Tag Archives: skirmishes

Turbine announces LOTRO going Free to Play


Ironically we were just having this discussion over on Mordor of Bust but Turbine made it official today with the official announcement that they’re adopting the same pay model as they recently implemented with Dungeons and Dragons Online.  Needless to say, twitter has just exploded today with all sorts of discussions and comments.

I’m still a bit conflicted about it, but so far I’m leaning more to the positive side but more on my thoughts later, I’m just going to make this a news and summary post.

I’d suggest reading the new LOTRO Executive Producer’s post on this subject as she not only explains her background and some of the goals but also gives us a few teasers as well.  This will be launched this fall with the second book of Volume 3.  Towards the end of the year into 2011 there will be enhancements to the Legendary Item system, radiance, DX11 support, and Monster play.  Now interesting enough, she does break out Item advancement as a second mention so possibly there’s something else in the works too, but we’ll have to wait and see.  She also hypes the beta signup which existing subscribers are already opted in to the chance to be selected but signing up again will boost your chances.  This obviously answers my concerns over the Isengard program, as they’ve been building all this new stuff for the F2P switch.

Now on to the meat, there are 3 different account Tiers, free, premium, and VIP.  All current subscribers are automatically given VIP status so that’s a nice perk.  For a pretty good chart on the explanation of the differences check out this link. One thing that Patience has already confirmed is that if you already have 7 character slots unlocked you will not lose those, these charts are just assuming you have the core Shadows of Angmar game not the expansions which unlock new slots, classes, and the higher level cap.  For the most part, I like the way they’ve broken things out and I really like the fact that things like storage slots, shared bank slots, and the new cosmetic wardrobe are all purchasable.  For all of us starved for slots, this is awesome as the wardrobe is 20 slots, shared storage is expandable to 50 (currently 20), and I’m assuming you can buy additional bank slots too.  Tons of information in the FAQ although most of it concerns what happens when you swap between Tiers.

For those of you (like me) that are Lifetime Founders there are some additional bonuses.  Lifetimers are automatically VIPs and get the 500 Turbine points for free ever month (just like if we were paying a subscription fee) but also get additional bonus points for being a Founder as well as veteran reward points for a total initial bonus of up to 3500 Turbine Points.  In addition, since it appears that the expansion packs are now part of the store it is possible that you’ll be able to buy those with Turbine Points such that you could save up and not have to spend actual cash if you didn’t want to.

One other point that’s mentioned in the chart but not really expanded is how players earn Turbine points through gameplay.  This will really drive how free it really will be to play as the chart shows that free players only have access to the 3 starter areas (Erid Luin, the Shire, and Bree) so there’s no way they can even approach the level cap.  But if through normal game play you can earn enough points to buy the other zones, everyone should be fine.  You’ll still need to buy the expansion packs, but in theory you can now use your in-game points as opposed to actual cash.

A couple of points I picked out:

  • Max characters per server is now 11
  • It looks like for the most part, downgrading account Tier means you can’t get new stuff but the old perks you had are still available.
  • Monster play is restricted to VIP level only
  • Quest regions are broken out per Tier, VIPs have full access others need to buy the packs
  • Limits on Gold and Inventory bags for the 2 lower tier accounts
  • Rested XP only available for VIPs
  • Can’t spend Destiny points unless you’re a VIP, but you can earn them at any tier.
  • Trait slotting is limited on 2 lower tier accounts
  • Points cannot be transferred between LOTRO and DDO

I’m going to reserve my thoughts on this for a little bit to let this all sink in, but wanted to get a quick summary out there.

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Wardens grabbing even more attention


So I’m stealing the title from my post over on LOTRO Reporter in which I walk through the basics of tanking for a Warden.  I wanted to link to that over here as well as refresh a couple other previous posts I’ve made along those lines.

There were significant combat system changes with the launch of Mirkwood, so I took some time in this post to walk through all the changes.

For more specifics on tanking gambits you can check out my entire series over on the LOTRO Reporter, but also I posted in significant length on this subject back in November.

With all the agro talk, I also wanted to refresh the post I made quoting Graalx2 with the threat definitions.

