Home > General, LOTRO, LOTRO Advice, LOTRO Class Guides > Come here, my pet!

Come here, my pet!

July 19, 2011

I love pets. I really do. I enjoy skirmishes simply because, if nothing else, my non-pet-class characters can enjoy the benefits of leading a two man army (including themselves).

Pets are an integral part of the playstyle that comes with Lore-masters and Captains. Some people like this aspect of these classes, some people don’t. I know a lot of people play Captains without using a herald, opting instead to use a banner. I know Lore-masters that only have a raven out for the shadow mitigation, and they might keep it alive for flanks.

While these aren’t necessarily bad playstyles, I’m going to assume that the readers of this post aren’t like this. I’m going to assume that you want to learn how to use your pet effectively. I’m going to assume that you want to get the most out of this aspect of the class you have chosen to play, i.e. Lore-master or Captain.

What I will talk about: I will give a general overview of the pets for each of the dedicated pet classes, go into detail slightly about the “best” pet for each situation, and then talk about general playstyle tips for using pets.

What I will not talk about: I won’t talk about every single skill of every single pet, nor cosmetic appearances (for which I will point you here for Lore-masters and here for Captains), nor skirmish soldiers (what I like to call “sentient” pets, or really “non-controllable” pets).

So first, an overview of the classes.


  • Pets
    • Raven
      Obtained at level 2, this is your first pet, but a high flank-rate, shadow mitigation aura, and fire-skill buff make this pet strong even at end-game.
    • Bear
      Lore-masters get the Bear at level 14. It has a low flank-rate, but it is a durable pet and can take a licking.
    • Lynx
      At level 30, Lore-masters can summon a Lynx. This cat has a low flank-rate, but high DPS, making it good for clearing through areas one mob at a time, if they are on-level and Normal quality.
    • Eagle
      First available at level 45, the Eagle is a difficult pet to obtain, as it is not just a trainable skill. This is the first pet that is tied to a Legendary Trait. Complete the level 50 class quest to get the trait, then slot it at a Bard to be able to use the skill. This is in my opinion, THE number one soloing pet. More on it later.
    • Sabercat
      A trainable skill at level 56, this is a very situational pet. Most people never use it except when grinding mobs for deeds, as the cat’s AoE melee attacks help kill groups more quickly.
    • Bog-lurker
      The second pet to be locked behind a Legendary Trait, this moss-covered…thing is available at level 58 from the Iron Garrison Guards once you achieve kindred status with them. It is 2.5 gold for the book from them that teaches you the trait, but it is well worth it. It also is the capstone trait for the Keeper of Animals traitline, so you will have to trait 5 traits in that line before you can use this pet. This pet has the highest flank rate of all the pets, making it ideal for keeping yourself up. More on this in a little bit.
    • ?
      There is a new pet coming with Isengard, but nobody knows what it will be yet. Raskolnikov, the lead developer for the Lore-master, originally was planning an Auroch, but due to feedback against it, mentioned there might be a poll up on the forums at some point. There is a thread with suggestions that any and all are free to weigh in on (note this was posted by a player, not a dev, but I’m sure they will be looking at it).
  • “Best” Pet
    The best thing about the Lore-master is everything is situational. The Lore-Master can adapt very well to the situation. That means that the “best” pet will really depend on the situation.
    • Flank-rates
      One thing to consider is flank-rates. Obviously, flanks determine skill usage of the Lore-master quite a bit. More flanks generally equals more self-heals in both morale and power (Signs of Battle and Staff-sweep, respectively). In order of best flank-rate to worst:
    1. Bog-lurker (though a tiny bit unpredictable)
    2. Eagle (every 15-20 seconds like clockwork)
    3. Raven
    4. Sabercat (because of AoE attacks, more targets to flank on)
    5. Lynx or Bear (not sure which is higher, I am thinking Lynx)
    • Solo
      • I have found that the Eagle is the best pet for landscape soloing. It consistently flanks about every 15-20 seconds, and it has an auto-interrupt skill that is on a short cooldown. It also has a skill that when toggled, and the Eagle is in combat, can rez the Lore-master by sacrificing itself.
      • Also good for soloing is the Bog-lurker. This is the “war-of-attrition” pet, as it flanks very often at times, but inconsistently in my experience. It is good for long fights, as this effect is less noticeable. I have heard of people using it to solo 3-mans.
    • Grouping
      • The best pet in my experience for grouping is the Raven or Bear. In general, our legendary trait slots are going to be full in groups, with Sword and Staff (never unslot this), March of the Ents (can be swapped, but most like to keep it), and the capstone for the yellow line. This eliminates Eagle and Bog-lurker in general, and the Lynx and Sabercat are very situational. DPS is rarely an issue with groups, so these two are less useful.
      • The Raven is great for the shadow mitigation aura, as a lot of bosses end-game do shadow damage. I don’t know how this will change in Isengard. The raven is also a good pet for flanks, as it has the third-highest flank-rate to the two Legendary pets.
      • The Bear is good for the armor-rend skill (which is on too-long of a cooldown, in my opinion), and for the snap-aggro skill, which can be used to save tanks in a desperate situation. In general, I am more of a proponent of the preventative skills the Raven has to offer over the emergency skill of the Bear. Also the Bear has a very low flank-rate, and I like high flank-rates.
    • Moors
      • I usually see people out with the Lynx or Raven. All of the Legendary trait slots are reserved for Improved Sticky Gourd, Ents Go To War, and Sword and Staff, so only normal pets are available for use. Pets are essential in the Moors for the Lore-master, as it is the only consistent source of heals solo, and a pet will stay aggroed on a warg when it uses Disappear to go into stealth, much to my warg’s usual chagrin.


