The Grand Stairs

While questing in the Dolven-view area of Moria on Naerys, I saw kin members ask about running an instance. I didn’t pay too close attention, since I was fighting at the time, but eventually a group formed but they needed a healer… and asked me if I wanted to go. I had just finished up what I was doing and switched over to Suldrun, my minstrel.

It had been a while since I played my minstrel. A long time. I didn’t even recognize half the icons for my skills. Eep! So I cram studied the green-colored healing oriented ones, while the others were getting ready. I rearranged my quickslots a little, grouping 6 healing skills together, and memorizing the key ones: Bolster Courage (slow but great morale/power healing ratio), Inspire Fellows (group heal, used when at least 3 fellowship members will benefit), Chord of Salvation (emergency heal for lots of morale and threat), and Soliloquy of Spirit (small HoT but low power, I just planned to keep that on somebody at all times). For real big emergencies I had Fellowship’s Heart, one of my legendary skills that cures fear and gives a large HoT.

One kin member advised that I change my build due to the healing penalty. At the time Suldrun had these traits:

  • Harmonious Melody (Warrior-skald)
  • Herald’s Hammer (Warrior-skald)
  • Light in the Dark (Warrior-skald)
  • Medium Armour-use (Warrior-skald)
  • Unrelenting (Warrior-skald)
  • Focused Performance (Watcher of Resolve)
  • Glorious Anthem (Protector of Song)

Suldrun’s traited legendary skills were:

  • Call of War
  • Fellowship’s Heart
  • Rally!

With 5 traits in Warrior-skald, I was indeed traited for fighting. What can I say, Suldrun needs to fight stuff when solo… you can’t heal monsters to death! It is the healer’s dilemma in every MMO, and at least in LoTRO soloing as a class that heals is feasible due to traits and a stance (War-speech) for doing damage.

Anyway, there was concern Suldrun’s effectiveness as a healer, since 4+ traits in Warrior-skald comes with a major War-speech healing penalty on top of the usual War-speech healing penalty. But that was the key: War-speech penalty. When I play as a healer, I don’t use War-speech. Too much effort and timing issues trying to enter and leave War-speech during fights, when I’m supposed to be healing, so I don’t even bother. I just hang in the back, and when not healing toss on an occasional Echoes of Battle, Piercing Cry, Song of Soothing, and mostly just tier up to Anthem of Compassion or Anthem of the Free Peoples.

So I explained I wouldn’t be in War-speech, and thus didn’t need to retrait, and kept my build. (Had I used War-speech, retraiting would be necessary, because the cumulative penalty is 80%!)

We entered The Grand Stairs, conveniently reached through the Instance Finder, and soon were fighting orcs and goblins. I had only seen a small portion of GS, but this time people wanted to do “quest mode” whereby we fight all the bosses, collect our tokens (redeemable for armor), complete deeds, and quests. I was game and concentrated on healing.

Grand Stairs, The Beast
About to fight "The Beast"

Our group was only 5, but we didn’t have too many problems. I stayed up on healing and the only defeats we suffered we people getting knocked off a bridge and falling… nothing I can do about that! As I got more comfortable healing, I worked in a few other skills: Cure Fear (I was just working on the deed), Call to the Fellowship (before a few Fellowship Maneuvers), and my favorite Irresistible Melody (forces others to dance).

We paused for a little break before fighting “The Beast”. This boss sounds like a WWF escapee!

Doom of Igash title
Showing off Suldrun's new title

After we cleared out Grand Stairs, Suldrun earned some new titles, including “The Doom of Igash”, which she showed off to the Tondalas, the minstrel trainer in Caras Galadhon. Normally Suldrun displayed a favorite title, “Pie Maven”, but will switch things up for a little bit.

Suldrun also earned 10 tokens, and after reviewing the available armor choices, trade in for 2 pieces of armor: Gloves of the Poet’s Heart, and Shoes of the Poet’s Heart. It is light armor, so slightly less protection that medium, but it has great stat bonuses oriented towards minstrels and casters in general. With two more tokens Suldrun can trade for Leggings of the Poet’s Heart, completing the set for an additional Fate bonus. Perhaps we’ll do other instances and I can pick up 3 more pieces, a different set consisting of hat, shoulder guards, and armor.

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