LOTRO Classes Guide

LOTRO Classes Guide & Overview | What's the best LOTRO Class? Is there one?

In LOTRO, Middle-Earth is teeming with diverse folks, each bringing their unique combat styles. You’ve got twelve distinct ways to fight for the Free Peoples, allowing for near-endless trait and strength combos. This guide dives into all the LOTRO Classes without drowning you in details. Ready? Let’s roll!

Understanding LOTRO Classes and Trees

In other MMOs I’ve played (or currently do), there has been a clearer link between a combat class and their expected role in group content. For example, if you were a Guardian (or equivalent), you would have to tank.

In LOTRO, it is more nuanced because classes can have different setups. You can select some ‘pure DPS’ fighting styles, but other classes can fulfil more than one role for groups. The Lord of the Rings Online‘s grouping system has four distinct roles:

  1. Tank
  2. DPS/Damage-Dealer
  3. Healer
  4. Support

What’s the Support Role in LOTRO?

This tends to relate to: buffing allies, debuffing enemies and crowd-control. Having a non-healer on “CC Duty” can help them to focus on, you know, healing.

That’s not to say the other classes cannot also buff and debuff. But Support classes bring extra toys to the party.

What Colour is Your Tree?

When you first create a new character, or if you reset your trait points, then you have to select a primary role. Each of these trees is colour-coded: Blue, Red, Yellow.

This leads to in-game lingo of “blue line”, “red line” and “yellow line”. Although note that some classes are losing the yellow line.

As you level-up in LOTRO, you earn Trait Points. You can then spend these points in any of the three “trees”.

Always check your Traits Panel for Unspent Trait Points as these make you stronger in battle.

Colours Have Different Meanings

It’s important to note here that all classes have the same colour scheme. However, not all classes can fulfil all roles.

The above trees are for the Beorning, which can Tank, DPS and Support. For other classes, the Tank may swap for a “pure” healer, or another colour may relate more to buffing allies.

Minstrels may carry a shield, but they’re not meant to tank. I bet someone has though, if their Tank had a connection issue!

Trait Tree Questions

I just thought I’d answer a couple of questions before we look at the classes themselves:

Why Does My Tree Choice Matter?

From a Solo perspective it does not matter as much compared to trying to gear yourself for group content. However, traits and attributes in your primary tree only cost one point. Those from other trees can cost 1-3 points.

But, when it comes to groups, the choice of “Specialist Tree” will matter.

  1. The red tree is, as far as I can see, always a DPS (Damage-dealer) specialism.
  2. The blue tree represents the tanking line, for those classes that can tank. For others, such as Minstrel, the blue line may be your healing line.
  3. The yellow tree has a variety of uses. It can be the debuffing line (making your enemies weaker), or it may be a specialist tree (e.g. Rune-Keeper “mobile” spec).

Why Can’t I Select a Yellow Trait Tree?

For a while now, LOTRO has been phasing out yellow trees in some classes. Instead of being able to specialise in it, they have become Support Trees (or “lines”). This allows you to spend trait points in it, but not make it your primary focus.

It feels like the idea was to squeeze people into expected roles for fellowships. This I felt was especially true for Guardian. Though I had pretty much always been a Yellow-Line Guardian, so I am biased in this debate!

LOTRO Classes and Armour Proficiency

I thought it would be helpful to put a brief note in here about armour. When I cover all the classes below, I have put an armour rating in. But that refers to the highest or heaviest they can wear.

  • Light Armour: Only Light
  • Medium Armour: Light and Medium
  • Heavy Armour: Light, Medium and Heavy

If you’re unsure which grades you can wear, look in the abilities panel under the “Passive” tab on the Skills panel (default keybind: K).

12 Fighting Classes in LOTRO

So, let’s have a close-ish look at all twelve of the combat classes The Lord of the Rings Online has to offer. Click/tap on the name below to zip straight to it.

