Let’s Talk About Minstrels

In our kinship, The Osgiliath Guard (Elendilmir), we’ve had several members express an interested in learning to play this class better.

And by “better”, they usually mean “so I can raid”.

One of the officers held a couple of workshops on playing the guardian class, and I volunteered to give people pointers on playing the minstrel.  After all, the minstrel is the most important person in the fellowship, no matter what the tank says.  They’ve probably brought you along to heal, and that makes you indispensable.

To avoid looking like too much of an idiot, I invited two of our other kin’s minstrels along, Alanion and Renani.  We recorded our conversation with the intent to break it up into shorter segments.  However, since I don’t have any mad sound editing skillz or good audio software, I thought I’d just dump it all here at CSTM until such a time that I can figure out how to edit it myself.1

In this conversation, we talk about the minstrel class in general, traits, virtues, stats, gear and the like.  We tried to cover as many aspects of the class as we could before we floated away or the headphones stuck to our ears.  The only major aspect of the minstrel class we intentionally skipped was taking a minstrel into the Moors for some PVP action.  Neither Alanion nor Renani play in the moors much, and I haven’t been out there in a while, so we wouldn’t have much to add on this point.

The intent of this conversation was to give some help to players who are new to the minstrel class, so if you’re a hardcore raider or you’ve been playing a minstrel as your “main” since launch, this probably isn’t for you.

I’d also like to caution you all that I have never participated in a podcast, so if this seems kind of rough with lots of awkward pauses, it’s not you, it’s me.2

Thanks for Alanion and Renani for helping me out with this, and not to use this as a shameless recruiting ploy, but if you’re on the Elendilmir server, are at least 25 years old and you aren’t a jerk, The Osgiliath Guard would love to have you.  Please contact me in-game for details on how to join.

[Shameless self-promotion mode=on]

For other resources here at CSTM about playing the minstrel, I recommend:

Vraeden’s Guide to Lousy Healing

Minstrels and Captains as Real Life Healers

The Minstrel in ROI, Part 2

Vraeden’s Guide to Really Lousy Healing

[/Shameless self-promotion mode]

Don’t forget to check out part 2 “More Minstrel Talk”!


  1. I’m also in a position where I can’t buy any good sound editing software since I just built myself a new basement setup.
  2. By the way, my “other” first time was similarly awkward and uncomfortable for me, although it lasted a whole lot less than 1 hour, 47 minutes.
Avatar of Vræden

About Vræden

I was suckered into playing an MMO by some friends and have been stuck around ever since. My "main" is a minstrel on the Elendilmir server, but I'm a pretty casual player who likes a good raid every now and then. My healing skills are spectacularly average, and I am known as the Elf Queen of Lousy Healing to my friends. I like long walks on the beach, puppies and mowing down orcs by the dozen. If you see me in-game, say hi or send me a tell. You can also email me or follow me on the Twitter.

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25 Responses to “Let’s Talk About Minstrels”

  1. Thaleg of Anduin Says:

    no love for healing runekeepers^^ I’ll listen to it anyways when I get home :)

    Reply

  2. Avatar of Vræden
    Vræden Says:

    We do talk a little about rune-keepers, but none of us have healing RK’s at the level cap, so we’re not credible on that subject. I may have a similar discussion with some of our kin’s healing RKs in the future.

    Reply

    • Rorgg Says:

      Just goes to show: what you need for a rountable-style talk is someone with solid experience in all the classes. ;)

      Reply

  3. balmrog Says:

    Vræden, sorry to be out-of-topic, but are those “workshops on playing the guardian class” someway accessible also for non Osgiliath Guards? I don’t know, maybe there’s a podcast or an online registration available… tnx! :)

    Reply

    • Avatar of Vræden
      Vræden Says:

      I think they may be available on YouTube, but I’m not sure. I’ll check with an officer when I log in to the game tonight and pass along any info I can rustle up.

      Reply

  4. Grayrider Says:

    The link to the guardian class workshop video is here on YouTube. It’s audio only (well, there’s a nice picture of flowers on a mountain you can stare at if you want but that’s up to you!) and it runs about 48 minutes.

    The “professor” in this case is the same Renani referenced in Vrae’s opening comments, speaking as her Guardian Eowynn. She *really* knows her stuff so even relatively experienced guards can get something valuable from it.

