LOTRO: Your Guide to Playing Sauron's Minion - The War Leader

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*Insert Chariots of Fire theme*

It's no secret that I love spell-slinging classes as much (if not more) as anyone. Even so, there are times when nothing satisfies a bloodthirsty craving like getting right up in the face of your enemy and splitting it with a sword or bashing it in with a shield. Behold the Lord of the Rings PvMP battlefield commander, the Uruk War Leader. Designed to drive your fellow Creeps on to greatness, the War Leader juggles filling multiple roles. It may sound confusing, but that's exactly what makes the War Leader so much fun.

Holy Bajeezus, I'm Not A Wuss

Surprise, surprise. Unlike every other monster class I've done the guides for, the War Leader begins his career with some solid stats right off the bat. Good hit points, great armor, and the ability to heal yourself (and others) combine to make you a force of nature best paid attention to... at least for the PvE content.

By starting out with such a solid base, there are a number of ways you can go about filling out your character's passive attributes. For the War Leader, I went in a direction different to that of every character to come before him. Rather than getting all four available choices up to rank one, I gathered my Destiny Points up and spent them in one category twice. Let me tell you what order I went in, and then I'll explain why I did it that way. I upgraded my passive abilities in the following order: Power, Power again, Resistance, Armor, Damage. From there, pick whatever order you feel most comfortable with.

For a class that's built for both dealing and absorbing damage, why would I choose to double up on power, especially when for the same amount of Destiny Points, I could have gotten the first rank in all three of the other choices? Because a number of your abilities don't have a set power cost associated with them. They have a beginning power cost, but also have an upkeep cost associated with them. What this means is that while you're out there spending power points on Intimidating Shout and Cleave while wailing away on your target, Aura of Command is continuing to drain your reserves. The last thing you want to do in any battle (no matter class you're playing) is run out of power.

Enough with the PvE Already

Like it or not, you need to suck it up and get cracking on that PvE content to build your skills if you want to have a snow ball's chance in hell of surviving a PvP battle. Fortunately, I do have some good news. The War Leader does better in PvP than the other classes I've tested so far. While others become supreme instruments of destruction later on, the War Leader doesn't have to wait as long to avoid being squashed like an insignificant insect. You still need to do all the PvE content you can stomach, but it's not as bad as it seems.

One way to suppress the urge to slap yourself at the prospect of more PvE is to head off in a different direction for a change of scenery. I'm still going to insist on grabbing every quest you can find and always getting the Mash (slug meat hunting) quest out of the way as your first order of business. No matter where you're heading at any given time, be sure to search every Sun-caught Troll you find scattered around. You can never have enough slabs of stone from them for the Set In Stone repeatable quest.

Have I mentioned how much I hate hobbits?

In the past, I've suggested going to Hoarhallow for the never-ending Hobbit killing. I still love that place, but if you're more interested in testing your strength against the men and elves of the Free Peoples in the Ettenmoors, then you want to make a beeline for the far south eastern edge of the map. On your travels, you'll find not only plenty of human and elvish targets patrolling the area for your death dealing pleasures, you'll also find a massive amount of Sun-Touched Eagles. These eagles drop feathers used in a quest that can be grabbed in the Grimwood Lumberyard to the south. Like the Hobbits of Hoarhallow, the men and elves in this area drop parts for a wide variety of quests, so collect everything you can and kill to your heart's content.

Can I Please Go PvP Now?

Alright. You've raised what skills you can without needing to gain a PvP rank. You've completed enough PvE content to justify clawing your own eyes out. It's finally time to lay the smackdown on those Freep candy asses. For your first rank, you're going to (unfortunately) most likely need to be content with playing the role of a healer. I know, I know. I’ve talked about how much of a badass you are up to this point, but you have to remember that you were fighting against PvE opponents. The Freeps are far more powerful than you at this stage in the game. If it's any consolation though, the Freeps are going to be going out of their way to track you down.

It's not that your early healing spells are more powerful than those of the Defiler (though they do have the benefit of not being Heal Over Time spells), but your On Your Feet! spell has the ability to resurrect up to 5 of your allies within a 20 meter radius. This spell brings them back in the battle with 25% morale and power. That's not a whole lot, but remember all the time I had you spend collecting Destiny Points with PvE content? If you spent 4000 points on Enhanced Skill: On Your Feet!, that adds another 10% for a total of 35% Morale and Power.

It’s your ability to resurrect multiple allies at once, combined with your array of impressive buffs that makes you such a threat in the Ettenmoors. And that’s while you’re just starting out. As you gain ranks and grow in power, you become a War Leader not just in name, but in truth. A highly ranked War Leader can turn the tide of battle when all hope seems lost. It may take time, but your fellow Creeps will greatly appreciate having you at their side in any party.

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