In Harm's Half-Way

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Captain skill In Harms Way has been "nerfed" by half. The skill, as previously existed, would take 100% of the damage dealt to the fellowship for a limited time. Combine this with Last Stand which would keep you alive a 0 morale for a limited time, and Strength of Morale, the massive man racial heal Captains could pull a fellowship out of a wipe... but not over and over again. SoM has a 1 hour cool down, Last Stand has a 15 minute cool down, and In Harms Way itself has a 5 minute cooldown. Certainly you could use IHW every 5 minutes, but that would mean you bite the dust every five minutes. You could do it every 15 minutes in line with Last Stand, but if you don't time it right, you still bite the dust, and even if you live, you're seriously down in morale, probably no more than 400. It's much better, and almost always used on the hour time table provided by SoM's cooldown.

Now, IHW will only take 50% of the damage. The Minstrel will now have to work harder to heal while the captain is taking only half the damage. Is this a bad thing? My gut reaction was to stare at the screen and re-read the note. And then say in my head, how could they? Then I had to remember to distance myself from the problem. I'm a captain and I've invested in my character. Naturally and without shame or ridicule, I should feel disenfranchised. And I do. But, but, but. Let's look at this a little differently and let's wait to see how it performs in test and possibly live.

First, we don't know how this will work in an actual group situation. It will make the event more challenging, but the captain still doesn't need attention from the minstrel so long as he has SoM available. That is the biggest reason for In Harms Way - the minstrel can focus completely on healing the rest of the fellowship, particularly the tank, without worring about fighting against damage. Now, that's only 50% of the case, so the minstrel must work twice as hard in that situation. But does that mean the minstrel still cannot accomplish the purpose of In Harms Way - to heal the fellowship whilst a wipe is avoided? I don't know. Nobody knows until it's tested... repeatedly.

The issue that will inevitably be brought up is that the captain is no longer epic. Sure, it won't be said in so many words, but that'll be the feeling behind the gripes, whatever form they take. I should note, however, that while the longest thread in the Captain's forums about the "nerf" starts out with "What the hell Turbine" there are three other positive feedback threads - that is, they're not necessarily happy with the change, but they offer alternates that they view as a better way to accompish Turbine's goal with this change to In Harms Way.

That's the last thing I haven't mentioned here - why did Turbine do this? Well, according to them, with the increased dps from 50+ weapons, notably legendaries, it has become increasingly difficult to design challenging encounters - the In Harms Way trio skill combo I mentioned above as it exists now makes it even more difficult. Players are too powerful and In Harms Way is too powerful.

The question many bring up is "how could it take two years to figure that out?" Here's where I need to point to the level cap increase and the combat system overhaul. With any level cap increase there is always the same balancing challenge between classes, mobs, gear, etc as there was for the initial development of the game. It's like they have to design a significant portion of the numerical systems driving all aspects of the game all over again. In Harms Way didn't seem to translate well into this post-50 redesign in the form it was in.

That's how I read the situation. Please don't take this post as Turbine gospel. This is what I see in their explanation and why they did it. I'm making a few educated guesses here, but I see them as entirely logical. The thing to remember here, captains, is that this has not yet been tested. Let's wait and see how things play out. And if the change does work as intended, what's wrong with a little bigger challenge?


Bullroarer and Book 7 Patch Notes

A new public test server has been announced, Bullroarer. The greatest part of this news is that Book 7 is available on this server. And anybody can join so long as they have an active LOTRO subscription. The test server takes one of the live servers and copies it over. Incidentally, this time is Elendilmir, which means Jaxom is now copied on Bullroarer and theoretcially I could test Book 7. I'm debating if I want to do that at the moment. On one hand, it would be a great opportunity for this blog. On the other, one of the things I learned in the beta of LOTRO as a whole was that after experiencing the same content over and over again, particularly at the lower levels, I was somewhat burned on it come release. Now, the testing cycle for Book 7 will presumably be much shorter than the LOTR beta but there's still a little bit of that burning potential.

In the meantime, this is a busy day. The preliminary Book 7 patch notes have been released. They are extensive and it will take me some time to sift through them all. Furthermore, they're subject to change based on the experiences on Bullroarer. I'll have a series of posts over the next couple of days giving my take on the patch based on the notes. Any differences I'll compare in-game when I choose to experience Book 7, either on Bullroarer or live. Still they are worth a reaction from what I've read over at MMEOW.


Burglar Sneak Peek

Friday, February 27, 2009

Zombie Columbus has posted on the official forums some info about the Burglar class changes in Book 7. I don't play a burg, so I won't comment, seeing as I literally have no idea what he's talking about. But if you do play a burg, check it out.


Thursday Progress Report

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm making headway post-60 in Moria. I don't spend too much time logged in. I usually take one trip out, one trip back for questing. Lately this has been in the Redhorn Lodes. I have a couple small fellowship quests I'll see about recruiting a kinmate to help me with. I've pretty much ignored all the fellowship quests thus far. After I've cleared out the solo quests in Moria I'll put more effort into getting into fellowships for the group quests.

I have 3 of 7 pieces of Sublime Dawn-Rose jewelry. I got two rings and a necklace that my kinleader crafted for me as a level 58 gift. She did that for all the kinship. Very nice of her. Great to have her as a kinleader. The two rings I bought on the AH. They go from 2.5 to 4 gold. I try spend around 3 to 3.5 gold. I got the rings first because they gave me both will and vitality which were my lowest stats. Earrings are next, followed by bracelets. That should give me a good balance, though my agility will be pretty high. But that's okay. I like agility and might the best. Agility helps increase my crit ratings and a higher might will increase my overall damage. Both together give me high damage super crits. I average about 1100-1200 on a Devastating blow crit at the moment, on even to level 58 mobs. I'm not sure how that stands compared to other captains, but I'm happy with it.

I'm also looking at clearing out deeds I have sitting around in Eriador. First on the list are deeds that improve currently slotted traits. Right now that's Discipline and Wisdom. The other three are at rank 10 already. Next are traits that I might use, depending on the situation. Ones I could swap out. After that just comes the rest of them, purely for a completionist, check the box, tic of the accomplishment. Some of these I might require a group still, such as going into Carn Dum and Urugarth. Those will probably never get done... although I don't know how many people are still running CD and Uru. Certainly some for class quest items. People still need slime, and that's found in CD. With fewer people doing it, it's not on the AH nearly as much, meaning the price is higher and more people will have to run CD to get the item rather than purchase it.

I'd like to finally finish Garth Agarwen, notably the Red Maid and Ivar, and get those quests out. I'd also like to run the Fornost instance since I haven't been in there yet and done any of those quests. Yes, I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to questing. I love to see all the stories and content that's available. If I wasn't so slow leveling and casual I would have gone to the Rift and Helegrod, even if it turns out I don't like raiding. (Honestly, I probably would. I do enjoy group content, just not the finding the group part of it).

