Monthly Archives: July 2010

Tell the Community Team – Wardens


No surprise here, I have some thoughts on this one 🙂  And I strongly recommend all you Wardens to post your thoughts as well.  I’m going to just copy/paste what I have here into the thread on the live forums.

Question 1
Give three examples of changes or improvements you would make to improve the Warden class (e.g. skills and abilities). Please limit your responses to 3 brief examples. Wardens only please!
1. Lower the power costs of the gambit builders themselves, we have lots of ways to drop the gambit costs but they don’t apply to the builders which are the big problems.
2. Another ranged attack would really help us fulfill a secondary ranged DPS role.
3. Some way to recover threat after a death.  Something on a long cool-down that pops us back to our pre-death level, or even pre-death level minus some percentage.
Question 2
If you could create one new legacy to add to the Warden’s Legendary Item pool, what would it be? Please specify whether you feel it should be a Pool A or Pool B legacy.

Javelin Pool A – Exaultation of Battle +Healing/Leach

Question 3
Thinking about set bonuses, what bonuses do you find most useful? Least useful? Please give 2 examples of each and please specify which set you are referring to.
Most Useful
1. Dance of war threat transfer increase from the Moria set
2. –50% Power cost for Resolution from the Rift set

Least Useful
1. Hampering Javelin duration on the Moors set as the level 50 set has a better bonus then the 58 set 😦
2. 10% greater threat on the Warden’s taunt as this is such a small part of our overall threat from the Helegrod set.

I didn’t post this as I think it might be a tad OP – but I’d love an Onslaught Increased Targets legacy, AOE DPS and interrupts would be a blast!

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Latest Beta Journals – Starting Zones


The latest installations of the Beta Journals are up with the focus on the newly updated New Player Experience. I’ve always enjoyed the intros as I thought they did a pretty good job of explaining things as well as getting you into your storyline and role.  With the tweaks in the UI we’ve heard about it probably is good to tweak the intro as well.  Plus with the influx of new folks it makes sense to not only introduce our role but bring some of the other main characters in play earlier.  Since many decide it they like the game very quickly it is important for these intros to be fun, helpful, and visually stunning so I’m perfectly fine with Turbine spending resources to update them.  You can get a good feel for some of the tweaks by looking at the new screenshots that were posted over on a Casual Stroll to Mordor.  The one with the Black Rider almost makes me want to roll a hobbit 😉

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MyLOTRO Lottery User Interface Improvements


I just wanted to send out a HUGE thank you to Fyurae from A Tale of Two Hunters Blog (and the Mordor or Bust Podcast) for re-posting this piece of wonderful scripting from the LOTRO main forums.  Essentially what this piece of Java script does is rework the lottery interface such that it is actually possible to see what you’re entered for and what you’ve won.  I have way too many alts to cycle through and this interface makes it pretty idiot proof, which is great for me.  And if you’re not a Firefox user, follow the links in the Forum post for how to add it to Chrome or IE.  I will admit, the Chrome setup is a bit easier but that’s just me 🙂

It is interfaces and tweaks like this that make me so excited for the launch of the Lua scripting capability in LOTRO!

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New Podcast and Blog


I wanted to toss a quick shout-out to the Numenorean Update which in addition to being a new blogger he’s also released his first episode of his Podcast.  You can also find the podcast on iTunes as well.  Pretty good start to the show and he also will be bringing in various lore segments which I’ll admit I can’t get enough of.

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Developer Diary – Instances 2.0 Part 2


The next portion of JWBarry’s Developer Diaries is up, this one focusing on the rewards and quality of the instances.  You also might want to check out Part 1 of this 5 part series as that covers some of the high level concepts like travel, scaling, and quests.

