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 🙂
Posted in Captain, Champion, LOTRO, Minstrel, Raids and End-game, Warden
Tagged BG, Captain, champions, crafting, End-game, Equipment, Gear, group, guardians, hard-mode, LOTRO, Minstral, Mirkwood, moors, radiance, raid, Warden
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 😉
Posted in LOTRO, Raids and End-game, Warden
Tagged beta, BG, End-game, Enedwaith, Equipment, Expansion, Free to Play, Gear, group, hard-mode, LOTRO, radiance, raid, video, Warden
This was a bit of a stealth update that wasn’t mentioned at all in the patch notes but all the new radiance sets were upgraded with the most recent patch. The Annuminas sets didn’t change all that much, just a point or two here or there. The Helegrod sets though were buffed quite a bit and in many cases are some of the best pieces around. I’m pretty happy about this for two reasons as it shows they’re still tweaking things as well as making sure the amount of effort matches the rewards. The appearances of them haven’t changed but if you’re interested in the stats they’re worth a look. If you need a refresher on the looks check out the Minstrel sets and the Warden and Captain sets.
I’ve updated my spreadsheets for the Warden, Captain, and Minstrel sets so check those out if you’re a number geek like me.
Google Docs Version
Excel File Version
Posted in Captain, LOTRO, Minstrel, Raids and End-game, Warden
Tagged beta, Captain, End-game, Enedwaith, Equipment, Free to Play, Gear, group, LOTRO, Minstral, radiance, skirmishes, Warden
The next series of JWBarry’s Instance 2.0 Diary has been posted and I highly suggest checking it out as it is another great read.
There’s not as much talk about new features and such but it really gives a great insight into how they went about this process and what they wanted to achieve. This post helps highlight what their goals for instances (and raids) are going forward and I’m liking what I’ve read so far.
This post covers the Annuminas instances and the Eregion 3-mans, although really it is the Annuminas instances as they didn’t need to change the Eregion instances much at all.
The Annuminas instances have always been some of my favorites but there were some annoyances that I think cut into their popularity. Luckily for us, many of those have been corrected including:
- The annoying burrowing Cave Claws – they can’t do that anymore!
- The lever puzzle in Glinghant is gone which also means you can run this with less then 6 people
- The darkwaters have been tweaked which was a HUGE pain
- The instances no longer require specific camps to be controlled by the Free Peoples in Annuminas such that they’re always available!
From a higher level view, what this diary can tell us about instances and their overall group and raiding priorities is almost more exciting then the specific changes:
- Forcing group numbers isn’t a goal. So if you’re good enough to 4-man a 6-man instance you’ll be able to.
- DPS races are not desired boss mechanics
- Drawing fights out just to make them take longer isn’t a fun mechanic
- Puzzles without appropriate feedback will be tweaked and/or removed. I don’t see this as making the game “EZMode” as you’ll still be able to have challenging puzzles but certain ones were complete and total black boxes without any guidance on if you’ve done something good or bad.
- Instead of power drains they’re adding power cost multipliers such that it will be up to the players to manage their power not the instance
For me this Diary wasn’t as much about the details but what JWBarry highlights about the process and their goals. I can’t wait for Part 4’s discussion on Helegrod!!
Posted in LOTRO, Raids and End-game
Tagged beta, End-game, Enedwaith, Equipment, Expansion, Free to Play, Gear, group, LOTRO, radiance, raid
I finally got around to adding in the Minstrel sets but I fail at Google Docs so I had to create a new Excel version but I could just append to the Google Docs. I have both the Excel version and the Google Docs version depending on which you prefer. Also, I took snapshots of the Minstrel set and remember the medium Annuminas set is the same as what I showed in the previous armor screenshots.
Posted in LOTRO, Minstrel, Raids and End-game
Tagged beta, End-game, Enedwaith, Equipment, Free to Play, Gear, group, LOTRO, Minstral, radiance, screenshots
I promised screenshots yesterday when I posted the stats for the new Warden and Captain radiance armor sets, so here they are. I took them both on my Warden but you’ll get the idea. Also, remember there’s no helm for the heavy Annuminas set.
Medium Annuminas Set:
Heavy Annuminas Set:
Posted in Captain, LOTRO, Raids and End-game, Warden
Tagged beta, Captain, End-game, Enedwaith, Equipment, Free to Play, Gear, group, LOTRO, radiance, screenshots, volume 3, Warden
As I promised in my previous post today I did capture the new set information for the Annuminas and Helegrod armour sets. I have since updated both the spreadsheet and Google Docs version of my previous armor comparisons for those who care. I have not updated the Minstrel sets, but I will include the light and medium Annuminas sets for that one. Overall the sets aren’t bad but really they’re just providing another path and option for folks if they want to get the required radiance. When Bullroarer comes back up I will post with some screen-shots of what these look like and the barter levels but essentially they look like the original versions with different color schemes. Basically the same idea as what they did with the moors sets.
