Ten Ton Hammer's All-New Rune-keeper Class Guide for LotRO - Endgame Strategies
RUNE-KEEPER LEGENDARY ITEMS
Clearly, Fizban's Alchemical Analysis had something to do with lightning and was hazardous for beasts. That's the perplexing part.
The Rune-keeper is one class that really benefits from specialization. DPS specialists can hit massive, staggering numbers with their big attacks, and healing specialists can keep whole groups standing against overwhelming odds. And it is very easy for Rune-keepers to specialize. All it takes is picking a trait line and pairing it with the appropriate rune-stone.
It is also possible to run with specialized rune satchels, but many Rune-keepers will carry a balanced satchel and only worry about specialization for the rune-stones. After all, there is limited room on the Legendary Item panel, and with 3 trait lines to spec for, that leaves very little room for leveling alt-LI's to decon for relics.
For a lightning-spec DPS stone, usually crafted from flint, the important legacies to look for are Fury of Storm Damage at first identification, and Fury of Storm Critical Multiplier and Vivid Imagery Targets from a reforge. Battle Attuned Skill Power Cost is also a good legacy for any DPS-spec stone.
For a fire-spec damage-over-time stone, usually crafted of obsidian, the legacies to look for are Wrath of Flame Damage Over Time and Fire Skill Damage when first identifying the thing. There are no Pool B legacies that affect fire skills specifically, but Target All Skills Resist Rating is a good legacy to get from a reforge.
A good healing-spec stone can be lightning, fire or cold-affinity, so long as it IDs with + Healing, + Healing Over Time and Healing Attuned Skill Power Cost. When reforging a healing stone, pick whatever Pool B legacies accentuate the native properties of the stone (fire, lightning, ice, etc.).
All rune-stones also have static, non-upgradeable base legacies, including Tactical Offense, base stat increases and some other handy things. A good one will have + Fate and/or + Will.
Stone-swapping is kind of an art-form. For example, imagine your group is going into a fight against a boss that deals fire damage. Chances are, a fire-damage-dealing mob will have high fire mitigation, so hanging on to a fire-affinity stone likely doesn't make all that much sense. Instead, use the fire-affinity stone to apply fire-mitigation buffs to your fellows, and then switch to a cold- or lightning-affinity stone for the fight. The base damage type of the stone does not have to match the stone's specialization; a stone that is fire-attuned might have all great lightning legacies, for example. The legacies have little to do with the stone's affinity.
Rune-satchels can be just as specialized. A heal-spec rune-satchel will ID with Writ of Health Healing and Self Motivation Power Return, and get Mending Verse Healing from reforges. It is equally possible to get a good lightning or fire-spec satchel, but with 3 specialized rune-stones, this leaves very little room on the LI panel for adding new "trash" LIs to level and decon for relics. A good balanced bag will have legacies that affect the skills the player uses most often, so it is difficult to really narrow down one ideal balanced satchel based on Pool A legacies.Regardless how the bag is spec'ed, Word of Exaltation Cooldown is a very useful Pool B legacy, and is a must-have for a heal-spec satchel.
More information on LI legacies can be found on the Lorebook.
RUNE-KEEPER TRAIT LINES
All of the icons for the class traits show a guy in a pointy hat. When you are traited this way, very few people will be making fun of your taste in head wear.
Rune-keeper trait lines are quite straightforward. Since the class was first implemented at the same time as the 3-line class trait system, this makes sense. While some other classes have a confusing mixture of class traits in lines that may or may not make sense, the Rune-keeper lines are super-easy to figure out.
The Solitary Thunder line, as the name implies, increases lightning-based DPS and makes for a stronger solo build. Icy Discourse is the only trait in this line that doesn't directly affect lightning-based DPS. The set bonuses improve the skills Chilling Rhetoric,Shocking Words and Sustaining Bolt, increase the critical multiplier of all Fury of Storm skills by 30%, and increase the Rune-keeper's run speed by 3%. The capstone legendary trait, Perfect Imagery, improves the skill Vivid Imagery, causing it to increase the critical chance of all Fury of Storm skills by 30% for 15 seconds, lengthening the daze by 5 seconds, increasing the damage and reducing the cooldownby 2 minutes.
