• Mastering Nature's Fury

    The following are my thoughts about lore-mastering using the Master of Natureís Fury MoNF (red) trait line, since thatís how my lore-master, Ellanan, tends to roll.

    (Subsequent posts may address the yellow or blue trait lines. If someone else wants to post on those, I would have no objection.)

    I welcome corrections, disagreements and outright mockery on all of the following observations:

    Basic Class Philosophy and Play

    General

    Lore-masters are among the squishiest of classes, with light armor plenty of inductions that are susceptible to knock-back and interruption. In order to survive, LMís rely largely on crowd control, damage over time fire skills and on skills that change the math of combat in subtle ways. (Most of the time, players who have not played a LM will have no idea how a LM contributes to the group). While LMís are capable of doing fair damage from range, they do even better damage when they can combine their melee skills with ranged skills.


    The following are my ideal approaches to solo, small fellowship and group play, together with some of the key skills that come in handy in each scenario:

    Solo

    My approach to solo play depends on how I measure up to the mobs Iím fighting. If Iím leveling through above-level content or fighting several signature mobs, I like using the Eagle for the extra flanking heals and the occasional rez. If Iím fighting things that are on-level and normal or below, I adopt more of a champ mentality, meaning, knock stuff down with AoE attacks before it can really touch me. The raven works nicely for this with the fire resistance debuff.

    ē Sign of Power: Command Ė This skill requires almost no time and no power. It increases a mobís attack duration by 20% and lowers their parry rating slightly. Unlike the _____ Lore skill debuffs, this skill does not initiate combat or generate aggro. Bottom line: if I or my fellowship is initiating combat, thereís no reason not to open with this skill.

    ē Burning Embers Ė The skill to initiate just about every fight. Good initial damage, stacking DoT over level 74, and a movement speed slowdown. What more could one ask for in an opening attack?

    ē Sticky Tar Ė When my life expectancy is determined by how long it takes a melee mob (or mobs) to meet me, a slowdown effect in addition to the one provided by burning embers seems made to order. The fire damage resistance debuff is nice, too. When the Secret of Tar trait is slotted, the cooldown on this skill is the same as the duration.

    ē Sign of Battle: Wizardís Fire Ė This skill also requires almost no time and little power. It does a small amount of damage and places a DoT on my target. This skill is worth hitting at regular intervals (especially when using an Eagle pet) to take advantage of intermittent flanks

    ē Stuns, stuns, stuns Ė I have my choice of skills that reliably place stuns on on-level mobs. These skills are my best friends when playing solo. It was good to learn what the temporary stun buff looked like on my target (red circle/eye icon very similar to the frowny face at the beginning of this post) so now I know when the 10-second immunity after the last stun has expired.

    o Light of the Rising Dawn (LotRD) - is the standby. The induction is short enough that I can usually get it off while a melee class is running up on me. The 3-second stun is long enough to get off another induction during the stun.

    o Test of Will - is a fine skill to use when I or my fellowship could use a 5-second single-target stun rather than a 3-second stun. The one-minute cooldown reduces the chances of this skill making its way into my regular skill rotation. This induction is much easier to get through if my target is aggroed on my pet (or anything but me).

    o Blinding Flash - is not technically a stun, but if I am traited MoNF, I sport a 5 second daze with a two second break period on damage, which may as well be used as a supplemental stun skill. (This is particularly true if I have slotted the Fast Loader trait to eliminate the induction on the skill.) Itís especially worth noting that the temporary stun immunity buff (red circle) does not prevent mezzes, near as I can tell. So this skill can be used to bridge the cooldown time on LotRD or the period of stun immunity.

    o Storm Lore - has a two minute cooldown, so it is best reserved in solo play as either an Ďoh crapí button, or as a skill that gives me time to get through an induction for Ents Go to War. Is it a coincidence that, when traited MoNF, Ents Go to War has the same cooldown as Storm Lore? I think not.

    o Staff Strike - is my only extremely unreliable stun skill. That is okay since it does a fair amount of single-target damage (with no induction) and makes for a great killing blow.


    Small Fellowship


    When I team up with other players, itís usually time to let tanking role go and embrace the fact that the LM is a support class. This means generally avoiding all of the following, if I can help it:

    1. Being the first thing a mob sees (face-pulling)
    2. Being the first to damage any given mob, unless itís to interrupt an induction, which usually justifies the wanton aggro-pulling.
    3. Opening with AoE attacks.

    Does this mean that I cannot constantly test my ability to damage things without getting killed and my tankís ability to hold aggro on mobs that they have pulled? Certainly not.

