Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Storytelling: Book 3, Chapter 3 - Fallen Once More

Mincham asked me to quickly return to Halbarad in Esteldin. He explained that because Angmar had captured such a crucial spot all of the North was in danger. The Ranger also hinted at a greater evil in the hallowed halls of Fornost, but when I pressed him, he declined to say more.

It took me longer than I expected to get to Esteldin. I stayed at a farm for a day because the farmer, allegedly the last of the North Downs, refused to give up his land to marauding orcs. I knew he would not last, but he also wouldn't budge. So I helped by killing a small outfit of orcs and returning the stolen grain. The sound of Aegrist's razor edge slicing through the rain and orcs is one I will not soon forget. I hope to return to the farmer after I deal with the Rangers of Esteldin for he is a survivor, and our world needs such tough and hardy men as he.

Halbarad gave thanks for the information, as dire as it was. His tone was respectful, but I could not understand how he could say such words without the sting of sarcasm. With the threat of three separate orc tribes, and the Rangers fighting mainly against the occupation of Dol Dinen, Halbarad believed the only way the North Downs could stand a chance was to call the people of the North Downs to council.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Moondog: Fishing in Evendim

Fishing is one of a Hobbit's favorite pass-times. And few places in Eriador are more serene and beautiful than lake Evendim.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ravric: Troll's Teeth

First, check out Disseminated's post containing a new first for our humble blog: VIDEO. There is a deed in the Lonelands that requires you to kill level 24-26 elite trolls from the Balt-Olog clan. To complete the deed through both stages you need to kill 180 of the fat beasts.

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

Moondog: Smiting Trolls in Harloeg

The foul abominations were running amok down in the swamps of the Lone-lands. Sure, they didn't bother anyone there, but it was clear they were gathering in preparation for an attack on the civilized realms!

Luckily Ravric mustered Councilmen Moondog, Lorthalin, Ferimgard, and some local allies to go clean up that mess!

Storytelling: Book 3, Chapter 2 - The Gates of Fornost

We stood at Mincham's camp for a time staring out across Fornost Fields. It seemed as if the sun was still determining whether to appear that early morning or whether Angmar's darkness had crept a little further towards the sunny Bree-lands.

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.

I was glad I was in that mythical time when the nocturnal hunters are heading to their dens and the beasts of the day had not yet awaken because my journey to the Gates was swift. The taint of orcs and the smell of wargs was immediately apparent. The fires of the orcs guided me towards their deaths.

And the wargs, guarding the gates on padded feet, I found. They died as well, although their tough animal bodies were a little stronger than the orcs. Their forms were twisted and crushed as I stepped over them to attack another group of orcs.

My arms began to tire from the slaughter. Even with the blessed strength of my Club of the Champion, with its unearthly red glow, I felt that were an alarm to be raised to a larger force. I would have to retreat a coward.

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

Storytelling: Book 3, Chapter 1 - Ranger of the Fields

Halbarad and I discussed the news of Estelding, the North Downs, and the world beyond through the night. Angmar, to the east, was beginning to grow in power, but Halbarad had heard there were orc tribes moving throughout the many fronts of the North Downs. The falled capital of Arnor, Fornost, was a crucial holding point for the battles raging throughout the North Downs. Halbarad asked me to meet with Mincham, an Esteldin Ranger, camped to the south of Fornost.

I left Esteldin just before sunrise. The farms I passed were seemed more empty than ever. It was a horrible thought that the Free Peoples could not protect the farms, which provided food and warmth to all. It was a worse thought that the farms of the North Downs foreshadowed Bree-land's fate.

I got to Mincham's camp just as the sun was waking. The Ranger's camp was breaking their fast with their fire already well stoked for the coming morning. Mincham told me that he believed Fornost was now occupied by the forces of Angmar. I knew of the spectres and shades that haunted the fields of Fornost, as I had combated them many a nights. It was in my quests to redeem the lost Men that I had first met Mincham and members of his small outpost.

