Category Archives: Games Guides and Advice

Crafting Preparations for Rohan

Yesterday saw the release of a Dev Diary by Dina “Ayvan” Monas, all about crafting, and it looks like crafting is getting a lot of love this expansion. There is going to be a new tier, Eastemnet, and also a new Guild tier, Grand Master, and a few other little tweaks. Resource gathering will be following the same process as it did with RoI, in that there will be normal resource nodes and rich resource nodes (eg. Skarn and Rich Skarn), which can then be processed into low, medium and high quality ingredients (eg. Low Quality, Medium Quality and High Quality Calenard Ingots). Rare items can again be processed into either optional crit ingredients (eg. Pure Calenard), or used as a more efficient way of processing the High Quality resources. This will probably still be gated behind reputation. As with RoI, special crafting ingredients for single use or Guild recipes, the Cracked Rhi Helvarch Sigil, or whatever it will be in Rohan, is a rare drop from all craft nodes. The good news is that all lower tiers will be following the same pattern, with sapphire, ruby, adamant and beryl shards, and mithril flakes potentially dropping from their relevant tier nodes also.

The way that the non gathering crafting professions (jeweller, tailor, metalworker, weaponsmith, and woodworkers) process the raw materials is being tweaked, so that you can level them without a lot of wastage. Jeweller is not too bad, you can very tediously polish gems until the cows come home without actually using up any resources, but for the others you have to put in an awful lot of raw materials, and often pricey vendor bought ingredients, to come out with a little XP and a pile of vendor trash which rarely makes you a profit.

They have facilitated this with new processing recipes, whereas low quality ingredients can be turned into a “shaving”, and then turned back into low quality items. Once the tier is mastered and you can crit, you could well end up with more resources than you started out with. This sounds like a very positive step.

The new recipes themselves will be more of the same, a few token auto granted and vendor bought, but world drops and reputation gated for the most part. The Dev Diary did say that there would be full armour sets to craft at both 80 and 85, which is good, as a lot of people were frustrated at the piecemeal crafting items in the RoI expansion. As reputation will be, like RoI, earned rather than bartered, this excludes all of us who have un-levelled crafting alts from being able to craft the whole spectrum. Looking at the forums, the community suggestion is that the rep recipes become bound to account to help this along, but whether this will appear in-game at some point or another is a different matter. Expect therefore that the world drop recipes will be at a premium on the Auction, at least for the first few months.

They have also announced another tier of Relics, including crafted relics, for both personal use and mounted combat, which is interesting and a potential source of income for dedicated crafters, and the next level ingredient, the Compendium of Middle Earth Vol IV. To facilitate this they are bringing back the Crafting resource instances like those in Moria, and similar to the Legendary item instances in Galtrev. These will be able to be run daily, and probably also be a nice little addition to reputation.

So, what can crafters do to prepare for this?

For the Eastemnet tier, not really a lot, save make a little space in the vault to store all the new resources. However we can prepare for the new Guild Tier, by making Guild Rep items of lower tiers and stock piling them, ready to hand in. I cannot say how much XP is needed to progress from Master of the Guild to Grand Master (despite being in the BETA we didn’t investigate crafting that much), but I do remember that the last Guild tier was 45k. It is probably going to be in excess of 60k, so this is much better to level with lower tiers, and guild emblems that you don’t want, rather than waste the new tier ones which you want to use for nice new jewelry and armour, so get making and stock piling now.

In terms of crafted relics for your legendary, if you can craft them now, do so, for both the Westfold and Supreme tiers. The ideal ones to make are the basic relics which cost standard materials, and do not need the Compendium of middle earth (volume 1, 2, or 3), though the compendium recipes themselves are also worth doing if you have some spare. Whilst you might not want the relics themselves, the relics can be refined into shards at the Relic master, which will come in nice and handy for creating and customizing new tier relics, especially if (when!) we all want to bling out our War horses legendary bridles with new mounted combat relics. A standard crafted relic gives you 64 shards and are on a daily cooldown, and the compendium of middle earth volume 3 relics will give you in excess of 700 hundred, so they are worth doing as often as you can and, being shared in the wallet, on as many alts as you have, especially as we will certainly be looking at costs in the thousands for melding relics.

