[LotRO] Fellowship Maneuvers

More games need to steal adapt fellowship maneuvers from The Lord of the Rings Online. It is a great mechanic that raises the skill ceiling and rewards group play without punishing soloers.

For those who have never played LotRO, a “conjunction” or “fellowship maneuver” is a group bonus opportunity. They randomly trigger occasionally in groups, and some classes have the ability to trigger them (notably Burglars). When they happen, the target is stunned for a few seconds, and everyone in the group can pick a color. The combination of colors creates an effect, with bonuses for coordinated maneuvers (mostly poker hands, order matters). A green-blue full house gives your group a big heal and mana refill, while a long straight can wipe trash mobs, put a big DoT on the boss, give you that heal and mana refill, and/or summon NPC allies.

This is a great way to support group play. It takes nothing away from solo players, but it provides a bonus to being in a group, and the bonus scales up with the group size. Playing with a couple of friends, you can occasionally get a nice little bonus. Playing with a full, organized group, you hit big bonuses all the time and steamroll.

Consistently hitting big fellowship maneuvers is the difference between a good group and a great group in LotRO. FMs encourage exactly the right sort of great group: clear communication, identifying roles, coordinating effort, and providing flexible support when circumstances knock someone out of a planned role. Groups that make good use of the system would be great groups anyway. This rewards them for doing things right and encourages players to group more and to group well. If you don’t talk to your group, you probably cannot hit those FMs. If you find a group you like playing with consistently, you will probably be in better practice at hitting FMs.

The mechanical particulars may not lend themselves to every game, but the fundamental idea and in-game execution are excellent. Full kudos to whoever designed and implemented that system.

: Zubon

9 thoughts on “[LotRO] Fellowship Maneuvers”

  1. I love the fellowship maneuver mechanic. There was a raid encounter based around them a while back. It might still be there, I haven’t played in a while.

  2. I also love that you could change it on the fly. Do we need super-healing or are we ready to bring the pain? What about a bit of both. Very well done, especially for a “raid-like mechanic”.

  3. EverQuest II had Heroic Opportunities at launch back in 2004, which were a little more complicated but pretty much the same idea. Rather than “everybody click red” it required you to use a specific type of skill in order to build up to the outcome.

  4. The advantage of Heroic Opportunities over Fellowship maneuvers is that HO’s work both solo and in group. I never really got to try HOs in groups however as the friends I dragged into EQ2 didn’t stay long enough to get practiced with them. I do remember Fellowship conjunctions being a bit of a team-building exercise for dungeon groups back when I was playing LoTRO in an active guild. So I’d agree that the system is a good idea in any MMO really. It’s a shame that I found the Guild Wars 2 combo system so difficult to use the UI gave no helpful indication what other players are doing to help coordinate attacks.

  5. Do they really scale past level 50? I remember them being near useless in most raids and instances past Moria.

  6. I was just thinking about this the other day (as I’m playing LotRO actively again for a bit). I *love* the idea of fellowship manoeuvres and always have had fun trying to achieve the more complicated ones in groups. It’s such a shame the developers didn’t expand on it more. Right now they’re rarely used as ignoring them results in a high DPS, as you’re out of action for so long doing a manoeuvre. The power and morale ones (or the ones with more than 2 colours) are still useful when you are undermanning things or lacking a healer or lore-master, but that’s about it.

  7. There was a rumour that some work was being done to bring them back into play but being turbine was probably just hot air…

  8. In former Times, up to Level 65 we use them very common.
    After that the outcome become better, if you do classic Damage.
    The FSM using stopped except for the Incoming Damagebreak by stunning the Monster.

    Drycock (as he called himself) needs only Yellow and Red, and even that starts very hard of many players.

    We use in 65 Times a lot of Streets, Ents hit, and the one that creates 2 Oathbreakers.
    Was very funny and we applaud us self if all works right :-)
    I have nice Memories about this.
    Greatings to my old mates from Maiar.

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