Lotro’s class changes

Lotro Fireworks

Lotro FireworksThe NDA for the beta of Helm’s Deep has dropped, so I can now write about my impressions. I had “quit” the game months ago, although “quit” is probably too harsh. I just haven’t played it anymore, but especially with my lifetime account, I always have the option of going back. My warden is not at max level yet and I find it quite hard to get back into playing her, because of the way this class is designed. I had little notes stuck to the bottom of my monitors with the skill combinations. You have three skills, gambit builders, that you use in different combinations and depending on the combination, you can then use a gambit finisher. The good thing is that this feature leaves your hotbar quite empty of skills. Most of the class’s skills are executed by combining the gambit builders.

Anyway, the proposed class changes are quite controversial.So far, you can basically mix and match traits from different trait trees (each class has three) as you like. After the changes, this will not be possible anymore. It will be more like traditional skill trees (think old-school World of Warcraft). What I did in the beta was mostly looking at the new trait trees trying to figure out if I can play the way I’ve played my warden most of the time. I mixed between offensive melee traits and defensive ones. I found that this worked best for me. It took ages killing mobs solo, but I didn’t die either and I could also easily pull several mobs towards me and still survive the fights. Whenever we wanted to do 3 man instances, I could tank them easily.

I’m not saying this isn’t possible anymore, since I didn’t test it. I’m going to comment on the impression I got and that others will probably have as well. For years now, traits and builds worked in a certain way. Our skill bars were crowded (except for the warden, of course). A change was welcome. I loved the idea of not having that many skills anymore. Some aren’t needed or skills are very similar in their effects.

lotro_hobbits_picnicBut what Turbine did instead seems just bad. It’s not about how the classes and their trait trees will work out in the end. That may even be good, who knows? But if the players look at the trees, try to work with them and are appalled and shocked by the changes… then what good does that do? You can say and argue about how great those changes are, if the first reaction is that of “horror”, your chances are that players will just log out and forget about this game. Unfortunately, when you read the discussion about the upcoming expansion, it seems that several players react just with that horror.

I felt like the devs are putting us into boxes. My warden is either melee DPS, ranged DPS or a tank. But a melee DPS with tanky traits didn’t seem to work anymore. Some skills that you have been using for years now are suddenly locked away in other trait trees. Instead of mixing, e.g., tanky traits with using offensive skills, I now get access to tanky traits and tanky skills with a few offensive skills.I also apologize for not going into detail here, but I can’t access the beta at the moment to check for the skills’ names. ;)

The choice when to use which skills isn’t in the middle of a battle anymore. The choice for using certain skills is now made before you even step into battle. This diversity was what I really loved, together with the ability to choose whichever traits I liked and put them together instead of choosing for a specialization that predetermines which skills you are allowed to use and which ones you aren’t. At least, we’ll get multi-builds. You can make several builds and switch between them when you’re not in combat.

Those changes are drastic and probably a bit too much for the average player to chew on. Only time and more experience will tell if those changes are for the better or not.


  1. I mainly agree Bookah, they have taken what was special about Rune Keepers (attunement) and completely changed it, for the worse in my opinion. However, in the last Beta I realised that less of the skills are gated now than in previous Betas, it didn’t seem as bad. Wardens in my opinion were better to play, as Gambits as they stand confuse the hell out of me and I’m like you with the little combination charts, especially if I have a break (which happens quite a lot!)

    It is like rolling a new class and already being max level with all your skills, however – I remember a player in WoW who bought an account and never got the hang of healing on his priest; I’m hoping it doesn’t feel like that!

    The other thing that I want to comment on are the new forms of instance included: Big Battles. I have tried solo and a 12 person raid and I loved this completely – a great new mechanic to get the feel of an epic battle and ways to progress in mastery of your skills in 3 trees especially for those battles.

    Plus the rest of Rohan is just stunning, with a pretty good epic questline and beautiful music as always. There are changes to crafting that make materials more straight-forward and as usual, great crafted items.

    So some good, some bad – well worth playing through the story to see if you like it, though – especially as with your lifetime account you get to buy the expansion with your accrued Turbine Points for 4295 TP. I actually recommend you roll a new character with the class changes and learn from the beginning ;p


    1. I was deliberately not commenting on the whole expansion, as I haven’t tried it and just can’t comment on it at all. ;)

      The problem I mainly have with Lotro is that I don’t like the feeling of combat. I didn’t like it when I first got into Lotro and I don’t like it now, especially after playing other games, Guild Wars 2 most of all. The combat feels more reponsive and fluid whereas in Lotro, it just seems… slooooow. Not the time it takes to kill a mob, but the whole feeling of combat. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain what I mean. I will probably get the expansion for my free TPs, but I don’t know if I’ll ever actually level a character through the new regions. I skipped the whole current expansion already, after all. ;)


      1. LOTRO combat: Nice Rotation to begin with and then suddenly hit all skills available including incorrect ones…so goes from Formulaic to Chaotic with no Strategic filling…(Actually quite realistic if you think about it…plans made before battle, reality intervenes and left with bashing away…but as heroes of ME surely we could dance around a bit before the desperation kicks in?)

        What they need to do is introduce some grey powered manoeuvres…I am NOT going to suggest they go ACTION filling as the old engine would surely stutter and fail.

        (Not being in BETA will wait to see how having less skills to randomly bash effects the combat!)


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