Category Archives: Minstrel

My Minstrel Takes on the Death from Below Mirkwood Instance

After reading this thread over on Casual Stroll to Mordor I figured that not only would I run this to make sure I still could do it, but record it, and post about it.

For those of you who haven’t run this instance, it is a solo quest out of the later Mirkwood quest zones Thangulhad.  One of the draws of this quest is that it is one of the few (I mainly just do 2 of the dailies) that rewards the Gold Star Emblems.  Check out for what you can use these for, but mainly the Horse, Port, and Legendary item stuff including the Scroll of Delving which adds 10 levels to your legendary item.  I actually will grab this quest and the one for the black badges of dishonor as I find usually I can get the 5 badges I need while finishing up the instance.  That way I can get my 2 Gold Star Emblems and Item XP all in one shot.

In this quest you are proceeding with 2 dwarves trying to seal up an area that the goblins are using to possibly penetrate and harass the various Mirkwood camps.  And of course, both of these dwarves need to survive in order for you to complete the quest.  Because of the escorts and the number of mobs, this is usually viewed as on of the tougher solo instances in the game and pretty darn hard on certain classes.

This is a pretty fast paced quest without much time to catch your breath, there are a couple of 2-mob pulls but then a couple with multiple normal mobs and a signature, followed by another wave of a couple of normals.  So for me, one of the keys is liberal use of food to not only keep you alive while fighting but also boost your out-of-combat regeneration rates such that you can quickly recover for the next wave.

For the most part, I follow a lot of what’s mentioned in the post I linked above with the exception of a couple class traits.  I’m slotted fully down the Warrior Skald path and I also slot Glorious Anthem and Battle Hymn.  This not only makes my anthems last for 45 seconds but the Anthem of Valar does its normal very nice AoE damage plus applies the massive in-combat Morale regeneration buff that’s usually just tied to Anthem of the Free Peoples.  With this buff up, I can pretty much stay in the thick of the battle by using the occasional potions.  I’ll try to let the dwarves grab one or two mobs, but in general  I just tend to AoE everything and pull them out of the fire.

Take a look at my recording of this instance, and feel free to let me know if you have any questions on it.  You can also check out my minstrels page over on My.Lotro if you’re curious about my equipment, and the other stat of interest probably is that my ICPR sits at 1073 currently and for DPS I use the bagpipes :).

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My first encounter with the Lieutenant

So I ended up getting a rare Sunday evening play time and was able to fill in for my kinship’s BG raid.  Now this was the second day, so they had already cleared out Durchest and the Twins, so sadly I still have yet to successfully defeat those two encounters.  However, the LT was an interesting and very fun battle.  I probably ended up making a few mistakes, but I will admit there’s just so much stuff going on in that fight.  I’ve read up on the fight, but there’s only so much that will help until you actually get a chance to see the fight live.

Leading up to the top of the tower there is quite a bit of trash, most of it is similar to previous encounters with the Mace and Axe guys.  The only real tricky part there is not getting stunned around the same time as the Fire Axe does his death explosion as that’s just rather nasty.  However, that hopefully only takes out one or two people and the others should be able to take out the Mace relatively easily.

The other nasty mob are the lights, which aren’t too bad, they’re just annoying.  They bring extra dread as well as periodic AoEs that are preceded by big stuns.  They also have AoE fears which cause you to run off in random directions, and I’ll admit this is quite strange the first time it happens to you 🙂

So it does take quite a while to get up to the top, but once you do it actually is a breath-taking view.  Unfortunately the forest and such below doesn’t have quite the high-quality texture that the rest of the game does but I still thought it was a pretty nifty view.   We did also get a chance for a group pose while we waited for the GM 🙂

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Now technically we didn’t get him down as we had a few fill-ins (including myself) but did end up killing the fell-beast as for some reason the Lt. never dismounted like he is supposed to.  That’s how I was able to get the snaps, as we sorta broke the instance and had time before a GM could reset things for us.  I must say, it really didn’t take all that long for them to respond which was pretty nice.

