This guide is for new players in The Lord of the Rings Online™ who're interested in playing a Warden. It covers elements integral to Wardens between levels 1-10. Before continuing, I highly suggest players new to MMOs begin with reading another brief guide titled Eight Essential MMO Terms to help with any basic terminology questions.
Learning to Love (and Manage) Versatility
The Warden is an agile melee combatant who can use Javelins to initiate combat from afar and wields spear-with-shield to gain an edge in closer quarters. By combining these unique tools with a variety of offense, defensive and support skills, Wardens wield significant combat flexibility.
These three "Basic Gambits" form the cornerstone of the Warden play-style:
The three Basic Gambit skills (as seen above) are tied directly to a set of three Warden icons you'll be seeing in every combat encounter:
By attacking with a series of the Basic Gambit skills (Spear, Shield and Fist) a Warden creates what's known as a Gambit chain. Once a Warden has created the appropriate Gambit types, remember to terminate them with the actual Gambit skill -- otherwise they'll just sit there in your Gambit tray doing nothing useful!
As you can see by the images above, Gambits are incredibly powerful skills in LOTRO. However, it's important to realize that Gambits aren't just stumbled upon in your journey through Middle-earth. Just like any other skill – for any other class – a Gambit chain must first be purchased at a Skill Trainer.
There's even a whole tab dedicated to learning Gambit chains!
It can be easy to forget this tab is here, especially if you've played other classes in LOTRO prior to playing the Warden. So remember this tip; Gambit tab!
Know Your Role(s)
Earlier I mentioned that Wardens are incredibly flexible, and by now it's become clear that this flexibility stems from Gambits. The beauty of Wardens is that the three Basic Gambit types – Spear, Shield and Fist – combine in a variety of ways to spur a plethora of Gambits that serve many fellowship roles.
A shorthand way to associate the three Basic Gambits is like this:
• Spear = Damage
• Shield = Defense
• Fist = Support
That isn't to say Fist Gambits are always primarily support. Remember, it's the whole chain that makes up the final Gambit result!
An experienced Warden got to be that way by experimenting with various Spear, Shield and Fist combinations. A Warden can use skills that both heal and bolster their defense, or they can use Gambit skills that deal moderate direct-damage while generating threat to distract mobs – or they can outright deliver some serious damage, too.
Remember, it's not that a Warden is the best at any one thing necessarily – it's about being flexible. If you're looking to solo, a Warden will excel there, but Wardens are also great for grouping up with other players!
That's it for Warden 101, but be on the lookout for future guides on all things LOTRO!