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  1. #1
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    Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Rise of Isengard – Learning How to Play a Minstrel All Over Again

    Hello! This post is about the Rise of Isengard expansion and how it changes Minstrels. There are a LOT of changes coming to the game in terms of stats/ratings and general gameplay, and while I will touch on them briefly, this post is mainly about the revamp to the Minstrel class. There will be a lot of screenshots and a lot of complicated explanation. Moreover, I’m not an objective observer, so you’ll notice my obvious bias coming into play in some cases. Please forgive me and feel free to skip over my personal opinions, or argue about why I am wrong wrong wrong.

    I’m posting this because I want to help the Minstrel community learn about the changes to our class. I’ve tried my best to cover everything, but I’m sure I missed something. Please comment to fill in any blanks I forgot or if I made a mistake somewhere! I’d like this to be an evolving resource.

    Also, please note that everything here is subject to change. This is still a beta build I’m talking about on Bullroarer and our lovely developer may decide to change something based on feedback and bug reports before launch.

    This will be broken up into parts for easier reading, although everything is obviously interconnected and I will refer back and forth.

    I. Traits
    II. Skills
    III. Healing Mechanics
    IV. DPS Mechanics
    V. Gear

    Enjoy the read! (There is no tl;dr version of this post, sorry!)


    I. Traits

    The Rise of Isengard expansion reminds me a bit of the Mines of Moria expansion in that we have so many new traits that it may take people awhile to get used to them and learn what they do. We still have the familiar traitlines, though. However, there is now a distinct difference between our two “healing” traitlines that makes us more specialized depending on how we trait.

    -The Watcher of Resolve

    The Watcher of Resolve line has become the undisputed preferred line of the pure healer. The traits in this line are all great for a healing Minstrel that doesn’t want to do much besides pure healing. Traiting 7-WoR will no longer be unheard of, I think, because the traits are just that good.

    Let’s take a look at them!



    Life-Singer
    It used to be that this trait was my savior when healing and trying to maintain my power. Instead of giving -10% Healing Power Costs, it now gives +10% Chance to Score Critical Heals and +1% Healing Bonus From All Ballad Buffs (see Healing Mechanics for a more detailed explanation of what that +1% means). Frankly, I miss the old –power cost trait because even with our new power return on Coda under the effects of Anthem of Composure, healing at level 75 is VERY power intensive. However, an extra 10% chance to crit heal is very nice. If you have a regular crit chance of 1 in 10 heals, then this trait will raise it to 2 in 10 heals, on average.

    The second part of the trait helps your baseline outgoing healing. Every time you use a ballad, the ballad buffs you a certain amount of outgoing healing. With this trait in, each ballad you put up will give you an extra 1% outgoing healing, so that with all of your ballads up you’ll have an extra 3% outgoing healing. So while I will miss the power savings, this is still a nice trait.



    Silver Tongue
    This trait used to modify our songs, decreasing the cooldown on them by 20%. I really like the old version of this trait because it affected Lay/Lyric of the Hammerhand, Song of Soothing, Song of the Dead, Fellowship’s Heart, Song of Vigour, and Song of Balance. However, Song of the Hammerhand is now a completely different skill, Song of Vigour and Song of Balance are gone for good, and the cooldown on Fellowship’s Heart has been drastically reduced. I will really miss being able to get Song of Soothing down to 25 seconds from 30 and Song of the Dead down to 18 seconds (with the legacy). Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

    Now this trait adds +25% healing to critical heals. Paring this trait with Life-singer makes it pretty powerful in terms of healing more. I believe that if a Minstrel can get a nice high crit chance that they’ll be able to really increase their healing output.



    Focused Performance
    This is one of the few traits that hasn’t changed. This is still a great trait for healing, reducing our inductions by -10%. It is a must-trait for any main-healing Minstrel.



    Graceful Demeanour
    This trait, too, remains the same as it always has been. I like this trait and will use it whenever I have the space to slot it, especially if I am in a group without any other people who could potentially rez in-combat.
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Aug 30 2011 at 03:39 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

  2. #2
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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard



    Subtle Movements
    The old version of Subtle Movements decreased the healing threat of Minstrels by some undefined amount. We never really knew if it decreased the threat of each heal or if it reduced our perceived threat. I know some Minstrels that always slot this, but I have personally never felt that it was worth it at all. We have Lute Strings, Anthem of Compassion, Song of Soothing, Theorbos, and -10% Threat From Healing legacy on our weapons. If you needed the old version of this trait to keep from pulling aggro, then you needed better Fellowship members.

    The new version of this trait has to be the best gift to healing Turbine has ever given us. Now, with this trait in, Bolster Courage will not be set back by damage when you are being hit. Now, please note that this does NOT mean that things which have true interrupt skills can’t interrupt you. For example, many birds across the game have an interrupt skill that they can fire off to make sure your inductions don’t go off. Certain Creep classes also have skills which will interrupt your inductions. But! When four mobs are hitting you, you will now be able to keep on healing! Yay!



    Improved Song of Soothing
    This is the improved version of this trait, making it actually worthwhile to slot if you think you need it! The old version of this trait made Song of Soothing instant-cast but also increased the cooldown on it, so I never found it worth it. The new version keeps Song of Soothing instant-cast when traited, but instead of increasing the cooldown of the skill, the trait increases the range of the skill. The increased range is actually kind of nice, because we most need it for ranged mobs that are pinging us from a distance. I still don’t think that I, personally, need to trait this one, as we have so many other ways to reduce threat, but some Minstrels will find it very useful.



    Improved Raise the Spirit
    We got this trait in our last update when Enedwaith was released. It’s a great trait to get off a quick heal and I often use it for when I’m main-healing.



    Power of Song
    This is another trait we got with Enedwaith. I don’t really care for it much, personally, but a lot of Minstrels trait it for both the (very minimal) +power and the ability to occasionally use War-speech Calls when healing. The trait remains the same, but now there is an added graphic effect to help Minstrels know when their War-speech skills are unlocked. When this is traited, now you’ll be able to see a visual on your character rather than just see your quickslots light up. Here is a screeshot of what it looks like when the skills open up.
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Aug 30 2011 at 03:41 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

  3. #3
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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard



    Trait Set Bonuses

    2-Equipped
    The bonus for equipping two of the Watcher of Resolve traits is +5% Outgoing Healing.

    3-Equipped
    The bonus for equipping three of the Watcher of Resolve traits is +10% Chord of Salvation Healing and +1% Outgoing Healing to Major Ballad Buffs.

    4-Equipped
    The bonus for equipping four of the Watcher of Resolve traits is really nice. Firstly, Anthem of Compassion will persist through combat or until a Coda is used. What that means is that you only have to hit Anthem of Compassion once during the duration of your combat state and then after that it is a permanent buff until combat ends. Actually, it persists 9 seconds beyond combat, rather like the old version of Red Haze for Champions. All of the 4-equipped bonuses have one anthem they do this for, and Anthem of Compassion makes sense for our healing line. With 4 Watcher of Resolve traits equipped you will have -40% threat generation for an entire fight unless you use a Coda.

    The other two bonuses for 4-equipped in this trait set directly effect your outgoing healing. With 4-equipped you get a +10% base modifer to outgoing healing and +2% outgoing healing on Major Ballad buffs. With 4-equipped WoR traits, including the extra 1% from Life-singer, you can have +7% outgoing healing on every iteration of Major Ballads for a total of +21% outgoing healing from Major Ballad buffs and +15% outgoing healing from the trait set bonuses. +36% outgoing healing with your ballad buffs up is nothing to scoff at.

    5-Equipped
    With 5 Watcher of Resolve traits equipped, you can use the Legendary Spirit capstone, which doubles the healing from your Soliloquy of Spirit.

    -The Protector of Song

    The Protector of Song traitline has been described by our lovely developer as the “mastery” line for Minstrels. Going into this traitline turns Minstrels into a true hybrid class, in my opinion. You will not be able to main-heal extremely difficult raid-level content with this line, but you will be able to heal just about anything else, I think. I am still a bit sketchy on how I will use this line. It’s really powerful, but also a difficult line to manage. Traited Protector of Song, we will be melee healing/off-DPS/buffs. The buffs are the important part of that last sentence, as they are really powerful. I really believe that we will be able to take the place of Captains in a Fellowship or Raid and be as wanted for our buffs as they are.