The bulk of the diary does cover the rewards which for me are the key to this system working as without good rewards people will continue to not revisit these spaces.  They’ve decided to tie the Scaled Instances to the skirmish system and leverage that same reward mechanism such that we’ll be collecting skirmish marks, level band tokens, and campaign tokens.  The skirmish marks are the same ones we’re used to with the level and campaign being tied to the instance level and zone very similar to the current Skirmish specific marks that drop.  With this transition there will be a new barter vendor with the items from the previous instance vendors and new items as well.  He does mention that “many” of the unique items that dropped from these instances will be available on these new barter vendors so hopefully that includes the cosmetic items and things like the Coldbear axe.  A few key points from the diary:

  • “Trash” monsters will all have low chances of dropping various tokens. Since Classic instances have no Lieutenants, we wanted to have “sparkly” moments during play.
  • A new token (much like the old Fourth Mark) is being added for the Challenge modes. These tokens will allow access to 2nd Age components!
  • Level 65 versions of the Annúminas and Helegrod sets with updated art and Radiance! It is important to note that while you can barter for Radiance armour from these instances, they do not require Radiance to play them.
  • A new level 30 set for the Great Barrow.
  • Various new cosmetic rewards added for all instances.
  • Cosmetic versions of the Annúminas and Helegrod sets.

The biggest items for me are that this provides another means to obtain radiance sets as well as 2nd Age weapons, and I’m assuming by the components he means the Symbol needed to craft the Legendary Item.  I do appreciate these additions as it opens these two systems to more options in obtaining them.  I’m also glad to have a guaranteed path to a 2nd Age item, not a completely random one that forces me to not only complete content but win a roll.  The new Radiance armor hopefully will also provide some different options for raiding as you won’t be forced to get a particular set, you will be able to mix and match to get the required  number.  Granted you can do some of that now, but this will just provide more options.  Not everyone plays their class the same way and this will provide people more options to gear up their class the way they want to play it.

Aside from the rewards, I enjoyed reading about how they tested these “new’ instances as they ran it not only on-level but at level cap as well.  They then compared that with the current instances to see what all needed to be tweaked or changed to improve them.  Not that I expected them to just jack the levels, but it is always encouraging to see how they go about the test process.

Over all, I really do like the direction they’re taking but I do have some concerns about the rewards as this system will be just as infrequently run as it is today without a reason to do the content:

  • Will the new radiance gear be comparable to the current radiance gear?  For me, it seems that getting the Helegrod set will be more challenging then the current sets (it is a 24 man raid afterall) and hopefully the reward is there.  I would like to see these sets certainly better then the Moria Radiance set and the 2 3-piece Radiance sets but probably comparable to the DN and BG sets.
  • Part of the fun and drive of running these instances was the chance you might get a random drop that was a very good item for a particular class and I see this system as potentially removing that.  I realize they’re adding some items to the vendors, so hopefully they will move not only cosmetic items but the gear rewards as well.
  • There’s talk of armour sets and cosmetics in the diary, but one of the biggest end-game driver of what instances to run revolves around jewelry and cloaks which hasn’t received any mention at all.  I would love for them to add a couple of jewelry pieces and a cloak or 2 as a barterable item from each of the instances.  I feel so far they’ve done a pretty good job of this in the current instances and I really hope they carry that forward in this system as without these incentives I just don’t see people running the instances on a consistent basis.
I do think this system has the potential to really improve the monotony of the end-game, but like we’ve already seen with similar passes, they need to spread the rewards around such that we’re not just doing the one instance over and over again but all of them.
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FileFront Hands on with LOTRO F2P


There’s been a number of write-ups from people (Massively Part 1,Massively Part 2) who have had hands on experience with the new content and business model but Ron Whitaker’s (@ffronw) from FileFront did have some new tidbits that I figured I’d touch on.  I’m not going to focus on the portions that are common from the other previews, just the things I haven’t seen before.

The initial thoughts of the zone are pretty similar to many others with the appreciation of the zone and the diversity but  it is a good point that this is arguably the first zone (Forochel could fit a similar description) developed without prior information from Tolkien.  This does give Turbine lots of room, but also they need to careful and respectful of the lore.  Based on what I’ve seen of the game so far, I will be going through all the new content just to see what kind of story Turbine will tell, even though my main characters are at the level cap.

