Posts Tagged ‘lotro’


Old Raiders don’t die…

May 6, 2010

…they just wipe at 1% (with thanks to Spinks for the ending, I was too lazy to think of one).

Or, can you just drop raiding and not worry about it? I know at least one person who’s happily made the transition that way. I’m vacillating about it.

There’s things I don’t like about the current raiding I do, solely in LotRO, in the Dol Guldur cluster. I’m not overly keen on the radiance gating, I’d rather it was trait-based, or .. hrrm many other proposed systems. I prefer a closed-ish raiding group, but our kin has opted to go for rotations, and a much more broad brush approach.

There’s things I do like about raids in general, and the current one is included in that. I like the social side, the larger group size and chance to group with people I may not group with every night of the week. I like the more interesting fights a raid can bring in (though to be fair, lots of the 3-man instances have some fairly interesting fights in them which probably allow me to display my ‘leet skillz’ more obviously than in the current raid.

But, I have to admit I’m finding myself a little ambivalent about raiding in general. Some of it is being in the doldrums about LotRO, but it’s a far more complex reaction than that and I’m not even sure I would be able to explain all its facets. I’m still signing up, but perhaps being a bit more honest about nights I’d rather sit on the sofa watching crappy TV.

And yet, when I think of myself as a player, I think of me raiding. So I guess I’m not quite done with it yet.


LotRO Funk

April 22, 2010

I logged onto LotRO tonight, determined to make a triumphant return to the game – to join in with a kin activity and to just knuckle under and remember why I enjoy the game.

It didn’t go according to plan.

I grumped at people, ended up in a smallish but nice group of people, but faced with a really hard fight to be sole healer for. We did fine, until that last fight. Then died. And died again. And it doesn’t really matter whose fault it was because it made me feel like it was my fault. Bad healing situations always do, if you’re a responsible and proud healer. I know it’s not always JUST the healing, but I want to protect the people in my group. That’s why I heal.

So, I ended up feeling frustrated.

I just couldn’t drum up the joy again.

I’m signed up to raid on sunday, so I’ll see if that helps – though since the raid isn’t that much fun and a number of my closer friends aren’t along for that run, it’ll be different. But I place no grand expectations. I will log on hoping it’s fun though (as long as I remember to respec a little).

Is it me? I’ve never really played an MMO for more than 2 years before. I pretty much give up on them all when I reach the 2 year mark, it’s obviously approximately my attention span. So it could well be me. As well as life factors that won’t go away immediately, ‘things change, people change, interest rates fluctuate’ (yes, you get points for recognising the quotation!).

Maybe it’s the character and class, after all, I’ve done much of the content with my Captain, done way too much grinding in almost every area of the game. And yes, I’m disillusioned with all aspects of the end game. Every instance is fun for a certain number of times, or with friends.

I’m thinking of moving to an alt, and playing it slowly. Playing LotRO less. I can’t even say I’m excited about the prospect of Rohan. I think of it and think clustered instances, a zillion runs to get a zillion tokens for a weapon lottery I am bound to lose.

Yes, I’m definitely in the doldrums. And I can’t see a definite way out of them, but I will try and few. Not quite ready to drop the game I love just yet.


Blip, blip, blip

April 22, 2010

I’m aliiiiiive.

Or – the plagues of London haven’t kept me down too long! (I’ve been down to London a lot recently to see family. I come home each time with a cold. Or an allergy, or something that means my body does not enjoy London trips as much as I do!)

LotRO is still quiet for me. I’m slowly trying to get myself back into it, because I love my guild folk there and miss them dearly. But I’m definitely having a lull the game. Regardless, I’m raiding on sunday night, so I will definitely be on well beforehand to remind myself how to play a Capt reasonably. No-one will expect more from me! I’m kind of glad to hear WB bought Turbine outright, but we’ll see how it plays out with Codemasters and also with whatever secretive IP Turbine say they’re working with (I’m fairly sure it’s Potter, but then that might be taking Steefel’s word about it being a massive IP a little too at face value.)

