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  1. #1

    GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    For all those new players out there (and old hats like me, relearning the classic instances in the "new way") here is some old lessons that I re-learned while running the GB Cluster over the past 2 weeks...

    Section 1: Preparation

    1. Fellowship Diversity

    This can't be stressed enough. Almost all instances are geared toward a diverse fellowship. While it's possible to pull of these instances with an imbalanced party, the level of difficulty is an order of magnitude higher without a balanced group.

    You need: A Tank class, a DPS class, a Controler class, a Healer class, and a Support class. The 6th spot can generally be filled with whatever is available. (Just be aware how double tanking differs from double DPSing, for example)

    Two case studies:
    I ran GB: Maze with two Hunters, a Guardian, a Champion, a Minstrel, and Runekeeper. Since we didn't have any crowd control or other support - we wiped, over and over, until our gear and wallets and will to retry ran out.

    The next day, I ran GB: The Maze with a Guardian, a Warden, a Runekeeper, a Loremaster, a Minstrel, and a Hunter. We wiped ONCE on a mis-pull for the caller, but the rest of it was cake. We went on to do Thadur without incident after replacing the Loremaster (for a Captain), who had to leave for dinner.

    2. Choose the right difficulty

    You simply must try instances at a level that you can succeed. If you have a diverse level range in your group (say level 21 - level 28) don't run the dungeon at level 25. Those who are "too low" will literally be no help at all (lots of misses, not enough morale/power, etc...)

    Generally, unless you know everyone well and have succeeded before, run the instance no more than a couple levels higher than your lowest level participant. Otherwise you will find your lowbie simply isn't contributing to the fight, at all, essentially trying to run a 6-man instance with 5 people.

    This first section covered how preparing for success is accomplished with a good fellowship mix and an appropriate difficulty setting. The next section will cover general strategy once you are in the crawl spaces of your particular instance

  2. #2

    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players Part 2

    The previous section talks about how to prepare for success before entering the instance, by assembling a capable team in the first place. This section covers how to handle common situations once you are in the instance proper, by focusing on how each member of the team contributes to the overall success of the team.

    Important! More often than not, if one member of the team falls short, the entire team wipes.

    1. Designate a Primary Tank

    Fights in Instances aren't like fights in the open, solo-content, world. You rarely deal with a single on-level enemy. Most of the time you are dealing with multiple higher level signatures, who are quite capable of squishing your hunter into jelly before he can say, "oops!"

    It's the primary tank's job to wade into battle, and make everything mad at them. Right after that happens the Raid Assist (covered next) desides who gets attacked in what order, and everyone focuses on the same bad-guy, one at a time, until they are all dead.

    The whole time the fight goes on, the Primary Tank is getting eaten by multiple creatures, so they will be relying on the Primary Healer (covered later) to keep them going.

    Your Primary Tank should be the highest level Guardian or Warden in the group.

    2. Designate a Raid Assist

    Using a raid assist (either formally, through the UI, or just saying so in chat) organizes the group so that you can deal with each target, and new situations, in an organized manner. It's the raid assists job to designate which target is to be attacked next. Everyone should assist them, to attack the same target. Generally, the raid assist will also be the secondary tank.

    A common flow of events goes (quickly) like this:
    The Tank rushes in and gets aggro for a lot of bad guys.
    The Assist chooses a target and charges.
    Everyone assists the Raid Assist, and the battle is on in full!

    The Raid Assist should be the highest level Melee class in the group.

    3. Choose a Primary Healer

    It's the Primarey Healer's job, first and foremost, to keep the Primary Tank alive. Secondly, they will be keeping the Raid Assist alive. And thirdly, they will occasinally have to keep themselves alive!

    A side note: Any time the Primary Healer is healing themselves other than the Primary Tank or Raid Assist, the fight is in serious jeopardy of breaking down and causing a wipe.

    Primary Healers tend to draw instant aggro from additional waves of enemies that come later in the fight. The whole time they have been supporting the battle - now it's your turn to support them.

