Posts Tagged ‘moria’

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Phew, Moria defeated

November 23, 2009

Last night, a little against my expectations we took down The Blind One (for the second time, and on our first attempt, yay) and then went on to kill The Mistress of Pestilence on our third try. Against expectations because I wasn’t sure how many attempts we’d do in an evening, not because I don’t think we’re capable (of course, kinmates read this blog, y’know!).

So, with that, aside from what seems to be a bugged quest in Dar Narbugud, I have now finished all the content in Moria, a week before we get Mirkwood. This I like. It’s not that it hasn’t involved a lot of grinding and time-killing to fill the time between raids (for me), but it feels satisfying nonetheless.

I wish, sometimes, I was a bit slower with content. But I love the game, I love to hang with my friends there, and I only work one day a week. This is a combination that means I rush into things headfirst when they’re new, even if I read every bit of quest text I’ll still finish before the majority, purely on the time I can chuck at it.

I’m also fairly resilient to grinding. More than many. As an example, I have accumulated 350 silver branches and 100 gold leaves (mostly through crafting instances), and spent a good many more back in the day! I’ve done most of the hardmode instances a lot more than 6 times, and I’m happy that way. I switch on a podcast and spend my time in Middle Earth, doing whatever I need to do to stay there. Have taken a few weeks to be on there less in preparation for Mirkwood, but once it launches I know the skirmishes will keep me pretty busy, as well as quests, instances and raids.

But, it does feel kind of nice to be able to finish DN. Now we have to go back to help people get the 4-pieces for the resistances, and for them to have the same feeling of satisfaction in completing one raid before we look to the next!

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Quick raiding update

November 9, 2009

Last night we downed The Blind One, for the first time, and got The Mistress of Pestilence down about halfway. Found the last mushroom for the deed, by a stylish case of falling. I won’t spoil how or why, but it was kind of funny.

The first time we get a boss down there’s a definite sigh of relief and a cheer. Followed by a strange pang of fear that we now have to show we can repeat the feat. I’ve said it before, but the second kill is my favourite in any raid. The one that proves it wasn’t just good luck that got us through the fight. Of course, I love the first kill – that goes without saying, but nothing quite beats the sensation of feeling we’ve conquered the fight, and I tend to get that on kill no. 2.

So – looks like we may have a good chance of finishing Dar Narbugud before Siege of Mirkwood launches. Although I’ll miss the Mistress/Blind One fights next week as I’m taking a trip down south for a family lunch, and then to go stay with Spinks and sneak a peek at Dragon Age: Origins, so everything makes sense to me ;p

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The Blind One

November 2, 2009

He’s a big, bad, monster deep within Dar Narbugud. It’s a tricky, Thrang-style fight. We’ve been at it a few weeks (I think would have been a bit faster with a fixed group, but our kin practices ‘rotations’ so we often have people new to the fight with us). We can now easily get through 1st and 2nd stage and yesterday got him to 38k on one attempt and then 28k on the next (from 500k). We’re making progress. And soon, it’ll be second nature to handle the transitions.

But for now, he’s my biggest frustration in LotRO. Captains, in our kin, are a rare breed at max level and radiance-d out. We get to go to most raids, which is quite a bit deal as every other class has to rotate between 3-4 players (we have more guardians but one is sitting out the rotation). I’m not a huge fan of rotation on such a wide-scale, but it’s meant to be fair to those who want to raid. Strictly, we’re very close to being able to run two raid groups, just not every week, and we’d be missing the Captains. So it’s a Catch 22 situation.

My personal views of rotations aside, what the situation does mean is that I get to see the fight every week, with both new and old people. I get to judge when I feel it’s gone better, when we’ve taken a step backwards, and I also get tired of the content faster, I imagine. For me this is attempt who-knows on the Blind One (we’re going again tonight after such close shaves), most people know how many times they’ve been. It’s blurring for me. And even if we do it tomorrow, there’s no guarantee we’ll do it next week. I worry I’m burning out a little. I still concentrate on being the best I can be when the fight starts, but I’m not enjoying it like I once was.

Would be nice to finish Dar Narbugud before Mirkwood comes out. I think and hope we will. The boss after The Blind One is supposed to be a lot easier, and is the last boss. I’d kind of like the armour set, as the Captain bonus is actually a decent one for once. Funnily, I’m not usually an ‘achiever’ in raids, I tend to go for the social aspect. Maybe skirmishes will fill that hole soon… though who doesn’t want to go to Dol Guldur and kick Nazgul butt!?

/ramble off.

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Missing Balrog: reward offered

October 12, 2009

I think there’s always come a time for me, in every game, where I look back on some aspect of the content and really miss doing it. Currently, I’m really missing the Rift in LotRO, while we’re raiding a similar multi-boss instance in Moria.

