I have a Lore-Master and I always solo with it. Sure, it's only level 13 right now, but I am able to defend myself. My strategy is if I'm going to take on enemies one on one, I won't summon my pet. I target an ememy and use Sign of Power: Command to slow him down. After that, I shoot him with Burning Embers followed up with Blinding Flash. When he's stuck, I use Gust of Wind and then use Burning Embers again. If he is still alive, I'll hit him with my staff. If there's bound to be two or more enemies, I usually call my pet. I target an enemy and order my pet to attack him. If I remember, I'll make him weaker to fire. Then I'll use Blinding Flash on the other enemy attacking, and use Burning Flame on the target that's been weakened. When he runs to me, I'll treat him like I do when I solo.
I assume you're just starting out here with said LM.
1) Blinding Flash is your friend. Until much later in the game (I was still in Dunland approaching L75 when I finally stopped), I wouldn't go beyond 3-deep into your Redline trait set because you don't want to cripple your Blinding Flash.
2) Make liberal use of your debuffs. There's no reason not to Fire-lore a group of melee attackers. For that matter, there's no reason not to Wind-lore them either for the attack duration debuff. They'll take a huge load off your squishiness.
3) Be mindful of your flanks. You don't want to be too quick on the draw with your Sign of Battle: Wizard's Fire (especially if using a higher flank-rate pet like the raven) because nothing is more annoying that hearing that flank cue a second after you use Wizard's Fire and forego your self-heal. That's also fairly crucial early game.
4) Don't bite off more than you can chew early on. If you can break a group of 2 into two groups of 1, do it. If you can break a group of 3 into a group of 2 and a group of 1, do it. For that matter, if you can break 3 into 1, 1, and 1 (perhaps using Cracked Earth, kiting until the root sets in, then breaking them out one at a time with single-target attacks), do it. Making fights more managable will make everything SO much easier for you.
EDIT: To respond to what was said above (which was while I was composing), I'd always have my pet out. If you don't want your pet to go nuts, then set it to Guard Mode so it won't just attack everything in site. I'd also enable its target assist so that it will attack who you attack and you don't have to go hunting around when you hear the flank to see who it's on. Of course, if you're worried that it'll pass too close on following someone, then dismiss it until you're on safer ground (which has happened to me...I was bypassing some wraiths in Fornost and my eagle passed too close to one while following me, so we had to fight a group that we'd have otherwise bypassed.)
I have mostly soloed the game; There some places like Angmar and Moria where solo is a bit more dificult, but I cant think on any special strategy to that. Just do what a loremaster is expected to do hit, stun, debuff, root, etc. I always use my pet though, mainly for heals and not so much for the damage, although the lynx surprise attack can be fun
Traits and virtues are more about playstile, you will discover what you like most with time.
It's actually pretty easy to solo an LM. Mine (Parmadae on Gladden) is just short of 60th level with only one real problem so far: completing the Seven Swords instance, even with a fellow, because, as is often the case, the idiot you're assigned to protect dives into a fight with little morale while you're being attacked and can't heal him.
I use the red build, which the first blue class trait you get b/c it gives bonuses to your companion. Fighting is easy: Lock on target. Sign of Power: Command. Send in your companion (whom you should keep buffed with Sign of Power: Rage). Cracked Earth time to hit just after your companion. Gust of Wind (which you may want to use first in case of archers). Burning Embers. At this point you've likely gotten the target's attention, so when he closes use Sign of Power: Wizard's Fire, Staff Strike, then Sign of Power: Wizard's Power again. One more Burning Embers should finish him off. Rinse. Repeat.
The lightning powers have a long cooldown so I tend to save them for emergencies or just to be flashy.
Bane Flare, which stuns the undead, and Warding Knowledge will get you through the Barrow Downs. I've never used Dispel Corruption because no one lasts that long such that I have to. And I just realized I have the other wards, which guard against spiders and stuff. They're probably useful if you have the time to set them up or if you play in any sort of fellowship, which I never did with Parm until recently.
The companion is also good in a group because you key your first attacks to hit right after the companions. That said, I should point out I've never done anything more than a three-man group with any characters, I've only done two-man fellowships with Parm, and I've never played any character with another loremaster, so others might view the LM totally differently. For me, he's like a hunter with a very persistent initial arrow.
