Monthly Archives: October 2009

For all you number crunchers

There’s a tool out there called CStats that parses your combat log and allows you to calculate how much damage you’re doing.  Lots of you may already know about it, but I just saw on the forums there’s a beta teaser (upcoming version 1.1) that will allow you to break out your DoTs and procs as separate lines from your attacks.  This will be a huge help for us wardens as we can get a better feel for where our damage is coming from.

Forum Article

CStats Lorebook page

CStats 1.0 download

Mirkwood thoughts and expectations

So there’s been a bunch of news released this past couple of weeks regarding the expansion and I’ve mainly just been reviewing the pieces and not the whole of it.  So I thought I’d step back and give my thoughts on what we know so far.

I’ll start with my concerns: (in no particular order)

  • I’m not entirely thrilled about having another barter item (skirmish marks) – but it at least sounds like initially there are enough things to purchase.  And I’m not terribly concerned if they do take up an inventory slot – sure there are potentially more elegant ways to deal with it, but honestly a couple of slots isn’t that huge of a deal.
  • I’m bummed our current legendaries will be going away and that they’re handling the IXP like they are.  I can understand why they’re doing it, but this system still isn’t quite what it could be.
  • I’m concerned that we haven’t heard anything regarding character development.  We’ve seen a lot about everything else, but none of the walkthroughs have said anything like “ooh, that’s an awesome new attack/skill/whatever” or commented on new traits, etc.
  • I’m a little worried about the end-game options as the set and drops from DN are less then inspiring, hopefully they get back on the right track and make the end-game rewarding.  It isn’t the main reason why folks start to raid, but the hope of a cool drop is what keeps them continually raiding.  I think that’s one of the reasons why many continued to farm the rift – there were lots of drops people really wanted.  I can’t think of a single “must-have” from DN.

As for the things I like so far: (again, no real order here)

  • I’m 100% sold on the storyline of Mirkwood, the reasoning behind us being there and the path we’re walking down with the epic lines.
  • The area looks amazing, not that I’m surprised based on the rest of Middle-Earth.
  • Skirmishes and the reward structure sound like all sorts of win – not just for max level toons but for leveling as well.
  • I’m excited about the new mechanics inside the instances, I’m glad we’re continuing to get variations there.
  • I can’t wait for the horse changes – zoning and using items while mounted are probably my two favorites.
  • I struggled with where to put the LI changes as overall the system is still a bit of a let down.  However, I think SoM will make the system overall better.  The transition will be tough but in the end I think we’ll be better off.  It still isn’t perfect, but it is better then when it launched.
  • more instances and another 12-person raid
  • 2 new char slots and a goat! 😉

And things I’m on the fence about:

  • the combat system sounds good – but we’ll have to wait and see how the mechanics work.  It might be another Moria like change which will take us a while to get used to – and potentially re-grind traits for.
  • There’s the potential skirmishes could make it harder to find groups (I do pug frequently) but only time will tell on that one.
  • The changes to radiance gear tokens – we’ll have to see how the specifics work.  I like the possibility that it could take me 1 run, not the requirement to do 10 (or whatever the number is).  I put this here as if it is a low enough requirement or I really like the instances it won’t be a problem and could make it easier to get raid gear.

Overall, I’m still excited about Mirkwood as there’s more then enough positive things we know that will be worth it for me.  Most of my concerns are centered around just not knowing and pure speculation.  I guess I’m just a little nervous as there was a great buildup surrounding how we’d advance our characters to 65 but nothing regarding what that actually means.  Hopefully (like many of the podcasts) as soon as I write this, Turbine will have a new dev diary out 😉

Inn League Reputation

Holy cow, so I just started working on this on my warden – and I have to say there’s a whole lotta drinkin goin on.  I did the pub crawl, all 23 drinks, and all the quests – I’m still 11 pub-crawls from Friend with the Inn League.

Too bad RL actions can’t carry over, or wait – maybe its good that in-game actions don’t carry over to RL 😉

Dev Diary – Skirmish Rewards

Latest dev diary from Zombie Columbus (ZC) is up with the highly anticipated rewards information on the skirmishes.  First all the info, then my thoughts at the end.