And finally I’ve also mentioned a few times about Legendary Items which comes up in many of these posts so I figured I’d post the links to those posts here covering both the Warden Legendary Item Pools and legacy and rune discussions.

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Shifting play-style


For the past couple of weeks I have been branching out for a bit from LOTRO mainly from a lack of dedicated time.  Not that I don’t have time available but that time is frequently and without warning interrupted which makes it very hard to do some of the things I enjoy in LOTRO, like raiding and group content.  Because of this I’ve been shifting a bit from my normal play style in LOTRO to some other avenues.  This has also been part of the reason for a lack of activity here as I just haven’t had all that much to write about.  But for now this just feels like a little bump in the road.

Inside of LOTRO this has included a lot of the spring festival and the Ale Association quests.  I’ve also been running a fair number of skirmishes but those can require attention depending on what skirmish and tier I’m attempting.  And I’ve also been running around with my baby RK who just dinged 22.  I’ve been enjoying the new Lone Lands area quite a bit as it is a MUCH better flow from Bree, although for an RK it is a little dis-jointed.  The transition along the book epic lines was great as it takes you straight from Bree to Candaith and for me I was around 20ish before finishing off book 1 as I had done a number of other things in Bree.  The issue I ran to on my RK was the level 15 class quest for RKs is there in the Lone Lands and I ended up picking up some other quests that did throw me off a tad.  Nothing terrible, but I’m really trying to walk through this zone in order and I ended up with some scattered quests as I normally grab all quests I can see 🙂

Outside of LOTRO I have been checking out a few other games as well.  I’ve pretty much stopped playing Dragon Age as Awakenings seems to have lost its luster for me.  I did enjoy it, but it doesn’t have nearly the same re-playability as Origins did.  It certainly is replayable, but after the second time I just wasn’t that motivated, unlike the 5 times I went through Origins 🙂  Maybe that’s just because there are enough similarities that I don’t distinguish between the two.  But certainly if you haven’t checked Awakenings out I do recommend it as the new skills and abilities are LOTS of fun.

Another single player game that I’ve been playing off and on has been Mount and Blade.  I’ve talked about Mount and Blade before and it is getting more press now that they’ve released Warband.  I’ve downloaded Warband and have checked it out a little bit but I’m still on the trial version so I haven’t made it all that far.  The graphics updates are great and they’ve redone the map completely such that it seems much more conflict centric.  There are a number of other tweaks with romances and NPC relationships and the like that sound really intriguing but I have yet to see them.  I still haven’t gotten quite used to the new swinging animations so my horseback attacks are pretty bad at the moment.  I’m still on the fence about if there are enough differences between Warband and the original to warrant me buying the new version as I think the biggest new feature is a multiplayer aspect which while intriguing, doesn’t interest me at all.

The final game I’ve been playing lately has been Age of Conan.  I tried it out a little bit when they first launched and just couldn’t get into it.  I will admit that I didn’t play all that much as I just couldn’t get the hang of the combat system.  But when they announced the revamp of their trial system to allow full access to the starter zone for as long as you want I figured it would be a good time to check it out again.  Plus the upcoming patches and expansions are interesting enough that I wanted to check things out.  So far I’ve rolled 4 different toons, 2 of the heavy armor classes (Dark Templar and Conqueror), a ranger, and a mage type (Herald of Xotli).  I haven’t done much with the Conqueror yet (the rest are at least level 13), but aside from the ranger the other 2 are quite different from the typical classes from other games I’ve played.  The Dark Templar is a sword and board tank type that also can use dark magic to de-buff and leach life off of enemies.  So in some ways it does mimic the play of the Warden, although with a drastically different back-story 😉  The Herald of Xolti (HoX) is a fire-based mage that also uses two handed weapons – which to me sounded like an interesting concept.  The HoX does have some good absorption buffs which mitigates their cloth armor restriction so in that way they’re also somewhat analogous to Wardens in LOTRO.  For all of these, I’ve mainly been focusing on following the individual epic class lines which are solo based.  I’ve had to do a little grinding to get to the level requirements, but for the most part it hasn’t been bad at all.

