Reposted here is my guide to healing approaches based on Class and Tanking priority, The Minstrel Column is published every Tuesday morning at http://www.lotroreporter.com.
There’s a lot of tanking classes in LOTRO, or at least melee and taunting classes. They can be lumped into three categories: the main tank, the off tank, and the bad tank. We can dress them up all we like, but that’s what it comes down to in most gaming situations. Considering all the possible combinations we are always left with one question; which class is the easiest to heal while in a group? Obviously the heavy tanks are the easiest to keep track of, as long as they do their jobs properly ; ). No offense players, but I get pretty upset when someone other than the tank pulls aggro right away. It’s not your fault and we all know it, but its aggravating nonetheless.
One thing I will say is that for sustainability, Wardens can go all night. For example, one gambit you simply MUST be aware of is The Dark Before Dawn, your happy warden will need to be below 50% morale in order to regenerate their power pool. It doesn’t have a recharge, but it IS a 5-part gambit, so you might want to give them a little time below half morale until you notice their power pop up a notch or two. Just be sure to let the warden know that you’ll happily cooperate with them to make the fight go faster and less stressful for all parties involved. They’re considered to be a main tank and I don’t have much experience with them. But this was one of the gambits I was aware of, so if you have other tips for healing Wardens, please let me know!
Guardians can keep approximately 4 enemies on them with some fairly good tanking skillz. As with any heavy tank, they’ll need to build aggro and they can’t do it instantly. This is certainly what sets a Guardian apart from the tanks in other MMO’s and makes it VITAL knowledge for players new to LOTRO. I’ll be honest, this is the tanking class I’ve got the most experience with, though all the experience I’ve gained with Tequila has been in skirmishes and trying to keep mobs off my amazingly bad Herbalist. It’s certainly given me the insight needed to make sure I wait to heal anybody while I’m grouped up with my Minstrel. The best thing you can do when you have a Guardian taking control of the situation is to let them do just that. Wait to heal until the initial approach is over and you see those “red threat squiggles” (see the above screenshot) jumping off the targets. Some of the best advice for healing during a Guardian’s pull is on this community guide, with the relevant excerpt here:
“Be sure to assure your tank that you will be giving him a big heal at the last possible opportunity, perhaps even tell him to use some mitigation spells to help him last longer. Once your tank is sweating bullets and doubting your very sanity, hit your Anthem of Compassion then pop a Triumphant Spirit healing him and everyone else for a rather obscene amount. If you have the trait Smooth Voice slotted you can tier up to Anthem of the Free Peoples before you enter combat to give the tank a little helping hand. If the Tank is doing a good job, you shouldn’t have any aggro. If you get any mobs, try to get your song of soothing off and the tank should challenge them off you. This is 15 seconds of forced aggro which will give you opportunity to get the situation under control again.”
Granted not every main tank will be ready to turn around if you do manage to pull aggro after being so cautious; if there’s an off-tank in the group NOW would be a wonderful time to run over to them and have them take the mob with one of their DPS or taunt AOE attacks. For those of you who aren’t familiar with off-tanking might I recommend this forum post. It’s focused towards the aspect of off-tanking as a Guardian, but still has some useful tips for those who are having a hard time adapting to the role of ‘secondary tank.’ It’s a helpful article for all classes and I certainly encourage you to read it and gain insight into the Tank mindset.
When it comes to Champions, absolutely run back to them if you pull aggro. They can usually shoot off a quick AoE attack and grab the mob back very quickly. Just make to sure to sit still while they do this, otherwise the whole situation will be in vain as the AoE has a limited distance. Champions are also the most fragile in the category of Tanking classes. With Fervour on, it can be a real chore if they pull too much threat away from the main tank. But the speed in which they dispose of peeling mobs more than makes up for the amount of healing they require. Another skill to be aware of is Controlled Burn. If the Champion falls out of combat or under 20% morale, it’s useless, so please try to keep your Champs above that mark.
Captains are my favorite type of off-tank. I don’t have the focus to play one, but their versatility is extremely evident at the later levels. The ability to grab “peeling” mobs and to help out with healing as needed makes them one of my favorite classes to interact with in a group setting. If you come into some extreme aggro, Captains can fall back and do some group healing which helps to lower your threat level dramatically. Pop off as many Song of Soothings as possible or a possum skill in severe circumstances and your group might just survive thanks to your ally. I’ve seen some Captains take the role of main tank in a pinch as well, but be aware that it won’t take much threat generation to get mobs peeling off of them.
Now we come to the disreputable sort of tanks. These are the players that simply can’t keep themselves from tanking. I’m looking at you, Hunters! Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great Hunters out there that can avoid pulling aggro 90% of the time. I’m referencing the kind of Hunter that starts off with Heart seeker to pull a mob. I usually try to heal them through the first time, just in case it was an accident. The simplest solution is to let them die. End of Story. If a player can’t play to fit the role of his class, they don’t need to be in a group and make everyone else suffer for it.
After all of this discussion, I would probably say that Captains are the easiest off-tanks to get along with. Whereas for a main tank Guardians are in need of less vigilance compared to a Warden. It all boils down to what you’re used to playing with. If you’ve got a different point of view, get chatty in the comments box. LOTRO Reporter would love to hear from you!