He mentions that the main portion of the story will be learning about the Rangers and a good deal of this is through session play.  I’m pretty intrigued by this idea as it gives Turbine all sorts of options to tell back-stories for these various Rangers.  Some of my favorite quests have been of this sort as it provides a great combination of game, lore, and challenge.  I’m looking forward to another good story book like Volume 1 Book 15, although hopefully a bit less travel 😉

He mentions the changes to the quest system which seems to indicate that instead of scrolling to the bottom to figure out what to do that information is up at the top.  I can understand this change, and it will make it easier for quests that either you’re repeating or if you don’t read quest text.  Instance scaling is also mentioned, but nothing new here.

Jumping to the store, Ron did ask about the complaints on the faction horses but Aaron Campbell didn’t indicate either way on a decision but did leave room for them to change things during the beta.  I was intrigued by the question asking about additional houses or housing storage in the store as I hadn’t thought of that one.  I’m reading into the response, but it doesn’t appear this is possible currently but might be down the line.  I’d love to have this option both in-game and via the store as I already have a deluxe and kinship house filled.

Ron touches on the festival and the Haunted House which I’ll admit I’m quite excited about.  They’ve done a really good job of creating some fun side things to do in-game and this sounds like it will be another great addition.

Ron also did ask about the next big three items to receive focus Legendary Items, Monster Play, and Radiance which no surprisingly did get a canned response.  “Those are three big things we will be working on over the next year,” but there was an even more exciting quote about the upcoming content.  Aaron did confirm that they are working on mounted combat – “There are prototypes being worked on.”  I can honestly say I want to see the “Big 3” topics addressed first but those may be more of a gradual incremental change.  As for mounted combat, I don’t see that until Rohan which is looking like a late 2011 or 2012 update since the next expansion is confirmed for Isengard.

Overall it is a good read and some more amazing screenshots in case you haven’t gotten your fill of news,

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Wrapping up the Summer Festival


Today is the last day for the Summer Festival, which did get off to a bit of a rocky start as early this morning many of the vendors took an early break.  However, Turbine did respond pretty quickly to get everything back up and running properly.

So I went around and picked up a few items that I wanted, but I ended up with a bunch of leftover tokens as I had already bought the horse earlier.

Here’s a couple of shots of my favorite items from the festival and some other random items I have in my house as well as one of my favorite scenic areas in the game.

ScreenShot00408

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Cinematic Game Trailers – Do They Work?


It seems like many of the highly hyped games are producing very high quality cinematic trailers to help get people excited for their upcoming releases.  For the most part, I do enjoy these trailers but I’m starting to wonder what they really tell us about the games themselves and are they doing more harm then good.  It seems like many of these trailers are given lots of room to expand on what is possible in the game such that they look cooler and tell a better story.  Even from a purely graphical nature these trailers are incredibly misleading as the games never look as good as what they can show cinematically.

The trailer that touched this off for me was the recent DC Universe Online trailer from Comic-Con (which is very cool btw), but I see Star Wars the Old Republic as one of the biggest culprits.  I’m sure there are others doing this exact same thing, but SWTOR sticks out for me mainly because of the effect these trailers have had on my interest for the game.  I know many like myself were absolutely floored when the Deceived trailer hit and then were even more in awe with the recent Hope trailer.  In case you haven’t seen them, check them out here:

Some REALLY cool stuff and they get me really excited about this game.  But there are quite a few things that you know just aren’t or can’t happen in a game, for instance, using your hands to block a light-saber.  Also, all along we’ve been hearing the SWTOR is all about Story and will be a completely different game-play style from all other MMOs without the traditional group dynamics, which these trailers reinforce.  But, for all they’ve shown in the trailers it really doesn’t tell us much about the actual game.

