Monthly Archives: August 2010

Less chat more fighting please

Ganin at the Council of Elrond

 Ganin is one of the younger members of the Khazad Guard, (being in his late 60’s) and as such is more impetuous and impatient than some of the more mature Guard. He’s very much of a “yeah whatever, let’s get on with it” mindset, and was subsequently champing at the bit when he and Azaghar found themselves working their way through the first Epic Book. Ganin seemed to get a bit fed up of all the chat, the constant running around for Laerdan and the endless messages. While most people would feel proud and privileged to be invited to attend Elrond’s Council, as you can see Ganin was far too impatient to get on with the fighting to be sensible of the honour…….



Viking replicas in Rohan- Its all Kia’s Fault!

After seeing Kia’s awesome attempts over at CSTM at making some items from LOTRO, I thought I’d go ahead and add some of the items I have made over the years. These were all made as part of a 850-1000AD reenactment group (Viking era) which I have done for 13-4 years. We are currently on a short break from reenacting as mud huts, open fires, blades, and dirt and small babies do mix very well, but in a year or two when he’s bigger we hope to do some again as it is a great atmosphere for kids to learn and experience things, and friends whose children have been brought up in this atmosphere have benefitted massively from it.

So without further ado:

This is a viking helmet I made about 6 years ago, it is based on the helmet bowls found at York and also Valsegarde in Sweden, with the Eye/Eyebrow design from a 10th century helmet fragment found at Tjele in Denmark. Not only does it look awesome on a Viking, it would look fantastic on a Rohirrim Warrior, and seeing this really makes you realise how much the LOTR films borrowed from Viking/Saxon Culture for the Rohirrim in their film and object design!

A set of Viking women’s shoe/slippers made of calf skin, with a cow hide sole. Made jointly by myself and Emma. As cool as the knee-high boots we see in films are, in the real early medieval period such tall boots were not known until about 1350AD, so no Saxons, Viking or Normans in them I’m afraid. Realistically most the average people in Tolkien’s world would probably wear footwear similar to this.

This is me (right) and a cousin of Emma’s (left) doing some training. The shield is one I made myself from Limewood, a common wood used for making shields, which smells wonderful and floral when cut! It is faced in leather for strength, and the edge is bound in rawhide. The shield boss I hand beat cold from a disc of steel, and the design is the White Hart of Christ defeating the world serpent. I am not christian myself, but too many vikings play pagan personas, whereas by the 10th century many were converting to christianity which I thought it would be nice to portray. The design itself is taken from a viking carved stone from Gosforth, in my home county of Cumbria (sadly made famous by the recent shootings). The clothing and other items are all made by myself and Emma to patterns and designs of the period, from Wool and Linens. This scene again could be taken straight from the West-Fold of Rohan, a Rohirrim warrior training his young son!

This is an Oak replica of a Viking bed found on the 9th century viking ship at Gokstad in Norway. It was a real labour of love, and now stands in our guest bedroom with a real mattress and sheets on, so if you are ever a guest at our house this is what you’ll stay in! The dragon heads are scaled down a little from the original so I could fit it in our viking tent, and indeed our house a little better, but the effect is still cool! I added another picture close up of the carvings I did on the heads as you can really see the Jelling/Borre style interlace and how strongly that effected the LOTR film makers again.

Here we have a Hnefatafl (If Merric or Goldenstar are reading this, then just thank god you don’t gotta try pronounce that!) Board made of Oak I made for a friend. It was beautiful when done and she played games on it with some bone pieces I made her and some glass opposing replica pieces she had made by a glass maker. just the sort of thing a Thegn of Rohan would play at his high table with his son to teach him the tactics of war!

This is the inside of a house we stopped in outside of York, we ‘adopted’ it for several years and were responsible for thatching and general maintenance. The banner on the wall was done by Emma in a late 9th-10th century style, though the story is actually a viking style re-telling of how we (the small group of friends we re-enacted with) met and formed the group. The atmosphere in the houses at night was very special, and as most of us were LOTR fans also, we all though this was definitely fitting of a Rohirrim Mead hall.