Posted in Captain, LOTRO, Minstrel, Warden
Tagged beta, Captain, End-game, Enedwaith, Equipment, Expansion, Free to Play, Gear, group, Lore, LOTRO, Minstral, radiance, raid, volume 3, Warden
As Sapience has posted, the NDA on the LOTRO Beta has been lifted. I’m pretty surprised they did it this early, but I’m not going to complain if they decide to release this sooner as opposed to later. There are tons of posts up on the boards but if you don’t want to sift through those I will share my thoughts so far. I will admit that I haven’t done everything but will break my post up in a few different topics as well as spread them out a bit. I’ve already talked a bunch about the store so I’m not going to talk about that. Once the servers come back up I will be posting some screen shots as well but I’m sure others will have them up shortly too 🙂 Also, if you have any specific questions let me know and I’ll see what I can do to answer them.
Starting off with my main class, the Wardens have gotten some nice bumps at the cost of a potentially nasty bruise. The biggest change is that our various carvings now apply to not only the gambits but the builders themselves. For me this not only made a significant difference in my power usage, but since I didn’t have to pull back as much I also had a nice DPS boost. Also Wardens will be getting a Muster to Forochel which while not game breaking is nice to fill out the skills. The biggest “nerf” is that our Gambit recovery skills are now “fast” skills as opposed to immediate which means you can’t use them to interrupt long animations like Defiant Challenge. I’m a bit on the fence about this one as Defiant Challenge really is now back to a crappy legendary but I understand that they need to be careful as it could be overpowered. Not much else changed, but for other thoughts and ideas, check out the live boards for other reactions.
The Captain class was changed pretty significantly and for the most part I think for the good. They’ve added an additional combat skill “Sure Strike” available at level 1, which does the same damage as Defensive Strike but cannot be blocked or parried. This really does help smooth things out such that you’re not waiting for cooldowns during combat. The other changes are in the trait lines as they’ve made some tweaks to the Leader of Men and Lead the Charge lines. Essentially the pet buffs from the Leader of Men lines have been moved to the Lead the Charge lines including the Oathbreaker pet as part of the Lead the Charge capstone. The Leader of Men capstone now has the increased threat mark and the application of the Shield brother buffs to your entire fellowship. The downside for Captains is the nerf of our banners to now provide rating increases and not percentages. Pretty much across the board this will result in a hefty drop in damage and a drop in morale/power. They’ve helped this a little bit with the addition of level 65 armaments and standards but it still doesn’t quite balance out. Essentially they’ve balanced it out more such that Heralds are viable again, but at the sacrifice of banners. Heralds also did get some other tweaks, but being a banner Captain I didn’t look at those at all but check out this thread on the live forums as folks are posting their thoughts as well.
There are two new armor sets available and I will have new versions of my armor spreadsheets posted here shortly as I did grab the info for both Wardens and Captains. They’ve updated both the Annuminas sets (so there’s a light, medium, and heavy) as well as the class specific ones from Helegrod. You can still get the old sets, but there are completely new level 65 sets as well. One real cool thing here is this now provides a Medium Armour Radiance set for Minstrels 🙂 I do like the idea of the sets as it gives another option for radiance progression and doesn’t make the current sets irrelavent either.
And finally, I wanted to touch on the new Lua scripting. The community really has taken off with the scripting and there’s all sorts of very cool things folks have posted. It really has been cool to see how people have been using this new tool but also working together to propose ideas and explain why certain things can’t work. The main ones I’ve enjoyed have been the inventory tweaks, travel windows for Hunter and Warden ports, combat enabled quickslots, and changes to the “vitals” display. The scripts only allow access to your own information but provides another way to display health/mana and a customizable way to see buffs and debuffs. A couple of examples are making the expiration of buffs/debuffs easier to understand and pick and choose which buffs/debuffs you care about. I’m pretty sure I’ll be using some of these when this goes live as I don’t see them as game breaking or cheating but just making the User Interface more effective for me and my play-style. These plugins also really help with the cluttered quickslot bars as it allows you to clear off a bunch of things and order/display them exactly how you want.
I’ll have more updates as well go, but wanted to get this out up front.
Posted in Captain, LOTRO, Minstrel, Raids and End-game, Warden
Tagged beta, Captain, End-game, Enedwaith, Equipment, Expansion, Free to Play, Gear, group, LOTRO, Minstral, radiance, raid, skirmishes, traits, volume 3, 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