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War-Steeds Explained

Valikron, Sep 20, 12 6:23 PM.

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: War-Steeds

 

^^ New 2nd Age Lvl 85 LI - Bridle

By: Anthony “Doc” DiMento

Overview

When Riders of Rohan goes live this fall, we’ll all have a choice of which war-steed is best fitted to carry us into combat. To start, there are some key differences between the three mounts:

 

Light War-Steed (Courser): Build for speed and maneuverability, the Light War-Steed will have a higher max speed, acceleration, agility, and tighter turn radius than the other two steeds. Increased maneuverability comes at the expense of defence, as the Courser has the lowest armour and endurance (the war-steed equivalent of morale). We envision the Light War-Steed as a great fit for ranged and tactical classes with its ability to keep enemies at a distance and its increased power regen.

Medium War-Steed (Rouncey): Free players will have access to the Medium War-Steed from the get go. The Rouncey is middle of the pack in terms of maneuverability, endurance, and defense, but has the ability to deal more physical damage than its Light and Heavy counterparts. The Medium War-Steed is a great choice for riders who are looking for a balanced mount that can do a little bit of everything while potentially maximizing their DPS.

Heavy War-Steed (Destrier): Having the highest endurance, strength and armour, the Destrier is easily the most durable of the three war-steeds, although increased defence comes at the expense of maneuverability and agility. We envision the Destrier as being a great fit for classes focused on tanking and survivability, but the Heavy War-Steed’s damage dealing capabilities should not be underestimated.

Trait Up:

Each war-steed has a unique trait tree that will allow you to customize your mount to fit your specific needs. Each time your war-steed levels up, you’ll receive a trait point that you can spend to improve your mount’s various stats. The trees are broken up into three branches, focusing on combat, defence, and movement. Each trait can have multiple ranks that may gate your progression down a certain path at times. Other traits grant skills which will have a varying degree of usefulness depending on your play style. Skills typically cost more than one trait point and are built as branches of the tree rather than being part of the critical path.

Despite our vision of how each war-steed might be used, proper allocation of trait points can make each mount a great fit for any class. Each of the three war-steeds has its own merits, and different builds can have drastically different results. For this reason, we allow you to save multiple Trait Specs so, for example, you could save a Light War-Steed Trait Spec focused on defence and a Heavy War-Steed Trait Spec focused on maneuverability and switching on the fly. No decision is set in stone and you can refund your trait points at anytime. That’s right, you can start from scratch by spending a couple of coins! We encourage you to experiment with different builds to find out what works best for you in specific situations.

 

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the trait trees and highlight some of the dev team’s favorite traits and skills:

 

Light War-Steed:

  • Combat Branch: Feign Injury – There may come a time when you find yourself overwhelmed by an opponent. The Feign Injury trait grants a skill that will dump all threat and cause your enemy to stop paying attention to you for a short time. This skill could buy you the time you need to regenerate your endurance and power, escape, or formulate a new plan of attack.
  • Defence Branch : Bolstering Cry - When your war-steed runs out of endurance, you will be dismounted. With its lower endurance, the Light War-Steed rider may find it wise to invest in traits in the defence branch. In addition to traits that increase incoming/outgoing healing, you may spend points to unlock Bolstering Cry. This skill will instantly regenerate a very large portion of your war-steed endurance instantly.
  • Movement Branch : Caution – With increased maneuverability, the Light War-Steed can be deadly when attacking from a distance. The Caution trait unlocks a skill that will force enemy movement for a short time. While the effect is active, enemies will ride alongside you, keeping their distance, allowing you to pepper them with ranged attacks.
  • Movement Branch : Disengaging Strikes – Dismounting an enemy can be a huge advantage in mounted combat. Classes feature several skills that apply a chance to dismount your target instantly, but I’ll argue that none are more powerful than Disengaging Strikes. Once you unlock this capstone skill of the movement branch, all of your class skills will have a 25% chance to instantly dismount enemies when you’re utilizing the Riddermark Discipline. All skills do an additional 25% damage to un-mounted enemies, who are also slowed after being dismounted.

