April 24, 2020

Guide to the Classes in the Lord of the Rings Online

The Guide is up to date with: July 2020 (Update 27)

Latest Changes to the Guide: Fixed formatting issues. Note: this guide was made with an old formatting system. I plan to make a new guide for 2021 with updated formatting and a new, long-lasting home page!

Latest major class changes: Update 27.2 brought changes to some gameplay mechanics. Read more: https://www.lotrobasics.com/2020/07/u27.2-rundown.html.


This is a resource for the classes in the Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). While primarily focused on new players, the guide may also serve more experienced players looking for more knowledge on their class or other classes (and perhaps how to share their own information). The goals of the guide include:

·       InformationContain up to date information on all of the classes in LOTRO

·       Guide - Directing players on a class you may enjoy based on playstyles and fantasies

·       Resource/Database - Provide an informational base of all classes in a single page, for easy viewing and reference, including links to resources for the individual classes



Table of Contents




Introduction to the Classes of LOTRO

Introduces the classes and their roles, along with what a class means. (Heavily oriented towards newer players)

·       Beorning

·       Burglar

·       Captain

·       Champion

·       Guardian

·       Hunter

·       Lore Master

·       Minstrel

·       Rune Keeper

·       Warden

Covers general information and additional resources for each class, individually, with the layout:

·       Lore/fantasy

·       Class description

·       Gameplay styles

·       Specs and roles in group and solo play

        (Click the links to jump to that part of the guide!)


Overview of the Classes of LOTRO


The Class System – How Classes Affect Your LOTRO Experience


In LOTRO, or just about any MMORPG for that matter, your class is like your character identity, defining what your character does and how it plays. Each class is unique, having different playstyles and abilities. Within each class, there are three specializations (specs), which can make your character excel at a particular aspect of the class. The specs have formal names but are often referred to the color of the trait tree - blue, red, and yellow.


LOTRO offers a wide variety of class fantasies that coincide with the Lord of the Rings series the game is based on, and their playstyles can fit into common RPG styles, including:

·       Melee fighter

·       Ranger

·       Spellcaster/wizard

·       Healer

·       Tank

Hopefully this guide will help direct you towards a class you will enjoy, so you can enjoy the game (more).


The Classes


There are currently 10 classes in LOTRO, 7 are available for free, as any account type, and the other 3 need to be purchased (indicated by *) in some form. Click links to be taken to a more in depth overview for the class.






·       DPS

·       Tank

·       Healer/Support

Versatile melee class that can skin-change into a bear and perform as DPS, tank, or heal and support.

*Purchased alone or in a bundle with a character slot.


·       DPS

·       Support

Fast paced melee class that can focus on DPS or support, with a debuff and DoT based kit.


·       Support

·       Tank

·       Heal

·       DPS

Melee support class, but can specialize to take on each role - tanking, healing, and DPSing. They excel at support by giving buffs to fellows.


·       DPS

·       Tank

Heavy-hitting melee combatant that can focus on AoE or ST damage. Their tanking abilities are inferior, but sufficient for easier content or as an off-tank.


·       Tank

·       DPS

Heavy melee tanking class that can also DPS. They are strong tanks using shields or more versatile using 2-handed weapons to tank (or DPS).


·       DPS

A pure ranged DPS class that can specialize to be mobile while shooting, steady for heavier shots, or focus on trapping and debuffing enemies.

Lore Master

·       Support

·       DPS

Ranged caster with animal pets that has a support-based kit and powerful AoE spells.


·       Healer

·       Healer/Support

·       DPS

Ranged instrument-based class using the power of song to heal and buff allies or take on the DPS role.

Rune Keeper*

·       DPS

·       Healer

Magic spellcaster with two focuses in ranged DPS – slowly build up fire, or instant-cast lightning. Can also focus on healing via HoTs and bubbles.

*Purchased alone or with the Warden in the Mines of Moria expansion pack.


·       DPS

·       Tank

·       DPS/”Support

Combo-based class that can focus on melee or ranged combat, or become a very self-sufficient tank.

*Purchased alone or with the Rune Keeper in the Mines of Moria expansion pack.


The Classes, Individually


Gameplay Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx6CNrzWw9w

Beorning Resource Page: https://lotrobasics.com/p/beorning-class-guides.html


Lore & Fantasy

Beornings, long descendants of Beorn, have a deep connection with nature and are largely known for their ability to skin-change into a bear.


Class Description

The Beorning is the newest class to LOTRO, with unique systems of skin-changing and wrath. Wrath, which replaces power, functions similar to rage in World of Warcraft and other MMOs, being built up and consumed in combat. Beornings are very versatile, allowing them to perform many roles in a group and take on different challenges depending on the scenario.


