Archive for January, 2012

Lore-mastery: Update 5 instances guide – Pits of Isengard


I was tossing up whether to do a Riders of Rohan wishlist post this week or continue with the update 5 instance guides, but I figure that the longer I take on these guides the less relevant they become so into the Pits of Isengard it is…

Pits of Isengard

Diseases/wounds? First boss has a DoT wound that’s worth removing
Stuns? No
CC required? No
Can a lore-master heal? I’m going to say no. Yes, it’s theoretically possible (there’s someone on the forum who’s done it), but for all practical intents and purposes the first boss is not a fight that a LM can heal without an exceptional group.
Trait setup: 5 Red, 2 blue. This is an instance which requires (at T2) a full tank and a full healer, so your DPS really matters here especially given the fairly tight dps requirements on the first boss.
Recommended pet: Bear or raven. In general, I think bear is more useful on Zaburz and Fushbraf, and raven on Ironam.

Strategy: On T2 this is a three boss instance with the most extensive trash pulls of any of the Isengard 3-person instances. This is also the hardest (and imo most fun) of the three, with some fun boss fights, tricky trash pulls to work out and a chance for us to really shine in our DPS role.

First boss – Zaburz

The opening area involves you navigating around mobs while pulling four levers. You have to kill some of the trash, and there’s a fun little prisoner mechanic where if you kill the guards the prisoners will follow and “help” you (randomly aggro a bunch of mobs you didn’t want to wake up) and then you make your way to the other side of the room to the first boss. The first thing you need to work out with this boss is positioning, which is relatively simple. He’s standing on a railroad track which leads down the middle of the room. Run to the wall at the far end of that track and have the entire group stay there for the whole fight, with your backs to the wall. The boss can yank you and if you’re not standing there you’re at risk of falling down some insta-death pits.

The boss, an orc named Zaburz, is your standard tank and spank with adds, but there’s quite a lot of adds (3 each wave, 10k morale each) and they come regularly enough that you need to be on your A-game to kill them all in time, especially if your tank isn’t contributing much damage. I’m pretty sure these adds are time based not morale-based too, but that’s not toally clear. Luckily lore-master burst AOE DPS is perfectly suited for these waves – keep tar down regularly and then try to setup a good ents/sticky-gourd/cracked earth/lightning storm combo (whichever you have off cooldown) when the adds are grouped up. This is likely to give your tank fits keeping up with the aggro, but you really have to hit them as hard and as quickly as possible so just warn them before the fight and also keep your bear taunt ready if you’re in trouble. Also, it’s definitely possible to root 2 or even all 3 of them at range to let you whittle them down before they come in close, but this of course will give you a big threat lead over your tank so make sure you can kill anything you engage at range before it gets in close. Be prepared to use your WoTC heal and even racial panic button if you pull a bunch of adds, because you will die very quickly. There’s also some wound removal and spot healing to worry about in this fight, so you’ll certainly be kept busy.

After this boss, you have the choice of going left, to the poison wing and the troll boss Ironarm, or right into the fire wing and the fire boss Fushbraf. It’s up to you which way you go; the fire boss is substantially easier but it has much harder trash (the hardest trash of any 3-person instance in the game imo), so there overall isn’t much difficulty difference between the two wings.

Poison wing – Ironarm

The trash in the poison wing isn’t much to worry about, but it does teach you one of the boss mechanics which is that if the trolls are allowed to stand in the poison puddles then they will spawn exploding limrafns. Tell your tank to watch out for this :). The T2 challenge condition also involves you tiering up the wing’s poison debuff to 4, which happens by killing the right kind of mob – just keep pulling and killing stuff until you hit tier 4 (this is the same in the fire wing).

The boss fight is more of an endurance fight than anything, it’s relatively easy provided the tank keeps the boss moving around out of the puddles. It’s almost inevitable that some limrafns will get spawned though, so I highly, highly recommend that you stay at range in this fight. Yes, it will cripple your DPS (taking into account the necessary movement too to keep LOS, I do about 400 which is pathetic), but it’s a vastly safer way of doing the fight because the limrafn explosions will very quickly take you out. If one does spawn, try to hit a root on it ASAP because it will probably run straight towards your healer and then kill it as quickly as possible (appx 700 morale, so one skill should do it). As long as everyone stays alive, this is a relatively easy but long fight.

