Posts Tagged ‘raids’


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.


A Week (and a bit) in the Woods

December 15, 2009

It’s no secret I’ve been a bit of a slacker blogwise over the last 10 days or so. This may directly relate to Siege of Mirkwood hitting the EU servers on 3rd Dec. And what a ride it’s been, between learning the new area, tackling skirmishes, levelling again and bemoaning our lot with the Legendary Items lottery.

I thought I should do like my kinmate Berathe, and make a few observations and thoughts about Mirkwood and the development of LotRO.


I’ve not done them perhaps as much as many people, mostly I’ve concentrated on questing, but I like the skirmish system. I’ve enjoyed having a way to use up 30 mins or so in any group size from 1-12 on a whim. I like how the difficulty scales in tiers, in levels and by group size. I adore my Hobbit Sage, and I will soon get her her ultimate skill (check the Skirmish Captain for the Ultimate skills, not the Skirmish Trainer as you do for other skills). I’m glad it hasn’t become a sole focus for gaming. I love the fact parts of the epic book utilise the skirmish system (ie. scaleable grouping, having your solider along, and skirmish marks for helping others doing the quests in the future).

I can see skirmishes forming the basis for some very interesting developments in the game too. Imagine is every instance scaled from 3-12 players (let’s assume solo instancing would remove the point of some of it). I know I’ve often wished I could take 4 people into a 3-man instance – but I’d also love to see how some of them could scale. I’m sure it’s a ton of work, but I find it an intriguing notion.

I think we can say that skirmishes have delivered what they promised. While the limited number (which grows once you’ve completed Book 9), and the scripted nature, I could imagine getting bored of them, but if I manage to ration myself and never do them when I don’t feel like it, I can see the skirmish mark barter system being developed further.


Mirkwood follows an Eregion-like structure, quest in one hub, move to the next. The swift travel options open up a hell of a lot faster in Mirkwood. I think I got them almost immediately on discovering the stable-masters. The areas aren’t huge, and were very camped on the expansion launch, but even now are thinning out.

There’s a lot of daily quests. More than I’d probably do if I was in full-time work and wanted to do interesting stuff each night. By definition I don’t find daily quests that interesting. They’re more like  a red flag, capturing my attention. But they do give regular access to barter items I might want in the future and aren’t as boring as crafting instances for gold leaves that are now pointless (my own fault, I knew they would be).

I’ve enjoyed many of the quests in Mirkwood though, ignoring the standard ‘kill 10’ variety, I’ve looked for signs of the Necromancer, fought with spiders and orcs, and explored. I’m not going to say too much about other more story-based quests, except that there’s some really great unexpected ones in there that pull you straight back into the source material and suddenly remind you of the IP this is all based on again, in its purest sense.

I greatly enjoyed Book 9 and its epilogue. It’s probably up there with my favourite books, and I look forward to Volume III. I’m, again, not going to mention any details, except to say I enjoyed it a lot and I appreciated the story and the challenge level of the book, showing it doesn’t always need to be group-based to be challenging. More of this, please.


There are three 3-man instances in the Dol Guldur cluster: the Warg-Pens, the Sword-Halls and the Dungeons. I’ve now completed them all, 2/3 on hardmode as well – and I fully intend to conquer the Dungeons hardmode the next time I visit.

Compared to the Water Works and the Hall of Mirrors, I’ve really enjoyed these new 3-man instances. They’re tough, they’re clever, they need strategy! In fact, it’s almost a shame the Sword-Halls is by far the fastest and the most rewarding, so has already quickly become the default ‘farming’ instance. Me, I’d probably do them all just for fun, I don’t even know how many barter items I need – I just like them, so far.

We’ve done the 6-man, Sammath Gul a few times now, and again in terms of boss behaviour it’s been a big learning curve. When we get a fight down, we have it. I like that. And the first few times it was truly hellish, and now eminently manageable. It’s pretty rewarding, has some decent jewellery drops and has a chance to drop the item you need for the 2nd Age crafting. I hope, for us, this will become more of a default, because it gets medallions for 6 at a time, not just 3. Also, Halls of Crafting (the most recent prior 6-man) was probably the instance we did the most.

