Burglar Quickslot Layout
So Initially here is my unfettered Burglar quickslot bar, as with many classes a bewildering array of buttons and skills, all of which do get used, and some with some unusual requirements. I find my usual philosophy of grouping by skill type, with alterations to take rotations into account are not enough for my burglar, mainly as some chains and skills have requirements, or alternate options and if I don’t tweak them some more to take this into account I forget what they do! So I’ll go ahead and try to explain what I mean by this! More than any I will probably revise this layout in future the more I think about it, but this can often be a chore as even if it makes no sense I often get ‘used’ to it being where it is, which in and of itself is no bad thing, but can lead to some skills being forgotten in some circumstances. I am actually aware that this article is probably more solo biased, as the last several months I have been largely forced back to solo, so my group rotations are a little flaky.
Skill Function Layout
As before I’ll look at layout out my skills into some kind of thematic groups as to what they do. This to me is the most logical way, but as is often the case the usefulness of the skill, and/or its place in a rotation will affect and often mess this up a little bit. So again here is an exploded view of my quickslots showing skill locations. I have skirmish buttons elsewhere out-of-the-way on my burglar, as there are too many more important skills I want closer, I also have share the fun elsewhere as when it gets used it is always in a timely and controlled way, no use for it in the middle of combat.
Firstly pre-combat and early fight skills. I always target mark first, and in a group or solo I’ll decide before what mobs get killed, what get which debuff, and which get stunned. It is basically impossible to describe to you which tricks and stuns I use and when, as so much of playing a burglar is about judgement and timing calls, and the only way to hone these skills is by trying things out, and being very familiar with your skills, so use them all, and get a feel for them and how you can use them. I still have a long ways to go, but I really love that with burglar there is nearly always a way to do it, if you can just work out what to use when,or what approach you haven’t tried yet. That said, as a general rule, a large health mob or archer often gets a Riddle for the 30 second mez, additional archers get a traited enrage which forces them into melee range, and remaining melee mobs get a traited disable, and the solo or groups current target from the assist window gets counter defence. I often try to DPS the mob that heals/does unusual attacks first, and use addle on them to slow inductions down, and try to keep them stunned with startling twist as much as possible. I’ll use Mischievous Glee/Delight as and when to return a little health and also power, and I think like pots these are a good thing to get off early and get CD’s going rather than wait until you are desperate for them, that way you will often get to use them twice or more in a fight. I also use clever retort to add a little DPS/power/health in to the mix on my main target as and when, usually where a fight is at that stage where I either need to kill it faster, or grab a little more health/power to stay the distance, that way which ever effect I get from it I can make use of .
So that deals with the main centre row section of tricks, mezzes, and trick removals dealt with, next onto the two DPS chains that fit along side this. To the bottom left we have the burglars main DPS skills, beginning with aim, and before that distract and location is everything if you are in stealth. To the right side is the critical response chain, which opens when you critical an attack, this tends to be open most of the time as I have the legendary trait ‘Stick and move’ which amongst other things opens this chain when you evade an attack. As a finishing move in the crit chain you get the choice of five attacks with my current set up, along the last four on the bottom row; lucky strike, feint attack, flashing blades, and exposed throat, finally above these is a small snag. They are laid out like this as I rarely use a small snag, except in a specific situation, so it is a little out of the line of the others. Lucky strike is a varying strength bleed, feint attack makes your next surprise strike behave as if it were from stealth, flashing blades is a DPS attack, exposed throat is an attack with a chance of a stun/FS manoeuvre opener, and a small snag is a single target root.
So the final few worth mentioning are the right hand group of fellowship manoeuvres (also including the marbles consumables on the top row if I have them), your real best friend skills in a group. Hobbit Silence (Racial) and Hide in Plain sight, which can both be use as panic buttons or as part of some cunning tactics if you are that way inclined. RandA = Ready and Able resets you skill timers and is an excellent manoeuvre in a problem situation, or used proactively to accomplish a very tricky task. For example it would allow you to Riddle a target, and then pop Ready and Able and immediately re-Riddle a second target, or use touch and go evade buff back to back. Touch and Go and Knives out are in the top centre, I tend to favour touch and go which adds a 50% evade chance buff, which is very useful in a hot spot. Finally we have seize the initiative and escape clause, the two labeled as adjacent skill resets. Escape clause resets the shared touch and go and knives out timers, and seize the initiative resets the aim, and critical response chain timers AFTER a successful FS move has been performed, so you have to choose which you most want to reset.