I’m still playing WoW with Spinks, which is more surprising to me than anyone else. After numerous stop-and-start returns to the game, it seems the Refer-a-Friend scheme helped me get past level 40. Ok, so I was too involved in LotRO to play all the way to 60 with triple xp, you have to do that within 90 days and I played a month, left a month, returned a month, etc. But now we’re settled in, using the dungeon finder and scarily close to 60. I’m playing a Shaman, the one class I despised in my earlier trips to WoW-lands. I’m also genuinely loving it, so much so that I plan not to play a Worgen main, so I can stick with the Shaman. Maybe as a dwarf so I can play with other new-starters! The dungeon finder has helped me cut through the quests I’ve done too many times, the R-A-F scheme would have done the same, but I have better gear and more cash this way.

I’m not playing games much though, despite how this all sounds. I still haven’t finished Dragon Age for my second playthrough and refuse to play the expansion till I have, as I prefer my second char. After listening to a few podcasts yesterday, I really want to play Mass Effect. But, I’m also working more at the moment, enjoying my job and having to bring home work for the first time in years. So – not as much time to game, and that’s definitely made the biggest impact. But enjoying work is a good thing, so not going to knock that. Of course, I’m also having to apply for the extra-hours-part of the job, and may well not get it, so very soon I could be restored to my slacker-dom!

And in the meantime, all the shows I love are on-air and on-form. And taking up a lot of my reduced leisure time, because frankly, I’d rather be up-to-date with Lost than do a few skirmishes or a raid – sorry MMOs, you only have my soul until the one-eyed-god needs it back.

Which means, on the whole, that this blog is going to become more mixed. I may talk about books (my day job is in a library, I now run two reading groups, which means reading homework!), comics, my upcoming trip to Comic Con 2010, games, MMOs, and TV. And you’re all welcome along for the ride. The cats will, of course, still take pride of place. With pics!


What I’m up to

March 12, 2010

So blogging has fallen a bit by the wayside. I went to London/Reading to visit family and haven’t really got back into a schedule yet.

Add to that a bit of a turn from LotRO – I’ve been there, done that. I have 750 Dol Guldur medallions now and no weapon or emblem decent enough to spend any of them on. I can run through Sammath Gul without standing on a bone pile with my eyes closed. Volume 3, Book 1, was a small distraction – but didn’t do what I wanted it to. We’re raiding Barad Guldur, and making good progress, but raiding has diminished for me somewhat, and I think in the future I won’t be quite so gung ho to go twice a week. Ah yes, the casual vibe has started to catch me…

…I still log onto LotRO almost daily and do some of the daily quests to level up yet another emblem. They’re all rubbish. I feel, as I do it, as if I’m wasting my life. I really hate the LI lottery these days. And then I realise I’m raiding with what I consider rubbish and no-one cares, so why should I struggle to upgrade? Why pursue the Symbol for crafted 2nd Age items, when it may just be a wasted piece of crafting that someone else craves a lot more than I do?

Is it the end for me? I don’t think so. There’s plenty of people who aren’t so jaded as me, and perhaps I should spend some time helping them get to do what they want. It’s no surprise to people I’ve been logging on a lot less these days – that’s just a reflection that it’s just not as fun as it once was, though it might well be in a month or so. Lifetime sub…

But I also started a new job this week. Well, it’s the same job, but more hours, different library. So I’m out the house more. And my husband is super-stressed in the final term of his PGCE (teacher training course). He’s now teaching fulltime and doing coursework, and having to apply for jobs for September. So, we barely see one another. It’s 10 weeks of hell, because we’re not really used to these levels of organisation or stress.

