LOTRO Graphics Tweaked, Finally

One of the things keeping me from peeking into LOTRO now and then has been how awful, fuzzy, and yellow the game looked, particularly in Mirkwood.

There’s a LOTRO forum post I’d seen before that insanely helps make the game look like a completely different game.


Even Mirkwood, while dim and dark, isn’t yellow. Moria is gorgeous. I’ll be playing a bit now. This makes me happy.

Moria, Beautiful Moria

I was discouraged after finding I was no closer to entering Moria with my Loremaster than ever due to the necessity of gaining ten levels for her Legendary Staff. I let the game sit since my last post, then decided to find the strength and stamina to grind it out.

I only had one quest I hadn’t done in Eregion, so I did that.

Also in my log, a Chapter Quest, What Is Needed. It took my character all over Middle Earth. I am certain I used to have many of the Stable Master locations in the past, but now they must be re-built.

Ered Luin




The Shire


Gath Forthnir Stopped cold in the quest line here when it becomes a Fellowship quest.

Back to Eregion to walk from encampment to encampment killing everything in the path of my character till voila! The Legendary item was level 10.

It wasn’t really as bad as I thought the grind might be.

Back to the Forges of Lothlorien. Reforge Weapon. Back to Eregion.

Finally we approach a real fight with the Watcher.

I remember this fight very differently. Here, there were just tentacles popping up, easy to vanquish. It’s hard to get a screenshot that isn’t full of Swampie, who hogs all the shots.

At the the Door at last!

In we go.

The music swells! That gorgeous gorgeous Moria music.

It is odd, but this is only the second character I have gotten into Moria. I’ve been trying off and on to get her into Moria for at least a couple of years. I was so happy and proud!

The many many things you need to do and the places you need to go are almost overwhelming. Getting in that door, indescribable.

Then! A dwarf wants me to go back outside! Are you so joking! At least it was in honor of the Fallen.

I spent just a little time doing a few introductory quests, to soak up the glory of being there.

I love the maps. I think since it is easy to get lost here, I will print out each area map and make notes on it as a guide.

As I’ve been playing again, I’m remembering that I really loved the game till Moria, and it was my favorite part–after Moria the game seemed like a linked chain of goblin camps, and I never cared for it. I’m hoping going through Moria and eventually out the other side fresh, that I’ll like it more and can move beyond Moria to greater adventures.

No Moria For You, Bonehead!

You’ll be pleased to know on my second try, the Fall of Moria scenario was not buggy, and was simple. The Balrog/Ancient Evil was pretty great, though I didn’t have to fight him.

Naturally, I thought I was getting somewhere. Nope, in fact, nope.

Kill three Shadow Wargs.

Pick up some stones.

Pick up some branches.

Go back to Filgogan and see what’s affecting the local wolves.

Stop dwarves from tossing stones into the Black Pool.

Chop at a couple of stones at Durin’s Door.

The Watcher pops out, tentacles everywhere. I remember fighting this thing, then entering Moria.

But no.

You have to make a run for it and go back to the base camp for help.

Some dwarves found a cache of Legendary Weapons!

Pick one!

GO TO RIVENDELL to get help with it.

Once you’re all set up with the weapon, you’re told you can’t use it to defeat the Watcher till you gain ten levels on that weapon. You merely need to use it in combat, but what? That’s crazy. Why not let you in the door, there are plenty of things in Moria to level with.

I’m at a loss as to how I’m supposed to pass the time. I guess I’ll look it up. It’s midnight though, and zzzzzz.

The Walls of Moria

After methodically working through the quests in my log–including a bad moment when I thought I’d have to enter The Library at Tham Mirdain–eeek–I remember that place even now–I was finally able to enter the Walls of Moria area.

I finally have met Bosi. You know you’re getting somewhere when you meet Bosi, right?

There are Expeditions into cave quests I don’t recall, but since they need to be done before The Expedition enters Moria, I’m being a completest and doing them.

