Help the Hobbit; Minstrel Healing

April 8, 2013



Do you need advice about healing?  Well if you want to know something beyond “healing gives you morale” then you’re better asking someone else.  That’s why when Flosiin wrote in asking about healing we both knew it would be a great article for “Help the Hobbit”.

This Week’s Question:

Hi Merric,

I’m loving this corner of CSTM.  It has lots of good advice. I was wondering if the community had some advice on Minstrel healing.

I have an alt Hobbit Minstrel (Flodoc) level 76 and on the way to 85.  I’ve healed through the 6 man Isengard content, but I find the boss fights rather stressful when I’m trying to keep up with healing. I’m wonder how other Minstrels trait and what Anthems to keep up. Should I trait full down the blue line w/capstone? 4Yellow/3Blue for the Ballad duration? Use the Tale of Heroism for +will and fate? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

My Tactical Mastery is 21k.

Thank you kindly,

Captain Flosiin of Windfola

So Minstrels please chime in and let us know what you suggest!

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About Merric

Co-founder of CSTM and an avid LOTRO fan.

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14 Responses to “Help the Hobbit; Minstrel Healing”

  1. Isabela Says:

    My hobbit minstrel is lvl 75 – has 22.6k Tact at 80.5% – ICPR is 1703 – 1516 Will. Before the changes, I focused on tact mastery, and focused on my icpr and how high my power was. After the changes and the revamp to the class, I tried to gain more morale considering the new attacks in Isengard.

    I’ve been playing my minstrel since open beta. Healing was fun before the complete revamp to the minstrel. It was challenging and I loved it when my group pulled tons of mobs and we all lived, though barely.

    Now, healing is meh. It’s more of a coordination in most boss fights. You have to make sure people are close enough, the hunters aren’t standing way in the back (Yes I KNOW your range is that far, get your butt up here if you want to live), and all the running around that is required is unbelievable (especially for someone who needs to stand still).

    It first starts with your book. You need to lower the power cost of your healing skills, and you need to make them heal for more. Chord CD and SoS pulses are most welcome as well, since those can be used on the move. Once you got that, it’s more towards keeping an eye on your power.

    I’ve always stuck with the blue trait line, more will and fate originally. Fate is kind of useless, or so I’ve been told, after a certain number, and I’ve sort of noticed the same. I have the tale of heroism running, more will for me means bigger heals.

    I have traited for class: Silver Tongue, Focused Performane, Graceful demeanour, Life-singer, Improved RtS (all Blue). Enduring Morale (Red). Glorious Anthem (Yellow).

    Legendaries: Fellowships Heart, Rally, and Legendary Spirit.

    Virtues: Loyalty, Justice, Valour, Zeal and Wisdom

    Ever since the changes to gear and the way stats work, I lost a ton of morale from all the Vitality I was losing when I leveled up, hence why most of my virtues deal with vitality and I have enduring morale traited.

    I stay with my quick heals: RtS, Chord and SoS. In the three mans, when I play with my husband (two manning them or bringing a third with us) I’ll heal while I’m in WS (Inspire Fellows HoT and Chord’s HoT still work on party members. I do not know if they still do since I’ve left before Rohan). In 6 mans and raids BC was saved for the tanks because it takes too long, ‘specially when your inductions are being raised. RtS and Chord are quick and can be used on the move. If timed right RtS is your new best friend when moving around.

    I pop SoS on everyone every time the HoT timer ends. Lasting for more than a minute it helps on the dps and the other healers in the group. Always use Chord on someone next to other people. I’ll use it on myself soon as I run into the group so everyone can get the HoT. Soon as the HoT disappears, I do it again. I do the same with Inspire Fellows, but I try not to use that too much because it is a power hog.

    When things start to look icky, I pop Triumphant Spirit first. If things start to look icky again, I’ll pop Fellowships Heart and let the HoT do the rest. Mine ticks for roughly 1K or more. Right before I pop FH I’ll pop Call to Greatness on myself, make sure I have my ballads popped so I have all the +% to healing I can get, which is why FH is so high.

