LOTRO PvMP Design Intentions

There have been quite a few tweaks to the moors lately and today we also met another member of the team working with Orion on the on-going attention being paid to the Moors.  Kelsan put up a pretty short post on the forums talking about the plan as well as a short introduction.  The ideas are rather vague but certainly a good swath of things to look into.

  • Revitalization
    • Improve the underlying systems!
      • Reduce or remove restrictions (example – recent updates to Creep intros)
      • Reward Structure
        • PvMP Exclusive rewards
        • Enhanced PvMP Advancement
        • Rewards for zone control
      • Encourage play during off-peak hours
    • Balance (He admits this is very challenging)
      • Skill rotation audits
        • Balancing purpose, effectiveness, and cooldowns
        • revise existing skills instead of adding new
      • Close the gap between melee and ranged, but not totally nerfing ranging into oblivion
    • Unify the goals of the freeps and creeps such that it is a more cohesive system
      • examine the purpose for ranking on both sides
      • examine the reasons and rewards for zone control

Certainly a good read and I’m sure the thread following it will be quite interesting as well!

LOTRO Monster Play Developer Diary

Jared Pruett joins us for a diary on the new changes coming with the Echoes of the Dead Update to the Monster Play (PvMP) system.

Two big new changes coming on the side of the free players with a new armor set comparable to the new instance rewards and insignias which are new runics.  The idea is to create rewards that are attractive to freeps and give them the incentive to come out and join in the combat.  Of note, all these effects stack such that the armor sets, insignias, and any trait bonuses all can combine for maximum utility.  For each class, obtaining 2 items in the armor set is a 10% bonus to the renown obtaining from kills in the Ettenmoors.  The other bonuses are as follows:

  • Burglar
    • 4 piece – +2 Stealth, 30% chance Subtle Stab applies a –50% incoming healing debuff for 10 seconds
    • 6 piece – Hide in Plain Site (HiPS) now removes all poison, disease, fear, and wound effects
    • Insignia – 10% chance Subtle Stab applies a –50% incoming healing debuff for 10 seconds
  • Captain
    • 4 piece – +10% Make Haste Duration
    • 6 piece – 30% chance Battle Shout applies a 10 second fear
    • Insignia – 10% chance Battle Shout applies a 10 second fear
  • Champion
    • 4 piece – -25% True Heroics cooldown
    • 6 piece – 30% chance Brutal Strikes removes fervour cost of next Ferocious Strikes
    • Insignia – 10% chance Brutal Strikes removes fervour cost of next Ferocious Strikes
  • Guardian
    • 4 piece – -10% Stagger Movement Speed debuff
    • 6 piece – 40% chance To the King initiates a parry response
    • Insignia – 15% chance To the King initiates a parry response
  • Hunter
    • 4 piece – +3 Stealth Detection
    • 6 piece – 30% chance Low Cut removes all slows and roots
    • Insignia – 15% chance Low Cut removes all slows and roots
  • Lore-Master
    • 4 piece – 20% chance Lightning Storm applies a 10 second Daze
    • 6 piece – upon pet critical hit, Lore-Master receives 10 second window to cast one skill with zero induction
    • Insignia – 15% chance Lightning Storm applies a 10 second Daze
  • Minstrel
    • 4 piece – Song of Soothing applies a 15% incoming healing debuff to all targets in a 10 meter radius
    • 6 piece – Still as Death removes all poison, disease, fear, and wound effects with a bonus to in-combat morale and power regenerations
    • Insignia – Song of Soothing applies a 10% incoming healing debuff to all targets in a 10 meter radius
  • Rune-Keeper
    • 4 piece – +3 Essence of Winter maximum targets
    • 6 piece – 20% chance Ceaseless Argument applies a 20% movement speed debuff for 10 seconds
    • Insignia – 10% chance Ceaseless Argument applies a 20% movement speed debuff for 10 seconds
  • Warden
    • 4 piece – +10 seconds to Careful Step Duration
    • 6 piece – 50% chance Boar’s Rush applies a 5 second daze
    • Insignia – 25% chance Boar’s Rush applies a 5 second daze

In addition to the changes on the freep side, creeps did get some love in this diary as well.  These are in 4 main areas:

  • New introduction Tutorial
  • Gramsfoot Revisions
  • Class updates across the board to make creeps more survivable starting at rank zero
  • Individual boost to all the creep classes.

