Lighting flashed across the sky, briefly casting the forest in a sickly green glow. The wood was quiet, as the battle that had been waged beneath its boughs moved on to another venue. The only sound, other than the steady hum of insects, was of a small fire in a desolate hollow. The green flames of the small campfire crackled and hissed against the jagged stones, their smoky tendrils licking greedily at the pot of bubbling yellow putrescence perched above.
The sound of the fire was punctuated by the gasping moans from a misshapen figure lying amongst the bones littering the ground; the stench of festering wounds signaling the life quickly sliding away from the twisted form.
From a dark corner of the hollow a Defiler emerged; light leather straps crossed his body and a massive bear skull sat upon his brow. His flesh was black as night and covered in red runes and scars carved from the long years of service to Angmar. In one hand he clutched a massive wooden staff, adorned with bits of bone hanging from stretched sinew, while the other toted a gourd filled with a foul-smelling concoction. Uttering a guttural word in the Black Tongue, he stepped toward the fire, sending grey filth into the air.
Leaning his staff against the curve of the hollow, the Defiler made his way to the shattered orc form amidst the bones. The fallen beast howled in rage and pain as his chest wound was pulled open by an uncaring hand. With the full breadth of the putrefying wound exposed, the Defiler worked quickly, pouring the contents of his gourd into the wound while uttering the dark phrases taught him by his master and the masters of his past. The fallen orc ceased to howl, and fell into a fitful sleep as vile liquid spilled from the wound, bubbling and sizzling as it knitted him back together.
As he moved toward the fire, the Defiler reached into the cauldron and filled his gourd with the thick grey-green slime and returned to the sleeping form of the orc, where he applied a dollop of the filth to each of the pustules on the orc's legs. Wound by wound, the disease retreated from the slime. It would be hours before the orc was mended whole once more, but the Defiler, done with his work, called out into the night.
Two Uruks, clad in black iron bearing the symbol of the Krahjarn tribe, appeared from the gloom and hoisted the wounded orc from the dirt floor. As they removed their fallen servant into the night, another of Mordírith's soldiers was deposited unceremoniously into the cave. With a dismissive wave to the troll delivering the new wounded, the Defiler retreated to the darkness of the hollow to scrape fungus from the walls and return to his night's work.
A Message from Akulhún:
"All right, maggots! Mordírith's grown tired of you whining wretches and sent us Defilers from the sulfur swamps and wastes of Angmar to plug your bleedin' wounds and make those lily-loving Free People suffer! All your belly-achin' and screamin' finally yielded somethin' other than my whip! Well, maggots, that make me angrier than ever -- I'll not spare the lash from any of you spineless curs for any longer!
"We're at war here in the Ettenmoors and that means you fight and die for Angmar. You only see fit to whimper and drag your feet, tuck your tails, shoulder your weapons, and flee when War Leaders tell you to fight on... but no longer, sluggards! I'll not bear another visit from Lugbûrz. That happens and I start crackin' ‘eads! Now... treat the Defilers with a fair bit o' respect. Give them defense when they need it and slaughter the Free People! The Defilers will be by your side makin' the Free People weak of resolve, weak of strength, and weak of faith. When you bleed, they'll see your wounds closed...if...you decide to whine and cower they'll let me know and then you'll feel the sting of my whip on your back shortly before they turn their talents to bringing about the greatest pain you have ever known...maggots!"
A New Addition to Monster Play
Monster play, where LOTRO players can don the wolf's clothing amongst the sheep by becoming an orc, Uruk, spider or Warg, is adding a new face to the fray. Players have long enjoyed the utility of their numerous classes and multitude of skills, and with the addition of the new orc Defiler; we are taking a step toward filling out the arsenal available to monster players. Hailing from lands filled with toxins and disease, the orc Defiler uses his knowledge of these virulent fungi and slime to aid his foes and hamper his enemies. The Defiler is the first addition to the monster side of the equation in the Ettenmoors since launch -- and is certain to alter the PvMP landscape as we continue to expand the War in the Ettenmoors.
Defilers utilize the fungus and slimes found within the sulfur swamps and dark places throughout Angmar to concoct pastes, dusts, and other disgusting rubs to apply to their allies' wounds. Through years of practice and learning, the Defiler has turned this practice into an art.
The Defiler begins with the ability to perform two initial heals, with the additional effect of healing over time (HoT).
Fertile Slime: "Living slime coats the target's wounds and restores morale." This is a low-power instant-cast HoT with a range of thirty meters and a six-second cooldown that lightly heals the recipient every ten seconds for a period of sixty seconds. It is meant as a bridging heal, to assist the Defiler or a War Leader in keeping a target alive during a light exchange.
