Monthly Archives: December 2009

On holiday vacation

Just a quick note, I’m on vacation for a bit and haven’t been in game or on-line much at all with the holidays.  I should be back to my normal posting and gaming schedule come Monday, January 3rd.  I’ll probably start with my year-end review and New Year’s resolutions 🙂

Happy holidays and enjoy whatever time off you have as well as the time with your families!

LOTROCast’s interview with Orion

If you aren’t subscribed to the LOTROCast podcast, I highly recommend it and especially for this episode as they have a very long and in-depth conversation with Orion.  Now certainly there are some questions Orion can’t answer but there’s quite a bit of info in there that is VERY exciting.  Not all of it is focused on LOTRO but Turbine and his background as well.  I won’t spoil my favorite part of the interview – but lets just say it relates to the Volume 3 release.

The other big piece for me is that Orion’s favorite class to play is a Warden!

Make sure you check it out over on

Turbine in the holiday spirit

In addition to all the previously announced contests mentioned on my blog here for either the Adventurer’s Pack, Mirkwood expansion or both but they’ve now upped the offer even more with Massively.  The win a lifetime with LOTRO contest offers people the chance to win:

  • 1 lifetime subscription + the full game +adventurer’s pack
  • 2 lifetime subscriptions
  • 20 Siege of Mirkwood Complete edition keys

Holy cow, those are some nice offers.  I for one won’t be entering as I’ve already bought all those – but certainly for all you monthly folks out there this is a great opportunity!

Deadline is December 26th at 8am EST – don’t miss out, the link again is here!

You’re doing it wrong

So there was a post on the warden boards last week titled “What makes a bad warden” that got me thinking about the things players do that drive me batty while they’re in our fellowship.  I don’t mean this as a bashing thread, more a “what not to do” discussion.  This was further reinforced as shortly after reading that thread I did Sword Halls with 2 captains and had no less then 3 fear debuffs on me the entire time – even after asking in chat numerous times for a muster!

Hopefully by looking at what others don’t like about our class we can all become better players.  Essentially this is the inverse of the “what I wish others knew about wardens” post meant to help folks find what others don’t like about what they do.  I mainly play a warden, captain, or minstrel so I know the most about them – so if a class has a shorter list it mainly means I just don’t know it well enough or group with enough bad ones to have pet-peeves.  So in no particular order please don’t be one of those people that do the following things:

In general

  • not considerate of others time
  • un-announced afk’s
  • not prepared (no food/pots, wrong gear, etc.)
  • not knowing their class
  • not listening, or repeating the same mistake over and over again
    • “don’t hit the mezzed mobs”
  • Anyone with a cure that doesn’t use it (captains muster courage, hunters poison, LM wound, etc.)
  • Not assisting the main assist (use the window)
  • not letting the main puller pull
    • usually it should be the tank, but crown control pulls are handy
  • not removing corruptions if it assigned to you (or you’re a champ/warden that can “spam” them)
  • fighting for agro – pick a tank and go with it, even if you’re a tanking class
    • force-taunting off the tank usually isn’t a good idea.  Not only is it annoying to the tank but it also confuses them as they may think they’re losing agro when if fact usually it will pop back once the taunt wears off
    • Only force taunt when someone asks you to
  • Positioning:
    • Don’t:
      • Stand in fire (or something equally nasty)
      • stand in an area with AoEs
      • run too far away from the group
      • run away from the tank if you pull agro
    • Do:
      • stay behind mobs while not tanking
        • you take MUCH less damage this way
        • comment by xhii – mobs can’t block/parry attacks from behind, so better chance of hitting
        • burgs definitely get a damage bonus, but I’m not sure about others
      • stay in range of your healer
      • comment by vr00mfondel keep mobs together as it allows folks with AoEs to use them
      • if you’re tanking – pull mobs a bit away from the group and spin them around such that their back is to the group (real key for Trolls)
        • comment by xhii – keep mobs in front as you can’t block/parry attacks from behind


