Developer Diary: Hunter Advancement Beyond Level 50!
Greetings, all! Danger Dan here, writing to give you a preview of whatâs in store for the Hunter in The Lord of the Rings Onlineâ¢: Mines of Moiraâ¢.
Whether you play as a Hunter or alongside one, if youâve made it to Moria, chances are you know what to expect from The Lord of the Rings Onlineâs #1 ranged damage dealing class: Big, single-target damage at range. Sought after utility skills for group travel and tracking. A splash of crowd control through skills and traps. Respectable damage in melee for soloing and finishing the fight.
Along comes Moria, with 10 more levels and the exciting possibilities offered with the advent of Trait Sets. Across the team we decided that each class would have three different sets, representing different aspects of the class that players could choose to specialize in or mix-and-match as they saw fit. Let me say that if playing with the possibilities here is even half as much fun as I had designing it, I think youâll have a blast.
Iâm here to tell you about the three different trait paths available to the Hunter in Moria, designed with the hopes, dreams, and feedback of Hunters ever in our mind. Yet, I wonât stop there, because as awesome as Trait Sets are, they are not the sum total of whatâs new in the mines. Grab a beverage, sit back, and dig deeply into the next step for Hunters.
Apart from whatever else the Hunter is, he is always a damage-dealing master. The Bowmaster Trait Set takes the Hunterâs signature single-target damage capability, heightening his capability to quickly deal large bursts of damage to a foe when the need is great.
TRAITS IN THE SET:
The traits that form the Bowmaster set are a mix of familiar staples like Deadly Precision and some brand new class traits just for Moria. The critical damage for Merciful Shot not big enough for you? No problem. Just finish the deed for âThe Quality of Mercyâ and find a Bard.
TRAIT SET BONUSES:
The bonuses of the Bowmaster Trait Set center on increased ranged damage while in Strength Stance and the Critical Damage of ranged skills generally. The trade-off for increased damage is that the power costs of skills also increase while in Strength Stance.
CAPSTONE SKILL: BURN HOT
Burn Hot is a self-buff with a healthy recovery time that adds a significant bonus to the damage of all ranged skills while it lasts. Thereâs a trade-off, however: the power cost of all skills increases dramatically and when the buff ends you lose all remaining power. Make it count!
LEGENDARY CAPSTONE TRAIT: COOL BURN
If you decide to invest in the full Bowmaster set, and you have earned the Legendary trait âCool Burn,â you can slot it to make Burn Hot truly legendary. The damage increase becomes even bigger along with the power costs. What is more, minutes are shaved off of the recovery time, which makes it possible for the skill to play a much more integrated role in your skill rotation.
THE TRAPPER OF FOES
The Achilles heel of the Hunter has always been dealing with multiple opponentsâespecially when caught off guard. With preparation the Hunter can lay traps, strike from range, and gather his Focus. Against certain foes and with select Legendary Traits the Hunterâs options broaden, but the Hunter will always prefer a one-on-one fight to a group.
The Trapper of Foes Trait Set allows a Hunter to further improve his crowd control capability both before and during combat, both with traps and with ranged skills.
TRAITS IN THE SET:
Youâll recognize Sturdy Traps and Graceful Draw in this set, but added to the mix are new traits like Combat Traps which allows you to use your trap skills in combat.
TRAIT SET BONUSES:
The Trapper of Foes set bonuses improve your crowd control in a variety of ways, from making your roots harder to resist to lower recovery times and inductions on trap skills. This Trait Set is also linked to the Hunterâs endurance and longevity in combat. The cost of increasing specialization in crowd control is a reduction in damage output, but you are better equipped to deal with a longer fight.
CAPSTONE SKILL: DISTRACTING SHOT
Distracting Shot is a ranged skill which dazes its target for 10 seconds. It adds to Focus, is usable at the same maximum range as other Hunter bow skills, and is not limited in to Beasts or Evil targets as some existing Hunter crowd control is.
LEGENDARY CAPSTONE TRAIT: EXPLOSIVE ARROW
With the Explosive Arrow Legendary Trait, Distracting Shotâs duration will be on par with the Lore-masterâs Blinding Flash and the Burglarâs Riddle daze duration.
The final Trait Set available to the Hunter is called The Huntsmen with the twin focus of survivability and mobility. Thatâs right: mobility. In addition to giving the Hunter ways to recover morale while in combat it allows the Hunter a degree of focused mobility in combat never before possible.
To set your expectations in reality, this does not mean you can use all your bow skills while moving, but it does mean that when you specialize with this set you will lose Focus much more slowly and your auto-attacks will have a much higher hit rate while moving. Read on for more details.
TRAITS IN THE SET:
The traits in The Huntsmen set are an interesting mix, including Fast Draw and Focus cost reducing traits, along with new traits like Resolute Aim which enhances the buff from Needful Haste so that inductions are not set back when the Hunter is hit.
TRAIT SET BONUSES:
The Huntsmen is the set most closely aligned with improving the speed of the Hunterâs attacks along with his ability to stand up to opponents in melee. It features reduced Focus loss for movement, decreased bow induction lengths, and a bonus that super-charges Strength of the Earth so that it has no induction, gives more power, and also boosts in-combat morale regeneration. And thatâs not the only way it improves morale recovery in combat.
CAPSTONE SKILL: FLEET STANCE
A new stance is introduced with Moria: Fleet Stance. It significantly reduces both the Focus cost of movement as well as the chance of missing with your auto-attack while moving. However, the stance costs Focus to maintain or it will end, requiring careful management of Focus and balancing of moving shots and stand and deliver moments.
LEGENDARY CAPSTONE TRAIT: IMPROVED FLEET STANCE
With the capstone trait, Fleet Stance drops its Focus cost and requirements, allowing it to be used until you are done or, if you choose, switch to another stance.
Make no mistake: the ânewâ does not start and end with the Trait Sets. Two favorites in the Hunter repertoire get marked upgrades in the levels after 50. To handle the elevated threats in Moria, Merciful Shot will gain the ability to remove the terrible Corruption buffs the monsters will be giving themselves in Moria. The bread and butter ranged skill of the Hunter, Swift Bow, becomes even more deadly as you master the ability to fire not two but three arrows in rapid succession at your target.
By now youâve probably heard about the Legendary Items coming with the Mines of Moria. It is probably no surprise that youâll be looking for a finely wrought bow or crossbow to call your own. Youâll be able to enhance both specific skills as well as broad categories of skills to align to your specialization or splash in improvements to compliment your primary focus.
On top of the Legendary Items, there will be new tiers of Hunter crafted goods and changes to Bow Chants. The Wind-rider and Whisper-draw Bow Chants will change to become books which are not consumed on use and whose effects can now be combined with the remaining, consumable bow chants.
TStill there? Good, so am I (after a short break to stretch out my wrists).
Thereâs just one more topic I want to write about today (weâve got to keep some mysteries for later) and that topic is Group Travel. With new playable regions coming online, itâs time for some new group travel options for the Hunter. Three new group travel skills will be added that youâll get to discover for yourselfâand not all of them are for the mines themselves. If you havenât curried favor with the Lossoth yet, get started!
There you have it: the Hunter in Moria. Three exciting Trait Set paths for specialization along with many exciting hybrid builds in between. Improved versions of staple skills. Juicy Legendary bows and crossbows.
The disclaimer that goes on all of this is that weâre still working on Mines of Moria and the world can change in small or significant ways. Turbine has an excellent record of ongoing updates, fixes, and improvements and that isnât going to stop. You can look forward to a host of new skills to aspire to in the Mines of Moria, and you can look forward to more in the months and years to follow.