Posts tagged lore-mastery

Lore-mastery: Virtues guide part 2

4

Last week I put together an overview of good virtues for a lore-master to target and a rough guide on how to get 14 ranks of wisdom, valour and zeal. This week I’ll be taking a look at the final 4 virtues that are good for lore-masters, the virtues that give physical mitigation (innocence, compassion) and tactical mitigation (honour and fidelity). These are also good for pretty much every class, so hopefully this guide is of some use to people. In general, you’ll want to be slotting the physical mitigation virtues while soloing or in smaller group content, while honour and fidelity are good raid virtues in a lot of the fights.

Virtue planning guide

I discussed the structure of this guide last week so refer to that for an explanation of the numbers in the table. As with last week, I’ll comment on some of the deeds but I haven’t given a full guide to where to find good concentrations of mobs for the slayer deeds, see the lotro wiki page or Burgzerg for references.

Innocence

Despite being sort-of nerfed with RoI to give a maximum of +756 physical mitigation, rather than the +1000 melee defence that rank 10 gave at level 75, this is still a great virtue to use as it grants both physical mitigation and a small amount of tactical mitigation. Thankfully it’s very easy to rank up (especially for those of us who did Moria before RoI – a number of quests deeds were awarded retrospectively meaning I’ve got mine ranked up to 19!), you only need to do one deed ranked 4+ thanks to an abundance of relatively easy questing and exploration deeds. Among those is unfortunately the most grindy quest deed in the game, for a non-hobbit, but it’s well worth doing 75 quests in the shire for the nice +2 ranks. Of the 4+ deeds, I’d probably recommend the Lothlórien orc slayer, which used to award +2 ranks but only gives one now (I think). The orcs in the camps at the entrance to the zone count and there’s also a huge concentration in the camps west of Cerin Amroth.

Zone

Type

Description

Grind

Trollshaws Quest Deeds in the Wilderness (10)

1

Moria Quest Water-works quests (15)

1

Moria Quest Great Delving quests (15)

1

Moria Quest Redhorn Lodes quests (15)

1

Dunland Exploration Bonevales

1

Great River Exploration Thinglad

1

Misty Mountains Quest Peril of the Mountains, final (30, <b>+2 ranks</b>)

2

Evendim Quest Pilgrim of Evendim (60)

2

Dunland Quest Carreglyn (23)

2

Shire Quest The Life of a Bounder, final (75, <b>+2 ranks</b>)

3

Evendim Slayer Annuminas bosses (5)

3

Angmar Slayer Carn Dûm ancient evil (180)

4

Moria Slayer Morroval (360, note: this only gives one rank now)

4

Lothlórien Slayer Orcs (360)

4

Moria Slayer Skumfil Gredbyg (300)

5

Compassion

This is another deed that can be completed mostly from quest and explorer deeds, with only one 4+ ranked slayer deed needed to get it to rank 14. Two of the 3-ranked deeds involve killing mobs in instances, but both Barad Gúlaran and the various Tham Miridian instances are level 50 and it shouldn’t take more than a couple of level 75s to knock them over. If you do want to skip them, none of the 4 ranked deeds, even the slayer of Dunland, are particularly hard if you’ve quested through the relevant zones as you’ll be a decent way to completing them after questing anyway and there’s locations with good concentrations of all of the relevant mobs.

Zone

Type

Description

Grind

Shire Quest The Life of a Bounder (15)

1

Ered Luin Quest Defender of Ered Luin (20)

1

Lone-Lands Quest Tales of the Lonely Road, advanced (30)

1

Misty Mountains Quest Peril of the Misty Mountains (10)

1

Evendim Quest Wanderer of Evendim (30)

1

Moria Quest Foundation of Stone quests (10)

1

Dunland Exploration Pren Gwydh

1

Great River Exploration Brown Lands

1

Evendim Quest Warden of Evendim (90)

2

Forochel Quest Forochel Pioneer (30)

2

Eregion Quest Silent and Restless, advanced (40)

2

Angmar Slayer Barad Gúlaran hillmen (90)

3

Eregion Meta Complete all boss-killing deeds in Tham Mirdain (Library, School, Ring-forge)

3

Moria Slayer Globsanga (360)

4

Mirkwood Slayer Orcs and Uruks (360)

4

Dunland Meta Slayer of Dunland (all basic-level slayer deeds in Dunland)

4

Moria Slayer Grand Stair trolls (90)

5

Tolerance

This is a middle of the road sort of deed. While you can earn 11 ranks just from exploration and quest deeds, this includes some of the trickiest exploration deeds in the game including two in the far, lonely, reaches of the Trollshaws and Misty Mountains, as well as one within the Carn Dûm instance (you’ll want at least one or two friends for this, although it is possible for a lore-master to solo the relevant areas). Thankfully none of the 4+ slayer deeds that you’ll have to do are particularly tough, if I had to pick 3 it’d be deep claws in Moria, spiders in Mirkwood and beasts in the Great River, although if you can get a friend or two then there’s an abundance of Globsanga orcs in the early parts of the 16th hall.

Zone

Type

Description

Grind

Shire Exploration Farms of the Shire

1

North Downs Exploration Villages of the Earth-kin

1

Great River Exploration Rushgore

1

Trollshaws Exploration Ruins of the Trollshaws

2

Misty Mountains Exploration Ruins of the Misty Mountains

2

Moria Exploration The Flaming Deeps

2

Moria Exploration The Water Works

2

Dunland Quest Nan Curunír

2

Angmar Exploration Bastions of Hope (<b>+2 ranks</b>)

2

Angmar Exploration The Enemy’s Stronghold (Carn Dûm)

3

Moria Slayer Deep-claws (360)

4

Moria Slayer Sixteenth Hall Globsanga (180)

4

Moria Slayer Dark Delvings Bosses (3)

4

Mirkwood Slayer Spiders (360)

4

Great River Slayer Beasts (375)

4

Evendim Slayer Spirits in Annuminas (300)

5

Fidelity

This is a relatively easy virtue to rank up, with 13 ranks coming from level 1-3 deeds. There are a couple of tricky exploration deeds there, Memem-Munz in the Silvertine Lodes and the Circle of Despair locations can take a while to get to, they’re both awesome locations to explore though. Apart from that though, you just need to clear the top level of the Forgotten Treasury about 4 times (relatively easy with 2-3 level 75s) and then kill some dead in Mirkwood and you’re done!

Zone

Type

Description

Grind

Shire Exploration The Sights of the Shire

1

Ered Luin Exploration Scouting the Dourhands

1

Lone-lands Exploration Defences of the Lone-lands

1

Trollshaws Exploration The Road to Rivendell

1

Evendim Exploration Tombs of Evendim

1

Evendim Exploration Ruins of Evendim

2

Eregion Exploration Ring-Lore of Eregion

2

Moria Exploration Silvertine Lodes

2

Moria Exploration Durin’s Way

2

Great River Quests Thinglad (20)

2

Angmar Exploration The Circle of Despair

3

Moria Slayer Forgotten Treasury mobs (90)

3

Great River Slayer Spiders (255)

3

Mirkwood Slayer Dead (360)

4

Moria Slayer Grand Stair wargs (180)

5

Forochel Slayer Dourhands (400)

5

Dunland Slayer Dunledings (475)

5

I hope these articles have been of some use, and given you some tips on getting your virtues up to scratch with the least amount of grind :).