Gameplay Styles

Beornings use a small variety of single target and AoE attacks in man form that build wrath, often looking to bleed and debuff enemies. Bear form allows the Beorning to continue building wrath or consume their wrath for powerful offensive, defensive, or healing effects depending on their spec. Beornings have two choices when it comes to weaponry:

·       2-hander for slower, heavier hitting, allowing for more damage in bear form

·       Dual-wield for quicker hitting, allowing for more damage in man form and more stats (especially preferred for healing and tanking Beornings)


Roles & Specs

·       Blue: Tank – Focuses on grabbing aggro from enemies and using bear form to gain survivability and damage capabilities

·       Red: DPS – Focuses on bleeding enemies while preparing to consume wrath to unleash devastating blows and execute enemies

·       Yellow: Healer/Support – Focuses on balancing wrath builders and consumers while healing allies and debuffing enemies

In group content, Beornings are most often taken for their healing in yellow, however, they are viable tanks as well. Beornings are strong solo, with red providing maximum damage and other specs aiding in difficulty content.



Gameplay Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skQhlab_hFo

Burglar Resource Page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/burglar-class-guides.html


Lore & Fantasy

Burglars, inspired by the iconic Bilbo Baggins, are known for being sneaky and deceitful. They are masters of stealth, taking advantage of enemies whenever possible.


Class Description

The burglar is a very faced paced melee class built around tricking, debuffing, and bleeding their enemies, as well as and landing strong critical hits. In addition to strong damage, Burglars provide a lot of utility and support to battle.


Gameplay Styles

The Burglar utilizes a variety of basic attacks, stealth, DoTs, debuffs, and their critical chain. Attacking from stealth can allow the Burglar to surprise enemies (and burgle them!), opening combat with powerful attacks. Scoring critical hits enables them to use strong finisher skills, potentially dealing massive damage or strong debuffs. Burglars may also focus on a more supportive role by tricking their enemies, weakening their defenses and prowess in battle.


Roles & Specs

·       Blue: DPS – Focuses on rolling gambles causing debuffs and DoTs on the enemy, with strong self-sustain while evading attacks

·       Red: DPS – Focuses on attacks from stealth and strong critical hits opening powerful critical chain skills

·       Yellow: Support – Focuses on balancing tricks and trick removal skills to weaken enemies, enabling groups to deal more damage and giving fellowship support

In group content, Burglars often spec into the yellow or red line, as they are sought after for their powerful debuffs or damaging capabilities. While playing solo, red or blue can provide the smoothest experience – with blue being stronger at low levels and for self-sustain at higher levels.



Gameplay Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUQ84nhblrg

Captains Resource Page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/captain-class-guides.html


Lore & Fantasy

Captains are leaders of the battlefield, providing strong support to nearby allies. They are tough to defeat on their own, but are mostly known for buffing their group to help bring down powerful enemies.


Class Description

The Captain, best utilized in groups, is a slower-paced melee class that focuses on creating and maintaining powerful buffs for their fellowship. They have heralds, pet-type NPCs that provide additional boosts to allies and deal damage in combat.


Gameplay Styles

Captains utilize shouts, cries, and a variety of melee attacks to buff their allies. Basic abilities open combat phases (battle-readied and battle-hardened states) which allow them to do further damage while creating stronger buffs. Although buffing is the primary theme of Captains, their damaging attacks focus on dealing massive critical hits to take down foes. Defeating enemies in combat can allow Captains to rally allies or punish other foes with a devastating shout. Captains can focus their supportive role and buffs on damage, defenses, or healing.


Roles & Specs

·       Blue: Support/Healer – Focuses on drawing the attention of enemies while providing defensive buffs to allies

·       Red: Support/DPS – Focuses on dealing critical damage while providing strong offensive buffs to allies

·       Yellow: Tank/Support – Focuses on healing allies while dealing chip damage and providing utility and defensive buffs to allies

In group content, all roles are viable for the Captain, however they are most often seen in red for damage support or yellow as a tank. While playing solo, red will provide maximum kill speed, although the other specs can be used to take on tougher content with ease.



Gameplay Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bauzGT3W_Q4

Champion Resource Page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/champion-class-guides.html


Lore & Fantasy

The Champion is a classic hack and slash melee combatant, known for being at the forefront of battle – ready for any fight.


Class Description

The Champion is a basic medium-paced melee class that has easy to pick up gameplay, often recommended for new players. They have a unique fervour system, with attacks building and consuming fervour points.