We have until 15th October to get what we want to in place so we can go out and explore Rohan, and hopefully come back with bags bulging with resources and recipes.

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Sorry; we’re not dead, and a Rushgore Tip!

What We have been up to

Its been a heck of a time since we last posted, as always when we come creeping back from a long break its a confession of still playing the game, but having a bit less time so neglecting the blog. Its the preferable way round to do it for us, but not so much fun for our readers so sorry about that!

As I said though, we have been up to plenty in our online absence. Firstly we moved kinships on our original main characters; Azbarak, Elgalandir, and Chumbo, from Heroes of Eriador to Ainulindele. It was not a sudden decision, or one we did with any animosity, simply that over the last year or two our focus and attitude towards those characters, and the game has shifted, and Heroes, whilst still and excellent kin, had grown a lot, and was focussed much more on larger group content, and tougher level content, just at the time where we were deciding to scale our ambition back and perhaps look at 3 mans, and the odd 6 or skirmish as our endgame goal. It was a tough decision, as 4 years is a long time to play and chat with some of the folks there, but we still have contact with many of them through the game, and the plethora of social media available these days and we hope that the kin carries on thriving, who knows, our focus may change again and we may be back? We have been with Ainulindele a few months now, and they seem to suit us very well, I have only quested and chatted, and run a couple of three mans, but it is a welcome change of pace, and I think we will enjoy it there.

We have run through the Isengard 3 mans fairly regularly, alongside some of the other 3 mans, and earned ourselves 4/6 of the Draigoch armour on both Ganin and Azaghar, and also on Izbaruk and Haki, with Vithar (Forest to me and you). We have been through the Great River region, and are having another look on Izbaruk, Haki, and Vithar, and have been having some fun duoing the Limlit Gorge on Azaghar and Ganin.

In addition to playing the Dwarves we have also been enjoying the Festivals, particularly the Anniversary one, which was a great success for us this year, a welcome break from last years rather more sparse affair. The Firework theme was great, and the events simple yet surprisingly fun to watch.

Emma got very lucky in the Festival winning both the Lossoth and the Dusk Watch Horses, more than once. My Festival character Tedwise was much more unlucky but was consoled by a solitary ‘Toast Emote’ and of course earning the Firework Pony! All in all we had a lot of fun! Emma also lucked out by winning the Steed of the Champion on Dandilyon her Hobbit Minstrel! We also took advantage of the ‘welcome back weekend’ XP buff to level Emmas Rohirrim Captain and Ef champion some more, putting 21/2 levels on them, going from 56-8 and hoping to get to 60 soon and try out the New Enedwaith, and then level her Captain with my Rohhirim Captain waiting in Enedwaith, ready for the Rohan Expansion later this year!

So in between little real life things like weekend trips out, holidays, and work we have been enjoying some of the recent things LOTRO has had to offer! We have also made a lot of new outfits for both our characters, which we hope to share fairly soon!

Rushgore Tip

Finally I’d like to share a little tip for those of you that hadn’t already noticed this. The folks in our new kinship put us on to this, and it can be a godsend if you are getting a bit sick in there, it will also work in the Dunbog too. The region is a very cool and pretty looking marshy area on the banks of the Anduin. Graphically it looks great, and first time through, though I found it a little difficult to find some creatures or target where something was that was hitting me, I took it all in my stride and enjoyed the journey, however on subsequent visits it gets a bit old fast, especially if you can’t track like a hunter. The merits and disadvantages of such regions have been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere, so I’m not going to get into that, but suffice to say, I’m glad the World Design team manages to keep a bit of variety in the Landscape, and I think this new land mass bodes very well for future expansions.

If however it is driving you mad for whatever reason, one thing you can do is get rid of all those reeds and grasses, which makes a hell of a difference, at the cost of the look and feel of the place.

Go into Options/Advanced Graphics/ and scroll down until you see ‘Frill Distance’ and set it to none, and behold the results below. All the scree shots are pairs of the same view, the only difference is one has ‘Frill distance’ on Very High, the only has it on none. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you just want to complete the quests, or have been through enough times already, then this can be a godsend!

A bit of an extreme example of now you see it, now you don’t, but it demonstrates the effect nicely.

The first thing I’d have know about that Turtle would have been the comedic rumbling of little feet.

