Author’s note: this was the guide I originally posted on the LOTRO forums back in 2008, but it was pruned, so I’m posting it here for posterity.
This guide discusses Reaver PVP, class mechanics, traits and corruptions, common negative perceptions of the class, and closes with videos and tips.
I start with discussing class mechanics because it sets the table for understanding much of the other aspects of playing a Reaver.
Please post comments/feedback/tips, contributors will be credited as the guide is updated, e.g.: (contributed by Gumby).
Table of Contents
- Why Play a Reaver?
- Traited Devastating Strike and Power Mechanics
- Common vs Fire Damage Mechanics
- Rating the Class Traits for PVP
- PVP Corruptions
- Responses to Common Negative Perceptions
- PVP Videos
- Movement and Positioning
- PVP Tips
- PVE Tips
Why Play a Reaver?
There are several very compelling reasons to play Reaver:
- the burst damage and sustained DPS are excellent
- we aren’t reliant on power
- if you are a mobile melee (i.e. you can stick and move), it gives you an advantage over opponents who aren’t as adept at fighting non-stationary targets
In short, if you love an aggressive melee playstyle, Reaver is a great fit. It’s a highly capable class for 1v1s and for raid combat. Fights are fast and furious.
Reavers are also ridiculously good at farming.
Traited Devastating Strike and Power Mechanics
It’s critical to understand the mechanics behind traited Devastating Strike (DS) and power for a Reaver, because DS is our defining attack ability. It probably accounts for over half of my Freep KBs.
- DS = burst damage = KB’s. Heck, it’s the best burst damage for any Creep ability outside of R7 BA Vital Target, and unlike VT, traited DS has one-tenth the cooldown
- DS has a R0 cooldown of 60 seconds, but this is reduced to 30 seconds by the superb R2 class trait
- DS wipes all your remaining power. This can be a very good thing, as you can cast it even if you have no power
- DS crits over 50% of the time. I calculated the crit chance to be 53% for an R5 Reaver
- Reavers have the highest in-combat power regen per minute of any Creep class (853), and the highest out-of-combat per minute (5115)
- Reavers have the smallest power pool of any Creep class
At R2, Reavers get the class trait “Enhanced Skill: Devastating Strike”. This trait rocks; by slotting it, you can use DS every 30 seconds. And you don’t have to manage your power pool to the extent every other class does, because you should use DS often (it’s our best burst damage), and DS wipes power.
This dynamic is, perhaps, the most enjoyable thing about playing a Reaver to me; I don’t feel like I need to “hold back” when DPSing. Watch power, yes, conserve power, no. You can cast DS even when you have no power. And your power regens fast. Granted, you should do things like eat food (given that we have no ICMR).
Conclusion: the traited DS/power mechanics make power less valuable compared to damage and morale. You should take this into consideration when selecting class traits and corruptions.
Common vs Fire Damage Mechanics
This is a topic of frequent debate.
Until R4, all of a Reaver’s attacks do Common damage. In fact, the biggest DS crits you’ll ever inflict on Freeps are typically with Common damage with the Sundering Blow (SB) armor debuff.
So what’s the deal with the R4 Burning Blades class trait, which converts all damage to Fire? Why do some Reavers slot it?
Here are some reasons:
- While Common damage DS crit rocks, the target has to be Sundered first to get the big numbers. If the SB doesn’t land, you have to wait for the 10s cooldown to try again. If you have other Reavers in your group/raid and they are paying attention to whether the Sunder debuff has been applied this is less of an issue. The targets that your Common damage will do the least damage to (i.e. heavy armor classes) are also the classes that tend to have higher B/E/P, which means you’ll have a harder time landing a SB in the first place
- FR gives more predictable, consistent damage than Common damage will. The target’s armor is irrelevant. Why does predictability matter? Well, for example, I know within a pretty good range how much damage I’ll inflict with a Fire damage DS crit, regardless of the target’s class.
- FR is increased by Vitality, but typically, FR is lower than CM. A 300 Vitality Freep has ~20% FR. As a comparison, a minstrel in Light Armor typically has 35+% CM
- Freeps don’t typically gear for Fire Resistance (FR), as most of the damage in the Moors is Common or Shadow. There is no virtue trait for raising FR directly, aside from indirectly raising it by raising Vitality
Rating the Class Traits for PVP
- Burning Blades: excellent, already discussed above
- Enhanced Skill: Devastating Strike: redonkulously great, as discussed above
- Enhanced Skill: Glory in Victory: good. Takes away the penalty of using GiV, which is significant in a raid setting
- Enhanced Skill: Jagged Cut: useless. PVP tends to be about bursting down a single target. The bleed isn’t guaranteed, making it not reliable for use against Burgs
- Power Boost: because of the traited DS/power mechanics, this trait doesn’t have as much value as the others
- Quick Strikes: excellent. A 10% reduction in attack duration makes for faster use of skills and higher DPS
- Resilience: excellent. It’s like a free pot every minute. Per the B14 changes to DR, I’d argue it’s more valuable than before, as it gets you closer to diminishing returns faster. Pre-B14, even if you popped Resilience, you could still be chain mez’d or rooted right after
- Resistance Boost: solid. I replaced this with Resilience at R5
There are 3 corruptions IMO every Reaver should strongly consider slotting:
- Damage for Power 2 (+5% damage, -5% power)
- Health for Power 2 (+10% morale, -5% power)
- Phys Resist Boost 2 (+15% PR resist, -5% Tact resist)
Why HFP2 and DFP2? Because of the traited DS/power mechanics make power the least valuable of damage, morale, and power.
