Tag Archives: skirmishes

New Radiance Sets Tweaked in Recent Bullroarer Patch


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

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LOTRO F2P Beta Initial Details


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.

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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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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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Captain Roundtable


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.

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Enedwaith, beta, and subscription news


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.

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Warden Roundtable


As I mentioned a week or so ago I participated on the Casual Stroll to Mordor’s podcast as part of their class roundtables, this one focused on the Warden class. I will admit it is a bit of a long episode (tad over 2 hours) but it was fun to not only have my thoughts but a couple other very good Wardens as well.  Both Azz and Ryodor play the class slightly differently then me and have different experiences so it is a nice diversion from my ramblings.

For those of you looking to pick up additional tricks or are just starting out with the class I’d strongly suggest taking a listen.

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