LOTRO: A crisis of alts

twinSometimes it’s difficult feeding into one’s altoholism when one can’t decide which alt to pursue (and no, “all of them” is not an acceptable solution).  Case in point, my recent adventures in Lord of the Rings Online.

With my Captain having hit 85 and is mopping up the remaining quests and virtues in Rohan, I feel more comfortable experimenting with leveling another character.  But picking one is proving difficult.  Over the past month or so, I’ve started several different alts and fallen in love with a few of them.  Depending on the day, I can convince myself that one is worthy of the monumental effort to level all the way up over the others — but that seems to change when tomorrow comes.

So I thought I’d make a little pros and cons list and put it to you all for advice.  Right now I’m dithering between a Burglar, a new Lore-master, and a Minstrel.  All of these suit my playstyle for different reasons.


  • Pros: Fast casting, the bardic concept, killing people with bagpipes, the option to heal or go full-out DPS, playing as a Hobbit, relatively quick acquisition of class deeds, pretty group-friendly
  • Cons: The class builds and legendary traits don’t seem that exciting, a little squishy, strong expectations to heal in a group setting


  • Pros: The option to level a LM again and do it better this time, variety of pets, staff combat, jack-of-all-trades skillbase, crowd control
  • Cons: Slow combat, stuck with a human, really slow acquisition of class deeds, very squishy at the start, hard to choose a good all-around pet for leveling


  • Pros: Can control battles with stuns and crowd control, lots of DPS coming out of stealth and attacking quickly, more durable, rapid acquisition of class deeds, can play as a Hobbit
  • Cons: Very narrow focus, I’ve never been that crazy about the high-pitched knife noises, not a lot of long-range options, stealth slows down the start of combat

By no means are these all of the pros and cons, just the ones that are probably the most important to me.  For those of you who play one of these classes, what attracts you to that playstyle and how do they develop in the higher levels?


26 thoughts on “LOTRO: A crisis of alts

  1. Nick Foster (@goldenhornet) March 4, 2013 / 8:22 am

    Heh, there were evenings with City of Heroes where I never made it past the character select screen because I had so many alts I couldn’t work out which one to play.

    Even playing SW:TOR I still don’t think of having a “main”. I have managed to get 4 characters to level 50 but mostly they get left there as new alts rise to the top of the “want to play” list.

    I have limited myself to 16 slots, made one of each advanced class and I’m determined not to create any new characters until they are all at level cap.


  2. Nick Foster (@goldenhornet) March 4, 2013 / 8:26 am

    Oh, and with respect to your class question, with Lotro I pretty much had the same problem. I bought extra character slots but none of them made it passed the mid-30s as I couldn’t pick one.

    I enjoyed my guardian and champion (I was always a scrapper at heart), didn’t really get passed the squishyness of the loremaster, enjoyed the flexibility of the minstrel and found the burglar slow going when solo.

    I’d pick the minstrel.

  3. Scott March 4, 2013 / 8:40 am

    I’d honestly focus on the minstrel, because it is a class so unique to LOTRO. Every MMO has its “caster” and “pet” classes (Loremaster) and its “stealth” classes (Burglar) but only LOTRO has a class that inspires through music. Yes, you’d be expected to heal, but being a priest healer in WoW for five years I can tell you that high-level healing is a lot of fun and a completely different game.
    However, I would ditch the hobbit and level a dwarf, because dwarves are the “anti-elves”.

  4. couillon March 4, 2013 / 8:51 am

    dwarf mini’s are a hoot!

  5. Syl (@Syl_RM) March 4, 2013 / 8:52 am

    Offtopic, but that screenshot is a painful reminder to me how badly LOTRO needs a character customization overhaul. they both look exactly like my own human minstrel…. sigh

    On topic, I love my LM! 🙂 I am still new to LOTRO and I’ve never seen a more powerful CC class. I don’t actually feel like a hybrid or jack of all trades – I am certainly no healer and tanking is limited, too. the LM is my idea of a true CC/utility class with DPS focus no less.
    I am not sure why people say they’re squishy; I didn’t die until the late 20ies and then I died from fall damage. it feels like a more complex class in terms of tactical setup, but it’s very hard to actually get killed unless you do a horrible misspull and get rooted down. and I’m sticking to my Lynx right now although I wish it flanked more often.