Fire wing – Fushbraf

As I said before, the trash in the fire wing is hard, brutally so the first time you go in. But it is certainly possible to figure it out and I really quite like it in the end. The biggest problem is that you’re fighting around a lot of insta-death lava and the fire orcs like to do massive yanks and throw you into that lava. So positioning is obviously important. For the first pull, run across two bridges so you end up to the left of the mobs in a relatively safe spot. Pull from a distance and stay as much as you can with your backs to the wall in the alcove (ie run back when you get pulled). Have the whole group bunch up, because if everyone keeps the orcs in melee range then they won’t yank you (the yank does like 1500 damage too, it’s really not fun). The problem then is that the orcs put up a fire ring which does quite heavy AOE damage. So let the mobs come in close, and hit them with as much DPS as you possibly can while your tank frantically tries to keep threat and your healer desperately keeps the group alive – that’s pretty much what you want in a fight isn’t it? :) The pull just before the door to the boss room can be pretty brutal. Root the group in place to start and have everyone run up to the door as quickly as possible. Tell your healer to blow all the cooldowns that they can becuase they’ll probably need it. Once you’ve tiered the fire debuff up to 4 then head on into the boss room.

The final boss, Fushbraf, is stupidly easy. If you’re doing this with a full healer and tank, his mechanic (which is a 4-pronged fire earthquake thingy) can be completely ignored. All you need to do is stand in the middle of the room and do damage. Which is actually quite fun – the rest of this instance is pretty challenging, it’s nice to just be able to sit there and hit a target dummy for a few minutes! And speaking of target dummies, this boss is the best place in the game at the moment to benchmark your DPS. Unless they’ve fixed it recently, the training dummies in Galtrev are completely broken and useless for measuring DPS becuase they boot you out of combat every few seconds, wiping all DoTs. Given that an enormous proportion of LM damage is from DoTs that’s a big problem. This couple of hundred k morale troll though gives you a perfect measuring stick. It will take you about 3mins to kill him, and it’s a pure single target fight, so it’s a very good way to measure your DPS. Personally, I’m able to get just over 900dps as measure by CombatAnalysis, which translates to a bit over 1000dps because CA doesn’t measure the sticky gourd DoT (which hits for ~400 damage every 4 seconds). I’m not fully geared out, I’m sure it’s possible to squeeze another couple of hundred out of the class, but I think that’s a good general benchmark for lore-master sustained single target DPS using a second age L75 staff (tactical mastery was about 27k, with around 5.5k crit rating). Note that this was in a group with a guardian tank and RK healer, so I had no external buffs or mob debuffs of any kind (I hit over 1100 with a captain another time!).

Also, you can once again see the importance of melee to lore-master sustained DPS in the screenshot below. Autoattacks were my second biggest source of damage, accounting for almost 30% of total damage! Throw in staff strike and staff sweep on top of that and melee attacks accounted for over half of the damage I did in that fight. As I’ve said before, if you want to do damage as a lore-master be sure to stand in melee range.

Hope that’s of some help to people, I’ll move onto the pits next week and then the Tower of Orthanc raid some time after that.


Warden Update 6 Dev Post #2


Orion has the second part of his Warden updates posted and this walks through the Shield and Spear line gambits.  If you missed Post #1, head over here :)  As a follow-up to that post, Orion also responds to some of the comments on the forums as well:

  • Clarification on buff Tiering
    • Essentially higher tier buffs have shorter duration, but bigger magnitudes.  But, if lower tier is active that duration is used instead.
  • BPE bonuses for builders are partials
  • Sadly War-cry is just a normal HoT, not an AoE HoT
  • Fist gambits will also be ranged, but AoE gambits will still be close proximity
  • Way of the Warden isn’t a stance, but a stance buff – see below :)

Here’s the gist of Post #2 from Orion:

Gambit Always Determination Assailment Recklessness
Defensive Strike Low Weapon + Potency Increased Block Rating Threat Reduction Increase Physical Mastery
Impressive Flourish Low damage + low DoT Low HoT + crit defense + armor +1% Ranged Damage Minor Light DoT
Persevere Low Weapon HoT + Block & Partial Block Minor Lifetap Minor DoT
Maddening Strike Main-hand Damage Small Threat Transfer + crit defense + armor +2% Ranged Damage (stacks to 3%) Low Light DoT
Safeguard Low Common Damage HoT + Block & Partial Block Threat Reduction + Lifetap DoT
Shield Up ?? :) +BPE for 30s Fellowship Agro Dump Reflective Damage Shield +% slow
Deflection Decreased Threat
Celebration of Skill Main-hand Damage HoT + Block & Partial Block +3% Ranged Damage (stacks to 4%) DoT
Dance of War Increased Evade Moderate Threat Transfer + crit defense + armor Threat Reduction Lifetap
Shield Tactics +Tactical Mitigation + Stun Immunity On Crit, Daze for 3 seconds
Shield Mastery ?? :) +BPE for 60s Large Fellowship Agro Dump Reflective Damage Shield +% slow
Restoration Main-hand damage + HoT
Conviction AoE Heal AoE Threat Transfer, AOE HoT Nearly Negates Fellowship Threat for 10 seconds 10s +Physical Mastery Buff

