Forming fellowships and rising up against a mighty foe is what LotR is all about. So with all the time spent interacting with others it is no wonder nerves are stretched thin at times. After all, the game is played by a large variety of people coming from different backgrounds; what is fine in one may not be in another. When grouping, try to keep a couple niceties in mind that can be broken into three categories: social, profession, and class. To some of you this may seem painfully obvious. But I keep seeing it done, so perhaps its not so obvious to others.
No matter what you do in Middle Earth or how you do it you can follow these notes. Leadership is a huge part of a fellowship. So much, in fact, that the Mines of Moria expansion gives fellowship leaders a different colored dot on the map and minimap. The leader finds players for a specific quest, gathers them together, and leads them through it. This does not mean they know the EXACT path to something or that their way is best. It simply means follow them and if you see something wrong or have a suggestion let them know; don't just start running the other way. Think of the guy that always pulls when no ones ready and eventually wipes out the fellowship...leadership is there to prevent that. It can be distracting trying to type and keep good communication while running. For that there is the autorun feature. It is by default the "numlock" key. For anyone using a laptop, this usually means half your keyboard will become unusable when you hit it. Make your life easy and reassign it to another key. I have mine assigned to the "p" key, which overwrites no other features or hotkeys. So now you're running along and playing follow the leader, great. But now the dog wants out, or the baby is crying, or dinner is boiling over! Real life happens to everyone at some point during their playing. Quickly let your group know that you need a minute and ask for permission to autofollow someone. Autofollow will have your character mindlessly run after them; it is activated by selecting who you want to follow and typing /follow. It is advisable to autofollow someone who is a ranged combatant, to try keep you out of any combat, and understands how they will have to change moving habits. On autofollow you don't go exactly where your target does, you have some wiggle room. This means that while autofollowing someone running on the edge of the cliff you may fall off, or while they are slaloming around pillars you might run face first into one and fall behind. Though its not a guarantee you will live, at least you group can keep moving while you tend to your needs. Without leadership and communication you couldn't take out the big mobs.
I cannot lie, this is one of my biggest issues in fellowships. Maybe you're waiting for the rest of the party to arrive or maybe you are running to the right spot, and then it happens... Someone stops moving next to an ore node or wood pile and starts hacking away. Lets overlook the incredible waste of time by everyone is waiting for that one person; someone in the fellowship might not have long to play. Instead lets look at how many professions seek wood and/or ore; about half. That means there is a 50% chance that someone who needs that resource too is standing there watching someone else loot every one they come across. To a lesser degree this also includes scholar urns. The urns are seemingly very few and far in between. When playing a scholar I get really happy every time I see that little blue arrow pop up on my minimap. Be mindful that there might be another scholar just as excited to come across that urn that was just taken without a word. Some scholars also have a nasty habit of wordlessly running their fellowship into many mobs to loot that well protected urn. I'm not saying you can't farm resources in a fellowship, just see if anyone else needs it as well.
There are also some class based things to keep in mind. The first thing is crowd control, specialized the by Lore-master and used a bit by the Burglar. Lore-masters have many skills to keep the many mobs at bay. The most obvious skill is Mezmorize. A mezmorized mob cannot attack or move; it simply stays were it is until Mezmorize runs out or it is attacked. The skill is very useful when two elites come at a group, one can be kept away from the party until the other is dealt with. It is important that the mezmorized mob NOT be attacked! There is no gain from pulling a Mezmorized mob but annoying the Lore-master and wasting the power they used on casting. Also, the group is now split on their targets. Similar to the Lore-masters is the Burglars Riddle. Riddle will hold a humanoid mob at bay for up to 30 seconds or until it is attacked. Remember not all damage dealt is direct and a Champion or Hunter could inadvertently use an AoE skill and pull the Mezmorized or Riddled mob back into action. Not sure what a Mezmorized or Riddled mob looks like? They have that blue ring around their head and waver back and forth.
Minstrels while always welcome for their healing powers can sometimes be more harm than good. When soloing, the skill War-speech is extremely useful for Minstrels; it gives them a little bit more DPS and in return cuts their healing abilities in half. For a solo adventure that is fine, but not so much in a group. If the minstrel is many levels higher than the rest of the group they will turn into the main DPS so War-speech should be on. If a minstrel is about the same level as everyone else they can assume the main healing/resurrection role. So turn off War-speech and watch those green hp bars! Remember, you are a squishy class and can die fairly quickly. By doing dealing more damage you mistakenly increase your threat, which can pull a mob to you, which means your heal skills can be interrupted, which means you can't effectively heal, which does the fellowship no good.
Nothing too drastic, right? It’s just putting a little bit more thought into how we interact with others. Thank you for reading! Now, can you help me off this soap box?