Tag Archives: hard-mode

Today’s update to Bullroarer


As I quoted yesterday, Sapience indicated that some of the items in the store have been tweaked.  Now granted, I will admit I may be a build or two behind on some of these but I did want to talk about a couple of them as there was a new patch up today.  However, nothing earth shattering on the patch with only a few notes in total.

First up, I’m happy that they did add in a helm to the Annuminas Heavy Armor set.  I’m not super excited about the look, but it is nice to have another option including the cloak to get the full 6/6 bonus which this set really needs to be comparable.  I’ve updated my spreadsheet but am really struggling with Google Docs so I’ll probably wait until launch and post a final version.  But certainly take a look below for the stats and looks of it.

ScreenShot00457 ScreenShot00458

I do think the armor set costs might have been dropped a bit (or maybe not as these match this post on the forums) as the Annuminas pieces only need 1 Annuminas mark and 3 of the level 65 special marks with the Helegrod items being 2 and 5 respectively.  However, the pieces are pricy on the normal marks at 1,896 for the Annuminas pieces and 2,370 for the Helegrod pieces.  Considering I can get a few hundred marks per normal single person skirmish it is looking like a piece or so per run through the appropriate instance.  Which when you compare it to normally getting armor pieces this is a MUCH quicker pace as previously you had to not only complete the instance but get lucky on roles and most groups only allow one piece per run per person.

I already talked about the reputation mounts, but you can buy the normal initial mounts for 695 points which I think is a nice option as I know many folks sometimes struggle to save up enough gold for that purchase.

I didn’t notice any real changes on the stat tomes but the Virtue tomes have been changed to all be a constant cost as opposed to a sliding scale.  In total, to max out a virtue from the store it costs the same as it did previously, but now each rank is 295 points versus a small amount for that first rank.  I know I will be topping off a few levels on my toons so this does make it a tad more expensive but I think it makes sense.

I’m still a bit on the fence with the Morale pots as they’re now 300 points for a stack of 10.  These potions stack with the normal potions and with the duration of 20 seconds combined with a 20 second cooldown you can essentially boost your ICMR (or ICPR) by 3600 or 60 points per second.  I can see these during tough boss fights and in all honesty I’m still not sure these are expensive enough.  These potions will essentially allow you to power through a tough transition or stabilize the group for a couple of minutes.  I do think this will make some fight mechanics much easier for certain groups and the potions could become requirements for certain raiding groups.  I guess I’m seeing these as a “crutch” that could be used for raiders in a similar manner to how the various hope quest turn-ins were used back in the day.  I think requiring groups to have those pots purchased is a bad thing, but I’m on the fence as I do like the idea of providing a not totally game breaking crutch to get groups over the hump in certain areas.  As long as Turbine continues to put out challenging fights like BG, and it sounds like the instance revamp will be even more challenging, these could really help folks speed up the learning curve.  After a run or two, I would imagine these pots wouldn’t be as needed until a new instance was attempted.  Oh, and I’m not even going to touch the moors implications as that will just make my head hurt 🙂  However, I don’t see these as a long term issue but a short term emergency tool.

Other than that, the store seems MUCH faster and responsive and they’ve cleaned things up quite a bit, but granted it could be that I just hopped on during a quiet time 🙂

I am starting to formulate my plan for what I’m going to be using the store for and will have a post on that soon.

Good Warden End-game Gear


This will probably have some spill-over for the other classes as well but I wanted to start keeping track of not only some of the better gear options but where some of these things drop.  The forums are a great resource for this kind of information but sometimes it can be hard to find and even lost due to forum wipes.

The armor sets are a little easier to keep up with and follow, but I do have some spreadsheets for Wardens, Captains, and Minstrels comparing the various sets statistically and visually.

When it comes to jewelry and cloaks it gets a little bit harder for 2 main reasons.  First off there’s just a lot more variety in these areas with crafted, drops, quest rewards, etc that all can be viable in certain cases.  But probably the tougher part is that many of these are random boss drops that don’t always drop so it can be hard to not only track them but remember where they dropped from.

I will have a separate page on my blog for this information here, in a similar fashion to how I’m archiving forum posts..

And for comparisons, if you’d like to see what I’m currently wearing you can look at the MyLOTRO pages for my Warden, Captain, and Minstrel.

Most of the information below is from the following thread on the forums – Best in Slot Discussion and there’s also some other good stuff over on the Codemasters Forums. In addition there’s another good resource over on the LOTRO Gear site.

Finally, even though I’ve posted some other items that are coming with the F2P launch, I’ll add those in later in case they tweak them again.

Please let me know what I’ve missed 🙂

Earring

Bracelet

Neck

Pocket

Ring

Cloaks

Shields

More LOTRO Video Resources


There’s been a number of new (or maybe just new to me) videos posted over the past few days that I wanted to comment on and share.

First up, I know many of you are interested in the Lua scripting so in addition to the video and information I posted previously Merric from a Casual Stroll to Mordor has put up a great video.  His video focuses on just a couple plugins and seems to hint that he’ll be doing more of them, this review touches on the Plugin Manager and Hunter Travel Window.  I think the Hunter Travel window will definitely be one of the must-haves for any Hunter or Warden.