    Glorious Anthem
    This trait has seen some changes over the course of the game, but still remains the same in its functionality. It used to increase the duration of our Anthems by 15 seconds, then in the last update it increased the duration by 50%. Now it will increase the duration of our anthems by 5 seconds. This is important because the regular duration on anthems is only 10 seconds with a 15 second cooldown. If you want to keep up our uber buffs, you’ll need to trait this one.



    Absolute Pitch
    This trait gives -1% reduction in power costs for all ballads. This covers Major, Minor, and Perfect ballads so we can get an extra -3% power costs for all non-anthem skills. With out power problems healing at max level, this might be a very nice trait for us to have.



    Heralded Savior
    This trait used to increase the duration of Song of Aid to 20 seconds, but that functionality has been given to the regular skill. Now, this trait gives +25% healing to Noble Cause enhanced Herald’s Strikes. Personally, I really feel that this trait should give more than just that, but it still isn’t all that bad to slot if you are going to be melee-healing. In testing, I applied heals in a range up to 500 with this trait in, which is a NICE bit of group-wide healing for a low power cost. Also remember that with Coda used under the effects of Anthem of Prowess (see below for details about these skills), you will receive the effect of Noble Cause without actually putting the skill on cooldown. Major Ballad also appears to modify the outgoing heal on Noble Cause enhanced Herald’s Strikes, as does traiting into Watcher of Resolve and using your standard outgoing healing gear. Good stuff, guys!
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Aug 30 2011 at 03:46 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

  4. #4
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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard



    Smooth Voice
    Since we no longer have Ballad of Vigour and Ballad of Balance, we can no longer turn them into Songs, thus this trait had to change. Now it reduces the cooldown on Anthems by 5 seconds and it decreases the power costs of Ballads by 5%. This trait is another really necessary one if you want to have good buffs simply because it reduces the cooldown on Anthems. Remember that all Anthems share a cooldown and thus it is pretty difficult to keep more than 1 up at any time. This trait helps with that problem. Also, while a decrease of 5% in the cost of Ballads is minimal (for example, it took my Ballads from costing 123 power down to 117 power), any little reduction in power costs helps, especially since they took away the trait that halves the power cost of running our tales.



    Flow of Harmony
    This trait used to reduce the power costs of running tales by 50% and was especially useful if you were using the capstone of this line to run dual tales. Now it reduces the power costs of our Anthems by 10%. My Anthem power costs were 228 at level 75, but with this trait and a Lute I was able to get the costs down to 128. If you trait to have good buffs, which is what this line is for, you’ll optimally be hitting an Anthem every 5 seconds. In other traitlines Anthems will be used only every 15 seconds, so this trait is less useful, but still a nice one to slot. Reducing power usage is necessary for any Minstrel because you won’t always have the option of other power restores. The Protector of Song trait set is also focused on keeping your buffs up, so you will not want to use Coda of Resonance under the effects of Anthem of Composure to get the minor power-over-time effect because that will cancel out all your buffs until you can get them back up very often.



    Battle-hymn
    This trait used to be the mainstay of the soloing Minstrel, as it granted you the in-combat morale regen of Anthem of the Free Peoples so you didn’t have to heal yourself while you damaged 3 mobs at once. Improved Cry of the Valar (which used to be Anthem of Valar; see the Skills section for details) now does that without a trait, however, so this trait had to do something new. Unfortunately, now this trait is a complete dud. Battle-hymn at level 75 gives +186 Evade from Anthem of Prowess and + 90 to Armour from Anthem of Prowess. That is such a minimal buff that I really don’t see myself ever slotting this trait. My Bannerguard skirmish soldier gives better buffs than that.



    Lyrics of Bravery
    This trait used to give the Minstrel a lot of Fear resist and gave Ballad of Composure the ability to buff our Fellowships for a lot of Shadow mitigation. This was a must-have trait for bosses that did a lot of Shadow damage (I’m looking at you, Ivar!). Now this trait is a self-only buff of +300 Resistance and +450 Tactical Defense to the Minstrel when traited. It feels rather bland to me. I don’t really like traits that do nothing to modify skills because I can build up stats in other ways. This is why Enduring Morale and Power of Song used to be such boring, unnecessary traits and why I’m very glad that they’ve been changed to something worth using. I, personally, will probably never use this trait for that reason, but some Minstrels may find it worthwhile for the extra survivability it will confer on them.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard



    Heralded Resolve
    This trait used to give a shot of morale to the Minstrel when using non-Noble Cause enhanced Herald’s Strikes. Now, it instead gives power while still keeping the +10% incoming healing to the Minstrel that it also used to give. At level 75, this skill gives +146 power to the Minstrel every 10 seconds if you can use Herald’s Strike that often. I wish that it was more, as that is a net gain of less than 40 power from using the skill. Actually, if this trait made non-Noble Cause Herald Strikes cost zero power, then I think that it would be worth using as a power return, but as it is, not so much. I’d really only use this trait if I really thought I’d be needing that extra 10% of incoming healing in a fight and if I knew the fight would allow me to be in melee range and using it every chance I could.

    Trait Set Bonuses

    2-Equipped
    The bonus for equipping 2 of the Protector of Song traits is -20 seconds to the cooldown of Call to Greatness. This is a huge nerf to the set bonus that is compounded by the fact that they raised the cooldown on Call to Greatness from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Previously, the set bonus was -20% cooldown which allowed us to use Call to Greatness every 4 minutes. Now with this bonus we will be able to use Call to Greatness every 9 minutes and 40 seconds! Woo hoo? I’m still really hoping that there has been a mistake somewhere and that this is a bug that will be fixed. Even if the developers really did want to raise the cooldown on Call to Greatness for some inexplicable reason to 10 minutes, the set bonus for this line should at LEAST be -20% rather than -20 seconds, giving us a cooldown of 8 minutes. Hopefully both the skill cooldown and the set bonus are errors and will be fixed by launch (or in Update 5, if we’re in the final beta build).

    3-Equipped
    The bonus for equipping 3 of the Protector of Song traits is -5 seconds to Anthem cooldowns and -1% power reduction bonus to Perfect Ballad buffs. Both of these set bonuses are very nice, although I do wish the power reduction on Perfect Ballads was applied to Anthems, too.

    4-Equipped
    The bonuses for equipping 4 of the Protector of Song traits are extensive, but we’re missing one of the old bonuses. Before Rise of Isengard, traiting 4-deep into Protector of Song gave the Minstrel Improved Tale of Warding and Improved Tale of Battle for extra armor and extra wound resistance respectively. Equipping 4 Protector of Song traits no longer gives those bonuses to armor and wound resistance on the tales and the only way to get them back is to trait the capstone legendary for this traitline. I will miss it, because one of my standard raid-healing builds was 4-PoS with Tale of Warding for the extra mitigation from the armor, but I’m sure I’ll adjust to having to make harder traiting choices.

    The new set bonuses for this traitline are good, too. Anthem of the Third Age – Harmony now persists through combat or until a Coda is used. Anthem of the Third Age changes depending on stance, just like it currently does, so to get the full effect of this set bonus you must be in the new Harmony stance (traited four deep into PoS but in Melody or War-speech, the Anthem will not persist). Anthem of the Third Age – Harmony give the buff of -20% Anthem power costs to the Minstrel. With Anthem of the Third Age – Harmony, a Lute equipped, and the trait Flow of Harmony traited, my Anthems at level 75 only cost 82 power, which is a VERY nice decrease and will help us maintain our buffs without running out of power.

    The other set bonuses for this traitline are -5 seconds to Anthem cooldowns, +5 seconds to Anthem durations, and -2% power reduction bonus to Perfect Ballad buffs. These are all very handy, especially the Anthem modifiers. With a maxed out Legacy for +Anthem Duration as well as the 4-traited bonus for this line and including the traits Glorious Anthem and Smooth Voice, you will be able to get the cooldown on all of your Anthems to 5 seconds rather than 15 seconds and the duration of the Anthems to 30 seconds rather than 10 seconds. This is HUGE because it allows for the possibility to keep up all six of your ballads at once. In practice, the demands of healing my group in this traitline made it possible for me to keep up only about 4 of the Anthem buffs at a time, but the possibility is there. And guys, I must repeat it, but our Anthem buffs are AMAZING (go down to the skills section and read more about them) and the ability to keep them up when traited this way is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

    5-Equipped
    With 5 Protector of Song traits equipped, you will be able to use the Legendary capstone trait Master of Tales. Master of Tales allows you to use either Tale of Frost and Flame’s Battle (71 Vitality, 2435 Resistance, 563 Frost Defense, and 563 Fire Defense for your Fellowship) or Tale of Warding and Heroism (2025 Armour, +1 Hope, 85 Will, and 85 Fate for your Fellowship).

