Choosing a Class to Play in LOTRO 2023 Beginner & Returning Players (2024)

You’ve just logged into Lord of the Rings Online, and have been presented with quite a few choices to make, one of the most important being which class should I play? There are currently 12 classes and 8 races to choose from in LOTRO.

What’s your play-style? What story do you want to immerse yourself in through the eyes of your character? Ask yourself these questions and more in the following guide to choosing a class in LOTRO.

Which LOTRO Classes Fight in Close Combat Melee?

If you like to be in the heat of battle, right up close with your enemies you will want to consider the following classes:

Choosing a Class to Play in LOTRO 2023 Beginner & Returning Players (1)


The Beorning is a skin-changer who fights in close combat melee as a man or in bear form. The Beorning is capable of filling the role of a tank as The Hide (Blue) or DPS as The Claw (Red) traits. They wear Heavy armor and prefer two-handed weapons spear, axe, or club and can also dual-wield one-handed daggers, axes, and clubs. They utilize melee skills with buffs and debuffs and are capable of changing forms from man to bear in combat.


The Brawler is a melee class who forgo weapons in favor of wearing Battle Gauntlets on their hands and donning steel armor. They wear Heavy armor and fill the role of DPS or Off-Tank.


Burglar fights in melee range and is considered a Support class in an offensive DPS capacity. They utilize stealth to create an advantage over their enemies. The Burglar wears medium armor and can dual wield daggers, maces, clubs, and swords.


Captain is a Support class that fights within melee range, they are often tasked with filling the role of a Tank, Off-Tank or offensive support. The Captain has a versatile skill set that can provide DPS, buffs, and AOE heals for the Fellowship. They can summon a Herald to its side to assist in battle and provide unique buffs. Captains prefer to wear Heavy armor, can equip shields and wield a variety of one-hand and two-hand melee weapons.

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The quintessential warrior class, the Champion equips Heavy armor and dual wields one-hand melee weapons, they can also equip two-hand and ranged bow/crossbow weapons. The Champion has very strong AOE abilities and is considered one of the best DPS classes in LOTRO. Champions build Fervour during combat to use as a resource to unleash their most powerful skills. Guide to the Champion class.


Guardians are in the front lines of battle, they protect the Fellowship from enemies and lead the way. The Guardian is clad in Heavy armor and prefers to wield one-hand and shield weapons. They can also equip two-hand melee weapons and use bows/crossbow for ranged pulls. Guardians are an excellent solo class who use defensive skills to hold their ground against strong enemies and many forces. While a Guardian can take a great deal of damage they don’t deal a lot of damage to their opponents and may defeat enemies much slower than other classes.


Mariners are adept melee fighters, brandishing their swords with finesse to combat malevolent forces. Their innate sense of the dynamics of battle allows them to adapt their fighting style seamlessly with their unique Balance mechanic. Mariners have three distinct trait specializations. The ‘Shanty-caller’ primarily supports groups by amplifying collective damage and offering exclusive shanty skills. The ‘Duellist’ is an agile melee combatant that prioritizes individual damage, and ‘The Rover’ emphasizes group support by debuffing and controlling adversaries.


The Warden wields spears and javelins in battle, they fight in melee and ranged with single-target, area of effect, and damage over time offensive abilities. The Warden equips Medium armor and uses skills in a combination to build and unleash Gambits, these are abilities that inflict damage, heal, or are defensive in nature.

Classes That Can Tank and Take Heavy Damage?

The primary tank class in LOTRO is the Guardian, with the Beorning and Captain as strong secondary tank roles.

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Which LOTRO Class Can Heal?


Minstrel have the most extensive healing kit in LOTRO, they heal the Fellowships morale with songs and provide inspiration in the form of buffs. They equip Light armor and can choose from a variety of instruments to heal with, they can also equip daggers, clubs, maces, and swords for offensive situations. Minstrels are always needed in a Fellowship raid or group instance. The Minstrel can switch stances to disperse healing or damage in solo encounters. Minstrels can cure and shield fellows, fear or crowd-control enemies, and revive players when needed.


Beorning’s specialized in The Roar (Yellow) traits provide strong heals, buffs, and crowd control abilities. They equip Heavy armor and can dual wield melee weapons, or choose a two handed weapon. The Beorning is a skin-changer who uses Wrath to fuel their abilities changing from man-form into bear-form and vice versa. Placing the Mark of Grimbeorn on an ally bolsters the ally with buffs and other heals. Beornings use targeted heals, HOTs, and self-heals in a Fellowship.


Rune-keepers are strong healers that provide heals over time (HOTs) and buffs to the Fellowship. They wear Light armor and carry rune-stones to inscribe powerful words of magic. The Rune-keeper is a hybrid class as it can switch from heals to DPS in rather quick succession through its Attunement Meter, shifting the power of battle to the left (Dagor) or healing to the right (Nestad). Attunement dictates what skills may or may not be used at certain times, and can even influence the effectiveness of some abilities.

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Choosing a Class to Play in LOTRO 2023 Beginner & Returning Players (5)

Support Healing

Captains can specialize in the Hands of Healing (Blue) traits to heal fellows while they are attacking in melee combat, they have skills that buff and heal fellows over time in an area near the Captain.

As a side note, many classes have a single utility heal that is generally used for “oops” moments and usually on a long cool-down.

What LOTRO Classes Use Magical Spells?


Rune-keepers are masters of fire and lightning in their Dagor (Battle) attunement. The Cleansing Flame (Red) specialization bolsters the Rune-keeper with fire-based damage and DOTs abilities. The Solitary Thunder (Yellow) traits offer a mobile fighting style with instant cast lightning spells in the form of damage, debuffs, and stuns. Guide to the Rune-keeper class.


