LotRO - Hunter Class Guide Skills Overview
HUNTER SKILLS OVERVIEW
Hunters are perhaps the most straightforward class in the game. Their role in solo or group play is fairly narrowly-defined: ranged single-target damage-per-second. They have almost no buffs and a very limited capacity for self-heals, so their only real option is to do as much damage as possible in the least amount of time.
RANGED ATTACKS - This is the primary arsenal of the Hunter. Many Hunters work out a number of standard shot rotations for different situations.
"This is what happens to people who say my cloak clashes with my outfit!"
- Swift Bow - Two shots in rapid succession. This is a heavy hitter that adds +2 to your Focus. At higher levels, this becomes Improved Swift Bow and does three shots. This skill has a lengthy induction.
- Barbed Arrow - An induction shot that does moderate damage and applies a bleeding wound. Adds +1 to Focus.
- Quick Shot - This shot does slightly more damage than an auto-attack and has a short induction. Depending on stance, it can apply a slowing debuff, has a high crit chance or lowers threat. Adds +1 to Focus.
- Penetrating Shot - An instant, powerful shot that bypasses armor mitigation. This one burns 3 pips of Focus - you can build up to this with 1 Swift Bow and 1 Quick Shot. When traited, it can cost fewer Focus points and negate even more armor mitigation, thus doing more damage.
- Merciful Shot - An instant shot that costs 6 pips of Focus and can only be used on mobs at half health or lower. It is quite powerful, and when improved at higher levels removes corruptions.
- Rain of Arrows - An instant area-effect shot that costs 3 pips of Focus. This one hits several enemies (up to 5) and does good damage, and it has a very high threat rating.
- Heart-seeker - A very powerful shot with a long-ish induction. It does not cost or build Focus. It adds a large target reticle to the intended recipient, which lasts the duration of the induction. When traited, it will remove the bleed from Barbed Arrow to deal significantly more damage.
- Blood Arrow - This instant shot costs 3 pips of Focus, but costs morale instead of power. It does damage comparable to Penetrating Shot on a regular hit, but closer to Merciful Shot on a critical. Useful for long fights when power is an issue and morale is not.
Rotation - Generally,
Hunters will want to work out a
standard pattern of shots for different situations. This will
be different in groups than it will be for soloing. While
soloing, it pays to open with a powerful shot like Swift Bow, followed
by Penetrating Shot. In a group, where threat is a constant
issue, it is generally wiser to
open with a string of Quick Shots and
save the heavy hitters for later on.
MELEE ATTACKS - "Plan B." With power at a premium for Hunters, melee attacks offer poor returns for the investment of power. On the other hand, they are instant, and some of them have additional uses besides raw DPS.
Showing the steps for the deadly dance of blades.
- Swift Stroke - A basic melee attack gained at character creation. Hit with both weapons for slightly more damage than an auto-attack. Adds a small buff to defenses.
- Scourging Blow - Almost the same as above, but if the target is affected by Barbed Arrow it does more damage and removes the bleed.
- Low Cut - Frontal area-effect swipe that can hit multiple targets, affecting them with a slowing debuff. It can also apply a bleed when used with certain LI legacies.
- Blindside - A decently-powerful melee attack with a long animation. Stab with an arrow, then a quick point-blank shot, just like Legolas. This one adds 2 pips of Focus and interrupts enemy inductions.
- Agile Rejoinder - A reactive skill, only available when a melee blow is parried. It has a small chance of applying a small self-heal.
STANCES - These are toggled skills that affect how your ranged skills work while active.
Precision stance allows for called shots. At least, that's what this hobbit thinks.
- Strength - This is the first stance you get. Shots do more damage, generate more threat and consume more power. Quick Shot applies a slowing debuff in this stance. Strength stance is most useful for soloing, less so in a group. However, when applied judiciously, it can actually help to use Strength stance in a group fight - e.g. if the Minstrel is getting attacked and the tank is unable to pull the mobs off, the Hunter can temporarily switch to Strength stance and fire off a Rain of Arrows. The mobs will leave the Minnie and focus on the Hunter, allowing the healer to heal more effectively and keep everyone standing.
