Isengard Class Changes: Hunters

August 2, 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 Hunters. The resident developer in charge of Hunters is Zombie Columbus (ZC). I am going to try to explain the information shortage and some of the information we have received.

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

UPDATE: There was a Dev Diary released with plenty of information. My write-up is here, and the actual Dev Diary is here.


There is literally a famine of information when it comes to the Hunter updates in Isengard. Here is what is know (this will be half-history, half-conjecture).

The Forum Posts: What We Actually Know

Zombie Columbus originally posted

Bowmaster: No longer tied to Strength stance.
Huntsman: A true Bow and Blade warrior.
Trapper of Foes: Less crowd control, more of everything else.

This incited a riot. There were probably in excess of 100 posts saying “We don’t want to be Champions, get melee out of here!”

Logical arguments were strewn among the panic-posts.

Those against, but still logical, said that more melee was fine, as long as it wasn’t expected to be used instead of ranged abilities. Others pointed out that while more melee abilities are great, but Hunters don’t build for melee offense, as Might is what is linked to that, and most Hunters (myself included) have the Might of a level 20 Champion.

Some were fine with the changes, wanting more of what the original description of the Hunter class promised:

“Hunters are proficient at dealing significant damage to a single foe at long range. Their basic bow skills generate Focus points, allowing them to use even more potent skills. If a foe manages to close into melee, the Hunter’s dual-wielded weapons are capable of dealing the final blow. In fellowships, a Hunter concentrates on quickly killing foes one at a time.”

Zombie Columbus heard all of the feedback and posted a second time, explaining some of his thought process and taking back what he said about the Hunstman melee additions, crediting the outrage of the community for the removal.

Some very interesting things that he did say were coming were:

  • Bowmaster traitline bonuses would be available regardless of stance.
  • Stances in general would be divorced from any particular traitline, enabling players to “stance-dance” based on the situation and not have to use traits that would be useless if the stance was changed.
  • Bowmaster will be very close to what it is now.
  • Huntsman will also be very close to what it is now, except the stance changes.
  • Trapper of Foes will not be nerfed with regards to crowd control, but will be more focused on being useful in non-CC situations.
  • Trapper of Foes will be changed to fix the major issues of the ranged damage reduction and the pathetic root on Penetrating Shot.
  • Since crowd control is very much limited in usefulness in boss fights, so the focus on ToF will be towards support, which traditionally means “debuffs, buffs or restoration. The trapper will trade some of his straight CC for more generally applicable support abilities.”
  • Lastly, the Trapper of Foes line will be more about traps!

Now, that was on page 8…of 26. That was the last we heard from ZC (except that he got engaged, congratulations to him!)

That post was on May 12th, and there were many, many posters after that. I can actually say I have read every single post on that forum feed.

The Stat Changes Dev Diary: What Stat Changes Will Do For The Hunter

The biggest two things about the stat changes Dev Diary for Hunters are that primary caps will be removed (i.e. 800+ Agility is possible and likely) and that Agility will affect our melee offense instead of Might.

This means that melee damage will not be as pathetic as it is now. This also means that critical chance and such will likely be higher, and this will change the way the Hunter plays quite a bit.

The Possible Beta Leak: What People Do When They See Change

There was a post on July 30th that linked to a questionable website that supposedly had information on it about the changes coming to Hunters from the Beta. I will not say what the poster said, as that is irrelevant to the discussion. The post was immediately removed, and with good reason. Right after that post, most people were harping on two changes, and not looking at the big picture. People were already going into that lovely routine “the Rune-keepers are further going to outpace hunters!”

The reason I bring this up at all is to show you what the panic reflex does. It deteriorates into a situation where people are saying that if certain changes go through, then it will all be over! They will cancel their subscription and their pre-order! RUN FOR THE HILLS!

My take on this is “be patient.” Zombie Columbus has a lot to deal with when it comes to Hunters and Rune-keepers both, as he is in charge of two of the main DPS classes, and balancing those two is very difficult. Give him space to work.

In all likelihood, the changes are probably such that they look terrible on paper, but actually work really well in-game. That may be why ZC is waiting to post more information. He may wait until open Beta to post so that people can try them out themselves. That way, knee-jerk reactions won’t plague the forums and the community with horrible predictions of doom.

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

Last Updated: September 16th, 2011


Forum Post 1 by Zombie Columbus

Forum Post 2 by Zombie Columbus

Hunter page on the Lorebook

Dev Diary

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