Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Curious Disappearance of Mad Baggins

Baby Dwarf decided to be a good boy this morning so I logged on Gilforniel, my Elf Champ, with the intention of making some dyes and checking my post. But when I got there, I realised that the new Yule Festival had started today, so I went for a little explore, just to see what was going on in the different festival locations and to find out how to get to the new festival town.

The setting of Winter-home

I did the usual rounds, and got very excited at the return of the Beer Fights at Thorin’s Hall. I smacked all the people I could find with my Beer-Club, and am now the proud owner of a Glorious Beer mug, which you get for completing the first quest there. There’s also the return of the Ale Association and Inn League quests, and in Thorin’s Hall the same quests as last year – chipping ice from the frozen waterfall, and collecting snow and red berries.

The Shire has a couple of new quests, one is to collect ribbons, flowers and berries dropped on the road to Overhill, and the second is a quest chain where you basically have to oust Lobelia Sackville-Baggins as the official Party Planner, by means of snooping around to see whats she’s up to, telling the Mayor over in Michael Delving all about it, backing it all up by finding the official records for the position in the Great Smials of Tookborough, and finally by talking to the townspeople of Hobbiton to sign a petition against Lobelia. I really liked this quest chain, to me it summed up Tolkien’s Hobbits, completely unaware of anything else outside the Shire.

Ice sculptures in Winter-home

A Street in Winter-home

 

After that I found the way to Winter-home, the brand new festival area. You get there by talking to a Festival Stablemaster, who has appeared right next to the regular stablemaster in West Bree, Michael Delving, Celondim and Thorin’s Hall. Winter-home is only a free swift travel away, and opens up a town and its surrounding area, with a ton of quests, ranging from snowball fights, eating competitions, shooing away beggars, collecting wood, and the best yet – the Theatre!

Adam and I had seen something about this on a Dev Diary, and were pretty excited about it. I can’t tell you anything about Winter-home in general other than there’s lots to see and do, because I wanted to wait until we could explore it together, but I couldn’t resist having a little peek inside the Theatre.

The Theatre, home of the G.L.O.B.E company (Green Lilly Orators, Bards and Entertainers) and run by Mr Shakesburrow is staging a production of “The Curious Disappearance of Mad Baggins” where they portray Gandalf and an Evil Dwarf as being instruments in the disappearance of Bilbo following his birthday party.

The Festival Theatre

The Concessions stand

Once inside, like any good theatre there is a concessions stand where you can buy flower petals (to shower good actors) and rotten fruit (to pelt bad ones).

Go further inside and there are ushers who explain how things work, like how to react to the acting, where to stand, etc. Now what makes this different is the audience participation. There is an NPC, “The Audience” which has to be pleased with the performance, which will take part if there are at least three active (AFK marked players don’t count) players in the theatre. Three players are chosen completely at random and ported backstage, where they are assigned parts in the play, again completely at random. The Hero is Bilbo, the Villain is Gandalf and the third part is an extra, in the role of Party-goer. I was aware of this after reading the Dev Diary, but little did I expect to be whisked backstage and assigned the role of Bilbo Baggins! I was actually nervous! You enter the stage and the story starts, and you have three parts in the story where you have to emote your lines, choosing one which best fits the dialogue. You have only a 10 second window to select an appropriate one. If you choose wrong or miss your cure entirely, the other players are given the prompt to throw rotten fruit at you. If you get it right, they are given the prompt to shower you with petals. There are deeds for audience participation, and you get 5 Turbine Points for completing each one.

Gilly on stage

All actors who participate receive a title and 5 TP’s and I also received the title “Star of the Show”! But what would any Thespian adventure be without the Critics? In one of the Theatres boxes are Statdor and Waldo, the resident hecklers. Their comments are strangely familiar (who hasn’t seen the Muppet Show?) and is what I can only call a stroke of genius! I laughed so hard I woke up Baby Dwarf!

Statdor and WaldoFamiliar anyone?

 

Merry Yule Festival all!

Emma

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New Characters

Having recently got our Champ and Runekeeper to 65 we have been thinking what pair to level next as a duo. We toyed with a few ideas, duo cappys (I already have one at end game), a hobbit duo, another dwarf pairing, but we thought we would go for something neither of us has much experience playing- Loremasters.

