So what are WE doing to prepare for Isengard?
Well thanks for asking Merric, actually… 😀
In all seriousness I saw Merrics post over on CSTM, and started to reply, then I realised it was unkind to spam another bloggers page with a comment of the size I was beginning to formulate :D. Instead I thought I’d make it into a post to follow-up from Emmas news round-up here on the Khazad Guard.
It is a great question he has asked, especially when you run multiple alts and are busy parents to boot (as I am sure he and Goldenstar appreciate!). It is not necessarily an exercise in number crunching or boring homework, as it might sound and some people seem to interpreted it as, but does perhaps beg the wider question about what we want and expect from our hobby, and how we can achieve that. Making sure you have an idea what you want to do to get the most fun out of your leisure time in LOTRO, is something we had already perused and had to make some decisions about.
We did finally acknowledge when the release date was announced that we needed a plan of action before Isengard. As much as we have been enjoying messing about on alts, or with reputation and cosmetics, we have still to see some of the content, and have multiple level cap ‘toons to potentially run with. We have begun to notice the further away from release you start to explore an area, or run instances, the less easy it is to find people to run content with, except some of the easier to grind ones (Sword Halls, Grandstairs, or North Cotton Farms), and to be fair the desire to run it seems to fade with us too. The new scaleable instances have done wonders to prolong the life of the content, but there is no denying the best time to get a group together for an instance is a month or so after its release. We felt if we didn’t try to sort this out, some of the fun things we want to do might slip away from us, and with the level cap increase with Rise of Isengard, this became a more pressing issue, and on top of it all, it is sometimes nice to be playing the new stuff when it is still new! The sad truth is, sometimes if you try to do it all, you don’t end up doing very much.
We had some choices to make. Between us we currently have 6 level capped characters, and two very close, and a host of others lower down, so deciding what we want to do, and how, took some thinking. Here are our characters as they stand today; Emma’s are in pink, mine are in blue.
- Elgalandir; Champion
- Chumbo; Burglar
- Eodraed; Captain
- Azaghar; Rune-keeper
- Ganin; Champion
- Azbarak; Guardian
- Izbaruk; Guardian
- Haki; Minstrel
- Tyri; Hunter
- Elgilas; Warden
- Barandis; Captain
- Gilforniel; Champion
- Feaglin; Loremaster
- Fearien; Loremaster
- Cebelia; Hunter
- Hain; Champion
- Emsibelle; Guardian
- Fluzi; Hunter
- Fairwen; Warden
- Beana; Burglar
- Tedwise; Minstrel
- Flokki; Minstrel
Level 15-22 on Landroval
- Izbarak; Guardian
- Bimbli; Minstrel
- Alfvin; Rune Keeper
So as you can see, plenty of characters and loads done, but there is still a lot to do, even on some of the level cap characters, and if we try to play them all, then I suspect we will get caught in the metaphorical plate spinning exercise we have in the past, and feel like we are missing out.
As you can probably guess from the list, I tend to consume, or play a little more than Emma. We both have a variety of other non-gaming hobbies we enjoy, and there will usually be an evening one night a week where Emma will indulge one of her other hobbies whilst I play LOTRO, alongside the inevitable late night where I wish I had gone to bed earlier! These solo characters used to be my Captain and Burglar, but I prefer playing these will other people, as despite being very tough classes, they can be quite slow to play during general questing, and are much more fun in a group. Other than these, we tend to play as a duo, and have a number of regular groups we always play in on a weekly basis.
So our goals are:
- To establish new main characters
- To maintain as many of our duos; some in the Khazad Guard Dwarf kinship, and some Heroes of Eriador kinship
- Maintain our regular levelling groups with our friends
- I want to keep a solo character to play
- Bring some more of Emma’s characters forward
- Above all, we want to try to make sure we get to run the Isengard content, whilst it is fresh and new.
Using these goals, and thinking about what else might like to do (character pairing for example are very important to us), we have made the following ‘post-isengard’ plan, with what we need to do on the run up. The dark green is the planned action, and the light green is what we are going to attempt in the lead up to Isengard to make it possible.