 

Lore-mastery: Virtues guide part 1

26

One of my favourite resources while levelling up was the old mmorsel “easy ranks of virtues” pages, particularly for Valour and Innocence which I knew would be useful virtues. It gave me a good plan as I was going through various zones as to which deeds I should go out of my way a little bit to try to knock off or at least make a start. Unfortunately that site has not been updated since RoI which means that there’s been two updates to the max virtue rank since then and it also doesn’t take into account the moria virtue revamp that came with RoI. So the column today is going to both be a quick discussion of good virtue setups for lore-masters as well as a rough guide on how to get some of the most relevant virtues up to 14 with, hopefully, minimal pain.

I should note that there is a wealth of conflicting information on the web about what, exactly, changed with the RoI virtue revamp and unfortunately a lot of older resource sites like Burgzerg and mmorsel being inactive, and the “official” lore-book being hopelessly unreliable, there’s no updated and trustworthy source. All I’m certain of is that some (but not all) of the old +2 rank virtues got changed to +1 and that some of the old quest-completion deeds got changed to different deeds. Unfortunately I can’t now go back and check what these deeds currently award seeing as I’ve already earned them and I don’t know of any 100% reliable source of updated information. This post generally relies on the information on this LOTRO wiki page, except where I know it to be incorrect (eg. I was able to see on an alt that the Moria morroval slayer only awards +1 innocence now, not +2).

What virtues should I use?

There’s certainly a lot of room for personal opinion in virtue setups, so I’m not going to be dogmatic here. I think, though, that there’s general agreement as to the pool of virtues which are useful for lore-masters, or any of the tactical classes really. In here I’ll refer to virtues as having Tier 1, 2 or 3 (T1, T2, T3) of a particular stat, T1 refers to the highest stat modifier, T3 is the lowest. For exact ranks see the wiki page linked above. Where I do mention specific numbers, it’s their value at rank 14:

  • +Will: Wisdom (+42) and Confidence (+21). Will is obviously our primary stat so it’s always useful to boost Wisdom is a great virtue to slot in most circumstances, with T1 wisdom and T2 ICPR. Compassion is a decent backup skill with T2 and T3 of those stats respectively, its T1 stat (resistance rating) is much less relevant though and you’ll rarely have room for a second +will virtue.
  • +Morale: Zeal (+389) and Valour (+389). Staying alive is good, and these virtues will help you do that very nicely. The combined 778 morale from these two virtues is a huge chunk of survivability and you’d be hard pressed to find a situation where you don’t want these slotted. If you’re making a choice between the two, you should obviously choose Zeal because it has more relevant T2 and T3 stats. Note that the morale contribution from these virtues for a lore-master is far greater than from the direct +vitality virtues (Loyalty gives +42 vit = +126 morale).
  • +Physical mitigation: Innocence (+756) and Compassion (+756). Physical mitigation is an great virtue for all tactical classes, but lore-masters particularly given our desire to hit things in melee range. For classes with a low base level of mitigations from our armour, any extra survivability we can get from our virtues goes a long way and these should generally be slotted in solo situations and many group situations if there’s going to be physical AOE attacks (or if you risk pulling aggro). The T3 stat on each of these is a small amount of tactical mitigation which is gravy, the T2 stat on innocence (resistance rating) is marginally more useful than the OOCPR on Compassion.
  • +Tactical mitigation: Tolerance (+567) and Fidelity (+567). As with the physical mitigation virtues, these are great to have for all classes, but especially light armour classes which have low base mitigations. These are essential raiding virtues, as many raid fights feature either AOE or random-aggro tactical attacks. The fact that the T2 and T3 stats on each of these virtues are good is just a bonus.
  • +ICPR: Patience (+75). If I had 6 virtue slots, I’d use this a lot because it’s quite a nice chunk of ICPR. Unfortunately it’s only a small increment above Wisdom and it’s so hard to forego the four morale/mitigation virtues in any situation that I don’t find myself using it very often. Still, it’s not a bad one to use if you really want some extra ICPR.

I’m sure it’s possible to make the case for other virtues, but in general I think those are the core ones that lore-masters should focus on. My recommended virtue setup would generally be wisdom, zeal, valour + the two most relevant mitigation virtues depending on what type of damage you’re likely to face. So to help you plan on how to get these virtues, this column will go through those seven virtues – wisdom, zeal/valour, innocence/compassion and tolerance/fidelity. It’s gotten a bit long so I’m going to split the discussion up over two posts over the coming week.

Virtue planning guide

In this guide I’m going to list all of the deeds that award ranks of each virtue. Unless otherwise mentioned, each deed grants +1 of the virtue. The number in bracket next to the slayer deeds is the total number of mobs needed to get the virtue rank, so it’s the combined basic + advanced deed kill count where relevant. I’ve also given a subjective “grind” rating out of 5, where 1 is relatively light grind and 5 is the worst kind. Obviously these ranks are purely subjective, but basically the general idea is:

  • 1 – easy explore deeds and low-tier quest deeds
  • 2 – slightly harder explore deeds, high tier quest deeds and sub 100 kill-count slayer deeds
  • 3 – sub-300 or otherwise relatively easy slayer deeds, including boss kills that only require one run through a low level dungeon (which is fairly easy with just ~3 people at level 75)
  • 4 – more difficult sub-300 slayer deeds (eg. elites or instance mobs), other sub-400 slayer deeds
  • 5 – the really nasty ones, 400+ slayer deeds or 300+ ones with unconcentrated mob populations, high kill counts of tough elite mobs.

I haven’t given a full guide to where to find good concentrations of mobs for the slayer deeds, again see the wiki page or Burgzerg for references.

Without further ado, here’s my guide to getting 14 ranks of wisdom, valour and zeal.
Wisdom

Thankfully 14 ranks of our primary stat virtue are relatively easy to earn (unlike those poor melee classes). You can earn 10 from grind level 1-2 deeds (11 if you are an elf) and the rest from level 3 ones. The few slayer deeds that we do have to do are relatively light on the grind and the only large number one (Angmarin in Evendim) is pretty quick to do thanks to the high concentration of Angmarin in the non-instanced Annuminas and the possibility of repeating some of the epic books featuring many Angmarin while buffed with inspired greatness.