That is until they released the Multiplayer Demo @ E3 that shows us actual gameplay and some of the group dynamics.  This was possibly the most disappointing video I’ve seen in a long time as not only did it look nothing like the trailers (not that I expected it to) but the gameplay is exactly like any other MMO with the traditional tank, healer, and DPS roles.  Now when I look back at the trailers, I don’t even connect them with SWTOR I just see them as some cool Star Wars videos because they are so far removed from what the game actually looks and plays like.  With all the money spent on these trailers by the game companies, couldn’t there be a balance somewhere to put some of that into the game as opposed to something which is arguably un-related?

Maybe the core of my real question is can too much hype be a bad thing?  It seemed to really hurt a number of titles like Vanguard, Age of Conan, and Warhammer Online to name a few and all these new cool trailers are just amping up the expectations.  With such high expectations, the level of potential disappointment continues to grow such that for many there’s no way players will be able to enjoy the game as they’ll keep wishing it was more like the trailer they saw.

For me, I have pretty much stopped following SWTOR other then reading headlines from various bloggers, and at this point I”m not even sure I will play it.  The one piece that might change my mind is the pricing model – if it is a traditional MMO subscription I’m pretty confident that I won’t play it.  But if they do some sort of hybrid model or something different then I might be more willing to check it out.

To wrap up, is it better to show a trailer along the lines of what Turbine did for their recent Mirkwood launch:

which is shot using only footage from actual game-play, or use a cinematic version that your game will never live up to?  Or does it come down to the surrounding messaging to portray the trailers as what they are – cool videos loosely based on the game they’re tied to?

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Preparing to Raid – Radiance Gear


A combination of a few things got me thinking that it might be a good idea to actually post some of the specifics on how to prepare for raiding.  I cover some of the general topics on Episode 47 of the LOTRO Reporter Podcast but didn’t go into too many of the specifics.  The other piece that got me thinking on this subject was listening to the View from the Top Podcast (Episode 12 to be specific) where they were talking about gear progression in Everquest 2.  I’ve posted on armor sets previously (Warden and Captain Post and Minstrel Sets) but that was covering their stats, this post will purely talk about the radiance aspects of the sets and how you obtain them.

There is actually a pretty good page on the Lorebook covering the Radiance Armour which has many of the same specifics I’ll be posting here.  Also on the Lorebook you can find all the non-set pieces that have Radiance on them.  The nice part about sticking to just the Radiance aspect as it applies to everyone who wants to run the 12-man content and works exactly the same for every class.

You’ll want to start working on these sets as you get into your 50s and will most likely find it easiest to find groups for the Moria instance “The Grand Stairs” or GS as it is usually called.  However, now with the Meta-deed rewards for completing all of the instances there are incentives for folks to run all the instances so you may get lucky.  All of the boss chests from all of the Moria instances contain Medallions of Moria which can be bartered for the first available Radiance set.  This set is not only desirable because of the Radiance, but it is also still some of the best armour in the game for the stats.  Below I’ll break out how many coins you can get from each instance as well as how many coins are required for each piece.  You can also chat with your class trainer in the main towns in Moria, Lothlorien, and Mirkwood to see what sets are available and their associated costs.  Now the last two pieces of the set, the helm and shoulders, are obtained a little differently in that their barter piece only drops from the Watcher raid.

  • Grand Stairs – 7 Medallions of Moria (10 for a full clear)
  • Fil Gashan – 9 Medallions of Moria
  • Forges of Khazad-Dum – 10 Medallions of Moria
  • 16th Hall – 10 Medallions of Moria
  • Skumfil – 10 Medallions of Moria
  • Dark Delvings – 10 Medallions of Moria
  • Turtle Raid – 3 Medallions of Moria

The armour set pieces are bartered in the following way:

  • Gauntlets and Boots (+10 Radiance) – 10 Medallions of Moria
  • Jacket and Leggings (+10 Radiance) – 25 Medallions of Moria
  • Non Set Shoulders and Helm (+10 Radiance) – 15 Medallions of Moria
  • Set Shoulders and Helm (+20 Radiance) – Platinum Coin of Spirit from the Watcher

To clarify this a bit, the Medallions are rewarded to every player in the group but the the Coins are a reward that you’ll have to win the roll on to get.  Usually for the Watcher a couple of Coins will drop, but for the raids going forward usually it is one coin for easy mode and a second coin for Hard (or challenge) mode.

