Archive for LotRO

The Yule Festival: Two Steps Back

Posted in LotRO, Online Gaming with tags on December 17, 2010 by koljarn

We had our first snowfall of the season where I live. So, it was only right that Burhhelm should roust himself and check out this year’s Yule Festival.

While they added a new instance to the Shire for the Harvest Festival, they have added a full mini-zone for Yule. The themes seem to be somewhat Dickens-esque. Overworked and underpaid workers, desperate beggars, and picking the pockets of the wealthy are a few of the recurring quests. There is also a play where you must act out emotes or risk being pelted with fruit and so forth, but I’m not sure how that ties into the holiday theme.

To be blunt, this festival is not up to snuff. The quests are great, if you want to play a character who is into skullduggery, stealth, and somewhat larcenous. Neither Burhhelm, nor any of my alts are that sort of character – and I have no use for it myself, on a personal level. Is the mayor of the town a tyrant? Kick his arse. Problem solved. The evil mayor has turned the town guards into his own private army to enforce his will on the citizens? Fine, kick the guards’ arses. The rich citizens are hoarding all of the food? Kick their arse and give the food to the poor. The hobbits are having trouble putting on their play? Kick their arses – they are hobbits and richly deserve it. Kicking arse – is there any problem that it cannot solve?

If I were to rate this festival, I would give it 2 of 5 stars. It is an average MMO attempt at a holiday activity, but it has little-to-no tie-in with Middle Earth. You can skip it and not miss anything. Which is a shame, really – it is a missed opportunity for the game.


You Can Fool Some of the People Some of the Time

Posted in LotRO, Online Gaming with tags on December 5, 2010 by koljarn

And that may be just enough.

Burhhelm Now not only has the Elves bamboozled into giving him one of their new horses…

… he also has the rest of Eriador fooled as well.

OK, some reactions.  Such as “what the heck is with that flagpole stuck in the horse’s saddle?”  I really don’t know, and I find it a little bizarre.  Frankly, I prefer the Algraig mount to either of these two horses.  However, they have additional speed, which makes them slightly more useful in large zones.  Maybe one day, Turbine will allow us to use a sort of costume system for mounts, so we can use whatever skin we want for our horse, regardless of the way it looks.

Speaking of costume pieces, Turbine has added a mess of them to the online store.  Helm of Rohan, Elven cloaks, and even the Hauberk of Glory are available.  If you have the points, go ahead and browse.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Take a Vacation

Posted in LotRO, Online Gaming with tags , on November 15, 2010 by koljarn

I apologize for the long break in my posts – not that I post regularly enough that anyone might have noticed. To keep the story as straightforward as possible, I am being shuffled between offices and positions, and I took a vacation, since I wasn’t going to be doing anything productive anyway. I regret to inform anyone who hoped otherwise that the Rodent Lord still rules the Orlando area.

Anyway… enough talk about the physical, on to the virtual. Even before my trip to Florida, I was testing the waters with a Warden alt. I like the class, but I have noticed that they build up threat over time, not using some one-button taunt power like the guardian. This is of note simply because other people I group with seem to miss that point, and they fly straight into a DPS frenzy the moment that the group pulls a mob. Maybe it’s just my experiences as a glass-cannon mage in WoW, but I always let the tank gain a nice agro lead before joining in – except against swarms of normal mobs, which a Champion can cut to ribbons.

I have to admit that the Warden solos nicely, is a wonderfully flexible class, and is fun to play. This beat my experiences with my Guardian, who I just can’t play for more than a single skirmish at a time because I find the class so dull. It’s a bit sad, because I put so much effort in just getting my Guardian to level 40. The Warden (named Galmann, which loosely translates to “madman”) is almost ready to enter Moria – I think it might be time to pause and clean up any loose ends in the Volume I epic.  I’m not in a rush to hit the endgame, I’m enjoying the journey too much right now.

Regarding This Year’s Harvest Festival

Posted in LotRO, Online Gaming with tags on October 20, 2010 by koljarn

You can beat on Hobbits in some of the quests.  I approve.

I’m a Middle Earth Tourist

Posted in LotRO, Online Gaming with tags on October 17, 2010 by koljarn

I’ll admit it, I enjoy visiting places in LotRO just because I want to visit them.  Thus, when someone in my kinship asks if there’s any interest in an instance run, I usually sign up as a standby, in case they need an extra person.  I just enjoy visiting instances – developers put a lot of work into them, and they are usually pretty well polished.  Usually.


As I mentioned in my last post, Burhhelm volunteered his sword arm for a Moria instance run.  It turned out that he was needed, as a few people did not show up.  No problem, I grabbed a few extra potions and was ready for action.  First stop: the Grand Stair.

I’ve never seen all of the Grand Stair.  People only hit a few bosses to complete the “hard mode” quest and grab some medallions.  This trip was no different – and for a group with multiple level 65s, it is no real challenge, so long as you have enough fear removal potions and enough healing to go around.  It took longer to get the group together than it did to complete the fights – not exactly exciting.

