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Isengard Class Changes: Captains

July 7, 2011

If you have been following the posts made by developers on the forums and in their my.LOTRO blogs, then you know that class changes are going to rock in Isengard. I thought I would put up a series of posts on each of the classes and keep them updated as new information comes in. Also, if I have an opinion, I will post that as well.

This overview will cover Captains. The resident developer in charge of Captains is Raskolnikov. I will try to both write what has changed and what it is currently, in case you are wanting to roll a Captain alt in the near future and want to know what will happen in Isengard.

NOTE: These are only proposed! Things may change in Beta testing.

The first thing all current Captains should know about the changes is that our Outgoing Healing is being moved to Might instead of Will. Melee Offense will remain on Might as well, making our builds more straightforward instead of the mishmosh of stats it currently is. One downside will be our Power bar. We will want to have +maximum power items.

Current skill modifications

This is the section that describes how skills we currently have will be changed.

  • Time of Need
    New: 5 minute cooldown
    Old: 20 minute cooldown
  • Shield of the Dúnedain
    New: 5 minute cooldown (The Dev Diary doesn’t mention this, but the proposed changes said it would now be a Fast skill.)
    Old: 10 minute cooldown
    Opinion: This may actually make me slot this occasionally, as currently a 10 minute cooldown on normal-speed emergency skill is too long.
  • War-cry
    New: -15% attack duration
    Old: -10% attack duration (-15% with trait Captain of War, which will be repurposed)
    Opinion: This will be great, as I love this trait when in groups.
  • In Defence of Middle-Earth
    New: Stat additions scale with level and is now an toggled aura, with no upkeep cost.
    Old: +1 point for each stat per level of Captain until hard cap of +50, buff lasts for 5-8.5 minutes
    Opinion: The stat scaling will be great, as this is a very important skill end-game, and the new removal of stat caps will benefit greatly from this change. However, the aura has both good and bad ramifications. The distance was confirmed by Rask to be the size of minstrel auras, but the size is an issue. This means that in fights that require spreading out (like OD poison wing T2 or DN Blind-one), there will be some people with the IDOME buff, and some without. On the plus side, we never have to think about it in the middle of a long fight. On the down-side, some people could be missing 225 morale from the +75 vitality, or 375 if they are a tank. Looking at it another way, the +50 to all stats (later +75) won’t be as useful in Rise of Isengard to all classes, as the stats will no longer be built around IDOME.
  • Herald of War
    New: Stats will scale with level
    Old: Hard cap of +50 to Might and Agility (+60 with trait Captain’s Valour)
    Opinion: Also good considering stat cap removal, however I may continue to use my Hope and Victory Banners.
  • Heals, Heal-over-Time effects, and Damage-over-Time effects have had their Critical Multiplier changed from 1 to 1.5
  • Shield-brother
    New: Modifies To Arms to -15% incoming damage, and in-combat power regen is replaced by critical hit avoidance.
    Old: Modified To Arms to have +25% outgoing damage
    Opinion: This is not really a removal of the current To Arms buff, as that remains on the new Blade-brother. This simply puts Shield-brother more as a tank-specific buff and more in line with the new “brother” skills (coming later in the post).
  • Noble Mark
    New: No longer has a Damage-over-Time component. It still immediately causes aggro (ie; can be used for pulling). Added an additional effect to the target which causes any player (except the Captain) that attacks the mob to receive a -10% perceived threat buff for 10 seconds.
    Opinion: This is another good change to our tanking ability.
  • Brother Toggle Skills
    New: When the toggle is removed from your ally, any buffs applied to your ally from Inspire, Strength of Will, or To Arms are dispelled. (i.e., you can’t cycle any of the Brother Toggles between allies in order to buff multiple players at once.)
    Opinion: Apparently this was a common trick. Never thought about it, I always put out the buffs to the same person. Sounds more like a “here is how we meant it to work” change than anything else.
  • Inspire (all versions)
    New: Cooldown has been increased from 3s to 15s to match the duration of the Vital-over-time effects.
    Opinion: This is fine, although I did like to use Inspire when everything else was on cooldown. I think the rotations have been sufficiently tweaked to allow for this, though.
  • Strength of Will (all versions)
    Changed: Cooldown has been increased from 1m30s to 2m to match the duration of the buff it provides.
    Opinion: I do not like this, as the 30 second window allows for a little breathing room, but it’s an ok change, considering all the awesomeness here.