    I’m sure with the new expansion and level cap raise, it’ll be slightly different with numbers, but the gist should still be the same. I do things differently than most minstrels I do run with, who trait mostly yellows for Master of Tales and longer anthems.

    I do hope this helps somewhat.


  2. Cilantro/Willowseed Says:

    As a well-regarded raid minstrel on my server (I like to think), I hope that I can help you out.

    Traits – I go 5 blue, with capstone, Fellowship’s Heart, and Rally! for legendary capstones. The 5 blue traits I take are: Life-singer, Silver Tongue, Focused Performance (I *always* have that traited), Improved Raise the Spirit. For incredibly hard fights, I’ll actually trait all blue, with Subtle Movements and Graceful Demeanour.

    Why don’t I trait 3 yellow and go for buffs? Simply put, I don’t think that the buffs are good enough to lower my healing output, especially in some of the more brutal fights. The only time I will go 3 yellow is when I know that an instance is easier, such as a 6-man.

    Tale – I use Tale of Heroism unless there’s another minstrel in the group, or there’s no captain. If there isn’t a captain, I’ll put up the +vitality tale. The +will now buffs tactical mitigation, so it can be incredibly helpful for most instance fights, which have tactical damage.

    Anthems – I use the Anthem of War if there isn’t a problem with damage taken, and Anthem of Prowess when I’m worried about people taking a lot of damage (the Gauntlet of BG, for example). If the group is taking an insane amount of damage, or you’re worried about keeping people up, there are several routes to go. Generally, I use Anthem of the Free Peoples when I’m worried about keeping up the fellowship and people are consistently not at full health. If it’s an instance with a lot of tactical damage, I’ll throw up Anthem of Composure to help people take less damage. If you yourself are in dire need of a boost to healing for single targets, such as the tank in Durchest, only then do I use Anthem of the Third Age.

    Ballads – In healing/neutral stance, I always use the Major Ballad. It buffs your healing output and gives an AoE heal. I sometimes tick it (click, wait, click, wait) while I’m waiting for certain heals to come off cooldown, or while I’m waiting to heal the group. It acts as an AoE heal to mitigate people’s damage when they start taking it.

    Rotation: Usually when a boss fight starts, here’s what I do – use Call to Greatness on your tank immediately so they can have more threat. Use Cry of the Chorus or do three Major Ballads to bring up your healing output. The only time you’ll need to touch those ballads again during the fight are if you use your coda for an emergency heal. After that, keep one ballad up consistently. When the tank takes a hefty hit, or you’re worried about someone going down before you get an induction off, use your bubble on them before hitting your heal. This gives you a few extra seconds for your and other people’s heals to get to them.

    For main heals, I use Bolster Courage for tanks taking regular damage, and RtS for others who take one-time hits. I keep SoS up on the tank and use CoS on him whenever it’s up. Use Inspire Fellows to heal group damage, or I also use it to heal whenever I myself take damage, so that I’m healing others while healing myself, that way when I’m looking at my own health bar, I don’t miss someone else taking damage.

    Don’t be afraid to use your cooldowns, that’s what they are there for. That means using Triumphant Spirit whenever the group takes a massive hit, or using Fellowship’s Heart if there’s a rough spot (and you know it’ll come off cooldown before your raid leader wants it). If that’s what it takes to keep the group alive, that’s what it takes.

    AoE heals are your friend. There’s a reason why my average heal is around 500. I use Chord of Salvation whenever it’s up, since it gives an AoE HoT for the group. In addition, one of your damage skills available in neutral stance (I think it’s Call of Orome, not sure, read the tooltip) gives another AoE hot. I also use that whenever it’s off cooldown and appropriate to do so. It’s a quick and dirty way to give another HoT. In addition, as I said before, I tick Major Ballad for the heals when I’m waiting for a big hit.

    Don’t be afraid to creatively use Harmony. Harmony has a fast and dirty fellowship-wide 5-7k heal that you can effectively spam. If your entire group is consistantly taking that much damage, you might want to consider using it. The only problem is that you have to have an enemy targeted to spam your ballads, and the boosts to your heals are reduced. Nevertheless, it’s something to consider.

