Category Archives: Games and Guard News and Events

Nothing to see here!

We have noticed recently many of LOTRO’s older blogs that sprang up around the same time as we did, have slowly begun to close, reduce their content, or just casually drift off, including of course A Casual Stroll to Mordor who were the original inspiration for us to start this blog, nearly 3 and a half years ago. Many, like CSTM, are still carrying on in some form, and LOTRO still has several blogs and sites out there to cater to a new players needs.

Our ethos at the Khazad Guard has always been very clear, we had no intention of being a news site and our posts, guides, and topics would wax and wane with our interest in, and interests within, the game. We kept our focus here quite deliberately on LOTRO alone as I have a number of blogs for our other interests, and in this instance the KG blog was to record some specific parts of our gaming activities for ourselves and those who found them of interest, and as a little sounding board for the game and its topics, as frankly I have nearly always found forums to be fairly difficult places to indulge in any meaningful discussions or find any useful information. On this basis, inevitably the blog would be something that would be one day ‘finished’, rather than perpetual.

We have of course had breaks before, of a month or two, and gaps between posts, but we haven’t any articles here since April, and more pertinently this time haven’t really logged onto LOTRO in that time, save perhaps to pick up a hobbit present and log off again, and an odd Khazad Guard Dwarf event. We are, of course, lifetimers and as such the luxury of the full game is open to us whenever we fancy, but frankly we haven’t felt particularly compelled to play recently, and haven’t even looked inside the new Wildermore region.

We have been still gaming quite prolifically, and I have taken advantage of some deals on Steam to finally get stuck into Skyrim, which I have managed to sink over 60 hours into in a month (and am obsolutely loving!), and my lifetime hobby of Formula one and Rally simulators with a German Fanatec Wheel is still chewing away at several hours a week. I have also played and enjoyed Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Napoleon: Total War, Lord of the Rings Lego, and finally played a bit of Marvel Heroes with the ‘not so baby anymore’ Dwarf.

However, for the forseeable future we can’t see ourselves getting stuck back into LOTRO in any significant way. As a result we are not closing down the Khazad Guard, but we are using this opportunity to announce that there is ‘nothing to see here’ and might not be for sometime. If we have survived the last 3 months on any ones blogroll, please feel free to remove us, as what little interest we provided will be severely reduced from here on.

We are of course, interested to see what happens with the Helms Deep expansion, and it is pretty certain we will purchase it in some fashion when it arrives, and work our way through the content. Perhaps that might inspire us to begin posting again, but for the time being, s’long, and thanks for the fish.

Anyone looking for some good blogs to follow pertaining to LOTRO and gaming in general would probably find the following blogs and podcasts of interest:

www.containsmoderateperil.com

www.danania.net

www.lotroplayers.mymiddleearth.com

www.robotpanic.com/drunken-gamers-radio

www.gamerswithjobs.com

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It takes three to tango

The Khazad Guard has been very quiet recently, mostly we have been tinkering away at the game casually, with craft hobbies, reenactment, and dealing with baby dwarves taking up the majority of our time. In addition to that, our friend Mike has had some exciting new ventures at work and has spent a lot of time overseas smuggling mithril axes to South Africa, China, Eregion, and so on, which has made it almost impossible to get on for our regular weekly dwarf three man, and put the final nail in organising our dwarf 6 man.

LOTRO seems to be a little static at the moment, and we were a little burned out after doing Hytbold and took a short break, but the lull means we haven’t missed a great deal. However, a few weeks ago we decided to have a little look at some of our dwarves again, and began playing Hain and Azagan.

Hain and Azagan

Hain and Azagan

Another Khazad Guard member Rich had also been playing his alts a little lore, including a Dwarf of his, having got a little jaded with endgame, and wondered if we fancied teaming up for more dwarfing, and a new trinity was born!

