Wednesday, May 30, 2007

ding 22, 23, and 24

So I got sick over memorial day weekend. I didn't have the motivation to anything much more than lay in bed and go to the doctor's office. But, before that I did level a bit and had a bit of fun fighting in Lone Lands and North Downs. I even picked up this incredibly goofy looking top hat from a quest.

And that's really all I have to report. I'm still recovering from the sickness that included a +102 degree fever. It's been a dim couple of days between that and the pain killers.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Old Bauman

Well there he is . . . I knew I'd see my friend Bauman in this game eventually. I remember him talking to me at my house when he visited me from out of state. We played EQ together for a long time. He played a bard and then a necro and I played a cleric and then a beastlord. The words still ring in my head, "I know all about the Lord of the Rings books . . . inside and out." Now I play a Minstrel and he plays this NPC. CRAZY. To think he chose to be an old dude that gives out quests and whittles wood all day. Much respect.
I chose to be a wisened man as well. I don't give out quests though . . . I just raise the charisma quotient with a super thick beard and helmet hair. Life is good.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ding 21 and Great Barrows

So I hit the magical 21st level and I'm ALL PSYCHED because now I can finally use the Herald's hammer trait. It's pretty cool . . . 'nough said. Being that I'm past 20th now, life is good for a minstrel. I have the rez spell. I have a couple of incredibly efficient heals. I'm wanted to play wac-a-mole with people's health bars. yes, life is good.

So a fellow Kinmate (Ramiel) . . . or guildy . . . however you want to say it . . . was asking for help from a minstrel in the Greater Barrows instance. Now I had been seeing people mention this instance and my interest was piqued, so I decided to give her a go.

I should have probably not gone since the wife was starting to put the children to bed, but I felt I deserved it after tilling the flower beds, mowing the lawn, and after putting in a hardcore 4 days in a row of Kari working nights while I watched the kids. As it turns out, a dad's work is never done . . . and I caught a little wife agro, but this wasn't too bad.

Anyway, this went rather well. I was the lowest level toon in the house at 21. We had a level 27, a level 25, a few level 23s, and me. This instance was everything you'd expect for an instance . . . a couple neat events, mostly elite mobs with a good amount of hitpoints, some swarms of regular mobs, and a couple bosses. We were after the main boss at the end, which you need a key to get to. Since 3 people already had their keys, we didn't complete the key quest for those that needed it (i.e., me). Time constraints . . . and this was cool with me.

We get the end boss down to 1-2k hitpoints (out of 15k-ish) and wipe on him. He does a nasty mana drain and has adds as part of his script, and everybody pretty much ran out of energy and was losing life like crazy. This apparently is normal and he's just tough. Well, we all retreat back to our bind point at the beginning of the instance and start running through the instance to give it a second shot; however, the same door we had opened before was now perma-locked and stopping our bloodthirsty rally to go beat on him again. This apparently was a surprise, a bug, working as intended, or someone accidentally closed the door from the inside. If I get any insights to that, I'll be sure to post them. Killing the end boss is a quest as well . . . I just didn't have it yet. I think you have to complete the key to get the quest to kill him.

It was good fun, and I'm definitely up for more instance runs like that.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ding 19/20 coolness factor found!

Ding 19 and 20 . . . they both went relatively fast. I had been hearing this "ND" acronym being thrown around by the 20's crowd in guild and found that spot yesterday. A quest in Bree told me to head up that way and chat with some townies. So I did. It's a touch higher level for me, but I managed to complete a quest or two by sneaking behind groups and grabbing stuff from camps before respawn happened, which was quite quick.

The big news for me is . . . the coolness factor has been found and that is grouping and in particular fellowship manuevers. More info about those is found here. I had no idea they existed, but they rock.

I keep forgetting to load fraps, but I will . . . and when I do, I'll post up some video footage.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

1,000 button mashes woohoo! (ding 18)

Last night I stopped stalling and just decided to finish a couple forsaken inn quests and be done with it. Ding 18.