And then, I turned 40. Which was cooler than expected. I got some lovely presents and went for a charming meal with co-workers, which got me out of the funk I had on the actual day (was my first day of work 9am-7pm, and I was knackered when I got home!). Someone even gave me a Starfleet Command button for my uniform ;p

And, as Spinks points out, I’ve returned to dabbling in WoW pre-Cataclysm. The idea is really just to putter about for a couple of mornings a week, play with the dungeon finder, and gather some money and resources for Cataclysm. I have no expectations for WoW. It’s just this MMO I spent time in a while ago. Having no expectations helps. I don’t care how fast or slow I level, I don’t really care what my gear is, and I’m not too bothered about raiding (see my previous point re: LotRO). So it’s quite chilled out and a change of scenery. Plus we have a little guild and they’re all very accommodating with my lame questions! Good stuff.

And I have a cold. Which is what’s contributed to this week’s slump. When it’s gone I expect to feel a good deal better about everything.

But, if, as they say, life begins at 40 – then I start mine in the firm knowledge that I have a good bunch of friends both offline and online, and that I care about them all a lot. And that good things can happen at work.


Why Raid?

February 22, 2010

Was having an interesting Twitter chat with a kinmate this morning (@sauronsbeagle to give him his due) when we touched on amusing reasons to raid. He’s a Minstrel, I’m a Captain – we both heal in raids. And there’s your context:

I felt my #3 key wasn’t being pressed often enough. The 1st boss and gauntlet make up for that!

Yes, I like to use Gauntlet to bask in the smugness of my 8.3s on-defeat heal. Will go when I break DN* set up.

*DN = Dar Narbugud (previous raid in Moria – the Captain set bonus reduces the cooldown on all on-defeat skills).

Now, we were just joking about the relentless nature of ‘The Gauntlet’ in Barad Guldur. It’s ~30 mins of constant fighting of wargs, uruks and goblins while climbing a number of staircases and rushing across landings. And slightly on the nature of being a healer in a raid, but it did make me think – why do I enjoy raiding?

For me, personally, it’s mostly the social aspect. I get to group with 12 people instead of 6 (and an even wider circle with the rotation system we run in-kin). They have to listen to my bad jokes, my innuendos and my insistence that Captains really aren’t needed in raids, when we all know they are! I play MMOs to group, and while I do enjoy soloing during the day and spending some time with myself, I love being able to chat in kin-chat, fellowship chat and also raid chat – and teamspeak these days, though I used to avoid it like the plague. I don’t NEED to group to have that social side to my gaming, but the shared goals of a raid do add something.

The challenge? Hrrm, this is a reason I’d have said I wanted to raid, but if I examine my motives a bit more truthfully I pretty much approach every raid knowing we CAN do the fights. It might mean we have to wipe a bunch learning placement, tricks of the fight, etc. But I have faith in my kinmates. There’s solo instances that I found more challenging that certain boss fights, there’s certainly 3-man and 6-man content I’ve had to wipe at almost as many times before getting the hang of. This is just larger scale. But I’m not all THAT motivated by the ‘saying we’ve done it’ aspect, even if I know I should be. Maybe that’s been the biggest change in my attitude towards MMOs recently. Either my attitude has shifted, or I’ve been thinking about it a bit more intently of late.

The loot? Um.. actually I almost dread it at the moment. I don’t really like radiance gear, I hate the lottery of checking each new class-specific raid set to see what the devs have decided Captains will get. For Barad Guldur, the set is not only ugly, it has stats that I personally wouldn’t choose – and yet I know I’ll have to get it so I can pass through the next radiance ‘gate’ for future content. The set bonus is pretty rubbish for me also, especially going from a very good one from Dar Narbugud. Jewellery, trinkets, other drops – probably all more appealing for me as actual loot drops, but I know I will need this ugly, un-appealing statwise armour. So what was a reason to raid for me for previous raids, in WoW and in DAoC, has become more of a stressor! Sad. But the next raid might have a great set of armour, let’s try and stay positive!