Our adopted house from the outside, would fit seamlessly next to Meduseld.

The banqueting hall is full of atmosphere as well. We have had up to 50 people in it, and you really get a sense of how it must have felt feasting with a lords hall, be it a Viking lords or Theoden!

And yes before you ask…. we have used this venue and the things we have made for a Bree fancy dress party! In 2006 we invited 20 of our close friends to the Prancing Pony for an evening of merriment and fun. There were all sorts of assorted costumes from Hobbits, and Men, to Elves and the Dwarves of the Iron Mountains. I myself went a Imrahil of Dol Amroth, but sadly we were so busy having fun we forgot largely to take lots of pictures, but I do have a couple to share with you!

A friend of ours at the time who we helped make an Aragorn costume, at some point in their life every LOTR fan should be allowed to do this pose in this costume, it is the most awesome thing ever!

The Common room at the pony, with the bar in the right foreground. A good friend of ours ran the bar for the evening, including ‘snacks’. (don’t ask)

And finally guess what Emma came as… At 5ft tall there was no camera trickery or scaling needed, and sure-fire proof that Emma’s dwarf altoholism pre-dates LOTRO itself: Emma came as a Dwarf: Oin Alottamoney (right) and her friend Dimli son of Gloinnotverybrightly (he did have to cheat and sew his shoes to his knees!)

…. And yes, we cannot wait until baby dwarf is big enough to start wearing costumes, he has already been to a fancy dress party as a viking baby:

Mummy Gamers

Sadly my altohism hasn’t been cured by spending all day every day with Baby Dwarf ( Hes currently close to dinging 20 weeks and getting his undying), If anything it has got worse. I’ve made myself a little Hobbit girl Tank – yep another Guardian. I’d wanted one ever since that far off day when I first saw the Durins Guard armour, when radiance gear was all shiny and new, and now I’ve got one. I love playing Tanks, I think its because I like having a set straight forward job to do, probably why I also love my mincer. I suppose it could be seen as a lazy class to play, you don’t need to run around too much, just pick a spot and make everything angry at you, but it suits me.

So as I was saying, with Baby Dwarf around now, I dont get much opportunity to play through the day as he doesnt sleep and when he does its unlikely it will be for more than half an hour. So I had to figure out who else to play. One option is going on and making all the guild crests for all the characters, and doing a bit of crafting, because it doesnt really matter if you have to keep stopping and starting, but its not the greatest fun. Haki and Ganin are out because they are saved for playing with the other guard members at the evenings as Baby Dwarf is good at night and we generally get a couple of hours play in. The other character I’m trying to level is Barandis my Cappy, but I’ve got to the point where the questing is getting really interesting again, in the 40’s in the Trollshaws, and because alot of the stuff I seem to do on her is a couple of levels above, its not really suited to the drop in and play situation I have at the minute.

So I made a new character, I probably could have levelled one of my legion of alts, but I figured I could level a tank quickly, and I could just drop in and play whenever, fitting around Baby Dwarfs sometimes erratic schedule. And because I think a little cute hobbit girl in full heavy armour is really cute.

It got me thinking though, how do other women with young families find time to play MMOs, its not like a console game where you can pause play (Like I naively tried to do the first time I played LoTRO). There are a couple of women in our other kin who have children, but they’re older in their teens, and for the most part can amuse themselves. So how do you do it, is it evening play only or do you manage to sneak a a bit in during the day, and what do you do with it?


The Khazad Guard in Miniature

By way of an intro, I will state that as well as computer games I have played table top miniature games in the past (hell most gamers have at some point) but was never a massive fan, though I do still have the odd game and a beer with a few mates. What I do love about them is the miniatures and the scenery! I always have, since I was 9-10, painted miniature soldiers mostly historical, but some Tolkien fantasy too. When we started playing LOTRO nearly 2 and a half years ago I was blown away by the models and the scenery and imagined making models of some of it.