I really like what’s going on with the shield line, especially with all the buffs and threat mechanics going on.  I also like the continued way he’s incorporating stacking of tiers as you go along.  It is really looking like the Assailment stance will be quite handy for group mechanics and will allow the Warden to do some fun Agro tricks :)

Continuing on with the Spear line, remember these turn into Ranged attacks if you’re in the Assailment stance.

Gambit Always Determination Assailment Recklessness
Deft Strike Low Main-hand + Potency
Offensive Strike 2 Minor Main-hand Increased Threat DoT (Assuming) Nominal Pulsing Lifetap
The Boot Low Main-hand + Interrupt 25% Daze 25% Root DoT
Power Attack Good Main-hand + Harder to Block Applies Low DoT
Combination Attack 2 low Main-hand DoT (stacks with Offensive)
Onslaught 3 low Main-hand + Interrupt
Mighty Blow Good Main-hand + DoT + Difficult to Parry DoT (stacks with Power Attack DoT)
Wall of Steel 3 Main-hand + Interrupt +Parry Reflective Damage Shield Reflective Shield + chance restore 2% power on hit
Boar’s Rush Main-hand Chance to Daze DoT (Stacks with Combination) KD chance and Refresh Crit Strike
Adroit Maneuver Main-hand + 20% Attack Speed Buff
Unerring Strike Good Main-hand HoT DoT DoT (stacks with Mighty Blow DoT)
Warden’s Triumph Great Main-hand + 10% damage
Dark Before Dawn 2 Good Main-hand + power + PoT

It appears as though the DbD morale requirement might be gone, if so that would be HUGE for Wardens, although I’m expecting the power return to be significantly lower.  Overall this line doesn’t seem too different with just some nice additions.  Of course, being able to do this stuff from range will be quite interesting, that’s for sure!

Finally, Orion does touch on two of our Legendary skills and probably the two most controversial ones:

  • Defiant Challenge
    • 5s Forced Attack
    • 40% Mitigation Buff for 15s
    • Reflective Damage Shield for 30s
    • 3 minute 30 second cooldown
  • Way of the Warden
    • Enhances stances with bonuses for 180 seconds
    • 600 seconds (10 minute) cooldown.

Orion Outlines Update 6 Warden Changes


Orion’s starting to open up a bit more as he gives us some pretty hard details about what’s coming for the Warden class with Update 6.  While these are posted on his my.LOTRO blog, they’re still subject to change based on feedback.  Also, keep in mind this post is titled “Blog #1” so there will be more coming.

First up, he describes how Battle Preparations will work which sounds pretty slick.  Essentially, using the skill will turn builders and masteries no longer require a target and as such can be used outside of combat.  This will allow you to build and store a gambit pre-fight for up to 30 seconds.  I’m a little curious to see if there will be a cool-down for this skill.

He then tackles the stances, which I think are the meat of the change for the class:

  • Determination becomes THE tanking stance
    • Bonuses to both regeneration rates, crit chance reduction, as well as increased BPE
    • Gambits are all tweaked to focus on tanking
  • Assailment becomes the ranged DPS stance.
    • Reduces BPE, increased iCPR, increases ranged damage
    • Spear Gambits become ranged attacks!
    • Gambits tweaked to focus on ranged damage
  • Recklessness remains the melee DPS stance
    • Increases melee damage and iCPR, reduces BPE, lowers attack duration
    • Gambits tweaks to focus on melee damage

Orion then walks through how the builders will change based on the stance you’re in.  The ideas of the builders are still the same but there are different tweaks and bonuses available as you switch stances.

Base/Determination Assailment Recklessness
“Spear” melee damage, +2% BPE, 5% reduce miss 30m range damage, +2% ranged, 5% 10s bleed melee damage, +2% melee damage, 5% increase warden DoTs
“Fist” short range light DoT, +2% BPE, 5% slight taunt 30m light DoT, +2% ranged damage, 5% increased ranged crit melee DoT, +2% melee damage, 5% chance reduce cry resist
“Shield” melee damage, +2% BPE, 5% 15s block increase 30m range damage, +2% ranged damage, 5% chance lower threat main-hand damage, +2% melee damage, 5% chance increase lifetaps

Overall some really interesting stuff here but the main ideas remain the same.  Determination/no stance pretty much stays the same while the others stay similar but reflect their appropriate role.  I also really like all the buffs in there!

