woensdag 12 november 2014

Loremaster Skills: Using your combat Pet

In this tutorial I will explain how you can take optimal use of your combat pet.

6 Combat pets + 1 Healing pet
Combat pets are Loremaster pets that can be used as an combat assistant. You can direct them to attack foes, or to defend you if you are attacked by a foe. There are 6 types of combat pets: Bear, Bog-Guardian, Eagle, Lynx, Raven and the Sabertooth Cat. The Spirit of Nature is generally listed as a combat pet, but actually it is a pet that is only useful to protect and heal you; you cannot use it as a combat assistant like the 'real' combat pets. Below is a table of all the pet type, with information about the level when you get the skill to summon them. The only combat pet which isn't earned normally is the Eagle. You can only summon an Eagle when you slot the 'Lesser Giant Eagle' trait in the Keeper of Animals trailt line (thats the blue trait line of the Loremaster). Since you need 5 ranks in other traits to slot is, it becomes available after you spend 5 trait point into other skills of the blue trait line. The 6th trait point invested will be the Lesser Giant Eagle. So, in this case the lowest level when a Loremaster can summon the Eagle combat pet will be around level 15. If you spend points in other traits, you have to wait some levels to earn new trait points, to invest them in the Lesser Giant Eagle trait.
The Spirit of Nature is generally called a combat pet, but in reality it is a healing pet. The Spirit of Nature cannot attack, so these spirits don't have a flank rate. However, you can trigger a flank effect, by using the spirit's skill 'Flasing Flank'. Spirits are mainly used for healing, so if you want only a combat assist you shouldn't use them.

Flank rate
Each pet has a flank rate. This rate is an indication to trigger a flank effect. Flank effects can be used to heal yourself, to get some extra power or to do extra damage. Read my article about flanks carefully to understand this very useful effect. Pets with the highest flank rate are the Bog-guardian (#1), Eagle (#2) and Raven (#3). So, when you summon one of these pets, the chance to get a flank-effect will be very high. To try this out, just sommon the Bog-guardian at level 20 and provoke some enemies. You will notice that a flank-effect will occur many times. After this, summon the Bear. This pet has the lowest flank rate, which means that a flank-effect will occur only now and then.

All pets have varieties, which mean that you can summon another appearance of your lynx, bear, raven, etc. These 'varieties' doesnt give them extra abilities or different skills, they only have another appearance. Of course, a Polar Bear is an awesome bear to impress your fellow Loremasters, and the varieties of pets are highly sought-after. You can acquire the varieties by buying a talsiman-book from a Jeweller (they can craf most of the vcarieties named in the table below). You also can buy them on the Auction Hall, or from the Lotro Store (which means that you must pay Turbine Points to get them). Receipts for the Combat-pets talismans are dropped by enemies, so you will find these talismans sometimes in your loot bag. Remember that only a Jeweller can use these receipts, so if you don't want to pay TP-points, you need a jeweller if you want another variety of your most beloved combat pet.

Pet type
Flank rate
Black Bear, Blackpaw-bear, Polar Bear, Weathered-bear, Wildpaw-bear, Tundra Cub
top #1 flanker
Mountain-guardian, Swamp-guardian, Tundra-guardian
top #2 flanker
Ashen-eagle, Ember-eagle, Snowcrest-eagle, Tundra-eagle
Grey Lynx, Mountain Lynx, Onyx Lynx, Spotted Lynx, Tundra Lynx
top #3 flanker
Blood-raven, Frost-raven, Mottled-raven, Storm-raven, Weathered-raven
Sabertooth Cat
Deep-wood Sabercat, Dusky Sabercat, Grey Sabercat, Onyx Sabercat, Spotted Sabercat, Striped Sabercat
Spirit of Nature
Spirit of the: Aurochs, Bear, Boar, Raven, Lynx, Tundra Cub, Sabercat

Each type of pet has their own skills. The skills are listed below:

Loremaster Skills: Flanking

Recently I grouped with several Loremasters on the US Brandywine Server. Interesting fact of all these interesting fellowships was that many Loremasters where unaware of the flanking bonus that 3 skills can give you. They even didn't know for sure what flanking was. By some Loremasters, other skills where also virtually unexplored. So I decided today to construct a page with information about some useful Loremaster skills. Btw I am absolutely no expert Loremaster, so if you see some weird advice, or if you miss some special skills or skill combos, please feel free to comment.

Flanking is an enemy's state which is invoked by an attack of the loremaster's combat pet. When flanking happens, your pet opens up three special maneuvers for your Loremaster. In game terms: the loremaster can take advantage of the flanking effect by using 3 types of skills:
  1. Get a damage bonus by using the skill Staff-strike (or Improved Staff-strike) on the enemy
  2. Get a morale bonus by using Sign of the Battle: Wizard's Fire on enemy (or Improved Sign of Battle Wizard's Fire)
  3. Get a power bonus from using the skill Staff-sweep on the enemy (or Improved Staff-sweep).
So, basically, you can get a power, damage or morale bonus when using a skill when an opponent is flanked by your pet. But remember the following things:
  • Only combat-pets can invoke flanking: flanking will only occur when using a combat-pet; so without a pet, or with a cosmetic pet, your opponent will not be flanked.
  • Know when your opponent is flanked: be sure to recognise when an opponent is flanked, and know which skill you must use to get the appropriate bonus type.
  • Know your flanking bonus skills: know which skill you want to use to get the flanking bonus, otherwise you are too late to take advantage of the flanking bonus.
  • Be quick: the flanking duration is only 7 seconds!
  • Know your flanking chance: the chance of getting a flanked opponent depends on the type of combat pet you use. For example, the lynx doesn't invoke many flanks, while the eagle and the bog guardian will give you many flank opportunities!