Pretty nice changes across the board for the system, but I’ve only played freep side so make sure to check out entire diary and chime in on the discussion thread, if there are specific things you’re looking for.

Today’s update to Bullroarer

As I quoted yesterday, Sapience indicated that some of the items in the store have been tweaked.  Now granted, I will admit I may be a build or two behind on some of these but I did want to talk about a couple of them as there was a new patch up today.  However, nothing earth shattering on the patch with only a few notes in total.

First up, I’m happy that they did add in a helm to the Annuminas Heavy Armor set.  I’m not super excited about the look, but it is nice to have another option including the cloak to get the full 6/6 bonus which this set really needs to be comparable.  I’ve updated my spreadsheet but am really struggling with Google Docs so I’ll probably wait until launch and post a final version.  But certainly take a look below for the stats and looks of it.

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I do think the armor set costs might have been dropped a bit (or maybe not as these match this post on the forums) as the Annuminas pieces only need 1 Annuminas mark and 3 of the level 65 special marks with the Helegrod items being 2 and 5 respectively.  However, the pieces are pricy on the normal marks at 1,896 for the Annuminas pieces and 2,370 for the Helegrod pieces.  Considering I can get a few hundred marks per normal single person skirmish it is looking like a piece or so per run through the appropriate instance.  Which when you compare it to normally getting armor pieces this is a MUCH quicker pace as previously you had to not only complete the instance but get lucky on roles and most groups only allow one piece per run per person.

I already talked about the reputation mounts, but you can buy the normal initial mounts for 695 points which I think is a nice option as I know many folks sometimes struggle to save up enough gold for that purchase.

I didn’t notice any real changes on the stat tomes but the Virtue tomes have been changed to all be a constant cost as opposed to a sliding scale.  In total, to max out a virtue from the store it costs the same as it did previously, but now each rank is 295 points versus a small amount for that first rank.  I know I will be topping off a few levels on my toons so this does make it a tad more expensive but I think it makes sense.

I’m still a bit on the fence with the Morale pots as they’re now 300 points for a stack of 10.  These potions stack with the normal potions and with the duration of 20 seconds combined with a 20 second cooldown you can essentially boost your ICMR (or ICPR) by 3600 or 60 points per second.  I can see these during tough boss fights and in all honesty I’m still not sure these are expensive enough.  These potions will essentially allow you to power through a tough transition or stabilize the group for a couple of minutes.  I do think this will make some fight mechanics much easier for certain groups and the potions could become requirements for certain raiding groups.  I guess I’m seeing these as a “crutch” that could be used for raiders in a similar manner to how the various hope quest turn-ins were used back in the day.  I think requiring groups to have those pots purchased is a bad thing, but I’m on the fence as I do like the idea of providing a not totally game breaking crutch to get groups over the hump in certain areas.  As long as Turbine continues to put out challenging fights like BG, and it sounds like the instance revamp will be even more challenging, these could really help folks speed up the learning curve.  After a run or two, I would imagine these pots wouldn’t be as needed until a new instance was attempted.  Oh, and I’m not even going to touch the moors implications as that will just make my head hurt :)  However, I don’t see these as a long term issue but a short term emergency tool.

Other than that, the store seems MUCH faster and responsive and they’ve cleaned things up quite a bit, but granted it could be that I just hopped on during a quiet time :)

I am starting to formulate my plan for what I’m going to be using the store for and will have a post on that soon.

Good Warden End-game Gear

This will probably have some spill-over for the other classes as well but I wanted to start keeping track of not only some of the better gear options but where some of these things drop.  The forums are a great resource for this kind of information but sometimes it can be hard to find and even lost due to forum wipes.

The armor sets are a little easier to keep up with and follow, but I do have some spreadsheets for Wardens, Captains, and Minstrels comparing the various sets statistically and visually.