I have taken a Loremaster to level 30 with my character Feangol, and Emma had got one to level 14 ish with her character Aelgifu, but that was our sum total of experience. I have seen some cool stuff done with Loremasters and after three years playing LOTRO we fancied something a little different to the mellee orientated game we have played, particularly as my Rune keeper was my first venture into casting classes and I loved him! So a pair of Loremasters it is, and may I introduce Feaglin (gleaming spirit) and Fearien (lady of spirit).

We intend to fully duo these two to cap as before, seeing which quests and zone we fancy as we go. We will be duoing some harder content and trying duo skirmishes with them. Hopefully it will be a fun learning experience for us both!

Dunland and Isengard

All aboard the fantasy bus… again! I dug out the trusty Tolkien maps and had a look where the Isenguard expansion might well fit and work. Size wise its quite likely to be physically to be 1 1/2 to 2 Enedwaiths of open world mapping.  The distribution and relationship scale of Turbines middle earth is pretty accurate in comparison with the maps set forth in the published literature. The only difference is the ‘actual’ miles to game miles, for sensible gaming reasons; few would want to walk for days to reach weathertop and see almost nothing but swamp whilst doing it.

One striking thing is that, with Rohan not being included, it will be a pretty simple region to isolate from future additions i.e Rohan istelf. With a combination of geography the northern foothills of the white mountains, and the southern tips or the Misties and Isengard itself, and of course the river Isen which can be used in the same way the Anduin was with Loth Lorien /Mirkwood, these new areas can be neatly delineated.

As for the zones themselves; Isengard I think will also be pretty straight forward, and probably feel a lot like a level 70 version of Dol Dinen meets Dol Guldur, I suspect a lot of the instance and quests will be set in the guard houses, forges, pits, factories and machine works in the ring and of course in the pits and caves delved beneath. Naturally with Orthanc itself set in the centre, possibly as the final raid, but who knows?

In addition, Dunland I think will be pretty straight forward, who knows how wide it will be or exactly where they will draw the southern border, but I suspect they will carry the current width of Eregion and Enedwaith down for practical reasons.


The area I am most uncertain about is the Gap or Rohan, or the Fords fo Isen as I have called it here. For a start it could be the new PvMP area, it is an area of constant conflict and turmoil, and it could feasibly be ignored by players who wish to go to Isengard and Dunland and beyond, but have no desire for PvP. It could also just be a standard zone, albeit in a warlike flux state. If it is PvP I’d expect to see the river in the centre, dividing the west march of Rohan from Dunland, if it isn’t then I could be either; that is what the dashed red line denotes on the above map.

And in the future: speculation overdrive.

The thing that strikes me is that if 2011 is going to be ‘Isenguard year’ then it is highly likely that they are pacing themselves for an: ‘Invasion of the North’ expansion including Dale, the Lonely Mountain, Thranduil’s halls, Lake Town, in late 2012 or 2013. It is probable that they will add Rohan in 2012 first, though again how much and how long this takes is unknown, but the events around the Hornburg happened in the books around March the 3-4th T.A, the next major events in the south are the battle of Pelenor fields on March 15th T.A. I would be highly surprised if they do not head north in between this time for two major reasons.

Firstly; the film releases in 2012-2013, Turbines are in no way going to want to miss out on cashing in on the huge interest there will be around the hobbit films being released in 2012 and 2013. Be assured they will try to get something out to coincide with these.

Secondly; the game/book timing ratio. So far the chronology has worked fairly well in the game with reference to the books. After the events in Rohan and the final Hornburg assault on the 3-4th of March which we will likely help in some manner (Hornberg skirmish trilogy FTW!), the 11th of March saw an attack on Lorien from Dol Guldur, and a second assault, an assault on Thranduil in Northern Mirkwood, and an assault on Dale and the Lonely Mountain all took place on March the 15th, at the same time as Pelenor fields, which brings about a conflict. It’s unlikely we will get Isenguard, Rohan, and Gondor all before the end of 2012, and I can’t see them not wanting to add the Northern regions in.