  • Pets
    • Herald of Hope
      Obtained at level 24, this herald has the highest morale of any of the heralds, simply because it gets the buff from the banner it is carrying just like you. The banner has a morale boost, an in-combat morale regeneration boost, and +1 Hope. This is my go-to herald. This herald has a large heal that it can give the Captain, usually equivalent to an on-level morale potion.
    • Herald of Victory
      This herald is obtained at level 34, and it gives a bonus to maximum power and in-combat power regeneration. This herald also has a large power heal for the Captain.
    • Herald of War
      Our first herald at level 10, this herald’s buff gives +50 agility and might (+60 with trait Captain’s Valour). It also has a small morale heal for the Captain.
    • Archer
      This pet is not really a herald, as it does not carry a banner. It is obtained at level 56, and it is a DPS pet. It does ranged damage (like I needed to explain that), and it has a few good skills including the only slow currently at the Captain’s disposal. It has lower morale than a regular herald, but the DPS is significantly higher.
  • “Best” pet
    • Solo (landscape)
      I have found that the best pet for landscape soloing is the Herald of Hope. The morale buff and the heals are just what you need for taking on a flake dropper, and the occasional stun is nice too (from one of its skills, set to auto, more on this later). Plus since it has the highest morale, this pet is ideal for pet-offtanking (again, more on this in a bit).
    • Solo (skirmishes)
      I will mostly use the Herald of Hope here as well. However, due to the Captain’s limited ranged damage, it is often very effective to have the Archer out in skirmishes like Stand at Amon Súl. Set it to aggressive, combine it with a sage or another archer, and this skirmish will be won very quickly.
    • Grouping and Moors
      Don’t use a pet. The Banners are more effective, plus they grant bonuses to you when you have them equipped. In the Moors, the Banner of War gives a bonus to Might and Agility (so more damage and more crits), plus the bonus for carrying it is +5% melee damage.

