Foreword - The motivation or "why would I write another wall of text?"
Every now and then, a thread appears about different build strategies, and I have found myself not posting a reply as of late, because I am repeating myself a lot and become lazy about it. I don't think that is a good thing, since many interesting discussions arise when talking builds and gameplay approaches.
This is my attempt at centralizing my views, based on personal experience, forum lore, and some theorical insights. Of course I am not trying to enforce anything, but rather hope that a good discussion can be born here, and I will try to keep updating this thread, even through updates (and nerfs).
Before I start saying anything specific about the different ways a Hunter can design his gameplay and build, I'll begin by stating my own view of the hunter class, since that is the foundation of my analysis.
'The Hunter is a ranged damage dealer, capable of sustaining a high damage output, while also being an impressive nuker. As such, its main role in a group is to unleash a full damage throttle from a safe position, while going unnoticed and not straining the rest of the group.
It is a class capable of performing an interesting amount of crowd control, mostly centered about making the solo life easier, but also nicely contributing to a group's mechanics, while not strong enough to be considered by any chance a main crowd control class.
If needed, a Hunter can also decently off-tank ranged enemies, buying some time for proper tanks and healers to handle the situation, or directly eliminating that source of danger.'
That is at least the class description I think we fit. Of course we could fit it better (currently), but I'm not trying to discuss nerfs or relative performance with other classes in this thread.
De-trivializing the concept of DPS
For a long time the term of DPS has been used and abused. So here are some more accurate definitions I believe bring more light to the possible discussions.
1. Burst Damage: This is the one you can deliver quickly and massively, without any further consideration, and usually being exhausted afterwards, be it by cooldowns and/or power.
2. Sustained Damage: Damage dealt over a significant period of time relying on your own skillset, and maintaining a steady flow throughout that time. The definition of significant period of time is of course very relative, but by current game standards I would dare say it is in the 5 minute realm.
3. Peak Damage: Tricky definition in that this is usually atached to Burst, but there is a difference: Peak Damage is that of the flashy numbers. As an example, Heart Seeker is a Peak Damage skill, but unless it is used as an opener/combat-state breaker, it is not a Burst skill (or any good at all).
Crowd Control and Combat States
Negative combat states are those which in one way or another, (partially) disable a combatant. These are what generally consist of Crowd Control.
The actual Negative Combat States:
Fear: Fear causes a mob to run away from its source in a chaotic fashion at a reduced speed, although it bears an overall direction. It breaks on damage, except for a short grace period on some cases.
Daze: A Daze causes a mob to stand inactive and unable to do anything in a static position. It breaks on damage, except for a short grace period on some cases.
Stun: A stun is similar to a daze in that it disables and paralizes a mob in place, but it does not break on damage. The typical durations are quite lower than that of Fears and Dazes. After being applied, a combatant will have a Stun Immunity buff which lasts 8 seconds.
Root: A root renders a mob unable to move from position, but nothing else. A typical root has a proc chance varying in % to be broken on damage.
Knockdowns: This would fall into the stun category, but is special in that some of these moves start Fellowship Maneuvers. Hunters have only 1 Knockdown ability, and that is through the Out of Combat-only Tripwire trap, which can proc a Fellowship Maneuver.
The partially disabling combat states:
Disarm: Disarm makes a combatant unable to use any skills dependant on having equipped a main hand melee weapon. It doesn't break on damage, but might typically be cured as wound debuff or with special skills.
Silence: This one causes a combatant to be unable to use any skills falling on the Cry or Song categories. It is not a great definition, but most heal and shout skills are typically affected. It doesn't break on damage, but can be cured as a fear debuff or with special skills.
Snares: These reduce combatant movement, either making it easier to catch up with it, or to run away from it.
LotRo game mechanics consider Negative Combat States to 4 of all the above: Fear, Daze, Root and Stun.
A word about Threat
Threat management and generation has started an impressive number of guides and discussions, so I'm not about to start that here. I will just mention that any respectable DPS class player should know how to handle his own aggro/threat/hate, by whatever means available. While I will briefly mention it at times, I'll assume the reader knows what I am talking about.
Ranged Critical Chance
Any end-game hunter should be sitting around at least 12-13% Ranged Critical Chance without Critical Eye slotted. The importance of Critical Chance for a Hunter lies more in focus generation through Deadly Precision, than in a damage increase. Doing some calculations, a 1% Critical Chance increase translates to about a 0.5% damage increase in the long run. The point is, building too much for it doesn't pay off, specially with the hard-cap at 15%.