Based on my initial experiences, I am actually tempted to pick up AoC to scratch my PvP itch as it certainly is much more prevalent and rewarding then PvMP in LOTRO.  The graphics in AoC are really impressive and I enjoy the feel of the area only slightly less then I like things in LOTRO.  It has taken me a bit to get used to the combat system but now I really do enjoy it.  The biggest thing that got me was the targeting system – you don’t have to target a mob to hit it (such that you can get inadvertent AoEs) but there is an auto-face standard that I haven’t figured out how to turn off such that if I forget to target the mob in front of me I’ll keep spinning around to some other mob that I might have tabbed to.  AoC also has a combo system that reminds me of the Warden gambits but AoC has a visual prompt of what the next builder is supposed to be such that there’s not the same memorization requirement Wardens have.  AoC also has a nifty way of handling your class epic line in that you’re taken to a Night-time instance that is single player.  So all of your epics are done in that fashion at night, and if you want to join other folks you need to travel back to the day-time.  So far I enjoy that system, but I’m not sure how it works going forward.  Another enjoyable aspect of the story line is how the different stories play off each-other in that you’ll hear about other people in one class story and then actually get to play that part in another story.  I didn’t realize they did this at all until I was reading the quest and realized “hey, that was my ranger doing that” which does make me want to roll other classes to see where they fit in.

Now the only “issue” I’ve run into is partly my own fault but it also shows off a strength in my mind.  When I started, I decided on the PvP server as my home as I wanted that environment and wasn’t real sure how the PvP-RP servers would differ.  What this then allows for is common quest areas in the day-time environment are open combat.  As I’ve found already, these can be camped by higher level characters who enjoy killing newbs like me, repeatedly.  However, a couple things that I appreciate about how AoC handles this is they do have an instigator flag that will prompt guards to attack said “criminal” to discourage that act somewhat.  I will admit that I’m sure that times out after some interval and there are probably ways around it such that it doesn’t really do my – but it seems like this does create some level of punishment that stops some from just randomly killing people.  This flag also is pretty obvious such that you can see it from a good distance and have a chance to run if need be.  The other aspect is when you die there’s an immunity buff that makes it such that you can’t be harmed while close to the res circle.  I realize this isn’t perfect but it at least gives you time to map or log.  I’m sure others have a different take on this, but for me it hasn’t bothered me yet as they seem to have more rewards for PvP then penalties for dying.

The other game that might fit into this play style for me is Eve which I’ve played a couple of times but never quite got either.  It certainly has a lot of the planning and spreadsheet aspects that I like and success isn’t solely driven by how much time you spend in game.  Reading Tobold’s latest series of posts as he hops into Eve has brought this back into my thought process and I may have to give that game another go.

I’m hoping that I can get a chance to get back to a more dedicated schedule for my gaming, but for now it is what it is and I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as possible.

Weekend news


So things have been a bit slow on the news side, but hopefully now that PAX is done we may hear some things from Turbine on what all they have planned for us down the road.  There were a bunch of folks (including myself) who sent a nice long list of questions to Merric and Goldenstar from CStM and they’re in the process of pulling all the info together. I’m not expecting anything earth shattering after Sapience’s comments on the forums, but we shall see.  However, Patience did chime in on a conversation between me and @wickedpt on twitter “@wickedpt Just because we are not talking about something yet doesn’t mean we’re not working on it. Stay tuned. :)” so I suspect they’re just phasing the news updates between DDO and LOTRO.  I would expect to start seeing some new diaries and such starting to filter out as we near the end of the Spring festival, although due to the horse issue that might get extended a bit.