Expedition: Unwelcome In Hollin is in a super dark twisty cave. I went into Options and turned the Ambient Lighting to Max so I could see where I was going. The map isn’t helpful even when more is filled in.

Ace cave meister that I am, I eventually found Mr. Big aka Graug. Poof, I say, Graug.

As it turns out, Swampie is still the best pet for damage to enemies. He also, more often than not, can pull a single one over to fight us. So, still love you, Swampie.

Another Expedition next time called “Four Dwarves”. Progress!

The trick appears to be pretend you’ve never played at all and re-learn how to play as you go. And toss those lock boxes clogging your inventory.

LOTRO: The Loremaster Lurks

It’s all about the alliteration, folks.

In response to my own questions, I sent my level 51 Loremaster into the game. I thought I could easily pick her specialization, (which had been re-set) so I chose the beast one, and wily nily grabbed all the skills in that specialization my 23 points could buy. It looked like I could change them at any time, and I just wanted to play.

First the map. It didn’t seem that bad, really, giving you a general area to look for your quest objects, shown in washed out colors, though. Also, I couldn’t tell my character was on the map, because her location was hidden behind the map legend. For the illustrative picture below, I had moved her to a different location to turn in a quest.

To practice moving about the map and fighting with my character, I grabbed all of the tasks from a Taskmaster Bulletin Board.

When I last played, the bog creature was my favorite companion. This time, though it fought well enough, it would not leave my side. I like the companion to go hold the fight away from my ranged character, not just pin itself to me and fight. What happened to Swampy?

I brought out the Bear, and at first it wouldn’t run over to fight the beasts either, but then it did. Is it something I picked in the specializations? I dunno.

One of the things I remember about this region my first time through was that there were so many berries, taters, drops of honey everywhere. Irresistible even now. However, there is the inventory issue that I will need to resolve.

It turns out this was a good character to choose to get back in the game. Not too high so she’s slogging through the dreaded Lothlorien or Mirkwood, not too low so I don’t feel like I’ll ever get anywhere.

LOTRO: Newer Brighter Sharper?

I decided on a whim to log into Lord of the Rings online yesterday. Wow, right off they wanted to install 6 gb of High Definition Files. Yo, you bet. That game is so fuzzy. Then, it wanted Direct X 11, np.

So I log in and…

Well, maybe it’s sharper?

Ok the harder I squint at it, the sharper it gets.

I want to play LOTRO. The problem is, I don’t know the game anymore. The usual solution to this is to just run a lower level character so you re-familiarize yourself with the world, the interface and how the game plays.

However, I really want my main character, who I’ve played since beta, dang it, to get to maximum level. I want to play that character, I just do. In order to do that, I need to:

Fix my re-set Legendaries

Choose a specialization (I’m going to read Myndariel’s Middle Earth guide for that one)

Clear my inventory, good god.

Re-learn my skills. Develop a rotation.

Look up my Trade skills and where I should be with those.

Figure out how to use the in game maps to find where to go for my quests. I know they’re intentionally vague so as not to spoon feed anyone, I remember the arguments. Still, it could be a bit more helpful.

I thought I’d never get out of Lothlorian, and now my character is mired in Mirkwood. What a dark, dank place. I wonder if there’s an alternative path through the world I could be following to level past the nasty place. Level my way to the next area where the sun hopefully shines.

Another bone to pick, why have they never made it so you can switch servers without logging all the way out? Grrr.

Last thing, they could do away with the -1 after my formerly Meneldor character names. I cringe every time I see it. Couldn’t they have just displayed Blah Blah of Meneldor instead? So there’s Blah Blah of Meneldor, and Blah Blah of Landroval. Clearly not the same character, but nobody is minus anything.

You’re right, I run a lower level character for awhile. La la la, here I come, Middle Earth.


Client updated. Character checks:

Hunter still stuck in Mirkeaves somehow and I could swear I finished it. I thought I was on my way to “greater Mirkwood”.

Loremaster Still slogging the area outside Moria, wishing I could get in. Sniff.