What is soloing for a Hunter?
Soloing for a Hunter is not all that complicated. A typical solo fight is about Burst damage, picking targets one at a time, and using CC to break groups into manageable chunks or to get a needed pause. The usual limits on the speed of grinding are down times due to power/morale regen between fights, and power pool size. Remember that any CC you wish to apply will probably need some planning, as there are no panic skills in the toolset (Desperate Flight just saves the repair bill).
So, other than nuking power, soloing efficiently is also about carefully planning CC, and using whatever survivability skills, however minor, are available. Let's explore that.
Contrary to SoA times, we now have some options other than choosing Man as race for the 3k heal, or using potions.
Improved Strength of the Earth: Having this one available can make a difference, but the oportunity to use it has to be created through CC. The related legacy of morale regen is quite valuable, meaning a significant "heal" depending on the length of the CC window.
Improved Press Onwards: It is a great way to recover both power and morale. Applying CC to make an opportunity is mandatory, since the skill is easily interrupted.
Ajile Rejoinder HoT: I have found this HoT to be really nice, and while it is definitely not a lifesaver, it does help to speed up grinding work and have some margin of error.
Controlling the fight is the most important thing for a solo Hunter. We can't run madly into a tight group of enemies and destroy them like a champ would do, or outlast them as guardian would. But we can keep enemies at bay through crowd control.
Cry of the Predator: Granted there aren't that many beasts around in end-game soloing areas, but the great advantage of this skill is the ability to use it on the run.
Bard's Arrow: A great solo CC skill, just make sure you "aim" the mob correctly so you don't chain-pull. Breaking the fear yourself usually is the best you can do.
Rain of Thorns: An AoE root of great value. A typical mistake is to open with it when pulling large groups of enemies, without planning what to do once the root expires. Use your other CC to manage the remaining adds once they are free.
Set Trap: Positioning is key, and planning where and when to make an enemy trip into it can be essential.
Distracting Shot: The mezz is short, and the cooldown is long, but it makes for a great breether at times.
Crafted Traps: These can be VERY powerful, but I'm not a big fan of them. If I wanted to do some crazy stuff I would probably get some, but for the average solo stuff, they aren't needed. The crafting cost and shared cooldowns discourage me from considering these for every day usage. But the option is there.
Snares: While not properly CC, kiting can also buy time to fire proper CC or to release that desperate damaging skill. Stance: Strength Quick Shot and Low Cut are the obvious choices.
Since the introduction of the Legendary Item system, there are several enhacements available for the skillset. However, no legacy will make a huge difference in your performance, with the current options. But some of them are at least interesting.
Focus/Indcution Bow Critical Multiplier: These are about nuking power.
Ranged Skill Evade/Block chance: Reducing the chance that your enemies will avoid your ranged attacks is a nice bonus, but the legacies are quite expensive, specially considering the little difference between minimum and maximum rank. I would like to have these on a weapon, but spend points in other stuff, leaving these ones for last.
Needful Haste duration: By improving attack speed and the reduction of the induction of ISB, it is a great burst damage skill. Enhacing its duration is all for the better.
Improved Strength of the Earth morale regen: A cheap legacy that brings the skill to a minor heal status.
Ajile Rejoinder heal chance: A relatively nice self-heal over time with a 50% cap, quite cheap as well. Very nice.
Precision Critical Multiplier: Increased damage in Stance: Precision on critical hits. The appearance of this lecay alone has completed my shift from Stance: Strength to Stance: Precision for solo work. Burst is lower, but Precision is more reliable (and elegant if I may say so), and with this legacy, crits don't have anything to be ashamed of.
AoE Targets: Increasing the targets of Rain of Arrows, Rain of Thorns and Low Cut.
Beneath Notice cooldown: Now that this skill is a power self-heal over time it has at least some value for solo as well.
The Basic Builds
1º Build: The Bowman-Huntsmaster
These are the Hybrid builds that perform best for usual solo work, in my opinion. Mixing and matching Bowmaster and Huntsman is what typically has worked best for the soloing hunter everywhere: The build is centered around burst capabilities and speed/responsiveness while keeping the CC legendaries for added survivability/engaging options. This hybrid builds are a 3/4 or 4/3 mix, but based around running in Stance: Strength.