Downsides of raiding? There’s always a touch of friction when the group size increases and a touch of mob mentality pops in to show its face. It’s easy for people to take things the wrong way, myself included. It’s quite focused, moreso than most other content, and you have more people relying on you (I say this as a healer, but it’s true for every single person in a smallish raid). People get tired, because raids tend to go on longer than other grouped content. Wipes are inevitable and everyone takes those differently. I’m on the richer side in LotRO, so even when I gripe about repair bills, it’s really no big deal to me. But some people really don’t have as much time to get cash to cover what can be repair bills of up to 1g! And if you go twice in a week, that can soon add up!

On the whole, raiding is for me… for the moment, anyway. I’m just changing my attitudes towards it a little. Which is probably a healthy thing!

Any reasons to raid that I missed? Any compelling arguments against raiding (other than time?).


Captain Awesome! Or is that Awesome Captains?

February 9, 2010

Volume 3, Book 1 brings us captains some joy for a change. I was pleased, then dejected, and am now pleased again – pleased enough to blog about the changes as a lifelong lover of Captains (especially my own!).

So, what changes are we getting?

Captain skills requiring an OnDefeat event will now generate an OnDefeat event themselves if they kill a monster.

This is something Turbine have been working to give us for a while, I believe it’s how the mechanic was always meant to work. It seems all our waiting may have finally paid off and we can now chain an on-defeat event by killing something with another one. Won’t happen all that often, but I’m not looking this one in the mouth. A hearty hurrah!

Captain heralds will no longer gain 100% absorption from Shield of the Dúnedain.

A needed fix. I haven’t used a herald in a while, though I did a few weeks ago to see what it was like. Never really used Shield of the Dunedain on one too, but obviously this needed fixing.

The Last Stand effect now applies at the earliest possible moment in the skill execution.

Another fix, and a needed one. While nothing changed with Last Stand in Mirkwood, it was firing off a bit too slowly to be the ‘last stand’ moment that it should be, leading to some deaths for me – even if it didn’t make the group wipe because I had In Harm’s Way up anyway. Captains asked for this to be looked at, Turbine listened and agreed it was meant to be a split second kind of decision. We’ll see how it plays out, but at least they have tried to do what they can, and I think we’ll return to using Last Stand and counting on it.

Deeds before Words will now increase Inspire’s healing.

I’m increasingly considering speccing with Deeds before Words. But this is basically a bug-fix. It worked, then it didn’t, now it will again. So all is well.

But what we really really care about (other than Last Stand), is the new level 64 skill:

Watchful Shield Brother – Adds a boost to maximum morale and a power boost to the toggle effect.

1. I like the name, and I am growing to think the shield-brother mechanic is not a bad place to look at future tweaks to Captains. Especially if they ever do like Warhammer and give us a couple of targets (call them offensive and defensive, but either way…)

2. Adding morale and power, always good. And I was happy to read about it, until I read Captains on Bullroarer report it was +105.6 Morale and +154 Power – then I got dejected. This is kind of rubbish, barely a hit from a level 65 mob… no-one will really notice it. But hey, it would still have been an increase!

3. So Captains whined a bit, suggested things they would have liked instead for the 64 skill. And someone came up with the idea of adding in-combat morale/power regen to Watchful Shield-Brother instead of bare stats. Sounded like a good tweak to me. Lo and Behold, Turbine listened and yesterday Zombie Columbus added the following to the Captain forums*:

Based on player feedback, Watchful Shield-brother’s max power and morale will be replaced with increased power and morale regen rate for Book 1.

We still don’t know the numbers, but even small, I think they’re more useful than base stats – we already increase those for people with In Defence of Middle Earth!

So, all in all, I say Roll On Volume III – it’s nice to have a good class change to look forward to (and let’s hope the tradition of leaving the class with one silly bug has been vanquished!)

*thanks to my fellow Captain Tirnel for pointing this out to me, in twitter


Volume 3, Book 1

February 5, 2010

So, new content is almost upon us and Bullroarer is open for those in the US to go play with it and discover bugs, spelling mistakes, and what they think of the changes.