 

Medium War-Steed:

  • Combat Branch: Deadly Pursuit – Positioning can be a very important tool in mounted combat. Attacking enemies from behind will deal additional damage. When you have unlocked Deadly Pursuit, attacks from behind will apply a moderate bleed to your target as well. We have found this particularly useful while in a fellowship, when one of your allies draws the attention of an enemy, allowing you to pursue and deal massive amounts of damage. Solo players can combine this with the Intimidate skill mentioned below to catch their targets in an unfortunate predicament.
  • Combat Branch: Arise – Building Fury is essential to dealing the maximum amount of damage in mounted combat. Skills that utilize Fury bonuses will cash out once used, forcing you to keep moving at top speed to build your meter back up. The more Fury, the more damage, which is why I believe Arise is one of the most useful traits in mounted combat. When used, Arise will instantly restore 10% of your war-steed’s power and, more importantly, instantly recharge your Fury (provided you aren’t moving too slowly). Additional traits can reduce the cooldown for Arise and with proper use, you may find that you are able to utilize the skill quite often and defeat enemies much quicker.
  • Defence Branch: Sacrifice – As I mentioned above, if your steed runs out of endurance, you will be dismounted. Taking on a mounted foe on foot can be a big disadvantage! When you take damage in mounted combat, a portion of that damage is transferred to your war-steed. The Sacrifice trait unlocks a skill that while active, ensures that no damage is passed to your steed, allowing you to regenerate endurance at the cost of rider power.

 

 

  • Movement Branch: Intimidate – The Intimidate trait grants a skill which causes mounted enemies to flee for a short time. This gives you the opportunity to deal large amounts of damage and coupled with the Deadly Pursuit trait, this trait can become rather... well, deadly. It can also be useful in a pinch. If you feel overmatched by an enemy, use the Intimidate skill as an opportunity to put some distance between you and your target.

 

Heavy War-Steed:

  • Combat Branch: Ride for Ruin – While its focus may be defence, the Heavy War-Steed can deal some serious damage. The trait Ride for Ruin grants a toggle skill that, while active, increases your chance to land a critical hit by 25%.
  • Combat Branch: Opportunist – The Medium War-Steed already demonstrated the deadly effect of attacking from behind, but the Heavy War-Steed takes it a step further with the Opportunist trait. This trait grants a passive bonus that increases the damage done when attacking from behind by an additional 50% over three ranks.
  • Defence Branch: Steel Skin – The Heavy War-Steed already boasts the highest Armour rating and can take it even further with the Steel Skin trait. While active, Steel Skin will increase your war-steed’s armour even more, making you harder to take down. I like to utilize this skill along with the skill Instigate which generates threat over time. When riding with a fellowship, it’s great to have an ally on a Heavy War-Steed that can draw an enemies’ attention and handle the incoming damage. This creates an opportunity for the rest of the party to focus on bringing them down without worrying too much about their own health.
  • Movement Branch: Trample – The Trample trait very much defines the Heavy Steed for me. This is a powerful war-steed, capable of overpowering opponents. When this skill is active and you are moving at top speed, that’s exactly what you will do. The Trample skill will cause significant damage when you collide into un-mounted enemies and knock them back. Not only is this skill powerful and useful, it’s just plain fun.

There are a lot more traits to unlock (each war-steed has 32) and builds to experiment with. In our time with mounted combat, we’ve found that all three war-steeds bring something unique and valuable to the table. I look forward to hearing which are your favorites and seeing you all out there this Fall.

-Anthony

Vol. III Epic Update

Valikron, Sep 6, 12 4:32 PM.

Volume III Update 8 Quest Notes

By: Jeff ‘MadeOfLions’ Libby

Quest Notes!

It’s time once again for Quest Notes, your source for all the latest info concerning LOTRO’s Epic Story! I’ve written a fair number of these diaries by now, but there’s something different about this one. Something unique… Something exciting… What could it be?

Rohan! Rohan! Rohan! Rohan!

Ah, that’s it! We have finally (finally!) gotten to the Kingdom of Rohan! We have been looking forward to exploring the land of the horse-lords for a long, long time. We even have planning documents, maps and flow charts that date back to the Shadows of Angmar days. They have undergone extensive revision over the years, but Rohan is a land that we knew we had to get right. For that reason alone, we’ve spent a great deal of time ensuring that we could do it justice. After all, the stretch of The Lord of the Rings that we have gotten up to is often cited as the favorite of readers and film-lovers alike. We need our version of the Riddermark to be equally as beloved.

 

The plains of Rohan, home of the Horse-lords. It still gives me chills!

It’s taken awhile to get to the point where the technology allows us to deliver Rohan as it deserves to be delivered, but I think the time was worth it. We’re getting to the real meat of Volume III: Allies of the King now, and you’ll begin to see that maybe the story of this Volume is dealing with more than one King, after all…

Numbering the Epic – Moria, Mirkwood, and Isengard

As I’ve said in previous editions of Quest Notes, I don’t begin the planning of an Epic Story update with the number of Books and Chapters already set in stone. Instead, I sketch out the overall course of the story I want to tell in an update or expansion pack, and then look for the natural ebb and flow of milestones in that story. Once I know the scope of the story, then I go in with my metaphorical red pen and mark it all up, determining where to put Chapter breaks and transitions to new Books.