In the films Legolas remarks to Gimli at the Hornburg that their kinsmen may have no need to ride to war, for he fears war is already marching upon their own lands, and I think this is where Turbine will go. I think they will resolve this by sending us North early probably March 5-11th timeframe, as there is increased activity in the North, and we will be asked to lend our aid there, possibly even by Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn. We’ll head north, help with preparations and increased attacks from the orcs, probably a few session plays from the hobbit. Then 2013-4 or beyond Gondor will come after… and the infamous March 15th, of course how they handle all three areas at once being attacked who knows… perhaps they’ll add Gondor the map in March 12-13th state, and then at a later date we’ll get a content update: ‘Update ?: March 15th’ with three new sets of instances and or skirmishes all in one update to address the sudden attacks of Sauron. Of course, the battle in the north went on for three days, and Aragorn soon after the Pelenor marched on the Black Gates, but I already got too far ahead of myself!

Either way, I always enjoy looking at these maps and seeing how they are fitting the game world content into the maps as we understand them, and I enjoy thinking about how and why they will acheive some of these great events and areas to come, but I’m content to take my time and enjoy what we have, after three years play I still enjoy rolling a new toon and playing in low level groups with my friends… and I’ve still only done half of Enedwaith!

Daily December Deals!

Every day in December we are getting one day only specials in the store, and yesterdays special was the one I wanted most – 50% off Shared Storage! It too could have been yours for the sale price of 498 TP’S. For a confirmed altoholic this was awesome, as I’ve got  buttload of ingots and shards that need storing in a sensible place. It also means that I don’t have to spend as much on the individual vault space as all crafting stuff can go in the shared one. Todays special offer is half price Standard Mounts, so they now come in at 348 TP’s. These one day only deals are worth looking in on, as they seem to be stuff that people may want to buy. I always seem a bit disappointed when the sale is on food or craft tools, because I have the means of making my own, but I know that many players both new and old may find these easier to obtain, and a lot less fuss. Either way, think of logging in as an advent calendar – check out the store and see whats behind the window – and fingers crossed for half price character slots!

 

Standard Steeds in Todays sale

Death By Cheese

We were exploring the Barrow Downs to grind some rep for the Men of Bree last night, as we’ve decided we both need the upcoming Steed of Eriador on Izbaruk and Haki, two of our Dwarf alts. Izbaruk is the Lord of the Khazad Guard and Haki is the heir, so it makes sense that these two of all our alts would be friends with all the factions.

We went to Haudh Iarchith, which by the way I hadn’t realised had been reworked so that it was level 20 and rather than being in one barrow which I could never find my way around, was now spread out throughout barrows on the Downs. I really like this as it gives a good taster of grinding rep at a lower level, and also means that new players have a chance of actually using the rep rewards on level. There is some nice stuff around level 30 to barter for with the Men of Bree, as well as a horse and a Return to skill.

We were getting towards the end of our farming (I’m a bit OCD when it comes to rep farming – I like to stop when I have a stack worth handing in – I can’t finish on 55 Barrow Treasures when they hand in in stacks of 10) when a Barrow-Bree food item dropped. Neither of us had seen it before, so we both rolled and I won it on my Champ.

Danger, Barrow-Bree!

We had a little look on the forums and it was all doom and gloom – eat this and you will die! Of course I was going to eat it anyway…. but 20 mins is a long time to have a shadow damage debuff on you!

Ganin feeling the effects of some bad cheese.....

Fortunately Ganin has a lot of vitality so I didn’t die, my out of combat regen is way too high, but I can see how it may be tricky if you don’t have a lot of vitality, or not a high level. If you get this at a low level and you want to have a go, don’t eat it if you’re after the Undying title (achieving level 20 with no defeats) or make sure you have a friendly healer willing to sacrifice 20 mins of their day keeping you alive because you ignored the warnings on the cheese. Although once you do, you become the proud owner of “The Unwise” title, which of course Ganin is putting straight on!

The Unwise

Emma

Thorins Hall Kindred Rep Bug?

I’ll start by saying, I used to think a decent player sent in bug report, to assist those on the other end to refine things but the past few I have submitted to the Codemaster GM’s in LOTRO seem to just leave me frustrated and a bit annoyed. One yesterday was very much the case.

I had read up on the new rep Meta deed and thought- ooo the Eriador Meta Deed sounds just right for my Guardian Izbaruk- Lord of the Khazad Guard- who else should be a friend to all the free people’s right? So I started farming and collating all my rep on him. On Monday I was at home looking after baby dwarf, and I occasionally manage to get an odd look online when he has a short nap (If I’m lucky). He did late morning after his bottle, so I decided to start handing my rep in as it was easy to abandon if he woke up (that’s Paul the ugly teddy thing with him btw).