There's a quest where you have to kill some wolves a little more northward of forsaken inn . . . kind of on your way toward weathertop. I just have to note here that it was a serious pain finding the stealthed wolves. There just aren't enough of them to go around. So bring some patience. What I did notice about this area was that there were quite a few cool looking trees that lent themselves to a fun looking battle with a few orcs. I wish I would have had Fraps running . . . in fact, I may need to head back so I can just make a fraps of this fight--try to recreate it or something. There was a lot of weaving in and out and around the trees; it was just awesome.

Also of note this level . . . I did it! I mashed the herald strike button 1,000 times and opened up the class trait "herald's hammer." If you mix herald's hammer trait with the noble cause buff and a few herad strikes . . . you can actually put out some pretty decent DPS for a minstrel. I'm incredibly excited about this . . . the only downfall is that I don't get another class trait slot until 21st level, and right now I have the medium armor trait in my class trait slot. So I'm going to have to wait, but it makes me anxious to reach 21st level! That's a good thing.

This morning I spent some time chatting and splitting mobs with an equal level minstrel as we both ran up the hill in Minas Eriol. It was really cool chatting with him. I added him to my friends list, and I hope I get to chat with him again. It's good to have some class comrades to chat strategy with in game. I used to do that with a lot of beastlords back in EQ.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Honest to goodness newbie

Honest to goodness newbie

So I ventured back to Breeland the past couple of days to catch up on the prologue to the epic quest that I have been conveniently avoiding, right? I get a quest to go kill a bad dude named Jagger Jack and poison the sheep corpses he feeds his wolves off of. I run to the ruins where this guy is chillin and start poisoning sheep corpses when this dude asks me to help him out. So I join his group and he has a level 8 with him, which is incredibly low for the area we were in.

So we run off and take down Jack without much sweat and all of a sudden the level 8 starts dropping like mad in health . . . of course, he has aggro’d a TON of mobs. Well, being the good minstrel I am (as opposed to “smart” minstrel) I toss him a heal. This transfers the hate of 6 or so mobs on to me who decide to both hit me with metal objects and poke me with pointy arrows. I try to heal myself but the interrupt rate with any more than 3 is ridiculous . . . even if they are green or gray to me. I die. Mr. level 8 dies. And wouldn’t you know it, the other dude is like . . . heh, I just soloed like 5 of those guys I ROCK. Nerf Champions.

So Mr. level 8 then asks, what’s agro mean? Well looky here! An honest to goodness MMO newbie. The other guy and I start to explain that it means the bad guys in the area got “aggressive” to him and even more so because he was such a low level. He explains that, yes, this was in fact his first MMO.

It’s interesting to note that this phenomenon is always going to happen. Not everyone that plays LOTRO is going to have years of EQ and WoW experience . . . there will be a rare few who are, in fact, fresh out of the game console scene. In my mind, this is why these games are always going to survive. People are going to be fascinated over and over with the MMO world and find the things we all found a few years ago in these games.

I actually do have fond memories of EQ. Every once in a while I’ll get a flash back of being on orc hill in Greater Faydark (which by the way is going to be redone . . . the next expansion is going to renovate it) or in various dungeons that we use to hunt and smile. I remember my first raids and Kael Drakkel and the Halls of Testing with fondness. Taking down Dozekar will always be there in the back of my mind. It was fun.

Monday, May 14, 2007

the fun . . . um . . . or cool factor in LOTRO

I was just reading an article comparing WoW and LOTRO and the argument seemed to be stemming around what was innovative and what was fun about the two games. I borrow a couple of those ideas below. Anyway it got me to thinking about what y'all are finding fun in this game and what fun are you having here in this game, that you couldn't have in another game.

1- /Music—For me, I've been liking the /music command. I don't think I've ever seen that in another MMO. I haven't been going crazy with it or anything, but I think it's a cool idea. I wonder if there are any rare musical instruments out there for the /music command. That would be awesome.

2- The LOTR story elements—You're not going to find them anywhere else.