Swift and True/True Shot
Focus management and induction reductions. A Hunter's success depends on doing damage, and doing it fast. Reduce your inductions to build focus faster and to have less time vulnerable to setbacks. Get focus faster and spend it slower to do more damage and even save it for melee time.
The optional traits
Hail of Arrows/Arrow Storm: If you like to do multi-pulls these two will help manage that and optimize your AoE damage output. Watch out for your own CC of course.
Resolute Aim: No inductions setbacks while using Needful Haste. Useful if you get stuck in melee a lot. But handling focus and CC well should be enough to either buy time to use induction skills, or to avoid them when in melee.
What are the differences between going further into each of the lines?
Well, that is a matter of how you prefer to go about gameplay. Going 4 into Bowmaster provides a further boost to damage in Stance: Strength (10% more than with 3 traits), but the power consumption goes through the roof. Going 4 into Huntsman will provide you with further induction reduction bonuses and open up Improved Press Onwards. Remember that both flavours still keep the ability to use Improved Strength of the Earth, by all means learn to use it.
2º Build: The Precise Hunter
While Stance: Strength builds bring Peak Damage potential to the table, Stance: Precision brings speed and reliability. You'll build focus faster and consume it more efficiently, fire shots quicker and BPE'd shots will become something weird. However it has a major setback: No Quickshot snare. It is however very workable once you get used to it (or get used to the stance dancing).
The optional traits are the same as the previous build flavour, plus maybe one of the damage traits: Swift and True/True Shot.
With those traits arranged, you'll build focus quite fast, and quite reliably. CC skills also become more reliable, but you'll feel the damage reduction (specially if coming from a 4+ Bowmaster setup). You will also burn power quite slower, reducing impressively your down time, and making your power pool more efficient. The comments on Press Onwards still hold, but remember: don't give up your CC legendaries.
3º Build: The Melee Hunter
I haven't really tried out such a build for any significant period of time, but I am willing to at least put some thought into it.
First requirement would be to get some nice melee weapons. Both main and off-hand.
Bow and Blade seems to be a must for a such a build.
Rapid Recovery to reduce some cooldowns on melee skills.
Strong Draw and Arrow Storm also seem a good choice, since using focus skills is very efficent at melee.
Resolute Aim also grows a lot in importance.
As you can see, the list is heavy on Huntsman related traits, if only the legendary was worth it...
Off-hand damage: Seems a must if using Bow and Blade.
Melee Critical Multiplier: It also seems important, specially since Scourging Blow would start to see real use.
Melee Critical Rating/Blindside Critical Rating: These might be interesting, but I wouldn't spend any points in them.
Focus Burn philosophy
Focus Burn as a build strategy started a very long time ago, in the days of Thorog and Thaurlach. I believe it is without a doubt, the only way to maximize sustained damage in a grouping scenario.
The basics of Focus Burn rest within a simple fact:
Our most DPS (damage/time) efficient skills are Focus Skills, which also are quite expensive in power: Penetrating Shot, Rain of Arrows and Merciful Shot.
A Focus Burn build makes an attempt to optimize the mix between Focus Skills and Induction Skills to deal the most possible damage over a defined period of time. Ideally, to maximize damage output, you would only use Induction skills as fillers between cooldowns of your best damaging skills, but we are restricted by two limiters: power and focus.
When cooldowns are taken into the equation, a perfect Focus Burn Rotation would look something like this:
ISB PS BA RoA PS QS QS PS -> repeat
111 149 87 163 149 35 35 149
+2 -3 +1 -3 -3 +1 +1 -3
Needful Haste, Intent Concentration and Merciful Shot should find their way at either end of the chain and at the aproppiate moments, but the basics are there.
I've tested that rotation, and it takes just about 10s to perform, a little less going all the way into reduced inductions (4 huntsman).
The numbers in bold are focus gain and loss, and it totals for an amount of -7.
The numbers in blue are power costs, and they sum up to a total of 878 power.
So that means in 1 minute we would expend 5268 power and be at -42 focus defict. Ouch.
Although the above table is meants as an illustration of the situation, it is clear we will desperately need two things to make that rotation anything else than a distant dream:
1) A continous flow of focus
2) A continous flow of power
How to Manage Focus
A hunter can build/save focus in several ways, but each one also has its issues:
Using Induction Bow Skills. Spamming induction skills is also reducing damage output. Consider that Quick Shot is barely above auto-attack damage, as an example.
Through ranged skill critical hits, if Deadly Precision is slotted. This is quite random.