Gameplay Styles

Champions utilize a set of abilities centered around building and consuming fervour. Basic attacks can build fervour and empower the Champion or debuff enemies, while fervour consumers can tear down foes with powerful area-of-effect or single target attacks, or they may bolster defenses. Champions have two choices for weapons:

·       2h – Slower attacking for stronger attacks, often preferred for single target damage

·       Dual-wield – Faster attacking allowing for multiple hits with abilities, often preferred for tanking or area-of-effect damage


Roles & Specs

·       Blue: Tank (off-tank) – Focuses on drawing aggro while boosting defenses and debuffing enemies to survive

·       Red: ST DPS – Focuses on dealing strong critical damage to a single target to bring it down quickly

·       Yellow: AoE DPS – Focuses on dealing strong area-of-effect damage to bring defeat to many foes at once

In group content Champions often spec into the yellow for AoE DPS and associated debuffs, however red may be used for single targets. While playing solo, any of the DPS lines will be suitable, and blue may be used to bolster defenses for tough content.



Gameplay Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymE_3_cB52w

Guardian Resource Page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/guardian-class-guides.html


Lore & Fantasy

The Guardian is a heavy, defensive melee fighter. Primarily a tank, they are known as being the heart of the fellowship.


Class Description

Guardians are keen on defending allies, typically seen using a sword and board fighting style. Although, they may forego this role to unleash the warrior within to focus on a more offensive approach.


Gameplay Styles

Guardians have a variety of basic melee attacks to boost defenses, debuff enemies, and deal area-of-effect damage. If the damage role is chosen, many skills gain bleed effects. They have parry and blocking reaction chains that enable strong attacks with weapon and shield, that can cause massive bleeds and stuns. Guardians may swap their shield for a 2-handed weapon for stronger damage, although this disables shield attacks.


Roles & Specs

·       Blue: Tank – Focuses on a very sturdy defense with a heavy shield and drawing aggro from enemies

·       Red: DPS – Focuses on quickly attacking and bleeding enemies while forcing open the parry chain to unleash powerful bleeds and critical damage

·       Yellow: Tank – Focuses on being an offensive tank, often forgoing a shield, while weakening enemies through debuffs and dealing AoE damage

In group content, Guardians are widely expected to tank, however they may provide moderate damage filling a DPS role. When playing solo, red can provide a quick experience, while yellow can deal strong AoE damage and help survivability.



Gameplay Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTMuLG0hhmY

Hunter Resource Page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/hunter-class-guides.html


Lore & Fantasy

The Hunter, inspired by Legolas, is a classic ranged class using bow and arrows. They provide the infamous taxi service in LOTRO, as they may port fellows to different cities around Middle Earth.


Class Description

Hunters are masters of ranged combat dealing quick, devastating attacks. They have the unique focus system, consisting of builders and strong consumers. Additionally, their arsenal includes traps to debilitate and damage foes and melee attacks if enemies get close.


Gameplay Styles

Hunter gameplay revolves around the focus system with induction-based attacks building focus and powerful instant shots consuming focus. Some shots leave bleeds on foes, while others deal massive damage on critical hits. During normal combat, utility skills may feel neglected, but become necessary for Hunters to survive difficult fights.


Roles & Specs

·       Blue: DPS – Focuses on mobility and shooting while on the move, bleeding enemies and dealing strong critical hits

·       Red: DPS – Focuses on induction damage and strong critical hits as a steady, powerful archer

·       Yellow: DPS/Support – Focuses on traps and survivability while bleeding enemies and controlling their ability to move

In group content, the Hunter fills the DPS role, most often in the red line at higher levels. When playing solo, blue can provide a smooth, quick-paced experience, while yellow can allow Hunters to take on tricky and difficult content alone.



Gameplay Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TUFAdKeGNw

Lore Master Resource Page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/lore-master-class-guides.html


Lore & Fantasy

The Lore Master (LM), inspired by Gandalf and other wizards, is a powerful spell caster with animal pets. LMs are infamous for grandiose effects causing lag.


Class Description

Lore Masters bring a lot of utility to battle, while using magic spells to bring their foes down with the aid of a variety of animal pets that they can summon. Their spells bring massive AoE burst damage, debilitating debuffs, and fellowship support. LMs uniquely have spells that cost morale in addition to power.


Gameplay Styles

The Lore Master carries a unique gameplay style with a variety of induction-based damaging spells, debuffs, and some fellowship support spells. For damaging spells, basic abilities provide slow damage over time that can take a while to build up, while powerful AoE spells have long cooldowns providing massive burst damage. Pets primarily work passively, although may provide the LM with combat boosts. For a more supportive role, LMs provide strong debuffs to weaken enemies, have a small variety of heals for the fellowship, can restore power, and provide other utility buffs and debuffs.


