Turbine has continued to pump out Dev diaries and I’m a bit behind I’ll admit. But since the NDA has been lifted, I think much of this information is out there but it is always good to see how the Devs see things and get a little more insight on their process.
First up from last week was the Volume 3 Book 2 Quest Line diary talking about that portion of the epic line. I specifically didn’t do these quests on Bullroarer as I wanted to save them for live. I’m pretty excited about this portion of the story as not only do we get to follow the rangers path but also get to learn more about their stories. And of course, there’s the Ranger Session play that’s always enjoyable 🙂 The new technology to show and hide people based on your quest log sounds really cool and I’d love for them to roll that out everywhere as it is a bit lore-breaking to see folks in the wrong areas. The other big news item in this diary is the announcement that we’ll be able to re-play all the various session plays as much as we want. There are some really fun ones, so I quite like this idea for quick play-sessions.
The other diary was today’s release of the Wardrobe System, which for me is one of my favorite features of the F2P roll-out. I probably have a few bags on all my toons that are purely cosmetic and many are storing the same items. This will not only allow for more storage of useful items but another way to share items between characters. I’m glad they walked through the usage of the system as I’ll admit it took me a bit to figure it out – putting items in is easy as you just drag the item and it puts a copy into the wardrobe. You can then feel free to delete the one in your inventory if you want. To equip though, you need to drag the item directly to the slot on your character panel and not to your inventory. It is also nice that you can store various color variations using one slot and just use a pull-down to select which color as opposed to each color taking up a slot. And finally, the requirements to wear the cosmetic items have been loosened such that you don’t need the level or reputation to wear them but you will be limited to armor types. For instance, you won’t be able to deck your Minstrel out in heavy armor but your Captain will be able to cosmetically equip your Champion’s Rift Set.
So we finally have a date!! Turbine has announced September 10th, 2010 as the launch date for the Free to Play system. Now I’m assuming this means we’re also getting Enedwaith but it isn’t explicitly stated just that they expanding the epic story line.
In addition, there’s a pre-release for current and previous subscribers starting September 8th. This post also confirms that Enedwaith is part of the release. I like pre-releases as it should help on server loads quite a bit.
I’m glad it is happening this quick, but once again Turbine has picked a launch date around my vacation when I’ll be spending time with my family but certainly I’m not going to complain with a earlier launch date then what I expected. Now I just have to start planning out what to get in the store when it launches 🙂
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.
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
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. 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) 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:
- 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.
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.
Posted in Captain, LOTRO, Minstrel, Raids and End-game, Warden
Tagged BG, Captain, End-game, epic line, Equipment, Gear, group, hard-mode, Lothlorien, LOTRO, Minstral, Mirkwood, Moria, Podcast, radiance, raid, screenshots, Warden
This past week has been quite busy on the news front for LOTRO and I will admit I’ve been quite behind. This has just been a pretty long week for me with my job and as such I’ve barely been able to keep up on the news, let alone comment on it. However, I wanted to touch on a few of the releases as there’s some good (and not so good) updates of late.
First up is the HUGE Developer Diary covering the new region Enedwaith which covers pretty well the new zones, their history and influences, their general storylines, and some of the kinds of enemies you’ll face. I’m looking forward to not only exploring all of the new spaces, but I really like the idea of pulling from Medieval Welsh and Briton influences. I’m also very impressed by the size (bigger and more quests then the North Downs) and all the new artwork as I will admit I’m getting a little tired of not only the darkness of Mirkwood but goblins and orcs 🙂 There are lots of new screenshots in the diary, but these were 2 of my favorites:
Speaking of screenshots, if you’re curious at all about what kinds of items will be available in the upcoming LOTRO Store, go check out Mordor or Bust as he’s posted over 200 pictures of what’s coming. Now before you flip out too much about the specifics, remember that the store is still in beta and things are likely to change. Some of these items may not be purchasable come launch, the prices may change, or we might see some restrictions placed on the use and/or purchase of them. Overall I do like the general look and feel of the store and most of the items seem to fall in line with what I’d like to see from the store. There are a couple of things (reputation horses for example) that I’m not thrilled are in store, but it really isn’t going to impact my enjoyment of the game. I will admit that I’m being somewhat hypocritical when I say I’m all for buying virtue ranks (I LOVE this) but that I don’t want to be able to purchase reputation mounts. At the end of the day, the store is allowing us to decide what our time and money are worth and which we’d rather spend based on the rewards. I know that I will be spending lots of points buying Virtue ranks, but probably not as much on the mounts. As long as the items in the store are priced appropriately for the amount of in-game work required, I’m growing more accepting of the options. The line I’m hoping (and trusting) they don’t cross is when armour, legendary items, or rare crafting drops (The Symbol for example) are available from the store.
