When I first started playing Lord of the Rings Online I played a captain. Since my days of playing Dungeons & Dragons I have always liked the paladin type of class: the adventure who is a tank type, who can take a beating and has the ability to heal allies. The first thing I immediately disliked about the captain was the limitation of the available races you can play as the class. I wanted to be an Elf, but was unable to do so. I also found out that the captain wasn’t really a tank type of class, but rather a supporting class. Yet, I decided to give the class a try and made it up to about level ten. That is when I grouped up for the first time with a lore-master.
I never was one to play the “caster” or “magic using” type of class, which I believed that the lore-master was within the frame work of Lord of the Rings Online. I didn’t care too much for the light armor. Yet, the lore-master I was playing with that day was an Elf, which I wanted to be, but that isn’t what sold me on the class. What did get me interested in trying out the lore-master was the ability to summon a pet. The guy had a raven following him around! Sure, I could have a herald, but that wasn’t as fun as having a raven. As soon as I was done with our little adventure together I deleted my captain and created a lore-master. I have never looked back since.
The Lore-master’s Role
The lore-master is chiefly a support class in a fellowship. Listed below are some of the roles that a lore-master could play within a group in order of importance. The importance of these roles will change based on what instance you are in, mobs you are fighting or class traits you have equipped. Yet, I believe the order given below is common for most group play.
Crowd Control When you hear people calling out specifically for a lore-master to join their fellowship the majority of the time they want you to join to help control the hoard of mobs they will be up against. No other class has as many skills to mez, stun, root or slow down the opposing force as the lore-master has. This is the lore-master’s bread and butter.
Buffing and Debuffing After the mob is controlled I like to debuff the enemy that the fellowship is fighting and buff up the tank and the rest of the fellowship as needed. The lore-master has the ability to decrease the enemy’s parry rating, attack duration, critical rating, and melee and range attacks. Debuffing is what I do prior to buffing the fellowship, if needed. The lore-master is able to cure disease and wounds, cure and make immune to dazes and stuns, and reflect damage taken. I like to place the immunity to dazes and stuns on the tank and healer and the reflect damage taken on the tank.
Power Sharing The lore-master is the only class that can directly share their power with another player. Along with this ability the lore-master can also drain power from the enemy and give that power to themselves. The order of importance to share power is the healer first, then the tank, dps classes and finally supporting classes.
DPS The above mentioned roles are the primary roles of the lore-master. The ability to dps along with the other roles listed below is mainly a secondary role within the group. There are many abilities that the lore-master can use to damage the mob from both range and melee. If properly traited the lore-master could add significant dps to the enemy. This is the first role I play once the above roles are done.
Healer The lore-master doesn’t make a very good primary healer, especially if there are no other back-up type healers in the group. The one skill that gives morale to one other fellowship member has a thirty second cool down. It might seem short, but when multiple people need healing, it can be a very long time. There are some other skills that can heal you and your pet, but it won’t help your fellowship. There is a pet that will provide some pretty good healing, but it is not as effective as the minstrel or the rune-keeper.
Raiser When the battle turns against the fellowship and they lay on the cold ground without any morale, they could call on you to help them raise their spirits again. The lore-master’s one ability to do so cannot be used in combat. It also doesn’t provide the member being raised with much morale and power. Yet, there has been a few times when I was the last raiser standing and able to raise the group. Also, if you could use a pet that could give you a raise thus enabling you to raise then the rest of the fellowship.
The Lore of the Lore-master
In The Lord of the Rings Online there are no wizards that players can pick as a class as there are in other games, but there is one class that is very similar to wizards, the lore-master. Lore-masters are not wizards, but wizards are lore masters.
In The Hobbit when Bilbo and company come back to Rivendell after defeating the dragon Smaug, Bilbo learns that Gandalf and Elrond were away at a council during the time he left them to travel to the south. Tolkien writes, “It appeared that Gandalf had been to a great council of the white wizards, masters of lore and good magic” (H: 225). We can see from this that wizards are lore-masters, but are also able to use magic. In other words they have great knowledge of the ways of Arda and also have a spiritual potency.
It also appears that there are lore-masters who don’t practice magic in Tolkien’s legendarium. When Gandalf is informing Frodo that the magical ring that he has is the One Ring, Frodo questions how it came to him. Gandalf replies, “That is a very long story. The beginnings lie back in the Black Years, which only the lore-masters now remember” (LotR: 76). If indeed only wizards are lore-masters, why wouldn’t Gandalf just say only the members of his order remember the lore? Indeed there must be others in Middle-earth who are masters of lore as well as the wizards.
During the council in Rivendell Boromir recalls a dream his brother told him where Faramir hears a voice singing to him. Boromir tells the council that “we [Boromir and his brother Faramir] spoke to our father, Denethor, Lord of Minas Tirith, wise in the lore of Gondor. This only would he say, that Imladris was of old the name among the Elves of a far northern dale, where Elrond the Halfelven dwelt, greatest of lore-masters” (LotR: 275). Here we can see that Denethor, a Man, was a lore-master or at the very least a master of the lore of Gondor. We also see that Elrond is a lore-master, not only a lore-master but the greatest lore-master in Middle-earth, at least in Boromir’s opinion. Here we can see that two non-wizards, a Man and an Elf, are considered to be lore-masters.
When Farmair learns of Gandalf falling into the abyss in Moria he is sadden to hear the news. He states, “this Mithrandir was, I now guess, more than a lore-master: a great mover of the deeds that are done in our time” (LotR: 712). He is sadden by the lost of Gandalf not because he was a great lore-master, but because he discovered that he was more then just a lore-master, he was a wizard.