Combat

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Gameplay Topics: CombatDeedsFellowship ManoeuvreHousingInstance FinderReputationTitlesWarband Maneuvers

Basic Combat Concepts

Combat with monsters and animals is one of the central features of LOTRO. While in combat mode, many of the gameplay functions behave differently, and an understanding of these changes is important to managing your character. Advancing your ability in combat is one of the primary goals for all players, and most of the treasure you find and skills you develop affect your ability in combat.

The game keeps track of whether or not you are in combat with a system flag. Whenever the system has you flagged as in-combat, you will see certain effects on your character. One of the most noticeable of these is that you will draw your weapon - in general, if you have your weapon unsheathed, this is an indicator you are in combat. In all the discussion below, "in combat" means your combat flag is set by the system with all the associated modification of game play.


Many skills players have either initiate combat or can only be used in or out of combat. For example, a Burglar cannot enter normal Stealthy Movement mode or pick pockets while in combat. Another example - while in combat, a Champion's Fervour does not decay as it does while not in combat, allowing the Champion to build up enough Fervour to use his class's unique combat skills.

Entering combat often will interrupt many non-combat actions such as looting or collecting resources. Once the interrupt occurs, the progress timer for the action is usually frozen and the action must be restarted after the combat situation is resolved.

Initiating Combat

Combat is entered in a variety of ways, which are detailed below.

One of the most common is simply by the player attacking a valid combat target. Attempts to attack invalid targets such as NPCs or objects do not initiate combat. A player may attack by right-clicking a valid target within range of his weapon or by targeting a valid target and activating an attack skill.

Combat is also entered if the player moves within the aggression range of an aggressive monster("aggro'ing" said monster). This is known in some circles as "body pulling". In this case, the monster initiates the combat. Note that combat is initiated when the monster is triggered - this is often before its first attack is executed.

In some cases, a monster will "warn" a player that he/she is close to body pulling with an emote that says, "Monster threatens to strike" or some such. In this event, the player has about 3 seconds to step back or vacate the area, otherwise the monster will initiate combat and attack.

Combat is sometimes triggered by certain quest actions - for example, speaking to a quest NPC might initiate combat.

How to get out of Combat

There are several ways to exit combat, as detailed below.

The most straightforward method to leave combat is to kill all the aggressive targets within range. When the last one dies, you exit combat automatically.

It is also possible to run away. In most cases, running far enough from the initial location of the combat will cause the monsters to return to their original position and to clear the combat flag for both the player and monsters.

Moving through a zone portal such as a door or entrance to a cave (ones which trigger the loading splash screen) also exits a player from combat.

Note that if you are in combat with a monster you have tapped, and then the monster attacks someone else who is participating in the fight, you will remain in combat until the monster is dead or the other player is defeated - you cannot flee to exit combat because the monster will remain in combat no matter how far you run.

Using skills in Combat

Many skills such as special attacks, healing spells and other active abilities are activated in combat by simply pressing the associated hotkey. These skills work the same in combat as out of combat.

Some combat skills are reactive - they require a certain combat event (e.g. a block, parry or evade) to occur before they can be used. These skills are normally colored grey when the player is not in combat, and remain grey until the necessary enabling condition occurs. In general, if the hotkey icon is colored, it can be used, and if it's grey, it cannot because the necessary condition has not been met. The tooltip for the skill will indicate in red which condition has not been met for a grey icon.

An indication of a red target in the upper left corner of the skill icon indicates the that the skill has a range limit (usually determined by weapon type) and that the currently selected target is out of range for this skill to be activated.

Most skills have a reuse timer, or cooldown. This timer is activated when the skill is used, and the skill may not be used again until its cooldown expires. For more information, see Combat timers.

Managing Aggression (Threat)

Aggression management is generally a Fellowship concept. For solo players, all the monsters involved in a combat situation generally attack the player. In a Fellowship combat situation, the monsters determine which party member to attack based on accumulated aggression. Aggression generally accumulates based on damage done by each character, but there are some additional sources. In LOTRO, aggression is called Threat. As a general rule, monsters target and attack the character with the most accumulated threat.

Threat is generated whenever a player damages a target monster. Additional threat is gained by certain attacks (usually called taunts) that generate additional threat beyond that from their damage. For example, a Guardian's Bash skill generates additional threat. Threat can also be accumulated for healing party members and performing other hostile abilities such as non-damaging attacks.

Some combat skills reduce threat. Use of these skills tends to reduce the accumulated aggression of the monster and causes it to seek another target. However, damage can still result in the monster attacking the player who used a threat-reducing skill if enough damage is done.

Fellowships attempt to control threat so that the monsters attack the characters with the most morale, best armor and best defensive abilities. Typically, the Guardian or other tank class is the preferred target. Managing threat so that most of the monsters attack the strongest tank characters simplifies healing and reduces the amount of damage the Fellowship takes during combat. It is important then for DPS classes to hold back on damage dealing until the tanks have accumulated a significant amount of threat. Over-aggroing can be extremely frustrating for fellowships and almost always hurts group performance.

Crowd Control

Crowd Control (CC) is an MMORPG concept that refers to abilities to stop monsters from attacking or moving for a period of time. In cases where multiple monsters are attacking, using CC can make the combat easier to survive by allowing each enemy to be attacked and killed one at a time.

CC abilities include skills which root, stun, mezmerize or otherwise incapacitate the foe. For example, the Burglar ability Riddle mezmerizes the target for about 30 seconds.

Many CC abilities break if the target is attacked (the effect is removed). It is important to avoid breaking CC abilites by inadvertently attacking controlled targets. CC can be accidentally broken by selecting the wrong target and attacking or using an area-of-effect combat ability within range of a CC'd target.