For more thoughts on the LOTRO Store, make sure you check out the Beta Journal which contains comments from actual beta participants on the store. I love this idea from Turbine as it gives those of us not in the beta an insight into new features but also provides people in the beta a means to share without breaking the NDA. Hopefully this is the first of many of these Journals!
There have been a couple of Developer comments on the new Lua Scripting interface including a very good post from Narrel walking through what’s currently possible and what the future holds. The key thing here is that they’re specifically NOT allowing folks to make a macro or bot interface to the game purely re-work or tweak the way the user interface works. However, a key item I wish they’d add is the ability to re-skin the mouse cursor but sadly Narrel further points out that you can’t do this now but it might be an option down the road. I can’t wait to see some of the things people will come up with and this will really help out with various user interface problems I think LOTRO has. Plus it allows everyone to solve their own perceived problems how they want to and not rely on Turbine to recognize that problem or solve it the way you want them to.
The final news piece I wanted to mention is JWBarry’s post on the new Instance Scaling mechanism we’ll see. This one has me a little torn as I really like the idea and direction but it also is a little depressing. I’m very excited for the option to revisit some of the spaces I haven’t seen in a while as it will provide something else to do, but I will admit I’m a little worried that the rewards won’t quite be worth the effort. If you look at the current content, most folks only do a couple of instances (Sword Halls, Sammath Gul, and Grand Stairs) based on the difficulty and the associated rewards. I’m just not sure there will be enough unique and desirable rewards for each of these spaces to drive enough folks to form groups to tackle these. Especially when you consider the instance group size doesn’t scale, so you’ll still need 3, 6, or 24 people to complete them and I’m just not sure that will be the case long term. The biggest downer about all this for me is that this will be another content update without new content for end-game raiders as most of them will have already done all of that content before. Yes I know it will feel “new” but unless there are seriously cool rewards, I just don’t see folks doing it. At least this will provide a diversion for those groups if they get burnt out on the current content, but without the prospect of a new raid I have a feeling a good portion of that community might be lost.
Posted in LOTRO, Raids and End-game
Tagged End-game, Enedwaith, epic line, Equipment, Expansion, Free to Play, Gear, group, hard-mode, Legendary Items, Lore, LOTRO, Mirkwood, screenshots, skirmishes, traits, virtues, volume 3
There’s been a rush of news lately with quite a few putting out updates on the beta, new zone, and Turbine Store. Folks have covered some of these already but I will include my take on them as well.
First up is the interview Mordor of Bust conducted with Kate Paiz, LOTRO’s new Executive Producer who was also part of DDO’s transition to the Free to play model. A couple things that jumped out at me but certainly take a read for yourself:
- Since DDO went F2P (Sept. 2009) they’ve released 5 updates and they’re expecting similar frequency with LOTRO. Now we’ll see how big those updates are but 5 updates in 9 months is pretty darn nice.
- She does mention that they’ve already made changes due to Beta feedback, and that the stat tomes from the Turbine Store are also world drops which is nice to know.
- It is nice to see how much Middle-Earth Enterprises is engaged with the entire process, so I feel comfortable that things will still remain close to the lore.
- Interesting to note the LOTRO hasn’t released in China yet and that they’re still looking for a business model that will work over there. That should provide a nice revenue stream for Turbine when that kicks in.
MMORPG.com has a pretty lengthy article on their playtime in the beta including information on the new zone, the instance scaling, and the store. From what it sounds like from the descriptions I’ve read, Enedwaith sounds like a gorgeous zone and I can’t wait to wander around in the bright sunshine again. I’m really excited for the new instance scaling part but a tad disappointed that we’ll have a new set of tokens to fill up our packs. Plus rumor has it there’s no progress on a “wallet” to keep all these things in so we’ll be forced to most likely buy more vault space. But this all does pale to the prospects of returning to some of the places I haven’t been to in a long while and gain (hopefully) useful rewards to go along with the fun challenges. In discussing the store, they do confirm that not only will you be able to accelerate deed completion but also buy the virtues outright. I’ve waffled back and forth on this concept quite a bit but I think I’m coming around to it and am sure I will take advantage of it on my main and my alts.