We did a little levelling to catch Rich’s Tank up, so now we are all 44-5. Rich brought his Guard: Thlumpi, I was on my Dwarf Champion; Hain, and Emma on her Dwarf Rune-keeper; Azagan. We had our first evening of dwarfage last night, and had a great time. Having not played for so long, and with two of us on classes we have not really grouped with before, it was a fun and interesting learning experience, especially for Emma, who had the challenge of learning the philosophy of proactive Rune Keeper healing, after 5 years of Minstrel reactive healing.

We ran a Amon Sul Skirmish, an Iobar’s Peak, and a Seat of the Great Goblin, instance and had a great time. Having only been in one of the new Erebor instances, it was nice to take a look at the new content and stories. We managed to complete them all, with a few deaths along the way, and started to get to grips with our new classes and group. Next time we are thinking of getting out into Angmar and trying our hand at some of the landscape Small Fellowship and Fellowship content.

The Victorius Dwarves: Thlumpi, Hain, and Azagan, on the Goblin Kings' throne, and yes I mean Kings' there are three of the buggers in there!

The Victorius Dwarves: Thlumpi, Hain, and Azagan, on the Goblin Kings’ throne, and yes I mean Kings’ there are three of the buggers in there!

All in all a fun time, but Thlumpi, dude, you definitely need to step the outfit up a level; Orange pants and a fluffy hood; you are letting the team down!

The Khazad Guard Baby Boom II

Just a quick note to say congratulations to Aulin and his Mrs, on the birth of their baby boy, and Aulinburr on his new baby brother. We all hope that he’s happy and healthy and of course a sleeper!

That brings the Khazad Guards total to 5 babies in 3 years! If this game lasts long enough for all the kids to gain their fine motor skills, then we will have a very formidable All-Dwarf Army!

Let the Raiding begin!

(We don’t have a piccie of the new baby, so here’s one of our own Baby Dwarf, and Baby Dwarf the Younger).

spudsphoto

The Future of LOTRO and the path ahead

When will it all End?

I have been reading a lot of articles, forum posts, and fishing about generally for info recently (being awake at unreasonable hours with a newborn baby will do that to you), and I have caught sight of a number of discussions and bits of information which have been intriguing to me, about LOTROs immediate and long-term future.

Firstly, there seems to be a lot of prophesying, and doom calling about LOTRO. I have seen plenty of speculations about the end of LOTRO, usually carefully worded as; ‘ all is not well‘,’enjoy it while you can‘, and such, nothing careless enough to be overtly falsifiable, except perhaps this post from The Tobold/MMO Troll, speculating:

I think Turbine will manage to get out another expansion covering the 2nd half of Rohan, but it – like RoR – will be significantly lacking, and overpriced for what is offered.  Players will rightly expect a Helm’s Deep instance of some sort, and it will not be included at launch. If Turbine manages to create such an instance, it will be a raid, and likely the only instance included with RoR2.

Turbine will not make it to Gondor as most would expect next, in 2014. The game will start actively bleeding players in mid-to-late 2013, and be shut down before the end of 2014. If a Gondor expansion is offered, it will also be feature lacking but at a premium price, and the game will shut down within two months of its release.

Brave words, and kudos from me for actually sticking your neck out. I disagree that ROR was significantly lacking, or over priced, but I guess everyone’s mileage will vary on that subjective point.

But to address the actual point being made here, I do think that this is actually a strong potential scenario, least wise the timing of A potential closure date for LOTRO, due largely to licensing. Turbine has the license for LOTRO (and it seems The Hobbit from the following source) until 2014, and an option of extending this to 2017 (source). What does this mean? Well, presumably any extension, would have a monetary payment attached to it, I can’t see any reason to make it an extension ‘option’, unless it was a precaution to save money and close earlier if the game was not profitable. The next 18 months will be crucial. If the profits (and thats actual cash coming in, not the amount of people who play, or love the game) are not seen to be worth the additional license extension, then the end of 2014 will almost certainly be the closure of LOTRO. However, if the Hobbit Movies and the second half of Rohan (presumably including Helms Deep) manage to draw in enough additional players, then we may well find Turbine and WB taking up this option and extending beyond.