- Precision - Shots do the same amount of damage as they would without an active stance, but are less likely to miss their intended targets, resulting in higher DPS overall. Quick Shot has a significantly-increased critical chance in this stance. Precision stance works well in groups with solid tanks, and it works just fine for soloing, too, as it is much less power-hungry than Strength stance.
- Endurance - When power consumption and aggro management are critical, Endurance stance is your friend. Shots do less damage than they would with no active stance, but consume less power and generate significantly less threat. Quick Shot is basically threat- and power-neutral while in Endurance stance. This stance allows the hunter to unleash the big hitters without drawing a lot of unwanted attention from the mobs, and is best used in groups with "iffy" tanks.
FIGHTING SMARTER - These skills serve to make you a more effective combatant. They allow you to use more powerful skills faster, and keep you actively participating in the fight for longer.
You don't want to be the mob he's pointing at after you see the glaring red butterfly over his head. Trust me.
- Intent Concentration - Instantly fill your Focus meter. Usable in combat.
- Focus - Fills your focus meter with a short induction. Not usable in combat.
- Needful Haste - Inductions are significantly reduced and attacks execute quicker for 30 seconds. Costs 3 Focus.
- Beneath Notice - Drops a huge amount of threat instantly. At very high levels, this skill changes to Beneath Care, and restores some power over time in addition to dumping aggro.
- Purge Poison - The only buff Hunters have that can be used to assist other people. This skill removes poisons and adds a buff to poison resistance for 15 seconds. This skill is instant (no cooldown) and single-target when used normally, but when traited in the Trapper of Foes line, it has a brief cooldown and can affect the whole fellowship.
- Strength of the Earth - In-combat power regeneration. Stop fighting for a few precious seconds, watch the fighting, eat some nachos, cheer for the home team, then get back in there fully powered up.
- Press Onward - A legendary skill attainable at level 39. After a 5 second induction, instantly recover a big chunk of morale and power. Not usable in combat, but it can be improved by traiting at least 4 Huntsman line class traits, making it usable in combat when the Hunter is not being attacked.
- Fleetness - The old stance no one used ever got overhauled and is now actually useful! This is now a 15-second buff instead of a stance, which reduces moving miss chance by 60%, increases run speed by 10% and prevents Focus loss from movement. It costs 6 Focus to use this skill, which completely drains the Hunter's Focus meter, but can be followed up with Intent Concentration or a quickly-chugged Potion of Focus to rebuild. The legendary capstone for the Huntsman line, Improved Fleetness, doubles the duration of this stance, reduces Focus cost of Focus-based attacks and reduces attack duration, making induction-based attacks execute quicker.
CROWD CONTROL - Sometimes raw DPS simply isn't enough. Hunters have a tough time with long inductions in prolonged fights against multiple mobs. That's when it's time to lay the smack down in the form of good old-fashioned CC.
Glaring red circles on the ground are no problem - all mobs in LotRO are apparently color-blind.
- Bard's Arrow - A legendary skill attainable at level 39. This shot does medium damage and applies a Fear effect to evil targets for 15 seconds. It adds 1 pip to Focus.
- Distracting Shot - Does no damage, but dazes the enemy for a short time.
- Rain of Thorns - Legendary skill attainable at level 39. This is identical in most ways to Rain of Arrows, but will trap up to 5 enemies in place.
- Cry of the Predator - A fearsome howl that will apply a 10 second Fear effect to beasts, causing them to flee in panic. In PvMP, this skill affects Warg Stalkers, rendering them unable to attack. Ineffective against humanoid mobs
- Dazing Blow - A double melee swipe that stuns one enemy for 5 seconds. The improved version of this skill, trainable at higher levels, will also remove up to 3 corruptions from the target.
