Guide to the Minstrel
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The Minstrel is the heart of a fellowship, a herald of hope, inspiration, and renewal. His knowledge of ancient songs and lore not only enable him to bolster fellowship morale, but also to provide motivation against the forces of darkness. When the Minstrel is alone, he becomes an intimidating opponent capable of demoralizing foes through an assortment of ballads, cries, and calls.
The primary role of the Minstrel is that of a healer:
- Strong single target burst heals (large heals) can help members of your fellowship survive attacks, while HoT skills offer a way to refill Morale over period of time.
- Group-wide buffs provide boosts to defences, as well as the fellowship's damage output.
- Traited in the Warrior-Skald (red) tree, Minstrels can also fulfill the role of a ranged DPS with a mix of AoE and strong single target burst damage.
The Minstrel is one of the easier classes to level up and play solo: they have a reasonable damage output and good surviveability thanks to the ability to heal themselves up when in trouble. While grouping, you will often be asked to play the role of (main) healer. Other classes that can fulfill this role are the Rune-keepers, Captains and Beornings. In comparison, Minstrels use more instant heals (single target and AoE), while Rune-keeper healers are more about HoTs and shields. Beorning healers are more difficult to play, but can be as good as Rune-keepers. Captains have the least healing power of these classes, but they can heal 3-man or 6-man instances.
A central aspect to playing with the Minstrel class is the use of three stances, activated by corresponding skills:
These are so-called toggle skills: when you use one of them, you remain in that stance and only one of them can be toggled at a given time. Apart from the permanent buff they give you (more damage or better healing), some of your skills are altered while in one of these stances (e.g. Echoes of Battle and Major Ballad).
Another aspect is the Ballad/Anthem/Coda mechanic. The three ballad skills : Major Ballad, and give you three different, weak buffs. When any three buffs are active on you, your Anthem skills become available: more powerful group-wide buffs. You can then also cash-out the ballad buffs with the Coda skill: , or , depending on the stance you're in. The skill immediately gives you three different ballad buffs and thus unlocks your Anthems and Codas without having to use three ballads.
There are three trait trees to choose from:
- The Watcher of Resolve (blue): Powerful healers, offering buffs to healing potency and frequency. These Minstrels heal the Morale of the Fellowship and themselves.
- The Warrior-Skald (red): The damage line for Minstrels, inflicting heavy damage and moving quickly through battles.
- The Protector of Song (yellow): Supports allies with powerful buffs, using enhanced Anthem skills with great effectiveness.
For all traits and set bonuses, see Minstrel Traits
The trait tree of choice for healing is The Watcher of Resolve, assisted by some red traits (giving you access to Anthem of War, see below) or yellow traits (better healing and defensive buffs).
- : this is one of your most used healing skills, a big burst heal with a short cooldown
- : a stronger burst heal with no induction but longer cooldown
- : an effective HoT with no induction
- : a reasonable healing skill which reduces your fellowship's incoming damage
- : a big AoE burst heal with no induction, but long cooldown
- : a 30s AoE HoT with a long cooldown and a Cure attached to it
- (set bonus): a strong burst heal with no cooldown, but requires 7 stacks of healing skills
- (set bonus): guarantees a crit on your next healing skill
There are two anthems you need to keep up while healing:
- : better healing, shorter inductions and makes Bolster Courage instant cast after using
- : provides some Tactical Mitigation and Resistance Rating for the fellowship
As the group healer, target priority is something you need to think about: which of your fellows is in most need for heals?
- First of all, heal up the target which is going to die in the next few seconds. If the tank has lost 20% of its Morale and a hunter 80%, you should almost always burst heal the hunter first.
- However, there will often be several people in need for heals and you need to choose which one is at the top of your priority list. First you have to stay alive yourself (otherwise there won't be much healing and reviving), followed by the tank (guardian, captain, warden and sometimes champion) since they keep the enemies' attention away from the rest of the group. Next, keep an eye on the support classes (loremaster, burglar and captain) since their debuffs, stuns and dazes keep the mobs under control. Lastly, look at the DPS-classes (hunter, champion and runekeeper) healed up. They can always be revived.
- Often, target priority can be different depending on the specific situation of your group and thus communication is always key to success.
The trait tree of choice for DPS is The Warrior-Skald, assisted by some blue traits (that give you access to bigger self-heals) or yellow traits (for better damage and buffing).
- : an AoE skill which reduces your enemies' resistance to light damage, thus raising the damage of almost all your skills
- : your highest damaging single target skill with a high critical chance
- : an AoE skill which removes a corruption and gives an in-Combat Morale Regeneration buff
- : an AoE skill which slows the targets
- : an AoE skill which boosts the fellowship's run speed
- : a single target skill which stuns and interrupts the target
Here, useful anthems are:
Note that while you're in Dissonance (the preferred stance for DPS), all your healing skills become self only.
The Minstrel is a Light Armour class and can use Daggers and one-handed Clubs, Maces and Swords. However, almost all of the Minstrel's skills are Tactical damage and do not benefit from these weapons. Minstrels do get to use instruments (fiddles, theorbos, drums and even bagpipes) which boost their healing or damage and add some music to the fight. From level 20 onwards, they can also wear Shields.
When fulfilling the role of a healer, try to improve your survivability (so you don't need to heal yourself):
- Physical Mitigation (reduces incoming physical damage)
- Tactical Mitigation (reduces incoming tactical damage)
- Resistance Rating (increases the chance to resist a debuff)
- Critical Defence (reduces the incoming damage from criticals)
and to improve your heals, look for
- Critical Rating (increases the chance to land a critical hit/heal)
- Outgoing Healing Rating (increases the amount of healing your skills do, but only by a few percent)
When DPS'ing, look for the following stats (and some of the above stats):
- Tactical Mastery Rating (increases your tactical damage)
- At higher levels, Finesse (reduces Resistance of foes) can be useful
Choosing a Vocation
If you are in a Kinship, your choice of Vocation (a fixed combination of three Professions) does not matter much: as long as all professions are represented in your kinship, trading crafted items with others can help you acquire the needed goods anyway.
When you are mostly soloing however, the crafted items have to be useful to you. As a Minstrel, the following professions are good fits:
- Tailor: being able to craft light armour and cloaks you can wear can be useful
- Woodworker: this profession is able to manufacture wooden weapons (e.g. clubs) and instruments
- Weaponsmith: weaponsmiths can make metal weapons and class items for other classes
- Cook: Lute Strings draws away attention from enemies while healing and Food can be consumed by all characters, which makes the cook a fine choice as well
- Jeweller: rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings make up a lot of your equipment slots, so this is a good option too
- Scholar: here, you are able to craft Legendary Songbooks and Sheet Music for own use, and Scrolls of Battle Lore and potions that can be used by all classes
If you want to be able to craft your own Legendary Items at higher levels, the Historian is the best choice. The Yeoman, Explorer, Tinker and Woodsman are also good choices for solo play, due to their self-sufficiency.
A more in-depth guide to the Minstrel focused on trait builds and optimising end-game performance can be found at https://www.reddit.com/r/lotro/comments/8z3stq/minstrel_guide/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x (accurate until Update 22.2).