I have seen suggestions pointing to Turbine past titles, such as Asherons Call, as an example that they may just let LOTRO dwindle on for years, but this is largely wishful thinking. The crucial thing missing here is the license. Self created, or low value, IP’s don’t cost much to run. Middle Earth as an IP will always have a large figure attached to its  existence, before any other running costs are added, and as such the scope for carrying on under unprofitable circumstances will be unlikely.

Staff losses

It’s sad to see people lose their jobs, but it happens all the time. We lost a 1/3 of our workforce this year too, but we are not collapsing as a company, despite seeing some hard times, there is often the inevitable churn, particularly after a larger project, or towards winter. Some of my friends work in the gaming industry for some quite large companies, and its inevitable that there are layoffs from time to time, especially after major releases, and whilst it sucks, and may indeed reflect some streamlining, or even downsizing, of the team (Community Rep and HR people are often first in line), it doesn’t always bode badly.

That all said, I am fairly optimistic we WILL see an extension beyond 2014, and I think a lot of the grousing currently is based on this trickle release of content LOTRO, and of course on the ever popular addition of grindy mechanics. The reason I say this is that actually, many people I know have enjoyed Rohan, and indeed Mounted Combat, they are mostly subscribers, and a good number buy Turbine points too, including ourselves, so are actively funding the game. It is impossible to judge or draw conclusions from such anecdotal evidence as this, but that is precisely my point. Often if you are on a quiet server, or reading forums, it is easy to get the impression that the sky is falling, particularly the unofficial forums, which tend equally on the negative side as the official forums do on the ‘fanboy’ positive side. I still see very busy chat, and kin channels, though having poked my head on other servers, I have no doubt a merger, or opening up some free transfer routes between some would not be a bad idea, though I guess in the current climate, moves like this would only be taken negatively, or as another sign of doom.

I suspect a lot of the current agitation and annoyance is at the lack of a instance cluster, as this was exactly the same after ROI whilst waiting for its cluster. Once again, in that instance, Emma and I were in a totally different position to many people of only having just levelled through all the content. But its true that what we could do with now is some instances, and not long after, some more content to arrive to keep the game moving forward for other elements of the player base.

Update 9: Instance Clusters, scaling, crafting XP, area loot and a BREEliant revamp.

So we are getting some Instances, and soon, but again, this is not up to everyone’s expectations, or to everyone’s liking. Complaints seems to range from; Why is it Hobbit themed and not Rohan, why are there not more 6 mans and raids, why is it in two parts, etc.

To address the Rohan issue, I think its clear Turbine are aware they need to grab more potential customers, and cater to them, to drive up profits, keep hitting targets, and allow that crucial 2014 extension.

You may have heard there is a new film out in a week or two, part of a trilogy, by Peter Jackson. They are, I’m told, quite popular. If you ran a Middle Earth game, would you want to miss out on this opportunity to attract new players? In addition, if you were attracting new players, would you want to give them some Hobbit themed instances, and make them scalable to a lower level so they could try them out without having to level to cap? Would you also think that giving them some crafting XP to help speed up the journey a little, and adding area looting to the game to improve mechanics would help? What about some new Steam packs, and perhaps revamping some of the lower level hubs like Bree and Archet to look more in line with the current endgame spaces, and impress new players? You betcha.

From the longer term players such as ourselves point of view, would you want two instance clusters in Rohan, one with East and one with West? It would be a bit monotonous to me, as a Dwarf there is only so much Green, Grass, Horses, and Blond blokes telling me their ‘need is Dire’ I can take. In Eastern Rohan there would only so many ‘meaningless white hand boss A‘ threats you could conjour up for instances, but for Western Rohan there is Helms Deeps, Edoras, The Paths of the Dead, and presumably some more Isengard stuff… so If you are going to replace one of these potenital clusters with a Hobbit themed cluster, and there just happens to be the first movie out with the Eastern Rohan expansion, it seems like a no brainer to me.