    If you want a lot of practice healing in a relatively friendly environment, I suggest going out to the Moors, even if you aren’t a big fan of PvP. Of course, this depends on the environment of your Moors, but I found that it’s a great place to test out healing. Raids out there are generally friendly and accepting of people who are just there to heal. A lot of people will go down quickly due to targeting, so it teaches you to look for people who are losing health fast. Additionally, there are some PvE elements where the tank will take a lot of damage. People also don’t generally blame if you if something goes wrong. ;)

    Finally, check the minstrel forums out! A lot of people ask questions there and people are willing to help. You’ll probably find out some great advice by going through old posts. I hope this has been helpful – a lot of people would criticize me for not going three yellow, etc. But I’ve healed my raid group through some of the most difficult content in the game, and in the end, that’s what matters most – keeping your group alive at all costs. :)


  3. Ayalinda Says:

    I think the easiest way to get into minstrel healing is with a 4B3Y build, specifically Silver Toungue, Life-singer, Focussed Performance, Improved Raise the Spirit, Glorious Anthem, Smooth Voice, (Absolute Pitch/Battle Hymn). Use IRtS as your standard heal, hit CoS whenever it is off CD (for the group HoT).
    For anthems Keep AotTA(melody), and either AoP or AoComposure active. Use IF if the group gets hit by AoE. Your panic buttons and TS and FH, don’t be afraid to use them, but some fights favour their use at certain points. (To give an example the last 20% of the lightning boss in ToO T2C). The reason I suggest 4B and not more is that you don’t see much of an increase in your healing capability beyond 4 blue, while 3 yellow will allow you to keep 2 anthems up.

    For tales I generally look at my fellowship, a high number of will based classes and I’ll use ToH, otherwise ToB.

    Some other things to consider are:
    -Instrument, make sure you have one with +Healing and +Healing Crit Mod.
    -LI’s make sure your book’s Healing rating is maxed out, and it has healing legendaries.
    -Make sure you sort out your hotbars. Clicking on portraits then skills is time consuming. I click a portrait to select my ally, then have my heals on 1-7 on my keyboard. This is preferable to using F1-F6 keys to select an ally then clicking on healing because in a raid there is no way to target a member of the other fellowship with the keyboard. There is a little button to toggle between layouts at the end of the 1-= bar so you can have a healing and a solo layout.


  4. tule Says:

    I think I went with 5 blue. I’m not terribly fond of the blue capstone though, but I will use it sometimes. The other two traits will vary; sometimes I like red traits (more armor and morale), sometimes I’ll go yellow. 4 blue may be ok as well, but I would suggest using 5 until you’re more sure of yourself.

    Get a good healing instrument. The ones from 70+ are very good and a huge improvement over the original instruments. The “of the Resolute” instruments I think are best, get a crafter to get you a critted version, your choice of instrument type (no longer are you stuck with theorbo). Some other of the crafted options are good for healing too, most are pretty good except for the battle-singer.

    How you heal will change depending on the instance and also the group you’re with. A really sturdy group of veterans needs less healing so your job will be keeping them topped up and also with buffs. A random pick up group will often need you to pull out all the stops. Some fights will have you healing everyone, and on others you’ll mostly only need to focus on the tank.

    If you can stand still and not take damage then your tried and true Bolster Courage and Inspire Fellows will be the most used. But many fights have you moving around, and there I really love the newer Coda skills, where you can cast a nice heal even while running. Chord of Salvation is nice as you can use it while moving, though power usage can add up.

    Be aware of your anthems, and their side effects on the Coda. For instance, I like using the Anthem of the Third Age if I know healing will be rough. It gives you extra healing output, but even better once you use the Coda your next Bolster Courage is instantly cast (use within 10 seconds). This lets you use Bolster Courage while running even. You can pull off some good stunts this way; Coda does a good heal, followed by instant cast Bolster Courage, followed by instant cast Chord of Salvation, followed by a normal Bolster Courage, and you end up with a huge amount of healing in a very short period of time (in emergencies).

