Wednesday, July 28, 2010

LotRO for WoW Players: Classes

With LotRO going Free-2-Play this fall, Turbine is preparing for an influx of new players. Of course, a good number of those players may be folks that have played, or are currently playing, World of Warcraft. For many of those players WoW was their first MMO, so I'd like to start a series of guides made to help make the transition a bit easier.

There's some differences in the class structure between the two games, and classes that seem like they might be similar on the surface, usually aren't. Here's a breakdown of LotRO classes, their possible counterparts in WoW, and an idea of the inspiration behind each type of character.


The primary tank class. These guys charge into the fray and taunt the enemies away from the rest of their teammates, absorbing most of the damage (and relying on a great healer) so that the DPS classes can do their thing.

Armor: Heavy Armor

WoW Counterpart: Warrior. This is probably the closest match to a WoW class among any of the classes.

Tolkien Inspiration: Thorin Oakenshield, Eowyn

Races Available: Man, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit


Champions are a very strong melee damage class... they like to get up close and personal to their enemies. They also have excellent AoE (multiple enemy) damage and, if traited correctly, have the ability to be a secondary tank. They use a combo points system, similar to a WoW Rogue.

Armor: Heavy Armor

WoW Counterpart: Here's where it gets tricky. Since the Champion is high melee DPS and uses combo points, it's reminiscent of a Rogue, but without the saps, blinds, vanishes, and other tricky abilities. You could say that it's also similar to a fury or arms Warrior, since they wear heavy armor. Champs are also great at melee AoE, similar to a Death Knight.

Tolkien Inspiration: Gimli, Boromir

Races Available: Man, Elf, Dwarf


Burglars are sneaky, sneaky fellows. They do melee DPS, but also provide valuable support to their party via tricks and opening conjunctions, which are special party maneuvers that provide extra damage, healing, or power to the team. Burglars tend to do less damage than, say, Champions, but their party support is very strong and useful. Solo, Burglars are able to walk away from almost any fight due to all the tricks they have at their disposal, and 6-man Burglar teams have been known to be very successful.

Armor: Medium Armor

WoW Counterpart: Rogue again, although they do less damage (comparatively) than a Rogue and they don't use combo points. However Rogues also don't have as many party support abilities and don't have the ability to start conjunctions, so it's not an exact fit.

Tolkien Inspiration: Bilbo Baggins, of course!

Races Available: Man, Hobbit


Yet another melee fighter! Captains are a jack-of-all-trades class. They can do melee damage, but their real strength is in the buffs and heals they provide for their party. The trademark of the captain is a herald, a pet (of sorts) that provides benefits to the Captain and the party. It's part DPS, part heals, part buffing, and part pet class. They could probably off-tank in a pinch as well.

Armor: Heavy Armor

WoW Counterpart: The Captain is about the closest you can get to a Paladin. However, you get a pet (or actually a sidekick) that follows you around all the time, wielding your banner, so that is unique to this class.

Tolkien Inspiration: Aragorn, Eomer

Races Available: Man Only


This is probably one of the most common classes in MMOs. Hunters are a high-damage class that operates primarily at range from the enemy. You'll use your bow and arrow to kill enemies before they even knew what hit them, although you also have the ability to fight close-up if needed.

Armor: Medium Armor

WoW Counterpart: Hunter, but wait! Not so fast... LotRO Hunters do NOT have pets, so if you're looking for the primary pet class, Hunter isn't what you're looking for. They are also similar to the WoW Mage with their high DPS and ports for themselves and party members.

Tolkien Inspiration: Legolas, Legolas, Legolas

Races Available: Man, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit


Here's your pet class! Lore-Masters wield a staff, have several pets to choose from, and use the power of ancient lore and knowledge to defeat foes and aid their party members. They can also heal and restore power to their teammates, and have good crowd control capabilities.

Armor: Light Armor

WoW Counterpart: They're similar to Hunters and Warlocks due to their pets, and Mages due to their use of magic. Since they also provide healing and power (mana) to their teammates, they are also a bit like Shadow Priests during the Burning Crusade days.

