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,
Posted in LOTRO
Tagged beta, End-game, Enedwaith, Equipment, Expansion, festival, Free to Play, Isengard, Legendary Items, Lore, LOTRO, moors, radiance, raid, Rohan, screenshots
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.
So part 2 of Massively’s coverage of the new fall content and F2P switch (Part 1) was posted this morning and it covers both the new festival and the store.
The haunted cellar sounds really cool and very fall-like I’m actually quite intrigued about not only how it will look but the themed decorations that will be available with the token rewards 🙂 Hopefully they’ll use the fear logic from BG such that you can be feared and randomly run around and trigger more fun!
The meat of what I wanted to write about was the info on the store. Now I realize this is all subject to change as we’re still in the beta, but I’m sure there will be LOTS of upset folks over the addition of items to reduce the in-game grind. In certain cases I’m all for it, but I see them handling it two separate ways, one I like and the other I don’t.
For virtues they’re offering a way to speed up the way you earn that title such that you need (I’m assuming) half as many mobs to complete the deed and get the virtue. I think this is a good compromise and would even be happy if I could outright buy a virtue level (I know, I’m probably in the minority here) as there’s no reason I can’t do that in game I just choose not to because I don’t enjoy it. I think speeding up the virtue grind is a very welcome addition for anyone who wants to get their characters and alts tweaked out the way they want to and still enjoy the content and game the way they want it. My 3 mains are all in various stages of their virtue completion and I’d love to have an option to bring them all to the same level. Another option I’d support would be to allow the purchase of virtue ranks only up to the maximum you have on that account such that’ you’d have to grind it once, but only once 🙂
Now the part I don’t like is the ability to purchase reputation mounts as I think this is taking the above concept a step to far. I’m all for using the store to buy mounts as long as it isn’t your first one but I don’t like the idea of removing the reward for the reputation grind many (like me) have completed. I think those mounts should only be available if you have the appropriate reputation. What I would like to see is similar to the traits discussed above, a buff that grants double reputation for a period of time such that you could more quickly accomplish your goals. Another option would be to allow purchasable reputation which would mimic my thoughts on Virtues, which if done properly I could support as well. Now this may only be showing the mounts available for that character, but I see no clarification and as such I’m purely posting on what I would have a problem with if it stays like this through beta. And even if the system does work like this currently, there’s still lots of time for them to flesh out the details and make changes based on the community feedback.
I will update this post as I’m sure there will be some dev clarification on these topics based on the feedback from the community, this thread on the F2P boards seems most likely to be the one to kick up some dirt but I’m expecting more as the day goes on.
They are up and running (at least on Silverlode) and I was able to do both the Shire one and the Bree race, although some were reporting issues with the Bree race. I’m not real sure what’s going on there, but I did even fall off so it isn’t like I ran a perfect race.
So I have a few shots of the horse and a couple of the items I got already.
After all my racing around I did need a break, so I took a little nap in my new hammock 🙂
And after waking up I decided to check out a couple of views in my new chair:
So there are 2 things in this thread:
First is a very nice snap of the horse from corrakkas on the forums, which was obtained using saved up tokens from the previous summer festival. There’s also a cool snap of this horse while drunk 🙂
And confirmation from Sapience that things are broken and they’re looking into it.
So I anxiously waited this morning for the start of the festival such that I could get the new festival horsie. Sadly it appears they’re either delaying the horse races or there’s an issue with them. We’ve been chatting on Twitter and at least Silverlode, Landy, and Big E are all experiencing the same “issue.” I will be posting updates as soon as I get them, hopefully with pictures.
I also wanted to put up some links for folks to check out the walkthroughs of the various events as much of the festival hasn’t changed. I will admit that for the festivals, I find a Casual Stroll to Mordor to be the best resource as they not only have the walkthroughs but screenshots as well. First up there are some of the always there general quests like the Inn League, Dancing, and the farming quest. You can check out the post on the Spring Festival as the horse races and Ale Association parts are the same.
As for rewards, you can also check out a recent furniture guide which has shots of most (if not all) of the rewards from the festival. There are a couple new items like the hammock and such that I might end up getting as a nice change of pace from my normal decorations.
I’ll be checking things out to see what all’s new in the Festival but wanted to share some of the info up front for folks.
One thing I did want to point out is that there’s a quest to turn in your badges of dishonor from the Ale Association in for festival marks. Pretty nice addition if you ask me, or maybe I just missed it last time.
Below are a few snaps of some of the items and new quests.