What’s so good about PRB2?
PR is the resistance check for LM Blinding Flash (mez), snares, DITE, etc. Contrary to what some folks believe, LM mez is not a Tactical Resist check. Snares are deadly in PVP; you can’t pot or Resilience out of them. If you get slowed your ability to manuever is crippled, which means you can’t stay in melee range of moving targets, you’re slower breaking LoS on your target when strafing it, and you can’t get away from a bad situation.
Some things worth noting:
- the +health corruptions work correctly. +10% gives, well, +10%. And they stack multiplicatively; e.g. if you have HFP2 and HFD2, you get 1.10 x 1.10 = 1.21, or 21%, more morale
- the +damage corruptions, AFAIK for all Creep classes, do not given the tooltip benefit. E.g. a +5% damage boost in reality only increases your tooltip damage by like 4%. Or something like that. I’m not sure of the math, but no matter how I tried to crunch the numbers (it’s additive not multiplicative, etc), the numbers never add up.
Responses to Common Negative Perceptions
If you read the forums, there is a common perception is that Reavers are a “weak” class, and on some servers (e.g. Landroval), Reavers aren’t as popular as other classes.
The relative under-representation of the Reaver population IMO is due to 3 things:
1. the perception that Reavers don’t get much from ranking above 5
There is some truth to this. We don’t get any class traits or abilities past R5. There is the perception that the Orc racial traits suck. Let’s look at them:
- the R5 racial (1% B, 1% E, 1%P) is solid
- the R6 racial has been improved in B14 (18 damage per reflect) and is now highly underrated (see PVP Video on 1v1s for commentary)
- the R7 racial trait (10% morale, 1% melee crit) rocks
- the R8 racial is fairly useless
- the R9 racial sucks horribly
- the R10 racial is standard across all Creep classes
I’ve been happy with the R5 and R6 racials so far.
2. the perception that Reavers die a lot
There are 2 root causes of this perception IMO:
- without Charge, a Reaver is very vulnerable
- Reavers don’t spec enough morale
Without Charge, a Reaver has to move at normal speed to get into melee range, which results in a lot of dying because you get pounded and CC’d a lot before you can land a blow. Charge is invaluable for running through Freeps and their nasty CC during keep battles and for choosing your ground to fight on the open map.
When I dinged R3 (@3.5k infamy) and got Charge, my stats looked like this:
- Deaths: 40
- Kills / Deaths: 10.0
- KBs: 43
So it was a pretty even ratio of KBs to Deaths.
In R5 (@22.5k infamy), my stats looked like this:
- Deaths: 147
- Kills / Deaths: 16.6
- KBs: 334
So from 3.5->22.5k infamy, I had 107 deaths and 291 KBs. That’s a pretty healthy ratio (> 2.7 KB per death), and while I am not suicidal, I do take risks.
My conclusion: a Reaver’s survivability increases at R3 with Charge, when you complete your passives (duh), and when you get Resilience and the B/E/P racial at R5.
I also think a lot of Reavers under-value Morale.
Some Reavers have the mindset that they’re going to die anyway, and so they focus on +damage corruptions instead of +health corruptions. This has been debated heavily on the LOTRO Creep forums. As the old saying goes: you can’t DPS when you’re dead. I’ve tried running as a balanced Reaver (5315 morale, 384 damage on DS tooltip) and as a high-morale Reaver (6154 morale, 364 DS), and the high-morale build is tons better for soloing and for raiding. The 800 morale is a huge buffer, and I don’t give up much in terms of damage
3. the perception that Reavers aren’t much use in a standoff
I disagree with this one. We can Charge and throw up Blinding Dust or SB a key focus-fire target, then get back out. We can also Charge to clear any Hunter traps to protect the other Creeps. Sooner or later the standoff will end, and Reavers can then do what they do best: burst down targets
Narrated 1v1 Videos
Other Narrated Videos
Videos without Narration
Movement and Positioning
Movement and positioning are key for melee classes in PVP. Here are some tips:
- Being out of melee range = you lose. Hamstring Hamstring Hamstring! Delving stone run pots (+15% or +20%) are a huge help, esp if your target is fleeing and your Hamstring doesn’t land. It’s worth Hamstring’ing a melee opponent even if they aren’t fleeing, so you can move around them to strafe and break their LoS
- Attack stationary targets from behind. That lowers your target’s avoidance and protects you from frontal AOE
- Run through or around a target to break their LoS. An easy way to do this: run circles around your target. E.g. strafe left + turn right, or strafe right + turn left
- If your target is fleeing and moving slower than you, zig-zag behind the target (see video footage) to keep them in front of you
- If your target has you targeted, “dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee”.