I think the only part of this game I won't experience will be the PvMP side. Not my thing. So, I'll be a completionist to a point. Ettenmoors deeds, well those are out. But the rest of the game is fair game, as long as I can find people to do the content with me if I require more than one. All in all, things are looking good. I'm going much slower now, but that's okay. I don't want to burn out of content. I don't think that'll be a problem though.


Exploring Gath Uior

Another exploring article is up on the official site. This time they're looking at Gath Uior, the land that acts as a threshold to the Rift. Honestly, this area is my favorite in Angmar, at least visually. I'm not a fan of the place as a whole. Still, lots of interesting things going on up there: quests, mobs, the Rift raid. It's not for a lack of content in Angmar - I'm just one that's affected by my environment. I guess that proves it's been designed well if it's a place I don't like. You're not supposed to like Angmar.


Kinship Cloaks

I like the idea of having kinship cloaks available to equip. Unfortunately, implementing such a system seems much more complicated that is immediately apparent, particularly to me as a layman and non-programmer/designer. There's a lengthy discussion/debate on the forms about kinship cloaks with the developer known as "floon". He makes great pains to explain why the current technology in LOTRO prohibits a kinship cloak system as envisioned by the OP without serious performance trade-offs. Some appreciated and accepted the insight, some didn't understand. That's normal. In any case, it's an interesting debate worth skimming through. I recommend using the Dev Tracker feature of the forums to find floon's statements in this thread.

Honestly, I can accept what floon has said. Because I realize I know less than he does - considerably less - in how such a system might work. Certainly I can conceptualize with the best of them. I'd like to think I have a robust imagination. There is mention, however, of a system that could work without straining the game's resources too much. Anything is better than nothing so long as it's well designed. It would be more limited, but I could go with that.

Then, of course, is the question of would I actually wear a kinship cloak and furthermore, would my kinship even bother? Well, if my kinship really wanted to have their own kinship cloak, I'd wear mine because I appreciate and support my kinship. But, in all honesty, I love the fact that I can customize and color coordinate my character. A kinship cloak might clash - and while I'm a guy that doesn't care too much about clashing, I do have at least a small semblance of visual design sensabilities. I suppose I would probably just recolor the rest of me to fit my kinship colors. No biggie.


Here's My Problem

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This article is relatively recent on the official site. It was created after I encountered the problem it was talking about. The line I got from Turbine when I investigated my problem initially was that it was Microsoft's problem with the way Vista handles memory management. No mention of a 64-bit OS solving the problem. But it has indeed stayed Microsoft's problem. This article describes exactly my setup and problem.

The line I got from Microsoft? It's Turbine's problem because they designed the code to be incompatible with their OS. Great, a back and forth blame game. But if the 64-bit OS solves the problem, I think I'll be purchasing an upgrade to Vista 64-Bit ultimate. I really wish I could just wait until Windows 7 comes out but the problem has been quite annoying and isn't limited to just LOTRO. Besides, I've castrated my 4 gigs of RAM to 3.3 using a 32-bit OS. I have every reason in the world to switch right this minute. And I will be going to Windows 7 as soon as it's available because everything I hear out of that venture is only good news. So much less overhead, better memory management, etc, etc. Can't wait. And when was the last time someone has ever said they "can't wait" for a Microsoft OS? The world has stopped turning and the devil has started throwing snowballs.


Heroes of the Lone Lands

Turbine has released another Heroes featured article, this time delving into the bleak land known as the Lone Lands. One of my least favorite zones in terms of questing and the bleak landscape, this place still holds a lot of lore, most notably in the ruined watch tower of Amon Sul, known commonly as Weathertop. If you're beginning your adventure into this desolate land, check out this article for a little background to guide your questing.


Know Your Ents

Massively has updated their Know Your Lore column, this time covering Ents. What are Ents? Are they trees? (No!) Where did they come from? It's a great article explaining the origin and nature of these elusive giants of the wood. Check it out.


Seven Favorites

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kill Ten Rats has posted their seven favorites of LOTRO. I thought it a great overview post and thought I'd make my own.

Favorite Zone: The Shire - This zone captured for me the best of Tolkien's world. The love and work that went into the Shire is clear from the moment you step foot into this quaint hobbity world. While other zones gave me more to do (like the North Downs) or were more visually appealing (Evendim) the Shire holds a special place in my heart for convincing me once and for all that LOTRO had done it right.

Favorite Race: Dwarves - Even though I don't play one as my main. There's just something wonderfully earthy about these creatures. They make me laugh, they make me mad, but all the while they are a race that awakes my earliest memories of Tolkien in the Hobbit. That's will probably become a theme - that which reminds me most of the IP. But that's a good thing. If this game reminds me so much of Tolkien, then they've done their job well. Very well.

Favorite Class: Captain - Jaxom is my main. I love playing the captain. We're a class that is always welcome in a group. We inspire others through our buffs to greater feats and yet we don't desire to take credit (most of us). We're a support class through and through yet can still hold our own.

Favorite Feature: Fellowship Manuever - It thought I was going to say the Legendary Items here, but honestly, I get more satisfaction out of a sucessfully completed FM than I do from leveling or aquiring any legendary. There's nothing better than a well cooridinating fellowship, especially if it's comprised of your kinmates and friends.

Favorite Skill: In Defense of Middle Earth - This is epic. A buff that gives you +50 to every stat (Might, Agility, Vitality, Will, Fate). Beautiful. While you have to rebuff a lot with this, you can greatly increase your combat effectiveness by hardly doing a thing (although getting the skill is a bit of a chore).

Favorite Instance: I Like Them All - Instances are awesome. There's yet to be one that stands out in my mind - all of them are great! The Great Barrow does poke above the rest though in being my first real group instance content I experienced in the game, with my kinship. It's not enough to put it here though, so I have to spread my love around to all of them.

Favorite Book: Narmelth's Memory - This isn't the proper name but I can't recall it off hand. Whichever book that takes yout through the memory of Narmelth as she was retained in Dollosad by her father. We learn a great deal in this book and while you hardly interacted in this final chapter, it was a great piece of story telling. Even the Balrog session play of Volume 1, Book 2 can't compare (although that cutscene at the end was sweet).


