LOTRO Barterers updated with Enedwaith

I’ve used Chordian’s site for a while now for the various barter items in Moria, Lorien, and Mirkwood, but they just released an update to include the various barterers within Enedwaith.  They’ve also done a lot of work on the site overall to keep up to date and make the interface as easy to use as possible.

If you guys haven’t checked out this site, I highly recommend it as they show an overall map view of the zone, a detail of the camp selected, a picture of the selected vendor, and a full listing of the items with pictures of all of them!

ChordianSnap

Sally Forth in LOTRO – Episode 4

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I admit my distraction up front, but did get in some pretty solid LOTRO time this past week.

[youtube Hz60tv9jS6A]

LOTRO Interview with Kate Paiz and Adam Mersky

Thanks to the folks over at CStM for pointing out a recent interview on the Ten Ton Hammer Live podcast with Executive Producer and Director of Communication for LOTRO.

There is some normal marketing fluff to the interview on the transition and how they’re doing, but they certainly do point towards a big 2011 for LOTRO.  A good portion of the initial discussion on on the transition and the stigma of F2P as the LOTRO community really has rallied around the game to help combat those perceptions.

I pulled a few things from this interview, first up will be the health and growth of LOTRO.  The monthly revenue for LOTRO has TRIPLED since the F2P launch, which is a huge boost.  We’ve started to see this returned to the players as they’ve boosted their community team by 40% and I think we’ll see a number of things roll out to the community as the year progresses.

Some talk regarding the lack of content that has hit LOTRO of late, and while Kate danced around the question a bit she did re-iterate the massive behind the scenes revamp that had to go on to implement the transition as they had to deal with the store, instance scaling, as well as the newbie area revamps.  She did follow that up with the statement that they’re not only focusing on the newbie areas but the entire community as a whole, as evident by the fact that they’re not only leveraging in-game data but pulling metrics from the store to really help guide the game.  I’m all for pulling data from the store as it is a huge additional resource to them, in addition to things like the beta programs, forums, blogs, etc they already pull from.

There was also talk about the future content coming to LOTRO, and I’m going to discuss this in terms of 2011 and not the order they covered them in the interview.  They did drop some nice hints for the first quarter release we knew was coming:

  • Cosmetic system revisions
    • mainly in the character panel and some user interface tweaking
  • Epic line advancement in this update
    • Probably a book or possibly 2
  • New instance cluster plus a raid
  • 1st Age Legendary Items

Part of me was a little worried as I really thought much of this would be spread out over the year, but I’m still very optimistic that we’ll see a couple more interim releases between Q1 and Isengard.  This now becomes a MUCH bigger release then I was expecting as it will not only be a raid cluster, but story, and system changes too.  This would be probably the largest non-expansion release since Book 11 way back in the Shadows of Angmar days that introduced Annuminas.  There’s also other tidbits already released regarding the removal of radiance with this instance cluster.  Now there’s also been talk of a Legendary Item revamp, which I’m not sure if they’ll include with the 1st Age Weapons, or if that will come later.

Looking past that update, they did mention some other items including cosmetic pets and cosmetic items.  They also have all the class feedback to implement improvements like the Loremaster and Runekeeper just received.  There’s a lot of time between Q1 and Isengard, and my guess is they want to get this Q1 update out the door and then see what else they can implement while working on Isengard.  I’m still expecting another story update and system update before Isengard.

And of course, there was some discussion about the Isengard expansion:

  • Content will include
    • Isengard
    • Tower of Orthanc
    • Surrounding Vale
    • Dunland
    • Southern Enedwaith
    • Gap of Rohan
  • Following the story as the rangers travel to join Aragorn in Rohan
  • Growing strength of Saruman’s forces and the Orc factories
  • Level cap increase
  • It will be a paid expansion available to all subscriber levels.

When you look at a map, this area looks quite a bit larger then the small area of Mirkwood we’ve seen.  This amount of landmass really puts it squarely between Moria and Mirkwood with regards to content, which should make folks feel better about the game direction.  And this doesn’t even touch on the PvP revamp coming as well with Isengard.

And of course, they did also tease us with the notion that they’re actively thinking and planning for how to incorporate the Battle of Helm’s Deep into the game, which will come later on with Rohan.  I believe they might have mentioned next year, but that could just be my wishful thinking.  I have no clue how they’re going to pull that off, but I can’t wait!

Overall it was an interesting interview, still lots of un-answered questions but some really surprising  comments pulling together the various fragments we’ve seen previously.