Since the evening was young, someone suggested that we hit Skumfil, a dungeon in the Foundations of Stone.  I’d never been to this place, so I was pleased to go.  Besides, I have been toting around the final Martial Champion quest for over a year.  Skumfil is full of bugs and fish monsters (who resemble the Deep Ones from H.P. Lovecraft).  If you have weapons with bonuses against insects and beasts, then you’re set.  Almost.  There is one catch: this place is buggy (as in computer bug, not insect) as heck.  Our tank would run up to some mobs, hit them once, and the mobs would sink into the ground and leave the whole group stuck in combat.  This happened three times – two times, this could only be fixed by the intervention of a GM.  We completed the Minstrel and Champion quests, but wow – avoid this place unless you have no other option.


Stuck in combat mode, Burhhelm considers going postal on his fellowship


I was going to turn in, but someone asked if we could hit Ost Elendil.  I was game – I am quite familiar with the place, now.  No surprises, the whole instance went smoothly as we gradually ground each set of mobs into the turf.  The theme of the entire instance is pulling mobs into the sunlight to crack their defenses, then pulling them into starlight to finish them off.  Except for the final boss, that is – just beat him down in the sunlight.  I guess he sunburns easily.  I just hope that the Annuminas marks went to good use.


A different group, different instances.  Well, mostly.  We visited Ost Elendil again – always a pleasure, and almost always an easy instance.  We were hampered somewhat in all of the instances on Sunday due to the Captain in the group being out of practice and geared with level 60 stuff.  Actually, I don’t think the gear was the problem; they just hadn’t done enough grouping lately to really work with everyone as a team.  He fought as if he were solo, without assisting with the healing or removing crippling fear effects.  I thought our poor Runekeeper was going to have a nervous breakdown while trying to keep up with the healing on their own.

After finishing Annuminas with only one group wipeout (there really should have been none, though), we went through each of the Great Barrows instances.  We failed the challenge in both the Maze and in the second instance, which was frustrating.  We did manage to finish Sambrog’s challenge, though.

Are you ready for the bizarre part?  A Symbol of Celebrimbor dropped in all four instances that day.  I created a new Runestone for a friend and a new Rune for Burhhelm – which I immediately tossed in the vault in disgust after identifying it.  It was just that bad – it only had only two legacies, one of which was +block/parry in Ardour, and the other was Dire Need cooldown reduction.  I’m impressed, I don’t think I’ve ever crafted something so useless. 🙂


Posted in LotRO, Online Gaming with tags , on October 16, 2010 by koljarn

There are two ways to force me to keep a LotRO alt.  The first way is to let my trade skills get so high that the character is indispensable.  The other way is to pile on the badges, titles, or Deeds.

Thus, I am doomed to keep the Warden that I’ve been playing, as he has cleared the Deeds in all three starting areas and is just about done with the Lone Lands.  You say that it sounds silly?  Consider that Deeds grant a significant stat bonus for characters before you take that stance.  They are also far from a trivial investment, time-wise.

Sometimes there is a different scenario: you really enjoy a character and you want to keep it.  In such a case, I suggest that you complete the Deeds in all three starting zones, plus the Lone Lands and the North Downs.  After that, you can pick and choose which Deeds to complete (I still suggest that you finish all of them, as they now grant Turbine Points).  That way, you have a good foundation to draw upon.  You can play the game without completing any Deeds, but why turn your nose up at significant stat bonuses which cost you nothing but a little extra time?

On the Champion front, I have signed Burhhelm up for two raids this weekend as a standby attendee.  Although I enjoy playing the Warden, I still enjoy playing the Champion far too much to ever set him aside for long.  Here’s to hoping that they need a little AoE.

Distractions, Disctractions….

Posted in LotRO, Online Gaming with tags , on October 11, 2010 by koljarn

So, only a few days after Burhhelm has gotten the gear for which I was working, and my circle of friends is trying to get me to drop playing him in favor of a low-level Warden.  This is mainly due to the fact that one of our group refuses to level any of his characters beyond 55 before each and every one of his alts has caught up to the same level.  Personally, I find the whole thing slightly irritating, but they are my friends and the game is about their enjoyment as much as mine.  The alternative to playing my Warden is to play my Loremaster, but the Loremaster is too high a level to be hanging out with the other characters in our lowbie group.  Thus, I have begun doing some work on Galmann, my Warden from Dale.

The good news is that playing a Warden can be a fairly casual and entertaining affair.  The Gambit system is almost a mini-game of its own, and a Warden’s health and defenses are pretty formidable (only natural for one of the two tanking classes in the game).  Of course, the bad news is that the Warden does tank-level damage.  If you’re hoping to scream a battle cry and wade into a swarm of mobs, laying waste to them like a Champion, you’ll be sorely disappointed.  I do enjoy playing the class, in limited doses – despite the talk from my friends, this is only going to be an alt.  I enjoy the Champion too much to ever retire Burhhelm from the position of  “main.”

If I really am going to play this Warden all the way to level 65, though, it will require completing various Deeds.  That includes Shire Deeds.  Such as delivering mail and running pies around.  I can foresee that this will only nurture my pathological hatred of Hobbits.  You just know that when the Warden hits level 65, he will sit in Enedwaith killing bugan while laughing maniacally.