The day the music died: LOTRO nerfs Minstrels to the ground


Overpowered or powered-up fun? Lord of the Rings Online’s Minstrel class was a fan favorite for many, but its strong performance, especially at low levels, earned a hearty whack with a nerfbat this week.

While Standing Stone Games made it sound as though it was doing nothing more than giving the Minstrel lots of love in Monday’s update, the truth is that the studio also slipped a massive stealth nerf into the proceedings. Many of the class’ strongest burst abilities saw a hefty decrease, especially at low levels.

Minstrel players have noted that some of their key damage abilities have suffered on the order of a 30% to 70% decrease. “You nerfed the living hell out of Calls and Cries, oh and Coda — that’s just sad now,” said one player on the forums. “It’s slow and boring and there is no opportunity for burst now, NONE.”

It wouldn’t be a song reference title without a song from Eliot, so here you go.

I met an elf who sang the blues and asked her to burn down some dudes,
But she just sighed and turned away.
I went to the lutemaker’s store where I learned my music skills before,
But the Man there said the Minstrels wouldn’t play.

And in the streets the Captains preened,
Beornings roared and the Wardens schemed,
But not a word was spoken
Our DPS was broken

And the Minstrel skills I admire most,
The Calls and Cries and the Coda toast –
They’ve been tuned down and I can’t boast
The day the music died

Source: LOTRO forums
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I’d be interested in checking out my old minstrel again. But there was too much delay between button press and power activation for me to feel comfortable about healing. I was hoping they’d get around to releasing a 64-bit client and then I could try again and see if it was any better.

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I have a level cap mini and one in the mid-60s (didn’t notice any nerfage when playing her yesterday).

I’ve been leveling the little one for about year, and have always thought she felt pretty OP. You shouldn’t one- or two-shot everything, IMO, regardless of class. Especially when swanning around in nothing but quest reward gear. If they walked back mini dps some, I think that’s OK.

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I’ve nothing against minstrels (except their ridiculous glowing hands, wtf is that about?), but they do seem a tad overpowered at lower levels. Anecdote not evidence, I recall hunting elite wights in some barrow or other. I’d laid my trap for one and was preparing to fear another, when some uppity hobbit minstrel at around my level barged in felled them all with a scream and a strum. Off she ran, leaving me standing there like a fool. Mouth agape, arrow drooped. Nobody likes a nerf but this is probably an overdue correction.

Also, bravo Eliot.


My main on the legendary server is a minstrel, this is years after not playing one (I had one in the F2P beta !) and I was surprised when legendary started with how powerful minstrels had become. It was way way too easy to level and it felt like the hunters in my groups were doing less than me when red line. This was something that most minstrels seemed to know was coming.

Bango on Laurelin

Nerfed into the ground??? What a load of rubbish. I was playing my lvl 24 warspeech minstrel on Anor earlier and the dps is still perfectly adequate. Sure the dps is lower but it is now closer with Runekeepers than the one-shotting easy-mode monstrosity that is was previously. Also, healing has been vastly improved and most comments on /world were positive for the changes.

Kevin McCaughey

I love Elliots song though ;)


Well boo feckin’ hoo. Very little sympathy, for the many times I’ve been levelling and a mini has run in, scooped up everything in the area, screamed a few times and watched them all drop dead. They were ridiculously out of balance for a healer class.


Please forgive me if I’m way off. I’m not a mini-expert, just going by feedback from kin mini’s and the dev notes.

I was under the impression that the damage correction (nerf) was manly for low level mini’s that got way out of balance after stat scaling from prior work. At least, that was what was in the dev notes. For that mater, I would not exactly call that a stealth nerf since it was the noted plan on the forum form the dev to go along with the healing fix. Seems someone forgot to add it into the final patch notes.

So what do you think about the huge buff/correction to healing. Are mini’s in good shape now? I recommend people read Vastin’s notes on classes and the system fixes he has been working on. I can’t imaging the math involved in trying to fix all the years prior development.

Not sure were to go with this. So just, thank you Vastin for the hard work you are putting into LOTRO. I know we can be a fickle and fussy community sometime (but it’s out of love).

Fred Douglas

They were flagrantly overpowered, but with a game this old, I would’ve just left it. The other classes are good enough, and this will just make people who have been leveling for 15 years (or whatever) angry.

Bruno Brito

You shouldn’t ever get used to OP’ness in a game.