Why there are not more 6 mans and raids I do not know, or why they have been delayed. I presume that they have the figures, and know what sells and what is popular and are basing it off that. I personally prefer the 3 mans, but I guess, anyone who has read this blog would say thats obvious. I can only assume the scale of Rohan and what they need and want to deliver, and the size of the Dev team, are not perfectly matched. I doubt, given the need there seems to be to maximise profits, that they will be hiring more soon, especially as they had a few new guys around Rohan we met in Betas, and some new high profile staff members at Turbine generally, so the current team is having to break content into smaller chunks.

In addition they have scaled the Mirkwood cluster, including the raid, and finished the second half of the Moria revamp, so some extra content there, and something else that will definitely make it easier for a new player, and provide incentive to purchase these two pieces of content as they are now usuable whilst levelling, and also at level cap, especially as Mirkwood will now provide things to do at end game indefinitely.

New Areas and Old?

We know we will be getting Western Rohan next year, or possibly early the year after and, given the available space, it will be another large area, with some of the most iconic locations in Middle Earth in, so plenty for old and new players to look forward to. I have no doubt there will be a cluster with it, and that it will be inevitably delayed, and indeed that the expansion will be a similar price to this year, perhaps a little more?

There has also been suggestions we may get some more landscape prior to ROR: Part 2 as well, or some other content. A few posts that have been swiftly deleted on the forums have suggested so. A post in the Beta forum described how to find a way out of Limlight onto the Rohan side of the River via a Youtube video, and work your way over the Hills into a secluded forest valley, with a dusting of snow, which was far too polished for the usual Off Piste areas, and also had paths and an NPC Ent. I cannot now find this, or the Youtube Video it linked to. Sadly ,I didn’t copy them to my hard drive in time. *Edit: thanks to Roger from Contains Moderate Peril who pointed out it is still there, but has been made private by the owner

In addition there are also some images visible in a google image search still, which linked to a thread in the LOTRO forums detailing the Western Wold and Northern Fangorn. One image has disappeared entirely but appeared to denote the areas on the map on the large hill range behind Cliving, to the West of Harwick, and the North of Mirkwood, all South of the River Limlight, as I have highlighted below. Naturally the thread was very quickly deleted.

Rohan Secret

A Google image search for ‘Northern Mirkwood LOTRO‘ linking to a Forum thread which has gone, produces the following result. I saved the images below. Quite how accurate these are, or what exactly these entail is anyones guess, I’m sure BETA participants can verify it. These are just copied directly from Google Images and were not taken by me. I haven’t currently even logged on to Bullroarer since pre ROR release.

2my1d3p

This seems to be looking out of the Orc Camp in Limlight a gorge, to a narrow valley leading up through the mountains to the south, towards northern Fangorn

1zmgig4

A bridge in the Limlight over the river, leading to the valley

mr0b5

Another view of the new bridge

Intriguing stuff! It seems like this snow dusted forest and the gorge up towards Fangorn are all one and the same thing. Looking forward to finding out!

I have also heard some titbits that scaling of Moria instances is a WIP, though quite how far along that is I don’t know, but given how much seems to be known about 2013 so far, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t 2014 before that rose its head.

Summary

So all in all, I think There is plenty of evidence out there, that LOTRO is still attempting to grow, and build. Scaling old Content, revamping new areas, and cosmetic revamps of low-level hubs, new instances tieing in with the Hobbit films which scale to attract new lower level players. Updating the loot mechanics, craft XP, and new started packs and promotions all make levelling a little easier and more attractive, and undoubtedly some new store items to help speed levelling further will follow in the New year. Throw into that a new MAC client and associated steam pack to open up access for more players again. All this is undoubtedly designed to help build and promote LOTRO, to increase and sustain revenue from this point on, to keep achieving profits, and hopefully get us over that 2014 bump, which I believe Tobold/The MMO Troll is right to point out.

