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
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
In case you missed the notification, you can catch me as a guest on episode 47 of the LOTRO Reporter podcast. We focus mainly on the End-game content as we go through what you should do to prepare and run the various instances and raids. I’m going to follow that up with a more detailed post on Radiance gear either tomorrow or Monday.
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
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
There’s been a rush of news lately with quite a few putting out updates on the beta, new zone, and Turbine Store. Folks have covered some of these already but I will include my take on them as well.
First up is the interview Mordor of Bust conducted with Kate Paiz, LOTRO’s new Executive Producer who was also part of DDO’s transition to the Free to play model. A couple things that jumped out at me but certainly take a read for yourself:
- Since DDO went F2P (Sept. 2009) they’ve released 5 updates and they’re expecting similar frequency with LOTRO. Now we’ll see how big those updates are but 5 updates in 9 months is pretty darn nice.
- She does mention that they’ve already made changes due to Beta feedback, and that the stat tomes from the Turbine Store are also world drops which is nice to know.
- It is nice to see how much Middle-Earth Enterprises is engaged with the entire process, so I feel comfortable that things will still remain close to the lore.
- Interesting to note the LOTRO hasn’t released in China yet and that they’re still looking for a business model that will work over there. That should provide a nice revenue stream for Turbine when that kicks in.
MMORPG.com has a pretty lengthy article on their playtime in the beta including information on the new zone, the instance scaling, and the store. From what it sounds like from the descriptions I’ve read, Enedwaith sounds like a gorgeous zone and I can’t wait to wander around in the bright sunshine again. I’m really excited for the new instance scaling part but a tad disappointed that we’ll have a new set of tokens to fill up our packs. Plus rumor has it there’s no progress on a “wallet” to keep all these things in so we’ll be forced to most likely buy more vault space. But this all does pale to the prospects of returning to some of the places I haven’t been to in a long while and gain (hopefully) useful rewards to go along with the fun challenges. In discussing the store, they do confirm that not only will you be able to accelerate deed completion but also buy the virtues outright. I’ve waffled back and forth on this concept quite a bit but I think I’m coming around to it and am sure I will take advantage of it on my main and my alts.
Ten Ton Hammer also has a similar preview posted but the do include some screenshots including the shot below of the ruins of Enedwaith:
Very similar information but always fun to hear others describe what’s going on and what the new toys are. I’m getting pretty anxious to go back and see the Annuminas instances as those were fun, challenging, and not terribly long. Not to mention the prospects of not having to horse to the instance door is very welcome, although I will concede a tad lore-breaking 🙂
Posted in LOTRO
Tagged beta, End-game, Enedwaith, epic line, Expansion, Free to Play, Gear, group, Lore, LOTRO, raid, screenshots, traits, virtues, volume 3
So part 2 of Massively’s coverage of the new fall content and F2P switch (Part 1) was posted this morning and it covers both the new festival and the store.
The haunted cellar sounds really cool and very fall-like I’m actually quite intrigued about not only how it will look but the themed decorations that will be available with the token rewards 🙂 Hopefully they’ll use the fear logic from BG such that you can be feared and randomly run around and trigger more fun!
The meat of what I wanted to write about was the info on the store. Now I realize this is all subject to change as we’re still in the beta, but I’m sure there will be LOTS of upset folks over the addition of items to reduce the in-game grind. In certain cases I’m all for it, but I see them handling it two separate ways, one I like and the other I don’t.
For virtues they’re offering a way to speed up the way you earn that title such that you need (I’m assuming) half as many mobs to complete the deed and get the virtue. I think this is a good compromise and would even be happy if I could outright buy a virtue level (I know, I’m probably in the minority here) as there’s no reason I can’t do that in game I just choose not to because I don’t enjoy it. I think speeding up the virtue grind is a very welcome addition for anyone who wants to get their characters and alts tweaked out the way they want to and still enjoy the content and game the way they want it. My 3 mains are all in various stages of their virtue completion and I’d love to have an option to bring them all to the same level. Another option I’d support would be to allow the purchase of virtue ranks only up to the maximum you have on that account such that’ you’d have to grind it once, but only once 🙂
Now the part I don’t like is the ability to purchase reputation mounts as I think this is taking the above concept a step to far. I’m all for using the store to buy mounts as long as it isn’t your first one but I don’t like the idea of removing the reward for the reputation grind many (like me) have completed. I think those mounts should only be available if you have the appropriate reputation. What I would like to see is similar to the traits discussed above, a buff that grants double reputation for a period of time such that you could more quickly accomplish your goals. Another option would be to allow purchasable reputation which would mimic my thoughts on Virtues, which if done properly I could support as well. Now this may only be showing the mounts available for that character, but I see no clarification and as such I’m purely posting on what I would have a problem with if it stays like this through beta. And even if the system does work like this currently, there’s still lots of time for them to flesh out the details and make changes based on the community feedback.
I will update this post as I’m sure there will be some dev clarification on these topics based on the feedback from the community, this thread on the F2P boards seems most likely to be the one to kick up some dirt but I’m expecting more as the day goes on.
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
After reading this thread over on Casual Stroll to Mordor I figured that not only would I run this to make sure I still could do it, but record it, and post about it.
For those of you who haven’t run this instance, it is a solo quest out of the later Mirkwood quest zones Thangulhad. One of the draws of this quest is that it is one of the few (I mainly just do 2 of the dailies) that rewards the Gold Star Emblems. Check out Chordian.net for what you can use these for, but mainly the Horse, Port, and Legendary item stuff including the Scroll of Delving which adds 10 levels to your legendary item. I actually will grab this quest and the one for the black badges of dishonor as I find usually I can get the 5 badges I need while finishing up the instance. That way I can get my 2 Gold Star Emblems and Item XP all in one shot.
In this quest you are proceeding with 2 dwarves trying to seal up an area that the goblins are using to possibly penetrate and harass the various Mirkwood camps. And of course, both of these dwarves need to survive in order for you to complete the quest. Because of the escorts and the number of mobs, this is usually viewed as on of the tougher solo instances in the game and pretty darn hard on certain classes.
This is a pretty fast paced quest without much time to catch your breath, there are a couple of 2-mob pulls but then a couple with multiple normal mobs and a signature, followed by another wave of a couple of normals. So for me, one of the keys is liberal use of food to not only keep you alive while fighting but also boost your out-of-combat regeneration rates such that you can quickly recover for the next wave.
For the most part, I follow a lot of what’s mentioned in the post I linked above with the exception of a couple class traits. I’m slotted fully down the Warrior Skald path and I also slot Glorious Anthem and Battle Hymn. This not only makes my anthems last for 45 seconds but the Anthem of Valar does its normal very nice AoE damage plus applies the massive in-combat Morale regeneration buff that’s usually just tied to Anthem of the Free Peoples. With this buff up, I can pretty much stay in the thick of the battle by using the occasional potions. I’ll try to let the dwarves grab one or two mobs, but in general I just tend to AoE everything and pull them out of the fire.
Take a look at my recording of this instance, and feel free to let me know if you have any questions on it. You can also check out my minstrels page over on My.Lotro if you’re curious about my equipment, and the other stat of interest probably is that my ICPR sits at 1073 currently and for DPS I use the bagpipes :).