Have stepped into the raid and stepped straight out again. Maybe sometime after Xmas we’ll take a look, but we’re still doing Dar Narbugud as a kin, so who knows!


Despite all the rampant positivity, let’s first tackle the nitty-gritty, this isn’t the same amount of content we got with Mines of Moria, and it cost me the same.

It is, however, a very fun content addition with increased level cap, some fun new content, the skirmish system and I should recognise here that I’ve played through it a LOT faster than the average player. I haven’t done ALL the quests yet, but that’s only because I’ve spent less time online over the last few days.

I like the atmosphere of the new zone of Mirkwood. It’s spooky and there’s a definite sense that war is coming. I like the architecture, the gravity of the NPCs, the layout and Dol Guldur is a magnificent study in greyness. Its expanse really does give a fortress feel.

Bartering is with us for good, after it worked well in the Rift. It’s being fine-tuned to make it a bit more useful across the board. But the raid gear still works on one gem for one item specificity. I wouldn’t mind some kind of change there, due to botlenecks forming where everyone just needs 1 or 2 bits of armour that drop from the final 2 bosses (because by the nature of raiding, you generally do the first bosses a lot more often than the final ones, while learning the place). I like being able to barter for potions, and I suppose I can’t bitch too much about daily quests when it means I can get more barter tokens…

…but daily quests turn into a grind quite fast, and a fairly bland one. The same hand that gave us changing skirmishes, has also given a rather flat set of daily quests (scout 4 points x 2, destroy banners, collect badges/spears/tokens/teeth, kill wargs/orcs, etc etc). I’m already a little bored of them, and maybe I should ration how often I do them!!! And add the fact all the instances have a daily quest of hardmode, you could spend all day every day doing daily challenges in quests, instances and skirmishes. It makes my head hurt even thinking about it.

 Got this far?

Congrats. I should have put it out in chunks, but it’s here and ready, so why not? Next, thoughts for the future of expansions and LotRO.


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!


Inappropriate Boss Names

November 10, 2009

[Inspired by the sign-up thread on my kin forums]

Please game companies, do not give bosses silly names. When we sign up to kill them we want them to sound fierce. Also assume your players will abbreviate to the first name or a description of the boss.

Examples from LotRO:

  • Nornuan – too much like Norman, we all just say ‘The Turtle’.
  • The Mistress of Pestilance – sounds ominous until you get sign-up threads asking ‘who wants to come to the Mistress on friday night’ (seriously, one day I AM going to write Carry on Raiding)
  • Zurm – an old Rift favourite, also known as Zurm the Worm, even though he isn’t ;p
  • Narnûlubat – can’t pronounce it, so he just gets called Narn-thingy
  • Thaurlach – a decent name, but will always just be called The Balrog. Until we have to fight another!

In general I’m very bad at learning names in LotRO, but that’s actually because Turbine have made the names Tolkeinesque so I approve. The Mistress just makes me laugh, and I hope we soon start to call her Miss Pestilence, MoP or something else. But let’s face it, the ‘giant slug’ will always be known as The Mistress.

I’d think of some from other games, but I didn’t raid in them much, any contributions gratefully received.


Raid distractions

October 26, 2009

Ok, I admit I’m not always in a great mood on raid night, especially through the frustrations of multiple wipes I can’t do much about.

But to tell me that Abba is better than The Smiths during a raid. Bad call, people!

ps. Get well soon Morrissey!



October 21, 2009

I often eat during the early part of a raid, it fits in with my life, and I’ve been doing it for so long I know how to make it fit in with playing and not adversely affect the raid.

So my husband was highly amused when I suggested making myself corn-on-the-cob for my raid night. Yeah, not much worse a healer could try and eat, eh?


Hi ho, Hi ho…

October 16, 2009

Overtime for me at work, which excuses the current tranche of quiet on the blog.  And so.. a bit of random is good for the soul:

First – go to A Casual Stroll to Mordor and read their Harvest Festival guide. I am a known hater of in-game festivals, but even I did a few of the festival quests last night, while waiting to kill the Evil Turtle of Moria (hrrm, I wonder if he was corrupted by The Watcher living so close by).

We’re raiding tonight, I’m working tomorrow also – should make for some interesting times… hope there’s something easy to cook for dinner!

