Just a quick update this Monday morning, but I should have another post out today with some new goodies on the Skirmish vendors over on Bullroarer.
I posted a new version of my traits discussion over on the LOTRO Reporter which took a slightly different approach from the post I did here a while back. The one over on LOTRO Reporter is a bit more high-level while the post on this blog is more detail oriented.
I also joined @Theobor on his latest episode of the Gondor Awaits Podcast chatting about Minstrels, so if you’re interested in my take on that class head on over there.
Also of late I’ve started working on a new toon as I came to the realization that ranged classes aren’t for me. So after all my bad mouthing of them, I decided to work on a Champion to see how they play out. I’m only to level 12 but so far am enjoying the class, nothing like running into lots of mobs and mowing them down. But I anticipate that mentality might get me into a bit of trouble soon 🙂 I’m not sure how quickly or how much I’ll play my champ but you’ll probably see a bit more Champ focused posting here as I go.
Posted in Alts, Champion, LOTRO, Minstrel, Warden
Tagged blog, champions, End-game, Free to Play, legacy, Legendary Items, LOTRO, Minstral, Podcast, threat, traits, virtues, Warden
With the big changes coming down the pipes for Captains I decided to do a little number crunching to see how the different lines stacked up. Part of my motivation was to see just how good the Hands of Healing line is and if there are ways to compensate for the trait line. I also don’t like having to play a captain as a “heal-bot” so I wanted to see if it was possible to use different traits but still be effective as a healer. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to see how the various captain legacies varied these results to see if my assumptions about good and bad legacies were correct, and I must say I was pretty surprised.
Really what I wanted to look at was how the tweaks to the Leader of Men line stack up against the Hands of Healing line. For those of you who haven’t heard, with the upcoming F2P changes the various Shield Brother skills apply to the entire fellowship albeit with a reduced effectiveness if you trait fully down the Leader of Men line with the Capstone Legendary. For Inspire the fellowship gets HoT ticks of 25-40 morale and a flat healing boost of 4% for Strength of Will that’s not boosted by legacies. To get a feel for the changes you can look at my previous post as well as the side-by-side visual comparisons over on LOTRO Weekly.
My number crunching might not be a perfectly real case but I assumed a 2 minute fight using every healing skill as soon as it is off cooldown. I also assumed that Words of Courage was only used on the fellowship member that was shield-brothered. I ran 5 separate cases, one without any trait bonuses, one traited fully down the HoH line with the capstone, one traited down the Leader of Men and NOT any HoH traits, another with 2 HoH, and finally my current build which is 5 down the Lead the Charge line and 2 in HoH with my current legacies. For the top 4 cases I didn’t include any legacies but certainly you can get a feel for how they would change things. Below is the summary of the results and here’s a link to the spreadsheet as a GoogleDoc.
|Hands of Healing
|Leader of Men
|Leader of Men + 2 HoH
As I started playing around with things it became obvious how much an impact the Rallying Cry Cooldown legacy can be on healing output. This may be obvious to some of you, but I was surprised at how big a difference it made. Assuming a maxed out legacy of 30 seconds my healing output will jump by almost 30% which is about the same boost as I get from 15% on Rallying Cry, Melee Skills Healing, Vocal Skills Healing, and the 10% bonus from the Hands of Healing line. Based on this, I’m going to dump my current emblem and switch to the one with the cooldown reduction as it will be quite a nice bonus for me. My current emblem is below on the right with the one I’m going to replace it with on the left:
As for my traits, I really do think the Leader of Men line will be my group build as it will allows for me to not only heal pretty well but also have a fellowship maneuver chance and the forced taunt. That just seems to be a much more flexible build and one that better fits my play style.
Posted in Captain, LOTRO, Raids and End-game
Tagged beta, Captain, Enedwaith, group, legacy, Legendary Items, LOTRO, raid, threat, traits
No surprise here, I have some thoughts on this one 🙂 And I strongly recommend all you Wardens to post your thoughts as well. I’m going to just copy/paste what I have here into the thread on the live forums.
