LOTRO has many classes that are meant to be played together. All classes, of course, can help form a strong fellowship (LOTRO's unique term for party), but some become much stronger when teamed up with other players. One of these classes is the Burglar. Unlike what one might believe at first glance, the burglar is not a typical rogue-type one will find in most MMOs. The burglar does not excel in damage (though it can solo fine and of course helps with damaging mobs). Instead, it excels in crowd control, debuffs to maximize effectiveness of all fellowship members, and one of my greatest delights in LOTRO: the Fellowship Maneuver (FM). Also known as conjunctions, FMs can be triggered every so often by any class when attacking a mob. The burglar, however, is the only class that can trigger them at will with a couple of five-minute cooldown skills.
A FM is triggered on a specific mob. When it happens, a radial menu pops up on the screen with four buttons (red, green, yellow, and blue) for everyone in the fellowship when they target that mob. If a fellowship member is not targeting that mob, when one triggers, they get a button that pops up on their screen which they can click to automatically switch to the mob with the FM on it. The different colors correspond to different things: red is direct damage, yellow is damage over time, green is health, and blue is mana. There are dozens of possible combinations of a fellowship maneuver, starting with just two fellowship members (e.g. green-green will give a reasonable heal over time to the fellowship), to a full six fellowship members (e.g. five reds and a blue at the end will do massive damage to that mob as well as give everyone in the fellowship a nice return to mana). FMs with more color inputs are more rewarding, but the fellowship must be extremely coordinated to execute any FM correctly.
The order of the colors matter and you only get five or so seconds to input the colors correctly before the FM goes off, whether it be a well-formed FM or just gibberish. Fellowships must decide beforehand what order people will input their colors as well as a couple of specific FMs that will be used in certain situations (e.g. if everything is going well, do this certain FM that does high damage, if people are low on health and mana, do this certain FM to gives the fellowship a heal over time and a return to mana at the same time). As the burglar is the only class who can trigger these powerful moves at will, he or she can really turn the tide of battle by paying attention to when the fellowship is getting into trouble.
For example, if the minstrel (the main healer in the game) is getting very low on mana during a boss fight, the burglar can say something like "I'm popping a FM - go all blue!" If people respond accordingly, all the fellowship members, including the minstrel, will get a massive amount of mana back, and the fellowship can live to fight another day.
Useful/Fun LOTRO Terminology:
- Kinship: The term for a guild in LOTRO
- Fellowship: The term for a party in LOTRO
- Fellowship Maneuver/FM/conjunction: a coordinated attack where members of the fellowship must take part in contributing color inputs in specific orders to receive powerful benefits
- PvMP: Player vs. Monster Player, the type of player vs. player combat in LOTRO. Confined to separate zones specific for this use.
- Freeps: Slang for "the free people of Middle Earth." Used to refer to player elves, dwarves, humans, and hobbits
- Creeps/Monster Players: Used to refer to player uruks, wargs, spiders, etc.
- Mini/Minnie: Abbreviated form of "Minstrel," the main healer in the game
- Gambit: One of the classes in LOTRO, the Warden, used a unique system where they have a small pool of skills which they string together to form unique skills, known as gambits
- Morale: LOTRO's name for hitpoints (the amount of life points your character has)
- Power: LOTRO's name for mana points
- Dread: Certain areas or bosses will exude Dread to varying degrees of severity. This negatively effects your character's morale, decreases how much you are healed for, and increase the amount of damage you take. At times it can become so intense, your character can do nothing but cower and your minimap is transformed into an eye of Sauron. Measured in units of Gloom (+10 Gloom = 1 Dread). Can be offset by Hope.
- Hope: Certain areas, NPCs (Non-Player-Characters), skills, or items can infuse you and your fellowship with Hope, positively effecting your character's morale, increasing the amount you are healed for, and decreasing the amount of damage you take. At certain intensities, your minimap will begin to glow gold. Measured in units of Radiance (+10 Radiance = 1 Hope)Can be offset by Dread.
Though there are surely other great co-opportunities in LOTRO, these were two areas I wanted to give a special nod to. If you've played LOTRO, what are some of the unique co-opportunities that you feel stand out? Do these co-opportunities remind you of similar co-opportunities in another game? Also, suggestions of other MMOs and specific MMO co-opportunities that you feel I should look into will always be welcome. This is a place where we can embrace the co-op style of play found in MMOs.