About 4-5 months ago, just after baby Dwarf was born I decided to actually do some of it. I started with some plans and rough sketches as I always do. I wanted a small diorama/vignette with some cool ideas for a scene involving our khazad guard dwarves, and perhaps a base of theirs, and the opportunity to try out some cool modelling techniques. Here were some of my initial sketches:

I’ll be honest at this stage I’m just toying with things I think look great, so here I had come up with a small garrison/outpost in a mountain side some where snowy up in the misty mountains. I was in part following the cliché Peter Jackson ‘dwarven stuff is angular’ which I’m not 100% wedded to, but I liked this design so much I have forgiven myself! 😀 I liked the idea of a large wooden door, with a stone carved frame, and some steps down, but also a hexagonal platform at the meeting of two paths. I then added the idea that the second path led to a watch tower/platform, with a small on-duty shelter. It pretty hard to see that from these, but my sketches often only make sense to me, as they are a way of me making ‘notes’ on my ideas. I have never been much of an author as those of you who have suffered through reading any of my articles will appreciate, so for me sketching is my note taking.

I then just got stuck in with throwing together some foam core, polystyrene and balsa wood, onto a balsa wood base with some glue to see how this all looked in 3D. The above is the result , as you can see I have a couple of primed figures on there, toying around with various layouts, but I have the basic concept there, door into the living quarters on the left, hexagonal platform in the centre, and outpost on the right, and some steps down the mountain from the hexagonal platform too. One final touch I decided to add in the centre, was a frozen waterfall falling behind the hexagonal platform, and running under it and out of the front of the diorama.

At this stage I must confess, I got carried away and was a little lax in my picture-taking… sorry! What I did next was added more polystyrene, cut with a bread knife and hot wire  to all the empty areas above. This filled out the bulk of the model in a light weight material. I then mixed some white wall filler and coated large chunks of the model in that, which allowed me to sculpt and smooth much of the rocks some more, and add various bits of extra terrain. I then undercoat (in black) the whole model, and did some dark grey dry brushed coats onto the top, adding various blues, purples and browns into the grey to give it a vibrant grey. I then progressively added some light beige to the grey and dry brushed it fainter and fainter onto the top, to add highlights to the terrain, which is what you then see below.

As you can see it really has taken shape now, and here are a few details of some of my original ideas: Firstly the door, the details got a bit vaguer for two reasons. Firstly the foamcore was not ideal for taking detail at this scale, and secondly I decided to opt for a more weathered and aged look to the frame.

Here is a close up of the hexagonal platform, which I made from foamcore and just drew the design onto with a biro, then scored the centre with a scalpel. This dinted the foamcore enough and it only needed a little tidying up with a scalpel, and a little squashing down of some of the edges to make it look carved. This meant that when I dry brushed it all the detail showed up as below.

 Next I went onto detailing and weathering effects which are my favourite part! I started with getting a frosted snow weather effect with some white paint, sparing brushed on to exposed top surfaces, as shown below. This also provided a good base for the snow powder effects to follow.

Then I add the first of many layers of snow, this is a modellers snow which can be bought from toy/train/modelling shops, and it’s basically just small white granules, which glisten a little like real snow. I added liberal amounts of glue, then sprinkled it on, you can see the glue here (blue colour until dry). I also began adding some blue watery paint effects to the stream bed, which when I eventually model the frozen water will shine through the acrylic making it look more life-like and as if it were reflecting sky. And I have added a little faded colour detail around the main door frame.