On larger screens, I’ve given you a shortcut bar that should scroll with you. Hope it helps!

Skip to Beorning ↓
Skip to Bralwer ↓
Skip to Burglar ↓
Skip to Captain ↓
Skip to Champion ↓
Skip to Guardian ↓
Skip to Hunter ↓
Skip to Lore-master ↓
Skip to Mariner ↓
Skip to Minstrel ↓
Skip to Rune-keeper ↓
Skip to Warden ↓


LOTRO Beorning Class Screenshot example.

The Concept

Beorning Class Icon

Become part of the proud line of Beorn and embrace the life of a skin-changer! Beorning is not just a class in LOTRO, but also a race. This combination means so you cannot also be a Warden or Champion, for example. But you don’t need to be, roar!

What Makes Beornings Different?

Other than the ability to transform into a bear, you mean? Well okay, LOTRO has given us other interesting additions that set them apart too.

  • Race-specific head-shapes, which can give you a more rugged look.
  • Some Beorning-only hairstyles.
  • Tattoos, which also appear in Bear Form! (This is not the same as the Facepaints available at the Buried Treasure Event).
  • Two Beorning outfits from the introduction.
  • The ability to make Honey-cakes without requiring an oven, or other LOTRO crafting facility.
LOTRO Beorning Class Screenshot example.

Class Summary

  • Role: Tank DPS Healing & Support
  • Armour: Heavy
  • Weapons: Most Melée weapons
  • Ranged Weapon: Bows, Crossbows

What’s Playing a Beorning Like?

My LOTRO Beorning using one of the AoE fighting moves.

For me, playing a Beorning is both interesting and simple at the same time. You fight in both Bear- and Man-form and, even playing Solo, you get a self-heal from really early on.

Add to this, that they are a heavy-armour class and you have a very solo-friendly, hard-hitting character.

It also feels like you have fewer combat skills compared to other classes. So you can truly enjoy the journey without getting bogged down in details.


LOTRO Brawler Class |Screenshot Example

Class Summary

  • Role: Tank DPS
  • Armour: Heavy
  • Weapons: Gauntlets
  • Ranged Weapon: Belt BucklesExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab)!

The Concept

Brawler Class Icon

Time to get brutal and really beat your enemies up as a Brawler! None of those archaic books, carved rocks or fancy bows. All you need are your own strong arms and a pair of gauntlets.

Furthermore, you can leap into the fray with heavy armour, making you a true force to be reckoned with.

Playing as a Brawler


I am still very early in my Brawler journey, but for solo content I can say it’s definitely a lot of fun. Smashing your way through a hoard of Goblins or Orcs is very satisfying. And, as you can toggle the weapon on/off, you can give the impression of fighting with your bare fists!


According to the WikiExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab), Brawlers can also tank, as you can hold enemy aggro. You’ll need to specialise in The Fulcrum (Blue Line) if you want to do this.

To be fair, you may want to go for the blue line even if you’re playing LOTRO solo. Keeping the aggro on those escort quests, or from your skirmish soldier is still important!


LOTRO Burglar Class | Screenshot Example

The Concept

Burglar Class Icon

If you need to sneak into a Dragon’s lair to steal a precious Dwarven artefact (not that Precious), you need a Burglar. Or, if you just want to sneak past enemies, then become one!

Burglars wield two melée weapons. They use stealth and quick attacks, so blades such as knives are a firm favourite.

Solo Burglar

When you’re flying solo as a Burglar, boosting yourself or throwing some debuffs on your foes is key in shaping your battles. Especially in the red line (The Quiet Knife), that initial stealth hit packs a punch, setting you up for an edge right from the start.

LOTRO Burglar Class | Screenshot Example

My thanks to @SWForce4EU for the Burglar screenshot!

Burglar Roles

It will not surprise you that masters of stealth do not tank, nor do they heal. So, the dual knife-wielding class has two roles: DPS and Debuffing (also known as ‘support’).

