Pet Menagerie – The Raven

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lmraven

Welcome to the first of what should be many articles showcasing the pets available to LOTRO’s resident animal fanatic, the Lore-master! I plan to look at each pet individually, examining the different abilities available and how it matches up statistically with the others. In this initial edition, we will quite appropriately be covering the first pet you get, the Raven.

Damage

The Raven comes in at the bottom of the pack in terms of damage output, and by quite a wide margin too. On its own the Raven is almost useless when it comes to dishing out the hurt. However, where it excels is in amplifying your own output, in two specific ways.

Firstly, it has a skill callled Benediction of the Raven, which places a debuff on the target that decreases fire mitigation by 10% for one minute. This makes the Raven a very good pet to use if you trait heavily in the red line, as you will utilising fire damage quite frequently. This also comes in handy in group instances and raids, where you may often be running with fire traited Rune-keepers and Hunters using fire-oil. This skill has a ten second cooldown, which means it can be kept up continuously.

Second is the fact that the Raven has the highest flank rate of all non-legendary pets(The Bog-lurker and Eagle are both more effective are procing flanks). Especially for an LM who likes to get up close and whack things with their staff, this can be a great boost to your damage output.

Utility

A really cool feature to the Raven, and one that is not noted anywhere ingame, is the pet’s ability to apply a debuff upon achieving a critical or devastate with an autoattack. This debuff increases the target’s miss chance by 15% for fifteen seconds. A great little thing to have procing without motivation, and one that happens fairly often. You can boost the chances of applying this debuff in several ways. Firstly, equipping a Brooch of Rage increases your companion’s raw crit rating. There is also the Hardy Companion trait, which increases it’s crit chance as well as it’s level. The Legendary trait Noble Savage increases the pet’s crit chance as well. It should be noted that Benediction of the Raven has a chance to apply this debuff as well, but only a 50% chance *after* a critical or devastate.

The second skill available to the Raven is Distraction. It is a channeled skill, lasting fifteen seconds with a fifteen second cooldown. This means that if set to autocast, the pet will often chain use the skill. The most important effect of this skill is to reduce the targets outgoing ranged damage by a gargantuan 50%. Definitely not something to overlook when fighting predominantly ranged opponents, particularly Uruk Blackarrows in PvMP. Used in conjunction with Wind-Lore, you can utterly cripple his ability to do damage. It’s important to note that if used on an NPC along with Wind-Lore, it will usually switch to melee combat instead. In addition to the damage debuff, Distraction also applies a 10% miss chance debuff, always nice to have, and applies a fairly mediocre damage-over-time.

The third and final skill given to the Raven is Evasion. As you might imagine, this skill increases the Raven’s Evade for a short period of time, as well as increasing it’s armour value and shadow mitigation. Not incredibly useful, as the pet’s lack of damage output means it is unlikely to ever take sustained damage that would necessitate using the skill. That said, it can come in handy as an extended distraction for you to escape past some troublesome mobs, or as added insurance in instances with heavy AoE damage flying around.

But probably the biggest appeal to using the Raven, and the thing most people associate with the pet, is it’s innate aura ability that extends to itself, his owner, and anyone in the group with him. Shield of the Raven’s Wing, aside from sounding totally awesome, bestows a  hefty amount of tactical mitigation. This is not quite as useful to the LM as it used to be, due to the change making Will increase tact mit,  but for those who are not yet capped it’s still a great buff.

Conclusion

Final thoughts on the Raven; it’s in a pretty good spot overall. It does have the same damage issue that all pets in LOTRO have, but the amount of varied abilities, its potential in different situations makes it arguably the most well rounded pet. Where I would personally recommend using this pet over others, would be these in particular:

  • Solo questing while built for MoNF, for the Benediction debuff and flanks
  • Group instances and raids with heavy tactical damage for the tact mit buff
  • Solo PvP for Benediction, the tact mit buff and frequent flanks for healing and power restoration

So that’s it for this article. Please leave a comment if you’d like to weigh in, any disagreements with what I’ve said or if there’s something I have missed out. And in particular, if anybody has any advice for writing these articles, ways to improve my structure or SPG, it would be much appreciated. Thank you.

8 comments

  1. Belwynne /

    Great article. Should be on every Lore Master’s reading list!! I look forward to the series.

    Just as an aside, when grouping I find the tank frequently prefers me to bring my raven rather than my bear, because the raven almost never pulls aggro (can’t be said about Honey, my bear).

    For me, I use the raven grouping and the bear soloing. I feel the eagle is a waste of a legendary trait slot. I’d be interested what pets other LM’s use in game.

    • mtones /

      The debates on the usefulness of the eagle vs. bog vs. raven have been going on a long time, and there are indeed lots of LMs who say they don’t believe the legendary slot “worth it” for the eagle.

      I used to feel that way too, and for years I ran raven/bear on solo MoNF. Then about a year ago, I decided to switch over to eagle for the heck of it and wow… I have never looked back. A lot of it has to do with your play style and if you PvP, etc. For me the eagle is a hands down amazing, best use pet. You can flank-tank almost anything, heal procs are crazy good, he can rez you should you get into any trouble (rare, if ever), and he’s just plain cool to see.

      I still take out my trusty raven in raids when needed, but even there I have used my eagle when I situation was at hand. Eagles are awesome in my book, and I for one am happy to have discovered this.

  2. Lilikate Buggins. /

    Great Article, I have rolled a fledgling LM, this information is invaluable.

  3. Andang /

    Great job! I can’t wait to see the rest of the series!

  4. Hey there,

    I have a level 75 LM that has never used their eagle. Like you Mtones, I don’t believe the legendary slot worth it. After reading this though, I might give it a whirl and see how it goes.

    Thanx for the info.

    Great work on the Raven. I guess I am one of those people who has always underestimated their true worth. Will have to take another look now.

    Have fun.

  5. This is a very nice guide Ethelros. I don’t play my lore-master very much, but when I do I expect this guide to become very handy. I’m looking forward to seeing more. 🙂

  6. Ringeras /

    Nice article!

    Something I’d like to see added to your discussions of each pet: Which skills deserve to be auto-cast versus which are best to hold back and used only on intentional cast?

    For instance, LMs using their Eagle set Sacrifice to auto-cast to make sure they get their rez, for example, but I’m interested in knowing your thoughts on things that include (but are not limited to) does the skill merit constant use versus does this skill actually just auto-deplete pet power?

    I haven’t really explored pet mechanics with my LM as much as I could and so this stuff interests me a lot now.

    • Ethelros /

      Thanks for this. It’s definitely something I’ll think about adding for future articles, although by and large I find most pet skills are fine to set on auto.

      It’s especially something to note about the Bog-Lurker, although that one will be a lot later. 🙂

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