At this point I have also started working on some figures to go on the diorama, I definitely wanted the three main dwarves: Izbaruk, Anlafski and Haki, but also fancied adding in some alts: Ganin, Azaghar and Tyri, as this would be a unique opportunity to see them all together, something physically impossible in-game! In addition also needed some Orcs and Goblins to fight, so I have started on those too. One of the biggest tricks was converting the figures to make minstrels and Rune Keepers all in the in-game uniform, but as I’m still only part way through it that will have to wait for next time, but for now here’s a sneak peek of the progress so far!

Progress has been pretty slow as I A) have too many on going projects, and B) get easily distracted, but as I have posted about it, I’m hoping this will give me an incentive to at least try to do some more in the next month or two! Hope you enjoyed this little detour so one final shot: Haki, Anlafski and Izbaruk closer up showing some of the WIP, including my attempt at the Cloak of the West Tower in Red!

You want the Symbol… but who is Celebrimbor?

So you have all coveted those rare (soon to be less so) symbols of Celebrimbor right? But have you ever wondered who he was?

Celembrimbor was an elf of the Noldor, whose heritage stretches back to the first age of the world. He was born in Valinor, the land of the Valar to the uttermost West of the world. He was born into great heritage, but also a great doom, as his father was Curufin. Curufin was the fifth son of Feanor, who later made the Simarils, and through the deceits of Morgoth lost them to Him, and led the Noldor through misery and turmoil back to Beleriand, and set them on an accursed quest to recover the lost Silmarils. His father, with others of his brothers behaved shamefully in many respects with regard to forcefully upholding their oath to Feanor, especially with regard to Beren, Luthien and Finrod Felagund, which meant that they were shunned by many of the other Eldar, and thus their oaths to Feanor, ensured the curse of Mandos was upheld:

“Tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and the Valar will fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over the mountains. On the House of Fëanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East, and upon all that will follow them it shall be laid also. Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever”

Celebrimbor seems to have escaped this doom to a larger extent, perhaps due to his rejection of his fathers deeds, and his refusal to follow them when they were expelled from Nargothrond. However, when the first age was ended and Morgoth overthrown, he did not return to Valinor, though whether this was through choice, or the Curse is uncertain, and he passed over the mountains to dwell in Eriador.

He dwelt for a time in Eregion, and thus learnt much of Ring law from Sauron, is his guise as Annatar. Celebrimbor made the 19 rings as told in the famous rhyme by Gandalf to Frodo. The Seven Rings of the Dwarf lords, the Nine for Mortal men, and the Three of the Elves were all his works. These latter three he created secretly, and thus kept them free of the malign influences of Sauron.

When Sauron then forged the one ring and declared himself as lord of Middle Earth Celembrimbor and the Elves of Eregion refused to surrender the rings to him, and thus Sauron attacked Eregion laying waste to it, and leaving it in the state you now find it in LOTRO. In the destruction Celebrimbor was captured by Saurons forces. Under torture he was forced to reveal the whereabouts of the Seven and the Nine, but would not reveal the Three, before dying of his torment, the last descendant of the House of Feanor.

His Sindarin name: Celebrimbor apparently means ‘Silver-fist’ or ‘hand of silver’, from Celeb: Silver and presumably some for of drambor/paur: hand/clenched fist, which I am assuming relates in some way to his craftsmanship. So there he is, if you are ever lucky enough to see one of these drop, or are bartering your marks for one in a few months time, spare a thought for the last of the elf princes of the line of Feanor!

Down, Down to Goblin Town

A Strange Goblin Painting which appeared to depict an early stage of the Battle of Azanulbizar

Emma and I have been working though our Epic Volume 1 books and enjoying all the miles of travelling that goes with it. We had reached the point, without giving away too many spoilers where we needed to head into goblin town, so we decided it would be fun to actually do all the Goblin Town quests, as a short break from the book.

So we checked out a few guides and a goblin town map, we only seemed to be able to find a missing scout from Elrond (find Aeglas in Goblin town), and a couple of other quests, from Gloin and Bilbo, so with these and the book we set off in. We were level 51 when we started, and all the quests were marked small fellowship but we had some great gear on and with a Champ and Rune Keeper combo we had the flexibility to Tank, Heal and DPS in a variety of interesting ways and combinations.

