Posts tagged healing

Lore-mastery: Soloing old content for fun and profit pt 2


As I outlined in my first post, the lore-master is a pretty strong soloing class and I find soloing old group content to be a fun end game activity. It certainly requires you to use a much bigger part of your skill toolbox than any other end game activity – facerolling sticky gourd and ents through raid skirmishes over and over again is getting pretty old imo! I go into general strategy and preparation in that post, but the general idea is to trait 5 blue and use your bog guardian pet as a tank, using improved flanking and beacon of hope to heal it and inner flame to transfer threat when needed. The only update I’d add to that is that I really recommend a buffing book with signs of the wild rage and protection on it, to get your pet +10% threat generation and +5% morale. With the master of beasts trait, the signs of wild last for 20min so you don’t need to swap over very often to get the full effect of these buffs.

Urugath (final bosses, through Lhugrien)

Time: Appx 1hr

Rewards: This is a pretty efficient way to collect a lot of class quest items. You avoid most of the time consuming trash and end up with Badge of Command, Emblem of Ritual, Flawless Scale of Lhugrien, Sigil of War and Teeth of the Gorthrog.

Difficulty: Most are easy, but Lagmas is a bit of a challenge.

Strategy: If you’re looking to do a fun run through Urugath, I highly recommend this route. It involves going across the wooden bridge instead of into the troll den (you can take a quick detour left to kill Sorkrank and Burzfil if you want an Insignia of Battle), heading over to Akrur then over the bridge to the north to Lhugrien’s den. The drakes leading up to Lhugrien won’t pose much challenge if you make sure to only spawn one at a time. Lhugrien itself isn’t a particularly tough fight, I tanked it myself quite easily and just burned it down quickly – make sure to have a hope token handy though. After that, head through the underground passage (need to have the steel key from Gruglok) and make your way through the trash there. On the ohter side, you’ll end up pulling three bosses at once at the entrance to the castle – Morthrang and his two trolls, Brizrip and Thordragh. I was a little bit worried about this fight but it was actually fairly easy. First of all, the trolls aren’t immune to CC so if you could be bothered, you can cc one. I didn’t bother – I just had the bog guardian tank both of them at once (cycling hits between them to keep threat over my healing) and then I tanked and spanked Morthrang. The incoming damage was easily able to be offset by flank heals. After that, head out of the castle to kill Gruglok, which is a pretty easy fight all up – adds come out two or three at a time. CC one, let your pet pick up the other and burn. Again, make sure to have a hope token handy for the dread though.

Finally Lagmas, which was a genuine challenge on my first time in. He’s only got 44k morale, but the challenging part of the fight is that he periodically summons 9k morale crebain in groups of 2. On my first couple of attempts, I tried just burning him down and ignoring the birds, but that wasn’t possible because they quickly stack up and overwhelm what cc I would throw at them, and then start pecking away and interrupting inductions. So the strategy I settled on was to let my pet tank while I dealt with the birds. I found it difficult to burn two down without using cc on them, and I would sometimes face a second wave of birds spawning while still dealing with the first, so it became a pretty intense mix of cc and DPS on the birds, healing on my pet and the occasional bit of damage to Lagmas himself. I found the storm lore/cracked earth/kite for 10s cc combo effective quite a few times, it’s a great way of rooting groups of adds when herb lore is on cooldown.

Carn Dum (Azgoth for the Iron gate key, then up the center passage to Mordirith’s keep)

Time: Appx 1.5-2hrs

Rewards:This route nets you a lot of class quest items – Medallion of Passage, Rune of Evil Presence, Cruel Talon of Azgoth, Rune of Winged Dominance and Ashen Gorthorog Horn. You can also do a quick detour to kill Helcham to get 6/7 of the items from the instance.

Difficulty:Generally easy, although one or two fights get a little interesting.

Strategy: This ends up being quite a rewarding run if you’re looking to pick up class quest items. It takes a significant amount of time though, and quite frankly, none of the boss fights really involve much more than tank and spank, maybe with an add or two to deal with, and really isn’t that challenging overall so I wouldn’t recommend it for the fun factor. The only really fun pull is the angmarin spawns before Tarlakh who guards the entrance to Mordirith’s castle, that involves three waves of 6 angmarin each and many of the angmarin will summon ghosts. It’s a good challenge to see if you can survive that pull without dying – unfortunately if you do fail, the mobs don’t reset and you can just easily mop up whatever’s left when you respawn. I still hadn’t managed to get myself the Iron Gate key, so I went through the Ornate gate through the sewers, killed Helcham, went up the tower to Salkvah and then over to Azgoth to get the key. Then I went back to the start and straight up the middle to the castle and cleared up to Gurthul. I would be interested to see if Mordirith herself is soloable but I ran out of time and missed the next reset – my memory of the fight is that it inovles a lot of ramping up dread (so much that you keep getting stunned), and also a bunch of adds. My guess is that it isn’t doable for a lore-master, but I’d be interested to find out otherwise

Warg Pens part 2: Swampy strikes back

Time: Appx 45min (easy mode)

Rewards: Not much to speak of, a few low level IXP runes and tier 2 relic boxes. It is a decent way to do your Mirkwood warg slayer deed though – I dinged my advanced in the final boss fight :)

Difficulty: Pretty high, this is possibly the most challenging and enojoyable run I’ve done so far

Revenge is sweet

Strategy: If you read my last column you would have seen that I wiped on this boss, repeatedly. I probably tried 5 or 6 times the first time before giving up and concluded that it might just not be possible. Well, I’m happy to say that I proved myself wrong :). In fact, I managed to clear the whole instance fairly quickly without dying once this time, and it really is a pretty fun one to clear. I outlined the strategy for the bosses in the last post, and I took the same approach this time it was just a question of better execution. It’s essential to heal the pet at every single opportunity, use signs of the wild wisely to clear poison debuffs when they get too dangerous and take down the warg adds very quickly, without letting them eat meat. It’s a fight that requires alot of multitasking and really pushes you do to a bunch of things at once, so it’s a really good feeling if you can get it down. I still think hard mode might be possible, but you have to spend a lot more time on the trash and there’s definitely a lot of potential for things to go wrong on the boss fight, so I’m not sure whether I’ll have a shot or not.