    Anytime a wave of added enemies shows up after the fight starts, they are going to rush the healer. It's the job of the Primary Tank, and/or the Raid Assist to watch for adds, and attack them right away. It's usually enough to just get one or two blows into an added enemy to get them to ignore the healer for a while.

    The Primary Healer should be the highest level Minstrel or Runekeeper in the party.

    In this section we covered how the three roles, Primary Tank, Raid Assist, and Primary Healer form the foundation for the rest of the fellowship to build on during their crawl through the instance. Next we'll discuss how the other roles fit into the overall mix.

  3. #3

    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players Part 3

    So, in the previous two sections we covered how to build a success ready team before starting the instance, considerations for setting proper difficulty, and the three foundationary roles, Tank, Assist, Healer, in a fellowship. Now we'll cover other roles and how they contribute to the team over-all.

    Each of these roles are needed, and can be filled in various ways. You want to cover as many of these roles as possible, before doubling up on another role.

    1. Crowd Control

    Having crowd control (commonly referred to as "CC") literally halves the difficulty of any instance. CC takes a six-enemy signature fight, and effectlvely breaks it down into two three-enemy fights.

    It's very important that everyone knows how to utilize crowd control, both from the controller's stand-point, but also everyone else they are supporting. CC only works as good as the party who interrupts it.

    Get to know your CC member. Ask him what to expect, how monsters will behave, and what visual queues to look for to help keep monsters controled for as long as possible. Generally, CC involves the controler using an ability that stuns monsters for a time. As long as that enemy isn't attacked, they will remain helpless for 30 seconds or so. Monsters who are stunned, just stand there with a swirl above their heads, looking kind of silly.

    Important! Don't touch a stunned creature until your Raid Assist says so! The CC player and the Raid Assist will work closely together to coordinate almost every fight.

    Crowd control doesn't only mean stun and gun, though. Sometimes CC means debuffs, too. An enemy that is so debuffed it poses no real threat is just as easy to manage as an enemy standing there looking like an idiot.

    Burglars and Loremasters are the grand-daddies of crowd control because they can stun, root, and debuff enemies into utter uselessness. Hunters can aid in CC as a secondary role.

    2. DPS (Damage Per Second)

    What good is a great fight if it goes on too long? There has to be at least one member of the group who's job it is to crank up the damage. Many times the role of Raid Assist and DPS are the same person. This is OK! But there will be times when you'll rely on others to do the DPS as well.

    It is very important that the DPS is assisting the Raid Assist. RA paints the target and contributes to the fight, and the DPS nukes the thing from orbit. There will be times when your DPS is higher than what the Raid Assist can handle, so just watch out for going "too fast." In most cases, just waiting a few seconds before using your big guns is sufficient for the Raid Assist and Primary Tank to get enough aggro where you won't be threatenned as DPS.

    Champions, Hunters and Runekeepers are undisputed kings of DPS. But you will be surprised to know that Burglars, Minstrels, and Loremasters can put out some decent DPS numbers too, when given the oportunity.

    3. Additional Support

    You'll probably notice I haven't covered were Captains fit in, yet. Captains are an odd class with (I think) the most secondary roles, and the least defined primary role. Support classes in general make everyone in the party do what they are already doing better.

    Every group needs additional support, beyond the roles of Tank, Assist, Healer, CC, and DPS. The support role is usually a buffer and/or debuffer. Many of the classes already covered can fill "additional support" filling out the fellowship. The Support role will be the most flexible, changing their tactic to keep up with a fluid battle.

    Here are some ideas on the slot:

    A Burglar, is able to debuff many enemies to near uselessness, reducing their overall risk to the fellowship as a whole, while doing so - may need to Stun an add later in the fight.

    A Captain, literally makes everyone do their job better. Tanks tank easier, DPSers do more DPS, Healers have more power to heal, etc... As the fight progresses, the Captain can grant additional morale, or buffs.

    A Loremaster can focus on debuffing and adding DPS to the fight, making the fight go quicker, and everyone getting less hurt. If a wave of undead show up in the midst (for example), the Loremaster pops a single spell to stun a bunch of em.