Ten Ton Hammer also has a similar preview posted but the do include some screenshots including the shot below of the ruins of Enedwaith:
Very similar information but always fun to hear others describe what’s going on and what the new toys are. I’m getting pretty anxious to go back and see the Annuminas instances as those were fun, challenging, and not terribly long. Not to mention the prospects of not having to horse to the instance door is very welcome, although I will concede a tad lore-breaking 🙂
Posted in LOTRO
Tagged beta, End-game, Enedwaith, epic line, Expansion, Free to Play, Gear, group, Lore, LOTRO, raid, screenshots, traits, virtues, volume 3
In case you missed the post from a Casual Stroll to Mordor I will be participating in another roundtable tonight, this time focusing on Captains. If you can join us live at 9pm Eastern (-5GMT) there will be a live chat room where you can participate. The link for the chat room information is either on CStM’s live page or on the LOTRO Network. Or you can feel free to post questions here or on their thread, or email one of us if you have specific questions or topics you’d like us to cover. It will be a similar format to the Warden roundtable.
And if you can’t make it live, we’ll both be posting when it it released.
Posted in Captain, LOTRO, Raids and End-game
Tagged BG, Captain, crafting, End-game, epic line, Equipment, Gear, group, legacy, Legendary Items, LOTRO, Mirkwood, moors, Podcast, radiance, raid, threat, traits, virtues
Well in some cases it does help to be a bit delayed in getting news out as sometimes numbers do change and fluctuate especially when subscription numbers are mentioned. Yesterday, Mordor or Bust posted an article from the PatriotLedger which originally stated 200K new LOTRO subscribers since the F2P announcement – but that has since been clarified to be 100K-200K beta applicants, via Turbine. Now, while not quite as impressive as new subs, when you consider that subscribers were automatically signed-up (and hopefully not counted in this number) that’s still a pretty good sign of new blood to the game. So my thoughts are this will be a pretty substantial influx of new folks to the game and some portion of those will certainly transfer over to subscriptions, or buy things through the cash shop, which will bring new revenue and resources to Turbine. Most people peg the current subscription base around 250K to 500K for LOTRO (still hard to figure out) this will most likely mean about a community twice the size it currently is. Which yes, will bring some annoyances but will all the tools we have to get around those, I’m more excited for all the cool people who will be joining us!
The other piece of news lately that has stirred some commotion was the article over on Massively where they get to sit and chat with the Turbine folks about the new toys and such coming with Enedwaith. If you haven’t read the article, I highly suggest it but I figured I’d share my thoughts on what we’ve learned so far.
- There seems to be lots of focus and effort on helping people learn the game. From the re-works to the intro tutorials and the UI tweaks I think that will be a big help for people just hopping in to the game. Plus hopefully they’ll get to some of the annoyances us current players have.
- The whole instance thing is exciting, assuming they don’t screw it up. I like the idea of an “instance join” mechanism and of course the scaling mechanism. Now the scaling is similar to Skirmishes but you can’t change the group size, only the level of the instance. They’re also breaking up some of the longer instances into wings, which was part of the initial confusion as these were quoted as entire instances when in fact it is just a part of one. So far I’m all positive, the scary part for me is the rewards as I want these instances to be rewarding and not just diversions. I don’t expect to get the highest tier radiance gear but I want stuff that could actually benefit my character and not another skirmish mark grind for runes and relics for my LIs.
- And finally they did talk about Enedwaith which everyone should be happy to learn is a happier more open place! It is a large zone with a pretty good amount of quests (over 160) so this should provide a nice alternative for folks who are scared (or tired) of the dark. It also is the continuation of the epic story which I’m quite addicted to and can’t get enough of. I also found it interesting (not knowing the lore) that we’ll see quite a few different Middle-Earth cultures including men and hobbits. Also, there’s a race specific quest line mentioned which will be interesting as well to see how that plays out – sadly I only have men so I’ll need others to fill me in on what I’ve missed.
Nothing but positives from the news side of things for me, but there still are lots of unknowns so we’ll still have to wait and see how everything fleshes out.
Posted in General, LOTRO, Raids and End-game
Tagged beta, End-game, Enedwaith, epic line, Equipment, Expansion, Free to Play, Legendary Items, Lore, LOTRO, Mirkwood, radiance, raid, runes, skirmishes, volume 3