Sunday, September 30, 2007

FAQ for the PvMP minstrel

I came across this post from croupier at codemasters, I'm going to copy it in full below (in compliance with creative commons license) because I just think it's a very good read for minstrels (and a lot of companys would rather block codemasters than blogger ;-)).

I've tried to answer a few most common questions regarding minstrel's work in PvMP.

1. I'm dead, why the minstrel doesn't resurrect me?
Few possible reasons:
a) Our combat resurrect skill (from a legendary trait) has a cooldown of 10 mins. If we used it, we need to get out of combat first, to res you.
b) You are too close to creeps. Our res skills have range of 25m.
c) In tight situations (fighting a tyrant or a large group of creeps) we don't have time to res if we need to heal others. Resurrection skills have a long casting time.

2. If I spam chat with "rez plz", "I'm dead!", "need res!!1one" or send a tell to a minstrel will I get resurrected faster?

3. I died! Why didn't I get a heal?
Few possible reasons:
a) No "line of sight". Any small rock, fence, trunk, wall, tree can cause this. Please stay in line of sight.
b) Minstrels can't heal while moving. If you charge or chase a creep - we have to run too. If we run, we can't heal. If you need a heal, stop or even better - fall back a little.
c) There are creeps/npcs attacking a minstrel. Every hit we take makes our casting time longer, even to the point we can't heal at all.
d) We are stunned/silenced. Creeps who know what they do, stun/silence us a lot.

4. How can I protect minstrels?
a) Watch our health. If we are taking damage defend us.
b) If we take damage from NPC try to get his agro. Leaving untagged archers and other NPCs around, will result in minstrels getting their agro.
c) If you see that creeps are on a minstrel, try to root, slow or stun them. If you can heal us - do so please. When creeps attack us it's really hard or sometimes impossible to heal ourselves.
d) Try not to leave us behind. If you do - wargs will kill us in seconds. If we are webbed or stunned wait for us. If you order a tactical fall-back, wait for us to finish our heal or resurrect spells.
e) Try to use your class specific protection skills on minstrels. Don't save them for later or "just in case". We use all our skills and abilities to protect you, often paying with our lives. We expect that you back us up too, if needed.

5. Can minstrels blind NPCs?
Yes, kinda.
We have a skill "Song of Distraction" that reduces NPC's perception by 75%. NPC's can resist it tho (~15% chance from my experience). If they do, they will agro. You can tell that a target is distracted by a black-red debuff icon.
Example: We use "blind" on a Chieftain. Now that Chieftain won't agro, even if a Tyrant is pulled.
Example2: There is only a Tyrant left but there are many creeps hiding behind him, ready to defend him. We "blind" a Tyrant. Now you can move much closer (to 25% of his normal agro range) to him, or go around and nail the hiding creeps before pulling a Tyrant.

6. Omg, wtf? Why that minstrel keeps stealing my kills? Shouldn't he stick to healing?
Minstrels are the only class that can efficiently and constantly damage an opponent from range, while running. That's why we sometimes get killing blows while chasing a creep. For 10k+ kills I got only 230 killing blows tho.

7. How can I thank a minstrel for a great healing?
No need to thank us really. Every class does his job.
But if you really need to - give him some ale. Or a pie. Or both. ;)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Remix! Quick CD run

I'm still messing around with Animoto . . . here's remix with some highlighted screenshots.

Quick 30-second CD video

I'm just messing around with animoto and threw some screenshots from the latest trip to CD . . . more later.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Post 50 life?

It's the question I asked, and it's the question being asked of me . . . what do you do after you ding 50?

1- Dress your Barbie. It's a term I've had for many years. You see, metaphorically all these MMOs are in essence is like playing a grandios game of "Barbies advanced." Yeah, take a look at those girls. They collect their barbies that usually come with an outfit on them. Then you buy new barbie clothes and you put your barbies in kind of imaginary settings. Then you call up your friend and ask her to bring her barbie over to your house because you got a new dungeon . . um, i mean, malibu play set. So your friend comes over, and you two play on the play set and invent scenarios. Heck, you might as go as far as inviting your whole neighborhood over and you end up having an army of small girls armed with their various Barbies. And then you notice Sarah from the end of the cul-de-sac has THEE COOLEST BARBIE OMIGOSH! I WANT THAT OUTFIT!!! When you ask her where she got that outfit, you find out she raided an outlet store called Helegrod's R US until she found it.

