At the release of Rise of Isengard (RoI), I shelved my Warden and picked up my mid-50s Minstrel, pledging to level her much to the detriment of my other characters. Minstrels got the revamp treatment with RoI and overnight became demigods with the potential to call forth the holy light from above to smite their foes with hasty judgement. I felt and still feel like I can take on any solo challenge, but I craved some group play.
“Minstrels are primary healers in LOTRO,” I reassured myself, “but I don’t want to put aside my new-found beastliness to stand around and drop a few heals now and then.”
With a Hunter I could stay traited the same 90% of the time; my Warden switched traits upon recommendation from another player and stayed that way up until RoI. But I really started to realize the importance of traits with my Minstrel. I once traited healing for an instance, came back the next day and forgot to retrait. Doing solo daily quests was so painfully slow I nearly said to the mob I was fighting, “Okay, I give up. You probably came prepared to this fight, and I didn’t. You win.”
So I resigned myself to trait healing for cap-level instances and DPS for soloing. With class-specific titles introduced in Update 6, I even got in the habit of using the title “Healing Spirit” when I was traited for healing and “Song Warrior” for DPS just to remind myself and others. But there was that time between RoI and Update 5 where there was little end-game content, and I found solace in running older instances and group content which no longer required a full-time healer. What should I trait for those?
Should I go healing and accept that my DPS will be castrated and I’ll be sitting there staring at full morale bars most of the time? Maybe DPS and blast everything I see but at the same time pick up every last drop of aggro? Perhaps go support, traiting to maximize the amount of time my anthems are up and minimizing their cooldowns? There’s got to be a good mix here that should satisfy my need to kill, keep my allies alive and keep me from staring at cooldowns and full morale.
One possibility I’ve found is the War-speech healer. I can stay in War-speech and use my skills’ residual effects to keep my allies topped up, but threat is still a problem especially without a tank who can seize aggro. I could also just solo all the content – Minstrels are more than capable of that – but it goes so much faster with others. Got any advice for me on builds for low- to mid-range Minstrel builds?
One other thing I’d like to bring to light is the extortion racket being run by those devious Bards. A few hundred silver pieces for a good retraiting and most classes have to retrait rather often to fulfill their roles effectively. What are they doing with all that money? They could all live like kings now, but most of them frequent taverns and stand around idly without a care in the world, mocking all those who are forced to use their services without so much a change in their facial expression. At the very least, I’d be less agitated if my Minstrel had access to a “Contact Bard” skill like Burglars do with pedlars. At least that way I’d know where my money was going — travel costs for meeting me in the middle of nowhere.
Oh, and another thing: how come most of the Bards in Middle-earth are male? I can count on my little hobbit hand the amount of female Bards, and I lost a few fingers in the massive OSHA violation that is Isengard. Sure, sure, it doesn’t fit within the lore, but I’m sure you can work around that. Perhaps a Bard was viciously mauled by a terrible bloodtusk and his wife has to take over the family business. Think about it. If I don’t see some changes soon, I might just have to notify the equal opportunity folks and no one wants that.