You get a much better spacial sense of distance, unrealistic for a swamp, but a hell of a lot easier to play!

I knew something was hitting me from somewhere!

So whatever your reasons if you want to make the Rushgore a little easier to naviate at the cost of its ambience its a tip worth remembering!

thanks for reading, hopefully wont be too long next time!

Adam

Changes to joining a Crafting Guild

Tedwise demonstrating the art of Home Brew

I was having a little look at crafting today and decided I would be really nice and do some cooking and farming for one of Adams little Hobbit alts. Between us we have an awful lot of characters and we try to craft on all of them and have them all in a Guild. Today was little Tedwise’s turn, as Adam is not such a fan of cooking and farming, and I agreed to do it for him, as he will often run skirmishes and such for me. When crafting, I throw nothing away. After levelling several of my farmers, I had a lot of fine crops left over which i had passed on, which needed turning into various fruit and vegetables (today it was mainly blackberries – I ended up with 1050 of them!). Tedwise could master many of his tiers without planting a field, and I could read a book while he did it, the best way to craft in my opinion.

The Cooks Guild Leader in Michael Delving

Anyway, with his bags bulging with fruit, I headed back to Michael Delving for him to cook it all up. He’s a fun-loving party hobbit, so naturally, this is mostly now beer. I opened up expert, and up popped the quest to join a Guild. We have very few characters who are not in a Guild, and those that are have been in for some time. Like before, you would be asked to go and speak with the Guild leader. Now though, the Guild leader asks you to speak to the person selling the Guild crest recipes, for the Cooks Guild this was the Repast Recipe Vendor. They then point you to the Improved Recipes Vendor, who then rewards you with a Small Expert level barter item, worth 400 reputation. That is definitely new, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had known that in previous updates, crafting had been changed – you no longer needed to go off to all parts of Middle Earth to get a strange Jewel/Mould/Hide/Stick/Herb/Relic etc. to advance the crafting tiers, but I had no idea that they had done a new “introduction to” quest chain for joining a Guild also.

The reward for completing the introduction to the Cooks Guild quest

Go on, and talk with your nearest Master of Guilds – there’s usually one in most craft areas, to join in the fun! They can be quite expensive in terms of materials, but it is definately worth it!

Happy Crafting,

Emma.

Lottery Status for EU players

So we saw the return of the lotteries in test form yesterday which is very cool and exciting. These lotterys have been available to the US players for a long time, but us former EU server players have never tried them before. I have seen some very cool prizes, including rare steeds, legendary item symbols, cosmetic rewards, fireworks, silver, and anniversary or festival tokens.

As EU players we thought it would be interesting to test which of our characters we eligible to enter and win as there are still some issues with our MYLOTRO pages not showing data, updating slowly, or mixing data up, and we were keen to see how this impacted the lottery.

Firstly I will briefly recap the status of our characters as this may, almost certainly, matter regarding whether you can, or cannot enter, or indeed if you can enter, whether you can win anything.

Character Status

Neither of us has a MYLOTRO blog; we just can’t access that page, and get

The page isn’t redirecting properly  
*browser* has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.

However, All our characters are present on character page for the individual servers now, particularly in this case Eldar, which is my main server we play on and the one I tested on. If your characters are not yet present, this is probably a bad sign for the lotteries. My characters are, however, at different states of ‘present’.

1) The first three main characters Emma and I created back in 2008; Elgalandir, Chumbo, and Eodraed (Adam), and Azbarak (Emma) are present as names listed under our accounts at the: http://my.lotro.com/home/character/ page, but we are unable to view any character details for them, and simply get the following text when trying to view them:

Error: An error occurred while processing your request. We apologize for the inconvenience

All these characters were at level cap when we transferred to the Turbine service.

2) A whole bunch of our other characters are present on the correct server and listing details, however, these details are out of sync with real-time. These include some of Emma’s characters created when the above ones were, but that were still only in there 30’s, and two characters created much later, but which were 65 when we transferred to the Turbine Service.

3) 2 or 3 low-level characters created after we transferred to the Turbine service, which are present in the character details, and update in real-time.. or close enough to not get picky!