Monster Loot

  • Only end boss will drop coins (silver) and in ZC’s words, a rather large amount
  • Lieutenants, Bosses, and optional encounters will reward skirmish marks
  • Daily quest rewards for completing the skirmish
  • all other mobs have zero loot
  • Experience and Item XP will be rewarded as normal for mob kills

Skirmish Marks

  • Barter items that can be traded at the skirmish camps (explained below)
  • Awarded for
    • control point taken
    • NPC ally survival
    • Boss Kills
  • Calculated on a per player basis, so they’re not divided amongst the fellowship
  • Vary based on
    • Level of the skirmish
    • Fellowship size
    • Difficulty

Special Marks

  • Drops from LTs and Bosses in skirmishes
    • required in addition to normal marks for better items
    • tooltip on the mark will detail the level and size skirmish that has a chance to drop
    • upgradable and down-gradable via vendors
  • Skirmish Campaign Marks
    • Skirmishes are broken into 4 campaigns initially with Mirkwood release
    • drops from optional encounters
    • used for cosmetic rewards

Each skirmish will have a daily quest that’s available and rewards almost as much as the entire skirmish such that it becomes more rewarding to do each daily quest tied to skirmishes as opposed to the same one repeatedly.  This is a good way to get us to try them all!

Skirmish camps are the hub for skirmishes and are outside of all major cities or travel locations.  They’ll have various NPCs related to the system including places to barter your marks and the Skirmish Captain who is the “bard” for you soldier’s traits.

Soldier Traits

  • Rankable up to 20
  • Categories
    • Attribute – soldier’s role and cosmetic appearance
    • Skill – role specific traits that grant new abilities
    • Training – passive bonuses like crit, morale, etc.
    • Personal – bonuses to the PLAYER, but only inside of skirmishes
  • All gain strength as you rank
  • Some will need to be unlocked via scrolls from the vendors
  • Rank upgrades are level dependant to keep the soldier scaled to the players level
    • in summary the higher the character level the lower the upgrade cost

Specific rewards

  • idea is to complement not replace normal gameplay
  • use skirmishes to fill in the gap, and will be of lower quality then top tier crafting/end-game
  • nice part is there’s no variation as compared to the AH
  • Some rewards (Veteran rewards) will require marks from fellowship skirmishes, but since the marks can be upgraded it is feasible to get them via solo play – it just might take a while longer
  • Vendors:
    • Armor – various level ranges and also veteran items.  As strong as same level quest rewards, with veteran pieces being a little stronger.  Start at level 30 and progress to level 65.
    • Jewelry and Cloaks – same as armor
    • Weapons – same as armor but after 50, only off-hand weapons
    • Legendary Items – runics, IXP runes, scrolls, and the various new goodies mentioned in the previous LI dev diary
    • Crafting – scroll cases, crit components, and some new components with SoM
    • Cosmetics – housing, clothing, and solider items
    • Curiosities – reputation rewards, various items from old quests, and mark upgrades
    • Provisioner – sell/repair, and barter for potions

Good read, check out the full post over here – Dev Diary from ZC.

Overall it looks like some really good stuff.  I like that not all the traits are focused on our soldier but us as well.  As for the rewards, I think they hit just about everything I’d want.  It will be very nice for leveling as you can pick and chose what items from skirmishes and what items from quest/crafting you want.  We’ll have to see how this plays out at the end game.

I’m guessing, and @arbitrarygenius mentioned the same on twitter that the “various items from old quests” are talking about the level 45 class items – which if true would be AWESOME!  I also love being able to barter for reputation, that will be another very nice way to augment that system – especially with all the new reputation changes coming.  And of course, we can never have enough cosmetic items, hopefully there will be some new ones!

The rewards wouldn’t be complete without some LI options, which I’m glad to see another way to get runics (which I’m assuming are the relic cases) as that grind can be painful to get the tier 6-8 relics.  I’m also glad to see the various scrolls added as well, that will be nice to have a guaranteed way to get them as opposed to random.