Burglar In the Lonelands. I could have started the sentence with still, but it is an area I don’t mind. I have been searching for Luz every time I’ve played her for quite a while, and tonight, while following the erstwhile Pengail around, I got the dang guy. Alas, Pengail died, and honestly, where he went who knows. He wasn’t back at the goblin camp. Poof.

Pengail is almost on par with Lalia for annoying escort NPCs. He runs up to every single mob in the game, I swear.

In any case, the Burglar gets more play time.

My Champion is being that perfect character (I try to have one) who finishes every quest, so she’s backtracking to do all the Books. Tom Bombadil, oops, is her next quest.

The second Loremaster I created just to see if I liked the Landroval server is only level 18, but I like her.

From there I drop down to two elven Runekeepers, a Hobbit Guardian, a woman Warden and a Hobbit Minstrel.

I’m clearly needing to start from the lowest levels for characters and crafting, sorting out who does what as if the higher levels aren’t there, so I can basically re-learn the game.

Tuesday Night Shorts

 Lord of the Rings Online, Burglar

Did you say short?   I thought my Lord of the Rings Online Burglar was done with her Skirmish Tutorial but there was another section.

I wasn’t rewarded with anything that has value to me at this time, so I sent her back to the Lonelands and will try out the next skirmish camp I come to.

World of Warcraft,  Discipline Priest

I’m falling behind a bit in World of Warcraft, but the only thing I’d like to be doing that I’m not yet is trying Warfronts.   Instead, it’s a perfectly piggy time in Drustvar’s Fallhaven for my little Priest.

She seems to be able to take on anything, slowly wearing them down while taking no damage.  Since the fight with Betsy the Pig was long, but not life threatening, I practiced my camera angles  in fight scenes so my character’s very mobile face could be seen.

Out of the pig fight, into the hangman’s noose.

Elder Scrolls Online

You’ll be pleased to know my Warden is no longer sporting the Scary Helm.

From The Archives: How I Thought Lord Of The Rings Online Stacked Up

At one time I wrote up a list of my most desirable MMO qualities, based heavily on what was lost with Star Wars Galaxies.   I just found a document in which I looked to see how Lord of the Rings Online measured up against my ideals.   This is probably ten years old, so don’t judge.

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Plot: Story arc, background, quests, IP or original storyline. Everything in the game should tie into and revolve around the plot in some way.   Perfectly done! Middle Earth feels like Middle Earth in every way.  The stories and plots as revealed through quests are engaging and help the plot move forward.  They help give depth to the world.

Character creation options: Face customization including options for all features, eyes, nose, mouth, hair (long hair! not in a braid or bun!), hair and eye color options, cosmetic options, body size options including height and weight. If there are different species they should be very different and have tons of ways to customize appearance.   Terribly done.  Very limited character creation and customization tools.  You should have more hair, eye, head shape options.  Mouth-ack you can hardly see any change when you try to manipulate this feature.  I understand the whole “it is too taxing on the database” thing with customization and coloring, etc.  I can’t believe that you can offer more options up front though.

Classes: if there are various classes, whatever they may be called, they should have very different roles, abilities, and functions solo and within groups.   Well defined for me: Hunter, Minstrel, Loremaster, Burglar.  Captain, Champion, Guardian very fuzzy.

Advancement: There need to be a variety of ways you can advance your character. It cannot be that the only viable method is following a particular quest string, or even only quests period as the way to move forward. Sometimes, you just want to explore or craft, or gather resources by shooting stuff. You have to able to break free of a set path.   There need to be more opportunities to do side things such as the in-testing Reputation stuff that can help your character advance.  I haven’t had an opportunity to test the chicken play yet (tried this morning and got a message I had my max no. of quests….I have 28…argh.  Yes I bugged it.)  I think this type of alternate play is a good thing.  Anytime you can wander off and do some side quest it makes the game more appealing.