The Ranger asked that I scout Fornost because he was unsure whether a small company had holed up in the old city, or whether a entire tribal army of Angmar had occupied it as a staging ground to start pushing south to Bree.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Playstyle of I, Gamer (part 1)

This blog has completely changed the way I play MMOs. Not all the time, but more often than not I am playing Lord of the Rings Online with an eye towards this blog.

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

Storytelling: Book 3, Prologue - Fires in the North

Frideric gave word that I was to meet with a Ranger named Candaith. I had met the Man a time or two before, and even fought side-by-side on Weathertop. Many adventurers in the Lonelands believed the Ranger to be lazy. His camp was hidden in a small copse of trees in the shadow of Weathertop right by a large orc encampment, and it was there he mostly remained.

I bid farewell to Frideric, vowing a return someday. A quick glance at the others in the ruinhold (especially the gruff guards that never warmed up to me) told me ther were no more goodbyes to make. I left Ost Guruth at night without a backward glance.

My way to Candaith's camp was easily made. Although there were no goblin scouts on the way, my name had echoed across the orc-kind's walls in the Lonelands. If they saw me it was likely they pretended not to.

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.

A few nights later, I made it to Esteldin. Like Ost Guruth, it was another ruinhold; however Esteldin was far more defensible than the patch-holed Ost Guruth. It seemed as if the Rangers were expecting me. The stable-hand nodded as I handed him the reins, and then nodded off towards the Ranger's quarters.

Halbarad was one of the commanding Rangers in Esteldin. Word is that Aragorn, chieftain of the Rangers, placed Halbarad in charge of Esteldin. Such a station was a commanding mark in itself, but rumors abounded that Halbarad ran a very tight operation with his Rangers. Any one of the men could fell twenty orcs before falling... if they didn't melt into the countryside before they met orc-blade.

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.

Storytelling: Book 2, Chapter 9 - Agamaur Secured

My service to Radagast was at an end, for now. The farewell was hasty, and I knew I had become merely a speck of dust in the wizard's tale. The thought of a future time when the Strength of Man would no longer need the Istari "counselors" would be a good one. They were helpful, no doubt, but also fickle. Fickle like elves fleeing to the west.

Elsa, a few surviving Eglain, and the half-cursed shades had created a rudimentary outpost in Agamaur. I granted Elsa's request to carry some stuff back to Ost Guruth, as I was heading to the ruinhold anyway. A swift horse was ready to carry me back to Bree, and then north. I had heard the Rangers of Esteldin needed help... against Angmar.

I left through the Red Pass with a bittersweet thought. Ivar and the Red Maid still stood, their poison still flowing into the forsaken lands. Had I really accomplished that much during my time in the Lonelands? Had I really made a difference? People talk of how if the Lonelands fall, Bree-land might be next. I do not see any part of the Lonelands still standing. Northward there may be greater hope.

Hana gave me curt thanks for the delivery. Ever since Maiden gave her an mouthful of mirth for giving me a few extra biscuits with my normal ration purrchases, my dealings with Hana had been overly business like. I do not think I will ever bee seeing her again.

Frideric, the elder of the Eglain, was a more cheerful face to see. He told me of how supply lines between the ruinhold and the Agamaur outpost. I saw a little change then. Maybe other brave adventurers would oust Ivar and his red bride. Maybe I would eventually heed their call.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Storytelling: Book 2, Chapter 8 (ii) - The Red Pass

The shade shouted to his companions-in-death, and immediately the whole area arose with a force of ghostly heroes. They charged outward and led us towards Garth Agarwen, where the gaunt lord would be found. The sight of following the cursed shades into battle to fight The Enemy filled me with such great hope. They were unstoppable, and wights fell before our mortal blades could reach them.

After the din of the ghostly blades vanished into the background, we found ourselves surrounded by Eglain and Radagast. It seemed that during our battle with Neven, Radagast had come upon the two lost Eglain and their company.

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.

The wizard thanked us for the help. He said he would be staying with the Eglain for sometime to help combat the now known threat. My heart was pulling me north, but I knew I would help Radagast in due time.