Last but by no means least, there are plenty of signs that more Rohan, Instances, and Indeed perhaps some new areas will follow, meaning there is still plenty to be hopeful for. Not to my mind, the actions of a company thinking of closing up shop just yet, so lets just hope its enough! What will happen in 2014-17, well thats anyones guess. I suppose, we may well see lifetime accounts being sold, over priced items, little new content, who knows, we may see some tail off, though of course, we may see a continued effort to extend the games span again. But for the time being, in contrast to a lot of opinion, I think we will see a continued effort to get more content out, and more money out of us, the players, in the next 12-18 months, things that it has to be said are not mutually exclusive.

Adam (a fanboy)

Khazad Guard Baby Boom, or Real Life Hard Mode

Okay, so this post is a little over three weeks late, and will probably not be much interest to most of you, but may go someway to explaining why we have been being so quiet over the last month or so.

Our newest baby dwarf has finally arrived! Our baby girl, Thea Victoria was born on 10th November, after keeping us waiting for nine days. To start with, our local hospital was full so we were sent out of the district. As it happened, the new place was fantastic, almost like a hotel with personal on call midwives, en suite private rooms and an endless supply of toast. Adam managed to bring in LoTRO terminology, asking me if I would like to pop Dwarf Vitality whilst I was experiencing the worst of the contractions, and true to form, I answered yes, and could I use Endurance of Stone… I’m glad the midwife didn’t understand!

DSC04946

The alternate title for this post is Real Life Hard Mode. The first step of this Hard Mode was that I was unable to use any pain relief for the birth, so I would have been very grateful for any additional buff; Shield Wall, In Harms Way, Endurance of Stone would all have been very welcome. Thankfully that whole process didn’t last too long all things considering.

Second part of Hard Mode doesn’t actually sound that bad – the day after Thea was born I caught a cold. See, it doesn’t sound bad. But it is definitely not fun to be coughing and sneezing with very tender abdominal muscles and not being able to take anything to relieve it.

DSC04941

Everything was going very well, the original Baby Dwarf has been magic, being well-behaved, gentle with the baby, and coming close to mastering potty training in what feels like record time. We managed to acquire a newborn baby that actually sleeps at night, only having one or two feeds at reasonable hours, leaving us to play our game a little on an evening. Thankfully Adam has become very adept at playing one-handed, so he can hold the baby at the same time if she gets restless. And then came the third part of Hard Mode. Last Tuesday morning, the baby woke up earlier than usual, leaving us caught short with prepared milk. Whilst making some more, I somehow managed to tip a kettle of boiling water all down my front, badly scalding my chest, stomach and right thigh. My thigh definitely caught the worst of it, with a nasty burn blister larger than my hand. Adam came to the rescue with his first aid skills, and made me sit under a very cold shower for what felt like forever, and then wrapped the worst bits in cling film. He did the right thing and stopped it from being much worse than it could have been, but still, I wasn’t best pleased.

DSC05030

So, this Hard Mode Challenge consisted of dealing with a two-year old, a newborn, and an incredibly painful fire DoT, and still managing to do the Hytbold dailies (although Adam does usually do both of our characters), the Sutcrofts Warbands (Adam was lucky enough to get a well deserved tarnished symbol on one of his Bugud runs) and getting our cappys their warsteeds.

But, with the birth of Vithars little girl a couple of months ago and our new arrival, the Khazad Guards membership numbers have never looked so good. Granted, our six man group play time is rather limited at the minute, but in a few years time we should have enough Guard members for a full raid! Hopefully in a few months things may settle down, and something more akin to normal service will resume!

Until then, we hope you all enjoy the Hobbit (Yes we certainly have a baby sitter booked, and reserved tickets for the 3d HFR version), and we shall try to make more of an effort on post as soon as possible!