    Minstrel would probably be my first ‘alt’ if I picked one. I would dread being the healbot in groups, though.

  6. Lenn (@Lenn_Len) March 4, 2013 / 8:57 am

    Allow me to be the guy to say “uh, Justin? You can play loremasters as elves too, you know”.

    With that out of the way, and not having too much experience with loremasters (too slow and cumbersome for my taste) I can see why you’re torn between burglars and minstrels. Still, for the sheer cool factor, minstrels take the cake. When specced right, they’re surprisingly unsquishy for a clothy class.

    But why not go for a warden or champion?

  7. merecraft March 4, 2013 / 9:00 am

    Just started levelling a dwarf mini myself and absolutely loving it. You can’t go wrong with a bagpipe playing dwarf.

  8. Kathwren March 4, 2013 / 9:10 am

    I have an 85 Captain, Lore Master and Rune Keeper, level 84 Burg (today’s dailies might push it to 85) and an 83 mini… The RK is prob my fav with the Captain at an almost tie. The Burg, at higher levels has been lots of fun but mounted combat on the burg is not as fun as the Captain (or RK) – the mini has been a ton of fun – solo, in small groups and full fellowships – I’d say go with the mini – if you’ve leveled up w/o healing, then healing in a group is a real challenge.

  9. bhagpuss March 4, 2013 / 9:12 am

    “Can play as a Hobbit” is not a Pro. Just sayin’.

  10. Syp March 4, 2013 / 9:47 am

    Elves are never an option. Never ever ever ever.

    Thanks for the thoughts, guys!

  11. Jake W. (@Tillion_Magnet) March 4, 2013 / 9:58 am

    Having played an LM to cap first among all my characters, I can say that the combat gets much quicker as you reach higher levels. Getting into your red line and using your DPS pets(Lynx or Bear) you can kill mobs very quickly. They also have the benefit of having the best skill animations in the game, bar none. Very biased in that I love my LM though, can’t recommend it enough 😛

    Ent Stomp! *smoosh*

    P.S. Over the remaining two I would say the Minstrel. Great fun to play, just don’t expect a challenge when questing on it.

  12. Jake W. (@Tillion_Magnet) March 4, 2013 / 10:01 am

    P.P.S. Should also note that at least with an LM you’ll never have to worry about getting stunned ever again. Just a thought.

  13. M.C. Barnes March 4, 2013 / 10:08 am

    LotRO is one of those games that encourages altoholism. I have never had a character at the level cap, even when the level cap was only 50 or 60.

    I’m going to roll a Lore Master next, so that.Seriously, though, of those three,I prefer the sneaky, stabby style of play the Burglar gives. Tool boxy classes are also a favorite of mine, however.

  14. rowan March 4, 2013 / 12:33 pm

    “[O]nly LOTRO has a class that inspires through music.” Rift–>Rogue–>Bard 😉 I loved playing that Soul. But you’re right; Minstrel pretty unique, and the class in LOTRO that I took the farthest (which isn’t saying much, tbh).

  15. Triski March 4, 2013 / 4:24 pm

    I vote for minstrel – I have a female hobbit mini and I learned to say “sorry, bad time today” very quickly when faced with constant “be our healer” tells. I think a dwarf mini would be a lot of fun too.

  16. Kazren March 4, 2013 / 4:35 pm

    I have at least one in every class. If you like in-their-face combat, get a champion. There’s no stopping them at lvl 85.

    If you want to do ranged attacks, go with the mini. It’s fun, they’re not as squishy as they might appear. The only con (and I have a lvl 85) is that 99% of the time in skirms/skraids/raids you will do nothing but heal. It does get a little boring. My mini uses a herbalist and the mini does the dps.

    The LM is the squishiest character in the game. Once they’re at level cap, they’re really great, but it’s very difficult getting them through the lower levels, unless you like finding yourself in the rez circle.

    I love my burg, but she’s only 64, so I cannot comment on end-game playing. She’s pretty unstoppable, though. Pretty much like a Warden, but at end-game, no one wants a warden to tank, they want a Guardian. I love my Guard. He can bastically tank anything. So consider a Guard, too. They have Overpower with board and sword now, so you get the bests of both worlds. They level up pretty easily, too.

  17. Laura March 4, 2013 / 4:43 pm

    Minstrel. To give you context, my main is an 85 Warden. I have an 85 LM alt, a 76 Minstrel alt, and my husband’s main is an 85 minstrel. Neither of us has managed to get a burg past 50.