Sometimes the process results in a high number of Epic Books. Mines of Moria, for instance, had six Books to start with, and while they were shorter in length than more recent ones, the division between each Book occurred thematically each time the state of mind of the dwarf-expedition changed: Optimism to Grief, Grief to Hope, Hope to Confidence, Confidence to Pride, Pride to Despair, Despair to Humbleness. That Humbleness makes possible an alliance that couldn’t have existed while the dwarves still felt the Optimism that fueled their expedition, and it sets the stage for Siege of Mirkwood, which contained a single (quite long) Epic Book, which interestingly has some connections to the story to come in Rohan.

 

Sigileth says, ‘Completing earlier Epic Books isn’t required, but it is encouraged!’

Rise of Isengard really told a single story, and while there was discussion during development of dividing the story into separate Books, it really felt like the beginning, middle, and conclusion of the story deserved to be treated as one unit. (And before you send me messages about it, yes, I know there are some loose ends from the ‘conclusion’ of the Book 4 story. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten. We’ll be dealing with him. <wink>)

Numbering the Epic – Rohan!

My planning of the Epic Story for Riders of Rohan actually divided quite naturally into three main sections, and that gave rise to the next three Epic Books of Volume III:

Volume III, Book 7 – A Fellowship Endangered

Volume III, Book 8 – Into the Riddermark

Volume III, Book 9 – The Third Marshal

Book 7 begins with Lady Galadriel outside the House of Celeborn, in Caras Galadhon, the same place where Book 6 concluded.

Beta Participant : But MadeOfLions – what if I never bought the Lothlórien quest pack and don’t have access to Caras Galadhon? Does that mean I can’t continue the Epic Story?

Me: Huh. Well, that’s not right! Good thinking!

That’s one reason we have a Beta, isn’t it? In order to keep the Epic free, I’ve added a rope hanging down from a flet by the entrance to Caras Galadhon. If you’re an Epic Story player and have completed Volume III, Book 6 – Mists of Anduin, you’ll be able to use that rope to get inside Caras Galadhon to talk to Galadriel to start Book 7. Voila!

 

The Rope of Value

From a story perspective I would like you to have completed Book 6 before you start Book 7 anyway. It’ll make more sense, and you’ll know who all these people are!

Spoilers Ahead: The Point of Decision

I like to take a section or two in each edition of Quest Notes to discuss some behind-the-scenes tidbit relevant to the implementation of the Epic Story, and this time around it seems pretty difficult to do that without spoilers. So! Here is your warning! There will be spoilers for Volume III Book 7 in this section! If you want to go in relatively unspoiled, you should skip to the very end of the article, to the ‘A Few Teases’ section. One more time! There will be spoilers in this section for the beginning of Book 7. I’ll give you a picture of an empty boat to give you time to decide whether you mind seeing spoilery stuff.

 

An empty boat. Spoilers to follow!

Still here? Great! That means you don’t mind seeing some spoilers for the beginning of Book 7, which is good! I want to talk today about some of the challenges we face when attempting to depict iconic scenes from The Lord of the Rings, turning them into enjoyable and playable experiences.

Timeline-wise, we’ve advanced the storyline up to the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, which means we are right up at the breaking of the Fellowship. This is the event that sends Frodo and Sam on to Mordor, Merry and Pippin into captivity, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli hot on their trail, and Boromir to, well, somewhere else. This is a big deal for Middle-earth, and it’s a big deal for our players, too! Everybody wants to see how this happens, but none of our characters were there, after all. We can’t just walk up to Aragorn and say, ‘I don’t like the way Boromir keeps looking at Frodo, bro.’

 

‘Are you SURE it has to be Mount Doom? This fire won’t do it?’

The answer is session play, of course! By putting you in the shoes (or hairy hobbit-feet) of a member of the Fellowship, you can experience what happened to them first-hand. Early on in Book 7, you’ll play as Frodo while he wrestles with the decision of which path to take: to Boromir’s city of Minas Tirith, trusting to the strength of the armies of Gondor, or to the perils of Mordor.

In the book, Frodo wanders by himself for a time, and eventually he realizes that Boromir has followed him, at which point they have a very significant conversation. There’ll be lots of tension, a little drama, and some excitement. Just the sort of Big-T moment we love to add to LOTRO! The Worldbuilder responsible for the area created the Fellowship’s campsite, as well as the location partway up Amon Hen where Frodo encounters Boromir, and I began to set up the instance.

Well, hold on a moment. It turns out that while Frodo can wander up Amon Hen in just a couple sentences in the book. In our game that location takes a looooong time to reach, even running. Furthermore, it’s a twisty sort of journey, getting up to that spot. It’s just as you imagine it, when you get there, but the several minutes of travel aren’t the most fascinating use of your time.