“Yellow Burglar” used to be a set tree (with calls in World Chat for “YBurgs”). Now you have blue or red line but can still spend points in the yellow one.

Class Summary

  • Role: DPS Support
  • Armour: Medium
  • Weapons: 1-handed weapons.
  • Ranged Weapon: Throwing Axes (Craftable, Consumable)

Playing a Burglar

This LOTRO class is, unfortunately, the one I know least about. I’ve tried to pick it up a few times and can’t get my head around it.

So, I asked @SWForce4EU to tell me what they thought of the Burglar class.

I love it. For distance stuff I can always lob a rock at them like Bilbo and the spiders, or toss a dagger. And I really love stealth when I’m in no mood for a fight!

Other points they mentioned are:

  • You get to sneak up and get extra power for your stabbing the villains.
  • The flash of the blades is kind of authentic, in the sense of what I always imagine from reading Bilbo and the other characters’ adventures.
  • You can lower your odds by riddlingExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) someone. I did that to a sorcerer yesterday while I took out his minions, leaving him too dizzy to attack me until I was ready.

Thanks for that!


LOTRO Captain Class | Screenshot Example

Class Summary

  • Role: Tank DPS Group Support
  • Armour: Heavy
  • Weapons: Primarily 2-handed Melée Weapons, including Halberds

The Concept

Captain Class Icon

As a Captain, you lead an NPC “Herald” and, as a leader, your primary focus is on your allies. That’s how the class works too. It is one of only two classes that have an active, fighting, companion. The other is Lore-Master.

The Captain class wasn’t officially inspired by Aragorn, but it totally should have been!

Playing a Captain

As a Captain, your skills mostly involve buffing your group. When solo, focus on boosting your Herald. It’s a mindset shift – you’ve got your Herald’s back, not the other way around.

Now, let’s talk Heralds. Banner-holders can boost your attacks, fortify defenses, or cut power costs. And from Level 26, feel free to turn your Herald into a bow-wielding archer. Build your two-person team your way!

More on Heralds →

My Opinion

While I am not experienced, I have done a chunk of the early game as a Captain. I can see why they are in demand in fellowship and other group content. The Captain’s and Herald’s abilities bring a noticeable boost to group performance. Playing solo is probably good practice if you want to do Fellowship quests, too.

I did find it tricky at first, and felt I wasn’t dealing much damage. But you defeat the enemy as a team (even Frodo needed Samwise), so I maybe just need more patience with combat.

It is a totally different way to approach questing. That alone makes it worth you trying it out!


LOTRO Champion Class | Screenshot Example

The Concept

Champion Class Icon

Leap into the middle of the battle with two weapons, or one huge one! The Champion class is an ace damage-dealer, especially with its AoE attacks. Or so it seems to me.

But, being loud, boistrous and obvious, Champions can also double up as tanks.

Playing as a Champion

…is a lot of fun. If you run as a Dwarven Champion, their battle cries are just perfect in the middle of a fight.

LOTRO Champion Class | Screenshot Example

Champions can take on huge groups of enemies, which is why I’ve played it a fair bit in the past. When running solo content, there are areas or instances, where you could get swamped. But the Champion just takes it all in their stride. Only as a Guardian have I felt more confident against groups of enemies.

Class Summary

  • Role: Tank DPS
  • Armour: Heavy
  • Weapons: 1-handed and some 2-handed weapons
  • Ranged Weapon: Bows, Crossbows


LOTRO Guardian | Screenshot Example

Class Summary

  • Role: Tank DPS
  • Armour: Heavy
  • Weapons: 1-handed and most 2-handed weapons
  • Ranged Weapon: Bows, Crossbows

The Concept

Guardian Class Icon

Jump in face first to defend your allies and friends. The Guardian class in LOTRO is the classic “tank look” complete with a sword and shield.