Next up for those of you looking for tips or hints from running the various Instances, Middle Earth Chronicles has started a new section of the blog with a good collection of videos.  Go check out their Instance page and make sure to send in any videos you may have.

In addition check out Carlosjuero’s video showing some of the new UI tweaks over at LOTRO Reporter.  Many I had seen, but I totally missed that you can now color code your quest helper on the map overlay.  Good stuff and really walks through all the new tweaks available.

And finally but certainly not least I’ve been quite enjoying the video podcast published by the Uruk Hunter.  Not only some good information but he also does comment his videos quite well.

Go check those sites out if you haven’t already, and I’ve also updated my Blog roll appropriately.

Developer Diary – Instances Part 4 – Helegrod


For me this was the most highly anticipated part of the instance scaling diaries to date as not only do I love Helegrod but I’m curious to see what they have planned for the space.  There’s a lot of good information in the Diary so check out the latest from JWBarry.

To start off, three of the wings will be 12-man spaces with the Thorog wing being a full 24-man raid.  There are no locks at all, but before being able to tackle Thorog you must complete the other three wings at least once.  So essentially, clear the first 3 and you can farm Thorog to your hearts content.

JWBarry breaks up the diary just like the raid so I’ll cover each wing separately.  Before I dive in too far, I must admit that I can’t wait to run this on my Warden!!!

The Spider wing was a pretty fun wing to begin with but they did shorten up the trash a bit.  They also added a new mob type the Spider-singer that buffs all the nearby spiders to make them more challenging.  Also in order to proceed you need to burn holes through the webs, which does tend to anger a fair number of spiders such that it isn’t just a matter of running through and killing stuff.  The Breosal mini-boss fight was tweaked such that there are more adds at the start and more come when Breosal runs away after the morale trigger.  It sounds as though the normal mode of the final boss fight is pretty much un-changed but the challenge mode sounds quite fun.  Essentially at the last wave of the Silkspinners you need to keep them alive while burning 4 cocoons, the last of which spawns Zaudru.  So you need to finish off all five in order to survive this encounter which sounds rather rough as just Zaudru alone is pretty darn challenging.

The Drake Wing was changed quite a bit to incorporate more mob diversity and better visual intrigue.  Also following what they’ve done in other instances, the lever puzzle has been tweaked to provide more feedback and better information on what needs to be done.  The final boss fight is now 3 stages as opposed to 2 with each having different levels of vulnerabilities and invulnerabilities on the Angmarim, worms, and drakes.  The challenge mode sounds INSANE as you need to pop ALL the eggs in the room to complete.  In the current room I’d say there are probably 50 some odd eggs, but I’m not sure how many will be in the new area.  Each egg popped spawns a handful of worms so this will be an AoE intensive fight for sure, Champs and Wardens get ready for some fun!

I have to agree that the Giant Wing was my least favorite portion of the raid as it just seemed to drag on forever with no real challenge.  I’m very happy about the new mobs and the addition of the min-boss fight.  If JWBarry’s pumped up about it I can’t wait to see it!  As for the main boss fight, it sounds interesting but I will admit I’m a bit worried about the challenge mode mechanics as it sounds like knockbacks could cause you to lose challenge mode.  It does require you to pay more attention which is a good thing, I’m just worried about lag causing you to be in the wrong place even though you think you’re good.

The Dragon Wing still has the three main areas, the drums, Drugoth, and Thorog.  The drums section which includes Coldbear pretty much was untouched and I certainly agree that if you can’t make it through the drums you’re in for a world of hurt.  I love the changes to Drugoth as it was a super easy portion of the raid.  Having the mirror images as you fight similar to Mordirith sounds not only challenging but a lot of fun.  Basically he will form copies at various morale thresholds but it wasn’t clear if they were 1 morale “spirits” like Mordirth or full up copies that you need to burn down.  I’m sad to see the Thorog flying mechanic gone but certainly if it was causing issues I’ll trust the team.  Removing the flying mechanic basically meant they had to re-work the entire fight.  Included in the new version are some of his old tricks plus some new things that JWBarry is saving for us to find.  Challenge mode is being designed to be the most difficult encounter in the game which is intriguing.  There are some pretty tricky parts in BG so I’ll be curious to see what else they come up with.  And I’m encouraged that they are conscious of folks not liking arbitrary or luck as key elements of fights.  Making this the hardest fight seems to be in-line with the recent changes to the radiance gear as the new Helegrod sets are pretty nice!  For those of you who haven’t seen the area or the original version of this fight check out my post on a recent adventure in Helegrod.

Overall it sounds like a very fun raid and I like the way they’re broken things up.  There are some areas of concern as I can imagine folks farming Thorog repeatedly for marks and the armor pieces.  Granted, it does require 24 people to complete so that is a bit more challenging but if you have that number ready I can see folks going for a couple runs at a time.  I’m also not sure about the knockback portion of the Giant Wing but will have to see how that plays out.  If definitely is good to see they are listening to the community and incorporating aspects of fights that we enjoy and not relying on things we don’t.  I was encouraged to see JWBarry talk about the Rift and the reasons why it hasn’t been tackled yet.  From what we’ve seen so far, that does sound like a big task but I can’t wait to see what they have planned for the Rift.  I’m also quite happy that he acknowledges that the Balrog fight is quite broken and will require work 😉

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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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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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The News Pours in About Beta and Enedwaith


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.

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