Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar - Beta Journal

First of all, at 24 (almost 25), I am really getting into my Lore-master! This will definitely be my main once the game goes gold and launches.

Now, with that said and out of the way, I had no idea what to expect as I first donned my Lore-master robes and began my journey to learn Lore and Knowledge. The scenery is outstanding in most of Middle Earth, so I fell right into the immersion and went with it. There are still a few glitches being tweaked, but at this time, these are known issues and the devs are on it. Every situation I've been in with my Lore-master, both solo and grouped, has been a learning experience of strengths and weaknesses. One also has to learn the limits of what one's pet is capable of and in which situations. At first, plan to die more than most characters when learning to play the Lore-master -- and get used to the fact that if your pet goes down, you are likely to follow pretty quickly. That's not a certainty, of course, because you might just walk in the door with the 'knack' of keeping a cloth-wearer alive. If this is the case, you'll love the Lore-master. For those of us, however, who had generally played either melee characters or some serious get-down fire-flinging Wizard or Sorcerer or such classes, the Lore-master takes a little getting used to.

I began my explorations after the tutorial quests, and all the other quests from the Archet area, by relocating to the town of Combe. I then used that town as a base for awhile to do all the quests in and around that town. I roamed further and further afield as the quests took me to and fro, teaching me Middle Earth's regions and POIs (Points of Interest). At around 14, I took up crafting, becoming a Historian. Scholar is the Historian's main craft line, so I figured for a Lore-master that would get me the most mileage at the end of the day. So, much time was spent doing questing, exploring, and gathering of crafting ingredients, I really didn't have time to worry about leveling, in and of itself -- it just happened along the way of having fun. Hunting and gathering crafting supplies kept me in and around the Midgewater Marshes area outside Staddle for several levels. The time spent in my various endeavors also allowed me to keep experimenting with different combinations of the Lore-master's skills and abilities. For those of you who say the Lore-master will be a 'one-trick' pony, i.e. send in pet, cast Embers, this just simply isn't the case if you wish to learn to play the character well. Certainly, there are times when this combination is viable and can be used to best effect. However, folks should forget about this being the brunt of playing a Lore-master. There are so many other abilities at your disposal that you will soon find you develop certain patterns of fighting depending upon the mob-type.

At any rate, as I and my Bear pet, Goliath, aged, taking on more involved quests, beginning to solo higher levels of beasts, Orcs, Half-Orcs, and Brigands, and the Barrow-down's Undead minions, among others, I learned to work closely with my pet. I learned when to use him for DPS, when for mere distraction, or when to put him on an add solo while I fought the main mob. During this time I used my CC (crowd control) abilities to learn CC in many given situations. At the same time I was learning the offensive and defensive capabilities of my Lore-master. I was learning to use my limited abilities to mitigate wounds, heal Morale in a minor way, lend power, buff, and debuff my Fellowship members. In addition, my Scholar was crafting some minor buffs to help in combat offence and defense. After I hit 20, things became almost livable as a Lore-master. And I put it that way because unless one is very careful, Lore-masters are pretty squishy and die quickly, no matter the level.

At this point in the learning experience, and being no further along than beta for the game, I am more than satisfied with the Lore-master. There is a contingent of us talking with the devs about deficiencies that need to be corrected in the near future to make the class completely viable. They are being non-committal right now about exactly what the final version of the Lore-master might be, but we will wait them out to see where our class is at launch... lol

With just a little dev love, not a lot by any stretch, the Lore-master will be a very engaging and fun class to play. If one dedicates themselves to getting all they can from their character and learning to use her abilities wisely and in which situations, the Lore-master will make for very satisfying play sessions. Having taken the time and expended the effort to learn such knowledge is sometimes the difference between life and death for you. While soloing, one must always keep their options open and know instinctively what attack/defense posture to assume in a myriad of situations.

Have a great time all you fledgling Lore-masters, I am! ;)

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