    A Runekeeper can (somewhat quickly) switch from extra DPS to extra healing late in the battle.

    So, now that the six main roles are filled - we can examine some deviations to the central strategy of Tank aggros, Assist targets, Party assists, with some specific classes.

  4. #4

    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    So, with your balanced fellowship, and great strategy, there are simply going to be times when you need to do something different to get the job done.

    Defiations:

    1. Pulling with range

    There are many instances where a well timed bow shot can pull a single enemy to their death, where running in with the main tank would start a huge battle. In these instances, have a ranged attacker fire a single attack at an enemy, then stop attacking.

    The enemy will run into your group, where the Tank aggros him, and the fight ends almost before it gets started.

    2. Off-Tanking with non-traditional Tanks.

    Some fights have too many enemies for a single tank to deal with, at all. If you only have one Guardian or Warden, these fights can get ungly. It's time for the Captain or Champion to fill the role of secondary tank for a bit. That means activating abilities that you generally don't use solo, to maximize your ability to take punishment and stay alive.

    3. Healers doing DPS

    In some fights, your healer can skip healing and just focus on DPS. Your Primary Healer will use abilities that maximize their damage, hurting their ability to heal. Pretty much any time you have a single non-boss monster, you can skip healing and go DPS.

    4. Area Attacks

    Generally, using area attacks in an instance is a recipe for your death, and subsequent party wipe. The only people that should be using AoE is the Primary Tank, and the Raid Assist, but only when there isn't CC involved.

    The exception comes in some fights where lots of low morale adds show up that can do a lot of damage if left alone. In these cases - A combined AoE attack from a couple different players will instantly clear the field of the nuisance so you can focus on the larger targets.

    Summary:

    We've covered how important it is to prepare for success with a good mix of capabilities, and accepting a challenge that everyone can contribute to.

    We've covered the main three roles of Primary Tank, Raid Assist, and Primary Healer, and how they work together to manage a fight.

    We've covered how important having Crowd Control, DPS, and Additional Support are to the success of the team.

    And lastly, we saw some examples of some deviations from the standard formula.

    Now that I've plastered the board with four walls of text - I'm going to shut-up and let you fill in your comments, suggestions, experiences, ideas, and deviations. But the most important part of running instances is, "Work Together." In an instance everyone must succeed, otherwise everyone will fail.

  5. #5

    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    Quote Originally Posted by EtherDragon View Post
    You need: A Tank class, a DPS class, a Controler class, a Healer class, and a Support class. The 6th spot can generally be filled with whatever is available. (Just be aware how double tanking differs from double DPSing, for example)

    Two case studies:
    I ran GB: Maze with two Hunters, a Guardian, a Champion, a Minstrel, and Runekeeper. Since we didn't have any crowd control or other support - we wiped, over and over, until our gear and wallets and will to retry ran out.
    You do not need a crowd control in Great Barrows Maze. Change one of those Hunters for a second Guardian. You are good to go. You could change the Champion out for a Guardian and do it. Lore Master is very nice for disease removal. Especially gets the timed disease that sets your power to zero. But you certainly do not need the Lore Master for the Crowd Control.

    It is fun, stressful and exciting fight as the Minstrel doing the Maze. It is a lot easier being the Hunter.
    Last edited by Yula_the_Mighty; Oct 04 2010 at 04:03 PM.
    Unless stated otherwise, all content in this post is My Personal Opinion.

  6. #6
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    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    Do you think it's possible to do GB Maze as a duo? I play pretty much exclusively with my wife, and I'd like to see these instances. What level would we have to be to do it at the minumum level (20)? We play a minstrel and a hunter.

  7. #7
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    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    Quote Originally Posted by elendurfarseeker View Post
    Do you think it's possible to do GB Maze as a duo? I play pretty much exclusively with my wife, and I'd like to see these instances. What level would we have to be to do it at the minumum level (20)? We play a minstrel and a hunter.
    If you are ~lvl 26 as in your sig, you would have a very difficult time even with it set to level 20. Damage from signature mobs and higher (that is, elites, nemesis, etc) scales with levels, so you would still be taking significant damage from most of the mobs in the dungeon.
    Duo'ing it set to level 20.... I'm not sure. What classes would you be bringing? Mini and what else? If you have a guard or warden I might see it happening around lvl 30. It's hard to judge since at that low of a level your character isn't developed enough (in what skills you have available) to take on what you can at higher levels.