3- The titles—They come quickly and with a variety. It's just a fun option.

4- Built in VOIP—It was a smart move. I don't know how it implements in a raid setting, but it's a good step in the right direction.

5- Evil is evil—You know in WoW how if you came across a horde player, you'd type /wave and kind of run past them . . . and in EQ, iksars were just good buds with wood elves outside of their towns. In LOTRO, evil is evil and you can't play evil outside of the MP. Evil isn't just a misunderstood group of opposing races.

6- I don't know a lot of people—there's kind of an initial rush for me of trying to get to know new people without coming off as a complete freak. The people that I do know that are in this game already are great people from a previous guild I was in.

Other than that, I can go on any other MMO and find a quest to kill X amount of this or that or gather an amount of this or that and turn it in for xp and gold or items. I'm not sure if I've yet found the "coolness" factor in this game, though. There has to be something that really makes it sing, or this is going to be a short trip in this MMO for me. I need the coolness factor.

I have no idea what end game gear is going to be like. Hopefully that is where the really cool stuff goes down or that is where I will feel like I've been through or witnessed something amazing.

Please feel free to chime in if you have an opinion about it.

Ding 17

Ding 17. Those crazy forsaken inn people. They got all the mad quests, yo.

I didn't get to play much this weekend at all, really. I instead spent most of my time in the real world shoveling dirt; buying and planting trees; attending a soccer game; taking my wife, mother, and mother-in-law out for lunch for mother's day; cooking my wife and mother-in-law breakfast; attending church; studying lesson material for church since I had to teach; and playing with the kids.

This morning I did head back to the combe area to get going on the prologue to the story-line quests in the game since I haven't even touched those yet. I'm way above the level to do those . . . so the exp garnered was like 50 exp? Totally NOT level appropriate. :-) it made navigating around wolves and bears to pick roots and berries a snap though.

Somehow I've bottomed out with game money and only have 2 silver to my name, which stinks. I need to find a good money making venue at this level.

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's Crow Killing Time!

Ding 16. I've spent most of my time that last level at the forsaken inn. The people there are pretty much bent over all the goblins, wolves, crows, and boars and stuff that's bugging the crap out of them. It's pretty standard fare for MMOs to have quest givers be pestered folk, isn't it? And we like it too because it's straight forward for the most part. Go kill 16 goblins. Awesome. Will do. Go get me 10 wolf pelts. YOU GOT IT! 7 boar tusks? rawr. You need some crow feathers for your pillow? IT'S CROW KILLING TIME! (tm) (I'm so trademarking that)

I actually need to go back and work through the storyline though. I've kind of been skipping that whole aspect of the game in favor of just questing and leveling. I'm blatently trying to catch up to the 25+ level folks so I can play with them more. That's another wonderful aspect of me and gaming. I'm always trying to catch up to somebody. hehe.

I also ran to some town that was west of the forsaken inn. Following the road wasn't too bad, but eventually there were mobs crossing the road that conned red and purple, which would equal defeat . . . but with a little creative strafing, it wasn't too bad to get through and on to the new city. I didn't spend much time there since I needed to get to work, but I made it! yay!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Minstrel's Friend

So I did the level 15 medium armor quest last night. It was waaaaay too easy.

Basically you have to escort a hobbit in a mini-zone. He fights off light blue con, brigand-model mobs while you either join in the battle or simply heal him. Around 15% life, the brigands beg for mercy. Eventually you get to the end of the tunnel where you do the same against the leader of the troupe, who isn't any tougher than the rest of them. At which point they decide, what the heck, let's share this meat and blackwolds come running out from around the corner praising the hobbit for being such a standup short guy.

After that you zone out of your mini-instance and go talk to the minstrel at the Prancing Pony Inn. He tells you to jump up on one of the tables and sing a song about what you just did. That was actually the hardest part. I jumped on the table and typed /music and started jamming thinking that was what I was supposed to do. LOL. Come to find out I just needed to click on the song lyric item in my inventory. Rack that up to not paying close enough attention to the scrolling game text. I didn't even realize that I had the song lyrics in my backpacks.