As for the fight itself, it is pretty chaotic to say the least.  The main things to worry about are the dreaded eye-balls on top of your head.  There’s a purple one that is a nasty DoT that can also spread so you need to get away from the group.  There’s also a yellow one which is the fell-beast hits you while that mark is on you it will heal for 10-20K morale for each hit.  So, if you get the purple mark you just run away to the edge of healing radius but you shouldn’t have to worry too much.  But, for the yellow you’ll need to kite around such that the fell-beast doesn’t get near you.  There are also a few slows that can be annoying as well as areas of purple poo that are additional DoTs and just general not fun areas to be around.  Now the real fun is when you get both eyes, but luckily that doesn’t happen all that much.  There’s there’s also the frontal AoE “roar” the fell-beast does that’s pretty nasty as well so you really need to pay attention to where you’re standing and what’s going on.  The other mechanic is there’s a huge ICPR reduction from the Lt, but hitting the fell-beast does also return some power so there’s the potential to maintain a healthy power pool

Another important thing is right by where we posed as a group there’s actually a hidden “wall” that blocks you from hugging the wall to run around, and it is mirrored on the other side of the door too.  We’re thinking this is due to the chests, but just be aware that if you’re kiting around the wall you’ll need to move a bit towards the center to avoid that blockage.

I did end up parsing this fight, but it is a bit hard to get through as each time he flies up (about every 30-50K of morale) is split out as a separate encounter.  So for the times I was chilling in melee range I was up between 150 and 200 DPS, but that drops off dramatically to around 80 or so when I’m just using ranged attacks.

I’m really looking forward to running this some more, and I’d love to get in there with a bit more radiance (I just have 120) as that makes a big difference.  I also hope to get my minstrel and Captain geared up but that’s another post 🙂

Podcast re-cap and updates

The Casual Stroll to Mordor folks have been running a series of class specific round-tables, the first of which being for the Minstrels.  All sorts of good information as they had a good mix of play-styles represented.  So if you’re interested in learning about the class or how to better group with Minstrels it is a great listen.

The second of the classes they’ve covered is the Warden and I had a blast as one of the participants on that episode.  It hasn’t been released, but as soon as it is I will put up the link.  I will admit, in hindsight I might’ve been a tad on the confident (or cocky) side but as a tank I do think you need to have a bit of that mentality.  Again we did have a good mix of playstyles like the Minstrel roundtable so that made for some great discussions.

Both of these round-tables have also been broadcast live on the LOTRO Network (just like the LOTRO Reporter) with a chat room so even if you’re not invited to chat you can still chime in and ask questions or provide additional information.  Plus the chatrooms usually are pretty fun environments 🙂  CStM has usually been posting before they record if they’re doing it live and the LOTRO Reporter folks usually record late Wednesday nights for those of us not on the West coast and announce the start via Twitter.

I also wanted to mention the Through the Palantir folks as they just released the long awaited Moors episode.  I will admit it is a bit of a long episode, but it is SO worth it.  If you have any desire to learn about the Moors or if you’re looking to brush up on it (like me) I highly recommend the episode as they go through the mechanics, landscape, classes, and much more.

And finally there’s another new podcast out there for your listening pleasure.  Sparthir from the LOTRO World blog site has posted his first episode which is available from the site and also from iTunes.  I really do enjoy having multiple casts as everyone has slightly different takes on the game and covers different topics.

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Whole lotta news last week

So it figured Turbine starts to really pump things out while I’m totally bogged down with work and I’m not real sure this week will be much better for me.  This is going to be a bit of a re-cap from last week and then I’ll have another post out that goes into a little more detail on my thoughts for the Volume 3 Book 2 updates including the free to play news.

I wasn’t around all that much last week in-game but did get some work done with my Captain as he’s now 63 and moving to the central outpost in Mirkwood.  I also had a rough go in SG on my Minstrel so that was a tad on the frustrating side.  It was just one of those PUGs that was just missing some key points like agro control 😉

There’s another Tell the Community Team thread up on the forums for the Champion class.  I know very little about champs other then bad ones are INCREDIBLY frustrating so I don’t plan on posting but for those of you that do have champs I’d highly suggest checking out the discussion.  It does appear like we may be in for another round of class updates so speak up if you have suggestions or comments.

A couple of very cool updates on the upcoming changes from both Massively and TenTonHammer which sheds some light on what’s coming down the pipe.  I still haven’t quite digested it yet, so I’ll just share the links:

With all the news floating around, there has been some confusion so Sapience was nice to post some corrections which was also picked up by the CStM folks.