Trait line changes

Leader of Men

  • Improved Kick (gives Kick a 10% chance to start a fellowship maneuver)
    New: added to 2-set bonus
    Old: 3-set bonus
    Opinion: This is fine by me, though I wish they’d increase the chance for a fellowship maneuver from 10% to about 25%
  • 3-set bonus
    New:  -10 second cooldown to Threatening Shout
    Old: Improved Kick
    Opinion: I can definitely see where they are giving the Leader of Men line more tanking utility.
  • Adherent to Elendil (boosts damage on Blade of Elendil by 15%)
    New: Moved to Lead the Charge
    Opinion: This is such a fantastic change. This means one of our main DPS skills will be traitable in our DPS trait line!
  • New Trait: Echoing Shout
    Allows Threatening Shout to affect up to 3 targets, replaces Adherent of Elendil
    Opinion: It is so hard to tank multiple mobs on a Captain, and this will make it much easier by allowing us a little AoE tanking ability.
  • New Trait: Alert Guard
    Gives Defensive Strike a bonus to Parry, replaces Captain of War
    Opinion: This is a great increase to survivability and a great replacement since Captain of War is made obsolete by the buff to War-Cry.
  • Composure
    Removed: No longer reset the cooldown for Cry of Vengeance.
    Addition: -50% Morale cost of Time of Need.
    Opinion: This is great, as the morale cost for ToN is the number one reason why I don’t like this skill very much.
  • Blood of Numenor
    New: Moved to Hands of Healing
    Opinion: Moving the rez trait to the healing line makes a lot of sense
  • New Trait: Improved Routing Cry
    Routing Cry now applies a Force Attack to affected targets. (Note: This trait takes the place where Blood of Numenor used to be.)
    Opinion: Wow, an AoE force taunt for Captains, this is epic! Main problem with tanking on a Captain is no AoE threat skills.
  • Leader of Men Capstone Legendary Trait

    • Removed: Inspire, Strength of Will, and To Arms affects your fellowship at reduced effectiveness.
    • Addition: When using Shield-brother on an ally, the Captain also receives the full effects of the Shield-brother skills.
    • Addition: Routing Cry no longer requires a Defeat Event.
    • Addition: Captains are able to Block when wielding a 2-handed weapon
    • Opinion: Basically, each of the Capstones are allowing a specific Brother skill to affect the Captain at full strength. The ability for the Brother skills to affect the entire fellowship at lower potency is being moved to where Defy Corruption was.

Overall thoughts on Leader of Men changes: Up to this point, this has been the mutt of the trait lines. Kind of a tanking line, kind of a buffing line, but all about group support. Now we see an elimination of a buff trait in favor of a skill change (Captain of War), an elimination of a DPS trait to the DPS trait line (which is where it should be anyway), a removal of a rez trait to the healing trait line and a replacement of all of those traits with tanking traits. I think this is officially our tanking trait line. Obviously, tanking with a Captain is something the Devs expect us to do, as this line has been entirely refitted and tweaked to encompass more threat skills and better defensive capabilities.

Hands of Healing

  • Relentless Optimism
    New: Critical heals heal for 50% more
    Old: Critical heals heal for 10% more
    Opinion: Apparently, up to Isengard, slotting this trait is the only way to get any kind of crit on a heal. Glad it is increased by so much, this will just put a little polish on an already great trait line.
  • Hands of Healing Capstone Legendary Trait
    • Addition: When using Song-brother on an ally, the Captain also receives the full effects of the Song-brother skills.
    • Opinion: This is keeping in line with the new trend for capstone traits.
  • Strength from Within
    • Removed: No longer prevents the summoning of Heralds or Archers.
    • Opinion: This is a great change, as the heal isn’t that powerful, and it is nice to have the herald out when solo, especially when we are using the new Brother skills.
  • Blood of Numenor
    • Addition: +50% Revived Morale and Power for Cry of Vengeance
    • Addition: -2s Induction Time for Escape from Darkness
    • Addition: -10m Cooldown for Escape from Darkness
  • Subtle Command
    • Replaced: Is now Blood of Numenor.

Overall opinion of the Hands of Healing trait line changes: Good tweaks to an already strong line.

Lead the Charge

  • Adherent of Elendil replaces Focused Strikes
    Old: Focused Strikes “reduces the chance that your attacks will miss.”
    Opinion: Focused Strikes was a rather useless trait; I never noticed a difference when I equipped it. Adherent of Elendil will be way more effective at increasing our DPS.
  • Master of War Capstone Legendary Trait

    • Removed: There is no longer a +15s Cooldown penalty on Shadow’s Lament.
    • Changed: Shadow’s Lament now provides Battle-readied on HIT (instead of on Crit).
    • Addition: When using Blade-brother on an ally, the Captain also receives the full effects of the Blade-brother skills.
    • Opinion: WOW! This is great. Hoping that Shadow’s Lament would crit was tiresome, but this will make this line so much stronger. I could conceive of two rotations, one involving Battle-shout and being sustainable with Improved Sure Strike, and one involving Shadow’s Lament. Our DPS might actually be viable.

