As I’ve been dusting off the cob-webs on my minstrel lately I’ve also been hearing (and reading) folks talk about how hard it is to solo as a minstrel, especially in skirmishes. So I figured I’d write a bit about how I’ve built and set up my minstrel as well as how I play him. My minstrel is probably my most rounded end-game character I have as I’ve done Helegrod, the Rift (including a few 1st time kills for groups), all the Moria 6-mans, the Watcher, DN (not the whole thing sadly), and it is also my highest ranked character in the Moors having reached rank 5. I leveled up mostly in the days pre-warspeach and as such am pretty used to chaining ballads and working to maximize their utility.
One of the things about my minstrel is that I do PUG quite a bit and as such I have to be ready for and be able to take a few hits. So I tend to built more towards a vit/morale heavy build and not the will/power build that pure healing minstrels tend to prefer. I’m currently running with 4641 morale and 3679 power with an ICPR of 1000, but my un-buffed common mitigation is 28.4%. Even when I’m raiding, having the extra morale is ALWAYS helpful as there are LOTS of high damage AOEs in the game that can potentially one-shot you if your morale is too low. Even if you are not 1-shotted, you might be low enough that another hit would finish you off – or if nothing else distract you from healing someone more crucial, like the tank. Now I certainly will re-trait depending on what I’m doing, but aside from instruments and legendary items, I rarely will swap out equipment.
I’m still in the process of working through my equipment and virtue selections, but you can check out my minstrel’s My.LOTRO page for his current gear, and my previous post showing links to the armor set comparisons. I currently have valor, loyalty, charity, justice, and empathy slotted for my virtues, but like I said I will probably be changing things up a bit and Justice will most likely go 🙂 For soloing, I’m currently speced full war-speech with 2 in protector of song:
- Medium Armor use – not so much such that I can wear medium armor, but this also boosts our common damage mitigation cap. With all of the ways to boost armor rating, it is pretty easy to hit the 30% cap. I don’t wear any medium armor, it is purely for the boost to the mitigation cap.
- Powerful Voice – 5% power cost reduction for cries and ballads. Pretty self-explanatory, but while in war-speech power can be a huge issue so every little bit helps.
- Light in the dark – +10% ballad damage – really helps when combined with legacies
- Unrelenting – more crits for piercing cry, which then will stun mobs
- Harmonious Melody – adds 5 seconds to ballad healing buff duration (really only for capstone)
- Glorious Anthem – +15 second anthem duration
- Battle-hymn – Anthem of the Valar triggers ICMR buff from Anthem of the Free peoples on minstrel only
So, the last 2 are probably my biggest suggestion as it not only allows for good AOE damage but allows to keep that ICMR buff up pretty much at all times, more than doubling my in-combat morale regen abilities!
For my soldier, I’m currently running with the sage to try and help kill things quickly. I’m pretty comfortable with both tier 1 and tier 2 skirmishes on level, but will also probably trait up an herbalist to help with healing me and sharing power. Only time I really get into trouble has been when I’m just being stupid 🙂 like forgetting to clear out a counter-attack before pulling another group of mobs 😉
Now for my normal fighting strategy I prefer to run in war-speech and use those abilities as much as possible with ballads in-between. I do tend to run out of power quite frequently and often but with power pots and a good ICPR I can turtle pretty well. But that is why I’m thinking about the herbalist as the power sharing thing is pretty darn handy 🙂 I usually pull at least 3 mobs and use Echoes of battle as my pull skill. I then tier up ballads on another incoming target using Resonance, Swiftness, and the Ballad of War buff. By this time, the mobs should be on my so I use the 3 AoEs we have (Call of Orome, Anthem of Valar, and Call to the 2nd Age) which not only puts light damage debuffs on the mobs but also gives me a nice morale regen boost. Once I get through this cycle I tier back up in ballads with the buffs – the vigor, balance, and stout ones mainly. Like all my characters, I’m pretty liberal with potions and use them quite often. If I get into trouble, I’ll then drop war-speech, use some pots, and then hit man-heal if I’m really hurting. Lots of mobs in skirmishes cast fears as well as silence, so Cry of the Chorus is another good skill to use.
The other skills I use when I start to get into trouble are our fear during the fight, and distraction if there are too many mobs in the area to try and keep the crowds reasonable. It doesn’t hurt to have our big heals in mind (Triumphant spirit and fellowships heart) and the fail-safe of feign death 🙂 And of course, don’t neglect your morale/power pots and in some cases more importantly make sure you stock up and use the other pots as well – fear, would, poison, and disease.
Finally, for my legendaries I’m still working through mine but for the most part I plan to carry 2 sets on for healing and another for damage. It is nice that ballad damage is in Pool B such that you can have both war-speech damage and ballad damage boosts. There aren’t nearly as many damage legacies for books, so I still mainly focus that on healing as even while soloing healing is handy 😉 In case you forgot (like me) here’s the link to the dev. diary on legacy pools.
I’ll wrap up with a couple other posts on the live boards that may be helpful for those of you who make it out to the moors: