Lore-Master vs. Captain: FIGHT!

Right now in LOTRO I’ve been bouncing between my level 65 Captain (who is busy raising all of her virtues up to 10 — 6 to go!) and my level 37 Lore-master.  Obviously, I have a lot more content ahead of the LM than the Cappy, although I’m not burning with desire to plow through it all.  I think there needs to be a bit of time between expeditions into Moria, and a few more months should cut it just fine.

But as I switch between characters, I’m very much aware of the differences of playstyles between the two. Captains, for all their awesomeness, are a basic, straight-forward class to play.  You get your herald/standard ready, you buff up, and you go out and hit things.  My attack rotation is fairly small — something like six skills I use regularly — and about the most excitement I get during a fight is when the death effect enables a couple of my reactionary skills, allowing me to heal or stun or buff my weapon speed a bit.  I like the feeling of being tough, of swinging a mighty two-handed sword, and of siccing my ghost archer on poor bats — but again, it’s straight-forward.

The LM, on the other hand, is all over the place.  They’re sort of a bag of tricks (I almost typed “ticks”, which would’ve been a bit itchier) that lack a unifying theme other than “do a little of everything”.  This means that every fight is different — in fights against the undead, I can use my special Undead-Buster skills; in fights against crowds, I can CC decently; depending which pet I have active, I can go for front-loaded DPS, off-tanking or increased flanking abilities.  The LM is both ranged (burning embers, gust of wind) and melee (two staff attacks), and generally I open with a few ranged attacks before swinging into the fray.

Both are good, although if I’ve been on my Captain for a while, I have to be careful of my survival as a LM — I tend to not watch my health as much.  Both have pets, although LMs’ pets seem more up front as combat assistants whereas the Cappy’s pets are there to augment but not steal the show.

On a side note, I have to say that I wish more MMOs treated a staff/quarterstaff as a serious weapon.  Even in LOTRO, I only have three attack animations (basic, staff strike and staff sweep), which is a shame because I’ve always found staffs to be intrinsically cool.

I don’t think LOTRO gets enough credit some days for the really interesting and varied twists Turbine put into these classes.  No two classes really play alike, and some are so different (like the Warden) that it’s hard to believe they’re in the same game world as the other ones.

9 thoughts on “Lore-Master vs. Captain: FIGHT!

  1. Paeroka January 25, 2011 / 10:56 am

    I really love fighting with staves! I still remember several years ago where I’d equipped my warrior in WoW with a staff and was really disappointed to hear that later on, they won’t be using them anymore (even at that point I only wore it because it had better DPS but that changed with the next quest reward *sigh*).

    My absolute favourite class is my hobbit warden (yes, the “hobbit” had to be mentioned ^^). So I can’t say much about captain or loremaster.

  2. Ravious January 25, 2011 / 11:01 am

    I agree with Captains being straight-forward, but only in solo play. In groups, they can be as frenetically paced as LMs when in a utility role.

  3. Cedia January 25, 2011 / 12:45 pm

    I really want to play other classes in LotRO other than the Warden. But the sluggishness of the combat system makes it impossible. 😦 Even with the Warden I find myself rolling my eyes waiting as the attackes I’ve queued up actually goes off.

    If LotRO had the “touchiness” of WoW combat, it would be the only game I ever played. Such a shame. 😦

  4. cirdanx January 25, 2011 / 1:00 pm

    Good read Syp, and i agree with you, Turbine did a great job with the classes, even though i´m absolutly against classes in Lotro (i think an open skill system would be more fitting with the lore)

    @Cedia they really need to update their combat/character animations. Combat would feel more smoother then.

  5. Tremayne January 25, 2011 / 1:38 pm

    The glory days of staff fighting in MMOs, without a doubt, were the days when I played a Friar in Dark Age of Camelot. I don’t know which genius at Mythic decided they should have a melee/healer hybrid in robes and carrying a staff in their game, but a whole generation of battered and bruised assassin types would dearly like to have a quiet word with them…

  6. pkudude99 January 25, 2011 / 4:57 pm

    DDO monks have some decent staff animations.

    EQ2 has animations based on the weapon, not the class, so right now my wizard is wielding a staff “bo style” where normally it’d be more of a 2-handed baseball bat type of hold though mostly downward chops. The bo-style mixes it up a little more, but still only has 3 animations, I think, even though staff-wielding can be pretty good dps-wise with a brawler character.

    Still.. I do wish for more animations. Watching a Buddhist monk with a staff IRL is a thing of beauty that I’d love to see in my games too.

  7. We Fly Spitfires January 25, 2011 / 5:26 pm

    I always fancied playing a Captain in LOTRO but you’ve kind of put me off a bit by saying they have a simplistic play style. Are Guardians or Champions more complicated or involved?

    And as for staves… yeah, I love fighting with a staff! Makes me wish the Monk class from games like Everquest/EQ2.

  8. Syp January 25, 2011 / 6:37 pm

    Gordon — I said “straight-forward”, not simple. They are a lot of fun to play and one of the best implementations of a hybrid class I’ve ever seen. As someone said, in groups they really shine because they can do a little of everything.

  9. Yeebo January 25, 2011 / 6:44 pm

    Actually I’d put both Loremasters and Captains as among the best examples of true hybrid classes I’ve ever seen. In a party especially, they can (and often need to) move seamlessly between several roles. Buffer, DPS, crowd control, power management, offtank, backup healing. It’s pretty impressive.

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