Friday, May 11, 2007

The Great Barrows

Earlier this week, at level 21, I brought my guardian to Tom Bombadill’s house in the Old Forest and, with my group, we ran Chapter 11 in Book One of the epic quest line. Our group consisted of myself, a human burgler and an elf lore master. The burgler was 21 and the lore master was 18, I think. We were all slightly above the level of the quest line but overall we were under-powered with regards to both healing and dps.

It was a good run. We each died three times, except myself who died twice (Tom B saved me from death number three). Thanks to the lore master heal (30 second cooldown) and burgler conjuctions, we managed to handle most of the encounters well enough. Both the burgler and the lore master could “mez” a target where there were large numbers so we had some decent crowd control available.

This was the first instance where I’ve been the main tank for the whole thing. There have been other times in LOTRO where I have tanked, but those situations tended to be average quests with the occasional elite mobs. For those times, the mobs didn’t do enough damage over time to worry too much about properly tanking or there was only on mob to worry about which I managed to hold well.

In the Great Barrows instance, there are many elites, sometimes two or three in a group accompanied by nonelite helper mobs. The ability to tank and multi-tank the mobs is imperative, especially if you’re low on dps and healing and need to do a proper job of taking them out as a group.

The interesting thing about the guardian class in LOTRO is that, at least at level 21, it has no taunt ability. The closest thing is vexing blow, which is sorta like mocking blow for a warrior in WoW. It’s not really a taunt, but a high-aggro attack. The lack of a snap aggro taunt ability means that every fight is basically like Onyxia in WoW: the tank needs to be given a bit of a head start and then the group needs to work at keeping that head start. Some people, in WoW and other games, think pulling aggro off the tank means they are a bad tank. An idiot can pull aggro off the main tank in just about every game I’ve played. The smart players know they can but still don’t try it. Aggro management is the group’s responsibility, not the tank’s responsibility.

Anyway, we had a good run, got some nice things and completed book one of the epic quest line. I’m still working on my tanking skills with the guardian class, but it’s coming along. I can reliably keep aggro the majority of the time. The main issue at this point is finding a happy medium between spamming aggro abilities and power conservation for long fights.

In other news, I’ve been playing around with a number of alts. I have a hobbit hunter which is level 20, a burgler and a minstrel. The burgler and minstrel are only level 8 or so. I’m not sure whether I’d like to continue with my hunter as alt number two or switch to one of the other classes. They all seem fun and different from my main. Hrm … decisions, decisions.

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