- Traps - Set Trap lays a big red circle on the ground. Any mob passing into this circle is held in place for 30 seconds unless attacked. Set Snare lays a big yellow circle on the ground. Any mob passing into this circle is slowed and takes damage over time.
The "Root Pull" - This is a Hunter specialty, used when faced with a large group of trash mobs that are potentially very dangerous when fighting all of them at once. This is really only effective against melee mobs, as ranged mobs can still shoot while rooted or trapped. The Hunter will creep forward while the rest of the group stays a safe distance back. Hunter targets the group and unleashes Rain of Thorns, rooting 5 of the mobs in place. If there are more than 5 mobs, the untrapped ones will immediately rush the Hunter, who runs back to the group and allows the tank to pull the pursuing mobs off his fleeing back. After 30 seconds, the trapped mobs are freed and will seek out the Hunter unless challenged by the group's tank. This is also usable in solo situations where the Hunter only wishes to fight one mob at a time but must pass through a group.
PANIC BUTTON - Sometimes, fights go badly. Whether attributable to bad luck or miscalculations, everyone will face a situation where they need a quick escape or a sudden burst of awesome.
Yep, time to bail.
- Desperate Flight - Known colloquially as DF or "Ditch Friends," the Hunter instantly bails to a safe location. In wilderness areas, the Hunter is ported to the nearest rez circle. In instances, he is ported to just inside the entrance.
- Improved Press Onward - This is the improved version of the legendary trait Press Onward, available when the Hunter slots at least 4 Huntsman line class traits. When not being attacked, The Hunter can pause for a short induction and instantly recover 3000 morale and 3000 power. It may be necessary to dump aggro first by using Beneath Notice/Beneath Care and switching to Endurance stance, and moving out of the way of frontal area-effect attacks.
- Burn Hot - Boosts damage of ranged attacks by 20% and reduces power cost by 10%, for 20 seconds. The capstone legendary trait, Cool Burn, further increases ranged damage by 20% (total 40%) and reduces power cost by another 50% (total 60%), and reduces the cooldown by 3 minutes. This is no longer really a "panic button" skill and can be used much more frequently now that the Hunter is not left "zeroed out" on power when it expires. Keep in mind, however, that the skill itself does have a significant power cost, which may not offset the power cost reduction of subsequent ranged attacks.
- Camouflage - This skill is less useful on the PvE side of things. It can be used to set ambushes for and hide from pathing mobs, but otherwise is of limited utility as it can only be used out of combat and breaks when the Hunter moves. In PvMP, however, it is much more useful. Creeps in the Ettenmoors don't have a limited kiting range, and this skill can be used when the Hunter is out of combat for 10 seconds. A Hunter in the 'Moors can kite mobs long enough to drop out of combat and then disappear from sight. As long as the Hunter doesn't move from that spot, he can chug potions and DF out and live to fight another day.
NON-COMBAT SKILLS - The Hunter lives by his wits, relying on keen senses and knowledge of nature. When not actively engaged in shooting things to death, the Hunter is able to find more things to shoot, or prepare for yet more shooting after a brief respite.
A fine way to rest between bouts of rampant slaughter.
- Passage of Nature - This skill tracks beasts, insects, drakes and other natural multi-legged beasties. At higher levels, creatures being tracked by Hunters can be seen on the radar by other members of that group. These tracking skills can be improved by the use of the trait Heightened Senses, which allows the tracking of stealthed enemies.
- Passage of Foes - Track men, orcs, goblins and other two-legged foes.
- Passage of Shadow - Track undead, wights and ancient evil.
- Bright Campfire - Setting a campfire increases non-combat morale and power regeneration, and doubles as a crafting implement for cooks to make trail food.
GETTING AROUND - When you absolutely, positively have to get there immediately, accept no substitutes.
"Ok, grass is leaning to the east, moss grows on the north side of the tree... Ah-HA! Bree-land is that-a-way!"
- Find The Path - +15% out-of-combat run speed. This is a toggle skill, and most Hunters usually keep it on all the time. Can be improved with Legendary Item legacies up to +21%, but does not stack with other speed-boost skills.