In game for me I’ve been enjoying the spring festival doing the dirty work for the dwarves and their Ale Association.  I just hit the first tier of reputation with them and I’m curious to see what’s available from that kindred vendor.  For this festival, I’m just focusing on my Warden but I may grab a few of the rewards/items on my Minnie as well.  I have saved most of my fortunes, so those titles should be pretty transferable – and they’re also relatively cheap on the AH 🙂  Sadly though I didn’t get in too much time with my RK so she’s still stuck at 20 (or maybe 21) but I’m interested to not only see the new Lone Lands but also see what it is like to run Skirmishes from the start and not from the level cap 🙂

On Friday I mentioned a new website (well new to me) I stumbled across lotro.mmorsel.com and today’s tip was one I really wanted to stress.  The tip is regarding using the fellowship assist options to better coordinate attacks between DPS classes.  This has been in the game for a long time for raids, but didn’t come in for fellowships until more recently and many still don’t know it exists.  As a tank (and a healer) I can’t stress how important and helpful this setting is when used properly as it makes everyone’s job that much easier.  Not only does it provide a way to select the proper target, but it also gives the tank and healer a good gauge on how the fight is progressing without having to switch targets.  By focusing all your DPS on one target, not only do they all drop faster but it makes tanking that much easier as you only have 1 mob to compete with DPS on and then you just have to out agro the healer on the rest.  Using the fellowship assist not only can you set up the tank’s target and the main target for DPS, but you can also do things like designating targets for crowd control or other such tasks.  In groups that I’m not leading, I always make sure that not only is this turned on and used by the leader, but that everyone in the group has it up and knows what to do with it.  So if you haven’t used this tool before, next time you’re in a group check it out!

I still have a piece in work on comparing not only the different tiers of skirmishes but also comparing the Rift to other skirmishes as I’m now very convinced it is by far the toughest skirmish out there, excluding the Barrow Downs one of course 😉

Spring Festival notes


So I put up a few posts, videos, and snapshots yesterday of the festival – if you haven’t seen them check out as I was mainly shrew stomping and enjoying the kegs.  Today I wanted to put out a couple of updates and share some posts from others.

Outside of my efforts yesterday, I was back in festival mode today.  I did some more shrew stomping to finish off collecting the items I wanted (the table and the hat mainly) as well as finishing the shrew title.  However, the depressing part of that was once I finished there’s an advanced title “Tamer of the Shrew” that’s for stomping 400 shrews.  That does only work out to 40 games which is roughly 3 hours of non-stop stomping.  I may end up doing it as I have to admit it is working as a good stress reliever for me 😉  I’m also starting to work on the dwarven Ale Association quests as I’ve seen some of the posts/videos and find them quite amusing.  Here’s a video from KurganNazzir showing one of them:

First up of the links, if you’re unsure of where to go or what all to do check out CStM’s Spring Festival guide as they have pretty much all the info you could need.  And CStM does post this as well, but the hedge maze map was a HUGE help for me, so if you’re as lost as I was you might want to check it out.

Sadly, the festival is not without issues.  There are 2 main ones that have been reported.  The first is that apparently the new horse is bugged in some way such that they had to remove the vendor, here’s the thread as well as the post from the devs. The other issue is that if you log off during the “Invitation to the spring festival” you will lose the quest as reported by Sapience here. I’d suggest keeping tabs on both threads if you’re still waiting to get your horse.

Following on the horse theme if you want to stock up on your leaves and horse tokens but are having issues with the plank jumps in the horse races, check out LOTRO life’s post on completing the races without the jumps.

The other post I wanted to mention was a post by Branadoc over on Sneaky hobbits about skirmishes and the festival. I always enjoy reading how others find the festivals and I’m especially interested in how others find skirmishes.

And finally, just posted as I was writing this I saw Turbine’s Welcome Back weekend announcement from the 25th to 29th of March.  In addition to the free play, there’s also a 5% XP bonus during that time as well.  I will probably be working on my RK some during that time to take advantage of the extra XP 🙂

Updated Captain guides


So I know I haven’t played mine much lately nor really talked about him, but there was a new guide posted on the forums which has sparked some good discussion as well as a mention of an old guide being updated as well.  Here’s the link to the recent guide by Cithryth as well as the link to Elborigorn’s guide.  Cithryth primarily focuses on a grouping/raiding Captain while Elborigorn’s is a bit more inclusive to include all the roles a Captain might have to fill.  So, if you have or are leveling a Captain both treads are good reads for ideas a build suggestions.