10 Days of Moria

Kill Ten Rats has recently finished their 10 Days of the Mines of Moria, a series of blog posts talking about their experiences with the expansion. Certainly by this point there are already a plethora of impressions about the Mines of Moria and those of you reading have more than likely formed your own opinion. If you're like me though, I'm always interested in hearing what others have to say about the game. Here's the archive:

Day 1: Same Thing, Bigger Numbers
Day 2: Travel Agent of the Realm
Day 3: At the Gates
Day 4: Cleanup
Day 5: More Cleanup
Day 6: Soaking in Novelty
Day 7: Craft Festival
Day 8: Three-Man
Day 9: Rune-Keeper
Day 10: The Wandering Years

Day 1 Reaction

Zubon, the one going through the expansion for Kill Ten Rats, starts out in Eregion, like I did. While he doesn't really complain about the quests in Eregion, the point is that they're more of the same. Same mobs, same kill stuff, gather stuff, talk to people. He's absolutely right. Eregion is hardly memorable for me in the same vein as the Lone-Lands and the North Downs. The only notable interest was the shadow of the fellowship quests, which Zubon didn't mention here. Could Eregion have been something more? Probably, but with Moria on the horizon, Eregion didn't need to be. You can really skip the whole zone without losing out, though I'd recommend doing the aforementioned shadow of the fellowship quests. That's my name, not Turbine's and I don't recall the proper quests names.

Zubon also mentions the change in the combat system/stats. He sees it merely as a nerf in order to be able to expand the game to a level 60 cap. That way the character's power isn't game breaking. I'm curious to know how well this will work post 60. For the moment, it is effectively a nerf to your stats that your rebuild to 60. In all honesty, I didn't notice much of a difference between pre and post Moria on my combat effectiveness. Absolutely numbers, sure, a difference, but my perception was that it didn't make a huge dent in my ability to fight.

Day 2 Reaction

Zubon takes on Book 15 in this post. He's unimpressed, mostly because of the endless travel. Epic it is not, he says. He has a good point, but the epicness is the story in this case, not so much the doing things. Except for the last instance battle (which I haven't finished, by the way, because we kept wiping). Other books are definitely more epic than Book 15, aside from that last chapter.

Day 3 Reaction

Zubon is much more positive in this day's post. He got through the first book of Volume 2 to open up the legendary item 10 level grind to gain admittance to Moria itself. He's not too adverse to doing similar content with a couple new gameplay mechanics. It certainly might seem insane to have to level a weapon to get into Moria, but they way Turbine put it into context, it's not that bad. And 10 levels doesn't take that long.

His point about the layout of Eregion visa-vi Volume 2 is good. That is, you should skip the Eregion content until after you finish Book 1 of Volume 2 because you need to grind your first legendary to 10. But the problem is Book 1 starts in the southeast of Eregion and the player theoretically enters in the northwest - on the opposite side of the zone. So, the vector quests have you go through Eregion first but it's better if you don't. I had a kinmate tell me this and I don't think it's intuitive. There might be a vector quest after Book 15, but I haven't finished that one, like I said. And if I find a vector quest that skips me over content, I'll do the inbetween content before finishing my vector quest anyway so...

I'm glad to see Zubon had a better time on Day 3.

Day 4 Reaction

Zubon finally finishes Book 15 in this post. And he talks about how hard it is. I'm glad I'm not the only one that had problems, although his group only wiped once while mine never got through it. At least, not while I was playing. Most of my kinship later got through it but that was when I was working 13-14 hour days and didn't have the time or energy to log in. I'll get there eventually. But there are higher priorities, like getting my radiance gear set.

He also talked a bit about how you as the player character are rarely the hero of the story, even the epic quests. We're there to enable the real heroes, in the form of NPCs, to win the fight, etc. Sometimes we do heroic things, but on the whole, we help out. That's fine with me. I like being an enabler. Just being a part of something grand, if not center stage, is fine. Others don't like it that way. That's fine too. I think Zubon is cool with this way, although he doesn't really say. He seems to be having much more fun now that he's gotten into the newer content (rather than the iterative Eregion stuff).

Day 5 Reaction

Nothing of note happened in this day. Finished Eregion as far as I could tell. He'll need to hurry up if he wants to get into Moria within his 10 days.

Day 6 Reation

Zubon finally gets to Moria and he's impressed by it's size, granduer, and variety. While noting that the combat doesn't change much except in the case of "smarter" mobs with their equivelent of "stances". Basically they have a set of skills they'll use on themselves or you depending on their stance.

Zubon does emphasize that he's not really a visual person. I am. So my favorite part of the Moria expansion is not the new mechanics (although I love the lengendary weapon system) or mobs, but rather the world itself. I'm obsessed with this world. I love the visuals of it. I should use that to keep me going in my post 60 slump. Exploration. At least until I run out of places to explore.

Day 7 Reaction

Zubon spent his time crafting here. He's a cook, like me, with the character he was running through Moria. He brings up a good point about the tier 6 naming. Why is it after we do things like Feasts of Rohan, the "better than that" food is Bread and Jam? It's a little nonsensical. See my superlative post for more comments long these lines.

Day 8 Reaction

Zubon takes on the Library and the School just outside Mirobel. He thinks they're excellently designed quests with a suitable challenge level. I'm inclined to agree. I got lucky and went with groups that knew what they were doing (or at least one of the people knew what they were doing) so we didn't wipe. Not that I remember. This content goes to show the tallent behind LOTRO. I wish all of the game could be this intimately designed, but that takes time. Some stuff just doesn't have that priority. Like many parts of Eregion. Basic stuff there. But there are gems, like these instances.

Day 9 Reaction

Zubon agrees. The Rune-Keeper doesn't seem to belong in LOTRO. I don't have much to add because I've already talked about this on this blog.

Day 10 Reaction

The key point of this last post is that Moria is Big, with a capital B. Or even BIG. Or BIG. Or BIG. It's so big that I'm at 60 without having experienced half the content. That's an estimate based solely on the number of zones I've yet to visit in Moria. And then there's Lothlorien. I'm immensely pleased about the size and quantity and quality of content in this expansion. I have to admit I have no game as a basis of comparison, so I can't say how Turbine did compared to the rest of the MMO industry, but I can at least venture to say they did well. Most people have praised Moria as an outstanding MMO expansion. They've even won awards so...


Free Trial Splash Screen

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Okay, a little gripe here, nothing to do with the game itself. Whenever I go to the main website, I always have to click past the free trial/moria preview splash screen. It drives me nuts. I can get all the same info on the main site. With the video on that page as well it slows down the load times. It's rather unnecessary and being someone that checks the site every day for news and such, I find it quite annoying. Turbine, dump the spash screen. Be kind do your visitors.


Hunters - Why We Love and Hate 'Em

This will be the first of a series of posts talking about the different classes in LOTRO. Since I play a captain almost exclusively, I have to do research into any other class. This is pretty much just talking to my kinmates. What you'll see here will be a little basic, but if you have anything at all to add, definitely speak up in the comments section.

Hunters. One of the two most popular classes in LOTRO. Clearly a lot of people love them. Why? Because they are very very good at killing things. As one of my kinmates put it "Being able to rack up huge damage numbers fast is a real power trip." Being primarily a damage dealer means you're able to kill mobs fast, and killing mobs fast makes you feel powerful. Why do we play games? To escape. What's a good escape? To feel powerful. We're compensating for our lives which are all to often not as good as we'd want them. Is this overanalyzing the thing? I don't think so. And it's not a bad thing either. It's not unhealthy, nerdy, ect, ect. It just is. And it's not the only reason, but the damage massive dealing of a hunter appeals to some part of a psyche. I know when I crit or supercrit with my captain, especially on Devestating blow where I can see 1200+ damage, I feel good. I'm excited. It hits me with an endorphin rush perhaps. Add into this equation the ability to do this from a distance and you've got one nice dps class.

