Archive for November, 2009

Thus Ends the Annual Festival of Gluttony

Posted in LotRO with tags on November 30, 2009 by koljarn

With Thanksgiving behind me, I can focus on my job and my leisure time with a little more intensity.  Siege of Mirkwood is supposed to launch tomorrow.  Here are some immediate thoughts:

The Good: New zone, new instances, more content.  Also, this means that Moria and Lothlorien will become less populated (I’m not a fan of crowds).

The Bad: Ever been in a new zone during launch week?  The word “zoo” comes to mind.  Maybe “aquarium” would be more accurate, though.  It’s generally like dropping sushi into the midst of a bunch of hungry sharks and getting caught in the feeding frenzy which follows.  I’ll probably steer clear of Mirkwood for a few days, or even a few weeks.

The Ugly: I can sense a surge of negativity going Turbine’s way regarding the new legendary weapons system.  Especially the incompatibility between the XP runes used for the old ones and the XP runes used for the lvl 61-65 ones.  You can bet that there were a solid number of people who have been running bounty quests to stockpile runes in preparation for the expansion.

So, what’s a level 60 to do if he’s to get experience, yet wants to avoid Mirkwood?  Simply put, there were just too many quests and instances for me to ever finish in Moria to begin with, and there are still ways for me to get a level or two out of the existing zones after people move on to Mirkwood.  Remember that there are only five levels being tacked on to the level cap.  Just getting one level out of Moria mean that I’m 20% of the way towards the new cap.  Nothing to sneeze at.

Also, there the little matter of alts.  My Captain is sitting at level 50, and I haven’t even touched the Moria prequel quests.  So, it’s not as though I don’t have plenty to do outside of the new zone.

I Blame the Monkeys

Posted in LotRO with tags on November 23, 2009 by koljarn

It looks as though my Captain won’t hit level 60 in time for the Siege of Mirkwood expansion.  I blame the re-release of “The Secret of Monkey Island.”  It’s amazing how a well-written game can hold up even after 20 years, but I digress.  LotRO.  Captain.  Only level 47.

I certainly haven’t abandoned LotRO – I played a good number of hours this weekend.  As my Captain creeps towards level 60, his strengths and weaknesses become more apparent.  The Captain can make any group – even a group of two – much better.  Their buffs and extra heals can raise any fellowship to the next level of excellence.  However, they are not the most effective solo characters.  That can make levelling go slowly.  I find that I’m most comfortable fighting one or two blue-con mobs with a Captain – large groups can pull him down very quickly.  While a Captain can’t take many enemies at once, they do just keep plodding along at a steady pace. 

Anyway, I’ve set my sight on at least getting to level 48 before I try any quests in Eregion.  I see no reason to charge headlong into higher level signature and elite mobs for no good reason.  There are plenty of quests still available in the Misty Mountains, Forochel, and Angmar.

There Are No Trees in Forochel

Posted in LotRO with tags on November 17, 2009 by koljarn

OK, that’s not entirely true.  There are some trees in southern Forochel, but it’s still not a lumber industry hot spot.  It’s only of not because I’ve been sending all of the lumber that my Captain gathers and prepares over to my Champion, so he can grind out his Woodworking skill.  Such is the life of an alt – forced to toil in the fields in order to support primary characters.  I wonder if the feudal system started this way….

Anyway, we did attempt a Fornost run, but we lost people early on and couldn’t do much besides take on a few mini bosses.  Still, it was a fun instance to run, and we may try it again.  None of the mini bosses that we fought seemed to require anything in the way of special tricks to defeat them – brute force worked just fine.  For the time being, however, I feel the need to work on my epic quest lines rather than hit any more instances.  I’m not even sure which character I’ll be using – both of them need a little attention.  I’ll have to see what the rest of the group feels up to doing this weekend.

If You Try Hard Enough, You Can Crash Anything

Posted in LotRO with tags on November 12, 2009 by koljarn

I’m proud to say that I finally crashed LotRO under Windows 7.  Okay, so it wasn’t actually in the middle of gameplay – I crashed the movie player during a cutscene.  Truth be told, the system is more solid under Win7, than it was under XP, and the graphics are slightly better under DirectX 10.  Actually, I think that the major reason that the system seems more stable is that I used to have sound card issues.  Lots of sound card issues.  Anyway, it seems like the 64 bit driver for the Asus D2 is more stable than the 32 bit driver.