*insert the sound of a phone ringing*
*wife answers on the other end*

"Hey, do you work Saturday night? Yeah, the guild is raiding helegrod, can I gooooo oplease please please?!?!?"

The ideal would be to build one super dooper unreal set of gear. Reality, you carry around multiple sets of gear for various situations and forget to slip in and out of them until it's too late. I will probably try to build 3 sets of gear: resistance gear, mana pool, and soloing/pvp set.

2- Factioning. The latest patch in the game introduced a number of grinds into the game. If you faction enough you can open up the potential to buy certain items like rare shields, gear, new horses (not any faster than the regular horse mind you), etc.

3- pvp. See previous posts for information on this. there really is nothing more fun than fighting a thinking person versus a programmed AI.

4- raiding. (I already talked a bit about this)

5- trait and title grinding. this is basically going back through all the content you did leveling up and filling in the gaps on all the titles and traits that you missed.

6- farming gold. Clear out your backpacks and go kill a bajillion cave claws for money . . . so you can buy outfits for your barbie or horses for your other barbies!!! not to mention crafting stuff. some days I'd rather farm gold and buy crafting materials than farm it up myself. /shrug

7- help your lower level friends. GASP! WHY? Doh . . . you want to go through those high level instances with cool people that you know . . . not some random pug. yikes. It's good karma too.

8- crafting. It takes a lot to grandmaster certain crafts. You'll see if you don't know already.

9- Legendary traits. Finish them all off. yup. Even if they seem useless. yup. Actually out of all the things listed here, this is the activity I'm most anxious to complete lately.

10- level up another character. Why have one barbie when you can have two?

I'm sure I'll have more insights to share after a month or so of post-50 activities. Happy grinding to you all!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ding 50

Here's the video:

I finished my level off primarily from grinding on undead at imlad in east angmar.

Let's review . . .

Ok, first of all . . . all you people new to MMOs have no clue what it was like to ding your last level in the game Everquest. I actually have a chart of my two main EQ charcters and it covers about a year and a half worth of time, and I never in that time dinged the top level. I eventually dinged 75 with my Beastlord (they raised the cap 2 times afterward and have raised it to 80 with the newest expansion to be released Nov 2007 I believe). But this took about 5 months of my very conservative play to ding the top level. I'm not the fastest player; in fact, there was a gal in my kinship that dinged 50 three times over (as in three 50th level characters at her disposal) before I dinged 50 once.

My analsis is that the last 5 levels are the hardest followed by the stretch from 25-35. The rest of the game "leveling-wise" is cake. Your mileage may vary of course.

Here's the deal . . . if you have friends in game and you all level and group and progress along the same paths, you'll sail through the levels. If you primarily solo and group when you can, be prepared to grind without quest bonus exp for a while. In fact, that's how I earned a majority of my final level. I killed a lot of undead in Imlad. This resulted in a bounty of bone necklaces for the blah blah blah of the North faction, but it was probably my least fun experience leveling. On the flip side, I use to grind like that all the time in EQ and that was the norm . . . there really was no such thing as quest exp.