Even more challenges in the Rift


So after my fun on Thursday in the Rift, I decided to really push my luck 😉  I ended up running the RIft skirmish as a Tier 3 on my Warden, and again as a Tier 2 on my Minstrel.

I’ll start with the Minstrel and pretty much admit that this may be the last time I run that skirmish as a Tier 2 on that toon 🙂  I ended up getting the 2 AOE Flame Encounters that just ate my poor soldier up almost instantly – and I’m using a ranged soldier!  I was able to finally kill the Dragon, but I’m pretty sure the way I did it was an exploit and will not be doing that again.  I was just really frustrated and annoyed, luckily you can’t go negative on the skirmish marks 😉  The normal pulls weren’t that bad, but holy cow those 2 encounters roasted my poor Minnie’s butt.

Before that run with my Minstrel (which probably added to my frustration) was trying the Rift on Tier 3.  Now I’m not sure if it is just the Rift as this was my first attempt at Tier 3, but holy crap is there a HUGE jump in difficulty between tier 2 and tier 3.  I barely got past the first wave and ended up calling it a day after way too many deaths to count. – I had almost a 1 gold repair bill if that’s any indication 😦  I’m thinking part of the problem with the Warden with Tier 3 is that now with the higher mob resists, coupled with the boost to mitigations in Tier 3 make our transfers and DoTs MUCH less effective.  Perhaps it is time to re-think my traits again and go back to more of a mix of traits as opposed to full shield line.  I probably should parse things using CStats, but I didn’t think about it at the time.  In addition to those issues, these mobs were hitting for crazy amount – LTs critting for over 2K at a time, and critting quite frequently really make it a totally different fighting experience.  So I’m curious if others have tried other Tier 3’s or have experiences doing the RIft at higher difficulties.

I did capture some of it in Fraps, but sadly I rage deleted it as I was just so frustrated with the whole experience 😦  I’m not down on the system, I was just upset that I played so poorly.  I probably will dust myself of and re-attempt these again with a slightly modified strategy but for now I will be licking my wounds for a little bit 😉

Challenging adventures in the Rift Skirmish


Since there are a few skirmish barter items I want from the Rift, I figured I’d go through a couple of test runs and capture them via Fraps and CStats to do some comparisons.  I wanted to not only compare the archer to the sage to see how they rank for DPS but also see how things had changed with the new tier 2 drop rates.

A few notes first concerning my soldiers as they are a bit different, which will skew the numbers a bit unfortunately.  My Archer (my Warden’s soldier) is only level 60 with mainly level 54 skills available.  And my Minstrel has a 63 Sage with primarily level 56 skills.

I ran it first on my Warden and as the following 2 videos will show I really didn’t have too many issues.  I was a bit rusty, but for the most part it was rather smooth.

Now for the encounters and the final battle things were a bit different.  I had to do some pretty significant morale surfing as the encounter bosses do hit pretty hard.  But in the end, they weren’t terribly touchy and I didn’t have to use my man heal at all.  Now the final battle I’m not really quite sure what I was thinking but I did a pretty horrible job in that fight, but oh well I still survived 🙂

I did parse this out in CStats and my Warden’s DPS varied from 120-220 with an average of 153 which is lower then some of my other parses, but the Tier 2 really cranks up all the mob mitigations.  Now my archer was parsing around 50 DPS which is about on par with the normal mobs and about half of the encounter/boss mobs.

So after this run, I then flipped over to my Minstrel and gave it a go on him.  The combination of being a Tier 2 with its increased mitigations and the Volume 3 resist change made a BIG difference on my Minstrel.  I had more problems on the smaller mobs then I did on the encounters, which is backwards from how my Warden was.  And in fact, I got a couple of back-to-back waves and did die once during this run.  I was also really concerned as you’ll see in the video (~3:20) where I barely hit the Furmurole in time to let Corunir continue but not quick enough to stop the next wave of adds from coming.  Luckily the waves that spawned ahead of me didn’t kill him, nor did they try to hunt me down – or that would’ve been really bad.  I’m thinking that might be one of the quirks of this skirmish, but I’m not sure 🙂