Grand Stairs

Time: About 1hr for Igash, 45min for Gothghaash

Rewards: Moria medallions (but not many – 2 from Igash, 1 from the other bosses), relic boxes, IXP runes, Supreme crafting mats and occasional flakes from the trash.

Difficulty: Igash himself is fairly easy, but it takes a LONG time to get to him and the trash pull just before him is pretty challenging. Gothghaash is at an excellent level of difficulty, quite tough but definitely doable with good execution.

Strategy: Everyone’s probably familiar with GS by now I would think! Ilzkal is simple to kill, be sure to use a sign of the wild to clear the fear off your pet. I killed him both times before he got a second fear off. I didn’t bother trying to tag Nardur before 10min was up, but I probably should have tried to do a suicide run and do it because I didn’t realise quite how messed up that part of the instance gets if you don’t tag him. Nardur disappears up the gate on his platform after that time and it adds a LOT of extra trash to kill. I’m not exactly sure what happened halfaway up the stair he disappears up, but I ended up killing the devoted but didn’t encounter Nardur – I don’t know if I accidentally reset him and he disappeared or if you just lose the opportunity to kill him. Anyway, some the trash pulls are actually reasonably difficult, you’ll need to use a lot of CC and well targeted DPS, especially on the one before Igash. Unfortunately I didn’t quite target my DPS well enough on the 5-mob pre-Igash pull and wiped after killing one of the melee guys. I think the best strategy is to try to double cc two of the defiles, have your pet aggro the other and one of the melee and then quickly burn down the other melee. I just didn’t quite manage to get it set up properly, so I wiped and was only able to clear it when there were 4 mobs. On the Igash fight itself, the biggest thing you need to realise is that your pet gets hurt by the fire too, so have the follow command on an easily accessible hotkey and make sure you move it out of the fire. As long as you do that, you should have no real problems keeping up with the damage, although do be extra careful with threat because it’s fairly hazardous to use inner flame given the possibility of fire puddles spawning under you.

Gothghaash the Firecaller is a really fun fight. There’s a few moderately challening trash pulls in the lead up to him and the fight itself has lots of elements you need to balance. You need to remove fire wounds, make sure both you and your pet keep out of fire puddles and burn the volcanoes that spawn as quickly as possible. It’s a long fight so you DO NOT want the boss to be healing up or else you’ll have serious power issues, which means you need to burst down the volcanoes pretty quickly (which can be challenging if you’ve also got wounds, or pet healing, or fire puddles to worry about). Definitely recommend this fight though if you’re looking for a fun challenge.

I enjoy doing this so I’ll probably look for a few more soloing challenges to do and update in a future post. I did try to do Ferndur the Virulent raid boss in Angmar, but I wasn’t able to spawn him because I couldn’t kill the 5 groups of adds quickly enough before they respawned. I also had a quick shot at level 50 helegrod but killing 30k trash packs gets pretty boring and I doubt I’d be able to handle the bigger pulls anyway, the induction setbacks would just get too much.


Lore-mastery: Update 5 armour sets


Lore-mastery is a weekly column by Psychobabble of Imladris, focussing on lore-master news and end game play.

I was so looking forward to jumping on Bullroarer and trying out the new stuff. I wanted to actually get to play some new end game content, get a bit of an insight into the new gear system, take a look at the new raid and get some early tips on it, have a chance to play with some players from other servers and mix around a bit. So I downloaded the client as soon as it was available, hit the character copy, copied my LM over and waited for the “in progress” message to finish. And I waited. And waited. And waited. And then I went to bed and when I woke up…

NOOOO!!! The character copy tool is listed as a beta and they explicity say that they will not wipe failed transfers to let you try them again. So I’m completely unable to transfer my lore-master to bullroarer which is depressing. I could, theoretically, roll a new lore-master and use the Eyes and Guard tavern to auto level up, but i’d be playing such a gimped char in terms of class traits, gear and virtues that I’m not sure I could be bothered. Sad panda.

So I’m going to have to do what everyone else does and rely on screenshots and snippets that make it onto the forums to get info about the beta. In that vein, I’m going to take a look over the three update 5 lore-master armour sets linked in this post to see if we can get any tips as to what to aim for in Update 5.

The stats

The first thing to note is that all three sets have the same stats. And those stats are a pretty sizeable upgrade from the Draigoch set. As you can see from my updated gear spreadsheet (see the L75 armour page) the total set has more of every stat than the Draigoch set, other than a slightly reduced amount of tactical mastery (the replacement for outgoing healing and tactical offence) and finesse. It has a sizeable chunk of extra vitality and direct morale – in total you’ll get an extra 600 morale by wearing this set. It’s only a very slight increase in will though, the increase in stats is almost entirely in fate, vit and morale, indicating that they’re looking at broadening our stat base and not just pumping up will to ever higher levels. I would expect that this trend will be reflected throughout the rest of the gear – upgrades that increase our power not just by getting more will, but by giving us better combinations of the different stats, especially vitality/morale.

Iordur set – Yellow line

This set is designed to work with the yellow debuffing/cc line. For that reason, I’m guessing it’s meant to be the raiding/grouping set of choice and if the new raid or instances actually has some situations where double cc-ing is useful, then it’ll be pretty decent – for those of us without the old DN set anyway.