Blinding Flash and Light of the Rising Dawn are your secret weapons. Toss them in to stun the target and give yourself a break. For fun and practice, I'd slaughter the aurochs east of Esteldin when I was four or five levels lower just to get used to deploying Blind and Rise, before running, turning and restarting my regular attack sequence.
Rise is also the key to beating those orcs in Moria that buff up their healing when they reach halfway by disrupting it.
I generally only use my debuffs for bosses before jumping into the fray.
Blind and Rise are also great for dividing up multiple targets. For instance, when you have to rescue the bird in the trollshaws, you're attacked by three mobs. Send your companion after the first. Blind the second. Rise the third. Then finish them off in order. Blind and Rise as necessary from that point on.
I'm not a big fan of Sticky Tar because it doesn't aim so well and seems to take forever to get off, but it's great if 2 or 3 are grouped at your feet because Cracked Earth, Burning Embers, Wizard Fire, then Burning Embers again will quickly winnow them, and it lasts a long time so you can run that sequence for a couple of mobs before it wears off.
As for a hobby, Parm's an historian and as a scholar his ability to make battle lore is very useful.
I find the LM fun because, after playing a hunter and champion, it was interesting to be a battle manager, especially in skirmishes, healing when necessary, mezzing, plus striking. I just started a runekeeper, which is kind of the same, just without the companion. I imagine a captain is also similar, with you having a dude instead of a cat.
BTW, I recommend doing the second epic book because after it you get a special trait that lets you summon some cosmetic beasts like a sparrow, I think, whose summoning you can buy from Rivendell once you're kindred. Sure, it'd make you look like a Disney princess, but it's better than another fancy cloak. I skipped that book and wouldn't have had a I known about it. There's no other way to get the trait.
There is a lot of contradicting information in these posts that can be pretty misleading if not wrong altogether.
Some basics while soloing:
1. Taking on more than 1 mob: Blinding Flash allows you to permanently lock down 1 (or even 2) mobs. This means you can always be fighting one less mob than you pulled. Taking on two mobs just got a lot easier! Now, utilize your pet. You pet, assuming you give it a sign of the wild or two, can hold off an equal level mob for quite some time, especially if you toss it a heal. It will buy you time to focus on the other mob you pulled. Now 3 mob pulls are pretty easy, and you only have to fight one baddie at a time!
2. Traits: Master of the staff is a must, Fast Loader is helpful, Master of Beasts is one to shoot for as I believe it lets you give your pet both signs of the wild, Flame of Anor is something you always slot as most skills are fire damage. In general, while leveling, don't trait past 3 deep into Master of Nature's Fury as Blinding Flash is crucial while you level. I wouldn't suggest going full MoNF till around level 50ish when your DPS really comes together.
3. Pets: No reason not to always have one of them out; each provides nice benefits. The raven flanks the most out of the non-legendary pets (allows you to heal yourself), it provides a tactical mitigation buff which is super awesome when fighting the dead and spirits, it has the skill distraction which allows you to completely negate archer dps, and makes a mob more sensitive to fire damage. The bear is most notably needed while soloing for the force taunt which can help you get out of sticky situations. The Lynx gives you great burst dps up until about level 45 and is loved during leveling because it helps you burn through landscape mobs faster.
That is a short guide to things you need to know while starting your leveling.
Edit: as a reference I have run most of the endgame instances at level 75 and soloed my way throughout the entire game.
Your pet is an integral part of the class. Far more so than many non LM players assume. Tell that Hunter to leave his bow behind or the Minstrel to abandon the instrument. You can still do stuff, but much wont work so well anymore. That means you need to get very confident in using it (and this will make any subsequent playing of a Captain a doddle). Use the pet's strengths and don't be afriad to changepets if weakenesses will let you down. Raven in Barrow Downs is a classic case in point, it will be far more useful than any other pet you may have for a while. The Lynx in Nan Amlug will give an Earthkin a very rough time indeed with the stealth hit. The Bear is excellent against a couple of opponents, mez one and let the bear pick up the other. Roaring Challenge will always pull aggro for a while. Pet food is worthwhile if you can get it.
Never, ever be ashamed to fight to the last pet and run away. Roaring Challenge and head for the hills is a perfectly acceptable tactic.
