My stable of Creeps
Over the last few days I’ve been dabbling back in the Monster Play area of LotRO, the Ettenmoors and having a whale of a time. So I decided to write a bit of a wordy post about it, but to sum up – make a Creep, give it a whirl!!
Every player can create a monster character once they’ve reached level 10, by going to a big stone in Bree-Town and clicking on it – when you get to pick a monster class from Weaver (Spider – CC, ranged DoT, etc), Reaver (dps), War Leader (tank and healing), Black Arrow (ranged dps), Defiler (um.. newest class, heals –HoTs and DoTs, I think), Stalker (Warg – obviously the stealth bitey class).
Monsters start at level 60, and in a small town called Gramsfoot, where they get called ‘Maggot’ a lot, and get a series of repeatable quests. Quests give destiny points, which you also get when levelling your non-Monster char (known fondly as a Freep in the Ettenmoors, short for Free Peoples, fighting Creeps – monsters, so think of it as Freep vs Creep – we all do!). Destiny is very very important for the Creeps, because through destiny they buy new skills, appearances, talents, corruptions (traits), and all sorts.
So. You have your monster all created and named something fierce and scary. Now it’s time to go out into the world of the Ettenmoors and find a Freep to slice and dice. Not so fast, maggot. The first thing you should do is to do the quests/deeds to get the ability to map back to Gramsfoot. First of all, pick up every quest you can at Gramsfoot. Visit all areas. One of the quests will be to report to Dar-Gazag, and other keeps. Dar-Gazag is a fairly safe trot south from Gramsfoot, so is a good place to start. Follow the quest and deed instructions, ask in OOC or check an online map, and be very careful if one of the keeps is in Freep hands when you have to scout it. It IS possible to do by skirting close by, so don’t let it put you off – but there is the requirement to not die, so you might want to hand in quests at Gramsfoot every few scouting missions, just in case.
Maps are very important for Creeps, because we don’t get mounts of any sort. After the initial quest to get the Gramsfoot map, you get further maps to each of the main locations (or nearby) by completing quests for quest-givers in those keeps/areas. So you get a Lumber Camp map for doing quests for the Lumber Camp, and so on. For 10 quests you get a poor map, that is a fair distance away and then there are two other levels as you complete more quests. Generally it’s good to get the Tirith Rhaw one if you can, as that’s a fair distance from Gramsfoot, and the main Freep keep. As to quests, I tend to pick up all the kill quests but none of the gathering ones. You gather the stuff anyway (and roll for everything, and gather everything you can!) and you can grab the quest just before you hand it in anyway. Do as many quests as you can in normal play, the destiny always comes in useful!
So, fighting. Check your social panel for any open groups (go to ‘raid’ and there’s a tab for ‘open groups’ at the bottom, check it to find groups you can ask to join just by clicking on them). Get into a group if you can, admit you’re new and people will be a little more forgiving. Then go find some Freeps and have an all-out skirmish. You get infamy and destiny as you help kill players, and the infamy works towards your PvMP ranks. At each rank you get new skills available, as well as new appearances you can buy.
But down to the nitty-gritty. You got LotRO because you wanted a solid PvE experience, with the epic storyline, the setting of Middle Earth. You’ve forgotten all about PvP. So why even try PvMP (as it’s called, because all Creeps will have a Freep, they might just not play them in the Ettenmoors). Well, it’s a ton of fun to play one of the bad guys of Middle Earth and Turbine have managed to give them a sense of character with all the cries of ‘Maggots’ and skills such as ‘Crack the Whip!’ (the War Leader heal). You’re often fighting against named you’ll recognise from the Freep side, either kin-mates, big names, people you’ve PuGged with. And there’s nothing greater than a sense of recognition of the person you’re attacking. Really? On many servers the Creeps have a real sense of community and help one another, because Creeps are better in numbers. While one-on-one a Freep will be a lot stronger than a new Creep, in numbers the Creeps can form real opposition.
So not only is the combat fun and a change from the PvE experience, the Ettenmoors also has keeps, outposts, resource locations to take from one side to the other. Although they switch sides when unmanned, there’s also usually some focal points where mass battles will take place, with smaller groups picking off stragglers. I’ve seen more tactical fighting in the Ettenmoors than I ever did in WAR. Perhaps because the community, at the time, was better coordinated. But still. It was my love of the ‘moors that made me even consider a PvP game such as WAR, so it’s been nice to go back to the roots of this enjoyment and explore the Ettenmoors again.
If you hate PvP, there’s no point in going into Monster Play. But there are rewards available in both enjoyment and character improvement for both sides in the war there. And it’s part of the LotRO experience, so what have you got to lose!!!