Zone

Type

Description

Grind

Erid Luin Exploration Elf-ruins

1

Bree-Land Exploration The Old Forest

1

Bree-Land Random drop Lore of the Cardolan Prince (Barrow Downs)

1

Lone-Lands Exploration Weathertop

1

North Downs Exploration The Western Ruins

1

Eregion Exploration The Ruins of Eregion

1

Misty Mountains Exploration The High Passes

2

Forochel Exploration The Battle for Forochel

2

Moria Exploration The Redhorn Lodes

2

Mirkwood Exploration The Wilds of Mirkwood

2

(Racial) Elf racial trait Friends with Elves of Rivendell

2

Evendim Slayer Angmarin (360)

3

Eregion Slayer Uruks (120)

3

Moria Slayer Glow-worm (180)

3

Dunland Slayer Craban (180)

3

Moria Slayer Grand Stair orcs (180)

4

Moria Slayer Sixteenth hall orcs (180)

4

Great River Slayer Brigands (375)

4

Valour

There’s no two ways around it, this is a really grindy virtue. The grind used to be alleviated somewhat by getting +2 ranks from Moria worm slayer, but that is only worth one rank nowadays unfortunately. To get this virtue to max rank, you’ll have to do every deed on the list below except two. Personally, I’d skip Sarnur trolls and Urugath trolls, although the latter isn’t too difficult if you’re able to get a couple of people together to repeatedly clear out the huge mass of trolls just to the right of the entrance to Urugath. For the two absurdly high kill-count worm slayer deeds, there’s high concentration populations at Sálgaitë (Forochel) and near the Crossroads of Ash (Flaming Deeps) which alleviate the pain a little bit – definitely wait until your max level though to speed the process up.

Zone

Type

Description

Grind

Bree-Land Slayer Orcs (90)

2

Shire Slayer Goblins (90)

2

Moria Exploration The Foundation of Stone

2

Lothlorien Exploration City of the Lord and Lady

2

Mirkwood Exploration Evil Strongholds of Mirkwood

2

Lone-Lands Slayer Goblins (180)

3

Lone-Lands Slayer Goblins (180)

3

Trollshaws Slayer Worms (270)

3

Angmar Slayer Carn Dum bosses (5)

3

Misty Mountains Slayer Trolls (240)

4

Moria Slayer Spiders (360)

4

Great River Slayer Easterlings (375)

4

Erid Luin Slayer Sarnur Trolls (300)

5

Angmar Slayer Urugath trolls (180)

5

Angmar Slayer Worms (450)

5

Moria Slayer Worms (360)

5

Zeal
Zeal is another very grindy virtue. This time you can earn 10 ranks from grind level 1-3 deeds (provided you can get a couple of people to help you clear 16th hall), but will still have to choose 4 of the remaining level 4-5 ones. Thankfully the once hideously grindy Kergrim slayer got a boost, with a bunch of them being added to [url=http://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Haudh_Valandur]Haud Valandur[/url] in the Evendim revamp. Again, assuming you can get another person or two to clear the orcs in the entrance room in the Forges a few times (bring a friend for the Misty Mountains giants too) then you don’t need to do any of the 5-ranked deeds, but if you do find you have to do one, the pick of them imo would be Forochel worms; although it has an absurd kill count, at least there is a high population cluster just north of Zigilgund (you earn plenty of coin from the scales too!). Avoid the Moria dragonet slayer deed like the plague, those things are impossible to find – it’s literally the only non-instance deed in Moria that I still haven’t completed! Note that wood trolls count for the Trollshaws troll deed, so you can get a decent number by repeating the epic 1.4.8 (The Unmarked Trail) from the reflection pool with inspired greatness, it’s about 40 per run from memory without a slayer deed tome.

Zone

Type

Description

Grind

Erid Luin Slayer Goblins (90)

2

Erid Luin Slayer Spiders (90)

2

Moria Exploration Bulwarks of the Enemy (+2 ranks)

2

Dunland Exploration Carreglyn

2

Dunland Quests Bonevales

2

Great River Exploration Great River

2

Evendim Slayer Kergrim (360)

3

North Downs Slayer Goblins (240)

3

Moria Slayer 16th hall bosses (3)

3

Trollshaws Slayer Trolls (240)

4

Misty Mountains Slayer Giants (240)

4

Angmar Slayer Orcs (400)

4

Moria Slayer Forges orcs (120)

4

Bree-Land Slayer Barrow spiders (400)

5

Forochel Slayer Worms (400)

5

Moria Slayer Dragonet (360)

5

Enedwaith Slayer Wood-trolls (375)

5

Up next time are innocence, compassion, tolerance and fidelity – thankfully most of those involve much less grind than these last two!

 

Lore-mastery: Pets, Pets, Pets

19

Today I’m finally going to take a look at something I’ve been meaning to get around to ever since this column started – pets. I’ll be giving a quick overview of the basics each pet, including tips on their specific skills and a general overview of when to use them. More interestingly for experienced lore-masters though is that I’ve gone and collected some data on important aspects of pet performance, including DPS, attack speed and the all important flank chance. The general conclusion from the results won’t surprise you, but I certainly learned some new things from putting these numbers together. I’ll begin with a general overview of the combat pets in the order that you can learn them, and then report the stats as a summary at the end.

Also, I’m not going to go into the details of the flanked mechanic. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a vitally important part of playing a lore-master effectively and I highly recommend you check out one of the guides elsewhere on the web such as this one.

All images in this article are from Lotro-Wiki.

Lore-master pet overview

Raven

Damage: Low
Flank rate: High
Coolest skin: Frost Raven (Tier 1 jeweler single use recipe, random drop)
Food: Bag of crumbs, gives increased fire/shadow mitigation, melee offence rating and evade rating. This is pretty useful and you should definitely carry some with you.

Skill 1: Benediction of the raven – Should be used frequently to debuff fire resistance (useful for your own skills and hunters with fire oils and fire RKs), but not autocast as its duration far outweighs its cooldown and it’ll drain your pet’s power.
Skill 2: Distraction – Gives a 50% debuff to ranged damage which stacks additively with wind lore, such that ranged mobs will actually move into melee range if you hit them with both. Also gives a small miss chance debuff. Should definitely not be autocast as your pet cannot flank while it is active (flanks only proc off auto-attacks) and given that it’s a 30s duration on 1min cooldown, this would mean that you’d get no flanks for 50% of the time.
Skill 3: Evasion – huge defensive buff, very useful as a reactive skill to save your raven from AOE damage (eg. draigoch claws).
Passive skill: Shield of the raven’s wing – The raven gives all of your fellowship a tactical mitigation buff, which is very relevant in end game raids with lots of tactical AOE damage. This does not stack with other ravens, but it isn’t raid-wide so if you have 2 lore-masters, put them in different fellowships and have both use the raven where relevant.

Comment: The raven is an excellent default pet to use in any situation. Its high flank rate, slight fire DPS boost and anti-archer skill make it a great solo option and its tactical mitigation buff make it a very good option for group situations with high AOE damage.

Example fights: ToO – Lightning, Fire & Frost, Saruman. Foundry. Pits of Isengard.

Bear

Damage: High
Flank rate: Medium
Coolest skin: Tundra cub (Tier 4 jeweller recipe, requires the jeweler to have kindred with the Lossoth of Forochel)
Food: Pot of honey and oats. Increased fire/acid mitigation, armour value and perceived threat. Possibly the most useful pet food going around, especially if you’re trying to have the bear tank stuff while soloing (although, see below).