So how to solve it? Well, I tried a couple things. First was the old standby: the speed buff.

 

That’s a good start, but it doesn’t solve the problem that you’re still running a long way without doing much except running. What we really need is a way to convey the inner monologue that Frodo must have been experiencing. He’s really troubled about the decision he needs to make, and we need some way to visualize it so players can worry right alongside him, ultimately understanding the decision that he does make.

 

Thoughts of Elrond to the rescue!

A few characters with ghostly FX work and some transparency to them lets us visualize Frodo’s inner struggle, as he remembers things those characters have said or might have said to him. The screenshot above is of the ‘Thoughts of Elrond,’ and serves to steer Frodo in the right direction as he wanders up Amon Hen, and thoughts of other characters serve like a breadcrumb trail to get Frodo to the proper place. It lets us develop Frodo’s character and get him to the right spot. After all, he’s got somewhere he needs to be…

 

There were some other interesting design decisions and revisions that went into this instance, but I will let you experience the rest of it fresh.

And that’s it for spoilers! Thanks for reading!

A Few Teases

I always like to end these diaries with a few screenshots of Epic-related quests, presented without explanation or comment. So here we go!

 

New Crafting Changes!

Valikron, Sep 5, 12 6:46 PM.

Eastemnet Crafting

By: Dina "Ayvan" Monas

Rohan is almost upon us and with it will come a new crafting tier, The Eastemnet, with all the standard items you are used to seeing. This crafting tier will retain many of the positive changes introduced in Rise of Isengard and will hopefully add a couple of new ones.

Resources

To begin with, we are continuing with the normal and rich varieties for each landscape resource node, with normal nodes containing an average amount of resources and a low chance of finding rare items and rich nodes containing higher amounts of resources and a higher chance of finding rare items. Players will still be able to process these base resources into low, medium and higher quality ingredients and can choose to either break down the rare items into optional ingredients or use them to more efficiently produce the higher quality ingredients.

New "processing" recipes have been introduced to help the non-gathering professions level up their craft. Metal, Wood and Leather Shaving recipes are being auto-granted to Jewellers, Tailors, Metalsmiths, Weaponsmiths and Woodworkers. Cooks will still retain their auto-granted ingredient recipes. The new processing recipes allow the above professions to level up their craft without having to waste enormous amounts of resources. Instead, lower quality ingredients can be turned into the appropriate shavings and the shavings can then be turned back into the low quality ingredient. Once you are able to crit, it is possible to get a return equal to the amount of resources you put in.

 

 

One other small change was to the resource nodes themselves. The chance to acquire the rare crafting ingredients used in one-shot recipes was added to crafting resource nodes at their respective tiers. For example, players have a chance of acquiring Adamant shards from Dwarf-iron and Platinum Deposits, as well as from Lebethron branches and Forgotten Texts.

Armor Sets

One of the complaints from the Rise of Isengard expansion was the lack of full armor sets at various levels. We have heard you and I'm happy to say that this tier will contain two full sets of armor, one at level 80 and one at level 85. In order to do this, though, very few recipes could be auto-granted. The majority of the recipes can be found via treasure and reputation.

Crafting Resource Instances

We are very happy to once again have crafting resource instances that we can run on a daily basis. Scenario was kind enough to design and build these instances for us and I think they're pretty awesome! In addition to extra crafting materials, the quests and barter rewards associated with these instances will also provide legendary item support, much like the legendary item instances done for Moria and Dunland. Players will be able to acquire their Compendium, Volume IV after completing one of the quests bestowed.

Crafted Relics

Speaking of the new compendium, there is a whole new tier of crafted relics supporting both regular play and mounted combat, as well as the addition of a relic with defensive bonuses. Visit your nearest Legendary Craft Guild vendor for the latest crafted relic recipes, although keep in mind that you will need to be Grand Master of the Guild in order to acquire the best ones.

Craft Guilds

As let on in the previous paragraph, an additional rank has been added to your craft guild reputation. Please visit your guild's vendors to purchase new recipes that produce the items needed to increase your reputation standing. Once the items are made, players can automatically gain reputation with the craft guild by right-clicking on the reputation item in their inventory. A red border will appear around the item once you have reached the maximum reputation. And, as always, completing this rank will provide access to new guild-only rewards.

Pies Start Parade In Stangard

S0rbit0l, Aug 13, 12 12:44 AM.

RoR: Known Class Changes

Valikron, Aug 7, 12 8:38 PM.
Known RoR Class Changes:

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: Rune-keeper

Good day to all Rune-keepers. This article will go over the improved skills you will receive in the Riders of Rohan expansion as well as cover any changes to skills and traits. First we’ll go over the improved skills:

  • Improved Scribe’s Spark – This improved skill will add a potent threat reducing effect.
  • Improved Rune of Restoration – Your ‘pet rock’ will gain a power restore effect in addition to its morale over time effect.
  • Improved Armour of Flame/Winter/Storm – Each of these skills will add a morale bubble in addition to their normal effects.
 