There’s not TOO much different, but there’s definitely changes of interest. The preliminary release notes can be read here – they’re not that long, so I suggest you go read through them all.

Headline stuff seems to be level 64 skills, 2-man skirmishes, new crafting recipes for certain crafts, and you can add notes to friend/ignore lists (so a year on you may remember why you ignored someone – something we were discussing only the other night). Oh +fate/+will food in the crafting stuff. Will have to hunt down my cooking friends!!

The level 64 skills seem, to me, to be upgrades throughout (they are all upgrades apart from the Warden one, which is a new gambit, just read words from Zombie Columbus clarifying), and I’m happy to see shield-brother getting the Captain love. Initially, I wanted a skill that improved me, but that’s not why I chose the Captain class. Our primary role is to buff, and once you accept that, then improving the shield-brother skillset is truly welcome (along with the fixes to Deeds Before Words), with a power boost and morale boost for our shield-brother, we may even have to think a little more tactically about who gets this increase and at what point in a fight/raid. It also means I’ll be tempted to duo with a Capt buddy to see what kind of accumulation we can get by using the buff on one another. Captain duo looks increasingly strong! I hope other classes are happy with theirs, it’s much much better than the level 62 ones, that’s for sure.

I like that skirmish cosmetic rewards are Bind on Equip now, I think that should have been in from the start – and I like the encouragement to do tier 2 ones, and duo ones. It appears from initial feedback that we’re going to need a ton of skirmish marks though, which still makes me a little uneasy. Skirmishes, despite having some random encounters, are still a grind. They’re just a grind with multiple (rather than specific) rewards. It’s a great equaliser, but still greatly rewards those with more time.

We’re all having our legendary items reset again. Semi-blah. I’m lazy. And I have a few weapons/emblems. But I’ll survive this ;p

Book 1 rewards – well, you can read about them here if you want spoilers. I don’t mind what they’ve done with the choices. For various stages you get a choice of fast travel to the next location of a physical reward. I’ll probably take the rewards, because I need stuff and have time to do travels, but it’s an interesting concept.

Overall, I’m looking forward to it, but with my usual reservations about skirmishes taking such a central role. Here’s to hearing a release date! (am guessing 1-4 March for Europe, as I’m in London then ;p)


Barad Guldur – Second Peek

January 29, 2010

A week or so ago, 8 brave (or foolish) adventurers of assorted classes popped into Barad Guldur, the 12-man raid in Mirkwood, to have a look. We killed a very few things and got over-run. But then, there were only 8 of us.

Now the kin is ready to send in reinforcements, and last night we had our first 12-man foray. We made progress, we got up some stairs! This is harder than it sounds, but makes me laugh cos it ties in with my general reticence about stairs vs escalators. The repair bills were high, but it was new, and fun.

I won’t write too much about it, again, I don’t want to spoiler people. It’s just nice to have had a look, and I’m sure I’ll occasionally reference our progress through it.

I am going to try and return to blogging though. I have thoughts on SW:TOR, Bioware, Mirkwood, Book 3 and all sorts of other gaming and TV related stuff. Just needed the time off.


It’s Because We Stepped on a Bone Pile…

January 7, 2010

In my trawling of the Turbine forums of late, I spent some time in the Instances and Raids forums. I was mostly there to look up combinations of classes that have worked in Sword-Halls hard-mode to see if there were any surprises (I think our most surprising has been capt-capt-warden, surprising due to lack of dps, not lack of anything else – both capts were healing-specced). So I went, and I looked, and of course I got drawn in to reading some other threads.

Now, I don’t tend to forum-browse all that much. I visit the Capt forums for debates on sword/shield vs halberd/greatsword and other Capt-specific areas of interest. I also don’t like to know too much about an instance or raid before I go to it and have some experience in it, so I don’t visit that specific forum area very often. When I do, I check out all the threads of interest.