3-set bonus: -60s Call to the Valar cooldown

Call to the valar (CttV) is a great skill, no question about it. And it’s certainly got synergies with the yellow line. As I outlined in this post, the best part of CttV is its ability to reset the cooldowns on your core CC skills which can be extremely handy in recovering a CC situation which got messed up by someone breaking a mez, or something resisting or just responding to a mass wave of adds which one round of bane flare/herb lore can’t take care of. But I’m not at all sold on this bonus. By its nature, CttV is something you use reactively almost all of the time. You’re not hitting it every 5min, in which case a 20% reduced cooldown might be of some benefit, because it’s the sort of thing you’ll use once during a panic situation in a fight. I almost never find that CttV is on cooldown when I want to use it. In fact, the ONLY times I’d like to use it but it’s on cooldown is when I want to use it back to back. Eg. I tried getting the situation under control by resetting my skills but things are still running around all over the place so it’d be good to do it again. This bonus would be awesome if it somehow let you use CttV again in such a situation, eg by making our other 5min panic button, Wisdom of the Council, reset CttV’s cooldown, but I can’t see that happening so this falls firmly in the “meh” basket for me.

5-set bonus: +5s blinding flash duration

Now there’s a familiar set bonus. Yep, it’s exactly the same as the 5-piece bonus from the Lady’s Wisdom Dar Narbugud set. And it’s an awesome set bonus. If you never got the chance to raid DN enough to get the set when it was relevant content, eg. because you were new with F2P (that’s me – I managed to get 4 pieces but lost the roll on my 5th to a champion… sigh. I guess he really wanted +2% glory damage!), then this is really good because it gives you access to a potentially class defining set bonus. +5s duration doesn’t sound like much, but what It does is let you mez two targets in a reliable way. Having tried to mez 2 anger-ed targets in OD on my own without the bonus, I speak from personal experience when I say that – especially in a heated raid environment – solo mezzing two dangerous targets without this bonus is likely to result in a wipe. This is particularly true of melee targets. Double-mezzing ranged targets like the sorcerors in SG isn’t such a big problem because they kindly sit there doing inductions when they wake up, but in between skill application delay and inevitable little slip-ups in timing, you need this bonus to reliably mez two melee targets.

Having said that, is this worth getting if you’ve already got 5 pieces of the DN set? Probably not. The DN set is still good. It still works just fine. You might be worried that wearing it will make you too squishy so that you’d just die to any environmental effects or AOEs. Well, thanks to Turbine’s “no morale inflation with Isengard” policy it only has 200 less morale than this set! Sure, you lose a HEFTY chunk of will (~500), but when you’re double cc-ing stuff then that – along with debuffing – is pretty much your sole job and if the occasional heal or share the power you throw out is a bit weaker than it would otherwise be, that’s not such a terrible loss. IMO if you already have 5 pieces of the DN set, just use save your marks unless you have a ridiculous surplus of them. It would have been nice to see this bonus implemented in a way which had a similar effect to the DN set but was still diferent enough to be useful, eg. “blinding flash gains 5s stun on appliation” (so it’d be 5s of a stun +30s mez, kind of like the burglar’s riddle when traited appropriately) but this looks like what we’re getting, so that makes two meh bonuses on this armour if you’ve got the DN set.

Amaruith set – Red line

This is designed as the “personal DPS” set. It should not be regarded as a raiding or even a grouping DPS set. While the bonuses are decent, none of them would result in as big an increase in group DPS as the Draigoch set does, as the combination of 100% uptime on ancient craft (even while traited red) and +5% group crit chance for 3/4 of the time. This set is only really good for solo (including solo skirmish) or moors play, although I can see an argument that it’s also good in raid skirms where mobs die so quickly that your ancient craft/sop:sae would spend half the time on cooldown outside of boss fights (reducing the benefit of the Draigoch set).

3-set bonus: -60s lightning storm cooldown

Pretty simple, pretty good bonus. Lightning storm is an absolute beast of a DPS skill, especially in AOE situations, but even single target. And unlike CttV, it IS the sort of skill that you should be trying to use on just about every cooldown (unless you’re saving it up for a particular burst phase) so thumbs up for this bonus. Even in single target situations, it’s always our highest or second highest DPS skill in terms of damage divided by induction time, and when there’s more than one target there’s daylight between that and our second highest damage skill. It’s only problem is that it’s a huge power hog, but that’s the price you have to pay. In AOE situations, Lighting storm can hit for ridiculous amounts of damage if you get a few crits – 20k+ is obtainable – so this on its own amounts to a fairly decent personal DPS boost.

5-set bonus: Every use of Burning Embers lowers the cooldown of Ents Go To War by 3s

This initially looks pretty good but in actual fact, not so much. The basic issue is that there is a disconnect between when you want to use each of burning embers and ents go to war. Burning embers is a great single target damage skill, only lightning storm, light of the rising dawn, sticky gourd and wizards’s fire beat it (assuming at least two DoT ticks from embers and sob:wf). Ents, however, is not. Given its long induction time it does less single target DPS than every other damage skill except cracked earth and gust of wind. In AOE situations though, it obviously shines – it’s the third or fourth highest AOE DPS skill along with lightning storm, sticky gourd and staff sweep. Conversely, cracked earth quickly starts moving up the rankings – as long as there’s at least 3 targets, you’ll be wanting to use it in preference to burning embers.

So in situations where you’d want the cooldown of ents to be reduced, you’re going to be relying more on skills like cracked earth, staff sweep, and sticky gourd rather than burning embers. Sure, you’ll still use it, but you won’t be using it on basically every cooldown as you might in single target fights – and in single target fights, you won’t want to use ents because it does poor single target DPS. If there are fights with a combination of single target boss and AOE add phases, it could be useful, provided the timing works, but realistically you’ll be wanting to use the draigoch set in group boss fights anyway.

Lavanhebron set – Blue line

Call me crazy, but this is actually the set I’m most excited about. It at least seems to be something a bit different, especially with the 5-piece bonus. And it has the potential to materially improve our healing output in small group content and enable us to solo even more older group content, which is something I for one enjoy doing!