LOTRO AoE Tanking Video

I put together the following video for a couple of reasons, but mainly because I wanted to discuss how I go about not only practicing my tanking but also my strategy for tanking multiple mobs.  The other side reason was that I was curious if my ability to hold everything and heal myself would allow me to complete the instance faster then a champ.  However, after running it and remembering that there’s quite a bit of downtime in between waves, there’s really no contest as the champ will win easily.  But hey, it was still fun to try.

For me I’m pretty much always trying to pull as many mobs as possible either while soloing or in group settings so instances like this are great ways to practice.  Plus this instance not only has numerous mobs but it has fire you need to watch out for as well as lots of things to interrupt so it is a pretty stressful instance at times.

The video pretty much handles the rest of the walkthrough so check it out and let me know what you think.

[youtube pQWhoAvCjq4]

LOTRO Store Sales December 17th – 22nd

Well the big item up for sale on the store is the infamous Skeleton Horse will be available in the store starting Friday at Midnight Eastern until January 6th, 2011.  Here’s a look at this horse in case you haven’t seen it:

(and yes, that’s me up in Mirkwood)

Also there’s another batch of items 20% off from the 17th until the 22nd of December:

  • Warden Class – 636 Turbine Points
  • Emotes – 156+ Turbine Points
  • Writes of Special Passage – 40+ Turbine Points
  • Crafting Recipes – 8+ Turbine Points
  • Simple Rallying Horn – 76 Turbine Points
  • Writ of Favour – 396 Turbine Points

Honestly unless there’s something you really want I’d suggest holding out to see if it comes up on the 50% off dailies.

LOTRO November Patch Notes Posted

The patch coming on November 29th has been discussed quite a bit and the patch notes for each of the Bullroarer builds have been posted as well.  But today the official patch notes are posted.  They are quite large, so I suggest you take a look at them yourself as there’s no way I’ll be able to summarize everything for everyone.

Some of the quick hits on this content update are:

  • More of the game is opened up to those playing for free
    • The level cap is now 65 for all as well as Legendary Items, Moria, Mirkwood, and Enedwaith regions
    • The Lone-lands quest pack is now free for everyone
  • New Task system
  • New and buffed reputation mounts!
  • Ered Luin Revamp (another post coming on this later today)
  • Vault 2.0
  • Barter Wallet
  • Loremaster and Runekeeper updates
  • Crafting revamp

I posted a more detailed summary previously, so take a look at this post for more details.

Feel free to head on over to the forums if you’d rather discuss there as opposed to the comments section.

LOTRO Content Update Confirmed for November

In my earlier predictions I did hit a couple of points dead on, but also quite wrong in some areas.  Kate Paiz does lay out quite a bit of information in her Producer’s Letter.

Her comments on how they’re looking to develop things going forward was quite welcome as it echoes the thought that this is a new life for LOTRO and Turbine needs to shift its methodology to match that.

  • They’re stressing that the need to listen to their players and also find good ways to better solicit that feedback.
  • Continue to optimize the store, which I’m becoming an even bigger fan of so I’m excited to see what is planned.
  • Quality storytelling is key, and this for me has always been a strongpoint for LOTRO and I’m happy to see this continued.

The other part, and this is one piece I got wrong is that they are splitting up the Epic Quest line from their updates.  I’m a bit mixed by this but I can understand why they’re doing it as it will allow them to split gameplay from story and do smaller updates more often.  I’m optimistic that this will work out, but I can see it as a potentially bad thing.

As for the update, it is slated for November (score one for me) and will include:

  • Tasks which is a new content type for early in the game
    • I have NO clue what this will be but it sounds intriguing
  • Vault revisions
    • I know many hate the new vault, I’m ok with it but wouldn’t mind some tweaks.
  • Lore-Master and Rune-Keeper updates (yeah for me again)
  • Changing Moria and Mirkwood such that you can follow the epic line through these zones WITHOUT paying for them!  This is VERY cool as it basically opens up all the land-mass to everyone but makes the quests outside of the epic line what you need to pay for.

I’m a little bummed that we’re not getting any new land-mass but if this split allows them to get out more content on a more routine basis I think I’ll be ok with it.  So put me in the cautiously optimistic group.

More dev diaries are on the way including a vault and tasks one, and I’m assuming one on the class changes but good stuff in the works!