When it comes to jewelry and cloaks it gets a little bit harder for 2 main reasons.  First off there’s just a lot more variety in these areas with crafted, drops, quest rewards, etc that all can be viable in certain cases.  But probably the tougher part is that many of these are random boss drops that don’t always drop so it can be hard to not only track them but remember where they dropped from.

I will have a separate page on my blog for this information here, in a similar fashion to how I’m archiving forum posts..

And for comparisons, if you’d like to see what I’m currently wearing you can look at the MyLOTRO pages for my Warden, Captain, and Minstrel.

Most of the information below is from the following thread on the forums – Best in Slot Discussion and there’s also some other good stuff over on the Codemasters Forums. In addition there’s another good resource over on the LOTRO Gear site.

Finally, even though I’ve posted some other items that are coming with the F2P launch, I’ll add those in later in case they tweak them again.

Please let me know what I’ve missed :)

Earring

Bracelet

Neck

Pocket

Ring

Cloaks

Shields

Tell the Community Team – Wardens

No surprise here, I have some thoughts on this one :)  And I strongly recommend all you Wardens to post your thoughts as well.  I’m going to just copy/paste what I have here into the thread on the live forums.

Question 1
Give three examples of changes or improvements you would make to improve the Warden class (e.g. skills and abilities). Please limit your responses to 3 brief examples. Wardens only please!
1. Lower the power costs of the gambit builders themselves, we have lots of ways to drop the gambit costs but they don’t apply to the builders which are the big problems.
2. Another ranged attack would really help us fulfill a secondary ranged DPS role.
3. Some way to recover threat after a death.  Something on a long cool-down that pops us back to our pre-death level, or even pre-death level minus some percentage.
Question 2
If you could create one new legacy to add to the Warden’s Legendary Item pool, what would it be? Please specify whether you feel it should be a Pool A or Pool B legacy.

Javelin Pool A – Exaultation of Battle +Healing/Leach

Question 3
Thinking about set bonuses, what bonuses do you find most useful? Least useful? Please give 2 examples of each and please specify which set you are referring to.
Most Useful
1. Dance of war threat transfer increase from the Moria set
2. –50% Power cost for Resolution from the Rift set

Least Useful
1. Hampering Javelin duration on the Moors set as the level 50 set has a better bonus then the 58 set :(
2. 10% greater threat on the Warden’s taunt as this is such a small part of our overall threat from the Helegrod set.

I didn’t post this as I think it might be a tad OP – but I’d love an Onslaught Increased Targets legacy, AOE DPS and interrupts would be a blast!

FileFront Hands on with LOTRO F2P

There’s been a number of write-ups from people (Massively Part 1,Massively Part 2) who have had hands on experience with the new content and business model but Ron Whitaker’s (@ffronw) from FileFront did have some new tidbits that I figured I’d touch on.  I’m not going to focus on the portions that are common from the other previews, just the things I haven’t seen before.

The initial thoughts of the zone are pretty similar to many others with the appreciation of the zone and the diversity but  it is a good point that this is arguably the first zone (Forochel could fit a similar description) developed without prior information from Tolkien.  This does give Turbine lots of room, but also they need to careful and respectful of the lore.  Based on what I’ve seen of the game so far, I will be going through all the new content just to see what kind of story Turbine will tell, even though my main characters are at the level cap.

He mentions that the main portion of the story will be learning about the Rangers and a good deal of this is through session play.  I’m pretty intrigued by this idea as it gives Turbine all sorts of options to tell back-stories for these various Rangers.  Some of my favorite quests have been of this sort as it provides a great combination of game, lore, and challenge.  I’m looking forward to another good story book like Volume 1 Book 15, although hopefully a bit less travel ;)

He mentions the changes to the quest system which seems to indicate that instead of scrolling to the bottom to figure out what to do that information is up at the top.  I can understand this change, and it will make it easier for quests that either you’re repeating or if you don’t read quest text.  Instance scaling is also mentioned, but nothing new here.