Finally I did find a pretty cool link on the forums for those of you who don’t like Windows 🙂  On the main boards there’s a detailed walkthrough of how to run LOTRO on Linux and also a Mac.

I’ll have another post up on some podcast news as well as some more in-depth on the upcoming changes when I get a chance to dig in on this stuff.

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Fun times in Sammuth Gul

I ended up getting in a late night Sammuth Gul run last night with a couple of friends.  Our group wasn’t quite optimal as we were lacking a traited healer and didn’t have any crowd control.  I think I was more worried about the CC then I was the healing (as you’ll see later on) as the loremasters in there are just downright nasty.  However, we had lots of DPS, and lots of interrupts which made this a fun and exciting run.  I was on my Warden along with a guard, captain, champion, DPS spec’d runekeeper, and a full warrior skald traited minstrel.  The trash really wasn’t too bad as we essentially had 4 off-healers in the group and with all the heavies we had lots of spare morale.  Our Minstrel was able to stay in War-speech for a good deal of the fights and only towards the end or if we got an unlucky pull did he have to drop out.  We had a couple of marathon fights with summoners and unlucky punts onto bone piles, but the ability of our guard to get conjunctions off was key to us being able to move as quickly as we did.

The only part that really worried me was the Gorothol fight as there’s just SO many mobs and things get very crazy in there.  As the adds started to pile up we were able to just grab everything in the middle with the guard and myself trying to grab all the agro and the champ and runekeeper doing as much AoE damage as possible.  Our minnie was watching out for the loremasters to keep them occupied, trying to keep alive, and trying to toss us the occasional heal.  Although, as the following log will show I did a pretty darn good job of keeping myself alive as all the adds are a Warden’s dream 🙂  After a while I think the guard and I had the agro shared pretty well but my morale bar wasn’t moving much at all as I just kept cycling through our life-taps and conviction.

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So over the course of the entire fight, I was healing myself for roughly 100 morale per second 🙂 which surprised me when I looked at it considering I probably wasn’t healing at all for at least the first half or so.  Also, if you look at the breakout of my attacks you’ll see just how much more damage our gambits do versus the builders and has me thinking that I can slow down some and rely more on the masteries to build my gambits to save some power and I won’t sacrifice that much threat or DPS.

CStats 2010-05-26 13-15-26-03

But with critted food and power pots, I actually seemed to be in a better spot then some of the others in our group so that made me happy.  I’ve also noticed that since I have a larger morale pool I can actually drop down enough to use Darkness Before Dawn and not get destroyed.

And finally, we did get a symbol drop, which sadly I did not win, but at least it did go to my friend who hadn’t won one before.

Another fun raiding week

I’ve been a bit quiet but that’s partly due to a lack of general LOTRO news, coupled with a busy schedule for me.  However, I did have a pretty fun week getting into some fun group adventures in LOTRO.

On Tuesday I got in another run of the 12-main raid BG which although not terribly successful I am enjoying it quite a bit.  This raid certainly is challenging and really makes folks pay attention and work together.  It also gives all classes a chance to shine as it isn’t just a tank & spank, it isn’t a DPS race, it requires lots of agro control, healing, CC, and DPS all working together.  The first part of this raid, called the Gauntlet, can get a little crazy as there are a large number of mobs with timed waves, that all have unique abilities which cause numerous problems.  There are big Uruks with huge melee range 360 degree AoEs so those need to be kept out of the group or really bad things happen 🙂  This is where the timing comes in as 2 Uruks aren’t too bad (one tank grabs each) but the third really starts to cause problems.  While the 2 tanks are playing with the Uruks (and keeping in range of the healers) the rest of the group is dealing with Wargs and Goblins.  The wargs are really annoying with fears and silences so you need to get them down first and fear/mez the ones you’re not DPS’ing.  The goblins are mainly just annoying and usually just drag those along.  The groups I’ve been with have this down relatively well, periodically individuals with die but luckily they just pop back up at the door and can easily rejoin the rest of the group.  As you can imagine with all these guys running around this fight requires good communication and gets really hard if you’re with folks who don’t have voice chat.