Too many TV shows at the moment, now trying to work out my favoured order for watching them. I may share it one day, but let’s just say Supernatural is right up there right now!

Diesel still has a limp, is still on full meds even though it was supposed to be quite a bit better by now. Calling vet today to make another appt for next week. Knowing there’s nothing they can do vs. wanting him to be 100% again. Grr.

Codemasters say their cake contest is just waiting on winner contact etc now, so we should see the prize-winners soon. Imagine this means I didn’t win and all my efforts to learn how to decorate cakes will be shelved for another 20-odd years. I wanted to support the contest, but I think perhaps I will steer clear of artistic ones in the future ;p They are very nice about sending postcards to runners-up though! And who knows, eh?

Things are more hectic than I’d like right now. C’est tout.


Does everyone hate DKP?

October 14, 2009

Since when did DKP become a polarising factor? I quite like it, and I’ve seen a few different versions. Each DKP system  can be tweaked for a specific raiding group/guild, it’s up to you how you award points and how to spend them. But it seems people either love it, or despise the very concept.

Dragon Kill Points. Something we’ve all become aware of since the old Everquest days. Who knew they’d become so fixed in the MMO world?

In the days of massive raid numbers in Dark Age of Camelot we had a pretty simple system going. Turn up for a Sidi raid, get 10 points. Spend points each week bartering for items that dropped at the guildhouse of the guild running said raids. Either save up points for armour or weapons (at say 40 or 50 points per piece), or spend 10 points on the cheaper loot, such as respec stones. Perhaps from this I started with a good opinion of DKP.

What makes it less fair?

1. Bind on Acquire loot that requires not just your presence, but the presence of the character you want to have the item in the raid on the night/day it drops.

2. Non-fixed groups in the days when raid size is mandated by the game. So if you’re not lucky enough to be picked for the raid, but you signed up for it, is that rewarded or not, and at what level?

There’s probably a thousand other little nuances of unfairness… being docked points for turning up a little late through no fault of your own, or for mucking about during the raid. As I said at the start, each DKP system can be tweaked to be that little bit different, depending on game and group.

If I was doing a LotRO Moria one, I’d probably award points for helping people get radiance gear, but that already gives benefit to those who can play more often and have the time, or those with especially useful classes. All things you don’t and shouldn’t think about when picking a character class you love and want to spend time with.

Our kin in LotRO doesn’t use DKP. It uses something called the Suicide Kings method. I hate the name. It was, of course, devised for World of Warcraft and is supposed to suit casual raiding where loot isn’t the primary concern. We have separate SK lists for barter coins and set gear loot. But anything that isn’t covered, such as jewellery ends up being rolled for because everyone knows that if you choose not to ‘suicide’ over it, it goes to a roll. It’s not the most satisfactory system, and I have a few problems with it. But it’s hard to think up a DKP system for our kin that would work.

Why? Because we’re a supposedly casual kin (and in many ways we are casual), but we also have a core of raiders, such as myself, who have both the time and the desire to hit raids hard. Currently our pool of raiding-geared characters means we have quite a rotation system set up, and we need a specific member of the kin to decide who goes and on what night. It’s not ideal, but it lets the widest pool of people participate in the raid. Of course, it also means some of the more focussed raiders have to sit out, and don’t really get to choose what nights they sit out on.

And, at some stage, we’ll have enough geared up people to run the raid twice, but who wants to go on the discovery (ie. full of wipes) raid, when you can go with the established group. It’s a problem that isn’t going away. In trying to please everyone on both sides of the casual/more hardcore divide, we’re left with a compromise raid. It’s working, but it’s definitely more of a slog.

Lootwise, I generally don’t care too much about loot. But it always makes me sit back and wonder what the truly fair way to do it is. It isn’t fair to be told you can’t go even if you have the time and commitment to. But then it also isn’t fair that I ended up with a class that gets to go every time I want, more or less, purely because Captains are seen as raid-desirable and very few people in our kin have managed to get one to 60 and geared them up. While recognising it’s not fair, I also like it, from my perspective. I don’t get time to forget the fights, I see it work with different sets of people, and of course, I keep my place on the SK list. 