    If you’ve got healing under control then other anthems are nice. I really like Anthem of Free Peoples because everyone gets a non-trivial morale regen buff. Anthem of War is very nice to everyone in the group, increasing damage with little effort on your part.

    Practice in simpler instances if you can. I like skirmish raids for this, as healing is pretty easy, though their popularity goes up and down over time. Joining a group doing and older unscaled instance is useful too, such as healing for a group going into Moria instances.


  5. Avatar of Fredelas
    Fredelas Says:

    I have to agree with other readers who suggest healing lower-level instances to get yourself used to the mechanics of healing. It’s a much lower stress environment and a great way to practice.

    The class traits you choose are mostly a matter of preference. Choose whatever suits your style of play. By keeping several anthems up (a feature of yellow traits), you can actually reduce the amount of healing you have to do by buffing your fellows and speeding up the fights. But if keeping track of anthems adds too much stress, consider adding more blue traits.


  6. Josh Says:

    Sorry to go off topic, but if you guys wouldn’t mind, could you please include #votebilbo in a tweet if you have a twitter account? Martin Freeman is nominated for Best Hero at the MTV movie awards, and is in a tight battle with Kristen Stewart. I’m not sure how either. Anyway, I figure it’s always good to get something LoTR related an award and exposure.


  7. Sigela Says:

    I’ll toss in a few pointers from my healer. He’s not the strongest healer in the game and I know I’m not the biggest expert but there are a few things I do that make a huge difference.

    #1 – Coordinate well with your main tank. Always stay in healing range for your convenience but also stay close enough to let him control the aggro/threat. when the healer keeps the tank alive, the tank can manage the aggro, managed aggro keeps everyone else alive longer. If other people in your group don’t know to stay in range and in line of sight of my heals, well, that’s their job, not mine. Also coordinate with your captains, rune-keepers and loremasters. Buff as a team rather than at odds with each other and coordinate with all other rez-capable classes on a plan for all of you.

    #2 – I’m another big fan of running 4B/3Y or 3B/4Y depending on what the run might ask of me. Anthems are a tremendous help so I like to keep 2 and maybe even 3 anthems going at a time if I can afford to trait for it.

    #3 – Coda. I’m not afraid to throw my coda down whenever I want the benefit. It’s not that hard to get three ballads back up to get my anthems and my coda ready again. While I’m healing, I prefer to keep up my three major ballads as the rule but I don’t obsess about using only major ballads to get three ballads up. I’m quite content to build my three quickly with Minor, Perfect and Major or what not so I can launch an anthem and then I’ll make sure that I fill the ballads with Majors to set up my best healing buffs.

    #3 – Anthems. I prefer to use my fellowship-wide anthems over my single-target anthems just to get the maximum bang for my buck so I emphasize A of War, A of Prowess and A of the Three Peoples. My play style concentrates on the tank with the bulk of my heals so I use my anthems to give the rest of the team some love and improve our outcome by making them more effective combatants.

    #4 – Don’t run with people who want to blame a wipe on the healer. LOTRO is a game and there’s a significant element of random chance built into every outcome. Do your best, listen to requests, accept criticism with grace and always keep it fun. Laughter after a wipe is a much more productive response for the entire group than griping. Talking about a wipe or a good run afterwards without concentrating on blame is a great way to learn what works, what didn’t work and why. I try to always take a moment to at least talk to my tank and my raid leader after a run to see what we can all learn from the experience.

    Good luck and have a blast. Minstrels are a riot. I like to remember at all times that minstrels don’t so much heal as they restore morale and keep up spirit. Play for joy.