Once you get through the Gauntlet you come up to the first boss in BG – Durchest.  This is where I messed up on Tuesday (fixed it on the subsequent runs though) and while distracted thought I knew our plan but in fact we were doing it a different way.  The fight is challenging in that he applies a threat de-buff on the tanks that slowly overtime increasing such that the tanks are at –100% threat.  And as a timed mechanism there are adds that come out.  I’ve only been in there on my Warden so better understand that part then the add mechanic, so I’m not really going to touch on that.  But for Durchest there are 2 main ways to tank him – agro swapping, or delayed tanking.  Agro swapping requires one tank in front and the other behind with each “fighting” each other for agro such that when one is tanking, their debuff is increasing, while the other tank is building threat as hopefully his debuff wears off.  In theory then the debuff is only on one of the tanks and they just trade off during the fight.  The delayed tank method requires 2 tanks to go get the debuff (he can only have a max of like 210% debuff out at any time) and keep the debuff such that a 3rd tank can tank away with a much smaller or non-existent debuff and things go as normal.  In addition to this mechanic, Durchest has a couple other tricks up his sleeve.  First off, he hits for a TON – I’ll routinely get hit for 4K a pop and quite often back to back 4K hits.  In addition, we will as part of his script walk out and take a swing at someone in the group for that same 4k hit.  So this causes issues for the healers as someone in the group will get smacked (hopefully not while there are adds) and then he’ll come back and smack around the tanks.  Usually our trouble has come from this mechanic in that the healers can’t keep up with this or there’s an unlucky crit or something like that. And this is where Durchest gets even more annoying in that he has a huge heal when anyone in the group dies, and if it is a tank you then have huge agro issues which will usually create a wipe.  We had a fairly decent run on Tuesday but couldn’t get him down before folks had to log.  Part of the annoying mechanic in BG is that the Gauntlet will reset in 45 minutes so you only get a couple chances with Durchest before you need to re-clear that area.

So, on to Wednesday and I popped on to see what other trouble I could get into.  I responded to a GLFF looking for a Minstrel for Dar Narburg (or however you spell it) as they were working on the Blind One.  I’ve been in DN a number of times, but hadn’t done this fight so it was pretty interesting.  Not to mention that I had to re-train my brain to heal folks as opposed to tanking.  The BO is another interesting fight which no matter how much you read about it is really hard to wrap your brain around until you’re actually there.  To explain he has the potential to put a real nasty fear (might be poison, I forget) on players but the bad part is that it can spread.  So, in order to deal with this the raid needs to spread out and keep at a distance for the first phase of this fight.  Our first attempt had some positioning issues and I ended up getting too close to others which combined with everything else going on just created too much of a problem such that we wiped.  We then got that down and made it through that phase into the second phase where the real problem comes from the massive AoEs and the random holes that spawn which “stun” people trapped in them.  This combination ended up being too much for us and after a couple more wipes we called it a night.

And then last night I went back into BG with the same group I’ve been in there with the past few times.  We had some tighter time restrictions and took a bit to get started as we were short a couple so we only got 2 attempts in on Durchest.  We ended up doing the delayed tanking method and got REALLY close to getting Durchest down, but we ran into another problem I think.  We were going for Hardmode which requires you to kill 10 adds before Durchest dies, however we were killing Durchest too quickly and had to pull back on him and speed up on the adds.  I think this caused a bit too much stress and panic on the group and things just slipped out of control.  We then had a death with popped him from under 15K to back over 200K and then ran into agro issues with Durchest running wild, thus causing the wipe.  Now the interesting part of this was that after the first portion where myself and the guard each got up to the 100% threat debuff, neither of us could get back anywhere near that high.  There was a large portion of time where I had no debuff on me even though I was in the proper position.  The mechanic here is that the debuff wears off after a minute but his frontal AoE attack, when it hits, will reset the timer and increase the debuff.  The guard did have protection on me which boosts my defenses and I guess it is possible I was just really luckily in my avoidance such that he just never hit me.  But either way, it was a fun run but terribly frustrating as we got SO close to bringing him down.

Not sure how much raiding I’ll be getting into the next bit here but I really am enjoying it even though we haven’t been terribly successful.  And although BG has some annoying mechanics I really enjoy the raid and it is definitely challenging and I agree it is by far the hardest raid in LOTRO without question.  I’ll probably work to get the other couple of pieces my Minstrel needs such that I can bring him into BG as needed.

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My last couple of weeks

So I’ve been pretty quiet of late partly due to a hectic schedule at work but also a bit of a down-time in game as well.  I just have lost a bit of motivation of late but after a blast last week I should be back up and in full gear here soon.