It turned out that finding Aeglas was the key to the whole place, as he and his grumpy goblin cell neighbour Oghuk had a quest chain to pass to us. Now if you are short of patience I would totally avoid this place, as it is the ultimate in sending you a million miles across the map to an objective, only to have you fight your way back to the first place to hand in and send you out again. This actually suited us reasonably well, as we are managing to get baby Dwarf to bed around 7.30-8pm, so we can log around 8-8.30pm and enjoy a couple of hours gaming before logging and sorting out before bed. So we decided to try to do a quest circuit each night, picking up objectives from Aeglas, completing them and any others we had from Bilbo/Gloin, then mapping out and handing in and collect the follow ups, and selling or post on all the crud in our bags. The next night we would then fight out way back to Aeglas, hand in, and collect the follow ups there, and carry on with them and any new Gloin/Bilbo quests, before mapping out again.

Azaghar and Ganin stand proudly with their Troll head

So in this fashion we first of all went to Thundergrot (which sounds like a euphemism for a pair of underpants to me) which is full of 10-11K trolls and their 4K keepers. To our pleasant surprise we found (read- oh crap didn’t see them) we could handle 3 trolls and a keeper at once, before power began to become a little of an issue, we may have been able to handle one more, but it would be pushing it! We desperately hoped a cave troll head would drop for the kin house as we have farmed here before for one but to no avail, and lo and behold on our 6th troll one did! Unfortunately, we didn’t get another, because as everyone knows Troll heads look better in pairs, but there are plenty more members of the Khazad Guard who will likely come through here so fingers crossed!

There were a few fights back in and out here to collect a sharpened stake from the central halls, but the next major zone we found ourselves being sent to was the Warsteadings, for some orders for Gloin, and to plant the stake in some earth (we didn’t ask why, I think Aeglas had been down there a while bless him). As described we then mapped out to hand in, and this time Gloin sent us to see Elrond. To cut a long story short, we ended up back at Gloin’s camp only this time, we collected a series of quests of him and his companion to kill the Great goblin and several other minions in his room. Bilbo also requested we go and write some notes on Gollums Cave, so dutifully we did so, stopping off at Aeglas First to pick up the follow-up which asked us to head down to the great Goblins room and collect some keys from another of his minions: Matuga.

We headed down into the latter part of Goblin Town, stopping just before to pick up the last of Bilbo’s buttons/cufflinks. Then we decided to go to Gollums Cave first and saw a few unusual paintings on the way, the first seemed to show a stage of the Battle of Azanulbizar (Shown at the top of the article, which incidentally Izbaruks Father was is). Some Important dwarf is evidently being slain by a large goblin, which lead Ganin and Az to think it was probably Azog the Goblin slaying Frerin, Fundin or possibly Nain. Typical of the Goblins not to show Dain slaughtering Azog afterwards! They then came across a painting they assumed the goblins had also done, depicting what appeared to be Gollum probably as a warning.

We then arrived at his cave itself where we wrote out little description for Bilbo as instructed, and swum out to his island to have a little look around, before working out way back up that tunnel to the start of the final Instance zone of the Great Goblin.

We entered the Great Goblins lair and immediately began clearing all the goblins in there. Oddly enough the groups of 2 normal mobs and the Boggart and his adds were the trickiest, as we assumed Emmas AOE skills and my heals would help up breeze through, though in reality the start was a little rocky as I would inevitable get one or two interrupting me which would escape Emmas attacks, though by holding off a little I was able to keep it down to a minimum and still heal enough to catch up. After this we killed Aklash, though as we were doing so we stepped a little to far forward and triggered the uruk emissary and, even though we killed Aklash, this cause one of the mobs we were fighting to reset. After resetting he then came back after us, but with a green health bar so we couldn’t harm him, even though he was wailing on us, so we decided to exit and reenter the instance to see if that helped. As we re-entered we found him stood by the door waiting for us, health bar still green, only this time he was ignoring us, so we decided to let sleeping dogs lie and carry on. Unfortunately when we arrived at the great goblin, he had done his little routine and killed the Uruk emissary, so we decided to finish of the rest of the instance, then go and disband and reset the whole thing to kill the emissary for our quest.