So why would I miss the Rift when I’m doing something kind of similar?

First of all, the Rift was our first 12-man content. 2 groups of adventurers off to the far reaches of Angmar to help the Eldgang (who are unbelievably dense, but have sexy voices and ‘victim’ written on their foreheads), and where the endboss is a Balrog! Before that we only had Helegrod as a raid, and that was long, and a bit of a slog, and for 24 people. Which, at the time, our kin couldn’t get without relying on alliances.

We did complete Helegrod. Once. And then haven’t been back. The quests there were far too arduous to complete as the raid stands currently. Everyone needed to collect too many items, and no-one got them finished. Turbine learned a lesson from Helegrod and created the Rift.

The Rift has a mix of baddies; orcs, drakes, trolls, uruk-hai, things on fire, fumaroles (little cute firey things), Eldgang that think you’re on the other side until they realise you’re fighting their enemies, world-eaters (don’t ask), and of course, the Balrog itself. The progression through was a slog at first and, as these things do, got easier and easier with repetition. We spent an age getting past Thrang (the boss before the Balrog), and then learning the Balrog fight. Each boss dropped one or two set items and there was also some random decent loot. Quests progressed through the instance, and some were repeatable. There was a whole reputation system in place with the Eldgang and some reasonably well-thought-out stopping points where you could spend reputation items. It had a storyline, in terms of Eldgang vs. the baddies (thus the reputation). And, of course, we had a mostly static group with some rotation of hunters and minstrels depending on who was available. My only level-cap alt was created purely to add another minstrel to the Rift mix and has been floundering at level 50 since, still in Rift gear.

The static group helps with the nostalgia. Now the kin has rotating champs, minstrels, loremasters, guardians, hunters, pretty much everything except captains and we have a third captain geared up now, so even we might start. It means, for Dar Nagubud (current 12-man raid) we pretty much have a different group each time, made up from a growing pool of people.

Sometimes I’m more hard-core than I remember, and I have to say my favoured way of cracking content is in a fixed group, but it’s working – it’s just a little slower and perhaps a little less chatty in TS. We have to concentrate a little more, and the raids are a bit more serious overall. I just type my chattiness away while we fight. If I can’t multi-task I’m doomed! I think, regardless of content and difficulty, it’s the lightheartedness I miss the most.

Anyway, we’re making reasonable progress in DN. We’re now on the penultimate boss (supposedly the hardest) and have got through the first two stages twice in a row, and without casualty the second time. It’s only a matter of time till he goes down. But I just don’t enjoy it as much as the Rift. I’m not as bothered about the Mistress of Pestilence as I was about the Balrog (and hey, I was one of the people who thought we shouldn’t be allowed to fight Balrogs, lore-wise. Don’t worry, they cover that by giving you a First Age Elf to fight alongside you!). In other words, the story isn’t as compelling to me. The ‘Alien’ parts of Moria don’t pull me in (and I mean ‘Alien’ the film here, we don’t actually have aliens in LotRO, unless you count runekeepers ;p). And it just doesn’t seem as fun to me for all these reasons.

And it’s not something I’ve felt in Moria per se. I loved the instances and their associated hard-modes. I even feel nostalgic for Fil Gashan which I used to avoid like the plague! It’s that moment before new content, where the old content seems boring, because you know you’re just treading water till the new stuff comes out (if you’re me, and not still levelling of course – I have a lot of time and a good set of friends, we level fast and know it, and enjoy it!).

But, it’s also that DN just isn’t the Rift. And I obviously loved the Rift enough to miss it. Might have to try and arrange a nostalgia run (I’m sure someone’s alts might want to do it!)!

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We’re off to Mirkwood

September 4, 2009

I don’t usually do wholesale cut & paste jobs, but here’s the Codemasters announcement of Siege of Mirkwood! No date, expect to hear about one during PAX after all, though. Sounds enough to keep my excitement levels up (except about tailoring!)

Siege of Mirkwood will expand the online world of Middle-earth where players will join forces to press further eastward into the dark, foreboding and treacherous forest of Mirkwood and take part in the epic conclusion to Volume II of The Lord of the Rings Online.