  • If tanking – not using full breadth of skills (HoTs and buffs for example)
    • you should hear lots of shouting 😉
    • and see lots of shield bashing
  • Not traited properly (spear line for tanking as an example)
  • trying to be a hunter and attacking from range only (yes I have actually seen this outside of the moors)
  • Not using AoEs
    • Or using too many AoEs when group wants to use crowd control
  • Not paying attention to other mobs that may be hitting minstrel or other squishies
  • not interrupting
  • not having masteries slotted, or not using them (you can see the icon over their head when used)
  • having the “Skill and Power” trait slotted


  • Not buffing or re-buffing
  • Going to mention it again – not using Muster Courage
    • will/fate de-buffs are VERY painful and MC is a group cure/resist buff
    • Plus if traited it is a self-heal!
  • not marking targets
  • using a herald (there are RARE cases when this is a good thing)
    • and if you use a herald, keep it under close control as you don’t want it pulling extra mobs
  • not replanting banners, or using the wrong one
    • pay attention and switch to power if folks get low


  • war-speech while healing in more difficult fights
    • it can be done, but generally it is scary
  • not using anthem of free people
  • not using resist ballads
  • using too many big heals and pulling agro
  • wrong tale, or not refreshing it after silence
  • not using threat reducing tools (song of soothing, anthem of compassion, lute strings, etc.)
  • wrong instrument (not using threat reducer, or power reduction)


  • In wrong stance for job (OP for tanking, etc)
  • (many similar to wardens)


  • Not interrupting
  • Pulling too much agro with their AoEs and dying (they’re REAL squishy at times)
  • thinking they can tank but either not knowing how or not being geared/traited for it
  • being a dumb champ
    • sorry, champs (all DPS classes) get bad raps as they’re notorious for going all out DPS and not paying attention to anything else.  DPS is good, but living is better 😉


  • mezzing random mobs
  • not draining power
  • wrong pet
    • keep it under close control as you don’t want it pulling extra mobs
  • not debuffing


  • pulling with heart-seeker
    • or insisting on pulling in every case
  • using the wrong stance
  • comment by vr00mfondel and BlueKae (rewording my traps comment) my thought here was that Hunters should know how to use traps and when they can be helpful in certain circumstances.  Claiming they have no CC abilities is just annoying – that’s what I was getting at, or trying to.
  • being a “huntard”
    • pulling wrong or additional mobs, etc.
    • going full out DPS in strength stance


  • not knowing how to flip attunement
  • similar to hunter/champ, need to be conscience of DPS – if you get a big crit or something back off as with Mirkwood squishies pulling agro is a bad idea


  • not starting conjunctions
  • not debuffing

Most of my pet-peeves are just general group gameplay that are good habits for folks to adopt.  There are some class specific ones, but the biggest class specific one (for me) has to be the captain  not using muster courage.  This is HUGE as I’ve been in many fights where the entire group is low on power and we all have a ton of fear de-buffs – one muster courage gets rid of all of them and helps prevent more from coming in the future.

If you play a class that has a removal skill, please take some time to understand which de-buffs are bad and which ones folks can live with.  Small DoTs are fine, but one that are 300+ per tick or –250+ to a skill should be removed ASAP.  And if you don’t have a group wide skill the order should usually go healer –> tank –> everyone else.

As for DPS classes, I’m probably being a bit harsh on them – but just like everyone else you need to watch what you’re doing and no go full-out all the time.  Like I said earlier, they’re just seem to be more likely focused on their own damage output and nothing else.

Now I’m not perfect by any means so during trash pulls I’m a bit lazier and do many of these things as it just doesn’t matter.  However, for boss fights or harder instances many of these will immediately result in a group (or raid) wipe.

I hope this helps, feel free to comment, correct, add more, yell at me, etc but hopefully there’s something in here that has helped someone out.