Still, for all that's good about hunters, sometimes we just don't like them. Mostly it's other hunters we don't like. I guess that's the case for any class, but because there are so many hunters, it's harder to find groups willing to take them. Especially if their previous experience with hunters has been bad - such as taking aggro, breaking mez, or in the open world, kill stealing (tagging a mob just before another player does).

There's also weaknesses to the class that can get in the way. Being a medium armor wearer, they're a bit more squishy and die more quickly. So, hunters might end up soloing a lot, have to convince others more so than normal of their value, and fight harder to stay alive in certain situations (such as multiple mobs).

I also want to add I get a bit of dps envy when I group with a hunter. I wield the slowest weapon in the game as a captain - the halberd. My overall damage each hit is higher, but because my skills aren't as powerful and my weapon is slower, I always feel like I'm going in slow motion when I have a hunter nearby. Now, that doesn't mean I hate hunters. It just means I need to get over something. Hehe. Captains bring their own goods to the table. But I'm saving that class for last.


Player Events Forum

Friday, February 20, 2009

I didn't know this existed, but that just goes to show how much I check the forums (trying to more often for updating this blog). So, there is one. Apparently there's a small process that goes along with player events, which I also didn't know about either. If you ever want to have a player-run event, this is the place to make it known. At least on the official side of things. Advertising elsewhere is always an option.


Burgler Changes

Zombie Columbus, one of the devs over at Turbine that frequently posts to the forums has let out some changes to be seen for Book 7 regarding the Burgler class. I haven't played a burgler past level 6, so I have no idea about anything on this list. But you burgs out there certainly do. Should be of interest to you.


PvMP Changes

I'm not going to even attempt to comment on PvMP. I've never done it. It's something I'll probably never do. It's never been something that's appealed to me. But, in the interest fairness I should point out there's a massive thread on the forums about this subject with the OP updated from time to time with new info. If PvMP interests you, you're probably already aware of this thread, but here it is anyway.


Critical Mass

Many people argue WoW has reached critical mass and cannot be taken down from number one most populous MMO in the world. At 11.5 million players, that's over 20 times the average MMO. Is that really true? I don't know. I don't think there's any way to prove it hard and fast unless WoW actually does fall from number one.

So where does that leave other games like LOTRO? The rest of us are vying for the number two spot. Some games don't want to accept that. Some games are gung-ho for number two. The latter is the case for LOTRO. Executive Producer Jeffery Steefle has stated Turbine's goal for LOTRO is to be the number two MMO in the world. Are we there yet? Have we ever been there? Well, that depends on your definition of MMO, what games you included. Free to play? That'll drastically change the landscape of MMO rankings.

Does any of this really matter? Is critical mass that critical? Is vying for a particular place amongst the rest of the games necessary? Maybe. It's important that your product makes money. So you need to have certain numbers to do that. But those numbers are probably a lot smaller than many people think. I heard via the VanHemlock podcast that WoW makes up 37% of the profit for Activision Blizzard. Consider they have PS3, PS2, handheld, 360, and other PC games making up their profits as well, that's a huge relative percentage. No other MMO makes that much money. Not even by a long shot. But so many are running well and being regularly updated. Like LOTRO.

So LOTRO doesn't need critical mass. It doesn't need 11.5 million players. It doesn't need to be king of the hill. Sure, if LOTRO is the second MMO in the world, great - awesome status symbol. Otherwise, Turbine is doing an excellent job on regular updates and support. And clearly they have enough money to keep this game going. I vote they continue business as usual. If we get more population, great. If we get second place, great. If we get critical mass, that's great too. But the most prestegious position in my opinion is Turbine's efforts to continually improve this game and pursue the creation of a virtual Middle-Earth.


A Couple Items

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First, I've added a link in my profile to the left to my my.lotro page. That way you have even more ways of contacting me. If I manage to remember, I'll try to say hello back. And I'll add you to my friend's list if you're on Elendilmir.

Second, I've put full syndication in the RSS feed. I hadn't realized it wasn't like that in the first place. New to this whole blogging thing.

Thanks to Air for the heads up with these.


Exploring Cerin Amroth

I've yet to step foot outside the eastern gate of Moria and into Lothlorien. It's an experience I'll probably encounter after Book 7's update which will expand the zone to the desired size. So, I don't know first hand what's there and what's not, but it's a good guess that Cerin Amroth is in the current Lothlorien. Check out the short article for a bit of history about the place.


Wonky Weather

Why is it that when it rains in Celondim (Ered Luin) it rains in Bree, Weathertop, Rivendell, Eregion, Evendim, Trestlebridge, and Angmar? Think about that. That would mean a weather system the size of Western Europe. Certainly there are weather systems that can approach that size (i.e. hurricanes) but they're much more intense than say the drizzle that we might see all over Middle-Earth. Drizzle does not come as giant systems. The bigger the system, the more powerful it tends to be.

I already know the answer to my question, of course. It's the technology. The programming, server capability, etc of the game which hasn't allowed for diverse weather in Middle-Earth. If it rains, it rains everywhere. The one exception is the snow in the Misties, Thorin's Hall area, and Forochel. And come to think of it, blizzards are unique to having a shard dropper in the vicinity. So the weather can be isolated, after a fashion.

I'd love to see the weather system overhauled at some point. If it's raining in the Shire, chances are you'll see a sunset in Rivendell. And I'd absolutely love to come out of a storm to be greated by the sun and see a rainbow in the clouds I was just under. That would be epic. When it happens in real life, I'm awestruck at the beauty. If that could happen in the game - well, it'll make the world that much more immersive and "magical".


Server Population?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I've decided to touch the age-old question - how populated are LOTRO's servers. This topic is frequently debated on third party forums for the use of 1) proving LOTRO is popular or 2) proving LOTRO is unpopular. My objective is rather to talk about the dynamics of a high and low population server.

When logging into the client this morning, there was a message: "We encourage our new players to play on: Windfola or Gladden!"

This means that Windfola and Gladden are most likely the lowest population servers in the US (I'm a US player so I cannot comment on the European servers). It is commonly accepted that Brandywine is the highest population server followed by, in no particular order with Elendilmir (my server by the way), Landroval and Silverlode. We'll of course probably never know for sure as Turbine does not release this number. That's okay. It doesn't really matter.

