I’ve had the opportunity to play Lord of the Rings: War in the North before, but until today I’d gravitated toward playing as Farin the dwarf. Demos are usually short affairs, and melee characters are relatively easy to figure out in such a brief period. Today, however, I decided to see how the Loremaster class plays.

The version of Andriel set up for the Gamescom demo is equipped with a staff, though Snowblind points out that players aren’t locked into a particular archetype. For instance, the Loremaster could dual-wield bladed weapons or focus on melee combat, too. For the Siege of Nordinbad level, though, I was going to be blasting Urak-Hai back into their holes with spells.

All of the characters have melee and ranged attacks in War in the North, but this build of Andriel seemed perfectly suited for ranged combat. She’s a bit of a glass cannon, which made it critically important to roll out of the way when the Urak-hai bum-rushed the dwarven fortification. Early on, I found and equipped an ice staff; it allowed me to blast shards of frost at enemies, with special bonus XP for killing them with headshots. It was a perfect complement to one of my special attacks, too. The loot found in chests is available for every player; greedy types won’t be able to gank their friends out of their rewards.

Pulling the right trigger brings up a menu of powerful spells and abilities that can be accessed with a button press. As a support character, I could cast sanctuary, which creates a bubble shield that slowly heals myself and my party. On the offensive front, I could blast foes with an AoE attack, which can also freeze enemies in place. While they’re immobilized, it’s possible to shatter them with a powerful attack before they thaw.

After my party fought off a few waves of Urak-hai and men of Karn Dun, the armored trolls made their advance. It was tough not to feel overwhelmed as the trolls swatted at our fellowship on their way to destroy the fortification’s doors. A health meter for the doors flashed onscreen, making it clear that we had to take the massive beasts down quickly. That was easier said than done.

While we focused our attacks on the giants, the men of Karn Dun used their superior speed to annoy us, moving behind us to backstab our party with their dual weapons. I eventually fell into a rhythm of blocking and then alternating between heavy and light attacks, which seemed to work nicely.

The battle was chaotic and bloody, and it had a nice sense of urgency. My melee attacks being what they were (relatively puny), I hung back and took potshots at the enemies that my allies were fighting. Even though I wasn’t always on the front lines, I felt like I was helping to turn the tide against the forces of Sauron. Eventually, the trolls fell, and our forces lived to fight again. We didn’t see what happened next, but presumably we remounted our giant eagles and soared off to wherever the forces of good needed us next. Huzzah!