Posts Tagged ‘book 7’

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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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Are you feeling lucky, punk?

April 14, 2009

Back to LotRO and the Book 7 update…

…which gave us crafting instances, new repeatable quests for Moria instances (including completing them in hard more) and all of Lothlorien. And the grind.

There’s a lot of repeatable content, designed to make repping up with the Galadhrim as simple as possible. It’s faster if you’ve completed Book 6, but there’s a lot of quests you can do each day for both additional reputation and barter items. The quests are fairly straightforward. Pick flowers, kill orcs, scold drunk elves, and sing to trees. They’re kind of fun, fairly linear the first time you do them and there are stable-masters around Lothlorien which help in getting between elven quest camps. But, after a while, it feels a bit same-y, probably because it was originally designed to be something you could do when you wanted to escape Moria, rather than content to be done all at once because you’ve completed everything else and can’t be bothered to go back to hard-mode instances when you’ve already done them multiple times. I’m halfway through Ally with the Galadhrim and getting to Kindred for one reason only – the class-specific gift boxes (of Hell!).

Now, in order to get such a gift box, or any of the items from the Galadhrim (which includes jewellery, crafting recipes and other assorted ‘stuff’), you need to trade in barter items. For a cloak recipe I wanted, I had to recently pay 50 silver branches (not too bad, you get 3 branches for many of the repeatable quests). The gold branches are somewhat harder to grind for. You get some for doing quests, around 20 I think a friend of mine guesstimated (and he’s done all the Lothlorien quests, unlike me). You can also get them from doing the crafting instances. Each crafting instance has 3 quests, if you complete all 3, you can exchange the tokens you get for those for 1 gold leaf (keeping up with this? Bartering barter items for other barter items.. yes, good!). So, if you have the time and energy you can achieve 6 gold leaves a day. But that’s for people with a lot of time and not much else to do. The crafting instances can take 30 mins or an hour depending on your class, the mobs you get in them (it’s random between grodbog, cave claws, bats and morrovail, orcs and goblins), and whether you stop to get the crafting bits and pieces! This is the only way to get additional gold leaves.

A class-specific gift box states it gives a ‘legendary reward’, this can be anything from a first age weapon down to a pitiful 15k item xp rune. And it’s random. And for it you need 35 gold leaves and 50 silver branches. That’s a lot of grinding, by any standards, for what could be a pretty terrible reward (bear in mind you can also exchange 18 dwarf barter items – one per instance quest, so a potential max of 18 per day – for a 190k ixp rune). And also, even if I got a First Age (or Second Age, let’s not be greedy) weapon for my capt, it could still have lousy legacies and be a dagger, or similar weapon I have no intention of ever using.

Naturally, players aren’t too happy with this crap-shoot. There’s posts about it both on the Turbine and Codemasters‘ forums. There’s some remarkable stories of luck hidden in these threads, as well as the natural disappointment and frustration of getting something pretty rubbish. From the devs though only one comment – they’re looking into it. No admission that this wasn’t the planned outcome and no real direction as to whether players should wait and hang onto their barter items, or just take a punt and see what happens. I don’t know what the solution is, but these gift boxes give hope to non-raiders (such as myself at the moment) of a potential First Age reward and the grind they represent does seemingly deserve something decent (again, would be happy if it was a guarantee of something decent, not necessarily something awesome – I understand the grind/reward ratio and I don’t mind the odd reliance on random luck).

I have enough barter items now to get a Captain’s Gift Box, though I’m not yet Kindred – I will be soon though. I know I should wait and see what the devs come up with, but really, the grind is all I have of the game at the moment, so am tempted to give it a shot. Then I remember I’m fatally unlucky with most things (except in the number of Second Age weapons I have thanks to one person’s luck with drops!!)… back to the crafting instances while I mull it over.

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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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Twitter bears fruit

March 13, 2009

So today I discovered Turbine has a twitter, and through it that North America gets Book 7 on 17th March, conveniently a day I return home. Of course, we won’t get it immediately afterwards, but I need to use the new update to work out what kind of future LotRO and I have after leaving my kin and feeling well… a bit lonely out there. I’m looking forward to the new quests, and even some of the grinding for rep. It’s the perfect counter-balance for WAR’s fast and furious PvE and more worldly RvR.

If I can get over the kin leaving business, and straighten things out so I can play with my friends again, I imagine it’ll be a lot of fun. Might respec my Capt a bit too, who knows, it might be time to move away from healing, since Turbine want me to spec for morale and off-tanking it seems!

I’m also looking forward to the new xp curve and intend to take the opportunity to try at least one alt and actually questing in the Shire for the first time. So if anyone is thinking of starting up an alt and wants to join my potential warden on Laurelin for maybe one night a week or so, just let me know.

So, for the record, on twitter I follow SatineCM, Turbine and Codies. In terms of LotRO. For WAR I just follow JoshDrescher and thatbarnettblok, along with a couple of others, but I had to take off all the official-ish ones for being exclusively about the US experience and very spammy. Still follow them via Book of Grudges though!

ps. here is the twitter quotation (the important bit anyway):

LOTRO: Aren’t you glad you’re following us? You’re the first to know that Book 7: Leaves of Lorien arrives in NA on Tuesday, March 17!

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addendum

February 28, 2009

What? You noticed I didn’t mention the captain nerf?

Yes, I’m digesting it.

And mulling an alt.

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Give me a brooch, Galadriel!!!

February 28, 2009

LotRO players have a lot to think about. The Book 7 patch notes are out and make for some very interesting reading. Lots of stuff is being overhauled and we’re getting around 50 new quests as we take the road into Lothlorien, and another epic book (unsurprisingly). Added to that is the first pass across ALL classes that takes into account their gameplay experiences since Mines of Moria was released, but there’s more than just extra endgame content and class balance.

  • There’s a ton of Monster Play changes I haven’t really had time to digest since I don’t play there that often anymore (poor Drissy the spider and her babies!).
  • There’s a revamp of starting areas that might actually encourage me to make an alt seriously.
  • There’s a reduction in the levelling curve, so things should feel a bit slicker and faster as you level up to 50 and then 60.
  • Exploits in some of the Moria instances have been fixed and I hope will prove to some people I argued this against that these WERE exploits and not just good tactics ™,
  • And tons of bug fixes, etc, the standard patch fare.

Added to all these changes, Turbine manage to keep their patch notes detailed and witty. In the middle of a long list of armour that’s now BoA, there’s a knock-knock joke. In other parts of the patch notes there are subtle jokes about how things used to work. One of my favourites is commenting on a typo being corrected and quality of gameplay being immediately improved.

It’s how patch notes should be. Detailed, jovial and accurate.

And hell, if you were ever thinking of testing out LotRO, the new starter areas polish (or redesign for Ered Luin) and the easier levelling curve is definitely the time to do it. I don’t know if we have a release date for the patch yet, and I’m still feeling a bit alone and miserable where LotRO is concerned, but this is really something the game needed, and I applaud Turbine for doing stuff I thought they wouldn’t do in ages (the starter area bit), while addressing the missing Lothlorien content and doing a pass for all classes.