By Kyle Horner
This is a beginner's guide to the Hunter class for The Lord of the Rings Online™ (LOTRO).
What is a Hunter?
A Hunter is deadly when armed with bow and arrow, and in close-combat a Hunter is capable of holding their own with dual-weapon-wielding. Generally speaking, the Hunter excels at delivering significant damage to a single target from afar – additionally, this is often their role in group combat.
This guide explains:
- Basics of ranged combat
- How the Hunter's "Focus" mechanic works
- Hunter skills and basic "skill rotations"
- How to use Hunter traps
- Hotbar organization
An effective Hunter exploits their ranged advantage with bow and arrow, especially when playing solo. In the picture below, note that when "Out of Range" the game displays a red target icon.
The moment you move within the effective range of a skill, the red target icon will disappear. Right when this happens, you're at the maximum range of a combat skill – this is where you want to start a fight, ideally.
I don't obsess too much over being "exactly" at maximum range; otherwise, each combat encounter would take forever!
The Focus Mechanic
Many of a Hunter's basic combat skills generate Focus points when they're used; bank Focus points to enable the use of powerful combat skills, like Penetrating Shot. In practice, the Focus mechanic regulates the rate at which Hunters can rapid-fire powerful skills.
This section covers skills acquired by the Hunter class during levels 1-20. However, in-game, these skills are organized into four groups: Melee, Ranged, Nature and Focus skills. So, for consistency, I've grouped them similarly here.
The below tables display the skill, its Focus addition, or cost (if any), and at what level a Hunter can learn the skill from their class trainer.
Tip! You never automatically learn new class skills when you level up. To learn a new skill, you must visit your class trainer.
The Archers Art
Skills that are ideally used at their maximum range
Skills that add or cost Focus points
Adds 1 Per Second
Skills for when enemies get up-close and person
Lessons of Nature
Traps, tracking, and other nature-knowledge skills
A "skill rotation" is the order in which you use your combat skills. The Hunter has a considerable amount of damage-output with their bow and arrow; at earlier levels, only a single skill rotation is required to defeat enemies.
If you've already played a Hunter in LOTRO you may know how skill rotation works; if you're reading this guide before playing the game, don’t worry, skill rotation is pretty simple!
Your earliest type of skill rotation will be basic:
At early levels this is the easiest way to build Focus for Penetrating Shot. Once you learn the "Focus" skill at level 8 you can fully charge your Focus meter before a fight. A fully charged focus meter is the perfect thing to have when going into a tough battle!
Only Hunters can lay traps, which are perfect for delaying an enemy approach once you've engaged it with bow and arrow skills.
Tip! Traps can be incredibly useful, but not every enemy encounter will require the use of one. As you play LOTRO, this becomes a personal judgment call.
There isn't one "right way" to organize your hotbar, however, the general rule is that you should have an organization that makes sense to you – it is your character after all!
My hotbar layout for the Hunter (at level 20) is this:
I like to keep my most-used combat skills attached to my 1-5 keys, as those are the easiest to reach.
Above the primary hotbar you've got access to an array of three floating hotbars:
Notice that each of these icons has a letter ("S," "A," and "C") in addition to a number. This is because you can activate these skills by pressing the Shift, Alt or Ctrl key in conjunction with your keyboard's row of keys.
I find it easy to press the Alt+1-4 keys in combat, making the Hunter's second-most-used skills (such as Rain of Arrows, Intent Concentration, and Cry of the Predator) perfect for the Alt+1-0 floating hotbar.
Tip! Remember, hotbar organization style is a matter of personal preference; however, simply having some type of organization is important.
That's it for Hunter 101, but be sure to check out our many other official guides found on our New Player Guide hub!
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