Looking back, here is what I learned from my experiences:
  • Unless you have +/- two hours of free time, don't plan on doing any of the instances along the way. Some can take all day if you let them . . . I never did see Fornost or Carn Dum while I was leveling. I did see Greater Barrows and Urugrath and the new Annubiaus (just murdered the spelling there) instance, but those were lucky nights.
  • It is essential to finish past Book six chapter six in your epic quest lines. Why? You need to get to the eastern part of Angmar, and the only way you can do that is finish that book.
  • If possible, pay a visit to your class trainer every single time you ding . . . until they can't teach you anything more. ;p
  • Work the AH. find your niche and work it until you make money.
  • Get a horse. I originally posted on this blog that it was a luxury item that you didn't need. I didn't own one at the time and was taking the advice of people that I thought were giving me good advice. Listen. Get a horse and learn how to avoid mobs while riding it. Use your mouse with your right hand and your arrow keys with your left hand to move you around . . . learn to strafe. This alone will improve your horse riding skills 100%.
  • The only quests you really don't want to dump are the ones that lead to instances (read that as a long chain quest that eventually leads you to Greater Barrows, Fornost, Urugrath, Carn Dum, etc.) and the epic quests. it's a pain in the butt to research where you were and who gave you the quest after you dump it.
  • Higher dps weapons = good, no matter what the class.
  • Feign Death (FD) as a minstrel is a fantastic way to lose agro in a group, but you have to be smart. If you're in an instance, realize that FD button is your entire group's "oh Sh**" button. You'll need it to rez after wipes.
  • Don't ever lead a train through 4 archers into a group of 2 trolls as a minstrel. >.<
  • You can die from falling in two places that I know of. 1- treslebridge and 2- from the mountains of trollshaws down into rivendale.
  • Go ahead and suspend your disbelief like you were reading a book. I think you'll dig the experience more.
  • This is not WoW. You will not find the funny dances. You will not find the wild colors. You will not find the pop culture references. If you like that, don't play LOTRO or you'll be bored.
  • Try everything the game has to offer. You'll be surprised by the things you may have had a pre-disposition to from your other MMO experiences. For me it was pvp.
  • more to come

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

LOTRO PVP De-mystified

Ok, I’m not the most experienced PvP’er in the whole world, so bear with me and know that I come from a somewhat limited PvP background. To the random visitor, feel free to leave your comments or correct this post as you see fit. The purpose of this post is to try my best to demystify the LOTRO PVP to my non-LOTRO playing friends.

1- You know what PvP is. **Note: I use the term PvP here, but in reality this type of PvP is called PvMP (player versus monster player).
2- You understand MMORPGs.
3- You at least know the basic classes of LOTRO.

How to Start
After installing the game, you begin to play a character up to level 10. Once you hit level 10, you will be able to access the “monster play” button from the start up screen.

Once you do this you will see that you have five character types you may play (and 5 creation slots to play with) . . . in fact creation of this monster player is very similar to character creation except for you don’t get to customize your “creep.” Creep is a term used to classify monster players (you know, things that creep along the ground or creep you out at night).

Once you choose your Warg (stealth fighter), Blackarrow (orc archer), Spider (crowd control fighter), Reaver (melee fighter), or Warleader (tankish healer) you give them a name and enter the world of the Ettenmoors. Bam . . . there you are standing in the start camp as a level 50 monster, ready to snack on both NPC good guys and PC good guys alike.

The Land of Ettenmoors
Ettenmoors is a land divided in two. The North western area is where the creeps make their base and the South eastern area is where the Freeps make their base. Freeps? Yeah, we’ll get into that in a second. Just know that the Freeps are the player controlled enemies who will kick your butt one-on-one. You'll need to group up with other Creeps to have a chance or be very sneaky about when you choose to engage a Freep (like when they're questing and don't think anyone is around, so they let themselves get to 50% life with 2 NPCs attacking them . . . we call this "ganking" shhhhhh).

The Ettenmoors is a zone that is inaccessible from the other areas of the LOTRO world. There are quests here like elsewhere in the LOTRO world and there are NPCs here like elsewhere as well. For the most part, the evil looking beings around the north west are amiable to creeps and the good looking beings (even the bears and falcons) to the southeast are amiable to freeps.