We killed Matuga the Torturer to the left of the Great goblins throne, as Aeglas had requested, and the cleared the last few adds from the front. We then went through our usual pre-fight routine. Foods, and dwarf vitality buff and my rune stone down and wound resists on. Emma then pulled his Warg pet. We had a simple plan, I would build up HOTs on Emma and Myself during Emmas DPSing of the Great Goblins Warg pet, then when he was dead Emma would pop her controlled burn and Tank/DPS the Great Goblin, whilst I switched attunements with a steady hands and an inlay, and helped her DPS him down. I especially kept using the frost skills to debuff him a little to help her stay up with the still pulsing HOTS, and heal and buff skills champs have. It went superbly, and he went down like a stone with Azaghar and Ganins DPS skills wound up fully. I won myself a nice shiny teal necklace from him.

Finally we prepared to drop into the central pit to kill Rakothurz and Horm. After we dropped down the Troll ran in first and we used essentially the same tactics as with the great Goblin, only as Controlled burn and steady hands were on cooldown Emma had to tank in Glory, and I had to switch attunement as fast as I could with centralising and healing skills alone. His 20+K disapeared quickly, and his much smaller handler ran out from the other side and was soon dispatched. We then worked our way up a tunnel to near the instance entrance and went back outside. We then dispatched the spawned adds and disbanded our little duo. A quick invite later and we popped back in and set about re-clearing the adds. After this we carefully snuck down the right side of the cave, taking care not to start the Great Goblins script again, to the Emmisary’s alcove and ran in there and began fighting him. This time I healed whilst Emma took care of his two companions, then with them out-of-the-way, I popped off a last HoT and assisted in finishing him off. After this we mapped back out again and handed everything in, and logged for the evening.

Our finally foray into Goblin town was the shortest and last. We worked out way down to Aeglas in the cells, with the Jailors key we got from Matuga the Torturer. After letting him out, he then let Oghuk the goblin out, who proceeded to attack us, with a few of his mates. We soon dispatched him, and began to work our way out of the Slave Pens. We stopped briefly to rescue the Elf woman Glorwen, and all to soon we were all free. All in all we really enjoyed running it, there was an awful lot of back and forth which many despise, but it is difficult to see how they could preserve the fun story, and change it. The only thing that might be good is a quiet area in a side room near Aeglas with a stone to set your map to in. As it was because we did it in smaller chunks we were able to manage our map cooldown and our circular route to avoid having to fight our way in and out too many times, but we still did it an awfull lot, for what amounted to a handful of quests. We were also very grateful for the stable at Gloin and Hrimbarg now, that made it much less painful. All that being said, we did get lots of money (several Gold each) from the experience, lots of crafting items and recipes for alts and/or the AH, a sparkly new necklace, a troll head, and butt load of XP. The few quests gave decent XP, but the sheer number of mobs we fought gave us an incredible amount.

So now we are both level 53, and heading back out to continue the Epic volume 1. When we reach Book 13, we are going to head to Forochel and do some questing there. So until Next Time; Baruk Khazad, Khazad ai Menu!