Know when your opponent is flanked
When a combat-pet is attacking an opponent, you will sometimes hear a 'chime' sound, which means that your pet has flanked an enemy! At first its a bit difficult te recognise the sound, but if you look closely to the small icons beneath the power bar of the enemy, you will see also the flanking icon. That icon has the shape of an open mouth (see the illustrations below!). The icon and the chime-sound are the best ways to know when your pet has flanked an opponent. 

If you look closely to your opponent, you will also see a couple of pink arrows on the attacked enemy when flanked (see the picture below). I have to admit that these arrows are a bit difficult to see, and it's only possible to see them when you enable the “Particle Effects” option (Menu-> Options-> Combat Options).  If you have a slow PC, its better to learn the chime sound and to recognise the flanking icon below the pet's target.

When your pet attacks an enemy, look closely at the small icons below the monster's power bar (blue bar)
You can drag your mouse pointer above the icon, and a tooltip will appear. If you read the tooltip, you will learn that this icon is a specific enemy stance, and that the enemy is not flanked (until now...).

If you pet has flanked an enemy, three things will happen simultanously: 1) you hear a chime sound, 2) you will see a flanking icon below the enemies power bar, 3) you will see pink arrows around your enemy.
When your opponent is flanked by your pet, you will see a screaming mouth icon. use your mouse pounter to read the tooltip (although it's wiser to use a skill to get the flanked bonus, since the flank effect will only last 7 seconds!).

Know your flanking bonus skills
When your pet has flanked an enemy, the Lore-master has 3 options to take advantage of that state:
  • Use (Improved) Staff Strike, it can do double the damage. Remember this is a melee skill and that you have to run to your flanked enemy and hit him with the staff. It may be not so wise to do it when it is a boss has lots of morale, since he can hit you when you are standing close to him, in stead of your pet (use always your pet as a tank!).
  • Use Sign of Battle: (Improved) Wizard’s Fire, and heal yourself for a small amount. The heal usually amounts to a morale-pot at the same level. This heal can crit and give you up to two times its normal morale heal bonus. This is a very usefull skill, since it is ranged and will not aggro a boss to attack you. Use this one a lot when attacking a high morale enemy. You can also heal your pet, so it will not die quickly while attacking an flanking an enemy.
  • Use (Improved) Staff Sweep: you will get a power over time buff. Remember this is also a melee skill, so you have to go near to your enemy. If it is a high morale enemy, be sure to retreat after getting the bonus and let your pet tank the opponent. If there are 2 or more opponents, remember that staff strike will hit multiple targets (AoE skill!), and that there is a chance that a monster will attack you after using this skill (instead of others or the pet)
3 skills will give you a bonus when your pet has flanked an enemy. read them carefully to choose the best bonus you want. The bonuses are outlined in a yellow box. So, if you need morale, use Wizards Fire, if you want to do extra damage use Staff strike, if you need more Power, use Staff-sweep.

Be quick!
The flanked effect lasts only 7 seconds, so be quick to use the appropriate skill to take full advantage of the flanking effect. After you have used one of skills which give you a flanking bonus (see above), the flanked state of the enemy is terminated. You have to wait until the enemy is flanked again.

Be quick: the duration of a flanked enemy is only 7 seconds!

Know your flanking chance
The flanked state is not a skill you can use, but it is a chance of happening depending on the attacks of your pet. So, the faster a pet attacks, the more chances you will get for a flanked enemy! The flanking chance depends also by the type of pet you will use. Some pets will flank more often than others. So, if you want to take full opportunity of the flanking bonus, know your pet flanking chance. Below is a list of pets which flank the most:
  • Bog-guardian: a pet that can flank a lot and has also ranged attacks. Most of the time it will flank your opponent, but sometimes it seems a bit unpredictable and it will not flank an enemy until the next encounter.
  • Eagle: the eagle is by most players known as the most reliable flanker. It usually flanks once every 15 to 20 seconds. It is a very safe pet if you want attack a powerful enemy, to take full advantage of the constant bonus heals you can get bu using Wizards Fire on the flanke enemy.
  • Raven: like the bog-gardian and the eagle, the raven flanks most often. However, be sure to attack the foe and don't use a pet-skill that doesn't attack the enemy.
  • Lynx and Sabre-tooth: both cats have the same flank chance, but they don't flank very often. Although the lynx can cause huge damage when he does a surprise attack, its total damage on a high morale enemy (signature, elite or nemesis enemy) is lower then the total damage of the higher chance flankers like the bog-guardian. I dont use these pets anymore when attacking enemies with hig morale or bosses.
  • Bear: the bear has the lowest flanking chance, so don't use it if you want to have full opportunity of the flanking bonuses.
  • Spirit: a spirit is a healing pet, not an attacking pet. It can give you only a flanking bonus  by using the combat-pet skill: Flashing Flank. Using this spirit pet-skill will cause always a flank event; however the cooldown is 45 seconds. Many pets will flank at the same rate or more often, without having to use a skill for it. The only advantage of this skill is that you can choose yourself when you want a flank on an enemy.