Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nice Interview by Eurogamer


I just got my LOTRO newsletter in e-mail a couple of days ago and FINALLY had some time to read it. It was the basic polished product that Turbine distributes. At the end though, they had a link to a really nice redux of the skirmish system written by Daniel Etherington of Eurogamer:


I found this paragraph particularly interesting:

On first entering a Skirmish, you summon an ally - your Soldier. The idea is that he's a volunteer from among the Free People, and, as explained by Turbine's Brian Alosio in his Developer Diaries, "they are not as well trained as the Captain's Herald or Lore-master's companions. In battle, they will act without your orders, engaging the enemy as they see fit... they are not well-disciplined enough to be managed as much as seasoned soldiers." So don't expect squad controls. Instead, you define your Soldier's behaviour through the options in the new Skirmish panel. There are four tabs: Attribute, Skill, Training and Personal. The latter is how the Soldier has a direct influence on you: a buff, in other words. The Attribute is what Role you want your Soldier to take - effectively its class. With each Role you also get a special bonus. So the high-damage, ranged-attack Archer gives you an increased critical rating, the heavily-armoured Bannerguard support role gives an Armour Aura, and so on.

Interesting that the soldiers are not as well-discipined as the herald or even the Lore-master's animals. Methinks I smell a way to make Captains and Loremasters still feel special, which of course they are.

*hands special cookie to Captain and Loremaster friends*

Merry Minstrelling y'all!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Echad Eregion - We Got The Lynx!

Please sing with me in tune to the gogo's:

Bachs Got the Lynx

See the echads walking down the street
Fall in line just watching all their feet
They can't guess where they wanna quest
But they're looking for some pests

They got the lynx
They got the lynx
They got the lynx

See the rangers just getting out of school
They can't wait to hang out and be cool
Hang around 'til the server goes down
That's when we're not online

Bachs got the lynx
They got the lynx
They got the lynx
Bachs got the lynx

Bach'ys music sounds like it's from France
The Prancing Pony gettin' in a trance
Sing the Minstrel and make us all dance
That's when we fall in line

We got the lynx
We got the lynx
We got the lynx
We got the lynx
Listen to my LOTRO hijinx
We know you can dance to the lynx
Jumpin' - get down
Round and round and round

. . .

Oh, you probably don't know what the heck I'm talking about, do you?

Well, one of the first things the NPCs in Echad Eregion want you to do is to hunt down two handfuls of lynx pelts.


But seriously, I have the hardest time taking a bad screenshot in this game. Check em out:

Even an eye full of lynx tail is hawt.



I'm happy to report that by the time I got knee deep into Echad, I realized that I needed to head back to Gwingris and finish up a couple things. Yup, oversight happens.

Turdur here was causing a few troubles. AND THAT DINGED ME 51ST LEVEL WOOT! I'm on my way and still haven't used up all my rested exp yet.

Merry Minstreling to you all!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gwingris Questing Ends!


Um . . . You get here, you do your thing, you help out with some holly and seeds and worms and satchels and whatnot . . . maybe a few half orcs for kicks, and you're done.

*wipes hands clean*

You know . . . really not much to it.

Seriously though, I can't get enough of these wood trolls.

OH yeah, and another thing. Those half orcs I was talking about? They drop components to start your skirmish quest here.

Overjoyed I be at me first skirmishy. arrr!

That first skirmish quest wasn't too tough at all. The coolest part? You get to see Bree in the winter time. :-)

You know, you wonder what thought actually went into making the snowflakes look like this . . .

Maybe it's just me.

Echad Eregion here I come!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gwingris Questing Begins!

Well, I logged in Bach and decided to actually get going on some of these eregion quests that I had picked up. Among the quests for harvesting holly and planting seeds, the main fighting quest to begin here began with a kill quest to hunt these attractive beasts:

No, that's not just my backside, that there is a Fell Holly Creeper, which wasn't much to worry about, but the quest also asked me to hunt down a number of these signature'ish trees:

Check out those hitpoints!