- Do what the greatest fighter of all time did. Maximize how many times you hit without being hit. Keep your target in line-of-sight (LoS) while continually breaking their LoS. This prevents them from hitting you and avoiding (Blocking / Parrying) your attacks, while allowing you to perform an unbroken string of attacks and B/E/P’s.
- Always face a target, even while stunned. You can do this by turning with keys or mouse look. This protects you from positional damage (e.g. burgs hitting you from behind) and enables you to attack and B/E/P as soon as the stun wears off (see video footage)
- Cut corners. Run at an angle of not where the opponent is, but where he is going to be. In other words if you are chasing someone, then cut corners and also angle yourself so that you end up ahead of him. Think ahead at all times when doing this. Like is he going to have to turn to head for GV because of a cliff, etc. (contributed by: Battlebones)
- When jumping down cliffs, always turn and face into the cliff or waterfall. As you fall keep pushing forward. It will cause you to touch and skip on the way down. This lowers your fall damage consistently
- SB effectively buffs Common damage on a target. It won’t help your damage if you slot Fire, but it will increase the damage of other Creeps
- Sometimes it’s worth blowing a full power bar to DS a target that has as much morale as a crit DS, esp if that target is close to safety, may escape (DF or HiPS) or receive a timely bubble, or may get healed
- Also use a health pot early when you are in a 1v1 or 1v2 situation. That also has saved me many times, because in the end of the fight you now have another pot you can fire off (contributed by: Battlebones)
- You need enough power to be able to throw in Gut Punches, Blinding Dusts, Disarms, and Hamstrings when necessary (contributed by: Rainyman)
- Do NOT wait to hit high morale target with DS just so you get the KB. If you have, say freep with 4k morale and 2-3 reavers on him. As soon as you see him drop below 2000, go for DS, if all 3 of you hit him at same time, he’s dead no matter if Min is healing him. I often see Reavers waiting and saving up DS just to get that KB, in 90% of cases when Reavers hold back for KB not only they don’t get it, but nobody gets it (contributed by: NoTabloids)
- Anticipate when you are going to get mez’d/stunned/rooted, especially during a retreat, and be ready to pop Resilience or a CC-breaking pot (see video footage)
- Resilience is a great tool for breaking CC to stay on top of a target (see video footage)
- Use debuffs (Blinding Dust, Hamstring, and Disarm) during a Creep retreat. Debuffs decrease damage taken by you or other Creep(s) (see video footage)
- Gut Punch is a great follow-up after using Devastating Strike, as the power regeneration usually does not recover the amount needed for a Sudden Strikes, but does regen enough for an instant GP (contributed by: muzrathi) (see video footage)
- Gut Punch gives you two auto-attacks right after it lands. So in reality, you’re doing more damage than just what the tooltip suggests (contributed by: Rainyman)
- There is no wait for the animation for Gut Punch (contributed by: Edelbrock)
- Gut Punch is usable while feared or disarmed (contributed by: Taugrim and muzrathi)
- Use Jagged Cut to probe for stealthed opponents (see video footage)
- When a Captain has Last Stand up (15 or 25 secs of unkillable), you can /follow on the Captain, then mouse over the Last Stand icon. It looks like the man standing on a mound with a green background. By mousing over the LS icon you watch when the buff expires. As soon as it expires, hit DS
- SB always buffs your damage on an NPC, regardless whether you do Common or Fire damage
- On a 2k NPC, you should be able to SB and spam SS to get it under 700 morale for a DS finisher. I have only 352 power, it’s never a problem for me
- Keep NPCs in front of you so you can B/E/P. An R3 Reaver has 25.8% total B/E/P, at R5 with the racial it’s 28.8%
- When fighting multiple NPCs, the key is to burn the 1st NPC down quickly so you can slow the rate of damage taken and pop GiV, which has a nice HoT component and significantly buffs your damage. Also make sure to Blinding Dust right off the bat. Make sure archers are in melee range so they don’t shoot you. You can’t parry arrows
- Out of combat, a single power regen tick fills your power bar, whereas morale regens much slower. So to grind fast, it’s your morale bar you have to worry about, so that you don’t have to wait between fights to regen morale. As such, use your skills aggressively to blow targets away
- If you time it right, you can DS, then immediately after get a tick from in-combat power regen
- Some tips for killing NPC’s in the Delving. This I have tested and somewhere I have all the boring figures, but you can decrease damage that you are taking by 30%. You target the NPC and start your attack on him, but you step to the very center of the red/orange aura. Now you are directly on top of him and if you just move forwards and backwards a few inches, it causes the NPC to turn around 180 degrees. While he is turning he isn’t striking you, and if you keep this up your attacks will continue to hit (contributed by: Battlebones)
- When killing a CG and they tell us that Freeps are coming, I tell my brother reavers to DS early at 50% (65k) (contributed by: Battlebones)