I spent more than two hours yesterday just tinkering with the music system.  It’s one of the super-nice fluff parts of the game.  It’s not necessary, but it is fun.  I recommend LotRO-ABC for a great source of the ABC files you use in automated play.  The Bards of a Feather group on Vilya also have some links to different resources – give them a browse.

It’s Only *Mostly* Dead

Posted in Background Noise with tags on November 10, 2009 by koljarn

Okay, I exaggerate.  The Windows 7 upgrade went pretty smoothly, thought it’ll be a full week before I have shaken it down enough to be satisifed with the system.  LOTRO seems to run, as do OpenOffice and the few other apps that I use, so I’m happy enough so far.

It’s worth noting that I upgraded onto bare metal – I installed two new hard drives.  There are two ways to use the upgrade in that sort of situation.  First, you can install a qualifying OS, then upgrade it using the 32 bit or 64 bit upgrade DVD.  Alternatively, there is a method which does not require the other media – check this link for the double-install trick.  Of course, the double-install is only legal if you own a qualifying operating system.  It’s probably easier to just install a copy of XP from your old media (assuming that you haven’t lost the CD), then upgrade from the GUI.

I’ll keep tweaking the system and see how it holds up.

Your Ass Will Be Laminated

Posted in Background Noise with tags on November 9, 2009 by koljarn

Yes, it’s dyslexic Borg time.  My computer is joining the collective.

I’m going to upgrade to Windows 7 – I bought a pair of new hard drives, and I’m ready to go.  I’ll keep my old drives intact, just in case something goes awry.  It’ll have to be a clean install, since I’m going to be moving from a  32 bit to a 64 bit OS.

So, here’s to hoping that it goes smoothly.

Adapt or Perish

Posted in LotRO with tags , on November 9, 2009 by koljarn

I’ve been hearing a bit of grumbling about the upcoming mini-expansion (Siege of Mirkwood), and quite of a bit of it is complaints.  Not about the content or the storyline – people are fine with that.  Most of the gripes are about updated class mechanics (mostly power pool costs and regeneration) and the new legendary items.

Now, as for power pool mechanics, I find the solution to be simple: tweak your gear and/or your traits to suit the new ruleset.  I’m sorry if you don’t want to, that’s just the way it’s going to be.  Since you’ll be going up five levels in the expansion, you’ll probably re-gear, anyway.  This includes our beloved existing legendary gear, which many of us have tweaked and adjusted to a point where we are comfortable with them.  You’ll be replacing those items.  Such is life.

Apparently, Turbine though that it was too easy to craft a desireable legendary item, because now you have to run a bunch of instances to get the materials from which the new level 65 items may be crafted.  The only really bad part about this from my point of view as a crafter is that you’re still playing the lottery when you create a crafted item – you have no idea what you’re going to end up with.  Again, such is life.  If you don’t want to run the instances, then you can always grind out coin and buy stuff off of the Auction House.  It’s up to the player to find a way to deal with it.

And that’s my proselytizing for the day.

Fornost or Bust

Posted in LotRO with tags on November 2, 2009 by koljarn

Yes, I’m sure that everyone thought that this blog had gone to the dog(s).  Not so – Kip still lets me play LotRO, occasionally.

My friends and myself finally cleared out Garth Agarwen and beat down Goldberry’s ugly cousin.  It feels good, crushing a lesser Maia, even if she was a pushover.  Ivar was the worst boss by far – we had no interrupts, so he could cast at will.  I may unleash Burhhelm on the instance a few times in order to get everyone their keys, just in case they want to revisit the place later on.

So, we’ve begun preparations for Fornost.  Most of us are level 34 or 35, but 40 seems to be the optimum level for Fornost.  We’ve got some levelling to do.  The quests and Esteldin and Evendim will probably take us far enough, and we haven’t even touched the Trollshaws, yet.  Getting enough quests should not be a problem.  Keeping the Deeds and Traits up to date, on the other hand, may be an issue.  A lot of people level up and ignore their Deeds until level 60, but they are really only making things difficult for themselves.  Traits really give you a nice lift.  So, I may not hit 40 by the weekend – I may need to go on a few slaying sprees.