Skill 1: Bear hug – 3sec stun. This is quite a useful stun option to add to the lore-master’s existing toolbox of stuns. Use this reactively, not autocast.
Skill 2: Roaring challenge – 10s force taunt. Powerful, but potentially dangerous in group situations. Make sure you know what you’re doing with this and only use it if absolutely necessary, because it can potentially cause problems with causing mobs to turn around and do frontal AOE where they shouldn’t, or just confuse the heck out of your tank. However it can be great to save a tank that’s dying, or pull aggro back off a hunter to give the tank time to get threat back. It’s also obviously useful soloing too.
Skill 3: Shatter arms – this is THE reason to use the bear in group situations, it’s a 30s +10% incoming melee/ranged damage debuff on a 1min cooldown, so effectively a 5% increase in the group’s physical DPS. This should generally be autocast.

Comment: This is a very useful and versatile pet. The biggest mistake people make with the bear is that they think just because it’s got a taunt that it’s a “tanking pet” like some pets in other MMOs. I’ll be very clear here – the bear should never be able to tank your current DPS target. Even at level 75 it does only 100dps, and so even with all of the possible +perceived threat debuffs (which can get it closer to about 200TPS in total), if you’re doing so little damage that the bear can tank your current target then you’re doing something very wrong. However, the bear IS a great off-tank while soloing – send it off to fight a second target and its high armour and threat generation will ensure that it stays alive and keeps the other mob interested even if you throw the occasional heal or AOE skill. The stun and force taunt options are also useful while soloing, offset by a lower flank rate than the raven. Essentially it’s a matter of personal preference as to whether you use this or the raven as your default solo pet. For group situations, it’s a great option with all of its skills being quite relevant, particularly shatter arms and roaring challenge is a good tool to have to recover from a broken mez. Imo the bear should be your default group pet, only being swapped out for other pets in specific circumstances (such as tactical AOE damage).

Example fights: ToO – Trash, Acid, Shadow. Draigoch. Roots of Fangorn.

Lynx

Damage: High burst, medium sustained
Flank rate: Low
Coolest skin: Spotted lynx (Tier 3 jeweller single use recipe, random drop).
Food: Cut of meat. Increases fire/shadow mitigation, and melee crit and defence rating. You probably won’t be using the lynx much at end game, and the bonuses are relatively small so this isn’t a particularly useful food to carry around.

Skill 1: Suprise attack – Does a big chunk of damage from stealth. This skill will revolutionise your soloing from level 30 (when you earn the lynx) until about the mid 40s. At this level range it does a huge chunk of damage to a mob, regularly taking out a third of the mob’s health and up to 50% if you get an in-position critical attack. The skill doesn’t scale all that well with mob health levels, declining to about 15-20% by level 75. This should be autocast, and you can use the pet summon skill return to master to reset the stealth status of the lynx before combat to make sure it’s available.
Skill 2: Feral strike – AoE slash attack. Don’t use it in the, somewhat unlikely, event that you’re cc-ing targets around the lynx. Otherwise, have it on autocast.
Skill 3: Slashing claws – Ditto.
Passive skill: Savage bleed – puts a moderate damage bleed on a mob on a critical hit.

Comment: As noted above, this is a great early game soloing pet and will greatly speed your killing of landscape mobs. In fact, it does so much damage on a surprise attack that it can actually tank mobs for you reasonably well at lower levels. It becomes much less relevant as mob health levels increase and you level up and get better pet options, but it’s not a bad option for a skirmish pet and definitely helps speed up slayer deeds. You’re unlikely to ever want to use this in an end-game group situation though.

Example fights: None.

Eagle

Damage: Low
Flank rate: High
Coolest skin: Unfortunately, the best two eagle skins are store-exclusives – Tundra eagle and ember eagle. The other skins are fairly lackluster imo.
Food: Bag of crumbs, the same as raven.

Skill 1: Fan the Flames – Fears mobs that are affected by the burning embers DoT for 15s. This is a pretty useful cc option while soloing, and the only lore-master fear. It’s way too fiddly and slow to be used as reliable cc in group situations though, but it can sometimes be useful in an emergency.
Skill 2: Beak rend – AoE damage and self-heal. This should be autocast unless you’re using cc.
Skill 3: Sacrifice – The only self-resurrection available in the game. You should always keep it on autocast, but it’s a bit fiddly to use. The main thing you need to know about it is that it is, bizzarely, an attack. So it can only proc if, when you die, the eagle is both alive and currently attacking something. If it is, it will quickly do this attack immediately after you die and you’ll get resurrected where the eagle was when you died, and also get a 10min debuff preventing you from receiving this resurrection again. If you remember this limitation, you’ll find that it’s quite usable and can be extremely useful in both solo and group situations.
Passive skill: Interrupt – The eagle will automatically interrupt it current target (also the only automatic interrupt ability in the game). There seems to be an internal cooldown on the skill of about 10-15sec, and it does have a chance of missing, but it’s still a really useful skill especially seeing as lore-masters don’t have a proper interrupt. Nobility – The eagle also gives your entire fellowship a small ICPR buff – this is being increased to 85 at level 75 with update 7 (it’s currently 60).

Comment: This is the pet you earn from your level 50 class quest legendary trait and imo it’s certainly deserving of its legendary status. It’s an awesome option for soloing through moria, with a great flank rate for self heals and increased melee damage, an interrupt which is great for all of those annoying orcs and goblin skills and the fear cc option. Also, I’ve used and abused that self res in moria frequently – running right through masses of mobs to get to where i needed then dying and ressing when my pursuers have all run back to their places. Plus, it’s always a nice option to have if you just happen to die and your normal revive is on cooldown.

The eagle is alwo frequently a good option in group situations too, either if you’re healing (it’s got the highest flank rate of any pet and combines excellently with improved flanking) or just as a backup interrupter, particularly in smaller group content where you might not have a champ or burg who can spam interrupts. Plus, the ICPR bonus is somewhat handy.

Example fights: Fangorn’s edge, Dargnakh Unleashed.

Sabertooth cat

Damage: Moderate, higher in AOE situations
Flank rate: Low
Coolest skin: Spotted sabercat (Tier 5 jeweller single-use recipe, random drop)
Food: Cut of meat, same as the lynx.

Skill 1: Frostbite – AoE damage and an odd frost damage debuff. Odd because there’s almost no frost damage skills in the game. RK frost skills are primarily debuffs, not damage, and the lore-master’s only frost damage skill is gust of wind which does pathetic damage. The sabertooth’s special skills do all do frost damage but it’s not very significant. Should be autocast.
Skill 2: Fury of winter – Frost AoE attack which causes a flank on a critical hit. Autocast.
Skill 3: Throat slash – Frost AoE attack which can start a FM if used on a flank.

Comment: Probably the worst and most situational pet. It’s not a very good solo pet because its AOE ability isn’t often useful on landscape mobs and other pets simply do better damage or have more relevant special abilities. Its special abilities have far too low % of coming off to be of any real use and its frost debuff does nothing for us. In group sitautions, all of your other pets have more relevant special abilities which either boost group DPS or increase surviability. And even in grinding slayer deed mobs, it’s vastly outclassed by the lynx which does better burst damage both single target and AOE with its special attacks. The only time when this is moderately useful is in skirmishes with huge waves of mobs, particularly group skirmishes or skirmish raids.