    It looks like you're on brandywine though, so if you'd like to run through it at some point hit me up. My main toon's names are in my sig.
    \\ Galidin \\ Unpossible \\ Rawlor \\
    ...::: Defenders of the Lost Light - Brandywine :::...

  8. #8
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    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    Hunter and Minstrel. Yeah I didn't think it would be anytime soon, based on the first beating we took. I just wondered if it would be possible at all. 40th? 65th?

    We sort of got spoiled with Heroes/Henchmen in Guildwars, so we are used to running as a duo. Nice that the skirmishes support duos at any rate.

    Anyway, plenty of other stuff to do for now.

  9. #9

    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    As far a Duo goes, my Champion is able to solo all three GB instances at level 65 (with the instances set to their lowest) so I'd imagine a hunter/minstrel pair could duo it by then for sure, probably in early 50s.

    As far as getting through Great Barrows the first time, I've been running a nightly Great Barrows run for new folks on Dwarrowdelf, and I have come to the conclusion that the Maze isn't balanced properly. The exploding worms during the first boss encounter do way to much damage at lower level and cause a lot of problems for new players. It was amazing, I ran with a group the other day and we did really well, running Thadur and Sambrog at level 24 with zero deaths, but we died three times at the suicide worms in the Maze. If anyone from Turbine reads this, my suggestion is to make fewer suicide worms spawn below level 30 or so, this particular encounter is causing a lot of your new players frustration.

  10. #10
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    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    Here's something I discovered about the 'suicide worms' - You take a LOT more damage if you run around in the green gas. If you stay in one place, you'll take some damage, but a lot less than if you were moving.

  11. #11

    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Brillig View Post
    Here's something I discovered about the 'suicide worms' - You take a LOT more damage if you run around in the green gas. If you stay in one place, you'll take some damage, but a lot less than if you were moving.

    And thus Turbine put in giant worms that punt you every 5s.
    [LEFT][charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/03202000000081e5a/01000/signature.png]undefined[/charsig][/LEFT]
    [COLOR=silver]
    [/COLOR]

  12. #12
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    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Yula_the_Mighty View Post
    You do not need a crowd control in Great Barrows Maze. Change one of those Hunters for a second Guardian. You are good to go. You could change the Champion out for a Guardian and do it. Lore Master is very nice for disease removal. Especially gets the timed disease that sets your power to zero. But you certainly do not need the Lore Master for the Crowd Control.
    Came to the same conclusion regarding CC and the LM's role. I switched my trait setup to 5 MoNF, keeping Power and Wisdom and PAAI and it is working out much better. I can still perform all my support roles, but since BF doesn't work on most everything in there no reason to trait for it. ISG is really helpful and moves the LM into a support / DPS role instead of support / CC role. Seems to be working well so I will stick with it for GB runs.

    It does get a little hectic in there though with all the acid effects plus my ISG napalm.
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0520a0000000763c4/01003/signature.png]undefined[/charsig]
    [url=http://my.lotro.com/home/character/9446/146929937843004199/]Dregis - 75 Hunter[/url] / [url=http://my.lotro.com/home/character/9446/146929937842978043/]Dregg - 65 Champ[/url] / [url=http://my.lotro.com/home/character/9446/146929937843177951/]Dregas - 65 Grd[/url] / [url=http://my.lotro.com/home/character/113341/146929937844803633/]Dreggor - 65 Capt[/url]
    [url=http://my.lotro.com/home/character/9446/146929937844271219/]Dreggi - 65 RK[/url] / [url=http://my.lotro.com/home/character/113341/146929937844481216/]Pokee - 29 Mini[/url] / [url=http://my.lotro.com/home/character/9446/146929937843756012/]Zeed - 28 Burg[/url]

  13. #13
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    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    Quote Originally Posted by PiggyManHero View Post
    And thus Turbine put in giant worms that punt you every 5s.
    The knockback seems quite limited in range though. And that's still no excuse to run around taking even more damage.

