The Instance Finder Chronicles – A Bumbling Burglar’s Tale

Instance Finder. Remember that? That fancy tool that came out some time in the last year and slowly faded from the fore-front of the LOTRO community’s consciousness. Seriously. I haven’t seen anyone talk about it for quite some time now. Maybe I just wasn’t listened for it. I was beginning to think no one used it. Despite that, I decided to try my luck and take it for a spin.

I set my level 55 Hobbit Burglar up for any instance or skirmish, duo or higher. After about half an hour to forty-five minutes of harvesting ore in Eregion, I had nearly forgot about signing up for it and just as I had gone AFK to read a LOTRO-related opinion piece, I peeked back to the client and saw the Instance Finder window glaring at me, and I had only 7 seconds to confirm! With a cursory glance, I found the “Ready” button and signed away my fate for the next half hour. If it doesn’t already, instance finder needs a catchy sound to indicate that it has found a match. World of Warcraft and Heroes of Newerth have pretty epic ones, and if I could find them, I’d show you.

The skirmish: Trouble in Tuckborough. My partner in crime was a level 54 Elf Hunter, and both of our skirmish soldiers were Herbalists, which kind of worked out as Hunters and Burglars are primarily DPS and support classes. I’m a very inexperienced Burglar, especially in groups, so we needed the healing.

This setup worked out pretty well. The arrow jockey, I mean my Hunter companion burned down the mobs, I focused on debuffs and crowd control, and the Herbalists kept us topped up and acted as meat shields. I ran the instance how I normally tackle solo questing. Traited down the The Mischief-maker (yellow) line, I set my corresponding stance and focused on mezzing lieutenants with Riddle, using tricks to debuff the rest of the adds, then DPSing to my heart’s content.

One thing I needed to do better was using my exploit openings. Also, I started to panic when there were so many adds, lots more than I expected. Burglars aren’t the best at AoE, so there was a lot of target switching, mezzing and debuffing.

All in all, no one died, though there were some close calls. We claimed our rewards: about 70 Marks, 1 Medallion and some bounties. We didn’t complete any encounters, though. However, I started and finished the first tier of the Priestess of Flames slayer deed. Fifty extra Marks! I guess those deeds are really the most profitable part of running skirmishes at such a low level. It’s kind of annoying that there are only two tiers to those lieutenant slayer deeds. It would be so much better if they made them repeatable.

I’d like to try the Instance Finder more often. It’s pretty fun to get grouped with random people I might never have met on my own server. The hardest part, of course, is the waiting, but I’m just glad to escape the monotony of solo skirmishing and find others to adventure with.

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