An Introduction to Playing a Captain in Lord of the Rings Online
by: Benjamin Sell
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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Captains are true leaders, able to use their skills to inspire those around them and ensure the success of their fellowship. This guide will show you the basics of playing the Captain class, setting you on course to become a master Captain.
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The Captain is arguably the most versatile class in the game. Skilled in rallying together allies and providing timely encouragement on the battlefield, in gameplay terms they are best known for their ability to buff up allies, enhancing their ability to succeed in combat. However, they also have skills that allow them to heal and revive fallen comrades, and when necessary can tank for a group. While not the most skilled class in either of these categories they are still more than capable of fulfilling these roles under most circumstances. Captains also have a few special skills that can turn a losing cause into a miraculous victory, making them a welcome addition to any group effort.
Compared to other classes, Captains are near the top of the line when it comes to taking hits due to their high health and ability to wear heavy armour. Captains drop down to the middle of the pack when it comes to dishing out damage, but they’re still quite competent at doing damage when the situation calls for it. Always remember that a Captain’s greatest strength is in his flexibility; they are given many different ways to approach a situation, so being able to adapt to changing combat conditions will lead to great success as a Captain.
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Creating and Equipping your Captain
Humans are the only race that can play captains, so you’ll have no choice when creating your character. Keep in mind the useful traits that humans have access to, such as the sword damage bonus and a powerful self-heal. Also be aware of the fellowship bonus traits that are available; these can further augment a Captain’s usefulness in a fellowship.
There’s nothing complicated about finding the right equipment for your Captain. Since it’s a diverse class it can never hurt to upgrade any of your stats, although generally speaking its best to focus on might, fate or will while placing the least importance on agility. Morale boosting equipment is also useful as it improves your ability to function as a tank, but while a few stats are more important than others there are no must have pieces of equipment for Captains.
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Heralds and Standards
One of the Captain’s main features is their ability to summon heralds, who are constant companions to your character. You’ll earn the first, the Herald of War, at level ten, and three more types will be opened up as you progress in level. They fight alongside you, providing additional damage, and they also carry a banner, which improves both your stats and those of anyone that you’re questing with. Precisely what stats are being improved depends on which type of Herald you employ, but they all offer some sort of benefit. In addition, each type of herald has a unique skill, such as stunning an enemy or attracting their attention, making them valuable assets in battle.
At level twenty you’ll be able to plant your first battle standard. Basic standards are acquired from your trainer, while more elaborate types can be crafted by tailors. Standards offer buffs similar in nature to heralds, but are much more powerful. By contrast they are stationary and cannot actively contribute to combat, lessening both your mobility and flexibility.
Heralds and standards both come with advantages and disadvantages; they each have their uses depending on the situation you face. In general terms, heralds are preferable when soloing while banners become more useful in groups. A herald’s ability to fight allows a solo captain to deal with multiple enemies at once, making the herald a valuable form of crowd control. In parties the herald’s combat skills will be severely outclassed by other fellowship members, who in turn will benefit greatly from the larger statistical buffs that standards offer. Choosing between heralds and standards, as well as picking the right type for each situation, is an example of how much flexibility this class offers.
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Last Minute Miracles
Another trait that sets the Captain apart from other classes is the number of skills they have that can allow them to sway the tide of a losing battle. At level twenty Captains earn the invaluable Escape from Darkness skill, the only skill in the game that allows a fallen fellowship member to be resurrected while still in combat. Being able to bring back a downed party member can often turn around a battle that it starting to go poorly. This also gives the Captain a healing role that cannot be filled by Minstrels or Lore-Masters.
If things start to get even further out of hand then the Captain has a powerful combo of skills that can allow a fellowship to make a strong final push. The first skill is Last Stand, earned at level twenty-two. For a period of fifteen seconds this makes you immune to defeat. The second skill, earned at level thirty-six, is In Harm’s Way, which allows you to absorb fifty percent of all damage being done to your fellowship members for a brief period of time. When these two skills are used in conjunction Captains are able to absorb a massive amount of damage, so save them for a time when it looks as though a fight could be lost. The few seconds that this skill will buy your party can allow another member to pull off a massive attack or crucial heal that can turn the flow of battle back in your favour.
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Other Important Captain Skills
The Captain has a few other skills available that, while not as powerful, should always be employed whenever possible. First among them are Marks. You’ll earn three types of these as you level up, and they either allow you and your fellowship to deal additional damage to the monster it’s used on, or do some reasonable DoT on their own. Only one Mark can be used per enemy, but there is no reason to not use one of the three types whenever entering combat.
The level twenty-two Shield Brother is another skill that should always be active. This skill allows you to make one other character your best friend for a time, opening up a number of useful buffs that can be used on them. Only one person can be your shield brother at a time, so when in a fellowship choose whichever character needs your extra boosts the most. Keep in mind that this skill can also be used on heralds, so when soloing there is no reason for your herald to not be your shield brother. In fact, any NPC can be a made a shield brother, so this skill is also useful in protection and escort quests.
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Summary: What to Remember when Playing your Captain
When played correctly the Captain can be both an excellent solo adventurer and an invaluable contributor to a fellowship for group questing. When soloing, take advantage of your heralds and flexible range of skills to properly manage fights and prevent yourself from getting into difficult situations. When in a group, remember that you are that group’s most flexible member. Identify whatever key role the group is missing and do your best to fill it. If played properly, no two fellowship experiences for a captain will be alike. Finally, always remember that with the right skills you can turn a seemingly hopeless situation into a brilliant victory. With these tips in mind you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert Captain.