Posts Tagged ‘epic books’

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Some Good Stuff (LotRO)

May 13, 2009

There’s been a lot of chit-chat recently about the dearth of content for those of us at the end-game of LotRO at the moment. It’s true, Book 7 brought in very little except a bit of a grind, and that means we enter a bit of a malaise about having to grind or play elsewhere. But, as a reaction, I’ve also been thinking about a few of the little things I like about the game, ignoring obvious things like the look-and-feel and my lovely character class.

  1. Naming items, talked about it yesterday in the blog, the more we can name, the more difference it makes to us. Weapons especially suit being named. Of course the risk is there that people will name things stupidly, but really, if it’s not out in the open for everyone to see, it’s not that big a deal
  2. Content for small groups. Not just quests, but instances. LotRO brought in some 3-man instances with Moria, as well as some solo ones. Although I may have done the solo ones way too many times to really talk about them too sympathetically, they still remain a challenge to me in some way (esp the item xp ones), and I applaud their appearance in the game. The 3-man instances did remarkably well for not requiring specific classes, and I look forward to the seeing scaleable instances whenever they’re introduced. Next a game needs to work on some duo content!
  3. The cosmetic clothing system is really cool, allowing customisation beyond merely equipment that you have to wear to be more effective. It allows for some real thought and care as to what you display to the outside world, and you can have two separate outfits set up, as well as your actual equipment set. Coupled with dye it means I can dress as a pirate, or farmer, or wear a dress!! All while still in full heavy armour. Turbine have said they’re looking into cosmetic weaponry, something I know we’ll all be just as excited about.
  4. Legendary weapons/items. Items that level either with or independently of the character. It’s a n interesting concept, even if the LotRO implementation needs some tweaking (see Pearls of Unwisdom for details)
  5. Epic books, and epic questlines. despite some noticeable gaps in levels needed for the epic questline in LotRO, the fact these quests have in-depth story ramifications and a truly epic feel to them (mostly, I’m ignoring the delivery bits!) mean a lot to me. They introduce group content, interesting plots and instances, solo bits and pieces to get on with, and they have a progression to them that’s separate from other parts of the game. ie. you can get to 60 and not have finished them at all! They add storytelling and narrative to the game, and I’ll always love them in concept, even if I criticise individual ones. Other games have similar, but not quite packaged in the same way.
  6. Trophies. I’m not a massive fan of the housing, except the kin housing. But, I love the trophies from bosses and random mobs that I can mount in my personal house. We all like to show off, from titles to cool gear. Although no-one much may visit my house, I love going there and seeing all my favourite trophies out on show.
  7. The music system. Popped into my mind while I was writing about something completely different. I don’t do much with the music system, but it’s an incredible addition flavour-wise. You can learn to play different instruments, you can play original or non-original music, you can synch up with your friends and make a band. I’d love to see something like this in all games to help players expfess their creativity.
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The Golden…

April 6, 2009

So we have Book 7. And because of the delay, I did the April Fools’ chicken run a day or two after April 1st, but I enjoyed it anyway, so bravo Turbine for something incredibly silly but fun, and yes, I am now Idris, Fool (which I like to say in my best Mr T accent).

But back onto topic. With Book 7 LotRO players got access to the Golden Wood of Lothlorien (after a bit of a rep grind, which was made a lot easier by having finished the epic book 6 and getting lots of rep for doing so). If you haven’t done book 6, you have to do a little more questing, but the rep grind isn’t TOO awful. I’m guessing most could have it covered in a weekend. There’s a bunch of repeatable quests, and we all delighted in singing to trees and meditating quietly in the woods (well, all of us save the dwarves in our little group, but even they got into the swing of things!). Pretty much everything can be done solo. You start outside Moria and go to the two elf camps that were by the Nimrodel - from there you’ll get some of the quests and make your way across the river and into more little encampments and quests. The majority of the quests are peaceful ones, and there’s a lot to explore.

Once you get to the ‘city’ you can explore Galadriel’s garden, the art of base jumping around treetops (NOT recommended, you die a LOT from falling if you take it lightly) and get used to another biggish area where people like me get lost a lot. I’m taking this bit at a slower pace, and do a few quests a day, since many of them are repeatable for barter items (silver branches, etc) and I’m in no real hurry. Did the first stage of the Battle of Lorien instance-y thing, and it was ok, will be interested to see it with the additional objectives and push ourselves a little harder.

The epic book takes you back into Moria and you get to KILL STUFF again. Which feels surprisingly cathartic after all that singing. It’s all solo though. Which is both good and bad. On the good side you can whip through it, with a bit of finding where things are… and a very lazy dwarf to escort…and on the bad side, it feels a little anti-climactic in epic terms. I have a feeling Book 8 might address that though.

The 6 crafting instances are fairly bland, but distracting, and another bit of solo content that can get you item xp runes, golden branches for the elves or chests with recipes and ingredients in. There’s 3 pairs of instances (mining – Redhorn Lodes, wood – just outside 2nd Hall, scholar – Durin’s Way), and the mobs in them are random between morrovail, goblins, orcs, cave claws, and those screamy things I hate so much. If you get cave claws you can use it as a tailoring instance too! Each instance has 3 quests and for each you get a barter item. You can do the quests once per day, but the resources inside only respawn twice per week. 18 barter items gets you a 190k item xp rune, 3 gets you a golden branch, etc etc. I’ve been doing them a fair bit, so if you have any questions about them – shoot!

But this is turning into a very long, factual LotRO post. And my main point is that it’s almost all solo and not as inspirational as I would have liked. But we’ve had good book updates and not-so-good ones, this one is great for the actual areas, the beauty, the ability to run up to the Anduin and watch the sunrise and the actual feeling of being part of Lord of the Rings once more (and re-meeting the Fellowship, of course), but its also a bit flat in terms of the actual questing.

Mixed with the Moria content, Lothlorien offers a sanctuary of quietude. And seeing the two together is perfect for those yet to experience getting to 60, and for that I appreciate it wholeheartedly.  But it’s not been my favourite update (for the record: Evendim and Forochel, of course!). Still, I think I have to get back to that mining instance (yes, addicted to crafting instances, it’s a tragedy!)

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