Updated Mon, Nov 08, 2010 by gunky
Being a Captain is SRS BZNS
A staunch and stalwart opponent of the forces of darkness, armed with a mighty halberd and clad in gleaming mail, rallying the troops for a final, bloody charge. His banner flaps idly in the breeze, the edges frayed and tattered from the harsh environment of the batlefield, held aloft by a fiercely loyal herald. The Captain promises victory to his fellows, and the sheer strength of his conviction is often enough to ensure that this promise will be fulfilled.
The Captain is the consummate leader. He is important enough that he must hire a helper to carry his standard, but not so high-falutin' that he won't carry his own banner should the situation require it. Capable of using massive 2-handed weapons, including the noble halberd, and wearing heavy armor, the Captain is able to stand on the front lines of battle against tough foes. He is equally effective in the rear guard, bolstering his companions beyond their normal abilities and restoring their spirits when situations seem hopeless.
In a group, the Captain plays a diverse but often central role, buffing his companions, assisting the healers with his own restorative powers, and dishing out the damage with his 2-handed weapons. Should the situation demand it, the Captain can haul out a shield and a one-handed weapon and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the tanks. In solo play, Captains fight side-by-side with their summoned heralds, though they are quite capable of handling most fights by themselves. In PvMP, Captains are very hard to kill, and are particularly strong when running with a freep raid.
The Captain class is only available to Race of Man. No other race is available to this class.
Unlike most other classes that can afford a narrow focus on one or two stats, Captains need a god balance, and no one stat is really more important than the others. Might is needed for weapon damage and blocking ability, Agility is needed for Parry and Evade when no shield is equipped (and also for scoring crits with weapons), Vitality is needed for morale and physical resistances, Will is needed for power, Fate is needed for power and morale regeneration in combat. Captains need high numbers across the board.
Captains are often considered "off-healers," but that isn't really doing the class justice. Captain healing has no inductions, and they have 2 revives usable in-combat. In 3-man instances, a group running with a heal-spec Captain will often be fine without a Minstrel or Runekeeper.
Because of the relative rarity of the class and the unquestionable value of their buffs, Captains are one of the most frequently-sought classes for pick-up groups. There are vey few Captains who can't find a group when they want one.
This is a very flexible class. Captains can spec for DPS, buffs, tanking or heals as needed and do a good job at any of these tasks.
Captains tend to be slow to level for a number of reasons, particularly at low levels when you would hope it would go faster. They don't have the raw killing power of Hunters or Champions, the bulwark defenses of Guardians or Wardens, or the self-healing of Minstrels or Runekeepers, but fall somewhere in the middle of all 3 of those class types. While this makes for a more flexible character, the lack of a real focused area of expertise at low and mid levels slows things down, and it's not until higher levels that the Captain becomes really powerful.
Being a dedicated generalist is not as easy as it sounds, particularly when looking for good gear. For example, jewelry that dramatically increases Will and Fate will have nothing for Might, Vitality or Agility, and the Captain can't afford to simply ignore any stats. As an example, a bracelet with very high Will and Fate but little or no Might, Vitality or Agility will be less desirable than a bracelet with lower Will and Fate but higher Might, Vitality or Agility, and vice versa. Finding gear that has a good balance of stats can be a fine art and may require a good deal of patience and/or money.
Power consumption can be a big problem, particularly at lower levels. Most Captain combat skills are instant, with no inductions, and have rather heavy power costs, and firing them off one after another can quickly drain the character of power, leaving him defenseless if things go badly. For longer fights, the Captain may need to pull back and auto-attack for a bit, and will want to carry lots of power potions at all times.
Other classes in the Lord of the Rings Online may be more popular because of their comparative simplicity, but they are not as in-demand as Captains. The Captain is a rare animal - one part tank, one part buffer, one part healer - and this makes them valuable. They straddle the line that divides the frontliners from the support classes, equally at home taking command and leading or supporting the commands of others who are in charge. You can't do raids without them - while it may be theoretically possible, you probably don't want to. The Captain makes an average group good, a good group great and a great group hardcore.