Using Stance: Precision, if Enduring Precision is slotted. But Precision doesn't manage aggro and power at all.
Firing off Intent Concentration. But this one is on a relatively long cooldown (Albeit traitable with Swift Recovery) when considering a skill rotation.
Using Blind-side. But you have to be in melee range, which is precisely where you shouldn't be when grouping (because of incoming AoE damage and because our melee AAs are usually quite weak).
Strong Draw can reduce the focus cost of Penetrating Shot by 1. Costs a trait slot.
Arrow Storm can reduce the focus cost of Rain of Arrows by 1. Costs a trait slot.
How to Manage Power
Now, regarding Power... There are also several ways to manage power, let's seem them:
Using a Major Tome of the Wind-Rider. Never leave home without it, not even on bio brakes.
Using Bow of the Righteous. Outrageously essential legendary trait. It translates to about 530 ICPR with the above rotation.
Using Stance: Endurance.
Firing off Beneath Care.
Traiting Graceful Draw, which further enhaces the bonuses from Stance: Endurance.
Traiting Deep Concentration, which gives Intent Concentration a power heal effect.
Use Consumables. Regen food before the fight, power potions through it. Start considering those as must-haves rather than optionals.
Using a slow ranged wepon. The slower the weapon, the least amount of skills you use in a given amount of time, and that means less total power spent.
Using Improved Press Onwards to refill the power pool completely.
Using Improved Strength of the Earth during scripted fight pauses and the like.
Stacking ICPR, directly through items and then through the stat Fate to a minor extent.
Even then, it is virtually impossible to not run at a power deficit. The power numbers reflected above are exagerated, but not by much. In any case, sustained damage is not about being able to indeterminely shoot stuff, but to last reasonably long without straining the group and while still doing your job.
Managing aggro is actually the most important part of your task as a DPS class. Doing the most damage without generating more hate than the tank is what Hunters are all about. If you pull aggro... your skill rotation, power usage, focus management will matter little.
Stance: Endurance provides a permanent threat reduction.
Quick Shot in Stance: Endurance acts as a detaunt.
Graceful Draw Trait further enhaces the threat reduction bonuses of Stance: Endurance.
Beneath Notice greatly reduces your threat, but only in a small period of time (your perceived threat, contrary to real threat values, which remain). Once that time expires, you're back at full, so it is merely a window you buy for yourself and the tank to actually do something about it.
Using a Tome of the Whisper-Draw reduces threat in a similar way to Stance: Endurance.
Now to sum up the interesting stuff mentioned so far.
And we still have to consider damage enhacements to the most used skills
Swift and True Improved Single Target damage
True Shot Improved Single Target damage
Hail of Arrows Improved AoE damage
What about Barbed Fury?
This trait, although not a bad one now that Barbed Arrow is a truly remarkable skill, doesn't seem to bring much to the table, the difference being to fire it every 20s instead of every 10s. In a heavy AoE enviroment it might be viable to spam dots on all targets, but the bleed isn't that good (don't get me wrong, it does rock for sustained damage), and a hunter not continually firing to one target is not really doing anything, the class is just built that way.
We also have to chose between a Tome of the Wind-Rider and a Tome of the Whisper-Draw.
There is a commitment to make to a stance, if we are to trait one.
The trait set bonuses are also in there somehow... What a mess. And still have legacies to consider.
The mix and match posibilities seems quite broad and beyond reasonable, but in reality, I don't think there are that much posible combinations. The excercise of making your own build is a good one to perform, and surely a good learning experience. But we shouldn't start by trying to rediscover the wheel.
One thing remains true: The heart of all focus burn builds remains within a few key things
Strong Draw: Reducing the focus cost of the damaging shot we spam the most.
Deadly Precision: Making every 5th/6th hit produce aditional focus through criticals.
Bow of the Righteous: Adding a flat out 500 ICPR to our build.
Major Tome of the Wind-Rider: Reducing all our ranged skill power costs by 12%.
With these four things we have addresses focus management and power management as broadly and as efficiently as possible in the lowest amount of possible steps, and taking the lowest amount of possible traits. Anynthing else must evolve from here on.
Everything else must come through itemization: any hunter trying to do a Focus Burn build, should stack as much ICPR as possible, get the right legacies on the LIs and know his rotation hickups. Gems for LIs, bracelets, Off-hand... these are the places to hold your ICPR gear. Stacking Fate is also an option, but this stat is hard to find and drives a hard bargain.