Couple of the new cloaks:
Straw hat with short sleeved summer dress
New Inn League quest (same are available for Ale Association)
Ale Association barter turn-ins
First up, I wanted to clear up something on the Anniversary Tokens as I was wondering when they would stop dropping. According to will Sapience, they will stop dropping on the 30th of June but the vendors for trade-in will remain in game until the 7th of July. For those of you curious, I seem to have the best luck with the vendor in the Moors as they have the option for the Delving Stones required for various rewards in the Ettenmoors.
As Sapience also mentioned in his post, tomorrow is the start of the Summer Festival! Returning for this year’s festival is the Keg-races in Frerin’s Court outside of Thorin’s Hall and the Taste of Hobbiton race just north of the Party Tree.
There’s also the Summer Horse race in both Bree and Michel Delving for the new mount as shown in Cithryth’s YouTube video.
The scavenger hunts and fishing races are both back in this summer as well for those that prefer those events.
It seems like the only new addition are quests associated with the bitter rivals of the beer drinkers of Middle-Earth. Yes the Inn League Association and the Ale Association both will have new quests added with the chance of maxing out reputation with both factions.
For me, I will be getting the new horse as I am a tad of an addict in that regard and will probably hold off on the drinking games until I see what all’s available from the various vendors and special rooms. I wasn’t all that impressed previously, so we shall see what’s new this time around.
For the past couple of weeks I have been branching out for a bit from LOTRO mainly from a lack of dedicated time. Not that I don’t have time available but that time is frequently and without warning interrupted which makes it very hard to do some of the things I enjoy in LOTRO, like raiding and group content. Because of this I’ve been shifting a bit from my normal play style in LOTRO to some other avenues. This has also been part of the reason for a lack of activity here as I just haven’t had all that much to write about. But for now this just feels like a little bump in the road.
Inside of LOTRO this has included a lot of the spring festival and the Ale Association quests. I’ve also been running a fair number of skirmishes but those can require attention depending on what skirmish and tier I’m attempting. And I’ve also been running around with my baby RK who just dinged 22. I’ve been enjoying the new Lone Lands area quite a bit as it is a MUCH better flow from Bree, although for an RK it is a little dis-jointed. The transition along the book epic lines was great as it takes you straight from Bree to Candaith and for me I was around 20ish before finishing off book 1 as I had done a number of other things in Bree. The issue I ran to on my RK was the level 15 class quest for RKs is there in the Lone Lands and I ended up picking up some other quests that did throw me off a tad. Nothing terrible, but I’m really trying to walk through this zone in order and I ended up with some scattered quests as I normally grab all quests I can see 🙂
Outside of LOTRO I have been checking out a few other games as well. I’ve pretty much stopped playing Dragon Age as Awakenings seems to have lost its luster for me. I did enjoy it, but it doesn’t have nearly the same re-playability as Origins did. It certainly is replayable, but after the second time I just wasn’t that motivated, unlike the 5 times I went through Origins 🙂 Maybe that’s just because there are enough similarities that I don’t distinguish between the two. But certainly if you haven’t checked Awakenings out I do recommend it as the new skills and abilities are LOTS of fun.
Another single player game that I’ve been playing off and on has been Mount and Blade. I’ve talked about Mount and Blade before and it is getting more press now that they’ve released Warband. I’ve downloaded Warband and have checked it out a little bit but I’m still on the trial version so I haven’t made it all that far. The graphics updates are great and they’ve redone the map completely such that it seems much more conflict centric. There are a number of other tweaks with romances and NPC relationships and the like that sound really intriguing but I have yet to see them. I still haven’t gotten quite used to the new swinging animations so my horseback attacks are pretty bad at the moment. I’m still on the fence about if there are enough differences between Warband and the original to warrant me buying the new version as I think the biggest new feature is a multiplayer aspect which while intriguing, doesn’t interest me at all.
The final game I’ve been playing lately has been Age of Conan. I tried it out a little bit when they first launched and just couldn’t get into it. I will admit that I didn’t play all that much as I just couldn’t get the hang of the combat system. But when they announced the revamp of their trial system to allow full access to the starter zone for as long as you want I figured it would be a good time to check it out again. Plus the upcoming patches and expansions are interesting enough that I wanted to check things out. So far I’ve rolled 4 different toons, 2 of the heavy armor classes (Dark Templar and Conqueror), a ranger, and a mage type (Herald of Xotli). I haven’t done much with the Conqueror yet (the rest are at least level 13), but aside from the ranger the other 2 are quite different from the typical classes from other games I’ve played. The Dark Templar is a sword and board tank type that also can use dark magic to de-buff and leach life off of enemies. So in some ways it does mimic the play of the Warden, although with a drastically different back-story 😉 The Herald of Xolti (HoX) is a fire-based mage that also uses two handed weapons – which to me sounded like an interesting concept. The HoX does have some good absorption buffs which mitigates their cloth armor restriction so in that way they’re also somewhat analogous to Wardens in LOTRO. For all of these, I’ve mainly been focusing on following the individual epic class lines which are solo based. I’ve had to do a little grinding to get to the level requirements, but for the most part it hasn’t been bad at all.
