that protects the Fellowship while healing them at the same time.
- Fellowship Role: Like Minstrels, Rune-keepers can fill both DPS and healing roles in groups, but more often than not will be called upon to heal first and foremost.
- What you might expect: A tank that relies more on agility than armor for defense...
- The Turbine Twist™: ...who uses a flexible combo system to do ranged damage, DPS, tank and heal.
- Signature Ability: Wall of Steel, which interrupts enemy abilities, causes you to attack three times in a row, and boosts your parry rating. Schwing!
- Fellowship Role: Typically, a Warden will tank, although they're perfectly capable of being an off-tank or a straight DPS fighter if needed.
Tavern Talk: LotRO Community Discussion and Links
- mmorsel LOTRO delivers an excellent guide to snagging your legendary traits
- Harperelle takes us through a recent Ales & Tales night
- Mordor or Bust is going to get rich through the lottery, he just knows it
- Threadless is selling hilarious subway/LotR-themed shirts
- Colred on the official forums snarks on each of the nine classes