Hail to all those fellow RK’s out their in Middle-Earth!
I would like to give a big thank you to one of my fellow kin-mates Torunuir Tarikabar for writing this wonderful article and allowing me to feature it on the website.
Torunuir is one of those kin-mates that just make LOTRO more fun! He brings a unique gaming perspective to the table, and his knowledge about Middle-Earth is mind blowing at times as he’s like a Tolkien dictionary. He has done a fantastic job on this overview of the Rune Keeper and I hope you all enjoy!
An Overview to the Runekeeper
A hybrid DPS and healing class, a fully buffed Runekeeper (referred to as RK) is not to be despised. Capable of laying down fire, lighting, a decent amount of CC, and healing, RK’s have the potential to solo small fellowship quests as well as being a compliment to any fellowship. The Keeper uses the attunement system, which is shown as a large bar that swings from side to side depending on skills used.
There are three types of Runekeeper skills: damage, healing, and neutral. While damage and healing skills seem natural, some neutral skills, such as Self-Motivation, bring attunement toward neutral rather than towards damage or healing. Keeping an eye on attunement incombat is essential for success; the higher attunement, the more powerful skills become. Some skills require at least one damage/healing attunement before they can be used. For example, Word of Exaltation, the basic RK morale bubble, requires at least one healing attunement before it can be used.
Post Helm’s Deep Update (U12), trait trees were added to all classes, with the Runekeeper being no exception. They are as follows:
1) Solitary Thunder (DPS) – yellow tree
2) Cleansing Flame (DPS) – red tree
3) Benediction of Peace (healing) – blue tree
While the DPS can be attained in either DPS tree, play-style and fellowship needs will generally dictate what trees the RK should trait into.
Also known as the lightning tree, this DPS tree stresses mobility and CC while dealing damage at the same time. Traiting in this tree yields Writ of Lightning, a potent damage and debuff skill. When stacked to full tier, this Writ debuffs the target’s lighting mitigation, leaving said target more vulnerable to any other lightning attack.
While there are other vital skills for the RK in this tree, a few vital ones to note are Sustaining Bolt and Epic Conclusion. When Sustaining Bolt is first acquired, it seems weak, since it does not deal as much damage and provides merely a reduction in skill power costs. However, when enough points are slotted into the tree, a class trait is unlocked that allows Sustaining Bolt to heal morale. Couple this with the fact that Word of Exaltation can be used out of healing tree, and there is a new survivalist potential to this tree that the other two trees lack.
Finally, Epic Conclusion is perhaps the most powerful skill this tree has to offer. Starting with a fair amount of base damage, if Harsh Debate and Thunderous Words are proc’d, then the combined result is extremely power. Since keeping an eye on what has been proc’d is so important, a circle appears on the side of the RK when each of these is obtained. When both are acquired, a streak of lightning appears between the two circles, and the succeeding bar turns blue. Using Epic Conclusion now increases its damage, its crit chance, and reduces its cooldown by half.
While words only explain so much, experience is key, so try heading to a camp of enemies and experimenting a bit. Much can be learned by trying different combinations in different situations, experience that is vital in stressful situations.
Unlike lightning DPS, stationary DoT is the name of the game in the fire tree (note: there is more AoE damage than lightning as a result). Stacking and keeping stacked fire DoT’s is essential to playing in this tree. Writ of Fire, when upgraded through class traits, will tier down instead of just dropping off when it times out, so keep that in mind. Also, along with stacking Writ of Fire, stack Fiery Ridicule as well. FR, also when upgraded, will affect up to three nearby enemies, and, FR’s DoT can be refreshed by the use of Essence of Flame, another AoE fire skill.
Once fire skills are stacked, time is needed to take full effect of all the tiers put on a target. While the stacks are going, use a skill that will deal more damage without affecting the stacks on a target; I personally use Smoldering Wrath. While Wrath can be used at any time, I have found it useful to use to deal even more damage while my DoT’s are taking effect. However, Shocking Words or Combustion can be used for different effects, there is no one right way to play.
As this is but an overview, one other key skill to note is Essay of Flame. It is only accessible through class traits, but it removes the induction of your next skill. Use it wisely; it has a 10s CD.
Benediction of Peace
Ah yes, healing, the part of difficulty for many Keepers. RK healing as a whole can be summed up into a single statement: Healing over Time. As a healer, every situation, every instance is different, making it tough to have a predetermined healing skill rotation. However, there are a few things that any healer should keep in mind.
First, since time is essential here, protection while time is ticking is required. RK’s have a couple skills that accent this process: Word of Exaltation (single target) and Essay of Exaltation (all allies within 20m). Both of them are morale bubbles, and insulate their target to a degree while the healer is stacking healing on them. For stacking, use Writ of Health (it tiers down as well), and keep an eye on Bombastic Inspiration. BI, when expired, heals for a few thousand morale instantly rather than over time, making it incredibly useful in instances such as the Watcher. BI can also be used while moving, so, if as a healer, you are forced to heal while mobile, BI is your new best friend. Side note for stacking: if you are the sole healer in a full fellowship, consider using Rousing Words to spread a Writ of Health among all your nearby fellowship members.
Of course, as with any pull, there are emergencies. This is where skills that yield instant morale earn the most merit for RK’s. Mending Words (shorter induction but less health) and Epic For The Ages (longer induction but more health) come in handy here. Both heal considerable amounts of morale, and EFTA can be upgraded to yield splash morale.
In conclusion, the Runekeeper is a versatile class with a lot of potential. It is also simple to learn, but hard to master. Time and experience will help the mastering process, but, when mastering is attained, the RK becomes an unstoppable force in the hands of a capable player.
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