Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I set up my first event with my guild Council of the Secret Fire to just try and have a good time grinding together. I was a little worried about whether it would be fun or tiresome because normally the grinding activities are done solo.
It was a lot of fun. We started with four or five people from the guild, and we had our core group including myself, but players started rotating in and out depending on how many they wanted to kill, etc. The best part was we also had a burglar in our group, a person that can make fellowship maneuvers. Fellowship maneuvers are very powerful events that require the coordination of every member of the group to get the most juice of the event. Basically when a fellowship maneuver pops up every person in the group can pick 1 of 4 colors, and the order which those colors are picked creates a certain fellowship move. It is almost like a simple mini-game within the overlying game.
It felt to me that this was a taste of what Public Quests coming in Warhammer Online would feel like. As you stayed longer throughout the Public Quest you would begin to develop more of a relationship with others that stayed longer, however, new blood would continuously be coming in. So, I think even if you are doing a repetitious activity, this style of play keeps it fresh.
I look forward to more activities like this once in awhile. It makes grinding things out a lot more fun.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Luckily Ravric mustered Councilmen Moondog, Lorthalin, Ferimgard, and some local allies to go clean up that mess!
Something being ambushed and killed in the Fields broke Mincham's reverie, and the Ranger asked me to scout out Norbury Gates for agents of The Enemy.
The mission, though, was complete. I had seen enough to tell Mincham, and so returned to him. I hoped to see the sun rising in my approach, but it seemed my heart was not hopeful enough.
I gave Mincham the dire news, but he seemed to already know. His days of glory were over, and now he was a mere peddler of information. I was sad as he gave me his cloak. It was a resignation of fate. I wish I could have offered him my cloak sewn by the light I know as Goldberry, but my journey is not yet over.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The first thing that evolved rather quickly was my screenshot usage. To be honest, I feel that I get some pretty good shots, but those aren't just dumb luck. I try and find good angles, good action moments, etc. while I am playing. It also does rely on dumb luck. This warg screenshot found in this post took me a few minutes to get the angle correct and make sure a warg spawned where I needed it. Then as I fought it I continually spammed the screenshot button, and I got about 20 screenshots for the fight. That's part of the process. If you get a load of screenshots, one or two will be gems.
For my screenshot taking style here are my tips:
- Take a ton of screenshots. When I play in high-energy/intensity areas, I turn on a screen capper program as well to take a screenshot every 20 seconds.
- Keep the camera a little closer to your character than you normally would. My conventional playstyle is to zoom all the way out to gain the best zone control, and the 50 pixel tall character makes for horrible screenshots to pass on to you.
- Spin the camera. I even have trouble with this one because it does require more conscious effort.
If I had one wish for LOTRO it would be to have repeatable content far more accessible for my Storytelling posts. I have not played through LOTRO, and sometimes I do miss good or crucial moments. For example, when I was playing through Book 2, Chapter 8 the group leader moved the story on before I had a chance to click on Danassen. I figured out what happened by reading my quest log and re-clicking on Danassen to get a dumbed down version of having to kill Neven, but I still missed it. There was also a lot of better text and actions throughout Book 2, Chapter 8 that I would have preferred to capture, such as Radagast spearing Ivar with lightning.
My wish is something I am looking forward to for Warhammer Online and Guild Wars 2. Warhammer Online will have an epic storyline similar to LOTRO's, which may or may not be repeatable, but the game will also have Public Quests, which are bite-sized, repeatable quests with a small bit of story to them (amplified in the Tome of Knowledge). Guild Wars 2 is going to have an event system that seems (with the very little we have heard) take the Public Quests of WAR and turn it into a more organic cause and effect system.