First off, I did want to comment quickly on the WB acquisition of Turbine as I’ve been back and forth on it quite a bit.  For the most part I don’t think it will make too much of a difference but hopefully it will help Turbine with some resource issues like the Isengard Preview server.  But I think LOTRO will remain relatively unchanged with most of the changes being on the application of Turbine’s systems to other WB games.  I will also be curious to see if we see anything further on LOTRO subscription numbers, although any current statistics will be skewed by the large number of lifetime subscribers that I’m sure Turbine/WB won’t release.

I’m enjoying all the new My.LOTRO lotteries, including the new one for the rare Symbol drop for crafting 2nd Age Legendaries.  I’m sure many (including all the Euro folks) don’t like this idea but as long as they don’t do it terribly often I’m all for giving players little treats here and there.  I do also appreciate them putting the PvMP armor set barter items in the gift box item list, although I still think they need LOTS more work in this area.  I really want to get these sets but the way the Delving currently works it is quite a challenge to get things done in there.

So, on to my fun week as I was travelling some and had a good deal of un-interrupted play time from the hotel.  Tuesday night I had my first run through Dar Narburg (DN) on my Warden.  I was a little worried as I was going to be main tanking most of it but I also wasn’t the only “new” person in there so we took it rather slow and steady.  We had a couple of rough spots but did manage to get 2 bosses down and an attempt on the 3rd before folks decided to call it a night.  All in all it was a fun time and I especially enjoyed seeing these fights from a different perspective as I had only been in there on my Captain and Minstrel previously.

After that I did a pretty smooth SG run and am one run away from finishing off my Mirkwood Radiance set.  I still enjoy that dungeon, but that may just be because I haven’t run it as much as other people have.  Which is probably a good thing as my Minstrel still needs quite a few more runs in there to finish off his set.

However for me the real fun came on Wednesday night as I made my first steps in the “new” Mirkwood raid BG.  I’ve had lots of chance to go on this raid but timing has never quite worked out so I was excited to get a shot to go this week.  I did feel a bit bad as I realized I was a little under-prepared with things like food and tokens.  Needless to say, I need to get back into better habits if I’m going to continue to raid 🙂  We didn’t get terribly far but we had a fair number of new people and were pretty low on DPS.  We did manage through the Gauntlet pretty well and I quite enjoyed that series of battles.  Essentially it is a timed run through the first area of the raid with numerous kinds of mobs and timed waves.  I was set on read guard basically keeping the Uruk out of the group as not only can I keep him busy but am relatively self-sufficient.  We did have a couple of deaths in there but were able to get through it in our first pass and made it to the first boss Durchest.  We had some poor information for our first run and butchered the agro portion of it, but after that wipe was able to regroup and make a much better attempt.  We had 2 wardens and a guard near him to distribute the damage from his big attack with us working to build threat and tier up the debuff at the same time.  The main problem we ended up having was on this debuff in that at times it would appear to wear off which just created all sorts of timing issues.  And each additional add brings another 10 gloom into the picture just to make things real fun 🙂  We didn’t get him down as we had some time constraints for some and couldn’t find enough replacements.  Certainly I’m still learning the fight, but there’s some mechanic in there that’s just not obvious to me.  It also gets pretty crazy in there as you’re not only trying to build/maintain threat but clear his corruptions and keep your HoTs and defense up.  For those of you interested or looking for information on this raid here are some links that might help:

And finally, based on some of these runs I’ve really come to realize that I need to get back into some semblance of a kinship search.  I’ve been kinless for quite a while now after leaving my last kinship but I really do enjoy running this kind of content and trying to PUG it can be challenging.  I haven’t quite decided what to do, but there are a few options I’m debating between as there are a couple of kins I’ve found, I have some good friends in both Fat Smokin Hobbits and Strayhold, and there’s been significant purging of some of the people who bugged me most in my previous kinship so I might return there.  But most importantly I think I just need to get my butt in-game more 😉

Even more challenges in the Rift

So after my fun on Thursday in the Rift, I decided to really push my luck 😉  I ended up running the RIft skirmish as a Tier 3 on my Warden, and again as a Tier 2 on my Minstrel.