Cstats take 2

Ok, so I realized what I was doing wrong and why my DPS numbers from yesterday were off.  If you don’t run Cstats while playing, it has no concept of time and is just crunching on pure damage (still helpful, don’t get me wrong) but I wanted to get some more comparable numbers so I ran it again.  So the workflow is similar to what I said yesterday, but once you turn on the combat tab logging you then need to alt-tab to cstats and start parsing.  Then return to LOTRO and fight stuff.

So the snap below shows me checking out my archer DPS – notice each “encounter” has a separate folder so it will show all the mobs you fought during that section of combat.  As you can see my archer is at least better then the mobs, but still no where near my DPS – which is fine as she’s still pretty weak.  The batch there under Moria is another log file that I opened such that I could easily compare Tier 1 skirmishes to Tier 2 and now that I can see DPS it is very clear that for Tier 2 mine decrease and the mobs increase.

Tier 1 log DPS

Drilling down to my section you’ll see a similar breakdown as what I showed yesterday.

Detailed Tier 1 DPS

I also used this to do a comparison on my Level 65 3rd age vs my Level 60 1st age and pretty much proved to myself that yes I need to switch to a 3rd age.  My damage is at least 10% higher with the 3rd age even though I don’t have all the same damage legacies.  Plus with the added runes I will have a much higher crit as well.  I probably won’t switch my javelin out yet as I don’t use that nearly as much nor have I found one anywhere as good.

Turbine 2010 Plans – Volume 3 target date

According to Adam Mersky at Turbine, via, Volume 3 is on target for a February release.  I think most other posts had the info that Volume 3 would be the first content release after Mirkwood and “Early” in 2010 but this was the first “date” I’ve seen.  Other updates throughout the year are promised but no actual information – which isn’t surprising.

Seems about right, 2-ish months after Mirkwood – but that probably means there’s not too much in Volume 3.  So most likely, no Rohan, no mounted combat, but probably some land-mass.  Possibly Fangorn or Isengard as I’d expect the rest of Mirkwood to be more closely tied with a Hobbit movie release.   Isengard might make sense as we’re pretty much at the end of the Fellowship book (or pretty darn close) and that area is starting to cause more issue with the rest of Middle-Earth.

Anyway, we shall all see soon – at least what’s in Volume 3 😉

Cstats usage and another video

I wanted to check a few things out on my damage output during my normal fighting routines as well as check out the difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 skirmishes.  I also figured this would be a good opportunity to explain to folks a little bit about Cstats.  Cstats can be used for a variety of things, but essentially it is a damage parser, you can understand precisely how much damage you do and how much the mobs do.  So if can be used to compare classes, items, trait builds, strategies, skill rotations, and probably much more.

Cstats is pretty straightforward – download it here, and then while in game follow these steps to enable combat logging in game (assuming you still use the combat chat tab).  Go fight some stuff, and then in Cstats use the File –> Start Parsing option and point to the created log file in your LOTRO install folder, as shown here. After that, you should have a presentation of all your fights contained in your log file.  One thing to point out with regards to skirmishes, there is an acknowledged bug in Cstats that it doesn’t include Herbalist healing – which is disappointing, but I know my herbalist is doing her job.  Looking at the update frequency, hopefully that will get hammered out soon enough.  If you’re not a numbers geek like me, jump to the bottom for the video 😉

My examples here are from 2 separate skirmish runs – one at Tier 1 and the other Tier 2.

In the below shot shot you can see the DPS for every mob/person in the log file – now I’m not sure that the pure DPS number showing for me is 100% accurate as that number looks at tad high 😉  However, I am targeting multiple mobs and have lots of DoTs running all the time so I’m usually damaging at least 2 mobs at a time which does inflate my numbers.  Back to the plot, you can now see which mobs are more damaging and by how much.  This is also good for comparing incoming damage between fights, skirmish tiers, trait setups, equipement, etc.