Example fights: Skirmish raids.

Bog-Guardian

Damage: Low (ranged), medium (melee)
Flank rate: Low (ranged), high (melee)
Coolest skin: Again, the only interesting skin is store-exclusive – Tundra guardian
Food: Bowl of water. +Fire/shadow mitigation, ranged offence rating and maxiumum power. Probably the least useful food – its ranged damage is pathetic anyway and who needs extra power on a pet?

Skill 1: Angry bees – DoT damage. Autocast.
Skill 2: Root strike – Single target damage and +5% range critical debuff. Autocast.
Skill 3: Bursting root – 1min cooldown with 20% chance of starting a fellowship maneuver. Autocast.
Passive skill: Is the only pet with a ranged auto-attack, unfortunately this is more of a hinderance than use in many situations because it cripples the pet’s damage and flank rate and it can’t be turned off, so you have to fiddle around with the pet skills to keep it in melee range.

Comment: This pet is gained from the legendary trait you obtain from getting kindred with the Iron Garrison Guards and is the capstone for the blue line. Unfortunately as you can see from the summary, it’s not a particularly good pet when compared to other options. It’s a decent soloing option, with a good flank rate (second only to the eagle), decent melee damage, good survivability and the ranged attack options is sometimes useful. However it’s generally inferior to the eagle, especially because you have to give up so much damage by going deep into the blue line to equip it. In group situations, it’s generally outclassed as a healing option by the eagle/spirit + 5 yellow/2 blue setup and the ability to start FMs and boost ranged crit chance is only marginally useful. The best use I’ve found for it is as a soloing pet for very tough situations, eg. older group content. It has much better survivability than the eagle and a much better flank rate than the bear so it can actually make a pretty decent tank, if you’re willing to give it time to build up a threat lead and use inner flame when necessary to pass threat. Apart from that, it’s not a great pet unfortunately.

Example fights: None.

Spirit of Nature

Damage: N/A
Flank rate: Medium
Coolest skin: All of the Update 6 spirit talismans are pretty cool (bear, boar, aurochs, raven etc.) – they turn the pet into a ghostly form of these animals.
Food: N/A

Skill 1: Flashing flank – guaranteed flank on 45sec cooldown. This skill can’t miss.
Skill 2: Nature’s light – pseudo revealing-mark. 5% damage return for 30s on 1min cooldown.
Skill 3: Nature’s gift – heals the fellowship for 10% of the pet’s morale (usually going to be about 600-800 morale healed) 10% of each party member’s morale, and this is affected by incoming heal rating.
Passive skill: Aura – this pet has an aura which gives mobs a 5% miss chance debuff.

Comment: A somewhat controversial pet initially, but after the changes in Update 5 I feel that it’s found a pretty good niche. It’s a really good healing pet if you’re trying to heal small group content – despite its lower flank rate than the eagle (about 50% less), the ability to control when you get them actually makes it far more useful and its other skills complement the role really nicely. It’s a good pet to pull out in quite a few situations, including the last boss in Dargnakh Unleashed and sometimes in raid trash situations where you don’t really have the time to micromanage your pets and the +5% miss chance aura is actually pretty good.

Example fights: ToO – trash. Dargnakh Unleashed.

Statistics

I’ve been meaning to collect some statistics on pets for a long time and finally got around to doing it. Unfortunately the training dummies are unusable for parses as they constantly boot you out of combat, so the pet stops attacking which completely messes the stats up. So for these tests I found some level 75 mobs in the Great River (battle cats as it happens, because they’re decent health, don’t have any special attacks and are nicely spread out, avoding multi-mob complications) and killed 5 of them with each pet. This meant that I did about 35,000 damage with each pet. While the results could always get more accurate with more numbers, the numbers were fairly consistent from encounter to encounter so I’m happy enough with them. If you want to see the raw results then you can email me (psychobabblelotro at gmail.com). I turned all relevant DPS skills on for the testing (other than the lynx’s surprise attack which would skew the results), and didn’t bother testing the sabertooth because you’re unlikely to ever use it outside of AOE situations (which I wasn’t testing).

Here’s the summary results:

  Raven Bear Lynx Eagle Bog-guardian
Total attacks recorded 486 152 281 299 203
DPS 52 93 77 50 74
Attack speed (hits per sec) 0.8 0.4 0.6 0.4 0.4
Hit chance 96% 100% 95% 95% 96%
Flank chance 5.1% 5.3% 1.4% 11.7% 9.9%
Flanks per minute 2.3 1.2 0.5 3.0 2.5
Avg time between flanks 26sec 48sec 116sec 20sec 24sec

There’s a few interesting points that jump out here, some of which challenge common assumptions about pets:

  • The eagle is the highest flanking pet, doing an average of 3.0 flanks per minute compared to 2.5 for the bog-guardian and 2.3 for the raven.
  • The bear has approximately the same flank chance as the raven, but it has a 50% slower attack speed and so only actually flanks half as often.
  • As expected, the lynx has a truly awful flank rate.
  • All of the pets do pathetic damage in the context of level 75 mobs, but the bear had significantly higher DPS than any other pet, including the bog-guardian.
  • In the 152 attacks recorded, the bear didn’t miss a single time which was very surprising.
  • The legendary status of the eagle and bog-guardian pets (which gives +1 level) doesn’t actually seem to give them a higher hit chance than the other pets.

I hope that information has been of some use. If you have any questions about the stats or, comments about pets generally then feel free to post in the comments.

 

Lore-mastery: User interface, plugins and screen layout tips

7

This week I’m going to look at something I’ve been meaning to cover for a long time – user interface (UI). UI customisation is a very personal thing and there’s a wide range of setups which will work well for different people, but there are some good general principles that you should think about. I’ll discuss some of these principles and go over my personal setup which might give people some ideas. The main areas of UI customisation are toolbar layout, plugins and screen layout and I’ll look at each of these in turn.

Toolbar layout

I believe that an effective toolbar and hotkey layout is one of the most important things to playing a successful end game character. Being able to hit your skills quickly, indeed automatically, while being able to process what’s going on around you in the rest of the group/raid is vitally important. I know there’s some mixed opinions about whether to use mouse or keyboard to activate skills, but from my perspective there’s not much of an argument; while it takes a little time to learn, using keyboard shortcuts for all commonly used skills is clearly superior.

There’s a few reasons for this. First of all it’s simply quicker. Yes, it’s only a question of fractions of a second but it all adds up (particularly for instant skills such as mezzes, self-heal panic buttons and interrupts) and the simple fact is that moving a mouse around takes time whereas hitting the keys that are already underneath your fingers doesn’t. Second, it’s more accurate (once you learn your hotkeys) – there’s no danger of a panicked misclick once you’ve got the muscle memory in for your hotkeys. And third, rotating your camera and moving around the screen is far faster with a mouse than a keyboard, so if you’re using your mouse to click skills then it’s going to be harder for you to multitask movement and skill use. I’m not saying it’s not possible for you to be a good player if you don’t use keyboard shortcuts, I’m just saying that using the keyboard for commonly used skills (once you’ve learned it) is always going to be an improvement. And it’s not that every single skill needs to have a shortcut key, just the core ~10 or so that you regularly use.

