An Introduction to Playing a Burglar in Lord of the Rings Online
by: Benjamin Sell
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 5/10/2012
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Burglars are masters of stealth and cunning, able to use their skills to confuse and weaken their enemies, or simply sneak past them. This guide will show you the basics of playing the Burglar class, setting you on the path to becoming an expert Burglar.
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Burglars are skilled at slight of hand tricks and misleading enemies; in gameplay terms this means that Burglars are given the role of debuffers. They use their skills to weaken foes and rob them of their ability to dish out maximum damage and use their most powerful skills. Burglars can also play a role in crowd control, and are the only class that can consistently and reliably initiate fellowship manoeuvres, making them highly valued in fellowships.
When it comes to dealing and taking damage, Burglars are in about the middle of the pack when compared to other classes. They can do a fair bit of damage and can also take hits when needed, but that doesn’t mean you should simply stand and fight when playing one. The real strength of the Burglar class is in its skills, which you need to learn and take advantage of to play this class effectively.
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Creating and Equipping your Burglar
Burglars can be played by either humans or hobbits, and both races offer advantages and disadvantages. Hobbits earn the ability to feign death, which can be useful for avoiding disaster while adventuring. However, humans earn a powerful healing trait which can also come in handy during quests. Both races also offer small statistical pros and cons, but neither race truly stands out as a superior Burglar. You can’t go wrong with either choice.
There aren’t too many tricks for properly equipping your Burglar, however it is important to wear items that raise your stealth level whenever possible. There are numerous cloaks and pocket items that can accomplish this. Some will be encountered during the mainstream story and class quests, while others can be found in more obscure areas. Regardless of how you come across them, items with stealth bonuses should be used until superior equipment comes along.
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The Art of Stealth
Stealth is a skill your Burglar will learn at level four, and it is this ability that makes the class so unique. There are a few things you should keep in mind to maximise the usefulness of this skill. First, always use stealth to get behind an enemy before attacking. You receive a bonus for attacking from behind, and when combined with other skills such as Aim and Surprise Strike a back attack can become among the most powerful in the game. There is absolutely no reason not to take on opponents from behind.
Conversely, you should take care never to walk directly in front of enemies while in stealth mode. Stepping in the line of sight of mobs, even ones well below your level, will almost always result in you being spotted, dragging you into a fight you aren’t prepared for. So when planning your sneaking route through a group of enemies be sure to take the direction that they’re facing into account. Diversion, a skill learned at level eighteen, should help you with this. It causes its target to turn its back to you, which can be immensely helpful in both avoiding being detected and safely pulling off back attacks.
Finally, remember that while in stealth mode you have the opportunity to, as the class name implies, burgle enemies (once you reach level 14). Try to take advantage of this ability whenever reasonable; at worst it’s a nice source of additional income, and on rare occasions you can come up with loot that’s a little more valuable.
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Tricks of the Trade
Tricks are a series of the Burglar’s most commonly used skills. These are the skills that set Burglars apart from other classes during combat, by allowing Burglars to soften up enemies. Some are used defensively, like Disable, a level 2 skill which cuts the target’s damage output by twenty percent. Others, like the level 26 Counter-Defence, eliminates the enemy’s ability to block and evade your attacks, allowing you to deal much more damage.
In general you need to be aware of the situation and the types of enemies you’re fighting in order to pick your tricks appropriately. If you’re fighting solo it’s best to try to take down enemies as quickly as possible with damage enhancing tricks. If you’re taking on elite monsters as part of a fellowship you need to focus on weakening their attack power, and, if necessary, spreading aggro throughout the group so no single party member is overwhelmed and defeated. Also, be sure to remember that some tricks can hit multiple targets at once, which is always useful in a fight where numbers are against you.
In addition to debuffing enemies Burglars can play a valuable role as crowd controllers. While second to Lore-masters in this regard they still have more than enough skills to keep enemies under control in most situations. You’ll get your first crowd control skill, Riddle, at level 8, and you’ll earn similar skills down the line. Again, you should try to take advantage of these whenever possible, as properly controlling your enemies can often make the difference between victory and defeat.
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Other Important Burgling Skills
While tricks, crowd control skills and stealth make up the majority of a Burglar’s repertoire, there are some other abilities you should also keep in mind if you’re planning on playing this class. Mischievous Glee, a skill learned at level 10, is the only way for a Burglar to heal himself during combat. Be sure to use it whenever your health starts to drop.
Finally, never underestimate a Burglar’s ability to escape from a losing cause. Touch and Go is an early acquired skill that vastly increases your chances of evading attacks for a period of thirty seconds. While it by no means makes you invincible, this brief reprise can make the difference between survival and defeat. A skill acquired further down the line at level 30, Hide in Plain Sight, is even more useful. This skill puts you into undetectable stealth for ten seconds, and so when used properly should allow you to escape from any fight in one piece. Always be aware of how a fight is going so you can be prepared to use one of these skills should the need arise. If used properly, you should rarely suffer any defeats as a Burglar.
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Summary: What to Remember when Playing your Burglar
If played properly a Burglar can be both an immensely powerful soloing class and a very valuable addition to any fellowship for group questing. When choosing to play a Burglar always ensure that you take advantage of your class’ unique skills by employing stealth whenever possible and properly using tricks to weaken enemies and turn the tide of a fight. If these tactics fail, remember that escape is usually a viable option. The key to successfully playing a Burglar is to always start and keep fights on your terms; if battles get out of hand it’s better to retreat and take a new approach rather than simply try to slug out a losing cause. With all of the above in mind you’ll be well on your way to mastering the Burglar class.