Werewolves, Skirmishes, and Armor

I’m going to start this post with something non-gaming related.  Relax, I’ll post some LotRO stuff in a little while.  I’ve noted in the past that I enjoy the occasional bad movie.  Not boring ones – let me be clear on that.  Bad movies can still be entertaining (in a campy sort of way), boring movies are an excuse to do something else.  One thing that went hand-in-hand with bad movies used to be the Horror Host.  Now an endangered species, Horror Hosts used to stampede across the wilds of late-night television on Fridays and Saturdays.

Well, I came across a live one.  If you’re lucky enough to have access to a cable network called the Retro Television Network, then you may already know about Wolfman Mac.  His show is a little more family-friendly than some horror hosts, but it has all of the classic earmarks.  Low budget?  Check.  Bad jokes and sketches?  Check.  Actors that look like your next-door neighbors?  Check.  Cheap movies?  Check.  Enough humor to liven up the dull parts of said movies?  Check.  Last night’s show featured the original House on Haunted Hill.  The movie is alow-budget classic, and Wolfman Mac made it even more entertaining.  Great show – I’m going to have to get a DVR so I don’t miss any episodes in the future.  Oh, and the show has a blog right here.

Anyway… LotRO.  Yes, gaming, I remember.

As I stated in my last post, it is just not possible to upgrade your gear to anything decent by crafting alone any longer.  You have to churn through instances – level 60+ ones.  One of the nice things that Turbine featured in this last mini-expansion is the ability to sign up for the classic instances from anywhere in the game world and the ability to set the level of the instance.  These instances drop tokens which, combined with skirmish marks, can be used to purchase some jewellery (which is okay, but not great), decent weapons (if you use an offhand, it may be useful to you), and two armor sets.

There is also a chance (a slim one) that a Symbol of Celebrimbor may drop off of the final boss in an instance, but I would rather focus on the armor sets.  There are two major skirmish armor sets available at level 65 – an Annuminas set, and a Helegrod set.  The Helegrod set is quite nice – the Champion set bonus is a bit underwhelming, but the stats are significantly higher than the Annuminas set on a piece-by-piece basis.  It also lacks Radiance, which is not that important if you’re not a raider.  The Annuminas set has some nice set bonuses as well as a higher armor value.  Frankly, I prefer the Annuminas set, despite the unimportant Radiance bonuses that it features.

Why would a Champion prefer the Annuminas set?  Well, last night I got a nap in so that I could stay up late and hit some of the updated instances with some of my Kin.  Although we had a capable Warden to do the tanking, I had to off-tank frequently.  It is just the way the encounters are designed.  If I’m going to be a punching bag, you can be sure that I want to have a thick skin, and that is what the Annuminas set offers me.  The set also offers a good measure of might and vitality – I will have to make up for other stats by changing what rings and other items that I use.  As for how quickly you can get the set, we did three instances last night, and we got enough special marks to get one piece of armor.

So, how do you gear up at 65?  Keep skirmishing (you need a bit more than 1k skirmish marks for each armor piece), keep hitting instances for daily quests (for the special marks), and hope that a Symbol of Celebrimbor drops from instance bosses.  It will wear you down, so do not grind away at it or it will feel like work.  A few instances each week will be plenty to keep you slowly upgrading while still enjoying the game.  If it’s not fun, do something else.  Otherwise, this sort of grind will burn you out.

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