Firstly I decided to hand in some Esteldin rep on my Captain and got him to Kindred with the Rangers: woo hoo, 20 Turbine points and in a week or two I can run out there and get the new horse which looks suitably Rohirrim-esque! Unfortunately that was about as much as I got done as baby dwarf woke up.

I stayed logged in, but tootled off to do the usual messing about which form my Mondays these days. After his lunch we were playing with his toys in the dining room (with the PC in), so I decided to have a scoot around over the next hour or two, in between jumping back to play with him, so I took Izbaruk around and managed, in a rather stop/start fashion, to get kindred with Rivendell and Annuminas, some Esteldin rep, Forochel to hand in for Ally, Bree hand in for Ally, and then finally to Thorins hall to hand in for Kindred ( at about 3pm)… wahey title, deed… what no little TP icon and reminder to go to the store… surely not! Maybe its lag I thought, so I carried on playing with baby dwarf for a few minutes but nothing. I thought: ‘I’ll write a quick bug report, just to check’- so I did:

Hi, I just completed the kindred rep with Thorins halls, but I don’t appear to have got 20 turbine points as a reward, the last dialogue I currently have in my general tab is the ‘your standing is now kindred’ one but that was 5-10 minutes ago now and still no points? I handed in a first age relic in the blue garrison craft area, to take me to kindred, so I wasn’t sure if being in here or doing it in this way caused it to bug out? I have made kindred and ally with several other factions today and got the points as normal?

After waiting half an hour ( with an update saying there was a delay answering tickets due to F2P demand), I thought I would take some screenies to show they hadn’t arrived still:

You can see bottom left that I gained kindred, but no points, and the top right corner it is 3.37pm. I then got a reply!

Hi izbaruk, thanks for the ticket, i have checked your quest history, and can see that you did receive the 20 points for this completion. You have received 3 lots of 20 points today at 11.09am 1.12pm and 1.28pm. If you think you are still missing the 20 points for this and can tell me what you think the 3 lots of 20 points already received today are for, I can look into this further for you, but as stated, all records indicate that these points have been received. Thanks GM +Rognus

These times looked about right, but there should have been four lots of 20, and one time at 3pm or thereabouts after Riding from handing in Ally at Bree. Simple I thought, I’ll just send a new ticket with what I got and roughly what time, it will be dead easy to see on their logs.

In response to the ticket, I should have 4 x 20 points and 2 x 15s today; I think, possibly a third 15 as I’m not 100% on my rep level before hand. here is how I have it:

  • 11.09am Esteldin kindred on my captain 20 points
  • 1.12pm Rivendell Kindred 20 points
  • approximately here I think was Ally with Lossoth 15 points (It was actually after the 1.28 one, but I did say approximately)
  • 1.28pm Wardens of Annuminas kindred 20 points
  •  Men of Bree Ally 15 points Circa 2.50-3pm
  • 3pm-ish Kindred with thorins halls- no on screen update, but I have screen shots showing the 15 added for bree, and then blank after this including a current one with this ticket, but I guess they won’t help. Either way, If I got them, then I received no message in the general box, and no lotro store prompt as usual, which may be worth passing on. 20 points I’m not fussed by, was just passing on a bug. cheers Adam
  • 

I took a screenie here with me typing the message, also showing no points still:

 

I soon received a polite reply

Hi Izbaruk, many thanks for the ticket, and for the detail put into it. I will have to escalate this problem to a more senior level. Your request will be dealt with as soon as possible and a response sent to you when this is done. Thanks GM +Rognus

Excellent I thought, Its being looked at, they will be able to verify all I said from their logs, In the mean time I had a look on the US LOTRO forums and found:

http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?361636-Thorin-s-hall-kindred-deed

 http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?355125-Newly-acquired-Kindred-with-Thorins-not-awarding-the-20-TP

Which I duly added as a comment to the ticket, so they could see I was not alone and this was a legit problem. Ticket forgotten, I went off to make tea, and logged out and forgot about it, my virtual civic duty done!