3-set bonus: -30s inner flame cooldown

In combination with the 4-deep blue line bonus (-60s) this will halve the base 3min cooldown of inner flame. There’s no question that inner flame is an annoying skill to use, a 16s channel is just no fun to sit through. But it can also be a really powerful skill when used smartly. First of all, the amount of healing it does is quite respectable when combined with the +50% healing book legacy (which can be quite usefully put on a swap-book to use just before the channel). Fully maxed out it can heal upwards of 160 morale per second, which is more than double the heal-per-second output of beacon of hope (appx 1500/20 = 75), multiplied by the number of fellowship members you’re healing. Now, it’s true that a lot of this is going to be overhealing and it obviously is poor protection against spike damage, but in a situation where the whole fellowship just took a big hit, or in a 3-person instance where you might just be falling a bit behind in the overall healing needed, it can pump out some pretty good numbers in total. And this bonus gets it back up 25% quicker which is a Good Thing.

In group content soloing situations this bonus will be awesome too. Inner flame’s threat transfer is what makes pet tanking a viable way of taking down older bosses and tough mobs. Being able to use it 25% more often will be great.

5-set bonus: Continual air-lore reflects threat and additional damage

This all comes down to the numbers. If it reflects a tiny amount of threat and does a tiny amount of additional damage then obviously it’s not going to be very worthwhile. But if it actually does some decent numbers then this will be an interesting bonus in all sorts of situations. From raids where tanks might be pressured to keep threat on a bunch of incoming adds (this helps a guard keep threat at the end of an AOE force taunt for instance) to small group situations where you might have a captain tank just barely keeping up with the hunter’s threat gen to solo instance situations where anything you can get to keep threat on your pet is a godsend, this could be a really fun one to play around with. Sure, it’s not going to be anything game breaking, but continuous air lore is a skill which has a lot of potential and it’s nice to see a bonus which is potentially building off that potential.


Lore-mastery: 5 questions about Update 5


I’m sure Doc will be along with a post of his own on this, but as you might have seen the Bullroarer update 5 (Armies of Isengard) patch notes are now up! This looks like an exciting update and I can’t wait to jump on Bullroarer and test it out. In the meantime though, I’ve got a few questions about the update from the lore-master’s perspective

1) How will lore-masters fit into the instance finder?

When I first saw the reveal about the instance finder in the Tentonhammer interview a couple of days ago, I assumed that it was going to be more along the lines of the DDO Social Panel assisted-manual system than a full-blown automated dungeion finder like WoW. Looks like I was wrong:

Currently, Instance Finder allows you to set the following options:

•Content: Skirmishes, Isengard Instances, and/or Scaled Instances
•Scale: Solo, 2-man, 3-man, and/or 6-man
•Difficulty: Tier I, II, and/or III difficulty
•Role: Defence, DPS, Healer, Support

Once a player or partial group places themselves in queue, the system will intelligently match them with other players for a random instance within their selected parameters. Once a match is found, the system will notify the player who can then accept the match and travel immediately to the instance. In addition, while using the Instance Finder, players can take advantage of additional bonuses and rewards!

Looking past the odd facts that the instance joiner is apparently limited to men and can be used to set up a “solo” group for you (but can’t be used to create raid skirmishes… booo), this information raises a number of questions about how it’s going to work in practice. The first question, which I’m sure can be answered as soon as I hop on Bullroarer, is what limitations, if any, exist on people ticking “role”. This is a big issue for lore-masters. If we can only select “support” then that really limits our grouping options, especially in 3-person instances. In 3-person instances, I personally would select dps/healer/support, while for 6-person I would choose dps/support because we can’t heal full instances. Allowing maximum player flexibility though obviously can lead itself to abuse. You wouldn’t want to end up with a situation where rune-keepers were checking “tank” to make their queue speed go faster.

And on the subject of 3-person instances, what type of group will the system be looking for? Generally, these smaller group instances are more flexible on class composition than a full instance, I find that at most you need only one of a full healer or tank (not both), and quite often you can get away with no dedicated tank/healer. In fact, the easier 3-person instances are BETTER without both a dedicated tank and healer, because they go a lot faster, so if the system is smart then it will be a little bit more relaxed on class composition with 3-person instances to make queues go quicker and to give lore-masters an easier way to get into groups (eg. instead of a dedicated healer).

2) Will the Limrafn be a viable healing pet?

The only class-specific change noted for lore-masters in the patch notes is a buff to our new Isengard pet:

The Lore-master’s Spirit of Nature companion has been upgraded. Its Flashing Flank skill now has a 45 second cooldown. Its Nature’s Gift healing skill no longer requires the Spirit’s sacrifice. The Spirit of Nature will no longer accumulate threat for any action that it takes nor from any threat transferred to it. The Physical and Tactical mitigations of the Spirit have been much increased. Finally, and most importantly, the Spirit is now a Creature of Nature.

I must say, I’m still not sold. The auto-flank is still about 3x slower than the bog-guardian and 2x slower than the eagle pet. That amounts to a LOT of lost healing. I assume that the Nature’s Gift skill will now get a cooldown, but unless the cooldown is fairly short then it isn’t going to make up for the lost flank healing potential of the other pets. Nature’s Gift heals everyone for appx 600 morale (so in a 3-person instance, which is where this pet has the most potential use, it will do about 1800 healing) while each flank heal does about 1400 healing, to you and the tank. Overall, when you also take into account the pseudo-revealing mark, the Spirit of Nature will likely have a marginal edge in effective healing output over the bog-guardian (and a bit more of an edge over the eagle), but you’ll be giving up all of the benefits that those other two pets bring and also have a pet that does no damage. I’m still not convinced I’ll ever summon it.

3) Does cc/support have an important role in the new instances and raid?

I feel that the LM class itself is in a really good place right now from a basic design perspective, but from an actual gameplay perspective we’re at a little bit of a loose end because there is ZERO end game content at the moment in which our cc, debuff, off-healing and other support abilities are actually needed. Quite frankly if you want to challenge yourself at the moment and use a decent amount of your class toolbox, you have to go solo older content or do the current content with less people than you’re meant to (eg. 6 person raid skirms). All end game content at the moment basically boils down to faceroll DPS, perhaps with a little bit of situational awareness and movement. Very little of our or other classes skill toolbox is getting a workout and it’s frankly annoying. I can only hope and trust that the new instances and raid will be of a comparable quality with the excellent In Your Absence cluster and, if so, look forward to once again filling a really valuable role in groups.