Then there are few changes we are making to skills:

  • Flurry of Words – Change the evasion reduction to +3% incoming critical chance. That means monsters under the effect of this debuff will be critically hit 3% more often.
  • Mystifying Flame – A moderate increase in the damage along with a concomitant increase in the amount of threat reduction.
 

Finally, there a couple of upgrades to Traits.

  • Linnod of Peace – Add -10% healing threat generation effect.
  • Rune of Endurance – This Trait will also enhance the Power restoration of the Improved Rune of Restoration.
 

While none of these changes and additions are earth shattering, we don’t feel that Rune-keepers are in need of major changes at this time. The one thing that we would really like to fix is the issue with the Rune of Restoration falling through floors. While we haven’t been able to fix this as of this writing we are still hopeful of at least a partial fix.

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: Minstrel

By: Jonathan “RockX” Steady

Hey all, RockX again! Today’s diary is focused on the Minstrel changes for Riders of Rohan. There’s a decent amount going on in terms of quality of life improvements, but first:

Improved Skills

Level 77 – Tale of the Elements (Improved Tale of Frost and Flame)

  • Replaces the Frost and Fire Mitigation buff of Tale of Frost and Flame with Tactical Mitigation.
 

Level 80 – Call of Eärendil (new skill!):

  • Requires Harmony stance.
  • Melee-range frontal Area of Effect attack.
  • Maximum of 3 targets.
  • Deals light-type damage and applies a tactical mitigation debuff to targets.
 

This skill will deal substantial light-type damage to targets in a cone directly in front of the Minstrel. Any targets hit will be given the same tactical mitigation debuff as from Call of Oromë.

Level 83 – Improved Gift of the Hammerhand:

  • Adds a potent Heal over Time to the target.
 

The Heal over Time is applied at the same time as the bubble.

Skill Modifications

  • All Minstrel attacks with a buff of some sort should now trigger the buff, even if the attack misses.
  • Tales stay active while silenced.
  • Tale of Battle’s Vitality buff has been brought up to the same strength as the Will buff from Tale of Heroism.
  • Song of the Dead now affects the Dead, Ancient Evil and Unseen. It has been renamed to Song of Subdual.
  • The strength of Anthem of Prowess has increased.
 

Item Advancement

  • Call of Oromé Damage Legacy will affect Call of Eärendil as well.
  • Song of the Dead Cooldown Legacy has been renamed to Song of Subdual Legacy.
  • Anthem of War (melee damage) Legacy will increase both melee and ranged damage now.
  • Anthem of War (ranged damage) Legacy is replaced with Minstrel Skill Bubble Strength Legacy.
 

Trait Modifications

  • Battle-hymn increased in potency.
 

Legendary Trait Modifications

  • Master of Tales now gives Tale of the Elements’ Battle (+Tactical Mitigation, Vitality, Resistance.)

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: Lore-master

Howdy all of you Masters of Lore. There are a lot of improvements to the Lore-master in Riders of Rohan. These changes are primarily aimed at increasing the Lore-master’s utility, especially in small group encounters. First we’ll cover the three new and improved skills that Lore-masters will learn as they advance to level 85.

New/Improved Skills

First is Improved Power of Knowledge. This skill will greatly increase the amount of power returned to the Lore-master. In many cases, the Lore-master will top off their power before the skill is completely channeled, enabling the Lore-master to end the skill early. It will also be immune to interrupts do to damage.

The next skill is Share the Power – Fellowship. This is a new skill that will not replace the Share the Power skill that Lore-masters already know. This skill will give half of the power of Share the Power to each member of the Lore-master’s Fellowship. This skill will share the cooldown of Share the Power.

The last skill is another completely new skill called Water Lore. This skill adds a medium duration Heal over Time effect to the target and will increase Incoming Healing by +5%. This effect will stack up to 3 times.

Skill Adjustments and Bug Fixes

Wisdom of the Council will now apply it’s heal earlier in the skill’s animation, as well as changing the heal to be 50% of the total morale of the Lore-master.

We have removed the dead only restriction to Bane Flare, allowing it to daze all types of monsters.

We have removed the excessive delay after using Staff Strike, Staff Sweep and Back from the Brink.