I am not sure what exactly will occur under other circumstances, for example I have seen people listing:

  • No characters/some characters not present under the http://my.lotro.com/home/character/ section
  • Characters present, but listed under the wrong server
  • Somebody elses characters listed under your account

Please leave a comment if you have experienced these, or any other iteration of a character problem, and especially if you have entered the test lottery and what the result was.

Test Lottery Result

The fine folks at a Casual Stroll to Mordor have out up a little guide to the lotteries, so I recommend you go check that out here if you are not sure what to do.

I short; I won, on everyone. Well, we all did, that was the point of the test lottery:D, but as a test I was able to enter with all these character listing types, and received the appropriate rewards in the mail. This included entering the ‘Test lottery’ for fireworks, the former EU ‘continental lottery’ (we got wine!), and the level appropriate lotteries. I also entered one lottery on my Landroval character, for the former US servers, and won that fine too.

There was no problem entering, and no problem winning, even on those characters not listing character details. So I think it is safe to at least say, if you have a character listed under the server, then you can enter and win lotteries, regardless of details, or update status. What I’d love to hear, is from people who have some more complex character problems, and what happened to them, so please drop and email, or leave a comment!

Good luck on those lotteries, great to finally give them a try after all those envious years!

Adam

Westfold Tier 7 for Farmers

With RoI now live, I was keen to have a look at the changes to the farming profession, something I didn’t sneak a peek at in Beta. Tiers 1 to 6 seem to be unchanged, but Tier 7, the Westfold Tier has a number of changes, which personally I think are pretty good.

Fairwen trying out the Leek Field Recipe

You start with the recipes for Black Barley, which seems to be a must have for all the Tier 7 Cooks recipes, Leeks and Bilberries. The first major change you notice is that these fields are multi-output. You can make either the ordinary field, which uses ordinary crop seeds, and has a low to medium crop yield, and low chance of crit materials, or you can make a hearty field, which uses hearty crop seeds, and has a high crop yield and greater chance to acquire crit materials. This greater yield comes at a price, the Westfold crop seeds are 2.4 silver, and the Hearty ones are 12 silver. In terms of xp, the fields for both give 8 xp, yet the more crops you have the more xp will be gained in the process of turning them into useable items. Also, unlike the previous tiers, you no longer need a form of fertiliser, just the crop seed (or Hearty crop seed) and a barrel of water, bought from the vendors.

The benefits of using a Hearty Recipe

This is where te second noticeable change is. In Tier 7, there is the opportunity to process in bulk. All crops in Tier 7 work on a 1:1 basis, whereas in previous tiers it was 1:4. In the crafting panel there is two options for processing – you can process the crops one at a time (as with previous tiers) for 6xp each, or you can use the bulk option, and process them five at a time. Using the bulk option gives 8xp for five, so is no good if you need the xp, but once mastered it is a big time saver.

You have the option to Bulk process crops

In the process of farming there is a chance to get Pinches of Westfold Herbs, a crit item used by Cooks, and a Pile of Rich Soil. Rich Soil is a random crit item from faring, but it can also drop off humanoid mobs or be found in loot chests or off corpses, much the way whetstones are found. This item can either be used as part of the Compost recipe, which converts it into Peat, a crit item for farming, or it is an essential item in two other recipes. These are the Wild Flower recipe, which has a chance to drop the necessary dye components used by Scholars, for every dye (yep, Amaranth Petals, Iris Roots, Indigo, etc) or a Wild Pipe Weed recipe, which we can assume will do something similar, and get various different types of pipe weed. These two recipes are however only available from the Dunlending Reputation Vendors, and not from Expert Farmers. Unfortunately, none of my alts with farming as part of their crafts (erm I think that’s 5 of them!) will be venturing into the new expansion any time soon, so it will be a while before I get to test those recipes for myself.

Pile of Rich Soil

Pinches of Westfold Herbs are the new Cook crit materials

Hope this helps and Happy Crafting!

Emma

What can we expect from Jewellery in Isengard?

With the announcement that Beta will be closing on Monday 19th September, the Rise of isengard expansion will be here very soon. We came to Beta fairly late on, and we both had different things that we wanted to spend our time persuing, and investigating how they worked, and if we found problems, bugging them. Adams main one was to investigate and test the new Champion changes, which you can read all about here.