4) What happened to fixing the scaling for tactical damage rating? And what about pet damage and flank healing scaling?

Just prior to the launch of Isengard, buried on page 7 of the Rune-Keeper dev diary, Zombie Columbus revealed that tactical damage hadn’t scaled with the level cap properly:

I am loath to admit this, but this disparity between weapon and tactical growth rates wasn’t realized until rather late in beta. The DPS numbers we were getting from tactical classes compared to weapon classes were way off from what we saw and liked at level 65. As such, you can expect a follow-up pass on Rune-keeper legacies at some point in the future.

We were promised a fix (later on in the diary ZC explicitly noted that the fix would be to the tactical damage ranking, which is present on lore-master staves), but none has come and none is announced in the patch notes. I do note that there are NO rune-keeper fixes noted in the patch notes, so it might just be an omission but rune-keepers did get a lot of bugs fixed in the last patch so maybe they really don’t have any bugs, other than this, left. I can only surmise that they have either forgotten about this, or that they’ve decided that tactical damage is good enough as it is and so don’t need to change the itemisation. What this will mean long term if they have decided to leave it, though, is that the benefits that tactical damage classes get from uprgrading legendary items to 2nd and ultimately 1st age will be less than the boost that the physical damage classes get. If these bumps have been increased for physical damage weapons, as ZC indicated, then any gap between physical and tactical damage will get greater and greater as LIs get upgraded in the future. So if this really is something they’ve put on the backburner, hopefully they don’t forget it in the future when they introduce 1st age LIs.

And while I’m on the subject of scaling, the update is fixing Warden HoT scaling and giving them a way to increase them through gearing by linking outgoing healing to might. How about a similar change for the lore-master’s second most important heal? Our flank heal barely increased with Isengard (I think mine’s about 10 morale higher than what it was at 65), and unlike at level 65 it is longer affected at all by outgoing healing so you have no way to increase it. I’m going to test this on Bullroarer and if it’s still the same I’m actually going to /bug it because this is a big oversight imo. Also, pet damage for all pets other than the bear seems to have not scaled at all in 10 levels. As far as I can tell, pet autoattacks hit for pretty much the same numbers at level 75 as they did at 65 which is really annoying. Another change I’d LOVE is to see pet damage linked to our melee offence or something (which in turn is linked to will), so you could actually scale pet damage with your own gear. But that’d be a bigger change and I doubt it’ll get implemented with Update 5.

5) Is our new class consumable useful?

About 2 months ago, a store advertisment went up which said “Avoid interruption and reduce power costs as a Lore-master with Parables”. Now, I don’t buy consumables in the store so I didn’t actually check to see if they made it in, but at the time a few of us were worried that this would be a store exclusive. It looks like that concern was misplaced, because Parables (which presumably do what the store advertisment said) are going to be a scholar consumable in Update 5. This is the first time that lore-masters have had a personal class consumable (we’ve got pet food now, but that’s not for us directly) so this is nice to see. Interruption induction is always welcomed and power cost reduction can be comboed usefully with high power skills like ancient craft/lightning storm (which also benefits from the induction knockback protection) or wind lore. I look forward to picking these up.

All in all, it looks like there’s a lot in the new update to get excited about – I’m looking forward to trying it out!


Lore-mastery: Soloing old content for fun and profit


One of the things I’ve been enjoying doing with the new level cap increase is going back and soloing old group content. The lore-master has always been a strong soloing class, with its toolbox of cc, debuffs, healing (both self and pet) and pets themselves and some of the changes in the expansion have made us an even stronger soloing class. This article goes through some of the basics about preparing for soloing this type of content and I’ll share some of my early experiences. Soloing group content might not be for everyone, but personally I find the challenge pretty exciting in and of itself, and the rewards can be surprisingly good too in terms of deeds, crafting materials, gold and, for the later instances, IXP runes and relic boxes.

Preparation – traits, virtues and gear

There’s two ways to go here. For easier content where you don’t need cc or a pet to tank for you, just trait five or even 6 red and blow stuff up. The key to soloing more difficult content in the red line is to use the tactically adept trait to let you get your sticky gourd off without interruption and to use the eagle pet. The eagle’s skill toolbox is a wonderful complement to the MoNF line, with a high and steady flank rate, a useful cc option, automatic interrupts and a self res (the only one in the game!) if things go pear shaped.

For more difficult stuff though, especially where you’ll take too much of a beating if you try to tank stuff yourself, the blue line and bog guardian pet really come into their own, especially with some of the Isengard changes. The recommended trait setup is light of hope, healer, improved flanking, master of beasts and hardy companion coupled with two red (probably master of the staff and harmony with nature). For legendaries, take noble-savage to complement nature friend. Proof against ills is utterly unnecessary with Isengard – you can single target remove wounds off yourself and master of beasts allows your signs of the wild to remove any negative state effects from your pet.

The bog guardian makes a wonderful tank. For starters, it’ll almost certainly have more morale than you, with a bit over 8k when fully buffed up. It also does a pretty decent amount of damage (in melee range), make sure to turn the angry bees and bursting root skills on autocast (unless you’re saving bursting root as an emergency, unreliable, interrupt) but leave root strike off becuase it’ll unnecessarily drain power without any real increase in damage. With sign of the wild:rage on the pet also generates a decent amount of threat (consider using the minor book legacy to further boost threat if you’re going to be doing a lot of this sort of soloing). And it’s exceptionally survivable post-Isengard, improved flanking + continual air lore + huge flank rate is just amazing. Some people doubt the bog guardian’s flank rate and say it’s not much higher than the eagle, but my experience is that while it’s not quite as regular as the eagle (which almost always procs a flank every 20-25s), it’s got a much higher rate overall even if it can be a bit streaky. I quite often get back to back flanks with the bog guardian which you just never get with the eagle.