As for lore-master skill layout, you can see my setup above. Essentially I will use keyboard shortcuts for the first 5 or 6 skills in each of the four rows, and click everything else – except for a few key skills such as sop:r and share the power which I’ve got specific hotkeys setup for. My primary debuffs are from 9 to = on the keyboard, given they are only cast every 1min I will often mouse click these, but can also run my fingers along the keyboard. I won’t go into this setup in too much detail, other than to say that as a general rule I find it’s not necessarily a good idea to group all of the same kind of skills together, which is the natural temtation. The most important slots are 1-5, because they’re the easiest to hit, and so these should be your most common skills which for me are blinding flash, staff strike, sop:c (which I like to use on landscape mobs as I run into them), burning embers and LoTRD. On the second toolbar, I have sop:wf, pet attack (it’s very important to hotkey this one close imo), pet skill #1 (this will be swapped around depending on the pet – I pick the most important one for each pet, eg. benediction of the raven, fan the flames, flank, taunt), staff sweep and then pet skill #2 – I don’t think any of the pets have 3 skills which you really need to manually activate. This screenshot is slightly outdate, I’ve subsequently put the sage’s set clicky in place of the house summon there (although I actually don’t use the pocket in raids, as I have a ToO recipe pocket which has a huge chunk of morale which I find more useful than the extra will).

I also have toolbars 5 and 6 vertical and to the right of my screen – on there I put a bunch of things that I don’t use as much or which I’ll manually click (or which have specific hotkeys like potions). This includes alternative LIs, pets and summoning skills. I recommend putting extra toolbars like this verticlaly, as otherwise you lose a lot of key screen real estate to toolbars.

Plugins

Again, plugins can be something that people have mixed feelings on and again I have a pretty simple opinion on them – using relevant plugins correctly will always make you a more effective player. The most important plugin type is a debuff notification. Buffbars is the gold standard here, although Palantir can do a similar job quite effectively – while it won’t show you what debuff you have, the potion cure lightup in the middle of the screen is usually a good enough notification. Palantir has the additional benefit of giving you the useful health/morale brackets in the middle of the screen which I personally find quite handy.

The key to using plugins is to set them up correctly so that they tell you what you need to know when you need to know it. You can see how I’ve got mine setup in the screenshot to the right. I have two buffbars notification for pottable effects – a popup bar to the lower middle of my screen which ONLY has debuffs (buffs are in a window to the side of the screen which I usually only look at out of combat), and an effects slider to the top. I also have the potion popup on in both buffbars and Palantir. So basically my screen lights up like a christmas tree if I get hit with something I need to pot. This is a Good Thing. My raid group has a pretty shifting list raid with a lot of newer raiders and occasionally pug people. I can say from a lot of experience, that reliably potting negative state effects is one of the least common skills in the game. And in a fight like Saruman, it means that every time you take a new person in there you either better be confident in your mic skills or get ready to wipe a few times because of bombs going off. That’s not surprising in a way, the default interface (ie that tiny little square under your character portrait) does an unequivocably terrible job of notifying you that you need to do something. So do yourself a favour and setup Buffbars and/or Palantir to help you with this skill.

The other plugins I use are Combat Analysis, which can be seen taking up far too much screen real estate in the above screenshot. I don’t use it much in combat but it’s a great out of combat review tool with a lot of powerful features nowdays. I also love Raid Rolls which I use when handing out loot at the end of a fight. It looks through the combat log and sorts out /rolls (you specify when to open and close rolls for the data capture) and it’s a wonderful tool for raid leaders. I highly recommend it to anyone using master looter. I’ve also in the past used Kragenbars, primarily to have a scrolling pet toolbar button, but something broke it in a past update for me and I haven’t got around to updating it. I’ve also been meaning to setup LoTRO Alerts which scans your chat log for specific phrases, eg. “[player name] has freed [mob name] from a daze” or “shock [playername]” and pop them up as a text billboard. You can also set it up to popup timed alerts, eg. for reapplying debuffs or mezzes. It seems like a really good idea, but I just haven’t yet got around to using it.

Screen layout

There’s a few key principles you want to keep in mind when setting up your screen. First is that it’s easiest to see stuff in the middle of the screen, so try to keep that area for very important things. Second, you’re a lore-master so you need to be able to easily scan your group and raid for morale/power levels and curable effects. The most important thing to help you do that is to go into the UI options and on the social options (under combat, strangely) there’s two options which should both be ticked – “show dispellable effects only” and “show effects cast by me”. The former will clear off all the junk that fills people’s buff/debuff bars in a raid and only leave behind curable effects. This lets you both see what you need to cure (wound/diseases) as well as any fears or poisons which you could either cure with a salve or tell the other person to cure over a mic if you’re using voice software. The “show effects cast by me” option is mainly useful to let you keep track of your stun immunity.

As for what to put in the middle of the screen, as shown above I like both the christmas tree lightup of pottable effects and the palantir health/morale bars brackets. For a long time I also had both my and my target’s portrait, along with my pet and the “target of target” portrait in the middle, as you can see on the screenshot to the right. I don’t think that’s a bad thing to do. These portraits certainly have a lot of relevant information (what debuffs are up on the mob, has the hunter pulled threat, is your pet dying), but I’ve moved them recently to the positions in the above screenshot mainly because they were obstructing my view of the Great River too much :). They do tend to add a bit of screen clutter in the middle, but it’s something to think about if you want.

Finally, there’s chat bar setup. One tip I’d give there is to have /say text (where most boss callouts appear) in a highly visible colour on your active chat window (I use bright red). That can help you notice certain important callouts.

 

Lore-mastery: Tower of Orthanc raid guide – Saruman T1

13

Alright, time for the big one. You finally get to take on the old man and get revenge for all the hours of your time he’s taken up by walking slowly, oh so slowly, during the drama scenes at the start of each of the previous fights. Well, it certainly seems like hours anyway. Oh and there’s something about destroying a ring of power that will conquer all of middle earth or something. But mainly I’m here to get revenge for the slow walking. As this is the final guide for the raid, I’ll just link the previous guides for reference:

Saruman Tier 1

To me, this is a great Tier 1 raid fight. While some of the previous wings have suffered from either being undertuned (Shadow) or with silly/unforgiving mechanics (Acid), Saruman is perfectly placed as a capstone raid for a casual raid group. It’s not that it’s a ridiculously tough fight. The overall level of incoming damage is very managable when done correctly, and there’s no hugely strict DPS requirements, but there are also some extremely important mechanics which have to be learned and lots of opportunities for good group coordination to pull through for some clutch plays. While experienced raid groups would have found this a little more than a 1-2 wipe speedbump on their way to T2 (if that), casual raid groups will have to put a decent amount of learning into this fight and will certainly feel a sense of satisfaction when they’re finally able to beat it. That’s not to say it’s a perfect fight. In particular, it can be quite repetitive and there’s minimal ways to speed it up even once you’ve got it on farm – groups will often take 30-40min clearing it at first, and even as they learn it you’ll still only be able to get it down to 15-20m or so which does start to drag after a while. But hey, even if not perfect it’s still a good raid fight.