Legendary Trait Changes

  • Defy Corruption
    • Changed: Is now Fellowship-brother:
      • All versions of your Brother skills (Inspire, Strength of Will, To Arms) now affect your entire fellowship with lesser versions of those effects.
    • Opinion: This is going to allow Captains to trait however they want for raids, as THE raid build for Captains right now is Leader of Men for the Fellowship-wide Shield Brother. This is a great boost in flexibility for the class.

Legacy Changes

  • Shield of the Dunedain Cooldown
    • Has been adjusted to reflect the reduced cooldown of the skill. It will now reduce the cooldown by -90s at max rank.
  • Time of Need Cooldown
    • Has been adjusted to reflect the reduced cooldown of the skill. It will now reduce the cooldown by -150s at max rank.
  • In Defence of Middle-earth Duration
    • Has been changed to “Additional Words of Courage Pulses”.

Post-66 Skills

  • Level 66: Improved Sure Strike
    New: Same as old, plus on hit, reduces active cooldown on Battle-shout by 2 seconds.
    Old: Cannot be blocked or parried
    Opinion: If doing DPS, this will be revolutionary. Our current rotation uses a combination of Defensive Strike and Sure Strike, but a new option will be to forgo the upfront armor buff from Defensive Strike and toss in Improved Sure Strike preferentially. Starting a rotation with Battle-shout, and looking at cooldowns, I could see the following happening:
    Battle-shout ->
    Improved Sure Strike ->
    Devastating Blow or Pressing Attack  ->
    Defensive Strike or Shadow’s Lament ->
    Improved Blade of Elendil ->
    Improved Sure Strike ->
    I tested this in game with the current versions of the skills, and when I get through this particular rotation, Battle-shout has a cooldown of 4 seconds left on it – the two uses of Improved Sure Strike will bring it down to a repeatable sequence.
  • Level 68: Improved Grave Wound
    New: Same as old, plus when used on a target with Cutting Attack on them, will add a second DoT
    Old: Adds threat, plus when used on a target with Cutting Attack on them, it puts the Captain in Aggressive Stance, greatly increasing threat.
    Opinion: This will be a great tool in the Moors, but it also adds a little extra damage to an already powerful tanking tool.
  • Level 70: Song-brother
    Works like Shield-brother, but will alter the skills Inspire, To Arms, and Strength of Will to fit a healing class better.
    • Inspire will now add power-over-time instead of morale over time to the Song-brother.
    • To Arms will now add +25% outgoing healing instead of +25% outgoing damage to the Song-brother.
    • Strength of Will will now add -10% healing power cost instead of +5% incoming healing modifier to the Song-brother.
    • The in-combat morale regen buff will be replaced by a reduced threat from healing buff
  • Level 72: Improved Cutting Attack
    New: Target receives a bleed and a -25% Movement Speed debuff for 20 seconds.
    Old: Target receives a bleed.
    Opinion: This will be so awesome for the Moors! Or for the cowardly mobs that run at the very end, forcing you to run after them because you have absolutely no reliable ranged damage skills.
  • Level 74: Blade-brother
    I wanted the two “brother” skills together, but this was actually put after the next entry, just in case it indicates an order to acquisition. This skill works like Song-brother, but fits a DPS class better.
    • Inspire will now add both a power-over-time effect and a morale-over-time effect to the Blade-brother, but at half-efficacy.
    • To Arms will have the current +25% outgoing damage buff.
    • Strength of Will will now add -5% attack duration.
    • The in-combat power regen buff will be replaced by a critical hit buff (in rating form)

Overall opinion of the new “brother” skills: These are great variations of an already great skill. Way more capabilities, and another good reason to bring multiple Captains on raids. I am curious as to the effect this will have on current legacies. I do have an issue with the name of Blade-brother, as it doesn’t fit in with the other two’s pattern. It should have been named an “S” name, and I would like to suggest Shing-brother. (a reference to the Shing…you know, I shouldn’t explain this…if you don’t know, then you need to listen to the Champion Roundtable at Casual Stroll to Mordor. Period.)

This is all that I know about Captains in Isengard right now, but I will update as I get more information.

Last Updated: August 18th, 2011


Captains in Isengard Dev Diary



Captain Update, Second Iteration by Raskolnikov, post 1

Captain Update, Second Iteration by Raskolnikov, post 2


Captain Roundtable at Casual Stroll to Mordor

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