- Wayfaring - Every region in Middle-Earth (except Misty Mountains and Lothlorien) has at least one area that serves as a Hunter's point of entry. Some of these "Guide To..." skills are purchased from the class trainer, some are aquired via quests, and some are purchased from reputation vendors. Hunters can traverse Middle-Earth in an instant with only a few travel rations, and can take their entire fellowships with them. Unlike Captain summons and mustering horn summons, Hunter ports do not require travelling rations for the rest of the group (though the Hunter does require them). In addition to the plethora of set regional destinations, the Hunter has one "moveable" skill that allows him to bind to any camp site and carry his party there.
CLASS TOOLS - All classes have a few specialized tools that only they can use. Hunters have the most, and all of them can be made by Historians.
Reading his new book, Tome of the Wind-Rider: How to Aggro Everything and Spend Less Power Doing It.
- Class book - This scholar-crafted item goes in the class item slot on the equipment page of the character journal. There are two varieties to choose from, and five tiers of each (level 20, 30, 40, 50, 60). The Whisper-Draw books lower perceived threat, and the Wind-Rider books decrease power cost. Currently, the best book available to Hunters is the Supreme Tome of the Wind-Rider, usable at level 60, which reduces power costs by 12% and adds +105 to max power. The level 60 Whisper-draw book adds morale instead of power, and greatly reduces threat. For these books, "X Book of the Y" is the standard recipe, and "X Tome of the Y" is the crit.
- Bow Chants - There are 3 varieties of these: Breach-Finder, Foe-Finder and Shield-Bane. Each has 5 tiers: Minor (level 25), regular (level 35), Major (level 45), Greater (level 55) and Supreme (level 65). Breach-finder scrolls make the Hunter's shots bypass the target's ranged mitigation modifier, thus doing potentially more damage per shot. Foe-finders reduce the target's evade chance, and Shield-banes reduce the target's block chance. These chants last 20 minutes and only apply to the shots fired from the Hunter using them - they do not debuff the mobs.
- Oils - There are 3 kinds of oils - Fire, Light and Oil Wash. Fire oil , usable at level 20, causes most ranged attacks to deal fire damage, and on a critical hit does additional fire damage over time. Light oil, usable at level 30, causes most ranged attacks to deal light damage, and on a critical hit will blind the target. Oil Wash removes applied oils so the affected weapon does its normal damage type. Fire and Light oils are available in 4 tiers: Simple, regular, Refined and Pure. The tier affects the amount of time the oil lasts, in 5 minute increments.
- Potions of Focus - These are single-use consumables crafted by scholars. These potions instantly add several pips of Focus to the Hunter's Focus meter, and increase Devastate Magnitude by varying amounts depending on the tier of the potion. The most powerful version, Greater Supreme Potion of Focus, is only usable at level 65. It adds 6 pips of Focus and increases Devastate Magnitude by 25% (so Devastating Critical hits do 20% more damage, which can add up to a lot) for 30 seconds. Lower tier potions add fewer pips of Focus, have a shorter duration and a lower Devastate Magnitude rating.
- Crafted Traps - There are a lot of these. As with the other class tools, these are available in multiple tiers, and the tier affects the maximum level of mobs the traps are effective against. Except where noted, they all function the same as the skill Set Trap.
- Bear traps work more or less the same as those laid by the skill Set Trap, but they do more damage and last much longer.
- Quick traps have no induction and can be thrown down in the middle of a fight.
- Multi-traps (double and triple) can trap more than one target and cover a larger area.
- Strong traps will hold enemies firmly in place while they take damage (all other traps break when the trapped creature takes damage).
- Lure traps do not hold enemies but act like an aggro-spamming tackling dummy. Only effective against groups of mobs, and then only until those mobs "caught" by it are attacked. These are tricky to use but very rewarding.
- Tripwires will knock an enemy over and sometimes start a Fellowship Manoeuver. This is the only option available to Hunters to semi-reliably trigger FMs.