The final piece in the bog guardian as tank puzzle is inner flame. Whatever you do, don’t trait improved inner flame because what you want from the skill is the incredibly useful threat dump. It’s actually a pretty bad skill to use for healing, because half the time while you channel it you have to waste a flank event, but the skill transfers 5% of your threat to your pet with each tick so with a bit of patience you can help your pet build up a great threat lead. Basically in a tank and spank situation, to manage threat you should go relatively slowly at first to let your pet get a lead, then start hammering away a bit until you get aggro. Use inner flame to dump your threat and then use it every 2min after that to let your pet get a bigger and bigger lead. Don’t forget that you can use call to the valar to reset the cooldown on inner flame, something which has saved me on many occasions over the past week.

As for gear and virtues, you really want to be building for morale and physical mitigation. My recommended trait setup would be innocence, compassion, valour, Zeal and either wisdom or justice. For gear, you want to go heavier on morale than you normally would. As you can see in the screenshot, in my current soloing build I usually run at around 6,000 morale while maintaining a fairly decent amount of will. The fated necklace of theodred and the resilient earring (which I wasn’t wearing in that shot) add huge chunks of morale if necessary and are really good to have as soloing options. There’s also a crafted pocket with a good amount of morale that’s worth having on hand. Finally, if you have 3 pieces of OD T2 gear then carry them with you for those fights where the boss damage is too much for you to keep your bog guardian alive easily. It adds about 2/3 to your overall beacon of hope heal and is a great tool in some fights.

Needless to say you’ll want a good stack of morale, power and curative potions. Also bring along plenty of hope tokens and even tomes of dread removal (or destiny perk) because you’ll quite probably wipe while learning some of the fights and fighting with dread, or waiting for it to clear, is no fun.

So what can be soloed?

Urugath and Carn Dum

Time: A lot. Even putting in 2 hours into an urugath stretch, I only got 4 bosses down and it took me just under an hour to clear Helcham in Carn Dum.

Rewards: Primarily T5 scholar materials (ignore the worn elf-carvings, but moon letters and second age texts are worthwhile) and both major and minor class items for level 50 class quests. It’s going to depend from server to server, but things like the slime of Helcham still go for significant amounts of gold on my server (I sold one for 15g last week) and you can still get a few gold for even the easier to get ones. These instances also have a lot of great deeds for hard to grind virtues (soloing them isn’t the best way to get these virtues but it’s a nice bonus). I was also able to get a surprisingly good amount of coin for corrupted droplets, and I suspect drake scales probably go for a decent amount too.

Difficulty: As I indicated above, I haven’t cleared the whole of these instances, but at least up to the Warg Boss area, urugath wasn’t all that difficult, although trash pulls can go south very quickly if you get swamped. The boss fights themselves were pretty easy up to that. I only did Helcham in Carn Dum, and while it was a bit time consuming it was really quite easy. I was able to defeat him in three pillar phases.

Strategy: I traited red for urugath and blue for carn dum, but in truth I might have been better off taking red for both. The only thing to be mindful of in Urugath is that you can still die, quite easily, to > 3 mobs beating on you at once. Be careful not to let that happen and in the worst case, hit storm lore -> cracked earth and kite for 10s. Many of the bosses (eg. Dushkal, Troll boss) are not slow immune and, unlike bosses in later instances, won’t reset if you kite them which makes them trivial to kill thanks to burning embers. I ran out of time on my way to Athpukh (warg boss), and I haven’t tried Lhugrien or the last 3 bosses (Morthrang, Gruglok and Lagmas) so they might present more of a challenge but with careful add control I didn’t find anything particularly difficult here.

For Helcham, the only time that you will get even a little bit stressed is when you attack the first two pillar tentacles on each side. When that happens you’ll have 2 tentacles and Helcham himself beating on you so you’ll take a bit of damage. It’s nothing unmanageable though and you can always hide behind a pillar and take very minimal damage. I suspect if you traited red, unlike me, your burst damage would make that phase go quicker and thus be easier. It would probably be possible to take him down in just two pillar phases if traited red too, which would be good.

NCF and Stoneheight T1

Time: 40min-1hr each

Rewards: An excellent swag of T4 relics, about 200k in IXP runes, almost 500s in each chest and 5 north men medallions (which are bound to account and can be given to alts for some, now, very cheap legendary item accessories or even armour – go check out the vendors, they’re having a fire sale compared to what they used to charge!). Oh, and you get 2,000 destiny points too.

Difficulty: Fairly easy

Strategy: Both of these should be done in blue traits imo, because you’ll be relying on pet tanking. I think the trash in NCF is more difficult than the bosses really, simply because if you let yourself get surrounded you’ll die pretty quickly (esp vs the goblins at the end). Legbarthil (spider) is a bit long but not hard as long as you ensure that your pet maintains threat (the poison puddles can still kill, so stay at a distance). Make sure you have a sticky gourd + burning embers combo ready for the eggs (~90k, ~45k, ~15k), and be prepared to go in and hit staff strike too if they aren’t enough to take it out because you really don’t want the fight to go on as long as mine did (2 eggs popped…. sigh). Pets are immune to the acid puddles so it’s pretty easy. Úmheryn (Cauldron) is a really fun fight (imo), make sure to bind /slap with an alias, ensure that you’ve positioned your pet in melee range and whittle the boss down with a combination of sign of battle and burning embers (having + burning embers dot pulses is a great help here, and definitely ensure that you have the +15% damage over time legacy). Keep running, cause the puddles hurt, but don’t be afraid to take a couple of ticks to get a burning embers off if you’re reasonably healthy, and keep an eye out for flanks to keep yourself healed up. I managed to get it down before hitting the 1min warning, so the DPS requirement is easily achievable. Ivar was the most healing intensive of the three bosses, particularly because your pet will eat the “face me” attack (I guess it would be theoretically possible to use the follow command to dodge it, but it’s imprecise and unwieldy so I didn’t bother) but in general wasn’t very difficult.