Granted, with all these rewards we haven’t seen the numbers nor how many Marks drop per skirmish, but I’m all for the idea of knowing exactly how much I’ll have to do to get something I want.  This takes a lot of the random-ness out of the game, and really helps the LI system which is plagued by the “lottery” feel.

Fall Festival Fun

So I decided to have some fun and pick up some of the festival items and work towards the Jig on my warden – she has all the other dances, so figured I’d complete the set.  I didn’t go full out, but enough to get the pumpkin mask and the tavern quest chain.  Thanks to Goldenstar over at the Casual Stroll to Mordor for the excellent walkthroughs of the festival quests and also Tavern rep.  You can find them over here – Fall Festival and Other Festival Quests.  The tavern quest chain probably is one of my more favorite quests as the drunken graphics are pretty impressive.  I captured a video of the last stage of the pub crawl and posted it as well (and yes, that’s Jimmy Buffett as the background music, not planned but fitting).  I did it earlier in the day on my captain and was suffering from the Forochel Fog bug plus the drunken state – talk about hard to see!

I then figured I’d take a couple of snaps from the chairs outside of Bag End to wind down from my afternoon of intoxication.

Taking a break ScreenShot00101 ScreenShot00103

ScreenShot00104 ScreenShot00105 ScreenShot00106

Finally, I went on a hunt for the Black Rider terrorizing the Shire, but he slipped by me 😦

Random wanderings

So I was out trying to finish off some deeds – ok, I was stalling trying to avoid the Shire quest grind to build up Innocence on my captain ;), when I found an area of the Misty Mountains I never knew existed.  It is up on the Northern High Pass and basically is the path to the left of the camp up there.  I’ve ALWAYS gone to the right of the camp and down that hill, but today I went left and it is an amazing view as you wind behind the goblin camps there and to the back entrance to Goblin Town.  I took a couple snaps to share…

Start of the path

So this shot is right at the camp, those are the stairs to the right.

Looking down at the camp

1st person view looking down at the goblin camps.

Siege of Mirkwood background image

So the loading screen image we’ve all been drooling over is now downloadable, go grab it over at the LOTRO main site.  Image below links to it:


Mirkwood Desktop Image

Cool map following the ring

So I was listening to Episode 16 of LOTROCast and they mentioned this map over at Vision of the Ring.  I had found it once before way back when, but totally forgot about it until the Podcast.  Essentially the map follows the path of the ring, hobbits, Gandalf, the Nazgul, etc. but also how those events map back into the story-line in LOTRO with the prologue and the first 2 books of the epic line.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it to help visually tie things all together.  There’s also some other good maps of the various zones to check out too.

And if you’re looking for a Podcast on LOTRO – certainly LOTROCast is a good one, but there are a number of others I also listen to in my Links section.

Ten-Ton Hammer Preview in for Mirkwood

So the good news is there are some cool screen shots, the bad news it is it essentially the same information as Massively reported.  There’s a lot of focus on the new area, the instances, and skirmishes (all of which are very exciting to me) but I’m still a little concerned that one of the other key pieces of this expansion is missing – character development.  We’ve seen nothing in any of the reviews, diaries, or blogs regarding the traits, skills, etc. that are mentioned (please correct me if I’m wrong).  Hopefully they’re still balancing things out and just haven’t finalized things, as I’d hate to see 5 more levels added without our characters advancing in any meaningful way.

Here’s the link to the article – Ten Ton Hammer.

Veteran rewards?

As a follow on to my post from yesterday (Price announcements) there was some more info released on the Age Of Conan veteran rewards found over here – AoC weblink.  This got me thinking, is this something I’d support in a game I currently play, i.e. LOTRO?  Now for me, I’ve been here since day 1 so I have nothing to lose and everything to gain from it but in looking at the rewards there are some interesting “fluff” items that would be cool to have I think.  I’m not a fan of the horse routes and that kind of stuff, but cosmetic items and pets could be fun.  So, I’ve added a new poll – what’re your thoughts on veteran rewards?