    -The Warrior-skald

    Ahh, Warrior-skald, my old friend! Of all the traitlines, this one has changed the least. That’s a good thing, because we’ve never been stronger in terms of our ability to do solo DPS. Soloing in Warrior-skald is like a dream in Rise of Isengard, guys. I found myself able to jump right into the new area at level 65 with my solo gear and it was smooth, smooth sailing. I felt like a god and I leveled up to 67 in no time at all. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that we can fulfill a main-DPS role in a Fellowship without a crippling amount of support, guys. At level 75 our War-speech damage has not scaled well at all with the mob morale and our power costs are still high when we try to nuke. On the other hand, in PvMP we will no longer be rooted by any of our non-induction skills which… guys, I have tears in my eyes it is so very, very beautiful (see the Skills section for more info on Improved Cry of the Valar and Cry of the Wizards). All that and full self-healing ability when in War-speech is a glorious thing! (Creeps, start the QQ now!)

    OK, on to the traits!



    Discordant Melody
    This trait gives +5% critical chance for Ballads. Um, rah? Of all of our damage-dealing skills, Ballads are the least powerful for all that we can spam them (although we can’t really spam them anymore, as there are only 3 and the main damage one is Minor Ballad which has a 1 second cooldown, which may not seem like a lot on paper but sure feels like a lot when I want to get up three Minor Ballads as fast as I can and Improved Cry of the Chorus (War-speech) is on cooldown). While this trait will undoubtedly increase your DPS, I don’t think it is truly worth slotting. I’m having to work exceptionally hard to maintain a tactical crit rating of a mere 10% at level 75 due to the positive dearth of +tactical crit gear, so having a 15% chance to crit on my lowest damage-deal skills just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t consider this one to be all that good compared to almost all of the other Warrior-skald traits.



    Powerful Voice
    At level 75, this trait gives you -1050 reduction in target resist chance for Cries and Calls (which includes Invocation of Elbereth, Improved Piercing Cry, Major Ballad, Minor Ballad, Perfect Ballad, Echoes of Battle, Timeless Echoes of Battle, Call of Orome, Call of the Second Age, Call to Fate, Improved Cry of the Valar, and Cry of the Wizards, but does not include Coda of Resonance/Fury). Being resisted sucks a lot, so if you really hate it you can use this trait to counteract it. Personally, I don’t think I’ll bother with it because being resisted while solo is a paint, but not all that important. I mean, c’mon, we’re not Lore-masters here where being resisted could cause a raid-wipe, you know?



    Light in the Dark
    This trait gives +10% to Ballad and Coda damage and +1% damage to all Ballad buffs. I’ll take +10% damage, yes please! This trait is especially yummy with Coda of Fury with the +13% damage (because you can’t use Coda if you don’t have 3 Ballad buffs up). Fully traited for it, I’ve seen Coda of Fury crit mobs for upwards of three thousand damage. Juicy! (Creeps, here I come!)
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard



    Unrelenting
    I know Minstrels who don’t even untrait this when they are healing, it’s that good. No Minstrel in their right mind would try to DPS without it. It’s the same as ever – +30% crit chance to Piercing Cry and a 5 second stun on crit. LOVE this trait.



    Herald’s Hammer
    This trait also remains the same, giving the Minstrel +100% damage to Herald’s Strike. I think that this trait would be very nice paired with the various other Herald’s Strike traits in the Protector of Song line if you are trying to provide extra melee damage in the role of off-DPS in a group. Unfortunately, this trait will not be as strong in Rise of Isengard as it previously has been because the 2-equipped bonus for Warrior-skald has changed and we will not longer have a 7 second cooldown on Herald’s Strike but will have the full 10 second cooldown. I’m not thrilled with this change, but I can deal with it.

    On the other hand, our melee DPS is no longer governed by our Might (which is always pretty low for a Minstrel), but rather by our Will. My Herald's Strike with this trait equipped crit for 1k damage on the test server and the base damage of the skill has increased, too, for just this reason.



    Armour of Song
    This trait gives +20% additional contribution to from all armour sources. This trait sounds good, but I’m not really sure what it does. It is replacing our Medium Armour Use trait, but it certainly doesn’t provide the same amount of mitigation as it did. When I equip this, my physical and various non-common tactical mitigations don’t go up much more than 1% and usually even less.

    I think that this trait works as follows: if I have a piece of armour that has 100 armour rating on it, then with this trait equipped I should receive the mitigation of 120 armour rating instead. Adding it all up across all of my armour, I should be 1/5th hardier than another Minstrel without this trait, all things being equal. In all honesty, if that really is how this trait works and I’m not misunderstanding it, I’m not sure it is all that worthwhile to slot. Perhaps other Minstrel testers could chime in here? This is the one trait that I don’t think I fully understand.



    Improved Echoes of Battle
    This trait was given to us with Enedwaith and hasn’t been changed with Rise of Isengard. It still gives +10% damage to Echoes of Battle and Timeless Echoes of Battle. At level 75, my Timeless Echoes of Battle has a damage range of 188 – 267 without this trait and 207 – 296 with this trait in (note that these numbers are not really traited for damage, so if you work for it you can get them higher). It’s a nifty little trait for fighting bigger mobs, but not one I usually slot for soloing
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Sep 01 2011 at 02:59 AM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard



    Enduring Morale
    At level 75, this trait gives the Minstrel +300 maximum morale and a 10% chance for War-speech Calls (Call of Orome, Call of the Second Age, and Call to Fate) to unlock Raise the Spirit and Chord of Salvation for one free use on a friendly target (another player only – as of the current build, this does not include your skirmish soldier). Remember, in War-speech, you cannot cast any of your heals on anyone other than yourself, so if you are in a small group and want to remain in War-speech but still have some small ability to heal your fellows beyond Herald’s Strikes under Noble Cause, the Improved Chord of My Salvation short-ranged heal-over-time, or the short-ranged Improved Cry of the Valar heal-over-time, this trait will help you out. This is a great change to a trait that was frankly a dud before and I think many Minstrels will be happy with the functionality and flexibility it gives them. Like Power of Song, there is an added graphic for this effect so you know when your non-self-targeted heals open up. See the screenshot below.



    Trait Set Bonuses

    2-Equipped
    Previously, our bonus for equipping 2 Warrior-skald traits was -3 seconds to the cooldown of Herald’s Strike. I’m actually going to really miss that bonus, especially with the improvements given to us for using Herald’s Strike with Harmony and the Protector of Song traits. When I first read our lovely developer’s thoughts about our new Harmony stance, I imagined myself traiting 5 Protector of Song and 2 Warrior-skald for the set bonus and being an awesome buffer who could also do some off-healing and off-dps in melee range, rather like Captains, with the added benefit of being able to fulfill the role of a primary corruption remover in fights with lots of corruption removal needed (I’m looking at you, Gortheron T2). I’m disappointed that the 2-equipped bonus was changed, as now we will no longer be able to have Herald’s Strike on a 7 second cooldown but will have to be content with a 10 second cooldown. I can adapt to it.

    The new set bonus is +1% tactical damage bonus to Minor Ballad buffs. When putting up your ballads to tier up to your Anthems and Coda, if you use three Minor Ballads you will get an extra +3% tactical damage through having 2 Warrior-skald traits equipped. It’s not a lot, but it’s not a horrible bonus like the Protector of Song bonus is, either.

    3-Equipped
    With three Warrior-skald traits equipped, you get -1500 target resist rating on your ballads and -30 seconds to the base cooldowns of both Improved Cry of the Valar and Cry of the Wizards, which each have regular 1 minute cooldowns. This is absolutely THE BEST SET BONUS EVER. It is so amazing to be able to use Improved Cry of the Valar and Cry of the Wizards every 30 seconds. When solo, I can have both of them up for just about every regular mob that I fight. It is a glorious, glorious thing to have these skills on such short cooldowns and I positively CACKLE when thinking about how much AOE-deathbombing I’m going to be doing to creeps with these on such short cooldowns. SO AWESOME.