    Reply

    • balmrog Says:

      thanks Grayrider! In fact, I am not a new guardian, but as you said there’s always a lot to learn from expert colleagues!

      Reply

  5. Saurio Says:

    Fantastic job! Gave me a lot to look at when I get home.

    Reply

  6. Siqua of Landroval Says:

    Very nice round table. Thanks for sitting down and recording it.

    My Minstrels (are all pretty low-level since I’ve been playing the pet classes a lot, but I think I’ll be bumping one to the top of my alt-queue now.

    On a side note, I was glad you guys were able to remember that Captains can heal too, but the real take-away should be that the minstrel is a great class that can do a lot more for a fellowship than just heal. I wish groups wouldn’t fall into the rut of always assuming that a minstrel ought to be healing. Sometime a warspeech Minstrel is the key to success.

    In one of my regular, but still low-level, leveling groups my Captain off-tanks and heals and the Minstrel is the main ranged DPS. With one of my higher-level Captains, I’ve had great fun tank-healing the Erebor 3-man instances for two DPS Minstrels.

    Reply

    • godmode Says:

      i have no problem with any class wanting to play any role, but i think i know where the grief comes from.
      for instance, i play a guard as my main, and of course the only role i can fill is a tank. but then, one update, i got a major boost to my overpower dps and my power also doubled somehow – so now when i want to dps, it takes me 4 swings of the axe to kill a lvl 85 mob. so in my head i know i’m a good dps, i have also dps gear, but i’m still required to tank in a raid. which is kind of the same like minis are required to heal – this is because usually it’s a pain to get a tank or healer when you need them.

      however

      i used to do school runs for seals, just like everyone. and in these runs i paired up usually with a champ and some ranged dps class. and i went overpower while the champion tanked gallons of mobs – because he has better self sustain than a guardian. that’s the ridiculous part – i’m letting a champ do what’s MY JOB and he does it better and that hurts a little.
      of course, put him in a raid in front of, say durchest and he’ll wither and die like any softie – i think. however, i know of champions soloing the two trolls at the gates of isengard. but no guardian will ever do that. and that also hurts a little, because when i rolled a guard i specifically wanted the class that is hardest to kill. \
      my point is, unless you’re actually doing a 12man serious raid, anyone can play pretty much the way they want as long as all the roles are filled by someone. champ tanking – sure. mini ranged dps – great. cappy heals – sounds awesome. guard melee dps? – almost possible. hunter pulling aggro – check :D
      the above will surely work, but will it really work as good as guard tanking, mini healing, cappy being awesome, champ+hunt dps? i have some doubts about it.

      Reply

  7. TSU Says:

    Oh I sense a character creation on Elendilmir coming on :)

    I have been unlucky and have yet to find that ‘kin’ for me…

    Reply

  8. Cadronas Says:

    This was fantatsic. I leveled my mini I rolled a few years ago and to be honest he has always been a mixed bag. After listening to this I am going to give him a complete rework in every aspect. Thanks folks.

    Reply

  9. Sigela Says:

    I’ve been trying to carve out a block of time to listen to this and I’m so, SO very glad I did. I took loads and loads of notes and learned oodles. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Vraeden, Alanion and Renani.

    Since you mentioned a follow-up session is coming, I’d like to put two questions out there:

    1 – One of my lingering aches in this game is that so much advice is geared to players who are at level cap, but most of us aren’t. Complicating that, many classes change radically as they advance in levels and as different content opens to them. So my question: How to play as a beginner healer versus playing a mid-game Moria skilled healer versus playing a capped healer?

    2 – I’d like to hear more about tactical choices open to the healing minstrel. I think that this chat did a magnificent job of talking about how to use our healing skills but this question is about how and when to use our other skills like Song of Soothing. Song of Distraction, Song of Aid, Call to Greatness, Call to the Fellowship, etc along with our healing to create the bigger picture of our participation in combat?

    Now I have to think about whether or not I want to roll up a new minstrel on the Elendilmir server to join the Osgiliath Guard because I am older than 25 years old and I don’t think I’m a jerk. :)

    Many thanks again.