In this first post, he just focuses on the Fist line gambits:

Gambit Always Determination Assailment Recklessness
Goad AoE DoT, Potency SI Threat SD Threat
Precise Blow Low Damage Threat + ToT +1% ranged damage fellowship buff on crit, applies DoT
War-cry AoE DoT AoE HoT + evade buff +1% tactical damage fellowship buff on crit, lifetap
Brink Victory AoE Light DoT SI Threat + evade buff +1% tactical damage fellowship buff (stacks to 2%) on crit, lifetap
Fierce Resolve AoE Lifetap
Piercing Strike MH Damage + Light damage Threat Increase +1% ranged damage fellowship buff (stacks to 2%) on crit, applies DoT
Resolution AoE lifetap
Surety of Death MH damage + DoT Bonus Threat + evade buff +2% tactical damage fellowship buff (stacks to 3%) on crit, lifetap
Spear of Virtue MH Damage + Light damage Increased Threat +2% ranged damage fellowship buff (stacks to 3%) on crit, applies DoT
Aggression Low Damage AoE Threat +3% tactical damage fellowship buff (stacks to 4%) on crit, pulsing lifetap
Desolation AoE DoT w/Fear chance
Exultation of Battle AoE Pulsing Lifetap Increased Threat, ToT +3% ranged damage fellowship buff (stacks to 4%) on crit, applies DoT

When you actually break this all out, it really isn’t as intimidating as I had feared.  The gambits are more or less staying with what they currently do, but can apply a secondary stance dependent buff:

  • Determination –> Threat or Evade
  • Assailment –> party damage buffs
  • Recklessness –> more DoTs or lifetaps

The nice part for me about the Assailment line is it looks like it might also fulfill a side-roll of fellowship damage booster.  Depending on the range of the buffs, I could see this as being potentially VERY helpful in group settings and allowing Wardens to find group roles other then just tanking.

So far, I’m loving the concepts Orion has laid out and I can’t wait to see the other two gambit lines as well as what’s in store for our traits!


Turbine talks 2012 Plans for LOTRO


Right on the heels of the Riders of Rohan Expansion announcement, Massively released an article with comments from Kate Paiz and Adam Mersky talking about the upcoming year.

The article starts off with a bit of a look back at 2011 and I think it is fair to say the whole EU transition took up way more time and resources then Turbine expected.  Is this to blame for the “down” year for content?  Who knows, but certainly it loomed large for them.

2012 is another milestone year for Turbine as it will mark the 5th anniversary of the game (Holy cow has it been that long?).  There will be another event and even though they’ve acknowledged that last year’s wasn’t well received it doesn’t sound like there will be major changes for this year, just some tweaks to it.

Teased in the interview is talk of the next region coming with Update 6, The Big River named for the River Anduin.  This should be another fun area to go explore as there isn’t a whole lot written about it but we know there’s quite a bit going on there.  Also coming with Update 6 are changes for the Instance Finder:

  • Ability to run specific Instances
  • Instance Finder will replace World Join
  • Reflecting Pool will roll into the Instance Finder
  • not to mention the much anticipated Warden changes :)

A few things teased that will be coming “soon” are:

  • skirmish soldiers out in the landscape as companions
  • new festival for the summer
  • smaller more frequent game updates!

The couple teasers for Rohan are:

  • We’re only covering the Eastern part, which explains why no Helm’s Deep
  • Don’t fret, land-mass wise this will be twice as big as Moria!
  • Mounted combat will be confined to that zone (I’m on a roll with predictions so far)

This is exactly the kind of Producers letter I was hoping for towards the end of last year, so I’m glad they finally pushed it out the door.  Things are looking up for LOTRO that’s for sure, can’t wait to get moving on some of this stuff!


Next LOTRO Expansion – Riders of Rohan



Today Turbine came out with another big announcement – the next expansion will happen in Fall of 2012 with the introduction of the Riders of Rohan!

Coming with the expansion are:

  • Increased level cap
    • new skills and deeds on to Level 85
  • Mounted Combat
  • Iconic locations like Amon Hen and Fangorn Forest!

Holy cow, I really didn’t expect this announcement this early but I have to say I quite expected it.  Although I was wrong on the whole level cap thing, I did nail Rohan, the timing, and mounted combat in my last podcast episode :)  The only downside is that I see no mention of Helm’s Deep :( so I’m not sure if we’ll see that battle yet or if we’ll have to wait.

What do you all think?

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