LOTRO Store Balance

I just thought I’d add a little post about the LOTRO store. I wasn’t going to as there has been plenty written, and our silly little blog is just a leaf in the hurricane, but I decided to at least voice my opinion. It’s not an incandescent rage post or a fan boy defense, just a couple of thoughts about balance. I have been looking lots at the EU and US forums and the debate there seems to be raging. There have been plenty of posts about what is good and what is bad, but I have to say for the vast majority of it, I’m happy enough. I have been involved in regular kin runs; raids and 6 mans in the past, but real life reasons mean that these days I play almost exclusively duo, or 3 man, with my wife and a friend. On this basis some of the items in store I’m OK with, as a lifer if I get back into raiding I can spend my points on the real essentials, or go and grind them out, but as a more RP/Personal achievement player, I have been disappointed by one item in store, which quite a few others have too: Factions mounts.

You still here? This old chestnut again eh! I just want to say, I understand no it’s not game changing.  Festival mounts I can understand as ‘anyone’ can get them at any level (currently 30+) and no rep is required, but is a little sad from a RP/suspension of disbelief point of view to add reputation specific faction mounts. If those are being added, will we see Meta Deed mounts too? No I hear you cry that requires a real achievement, but I’ll come onto this point later. Yes you can buy faction items in the AH, so you can shorten the gaming grind significantly, but you still need to A) go to Angmar, and B) be able to pick up the reputation item hand in, and C) even if you spend tons of game gold on reputation items, they have still been funding the fight against the enemy.

My characters story very firmly has them as spending time in Angmar helping fight the enemy, as such they are proud of their Kindred earned Council of the North Horses, and yes, of course it won’t change that and I’ll still do it that way and be proud. but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I liked the idea (and I think it helped with RP) that people understood from looking at my set up and horse that I was a veteran of the wars in Angmar, or if they didn’t know where the horse was from and asked, It was a proud boast. Finally of course the horse was to some extent a little substance behind that veneer of a characters story, anyone can say they fought hard against the minions of Carn Dum, but here was proof. I’m sure this can still be maintained, but I fear it could be dissolved a little, as now you could also just have plenty of real life cash and bought one to back up a story (at level 10 or so too), which is a little sad. At least they are paying top dollar for it, which may pay for more content.

One real game changer for others is the new 10 second CD, 160 morale/power every 2 second pots only available in store, most raiders are going to NEED those if they are in a ‘competitive raid’ kin. In addition they are looking like real money expensive too; I can see if you pumped them frequently burning £**/$** in one raid, and they are going to make a huge different from those who do it without. Perhaps they will add an in-game drop too, we’ll see eventually.

But here is the twist from my point of view: I don’t care about it, I won’t pay real money for pots, ever. My sense of achievement is at having earned something, not if i did it first or best, however some in-game friends DO get their enjoyment that way, in the same was I do from my horse. So where do these priority levels get set? Do ‘we’ only care if the advantage is costly for pro raiders? Do RP/Social player priorities count as much? I’m not saying yes or no here, or even suggesting that I think Turbine are heading one way or another, but its a question that seems to never be addressed properly; one doesn’t have to count more than another. These two view points or motivations are not mutually exclusive, this isn’t a ‘which side of the debate are you on’ argument. The forums seem to contain a lot of ‘who cares if you can buy a stupid horse, it’s just a skin: the real crisis is the pots/stat tomes which are-pay-to-win’ and of course others arguing the opposite. Why fight about it? The pots won’t affect me, but I can sure say they seem very unfair to Raiders/Moors players and I think that might just ‘break’ their game unless the CD is altered or crafted/in-game drops are added, but that doesn’t mean to say that other people’s endgame and enjoyment has to be ignored too. It may be harder to ‘break’ an RP/Social players game with a store, but it is very possible, so I hope some of the feedback in the Beta and on the live forums has at least been heard.

I hope we can learn to accept others priorities and not laugh when they get trampled on and scream when we do, perhaps taking a take a step back and think about what that would mean if that was how you played your game would make difference. For myself, I think the Faction Reputation Horses and the 10 second CD Pots went a little too far, but for two very different sets of players, for two very different reasons. Enjoy your game folks.