So why would you, as a new player, want to play on the recommended servers? Well, if you don't know why Turbine recommends servers in their client (to get the populations up in low pop servers) then you might just say "Okay." If your informed, you have a choice - do I listen to them or do I pick a different server based on what I can guess about server populations. What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Well, the high population servers give you a better chance for finding a pick up group for whatever content you're working on. The more players, the higher the possibility of another player doing the same content. Simple math. However, this also means that there are more players "competing" for content as well. If you need to gather 15 boar stomachs (to pick a once dreaded quest in the Lone Lands) and everybody else does too, the boars will be hunted to extinction and it will take forever to gather what you need.

On a low population server, take the reciprocol of the above. Essentially, you're looking at a trade off of good and bad. I've only picked two examples out of many, not to mention simple personal taste, which cannot be quantified.

My own opinion? I like being on Elendilmir where the population is relatively high and I can usually find a pick up group should I so choose (I don't PUG very often though). However, if you don't have a preference or care about any of the issues above, I highly recommend going with Turbine's recommendation. They make the effort to recommend something, it's got to be for a reason. The idea is to help out the existing populations on those servers. And it spreads the population out over levels, which is always a good thing because then content is well utilized.

And then there's the friends issue, which I touched on with the Who's Your Daddy post. Alway always always go with the server your friends are on over all other choices. Playing with friends always makes a game that much better.


An Emerging Community

My active participation in blogging is a new thing for me. However, reading blogs and listening to podcasts is not. I've been engaged with this side of the "community" for a couple years now - basically since I started into LOTRO. Today I was rather giddy (yes, that's the best word to describe it) with a blog post at LOTRO Chronicles which linked to my own.

Okay, so what? Well, like I said, my dream for this space is to be part of an overall community of bloggers and readers who engage with each other and the content of their discussions (mostly LOTRO, but gaming in general is cool too). So, I'm giddy because it's the beginnings of that. And while the LOTRO community as a whole has already emerged, seeing this little part of it come about for me is great.

I might be overly-excited about the whole thing, but that's okay. Don't blogs exist because we're over-excited about stuff and we want to have an outlet? Today, I'm over-excited about blogging. And over-excited about using the word over-excited. Okay, I'm done now.


Heroes of the Wood

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Old Forest is one of my favorite zones. I think I said so when I talked about my first Old Forest experience. The atmosphere, the music, everything is so perfect to the books. Even with the new map, it's still creepy, dark and dangerous. It's a wonderful little mini-zone gem. And if you're interested in a little more detailed information about this evil place, check out the latest Hero's Guide over at the Official Site.


Know Your Gimli

Massively's regular know your lore column has just been updated this time with an entry about our favorite dorf Gimli! (Yes, I purposely said "dorf"). Check it out!


Who's Your Daddy?

LOTRO has a family system. Did you know that? Not may people use it, but there's a reason for that. It's purely cosmetic. You can adopt other players up to 10 generations but there's really no point except for getting titles out of it (son of, daughter of, etc). I would love to see this system expanded beyond just fluff and roleplay (not that either of those are bad).

Asheron's Call, Turbine's first MMO had a wonderful system (as much as I can tell via second-hand knowledge) where you could become another player's patron. You get rewards for them completing content and created this awesome network of players beyond a simple guild function. City of Heroes/Villians has a mentoring system where the higher level player can mentor a lower level player and the higher level player's skills and power etc would slide down to equal that of the lower level. This way you can play together but not trivialize the content you're doing.

LOTRO would be an awesome canidate for something like these two systems. We already have adoption. Why not allow the "families" to be able to slide to the level of a "family member" (only downard though) so they can play content with their friends but not be so far outleveled that it becomes boring? The Asheron's Call system would be a great way to further incentivize the system, giving player's xp or monetary rewards for playing together in this way.

I think the powerleveling option should still be available if they want to go that route. Sometimes it's just nice trying to catch a player up rather than pull yourself down to their level. And sometimes you might just be deed grinding and there's really no reason to be lower level because the mobs would die much slower.

A mentor/expanded adoption system would greatly improve an already wonderful game. I think this feature alone would really bring in a lot of people who wouldn't play because they have friends who are already in the game and much higher level. Or people who don't want to play because they can't play with their friends as easily and still get the same rewards.


New Blog to Follow

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I'm always on the lookout for new blogs to follow, particularly ones that have LOTRO related content. Granted, I started out this blog with a roll call that comprised many non-lotro blogs but now I'd like to build up the list a bit on the LOTRO front. I've added on today with some quality content. It's called Dragonchasers, and is a general gaming blog, but from time to time you'll see LOTRO posts there and all that I've read in browsing the blog have been very intelligent and well written.

My goal with The Middle-Earth Adventurer is to aim for quality, not necessary quantity (albeit February is looking mighty fine on the quantity side of things). Any blogs I found out there who mirror that creed I'm very interested in, especially if they have LOTRO content as well. I highly recommend checking out Dragonchasers.

And even better is that the more blogs about LOTRO I'm following, the more ideas and inspirations I can get for this blog.


No Real Lifers

Every single person I play with in LOTRO I did not know before I played LOTRO - and I have never met any one of them in real life. They are all new in-game friends. That is awesome on one hand. Expand my social contacts. On the other hand, I would absolutely love to play with one of my "real life" friends. (I really don't know what word to use to differentiate here. All of them exist in real life somewhere...) The problem is, I have yet to find one that would be interested. Those of my friends that do play MMOs, well, they've either canceled their subscriptions due to money and/or time constraints or they play other MMOs, most notably WoW.

I'll have to keep trying to win them over from the "dark side." Hehe. Honestly, WoW is a good game, but my love lies in LOTRO. I'd love to share that with some of my other friends.


Old Forest Memories

Friday, February 13, 2009

Inspired by a post over at MMeOw about the Old Forest, I thought I'd recount a tail from the woods back in the "good old days." He elaborates on such times as well, but I'll state it here: the Old Forest used to be epic. Epic in terms of being the only zone to most completely reflect the book counterpart. The place was dark, brooding, dank and all together the most unnatural bit of nature. And by continued tweaking every patch, the trees literally did change.

But it was my first venture into the forest that I'll never forget. I remember I was tasked to find a type of spiders to kill and in my slow bushwhack through the thick trees, I somehow got turned around, but swore the trees had moved. I thought for sure Turbine had created a miracle in an actually mobile landscape. And then I had a bit of luck. I ran into another unwary adventurer - a Hobbit by the name of Harston (my toon was not named Jaxom at the time and it was before my chance encounter that lead to my kinship membership) as hopelessly lost as I was. After a couple tells back and forth about what we were looking for he suggested we could team up, but always port back to Buckland (where both our maps were set).

This idea had its appeal. Simple, quick, and no death at the hands of angry trees... er hurons. But I said something completely opposite: "I got myself lost in the Old Forest, I'm very well going to get myself out, or die trying). Well, it turns out this stuck a chord with my newfound hobbit friend and we've chatted off and on every since. (This incident was in Beta, by the way.)

