I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of the lore-master dev diary so I can see what direction the class is going to be taking in RoR. All of the class changes announced to date have very much been in the vein of “incremental improvements”, with a slightly improved version of a skill here and a quality of life clean up there. Certainly nothing on the scale of the RoI Minstrel or Champion overhaul, in fact most classes haven’t even had their traits touched at all. There’s also been no new fundamental change to the trait system announced – no 6th class trait for example, or new legendary trait.

Well, the lore-master diary is now up and I’m pleased to say that the changes go a bit beyond most of the other classes. As far as I can tell, we’re the only class that’s actually getting a new skill (technically two, though one’s basically an optional alternative version of an existing skill). I’m not going to re-iterate all of the changes here because if you’re reading this column you should really just go and read the (short) dev diary yourself. Go on, I’ll wait.

Ok we back? Good :). Here’s my thoughts on the changes.

The good

First up is a change that many lore-masters have been asking for ever since RoI did away with a lot of the genus restrictions on cc skills. Yes, bane flare will now hit any type of mob. This is a straight up buff, and a big one. Anyone who has used ents go to war as a crowd control/damage reduction skill can appreciate the power of even a short duration AOE stun on with a long cooldown. Bane flare is a longer duration, shorter cooldown combo stun/daze which can be chain-cast with Call to the Valar and hit up to 10 targets with the 2 yellow line trait bonus and book legacy. The induction on the skill can make it tricky to use correctly, but if you do it right then you’ll be able to do a lot of good things with this skill.

The second good change is a brand new skill – water lore. This is a heal skill that gives a “medium” sized HoT and a 5% healing buff on the recipient that is stackable up to 3 times. Obviously there’s a lot of details we need to know about this skill before we can evaluate it, but it has the potential to get pretty powerful especially if the HoT is decently sized. We’ll have to reserve judgement on this until we see it in action, but it has the potential to give lore-masters a much more solid healing potential in smaller group content and to give us a powerful tank-buffing role in raid content.

Finally, there’s a few good quality of life improvements – pet level increasing to the player’s level (hopefully they remember to scale their damage too this time), WoTC heal moving up front and changing to a flat 50% of morale and the “excessive delay” after casting back from the brink and our melee attacks has been removed. The latter has the potential to significantly increase our DPS which is interesting.

The bland

I’m a lot less excited by our other two “new” skills. Improved power of knowledge is a bug fix disguised as a new skill. For whatever reason the amount of power gained from power of knowledge stopped scaling at level 65, which meant that a skill which used to almost fill up our power pool at 65 became about a 30-50% fill at 75. Well the good news is that they’ve made the skill fill up our power pool again. The bad news is that they’re calling this one of our three new skills.

Share the power – fellowship is an answer to a problem no one was having. With the big boost to fellowship wide power regen that captains got with RoI, and a number of class changes which meant that power management was much less of an issue at 75 than at 65, it’s a very, very rare fight that more than one or two people need any significant amount of power sharing. Sure, you can get in a lazy group where the DPS players are using inefficient rotations, and people can be undergeared, and some people are selfish and don’t like using power potions, but in a reasonably competent group you won’t find yourself needing to top up multiple people’s power outside of obscure raid mechanics like the Lieutenant of Dol Gudur. Yes, it’s possible that there’s some new group content that does have some raid mechanics like that – in which case this skill will be niche but welcome – and it’s also possible that they break something with class scaling that makes power regen much more of an issue at 85, but based on current group dynamics, this skill is pretty worthless.

Finally, I’m also not really getting excited about the change to our legendary sword and staff trait. First of all, sword and staff should still be mandatory for soloing lore-masters. The survivability and big DPS boosts are extremely valuable to a soloing lore-master. And in group content, we just don’t have many good legendary trait options. We will almost always want ents go to war, just for the stun option, and will usually have a capstone. But Noble Savage just isn’t an interesting trait to use, especially in group situations where the pet does a pitiful amount of actual damage. And having the possibility of using the eagle pet is kind of nice, but I can’t think of many group situations where I wouldn’t prefer to have either the raven, bear or spirit pets. Anyway, this is a straight up buff and kind of nice, but it’s just not very exciting.

The bad

And then you get to the bottom of the developer diary and realise that that’s all. I’ve long maintained the position that the class is in a good place, and I still believe that, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues with the that should be addressed, and an expansion is the ideal time to do so. These are issues which were raised by many people in the class feedback thread and which have been completely ignored. The biggest outstanding issues to me are:

  • The mess that is the blue traitline, including the capstone legendary (bog-guardian pet). As I discussed here, this was the #1 issue raised by lore-masters in the feedback thread. The traitline is confused and in desperate need of an overhaul, but hasn’t been touched at all.
  • No interrupt skill. We are the only class without a true interrupt skill and it’s a big gap in the class’ toolbox.
  • Many of our legendaries are worthless, more than any other class that I know of.
  • Multiple lore-master’s don’t stack well in a group. Something like ancient craft stacking would have been great.

It would have been really nice to see some of these issues addressed, particularly the blue trait line, but I guess that goes beyond the “tweaking” mandate that the relevant devs seem to have been given with the class changes in RoR.

Anyway, I’m interested to hear anyone else’s thoughts on the changes, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about the water lore skill.