    Most everything that was true for playing solo is still true in a small fellowship, except that use of the basic debuffing skills (Fire Lore, Wind Lore, Frost Lore and Ancient Craft) may be put in place before launching into my DPS skill rotation. These skills will initiate combat, so itís good to wait to start debuffing until my tanking player has started pulling the mobs. Not only will these debuffs reduce the amount of damage that my fellowship takes, but it will allow my tank time to develop aggro before I start dealing out damage to mobs.

    In a small fellowship setting, using Continual Air Lore on my tank together with slotting the Improved Flanking trait allows me to be a decent off-healer. With an eagle, I will be able to heal myself and my tank for around 1k morale every 15 seconds or so.

    Sign of Power: Righteousness is also very important. In fact, given how many mobs in the Isengard instances apply stuns frequently, this is often (IMHO) the most important role that a LM plays in the fellowship. If I can keep this up on my tank (the sign of power duration legacy allows me to keep this up all the time), it improves their chances of holding aggro and staying alive. If I max out that legacy and slot the Dunadan Learning trait, I will have a righteousness skill that has a 2-second cooldown and will last 1:30 on each fellowship member I buff. This makes it possible to keep my whole fellowship immune to stuns and still have time to do other things. This is also a skill that can be used on the run.

    Sign of Power: See All Ends is extremely useful in boss fights. A 15% reduction in my mobís chance to crit on me or my tank is nothing to sneeze at. With the sign of power duration legacy maxed out, I will be able to keep this up for 45 seconds out of every minute. (The +5% incoming crit chance from the Draigoch set is also nice.)

    Improved Staff Sweep is a fine skill to use on mobs that are already focused on my tank. If I can hit 3 mobs with it, I add 45% to my crit chance for my next few fire skills. This makes Ents Go to War, Improved Sticky Gourd and even Cracked Earth extremely deadly AoE attacks that are the envy of Champions.


    Full Fellowship/Raid


    In full-fellowship and larger instances, most of the above things still hold true, but my priorities as LM are now as follows:

    1. Maintain Stun immunity on at least myself, my tank and my healer (unless no mobs in that particular fight apply stuns).
    2. Keep my tank and healer supplied with power.
    3. Debuff/Crowd Control mobs whenever possible.
    4. Damage stuff.

    I sometimes forget priorities 1-3, but theyíre important. If you catch me getting my class priorities out of order, feel free to let me know. (Itís especially okay/good to let your LM know when you are running low on power. LMís have lots of things to keep track of, and sharing power does not take very long. It just costs power.)

    Storm Lore is a handy group stun that serves the same purpose in group play as the Champís Horn of Gondor or the Captainís traited Routing Cry. It interrupts inductions and stops mobs from whacking on my tank for a few seconds, buying my healer valuable time. The risky part of using this skill in this manner is that if I use it too early in a fight, everything that I just hit will wake up angry at me instead of the tank. While this keeps life interesting, it is not ideal.

    Sign of Power: See All Ends does not initiate combat. That means itís a fine thing to put on any mob before a fight begins, right after Sign of Power: Command.




    If you'd like a second opinion on any of this or more info, CSTMís LM roundtable has a very nice overview of the class. Also, if you have a forum or webpage that you have found particularly useful, feel free to post the link.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Mastering Nature's Fury started by MisterTea View original post
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Blitz's Avatar
      Blitz -
      Good read Mr. Tea. And I can vouch for you forgetting priorities 1-3 when my captain is tanking.

      And you have also guilted me into writing some sort of burglar guide to help aspiring young Bilbo's and Bilbina's out there. Not that I consider myself a expert, but I'm going to work on something.
    1. Moryel's Avatar
      Moryel -
      Wait....you mean you aren't actually a tank? I'm so confused.
    1. MisterTea's Avatar
      MisterTea -
      Glad to see that the request for mockery didn't fall on deaf ears.
    1. Moryel's Avatar
      Moryel -
      We mock cause we love.
    1. capnhoppy's Avatar
      capnhoppy -
      I mock because of deep rooted feelings of inadequacy.
    1. Bex's Avatar
      Bex -
      I simply mock... into Mordor!
    1. MisterTea's Avatar
      MisterTea -
      Basic DPS Build

      I've mentioned a couple of class and legendary traits up above. Here are the traits I usually slot and the reasons why:

