LOTRO Legendarium: What new classes could LOTRO add in the future?

    
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There is certainly no end to the topics to discuss about Lord of the Rings Online, but sometimes I want to take a break to do something a little fun in this space. And while the dev team has added only four classes since the game’s launch, I’ve been thinking a lot about what other classes could potentially be created for LOTRO.

This is a tougher mental exercise than one may initially assume, as any future classes have to fit within the framework of the lore and world. They would have to have a more Middle-earth grounded quality to them than, say, a magic archer or machine gunner. And they’d have to fit the “good guys” side of the equation, so no necromancers or anything of that sort.

So for fun today, here are seven ideas for future classes in our favorite MMO!

Animal Trapper

To start off, I wanted to include a new pet class into the mix. I love pet classes in MMOs and feel that there is never enough of them. The challenge with this in LOTRO is to make a new class of that sort distinct enough from the Captain and Lore-master.

So my idea is the Animal Trapper (or Animal Tamer). The class’ signature ability would be to trap and tame animals across the landscape that are the player’s level or less. Players could trap and store up to three animals that they could then unleash one at at time to assist in combat. The catch? Each animal would only last for a short amount of time (a few minutes at low levels to maybe 15 at higher ones), requiring players to constantly be trapping new animals along the way and strategically using the ones they already have.

I’d also see the class using a sling as a ranged weapon that could be loaded with different types of shot for a variety of effects.

Pikeman

Forget the sword; military historians will tell you that the real king of medieval battlefields was the spear. It had a longer reach and could even be used as a defense against cavalry. LOTRO doesn’t have much representation in the spear department other than the Warden and Captain, and so I think that a Pikeman could squeeze in there to offer more specialization in long-reach melee combat.

Giving the Pikeman a greater distance on his or her weapon would offer a few extra hits before an enemy could close range. And in fact, I envision the class using the pike to push back the enemy outside of its melee range. In groups, this would be a way to protect weaker classes by shoving mobs away from them.

Pikemen would specialize in armor penetration, bleeding, and pinning (stunning) a mob for a short time. It would also engage the use of short-range axes and swords when an enemy closed the distance.

Corsair

This class was actually suggested by one of my kinmates, who speculated that since there was an entire group of seafaring bandits around Gondor, it stands to reason that some might become reformed and fight for the good guys.

There’s certainly potential in a pirate-like class, both with theming and weapons. A good cutlass-and-dagger combo would make up the signature fighting style of the Corsair. They could specialize in dueling or dirty tricks (depending if you like the high or low ground), and maybe they even have a little pet (bird? monkey?) perched on the shoulder who could be launched once in a while for an attack or effect.

Corsairs would be expert treasure hunters, able to extract more vendor trash or money from mobs. However, the compromise is that the class wouldn’t be able to take up any crafting or gathering professions. Being a pirate is a full-time job!

Scout

Part of the difficulty of this list is coming up with classes distinct enough from current ones. And I’ll admit that with most of them, there’s enough crossover that you could argue against their existence. Still, I feel that variations have their value.

So I’ll acknowledge the presence of both the Burglar and Hunter while proposing the Scout. The concept here is a class that has a ridiculous amount of movement abilities but not the mapping abilities of the Hunter. Scouts can run faster than other classes, jump back when a mob closes in, climb short distances, and automatically assume a kind of half-stealth level whenever they come to a full stop. They’d attack with a crossbow as a primary weapon and maybe have a few more Ranger-style survival tricks up their sleeves.

Diplomat

Not every conflict in Middle-earth has to be resolved with blunt-force trauma and lightning strikes. The Diplomat would employ the power of the spoken word to, how shall I say this, mess with the minds of enemies. A well-spoken character might even convince an enemy mob to fight on its side for a short while, collapse on themselves in confusion, cower in dismay, or lose morale at a steady pace.

I’ll admit that I’m struggling for a weapon for this class. A single dagger (maybe with a buckler) might be an option for a back-up, or a scroll from which the character may read.

Alchemist

Here we encroach upon the Lore-master’s territory a tad, but I like the idea of a class that’s much more about brewing up poisons, potions, and other useful concoctions. The Alchemist would have a belt that would contain two to five slots that could be customized with specific glass phials.

These phials could be employed to help or hurt as needed, and combinations of them thrown in rapid succession might trigger a combo. The slots would then regenerate automatically (a cooldown period), so the Alchemist might have to use some other tactics in the meanwhile. Maybe handfuls of acidic dust or glass powder thrown into the eyes?

Secondary classes

Considering that LOTRO’s sister game DDO is currently exploring sub-classes in the form of archetypes, I was musing about how it might work here. Surely, creating a new class from scratch is highly daunting, but how about sub-classes in the form of additional talent trees? Say, at level 80 or 100, all characters would be granted the choice to pick a secondary class out of the same pool (i.e., class agnostic trees).

These secondary classes could add some flavor, add more non-combat utility, or give classes an option to shore up some of their weaker spots. There could be an explorer sub-class for extra movement around Middle-earth, a seeker sub-class that would gain access to additional lore and secrets around the world, a survivalist sub-class that could pitch a tent and gain access to buffs, and so on.

OK, my daydreaming has come to an end. I’ll toss this to you: What would be a future class that you’d like to see in LOTRO, and how would it fit with the lore and current structure of the game?

Every two weeks, the LOTRO Legendarium goes on an adventure (horrid things, those) through the wondrous, terrifying, inspiring, and, well, legendary online world of Middle-earth. Justin has been playing LOTRO since its launch in 2007! If you have a topic for the column, send it to him at justin@massivelyop.com.
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