But you can yield your shield to take up one larger weapon. Guardians can wield some two-handed weapons such as Great-swords and Great-axes, which increases your damage output.

Trait Trees

  • Blue: You’re in “tank mode” – bolstering defences and yelling “Look at me!” to your enemies.
  • Red: Aimed at those who want to deal more damage. This includes Damages-over-Time bleeds, some of which can be applied to multiple enemies at once.
  • Yellow: The Yellow Line (Fighter of Shadow) is not a specialism. But utilising it can add debuffs to your enemies, extra DoTs and spread those DoTs across a group of foes.

Playing as a Guardian

I am biased because this is my main class. I’m also biased because I was a yellow-line Guardian specialist and I still kind-of am!

Guardians wear heavy armour so take physical damage more slowly than other classes. Remember to work on your tactical mitigations, though. Tanking classes are not slow or boring to play solo – there are still battle-cries and taunts to rival those extroverted champions out there!

It’s solid against groups of enemies and I’ve always loved the DoT spreading/radiating. Any DoT I can apply reduces the number of single-hit skills I have to use. As I have hand pain from Fibromyalgia, that is motivating factor.


LOTRO Hunter Class | Screenshot Example

The Concept

Hunter Class Icon

Shoot them. If they’re still standing, shoot them again, but with two arrows at once. If that doesn’t work, pour burning fuel onto your arrows, then shoot them!

Sporting a classic bow or a crossbow as a primary weapon, Hunters excel at ranged DPS. But their skills are pretty broad. You can use melée weapons when enemies are in your face and deploy traps to ensnare and damage your foes too.

Light Up Your Arrows

Although crafted by Scholars, Hunters can use Fire-OilExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) and Light-oilExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) to burn or blind foes respectively. So, for a ranged class, it’s very versatile, making it a popular class for newer LOTRO players.

LOTRO Hunter Class | Screenshot Example

Hunter Ports

The other advantage of the Hunter class has nothing to do with combat at all. Hunters acquire “Guides” providing them with free teleportation across Middle-Earth.

And if you are in a group with a Hunter, they can port you there too. Do not be surprised to see requests for “Hunter ports” in World Chat. And, if you are a Hunter, then keep your eye out for people that might need a taxi.

Class Summary

  • Role: DPS Crowd Control
  • Armour: Medium
  • Weapons: Bows, Crossbows
  • Melée Weapon: 1-handed Weapons

Playing as a Hunter

Lore-Master Class Icon

For a few years, Hunter was my main class to play. But when my Fibromyalgia symptoms got worse and pain affected my hands, I switched to Guardian.

For Solo Hunter players I would recommend the Blue Line, because you can shoot and move at the same time. Assuming you don’t aggro extra enemies, being mobile is pretty much essential in solo play.

In group combat, while I have zero experience, I can see Red Line being in demand as you only have to move to avoid being hit by the enemy. Ask in World Chat if you want advice on classes for grouping.

Did You Know?

A Hunter can pretty-much gear themselves with crafting. if you take up Forestry, Woodworking and Tailoring.

  • Tailoring: Head, Body, Hands, Legs, Feet, Cloak.
  • Woodworking: Bow, Main-hand and Off-hand weapons.

If you have another character with Prospector and Jewellery skills, then that’s you kitted out!


LOTRO Lore-Master Class | Screenshot Example

Class Summary

  • Role: DPS Support & CC
  • Armour: Light
  • Weapons: Staves, 1-handed Swords (Level 40)
  • Ranged Weapon: None, but Lore-Master Brooches go in this slot.

The Concept

Release your inner Radagast and be one with nature! Or some other sales-y kind of title!

Lore-Master is a player-and-companion playstyle that uses a variety of animals, birds and spirits in combat. It’s the only other companion class in LOTRO after Captain. You and your creature fight together, with each companion having their own unique attacks and abilities. And it’s still one of my favourite LOTRO classes.