So, while my first flight into the forest had me removing bark from places I didn't know I had, it built a lasting "friendship". Nothing like a great trial to form lasting bonds. And it sadens me that our new players cannot experience the Old Forest as I had, what with a map and better marked trails. I lament for you, dear dank dark forest, for once you bested me in all the corrupt glory worthy of Tolkien's prose. You are but a shadow of your former self. RIP Old Forest of old, your death to me was my most memorable yet.


Exploring Annulos

Once again Turbine is flushing out the world and lore of what they've created with another Exploring Middle-Earth article, this time about Annulos, an area of the Lone-Lands.


A Little FG

By FG I mean Fil Gashan, one of the six-man instances (this one in the Flaming Deeps) where a coin drops for one of the radiance gear pieces. I went three times through but didn't roll a win for the drop. Oh well, I have a long time yet to do all these instances and I just got the captain gear I have on now, which isn't bad at all. However, traited right and with all the radiance gear, one of the hunters in our group (who was also leading us through looking for a rare pocket drop) had 6,300 Morale. I, as a Captain who is supposed to have the option of off-tanking, had 5,096 Morale. That's a little odd, but like I said, he was traited out for a high morale build. If I were going for a high Morale build I could probably get close to 10k with all my radiance gear. Just a bit of a difference.

It was fun, doing one of these for the first time. We were doing it on Hard Mode which meant we had to avoid killing a certain type of mob. This necessitated suiciding twice and having our Minstrel rez us after running through in an orc disguise so we didn't kill something we weren't supposed to. I'm very glad there's no death penalty repairs if you're rezed by a Minstrel (or Captain).

I got sucked into the group by chance. One of my kinmates was involved in trying to get the group together. And I'm glad I did. Captains are usually always appreciated by the other players for their mere presence. Our buffs ya know. (The morale numbers I mentioned above were buffed stats, by the way). All in all, a good time. I wish I could have stayed longer to get the coin for the radiance piece myself, but alas I had to run. Real life was calling.


Post 60 Slump

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I need to figure out why I'm not logging into LOTRO nearly as much as before I hit 60. I still have goals. Only one was completed with my reaching the level cap. I still have a ton of quests and story to go through in Moria and beyond. So what's my deal? I think that there's a natural incentive to seeing the blue xp go up and up and up as you level. It hits a part of the human psyche that drives us to keep going on whatever path we've set out on. Once that stops... well, you lose something, even if there's everything else in the game still pushing you forward.

Honestly, I really hate this feeling. It's like my enjoyment of the game has been artificially dampened. It wasn't me doing it. It wasn't the game doing it. It just happened. And LOTRO is a game - and games should never feel like you're forced to play. So, trying to overcome this by sheer will isn't a viable option either. I play because I want to play, not because I have to. I think I need to wait until my LOTRO play meter fills up again. What will help that will be talking and reading about the game. I'll definitely get excited when I start hearing more substantial rumblings about Book 7. And this shouldn't slow my bloging any as there are plenty of topics to talk about.


Heroes in the Redhorn

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The latest Hero's Guide explores the Redhorn Lodes. I myself have just recently visited this place but I already like it. For one, it varies up the color scheme a bit to more reddish tones. I guess that's where it gets its name. And secondly, I don't seem to be wading neck deep in Orcs like I do in Zem-Melek, just to the "north" (not sure about directions in Moria). Once again, minor spoiler warning for those who have not been exploring yourself.


The Downed Balrog

I love LOTRO's session play where, on the latest adventure, I encountered the Balrog face to flaming/shadowy face. But recently I visited the the peak upon which Gandalf took down the Balrog. His charred ruin is still on the mountainside for all players to see (You should be at least level 57 to go out there though). Turbine has published an Exploring Middle-Earth article about this place.


The Ideal Fellowship?

I'm not talking about player skill necessarily, but rather class composition of fellowships. Certainly there might be a perfect set up for most content, but there's always the time where content requires something special, like two minstrels, or an extra tank, or for sure a burgler and a lore-master. Whatever.

Then there are the times where you just don't get the perfect classes, regardless of the content you're doing. Maybe you have four hunters a minstrel and a bugler. That's a lot of squishy DPS for the minstrel to keep track of and nobody is wearing heavy armor. You might be able to kill single targets really fast, but if you have waves of adds as the fight progresses, you're probably in trouble. Then again, maybe not. If you're coordinated enough maybe all the hunters move from target to target. The burg can CC and hopefully keep the minstrel from getting hammered on.

The point is that not often is there a fellowship situation where it's undoable because of what classes you have in the group. Higher level content like the level 60 six-man instances or the raids, sure, but that's different. Everyday group content throughout the world is very well designed for the random fellowship. And that's a tough act to balance with nine classes that vary so greatly in abilities and armor types.

This isn't to say it won't be more or less difficult with certain class types, but Turbine has done an excellent job of making it doable. I know I appreciate that greatly - it makes PUGs more viable and more sucessful. And that promotes more group play, regardless of other considerations.


More Moria Screenies

As I like to do, I have screenshots for you all of my recent explorations in Moria. I've recently managed to get to the southern part of Zem-Melek as well as briefly into the Redhorn Lodes and Nun-Melek. Like all the screenshots on this blog, they are scaled down for upload into photobucket, but if you'd like to get any of them in full resolution, please e-mail me (you can find my e-mail on my profile page) with the subject line "Screenshot Request" and please type the names of the screenshots you want and I will send them to you as attachments. My photobucket is public so if you'd like any of the other screenshots I have stored there that might not be in this post, you can find those names there as well. And without further delay, here are the screens.

The Second Hall

The Great Hall of Durin
A Hallway
Redhorn Lodes Vista 1
Redhorn Lodes Vista 2
Zem-Melek 1
Zem-Melek 2
Zem-Melek 3
Zem-Melek 4


The LOTRO Premise for Noobies

Monday, February 9, 2009

I regularly check the official site for the latest news, developer diaries, articles etc to post here and talk about (if they're interesting enough). In today's check while I didn't find a new article, I did run across a section I hadn't noticed before - The War of the Ring. It's a great primer into the backstory behind LOTRO and outlines why the things that are going on are going on. So, if you're new to LOTRO, or you know someone that wants to check out LOTRO but neither of you know anything about the lore behind the game, check out this series of articles.


Dwarven Sandwhiches

A good point was made about the Mines of Moria on the latest Shut Up We're Talking and that is: why, after all I've been through to get to the gates of Moria, especially if I've completed the epic story up to that point, am I delivering Dwarven sandwiches? The whole of Eriador that's in the game knows me as the hero that came after the fellowship. If we really want to get into a bit of roll playing with it, I should be one of six heroes. After all that notoriety, the Dwarves trying to take back Moria still send me on lunch runs to prove my worth and enable their continued laziness. I should be treated with respect, maybe awe, even from a stubborn dwarf. It's quite silly.