The other cool part of this quest is that you get a cool club called "The Minstrel's Friend." It's actually not a bad beating stick for this level. It was definitely an upgrade for me. :-)


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

ding and dang 15

Last night I had both my first death and I dinged 15. It was funny because in the morning yesterday I was killing mobs 2 or 3 levels over me and doing really well. At night yesterday I couldn't deal with a simple even con bear. /boggle. I wrack it up to just being tired. I had healing potions and mana to spare when I died. Oh well . . . at least I got the level 14 title, "indomitable," for not dying up until that point.

15th is a cool level for a Minstrel because we get the medium armor trait. On the forum boards it's being debated on the usefulness of using the limited trait slots for medium armor. Those arguing for medium armor say that medium armor is more plentiful and has better stats. Those arguing against medium armor are saying there's really no difference and I can be better served with a different trait in that slot.

When I logged out last night, I was at the feet of the guy who runs you through the quest. I'm looking forward to completing that the next time I log on. Can't do that this morning though since the servers are down for maintenance.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

First! (and some observances)

Hi. I'm hoping this blog will be a place to not only journal a bit but also to talk a bit about my new chosen class in Lord of the Rings Online. I'm also hoping for a bit of response from anyone that's reading to give more insights or just spur discussion.

I'm playing a minstrel, which is kind of a mixture of bard from EQ and your standard healer class. It's kind of cool, when you play a song, it not only damages your target but also sends out a buff. The third tier of songs you play (have to play a tier 1 and 2 song first) will buff your group as well. And instead of being a hybrid . . . the minstrel is the main healing class. wild.

I've been reading a bit from the class forum boards, and that's a great resource. . . some tidbits I've picked up so far:
  • +evasion items might be a good strategy to countering high agro
  • Stay close to the tank in most instances so they can use their agro grabbing tools
  • people are claiming the agro from healing is outrageous and especially if you don't have a good guardian (i.e., tank)
  • +will items are better than +power items
  • if you die a lot while soloing you need to learn2playnoob.

Things I've noticed so far as a level 14 minstrel:

  • The fear you get at this level is good on humanoid targets . . . even elites.
  • Clear an area to pull a fear kite target into rather than engage them where they stand.
  • You can survive 3 at once if you have a heal potion ready after you kill the first one. Don't even try to song heal yourself if you have 3 beating on you.
  • Stat food is good, regen food is better.
  • It's dang hard re-finding quest givers sometimes. You may want a good cheat map just to cut down on hunt and find time.
  • High level friends powerleveling you through quests that are a little high for you = good. They might even give you some hints about the specific mobs in the areas you're fighting in.
  • Always talk to the stable hand to lock in a town.
  • Paying 1 silver for a fast zone from stable hand to stable hand to the other side of town may or may not be worth it . . . it has to reload the zone. Probably still faster but . . . every silver counts here at lower levels.
  • Lag in Bree is astounding at times.
  • Lag in the crafting shop inside Bree can be even more astounding.
  • YOU CAN ACTUALLY PLAY AN INSTRUMENT WITH THE /MUSIC COMMAND!!!! You get 3 full octaves and can just sit there and jam. It'll even play chords. Of course, you only get one octave at a time to your disposal.
  • Oh man, a lot of people playing instruments at once can be a huge lag factor.
  • Repair your gear often.
  • Quests are bank for both money and exp. Do 'em.
  • Killing a lot of stuff can unlock some cool traits and a title. It's good if you're just in a solo grind mood.
  • Day 4 of the same minstrel battle sounds I was ready to destroy the game. Day 6 I had completely blocked the sound out mentally. /shrug.
  • Be polite when you see someone fighting a monster right near a mine please . . . they probably are fighting that monster because they want the mine . . . if you jump it, you're a jerk.
And that's all I got in me so far. I'm liking my new guild and I'm having fun with the game. Hope to get some good comments and have people drop by as I write my way through the game.