  14. #14

    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    Great guide, but just a couple of things I'd like to add

    Quote Originally Posted by EtherDragon View Post
    I ran GB: Maze with two Hunters, a Guardian, a Champion, a Minstrel, and Runekeeper. Since we didn't have any crowd control or other support - we wiped, over and over, until our gear and wallets and will to retry ran out.
    This can be avoided if the RK and Minstrel both heal, and are pretty good at it, but it is certainly better to have more support.

    Quote Originally Posted by EtherDragon View Post
    The Raid Assist should be the highest level Melee class in the group.
    In my opinion, the hunter should always be the raid assist, since being far away from the fight they will have a good view of it and can call out targets easily.

    Quote Originally Posted by EtherDragon View Post
    Champions, Hunters and Runekeepers are undisputed kings of DPS. But you will be surprised to know that Burglars, Minstrels, and Loremasters can put out some decent DPS numbers too, when given the oportunity.
    A second guardian in OP stance can put out some great dps too, while acting as off-tank, and keeping enemies away from the healer. Just saying, that on my guardian it takes a bit of persuading to get groups to take me as dps.

    Quote Originally Posted by EtherDragon View Post
    Some fights have too many enemies for a single tank to deal with, at all. If you only have one Guardian or Warden, these fights can get ungly. It's time for the Captain or Champion to fill the role of secondary tank for a bit. That means activating abilities that you generally don't use solo, to maximize your ability to take punishment and stay alive.
    Great advice! Champion or Captain can act as good main tanks too, if you can't find a Guardian or Warden. If you have a runekeeper in the party for support or dps, get him to switch to healing so you have two healers and it will make the main boss encounters much easier if you have a non-standard tank.

  15. #15
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    Re: GB Learning Curve, for Pick Up Groups: A Quick Guide for New Players

    The very FIRST thing EVERYONE should do upon entering these instances is WAIT! Talk, plan, figure out roles and how you are working together.

    I can tell you if a group is going to be successful or fail based upon the first few actions. People who immediately run forward and engage in battle, fail. Groups who communicate beforehand, succeed.

    I consider Sambrog easiest, Thadur second easiest, and Maze hardest.

    In beta, I believed the maze worms were not balanced correctly. I was wrong and ignorant.

    It may sound obvious, but don't stay in the poison!

    I haven't had people wipe there since, I simply tell them to run to the clear. Why take damage needlessly?

    The mobs will follow you out into the clear to be killed painlessly. Easy and pain free.

    GB can be run with all sorts of groups, you do not need a balanced party at all. I've successfully done Thadur and Maze without healers (was brutal though). I've done them without tanks. I've done them with little DPS. They are very forgiving if you know what you are doing.

    That being said, I SO wish people would learn about CC. Every fight is SO much easier with proper CC. I can do without DPS if I have CC. I can do without a tank if I have CC. The healer may be underlevelled if we have extra CC. The easiest GB runs I've seen were with two burgs (both Thadur and Maze).

    It amazes me people advertise in LFF looking for tanks/heals for GB and nobody ever asks for CC.

    Just tonight, we did Sambrog with only five of us, on level for most, it was EASIER than earlier when we had a full six, because the one who was breaking mezzes was the one who left.

    The other key thing I see groups fail on, is Conjunctions (aka the awkwardly renamed Fellowship Maneuvers). Please read the Conjunction Junction sticky thread or lorebook entry.

    Highlights are to NOT hit a random color or the one you feel like. They need specific things, if in doubt and it hasn't been talked about, hit the same color as what someone else already has. (If they hit red, you hit red; if they hit green, you hit green.)

    If you hit a wrong color, it gets dropped, and you wasted a big contribution, AND probably took damage while paused to contribute, AND did no DPS in that time.



    "Sometimes survival comes down to not being hit. Actually, most times." -the chicken skill, Bob and Weave
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