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

Bree

Combe

Archet

The Shire

Esteldin

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.

Failed: The Fall of Moria (after a bit of spelunking)

I thought my girl would be in Moria, by now.

Though I got lost in the Brackwater.

The map for this cave was much better than the last.

I found all the Dwarves!

I also got a Deed for killing Lizards. There are so many in here. I could see how I had gotten in the habit, back in the day, of killing everything I came across in this game. You just could not advance in any direction if you didn’t. At the end, I had to port to Echad Dunann, then ride back to the cave to turn in the quest..

Only to be sent to Echad Dunnan to talk to a dwarf there about the Fall of Moria.

So that’s never good, having the quest say “do not fail”.

Suddenly you’re Nafni, a dwarf. Running back and forth the long distance of Durin’s court. Good thing they give you sprint.

Durin must show some Elven visitors that his supply of Mithril is sufficient. Down to the caves below you go, killing a few things to show your hospitality.

Then you and another dwarf tumble down a wall to reveal that Mithril. except, its a monster behind the rock. And you’re stunned! And you stay stunned!

Then you’re popped out of the game! You try to get back in fast so the instance doesn’t re-set! No such luck.

I haven’t gone back in to try again yet. Sigh. Moria or bust!

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 Notes

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.

Lotro Notes

I always have my notebook handy when I play to write down questions that come up or thoughts.  It appears I can’t play games anymore after years of beta testing without thinking some background thoughts.  It helps me learn the mechanics of the game and how it all fits together.   I’ll have these for LOTRO, EQ2, and Rift.  So here are thoughts I had playing LOTRO this week.

 

LOTRO Notes

August 2, 2013

Instancing of the world:  makes it feel like fewer people are around.  In WOW for instance you can see the people in the bank and auction house from outside.  Also Scenarios etc take people out of the main world.  I think I’ve seen this mentioned in SWTOR as an issue, and now that I think of it it is very like the original Guild Wars where you just see people in what amounts to a “lobby”.

You still need to purchase skills from a trainer.  I am so used to them just being granted at new levels so I didn’t think to stop and had a few to pick up.

I did the Bree Tour quests while I was in Bree and wondered why the quest appeared to be over my head.  After walking through the streets towards Beggars Alley and admiring the new shrubbery, I was caught unawares by two level 14 bad guys who popped out.  For a second I tried to fight back, then realized there were two and I was out leveled so I ran for it.  Luckily I made it, because I’ve looked at the Deed Log and I want to get to level 15 without out dying for that nice Undying title.

Since my girl is going to live the simple adventurer’s existence, I will concentrate on trying to get the deeds for class and for each area.

Does having a cash shop affect how loot and treasures drop/are distributed?

How does having the desire to get your players to spend real money affect the player economy?

Do you want to shift the excitement of acquisition from the Auction House to the Cash Shop?

Are you stingy with interesting rewards now?

I’m going to compare the three free to plays and what makes you interested or not in logging in.  In Lotro for instance there is a silver and gold reward for logging in daily.  A little wheel-like a slot machine goes ticking along to see what you’ll get for a daily prize.  There may be more things they reward you with, but you can see that little bit of pseudo-gambling would appeal to certain people.  Not just rewarded but a winner.

 

Lord of the Rings Online Back to the Beginning

A little spare time this morning so I took another look at LOTRO.  Backed down to a level seven Hunter and worked the Combe area.  I remembered the quests so well and the area hadn’t changed.  I decided not to pick up a craft, as I normally would do immediately.  I was just learning the interface, working through the world, etc.  I examined my packs and had a ton of veteran rewards.  I think this is an excellent way of making returning players feel welcomed back.  I understand the argument that if you haven’t been playing for several years you shouldn’t be rewarded, but it is nice to be on the receiving end.

I decided to take a look at Bree, largely because I wanted to put a few things in the bank.  The city has been redesigned (and I didn’t go all over yet).  There is this bustling (with NPCs) little passageway into town that I don’t recall.   Very appealing and atmospheric.   The town itself really had no players in sight, but again maybe they’re elsewhere.  There is a new to me shop called Lalia’s that is a big indoor marketplace.  There were merchants in booths with their wares on the walls so you could see what things looked like in the world (rather than the icon in the sales window).   The cloaks!  So gorgeous.  A booth of horses!

The bank was in here as well so I unburdened my stuff.  It looks like my space is pretty limited, but there’s another value to not taking up crafting at this time, nothing fills your inventory or bag space like crafting materials you need or might need someday.

Working with a newer character was a good idea.  The world is new, yet familiar, and the character has a ton of adventures and possibilities to come.

A Return to Lord of the Rings Online

It is amazing how much a game can change if you haven’t played it for four years? I’m not certain.   I load up my Hunter who is in the 21st Hall and the first thing I notice is how poor the graphics are.  The last time I played everything was super sharp. I went in and changed my graphics settings and not much difference at all.  This game has some really nice artwork and scenery and armor, which was previously shown off nicely. Wow, I say.

Culture shock two, she’s got four maybe five rows of skills. Yowie.  Obviously I just need to look at the tooltips to see what they do and re-learn everything but that’s a little daunting.

I thought I should back down to a lower level character so I bring my Loremaster who is in Angmar.

Lotro Angmar

I kill a few spiders and beaky things, with the help of my stealthed Lynx, who is still a great pet.  It went well enough but, the interface has changed so much, I didn’t realize how to pick up loot or where it was going.  Apparently you are on a timer to pick what you want from a bag that appears at the lower right.

So, I back down to my lowest level character a level 2 Captain.  There we go.  If everything has changed so much really, start from scratch so you can be led along like any other newbie.   Good old Archet.  Poor Amdir *sniff*   I always hated that he couldn’t be saved somehow.

Thanks to time spent in World of Warcraft working on every class, I know I could go back in here and level all the characters, I probably will work on it, but boy, soooo different.

The cash shop was not as intrusive as I thought it would be.

I looked at the splash screen for the new area and my desire to explore it kicked in but, I have no character who could go there and I’ll have to move my lower levels up, after solving the graphics issues and re-learning the interface.

It was nice to be back in Middle Earth.   How I loved Moria and will be interested to see how it has changed.