Fungal Bloom: "Gourds filled with foul herbs and liquids from the depths of Angmar relieve the sting of wounds on the flesh of foul creatures." This is a low-cost two second cast HoT with a range of thirty meters and a four-second cooldown. It moderately heals the target upon a successful cast, and then restores a moderate amount of health every five seconds for the next thirty seconds.
In addition to these initial healing skills, the early expenditure of a Defiler's destiny points can net him a targeted revival for defeated comrades. Unlike the War Leader this is a costly skill, utilizing morale and power, that only works out-of-combat and targets one monster player.
Rounding out the remaining healing skills for the orc Defiler are the following:
Fell Restoration: "When finished casting Fell Restoration instantly restores a huge amount of morale to target." This is a low-cost three second cast heal with a long ten-second cooldown healing a great deal of health instantly. This becomes available at Rank Three.
Fungal Spores: "Spores weave their way into the target's wounds, stopping bleeding and helping to speed the healing process." This is a medium power cost instant-cast HoT restoring a great deal of health every six seconds for thirty seconds. The cooldown for the skill is low, and it is available at Rank Five.
When looking at the monster player classes, we noticed that the majority of the classes had very little in the way of true debuffs with which to hamper the players. To that end, we decided that the Defiler would serve his second role as a debuffer. Utilizing gourds filled with virulent disease and pestilent oozes and slimes the Defiler is able to curse all who oppose him and assist in turning the battle to the monster player's favor.
The Defiler begins with one curse ability:
Curse of the Sticky Feet: "Coats the opponent's feet in a sticky substance that slows their movement speed." This is a low power-cost ability that reduces a target's movement by ten percent for ten seconds. This is an instant cast skill with a moderate cooldown.
As they progress, Defiler's earn new curses to use against the Free People. We outline these below:
Curse of the Lethargic Heart: "A gourd thrown at the target plagues them with spores attacking their heart and weakening their resolve. This skill is only effective against players." This is a medium power cost disease-based curse reducing the target's vitality by a crippling amount for two minutes. It has a two second cast and a long thirty second cooldown and is available at Rank One.
Curse of the Coward's Soul: "Release hallucinogenic spores that strike fear into nearby enemies." This is a medium power cost fear-based curse affecting up to three targets in a six meter radius surrounding the Defiler. This skill is affected by diminishing returns and applies the fear effect to each target for ten seconds. This is an instant-cast skill with a thirty-second cooldown available at Rank Two.
Curse of the Deadly Sorrows: "Douse opponent with corrosive liquid that weakens their armour and releases a soporific gas that reduces Will, Fate and Strength." This is a medium-cost poison-based curse reducing the target's fate, will, strength, and armor by a crippling amount. It has a three-second casting time and a thirty-second cooldown and is available at Rank Seven.
No monster player is complete without the ability to deal some level of damage to their opponents, and the Defiler is no different in this regard. The Defiler begins with one basic damage-dealing skill at the outset and can purchase two others at no rank.
Here are the Defiler's basic skills:
Fire Gourd: "A gourd filled with burning embers is launched at your opponent, setting them alight." This is a medium-cost skill dealing a good deal of initial damage and burning the target for a fair bit of damage every four seconds for the next twenty seconds. It has a range of thirty meters, a casting time of two seconds, and a six-second cooldown.
Plague Gourd: "A plague of flies fills a foetid gourd which explodes on your opponent. On a good throw, the plague flies may cause your opponent to become easier to hit for a short time." This is a medium-cost skill dealing a fair amount of damage, and has a bonus critical effect of lowering the target's avoidance (parry, evade, and block) chances by two percent for twenty seconds. The skill has a two-second casting time and an eight-second cooldown.
Head-crack: "A strong blow from the Defiler's staff. Contact with a Defiler's staff can poison many denizens of Middle-earth." This is a costly melee skill dealing medium damage to a single target with a carrier poison-damage DOT dealing moderate damage over a short period of time. This is an instant-cast skill with a short three-second cooldown.
Follow the Gourd!
Defilers are orcs, and therefore get all the racial abilities inherent to other orcs. In addition, the Defiler can earn enhancing traits to alter and improve their Curse of the Sticky Feet, Plague Gourd, and other skills.
We look forward to seeing the shape of monster play battles change with the addition of the orc Defiler, and know that he will have an impact immediately upon arrival in battles across the Ettenmoors!