Videos of My First Group Experience with Lua

As I mentioned yesterday, I ran my first group content recently since the free to play launch so this was really my first chance to get a feel for how Lua would work for me.  And I do have to save I’m loving it :)  It wasn’t a completely stressful case as we didn’t have a Captain, but having an RK as the healer was a pretty good case as they have a number of buffs and HoTs they’ll stack.  Overall it was a blast and one of the smoother runs I’ve had in Sammuth Gul (SG) that I can remember, possibly having tons of interrupts was the key :)

One thing I’ll point out about Lua is that I personally find it very useful and enjoy getting it set up, but I’m sure there are others who don’t like it or don’t want to deal with it.  I’m also sure there are some who thing the in-game displays are better and can’t stand the way the Lua scripts display the information.  What’ I’m getting at is I’m happy we now have more choices in how our user interface looks such that we can better customize it for our preferences and play-styles.

Anyway, on to the videos and I did comment these as well – feel free to let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions.  And so you know, before we started the other Warden and I /rolled to see who would tank, I lost but actually had fun off-tanking.

Fixed the embeding, but the links are below in case you prefer them.

[youtube 2nDYjpVVDWA hd=1]

[youtube KlJ77zhoW-4 hd=1]

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[youtube qsj_ZsdEJGE hd=1]

1st Boss

2nd Boss

3rd Boss

4th Boss

Latest End-game Armor Spreadsheets

So I finally got around to updating these spreadsheets with all the changes in the F2P launch.  The other big addition is love for the Champions such that this spreadsheet covers Wardens, Captains, and Minstrels as well.  Sadly I can’t take screen shots of the other radiance sets for Champions as I’m still not quite high enough, but check out Darzil’s site for some snaps and I do have the new Helegrod set:

ScreenShot00460

The sets included are:

  • Moria 6-piece Radiance set
  • DN 6-piece Radiance set
  • BG 6-piece Radiance set
  • 2 3-piece Radiance Sets
  • Annuminas 6-piece Radiance set
  • Helegrod 6-piece Radiance set
  • Lorien Crafted Set
  • The 2 good Mirkwood Crafted Sets

For all these sets, I have comparisons of the entire sets (including set bonuses) and individual piece comparisons.  I also have a “Item Rater” sheet that allows you to plug in your own values for the stats and see which pieces are the best for you.  The excel one is color coded, while sadly the Google one just has the equations.

Excel Version

Google Docs Version

Big thanks to Hakon for his spreadsheet on the Champions as I wouldn’t have been able to grab that data without him.  I’ve also created a separate page to keep all this information straight.

Where to Find Stat Tomes and Symbols of Celebrimbor

With the launch of the F2P system, Turbine has implemented some new drops in the higher end instances as well as boosting the drop rate for the still sought after Symbol of Celebrimbor.  The new tomes are permanent boosters for your various stats like Might, Vitality, etc. and while some can be bought in the Turbine Store, the higher tier ones (Tiers 4 and 5) are only available as in-game drops.  The Symbol if you’re not aware is a highly sought after crafting ingredient that is required to make 2nd Age Legendary items.  There’s a good thread on the forums tracking these new items but I wanted to summarize here.

For symbols they’ve been found in the following instances:

  • Sammuth Gul – Symbol now drops from multiple bosses and can drop during the same run
    • Goruthul and Daemafor have been confirmed
  • BG Raid – confirmed 4 symbols doing Hard Mode of both Durchest and Twins with a symbol in each chest.
  • Helegrod – Zaudru (Spider Boss)
  • Great Barrows – Samborg. and both Maze bosses.  Both from Bosses and Chests
  • Annuminas Tombs Instance
  • Annuminas Gardens Instance – Final Chest easy mode
  • Eregion – The School – Last Chest
  • Eregion – The Library

The Stat Tomes have been found:

  • In general, Tiers 1 and 2 will drop off Classic Scaled Instances between level 20 and 30 with higher tiers dropping from levels 31 and higher instances including the non-scaled instances.
  • Sammuth Gul – Daemafor in Hardmode
  • Great Barrows – Maze, including Tier 4 Might from Thadur
  • The School – Last Chest
  • Helegrod – Sturvagand (easy mode as well)

This is all pretty much hit or miss, as some find many of these while others claim no luck even after lots of runs through various instances.  From what it seems, symbols are dropping way more then they used to in pretty much any level 65 dungeon with the stat tomes are being somewhat more rare.  I do think it is pretty cool that these can be found in the 3-mans as that makes all of these items much more accessible for the non-raiders or even raiders that want to run with smaller groups.