General Pet Tips

  • The Pet Skill Bar
    • The first 8 skills work the same for all pets.
    • The first 3 skills are Attack, Follow, and Stay, which are on-command skills for your pet. These must be used by the Captain or Lore-master.
    • The next 3 skills are stances, Aggressive, Passive, and Guard.
      • Aggressive should really only be used when deeding, as the pet looks for enemies in range and attacks them.
      • Passive, which is where the pet does not attack unless you want them to, is what your pet should be on at all times when in a group.
      • Guard is good for landscape soloing, because the pet will protect you when you are attacked, but not seek out enemies.
    • The 7th skill is Assist, which determines whether or not your pet will attack what you are attacking. If the pet is on Passive, they will attack with you, and only with you. If they are on Aggressive, then they will attack whatever they want until you attack something, then they will switch targets.
    • The 8th skill is a pet recall skill that is on a short cooldown and can only be used out-of-combat. This is good for when your pet gets stuck.
    • The last 3 skills are special, depending on the pet.
    • All of the skills can be slotted on your main toolbars, and the special skills will change automatically depending on the pet.
  • Pet-offtanking
    One strategy for handling multiple, painful mobs is to use your pet to offtank for you. This strategy is achieved by making sure the pet is not on Assist, as it will switch targets to your target if it is. Then send the pet in on the mob you want offtanked (which for me is usually the least powerful, as the pet needs to survive). After the pet has been engaged, attack the other mob. The pet can survive most mobs one-on-one, especially if they are Normal and if you keep them alive through heals (see Keeping Them Up below).
  • Auto-skills
    Most people probably don’t realize this, but you can set the special skills that pets have to trigger whenever the cooldown is up. This is achieved by right-clicking on the skill on the pet toolbar. If it shows a moving dotted line around the skill, it will fire whenever the mob is in range and it is off cooldown. Note: When the pet is in Aggressive mode, I have found that it switches to your target to execute its skills, even if it is not on Assist. It then switches back to its original target.
  • Run and Die (Lore-master only)
    This technique works once every ten minutes when you have the Eagle equipped. It is good for running through large areas when you are not sure that you want to fight everything, but you might die if you run through. The plan with the Eagle…is to die. It is relatively simple. First, make sure that the Eagle has its rez skill ready and activated. Then, put the Eagle on Passive and turn off Assist. This is important, otherwise your Eagle will get lost fighting some mob that happened to hit you when you first started running. Then, run through the area, selecting “nearest target” frequently to keep a mob close-by targeted. When it looks like you are about to go down, hit Attack on the Eagles pet bar. If you die, then the Eagle will offer you a rez. It might be wise to make sure that the area is clear before accepting.
  • Pet-pulling
    You can pull mobs with a pet very easily, especially on melee mobs. Simply command your pet to Attack, then as soon as the appropriate mob aggros on the pet, command the pet to Follow, and it will come running straight to you. This is handy when you want to pull-by-sight instead of using a skill. This generally attracts less attention.
  • Keeping them up
    • Lore-master
      The Lore-master has two ways to keep a pet alive directly, whether it be offtanking or just in regular situations.
      • The first is through Beacon of Hope, our main heal. This is on a relatively long cooldown, so don’t expect the pet to tank for you. You need to have almost burned down the other mob, so you can pop the heal once, then take aggro back from the pet quickly to keep it from dying.
      • The other skill is Inner Flame, which is less reliable in pet-offtanking situations, because you are fighting your own mob, and this is a channeled skill, so it will more than likely be interrupted. It does however lend itself well to when the pet is tanking for you temporarily, such as when the Bear saves you with his force-taunt. This skill heals both you and the pet, as well as leaching aggro off of you and onto your pet.
    • Captain
      The Captain has a ton of ways to keep the pet alive, simply because this class is an excellent healer in its own right, and its plethora of emergency skills makes it very good at saving both Fellowship members and heralds.
      • Our main skill used in pet-offtanking will be Inspire. Shield-brother your herald (which will increase its in-combat morale regen as well), and hit Strength of Will (which increases the healing the herald takes for 2 minutes). When burning down your mob, work Inspire into your rotation every 15 seconds to refresh the heal over time.
      • If your pet needs a little more healing than Inspire can provide, hit Words of Courage for a nice boost.
      • When your mob goes down, or if you get a crit on Devastating Strike or on the second swing of Pressing Attack, hit Rallying Cry for a good heal.
      • If the mob the pet will be tanking looks particularly painful, or if you have Precise Ally traited (for 25% extra pet damage), then pop Revealing Mark on the pet’s mob for a 15% return in morale on damage done to the mob.
      • If things go poorly, and you have Shield of the Dunedain traited, this can save the pet from taking too much damage.
      • As a last resort, In Harm’s Way will take 50% of the damage from the Fellowship including your herald and put it on you.
  • Deeding with pets
    • Grinding
      • Lore-master
        Set the Sabercat to Aggressive for deed grinding, as the AoE attacks will kill things quickly. That way, you can also trait Master of Nature’s Fury and use the Capstone trait Improved Sticky Gourd, as well as the trait Ents Go to War. Gather up mobs and unleash the powers of AoE.
      • Captain
        The Archer is best for deed grinding; set it to Aggressive and let it pull mobs to you. Trait Precise Ally to make things go even faster.
    • Class deeds
      • Lore-master
        The Lore-master has several deeds specifically for pet-related skills, specifically Sign of the Wild: Rage and Sign of the Wild: Protection. Also, the trait Tactically Adept is gained by sharing power, and the trait Light of Hope is gained by using Beacon of Hope, neither of which can be cast on oneself, but both can be done on your pet.
      • Captain
        The Captain needs to level deeds for Inspire, To Arms, Words of Courage, Herald of Hope, Herald of Victory, and Archer. The last four can be spammed to level the deed to the max allowed for the day. Using a herald through the leveling process can help you earn every trait except for Blood of Numenor, as that requires you to rez a fallen comrade. Heralds apparently don’t count as comrades, as they cannot be rezzed.

I hope this has given a good overview of pets and the pet classes. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know! Good hunting and farewell.

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