The first boss in stoneheight was pretty enjoyable. Mez one goblin, set your pet onto Gundúl and burn the other goblin down ASAP. If you haven’t killed the other goblin within the first 30s or so when the first coordinated attack occurrs, you’ll have to wait about 10s until the mez immunity granted by the coordinated attack wears off before re-mezzing the original goblin. Once you stabilise the inital burst and get into a 1v1 boss fight it’s very easy. Likewise, Búbhosh-grat is very easy (pets are immune to the “little trick” AOE attack so just keep yourself at a distance) and the only issue with Dale Truitt is that if you don’t interrupt his stealth attack quickly enough (with blinding flash) then he can do a fairly large amount of damage to your pet which could kill it. Needless to say, interrupt that and you’re fine.

Sword Halls and Warg Pens

Time: half an hour for sword halls and I wasn’t able to complete warg pens.

Rewards: If you’re doing this for the rewards, go do NCF/Stoneheight instead. The amount of relics and runes here is WAY less than in those two instances.

Difficulty: No surprises here, Swords Halls is extremely easy. Warg pens on the other hand…. I’m not convinced it’s possible unfortunately.

Strategy: Trait red for sword halls with the eagle pet (useful against the morroval). It’s a pretty easy, but boring, run with lots of waiting in between waves. The first boss is the hardest, the fire still hits pretty hard and you’re the only target that it’s going to follow so you’ll have to do a fair bit of kiting. The morroval is simple, though the heal is annoyingly unable to be interrupted with blinding flash (bug?) so better hope your eagle gets it. The final boss is pretty easy, keep stun protection up and kite until you get a flank and can recover a bit if absolutely necessary.

I really enjoyed trying to do Warg Pens but I think it’s just a little beyond reach at the moment. The first boss took a couple of tries, but I figured out the strat eventually. The difficulty is at the start, if you don’t kill the first two wargs quickly enough (and the boss will periodically heal them) then things end up spiralling out of control as he summons more to the party. The trick is just to go in there, leave your bog guardian near the entrance and set him on the boss, while you throw ancient craft on the wargs and then storm lore/lightning storm, using staff sweep to clean up. Hopefully that’s enough to kill them in one quick burst and then it’s just a tank and spank on the boss. He actually hits harder than any of the bosses in NCF/Stoneheight. I found I had to pull out my OD set to keep up with the healing and even then it was a bit touch and go, I had to make sure every last flank was used on a heal (so I didn’t use any staff strike or staff sweeps to avoid accidentally eating up the flank) and keep up as much debuffing as I could.

As for the last boss… curse you Kranklob!! Do you see in the screenshot above that every single one of my items are damaged? Yeah, that was this fight lol. This is a tough fight to solo. There’s a bunch of things going on. First of all Kranklob hits harder than any of the bosses to date so you have to make sure you’re hitting beacon of hope every cooldown along with using every flank heal that procs. And you need to keep all your debuffs up when you can. And you need to watch out for poisons which will do steady and stacking amounts of damage to your pet, but they come so quickly that you’ll need to carefully manage the cooldowns on the sign of the wild skills to avoid having an unclearable poison. And THEN you need to burn each of the wargs around the edge of the room quickly to start with, trying not to let them eat the meat which involves smart use of stuns and roots (you could go for HM, but doing so adds even more complications to an already difficult fight). The reason you need to kill the wargs at the start is that you definitely DO NOT want to have two of them coming to you at a time which is what happens if you just start on the boss.

Basically after a number of attempts I was able to kill all the wargs and get to a 1v1 with the boss, but his damage output was just a bit too high compared to what I was able to put out in healing so my pet would eventually die, and then I’d have one chance to resummon (had to use a combo of call to the valar + combat summoning to actually allow the summoning induction to go off), but then I had to get threat back on my pet which by that stage of the fight was easy thing even with inner flame because he’s hitting you pretty hard while you sit there desperately trying to shed threat. One time I did actually manage to restabilise after summoning a second pet (with about 500 morale left!), only to lose the resummoned pet a few minutes later cause my healing just couldn’t keep up – and I was having to go really slow on the damage after the resummon to in order to avoid regaining threat. I’m not sure what more I could do here, other than perhaps trying to kite the pet in between beacon of hope cooldowns, but i’m not sure that would work (cause it would mean you lose out on flank heals) and it’d make an already exceptionally long fight go for even longer. If anyone else has managed to do this, I’d love to hear from you!

Up next week – more soloing adventures. I’ll try to do full clears of uru and carn dum (which might not be possible, eg. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to kill Mordrith), Annuminas and I’ll even have a stab at the moria 6-persons and perhaps some level 50 raid content to see if it’s at all possible!



Lore-mastery: Tackling Draigoch


Well, Draigoch seems to be the topic of the week so I thought I’d chime in with a guide to the fight from a lore-master’s perspective. While my raid group hasn’t managed to get beyond phase 2 yet, mainly because we haven’t really been able to put much time into it with organisational difficulties, I’ve got enough of an impression of the fight from what I’ve seen and reading other guides that I think I can offer some useful tips. This guide will mainly be focussed on preparation and characacter build, because quite frankly the fight itself is pretty boring mechanically. As long as you can follow your DPS group positioning leader and can hit FM buttons correctly, there’s really not much you need to be doing outside of your standard debuff/DPS/spot-heal/power-share role.

Class traits

Typically LMs have a guaranteed spot in a raid for one of three reasons. Either there’s a huge amount of cc or specialised cc needed (think Gortheron, most of the trash in OD, Blind One, Mistress), there’s bosses that hit like trucks and need to be constantly debuffed (Ivar, Durhcest, Watcher) or the fight’s a long endurance fight where you have an invaluable power sharing role (Durin’s Bane, Lieutenant). While it’s rarely optimal to take a second LM in a raid if you have a choice about class makeup, in basically all previous raids LMs have filled an important and almost irreplaceable role in the raid group. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Draigoch.

