Monday, April 23, 2007

Picking a Main

Time is getting short for me. Soon the level cap will be raised above 15 in LotRO, and I'll need to figure out just which character I want to take on as my main. I'm not loaded with free time these days, so I don't really want to stretch out my gameplay across multiple characters right now. I want to find the one I like the most, and just run with it until I'm at the level cap of 50 and wanting a 2nd character.

Then the question is, between Captain and Champion which do I choose?

So let's lay it out on the table, my opinions and elementary knowledge of the two classes, and see where we end up at the end. Maybe you guys will be able to help impart some knowledge for me as well.

--The Captain (El Capitan)--

I've only taken Forhelm, my Captain, to level 12 so far. But what little time I've spent with him I've enjoyed, especially since gaining Wart, my Herald of War "pet".

The Captain has a plethora of useful attacks even at level 12, plus debuffs that can be put on the enemy or buffs for my fellows. Things like incresed attack speed for me and my group, or a damage over time on a certain enemy. These "Mark" skills also enable Wart to use special attacks on the marked enemy, which is also a boon of the class. Instead of just being an extra meatshield for me, Wart then actually serves a purpose. One of his skills is actually a heal for me in case I'm ever in need of a small boost to leg out a tough fight.

Plus, and probably most importantly for group play, the captain has the ability to heal after an enemy is downed, keeping the momentum up and keeping the fight going. It's not a superlative heal, but it's adequate to help pacing, and I've heard they get more healing abilities at later levels as well.

The downsides for Forhelm are minimal but they matter to me. There are 2 things that worry me about the Captain in the long run.

1.) He's a Human. I know it seems odd that this would be a downside for me, but I've never been one to play a Human race in an MMO before. I like the escape of reality fantasy games offer, and as such I almost always pick something other than human as a race if there's a choice. For instance I usually pick Khajit in the Elder Scrolls games. I played dwarves almost exclusively in WoW, and in EQ2.

2.) He's a Hybrid. Captains are the jack of all trades in LotRO and master of none. The do moderate DPS, moderate healing, and moderate buffing. They don't excel at any one thing. This has always spelled doom and frustration for lots of classes like this in other MMOs, and I worry that the same fate will befall the Captain here in LotRO.

Overall, I do enjoy the Captain. He's a lot of fun and very self-sufficient for solo-ing. Now, what about that Champion?

--The Champion (Death with a Beard)--

Begud, my Dwarven Champion is level 15 and has been there since a few weeks back. I've not spent much time with him since then, as I'm not one to farm and nor am I looking too Monster Play for now until the war starts heating up in the Ettenmoors a bit more. That said, I still love the Champion for a good few reasons.

Number one is the fact that they have a defined role, and it's a simple one. They're the kings of killing. There is not one class that does death better than the Champion. They're wrecking balls with whatever weapons they choose to don.

The fervour mechanic is a cool feature, essentially opening up stronger skills the more fervour I have (not unlike a Fury Warrior in WoW). They also have a minor self heal that's on a 30 second recharge which requires 4 "pips" (there's a max of 5 that can be built up) of fervour to be used, but has saved my dwarven arse on more than one occasion.

In essence, I like the Champion because they have a defined role... kill stuff. And they're damned good at it. Sure, they're played a lot, but not everyone's going to be good at the class. I've met more than a fair share of Champs who just pressed whatever button and caused more bad than good in a situation. Just because they're meant to kill things, doesn't mean they're necessarily easy to play, or rather easy to play well.

The downsides of the Champion are thus...

1.) Everyone and their mother plays one. There's no doubt about it. It's good to be the king of killing, and it's a fun interactive class to play. But with so many, will Begud really be able to stand out in a crowd?

2.) Will being just a hired sword/axe/club get old? Will I long for more utility later in the game? I don't know, honestly. I'm not sure how dependent the elder-game of LotRO is on having perfect groups to do things with, so I'm not sure it will matter as much as it has in games past.

Plainly, I think I like the Champion better. I've always been prone to be the damage dealing melee type class in these games, and it's really no different here. But I worry that there will simply be too many Champions around for me to feel needed for groups later on. Though anyone who's run with 2 or more champions in a group before can tell you that you never can have enough damage. :)

So I don't know. I'm thinking Begud will win out my heart at this point. He's 15. He's ready to go come Tuesday, and I think he fits my personal tastes more than Forhelm, even though I rather enjoy them both.

It's a tough decision, this. Sure there are more important topics going on in the world right now, but help me out people. What's your take on my selfish situation?


Keen said...

There's no doubt about it champions are a very popular class. Consider this however - There are only 6 classes. There's going to be LOTS of EVERY class out there and like you said the defining roll will be skill. If you have it others will know and if you don't then you will become one of the masses.

I'm personally going to play a Champion because I love the mechanics of the class. I can't really handle the inability to kill that the guardian has and I am not a true fan of the glass cannon of Hunters. I've done the heal thing to death in previous MMO's and I'm ready to be a damage dealer again.

You can't go wrong with whatever you choose as long as you choose it for the right reason. - Fun.


Tipa said...

According to the forums, as champs get higher, they take on more of the off-/second tank role. They ARE the Fury warriors of LotRO.

We had a lv 14 champ tank chapter 11 last night (I was playing my minstrel, my third class to go through Book 1). Anyway, he could not keep aggro no matter what. I'd have to switch to healing the hunter, then to the burglar, then he'd have aggro for awhile, then the other minstrel... compare that to the time I brought my captain through with a guardian as tank. Minstrel handled 75% of the healing so I could use my buffs effectively, and I had my single target HoT which has no cool down to help out the minstrel when needed. And also the guardian had over 1K hit points.

For champs, the issue is going to be the same as in every game with all tank-ish classes: How good is your gear, and can you keep aggro? Or for dps: Do you make the parse?

Healers, and after getting my own captain to 15 and doing some hard instances now include them, have a lot less stress and rely less on equipment.

My champ was first to 15, but I have been calling my captain my main for awhile now.