Tolkien Inspiration: Lore-Masters, along with Rune-Keepers, are about the closest thing to a magic-using class that you'll find in LotRO. Since magic-users are supposed to be few and far between, both Lore-Masters and Rune-Keepers tend to be a subject of debate among lore purists. Considering their love of animals and usage of ancient lore, the closest match to a character from Tolkien's works would probably be Radagast the Brown.

Races Available: Man, Elf


Minstrels are primarily a healing class, but they can be powerful damage-dealers as well thanks to an ability called Warspeech. They're known for healing allies and defeating enemies with the power of wicked riffs and stirring melodies on their instruments. There's a number of different instruments that a Minstrel can choose from, from the lute to the drums to the bagpipes to a cowbell. I'm not kidding, there is a cowbell.

Armor: Light Armor by default, Medium Armor can be added via a class trait.

WoW Counterpart: Priest, considering their healing style. They're also able to go into Warspeech mode for damage, which corresponds to the Shadow tree for Priests.

Tolkien Inspiration: It's hard to pin down a specific character for the minstrel. In Tolkien's universe, the power of song is mentioned from the beginning of the universe to Elrond's songs in Rivendell and Galadriel's songs in Lothlorien. Elves are certainly known for their songs, and judging from the scene at the Party Tree and later in Bree, the hobbits know how to boogie as well.

Races Available: Man, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit


Rune-Keepers are one of two advanced classes that were introduced with the Mines of Moria expansion. They're a mix of healing and damage and have an interesting mechanic: The more you cast a particular type of spell (healing vs. damage), the more powerful those spells become. However as you cast more damage spells, your healing abilities become inactive, and vice versa. They're very good at either role, but have a difficult time switching between damage and healing in combat.

Armor: Light Armor

WoW Counterpart: No class in WoW has a system quite like the Rune-Keeper. However, most of the Rune-Keeper's spells are effective over time, reminiscent of a Restoration or Balance Druid. Also, the spells that a Rune-Keeper casts are lightning, fire, and frost based, so if you like the flash and sizzle of the Mage or Elemental Shaman, the Rune-Keeper might be a good fit.

Tolkien Inspiration: Honestly, there's not really a precedent for Rune-Keepers within the lore. While it's certainly true that runes and words of power exist, specific wielders of those runes are never mentioned. Chalk this one up to creative license from Turbine... but it's a darn fun class.

Races Available: Elf, Dwarf


The Warden is the other advanced class that was introduced during the Mines of Moria expansion. Wardens are probably the most difficult class to play in LotRO but amazing when played well. They are considered a tank class, and use a number of basic abilities to form combos, or gambits, that unleash their real class abilities. They can heal themselves, dish out a good amount of DPS, and can survive almost anything.

Armor: Medium Armor

WoW Counterpart: None really. I guess you could say they're similar to a Bear Druid tank since they are a tank class with medium armor, but that's about where the similarities stop.

Tolkien Inspiration: I'm going to go out on a limb and say Strider and the roaming Dunedain. While Aragorn seems more like a Captain later in the trilogy, I see him as being more Warden-like while patrolling the ancient kingdom of Arnor.

Races: Man, Hobbit

So, in conclusion:

Warrior: Guardian
Paladin: Captain
Rogue: Champion, Burglar
Mage: Lore-Master, Rune-Keeper, Hunter
Warlock: Lore-Master
Hunter: Hunter, Lore-Master
Priest: Minstrel
Shaman: Rune-Keeper, Champion
Death Knight: Champion, Guardian
Bear Druid: Warden, Guardian, Champion
Balance Druid: Rune-Keeper
Resto Druid: Rune-Keeper, Minstrel
Kitty Druid: Champion

Which class is best? There's really no good answer to that. Every class has it's strengths and weaknesses, has it's own unique playstyle, and is valuable in a group. It's all a matter of personal preference, so try a few different classes until you find the one that's a good fit for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note that comments are moderated to stop spam messages. It may take a while for your comment to show up on the post.