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

February 7, 2012 Comments off

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.

Leveling

  • 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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Gearing up in Isengard or “Yay math!”

October 16, 2011 10 comments

Ah, gearing up. The constant fight for the “best” items for your class, level, and playstyle. With a new level cap and stat changes, the old gear is worthless and the new gear is just out of reach.

Draigoch armor set

Rise of Isengard shipped with one new armor set per class. The first four pieces (boots, gloves, chest, and legs) are available by bartering Superior Fourth Marks. The last two pieces (shoulders and helm) only drop from the Draigoch raid, thus this armor set is known as the “Draigoch set” or the “Dragon set.” I just hope they don’t shorten it like they did with the “Hele set” (Helegrod). I don’t want to be walking around in the “Drag set”…

"Dragon" is way cooler...

Superior 4th Marks, or “S4Ms” as they are seen in chat, are granted upon completion of Challenge modes of any 3- or 6-man Classic instance and 12-man Skirmishes, sans Icy Crevasse and Attack At Dawn, and they are also found in chests at the end of those instances. Challenge modes grant 3 Superior 4th Marks apiece. Read more…

O, The Lives I Have Taken…

September 24, 2011 4 comments

It all started with ore…

I am afraid that’s how a lot of my stories start. Even in real life.

Not really, I kid.

But seriously, this story did start with ore. You see, this all started on September 20th, when I was getting ready for Isengard with my Captain. Specifically, I had decided that I needed to finish off mastery of Tier 5 and Tier 6 of Prospecting, so I would be ready for all of the Skarn that is coming in Isengard (Skarn is the new Tier of ore, just fyi).

Since I needed a bunch of Tier 5 ore, I decided to go to Eregion to make a large loop prospecting Ancient Silver and Ancient Iron, roughly centered on Echad Eregion.

Then I had the (then) brilliant thought, “Hey I should look and see if there are any deeds that I need to complete in Eregion while I am at it. I might as well kill things as I go.” Read more…

Virtues in Isengard, pt. 2

September 16, 2011 3 comments

After receiving some really good questions from Lucian about my last post on the Virtues in Isengard, I decided to write some of my responses and some more thoughts on them.

Clarification about Beta Disclaimer of former post

When I said that there might be changes before the Expansion hits the live servers, I meant was that the Virtues I saw in the Beta might not be in the exact same form (like the exact same numbers) when Rise of Isengard goes live. They may increase or decrease values after testing. This often happens in Beta, and I wanted to be sure you wouldn’t get mad at me if you saw that Zeal gave a lesser amount of Morale in Live than I said originally.

Explanation of a few facets of the new Virtues

The Virtues in Isengard will be significantly different than the ones that are currently live. Read more…

Rise of Isengard photo-journal and tips

September 3, 2011 Comments off

My Captain, Ardaheru, hit 75 Monday night! I was 8th in Southern Cross to do it. It was a very interesting experience, and I wanted to share with you some screenshots and advice for a smooth experience.

Fun Moments

  • I found that wargs in Dunland are very well behaved.
  • My first glimpse of Saruman was a “jump-up-and-down-with-joy moment.” Somehow, I missed this quest in the Beta, which I am glad about, because I got experience it for the first time “for real.”

    Saruman is a cheapskate though!

  • Here is the quest I was referring to in this post about humor and engagement in the Epic story in Dunland.

"There are very few desirable tasks when it comes to preparing for war"

  • When we come across the Riders of Rohan for the first time: another “jump-up-and-down-with-joy moment.” Théoden’s son!!!!! Read more…