Moria Trainer

Moving on from Moria to Lothlorien there are 2 sets that you can barter for here.  The instances that drop the Medallions of Lothlorien are the Mirror-halls (3-man), the Water Wheels (3-man) and the Halls of Crafting (6-man).  I believe the first 2 instances can drop a maximum of 6 coins but I’m not 100% sure on that, but I do know that the Halls of Crafting yields 10 Medallions upon completing Hard mode.  All three of these instances are part of the Epic Quest line (Volume 2 Book 8) so you will not only want to do them but should be able to find groups running the instances as well.  Also, HoC is a pretty popular instance to run as it does have some nice jewelry drops in it.  The first armor set from Lothlorien is just a 3 piece set with each piece providing +15 Radiance.

  • Jacket – 25 Medallions of Lothlorien
  • Leggings – 15 Medallions of Lothlorien
  • Gloves – 10 Medallions of Lothlorien

Lothlorien Trainer

There is also a Barter Exchange Trader up on the main flet in Lothlorien that will trade 10 Medallions of Moria for 1 Medallion of Lothlorien if you find yourself with left-overs.  This also provides people with incentives to run the Moria instances as they can trade in for more useful Medallions for characters already at the level cap.  Lothlorien Barter Rewards Now the second set is a full six piece set with each piece providing +20 radiance but those barter coins only drop from the 12 man raid Dar Narbugud.

Finally we’ll move on to Mirkwood where there are again 2 different sets you can barter for.  However, you do also have the option to barter for the same 3-piece set from Lothlorien using the Medallions of Dol-Guldur if you find those are easier to obtain.  There are 3 3-man instances in Mirkwood which I believe all drop 6 Medallions for Hard mode completion.  Those instances are Sword Halls, the Warg Pens, and the Dungeons of Dol Guldur but like Moria you will find that most people with mainly do Sword Halls as it is quite easy and quick.  You can also get 10 tokens from the 6-man instance Sammuth Gul if you can complete that in Hard mode with the added benefit of some nice jewelry drops and the Symbol required for crafting level 65 second age Legendary Items.  There also is a pair of heavy armor gloves (Rochben)Rochben that drop from SG with +25 Radiance so you might keep your eyes out for them if you’re a heavy armor wearing class.  The cost for the Lothlorien 3-piece set is the same as I mentioned above with the other 3-piece set providing +25 Radiance:

Mirkwood 3-piece Sets

  • Boots – 15 Medallions of Dul Guldur
  • Shoulders – 20 Medallions of Dul Guldur
  • Helm – 25 Medallions of Dul Guldur

The 6 piece set is similar to the Lothlorien 6 piece set in that it only drops from the 12-man raid Barad Guldur with each piece providing +30 radiance.

Mirkwood 6-piece Set

As it stands currently, only the 3 12-man raids require radiance:

  • the Watcher – +60 required, +80 desired
  • Dar Narbugud – +80 required, +100 desired
  • Barad Guldur – +120 required, +140 desired

Now 2 things to keep in mind with regards to Radiance:

  • Gloom (the opposite of Radiance) rounds down so if you have +75 Radiance that’s equivalent to +80.
  • Both DN and BG do have places where the gloom will start to increase so the more Radiance you have the better off you’ll be.  If you’re sitting at the minimum it is usually a good idea to buy another +10 Radiance (well technically Hope) using Destiny points but remember those can only be purchased while out of combat.

Hopefully this provides a pretty good idea of what Radiance gear is out there, where and how much is needed, and the various ways to obtain it.  Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or other things to add to this topic.

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Guest Spot on LOTRO Reporter – End-game


In case you missed the notification, you can catch me as a guest on episode 47 of the LOTRO Reporter podcast.  We focus mainly on the End-game content as we go through what you should do to prepare and run the various instances and raids.  I’m going to follow that up with a more detailed post on Radiance gear either tomorrow or Monday.

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