Saruman (2.1 million) and his clones (318k/278k morale)

There is no trash in this wing, you just head straight out of the Shadow room on to the top of the Tower of Orthanc. There you will see five pedestals with rings on them corresponding to the elements in previous four wings (fire and frost each get a separate ring). Saruman himself is standing in the middle. The fight begins when each of the rings are picked up, and the rings play a fairly central part in the fight mechanics. For this wing, if you are the only lore-master, you should trait 5 yellow (power and wisdom, fast loader, improved frost lore, improved fire lore and either improved sop:c or deep lore) along with two blue (light of hope and healer). Raven pet is probably the best due to the significant amounts of tactical damage floating around, although the eagle’s not a terrible option for the self res and interrupt abilities. If you have a second lore-master in the group, it’s not a bad idea for them to have at least 3 blue traits to get the reduced ancient cures cooldown which will help out during phase 3. The second lore-master won’t have significant cc or debuffing duties though, so they can feel free to mostly take DPS traits apart from that.

Ring skills

Each of the rings gives their bearer a new ability toolbar with 3 new skills on it. Ring bearers can only pick up one ring and cannot be the target of any of the ring skills. The Saruman fight is a 5 phase fight and before each of phases 2-5, each ring bearer will need to go to the place where they picked up their ring at the start of the fight and use the leftmost skill on the ring skill toolbar when the little glowy effect appears at the ring’s original location (see screenshot). If each of the five ring bearers do not click the skill at the correct time, the phase restarts so needless to say you want to make sure that each of your ring bearers are alive at the end of each phase. You also want to make sure they have stable internet connections and don’t need to go out for a repair or retrait, because if a ring bearer leaves the instance for any reason – including a DC – after picking up a ring then that ring bearer’s ring will be lost, which breaks the fight and you’ll have to restart the whole instance. The various rings’ skills and some suggested people to give them to are as follows:

  • Lightning ring. Skill 1: 12s buff -200% induction time, -400% attack duration. Skill 2: 84,000 distributed damage attack. The first of these effects is probably best given to a hunter or fire RK, as they are DPS classes which benefit from both parts of the buff (champs and burgs don’t really have inductions). It’s best not to put rings on melee damage dealers or burglars becuase they tend to die more often. I believe that the distributed damage can break mezzes, so be aware of this and make sure to only use it in a way that is consistent with your group’s cc strategy.
  • Fire ring. Skill 1: +100% melee/ranged/tactical damage and devastate chance and +25% melee/ranged/tactical and devastate crit chance. Skill 2: ~14k frontal cone AOE damage. Again, be careful not to break mezzes with this skill.
  • Shadow ring. Skill 1: 12s buff, on any damage 50% chance to grant effect all fellowship members within 10 meters restore 100% morale. Skill 2: Places a corruption on the target which does an amount of damage which is dependent on the tier of the corruption (it tiers up to tier 3 after ~10s). This is a powerful but tricky ring to use. The first skill should obviously be used on a tank and the second one should be coordinated with the DPS group so they don’t remove the corruption straight away.
  • Acid ring. Skill 1: Sets armour and resistance rating to 0. Skill 2: Grants a 12s buff which causes recipient to reflect 100% of incoming damage and get a 250,000 temporary power bubble. Use the first skill on your first priority DPS target and the second skill reactively to stop a tank or healer from dying.
  • Frost ring. Skill 1: 12s buff that grants the recipient a 250,000 temporary morale bubble and +2,400% perceived threat. Skill 2: after an 8sec delay, supresses any learned adaptations for 20s. This is best given to your primary CC class (*cough* lore-master *cough*) and is an important part of your group’s cc strategy, which will be discussed in more detail below. The first skill should obviously ONLY be used on a tank. I once accidentally used it to save a dying healer and things got a tad chaotic as every mob in the room suddenly ran over to beat up on that poor (although temporarily invincible) healer.

As I said before, the ring buffs can’t be used on a ring bearer, so under no circumstances should a tank pick one up. Generally, for rings other than frost captains are the best options to pick these up, becuase they don’t die quickly, and they’re watching both group morale levels and the current DPS target. Apart from that, give them to any other ranged DPS/healers that you don’t plan to have as one of the recipients of the buffs (eg. don’t give it to your only hunter because you’ll want to give them the lightning buff). Using these effectively is an important part of the fight, particularly phase 5, so make sure the ring bearer’s understand that and use skills as appropriate. The skills say they have a 30s cooldown, but in reality can only be used once per phase; they reset every time a phase ends.

Phase 1

This is very much a warm-up phase. The mechanics of the phase are as follows. Please note that all mechanics described carry onto subsequent phases, unless otherwise noted:

  • Saruman clones. At the start of each of the first four phases, five Saruman clones corresponding to the five ring elements with ~318,000 morale will spawn at their respective ring locations. My recommended kill order in all phases except 3 is the same – shadow, acid, lightning and then either frost/fire at the end. The shadow Saruman is always the first to die, because he does a decent amount of damage, heals other clones and, in phase 5, has the ability to heal himself or other clones back up to full. Acid is second to die because it gives its current aggro target a big uncurable acid bleed and in later phases does an annoying debuff. Lightning comes after that because in later phases it does the polarity special attack from the lightning wing boss. Fire and frost are last and interchangeable because, except in phase 3, they don’t really do much. Your tanking strategy should probably involve one tank being assigned lightning and frost, the other being assigned fire and acid and the shadow being quickly burned down and DPS-tanked. Tanks can kite if necessary, especially in phase 5, but be wary of stealing the other tank’s clones while running around.
  • Crowd control. Some groups don’t use a crowd control strategy, but I highly recommend it as a way of reducing incoming damage during the critical early phases of each phase. For phase 1-4, you will want to have one lore-master with the frost ring cc the acid clone for the maximum amount they can, which is going to be either 30 or 35sec mez x2 plus ~5sec stun, depending on whether they have the 5 piece bonus from the ToO yellow line armour set, or the older DN set. Be warned that using the frost ring is VERY fiddly. It has a long animation time and only unlocks a window of adaptaion supression approximately 8sec after application, so you have to use it about 10sec before your mez expires for it to be effective. Also note that all Sarumans begin the fight with an adapted immunity to fear effects, which isn’t removed by the ring’s effect, so they can never be feared.
  • DPS on shadow Saruman. Given that the crowd control is only going to be effective for a bit over 1min, it is important to try to DPS the shadow Saruman down. Even without using ring effects, this only corresponds to raid wide DPS of apprixmately 5,000 which is very achievable. This is especially important in the much more dangerous phase 5, so do practice to make sure you can do it even in the early phases.
  • Out of combat. Before having to use the ring colour circle powers, there are out of combat breaks after phase 1 and phase 2, so don’t waste any incombat res cooldowns unless absolutely necessary and remember that you can still eat food during this break.