      Harmony with Nature: This trait reduces several inductions by 25%, which reduces my chances of dying stupidly by about 25%.
      Tactically Adept: Improved Sticky Gourd is one of the most easily interruptible inductions in the game, the -50% makes a huge difference.
      Flame of Anor: MoNF trait bonuses and LM legacies all point to doing massive fire damage. The extra 10% damage from this gets multiplied by other bonuses.
      Master of the Staff: I primarily enjoy the 5% morale bonus from this trait, but making Staff Strike have relevant light damage and a possible stun makes a difference, too. With the Staff Strike cooldown legacy maxxed, it gets used every 5 seconds in melee.
      Knowledge of the Past: I usually slot this over the other remaining 3 MoNF traits because it prevents me from running out of power, and provides extra power to share with my tank, my healer, my captain and maybe a hunter (if they're being really good).
      Dunadan Learning: Because I'm such a huge fan of stun immunity, I tend to slot this to give an extra 30-second duration, so that I can keep up Sigh of Power: Righteousness on most everybody, and still have time to do other things.
      Fast Loader: Having no induction on Blinding Flash increases the chances of my using Blinding Flash mez, and the chances of the mez taking place about when I want it to. Few things are more frustrating than having a mez or stun skill that you or your group are counting on knocked back.

      Sword and Staff: Extra melee damage + Less squishiness = Happy LM
      Improved Sticky Gourd: Massive initial fire damage and decent DoT on 5 targets.
      March of the Ents: Massive fire damage on 5 targets + Stun. This wins out over the Friend of Eagles unless I'm in a small Fellowship where I need to off-heal. The crit damage is just about unparallelled.

      Feel free to let me know of any favorite traits that I may have overlooked here.

      Legacies

      Dankelzahn turned me onto Docholiday's blog entry for LM LI Legacies a while back.

      http://docholidaymmo.com/2011/10/09/...s-in-isengard/


      My DPS and Support Books pretty well mirror what is laid out there. My staff is the damage staff with the Share the Power increase added, because I think that sharing power is a pretty critical LM role, and I don't want to have to switch staves for it.
    1. Rorgg's Avatar
      Rorgg -
      Okay, so my LM is 60 now, and I'd love to go all Super-Sticky-Gourdy, but I just can't get over the -15s Blinding Flash you get from 4 reds. Am I putting too much import on that?
    1. MisterTea's Avatar
      MisterTea -
      Good question. Blinding flash is certainly the most trusty of the LM crowd control skills.

      LM's have a few other tricks up their sleeves, even with blinding flash at a whopping 5-second duration. Herb-lore is one that I still need to work into my rotation more often. You have an assortment of short term stuns, too, of course.

      I think my eagle was a big part of what got me through leveling, with all of the flanks and even the occasional fear effect (which is usually of limited use, since you have to have a Burning Embers DoT on your target for it to work, which can break the fear).

      Playing MoNF solo feels much like playing with a hunter, though. Once you get your 65 or better staff, most things will be defeated by the time that you've hit them with Burning Embers/Cracked Earth, LotRD, Staff Sweep and Sticky Gourd. I figure it's only one flavor of Lore, but it's my favorite.
    1. MisterTea's Avatar
      MisterTea -
      I just wanted to add a quick note here for any players with LM's who need some dusting off. I had an embarrassing episode a week or two ago where a non-LM got to call my attention to the new and improved Bane Flare skill.

      A little background: Bane Flare used to be one of those rare and exotic skills that only worked against one class of enemy, the dead. So, while very useful in Angmar and some Mirkwood instances, it was utterly unused through all of Dunland and Isengard instances due to the overwhelming lack of dead things. This is why the devs took pity on poor LM's and made Bane Flare a skill that dazes all classes.

      Now of course when the devs giveth, they also take away, so if you are traited MoNF rather than Ancient Master, this will be a 5 second group daze. Ancient Master LM's have a 15 second daze from Bane Flare that can pick up an additional 5 seconds from the 4-piece bonus on the Ancient Master Hytbold set. (While handy, this outfit usually stays in the vault to make room for the +10% fire damage bonus on the MoNF set. The two-piece Water Lore bonus on the Keeper of Animals set makes a handy complement to either the AM or MoNF 4-piece bonus.)

      Call to the Valar resets the Bane Flare skill and makes the LM immune to induction knockback for a few seconds, so this can be a handy secondary 'oh crap' skill, or good for chain crowd control on a small group of mobs. Mobs stun fine when dazed (provided they don't have their temporary stun immunity up), but daze better when they're awake than when they're stunned.

      So, do try to remember to work this skill into your rotation so that you get a feel for the induction. Parable consumables can avoid knockback in a pinch. If I may offer a little punny little mnemonic to help remember the usefulness of this skill, just remember:

      If you want to daze one mob, you [blinding] Flash them.
      If you want to daze a group of mobs, you use a flash Bane [flare].
    1. Moondog's Avatar
      Moondog -
      I need to learn these things.
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