Based on my initial experiences, I am actually tempted to pick up AoC to scratch my PvP itch as it certainly is much more prevalent and rewarding then PvMP in LOTRO. The graphics in AoC are really impressive and I enjoy the feel of the area only slightly less then I like things in LOTRO. It has taken me a bit to get used to the combat system but now I really do enjoy it. The biggest thing that got me was the targeting system – you don’t have to target a mob to hit it (such that you can get inadvertent AoEs) but there is an auto-face standard that I haven’t figured out how to turn off such that if I forget to target the mob in front of me I’ll keep spinning around to some other mob that I might have tabbed to. AoC also has a combo system that reminds me of the Warden gambits but AoC has a visual prompt of what the next builder is supposed to be such that there’s not the same memorization requirement Wardens have. AoC also has a nifty way of handling your class epic line in that you’re taken to a Night-time instance that is single player. So all of your epics are done in that fashion at night, and if you want to join other folks you need to travel back to the day-time. So far I enjoy that system, but I’m not sure how it works going forward. Another enjoyable aspect of the story line is how the different stories play off each-other in that you’ll hear about other people in one class story and then actually get to play that part in another story. I didn’t realize they did this at all until I was reading the quest and realized “hey, that was my ranger doing that” which does make me want to roll other classes to see where they fit in.
Now the only “issue” I’ve run into is partly my own fault but it also shows off a strength in my mind. When I started, I decided on the PvP server as my home as I wanted that environment and wasn’t real sure how the PvP-RP servers would differ. What this then allows for is common quest areas in the day-time environment are open combat. As I’ve found already, these can be camped by higher level characters who enjoy killing newbs like me, repeatedly. However, a couple things that I appreciate about how AoC handles this is they do have an instigator flag that will prompt guards to attack said “criminal” to discourage that act somewhat. I will admit that I’m sure that times out after some interval and there are probably ways around it such that it doesn’t really do my – but it seems like this does create some level of punishment that stops some from just randomly killing people. This flag also is pretty obvious such that you can see it from a good distance and have a chance to run if need be. The other aspect is when you die there’s an immunity buff that makes it such that you can’t be harmed while close to the res circle. I realize this isn’t perfect but it at least gives you time to map or log. I’m sure others have a different take on this, but for me it hasn’t bothered me yet as they seem to have more rewards for PvP then penalties for dying.
The other game that might fit into this play style for me is Eve which I’ve played a couple of times but never quite got either. It certainly has a lot of the planning and spreadsheet aspects that I like and success isn’t solely driven by how much time you spend in game. Reading Tobold’s latest series of posts as he hops into Eve has brought this back into my thought process and I may have to give that game another go.
I’m hoping that I can get a chance to get back to a more dedicated schedule for my gaming, but for now it is what it is and I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as possible.
Posted in General, LOTRO, RPGs, Warden
Tagged Age of Conan, Awakening, Bioware, Dragon Age, Eve Online, Expansion, festival, LOTRO, Mount and Blade, pvp, rune-keeper, Single player, skirmishes, Warband, Warden
So things have been pretty quiet here for a bit with a combination of work travel and some actual vacation time as well. I have a bunch of things to catch up on and I’ll have a few posts coming out this weekend but I figured I’d update on a few things first.
Aside from the travel craziness I have been playing some but just not nearly as much as would warrant writing about. I’ve been working on the Ale Association quests and I’m intrigued by not only the titles but what they might put on that vendor 🙂 This new quest line seems to have drawn some comments from folks that they feel bad doing bad things in the Shire and I’ve actually taken a bit of a different slant on it. I’m looking at it more like a friendly rivalry between two bars (ala Cheers) and the Ale Association is just launching the first line of the pranks 😉 Now if they continue this, I’d love to see the hobbit retaliation! I do like the upcoming changes coming that will put negative reputation for the opposite faction. This makes sense as we’re really not all that sneaky when poking holes in the kegs and stealing recipes 🙂 I am enjoying this festival as they are pretty quick things I can do and I still always enjoy running through the Shire as it is so beautiful and relaxing.