The Khazad Guards Childsplay auction via CSTM!

Some of you probably already know about the fantastic yearly charity event organised by the fine folks at A Casual Stroll to Mordor. As usual the event involves a charity sponsored walk in-game on the Landroval server. The event itself is in aid of Childs Play a charity dedicated to bringing toys and games to children sick in hospital, and this is not just an American charity, indeed, Alder Hey Childrens’ Hospital, Royal Manchester Childrens’ Hospital, and Childrens’ Hospital in Sheffield, close to where we live in the UK all benefit from this charity.

Last year over $5000 was donated by the amazing LOTRO community, and this year CSTM has set its target at an impressive $7000! This year there are more ways you can donate than ever before, with a host of fantastic charity auctions hosted by CSTM, and provided by the LOTRO community.

You can find out more about CSTM, the event, and donate yourselves here: http://casualstrolltomordor.com/2012/09/childsplay2012/

We have donated on a yearly basis, but this year the Khazad Guard has scratched its beards and come up with a way to contribute themselves, after all it’s not just baby hobbits that get sick, but baby dwarves too!

We have provided CSTM with the Khazad Guards very own original copy of their Map of Beleriand in the First Age, and you too can bid and buy it for yourself here!

The map itself is pretty big 25″ (64cm) x 19″ (49cm) drawn in Black, Red, and Brown ink, on coarse heavy weight paper by Adam of the Khazad Guard, which has been and fake aged and stained, with creases, folds, cracks and burns/scorching, including one detached piece. This took over 10 hours to draw, and was done entirely by hand.

(There is no frame with this auction, just the map itself, you will have to buy or have a frame made yourself… be warned it is big!)

It is open to free European postage as we are providing this ourselves, but if you are willing to pay for postage (in advance please) we are prepared to post it elsewhere too. It will be folded carefully (where it already has crease folds) and packed in a padded envelope about A4 sized to be posted to the winner, It will be marked as “gift”, but any taxes due will be the bidders responsibility, as will any losses or damage in the postal system.

So get yourselves over there and check this and the other auctions out, and think about donating yourself!

thanks

The Khazad Guard

A Recruiting Message for our 6 Dwarf group

The Khazad Guard needs YOU!

Due to a few problems we are currently a Dwarf short in our 6 man fellowship group, and are looking for another member to round us out. It is a really fun project which you can read about here and here and see the progress of in ‘the KG Offensive’ menu above. If the idea of having a regular levelling and fellowship group made of Dwarves appeals to you, then by all means read on and see what we do and what you’d need to be able to commit to join in too.

What we do

  • Our goal is to only play the characters together doing as much 6 man landscape and instance content as possible, on level. This leaves little room to play the characters outside without overlevelling. We are currently level 38ish and about to start the Tomb of Elendil, after that we will be heading to Angmar to play all the landscape and instance content there, including Carn Dum, Urugarth, and Barad Gularan! With long-term plans for Moria, Mirkwood, In their Abscence, Isengard, Great River and beyond, as well as skirmish and scalable content.
  • Joining the kinship would be optional, but prefered on this character. We are a very small social group, many evenings you will have one, two or perhaps no companions. If you want to create this character to play with us, that’s fine, if you want to join other kinships, or play mostly on your original server, or even make more dwarves to play in our kinship, we have no issue.
  • We meet monthly at a mutually convenient date and time agreed by group email, which is usually a weekend in the early afternoon UK time (morning American time) GMT or GMT+1 in the summer months.
  • Our group is made up of myself and Emma, both in our 30’s and a mutual friend who is very, very old… practically bus pass old, and another friend and his son that we all met via another kinship in LOTRO.  We are all English, but are happy to consider any Age, Race, Nationality etc etc, if you like what we do and are prepared to play along the rest is none of our business!
  • And finally, we play Dwarves, and Dwarves only in this instance group

