Big and Little Northcotton Farms and some thoughts on Update 2
We have had a busy few weeks with birthdays and goodness knows what else, but we have managed to find some time to play some LOTRO, and get a good look at Update 2.
We have been playing our Loremaster duo, and also tried out the new three-man instances, as well as finishing off volume 2 on a few random alts, and getting our heads round the new legendary system and relics on all our characters. I have to say, so far we have had some fun with the new content and we haven’t touched the 6 mans and only just briefly attempted the wound boss of the raid!
We managed to get our loremasters to level 30 in the Lone Lands prior to the Update 2 release, during which both of us were reminded what a decent job they did of the lonelands revamp; it was smooth and fun. We managed to duo the fellowship version of the ‘Re-taking Weathertop’ quest, which we were pleased about though we did lose our bears in the fight towards the end. We were reminded what an awesome little instance that is, lots of cool drama! I might add, that it was pretty busy in the Lone Lands too, with plenty of Garth Agarwen groups we could have joined, so it seems like there are still more people levelling though, indeed another friend of ours is about to join, so lets hope this continues!
We were then in a position to move to Evendim at 31 with these two to level and check out the new zone. At the same time we decided to run our level 65 Dwarf Champion and Runekeeper- Ganin and Azaghar in the new Evendim three-man with a friend’s hunter. We found ourselves in the position of doing the Northcotton farms as a questing zone for level 30, and an endgame instance for 65, and I have to say we had great fun with both.
For those of you that like a real strategic challenge, and interesting fight mechanics, I would probably skip the Northcotton level 30 quests, it’s basically delivering sheep and chickens, and knocking out the odd naughty crow and shrew. However, as parents of a teething child I think we both found delivering chickens and chucking buckets of water at pigs a pleasant way to switch off, and there was a fun little grand story to go with it all.
We then moved onto the next village of Dwaling, and I must say it was great to see this cool little place being actually used, all I ever remember seeing of it before was my Burglar class quest many moons ago for level 30 I think? But yet more quests hubbed here, and even cooler an instance in one of the houses, which we both thought was great, it felt very odd to be fighting in a confined space you couldn’t run away of kite so easily in. The quest line was a lot of fun, and very ‘hobbity’ in attitude, it also contains a great punch line at the end of the quest:
Visiting the Northcotton level 65 instance was a different experience again, and another we both enjoyed. Our first run in their we just did tier one, and I have to say whilst we learnt it I am pretty glad we did. This instance isn’t really about ‘removable’ poison, but about positioning and communication between your group, at least certainly in early run through. The first boss was easy enough, as we are all old pro’s at Skumfill, and it is just Skumfill HM 3 man, we did miss all three eggs sacks, and we were taken aback a little at their appearance, and didn’t realise just how quick they would hatch into spiderlings, so she healed up three times, but with a champ and RK there are never really any power problems so we just slogged it out.
Boss two, on the other hand, we needed a few tries at. We understood the general gist; kill a cauldron, and slap hobbits, there will be poisons eyes you will need to run off, but actually getting to grips with who, how and what took a little running through, but on our fourth run we did it perfectly, the main thing being realising when you have that poison eye, you have to just run, stopping for anything is a bad idea! Then finally we moved onto the last boss, again it took a couple of goes to understand what each attack of his did, and to coordinate ourselves, but third time off we did it. We all really enjoyed these, and whilst it may not be the hardest content in-game, everyone needs to be alert and on the ball, and communicating, if that is the case, then they can be very smooth and easy instances to run through, and a lot of fun.
We then had a quick look at the Stoneheight 3 man in the North Downs, and got our way to the first boss and started him, we managed to get one add down, and the second almost dead, when we slipped up a bit, mostly through a little lack of co-ordination, the bleeds, and it being a bit too late to be starting something else!
Later in the week we tried both these again, Northcotton, and then Stoneheight and rolled through them both, again only on tier one, to get a handle on what we are going to have to do in tier two, and with their challenge modes. Northcotton, was very simple this time round, we blitzed through it easily, and with a hunter and RK, we think we can easily do the challenge mode on the cauldron, so we hope to give that a try very soon. Stoneheight, we thought was a really cool instance, and we are looking forward to trying that on tier 2, and challenge, though that looks a little trickier. We all really enjoyed those two, so we decided to go take a nosey into the 6 man that followed, the lost temple, and when we stepped through the door and saw the view we were mightily impressed, and all really looking forward to giving this a try.
Later in the week I popped back with my champ and two kinmates, to try a tier 2 challenge, after a couple of bumps (to be fair all my fault as I was too tired on last boss to pay attention) we completed the instance, and I was lucky enough to win a Sarenzer and an amethyst gold silver bracelet the latter was shockingly better that one of the bracelets I had on my champ (an old pre-revamp aureate ‘combat’ one with fate on it), so I did pretty well out of it!
So far we have had a lot of fun with the update, and are enjoying the tweaks to the LI system and volume 2 as well. (after much grinding we got the cloak of Shadow and Flame for Emma finally!) We have heard great things about the new raid from kinchat, and I got to take a look at the wound boss this week, but we didn’t get to downing him, as it was a bit of an ad hoc group, though I did think the ‘tunnel/corridor’ chase mechanic was pretty cool! So we hope that the general tone of this update is setting a trend for things to come. There is always room for improvement, but on the whole, we liked the way this was headed.
What did strike home (especially on my champ) was just how far I have slipped behind on my main characters with progress, so I think both Emma and I are keen to get them back up to scratch again.
As a final thought, we all hoped that if they every revamp the North Downs they find a way to work the Stoneheight area into the levelling zone in the same way Northcotton serves a dual purpose! I mean the art departments and world builders go to such effort on these things, the more use that is got out of them the better!