You and your companion head into battle. You can send your pet to get the first hit in if you want to. You then support it with healing or buffs (including “Cat Nip Mint!”).

But, never forget that you too are a damage-dealer. Lore-Masters unleash the forces of nature – fire, lightning and earth-based attacks are just a click away. And you have some debuffs to play with as well.

Did You Know?
Lore-masters are great with books and staves. But if all else fails, they’ve got sticky tarExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) and magic fire to set the floor alight. An elegant fighting form, wouldn’t you agree?!

Playing as a Lore-Master

Depending on what content you choose, I find Lore-Master very chilled-out to play. It is, at least, really interesting and fun. This is on the proviso that you don’t get attacked personally by too many enemies at once though, as you can only wear Light Armour!

Lore-Master Pets

The range of Lore-Master creatures (or “pets”) is really wide and they play differently. Here are just a few examples:

  • Bear: Tanking pet, aggros enemies – sometimes whether you want it to or not!
  • Lynx: DPS pet, with an awesome out-of-stealth first attack.
  • Eagle: DPS pet, with a bonus to power regeneration buff for you and itself.
  • Raven: Debuffing bird, helping to weaken your enemies.
  • Bog-Guardian: Ranged DPS creature.
  • Spirit: Coming in various forms, Spirit pets are “pure” healers. This would be ideal for Red-Line Lore-Masters who just want to focus on frying enemies!

Customising Your Pets

Some of the Lore-Master pets have more than one appearance. For example Bears, Lynx and Ravens. They don’t offer any change in combat skills, but variation is good! These apperances are available in a couple of different places:

  1. Jeweller Crafting: Jewellers make Lore-Master brooches. These are single-use recipes, but with multiple options available (for example, here are the Sabercat appearancesExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab)). These brooches are, in fact, gear. That means they need to be equipped to have the desired effect.
  2. Lore-Master Trainer: While some may only be available for Mithril Coin Mithril Coins, you can pick up some unique looks this way.


LOTRO Mariner Class | Screenshot Example

The Concept

Mariner Class Icon

Okay, I cheated on the screenshot! If you have The Corsairs of Umbar, all classes can use the Swashbuckle Emote.

The idea of the Mariner is of a style that you would classically attribute to the likes of old pirate stories. Hand-to-hand combat, narrow settings where balance matters. Allegedly it’s supposed to be a “confident melée fight[ing]” style!

LOTRO Mariner Class | Screenshot Example

Playing as a Mariner

Mariners are dual-wielders, but with only daggers and one-handed swords. Their combat style switches between close-up fighting and retreat-to-recover.

The word balance matters because your Balance Gauge affects which skills you can use and how effective they are.

Class Summary

  • Role: DPS Support & CC
  • Armour: Medium
  • Weapons: 1-handed swords, daggers, axes (Dwarves only?)
  • Ranged Weapon: None as far as I can tell. Maybe throwing axes.

Role In Groups

I’m very early in investigating Mariner due to having too many characters in LOTRO, basically. None of them are at “endgame”, either. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve never been in a group as a Mariner. So I will quote and credit the Wiki.

In groups, Mariners can assist with the following:

  • Buffs
  • Crowd Control
  • Debuffs, and
  • DPS (obviously, those swords are not for show. Hopefully).

Trait Trees

It seems that for the Mariner class, your Tree choice really does matter.

  • Shanty-caller: Groups: Buffs
  • Duellist: Focus on your own DPS
  • The Rover: Groups: Debuffs

So, if you’re soloing as a Mariner, it looks likely that you should be primarily a Duellist. After that you can add extra buff/debuff skills from the other trees.


LOTRO Minstrel Class | Screenshot Example

Class Summary

  • Role: Healing DPS
  • Armour: Light
  • Weapons: 1-handed weapons, light shield
  • Ranged Weapon: Whichever instrument you choose.

The Wiki does offer a gentle warning that, if you do go into group content as a Minstrel, you will be expected to heal. Just a heads-up.