Give three examples of changes or improvements you would make to improve the Warden class (e.g. skills and abilities). Please limit your responses to 3 brief examples. Wardens only please!
1. Lower the power costs of the gambit builders themselves, we have lots of ways to drop the gambit costs but they don’t apply to the builders which are the big problems.
2. Another ranged attack would really help us fulfill a secondary ranged DPS role.
3. Some way to recover threat after a death. Something on a long cool-down that pops us back to our pre-death level, or even pre-death level minus some percentage.
If you could create one new legacy to add to the Warden’s Legendary Item pool, what would it be? Please specify whether you feel it should be a Pool A or Pool B legacy.
Javelin Pool A – Exaultation of Battle +Healing/Leach
Thinking about set bonuses, what bonuses do you find most useful? Least useful? Please give 2 examples of each and please specify which set you are referring to.
1. Dance of war threat transfer increase from the Moria set
2. –50% Power cost for Resolution from the Rift set
1. Hampering Javelin duration on the Moors set as the level 50 set has a better bonus then the 58 set 😦
2. 10% greater threat on the Warden’s taunt as this is such a small part of our overall threat from the Helegrod set.
I didn’t post this as I think it might be a tad OP – but I’d love an Onslaught Increased Targets legacy, AOE DPS and interrupts would be a blast!
Posted in LOTRO, Raids and End-game, Warden
Tagged End-game, Equipment, Gambits, Gear, group, legacy, Legendary Items, LOTRO, Mirkwood, moors, threat, Warden
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.
Posted in LOTRO, Raids and End-game
Tagged End-game, Enedwaith, Equipment, Expansion, Free to Play, Gear, group, hard-mode, Legendary Items, LOTRO, radiance, raid, skirmishes
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
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
This weeks TtCTT is up and the class of focus is the Minstrel, which is another of my mains so I wanted to not only suggest that folks submit their responses but I also wanted to share mine.
I could only come up with 2 suggestions for things to change:
- I’d like to see some more melee options for the Minstrel in War-speech. This becomes a real problem with all the silences and such and I’d love to see something else other then Herald’s Strike and our auto-attacks.
- Probably a bigger problem for Minstrels is that our heals don’t scale with the changes in the morale pools for characters up to level 65. I will admit I’m not sure what the right solution here is but some tweak would be very nice to scale those heals better now that we have many characters quite easily eclipsing 10K morale.
As for a new legacy, I would like to see a power return addition to Herald’s Strike. Nothing over the top but a little something to help with the ridiculous power drain of being in War-speech.
As for set bonuses, I’m really not a fan of stat bonuses so I’d be more then happy if those went away, Or if they’re going to stick with those use a stat that doesn’t have a hard cap like power or morale. As for ones I like, anything that makes me heal better with less power is good or things that reduce threat. The other nice bonus is on the BG set which has a boost to Fellowship’s Heart.
If you missed it live (or want to listen to it again), a Casual Stroll to Mordor’s Captain Roundtable is now posted both on their site and on iTunes. I participated but definitely Elb and Geiri really do know their stuff and they do play their captains slightly different. If you have a captain or want to learn more about the class, it is certainly well worth the listen. It is a little long (a shade over 2 hours) but we do also cover a bunch of other group related topics as well. The build-up and recording of it certainly has gotten me more fired up about the class and I’m actually working on my captain again as well as working on his radiance. I did finally hit 65 and realized that I really do miss the class 🙂 I’m not saying he’s going to become my main again, but certainly not banished to the Thorin’s Hall Homestead either.
Posted in Captain, LOTRO
Tagged Captain, End-game, Equipment, Gear, group, legacy, Legendary Items, LOTRO, Mirkwood, moors, Podcast, pvp, radiance, raid, skirmishes, threat, traits, virtues
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