Skills and Abilities From Levels 1-20
At level one, you will still have skills and abilities that will be built upon throughout your game play. One of the main skills that all hunters possess and rely upon is their archery skills.
Hunters will do the most damage to enemies with bows and crossbows. As you level your archery skill and hit level ten with your hunter, you will gain more Focus, which allows your shots to do more damage. Each time you use your archery skill, it will add one to your Focus. Once you use a special skill, it will subtract an amount from your Focus pool. So, the more damaging a special shot is, the more Focus it will use. Your Focus pool will max out at nine, no matter what level you hit. One thing to remember in LOTRO is that you do not need to be a certain range from an enemy to use a ranged weapon, like in other MMO games. So, you can use your bow if you are 20 yards away or right in front of an enemy. Hunters will find that even in close hand-to-hand combat, your bow will still do the most damage since it can not be interrupted.
Another important skill that you will learn early in your game play is traps. This is great for times when you are soloing melee mobs since the trap can usually inflict more damage than that beginning ranged shot can. When you are in a group, traps can help to hold an enemy in place while your tank does some major damage and keeps the attention on the tank instead of on you or another player that does not have a lot of hit points, like a healer. When you reach level six with your hunter, you will learn the Basic Set Trap skill. This will give you the ability to make a trap that will freeze one enemy in place, but won't do any damage to it.
During your time in these lower levels, you will also have access to some survival skills, such as cooking. The good thing about being a hunter is that you can build a campfire without any materials. Campfires can be used to help buff up morale and regenerate power. They also allow cooks to make food for the group that can help with agility, might, and vitality.
After you hit level ten, you will be spending most of your time in Bree. This is where the majority of the quests are for level ten through to twenty, as well as some of the surrounding areas, such as Annunlos. These areas will help you gain the experience you need, as well as skills and abilities that will help you later in the game.
As you hit level ten and work your way to level twenty, you will gain more skills and better abilities. Your archery skills will continue to level up and give you better weapons and better ranges. At level twenty, you will gain another skill that will help in your archery, called Intent Concentration. This will allow you to reach full focus in emergency situations. It is for this emergency reason that the ability has a long cool-down period of 3 minutes. When it comes to traps, you will learn the Basic Bear Trap when you hit level fifteen. This will slightly damage a target while it holds it in place and allow you to gain a bit more time before it hits you in close range combat. If you choose to become a Weaponsmith at this time, you can learn to craft other traps that will help hold or do more damage. If you decide not to be a Weaponsmith, then you can purchase other traps from the Auction House.
Speaking of close combat, Hunters are not entirely useless here. At level ten, you will gain the ability to defend yourself in a surprise attack as well as finish what you have started with your ranged attack. You will also gain the ability to wear Medium Armour that will give you added protection against damage.
You will also start to refine your stances that will allow you to improve your attributes. There are three different Hunter Stances: strength, precision, and endurance. Each time you improve one stance, you will lower your abilities in the other two. Here is a short break down of the three stances:
Strength – this increased the damage that you can do as well as your Threat factor, which makes you noticeable to an enemy. This can actually be useful while soloing because you want to be able to do the most damage possible. As you start out, this is the only stance that is available to you from level four though seventeen.
Precision – this increases the accuracy of your shots and increases the chance that your Quick Shot will be a critical hit instead of just doing a bit of damage. Since this skill does not actually affect your Threat to enemies, scoring this critical hit dose make you become more noticeable.
Endurance – this reduces the cost of the power that it takes for your attacks and reduces your threat factor as well. This is the way to go if you are normally playing in a group that has a good tank who holds the enemy's attention so that you can do damage from ranged shots.
In the next part of this series, we will go through the skills and abilities that your Hunter will gain and use from level twenty up to thirty.