I can sometimes show my hardcore colours. I’d like a loot system that rewarded punctuality, helping others, sitting out if you have to, participating, coming with a full set of potions, tokens, and having traited appropriately. Less so the first kills, because it’s no longer in anyone’s power to decide if they get to go on the night we kill something. Multiple wipes would be nice to reward, as they cost a fair bit in LotRO – I’d rather reward those than the first kills, I think. But, I’d also like the full Captain set, and that ain’t going to happen anytime soon. Shame, it has a nice bonus – which not all the sets do. 

I wish I had the time and energy to work up a DKP system I felt would work for our kin. But truthfully, many people don’t see any problem with SK. They raid when they can, and get gear in some kind of rotation made fairer by the intervention of the raid leader.  And while that’s the case, there’s no real push to change things.

It’s a bit of a ramble. But I mainly wanted to spew my thoughts out to see if anyone out there had any kind of solution to a raid looting system for a casual-ish raid with rotating members, I don’t really think there’s one out there. But it’s been a while since we went and looked, and I want to be fully prepared to suggest something better for the Mirkwood raids on Dol Guldur, if possible.

ps,. this post is made more awkward by the fact I know some of my kinmates read this blog. Don’t take any offence anyone, and don’t read into this anything other than what it is, a consideration of how much I dislike SK for our current loot distribution system. With the new, revamped NtC blog, I’m spending very little time considering other people’s opinions and this is just me, on the moment I write the ramble! Liable to change my mind in 5 minutes, but unprepared to change what I write to save any hurt feelings.


LotRO update

October 6, 2009

I’ve had some important chats with some people. Cryptic, but it cleared some air and made a few things better.

We killed the Watcher for the first time last night, on 3rd attempt I think. I had a few problems with the first attempt, so that fail was pretty much my fault and solved the next time around by some tweaking. Felt good to get him down. Not as good as Balrog, but we’d probably invested more in the Balrog. But in terms of killing a ‘big bad’ and avenging Bill the Pony, it felt good.

We’re spending more time with the Blind One in DN (I don’t think he’s truly blind), I feel we’re on the verge of cracking it, but just depends how long the other bosses take us to kill and how tired we are by the time we get there. DN doesn’t feel as fun as the Rift and while I could probably justify why in some aspects, I’m not sure about others. Still, we’re progressing and even pre-BO fights are getting smoother and faster.

I saw a dwarf called Bling which made me laugh – even on the RP server. Mostly because we already joke about one of our dwarves and his bling!

And we’re still waiting on Codemasters telling us the pre-order offers for Siege of Mirkwood.

And more importantly, announcing the winner of their cake comp. I don’t really make good cakes, so entering took a lot of effort on my part. I’d be lucky if I came in 5th though, but I just want to KNOW. They said the winner would be announced on 2nd Oct. And each delay makes me think I MAY have won. Finally got enough emblems to trade in for 1st Age weapons, spent them on friends. Felt good, since that’s the way I got my 1st Age Greatsword. Also got a rocking Captain’s Emblem from Hall of Crafting this week. It’ll be hard to beat and only misses the Focus buff (which I have on another I can switch in).

So it’s been a good week for raid progress, and loot for me, and a bad week for announcements. The Codemasters billing page is going down today at 9am, so maybe that’s the sign we’ll hear soon. But Satine has already said we do not have the same offers are the US. So we’ll see what happens there. Might give me something to blog about, eh!


Further Creep-y Thoughts

July 10, 2009

The other night I spent 1.5h with one of the members of a very uber tribe in the monster world on our server. He heard I was new to my War Leader, and gave me a tour of easy quests to do, giving me hints and tips on the way. Unprovoked, this is an example of the community I like in the Ettenmoors Creeps. I had a great time, I learned a TON, and now my War Leader has a lot more destiny to play with. Next I need some ranks, which means I need to be out killing at primetime.

Spinks asked me about raids in the Ettenmoors and if we organised times. So I thought I’d answer that here. During the day the ‘moors sees quite a few skirmishes (on our server), lots of group vs group fighting, the occasional quest kill of a named mob, keep or outpost take, with a ramping up as the evening draws nearer. There seems to often be a raid on each side in the evenings, sometimes more than one, but it’s not planned, it’s just people’s playing times. There have been some planned raids, but they’re pretty rare, to be honest.