Sith Lords in Middle-earth
I’ve really been enjoying the Rune-keeper (RK) class, one of the two new classes added to LotRO in the Moria expansion. The class is a bit like a Hunter and a bit like a Minstrel in gameplay; never both at the same time through really. The class skills are divided into two main groups: massive damage or heals over time. The more of one sort of skill one uses in a given fight, the more options become available – thus if e.g. I use my damage skills to kill something, as the fight progresses my more powerful damage spells get unlocked, but at the same time I lose access to my more powerful healing skills. This process is known as attunement. It’s a delicate balance and I think is handled very well.
The class has a nice daze skill, which takes a foe out of combat for 5-10 seconds (or 10-15 seconds if traited). There’s also a short duration stun that works more often the stronger one’s battle attunement. Otherwise, the options are overwhelming force or strong healing. When soloing, that’s a pretty clear choice. 😉 It is possible to throw a couple of heal-over-time skills up before a fight, then go heavy into damage, and using this approach my RK has been able to consistently solo ‘red’ mobs (~5 levels higher) when need be. Correspondingly, my RK, whom I only started playing a couple of weeks ago, hit lvl 45 the other night.
<rant>There’s been some concern in the community that the RK violates the lore of Middle-earth by providing spell effects that are too flashy; one can shoot lightning from one’s hands (“your feeble skills are no match for the dark side!”), rain down fire upon one’s foes, or summon a hailstorm. To those who say this violates the lore, I respond, “go read the books again!” This is a pet peeve of mine; there’s actually rather a lot of overt, flashy magic in Tolkien’s works yet people so often forget this. In the Silmarillion, the tale of Beren and Luthien has some of the most extreme examples of flashy magic of which I’ve read… multiple characters use illusion magic to change their appearances into vampires and werewolves, use songs to literally tear towers down and scatter stones, and charm even Morgoth into a magical sleep. In the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf calls down fire from the heavens on the wargs who attack the Fellowship in Eregion, leaving the whole hilltop scorched (the location is of course in game: the Burnt Tor). Later when Minas Tirith is beseiged by the Nazgul, Gandalf fires a massive bolt of light into the sky, driving them off and dispelling the magical fear they brought. Elrond caused a river to flood, washing away the Nazgul, and Gandalf made the rushing water form the shape of horses just because he felt like it. Hells, four of the main characters (or technically five, though Bilbo and Frodo shared the same weapon) had weapons that glowed! Even Bilbo’s grandfather, the Old Took, had magical cufflinks that remained attached until removed, and could never be lost. Magic in Middle-earth is neither weak nor hidden nor especially rare. </rant>
Keep your hands off my Sith Lord wannabe! He belongs in Middle-earth dammit. Now excuse me a moment while I blast these orcs into cinders.