First off, if you have any issues with loading or porting in LOTRO I can highly recommend the new defragging tool for the various LOTRO .dat files.  I realize this is somewhat old news, but I just got around to doing it on my machine.  I’m usually pretty good about keeping my drive pretty well in order, but this tool specifically focuses on those HUGE dat files which normal defraggers have a hard time with.  Surprisingly enough, it really didn’t take all that long to run and my load times are blazing fast now.  Previously they were on the order of minutes, now I’m looking at less then 30 seconds!  Also, my in-fame performance is dramatically better as it really cuts down on the hitching (or studdering, basically temporary FPS drop during play).  Now granted, I am playing on a laptop and it isn’t a brand new machine so your mileage may vary – but it is a free tool that doesn’t take too long to run, so what do you have to lose?

If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to remember where that barter item was or what services were in which area, I highly recommend Chordian’s LOTRO site.  Not only does it have all the different items and barterable sets, etc. but you can even see what they look like!!  This also includes my biggest pet-peeve and allows you to see what housing items will look like!  And of course I was able to find the elusive Lorien silver leaf for gold leaf vendor 🙂 (hint, up the tree at CA).

For those of you (like me) who struggle with seeing cool jewelry, in either people’s MyLotro site or when you inspect them, and not knowing where it comes from, Drglory from the forums has put together a spreadsheet to try and help out with that.  You can find his  forum post on the live boards where he’s trying to keep track of where everything drops from.  He also does seem to be updating it as people comment, which is always a good thing.

And finally, last but not least JWBarry from the dev team has posted a new diary on the skirmish changes with Volume 3 book 1.  I will admit, I have already done the rift skirmish (a BLAST) over on Bullroarer (sorry Merric, you do need to finish the Book to unlock the skirmish) and as such I didn’t take as much from this diary as others might.  The skirmish and the ideas JW talks about are really cool and I’m excited that they keep on pushing out new ideas (or at least new for LOTRO).  Something I didn’t realize is that the existing DG skirmishes aren’t just getting a raid option, they’re also each getting a couple tweaks to make them even more interesting and challenging regardless of the group size.  Duo skirmishes will be a huge boost for many folks and are very encouraging that the devs do actually listen 🙂  The other big shift is talked about on Page 4 as he outlines the mark drop percentage changes and talks about the increased benefit for running Tier 2 and Tier 3 skirmishes.  The main thing I’m excited about is the increased drop rate for those special campaign marks needed for cosmetic items.  I ended up getting 5 of those marks in my one run through the rift skirmish on Tier 1 🙂  Some interesting new crafting ideas for processing large amounts of raw materials, but I haven’t seen the cost or output to see how they’ll really work.  But I do applaud the effort, as crafting can get tedious 🙂