One of the classes hardest hit after the release of Mines of Moria was the Minstrel. Book 7 looks to be a great step forward in fixing some of the problems that arose after release, but it’ll be hard to say whether it will or not until it goes live. My main is a 60 Minstrel, so I thought that I would give my perspective on the changes, and of course, your mileage may vary. I would love to hear what other Minstrels think of the changes, so let me know in the comments!

First, let’s list the changes planned according to the release notes for Bullroarer, which are not final and subject to change. I’ll go through the entire list, point by point, with my thoughts and commentary afterward (yeah, there’s a lot to cover! I did remove some notes that the devs said filtered through from the previous patch notes).

  • Call to Greatness has had its skill cooldown effects modified. Before, skills reset by this skill would simply reset every few seconds. This would cause the skill queue to get a bit confused. Now, skills have their cooldowns reduced while Call to Greatness is active.

  • Reduced the cooldown of Damaging Anthems with Warrior Skald.

  • Ballads have had their action duration lessened; this means they can be fired more quickly, and thus threaded in between healing more often. This also means pure ballad-use DPS will be raised by removing the ”animation cooldown.”

  • Call to Fate is now accessible at level 56 while Soliloquy of Spirit is now a level 60 skill.

  • Minstrel resist progressions in IA have been increased to be more effective.

  • Ballads now add a small amount of healing magnitude for each tier played. With the now-faster animation cooldown of ballads, players will not only be able to deal damage faster, they’ll be able to raise their ability to heal at the same time. This also affects Song of Vigour and Song of Balance (at an enhanced duration), so use this to wring every ounce of healing out of your Minstrel’s resolve.

  • Timeless Echoes of Battle had its cooldown reduced to 5 seconds. This allows solo Minstrels to switch it to a new target even faster.

  • Song of Vigour and Song of Evade (Seri note: should be Song of Balance) induction time has been lowered.

  • Warrior Skald Warspeech Ballad bonus has been restored to function in Warspeech, only increasing the speed of Ballad play required a small boost in power consumption.

  • Skill Icon Updates:

    • All the Ballad Skill Icons have been updated for consistency.

    • Piercing Cry, Herald’s Strike, and other have also been updated.

    • Cry of-the Valar now reflects fear in the icon design, along with Ballad of Unshakeable Will.

  • All Minstrel ‘Triumphant Spirit Cooldown’ legacy tiers display the correct cooldown reduction.

  • Legacy ‘Healing & Motivation Skills Morale Healing’ now properly increases the heal over time effects of Soliloquy of Spirit.

  • Ballad of Compassion now gains the duration increase from the Strength of Voice trait.

  • The Mentor Cooldown legacy has been removed from legendary class items.

Diving right in, the CtG cooldown is interesting, in that it won’t reset skills any longer, just lower the cooldown time.  CtG is a skill that a lot of people may not be familiar with if they don’t already play a Minstrel, or group with one regularly who uses it. Basically, it’s a skill that we can use on other Fellowship members, that does different things depending on the class we use it on. Here’s a short rundown on what it can do for you pre-Book 7 (note that the skill lasts 15 seconds when it’s on you at this point):

  • Burglars: +15% damage to positional attack skills, Surprise Strike is recovered every 5 seconds.

  • Captains: Grants a defeat event, grants battle-readied state every 5 seconds.

  • Champions: Grants a defeat event and 2 Fervour, grants 1 Fervour every 5 seconds

  • Guardians: +25% threat generation, grants Guardian’s Ward effect every 5 seconds

  • Hunters: -10% threat generation and 3 Focus, grants 2 Focus every 5 seconds

  • Loremasters: -3% chance for enemies to resist Blinding Flash, recovers Blinding Flash every 5 seconds

  • Minstrels: +10% healing, recovers Chord of Salvation every 5 seconds

  • Runekeepers: +10% power costs, resets cooldown on Self-motivation every 5 seconds

  • Wardens: +10% threat generation and +5% damage

Until Book 7 hits, or I can log into Bullroarer when the Eyes & Guard Tavern opens to test, I’m not sure exactly how this one will change, so keep checking back!

Reducing the cooldown to our damage Anthems while in Skald is a good thing,  since we can fire them off quicker and do more burst damage that way.

This next one is really exciting! Getting rid of the animation cooldown on our ballads is going to be insane. Add that to the point further down that will add healing magnitude for each tier played, and it’s going to be a balladapalooza fest. One of the main complaints from Minstrels was that it was difficult to tier up to Anthem of the Freeps while healing (i.e. mashing Bolster Courage over and over), and this addition sounds like that’s going to be greatly improved, along with giving us a boost to our healing. Someone over on the Minstrel forums posted a video of the difference between Live and Book 7 ballads, check it out! (credit goes to Rosenblatt on the official forums, thanks for the vid!)

LOTRO: Book 7 Minstrel Ballad Speed

The cooldown change for Timeless Echoes of Battle is great! I tend to use TEoB for pulling, so that I have the resist reductions on the mob from the very beginning, so this will allow me to pull things quicker, without having to wait for the skill to reset. TEoB is the Warspeech version of the skill, and the non-WS version will benefit from the change as well.

Lowering the inductions for Song of Vigour and Song of Balance is welcome as well, especially if you are a Minstrel running a Protector of Song build with Smooth Voice traited. It’ll definitely let you get tiered up quicker before, and during a fight while giving your Fellowship the benefits of those skills.

I haven’t seen the new icons yet, so I won’t weigh in on them. People who have though, have said that it’ll take a little getting used to, but they approve of the change in the graphics overall.

I honestly hadn’t noticed that the legacies for the Triumphant Spirit cooldown were wrong, so a thumbs up for that change.

As for the fix to Soliloquy of Spirit being affected by the Healing and Motivational skills Legacy, that’s fine. I have much more to say about this particular skill, but I’ll be saving that for a post later on this week. Switching Call to War and SoS’s levels is ok as well, since that will give soloing Minstrels a leg up during the last four levels to 60. However, that makes SoS a level 60 skill, and boy, do I have a lot to say about that in the previously mentioned future post.

The increased duration for Ballad of Compassion is great! Anything that will help us control aggro more is always welcome in my book, and is a great addition to the Protector of Song build.

Ahhh… removing the Mentor cooldown legacy. Thank you Turbine. Thank you so very, very much. This is one of the most useless Legacies that came out with Moria, and I am so glad to see it go.

Overall, I think the fixes we’re going to see in Book 7 will address a lot of the problems that arose after MoM went live. Unfortunately, there are some things that still need to be looked at. As I noted earlier, I’ll be writing a piece later on this week about Minstrels and healing post-Moria, with special attention to the Soliloquy of Spirit skill, so check back later!