    4-Equipped
    As with the other traitlines, when you equip 4 Warrior-skald traits you get to the really good stuff. Firstly, you get a +25% damage bonus to all of your ballads when you are in War-speech, which isn’t too shabby at all. Secondly, you get +2% tactical damage bonus to Minor Ballad buffs, increasing your outgoing damage by another 6% if you use three Minor Ballads to unlock Anthems and Coda. With 4-equipped – including the trait Light in the Dark – you will have +7% tactical damage on each Minor Ballad you use, for a total of +21% tactical damage if you decide to put up 3 Minor Ballads. Next, with 4 Warrior-skald traits equipped you get +10% damage to Coda of Fury, which is pretty hot as Coda of Fury does a significant amount of damage. Finally, Anthem of War will persist through combat or until Coda is used, which is the nicest buff of all that we have. Anthem of War is the damage buffing of our current Ballads of Composure, War, and Flame all rolled into one and can also be modified by legacies to give extra outgoing damage buffs for your whole Fellowship. That’s the good stuff right there. Being able to keep this buff up 100% of the time may be the only reason why anyone would ever invite a DPS-Minstrel into a 6-man Fellowship.

    5-Equipped
    With 5 Warrior-skald traits equipped, you may use the Legendary capstone of this line, Call of War, which gives +3000 Call critical rating and +100% Call critical multiplier.

    Non-Capstone Legendary Traits

    Symphony of the Hopeful Heart
    This trait remains the same as how it was revamped in the last Minstrel update, giving a stationary area-of-effect +4 Hope and +10% incoming healing buff when standing in it and a –target penetrate resistance buff when exiting it. For more detailed information about this Legendary trait, see my previous guide and explanation of it here: http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.p...92#post5256092

    Rally!
    If you’re the main healer of an instance – even if you’re the best healer in the game – you may occasionally lose one of your people. This trait allows you to rez them in combat. It can be modified via Legacy or the trait Graceful Demeanour. This trait hasn’t changed at all with Rise of Isengard.

    Fellowship’s Heart
    Rejoice, my fellow Minstrels, because now our most powerful emergency heal is on a 10 minute cooldown rather than a 30 minute cooldown! Other than the cooldown reduction, this trait also hasn’t changed with Rise of Isengard.

    Cry of the Wizards
    Formerly, this was called Anthem of the Wizards. The cooldown for the skill this trait grants us has also been reduced with Rise of Isengard. It has a base cooldown of 1 minute and when traited 3-deep into Warrior-skald it has a cooldown of 30 seconds (which is AWESOME). It also keeps the +20% attack duration debuff it adds to affected targets and the +30% slow, but the duration of those effects have been reduced to 15 seconds rather than 30 (or 45 with the old Glorious Anthem trait). When the change to this trait was first announced, I and many other PvP Minstrels cried foul over the loss of our amazing slow against creeps, but now that I’ve played with it I am finding I really love how this skill now works. You can use it in your regular DPS rotation rather than saving it for special occasions when you think you might need it.


    II. Skills

    A LOT of our skills have been changed with Rise of Isengard. You will log onto your Minstrel and look at your quickslots in shock on launch day. It is quite a lot to get used to. First of all, you’ll notice that all of your old Ballads are gone. Instead, you now how only 3 Ballads: Major Ballad, Minor Ballad, and Perfect Ballad. You’ll also notice that things which were once Anthems are now Cries and things that were once Ballads are now Anthems, with certain changes.

    Let’s look at the Ballads, first. Ballads remain the staple skill they have always been for Minstrels. We no longer have 3 Tier 1, 3 Tier 2, or 4 Tier 3 Ballads, but rather we just have 3 Ballads that we must use to unlock our Anthems and Coda. Instead of the tiering system, we now have a system of self-applied buffs with our Ballads. Once we have applied any combination of the 3 Ballad buffs to ourselves, we can use our Anthems and Coda.

    On the Forums, I’ve seen a lot of Minstrels lamenting that we’re being turned into Wardens with this system. When I first read about it, it was very confusing to me and I was using my knowledge of the Warden class to try to figure out how it worked. However, now that I’ve played it I can honestly say that our Ballads are NOTHING like the Warden Gambit-builders. They're just self-applied buffs that you can choose to stack in different ways and when you have three of them they open access to Anthems. Don't make the mistake of thinking the ballad combinations are like Gambits for us to execute and you'll be fine.

    Besides doing a bit of damage or healing and opening up your Anthems and Coda, all the Ballads do is buff you. The ballads are self-buffs that affect power costs, outgoing damage, and healing only. Also remember that it is NOT the Ballads that change the effect of Coda, but the Anthems (we’ll get to that in a bit).

    Here is a picture of what the Ballads look like on your quickslots when you are in a state of Melody (that is, null stance – what you are in when you log in and haven’t activated any skills yet).



    Note that in Melody, Major Ballad does not do any damage at all, but rather gives a small heal to the casting Minstrel and anyone else in her Fellowship within an 8m range. The skill will be greyed-out until you initiate combat, so you cannot use this skill to open Anthems until in-combat, even though it does no damage. When you switch to either Harmony or War-speech stances, Major Ballad turns red like the other two Ballads instead of the green which indicates healing because it turns into a damaging attack rather than a heal.

    Also, look at the different buff values that the Ballads in the picture above give. I have 6% Power reduction on Perfect Ballad and 4% tactical damage on Minor Ballad because of how I am traited. You can trait for more any of the buffs and your Ballads will reflect how you trait. See the Traits section above for further details.

    Now, each time you use a Ballad, it applies a buff to you, the Minstrel, which you can see under your portrait in your buff row. You can put up 3 Major Ballads, 3 Minor Ballads, 3 Perfect Ballads, one of each type, two of one kind and one of another, whatever you’d like. Just remember that as soon as you have any combination of 3 Ballads up, as soon as you hit another Ballad, the first Ballad you activated will slide off your buff row. For example, say that you wanted to get to your Anthems fast at the beginning of the fight so you used Perfect Ballad, then Minor Ballad, and then Major Ballad. After using an Anthem and a few other skills, you decide that you want to maximize your healing potential so you use another Major Ballad. Now the Perfect Ballad has fallen off your buff row and you have up a Minor Ballad buff and two Major Ballad buffs. If you use Major Ballad again, the Minor Ballad buff will fall off your buff row and you will have up three Major Ballad buffs. Below is a picture of what the buffs look like on your buff row under your portrait.



    Again, note that in the picture above, the way I am traited determines the percentage values of the power reduction, outgoing healing, and tactical damage that the Ballad buffs give.
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Sep 02 2011 at 12:32 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    OK, now that you have a basic understanding of how the new Ballad system works, let’s look at our new Anthems.

    Once you have unlocked the ability to use your Anthems at the beginning of a fight by getting up 3 Ballad buffs, you have a choice of Anthems to use. At level 75, you will have 6 Anthems (well, 8 Anthems if you consider that Anthem of the Third Age has 3 permutations). Two of your Anthems, Anthem of the Third Age and Anthem of Compassion, are self-only buffs. Those two do not affect the rest of your Fellowship. However, Anthem of the Free Peoples, Anthem of Prowess, Anthem of Composure, and Anthem of War are buffs that affect everyone in your Fellowship within line-of-sight in a 40.2m range. With no modifying traits, the buffs that Anthems give last for 10 seconds and all 6 Anthems share a 15 second cooldown. With traits and the Anthem duration legacy, you can get the shared cooldown on the Anthems down to 5 seconds and the buff duration of your Anthems to 30 seconds (35 seconds if you are wearing 5-pieces of the Dirge-singer’s armour). Anthems also modify your Coda, giving unique buffs to the the Casting Minstrel based on which Anthem buffs are active at the time Coda is cast. I’m going to talk about each Anthem and how it affects the Coda individually, so you can better understand what they do, but here are a few screenshots to help you see what they do yourself.







    Anthem of the Third Age
    This Anthem is the only one that changes what it does based on what stance you are in. It is also one of the two Anthems that gives buffs only to the caster, not the whole Fellowship. This Anthem is also our most complicated, as the Coda-use effect also changes depending on what stance you are in.

    When you are in a state of Melody (null-stance), Anthem of the Third Age gives you +10% outgoing healing and -25% to all skill inductions, which is a nice boon for a healing Minstrel, especially if you are traited to make it last. When you use Coda of Vigour with the Anthem of the Third Age buff up on yourself, you will receive a buff on yourself for 10 seconds that will allow your next Bolster Courage to be instant-cast with no induction. Using Coda of Vigour under the effects of Anthem of the Third Age and getting an instant-cast Bolster Courage will be a nice amount of healing output for you.