Phase 2

Three new mechanics are added:

  • Environmental effects. Unfortunately I don’t have a screenshot of these, but this phase introduces some truly ridiculous environmental effects. They are full scrren explosions of colour and light corresponding to one of the 5 ring elements. They swap around randomly approximately every 1min. These effects give their corresponding clone a +50% damage/-50% incoming damage buff. You probably shouldn’t bother messing around with the shadow/acid kill order even if the corresponding effects are up, but on the final three clones it is worth swapping targets if you are trying to kill the clone corresponding to the current environmental effects.
  • Acid bubble. The acid clone will randomly put the debuff that was seen in the shadow wing on players. The debuffed player gets a red bubble around them and need to be healed to full morale or else they take a massive amount of damage.
  • Polarity. The lightning clone gains the polarity skill from the lightning wing. As noted by JWBarry, the GFX on this skill are somewhat bugged and it is impossible to completely avoid this skill when standing in relatively close range. There’s not that much you can do about this, other than tank the boss right on the edge so only 2 polarity arcs spread out, and stack tactical mitigation so the hits don’t hurt so much.

Phase 3

This is the first phase that groups new to the fight will be in serious danger of wiping on thanks to the new skill that the frost Saruman gets. In fact, wipes here are probably to be expected the first few times you attempt it unless you have a fairly experienced raid group:

  • Negative state effects. The frost Saruman gains the ability to throw out negative state effects – disease/wound/poson/fears. These are all ‘bomb’ type effects, which explode after 8sec for various damaging effects in an AOE radius. The wounds and poisons give ~6sec stuns (I think the wounds also give an incurable DoT), the fears give everyone an incurable terror for ~2sec and the diseases give -100% outgoing/incoming healing debuffs. These effects come quite quickly and in groups. Needless to say, these effects can cause really bad chain reactions. If people miss pots and get everyone stunned, then no one can cure their effects which causes more bombs to go off and then everyone dies. It’s not pretty. This is a really good opportunity to get your whole raid using buffbars/palantir plugins and really focus on potting these things in a timely manner. Of course, it’s also a good opportunity for lore-masters to cure dangerous wounds and diseases (if you don’t already, I recommend that you use potions to cure your own diseases and wounds, saving your cure skill cooldown for other fellowship members). While it’s still a good idea to kill the shadow Saruman first, frost should definitely be second on your hit list to stop these effects from pinging. It’s also not a bad idea to throw a single mez on the frost Saruman at the start of the fight to give the group some breathing room while they DPS the shadow down. Luckily this is a Phase 3 mechanic ONLY. Once you kill the frost Saruman in this phase, you don’t need to worry about it again.
  • Environmental puddles. I’m not exactly sure of the source of these (whether it’s related to the negative state effects or if it’s caused by the Sarumans), but in this phase, damaging shadow (purple) and acid puddles will start appearing on the ground. Don’t stand in the bad.
  • Frost Saruman. While the frost environmental effect is up, he does massive damage to his current aggro target if it’s moving. So make sure you’re stationary tanking him.
  • Central Saruman. The real Saruman will wake up in this phase (he still can’t be damaged) and start doing quite damaging light-based attacks to random players which just need to be healed through. I’m not 100% sure if this can be reduced by frost lore, but I’ve heard it can’t so probably don’t bother.

Phase 4

This is easier than phase 3 and lets you relax before the insanity of the final phase. There is only one new mechanic of note:

  • Healing puddles. The shadow clone gains the ability to place healing puddles down. Make sure you move him out of it while you’re trying to kill him.

Phase 5

This is it, the big one. The good news is that the clones all lose 10% of their morale in this phase, so they’re “only” 280k morale each. The bad news is that they’ve doubled. Yup, you have 10 clones to deal with in this wing. Good luck!

  • Shadow clone full healing. The thing that will wipe you more than anything in this phase is the shadow Saruman’s ability to completely heal up clones. This can make things drag on for so long that your CC runs out and the huge amount of AOE damage going around and a massive number of clones beating up on your tanks overwhelms your healers. The full heal is an interruptible induction, but in between environmental effects, shadow/acid puddles and general craziness of 10 clones running around there’s an awful lot going on here and it’s entirely possible that people will miss inductions. Tell your champs to be very, very focussed and, as I said, it’s not a terrible idea to have your eagle pet along to help out.
  • CC strategy. The cc strategy here should change from previous phases. You should pick one of the shadow clones to DPS down and mez the other one. If you can keep that shadow clone locked down without mez breaks and effectively DPS the other one down within 1min then you’ve essentially won this fight. If you have spare cc in the raid, feel free to throw some on the acid Saruman, but your tank needs to be aware that they need to pick up anything else that’s mezzed after ~30s.
  • Punting eyes. This is a BIG one to watch out for. Periodically the central (real) saruman will put eyes above everyone in the raid’s head. This causes an effect which expires after about 10s which makes everyone get punted towards the edge of the tower. This will knock you right off to your death (and prevent you from completing the deed) if you do not stand in front of one of the doors to prevent the knockback from making you fall off.
  • Tank strategy. It’s highly recommended that tanks kite their Sarumans during the first part of this fight, the damage levels get pretty extreme. Watch out for the frost Saruman during the frost effects phase though.
  • Ring effects. Needless to say, the start of this phase is an excellent time to be using all of the relevant ring effects to DPS the shadow Saruman down and keep your stressed out tanks alive.
  • Power sharing. There is a very good chance that you group, particularly minstrel healers, will start running out of power in phase 5. Get ready to share a lot; I once shared 35,000 power to a single minstrel over the course of this fight. Make sure you have good ICPR and do take along the parable consumables; share the power is an induction, so they reduce the power you use on sharing by a very significant amount.
  • Debuffing strategy. There’s a few ways you can go here. Obviously your DPS debuffs should be used on the shadow Saruman, but apart from that you should try to hit as many of the kited Sarumans as possible with fire lore (deep lore trait and/or the book legacy help), and use frost lore on the lightning Sarumans.

Once you’ve managed to navigate the first minute or two of this phase, you’re on the home stretch. Things get markedly easier once the first and second shadow Sarumans are dead, and once the acid ones are taken out the fight’s as good as over. Once you finish the phase you get a chance to beat up on Saruman himself; he’s essentially a target dummy though because you’ve destroyed the power of his rings. After he’s had enough of that he does the knockback eye (STAND IN FRONT OF A DOOR!!!) and runs away. Then you get treated to a very nice peaceful ending which I won’t spoil here, but it’s a fantastic way to end what is overall a pretty great raid.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these T1 orthanc guides and welcome any feedback on them in the comments. I may take a stab at some T2 guides in the coming weeks, but I’m looking to go back to doing some more class-specific posts so no promises.

 
Go to Top