Legendary Traits

And last, but certainly not least, we have the change to the Sword and Staff legendary trait. We found that almost every Lore-master will slot this trait as soon as it was learned and never unslot it. To enable more choice in Legendary traits, we decided to remove the ability to equip a sword in your off-hand from this trait and grant it to all Lore-masters at level 40. This means that on logging in to Riders of Rohan, you will have to visit your trainer and buy this new passive trait before you can once again equip a sword in your off-hand. This left the legendary trait a little weak, so we have increased the morale gained and greatly increased the amount of Parry rating gained.

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: Hunter

By: Ken "Graalx2" Burd

Howdy Hunters of Middle-earth! Today we are going to talk a bit about the Riders of Rohan expansion and what YOU can expect to get. We are giving you a lot of goodies this time from improvements to Split Shot and Hunter’s Art to a real threat reducing skill. We are even giving you a skill that will save your lives (and no, it’s not group Desperate Flight!)

First let’s cover the three new and improved skills that you will learn as you level up to 85.

  • Improved Split Shot – This skill has an increased area of effect, plus it will add 1 Focus pip for every target hit.
  • Improved Distracting Shot – In addition to its current function, this skill will greatly decrease the Hunter’s threat. This threat reduction happens even if the monster targeted is an Instance Boss immune to the daze.
  • Cry of the Hunter – This is a new skill. It affects up to 6 targets near the Hunter, dazing them for 5 seconds and slowing their movement for 10 seconds. This skill will also grant the Hunter a +10% movement speed buff for 10 seconds as well as giving the Hunter a small morale bubble. As an added bonus, inductions will not be set back while the bubble still exists.
 

In addition to those three skills, Hunter’s will also get ports to Misty Mountains and Lothlorien at appropriate levels.

There will also be a few skills changed due to popular outcry.

  • Bright Campfire will have its out-of-combat power regen greatly scaled up and, just because, it will also grant a +5 Stealth Detection.
  • Hunter’s Art will no longer be an attack. It will just grant its stance dependent buff. Its focus cost is reduced to 1 Focus pip.
  • Agile Rejoinder will now always heal the Hunter with the associated legacy now increasing the heal amount.
  • Quick Shot in Endurance stance will have its threat reduction increased. Now it will always reduce the Hunter’s threat in spite of any damage it does.
  • Blindside will now be useable while on the move.
 We hope to see you all raining death from afar in Rohan!

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: Guardian

 By: Ken "Graalx2" Burd

Howdy! I’m Graal and I’m ready to reveal the “awesome plans” we have for the Guardian class in the upcoming Riders of Rohan expansion. Guardians are getting a much more substantial revision in this expansion than other classes, though nothing like the changes in gameplay of the previous Minstrel or Warden updates. The primary purpose of this revision is to allow the Guardian to take a sustained DPS role with an increased emphasis on Damage over Time effects. First though, I want to tell you about the improved skills that you will learn in Rohan.

Improved Skills

Level 77: Improved Sweeping Cut - This skill will cause all of the targets to Bleed with a Damage over Time (DoT) effect. This new bleed can be further increased with Salt the Wound.

Level 80: Improved Shield Swipe - This skill will add even more threat than previously.

Level 83: Improved Thrust – This skill has a greatly increased DoT effect.

And now for the main part of this revision.

Skill Adjustments

Parry Stance has been removed.

Overpower Stance

  • Gains all of the benefits of Parry Stance
  • Allows the use of shields
  • The power cost penalty has been removed.
  • Added +20% critical damage magnitude
  • Added -30% to Armour rating, Physical Mitigation Rating and Tactical Mitigation Rating.
  • Add a 2 second induction with limited knockback.
 

Many skills will have different effects in Overpower Stance.

  • Guardian’s Ward will now give a Finesse buff. Guardian’s Ward Tactics will give +5% melee damage bonus in addition to the Finesse buff.
  • Improved Whirling Retaliation will now apply an effect that is equivalent to Salt the Wound.
  • Catch a Breath is now triggered by a Parry event and will restore Power not morale.
  • Guardian’s Pledge will now give +25% melee damage.
  • Warrior’s Fortitude will now give 50% of the previous morale bonus and add Physical Mastery.
  • Fray the Edge becomes a de-taunt skill.
  • Engage – gives lowered Perceived Threat for the duration of the Engage effect.
  • Protection By the Sword will now add +2% melee damage to the Guardian’s Fellowship.
  • All other skills that had inherent extra threat will now de-taunt for the same amount.
 

Catch a Breath will increase the amount healed.

Force Opening will always add a Parry event.

Guardian’s Defence will now have a 2 second induction with limited knockback.

Trait Lines

Keen Blade 2 set bonus is now -5% power cost for all attack skills

Keen Blade 3 set bonus gains +10% critical damage magnitude in addition to current bonus.

Keen Blade 4 set bonus gains +10% critical damage magnitude in addition to current bonus.