Roles & Specs

·       Blue: DPS – Focuses on the LM’s pets, greatly empowering them, while allowing LM and pet attacks and abilities to benefit each other

·       Red: DPS – Focuses on the LM’s damaging spells, specializing in AoE burst damage and slowly built sustain damage over time

·       Yellow: Support – Focuses on the LM’s debuffs and fellowship support spells to ultimately make combat easier for groups

In group content, LMs often go red for AoE damage or yellow for debuffs and support. When playing solo, blue can be a strong option early on or for difficult content, while red will later provide more damage.



Gameplay Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reGuIc3i2IE

Minstrel Resource Page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/minstrel-class-guides.html


Lore & Fantasy

The Minstrel is known as a master of music and song, primarily using it to bolster allies, although they may choose to use talents on devastating their foes.


Class Description

Minstrels bring hope to battle, utilizing cries, calls, ballads, anthems, and finishing codas. They play as a spell caster with instant-cast damaging spells and a variety of healing spells. Minstrels may choose from a wide variety of instruments to play and as master musicians, they can teach other classes to play instruments.


Gameplay Styles

Minstrels carry three stances which change how some skills function – giving focus to healing, buffs and support, or damaging foes. Each stance gives a unique gameplay experience, although it is all built around instant cast ballads, anthems which provide strong fellowship buffs, and finishing codas providing powerful healing or damage effects. They also carry an assortment of instant cast cries and calls which deal large critical and AoE damage and induction-based healing spells.


Roles & Specs

·       Blue: Healer – Focuses on healing allies while providing defensive buffs through anthems

·       Red: DPS – Focuses on using their abilities to damage foes, using anthems to provide offensive buffs, and causing massive critical damage to many foes

·       Yellow: Support/Healer – Focuses on a balanced approach between damage and healing, resulting in powerfully buffing anthems and ballads, although, individually, damage and healing are inferior to the other specs

In group content, Minstrels are widely expected to heal (in blue), however may provide damage or support instead. When playing solo, red will be the most viable option.



Gameplay Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiL4JkzvbDA

Rune Keeper Resource Page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/rune-keeper-class-guides.html


Lore & Fantasy

Rune Keepers (RK) are linguistic master that use runestones and their abilities, to cast spells that can heal allies or create lightning, fire, and frost to destroy foes.


Class Description

Rune Keepers are naturally destructive spell casters, however they may use their powers to heal allies in combat. They use the unique attunement system – which allows the RK to build Battle Attunement on one side, or Healing Attunement on the opposite, with finishers consuming attunement for powerful effects.


Gameplay Styles

The Rune Keeper playstyle varies greatly with specialization. Frost spells are always available and provide utility, fire spells are induction based and deal damage over time, lightning spells are instant and deal strong critical damage, and healing spells restore morale over time. Attunement is built by basic skills, then consumed for powerful effects.


Roles & Specs

·       Blue: Healer – Focuses on healing the fellowship with powerful heal over times and bubbles

·       Red: DPS – Focuses on fire spells to deal damage over time, both in ST and AoE

·       Yellow: DPS – Focuses on lightning spells for mobility and to deal instant damage with large critical hits

In group content, RKs are flexible with very strong healing output and high damage in yellow and red. When playing solo, yellow is often the preferred choice for quick combat and mobility, however red is also viable.



Gameplay Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGBXWkMbWNM

Warden Resource Page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/warden-class-guides.html


Lore & Fantasy

The Warden, inspired by Haldir, is a mobile, combo-based combatant with the ability to tank. They use melee weapons, a warden’s shield, and a javelin for ranged attacks.


Class Description

Known for their complexity, Wardens provide a unique experience for LOTRO, with a large emphasis on the gambit system – a system of gambit builders that can build patterns to make Gambits, which are powerful abilities that may provide utility, damage, buffs, debuffs, and self-heals.


Gameplay Styles

With constant shouting at enemies and whacking them with weapon and shield, Warden gameplay revolves around the gambit system. Gambits are a set of skills that are built towards with gambit builders. Wardens have a large list of Gambits available for them to use, however the most often ones used will provide strong bleeds, single target and AoE light DoTs, buffs to boost defenses, and debuffs.


Roles & Specs

·       Blue: Tank – Focuses on drawing aggro from enemies, using buffing gambits, and using AoE light DoTs for strong damage

·       Red: Melee DPS – Focuses melee damaging gambits through bleed DoTs and single target and AoE light DoTs

·       Yellow: Ranged DPS (/support) – Focusing on ranged gambits and basic javelin skills, causing bleeds, light damage, and debuffs from afar

In group content, Wardens are sought after for their very high damage in red, both AoE and single target, or as an off- or AoE- tank. When playing solo, red is the fastest, while blue can allow for soloing tough content, and yellow can provide high burst killing speed at lower levels.