In addition to the festival I have been doing some SG and SH runs on my Warden and am one piece away (16 tokens) from the full set such that I can actually run the BG raid. They have made some subtle changes to SG and I like the pace of that dungeon. With a decent group, it is around an hour or so which really isn’t all that bad and you can reasonably do a couple runs in a row. I have my pseudo static group I run with late at night but in addition I really don’t have any issues finding groups (and successful ones too) for both SG and SH. I still haven’t run the other dungeons yet and do want to check them out at some point. I did also run SG on my Captain (only 62) which was quite stressful as I so didn’t want to mess things up for the group. The good news for these runs is that I’ve seen 2 Symbols drop (lost both) so maybe I’m just lucky or maybe they did tweak things a bit.
I also stuck my neck out into the moors a bit on my Warden and holy cow was that a blast. I started off soloing and got stomped on by a Warg/Warleader duo – which wasn’t surprising. Wargs are really annoying with all their stuns and I’m also REALLY rusty out there 🙂 I then ended up running with a small group and we didn’t do all that bad in the grand scheme of things. I really need to get out there more as I found myself falling into my tanking rotation which is just bad. I re-spec’d full fist line with the 2 additional masteries as I think the fears could be more useful down the line then possible additional DPS. The pace out there really is MUCH faster and it will certainly help overall to make me a better and more dynamic player. The moors always has been a good fit for me as when I don’t have much time I can just run around solo but can also hop in groups when I have more time available and you’ll probably hear and see more from me from the moors. I also need to keep my eyes open for other weapons with better PvP legacies…
Posted in Captain, Gambits, LOTRO, Raids and End-game, Warden
Tagged Captain, End-game, Equipment, festival, Gambits, Gear, group, Legendary Items, LOTRO, Mirkwood, moors, pvp, radiance, raid, reputation, Warden
I posted yesterday about the new Fraps release and while I had tested it out a little bit, I hadn’t actually tried creating a video for upload onto YouTube. I decided that as I was working on my Rune-keeper I would take a video of the scenery on the way from Saeradan’s Cabin to Candaith at the foot of Weathertop. This was my first time on that new horse route so I was curious how it would take the player, but I figured there would be some good sight-seeing along the way. I captured the entire trip on Ultra-high visual quality (DIrectX 9 though) so things do look pretty spectacular, see for yourself below:
I especially liked the part riding by the Bree festival as you get a good view of the hedge maze!
(edit) So most of this post is outdated but I’ll keep the rest of it as there are some other things in there too. But Fraps released version 3.2.2 which should resolve this problem with Avidemux. I haven’t tried it yet, and I will still potentially use the little GUI tool I mention below for batch processing. (end-edit)
Now the downside to this was I stumbled across a new feature of Fraps in a not-so-good way. With the new “on-demand” recording feature they’ve put the MUST_USE_INDEX flag in the header of the AVI file and unfortunately some tools can’t recognize that flag. And of course, the tool I use Avidemux is one of the tools that has this problem. I do like Avidemux as it is a free open source application that’s not only flexible but intuitive (for me at least) and allows for lots of options in compression in addition to some video editing tools. I posted on the problem on their forums and was expecting a “we’ll get to it in a future release,” but not only did I get quick feedback but a workable solution to the problem! Now granted, it is a bit of a kluge in that I run a “pre-filter” app (that is now my new batch mode too as I routinely hit the 4GB file size cap and need to stitch videos together) that feeds the videos into Avidemux where I can then edit them as I wish. So for me, running at 1440×900 resolution by default Avidemux works great as it allows me to use MPEG4 compression such that I get a reasonable file size with good quality.
Certainly Avidemux isn’t the only tool out there, but it is free and works for me 🙂 The Fraps support folks (also incredibly responsive) pointed me to VirtualDub which also looked pretty good and is free as well. However, I didn’t have enough options for compression nor could I get DivX to work for my videos. But it is certainly a simpler process that could potentially work very well depending on your machine setup. The other tool I’ll mention which I found via a twitter recommendation from the folks over at CStM, is AVS which is a collection of a number of video processing packages. I tried this tool out and it looks really slick and incredibly full featured and isn’t terribly expensive at $59. It also has zero problems with the new Fraps format and seems to have all sorts of different compression schemes that worked great for me. At some point down the road if I decide to do something more tricky with videos then I currently do, I may go back and check out AVS but for now I’m happy with my solution and work-flow.
Just wanted to put this out there as it caught me off-guard and I had a couple of folks ask about how I did things.