Friday, September 28, 2007

LotRO Hunter First Impression

Pluck, my hobbit hunter on Landroval server, is closing in on level 14. I am enjoying the class more and more as he gains new abilities. Hunters in Lord of the Rings Online dish out massive damage from a distance to single targets. At this low level I have a variety of shots: slow my opponent, place a DOT, and do extra damage. I've purposely avoided looking into what skills are available and when. As Pluck levels up, I'm pleasantly surprised when he gets a cool new ability.

When I solo in this game and fight "at level" mobs, I find myself finishing off their last bit of life in melee. Hunters in LotRO wear medium armor and have some decent attacks. Pluck isn't super squishy, but he can't go toe to toe with multiple bad guys for too long. My favorite melee attack animation is where Pluck slashes his opponent with an arrow and then shoots them with it.

My main in World of Warcraft was a hunter. I miss my kitty cat pet from that game. Hunter's in WOW are ideal for solo players. The pet tanks while you shoot from a distance. If the pet dies or you get aggro, just Feign Death to shed aggro. Unless I group up in a fellowship, Pluck doesn't have a meat shield protecting him. Instead, I have to plan out fights more carefully. For example, hunters in LotRO can stand still before a battle to gain focus, which lets me use more powerful attacks. (I assume Pluck will gain more skills that require Focus at higher levels.) If he moves after gaining focus, he loses it. I need to start the battle in the right location and know when and where to lay a trap if I'm facing a group of monsters.

I have mixed feelings about no ammo in LotRO. On one hand the game is simplified because I don't have to waste bag space or remember to restock before leaving town. Less time spent micro-managing my inventory means more time adventuring and exploring. On the other hand the game feels less realistic, and finding better quality ammo was fun (in the achiever's sense of the word).

I've been in fellowships about a third of my time in game, which is the perfect percentage for me. I ran one instance with two other hunters and a burglar. The poor burglar didn't have much to do. The PUG had obviously played MMOs before. We stayed close together and focused our artillery to drop mobs fast. The typical skills for playing a ranged DPS class in a group apply to LotRO as well. For example, pulling, trapping, avoiding cc'd mobs, and managing aggro. Overall I find group play in LotRO fun.

My plan is to play Pluck up to level 15, and then roll a minstrel. For the Horde! Er... I mean... for the Shire!

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