Neither of us wanted to run around Dunland and Isengard too much, especially not me. I wanted to save that for when the game was live, and I could go “oooooh” and “aaahhh” and explore everything properly, and be all excited about what I’d seen. Not so for the crafting – I wanted a look at that straight away. Crafting is a big part of my game (and real life to be honest) and I was keen to see what the new tier 7 Westfold items were like. With the removal of stat caps in the expansion, this could lead to some very interesting options for character builds, and thus crafted items, much more than we had seen before.

I concentrated on the jewellery because that is really the one craft where all classes can wear the benefits. Both Adam and myself have two Supreme Jewellers in the guilds for this very reason. I levelled up the jeweller in Beta to a level where I could see the stats for the critical successes of the Tier 7 recipes.

SPOILER ALERT – PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING IS A TASTER OF THE CRAFTED JEWELLERY CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IN BETA. AS SUCH ALL ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

The following are the recipes available from vendors, and do not form a complete set, indeed there are no complete sets for a level like there has been for previous tiers. The other recipes, like the other tiers, will be world drops. The critical success stats are alongside in blue. It’s interesting to note that this time the yellow items (that is the items which have yellow text in chat, but who’s icon has a light green colour background), both crated, skirmish, and world drops, are actually worth considering this time, at least temporarily, and not auto-trash that they have been in the past.

The guild recipes are well worth a look, but I’m not going into those here as they can be seen linked on the forums here. It is notable that a lot of the new gear concentrates on heavily loading a few key stats into an item, which could lead to the temptation of heavily investing in your core stat, but perhaps leaving your character a little lacking in other areas, and thus perhaps forcing the choice of giving up some primary stats on an obvious item for your class, for one with secondary stats for your class, to round your character out a little more for raids and such.

VIBRANT CALENARD NECKLACE (LEVEL 66)

46 Might, 47 Might

23 Vitality, 47 Vitality

218 Morale, 225Morale

FATED CALENARD NECKLACE (LEVEL 66)

46 Will, 47 Will

23 Fate, 47 Fate

218 Morale, 225 Morale

RESILIENT WESTFOLD BRACELET (LEVEL 68)

48 Agility, 49 Agility

102 ICPR, 102 ICPR

140 Crit Rate, 284 Crit Rate

VIBRANT WESTFOLD BRACELET (LEVEL68)

24 Vitality, 49 Vitality

48 Will, 49 Will

206 Power, 212 Power

POTENT GREEN GARNET BRACELET (LEVEL 72)

104.4 ICPR, 105 ICPR

240 Power, 236 Power

148 Crit Rate, 300 Crit Rate

RESOLUTE GREEN GARNET BRACELET (LEVEL72)

52 Vitality, 53 Vitality

260 Morale, 267 Morale

148 Crit Rate, 300 Crit Rate

GREEN GARNET NECKLACE OF THE WARRIOR (LEVEL 72)

52 Might, 53 Might

52 Agility, 53 Agility

26 Vitality, 53 Vitality

GREEN GARNET NECKLACE OF THE WIZARD (LEVEL 72)

52 Will, 53 Will

52 Fate, 53 Fate

26 Vitality, 53 Vitaity

WINGED NECKLACE (lEVEL 75)

This is a single use recipe which drops from the new Draigoch Raid. It appears as if there is a single use recipe which can be dropped relevant to all crafts. The frequency of the drop is unclear, though I imagine that it may be similar to the rare drop of the Tortoiseshell bracelet recipe, from the Turtle. Either way, its pretty special. I’ll leave the exact details for you to find out when RoI launches, but I think this sort of attempt to tie uber crafting gear to instaces and raids is a great idea, the raiders can’t complain crafted gear is to powerfull when you need to run group content to get it, and the crafters have a reason to have a craft, and a reason to raid, and some great stuff to make.

REPUTATION JEWELLERY

At Galtrev (and possibly else where; as I mentioned we did not explore that much), there are Quatermasters for both the Dunlending faction and the Riders of Theodred, who sell a range of armour, weapons and jewellery, and also crafting recipes, both permanent and single use. I didn’t have time to gain reputation with both the Riders and the Dunlendings, so though I could see their recipes, and what they produced, I was unable to to see what their critted counter-parts would be, though many are clearly just the single use versions of the guild recipes. As it is, I’m pretty excited about it. I’ll give you a sneaky peak, but don’t want to spoil the fun! The recipes and items range in price from a few hundred silver to several gold, and in my opinion, they are well worth it.

From the Riders of Theodred Quatermaster:

Bracelet from the Riders of Theodred

Pocket Item from the Riders of Theodred

From the Dunlending Quatermaster:

Ring from the Dunlendings

Another Ring from the Dunlendings

SKIRMISH JEWELLERY

Barter items from the Jewellery vendor in Skirmish camps are also pretty nice, and are a good alternative to crafted gear. They include some pocket items also. I am not going to list them all here, as you can all see the full range for yourselves in 10 days time.

The Master Guardsman of Erulian items (min Level 70) are 596 Skirmish marks, the Veteran Master Guardsman of Erulian items (min Level 70) are 1192 Skirmish Marks and two Fourth Marks. The Master Guardsman of Adlan items (min Level 75) are 716 Skirmish Marks, and the Veteran Master Guardsman of Adlan items (min Level 75) are 1432 Skirmish Marks and two Fourth Marks.

Level 70 Veterans Earring

Level 75 Bracelet

Read the rest of this entry

The Rohirrim are Coming!

Horses in RohanThe Door of the Tower of OrthancGaltrevThe Fords of IsenHorses in Rohan
Rohirrim TentsRohirrim TentsThe Rohirrim of DutyMen of Rohan

So we recently took a look around some of the Rohirrim camps on the LOTRO Bullroarer server, and we have to say; wow! The NPC’s look fantastic this time. Both characters, and random soldiers look detailed and heroic, and are now animated in a lively way, similar to that which we saw with the Free to Play update additions to the Dourhand Dwarves.

We have taken a few key snap shots of these, and the Dunlending camps, including the new horses we noticed. There are none there currently, but heres hoping these new mounts end up being reputation ones, because they look fantastic, and here is hoping for some new Rohan housing cosmetics too!

We have to say, absolutely top notch job Turbine, these NPCS and camps are really your best work yet!

Check out our photostream on Flickr for the pictures (you don’t have to join to view, and its free even if you want to!) As always remember, this is BETA and always subject to change!

thanks for reading
Adam and Emma

The Martial Champion ROI updates (Solo attempt Video)

I thought I’d do a little post and video about my thoughts on the Martial Champion in Isengard, based on my experiences on the Bullroarer BETA server. For starters let me say, the class is in great shape, it has never been cooler to be a Champion!

I should state to begin, that I am an EU player, and as such was not able to copy over my live characters, however, thanks to the eyes and guard tavern and its goodies bundles and auto-levelling, I was able to investigate the level cap thoroughly. I went through a few variations, and found a few bugs which I duly submitted, so I wasn’t just messing about! I did try out both the Fervour and Ardour stances as well, and yes, they are both great. Fervour feels pretty much the same as it always has, with some really nice additions and tweaks to inject a little variety in a Champ rotation. In addition Ardour… well for a start it now has a reason to exist, so that is something. In fairness, I didn’t play with it enough to make a detailed judgement, but it now clearly has a very specific and useful role, especially in landscape questing/skirmishing, though I can also see it being a cool alternative for different play styles in raids and FS content, though I still think for it to be truly utilised, LOTRO is going to need some kind of dual-specing system so we can switch out of combat without a bard, because AOE is rarely much use in a raid boss fight, and the retraiting hassle may just not be worth it.

However, what really blew me away was Glory and the Martial Champion traitline, in a very big way, and quite unexpectedly.