That said, I hardly remember the sandwich run, but I know I did it. I know I did it without complaining, but my first sentence is the key - I hardly remember it. You don't remember what's not epic. At best, you just do the quest and forget about it. In between, you grumble. At worst, you either don't do it or give up on the game. I love this game too much to do the last one. I might grumble from time to time on things I think are broken or need tweaking, polishing etc. But it doesn't negate the fact that this game still uses the tried and true method of fetch quests, delivery quests, kill quests, talk to NPC quests. And after so many of these in the game, you've got to run out of ideas for these types of quests. It's just inevitable. I think I've probably delivered lunch or some other meal/food stuff to someone of every race and perhaps in every zone.

On the good side is that the quest text does a very good job of twisting the basic formula into something that is logical and lore-centric... most of the time. It doesn't change the actual activity, but if I'm willing to work hard enough, I can convince myself I'm not doing a menial task, and focus on the story of it all. I think that's what I do most of the time - absorb myself in the story. And besides, with as many of these quests as I've done, I'm not only known as the Hero of Eriador, but the guy that'll do every menial task he runs into. The yes-man. And a dwarf would use any and every opportunity to take advantage of that. Especially if he were another race. Glad I'm not an elf. Might be shoveling goat feces instead of delivering sandwiches.


Shut Up I'm Playing LOTRO

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The latest Shut Up We're Talking episode has a nice mini-review of the Mines of Moria from one of the guests. It's at the beginning of the episode, so if you don't want to listen to the rest of the podcast (I highly recommend you do, though as it's a great podcast) you don't have to. It's not right at the beginning, but it happens fairly quickly. Check it out. Good thoughts and I plan on addressing at least one of the issues raised in a future post.


More Video?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I had really hoped to be able to post more video's than screenshots here but I've as yet been unable to get Fraps to work without crashing my system with an out of memory error. Essentially, I take at most 30 seconds of in-game footage and I run out of memory. My system has 3.3 gigs (4 gigs total, but the 32-bit OS castrates it a bit) which should be more than enough to handle video recording and the game at the same time. Hell, I tried it with my older system of 2 gigs and while the game was extremely choppy and I couldn't really use the video footage, nothing crashed. It's Vista I'm certain - the way it handles memory is terrible. I'm going to try out the 64-bit version of Vista in the near future to see if things improve, but I'm anxiously awaiting Windows 7 which by all accounts I've heard thus far is a big improvement on Vista. Like the best OS Microsoft has every put out. Which isn't hard, depending on how you see Microsoft, but still, high praise.

The point of that long-winded introduction was that there's a video tour of the Mines of Moria posted over at LOTRO Videos, one of the new blogs I've ran across. Check it out.


Legendary Not So Legendary

LOTRO Chronicles has put up a great post about the legendary items being not so legendary, especially in the spirit of weapons such as Anduril and Sting. Check it out for a very insightful piece. I've posted a comment to the entry over there but I thought I'd repeat myself here.

I had thought when I first heard about the system that it would be more along the lines of we get one weapon we take with us for the rest of our days simply adding to and changing as time goes on.

I think what we have is an excellent system for an MMO. It's compelling, it's accessible, it's long-winded. But what makes this a near-perfect MMO mechanic destroys the concept of legendary as we know it via Sting, Anduril, etc.

I honestly don't think such a system as you propose is as good for the *game* side of LOTRO. For the lore side, certainly. I've found that Turbine seems to error on the side of the game and keep as much of the *spirit* of the lore as possible. So, the legendary weapon system as it stands now pays homage to the idea of the legendary weapons in the IP, but in reality is simply a game mechanic carrying all the associated baggage.


Any LOTRO Ads?

I'm not a very good judge of ad presence in the online space. I block them using Ad-Block Plus. So, I cannot speak at all about LOTRO's ads online. However, I don't see any ads in game stores such as GameStop, nor any video or print ads in traditional media. Granted, most of my entertainment consumption comes from the internet or computer-related sources, I still haven't seen much advertising for LOTRO.

I think this really hit home for me when I walked into GameStop to order/pick-up my pre-ordered collector's edition of the Mines of Moria. Every other game that was released that day or the week before had adverts around the store. WoW had this big Lich King standee sitting right in the doorway. No LOTRO was to be seen. They didn't even have the boxes displayed. (GameStop does not keep the actual media on the shelves, just empty cases.) Lich King boxes galore, and many other games that just released, but they had to go into the back and get the LOTRO box for me.

Michael Zenke of Massively and the MMOG Nation blog makes a good point about the huge monetary investment Turbine received a few months ago. There's lots they could do with that money, but one thing they might consider is investing in a little bit of advertising for LOTRO. Us bloggers only reach a limited audience relative to the general MMO player-base. Word of mouth only goes so far.


X-Fire Dev Chat

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Yesterday afternoon (at least it was afternoon for me on the Pacific coast) some of the LOTRO devs participated in a dev chat via X-Fire. A couple of my kinmates were on and relaying anything interesting to us that were in game at the time. I wasn't one of those in the chat itself, but I thought I'd post the log via another LOTRO blog I've run across called MMeOw: LotRO and Mines of Moria from a Casual Perspective.

Dev chats, while fun, don't seem to be the best way to convey information. I rarely ever learn anything I haven't already found out via a dev post on the forums or some other official communication. This is the same here, except confirmation of Book 7 including the rest of Lothlorien as well as coming "Soon(TM)". I for one greatly look forward to the book, even though I'm not even close yet. If anything, listening to the devs talk about the game always gets me excited to play again. I love their enthusiasm for what they do.

Definitely check out the blog I've linked to here. The content is of great quality and professionalism. If I had know this blog existed before starting my own, I probably would have had my LOTRO blog itch scratched. However, that's not how things have turned out and I'm pleased to have it on my blog roll. Great stuff over there.


A Hero of Lothlorien

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I haven't made it to Lothlorien myself in-game. I've been taking it slow and steady, not trying to rush into exploration of the new content. Saving my enthusiasm for the time when I am ready to enter the enchanted wood. Besides, Book 7 will be expanding the zone according to what I've read on the Official Forums so I might just wait until this next free update is complete. At the rate I'm going, that'll be no problem.

In any case, the latest Hero's Guide is out, this time exploring Lothlorien. Again, spoiler warnings for those who want to experience Lothlorien first-hand and unblemished. Such as myself. I didn't read it. Just a messenger folks, just a messenger.


Exploring Golfimbul's Hole

I love lore concerning Hobbits. They're such quaint creatures, even when fending off an invasion of goblins. Check out the latest Exploring Middle-Earth article, this time talking about Golfimbul's Hole, an encampment of goblins rumored to be set up in memory of Golfimbul, the goblin leader who led the invasion of the Shire.