Tier 1 Damage

Now looking at the same output from a Tier 2 skirmish:

Tier 2 Damage

While my damage is higher (I think I’m just trying much harder in this one) notice that the incoming damage from the mobs is also MUCH higher.  Which shows pretty well the difference between the tiers in that not only do the mobs hit harder but they have 50% more morale too.  Also, as the following charts will show all my attacks do significantly less damage on average, look at quick thrust as an example.

So now drilling down a bit more (this similar view is available when clicking the + sign on any other line) you can see every attack I use and the damage from them.  Some real nice things here for a warden in that I can see my DoTs, my spear procs, auto-attacks, and then all my other skills.

Tier 1 Attacks

So, this chart below shows my attack damage for the Tier 2 skirmish (above is the same but for the Tier 1 skirmish)– and you’ll notice my default melee attack is significantly lower (then the tier 1 skirmish) in both %damage and %attacks (confirming that I was trying harder) but really both of these show that my various bleeds really were making a HUGE difference.  If you watch any of my videos, I pretty much have 4 DoTs working at all times and that accounts for about 30% of my damage!  I also pull multiple mobs and make sure I try to keep those DoTs ticking on all of them as much as possible.  So if you’re not using DoTs and AoEs as a warden you’re losing a LOT of damage.  In theory you would expect %acts to be comparable to %dmg but if either of those are skewed one way or the other you might want to change how you use that skill.  The one that stands out is the line for DoTs but remember each DoT that is applied by a warden has a certain number of “ticks” in that the damage is applied 6 times (for me, I use 2 traits to increase this from the standard 4 ticks) so yes they’re applied a lot, but I’m not actively applying them that often.  And in looking at it per application they’re only 8% of my actions but 28% of my damage!

Tier 2 Attacks

Now for an individual attack you can see a graph of every hit, and how often they hit that number.   So, it really allows you to look at what attacks are better/worse or maybe which ones you use too often that you should remove from your rotation.  You can also get a feel for which mobs are more resistant to various damage types if you wanted to since these are broken out per mob.

Tier 1 Quick Thrust

There’s lots more that you can do with Cstats but just these few things are real handy for me as it helps track down and understand how you perform in various battles.  All of these reports can be saved and exported if you want to do further crunching, but I’m quite happy to use it in this fashion.  I’ll probably log some more fights just to see how things chance with different skirmishes, group fights, single mob pulls, etc.

So just looking at these 2 skirmishes I feel pretty confident that I have a decent DPS output and that DoTs are a huge portion of it.  Also, I’m pretty confident that this is a huge step up from Moria as I used to not allow auto-attacks in my rotations and still using my same flow/style but you’ll see I still get about 20% damage from my auto-attacks.

As promised, here’s another video from me in the skirmishes – I’m not sure how these guys fit in the lore, but they just look really cool 😉  This is a skirmish encounter from my Tier 2 fight “The Battle in the Tower” which is part of the battle up Dol Goldur.  And yes you’ll notice my healer actually doing stuff 😉

Weekend reading

So per my usual, I do a lot of forum reading and catch up on my RSS feeds over the weekends and finish things up first thing Monday morning.  I use a tool called Evernote to compile my thoughts as I can update/share my notes from both of my machines, twitter, blackberry, and directly from my browser.  Also, I am finishing up a couple other posts that I started last week focused on grouping and the new end-game content.  If you have any ideas, suggestions, wishes, etc. please send them over. has posted their review of LOTRO’s expansion, Siege of Mirkwood.  Nothing earth shattering but always interesting to see what others think about the expansion.  They mainly focus on skirmishes and the new combat, which are the main areas of excitement for me as well.

There’s a new post up on the LOTRO live forums that detail all the new traits, deeds, places of interest, etc. within Mirkwood.  Certainly some spoilers, but real handy if there’s something you’re struggling to find.  I just used this list to find on of the epilogue quest givers 🙂

One of the main changes with Mirkwood has been the changing of some of the percentages to ratings.  One of the questions that came up was ““What rating value” should I have to tank higher level mobs commonly found in the various end-game instances.  We can easily see what value caps against even level mobs but there’s little visibility to above or below mobs as they cap at a higher/lower number respectively.  Referred in that post is another post that explains the detailed calculations that have been determined from the game.  Both are helpful links for trying to decide which traits and which items/runes to use once you hit 65.  I still haven’t really figured mine out – but both of these have helped me narrow things down.