Legendary Traits

Haemorrhage – will now cause a bleed 100% of the time though the damage will pulse in 4 second increments instead of 2 seconds. This bleed can stack up to 2 times. In addition there is a 50% chance for an additional bleed with half the magnitude as the primary bleed. This trait will also gain +10% critical damage magnitude.

Legendary Items

We have removed the 1h versus 2h restriction on all Guardian weapon legacies except for Bash damage, which retains the 1h limitation for obvious reasons.

Conclusion

We feel that these changes will allow a Guardian to do almost as much damage as the Champion/Hunter/Runekeeper in DPS stance and, more importantly, be able to maintain it. Some may question the reduction in mitigation ratings, but we felt the greater morale pool of the guardian as well as the possibility of using a shield while in Overpower necessitated some penalty. Because Guardians should be well into diminishing returns on their mitigation ratings it should not be as bad as taking 30% more damage. The addition of inductions to stance switching is to prevent stance dancing as a normal part of the guardian’s rotation. That these inductions have limited knockback means that even while being pounded by multiple monsters the guardian will be able to switch stance without too much difficulty.

 

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: Champion

By: Jonathan “RockX” Steady

Hello all, it’s RockX! Today I’ll be talking about the main updates, changes and improvements we’ve made to the Champion for Riders of Rohan. Our primary focus for Riders of Rohan was on survivability and threat management, but there’s something in here for everyone.

Improved Skills

Level 77 – Horn of Champions (new skill!):

- In no stance and in Glory stance – Targeted (30m range) AoE threat generation.

- In Ardour stance – Point-blank AoE threat reduction .

- In Fervour stance – Single-target threat reduction, stronger than Ardour’s.

Horn of Champions is a new skill which is all about helping Champions manage their threat. The threat generation and reductions are instant, allowing Glory champions to pull multiple mobs at range with a strong threat generating ability. Meanwhile, Horn of Champions in Ardour and Fervour stance will decrease your threat on your opponent(s), letting you beat them up even more. The skill is on a 30 second cooldown, and has no Fervour pip cost.

Level 80 – Improved Bracing Attack:

- Adds a Heal over Time effect in addition to the standard heal.

- Heal and Heal over Time effects will always trigger, even if the attack doesn’t connect.

The Heal over Time effect will benefit from the same things which affect the standard heal.

Level 83 – Improved Wild Attack:

- On Critical or Devastate, adds a +5% critical hit chance to the Champion.

When you land a Critical Hit or Devastate with Improved Wild Attack, you’ll receive a buff which increases your Critical Hit chance by 5% for 6 seconds. The buff will refresh itself should you continue to land those big numbers.

Skill Modifications

We’ve heavily increased the damage of Merciful Strike while in Fervour stance. As before, the amount of damage dealt depends on the number of Fervour pips. With 3 Fervour, Merciful Strike will deal about the same damage as Brutal Strikes. With 5 Fervour, the low end of the Merciful Strike damage will be right around the high-end of Brutal Strikes.

Trait and Trait Line Modifications

- The Deadly Storm – Traiting 2, 3 and 4 deep will reduce the cooldown of Blade-storm, Raging Blade and Horn of Gondor by 1 second per step.

Item Advancement

- “Combat Effect Duration” Legacy has been replaced with “+Targeted Melee Range” Legacy.

- “+Hamstring Range” Legacy has been replaced with “+Champion Skill Bubble Strength” Legacy.

The Targeted Melee Range legacy will impact any melee-range, single-target skill the champion uses. The Champion Skill Bubble Strength legacy will increase the strength of their bubbles by a percentage.

Legendary Trait Modifications

- Fight On’s Exhaustion effect now lasts 60 seconds or until end of combat, whichever comes first.

 

 

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: Captain

By Erika “DEViled_Egg” Ng

Hello! I’m DEViled_Egg, one of the newer systems designers on LotRO, and I’ll be discussing updates to the Captain for Riders of Rohan. One of the primary goals we had for this update was to make skills and legacies less build-specific and more useful to all types of Captains. In addition, the Captain is getting some nice quality of life improvements, including a spiffy new Out-of-Combat Revive.

Improved Skills

Level 77 – Improved Valiant Strike:

  • 90s Cooldown, down from 120s.
  • Low Magnitude Heal over Time (HoT).
  • Hands of Healing Trait increases the HoT.
  • Fellowship-wide effect range extended to 30m from 10m.
 

By giving the untraited skill its own HoT and a wider range, it should give Captains who didn’t spec healing some ability to help heal their fellows. Traiting Hands of Healing significantly improves the HoT, giving those who do spec healing more potency.

Level 80 – Improved War-cry:

  • A +5% damage bonus (melee, ranged, and tactical) is being added to the existing attack speed buff.
 