The Concept

Minstrel Class Icon

Do you remember the song “Killing Me Softly”? Well, if you think of that, then you’ve got the idea of the Minstrel class! You play music and shout loudly to defeat your enemies and/or heal allies.

Music is powerful – even in the real world. It can evoke emotions, cause you to recall memories, tell a story and much more. In LOTRO, then, you sing (or shout) against your foes, while making yourself and your comrades feel better. Hopefully.

Playing as a Minstrel

As with all the LOTRO classes mentioned here, I have no group experience. However, I have played it a fair amount solo, as well as Duoquesting / Dualboxing.

Whether you got for the classic DPS (“Warrior-Skald”) or the healing-focused spec (“Watcher of Resolve”), Minstrel is a very solid solo class. Where it lacks in armour it makes up for in healing capacity. And, even solo, you have a full-array of heals, buffs, debuffs, cure/cleanse and some crowd control too.

You can also equip certain one-handed weapons from Level 1. That’s handy, as some combat skills require one!

When Can I Equip a Shield as a Minstrel?

Minstrels are able to equip Light Shields from Level 20.

It’s important to note the type of shield before you craft or acquire one! You can, of course, give it the appearnace of a heavier shield or Warden’s shield via the Wardrobe if you so wish.


LOTRO Rune-Keeper Class | Screenshot Example

The Concept

Rune-keeper Class Icon

Rune-keepers are the closest thing the Free People’s get to a “weaponless mage”. Using carved stones, Rune-keepers can evoke fire and lightning against enemies. By the same token, they are also capable of healing themselves and others.

Playing as a Rune-Keeper

This class is very viable for solo play, provided you can figure out your defences. Playing as an RK, you have to keep an eye on your Attunement Gauge.

LOTRO Rune-Keeper Class | Screenshot Example

The more attacks you use in succession, the more powerful the next attack will be. The same is true of healing. But using one will be at the expense of the other. I suppose the aim is to out-DPS your enemies.

I chose the yellow line for my new RK as it’s mobile. The Red line requires you to remain rooted to the ground for most casts. Lightning is, well, lightning-fast!

Class Summary

  • Role: Healing DPS Support (Kinda)
  • Armour: Light
  • Weapons: Rune-stones
  • Ranged Weapon: Chisels and Rifflers. (to carve your own rune?)

RK’s in Groups

Rune-keepers can be a healer in fellowship content, but I couldn’t tell you how it compares to other classes like Minstrel. I’ll try and dig up some comparisons others have done, though the Wiki does say it “compares wellExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab).”

The other hint I’ve picked up from fellowship calls (LFF) is that Red-Line Rune-keepers are the choice for the DPS role. Check with the fellowship leader, though.

The Self-Preservation Rune-ciety

If you are solo, you may want to consider some combat stats and virtues to reduce the damage you receive. Definitely consider this if you’re in quests or dungeons, where multiple enemies could swamp you.

The two primary ones I could think of are:

  • Physical Mitigation
    Because you’re a light armour class and have no weapon to parry with, your mitigations are your only available barrier.
  • Evade Rating
    Where you cannot block attacks, you can try and avoid them. Evade rating is influenced by Agility. This is a stat you may have already built in anyway due to its link with Critical Rating.


LOTRO Warden Class | Screenshot Example

Class Summary

  • Role: Tanks DPS
  • Armour: Medium
  • Weapons: 1-handed Melée Weapons, often Spears for the extra 1% bleed chance.
  • Ranged Weapon: Javelin

The Concept

Warden Class Icon

Wardens are a bit like a Swiss Army Knife: made up of lots of different useful pieces, so long as you can find the right tool at the right time! But I love it for that.

Slightly more seriously, Wardens are melée fighters that use combinations of attacks to build powerful gambits. These can be harder-hitting attacks, bolstering defences, creating DoTs on enemies or HoTs on yourself.