How we’d go about it

  • You would need to have or create a Dwarf character on our server, Eldar (EU), and reach our level. We will be able to help with this. Ideally we would like a Dwarf Guardian, preferably with a reasonable name, we have plenty of fun names like ‘Fluzi’, but ‘Ninjatank’ tends to sound a bit crap to all of us. We are not an RP kinship, but we do enjoy the broader aspects of gameplay, and are by no means averse to it. For us it is mostly about having a background and a reason to what we do, and having a lot of fun with it! We’d be more than happy to help suggest names if you get a bit stuck. If you have a Guardian and definitely do not want another, then we may be able to accommodate a Champion or Minstrel, get in touch and we’ll chat about it. If you really want to play another class, by all means give us a shout anyway, we can always see what we can do, as we have many classes at level 65-75 and it may be we can sort something out.
  • If after trial we are both/all mutually keen to continue, we can help with crafting and the other issues people find with new characters/joining a new server, so don’t panic about that.
  • You need to be able to attend the sessions once a month and complete the ‘homework’ or tasks which usually consists of solo instances and quest lines to unlock group play, for the next play session which is usually fairly minimal, as and when we need to. We provide a full detailed list of what needs doing for the next meeting as in the ‘The KG Offensive’ menu.
  • We would do a couple of runs together to make sure we are all happy to continue. Sounds a bit formal, but we are looking for a compatible form of nutter here so it gives you a good get out clause!
  • When on runs together we have a uniform we wear! What you do the rest of the time is up to you, but in battle we wear our colours with pride!
  • We are all English, and have English as our first language. We use in game chat whilst on our runs, so whilst English may not be your first language being able to understand us and join in might be a good idea.

IF you are interested then please either leave a comment, drop an email to thekhazadguard@gmail.com, or send a tell to Izbaruk, Ganin, Haki or Azaghar in Game.

cheers

Adam

Decimating Dol Dinen

Real life has been kind of hectic lately with all of us seeming to take turns being ill, so this post is a little late.

A couple of weeks ago, we managed to get a full fellowship of Khazad Guard together, for the first time. We realised that we all had various alts and levelling projects in the Guard approaching the mid 30’s, so decided to organise a Guard run. Adam did all the actual organising, checking up all the quest chains we would need to collect, and emailing them around us all. Some other woman called Emma was also copied in on these group emails, Adam having mistyped my email. Either way she is now well-informed on the prerequisite quests needed to clear Dol Dinen.

The Guard stand Victorious over Dol Dinen

Surprisingly everything happened on time, we all met at the appointed time and place, having completed the appropriate quests, and all well stocked with food and pots. Baby Dwarf had also been well prepped, with a huge pad of paper, a load of stickers and some juice. He was really good and I only had to go briefly AFK a couple of times.

Being a mostly alt run, this did mean we were running with two champs, three RKs and a hunter, which certainly covered DPS….This actually worked really well, the RK’s all took turns being main healer, Adam was leading on a champ, a class he knows inside out, and off tanking, which left Aulin to main tank, and me on my Hunter, pew pewing from the back, and in a good position to keep my eye on Baby Dwarf as he emptied all of his toys over my feet. Luckily I hit 34 on my Hunter whilst doing the preliminary quests, which meant that I got the port to Esteldin, which proved very handy.

It was a lot of fun, a good way of further exploring the abilities of our alts, and a good lesson for some of the younger members to pay attention to the leader, and watch where you’re going so you don’t fall off that cliff… And thanks to Adam and his encyclopaedic knowledge of all the areas, maps and deeds, we even managed to bag Tumat for the discovery deed, the one everyone always seem to miss out and have to go back for. The final boss was a little tricky, as we struggled to not to pull too much aggro, but once we got the order right, we killed everything in the tent and completed all the Dol Dinen quests. Unfortunately we were so intent on playing and having fun as a group that we didn’t take many screenshots to share with you all. Were all excited about the next run, which will probably be  either the Great Barrows or Annuminas, as Fornost is temporarily disabled.