Lore-masters are a Support class that uses nature spells, fire and air in battle alongside their companion pets. The Lore-master wears Light armor and wields a staff, book, and sword. They are considered the best defensive support class in LOTRO, masters of beast-lore and crowd-control. Lore-masters provide the Fellowship with power regeneration, strong AOE, debuffs and stuns on enemies. Learn about the Lore-master class.

Choosing a Class to Play in LOTRO 2023 Beginner & Returning Players (6)
Choosing a Class to Play in LOTRO 2023 Beginner & Returning Players (7)

Which LOTRO Classes Are Ranged In Combat?


Hunters are a DPS ranged class that utilizes the bow as its primary weapon with a sword or dagger for up-close encounters. The Hunter wears Medium armor and is capable of dispersing high single-target damage quickly and with ease. Hunters are masters of ranged-attacks and can utilize traps extensively in it’s Trapper of Foes (Yellow) trait line. If you prefer a mobile/kiting play-style pick Huntsman (Blue), if you like to serve strong damage at the cost of standing in place, choose the Bowmaster (Red). Guide to the Hunter Class.

Lore-master & Rune-keeper

Other classes that can fight at range in a magical capacity are the Lore-master and Rune-keeper.

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Classes That Summon Pets


Lore-master is the master of beast lore, through leveling they will befriend several different pets that are essential to a Lore-masters survival and combat prowess. These pets provide unique combat abilities that assist the Lore-master and its fellows. The pets are: Bear, Raven, Eagle, Lynx, Bog-Guardian, Nature Spirit, and Saber-tooth Cat. Each pet may be customized with different appearances that can be collected and learned.


Captain is capable of summoning a Herald to carry your banner and fight at your side providing buffs to Fellows, these soldiers have unique abilities and can also be customized in appearances. They are Heralds of Hope, War, and Victory and an Archer at level 40.

All classes can learn and summon non-combat cosmetic pets that follow you around.

Choosing a Class to Play in LOTRO 2023 Beginner & Returning Players (9)
Choosing a Class to Play in LOTRO 2023 Beginner & Returning Players (10)

What Classes Can Sneak?

Burglars are adept at sneaking around its enemies or to use it as an advantage in combat.

Hunters can use Camouflage to hide themselves while they are standing still.

Wardens use Careful Step to sneak for a short time on a 3-minute cooldown. This allows the Warden to initiate an Ambush move.

Some races, Hobbits and Elves have a racial trait that allows them to stealth at a reduced speed with a 30-minute cooldown.

Classes That Can Travel Far Places Quickly? Or Summon Fellow Players?

Hunters can travel quickly with Travel Skills and Wayfaring, and teleport their Fellowship with them. The Hunter gains access to travel locations while leveling, there are approximately 50 locations a fully leveled Hunter can quickly travel to. Some of these travel skills are unlocked with quests and reputations. Hunters can also set a Camp at any campfire on the map, this acts like a secondary Milestone for them.

Wardens are capable of traveling to far places with the use of a Mustering Horn, they can gain these skills through reputation. These are Warden only teleports, they cannot summon their fellows.

Guardian (38) can created an Acorn to give or send to an ally to be summoned to their side. Captains (40) can use a rallying horn that will summon members of their fellowship to them.

Choosing a Class to Play in LOTRO 2023 Beginner & Returning Players (11)

Any player can use a Mustering Horn to summon a fellow that is at or above the level area where they are being summoned to, these horns are red in color and located at Camp Fire sites, usually found near instances and in some towns.

Which Class Plays Musical Instruments?

Minstrels are the musicians of Middle-earth, they can learn to play all instruments. Minstrels can teach other classes to play instruments through mentoring. They can also learn to scribe instructional manuals to give to other players to learn instruments.

All players have a set of musical instruments they are capable of playing, the information is found in your Passive Skills (K) panel, they will need to be mentored by a Minstrel to learn additional instruments.

What Is The Easiest LOTRO Class To Learn?

Champion for melee and Hunter for ranged, the two classes offer a straight forward approach to combat, they have good utility skills and are simple to learn. Hunter is one of the most popular classes.

What Is The Most Difficult LOTRO Class To Master?

Warden, the class has a complex Gambit system that is completely unique to LOTRO and it takes some time to master the rotation and learn each of its skills. The Warden has a proactive play-style and usually requires some planning ahead of time on what skills to use in combat, depending on the situation. With all classes, starting out will feel different than at higher levels, the Warden begins to shine around levels 30-40 and beyond.

Which Is The Best Solo Class in LOTRO?

The answer to this question is subjective with several factors involved, here are some suggestions based on my experience and community input.

If you’re wanting to play LOTRO solo, without a fellowship or friends, many of the classes are capable of solo questing and completing content across the landscape. Champion, Hunter, Beorning, and Captain are a few classes that can level rather efficiently.

Lore-master too, though their core function is a support role their damage is lower than the above mentioned classes, at lower levels they require their pet to maintain decent damage, when they get into the 40’s they can provide more damage alongside their pet.

Guardian and Minstrel are good at soloing, though at a much slower pace.

What’s Next?

I hope you found this guide to classes helpful, next I recommend our Quick-Start for beginners guide to learn what you can unlock along your travels to endgame. If you like addons and mods in your games, we have a list of useful plug-ins you may find helpful. Happy questing!

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Choosing a Class to Play in LOTRO 2023 Beginner & Returning Players (2024)
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