Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Armchair strategists and military scholars in LOTRO are no different than in real life: they tend to base their arguments on what should be, rather than what might actually turn out to be the case in practice. In the months before the German army overran France in 1940, the French general staff insisted that there was absolutely no way the invasion would come through the Ardennes, since tanks couldn’t negotiate the terrain – never mind that General Guderian, who led the invasion, had actually published a book explaining very clearly what he planned to do. Reality check…

A recent and very interesting debate on the Codemasters forums has been running under the title “Hunters are NOT tanks! Please, people!”; it includes a lot of stern comments by Guardians and the like ticking off Hunters for having the gall to think that they might sometimes find it necessary to tank an opponent. This is, of course, absolutely correct in principle, and under normal circumstances no Hunter with an ounce of sense will do something as stupid as pulling aggro off a Guardian. This is fine as far it goes… assuming the fellowship includes a competent Guardian.

Thing is, most of the arguments in the thread are predicated on the performance of an ideal fellowship, namely the classic two heavy, two crowd-control and two ranged setup. Unfortunately, unless you have the good fortune to belong to the kind of über-military Kinship which maintains one of each class online at all times, fully equipped and ready to go, your average player will find himself or herself all too often questing or raiding in a very mixed group indeed – and I don’t necessarily mean in a PUG.

In the first two months or so after Mines of Moria came out, my kinship experienced a temporary shortage of heavy tank classes, so that in a number of cases I found myself leading 6-man raids without a Guardian, indeed sometimes without any kind of melee class at all. As a result, I had no option other than to tank myself, and while of course this ended in tears a number of times, we eventually got the hang of it; by the time things got back to normal, I had successfully tanked four out of the six Moria instance bosses. Let me quickly add that this was entirely a group effort, and that I would have been ground hamburger in no time without the sterling efforts of a dedicated Minstrel and/or Lore Master – but the point is that in war as in the legal profession, hard cases make bad law. It’s easy enough to lay down rules under ideal circumstances, and those rules are obvious enough. It’s the less than ideal, or frankly chaotic, situations that are a damn sight more challenging, and that’s when the rule book won’t necessarily give you the answer.


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