The Guard discover Tumat

A special commendation has to be made to Aulin. When his son Aulinburr (one of our Rune Keepers) had to leave, he kept him on follow so that he could complete all the quests, and even managed to join in some rather complicated Fellowship maneuvers on two different PCs whilst being main Tank for the group, and also managed to put down rune stones and res himself whilst fighting the last boss. Now that’s multi-tasking!

So thanks again to Hain and Aulin our champs, Regalbog (I know, but it was an actual in-game name suggestion) Aulinburr and Drali our Rune Keepers, and my little Hunter Fluzi, for a very fun and very memorable first full fellowship outing of the Mighty Khazad Guard.

May our beards remain strong and lustrous, and our axes sharp.

Emma

Urugarth Run – Khazad Guard Style

It been Half Term Hols, one of our younger members, Skarvi, had a concerted effort to level his Dwarf (obviously!) Champion, getting from about 48-49 in a very short time. So we decided to give him a helping hand with getting his Class Quest Items, and had a night in Urugarth. We came in on Ganin and Azaghar, our Champ/RK duo as we still had a few deeds to complete in there.

The Skies above Urugarth

In true Khazad Guard style, we very methodically killed everything in sight, quickly and efficiently. It all ran very smoothly, and Skarvi got all the treasure he needed for the Class Quest (and Controlled Burn), some nice armour,and the Khazad Guard Kin House chest got a few nice items for alts.

Ganin, Azaghar and Skarvi survey a newly empty Urugarth

Everything was fine until we decided to do a Death or Glory head on assault of Lagmas’ Court, which didn’t go quite as smooth. Anyone who’s ever been in Urugarth can tell you that step one foot over the front gate and all hell lets loose, with everything in the place aggroing. It was fun, and we got a couple of the bosses down that way, but we couldn’t compete with all the stuns and knock-downs, and eventually we were whittled down. Not to matter, we went in the back gate and killed them all.

The bridge leading to Lagmas' Court

It was a great training run for Skarvi, being his first time in Uru, and taught him the benefits of his class, what happens when you AoE and wake up stunned things, fellowship manouvers, and listening to the run leader, and most of all playing in a group and getting some really nice things. Class quest done, Skarvi is in Moria with Legendary weapons equipped, ready for some more Kin fun.

Riders of Rohan- coming this fall, and new landmass before then!

Literally minuites ago a forum section and post appeared on what looks to be LOTRO’s new expansion: Riders of Rohan!

Riders of Rohan will bring players into this epic region, increase the level cap to 85 and introduce Mounted Combat! Rohan is huge! So huge, that this fall we’ll be introducing the Eastern Plains of Rohan, the largest region we’ve ever introduced (almost twice the size of Moria!) You’ll also be able to explore the Eaves of Fangorn and the fabled Amon Hen, where Boromir was slain and the Fellowship broke up! We can’t go to Rohan without introducing Mounted Combat, which will allow you to fight atop your new mount, the War-steed. Mounted Combat will allow you experience LOTRO in a whole new way!

It will be worth keeping an eye on LOTRO over the next few weeks to see what further news gets released. But mounted combat, huge new zones, new factions and stories, and before all that a new region: The Great River will be introduced this coming spring! It makes a lot of sense as they seem to be adding eastern Rohan, which means we will have to be linked to that via somke means other than Isengard, so heading out of Mirkwood and Lorien will be a quick way to get there, and to assist Eomer with his troubles!

While fall might seem like a long wait, there is much work to do, and many miles to travel before we arrive. This spring we’ll take our first steps along the path as we add another new region to the game and allow players to explore the shores of the Great River (Free for VIPs!). We’ll also introduce the option to bring Skirmish Soldier along to aid you on your adventures throughout Middle-earth. We can’t wait to share more details with you as the year progresses.

Least we now have an idea of what is next and when, and I for one I really looking forward to it!