So I skipped the threads about Barad Guldur – have time to go to the raid with my kin when we get started. Then I might look up specific ways others approach it, or what gear drops or what a capt role should be in the fight. As we’re all obsessed with getting some Symbols of Celebrimbor (you need them to craft 2nd Age items), I was naturally drawn to a thread about its chances to drop.

I’ve been giggling on-and-off since, because it reminded me of our highly-superstitious nature. We can be told a drop chance is 10%, 5%, 1%, 75% and we’ll still think that something about our behaviour can affect a programmed game. As humans, we seem to find random chance hard to deal with. And some of the theories are really great – if you do the fight in a certain amount of time, it increases the chances – if you don’t set off any bone piles, it increases the chances – etc.

It’s actually added to my enjoyment of Sammath Gul because now, in my warped mind, I make up fake rituals to tell people would increase their chance of a Symbol drop. I’m evil. I accept that. We all know the truth is that it’s a percentage, and therefore quite random! We’ve definitely seen it drop more than some in that thread though and less than others. Nature of the beast. I guess the only one I find somewhat believable is that easy-mode has a higher chance of it dropping, but I don’t think that IS the case, unless proven otherwise by someone willing to do the maths and to do the run a statistically significant number of times with the same 6-person group in both Challenge and non-Challenge mode.


Captains can heal?

January 5, 2010

I say this, tongue firmly in cheek, as an unapologetic healing Captain. Without bragging, I’d say we’re up there as primary healer if specced the right way and playing with a sympathetic group that understands how to make things easier for me (ie. assisting with the on-defeat heals, understanding I can barely heal myself and that healing them costs my morale).

I assume most Captains know they have this capability and those that don’t need to spec as main healers have a more hybrid approach to tackling back-up healing. Which is why it surprised me to read this thread over on the Turbine Captain forums. It starts with a simple enough question about the Dol Guldur cluster of instances – how does Captain healing fare in them?

It’s even a good question. Siege of Mirkwood brought some changes, new legacies, combat and power things to get used to. We know how we managed in the Mines of Moria and Shadows of Angmar content, with a new expansion, we want to know what’s changed with regard to healing.

The answers vary. Most commentators agree that a healing Captain works well in the 3-man instances, and that Captains couldn’t solo heal raids (which I’d hope no-one would expect them to). The answers relating to the new 6-man instance Sammath Gul are the most interesting/depressing/intriguing. It seems at the start that almost everyone (and we assume these are people who play Captains) are pretty down on the idea of a Captain solo healing the 6-man without heavy support from burglar conjunctions or other healers. At least by the current end of the thread the belief turns around with some screenshots proving it’s possible!

A couple of days ago, before the thread had fully panned out, I was a little surprised at how little faith in their own healing many Captains have. I was a little more shocked at some of the ardent disbelief people showed to players who said they HAD solo healed Sammath Gul. I don’t think I’d be so disbelieving if a Captain said they’d tanked the Sword Halls (something I’m relatively sure I couldn’t do with my current spec!).

We’re pretty resilient healers. We need a group to understand some things about our healing. That it can involve being in melee. That we can do great things with on-defeat actions (so kill little things fast for extra openings). That our healing involves using our own morale and we can’t heal ourselves much. That In Harm’s Way/Last Stand will not make the group invincible anymore, but will take half of all damage to the Captain. And that our single heal can be used on the move and is instant (though with a short cooldown). Oh, and we also have a mark that gives some healing.

Personally, I’ve main-healed every instance in the game (not raids, obviously). My group tends to consist of LM, Champ, Guardian, until Mirkwood a burglar. We often take other Champs, Hunters, to make up numbers. Most often I play with another Captain in the group, so the main-heal attempts are the exception rather than the rule, though. Didn’t try Dark Delvings after the changes made it harder (or didn’t try to solo heal it, anyway), but did it beforehand.

And yes, I’ve done Sammath Gul a few times.

Keep the Faith!