Option for good and evil and other faction types. In order for the world to be more complex, there should be a choice between being good or evil. How this plays out can vary widely. There should also be some neutral/gray areas or other factional influences that will distinguish your character and their life in the world.   MP and the Reputation stuff are good ways to go.  I do think more can be done here within the main PVE game environment. 

Setting: Time period and genre: Too many fantasy games for sure, but they could still distinguish themselves from one another by varying the time period they are set in. LOTRO has great attention to world detail, they have this right on the money.

World Size: Yes size does matter! If people are to spend alot of time in the world, then it needs to be large and varied and worthy of exploration.   I am all admiration for how much LOTRO packs into every inch of its world map, as revealed thus far.  I know everyone wants to rush to Moria and Helms Deep etc, but for the story and game to unfold as it should, given that we are living in the backstory of the world,  it should take time to unveil it all.

Travel options: We all want to drive cool machines, ride amazing creatures on land and in the air, move freely about the large world that has been built.   For LOTRO, this can be done with more horse options, with carts and wagons and carriages.  Are there catapults and siege engines for use in the Ettenmoors?  I thing more time frame appropriate mechanisms could make it more interesting.

Instancing: Some things should be instanced, mostly group type stuff so some camping fiend can’t spoil things. Some instancing can be for mazes, puzzles, or such things that can be randomly reset for each user or group so it is a new experience each time.   I really like the use of instancing in LOTRO.  I think more solo options would be nice—what session play is getting at I take it?  I always thought the monk guy on the island-bah I can’t recall his name who gives you keys to the chests?…I thought it would be great if those rest and the locations of the chests moved on the island so you couldn’t just memorize.  However, I just did this on Isen and you only have to solve 3 riddles now?  That really is too bad.  In any case, I’m in favor of more puzzles, riddles, and instances which are not quite the same layout wise or mob or treasure wise each time you enter, both for challenge and replayability.

Sandbox! Yes, make the world a big, open, explorable many optioned thing. Let those who wish a more predetermined path set out along quest sequences if they choose. Give people choices all along the way between being led by the snoot and doing what they want to do next.   Funny! You do have way too much leading by the snoot going on here.  You can explore but it does not really pay off unless you’re just wandering collecting ore or hides.

Mail: make is easy and intuitive to send/receive mail. Make it simple to send to multiple players. Allow some sort of mail save feature that puts it in Notepad or someplace you can get to it out of game.   Needs work.  Too annoyingly expensive still to send mail.

Bank: easy to use, includes storage. Nice on the extra storage being offered now. 

Bazaar: system for buying on the spot or searching player vendors.   No player vendors, no player merchant system that is viable and distinctive. 

Player vendors: Different vendor options. Customizeable to look like player or other in game characters.   Nope.

Group sizes: Small for regular groups, larger for raids, larger yet for social groups (entertainers).  Fine for the groups and raids.  Can use more mid-level group sizes…looks like that is coming so so fine..  More social options and band options needed for musicians.  I would like to be able to play the same song as the band leader, for instance.  Playing music should give some reward or xp or have some stylized clothing…anything to make it more of a social and true entertainer ability.   Dance needs to be added.  There should be dance troupes playing at the fairs and on the stages of Middle Earth.

Tutorial: Well defined tutorial area. Basics of chat, combat, social interaction, money and banking, User Interface should be covered.   Really well done.  Very engaging as well.

Guild management: Guild lists, chat, halls, management of membership should be easy to use.  I think the Kinship lists are great and dynamic.  I like the recent addition of seeing at a glance who is online.  Guild Halls need to be added.  Shared environments, places to meet and trade and drop off goods for others.  It would enhance the community feel greatly.

Resource management and collection: It isn’t all about the loot! There should be a deep crafting game that includes resource collection of many types, both hunted and mined. Both combatants and crafters should be involved in and interdependant.  Well, everyone is forced to be a combatant.  You can’t advance in your craft because of the nature of the craft quests without ubering up your toon.  It is just not right that the dedicated crafter needs to do that.  While there is interdependency in the crafts, the crafter should be able to gather for himself non-hunted materials.  A woodworker of any stripe should be able to gather wood, for instance. 