I had auto levelled my Dwarf Champ to 75 and geared him out in the level 75 Ettenmoors armour, and grabbed a few decent jewelry items (a mix of current teal drops and level 75 Ettens). I then created a level 65 second age rune, with tanking legacies and maxed those, I had been lucky enough to find a level 75 third age legendary weapon which I also turned into a decent weapon mainly by looking for sudden defence duration, critical magnitude, wild attack, and brutal strikes and maxing those, and the level 75 Ettens off hander to go with it. I then slotted these with some standard tier 7 relics (mellee offence/morale setting, vitality and crit gems, and Parry and ICMR runes, with crafted melee offence relics. I then traited down the martial champion line, with stalwart blade from the deadly storm set throw in for the extra fervour pips, and set off for Nan Curunir, and Orthanc. When I got there, and legged it past the two doors trolls (one of which one shotted me first time for a rare 8K), I made a bee line for the smaller trolls that patrol the interior paths. These guys are level 75 Elites with about 75-6K morale,  and were hitting me (as you will see) for a good few hundred, interspersed with 5-700 and the occasional 1000+. In Fervour, though your DPS is demonic, and you can tear a good chunk off them, they soon pummel you into dust… and that is as it should be. However, though I could feel the dps was much lower in Glory, I felt incredibly durable, confident even, that I could last it out for a good duration. So, I Popped hope, some scrolls, food, and set at the Troll. My rotation wasn’t up to much, I had guessed I’d have to keep hedge up for my armour buff, sudden defence for its bubble when I could, bracing attack as often as able, and wild attack to fervour build, and (with a new trait) reduce the cool down of sudden defence, popping adamant/invincible to cover weak spots. I started on this rough idea as a basis, and chucked in a brutal strikes for some dps as and when I could. Imagine my surprise when he kicked my ass with only 9k of his health left. This was definitely doable, and more to the point there would be no need for messing about with kiting and bleeds, which I hate!

I bought off my dread, set everything going again and had a good read of my tool tips an traits whilst parked up in a ‘quiet corner’. I formulated a rough plan, to be fair, still playing by the seat of my pants a little, though I took note now that Heroics, it would seem, finally lives up to its name as a skill… wowza. Dire need, especially combined with its new trait, and the second wind skill, is now also usable much more frequently! So I had a second attempt, and lo and behold with a bit more concentration, I kicked his butt!

I was so pleased myself it was quite sad (and proud of Durzi too)! But I thought to myself, hang on; you are in level 75 top grade PVMP gear, with some great level 75 PVMP jewelry, 75 PVMP off hander, level 12 traits, high finesse rating… of course you did great, but you won’t get near that gear on the live server, and probably never be able to achieve that unless you start raiding a lot more again for some awesome gear. That bugged me.

I set off to look at the vendors, skirmish camps, and quest gear, to see what it held. I was pleasantly surprised, the Isengard gear from a variety of sources looks nice. Even using quest items, and skirmish barter gear, it will be easy to surpass the Moria and BG sets which we have had for so long, and decent teal crafted gear and above, is better than the OD T2 stuff by a good way. Finesse, also seems to be spread around quite evenly, so all in all I thought it was achievable, so I aimed to put it to the test.

I used Emma’s account, and her level 75 dwarf, to do this, the rune, weapon, traits were roughly the same as before, and you can see them on the video below, though I could only get a level 75 third age two handed weapon. This time however I handicapped myself in a few ways. Ideally I would have scoured the auction for sensible and obtainable gear, or even levelled up organically, and acquired what I could, but to be frank there is no way I had the time. However, by looking at crafted recipes, and skirmish gear and quest rewards, I got a good handle on what I thought was easily achievable for a fairly casually levelled Champ at 75, with regard to amounts of stats. I decided to use a selection of gear to reflect what I thought was this sensible level of stats and armour, before the min maxing of end game starts. Firstly I left all my traits at 10. For jewellery, I used two easily obtainable skirmish barter earrings, a mix of Moria/Mirkwood jewelry, with the exception of one PVMP ring for its finesse rating(this I was using to represent some decent level 75 crafted jewelry or drop). For armour I wore the BG set, with the level 75 PVMP helm, and pendvig clog.

You can see all these itemized in the video (this one is in HD so you can pause and read the tool tips, but sorry I squashed the screen ratio during compressions, yes… I’m a noob).

However, here are some basic core stats for reference:

  • Morale 7875
  • Power 1961
  • Armour 4893
  • Finesse 1390
  • Might 798 (I think I ate 46+ might food but can’t be 100%)
  • Agility 427
  • Vitality 569
  • Fate 110
  • Will 115

I had just short of 11K melee offence too, from might and bonuses. I think this is more than achievable, indeed, with the exception of the finesse and might, this is quite attainable on the current live servers, so I am happy that I handicapped myself enough with this, that I will, in fact, be above this level when I actually get to try this out on Eldar.