The Cleansing Fires line is probably the least-used Rune-keeper trait line. In general, this line increases thedamage-over-time power of fire-based skills. Half of the individual traits affect fire-based damage skills, while the ones on the bottom row affect utility skills. Linnod of Subtlety is an odd duck in this line, as it affects the threat-down skill Calming Verse, increasing the duration and further lowering the threat. The line bonuses make fire skills quicker to use, reducing cooldowns or inductions. The capstone legendary trait, Mystifying Flame, improves the threat-down skill Distracting Flame, causing it to almost completely reduce the Rune-keeper's threat, increasing the damage, reducing the cooldown and applying a tactical resistance debuff. This is a good line for running group content, as the damage-over-time skills generally generate much less threat and consume much less power than the rapid-fire, big-number lightning blasts.
The Benedictions of Peace line improves healing abilities. The individual traits all serve to improve healing skills in various ways and reduce threat, and the line bonuses do basically the same. The capstone legendary trait, Wondroud Foreshadowing, improves the skill Glorious Foreshadowing, causing it to affect all members of the fellowship, reducing the cooldown by 60 seconds and increasing outgoing heals by 5% for 30 seconds.
With few exceptions, it pays to specialize according to specific tasks. It is difficult to argue against the power and worth of the line bonuses, so building a good "generalist" mix and match set is going to be tricky. For most common tasks, a setup with 4 Solitary Thunder (whole top row) and 3 Benedictions of Peace traits (Rune of Endurance, Memorable Prose, Author of Exaltation) will work nicely. This provides a good balance between very high DPS and capable healing, and would work just fine for running as main healer for a 3-man group.
For main-healing in a 6 or 12-man group, go 5 Benedictions of Peace and 2 Solitary Thunder. For a decent raid-spec DPS build, use 5 Solitary Thunder and 2 Benedictions. Some Rune-keepers prefer to slot Cleansing Fires over Solitary Thunder for the improved DOT aspect - lightning-flingers tend to chew through power a lot faster than the more subtle, laid-back DOT-ers, and they tend to generate considerably more threat. The main issue with traiting for Cleansing Flames arises during a number of boss fights with scripted interludes. During these scripted events, bosses will wipe all debuffs and DOTs, and they will need to be reapplied afterwards, which can be inconvenient and draining.
Tactical classes generally all follow the same guidelines for selecting virtues: Will and Fate first, then Vitality, then the rest of it. Rune-keepers will follow the same virtue setups as Lore-masters and Minstrels.
Wisdom is the obvious first choice: +30 Will, a nice boost to non-combat power regeneration and some handy wound resistance. Idealism is also an excellent choice: +30 Fate, +8 Will, +1014 Fear Resist Rating. These ones are no-brainers.
Empathy is also good for tactical classes (+15 Fate, +450 Armour Value, +609 Fear Resist Rating), as is Confidence (+15 Will, +2029 Fear Resist Rating, +202.5 non-Combat Power Regen). It seems like all the Virtues that jack up Will and Fate also jack up Fear Resist Rating, so be prepared to stand tall while others cower around you.
Being something of a squishy class, it will pay to increase Vitality. Loyalty is a good choice - +30 Vitality, +62 Max Power, +150 Armor Value. While the increased armor rating has little value for light armour classes, Loyalty is a trait that is good for pretty much every class.
Once you start getting good gear at high levels and can afford to trade out some Will and Fate, it's time to slap some patches on the weaker areas. Swap out Empathy or Confidence and look at increasing defence, morale or power: Innocence os a good defensive trait (+1000 melee defence rating, +1014 Poison Resist Rating, +230 Shadow Defence), Valour gives a good boost to morale and Honesty provides a good boost to base power.