It's time to analize some builds...
Pure Focus Burn
I call this the Pure build, because it is completely devoted to Focus building and burning: doing the most single target damage possible. It is the build I stick by most of the time when grouping.
Swift Recovery/Fast Draw*
Swift and True
True Shot/Hail of Arrows
Bow of the Righteous
Rain of Thorns
This build is designed around maximizing single target damage output (Hail of Arrow is best suited for AoE rich enviroments such as the Halls of Crafting). It throws everything else out the window.
* Swift Recovery is more convenient when the important fights are spanning over more than 5 minutes, or when the pace in fighting is at full throttle with little downtimes, otherwise the cooldown reduction won't play much part in it, specially if you don't have the full watcher set. It is also important to note that Needful Haste deepens even further the power issues of the build.
The ups: The focus generation is fast enough to keep up an almost perfect skill rotation at all times. Stance: Precision means significant reduction of target avoidance ratings, which translates to increased damage and increased effective critical chance. Merciful Shot can be considered into the skill rotation further into the fight. Press Onwards is available, and very important because of the power heal.
The downs: Poor power and aggro management, most of the tools available are left out with this build, and it is definitely felt after a short while, or when pushing threat too far. Power potions should be thought of as a skill when going with this build, and used preemptively to lengthen your standing time. Bard's Arrow as a legendary is gone, but it is also true you can slot it instead of Press Onwards if it's really needed.
True Focus Burn
The true heir of the SoA days I would believe, but one I can't favour in light of the current shortcomings of the hunter in DPS and the characteristics of the current end-game content.
Swift and True/True Shot/Hail of Arrows
Bow of the Righteous
Rain of Thorns
This setup of traits mixes power and focus management elegantly, and following the earlier versions of SoA.
The ups: The power management of this setup is as good as it gets. All the way reduced power costs, power heal options with reduced cooldowns, and increased ICPR from the set 2 bonus of Trapper of Foes. Also includes the best focus management tools from the pool listed above. A really elegant mix, at least in theory.
The downs: This much power management is currently unneeded in the game, where most strained fights are DPS races. It lacks significant damage output potential when compared to other plausible builds. The flow of focus is not really steady, and inductions aren't that fast. The aggro management bonuses of the build also seem to go to waste, unless the tank of choice is very lacking in skill.
Focus Burn 2.0
I would dare say this is the mainstream option for group play at the moment, one that keeps power management, aggro control and damage output at a great balance, and best fit for current end-game content.
Swift and True/True Shot/Hail of Arrows
Bow of the Righteous
Rain of Thorns
This build is a new mix which tries to do the same as True Focus Burn, but better adapts to current end-game content, having a somewhat better damage potential.
The ups: More focus options are available, while keeping the ability to manage aggro and power. Improved Press Onward can also be considered, and the full induction reduction bonuses are present. This build is not tied to any particular stance through traits, and as such has more flexibility.
The downs: The build doesn't really compromise itself neither to damage nor power management. It does well in both, but great in none.
The Utility Variations
I've found useful at times to do variations on the builds above to keep some CC. Giving up one trait here or there for Combat Traps, or keeping the Fear from time to time (sacrificing Press Onwards probably), to very good results.
A word about legacies
The combo of legacies that probably works best is Barbed Arrow Bleed Damage, Critical Multiplers and at least Focus Bow Power Cost.
Ranged Weapon legacies
The Critical Multiplier legacies can enhace your total damage output by a maximum of about 3%. Very expensive to level up.
Barbed Arrow bleed damage is probably the best damage legacy for sustained DPS right now.
Merciful Shot cooldown is nice on intention, but it has been already tested that PS+RoA is far more focus/damage efficient. Where it comes best is at spamming corruption removal, or for solo work.
The power enhacement legacies are perhaps of the most important ones to actually help with lasting throughout an actual long boss fight. They are also very expensive to level up.
The avoidance reduction legacies aren't bad in design, but to actually spend points in these would seem like a waste of Legendary Points, considering the benefits of upgrading them.
The threat legacies with it's ratings tooltips... I just don't understand the actual effects, and we can always manage aggro some other way (Beneath Notice -> Stance: Endurance and QS). Also, when considering the task of ranged tanking we seem to have been officially given (ie Watcher fight), these are plainly bad to have.
Ranged Evade is nice to have, but I wouldn't spend any points in this one either.