    When you are in Harmony stance, this Anthem gives you a -20% reduction in Anthem power costs. Power is at a premium at level 75, so that is a nice little buff, especially if you are traited to be able to hit Anthems every 5 seconds to keep up all our nice buffs. Also, the 4-equipped bonus to the Protector of Song traitline directly modifies Anthem of the Third Age – Harmony by making it combat-permanent until you use a Coda. Note that in the above picture of Anthem of the Third Age – Harmony, I am traited in just that way. For further details about what this means, see the Traits second above. When you use Coda of Resonance with the Anthem of the Third Age – Harmony buff up on yourself, you will have a chance of reapplying the -20% Anthem power cost buff this Anthem gives without invoking the shared anthem cooldown and without having to reapply your Ballad buffs first. As I am writing this, I realize that I haven’t personally tested the functionality of this particular mechanic, so next time I have the opportunity to log onto Bullroarer I will do so. Does any other Minstrel tester have anything to add to this?

    In War-speech, this Anthem gives the Minstrel +10% to Call damage (Call of Orome, Call of the Second Age, and Call to Fate), which is nice when you want to expand your DPS capabilities. When you use Coda of Fury with the Anthem of the Third Age – War-speech buff up on yourself, you will reset the cooldown on Call of the Second Age. I’ve personally tested this one and it works as advertised.

    Anthem of Compassion
    This Anthem is the other one that only buffs the Minstrel. When cast, it gives -40% to threat generation on all healing skills used while the buff is up. Also, the 4-equipped bonus to the Watcher of Resolve traitline directly modifies Anthem of Compassion by making it combat-permanent until you use a Coda. This is a nice bonus for the healing Minstrel that is worried about drawing excessive aggro. When you use Coda with the Anthem of Compassion buff up on yourself, the Coda will generate zero threat. I assume this means both zero healing threat if you are using Coda of Vigour or Coda of Resonance and zero threat from damage if you are using Coda of Resonance or Coda of Fury, but I’m not sure. The ins and outs of how threat is calculated in this game are still mysterious to me.

    Anthem of the Free Peoples
    This Anthem has always been one of our mainstays as healers because it is basically a small heal that generates no threat because it is a buff to ICMR. Anthem of the Free Peoples remains a nice buff, and although the ICMR buff has not scaled very well with the ballooning morale pools of our Fellowships, it now also gives Vitality as well (taking over the functionality of the now retired Song of Vigour skill that we used to have). At level 75, Anthem of the Free Peoples gives the whole Fellowship +1769.4 ICMR and +75 Vitality for the duration of the buff. When you use Coda under the effects of the Anthem of the Free Peoples buff, you receive a small personal heal-over-time effect, pictured below. The HoT is affected by incoming healing only, not outgoing healing.

    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Aug 30 2011 at 04:18 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Anthem of Composure
    This Anthem raises the defenses of your Fellowship when used by giving everyone more Resistance Rating and Tactical Mitigation (taking over some of the functionality of our previous Ballad of Composure and Ballad of Flame). When you use Coda under the effects of the Anthem of Composure buff, you receive a small power-over-time effect, pictured below. This PoT is not affected by either incoming or outgoing healing.



    Personally, I dislike the fact that to receive 1610, I have to use an average of 800 or so power (the power cost of 3 Ballads, Anthem of Composure, and Coda), but I can live with it. Yay, we finally have a power restore! This and the power restore on the trait Heralded Resolve are our two new power restore skills, and this skill is certainly better than the miniscule amount of power that Heralded Resolve gives us. However, I don’t like that using this as a power restoration skill will make me give up my active buffs. I’ll get used to it, though.

    Anthem of Prowess
    This Anthem is one of our two offensive buffs rather than defensive buffs. At level 75, you can buff your Fellowship with -10% Attack Duration, +450 Evade rating, and +900 Armour value. This Anthem is worth using for the buff to attack speed alone! Stacked with a Captain’s War-cry and the individual attack speed bonuses some classes have (like Flurry for Champions and Needful Haste for Hunters), this Anthem will really help our Fellowship dish out the pain. All that, and it gives some nice defensive bonuses, too! When you use Coda under the effects of the Anthem of Prowess buff, you receive the benefits of Noble Cause without invoking the skill’s cooldown, allowing you get dish out some extra melee healing to your Fellowship, or just remove more corruptions faster.

    Anthem of War
    This is the shiny one that all your DPS classes will be asking you to keep up as much as possible. This is the one that you will build your DPS songbook around. Anthem of War gives your Fellowship a base of +10% Melee damage, +5% Ranged damage, and +5% Tactical damage, but with the legacies you can get that up to 20/10/10, just like you can now. The awesome thing is that you only have to hit one button to get all three damage bonuses! Also, the 4-equipped bonus to the Warrior-skald traitline directly modifies Anthem of War by making it combat-permanent until you use Coda. I’ve really enjoyed this particular aspect of Anthem of War when traited all reds and soloing because it allows me to keep up my +10% tactical damage and +20% melee damage by chain-pulling mobs because the Anthem of War buff remains on me up to 9 seconds out of combat, which with some 30 minute OOC regen food us usually just enough for me to regain enough power for the next fight. We’re still not going to be highly sought after as main-DPS in 6-mans and I still highly doubt we’ll be at all functional as DPS in raids, but solo this is extremely nice. Anyway, when you use Coda under the effects of the Anthem of War buff, you have an increased chance for your Coda to crit. I assume this means an increased chance for the damage portion of Coda of Resonance and Coda of Fury to crit, but it might also mean an increased chance for a crit heal from Coda of Resonance and Coda of Vigour. I’m not sure. Do any other Minstrel testers know for sure one way or another?

    That was all of our Anthems, so you’re probably wondering at this point what exactly the Coda is? Why do I sometimes refer to it as simply Coda while other times I call it Coda of Vigour, Coda of Resonance, or Coda of Fury? This is because some things affect all of the Coda, while others only modify specific iterations of the Coda. Coda of Vigour is what the skill is called when you are in a state of Melody (null-stance). When you are in Harmony stance, it is called Coda of Resonance. When you are in War-speech, the skill is called Coda of Fury. Here is a picture to show you how this skill changes based on stance.



    See how Coda of Resonance, which the Coda becomes when we are in Harmony stance, is like a hybrid between the healing Coda of Vigour and the nuking Coda of Fury? That’s because Harmony/Protector of Song is a hybrid stance/build between Melody/Watcher of Resolve and War-speech/Warrior-skald. I really like the dynamic of how this skill works. Our lovely developer envisions this skill as a finisher or an emergency heal, whichever you need at the time. Coda of Fury can crit big, and with a 40m range it will be a nice addition to the Minstrel arsenal when fighting Creeps. Coda is similar to our older-style Anthems in that we can’t use it right away when combat starts but have to get up to it and then when it is used it closes out all of our buffs until we tier up again.

    OK, so, the Ballads, Anthems, and Coda were the most difficult of the changes to our class to understand. Now let’s look at some other skills that have been changed.



    Harmony
    This is our new stance. It does not share a cooldown with War-speech, but you have to drop one to activate the other. This is a hybrid stance, granting a bit of healing and a bit of damage to the Minstrel. When in Harmony, Melody of Battle becomes Echoes of Battle, Major Ballad deals damage, the Coda becomes Coda of Resonance, and the buff given by Anthem of the Third Age changes. Harmony also reduces the cooldown of Noble Cause by 30 seconds, increases the healing from Noble Cause, and increases the damage that Ballads deal by 15%.

    War-speech
    There have been some nice changes to this stance with Rise of Isengard. First of all, there is no longer a tail-effect for War-speech, meaning that when you drop it the stance effects go away immediately. There is also no longer a –healing quantity penalty. You will receive the full effects of your heals when in War-speech… but ONLY you will receive them. When in War-speech, most of your heals become self-targeted only and the large group-wide heals are completely greyed out. Here is a picture of how your heals change when in War-speech.



    Now, it IS possible to still do a bit of healing for others when in War-speech. You still have the small HoT from Improved Chord of My Salvation that can be applied to people within 12m of the healed target. You sill have the HoT from Improved Cry of the Valar which can be applied to people within 12m of you. And you still have Noble Cause for a little Melee healing action, so all is not lost! There is also the trait Enduring Morale which gives you a chance to open up Raise the Spirit and Chord of Salvation on friendly targets when using War-speech Calls.
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Aug 30 2011 at 04:25 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard



    The Melody of Battle/Echoes of Battle/Timeless Echoes of Battle
    This skill changes depending on what stance you are in. If you are in a state of Melody, the skill is called The Melody of Battle and it is a buff rather than a damage dealing attack. The Melody of Battle is a toggle skill that the Minstrel can cast on one person, including themselves, and in some ways is similar to the Lore-master Air-lore skill. At level 75, this skill gives the target +300 parry rating and reflects a small amount of damage from the target back to the attacker.