They can appear complicated, though LOTRO did fairly recently simplify the gambit process.

Playing as a Warden

This is probably one of the most complicated LOTRO classes to play. Yet, when I return to it, it is still really, really fun! I mean, I have to re-find my muscle memory for the gambits but once I have I can just leap in.

Although Wardens are Medium Armour fighters, the defence and attack buffs make it feel far sturdier. Add to that the fact you have “leeching” – taking health from enemies to increase your own. While not exactly invincible, Wardens are a force to be reckoned with, especially against groups of foes.

Now, where did I put my Gambit memory prompts?

Making Your LOTRO Class Your Own

While you have your base combat skills for your class, as you level you can customise your style. This is done through the Traits panel (default keybind: J).

Here, you can allocate (or “Spend”) Trait Points. Doing so will either unlock new combat skills or traits – or boost something you already have.

My Example Trees

Here are three of my characters’ trees which are at different levels.


For this Beorning I have stuck mostly to the Red-Line specialisation. I branched out at higher levels.


This is my former Yellow-Line Guardian main. Now she’s a Blue-Line Guardian – sort of. But really, she’s a Yellow-Line Guardian!

For clarity: I play LOTRO Solo, and this setup works for me in most solo scenarios! Do what works for you.


For personal style and preference, I am building this mid-level-20s Minstrel to be a balance of Yellow and Red lines.

Custom Building Tips

  1. Read the tooltips of non-greyed-out traits/skills before you spend your points. That way you know what you could improve.
  2. Consider your weaknesses; not just statistical ones, though. I sometimes (mentally) struggle against groups of enemies, so if I can unlock a stun or a massive AoE hit, I will.
  3. Use Both Trait Tabs. Try different setups until you find what works for you.
  4. There is no shame in resetting all your points. But take a screenshot of your current tree before you reset it so you can reinstate it afterward if you want to.
  5. Listen to advice if you ask for it. But there is no one way to play a LOTRO class, especially for solo content. Consider others’ opinions, but don’t be restricted to them. Including mine!
My LOTRO Beorning Reading a Map - I figured a worthy image for someone reading some tips about LOTRO classes.

Shore Up Your Weaknesses

If you’re mostly in group content, your focus should be maximising your strengths. But for Solo players, one of the key tips I would say is to look at your character’s combat weaknesses. From that point you can then build in better defences.

What Are Your Weaknesses?

I use the term “defences” loosely, because weaknesses might be any of the following (and others):

  1. Slow or Low Damage, making fights too long.
  2. Power draining too quickly.
  3. Too much damage taken from physical fighting enemies.
  4. Seeing your HP drain away from non-physical attacks (Fire, Magic etc).
  5. Picking up bleeds and other DoT effects too easily.

LOTRO Virtues Guide | How to Get Virtue Experience / VXP

Tips on Fixing Weaknesses

You’ll never be invincible, but you can reduce the damage and stress you take.

  1. Spend Your Trait Points
    If you’ve levelled up a few times, you may have several Trait Points to spend.
  2. Check Your Gear
    Is your armour, weapons and jewellery aren’t roughly the same or higher than the enemies you’re facing? If not then check my LOTRO Gearing Guide. You may also be able to craft your own gear.
    • Check your character sheet for your Very Important and Important stats. And, where possible, add Physical Mastery or Tactical Mastery in.
  3. Verify Your Virtues
    Your Virtues can have a massive impact on your performance.
    • Check your storage and see if you have any Virtue XP Acceleration Tome Virtue XP Tomes
    • Do you have something slotted into all the unlocked slots?
    • Is your Earning Virtue something that will help achieve your aim?
  4. Tame Your Toolbars
    You may find changing where combat skills are helps you. For example, I keep defence/shield buffs together. There are LOTRO Plugins that can help you organise your quickbars/toolbars.

What is the Best LOTRO Class?