- Azaghar and Ganin will be our ‘main’ characters and we will head into the new regions and explore them after release first on these guys. This means we get to see, and enjoy, all the new content, try out the new instances, and work on them as our new ‘main’ characters going forward from September.
- These two require little work as they have almost become our mains anyway in the last 6 months. Perhaps a few deeds grinding out for virtues, a little more rep for their world-renowned horse, but essentially all the books and quests are done, their gear is good, so they are ‘Isengard ready’!
- Izbaruk and Haki level in a trio on Tuesdays or Thursdays with Anlafski, these two will stay as once a week in a trio with our friend Mike, though he may switch to a hunter for more DPS for the three-man instances.
- Nothing to do on these two, other than continue to level before Isengard, and then try to work on some gear and virtues together.
- Azbarak (Emmas guardian) may well now team up more regularly with Chumbo (my burglar) as those two will make a great pair, and enable me to play Chumbo more regularly in a group and with others.
- Azbarak needs some Epic books completed, and some gear upgrades and a little more work in Enedwaith. Chumbo also needs the Epic books completing, and also some work in Enedwaith, and some virtue grinding.
- Elgalandir (Adams Champ) who previously played with Azbarak, will probably be his solo play advanced scout! So I can try out the new content, and instances. I find my champ very easy to solo and am very familiar with him, so he will be a great character to continue on, and of course meet up with Azbarak still and run some content with her.
- Currently he has run most instances and raids, even if just a couple of times, so he is geared and traited fine, and I will probably just do a little rep work to complete the world-renowned horse deed on him too, so another ‘Isengard ready’!
- Fearien and Feaglin, our two loremasters are currently level 38 and in Evendim, but we are planning on calling a halt to these for a while. Something has to give somewhere, and though we are enjoying them a lot, Evendim and levelling them will still be there in 4-5 months, when we turn back them.
- For now sit and let them earn rested XP and do a little crafting on them
- Eodraed (Adams Rohirrim Captain) is going to team up with Barandis (Emmas Rohirrim Captain) and level together down into Dunland and the Gap of Rohan. This has to be done right; Rohirrim characters in Rohan, Awesome!
- As you can see there is a fair old gap between Eodraed, who is 65 and raid ready, and Barandis: 49 and about to enter Moria, and we have decided to speed Emma through Moria, by me levelling her other champion Gilforniel through to 49 (I have got from 36-48 in 14 days of casual playing) and joining her on that. We can do this because her captain is actually on our third account, so I can still log her Elf champion and play with her. This way we end up with two of Emmas characters at level 65 to even the balance, and Barandis ready to play with Eodraed. This is the tallest order, but I think it is doable without being a chore. We will choose to level the characters up, without feeling like completionists, and see how it goes!
- Elgilas and Tyri I shall let rest at 50 and 54 for now, I may eventually turn to them when the rest is done, with the intention of on of them rejoining Gilforniel, and levelling with her.
- Leave alone for now
- Hain levels on a Wednesday with our friend Dralli, and will continue to do that on a weekly basis, Emma is following these two with her hunter Fluzi in between times and will continue to do so, with the intent of running some SF content.
- Usually they only get an hour or so, and at the current rate when we have had a few interruptions, or early nights, and missed a few evenings over the last few months we may struggle to get anywhere near cap by Isengard. So far we are averaging one to two levels a week, which hopefully if we can still sustain it, will put us at level 42-5 by Isengard, though we may get a little more time over the summer holidays!
- The Landroval characters we will leave temporarily, with the intention of perhaps picking up them if/when our servers are down, or we want to attend an RP event.
- Leave alone for now
- All our other Eldar characters we will leave for now, to return to at a later date. Emsibelle and Tedwise will be mainly reserved for festivals, unless of course there is a Horse or bound item we really want on another character!
- Leave alone, except for perhaps festivals!
So all in all plenty to do. We have our regular slots during the week with friends to sustain, some work on some of Emma’s characters with the intent of re-pairing up some of our characters, and making Ganin and Azaghar our new ‘main duo’.
All in all I am having fun working through this, and looking forward to getting started in Isengard come September!
Wish you’d never asked now Merric eh? 😀