Reposted here is my guide to take Minstrels from levels 15 to 30ish, The Minstrel Column is published every Tuesday morning at http://www.lotroreporter.com.
First and foremost, let’s talk about Tiers and how they work. I know it may seem like a silly topic, but it really affects how your heals work while you’re in a group. You should have a basic idea of how it works by now, but let me go ahead and make a quick rundown. When you activate a Tier 1 ballad, you are unlocking your Tier 2 and giving your healing a bonus of 3% while the ballad is active on you/your fellowship. This carries on through to when you’ve cast a Tier 3 ballad. So when you’ve got a Tier 1, 2, and 3 ballad active your healing is increased by a combined percentage of 9. Getting this bonus to compound as quickly as possible is easy as pie with ‘Cry of the Chorus.’ Using an anthem will reset your ballad counter down to a Tier 1, so be aware of that while you’re playing. Essentially it’s just a gating system for your skills, similar to but far less complicated than a Rune-keeper’s attunement.
More than likely you should be finishing up the Old Forest/Buckland/Adso’s Camp area if you’re following the epic books quests line. If not, leave a comment and let me know where you quested to get through to 20. From 20 or so, you have the choice to either go into the Lone-lands or up into Trestlebridge. Personally, even after the re-vamp, I dislike the scenery of the Lone-lands. Generally, I avoid this area until I absolutely have to do the book quests. There’s a post over on Casual Stroll that covers the revamp and how to level through it. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE more revamps, I just don’t like the area they chose to do first 😛 Like Merric says, he had to get a few more levels under his belt to run through the Lone-lands, and honestly you’ll see that as a general rule of thumb throughout the whole game. You’ll want to wait until most quests are blue colored before you try to attempt them in a solo fashion. Back to the task at hand, if you’re like me and don’t want to hang out in a desert type area, Hengstacer/Nen Harn/Trestlebridge is where you’ll want to be. The quests are a little back and forth when it comes to the bestowal from Saeradan, but the rest of the quests progressing from there are clumped fairly well. This helps a lot with having to go into an enemy camp a bajillion times, which is something you’ll see over and over again later in the game. By the time you’ve gotten into Esteldin you should be fairly close to 30. Maybe 28ish? Don’t worry about it, you can always run down to Meluinen (Southern Elf Camp) and get some quicky quests take care of. There’s also some quick run around quests in Othrikar that get you levelling up to that 30 mark. When you’ve hit 30ish, start taking the quests that lead out the East side of Esteldin. Just be careful not to over-aggro (more than 3 mobs roughly) and you’ll be fine! Don’t forget to do your skirmish quests as well, they’ll make levelling much easier later on.
|This skill is one that you’ll use to modify ‘Herald’s Strike’. HS recharges instantly and allows use in succession 4 times. When used it will also give tiny heals (vampiric healing) to your fellowship.|
|18||Bolster Courage||Your new bigger and better heal.|
|18||Song of the Dead||‘Causes undead to freeze in fear’ 30s Daze for undead only.|
|18||Song of Restoration||This song will remove defeat effects for a member of your fellowship. Later on you can modify this skill to be used on your entire fellowship.|
|20||Anthem of the Free Peoples||Provides a bonus to in-combat Morale regeneration (ICMR), you’ll like this skill since it doesn’t raise threat as much as a direct heal (Bolster Courage etc.).|
|20||Enlivening Grace||Your resurrection skill, little to no recharge, but you can’t use it while in-combat.|
|20||War-speech||Glowy hands. Toggle skill that gates 3ish other skills for minstrels. See War-speech paragraph…|
|22||Call of Oromë||Skill is only usable while War-speech is active, it decreases Light defense, and does lots of light damage.|
|22||Tale of Heroism||Group Buff toggle skill- it gives a bonus to Will and Fate.|
|24||Anthem of Compassion||Reduces the threat you’ll generate from healing temporarily, you’ll start to use this more often when you have Cry of the Chorus and Triumphant Spirit.|
|26||Cure Fear||Cures Fear. Pretty explanatory. The recharge and proximity makes this skill almost useless.|
|26||Cry of the Chorus||Unlocks all tiers of ballads for immediate use. 5 min CD|
|28||Song of Soothing||Soothes and reduces hate towards you from Monsters that are in-combat.|
|30||Scribe Stance||Mentor to a manual and you can send them to people rather than having to be face to face with their character. Makes your mentor skills take 10d to CD rather than 5d.|
|30||Mentor : Clarinet||Teach a person to play the clarinet|
|30||Mentor : Horn||Teach a person to play the horn|
|30||Song of Aid||Play around with this skill, from the description you’ll see it has a lot of potential, it does something different for every class. I still haven’t seen all of it’s effects!|
|30||Triumphant Spirit||Massively heal your whole fellowship and get lots of threat, try to use this skill with Anthem of Compassion.|
War-speech: This is either going to be your best friend or your most hated skill. I hardly ever ‘go into’ War-speech, but I know some minstrels that use it constantly. War-speech kind of switches you over to be doing more DPS than healing. While solo’ing most minstrels will be in this mode of play. Since WS will lower your ability to heal, you’ll need to really be on top of the health bars as far as making sure that everyone stays alive. This next bit truly is the bane of most minstrels and has been a point of order in the Minstrel’s TtCT thread this past weekend. Even after you turn off War-speech you’re healing is still penalized for an additional period of time. Yeah. Seriously. This is probably the number one reason why I tend to stay out of WS, unless I’m highly overpowered for the area I’m in. Haudh Iarchith deeds at level 60 anyone?
When you hit that wonderful level 30 ding, you’ll of course want to check in with you Minstrel trainer for skills and be pleased to find out that you’ve unlocked your next class quest. A Minstrel’s Hope. You’ll be directed to speak with Leigh Putnam in Trestlebridge. From this point you’ll be transported into an instance where you need to convince refugees to come into the town of Trestlebridge for safety. Essentially, you’ll be protecting some NPCs and defeating some Orcs. I’d say set aside about 10-15 minutes for this class quest as it’s solo only. The trait reward isn’t as awesome as Medium-Armour Use, but extending your anthems is pretty nice.
Join us next week when I’ll be running through the different Skirmish Soldier options and the wonderful Oatbarton. My individual blog can be found here. Incidentally, you can find a full list of my characters and some pretty awesome cake on my blog as well.