According to our crack research team, more damage is better.

Level 83 – Inspiring Blade of Elendil:

  • Damage over Time (DoT) increased.
  • Chance of Power heal when Defensive Strike is used increased to 50% base, and 75% with Set Bonus.
  • Caster will receive a “self-buff” which enhances the next use of one of the following three skills:
    • +20% Words of Courage Morale heal.+20% Shadow’s Lament damage.
    • Threatening Shout becomes an AoE with 3 max targets; if “Echoing Shout” Trait is also active, 6 max targets.
    • The first use of these three skills will expend the self-buff.
 

This skill is getting a handy “self-buff”, which will make Blade of Elendil more useful for Captains regardless of how they’re specced. Want to do more damage? Enjoy a more powerful Shadow’s Lament! Are you a healing Captain? Words of Courage will offer more benefit for your fellows. If you’re a tanking Captain and love shouting loudly at things, Threatening Shout will pull more targets. Note: This buff will only enhance your next Words of Courage, Shadow’s Lament, or Threatening Shout. When you use one of these skills with the self-buff active, the buff will be spent. Choose wisely!

Quality of Life Improvements and Skill Modifications

New Skill: “Inspiriting Call”

  • Out-of-Combat Revive, available at level 40.
 

The Captain was always good for an in-combat revive, but not an out-of-combat one. Well no longer!

  • Motivating Speech will be usable whilst mounted.
  • All pets will now match player level.
  • Shield of the Dúnedain will now work on players outside of your Fellowship and made an Immediate skill.
 

Legacy Changes

New Minor Weapon Legacy: "Battle States and Defeat Response Duration." This legacy increases the duration of Battle States and Defeat Responses from 1s to a maximum of 5s, ranking up in .5s steps.

Strength of Will Legacy Modifications:

The Strength of Will Legacy is being modified to also affect Song-brothers and Blade-brothers.

  • Song-brother: Reduce Power cost of Song-brother’s healing skills by 1-10%.
  • Blade-brother: Reduce Blade-brother’s attack duration by 1-10%.
  • Note: Maximum bonus is being reduced from 15% to 10%.
 

Riders of Rohan Developer Diary: Burglar

By Jonathan “RockX” Steady

Hello all, RockX here! Today, I’ll be talking about the main updates, changes, and improvements we’re making to the Burglar for Riders of Rohan. Our primary focus for Riders of Rohan was on Mischief-maker and the Mischief-maker trait line. There’s a particular focus on Finesse debuffs, which is an area we haven’t really touched yet. There are also the standard Quality of Life improvements you’d expect in this update.

Improved Skills

Level 77 – Trick: Improved Disable:

  • Adds a Finesse debuff in addition to its other effects
 

The untraited version of this will give a minor Finesse debuff, which is enhanced by having the Disabling Attack trait active.

Level 80 – Improved Confound:

  • Adds a potent Finesse debuff
  • Can be used at up to 15m range
 

The Finesse debuff triggers when the skill is used, and is completely independent of the countdown daze. Using the Confound the Fools trait will increase the duration of the Finesse debuff. This, coupled with the ability to use the skill from range, adds a great deal of versatility to a skill which was very difficult to make use of previously.

Level 83 – Improved Addle:

  • Target receives a Tactical Damage debuff
 

So, we heard you like to use Addle to mess with those monsters which use Tactical Damage. We’re going to make Improved Addle mess with them even more, by reducing their Tactical Damage on subsequent skills.

Skill Modifications

  • Safe Fall can be used while riding a normal mount.
  • Find Footing now heals 25% of the Burglar’s maximum health.
  • Practical Joke no longer requires Stealth to use.
  • Clever Retort’s “red” damage should now be just as strong as a single red conjunction.
  • Burglar’s Antidote will remove all Poison effects.
  • Confound’s cooldown has been reduced to two minutes, from five.
 

Trait and Trait Line Modifications

  • Mischief 3-set bonus reduces the cooldown of Cure Poison and Burglar’s Antidote to 40 seconds.
  • Mischief 4-set bonus reduces the cooldown of Cure Poison and Burglar’s Antidote to 20 seconds.
  • Mischief 5-set bonus allows Cure Poison and Burglar’s Antidote to affect the entire Fellowship.
  • Footpad will now give Diversion a chance to inflict a Debuffing Gamble, in place of Burgle. As such, Improved Feint Attack will no longer allow Burglars to use Diversion from stealth.
 

Changing Footpad to give Diversion the Debuffing Gamble in place of Burgle opens up the opportunity to apply the Debuffing Gamble to all types of monsters, giving a lot more utility.

Legendary Trait Modifications

  • Quite a Snag will allow Burglars to switch into Mischief stance when in combat.
 
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