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.

Moondog: Carn Dum Carnage! [pt. 3]

Pressing further into the wretched society that the Witch King had built around his orcs, trolls, and other abominations, we encountered much more resistance. Slaves toiled away at vile industry, mining and pumping digusting toxins into the river, turning it bright green and ominous. Simply setting foot in in the poisoned waters would bring an adventurer irrevocably to their knees in disgust and despair.

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.

Storytelling: Book 2, Chapter 8 (i) - The Red Pass

Radagast told me of how two Eglain, Elsa and Eriac headed into Agamaur, the northern marshes of the Red Swamp to fight the evil. The Eglain knew of a passageway to the area, the Red Pass, and Radagast said he too would lead us there. Radagast still believed the fool Eglain to be alive, and I had the hope to believe him. Our fellowship grew under the leadership of Radagast for we would need much power to face The Enemy.

Radagast led our fellowship through the Red Pass, and we saw the poisonous marsh Agamaur. At least in Haragmar it seemed like a few things could survive, like the insects. Northward, the Red Maid's influence was much more complete. Even the trees had become evil and untoward in the blood-red water.

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.

After slaying a company of wights guarding the ruins, which Radagast believed the lost Eglain to be holding, we found ourselves faced with a heavy iron gate. The way was locked against us. The ancient wizard used his magics and the gate raised. Inside the ruins a single shade stood watching our approach. The Eglain were not yet found.

Dannasen, the forsaken shade, wished to help us, but his commander-after-life had allied with The Enemy. Dannasen had no power to betray his commander, even if it meant killing innocent Eglain. He hinted to Radagast that if his dead commander were killed again, Dannasen and his company of accursed shades could help us defeat Ivar.

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.

I will finish the tale after I take a draught of wine, my friend. The tale is a long one indeed, and it must be complete if it is to inspire the Free Peoples.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Storytelling: Book 2, Chapter 7 - History of the Red Maid

Emelin, once again, repeated the story of the land. I understood that the shade wanted me to get the details correct so that I could relate it to Radagast the Brown, but it was tiring to remain absolultely polite through the third or fourth telling of how the Arthedain were cursed for not protecting the Red Maid. Although it wasn't as clear before, I did understand moreso that the Red Maid, herself, poisoned the land to this end - the land she used to protect.

I gave my best 'understood'-nod as he told me to return to my master, in which he meant the Istari. I knew the wizard and I would have a small chuckle at Emelin's mislaid belief, but I also knew I wouldn't have the stones to relate this to the ancient man in an amusing way.

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.

When I told Radagast, he didn't seem surprised. It seemed I had give him only mild confirmation of what he knew long ago. He then spoke of some youths being lost. It was as if this conversation we had had happened someplace else in time. The more I deal with Radagast, the more I grow wary of any magics at all. The strength of Men should not rely on such a chaotic thing.

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

Storytelling: Book 2, Chapter 6 - In the Gaunt-Lord's Grasp

The shade, Emelin, told me a story of the land. A River-maiden, like Goldberry, protected the land, but as the land filled with the blood of the war, the Lady changed. No longer was she the beautiful spirit of the land; now she was filled with blood. The Lady became the Red-maid. The land became poisoned. And as luck would have it, she slept. The story (and reason) for the heavy curse laid upon these lost soldiers was more heavy than I could believe.

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.

I sounded a cry for help throughout the Lonelands because Brudhraw's taint on the swamp of Harloeg must be cleansed. Beogardo, Dolley, and Ambrianna answered my call. They too had heard of the tale of Emelin, and the sorrowful tale of the Red-maid was repeated by Emelin before we left for Nindur at sunrise. Ambrianna quietly sang a song of hope as we broke our fasts.

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 saw Brudhraw with his wights in the sanctum, and the enslaved ghosts of the Arthedain. I peered up from the stairs and saw Brudhraw yelling at his wights. An Arthedain saw me and caught my eye. He hung his head in shame. I knew he could not help me until I slew his overlord. I charged up the stairs yelling a fierce battle cry, and Brudhraw answered the call back. My heart filled with some dread as I faced the ancient wight-lord, but my fellowships strength kept me strong enough to face the ancient evil.