Tonight I was handing more rep and received Kindred with the Council of the North and Esteldin on my Guardian; just Bree and the Lossoth to go then I’ll have to do some Eglain Grinding! Then I thought, ooo I wonder if they sorted that bug out, or worked out what it was, I’ll have a quick look.

Dear Izbaruk, according to our logs you received

  • 20 points at 11:09
  • 20 points at 1:12
  • 20 points at 1:28
  • 15 points at 2:31
  •  15 points at 2:51

I have verified after gaining the deed and then raising my own reputation that I was awarded the points for completing the deed. Unfortunately, without verification of a bug with the system we won’t be able to refund you with missing points, and at the moment we can not see any issue with the receipt of points from this deed completion. Regards, GM +Golmuir

Those times seem about right, they would be:

  • 20 points at 11:09 (Eodraed my cappy at Esteldin)
  • 20 points at 1:12 (Rivendell on Izbaruk)
  • 20 points at 1:28 (Annuminas on Izbaruk)
  • 15 points at 2:31 (I think this was Forochel, and definitely on Izbaruk)
  • 15 points at 2:51 (Bree Ally on Izbaruk)
  • But there is No Thorins hall kindred here?

 So what? I’m wrong? I didn’t get rep with Thorins halls? I mean, honestly 20TP is about 16 pence, I’ll post them 16p if things are that bad, but I was reporting a bug in all honesty to help them fix in, and felt a little like they were telling me they couldn’t find it, so I was lying. Now I know they didn’t say that, indeed he was very polite, but what assumption am I to draw? Now this is an issue: FACT. I get 500TP a month as a lifer, so I’m not bothered, but some of my recent F2P joining buddies (including Compton from the above screen shots) would have been super mad if they had not got 20 points for that deed, that’s a lot of grinding. I opened another ticket, one last attempt at highlighting a problem, I’m happy to help solve it, indeed I can email exact details of how and where I handed the rep in (which case in point seems to be a common factor with others with this problem), but the implication seems to be this not about them solving a bug, but justifying giving me 20TP, which is just silly. Ask me more questions, how about saying: ‘Dear Izbaruk, we are unfortunately unable to replicate your issue, can you please supply us with further details on where and how you completed it? I don’t know, something. I sent a final message, unless they do ask for further details.

In response to: 727155 Can I ask if the ‘test’ you did to raise rep was completed in a similar manner- handing in first age relics in the blue garrison crafting room, as I have since spoken to other players who all seem to have completed the deed in this manner and not got points. I have screens with the time in the top corner and my general tab showing deed completion and no TP, and indeed screens of my deed complete… with no ‘you received 20 TP’ message afterwards. I’m sure your system allows you to see I completed an Esteldin kindred deed on my Captain Eodraed (the 11.09 one) and three others on My Guardian- Thorins Hall, Annuminas, and Rivendell on the same date, sure this then stands to reason there should be 4 lots of 20 points in addition to the two ally ones I also did? Again I’ll reiterate, I am not bothered by the 20 TP, its a few pence, but there is an issue there, even if you haven’t yet replicated it. Regards Adam

And as of  half past 12 tonight, here is my deed log:

‘The deed that never was’ there plain as the eye can see. As it stands they have the above numbers logged- the 15 points at 2.51 in Bree are the last points I got that afternoon, and they will not give me 20 points as I did not do that deed. You can see screen shots showing the Thorins hall kindred being received with no points above, but I also had the foresight to scroll up a little, and take a pic of me getting the Bree Ally status immediately prior to Kindred, just to show the TP receipt dialogue, and indeed you can see me riding straight to TH in the chat window.

 They can presumably also see my deed log in game, so they can verify all this. So a little warning to F2P players about  this, I suspect it is related to either the first age relics, or perhaps the Blue Garrison room you hand in,  perhaps as they are not the same instance of the world there was a problem, I wonder if the mathom house works the same? But for such a trivial point, it has discouraged me from bugging things anymore and left a rather nasty feeling about the whole thing. Some of the guys in the US forum thread seems to getting different variation on this problem, but always with Thorins hall, so I’m not sure what is up, some even claim to have gotten points for Kindred and Ally, when they dinged Ally, but still had not achieved Kindred.

If anyone else reading this has had a similar problem, please leave a comment as I’d love to hear about it.

Adam