I’ll start with the Minstrel and pretty much admit that this may be the last time I run that skirmish as a Tier 2 on that toon 🙂  I ended up getting the 2 AOE Flame Encounters that just ate my poor soldier up almost instantly – and I’m using a ranged soldier!  I was able to finally kill the Dragon, but I’m pretty sure the way I did it was an exploit and will not be doing that again.  I was just really frustrated and annoyed, luckily you can’t go negative on the skirmish marks 😉  The normal pulls weren’t that bad, but holy cow those 2 encounters roasted my poor Minnie’s butt.

Before that run with my Minstrel (which probably added to my frustration) was trying the Rift on Tier 3.  Now I’m not sure if it is just the Rift as this was my first attempt at Tier 3, but holy crap is there a HUGE jump in difficulty between tier 2 and tier 3.  I barely got past the first wave and ended up calling it a day after way too many deaths to count. – I had almost a 1 gold repair bill if that’s any indication 😦  I’m thinking part of the problem with the Warden with Tier 3 is that now with the higher mob resists, coupled with the boost to mitigations in Tier 3 make our transfers and DoTs MUCH less effective.  Perhaps it is time to re-think my traits again and go back to more of a mix of traits as opposed to full shield line.  I probably should parse things using CStats, but I didn’t think about it at the time.  In addition to those issues, these mobs were hitting for crazy amount – LTs critting for over 2K at a time, and critting quite frequently really make it a totally different fighting experience.  So I’m curious if others have tried other Tier 3’s or have experiences doing the RIft at higher difficulties.

I did capture some of it in Fraps, but sadly I rage deleted it as I was just so frustrated with the whole experience 😦  I’m not down on the system, I was just upset that I played so poorly.  I probably will dust myself of and re-attempt these again with a slightly modified strategy but for now I will be licking my wounds for a little bit 😉

Challenging adventures in the Rift Skirmish

Since there are a few skirmish barter items I want from the Rift, I figured I’d go through a couple of test runs and capture them via Fraps and CStats to do some comparisons.  I wanted to not only compare the archer to the sage to see how they rank for DPS but also see how things had changed with the new tier 2 drop rates.

A few notes first concerning my soldiers as they are a bit different, which will skew the numbers a bit unfortunately.  My Archer (my Warden’s soldier) is only level 60 with mainly level 54 skills available.  And my Minstrel has a 63 Sage with primarily level 56 skills.

I ran it first on my Warden and as the following 2 videos will show I really didn’t have too many issues.  I was a bit rusty, but for the most part it was rather smooth.

Now for the encounters and the final battle things were a bit different.  I had to do some pretty significant morale surfing as the encounter bosses do hit pretty hard.  But in the end, they weren’t terribly touchy and I didn’t have to use my man heal at all.  Now the final battle I’m not really quite sure what I was thinking but I did a pretty horrible job in that fight, but oh well I still survived 🙂

I did parse this out in CStats and my Warden’s DPS varied from 120-220 with an average of 153 which is lower then some of my other parses, but the Tier 2 really cranks up all the mob mitigations.  Now my archer was parsing around 50 DPS which is about on par with the normal mobs and about half of the encounter/boss mobs.

So after this run, I then flipped over to my Minstrel and gave it a go on him.  The combination of being a Tier 2 with its increased mitigations and the Volume 3 resist change made a BIG difference on my Minstrel.  I had more problems on the smaller mobs then I did on the encounters, which is backwards from how my Warden was.  And in fact, I got a couple of back-to-back waves and did die once during this run.  I was also really concerned as you’ll see in the video (~3:20) where I barely hit the Furmurole in time to let Corunir continue but not quick enough to stop the next wave of adds from coming.  Luckily the waves that spawned ahead of me didn’t kill him, nor did they try to hunt me down – or that would’ve been really bad.  I’m thinking that might be one of the quirks of this skirmish, but I’m not sure 🙂

Now, the CStats data for my Minstrel was quite a bit more interesting then that of my Warden.  I averaged 171 DPS for the skirmish but had values ranging from 61 to 573!  Now this isn’t terribly surprising as my Minstrel is pretty reliant on big crits for Damage but I wasn’t expecting that big of a swing 😉  And the scary part of that was I only had 1 crit during that 573 DPS fight! 🙂  The low end of that scale was mainly fights where I had to drop War-speech, but I may need to switch tales back to the Armor tale and see how that helps as mainly it was the common damage that was hurting me.  My Sage actually varied quite a bit as well from 60-170 with an average of about 75.