    Reply

    • Saurio Says:

      Those are good questions. Regarding #1, I know my rotation changed a lot as I progressed from 30 to 50 to 70+. I wonder if the hosts might be limited in giving low level details, however, because of where their characters were at during the revamp and pure passage of time. I recall a level range where I used to use the bubble and the fear skill frequently (but hardly ever touch them now). The details are rather hazy though because it was so long ago. Regarding #2- those are very unused skills for me as well, so it would be nice to hear if anyone knows a good use for them (besides using CtG to help the tank get aggro on a boss). I’m very interested in hearing if anyone uses herald’s hammer/ noble cause as well. Those skills and traits are something I haven’t touched in 2 years. Not enough utility in my opinion to make room for them on the skill bar. The fact that the hosts didin’t mention them makes me think that they reached the same conclusion.

      Reply

  10. Reshi Says:

    Good work and a lot of useful points addressed here that will help many new minstrels, especially with regards to consumables to look out for. However, I think there was a bit of an overemphasis on the issues of healing aggro and power consumption. Unless your tank is terrible, you should not have any problem with aggro, even considering the use of Fellowship’s Heart at the start of a BfE for the cooldown reset, which is often necessary for t2 runs along with other class cooldowns.

    Power is also a negligible problem. The issue I have is that power problems were discussed as resulting from build choices; while that’s true to an extent, there are easy ways to maintain power in combat, such as popping a power pot once you drop down below, say, 65% power, or using anthem of composure’s power over time before you get dangerously low. It’s all about preemptive measures.

    I’m also disappointed that there was not much, if any, variance in the trait setups. They were overwhelmingly blue, and while you may pump out more heals, you are much more inflexible throughout the course of a fight. Many healing minstrels either trait 4b/3y or 4y/3b because of the set bonuses involving anthems, most notably anthem cooldowns, but the builds mentioned here present using the capstone as a be all and end all of healing/buffing/dps’ing for the respective roles. (as an aside, the most useful traits for healing are Life Singer and Silver Tongue because of how much minstrel healing can rely on crits)

    Last thing is that minstrels dps’ing is rare because it is the very bottom of the barrel, often below even captains. Unless we’re talking about trash pulls in Sambrog where all the mobs line up perfectly to die to AoE, minstrel dps is pitiful.

    I had a couple other things to add, but regrettably I forgot to take notes. I think this is a wonderful resource you put together, just adding a couple of points I would not like to see slip through the cracks :)

    Also, as noted in the written resources for advice to new healers: run to your tanks, not away from them.

    Reply

  11. Benebrimbor of Crickhollow Says:

    This is an excellent resource not only for players of Minstrels (which it certainly is) but also for other tactical classes, particularly RKs. My main is an RK and I’ve recently joined a kin that could use another main healer for BfE and the more challenging Erebor raids. I have healed quite a few 6 mans but after a year-long hiatus from the game, main healing BfE with inferno was certainly a challenge! The expertise of the speakers in this podcast was excellent and has given me a fresh look at virtues vis-à-vis maxing mitigations and resistances, at the small cost of stats and also balancing will and fate. The discussion of resistance caps and TMR was a real highlight. All in all this was top drawer and I’ll join the chorus for the other classes to be given the same master class treatment. Shall we start with RKs?

    Reply

  12. Deac Says:

    Great podcast! I’ve been playing a mini as my main for a year and a half and stilled learned a lot from this discussion. I am definitely going to revisit my stats, relics and virtues and start using Song of Soothing more.

    I agree with others above that the impression is given that 5b/2y is the best build. There are great threads in the forums explaining why 4b/3y and 4y/3b are great builds. The 4y build is very active and handles burst damage exceptionally, giving 5 instant heals with 6 clicks. I’ve found the plugin Minstrel Buffs a big help in monitoring anthems.

    One healing skill not mentioned that I overlooked for a long time is Cry of Valar. I thought it was just an aoe DPS skill but it gives a fellowship hot as well.

    Again, great job! I’d love to hear part two covering the Moors. I have no idea how to play my mini in there.

    Reply

  13. Jay Says:

    Thanks for this excellent “roundtable”, getting my mini right this time.

    Reply

  14. Nineran Says:

    Heya, I just rolled a mini on Dwarrowdelf and strolled in here, looking for exactly what I found. This talk was very reassuring, and I’ll come back to listen to the LI bits when I get that high.

    So thank you.

    Also, I have sound editing software. As a token of my gratitude (etc etc), I’m happy to convert to bite sized sectioned podcasts for you (more like bus ride length for me), IF you want (since you’re not paying me, it will take time :P ).

    Lemme know!
    - 9

    Reply

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