In the middle of the Ettenmoors are a number of forts and areas that creep and freep armies can fight to take over and improve. These have acronyms associated with them, some of which are as follows:

  • DG (Darg-Gazag)
  • EC (Elf Camp)
  • GF (Gramsfoot)
  • GV (Grams—Creep base)
  • HH (Hoarhallow)
  • IM (Isendeep Mine)
  • LC (Grimwood Lumber Camp)
  • Lug (Lugazag)
  • Ost (Ost Ringdyr)
  • SB (south bridge of TA)
  • Stairs (South Coldfells—Freep base)
  • TA (Tol Ascarnen)
  • TR (Tirith Rhaw)


There are various quests located throughout Ettenmoors on both the Creep and Freep side. For example, the creeps have a quest to poison the river that runs through Ettenmoors and the freeps have a quest to cleanse the poison in the river. These quests are repeatable every couple of hours or so.

If you complete a quest on the Creep side, you gain money and destiny points. If you complete a quest on the Freep side, you gain money and a token. Destiny points can be spent to improve your Creep. Tokens can be turned in to open up chests with items in them.

So what about these Freeps I keep mentioning? Ohhhhh Freeps. Well, you know, once you level your main character to level 40, they can go to any stable master and ask for a ride to the Ettenmoors for a small fee. Once you select this, it quick travel teleports you to the Ettenmoors.

So, the benefit here is that you can earn experience in Ettenmoors for killing stuff (both NPCs and Creeps). The quests aren’t going to net you any experience, but the money and items you earn are “real.” Meaning, this is more than just a mini-game experience tied to LOTRO. It’s an extra component to the game where you can take your loot into the PvE world.

Also know this . . . you can earn titles as a Freep in Ettenmoors, and they will be visible in the rest of the LOTRO world.


Both Freeps and Creeps gain titles in front of their name as they gain renown/infamy for defeating foes in Ettenmoors. On the Creep side it goes a bit like this:

  • Rank 0 (no title) 0-499
  • Rank 1 (Tracker) 500-1499
  • Rank 2 (Scout) 1500-3499
  • Rank 3 (Skirmisher) 3500-7499
  • Rank 4 (Fighter) 7500-19499
  • Rank 5 (Soldier) 19500-44499
  • Rank 6 (Sentry) 45000-94499
  • Rank 7 (Chief Guard) 94500-194499
  • Rank 8 (Chief Warrior) 195500-344,499
  • Rank 9 (Taskmaster) 344,500-544,499
  • Rank 10 (Luitenant) 544,500-844,499
  • Rank 11 (Commander) 844,500-???
  • Rank 12 (Chieften) ???
  • Rank 13 (High Chieften) ???
  • Rank 14 (Overlord) ???
  • Rank 15 (Tyrant) ???
On the Freep side it goes a bit like this:
  • Rank 0 (None) 0-499
  • Rank 1 (Footman) 500-1499
  • Rank 2 (Esquire) 1500-3499
  • Rank 3 (Guardsman) 3500- 7499
  • Rank 4 (Man-At-Arms) 7500-19499
  • Rank 5 (Sergeant of the Guard) 19500-44499
  • Rank 6 (Sergeant-at-Arms) 44500-94499
  • Rank 7 (Master Guardsman) 94500-194499
  • Rank 8 (Master-at-Arms) 195500-344,499
  • Rank 9 (High Warden) 344,500-544,499
  • Rank 10 (Lieutenant) 544,500-844,499
  • Rank 11 (Commander) 844,500-???
  • Rank 12 (Third Marshal) ???
  • Rank 13 (Second Marshal) ???
  • Rank 14 (First Marshal) ???
  • Rank 15 (Captain-General) ???

Note that you can toggle this title on and off by simply checking a box in your titles section of your character window.

Titles don't end here though; we've only talked about the prefixes (which are unique to the LOTRO world). There are a number of suffix titles you can earn as well. For instance, if you kill 500 black-arrow Creeps, you can earn the title "Blackarrow foe." There are tons more of these suffix titles and I'll leave those for you to discover. An example creep suffix title would be "mistrel's foe." /shudder to think.

Of Trolls and Rangers
Now to make things more fun, the last expansion introduced a little fun benefit for the Creeps and Freeps: Trolls and Rangers. For the cost of 5,000 destiny points, you can assume a Troll form on the Creep side or a Ranger on the Freep side for about an hour (AFAIK).