So I mapped back to Isengard, ran past my Troll gate guard mates, and went hunting. Once again, I used food, hope, and scrolls (all current Tier 6 ones) I didn’t want to record straight away, as I wanted to make sure I could do it first, so I didn’t look to daft posting a video of me dying. I decided on a few trial runs. The first time through, I got my butt kicked with only 10K to go… that, I thought, was just you being sloppy. So I bought off my dread, got the hope, scrolls, food going again, and tried once more. I kicked his stony butt this time, so I traipsed down stairs for some coffee, and decided to go for a live take. You can see the results for yourself below. Rather sadly, with 14-5K to go, Emma logged in her account downstairs amidst a bout of post checking and task handing in, so it cuts a bit short. But as you can from the vieo, I had whittled 50K off with no real drama, and by that stage it is a fairly ‘rinse and repeat’ rotation, which is fairly sustainable probably quite comfortably beyond even this level with practice.

Unfortunately I am pretty busy at the moment, and had hoped to wrap this experiment up in a night (the practice, the video, the editing, writing this post) and it is pretty late now, so I don’t know If I will get another chance to record, edit, and upload another one. If I do I shall add a new post and link this to it, but for now I hope it gives you champs, potential champs, and interested folks something to look forward to and think about. As you may have noticed, this is by no means and in depth scientific test, but though I have been mor erigorous in my testing in the past, I find it saps the fun out of the gaming for me, and I’m sure some talented folks will have some better numbers, calculations, and rotations up, better than I could ever do pretty soon anyway. I dread to think what Athelious will do when he is fully kitted on live servers! Instead I hope that this serves as a bit of a taster, an opinion based test, for the purpose of fun.  I hope you enjoy it.

Cheers

Adam

P.S Don’t forget, its still BETA, still subject to change and all that jazz.

The Greatest Reputation Guide in the World – Tribute

With the Isenguard release day looming and twiddling my thumbs as I resist tinkering on one of my legion of ats, my thoughts turned again to Reputation, and just what it takes to get to Kindred with the various factions you meet in game. The goal for my alts is to get the World Renowned title and Steed of Eriador, as well as the Ambassador to the Elves, and the Elf Lords Horse, which is its reward. Adam and I have got there on Ganin and Azaghar, our Champ/RK duo, and are pretty close on our other 65’s. I get the distinct impression that I went about it the hard way, and so have compiled everything I know about gaining reputation, as a future aide de memoire, and also for others. I’ve gone through every faction currently in game (except the Eldgang of the Rift, as this does not contribute to either horse and it is a specialised area off the beaten track for many players), in the order that they appear in my character Reputation log.

Ganin on the Steed of Eriador

The Guide was made live last month, as a permanent page, under Guides, then Faction Reputation, but I’ve been tinkering with it and have now added all reputation gained through handing in Tasks – where to hand in and what levels the quests are available. Currently Eregion is the last place to hand tasks in at around Level 55, but none of the Eregion tasks give reputation, and no tasks can be handed in in Moria and beyond. However we have been told that Tasks will be back for Dunland.

I hope this guide proves to be of some help to you all, but please be aware that the level requirements for some of the reputation quests and hand ins may have been lowered following recent updates. If you think that I have missed anything out or you know of any discrepancies, please let me know so the guide can be ammended.

Thanks for Looking

Emma

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.

Elgalandir isn't sure what we should do either

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.

Level 65:

  • Elgalandir; Champion
  • Chumbo;  Burglar
  • Eodraed; Captain
  • Azaghar; Rune-keeper
  • Ganin; Champion
  • Azbarak; Guardian

Level 64:

  • Izbaruk; Guardian
  • Haki; Minstrel

Level 48-54:

  • Tyri; Hunter
  • Elgilas; Warden
  • Barandis; Captain
  • Gilforniel; Champion

Level 1-38:

  • 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.

Azaghar getting ready for the long road to Isengard


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:

  1. To establish new main characters
  2. To maintain as many of our duos; some in the Khazad Guard Dwarf kinship, and some Heroes of Eriador kinship
  3. Maintain our regular levelling groups with our friends
  4.  I want to keep a solo character to play
  5. Bring some more of Emma’s characters forward
  6. Above all, we want to try to make sure we get to run the Isengard content, whilst it is fresh and new.

Haki and Izbaruk, levelling together for some time now

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!

Feaglin has waited thousands of years, a few more months won't hurt!

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? 😀

cheers

Adam