Crafting game: This should involve being able to be a combatant or not. You should be able to create and customize a wide variety of useful and decorative objects. What a player makes should always be the best item available factoring in their skill level, resources used, and the requirements of the object.   I still agree with me here. J  Hopefully over time more useful objects can be crafted.  Right now I don’t use myself my own crafted goods because my character always seems to outlevel what I can usefully craft at any given time.  I can always get a better reward from quests than I can make at any given time.   There is very little that can be crafted that is ornamental in any way.

Loot: I love loot! I want it to be decorative or useful to somebody though. No need to spend time or effort making pure crud dropping, we’re talking no brains, stomachs, glands or whatever, that I can’t use in a recipe or schematic or drop onto something to make it better or more attractive.   I’ve gone to the dark side on this one and treasure any old boar part I come across or any bone that gives me repair money.  On the other hand, useful crafting items and components should drop at a much greater rate.  Loosen that loot table!

The Arts and Imagination: Entertainers should be in the world with the ability to dance, sing and compose. Artists should be able to paint and sell their creations. Writers should be able to author and sell their stories. There should be some version of a newspaper or other way of allowing events in information to be passed to the denizens of the world.   No sign of anything like this, except for the ability to compose.  I thought when I wrote this that that would open up a world of possibility, but without a supporting set of emotes and clothing and entertaining skills, it has not.

PVP: Consensual. Instanced or allowed in certain areas so there aren’t people clogging up the main game areas with their showboating contests. Competitive. Duels, fields of battle that require tactics, Capture the Flag, tournaments with leaderboards. Perhaps put versions of real world sports contests such as soccer in so that it fits with the world.   I haven’t MP’d but think from what I read it goes a long way towards this one.  Chickenball, and things like that, if they worked really well, would be a good start on the tournament thoughts.  Still would like to see jousting.  Also racing, horse racing, or wild boar races through the shire!

Solo vs Group: There should be both solo and group advancement and play options. There should be no required quests that you need to do with a group only that will keep you from advancing your character through the story or their skills. There should be other advantages to grouping–more money, more resources or loot collected, better chance at phat loot in a group, faster character advancement (xp gain) perhaps so it is desirable to group but not necessary.  Here is a real problem.  Too many story arcs do require a group, and a full group at that.  Also, it needs to be easier to step in and help someone with a quest even if you already completed it or haven’t completed it or whatever.  I hear people all the time asking for help and you can’t get into the instance, or you have to crawl to Timbuktu to get to a spot where you maybe can help.  Make it all friendly! 
Quests:  Story arcs (static and monthly/serial); side quests that develop the story or give depth to a region/city/planet/area; repeatable killing quests that yield xp and resources or money; delivery quests that do not involve long distances or backtracking; race or profession specific quests;  quests that allow you to solve a problem or piece together and item or puzzle.   I can’t fault quests in this game for sheer number, variety, cleverness and fun.  The quests are a pleasure to read and play through.  Just make them easier to complete or help someone else to complete! 

Middle Earth Wisdom’s Lord Of The Rings Online 30 Day Challenge Part 3

11.  Picture of your choice.   I’m having a terrible time with this one.  I even tried to track down some older screenshots from the 2007 era.  Poofed.   Here’s my Loremaster and her scraggly pal.

12.   Favorite Quest So Far.    It’s been a long time, but the quest right outside the gates of Moria, that finally open up Moria, that I loved.  

13.  Which Faction were you absolutely keen to get kindred status with?      I just don’t pay attention to faction or reputation, except World of Warcraft has beat me into Rep grinding submission.  These questions are serving as a guide to my looking deeper into the game, and someday I’ll be able to answer them.

14. Best Server to Play On.    Meneldor!  Oops, but gone.  Landroval is pretty nice.

15.   Raiding kinship or social kinship?     Something right in between.   People to do group content with, who are friendly, humorous and kind, is the ideal.