I have a level 30 LM that I've soloed up to now. I would agree with most of the advice given here. The secret to playing the LM (or any class) lies in understanding the role, ie. crowd control, even in solo mode.
My basic rule for LM:
1. Pet, always. And always have your pet buffed. Get into the habit of doing this (sign of wild protection) every few minutes, even when out of combat, so you can get the class trait. Also try different pets for different situations. You need to figure out which pet suits the stuation and playing style best.
2. Debuff, debuff, debuff. The first 1 or 2, even 3 as you level, skills used on a mob. This is crucial to compensate for the low DPS of a LM. And take advantage of the debuffs that don't pull aggro.
3. Mez, stun, root. Most of these skills carry damage as well. Blinding Flash is your default for taking on more than 1 mob, and useful when you need a break during a hard fight. Bottom line, keep those mobs off you as long as possible, then finish them off with a staff strike and a loot .
4. Heal/cure and buff your pet and yourself after every fight, even if you don't need to. Again, it helps towards those class traits.
5. Try out different skill orders and have fun. Playing the LM is huge fun because of the tactical nature of the class. It requires a bit of quick thinking in sticky situations and planning.
I also found online resources like mmorsel, lotro wiki, and the lorebook here very good. You need all the help you can get .
My Lore Master is level 39 and I have only ever soloed with her. I won't go into complicated techniques or whatever, just give these two simple pieces of advice;
1) Use your Raven at all times! When the Bear becomes available don't use it because at first it is more likely to get you killed than not, stick with the Raven! I used Raven up until level 30 when I got the Lynx and now use the Lynx exclusively, the attack from stealth that it has is brilliant. My bear is now starting to be useful, but only because at this level he has now got his 3 skills.
2) NEVER FORGET!!!
When you root something your pet will stop attacking and return to you!
When you stun something, a pet attack will break the stun!
And if you meant mezz / daze , the pet won't break it either as he will come back to you .
Meant daze, and pet does break it if you are not careful. If you daze just as pet rushes to attack, he will still complete attack and break it. Has happened to me on more than one occasion, which can be a real pain.
Said it before ans I'll say it again, ask 10 LMs how to do something and you will get 12 answers. LMs are way to versatile to ever say do ABC, it all depends on your play style. I know a girl that stays traited KoA for every thing. I cant image it, but she dies way less than I do.
Even skill rotation is up to the player. About the only "standard" I can think of is start with SoP:C and after that it all becomes situational. Most of the advice posted is good, cherry pick it and see what matches what works for you. I use the raven for select runs like Sarumon..... the other 90% of the time I like the eagle.... Flanks, and the rez... I tend to wade in like a tank kill till i die, rez, then finish off the leftovers. Forges daily run in Galtrev.... I use the saber kitty that most dislike. I lay tar, collect up 5 - 8, root them in the tar, ISG, kitty AoEs, staff sweep, CE and then loot..... Too much fun
1) Read your skill descriptions to understand what they do, how long they last and how long they are on cooldown.
2) Practice using each and every skill you have so you understand how it works with/against other skills.
3) Don't be afraid to try something you think you can't do. A level 12 LM can kill the level 15 elite master warg that wanders around Chetwood. You have to understand your skills to do it but if you understand them it is fairly easy to do. There are many things like this as you level up that you can do solo both out in the open and in group instances.
4) Do not think that the way you do things is the only way that a LM can get the job done. There are many tricks of the trade to learn on a LM and it always pays to watch how somebody else handles a challenge.
I'd say Tinker because they can craft many LM specific jewellry pieces as well as make food for your pets.
Character Development -
1) Learn all your skills and work on getting you class deeds done along the way.
2) Retrait on occasion to see how different class traits effect your play style as well as evaluate how they may help in a group situation.
3) Duo with all of the other classes when you can to see how your skills aid that class and how that class can affect your play style.
4) Step out of the box and lead fellowships and raids. It is always easier to use your class to the best of your abilities if you are deciding what needs cc'd, what needs pulled and how the group make up will handle it.
The most important thing - have fun!
Elendilmir - Officer of the Mithril Crowns (The Oldest Kinship in LOTRO)
"It doesn't matter how well you play, only how good you look while playing."