The top of the sanctum became a place of chaos quite quickly. The music of place became heavenly, and my dread began to vanish. The symphony of my whistling axe, Dolley's courageous yells, and Beogardo's screaming arrows were tightly bound together in the morale boosting song given by Ambrianna. The echos of our battle-song broke the chains of the Arthedain soldiers, and they took up arms against the wight underlings. It was up to us to face Brudhraw, however. And, face him and fell him, we did.

As the wight-lord fell, the Arthedain let out a fiercesome rallying cry I hoped one day I could mimic. They flew off into Nindur with a vengeful rage, and each one was a beam of morning light piercing into the darkness. My soul was lightened because souls of great men were freed. The taint was lightening.

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

Ravric: Gwarg

While waiting for a decent group for the rest of Book 2, I decided to work on some Deeds. The particular deed I wanted involved killing the wargs all around the Lonelands. This was a pain because unlike most of the other kill-deed mobs, wargs don't have a specific spawn point and can be found throughout the Lonelands. Since I ran a lot I also indirectly worked on my deed that required me to kill craben.

It really didn't take that long, but I find I have to do deeds in spurts otherwise the grind of them really gets to me. This is the last deed I think I am going to make sure I get before heading away from the Lonelands and focusing on North-Downs and Evendim more. Some are easy, but I really wouldn't use the deeds right now. I was pleased to complete this one in the morning light.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Storytelling: Book 2, Chapter 5

Aric waited until night to point us in the right direction. Throughout the day we had talked small scholar talk, but it was minimal at best. Maiden was bored to tears and arranged and rearranged our packs multiple times.

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.

It was easy enough to find Emelin. The creature was guarding a burial tomb - probably its own - in one of the last roofed places in Ost Haer. It regarded us warily, but unlike so many of the dead, Emelin did not attack us outright. Instead it gave us the option of either leaving with our lives or fighting a battle it believed we could not win. If we bested his summoned fellows, he would help us.

I had no dread, and knew that my strength would prevail.

The fight was swift. As soon as I accepted, Emelin called his forsaken footsoldiers and then merely watched. Two of the dead, wear Arthedain-like gear if I knew my scholarly arts, came at us at both sides. Maiden and I worked to take down the more fearsome of the guards first, but it vanished into a realm we could not follow when it was severely damaged. It finally came back to meet its death, but only after we had taken care of the other Arthedain shade.

Emelin seemed humbled by our victory. A virtue appeared that Aric had not spoken of, and I was given hope that we had gained another ally in hopes of cleansing this poisoned land.

Emelin told us the story about he and his Arthedain did nothing in a moment of need, and for that the land became poisoned. Now he and his men were cursed by Iarwain Ben-Adar, a name I knew but the man I knew him to be was Tom Bombadil. The curse was strong, and to break it a feat would have to echo throughout Arda. I would help Emelin, if it gave way to purify the land.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ravric: Upgrades

I just hit 30th level! I am very glad because 20-30 feels like a bottleneck. I don't know if it was self-imposed because I stuck mainly to Lonelands with some North Downs mixed in, or if it is a flaw in the game. I was starting to really slow down again at 29 until I decided to head to Oathbarton, a hobbit outpost in south Evendim region. I was level 30 before I could believe it.

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.

Level 30 came with a few nice upgrades. Moondog gave me a new armor for Maiden. Her morale skyrocketed, and altogether she is a much more useful pet. I also received two excellent new skills that make me feel like the Captain Kingshit.

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.

The other thing I have been diligently working on is the Fishing Hobby. My guys has 80 Fishing skill right now, which is nice because I am finally getting fish that pay off the worms cost. Most fish at the low levels go for 1 copper, but I am getting ones in the 13-25 copper range, which still sucks but at least its a little something. That is also on top of the trophy fish which give 1.38 silver (approx.)

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.