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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Musings on DPS and soloing in MMO games

    Within games like Lord of the Rings Online there are multiple classes able to bring various things to a group. But, when soloing in a standard MMO, only one thing ultimately counts - DPS.

    DPS is what kills mobs and earns you XP, DPS is what kills the mobs you need to complete quests, DPS completes slayer deeds and lets you farm trash for gold.

    In LOTRO, Morale and Power regen are much faster out of combat than within it, so a character that finishes the fight faster regenerates to full health sooner than one with better defences who takes less damage, but also needs longer to kill the mobs.

    This is much more apparent in the game's current incarnation since it possibly has more solo grind than ever before gating the raid content. The experience of the grind as a Hunter (trivial) is likely to be very different than that of a Guardian or Captain (crippling/impossible).

    Of course, they have provided all classes with a DPS traitline, though large differences remain.

    My Captain (crafting alt) is traited Red, and there is nary a stitch of defence on any of his gear. Might is his highest stat followed by Fate, then Agility and Vit/Will are a distant 4th/5th. He has enough DPS to get by, and the class is inherently survivable even with this build.

    Rabbit Hole #1 - A personal objection

    The problem is I really object to being forced down this path with my main, my Guardian - a character I care a bit more about. I guess it's the role play aspect , which a lot of people don't see as important but you have to beleive in the character to be willing to trudge through all the levels anyway.

    First up, I wanted to get away from the "squishy elves, elves are for spanking, men/dwarves for tanking" Dungeons and Dragons trope. Tolkien's lore inverts this, but LOTRO plays it straight.

    From my RP perspective, she's immune to aging, poison and disease, less easily slain by injury than Man, as stated by Tolkien himself. But Men are strong and stature alone indicates that my Man Captain should have much more Might, though she should always have more Vitality (and possibly Agility too).

    Second, she's a female member of a very long lived but endangered species. The very future of her kind depends on her surviving the war and going on to have offspring. If you send her into open battle at all, you'd damn well make sure she's got a shield, and has metal armour. Her training likely reflects this, focused on fencing and defence rather than recklessness.

    Now, it wouldn't be so bad if you were expected to compromise and go glass cannon occasionally, but the reality is you're going to be specced this way the vast majority of your playing hours. Of course, if you stick to your guns and remain tank specced, your amount of solo time increases even further, if you ever reach endgame at all.

    Measures Already Taken

    As a returning player , I've been pleased to discover that the Red build doesn't take you as far from things that make the class distinctive as it used to in Moria days. You can still Block, it's quite viable to trait red whilst using a shield for solo. You are still mostly working through block / parry chains rather than just working through a fixed Force Opening/Retaliate/OverWhelm with a 2H rotation like a Captain (minus heals or buffs).

    However, you're still pretty much bottom of the pile for DPS unless you change your primary stats, and ditch the shield.

    It's also apparent that the Devs tried to even the playing field with a lot of non-combat quests, or quests where the main time sink was travel. The problem is these quests are equally as tedious for everyone, and seem to have fallen out of favour since Mordor.


    I feel that with instanced and NPC accompaniment quests, the Devs missed an opportunity to compensate - especially given how much of the endgame grind involves solo instance "dailes" etc.

    They could have different versions of the instances for high survivability/low dps classes than for "glass cannons", so that the time to complete and challenge experienced is the same for both. Admittedly that's a significant increase in workload, for the Devs, but the relatively simple measure of making NPC that companions a glass cannon if the player is a tank would help to balance this content.

    Or you could think outside the box a little more, and have mobs react to the player rather than always stacking the same corruption. So, a mob that's not getting hit hard but is having a hard time damaging the player might stack "reckless +incoming +outgoing" damage corruptions on itself, while one that's taking a beating might try to turtle up.

    My Own Perspectives

    It is more than three months since I rejoined the game at level 85. Playing 40 hours a week or more, it took two months to reach the level cap - another to complete all the Mordor quests and unlock the Candur Dailies.

    Over the years, i developed strategies to compensate for my poor damage.

    If I need to interact with a quest item but have agro from a mob i don't need to fight, my BPE can prevent them interrupting provided I stay facing them. Or a short shield stun can do the trick.

    I can improve my kill rate by pulling lots of mobs and AOEing them. This however, throws up a host of problems others don't have to think about :

    First, you need traits and legacies so you can actually hit a large number of targets.

    Second, you need damn good gear to pull this off and not end up a corpse.

    Third, bunching them all up is not trivial. You need to find a sufficient concentration of enemies, know where they going to reset, and work out how to use walls and other cover to force archers to move and stand in the same spot. You need to learn how to backpedal and target switch to stop them getting behind you and bypassing your BPE.

    However, multiple healing mobs, mobs with inductions that need to be interrupted or have corruptions removed are likely to scupper this, as our skills are ST only in this regard.

    Anyway, a few weeks ago I rolled my first Hunter, for fun. In one day I completed Evendim and Trollshaws , levelling from 30 to 40. I am now in Moria, and am realizing how many things I don't have to think about compared with when i was here on my main

    1. Corruptions. I still don't know what the Hunter corruption removal skill is. Mobs never live long enough to apply any.

    2. Interruptions . Again, irrelevant. It's dead before it can finish doing what it's going to do.

    3. Wound/DoT poison removal. On a guard these can bypass your BPE defense. On Hunter the fight is over before they can tick, then i'm out of combat and regening health at OOC rates which makes them irrelevant.

    4. Gear. Using quest reward gear, with no virtue deeds completed, no stat tomes, mobs are still dead in 2 or 3 shots. Guardians can have very good survivability but that is dependant on having a good build and even then, "kill it before it kills you" seems to work better most of the time.

    5. Repair Bills. My Hunter kills nearly everything before it reaches Melee range, as such he seldom even gets hit once and single digit repair bills are the norm. My guard is being beaten on for long periods by multiple mobs. In Mordor, it's been problematic finishing quests in enemy strongholds before my gear breaks. Overall I need to repair every 90 minutes or so and given the health of level 115 mobs it's tough to finish my business in that time.

    My Hunter may be low level but i've been questing in Mirkwood with a purple geared 115 and everything was still pretty much dead after 3 shots. He didn't need me at all, though i did my best to taunt and prevent the mob getting even one hit in.

    A lot of previously squishy classes are now quite survivable. My Champ can now Parry/Evade and Procs heals when striking. Hunters can now shoot while moving and don't get their inductions endlessly set back when being hit. Minstrels are also harder to interrupt and can heal themselves in Warspeech.
    Last edited by Nemulas; May 05 2018 at 05:16 PM.
    Elf females - Nemulias (grd) Arenor (min - retired)
    Men - Farrowden (Champ), Rhoswith (lm), Manorborn (cpt)
    In Training : Snorlin (rk)
    Tankstrels RIP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssQv83k6arY



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