Jumping to the store, Ron did ask about the complaints on the faction horses but Aaron Campbell didn’t indicate either way on a decision but did leave room for them to change things during the beta.  I was intrigued by the question asking about additional houses or housing storage in the store as I hadn’t thought of that one.  I’m reading into the response, but it doesn’t appear this is possible currently but might be down the line.  I’d love to have this option both in-game and via the store as I already have a deluxe and kinship house filled.

Ron touches on the festival and the Haunted House which I’ll admit I’m quite excited about.  They’ve done a really good job of creating some fun side things to do in-game and this sounds like it will be another great addition.

Ron also did ask about the next big three items to receive focus Legendary Items, Monster Play, and Radiance which no surprisingly did get a canned response.  “Those are three big things we will be working on over the next year,” but there was an even more exciting quote about the upcoming content.  Aaron did confirm that they are working on mounted combat – “There are prototypes being worked on.”  I can honestly say I want to see the “Big 3” topics addressed first but those may be more of a gradual incremental change.  As for mounted combat, I don’t see that until Rohan which is looking like a late 2011 or 2012 update since the next expansion is confirmed for Isengard.

Overall it is a good read and some more amazing screenshots in case you haven’t gotten your fill of news,

Captain Roundtable

If you missed it live (or want to listen to it again), a Casual Stroll to Mordor’s Captain Roundtable is now posted both on their site and on iTunes.  I participated but definitely Elb and Geiri really do know their stuff and they do play their captains slightly different.  If you have a captain or want to learn more about the class, it is certainly well worth the listen.  It is a little long (a shade over 2 hours) but we do also cover a bunch of other group related topics as well.  The build-up and recording of it certainly has gotten me more fired up about the class and I’m actually working on my captain again as well as working on his radiance.  I did finally hit 65 and realized that I really do miss the class :)  I’m not saying he’s going to become my main again, but certainly not banished to the Thorin’s Hall Homestead either.

Captains Roundtable Live Tonight!

In case you missed the post from a Casual Stroll to Mordor I will be participating in another roundtable tonight, this time focusing on Captains. If you can join us live at 9pm Eastern (-5GMT) there will be a live chat room where you can participate.  The link for the chat room information is either on CStM’s live page or on the LOTRO Network. Or you can feel free to post questions here or on their thread, or email one of us if you have specific questions or topics you’d like us to cover.  It will be a similar format to the Warden roundtable.

And if you can’t make it live, we’ll both be posting when it it released.

Warden Roundtable

As I mentioned a week or so ago I participated on the Casual Stroll to Mordor’s podcast as part of their class roundtables, this one focused on the Warden class. I will admit it is a bit of a long episode (tad over 2 hours) but it was fun to not only have my thoughts but a couple other very good Wardens as well.  Both Azz and Ryodor play the class slightly differently then me and have different experiences so it is a nice diversion from my ramblings.

For those of you looking to pick up additional tricks or are just starting out with the class I’d strongly suggest taking a listen.

New battle outfit

I’m not as much of a home decorator in game, but I do tend to change my outfits quite frequently.  Through some previous work in the Moors and luck with the gift boxes I was able to get enough of the various spirit stones to get some of the Ettenmoors armor.  I have no desire to use this for actual armor, but it just looks much cooler then other sets.  Pretty much for those who haven’t seen it, the moors sets are the same look at the Moria Radiance sets but black and purple (by default).  The main difference is that they’ve changed the majority of the color schemes to black such that you can actually create a dark looking set.  I may end up getting the boots and shoulders if I can get enough of the Luminous Stones (need 6 more) but for the boots I need to be rank 5, and I’m still only at rank 4.  So I took a couple of shots after a trip from the Moria Keg and then dyed the set black and took a couple shots from Mirkwood.

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ScreenShot00033

So these two above show the front and back from the lovely cliff in the Foundations of Stone.

ScreenShot00034

Above is a shot of me up on the top of the central keep in Mirkwood and below is a zoomed in view on the dressing room, which is just part of the User Interface skin that I use.

ScreenShot00035

I still have a couple helms to switch between, including the rift cosmetic items as well that I play with as well as sometimes just fighting without a helm.

So this is my new favorite set – I’d love to see what others like to wear when heading to battle…