Initially I thought this was going to be a fight full of big AOE tactical damage and lots of nasty fire attacks. I was fully expecting the new improved frost lore trait to get a good work out and thought LMs would have a really important role in bringing a unique and powerfull debuff to the table to save the tank and the group from getting roasted. I was wrong. The vast majority of tank and raid damage in this fight is common damage and, with the exception of the rear right claw (bottom left) which, in the first two phases at least, seems to do an extraordinarily high number of dev crits (is it bugged? it’s way out of line with the others), the damage levels really aren’t anything to worry about. Apart from a bit of stress with that bottom right claw, our group was having no problems keeping up with claw damage with just one RK healer and a blue-line cappy. I’ve heard things get a little bit heavier in phase 3, but from all accounts, LM debuffs are not absolutely essential. In addition, for a single boss fight that lasts upwards of an hour, you’d have thought that power sharing might be fairly useful. But the group spends so much time out of combat that it’s essentially irrelevant. And there’s absolutely no CC needed as you’d expect from a lair raid.

Bog Lurker v Dragon

So does this mean LMs are completely useless? Not at all. It just means we need to get a bit creative with our utility. A key part of this fight is FMs and LMs are one of four classes that have the ability to proc FMs, by traiting full blue and using the bog-lurker pet. If you’re lucky enough to be in a raid group that has two burgs then you’re probably going to be able to pop a FM on demand at every opportunity anyway, but if you’re running with just one or (shudder) no burgs (as our group has been forced to a couple of times), then the bog lurker can add valuable FM proccing chance on top of whatever else you can bring. At face value, it’s only a 20% chance on 1min cooldown, but don’t forget that pet skill cooldowns are reset when you resummon and if you’re bringing the bog-lurker, you can dismiss your pet and use combat summoning to get him back once every 5min. So the bog lurker gives you at least two 20% chances of proccing a FM in most of the body/FM phases. Just remember to turn root strike off autocast and only use it when the body isn’t FM immune and a burg isn’t lining up a guaranteed proc FM.

And it just so happens that going full blue isn’t a bad option for the fight anyway, especially if you’re 2-healing it (1 healer with the tank up top and 1 with the group). My recommended traits would be blue capstone and noble savage for legendaries. Class traits should be healer, Light of Hope, Improved Flanking, Improved Inner Flame and either Master of Beasts or Hardy Companion (i’d recommend the former). Coupled with master of the staff and harmony with nature you still do quite respectable single target damage – I was parsing 550-600dps against the claws quite easily in between debuffing and spot healing. Your extra healing ability can come in handy too. Stick continual air lore on whoever in your group is most squishy, and use improved inner flame if the group damage is getting too much (eg. during a cave in). Another interesting thing you can do is use the Limfrain for the final phase. As I said, I’ve heard that group damage is ramping up a bit in this phase and the whole group’s DPS will be greatly boosted thanks to all of the disabling FMs. High group damage + boosted group DPS means that the pseudo-revealing mark from the Limfrain can do a whole lot of raid-wide healing. And you can use its sacrifice and resummon it once every 5min.

Of course, if your group is totally rocking the fight and doesn’t need any extra off-healing from you, you could just go full red line and burn stuff. But I do encourage you to do some personal parses and experiment a bit if you do this. I haven’t been able to do decent testing at level 75 (the training dummies in Galtrev are USELESS because they periodically kick you out of combat and wipe all DOTs), but at level 65 at least the DPS gap between full red and full blue, using staff strike on flanked effects religiously, was actually not as big as you might think in sustained single target fights. And if you’re doing even some spot healing and power sharing, the gap would be even lower. So don’t dismiss blue-line as a potential DPS option, especialy if you use another pet boosting trait instead of, say, improved inner flame.

There is a bit of confusion going around about the causes of Draigoch bugging out and pets have been fingered as a likely cuplrit. As best as I can tell, as long as your pet doesn’t get aggro on any part of the dragon then you’ll be fine. Certainly in my hours in there, our group has never had an issue with it bugging out despite me using my pet EXCEPT on one occasion when we had a second LM who sent his eagle in to attack the head before the tank had grabbed aggro, and it bugged out then. So unless I discover otherwise, I’m going to assume that pets are fine if you control them carefuly.

Equipment and virtues

I’m going to sound like the (rightly) maligned official guide here – wear your T1 armour set and boost your will!

Acutally, it’s not that simple. If you’re traiting blue, you absolutely want to wear at least 3 pieces of the set to get 100% ancient craft uptime. But until you get your 5th piece, which also has another great group-DPS buff, you’re possibly better off wearing something that’s a little less glass cannon than the 122 will/61 fate raid set pieces. The Leecher Cartwell Shoes from the Helegrod Spider wing are an excellent substitue for the raid shoes, swapping 61 vit for 61 fate (you’ll lose 300 tac offence/OHR from the 4 piece set bonus, but the extra 180 morale is better here imo). Also keep an eye out for the Drugoth Clasped Cloak from Helegrod Giants (122 will/61 vit) and pick up a few survivability jewelery pieces such as the crafted Fated Theodred Necklace, Earring of the Mathom Tender (Enguilan campaign), The Brown Wizard’s Band (Eruilan/Enguilan campaign) and Cardolan Plague Doctor’s Ring (Helegrod Spiders) to get you up to about 6500-7000 morale unbuffed. After that, just pump will and fate and relevant secondary stats.

I’ll also endorse at least some of the official guide’s suggestions on Virtues. Zeal, which combines a big chunk of morale with some physical mit, is a no brainer and so is Wisdom. Beyond that, any 3 of Compassion (physical mit), Innocence (Physical mit), Idealism (Fate), Valour (Morale) or Justice (Morale/ICMR) will serve you fine.

Anyway, I wish you luck in killing the big beast and have fun!

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