    When in Harmony stance, this skill becomes Echoes of Battle, doing some damage and debuffing the target with –song and cry resist rating. When in War-speech, the skill is upgraded to Timeless Echoes of Battle, doing more damage and debuffing the target even more. Note that in ALL stances, the cooldown on this skill has been reduced to 5 seconds, which is nice.



    With Rise of Isengard, our various Tales finally scale above level 50. Be aware that there is no longer a trait to reduce the upkeep cost of running any of the tales. You should also know that Improved Tale of Warding and Improved Tale of Battle no longer exist as a set bonus for having 4 traits equipped in the Protector of Song traitline. To get the improved version of the tales, you will have to trait the capstone.



    Improved Story of Courage
    With this skill, you will now be able to remove up to 2 Fear effect of a strength 4 levels above your own level from 3 targets within a 15m range. Huzzah for no longer having to stand right on top of someone to remove their fear! When you use this skill, you will also buff any member of your Fellowship within 8m with +3300 Fear Resist Rating for 10 seconds, which is a nice little buff to this skill.

    Improved Song of Distraction
    This skill works just like it did before, but now it can work on up to 3 targets at a time. Yay for not having to wait on the cooldown to be up to distract multiple targets!

    Song of the Dead
    This skill has not changed at all, but do be aware that since Silver Tongue is different now, we can no longer permanently daze wights with our –Song of the Dead cooldown legacy. I’d recommend using Invocation of Elbereth in conjunction with Song of the Dead if you need to keep a wight locked down after the update (I’m looking at you, trash pulls leading up to Ivar).

    Still As Death
    ZOMG, THREE MINUTE COOLDOWN!!! That’s with the legacy, of course, because the regular cooldown is 5 minutes, but wow, so nice! It was really great training though tons of mobs to my destination and then hitting Still As Death to drop them. I also used it a lot in the Bonevales to mine skarn deposits.



    Improved Cry of the Chorus
    This skill changes depending on what stance you are in, as illustrated by the picture above. It still breaks silence effects on the Minstrel and grants a short term immunity to silences and it still opens up all of our skills, but it does it a bit differently. When used, Cry of the Chorus will apply three Ballad buffs to the Minstrel based on what stance she is in: 3 Major Ballads in a state of Melody, 3 Perfect Ballad when in Harmony stance, and 3 Minor Ballads in War-speech. The Ballad buffs applied work exactly how they would if you had manually applied them all by using them, including having any traits that modify the values of the buffs applied.
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Sep 02 2011 at 01:30 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Improved Song of Aid
    The improved version of this skill now lasts for 20 seconds. It works on the other classes just as it has always done, but now it does something different for Minstrels. When you use Improved Song of Aid, you will unlock the ability to fire off exactly one War-speech Call (Call of Orome, Call of the Second Age, or Call to Fate) for zero power cost and use exactly one Bolster Courage for no power cost. There is also a visual effect to show you when you have these abilities unlocked, along with icons in your buff row, as you can see below.





    I use this skill a lot at the beginning of fights and sometimes during the fights should I have a free moment, but I would very rarely use all 20 seconds of the channel duration, I think. But I do like how they have upgraded this skill – I just wish it did more for certain classes than it currently does. I’d love to see it actually do something valuable for Hunters, for example. Oh well!



    Song of the Hammerhand
    This skill works VERY differently from how it used to work, but still has some of the same functions. This is a bubble that prevents a portion of your damage by absorbing it until the duration runs out or until the percentage it grants is used up by attackers. Please note that it is NOT a power restore. I believe our lovely dev wanted it to be a power restore at first, but it was just not to be. If at the end of 30 seconds your bubble falls off without being consumed by attacks, you will regain EXACTLY the amount of power you spent on it. In my screenshot, it takes me 306 power to cast, which is exactly 5% of my power pool, which is restored if the bubble is not consumed. At best, if you don’t need the entire shield, this skill costs nothing to cast. It still works the same that while the shield is active your inductions cannot be interrupted, but it doesn’t protect nearly as much morale as it used to. The 1 minute cooldown on the skill is very nice, but I will still miss the old bubble.
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Aug 30 2011 at 04:35 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Here are some pictures of what the bubble looks like and what the bubble buff looks like on your buff row and morale bar.





    Gift of the Hammerhand
    This skill basically functions the same as Song of the Hammerhand, but it will not negate the power used to cast it. On the other hand, it won’t cost the person you cast it on all their power, either! (I’ll miss freaking aggro-grabbing Champions out by stealing all their power, though.) And yes, the Gift bubble is green, too. (As an aside… the Minstrel Rift set bonus affecting this skill makes it so that the power used to cast it is negated just like the Song of the Hammerhand.)



    Call to Greatness
    I find the changes to Call to Greatness the most upsetting part of this update. First of all, the cooldown on the skill has been raised from 5 mintues to 10 minutes. Secondly, the 2-equipped set bonus for Protector of Song only reduces the cooldown by 20 seconds. Those two things might both be bugs that our lovely developer will eventually fix (cross your fingers!), but the third change is deliberate. You will no longer be able to reset cooldowns by using Call to Greatness. That is, if you use Chord of Salvation, then Call to Greatness, Chord will remain on cooldown, thus giving you only the outgoing healing benefit on this skill rather than the full benefit. Major bummer, eh? Fortunately, this skill still resets the cooldown on Blinding Flash for Lore-masters. The other change is that Champions will now gain the Seeking Blade effect when we cast this on them, which will make their next Remorseless strike have a 100% crit chance.



    Improved Enlivening Grace
    This skill has been updated so that we can revive 5 targets instead of just one. However, I’m unsure if we will be able to revive people outside of our own Fellowships. If we cannot… well, there goes half my time spent in the Ettenmoors right there. Actually it might be nice to tell people begging for a rez that I can’t oblige. This will require further testing.

    Rally!
    Same as before, nothing changed here.
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Sep 03 2011 at 02:47 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard



    Improved Cry of the Valar
    This skill is so very, very beautiful. It brings a single perfect tear to my eye. Guys. We don’t have to stand still to use it anymore! No more skill root! HUZZAH! Can I get three cheers for our lovely dev!? Also, look at how gorgeous it is! Does damage to 3 targets, can remove a corruption from each target it hits, has a 40m range, gives the Minstrel a buff to ICMR and applies a small heal-over-time to nearby Fellowship members. AND, if you trait 3-deep into the Warrior-skald traitline, the cooldown on this bad boy is only 30 seconds rather than a minute! This skill is so good that I forgive every nerf we’ve ever received, including the Moria-launch fiasco and the tail-effect on War-speech!

    Cry of the Wizards
    This is a nice Legendary trait to slot, especially when soloing. It does damage from 40m range on up to 3 targets while slowing their movement speed by 30% and increasing their attack duration by 20% for 15 seconds. With 3-equipped in the Warrior-skald line, the cooldown on this skill is 30 seconds rather than one minute, meaning we can slow our attackers about half of the time we are fighting them. Sure, we can’t slow down the Creeps for 45 seconds anymore so our 1v1s will be more difficult, but I think that the cooldown reduction more than makes up for that.



    Invocation of Elbereth
    This is just our old Cry of the Valar skill with a new name (because we didn’t want it confused with our new Cry of the Valar skill which used to be called Anthem of the Valar, did we?). Still fears evil things.

    III. Healing Mechanics

    Overwhelmed by all of the changes to our class? Don’t be, because healing is still healing! Yes, we did receive a 20% nerf to our base healing skills and yes, the power costs of our heals have gone up tremendously, but we’re still in beta so the devs still have some balancing to do. I really wouldn’t worry too hard. Turbine really does want to keep us happy, because happy gamers are paying gamers. Have a little faith in capitalism, if nothing else. Also, remember the huge outcry over Minstrels at the beginning of Moria? The thread is gone and lost to forum purges of yore, but there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth… and then in Update 1 they fixed us, and all was golden again.

    So. Healing. Just hit the green buttons, right? Well, yes. If you do nothing but hit the green buttons, you will be able to heal some things, but don’t you want to be better than just a healbot? The class is more complicated now and we have ways to shine beyond just standing in place and watching the morale bars seesaw.