Now, the CStats data for my Minstrel was quite a bit more interesting then that of my Warden.  I averaged 171 DPS for the skirmish but had values ranging from 61 to 573!  Now this isn’t terribly surprising as my Minstrel is pretty reliant on big crits for Damage but I wasn’t expecting that big of a swing 😉  And the scary part of that was I only had 1 crit during that 573 DPS fight! 🙂  The low end of that scale was mainly fights where I had to drop War-speech, but I may need to switch tales back to the Armor tale and see how that helps as mainly it was the common damage that was hurting me.  My Sage actually varied quite a bit as well from 60-170 with an average of about 75.

Now in looking at the loot drops, I didn’t notice much change in the Campaign mark drops from when I ran this as a Tier 1 during the Epic quest line but I did notice more of everything else.  In total for the 2 runs I picked up 2 Veteran Guardian marks, 9 guardian marks, 5 bounty coins, 3 3rd Marks, and 3 campaign marks.  So I think I’ll continue to do Tier 2’s on my warden, but I might need to re-think doing them on my Minstrel as there are some nasty resists in there with some of the Lieutenants.

I’ll probably continue to tweak things as this is a fun and rather quick skirmish with rewards that I really want 🙂  Will keep you posted if I come up with any good plans for my Minnie…

Massively tours Volume 3 Book 1


In case you haven’t made your patch day plans, Massively has a pretty good walkthrough of all the new things coming with the latest update. as they continue their weekly feature “On the road to Mordor.”  Be warned, there are some spoilers in there 🙂 as they describe some of the epic storyline and the new Rift skirmish.  But there’s also information about the upcoming festival and it looks like once again they’ve come up with another fun game!  I mean not only to do you get to stomp shrews, but you have a chance to win a huge shrew lawn ornament!

Certainly some nice information, including screenshots, and I’m again looking forward to this upcoming Spring festival which starts in a couple weeks.

In addition they were also kind enough to make my Starting a Warden post over on the LOTRO Reporter their community link of the week, so that’s pretty cool as well 🙂

And finally (not Massively related) Turbine has announced and released the winner’s for the Valentine’s Day Screenshot contest, so make sure you check that out as well.

Plans for Patch Day?


As you may or may not have seen, Monday March 1st is patch day for LOTRO as Turbine releases Volume 3 Book 1.  The full official patch notes are up, but I will admit I didn’t see too much different between this version and what was posted to Bullroarer.  I’m pretty excited about this patch not only for the content but it actually hits at a good time for me personally such that I’ll have big chunks of un-interrupted time available!  So I figured I’d try to plan out a bit what I’ll be up to.  I’m sure there will be many other thoughts and/or plans – what’s everyone else excited about doing first?

First up will be a check on my Minstrel for all the crafting changes.  He’s my Cook/Jeweler so there are lots of changes I’ll need to absorb and ingredient lists to make (although I may try to do some of that ahead of time).  Then I’ll probably have to put up sticky notes to remind myself to re-distribute points to my legendary items 😉  It is then off to Angmar to finish up Volume 1 Book 15, chapter 12 and get my new horse!

I’ll then be switching over to my Warden to finish off her epic quests, she’ll take a bit longer as I need to finish off both Books 14 and 15.  These Volume 1 quests have just been annoying me that I didn’t finish them, so it will be very exciting to check those off the list 🙂  I’ll then check out the nearest reflecting pool and see what quests I’d like to re-do so I can start stocking up on my Marks of Triumph as I mentioned yesterday.

Then I’m going to jump in on Volume 3 and work through that on both characters.

After all that it will probably depend on what’s going on in Mirkwood as I’m still short on my radiance pieces.  And then there’s also my Warden’s impending journey out into the Ettenmoors!  But gathering Marks of Triumph for bartering will be a long term goal of mine and will probably occupy a good chunk of my non-raiding time 🙂  Oh, and lets not forget the new Rift skirmish cosmetics…

Like I said at the top – what’s on your list to do first?