Regardless, LOTRO is very deep and rich, and I have plenty of material. My playstyle did have to change a little in order to get some better screenshots, but when I pull up the folder with 100-200 screenshots from the last hour or two of playing, it is like reviewing those great moments again. Even if you don't run a blog or care about journaling your character's efforts through an MMO, you might want to consider running a screen capper while you play just to see what pops up.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
I made camp for the remainder of the night at Candaith's fire. He explained to me that Esteldin, the Ranger stronghold of the North Downs had ordered me... ordered me to return. The threat of Angmar in that region was growing out of control. There were rumors of three different tribes of the orc-kind gathered in the North Downs. A dire situation indeed.
Throughout my ride north I had been mulling being commanded to arrive at Esteldin post-haste. I wanted to storm in and demand apology. A captain of my rank is not commanded by a Ranger, no matter how helpful my arrival is to the Free Peoples. Instead, I chose to let Halbarad speak first. I did not want to harm my reputation with the Rangers of Esteldin by saying something hot-headed. I was just a mere aquaintance, but at least I was that.
My pent-up rage, fled immediately as Halbarad told me of my legend throughout the Rangers of the lands. Although he did not directly ask me for my help, he said that my strength was needed in the North Downs more than ever. With the rumors of the three orc tribes and the recent attack on the human settlement of Trestlebridge, I could only nod in agreement to the unasked question.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I spoke with Elsa briefly, and she said that Ivar was far too powerful. He controlled the wights, the water, and even the trees. She felt that with Radagast at her side we might have a chance, but Ivar was not the source of evil. I saw the brown wizard waiting impatiently in another area of their last bastion encampment; so, I figured I would tell her the tale of the Red Maid another day. This one would be filled with hope and the fall of Ivar.
We strode towards the gates of Garth Agarwen, and as Elsa had predicted the water rose up against us again. Radagast called a halt to Ivar's weak manuevers and summoned the gaunt lord forward. Ivar appeared and use foul magics to stop us where we stood. Radagast smirked as he was impervious to the Angmar-magics. It was a battle like none I had ever seen. Radagast called lightning from the sky while Ivar called evil spirits from below. The gaunt man was the first to cry out in pain, and ran away. He claimed the Red Maid would have us soon enough, but the wizard's final words were stronger in heart.
After a brief respite, I met Radagast at his new study in Barad Dhorn - the new forward Eglain encampment. On the way in, Elsa and her spectral companion, Dannasen, both thanked me again for my help. The battle lines were now fully drawn in the Lonelands. Radagast thanked me with little ceremony and few words. He knew our paths would cross again, in some form, and I knew that with the wizard behind the Eglain, the while light of hope was shining strong across the red swamp.
Yet this vile spew marked our path. We had to infiltrate the city's sewers. But, while such an environment was hopelessly caustic to most decent living things, horrible creatures actually thrived there, like giant slugs!
We pushed through the creeping slimy filth and into the basement of one of the lesser keeps of Carn Dum. We would have to defeat the petty warlord that abode there, and the smattering of servants alotted him that tried feebly to hinder our righteous advance on the capitol of Angmar.
Their resistance was trivial, as exemplified by the poor wretched Pale-folk.
We emerged from the first keep into the streets of Carn Dum proper. There were many crooked roads leading into dark neighborhoods. It was a decidedly urban area that was paradoxically the lead habitably place we'd ever seen. The horror of imagining everyday life here for the Angmarim chilled my soul. No wonder the Enemy had to use the ever present thread of terror, pain, and dread to keep it's society and war-machine rolling.
The scene before us, a Cargul surrounded by supplicating Angmarim priests in the town square must be a regular occurance.
Seeing the Cargul reminded me of poor Amdir... who fell and succumbed to the terrible enslavement of the Nazgul what seemed so long ago. Had we really released his soul? Or did HE prowl these dark streets too, master to even more wretched barely living things?
We knew our struggle to liberate this land had hardly begun.
There was hope, however, as we defeated the giant trees small animals came forward to talk with the brown wizard. He spoke to them as if talking to children. Children that were not in any mortal danger. Soon, we had a small parade of animals following our fellowship.
