Every MMO player has a favoured class for the games they play. In Lord of the Rings it is the Captain for me. A class that is the jack of all trades but the master of none. What the Captain is a master of though is being exactly what their name says. They are the leaders and encouragers. They are Captains.
The Captain class doesn't fit into any single category like most classes. They aren't the best at any one thing. Captains make a good addition to a party as they will round out the skills of the rest. They aren't big damage dealers, but they make for good back-up. They most definitely aren't the best healers, but they will be a good help to your minstrel and having someone else around who can resurrect in combat is a big bonus. The one skill they don't have is the Loremaster's magic. Instead, what they do have are essentially buffs.
Captains rally the team in fights or just before. The benefit of this rallying is the buff of stats. You can only cast one rally buff once on a person, so there isn't any stacking really, but you can choose to cast one on a couple of people and a different one on others. Some of these buffs will bolster stats such as critical hit percentage chance or even increase the amount of Power one regenerates in combat. Personally, I find myself casting Relentless Attack, which boosts the critical percentage chance of melee, tactical and ranged.
Also there are the target marks that can be cast on individual enemy creatures. The target skills are used on the creature you're fighting. The most useful of these gives back health to the person dealing damage. So for every hit landed, a bit of health is restored. This is the one I use most often. There are others, such as Telling Mark which marks your target so that those hitting it do more damage. Different battles will call for different target marks, but most are generally useful in some way.
One field that has had a lot of talk since release is the Captain's healing abilities. In the beginning, they were terrible at it, but since release the developers have made a few changes. The healing of a Captain isn't anywhere near as good as a Minstrel (the game’s healing class), not by a long shot. That isn't to say it isn't lifesaving and a damn sight useful. Plus they can heal while in combat, which is essential at times. Mostly the Captain can heal a small amount on any person they target during combat. Once a creature is killed though, they can let out an encouraging cry that heals a moderate amount of damage initially plus a small amount over time for a short period.
Captains aren't strong. They have an average amount of morale and power. Since they aren't big on health they can be kind of hard to play solo. The thing that does make it possible to solo with a Captain is their trusty companion. Captains enjoy the ever loyal company of a herald. The herald is a lifesaver. For the obvious reasons, like additional damage, the herald is immeasurably useful. There is another more important use of the herald, a distraction. The loyalty of your herald is never-ending. I can't count the number of times I've run like a coward while my wonderful herald has stayed back to distract the big meanie while I ran to hide under a rock. All hail the herald.
For players who would prefer not to have their own personal meat-shields, back in August, the developers held the “Month of the Captain”. During that month, they made a number of changes to the way that the Captain could be played. The biggest change involved giving the players an alternative to the herald in the form of a standard. A standard is a flag that is driven into the ground that will provide your Captain with bonuses. It’s a question of personal preference.
In battle a Captain can hold their own, but it's best if they aren't the primary focus of the enemy as their health pool isn't significant enough to be able to hold out for long. There are tricks a Captain has up their sleeve though. With one of the target skills, they could gain morale back from the target based on how much damage they do, which goes for the rest of the team as well, or they could buff their own armour stat so they can take more hits. A Captain isn't useless in a fight and they can be very helpful at times, such as their in combat resurrection skill, but if you're looking for class focused on fighting you may want to look elsewhere.
Like the fighter type classes, a Captain can learn to wear heavy armour. You aren't able to wear it immediately, you have to get to level 20 before this passive skill is allowed to you. Once you are able to wear heavy armour though, you become a bit more efficient in taking damage as a backup for your tank fighter or in solo fighting.
I would never presume to tell someone else how to play a class. Everyone will have a different style of play and will enjoy a class for different reasons. The Captain can be a challenge to play, both solo and teamed. As a roleplaying device the Captain class is good as a leader of a Fellowship or Kinship. If you enjoy playing a class that doesn't fit into a single category and is a bit of a challenge, then I'd certainly suggest giving the Captain a try. It certainly is my favoured class.
For detailed information on the specific statistics and abilities of the Captain, please visit the Captian entry in the official Lorebook, here.