These guys have about 12 times the hitpoints of the regular player and really pack a wallop. A Creep raid backed by a couple of trolls can easily drive a Freep raid into hiding. It definitely adds a whole new component to face offs between raid forces.

Destiny Points?
You gain Destiny points as you level your character (past 10th level) at a rate of 200 points per level. These points are account/server based as well . . . meaning, Bachelbu will have earned a total of 8,000 destiny points just by leveling to 50; however, I also have leveled Stingite to 20 . . . that's an extra 2,000 Destiny Points. So my total number of Destiny Points I can use on the Windfola server is 10,000.

As the article states, "If you complete a quest on the Creep side, you gain money and destiny points." This is the benefit of playing a Monster. You earn destiny points for your account.
Destiny points are used for either temporary buffs for your real character (like temporary boost to hitpoints, runspeed, or armor class . . . or to extend rested XP by 2 bubs), permanently strengthen your Creep, or to play as a troll or ranger for an hour.
So Destiny Points are like an alternate currency for you to use on your account/server.

It's pretty much a given that either your creep or freep is going to be defeated at some point in time. The less you're defeated, the more renown and infamy you are worth to the other side and the better your ranking is on the server. This is all tracked in a dialog box from your character information screen under the tab labeled "the war."

If you die as a creep, it has no real impact on your regular characters. So don't worry about leveling one character to 10th level, starting a creep, dying, and worrying about whether that had an effect on your "no deaths" title on your regular character.

If you die as a freep, you don't incur the normally painful repair costs and 10 minute time out due to dread. This doesn't mean you won't incur repair costs "at all." Creeps beating on you will still cause damage to your armor. It just won't be as painful as when you are defeated in the PvE world.

When you do die, you pop up in a little safe circle nearby that is surrounded by ally NPCs that will one shot anyone who gets to close. This is a great spot to AFK. It's also a great spot to trick people into running into after you've damaged them a bit. /wink

Hot Spots
Around every keep in the Ettenmoors, you will find large banners rising into the sky like beacons. The color of these banners will indicate whether the entities surrounding the banners are Freeps or Creeps. White indicates that the hot spot is Freep controlled. Red indicates creep control.

When all banners around a keep are controlled by either the Freeps or Creeps, there is an effect given to the defenders or invaders. The effects of holding all hot spots surrounding a keep could be that any invader nearing the keep will gain a debuff (like an annoying disease damage over time debuff) or that NPCs will help invaders by swarming the keep kamakazi style.

You will hear groups or raids sometimes saying they would like to "flip" or "protect" the hotspot around a keep. Flipping a hotspot means that your fellowship must stand and not move an inch at the base of the banner anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.

More to come
Stay tuned . . . I hope to add and refine this post as time goes by, but hopefully this has slightly demystified the basics of PvP play in the LOTRO world.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Ding 49 and PVP FIESTA! OLE!

Three personal news items from me today:

1- I finally got serious about leveling and ran a couple nights worth of quests. One was a random PUG and the other was just duo'ing with the infamous jello. Ding 49.

2- And I am happy to announce that I obtained 25 pvp tokens and opened the mega chest.

This is definitely a graphic you need to click to enlarge.

I was slightly disappointed in what I found inside . . . yeah, 3 purples, nice potions, some good sellable loot . . . but where's the creme filling you know? I kind of had hopes that a teal item would fall from the heavens. Meh, too much to ask for I suppose.

3- I also spent a night doing a PVP raid where we fought back creeps and trolls for hours . . . this resulted in my first PVP rank of "footman." This is basically like a private rating in the old school WoW days . . . hehe, just a touch more difficult to obtain though.

This was a killshot I got on a troll. Players can opt to be a troll during their creep experience for a cost of . . . I believe . . . 5k destiny points. It's a chunk of destiny points. These things are super nasty and tough to kill. The killshot just means I'm lucky. :-) there was a raid of us pounding on him.