Neven, the wight lord was found just north of the hold Dannasen was protecting. He sat on a makeshift throne surrounded by wights, and like Dannasen, found himself amused by our approach. His humor only improved when I challenged him for the release of the shades.
And defeat him we did. I commanded our fellowship to group in a tight formation. The two vile wights that accompanied Nevin were felled by our hunters before they met our tight wall of steel. Dolley, a fellow captain, and I bellowed challenges of such strength that the bone-like throne on which Nevin had sat began to crumble. The flames of our Alowen's lore turned Nevin's body to ash. There were no dying words to upset Ambrianna's song of our victory.
Ambrianna retold the tale to Dannasen, and the veil of his curse lifted. He could not believe he had been following a wight's orders for the untold years. It was time, he said, to rise up now that he saw the light of hope.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Ost Guruth seemed a little brighter in spirit when I returned; further proof that my actions have more purpose than the vanquishment of The Enemy.
From the look on my face the brown wizard realized that this conversation had not yet taken place in our time, and told me of how two Eglain youths had set out to save the ruinhold from Ivar. Radagast hoped that the two could be returned after given a wise lecture. I tried to also look hopeful, but I figured if they had already made it into Agamaur - the blood swamp - they were already dead.
Monday, May 12, 2008
When the great Gaunt-lord, Ivar the Blood-hand, came to raise the Red-maid, he also started enslaving the ghostly soldiers. Emelin told me about the wight-lord Brudhraw who was given command of some of these enslaved ghosts. I looked westward at the ruins of Nindur.
As we traveled westward the pink morning light of the Lonelands was hidden behind heavy dark clouds. We felled many rotten wights on our way. Beogardo's arrows sometimes felling the foul bodies before my Wind-Raker could tear through the body. I was pleased and told Beogardo of a tactic that would cause even more damage to the enemy. I knew he used it well as arrows screamed down from the sky. We reached the innermost sanctum of Nindur quickly, and the morning light was no more. Only the dread lights of the Angmar-kind lit the way.
We returned to Emelin in Ost Haer, easily stepping over the bodies of the ghost-killed wights. Emelin had heard our song from afar and was pleased. He told us more about the ages of long past. Three nations arose as ancient Arnor fell: Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur. I knew of Cardolan from the Barrow-downs near Bree, and the epic tale of the Cardolan Prince. Rhudaur I was only slightly familiar with, and knew they were more closely cursed with the Red-maid. It seemed Arthedain was doomed from the beginning, and this doom eventually became Ivar. A foe I would meet.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Finally after the sun had completely left the horizon, Aric told us of one of the dead in the ruins of Ost Haer. It was odd because unlike the Free Peoples in the North Downs who just wanted the ghostly men vanquished, Aric felt that indeed this particular shade of man would be helpful. If the shade, Emelin, could give approval to anyone.
I had no dread, and knew that my strength would prevail.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I think that Turbine, at the least, needs to find a better way of having players want to go to the different regions. I know that the books help, but if I had not known about Evendim from Moondog and my kinship, I would have never thought to get there until I found some hidden quest chain or something.
The first is Revealing Mark. The Mark skills are useful, for sure. Noble Mark is especially good for pulling as it does damage to the enemy. Revealing Mark is just awesome. It gives me (and anyone else attacking the marked creature) morale for damaging the enemy... in the amount of near 20% of my damage. I am doing about 60-70 damage per hit now, and I receive back about 11-16 morale. My survivability skyrocketed there.
The second is Blade of Elendil, which is a decent attack skill that buffs me so that I could cause an initial damage-over-time skill (Light of Elendil) if I keep whacking the creature. The great thing is that it is another chain in my combo. So now I start with Battle-Shout, use Devastating Blow, then Blade of Elendil for some pretty decent damage.
For reference, worms cost 3 silver (300 copper) and some change. A normal humanoid mob that I kill will give me about 3 silver. So fishing is not worth the cost of time right now, but it is a nice break. I can also chat with my wife while doing it.