It is a tricky set of skills to wrap your head around, but what order you use them and what traits you have on, can add some real diversity and opportunities to your play style, and if you are up for a challenge can really make the class shine. For a full set of burglar skills and traits, and their details see the LOTRO wiki here, as I am aware I am using these skill names and their functions with the assumption of a level of familiarity.
Skill Rotation Grouping
Here I look at my attacks and skills and their location in relation to my rotations and access for use. Burglars by there very nature are a situational choice based class. There is usually a pre fight plan, but there are often multiple ways to achieve a goal so if the mobs (or often friendly NPC’s) alter you plan, there is still lots you can do but you have to think on your feet. Need to interrupt a mob but Addle is on CD? Remove a trick with a startling twist stun in instead. No trick on the mob? Then use your Riddle or Exploit opening; there is nearly always a way. That being said I do tend to stick to a reasonably frequent set of attacks when soloing, and to some extent grouping. Here for example we will imagine 3 mobs, one of them an archer, being soloed. This will start with adding a reveal weakness, then often it may go:
Riddle on one melee mob
Enrage (traited to prevent ranged attack) the archer and Addle
Counter defence on the Target to die
- Aim, Surprise strike
Subtle Stab and then both DPS chains until dead
Re Riddle Melee
Startling Twist the Archer (short stun), then counter defense, run behind and Well placed Strike
DPS primary and secondary chains until dead
Final mob, Aim, Surprise strike, counter defense and DPS until dead, if its a large mob, well paced strike gets re-used after a short stun
In a group, there is not a huge difference, I keep well placed strike, and cunning attack bleeding a target as often as possible, aim and surprise strike used as much as I can, and the same with my crit response chain. When grouping I nearly always use exposed throat as the final attack in the crit response chain when its available for that chance of an extra FS move. The final thing to remember in groups is keep up your disable trick up on melee mobs, your Riddle if a target needs repeat mezzing, and your counter defence and reveal weakness on the assist’s target. I usually find out if I am on archer duty in a group, though sometimes a Loremaster gets this job. But if I see one ranging the minstrel I’ll often pop traited enrage on them to bring them to melee for the tank to grab, which I’ll remove with mischievous glee for morale return (and to stop them random aggroing), then when the tank grabds them replace with a disable.
My core skills are based around the centre bottom of the bar, plain DPS to the left, Critical response to the right, and tricks above, this give me convienience and speed for my most commonly used skills. My Riddle is in the middle and to the left as A) it is very easy to spot, and B) it is usually a reasonably planned in application, so I have a little time to pop it. The far right is where I jump to for a FS move in a group, or a short stun if I need to lower my incoming damage or interrupt a mob. The top skill row in the middle is mostly for my ‘Panic’ buttons, though I hesitate to say panic, as burglars don’t panic they ‘surf the trouble proactively’ :D but needless to say, on most classes they’d be panic! To the left the evade/defence buffs, and the right your self-heal trick removal, and your find footing, a stun removal and which adds huge heal and a 50% evade buff for 30 seconds, needless to say I love mobs that stun me late in a fight.
In longer fights, or on 10-25K mob solos, clever retort gets used more, well placed strike will get a few applications, as I have it down to 1 minute cooldown with a legacy. Usually this is after a quick startling twist stun>counter defence>get behind>well placed strike, that stacked with cunning attack, lucky strike, and some caltrops can lead to a big 20K mob dropping like a stone (solo’d a 23K Mithril flake troll in Dol Guldur last night, and by the end of the fight, my health was only 500 below full, so there is lots of fun to be had!)
Yet again you seem to have reached the end, well done! As I have said before this set up works for me, but it is a work in progress. I will be writing a follow-up article on my burglar play style, possibly with some videos, if I can scrape some cash and time together, but I’m still working on it. I am also toying with the idea of dabbling with the gambler set up and quiet knife set ups and writing a little about the three dispirate style of play, so stay tuned, but as always don’t expect miracles!
Thanks for reading