Baby Warden

As implied, I am leveling up a Warden in The Lord of the Rings Online™. My main has always been a Hunter, and there is something distinctly annoying about having the most common class in the game. There are things that Hunters do very well, and in LotRO it really matters that travel is one of them, but there are very few that require a Hunter. Most things require a tank, and a few things require a Warden (or perhaps a Captain).

A Warden is my kind of tank, more nimble, less getting hit in the face, with some self-healing and range. The Warden’s taunt mechanic is very different from the Guardian’s. Guardians have taunts that force a target to attack them for some number of seconds. The worst Guardian in the game can still keep the boss’s aggro for X seconds out of every Y, and if DPS pulls aggro in between, he will assume he over-nuked. Wardens instead increase their threat with damage, healing, abilities that directly increase threat, and others that transfer threat from allies. A mediocre Warden will never top the threat list and cannot tank anything; you cannot dislodge targets from a great Warden without a force-taunt.

What I really like about the Warden is the gambit system. My Hunter has bar after bar of abilities, plus a couple bars of teleports before you became able to use those from the skills menu. My Warden has four main buttons, plus a few stances, ranged attacks, and toys. 1 is the Spear (offense), 2 is the Shield (defense), 3 is the Fist (taunt), and 4 is the combo. 4 changes depending on which of 1-3 you use first and in what combination: 11 is a quick stab, 213 boosts all your defenses, and 32 is an area effect taunt/DoT with a self-heal. The most celebrated Warden gambit comes at level 58: Conviction, an area effect heal and threat transfer, letting you grab aggro on every add. There is something glorious about having access to 20+ skills using only a few buttons.

Plus, Wardens are the second-best travel class. I should get access to the “Muster in…” self-teleport line of skills soon.

: Zubon

10 thoughts on “Baby Warden”

  1. I really like my Warden. As you say, the travel options are way more than just an added bonus in a game like this one. It’s gonna sound weird but I really like how middle of the road the Warden is because since it’s done in a good way it’s an almost perfect class for a tenacious soloer like myself.

    No, I can’t top dedicated DPSers and I can’t reliably out-tank professional two-legged Panzers, but hey… the good news is that I don’t care and I don’t have to. The constant stream of HoTs keeps me nice and tidy while my above average damage does the rest. I’ve gotten through some encounters and bad pulls that seriously choked or outright mangled my other characters, but it was nothing for my Warden.

    Oh, and the gambit system is nice. Seems overwhelming at first, but once you learn the logic behind it (which might take all of 10 minutes, really) then you’re good to go.

    It’s one of the best classes I’ve played in an MMO, hands down.

  2. I have real love-hate feelings about the warden class and it’s all to do with the gambit system. It’s championed as a proactive, strategic system but really when a lot of the playstyle involves pre-set routines and stacking near-identical gambits (shield HoTs, spear bleeds, ToTs), it does fall a bit flat. Getting through the late 30s and early forties doing the exact same 4 gambit then 3 gambit sequence for each and every mob was a bit painful. It does get better when masteries are earned and the spear buffing gambits are introduced to make soloing more interesting.

    I like the idea but would like it be more reactive and more variety in gambits of the same pattern. Masteries just come a little late and the fact they are traits that nearly every warden slots is just not good design. I’ve hopes that that will be changed in a revamp, but as for getting more variety in gambits not holding out much hope because the Lotro class designers don’t seem to like changing things up too much.

    1. You might actually really like a Guardian. They’re not as robust as the Warden with the heals and ranged attacks, and splash of CC, but they do have reactive chains of skills and taunts that make them apparently just the tank you are looking for.

      Or you might like a Captain for the variety of roles and an even mix between reactive and pre-planned tactics.

    2. I wouldn’t argue that most wardens trait the masteries is a sign of bad design. First off, they don’t all trait the same ones. I’ve heard experienced wardens say that the trait only shield, or shield and fist, or only fist. It’s another point of customization, one with wide interpretation of what’s best. And best seems to be highly dependent on play-style.

  3. The LOTRO warden forums are a great info resource, it’s easily the most active class forum ;). It has been the most satisfying of my 65s(others are RK and Burg) but it does require constant play to maintain skills, at least for me. /salute

  4. By traiting masteries, you can save 2-3 seconds on a 5 length gambit..and you don’t need to be in melee range to activate a mastery unlike the builders. If all you’re gonna do is 2-3 length gambits, then i can see not slotting masteries but I would find it gimping myself. I always run with 3 masteries and only change out: master of the spear/shield depending on needs. I don’t like the trait design but it is what it is.

  5. I really enjoyed my Warden, and was happy to add him to my pile of max leveled and geared people…until I ended up in one too many groups with insane hunters. Wardens really struggle to snag agro, and need a group that understands they have almost no way to grab snap agro. After the hunter group that nearly broke me, I ended up in a group with a champ who swore he could get more agro than me. He did. And died. Four times. And the group *blamed me*. Yes it was a pug, but I was done at that point.

    So now he sits with a pretty nice, mostly maxed set of 2nd age weapons and solid gear, gathering dust.

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