  8. Saurio Says:

    A lot of good advice here so far, but I’ll add my two cents even though I have no idea how I compare to other healers out there.
    As I approached lvl cap, I did some experiementing with my trait setup. I did 6 and 12-mans with 4b/3y, 5b/2y, 3b/4y, and even 2b/5y. Ended up settling on 4b/3y for most occassions because I think it matches my style best. Although I really enjoy the buffing aspect of being a mini, I am just not attentive enough to keep more than 2 up at a time (3 if you count the persistent ones).
    Currently I trait lifesinger, silver tongue, focused performance, and subtle movements in blue and glorious anthem, smooth voice, and battle-hymn in yellow. My legendaries are FH, Rally, and symphony of the hopeful heart (but I don’t even really use the last one)
    I usually do PUGs, but the number of people at lvl cap on my server is small enough that I tend to know many of the people in the group from past runs. If the content is something I’ve done before, then I’ll typically start in harmony until we get to a tougher fight. After not using anthem of prowess for most of the game, I finally learned what it does and determined that, for the trash fights, it provides a nice defensive buff to the entire fellowship (which the battle-hymn trait bumps up a lot) and increases their weapon speed. Accordingly, for most of a run I will have that up as well as Anthem of War for the increased DPS.
    For boss fights, I will drop harmony and pop call to greatness as the tank runs in, followed by cry of the chorus to get my anthems going. (unless the boss uses silence, in which case I will save CoC) The two anthems I stick with during boss fights when I need to really be on top of healing are anthem of the third age (for the healing bonus and significantly decreased induction time) and anthem of the free people (for the increased ICMR). Of course, it depends how things are going. If the tank has things under control, then I can always switch off to more offensive buffs.
    Before update 10, I used to have to use anthem of composure to take advantge of the power regen. Since the update I haven’t really had to use it when I’m healing because I rarely use up even half of my power pool. It could also be because I have the htybold armor now (I equip 4 watcher of resolve pieces and 2 song-protector pieces). Accordingly, I do not focus on any skills, traits, or legacies that reduce power consumption, figuring it is not needed. I even use inspire fellows much more than I used to because I find that the power cost is not a big deal.
    When I solo I use tale of heroism, but I have found that most groups like the vitality buff of tale of battle, so now I just switch to that when we enter an instance and have never had a complaint about it. I do miss the combined tale buff that I had could bestow when I had 5 yellows, but I felt that, since I couldn’t keep all the anthems up, I was better off with a stronger healing build.
    So far I have done mostly tier I content. We wipe from time to time, but I think a lot of it can be attributed to many of the people on my server doing content for the first time and group makeup (like having 5 LMs at one time in BfE) Also, one of the weaknesses I have is that I tend to forget about my own morale bar at times and don’t notice that, in some instances, the adds always go for the healers (even if you aren’t doing anything to generate aggro).
    Thanks for asking the question and generating all these other good responses!


  9. Flosiin Says:

    Thanks for all the great advice. Definietly be using all this out. Being a healer can be very stressful. So knowing different options are available will help things out.
    I think also knowing how the minstrel class works, lets me know how I could possibly help out when I’m on my captain. I can help heal the other classes while the healer concentrates on the tank and themselves more.


  10. Avatar of rorgg
    rorgg Says:

    I’m a strong proponent of the 4Y/3B trait setup. 4 yellows gives you pretty much optimal buffs, and the right 3 blue traits are plenty for good healing up to and into raids.

    Traits: (Y) Battle Hymn, Glorious Anthem, Lyrics of Bravery, Smooth Voice; (B) Life Singer, Silver Tongue, Subtle Movements.

    Statwise, I went almost entirely with Will, with Vitality second, and Fate a distant, distant third, due to the former uselessness of Fate. I’ve upped the balance some since, especially with Will no longer giving a bigger power pool, but it still does grant Tactical Mastery, so that’s still king.

    As for the mechanics, my rotation is aloing the line of:
    1. Get 3 Major Ballads up. Since Minor can only be used during combat, you may have to approach an enemy or start off with a Perfect, but plink 3 Majors on your tank right off.
    2. Drop Anthem of War
    3. Start interleaving heals with your anthems. The anthems I keep up are: War, Third Age, Prowess, Composure, Free Peoples. Between the anthems, I drop BC and/or Inspire Fellows, depending on if I need a single target or to hit multiples. The instant-cast heals are great for emergencies, and RtS is best avoided except on low-morale squishies who are low.

    You can keep 5 Anthems up with plenty of healing, the instant heals for emergencies, and Fellowship’s Heart if things get really sticky.


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