Know Your Valar

Who are the Valar you say? Well, if you're a LOTRO nerd like me, you have a decently good idea. But my explanation will be far inferior to those with more nerd-knowledge than me. Check out Massively's latest Know Your LOTRO Lore column where Shaun Shuster explores the Valar.


A Rivendell Run

The Ancient Gaming Noob has recently gone on a Rivendell run. It's like a right of passage for every player, and the lower level you make it the more... fun it is. I already posted about my Rivendell run a while ago but it's always fun to hear about others making the trek. Rivendell is such an iconic location in Middle-Earth it's a must see place. Not to mention it's the departure point for heading east either into the Misty Mountains and High Pass or into Eregion and Moria.


Kindred with Cooking Guild

I reached Kindred status with the Cook's Guild today. My cooldowns on the Large Repasts for Master and Supreme had reset and just cooking those two items you get 9000 reputation points. And that's exactly what I needed for reaching Kindred. With Kindred I have now learned all the cook's guild special recipes. I'll be using the Large Repasts to craft full stacks of Superior Lembas and Superior Racks of Lamb with Mint Sauce to sell on the AH. It should bring in a little bit of money hopefully. It would be really the first time I make money on selling food stuffs.


Brief Fishing Insights

Kill Ten Rats has posted a couple fishing related quotes using LOTRO screenshots. While not content that is thought provoking, it is fun.


Meeting Celebrities

Monday, February 2, 2009

Of the Middle-Earth variety. Some of the coolest moments in the game have been interacting with the Fellowship itself, or other iconic characters (such as Butterbur or Radaghast). The Common Sense gamer has a few screenshots up (in their full size glory unlike my own) brushing shoulders with celebs.


Plan for Post 60

What now? I'm 60, I'm no longer getting xp. Questing is no longer the best way to advance my character unless the quests reward me with a gear upgrade of some kind. What's the plan?

Well, I'm only about half-way through Moria and I haven't seen Lothlorien yet. So I have a lot of quests, deeds, and general exploration yet to do. I'm a questaholic so just because I'm 60 doesn't mean I'm going to stop questing. I did virtually all of Forochel post 50. The most compelling content in this game for me is the quests. Luckily Turbine seems to agree and puts tons of quests in.

Deed grinding is on the horizon as well. First of all, I have a couple slotted virtues that I want to upgrade to tier 10. Second, completing deeds gives you increased quest space in your quest journal. Right now I'm at 46 max.

I also have some gear related goals. Certainly I just got my level 60 captain gear, but there's a better level 60 set commonly referred to as the Radiance gear, which basically gives a radiance buff for each piece you put on. Running around with a full set of that would be great. I need to research where these pieces are dropped - I'm fairly certain it's through instance runs and such. This goal is a long way off though. The other gear goal is to get a full set of Sublime Dawn-Rose jewelry. Each piece is currently 3.5 to 4.5 gold on the AH. I already have the necklace from my kin leader who's a tinker. I have a bid on a bracelet. That leaves five more pieces to get and at the highest price I'm looking at close to 25 gold. For some, that's not much. For me, well, I'm a yeoman and don't have a cash-cow product to craft and sell. It'll be some time where I gain that gold through adventuring.

My less tangible goal would be to help out the kin. I'll try to get some cooking in to dump food in the kinhall for our players post 50. I'll also try and join them on any instance runs they're interested in doing and I'm available.


Commenting Problem

So in screwing around with the layout html I totally screwed up the commenting somehow. I changed the commenting to a pop-up window to fix this problem. I'm cool with that method. You can still see the post while you comment, which is why I put the comment form at the bottom of the page in the first place. Make sure your browser doesn't block the pop-up so you can comment if you'd like.

Unfortunately for me, I don't know html so basically I was meddling in things I really shouldn't have.


I Made Level 60!

This is it. It's the post I've been looking forward to since the Mines of Moria came out. That and the screenshot posts, which I love doing. I made 60 at exactly midnight on Saturday/Sunday. What really makes this ding exciting is that I had bought one of the level 60 Captain class armor sets beforehand so I had a great gear incentive to get to 60. The actual event happened while trying out one of the level 60 solo item xp quests out of the Dolven View. The one with the fire elementals trying to destroy the library. That quest is a bit of a challenge actually and I ran out when I hit 60 because (1) it was late and (2) I was too excited to concentrate. Well, not that bad, but I was stoked. Unfortunately for my enthusiasm, nobody from the kin was on that late. I'm located on the west coast of the US and everybody else in the kin is at least one timezone east of me.

Now it's time for a little bit of gear gushing. I'm so happy I now have a gear upgrade. I've been sitting in a majority of the level 47 critted crafted gear which at 60 put me 13 levels behind on my gear. That's a big hit to the stats and armor. Here is the level 60 armor I'm now wearing: Stoutheart's Armor and Armor of the Rallying Shout. And now for what I look like. I decided to change my second outfit slot to this new armor and after messing with the dressing room for a few minutes, I decided on red as the overall best look for the set.

Jaxom Looks Epic

The new armor is a bit weak on Will so I changed up one of my traits that gave me Agility (which was my highest stat) for one with a Will bonus. That should help out on the power total a little bit. I also put in a bid for a Sublime Dawn-Rose Bracelet with a good Will bonus. I'll sacrifice more Agility, but in the end, when I get a full set of Sublime jewelry (after a considerable sum of coin leaves my hands) I should make up the losses in other stats.

Current Total Buffed Stats:

Might: 466
Agility: 467
Vitality: 338
Will: 313
Fate: 421



A Lament for Housing

No, housing isn't dead, but it might as well be. I never see anybody in the neighborhoods. Well, I can count the number of times on one hand. And we're not even into the interior of the houses yet. I use my house purely for extra storage space. I'm essentially renting a couple oversized chests. I'd honestly do better to buy the two new chests at the vendor and dump my house. Why, well, LOTRO Chronicles does an excellent overview of the problem of housing. I hope housing is on the dev's radar for a revamp.


My First Follower

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Being new to the blogging scene, if you want to call it that, means I have very few comments and had no followers... up until now. The Hobbit Herald is now following this blog. I'm glad to see fellow LOTRO bloggers are out there. I apparently didn't search hard enough as this one slipped past when I was looking around last fall.

They seem to be just starting like me, so if you like what you see here, check them out as well and say hi. Us bloggers love to feel that we're writing for a reason, and readers are a reason.

I now have the first connection of a network of LOTRO bloggers. At least, that's what I hope it could turn into in the long run. A blog for you personally is one thing. A blog for others is another. But a group of blogs that are read is a gem. Community is one of the building blocks of MMOs. I hope one can grow here as well as in-game.

In that interest, I'd also like to link to a couple other blogs found via my new "network." The first is LOTRO Chronicles and the second is LOTRO Videos.

By the way, I made 60 last night! Unfortunately for me today was the Superbowl so I've been at a party all day and haven't made it back in since. Tomorrow you should see a larger post about the big event.