Melee weapon legacies
Needful Haste Duration is one of the best legacies for improving ranged damage.
Beneath Notice cooldown is nice to have, specially if you are living on the aggro-edge, and now more that it means a self power heal.
AoE Targets is always nice.
Precision Stance Critical Multiplier is probably mandatory if you're going with that stance for your PvE group work.
Traited Intent Concentration Power bonus is probably very nice ff you regularly include Deep Concentration as a trait in your setup.
Ranged Critical Rating
An end-game hunter should be able to reach 14% ranged critical chance without sweating too much. Critical Eye has been turned pretty much useless because of the 15% cap, and in raiding it is most likely there will be at least one captain that will buff you beyond the cap (in which case you can probably ditch the earrings with ranged critical rating for something more stat-oriented such as a couple of Diamond Studs).
Main Crowd Control Build
Although CC is almost unneeded in all of Moria, there is still hope to be had in the future. At least as an excercise, developing a CC build was fun, but also tiring.
The first thing to bear in mind when making a full CC build, is that DPS is no longer your primary role. It is very important to make your group understand that (you should probably convice yourself first), both that you will be providing main CC, and that you will no longer be observing damage output.
Once that is out of the way, it is time to actually put some thought into the build.
First of all, it is a grouping build. Although it might be interesting to build for CC to do some soloing challenge, this build only serves a real purpose in groups. Grinding speed is definitely a lot faster in any other setup.
Which traits to equip?
Well, we have to think about CC
These are the 3 obvious CC enhacers we can access through class traits. Equipping Rain of Thorns and Bard's Arrow is a no-brainer. But we have to work our way to the legendary Explosive Arrow if we mean bussiness.
The other ways we can enhace CC is through legacies. Reducing the cooldown and resistance rating for our improved mezz is a must. Getting a decent bow to reduce Distracting Shot cooldown in at least 10 seconds would be a great idea, to be able to chain it with Bard's Arrow indefinitely.
To consider the rest of the traits, there is a very important fact to pay attention to:
CC effectiveness depends on it being reliable.
So I think any serious Trapper of Foes Hunter, should run Stance: Precision, just to maximize the odds of CC actually landing the target.
Out the window goes Graceful Draw then. Aggro won't be a problem either, with such a low damage output, and thus Stealthy Shot becomes useless (I now think to myself, when wasn't it?).
That leaves Deep Concentration, Heart of the Bard and Heightened Senses as possible options.
Heightened Senses has no value inside the average instance, so the 5 Trapper of Foes traits end up being:
Combat Traps - Set Trap becomes usable in combat.
Sturdy Traps - Traps are harder to break on damage.
Strong Intimidation - Fear skill last 5 seconds longer.
Deep Concentration - Adds a power heal to Intent Concentration.
Heart of the Bard - Heart Seeker cooldown is reset when there is a critical hit on Bard's Arrow.
The two other traits, I also center around CC
Resolute Aim - To be able to fire that needed CC, even when getting hit.
Swift Recovery - To reduce the cooldown on our already traited skills: Needful Haste and Intent Concentration.
As a CC class, we'll be having to pay attention to other things than the bosses' health bars. Working CC through traps, for the group, will defintely need some getting used to. Keep your eye on the ball at all times at first. Learn the timing of Fear and Mezz, to get used to the timing. Remember where you placed traps, and remember your Penetrating Shot is now your emergency root.
We now have the ability to chain-root through combat traps, and to mix mezz and fear to permanently disable another mob (if we have reduced the cooldown on Distracting Shot by at least 10 seconds).
Penetrating Shot also roots for 10s, but there is that problem with auto-attack breaking it shortly afterwars. The solution is simple, turn off auto-attack queue from Combat Options.
Getting some crafted traps will probably be a great idea, for the emergency resist here and there, or for the added punchline. There's nothing like opening every boss fight with a Fellowship Maneuver.
What to do when not having to observe CC?
Well, the damage skill rotation, as you might have thought, is very different.
Penetrating Shot is no longer a rotational skill, remember that. You will manually have to start auto-attacks, and remember to use Bard's Arrow, just for the odd critical hit chance that could reset Heart Seeker. The rotation will feel wrong, slow and at times empty. But you're now a support class. Damage is no longer your bussiness. Focus management is at the exact opposite direction, you should save it for important times.
Once you get used to the awkward change, you should be able maintain two mobs pin-locked, one through roots, the other through mezz-fear. Not that bad! But it really takes some getting used to...