    I have watched my other half do amazing things with his minstrel. Mine is getting there. You start seeing it in Maria, but they really shine in Rohan. Plus minstrel on war steed is amazing FUN. You blow up everything insanely fast.

    LM also gets better past 50. Eagle is still the pet I run with mine. Water lore at 80 or 83, I forget, helps a LOT. War steed helps too. It’s fun. Not as fun as a minstrel though.

  18. Laura March 4, 2013 / 5:07 pm

    *kicks auto correct * Moria. Can’t believe I didn’t catch that. And I’ll also add that if you want to experience a nice chunk of Middle Earth solo, roll a Warden. I can solo most three man stuff on level. Been a while since I ran Barrow Downs Maze, but back when the cap was 65 I could do that one alone too. I also like being able to solo Bugud.

    True that they aren’t as wanted for PUGs but I don’t PUG so doesn’t matter to me.

    Altoholism is great. I have 17 characters on my main server. 3 85’s, an 82, a 76, a 68, and then a chunk in the 50’s and the mules/crafters in the 30’s, now that we get xp for crafting.

  19. Steve March 4, 2013 / 5:22 pm

    I was in your position a few months ago, I had gotten my Dwarf Guard to 85 and was agonizing over which class to play as my ‘main alt’. I thought it was going to be the Champ, but I really wanted to play a caster class. I tried RK, but I find them to be too squishy, at least at lower levels. I dusted off my lowbie Hobbit Minstrel and, once I took the time to understand the system and figured out a decent rotation, I fell in love with the class and am currently at level 40. I’m actually not personally in love with the whole ‘killing mobs with music’ concept, but thinking of the music as actually spells makes it very enjoyable for me. Massive damage in Warspeech, and as Kazren said, they’re not as squishy as you might think – you get a HoT at level 18 which is really useful.

    Having said all that, I recently watched an 85 LM in action in one of the Hytbold dailies, so I’ve been playing my newly minted LM almost all the time recently. Hello, my name is Steve, and I’m an altoholic.

  20. Aerynne March 4, 2013 / 7:42 pm

    “[O]nly LOTRO has a class that inspires through music.”

    The Bards of EQ, EQ2 and Vanguard beg to differ….

  21. Mark Stevens March 5, 2013 / 7:29 am

    As a Mini you have quite a few options as to how you play and what effect you have on the game and the group. I have a level 44 Minstrel now and he does quite well solo still. He has the ability to duke it out with some enemies but he will have issues with elite enemies from time to time.
    My highest alt is a loremaster (66). She is able to handle two to three times her Morale in elite monsters with her pet. I kept the pet that has a sneak attack because sometimes he hits for 1500 damage the first shot. Also as you have legendary items your loremaster’s spells will become much more powerful.

  22. Llokki March 5, 2013 / 8:32 am

    @Scott Not true. Quite a few other games have a musical/Bard class available…Dark Age of Camelot, Rift, EverQuest 2 and (most recently) Allods Online come immediately to mind.

    @Syp I’d, uh, abandon the LM alt if I were you. At least until you’ve exhausted your other options. You HAVE already done one after all. I’d have to go with many of the other commenters and say pick Minstrel. Despite what I said above, it’s still a little more unique than than your other choices and I think it’d suit you. Plus they’re fun 🙂

    BTW, what happened to your Warden alt? Gambits not your cup of tea?

  23. Syp March 5, 2013 / 9:54 am

    It’s pretty entertaining listening to all of your opinions! I’m probably going to go with my Lore-master after some consideration, although it’s great to hear such support for the Minis. As for my Warden, I *would* play her except that it would be a little too infrequent and I don’t want to have to bother with memorizing gambits that I’ll just forget.

  24. LilyRose March 8, 2013 / 1:44 pm

    LM is a great choice, and if you really learn how to use your pet and debuff, you don’t tie so much.

    My main is my at cap minstrel (and healing isn’t all that boring in a group, though i do see more morale bars than actual fights), and I’m currently leveling my LM.

    Fun times ahead!

  25. MariahNaomi March 13, 2013 / 4:33 am

    I’d say go with mini, burgs are fun but fell owing as one isn’t that fun, and soloing is hard cause they are more weeker especially if you don’t know how to build them. And I don’t really like lore masters 😛

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