    The first thing I recommend doing is turning off Show Dispelable Effects and switching it to Show Effects Cast By You. I did this a long time ago for healing on my Rune-keeper because it allows me to see the tiers of my HoTs and now I fear that we’ll have to do it for our Minstrels, too. I don’t know about you, but I’m almost always the first one to notice when someone has a nasty wound for the simple reason that I’m staring at all the morale bars of my group while everyone else is staring at the morale bars of the baddie we’re fighting. I think we can still do that, but in the beginning you’ll want to see only your buffs so you can get a feel for how long they last when traited different ways.

    Let’s look at an example of what your buff row will look like with ONLY your buffs up.



    Cinder here (the Minstrel I auto-leveled on the test server, not the one I copied and leveled up naturally, and sorry, but I’m going to talk about her in the third person) is in Harmony stance, as you can see by the first buff under her portrait. She is also traited 4-deep into Protector of Song so you can see that her Anthem of the Third Age – Harmony buff is combat-permanent. Next, she has up a Perfect Ballad buff, a Major Ballad buff, and a Minor Ballad buff. Remember that if she uses another Ballad, the Minor Ballad buff, as the first one applied, will fall off her bar leaving the Major Ballad buff as the longest applied buff and the next one to fall off should she use another Ballad. Next up on her buff row is the Anthem of Compassion buff, followed by the Anthem of the Free Peoples buff and the Anthem of Composure buff. On the second row, as the first applied buffs, you can see Anthem of Prowess and Anthem of War starting to fade already. Think about the power of having all of those buffs up at once. Very cool, eh?

    The way Cinder is traited, her buffs all have a 30 second duration on a 5 second cooldown. To keep them all up, she MUST hit an Anthem in the correct sequence every 5 seconds. In between hitting Anthems she can use her heals or other skills. Realistically, when healing I’ve found that there is no way to keep everything up. I will put up my combat-permanent Anthem (Anthem of Compassion if traited 4-deep in Watcher of Resolve, Anthem of the Third Age – Harmony if traited 4-deep in Protector of Song and in Harmony stance, or Anthem of War if traited 4-deep into Warrior-skald) and then maybe 1 or 2 others if I’m not traited deep into PoS and really only 4 even if I am.

    OK, so what happens if Cinder decides to use Coda of Resonance with all of these buffs up? Here is a picture of how her buff row looks after she does that.



    She’s still in Harmony stance and she has already managed to use another Major Ballad. She doesn’t have access to her Anthems again yet because she only has one ballad buff up, but she’ll get back there soon. The next buff is Noble Cause, because she used Coda of resonance with the effects of Anthem of Prowess still up, granting her Noble Cause without putting the skill on cooldown. You can see that she’s used a Herald’s Strike recently because there is the buff to incoming healing next. After that you see… Fellowship’s Heart? Nope, that ISN’T Fellowship’s Heart, that is the heal-over-time from using Improved Cry of the Valar (hopefully we'll get a different icon for that which is distinct from the Fellowship's Heart icon). The next buff in that picture is the self-buff to ICMR provided to the Minstrel from Improved Cry of the Valar. Then we have Vigour of the Free Peoples from using Coda of Resonance under the effects of Anthem of Free Peoples and Vigour of the Minstrel from using Coda of Resonance under the effects of Anthem of Composure.

    Don’t worry, guys, I’m still learning how it all works and trying to remember what each thing does, too. It’ll take awhile and it isn’t an intuitive system, but we’ll get there and I think we’ll enjoy it. But seriously, can we not be rated as an “Easy” class anymore at character creation? Because this really isn’t all that easy…
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Sep 13 2011 at 05:02 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

  14. #14
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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Healing Rotation
    Our tanks have incredibly bloated morale pools compared to the size of our heals now. For healing, you’ll want to use 3 Major Ballads for the outgoing healing buffs as soon as possible, get up an Anthem, and then start healing away, only using Coda of Vigour (which will cancel your outgoing healing buffs until you can get them up again) in emergencies. If you have down time where you don’t have to heal, try to maintain your Anthem buffs. If you are running low on power, switch from using Major Ballad to using Perfect Ballad, which will lower the cost of your heals.

    IV. DPS Mechanics

    When soloing, the most effective DPS rotation I found went something like this: Minor Ballad, Perfect Ballad, Minor Ballad, Anthem of War, Timeless Echoes of Battle, Call of Orome, Minor Ballad, Improved Cry of the Valar, Call to Fate, Minor Ballad, Cry of the Wizards, Minor Ballad, and back to Call of Orome. If you are not chain-pulling, you can use Coda of Fury as a finisher. I also liked to keep up Anthem of Prowess for the buff to attack speed, so I put an Anthem duration legacy on my DPS weapon and partially leveled it up. Every Minstrel will have to find their own sweet spot, but leveling without Warrior-skald traits is going to be an exercise in frustration for many of you. Seriously, just bite the bullet and spend the money to retrait.

    Are we viable for fulfilling the role of main-DPS in a group setting? Maybe. In a 3-man group, yes, definitely. Three-man instances, of necessity, must be balanced around limited roles and a Minstrel can absolutely be DPS in them. In a 6-man group we will never be sought after by people as DPS, but I think that we will be able to fulfill the role adequately. To fill that DPS slot in a Fellowship, you'll need to get your Will as high as possible, sacrificing defense for offense and you MUST trait 5-deep into Warrior-skald to do it. Protector of Song/Harmony is not really about fulfilling a main-DPS role, but rather an off-DPS role. Think of Warrior-skald as our "lightening-traited Rune-keeper" DPS line and Protector of Song as our "Captain-hybrid of Awesome buffs with a bit of healing and a bit of DPS thrown in" line. Built for Will, tactical offense, and tactical crit, with Legendary Items enhancing your DPS function and a high enough base ICPR to help with your power issues, you will be able to fill that DPS slot (but not as well as classes whose primary role is DPS, ie, not as well as Hunters, Champions, Rune-keepers, or Burglars). When you see your first dev crit with Coda of Fury, you'll feel like an RK, it's kinda awesome. In raids, I don't believe that we have either enough DPS OR enough power sustainability for us to fill the role of main-DPS in long fights.

    V. Gear

    With 10 levels under your belt, once you hit level 75 you will not want to be using that same old Dar Nargubud set, no matter how good the set-bonus is! So, what are your new options?

    First of all, whether you hate it or love it, you will no longer be able to wear Medium Armour. I’m sorry, folks, but our crafted and quested armour options just got thinner. That said, we still have a plethora of choices in terms of crafted, quested, bartered, and instance-dropped gear. Because they revamped how your character stats worked and unlinked stats from only certain pieces, you can now fill EVERY gear slot with stats you want, be it ICPR, Outgoing Healing, Finesse, Vitality, or whatever. For example, where previously we have been limited to having ICPR only on our Shields and Bracelets, now you can have it on Rings, Earrings, Boots, Gloves, et cetera. If you’re willing to mix, match, and compromise, you can pump up any stat you want to.

    You’ll want to get as much Will as possible, although there are diminishing returns at higher amounts of Will. Will is our primary stat. We derive our Outgoing Healing AND Outgoing Damage from it (including Melee damage, not just Tactical). Will also increases the size of your Power pool, increases your out-of-combat power regeneration, and increases your Resistance to Fear. When leveling up in the beta, I went for as much Will as possible and got over 700 very fast, with my Tale of Heroism up. By level 75, I had over 1,000 Will. I shall leave the theory-crafting on how much Will we should optimally have at level 75 to others, but my best guess is that somewhere around 800 Will would be nice. Don’t neglect to get a nice chunk of Vitality and Fate, though!

    Let’s take a look at the Minstrel-specific set armour currently available to Minstrels at level 75. As of the current build, we only have two sets.