Fenrir Wolf

@Bruno Brito

Let’s be fair, shall we? All overpowered truly means in a game like this is that you’re doing less grinding and you’re less beholden to RNG. To me, overpowered would be allowing mounts in Guild Wars 2’s trickier jumping puzzles.

It’s funny, I always feel like I’m having the most fun when I’m least beholden to grind and RNG. In fact, I stick around longer.

I’m usually the minority there, though, I admit. Hardly the target demographic. Funnily enough, however, these feels represented the majority of players and the developer listened not. This brought about the untimely downfall of Champions Online. Bad decisions on Cryptic’s part to listen to a grind- and RNG-loving minority, and then fail to issue speedy corrections once they’d realised their error.

It’s funny to me that Guild Wars 2 seems to primarily have that sort of community as well, which I think it’s fair to say we all saw with Heart of Thorns. It shows just how out of touch some developers truly are. GW2 players are utterly sick of RNG and grind.

They issued an apology and did, in a half-arsed way, try to set things right. Still, that doesn’t fix the awful storytelling and the one-dimensional characters. I can’t believe how caricatured Rytlock has become. It’s silly. The Leafy Stu of Trahearne should’ve told them their writing needed a shot in the arm.

C’est la vie. Can’t have it all.

Jumping puzzles are nice, though.

I wonder which way LOTRO’s community will lean. Will they be the hardcore dedicated that actually enjoy the developers hitting an RNG button on their class, destroying their progress, and forcing them to grind all over again? Or, perhaps, will they be the tired, grizzled, entirely fed up sort? Given that it’s LOTRO, I might actually wager on the latter.

I’m not sure how DDO-ish LOTRO is, though. So that’s why I wouldn’t actually put money down on it.

The truth is, though, is that “balancing” is simply hitting a button to generate some new numbers, which are plugged into database fields, in order to set players back. I’d say that’s cynical, but in all of my years of MMO playing I’ve come to understand it’s realistic.

I haven’t seen a single balancing team that knows what they’re doing. The meta elders, the enrobed, enshrined theorycrafters who serve as the keepers of the sanctified numbers always have a better grasp of what would be good balance. And they’re always irked by the changes, invariably, regardless of the game.

Remember what happened with Deltias in ESO? In a rare moment of awareness, he saw “balancing” for what it truly was.

As such, “balancing” is just part of the operant conditioning chamber. Using social engineering via peer pressure to kick the community into another cycle of grinding so that they can once again be efficient. If I’d seen even one example of competent balancing, I mightn’t believe this so fervently, I might not uphold it so vehemently… Sadly, the proof is in the pudding.

I can’t think of more than a scant handful of MMOs that haven’t used “balancing” to set all the players back a number of months, have you? Some exist, yes, but not one amongst the big names.

What you describe as getting used to an overpowered play style, I would describe as having fun in a video game. Games shouldn’t be jobs. We’re doing something very wrong if they are.

Too, too few MMOs get this right. And I’m beginning to question whether, except for a few large titles, if perhaps even the majority is fed up of this tactic by now. Are there really that many hardcore, old guard grinders left who enjoy balancing? What say you, sirrah?

And if there aren’t, then there are more players who’d enjoy having fun with their minstrels.


Balancing has to do with making classes of certain roles about equal in “firepower” for dps, healing for healers and tanking for tanks so there isnt a default go-to class for each role. It has nothing to do with RNG. An unbalanced game will drive away new players who try it, when they suddently discover their class isnt “optimal” because the game is unbalanced
That said, I prefer “buffing” a bit the weaker classes than nerfing, for the older games, to ease the grinding, so I understand you and anyone who has a minstrel

Vincent Clark

I think the real issue here is that 1)the classes have been so “out-of-balance” for so long (years) that the recent efforts seem ham-fisted at best and 2) the developers seem out of touch with what they want the classes to be versus the meta that has existed since the classes were introduced. Vastin has been a light of hope, but these days it seems like he is literally the only person working on this stuff.

Having 3 separate trait lines for each class doesn’t help matters, especially with their limited resources. The horrible attempts to make updates to the burglar play out like a bumbling MMORPG in alpha testing–which shouldn’t be happening for a game this late in it’s development cycle.

Bruno Brito

Let me repeat:

You shouldn’t EVER get used to OP’ness in a game.


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Love the song Eliot, it’s a bit of a silver lining on the whole thing. ;)