Dropping the Eaves

Last night, I made my initial foray into Mirkwood proper.  Sort of.

Let me elaborate.  Mirkwood is gated in the same way that Moria is.  You have a small zone (the Eaves of Mirkwood) where you must complete an introductory chapter before proceeding.  It’s not as bad as it sounds.  The introduction gets you up to speed on the goings-on and important events that have led up to the Elven invasion of Southern Mirkwood.

I have to note a few things about the regular questing and open PvE in the leve 61+ bracket as a Champion.  First, the fights are punishing.  No, the mobs are not tougher, but there are many overlapping paths that the mobs takes.  You’re going to get adds – maybe two or three, and not all at once.  The mobs show up sequentially, which is the worst possible way for a Champion to fight.  These long series of fights will sap your morale and/or power, and you may end up falling back.  A bruised ego costs less to repair than a set of teal level 60 armor – do not be afraid to hit and run.  Also, the respawn rate is insanely high.  I had some mobs respawning next to me in under 15 seconds after I dealt with them the first time.  Second, at least half of the mobs you will face are ranged mobs which like to run away.  This is extremely annoying for an AoE class like the Champion.  You will not be able to gather three mobs up and hack them apart.  You will have to fight three or four at a time in groups of one or two while the others run away.  Third, be aware of the goblin scouts – they are stealth mobs who have the ability to reflect damage onto their attackers.  You may end up hitting yourself for more than the orcs and goblins are hitting you.

Since the fights are so drawn out, I can understand why some Champions believe that power is a problem for the class. I’ve been considering trying a greatsword at level 65, but the drop in DPS is a real kick in the crotch.  In order to make up for the loss of DPS, you’d need to be using Flurry – which consumes an inordinate amount of power when used constantly, and thus you are out of power again.  You can use the Ardour stance instead of Fervor – that way Flurry becomes a combat-persistant ability.  However, you lose a full one-third of your power regeneration when you switch from Fervor to Ardour – not to mention the loss of the damage bonus.

No, while I still believe that you should tote around a two-handed weapon for grouping, I still subscribe to the dual-wield school of thought.  The weapons are quicker, you need less fervor to pull off maneuvers, and the damage is higher.  The problem is not with the weapon choice or the traits used, it’s with all of the ranged mobs that you face.  I’m sure that can be overcome by good old-fashioned line-of-sight manipulation (shoot a goblin and hide behind a tree until the idiot runs up to look for you).

Aside from my trip to Mirkwood, I also got to try out the Tuckborough skirmish.  It’s one of the longer scenarios, but it is also a rewarding one.  It’s probably my favorite among the lower-level skirmishes.  In any case, Burhhelm is well into level 64, and will most likely hit level 65 by doing scenarios over the weekend.  Until next week – good hunting.

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