Posted in Lord of the Rings Online

Bears: Soulless, Godless Killing Machines

Let me ask you this: if you were thrown in to a gladiator pit and had to fight an animal, which would you prefer to battle — a 20-ounce raven or a giant black bear?

“Why Syp,” you’d say.  “That’s not only laughable, but completely rhetorical as well!”

“Who said anything about rhetorical?” I’d answer, pressing the secret button that exists only on this blog.

You’d choose the raven, right?  I mean, even if this was the world’s deadliest raven, trained to be an eyeball-seeking missile of doom, it doesn’t really stand much of a chance against a meaty 170-pound person who has come to dominate the food chain over birds for a very good reason.  Birds are not scary.

On the other hand, nobody questions the deadly intent of a bear, especially if you’ve slathered yourself with salmon perfume that morning.  Despite what pop culture media would have you believe, bears do not exist to provide our young with comfort, to soften our laundry, to eat honey from cute little jars and to put out forest fires.  Instead, they are there to take your head off with one meaty swing of its paw and then laugh with their friends about how you peed your pants six seconds prior to that event.

So explain to me why LOTRO’s bear is physically weaker than the raven?  As a Lore-master feeling out the abilities of his pets, this is something I don’t get.  Even if you try to make the case that we’re somehow damaging an opponent’s “morale” instead of his or her physical well-being whenever you attack, I don’t think that a bird attack holds quite the demoralizing effect as a bulky bear getting all up in your business.

Really, a Lore-master’s bear should be the apex of the pet chain instead of the second, mostly disposable pet you get at level 15.  They do serve a purpose, mind you — properly traited and given honey ‘n oats to eat, bears can  grab some decent aggro and help keep mobs (especially adds) off your butt so that you can lay down the beats.

But I see very few LMs using bears, even before level 30 (when you get your burst-DPS lynx pet).  The raven offers better attacks and debuffs, the lynx has better DPS, and the eagle rocks everything.  So the poor, poor bear is left in the cold.

My friends, this should not be.  Bears should make enemies quake in fear, they should one-shot bad guys from time to time, and you should be able to mount one and ride it.  Because if you could summon a bear and order it about, why would you ride a horse from that point on?

Who will stand up for the bears?

14 thoughts on “Bears: Soulless, Godless Killing Machines

  1. Bears are so disposable because they are the main source of food and hides. You can’t feed a family of 6 (or provide a hobbit with a mid-afternoon snack) with the meat you get off a raven…but a BEAR…now we’re talking!

  2. Oh yeah! I have a bear pet! Maybe I’ll take him out for a walk later.

    Naaaaaaaaah, he sucks.

    Seriously, though, the only time I’ve actually found a use for the bear recently (level cap, natch) was doing Filikul raids. The other LM and I would send our bears in and alternate usage of the bear’s Shatter Arms skill to keep Nornuan’s armour rating debuffed. That was the only reason to use the bear so we never bothered traiting for Hardy Bear, no Honey and Oats, or anything else. There was always a Rune-Keeper in the group and the area-heal from his stone kept the bear alive so I didn’t even have to bother healing it.

  3. Black bears are actually more scared of you than you are of them! Most will take off before you even see them… unless it’s early spring and they’re huuuuuungry after a long hibernation or late fall and they need a bit more meat to fatten up! 😛

    Ravens? Now there’s a ballsy species! They’ll pick away at my garbage even while I’m running up, waving my arms, telling them to piss off!

  4. I also thought it was pretty ridiculous the first time a bird in EQ2 kicked my bruiser on his back.

    In my opinion they typically make birds too powerful in these online games.

  5. Awesome post! I laught out loud a few times.

    “… trained to be an eyeball-seeking missile of doom … ” – Hilarious!

    Keep up the great work. I love reading your Blog.

  6. Not that this is the logic used by the devs but ask yourself this: Would you rather say you died/retreated from a bear or a raven? Whichever one you said should, technically, do less morale damage. Its just plain embarrassing to get smacked around by a bird.

    Plus that whole tanks can’t possibly deal damage thing I think plays a number here.

  7. I have spotted a few high level LMs running around with truly gigantic pet bears (house size). I guess it is some kind of legendary trait but I am sure that if you were to see one of these monstrosities you would fell that bears finally warranted some respect.

  8. I use my Bear all the time, I think it’s great!
    Gives me a pocket tank, albeit a squishy one.

  9. I’ve been playing a LM since beta and I used my bear all during leveling. Its taunt comes in very handy to let me run a bit and get back so i can dot up the mob again. For instances, i tend to break out the raven for the extra damage and with RK’s they tend use more fire spells when the raven is out and that means more damage.

    Once they released the update book that gave us the lynx and tiger i tend to run with them a bit more when soloing now that vitelity isn’t a problem like it was when i started.

  10. I use my bear and found it got better with use. But yes, when going from the raven to the bear I was shocked. So much that I actually waited a few levels to use the bear.

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