I had to put this in here and there is a wealth of opinion on the matter. But I hate trying to lure people in with a question that doesn’t have a real answer. This I accept is also my opinion!

But I will point you to opinions of others too, so you can be over-informed. Okay, here’s my Copper Coin×1’s worth.

What is Best LOTRO Class for Solo Players?

Everyone will have an opinion on this, and the short answer is: whichever you find the most enjoyable.

When I see this asked in World Chat, replies are usually focussed on high-damage classes. This tends to emphasise classes such as Hunter and Rune-keeper, because the idea is to take down enemies as quickly as possible. I accept that argument has its merits.

So Why is my Main Character a Guardian?

Because I wanted to be better armoured and protected – I’m risk averse (it’s part of my ISFJExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) character). And yes, I play LOTRO Solo,

Most landscape-based quests are not difficult, except those as marked for duo/small fellowship. The same may not be true for instances (solo, or otherwise).

But when dealing with on-level Skirmishes, or taking on the Harbingers of the Dead in Ill Omens, I prefer not to be squishy.

But that’s my opinion and it works for me. Here are some other opinions about “best” solo classes:

My LOTRO Guardian in Combat during Ill Omens.

Simple, but Interesting

  • Beorning
  • Champion
  • Guardian (especially if you mix Yellow-line points in with Red)

More Complex, but Fun

  • Lore-Master
  • Rune-Keeper
  • Warden

Is There a Best Class for New LOTRO Players?

That depends on how quickly you learn things and whether you’ve played many games before. For me, I began learning LOTRO with simpler classes: Hunter and Guardian. And I still play that way for most of the time even now.

If you’re looking for classes that are simple and easy to pick up then, these are my top 3:

Others will have different preferences! Try a few classes out to find what fits you.

  • Beorning: for me, this is the simplest to learn and remains fairly straight forward for a long time. Beornings have heavy armour and can be tank, DPS or healer. Even a DPS Beorning gets Hearten, which you can use to heal yourself.
  • Guardian:
    Heavy Armour, has tank and DPS trait lines so you’re well protected and can deal pretty good damage. Later, you get Catch a BreathExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab), an in-combat self-heal.
  • Hunter: Medium Armour, Bow for ranged damage, melée weapons if enemies get in your face. At Level 20, you unlock Blood Arrow, a self-healing ability. Strength of the EarthExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) can be unlocked in the Blue (Huntsman) trait tree, for a further healing effect.

What Class is Best for Groups?

As ever, that depends on what role you want to play. Many LOTRO Classes have both tank and DPS lines, and some still have all three – I believe Beornings can still Tank, DPS and Heal. But having the facility to tank is not the same as regular raiders feeling comfortable having you tank. Though I’m not the best person to ask about that.

All classes can be played in groups – or Fellowships as they’re (rightly) referred to in The Lord of the Rings Online. How effective that class is, aside from skill level, may be up for debate.

So the question of what class is best for groups is probably: whichever class you play the best, so that you serve your group well!

TL;DR Which of the LOTRO Classes is Your Preference? Let me know!

I’ve covered a lot of ground on this guide to LOTRO Classes. Each one is a different approach to combat. Some, such as Hunter, Warden and Mariner have other perks like travel.

But choosing your class is really only the beginning. Each one has two or three trait trees, allowing you to spend points in all of them. This means you can really tailor your fighting style to your own tastes and make your LOTRO experience your own.

Is there a “best class”? Maybe, maybe not. But there should be a best LOTRO class for you. Try them and find out which it is. Why don’t you let me know your favourite and why over on MastodonExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) or xTwitterExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab)?

See you soon in Middle-Earth!

About the Author

Fibro Jedi
Fibro Jedi

I have been playing MMOs for about ten years and began writing guides to The Lord of the Rings Online in 2017. I've only been creating content about Final Fantasy XIV since 2022, but I am glad for the mix. My current games include LOTRO, FFXIV and the occasional Palia session too.

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