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When to use cooldowns in LOTRO: The Do’s and Don’ts

February 7, 2012

This post will cover how to use Cooldowns effectively while leveling, dungeon-crawling, and raiding. That means when to use them…and when to not.

I think most of my readers are aware of this, but I have severe altoholism. I have every class except Guardian at level 40 or above. Pre-Isengard, I had five level 65s and one almost there (Minstrel). As I have gone through I have standardized some things, such as what keys get my curative potions (Wound is Ctrl+5, Fear is Ctrl+6, Disease is Ctrl+7, and Poison is Ctrl+8, on all my characters, in case you were wondering). Another thing I have standardized is my use of the “emergency skills,” as often they are on a long cooldown. These often have similar effects as skills from other classes, and I try to make sure my keybindings reflect that.

One thing I have found hard to do is figure out how to use each class’s Cooldowns. Some classes have skills on a short cooldown, like Wardens. Some, like Hunters and Champions, have skills that are on 30 minute cooldowns. Knowing which Cooldowns to use in what situation is a lot of what the subtleties of this game are about.

So I will start with the basics. First, what is a Cooldown?

“Cooldowns” are the skills that every class has that are game-changers, but on a long cooldown, meaning they have a long timer that has to expire before they can be used again. You might ask, “how long is long?” Some would consider only skills that are on a 5+ minute cooldown a true “Cooldown skill.” I usually consider any skill I can’t use in every single fight a “Cooldown” This to me is about 3+ minutes. If I have to think about saving the skill, it is a Cooldown.


  • Skill Deeds
    Something that a lot of people don’t realize at first is that some Cooldowns have a deed associated with using them. Some skills are nice skills to use but not essential to survival, such as a Minstrel’s Cry of the Chorus. These are easily spammed whenever one thinks about it, and no harm is done. In fact, you might even think of unique ways to use those skills in regular situations. However, “emergency skills” like Dire Need for Champions or Hide in Plain Sight for Burglars are tempting to save for when you are in trouble.This presents a problem, as Hide in Plain Sight is a great skill, but using it 2.5 million times (exaggerated of course) unlocks a great trait! Which should you do? Save it or use it? It really depends on what I am doing. If I am just doing random quests that aren’t really that hard, or if I am in a place with low mob-density, then I will tend to just hit it whenever it is off-cooldown. If I am in an area where the quests are 3 levels higher than me, and the mobs are packed tightly, increasing the possibility of pulling three or more at a time, I might just save it for when things are a little less stressful.If you absolutely can’t make yourself burn an emergency Cooldown, then when you are doing something mundane like crafting or homework, just keep an eye on the Cooldown or set a timer. Hit the skill, then keep doing what you were doing. When I was leveling my Lore-master, I would set a 10 minute timer. I was working on homework, and when the timer would go off, I would hit Wisdom of the Council (big self-heal and buff) and Beacon of Hope on my pet. Back to studying. I am still working on my Burglar, but every 10 minutes, I will hit Hide in Plain Sight, Ready and Able (which resets HIPS) and HIPS again. Ready and Able is only available every 20 minutes, but still it works quite well.
  • Quests
    If I am coming up to a quest with a named mob, I will hold off on using most of my Cooldowns until I come to that fight. The main thing I am really concerned with is having at least one Cooldown available. If I have died before or have done the quest before on another character and I know it is hard, I might reserve two or three Cooldowns for the fight.

Dungeons and Raids

  • 6-man dungeons, 3-man dungeons, and raids pre-In Their Absence, i.e. pre-Ost Dunhoth and Isengard raids)
    Cooldowns are important to save for boss fights. If you have done a particular instance before and you are confident that the time it will take to get to the boss is longer than the Cooldown you are considering using, then go ahead! Generally, trash mobs and mini bosses don’t need Cooldowns.For example, I was on my Captain in a Lost Temple run. There is one giant boss, Ivar, and one medium sized boss, a pair of Creoth-like people that are annoying as heck to defeat. There are also 3-4 mini-bosses in between them. Needless to say, there are more than thirty minutes between the Creoth pair and Ivar, so you can go ahead and blow any Cooldowns with a 30-minute timer. But on each of the mini-bosses, there is no reason to use a Cooldown, especially saving them up for Ivar, arguably one of the hardest 6-man bosses in the game. On the last mini-boss before Ivar, a Champion died. Cry of Vengeance, my Captain’s in-combat rez on a 30-minute cooldown untraited, flashed before my eyes. I did not use it though, because I knew that we could finish this mini-boss without the Champion and that the Ivar fight was a particularly dangerous one for healers. I would quite possibly need that rez. The fight finished, the Rune-keeper rezzed the Champion, and we faced Ivar and won.
  • Raids (In Their Absence and Isengard)
    A new feature of raids post-In Their Absence and Isengard is that Cooldowns are reset going into the boss. That means you could blow all of your Cooldowns on the trash and have them available again when going into the Boss. This is a double-edged sword, as the developers are now designing content that use all of your skills to complete.
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