In my opinion, the Champion is one of the most interesting classes in LOTRO. It’s relatively easy for even a total neophyte to play, but mastering all of the tools available at high levels takes considerable skill. Extending the Champion class through 10 more levels while also maintaining its unique characteristics was an exciting challenge to tackle!
Trait Sets group each class’s Class Traits into three loosely related sets of eight traits. These Trait Sets give additional bonuses for taking multiple Traits in the set. New class traits were required to fill out the Trait Sets, and I took this opportunity to use these new traits to address some of the concerns of the worldwide Champion community. Almost all of the new traits are a direct response to requested features. Each Trait Set is also linked with a new skill that fits in with the theme of the Trait Set. Champion Traits fell naturally into three sets: area of effect damage, single target damage, and tanking.
The Deadly Storm
Area of effect damage is one of the Champion’s signature abilities and this Trait Set is all about improving the Champion’s ability to unleash the deadly storm. The set includes all of the old traits that modify AoE skills like, Stalwart Blade and Eye of the Storm. This set also has more new traits than the other two sets including traits to reduce the cooldown on Hedge and a trait that increases the target health percentage required to use Dirty Tricks.
Trait Set bonuses primarily decrease the chance that AoE skills will miss or be actively avoided by their targets.
The new skill linked to this Trait Set gives the Champion a short duration buff that reduces the Fervour pip cost of all AoE skills. The legendary version of this skill reduces the pip cost of all AoE skills to zero and resets all AoE skills, allowing the Champion to truly unleash a “Storm of Death.”
This Trait Set focuses on the Champion’s strike skills for single target damage. There were already almost enough traits like Vicious Strikes and Deadly Strikes to not need many new traits to fill the Trait Set. I did manage to slip in one trait that reduces the cooldown for the Champion’s Sprint skill.
Trait Set bonuses increase the critical damage of second and third swings from strike skills as well as including Wild Attack in the bonuses gained from strike skill traits. The big Trait Set bonus is an increase in Fervour pip generation in Fervour Stance.
Blood Rage is the new skill linked to this Trait Set. It removes combat states like Stunned and Rooted and gives the Champion a very short-term immunity for the cost of a good chunk of Morale. The legendary version of the skill transforms this buff into a toggle skill with a morale cost over time. The legendary skill also includes an ever-increasing damage bonus but also severely limits incoming healing.
The Martial Champion
This Trait Set covers the defensive side of the Champion. Old favorites like Heavy Shields and Braced against Defeat are included in this Trait Set. There are also a few new traits like Controlled Fury, that formally allows Ardent Flurry and Glorious Exchange to both work normally while using Controlled Burn. (The previous loophole for using these skills in Controlled Burn has been closed).
Trait Set bonuses include increased threat, a chance for some ‘On Defeat’ skills to allow another ‘On Defeat’ skill to be used and an increased Fervour generation in Glory Stance.
The new skill linked to this Trait Set gives a short term buff that reduces incoming physical damage. The legendary version of the skill increases the damage reduction as well as resetting all of a Champion’s defensive and healing skills.
In addition to the three new skills linked to the Trait Sets, Champions get upgrades to two of their less popular skills. Cleave is being replaced by Rend, basically the same skill but with a much more powerful damage over time effect. Savage Strikes will be replaced by Feral Strikes, a double attack skill that is difficult to parry or evade. Feral Strikes also has a chance to remove Corruptions from monsters. Corruptions are a new buff category used by monsters in Moria. You really, really want to remove Corruptions when they show up on monsters you are fighting.
The primary change for Champion Runes is that they are moving to the new Class Item equipment slot. Champions will no longer have to choose between a Rune and a Bow. Runes are also one of the Champion’s Legendary Items. In Mines of Moria™, Champions will replace their venerable Rune of Striking with new Runes that increase their abilities the more you adventure with them.
With Mines of Moria, the new skills, Trait Sets, and Legendary Items are going to bring new levels of gameplay to LoTRO… and that’s not even mentioning the awesome setting that is Moria itself!
I can’t wait until it’s released!
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