For those of you who like number crunching, I saw a link posted for another tool out there called Dashing heroes, which allows you to not only track damage and such but combine it with screenshots and videos.  I’m still checking it out, but it looked pretty slick and at only $9.99 it isn’t a huge price hit.  It has similar features to cstats but also adds quite a bit of additional functionality.

I also stumbled upon a new podcast this weekend called The Multiverse which is a general MMO Podcast but one of the hosts runs the Game by Night blog.  He is a fellow LOTRO player who’s on the Landroval server in the Council of the Secret Fire kinship.  That’s the kinship that Merric and Goldenstar (from CStM )are in as well as the Az from the Wizzard of Az.  The other blog on that podcast that I’m following (haven’t checked out the 3rd host yet) is Epic slant which mainly focuses on running a successful guild, and specifically a raiding guild.

Almazar from LOTRO Reporter shared (via twitter) Longasc’s Picasa web album which has a TON of really cool images from pretty much all the areas within LOTRO.  So if you’re curious what certain areas look like or just want to see some cool in-game shots its certainly worth a look.

As you’ve seen from my videos and screenshots, I use various different UI skins.  For those of you who haven’t used them Merric from CStM has a 2-part video series on them up on YouTube.  Check them out here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

And finally, for those of you like me who wish they had more time in the day – this post should be able to help you get more out of an hour.  Kinda scary how many of those I’m guilty of – but certainly helps highlight if you really want to get something done cut out the distractions.

Upcoming posts, would like input

So in addition to my normal updates and videos I am working on a couple items that I wanted to solicit some feedback for.

The first one I’m fairly far along with is a compilation of info on the new Mirkwood instances – but I haven’t run them all so if anyone has good thoughts, ideas, links, etc. I’d be appreciative.  There’s already a bunch of into on the forums but sadly the forums tend to get a tad messy over time.

The other post I’ve working on is titled “You’re doing it wrong” and I’m really looking to help everyone out in their PUG (or LFF) experiences with this one.  If you’ve ever PUG’d before I can pretty confidently say you’ll have suggestions for this topic 😉  Basically I’m looking for either general or class specific things that people do that drive you batty.  I totally mean this in a way to help folks – I’m looking at this as the “this is what we expect people to do,” not the player bashing angle.  As an example (and this happened this morning running Sword Halls), I can’t stand it when captains don’t use muster courage to cure my fears.  In any instance I run on my captain (that has fear issues) I literally cast that skill every time it is up as it not only cures fears but also boosts fear resists.

I’m looking to put these posts out early next week – so any thoughts or ideas please send them along.  And ya’ll can figure out which way to reach me works best for you 😉

My new legendary items and latest adventures

First off I wanted to share my first 2 decent level 65 3rd age legendary items – sadly the axe looks absolutely horrible.  I’m really going to struggle equipping it!  However, you’ll notice that my spear does gain a Pool A legacy on the level 20 reforge – so it does happen!

NewAxe NewSpear

Both are actually shaping up pretty well, I’m still using my 60 First age spear and 60 2nd Age Javelin but I’ll probably switch my main hand weapon pretty soon as the DPS and additional runes make a big difference.

I also took a couple more videos from my adventures in Mirkwood.  I’m just going to post the links as there are potential spoilers in them and I don’t want to ruin the stories for those who haven’t done them yet.

Starlight and Shadows instance

Gollum in Mirkwood

The first one is from one of the 3-man quests and really is just a quick fight – but some decent things going on there that might be of interest for folks.  Pretty good example of working together and hunters pulling out various tricks.  Plus you do actually get to see me tanking 😉  And the Gollum video I just really enjoyed the quest line (just like the one in Tal Bruinen), so I figured I’d share.