Siege of Mirkwood will be available as a digital download this autumn and provide players with an increased level cap, a new region including the legendary evil fortress of Dol Guldur, major enhancements to combat and Legendary Items and the introduction of Skirmishes, a new system where players will train customizable soldiers and take them into battle as part of the War of the Ring… [I cut out a quotation]

 NEW FEATURES:

  • The Epic Conclusion to Volume II: Mines of Moria™ – Under the command of Celeborn and Galadriel, players will fight through vast armies of Orcs alongside the Elves of Lórien in a battle that will take them to Dol Guldur, the fortress of the Ringwraiths. This update includes Book 9 and the Epilogue to the sweeping epic tale begun with the award-winning Mines of Moria expansion.
  • Increased Level Cap — Players will be able to advance their characters up to level 65, gaining access to new traits, virtues, skills and class quests.
  • Join Epic Battles On Demand! — Jump into battle with the new Skirmish system. Skirmishes offer endless action in repeatable, randomized instances for up to 12 players. Create and lead your own army of customizable soldiers into battle, training them to greater skill as you earn victories against the forces of shadow. Stand and fight wherever violence erupts with the ‘World Join’ feature, which lets you and your friends band together to fight Skirmishes from anywhere in Middle-earth.
  • Take up Arms! – Infiltrate the dark jails, deadly arenas and savage stables of Dol Guldur, the fortress of the Ringwraiths, and strike a blow against Sauron’s forces in new 3 and 6-player instances. Call upon your fellows to adventure into the most deadly 12-player raid yet and face the ultimate challenge – the Nazgûl Lord!
  • Major Gameplay Enhancements – Turbine continues to improve the award-winning experience of LOTRO with major improvements to the combat and Legendary Items systems. Players will experience improved responsiveness when in the heat of battle. Players will also be able to create and craft their own customized Second and Third Age Legendary Items from raw materials and grow their weapons’ power to level 60. Achieve new Legacies, new titles, and a fourth Runic slot that will make Legendary Items even more unique and powerful.

Details of Codemasters Online’s exclusive European Siege of Mirkwood pre-order and package offerings will be made available soon.

And here’s the Turbine official site for the ‘expansion’.

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Don’t Fence Me … Out!

July 5, 2009

I haven’t said too much about content gating and LotRO, because previously it didn’t really affect me. I have a fairly fixed group, and we’re nutty enough that doing hard-mode Moria instances 6 times or more to get items isn’t often an issue. In fact it wasn’t an issue for us. We got equipped in good time with a full set of radiance gear from the hard-mode instances, and helped others get bits and pieces too, which is always nice. And indicates that we did the instances quite a lot more than 6 times.

We didn’t really go to The Watcher all that much though, but we’re now hoping to go on a weekly basis. Luckily having the gear already meant we didn’t have to suddenly gear up in order to go. We did, however, have to re-learn the Dark Delvings on hard-mode so we can now help equip some essential kinmates!

In comes Book 8, and more gated content. This time you need +15 radiance items (the previous set is +10), and they come from doing a certain number of runs of the new instances. There’s two 3-mans each of which you need to do 4 times. And a 6-man, which you need to do 7 times. In each, you get items that can be bartered for the radiance piece once you have enough. So this time, the game is mandating how many times you do each instance.

Previously you could go with a mixed group, do a hard-mode instance in Moria and with a lucky roll get a radiance piece. You didn’t have to do the instance 6 times, though most probably did it that often out of politeness. Also, some of the hard-mode runs were very short. Grand Stair is only about 20 mins on hard-mode, Forges about 35-40 frantic minutes – so doing multiple runs didn’t seem too bad.

The new instances involve two 3-mans, and that gives less class flexibility. And they’re tough. Which has good and bad points. On the good side they feel like a real challenge that first time you go through them, and depending on your group make-up. On the bad side, I’m not sure I’d want to do more than two runs in a session. And I’m quite good at going into hardcore mode when it comes to instances and gearing up. With apologies to my casual friends, I know that how I play doesn’t always match the casual brief.

The 6-man instance was pretty fun, and probably the easiest of the new instances. But still I know I need to do it another 6 times. And I’m about to go on holiday for two weeks, so the fear remains that everyone will be fairly bored of it by then, though I know my gang and kin will come help me get through it.

I’m hoping to get at least 1 new radiance piece before I go and be halfway to another. I believe 2 pieces and the rest of the previous radiance set is enough to go to the new raid instance – which we’re going to peek into tonight as an experiment.

I like the flexibility and challenge of offering hard-mode and easy-mode instances, of giving us properly challenging content for 3-man groups which is quite unusual and definitely making for some interesting groupings. But, I do fear that constant gating wouldn’t be my choice, if I had one. I enjoyed the Rift, where everyone could just sign up once they got to level cap and had reasonable (not awesome) traits. I enjoy the Turtle for the same reason, though I find it lame that it’s just one room, one boss, and a 5-min fight.

I miss the easy-access raiding of Shadows of Angmar. It didn’t make the actual fights any easier, Thorog, Thrang and the Balrog properly took us a while to learn. They were just as challenging as The Watcher – and we didn’t need to go through some content over and over and over again, and hope for lucky rolls (if we didn’t happen to have a good group) just so we could walk in the front door. Hopefully Turbine will bear this in mind, but I fear they’ve now thrown their weight squarely against gear acquisition as a key to raiding content.

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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.