If you spend any time at all on the official Turbine forums, one question that comes up over and over by wow players coming to the game is:

What class is like (fill in the blank here)?

Most MMO’s are comprised of the trinity of class makeup for grouping.  Tank, Healer, and DPS.  The tanks job is to be the one that hits a monster and holds its attention.  The healer is responsible for making sure the tank and other members of the party stay alive.  And DPS is gamer slang for Damage per Second, or in this case, the damage dealers.  With this combination you can not go wrong.  I will spare you the long winded article on how this trinity is best used as to keep things running smooth.  That will be another time.

Let’s take a look at the class roles after the break.

Break it Down by Class

Let’s first look at the classes and what role then can play in WoW.

World of Warcraft Link to heading

  • Warrior – Tank or DPS

  • Paladin – Tank, Healer, DPS

  • Priest – Healer or DPS

  • Druid – Tank, Healer, DPS

  • Rogue - DPS

  • Shaman – Healer or DPS

  • Hunter - DPS

  • Mage - DPS

  • Warlock – DPS

Some will try to argue that a few classes are capable of doing another task, for example, some would say a Beast Master speced hunter can tank.  Even though this is true in some cases, the primary function of the class is a damage dealer.  So I will stick with the purist of jobs for this article.

Lord of the Rings Online Link to heading

Now to take a look at LotRO class break down by role.

  • Guardian – Tank - DPS (EDIT Changed from DPSish.  Apperantly post Moria they can dish out some damage in overpower mode.)

  • Captain – DPS, Heal, Tank

  • Minstrel – Heal, DPS

  • Hunter - DPS

  • Champion – DPS, Tank

  • Burglar - DPS

  • Lore-master – DPS, Heal

  • Rune Keeper – DPS or Heal

  • Warden – Tank, DPS

Crowd Control

We do have a 4th part to the trinity that should be mentioned in passing, and that is the ability to control parts of an encounter by slowing, stunning or even putting to sleep a monster.  We call this Crowd Control, or CC.  In WoW the Mage, Rogue and Hunter are your primary CC classes with Warlock and Ret speced Pallys able to bring some tools to the party.

LotRO offers Burglar, Lore-master and Hunter as the primary CC classes with Rune Keepers and Minstrel’s offering some CC abilities in some cases.

How do they compare?

Some notes to keep in mind when choosing a class in LotRO.  A lot of the classes use reactive skill sets instead of up front skills.  A guardian builds threat by responding to actions, the warden does this even more so with a gambit system.

LotRO does not have a “real” caster class.  The closest thing to it is the new Rune Keeper.  A pitfall many fall into in the beginning when choosing a lore-master thinking its related to a WoW mage.  In truth a Lore-master should be played more like a battle mage.  You use your staff and sword as well as tactical skills.

If you are looking for a mage glass cannon type of class, then consider the hunter or the rune keeper.  Hunter’s have the benefit of being long range while wearing medium armor.  Rune keepers can dish out the damage, especially after book 7, but wear light armor.  Good news is a rune keeper can also heal.  BUT, if you are dishing out DPS your healing is very minimal, just enough to perhaps keep you alive in a hard situation.

As for healing, the Minstrel and Rune Keeper are the way to go for pure healing.  For the longest time Minstrel was the primary healer.  However with Rune keepers now on the scene we see another main healer class.  Some complain in the LotRO community about it being a hot based healing class.  From my observation its people complaining about something they don’t understand or have experience with.  For me, my main Paravell, is a rune keeper.  My rune keeper plays a lot like Paravel, my 80 resto druid in wow.  Not only can I heal, but when solo or if we have to many healers I can dish out some great damage.

So what do I play then?

My best suggestion is to experiment around.  Do not be afraid to ask question in game or in the forums class section.  As with any game, it takes time to find that one class that clicks.  For me it took since closed and open beta till now to find the Rune Keeper.  Well, that and it did not come out till Moria was released.  Great time for me to come back to the game :)

Enjoy your time with the different classes.  Remember, you play this to have fun.  If you struggle with one class, move on.  My wife has a level 48 guardian that is collecting dust. She forced herself to play her back in the beginning.  She then leveled a paladin in wow and did not like it either.  Then she leveled a mage to 80, loved it.  She re-rolled in lotro as a hunter, more along the line of the damage dealing ice mage she loved.  Now she has fun when in middle earth.