    -Dirge-singer’s Raiments





    Total Stats for 6-piece

    Armour = 2656
    Will = 732
    Raw Power = 142
    Total Power = 2338
    Vitality = 183
    Raw Morale = 162
    Total Morale = 711
    Fate = 122
    Raw ICPR = 163.2
    Raw Critical Rating = 332
    Raw Outgoing Healing = 636
    Raw Tactical Offense = 636

    Does anyone notice something missing from our set? When you compare it to the other Draigoch raid sets you’ll notice that EVERY OTHER CLASS has a bunch of the new Finesse stat on it. Minstrel is, apparently, the only class that doesn’t need Finesse? I DON’T THINK SO! Why is Finesse important…? I’m… not quite sure of all of the ins and outs of how it works, but I do know that Finesse reduces the chances you’ll miss with skills used on your enemies and also reduces their chance to block/parry/evade your attacks. We’re not a DPS class, no, but we still need to be able to hit our foes! I hope this is an oversight that will be corrected before launch.
    Last edited by Cloudie-wan; Aug 30 2011 at 05:11 PM.
    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

  15. #15
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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    -Armour of the Wayfaring Poet (Anganskald)







    Total for 6-piece (not including Shield or Rings)

    Armour = 2522
    Will = 258
    Raw Power = 227
    Total Power = 1001
    Vitality = 417
    Raw Morale = 162
    Total Morale = 1413
    Fate = 258
    Raw Outgoing Healing = 564
    Raw Tactical Offense = 564
    Resistance Rating = 984
    Tactical Mitigation = 1581
    Physical Mitigation = 535
    Finesse = 2988

    Both sets have their uses. The raid set obviously has much nicer set bonuses than the PvMP set. Frankly, I don’t know which set I’ll use – probably the raid set, since it is easier to get then the PvMP stuff. As for cosmetics, the PvMP set looks like the same knock-off Helegrod we’ve had for 4 years. You can see the new raid set here: http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.p...75#post5641175

    There we have it, folks. Overall, I’m enjoying the Minstrel revamp with this expansion, but I do miss the old, tried-and-true ways. I guess after 4 years it was time for a change, though. I hope my guide has helped you out at least a little in your journey to understanding the new Minstrel class.

    This is Narlinde of Windfola, signing out!

    PS: Have fun healing the dragon raid!!!

    Narlinde, level 100 Minstrel, Rank 11, Member of Trucido ~ Windfola

  16. #16
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    Jan 2007
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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    wow, this is amazing - great work! +rep for you!
    Anawyne - 85 Warden, Iothelion - 69 Captain, Iothryth - 65 Minstral, Carawaru - 50s Champion
    [URL="http://docholidaymmo.com/"]DocHoliday[/URL] has blogged off/on mainly on Wardens

  17. #17
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    Nov 2010
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    672

    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Thanks for write-up.

    Looks like a few things didn't turn out the way they were initially proposed to be.

    i. Hammerhand was supposed to be a gamble for real power return. There's no point in using it if it doesn't give bonus power after expiration. I might as well just BC myself to heal back that 2k morale instead of putting up a shield for no reason.
    ii. The 4-traitline improvement to Tale of Warding was removed because we were supposed to get the Improved Tale at higher level (thus no need to trait for it).

    There are the two I can remember off the top of my head.


    The increase to CtG cooldown is a major bummer too. I worked so hard for the OD set just for it. There has never been any mention of this change in any of the dev diaries.


    Hopefully these are all oversights and beta-players have bugged them.



    EDIT: Some relevant quotes

    Quote Originally Posted by Orion View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Delvie View Post
    Protector of Song 2 equipped traits blog entry states -20s cooldown to Call to Greatness, in game currently states -60s cooldown to Call to Greatness – typo or intended?

    Protector of Song 4 equipped traits blog entry doesn't mention any Tale of Warding or Tale of Battle improvement – Tale of Battle is being improved per the first blog post (bottom of post) but haven't seen Tale of Warding mentioned. Is it intended that Tale of Warding no longer get improved by traiting into Protector of Song?

    Not a typo on the 2-deep - tossing around the idea of allowing Call to Greatness to have an even shorter cooldown.

    Protector of Song 4 Deep will likely move into the tales as part of 66+ enhancements.
    Here Orion says that he's planning on shorter cooldown for CtG, and PoS 4-deep tale bonus as 66+ enhancements. CtG is one of the few ways for a PoS minstrel to make up for loss of healing by letting the captains spam their heals instead. I honestly don't see an increased cooldown as beneficial to the PoS line in any way.

    Can't find anything on the Hammerhand part. There are however some posts saying it's just a wager to get that power cost back if shield remains in tact, so I might have misunderstood the original intent all along.
    Last edited by Tamiya; Aug 29 2011 at 07:49 PM.

  18. #18
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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Thank you, Narlinde for such an amazing summation and post.

    I will have to go over it all again, but I remain very, very concerned about power costs. It's almost if they're saying - no, you won't be able to heal OD again...but you can just do raid skirmishes...because how could we heal Ivar for example, without spamming IF/BC? Even at 75. You couldn't if power costs remain as they are in beta.

    Secondly, the self bubble. It was supposed to be 5x base power. It's not...clearly. Why? I can bubble myself now and get several thousand buffer on morale, at the expense of my power. Now I only get 1800 fake morale? That's not enough in my opinion. I suppose there's a tradeoff between rapid re-cast ability and bubble amount, but disappointing for me as a Moors minstrel. I don't believe it was supposed to ever have been a power return skill, however. If it expires normally, we were simply going to get 5% back, which seems how it works.

    I'm concerned about Moors soloing still - given the very, very short slow/attack speed debuff. But I'm pleased it stayed with the 30% and 20% respectively. Will need to play it to see. I can't imagine trying to outheal and outrun a reaver; in fact, given that reavers are now free and can buy every skill at R0, well...yeah.

    Disappointed enormously by the very little scaling our Power and Morale traits have. So little for 10 levels, I almost thought it had to be wrong. Sadly, no.

    Many traits are so lackluster, I have to believe there's got to be some changes made.

    CtG is a HUGE disappointment. 10 minutes? Why? And traiting brings it down 20 seconds? That's...got to be a mistake. It has absolutely zero use in a 20 second reduction.

    Oh and the raid set? Um, I wouldn't think about wearing it unless they add Finesse.

    Thanks again for taking the time and such care on your post!

    ~ Jaiyne

  19. #19
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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Great stuff, +rep!

    I'd give my thoughts about the changes at length, but it's late, so for now I'll just answer the Champ question:
    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudie-wan View Post
    The other change is that Champions will now gain the Seeking Blade effect when we cast this one them… whatever THAT is. Can any Champions chime in and tell me if that is worthwhile to cast on you guys, please?
    Seeking Blade makes our next Remorseless Strike score a guaranteed critical hit. Much better than gaining a defeat response since we now only have one (and Song of Aid already does that anyway), but it's disappointing that they removed the extra Fervour generation we used to get... Champion is now the only class that just get an up-front buff from Call to Greatness and nothing more for the 15s duration of the skill.

    If you want to use Call to Greatness to increase group DPS by as much as possible, then I think Burglar would still be the best choice (assuming War-cry is already up, otherwise Captain would be the best choice by far). If the extra Fervour generation we get on live would still be there with RoI, it'd be a closer race... Orion, can we have that back, please?
    Last edited by Gondolindhrim; Aug 30 2011 at 05:33 AM.
    [COLOR=#8b4513][B]Fredecar [/B][/COLOR]- Burglar[SIZE=1] ~ [I]Original Challenger of Saruman[/I][/SIZE]
    [B][COLOR=#daa520]Fingolwë [/COLOR][/B]- Champion[SIZE=1] ~ [I]Challenger of Gortheron[/I][/SIZE]
    [COLOR=#003399][B]Eleril [/B][/COLOR]- Captain[SIZE=1] ~ [I]Bane of the Lieutenant[/I][/SIZE]

  20. #20
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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Thanks for the information and the effort u put into writing this summary!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudie-wan View Post
    Does anyone else see the punt in the Song of the Hammerhand tooltip ?
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/20224000000055fd9/01008/signature.png]undefined[/charsig]

  21. #21

    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Extremely comprehesive. Your rep is well-deserved +1

    "Raise My Spirit"/"Bolster My Courage"/"Improved Chord of My Salvation"/"Soliloquy of My Spirit"

    It's mine. My own. My precious...

  22. #22
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    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Brilliant write up, +rep.

    Minstrel is easily my least played character on live, and has been for a long time... hopefully I'll enjoy playing it more after ROI!
    Eraelin | Redemnus

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    199

    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Wow, nice post Cloudie!!! Thanks a lot!

  24. #24

    Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    My god, it's full of stars.

    Seriously, great write up! I'll have to link this right away to get my fellow minstrels I'm acquainted with prepared.
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0520a0000000c6ef0/01003/signature.png]undefined[/charsig]

  25. #25
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    Wink Re: Visual Guide To Minstrels in Rise of Isengard

    Epic write up! I was supposed to be working on another project...but I've been engrossed for the last hour with the nuances of this post. This actually clarified and corrected a number of misconceptions I had had (for example, I didn't realize that the three ballads did different things...let allone different things in different combinations.

    Please sticky this for minis!

    And please try to update it through various builds/revisions as we head towards Isenguard.

    I'd say +rep, but apparently, "You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Cloudie-wan again" -- in either case -- awesome job!
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/062050000000aa753/01004/signature.png]Roselindea[/charsig]

 

 
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