Now in looking at the loot drops, I didn’t notice much change in the Campaign mark drops from when I ran this as a Tier 1 during the Epic quest line but I did notice more of everything else.  In total for the 2 runs I picked up 2 Veteran Guardian marks, 9 guardian marks, 5 bounty coins, 3 3rd Marks, and 3 campaign marks.  So I think I’ll continue to do Tier 2’s on my warden, but I might need to re-think doing them on my Minstrel as there are some nasty resists in there with some of the Lieutenants.

I’ll probably continue to tweak things as this is a fun and rather quick skirmish with rewards that I really want 🙂  Will keep you posted if I come up with any good plans for my Minnie…

Back from a short absence

So real-life has been a bit of a drain lately for me and I’ve been very quiet of late both here on my blog as well as in-game.  It is a combination of a bunch of different things, but much of it will pass here soon.

So to re-cap on a few things, I did want to comment on some LOTRO items and also some non-LOTRO ones that were of interest too.

My in-game activities have been rather enjoyable, just limited after my fun in Volume 3.  I’ve been playing much more on my Minstrel lately and have quite enjoyed not only soloing through content in war-speech but also running the various Mirkwood instances as a healer.  I did notice more of my skills being resisted but really didn’t seem to be too big of a problem, but it was good to see that it has in fact been changed as commented on by CStM and confirmed by the devs on the forums as well.  On a more positive note, I think I’m getting pretty close to having enough tokens for the radiance sets on him but will probably take a few more runs through SG.  My legendary items still need quite a bit of work although I have a couple that are somewhat promising.  I do have some of the legacies that help out on the resists, so I may actually play around with leveling them up instead of just leaving them at rank 1.  Sadly, outside of the Volume 3 activity I really haven’t been on my Warden too much outside of an SG run or two.  She still is 2 pieces from being eligible for BG, so a few more SG runs are in my future.  And for those of you that actually do have your BG armor sets, there will be a change made to the set bonus as commented on the forums.  Essentially the current bonus is broken (not that a 5% chance shield mastery will debuf your target was all that exciting) and will be changed to a 10% chance to provide a 10% melee damage bonus for the Warden.  I’m glad they’re looking at those bonuses and that is a better bonus, but I would’ve loved a 10% threat bonus!

Up on the Warden boards there a pretty detailed discussion on threat. from precise blow and comparing it to damage done.  Essentially numerically comparing how much threat was done to counter a certain amount of damage.  The numbers worked out to about 1750 damage (or ~100DPS, which is pretty darn low) to counter the threat from a single precise blow, which does seem to indicate that you do need to work and continually apply our ToTs to keep ahead of DPS classes.

So many have already commented on this, but I wanted to add my comments on the Quality Assurance Developer Diary which was a good insight to that part of the process.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have been part of a number of the beta tests for Turbine and have worked with a bunch of the QA folks previously so it was good to see them get the attention they deserve.  A good part of it was the discussion of the amount of work required to check out the Volume 1 revamp as part of the latest content update and making sure all classes and levels worked well.  Couple that with the scaling buff with regards to fellowship size and holy cow does that sound like a testing nightmare!  As cool as that jobs sounds, it is hugely unappreciated, and is a TON of work 😉 and this diary gives us some insight into that job.

There was an article over on in their continued feature on LOTRO that details the reasons why you should pick LOTRO over other MMOs.  Many the reasons listed are exactly the things I like about LOTRO so it was nice to see that appreciation of those items.  But for me, I think the Community, Lore, and story are the main draws for me and I’m really excited to see where our story goes and how it will be woven in with the lore.

One last thing I wanted to comment on was a post I saw over on talking about Star Trek Online and their visibility to the developer team.  I found this as a very interesting idea for Cryptic to try and help ease the community as I have heard and read many of the rumblings.  So I applaud them for opening this up to the outside world, but I’d be curious to see how they keep this up to date.  Cryptic basically breaks out the developer activities as items “In Testing” which are about 2 weeks from Live, “Under Investigation” which covers “bug” items they’re still trying to understand, and finally “In Development” which covers new features more then 3 weeks from live.  The article can be found here which then links to the official STO forums, so we’ll see how this plays out.

Hopefully I should be back on a better schedule here soon, so look forward to more updates.