Needless to say, I was a little intimated by those numbers and that glowing ring around their picture just coming fresh back into the game and not really remembering how to mash those buttons (I'm used to dueling cards out in Wizard101 remember?), but the button mashing came back quickly and before you know it, I had soloed the quest and remembered why minstrels are so freaking awesome. Heals. Period.

So Lithuilas at Gwingris was a little saddened that we had to chop down the trees and defeat his nature buddies, but it had to be done by somebody . . . might as well be Bach.

And as per usual, there was more to be done.

Yup, Lithuilas needed me to thin out these WICKED LOOKING trolls while I was at it.

I couldn't stop taking screenshots of these guys. So awesome looking.

Thankfully their hitpoints were not as nearly as scary as the tree hitpoint before them . . . I just had to kill twice as many.

By the end of my play time I had killed an hour and finished up a couple good quests . . . and remembered how to mash buttons.

I may have to call in the big guns from the kinship for this next quest . . . looks scary.

I should have scrolled down to get a screenshot of the rewards from that quest . . . they looked purple quality. cool!

Merry Minstreling to you all!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Ultimate Mirkwood Recap, Part 2

Ok, I finally made it through all those links in Part 1, and I'm starting to feel caught up on Mirkwood information. Very cool that you can do animations from your mount now. I can't wait to try it out. The skirmish system sounds great. I like the sounds of Dol Guldur. I most likely will not be raiding, but I can definitely see myself doing the 3 man or full group instances of Dol Guldur. My life just can't hack raiding.

I know nothing about legendary items other than my friend Jelalron said, get started on your Mines or Moria book quests ASAP to start leveling your legendary weapon. /shrug . . . ok. At this point I'd just like a solid hour of play time to be honest.

Ok, so on to Part 2 of this Ultimate Mirkwood Recap. What do I have for you? More links (or more homework for Bach):

Siege of Mirkwood Image Gallery--If a picture is worth a thousand words than our Siege of Mirkwood Screen Shot gallery is worth millions!

Turbine YouTube Channel and Siege of Mirkwood Trailers--Don't forget our incredible new trailers! You can find them all on the Turbine YouTube channel
Siege of Mirkwood Trailer #1 Galadriel's lament
Siege of Mirkwood Trailer #2 Lieutenant of Dol Guldur
Siege of Mirkwood Launch Day Trailer

What the Press is saying about Siege of Mirkwood
Obviously we think Siege of Mirkwood is pretty wonderful, but don't just take our word for it! See what the press has to say!
Developer Tour
Full Coverage
Siege of Mirkwood Interview with Jeffrey Steefel and Aaron Campbell
Siege of Mirkwood preview
Full Coverage (screens and assorted news items)

Ten Ton Hammer
The Heart of Mirkwood - A Siege of Mirkwood Q&A with Jeffrey Steefel
Full Coverage
Siege of Mirkwood Recon (Preview)
All Siege of Mirkwood coverage
Warcry US Dev Chat Transcript

Whew, ok, I think that gives me enough homework here for now. I asked the LOTRO Community Manager if he has a Mines of Moria Ultimate Recap like this one since I'm really really behind here. I'll let you know!

Merry Minstreling!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Ultimate Mirkwood Recap (Part 1)

Hey! I just got a nice E-mail from Rick Heaton, the LOTRO community manager, and he had a TON of links to information surrounding the release of Mirkwood to share. These links went to all the LOTRO community sites. He's calling it the Ultimate Mirkwood Recap (copyright 2009 Rick Heaton . . . ok, that catch phrase isn't copyrighted, but I like it; it's catchy!).

First up is a long list of links for a developer diary look at the new Skirmishes system:
Part 1: Overview
Part 2: Story Instances
Part 3: Randomization and Scaling
Part 4: Skirmish Soldiers
Part 5: Rewards
Part 6: Accessibility
Part 7: The End

Ok, I now officially have a lot to read.

Then Rick lays the true dirt down about all the OTHER features in the new expansion:
Crafting in Siege of Mirkwood
Welcome Back to The Lone-lands
Introducing Dol Guldur
Mirkwood Region
Legendary Item System Update
Legacy Pool Updates
Siege of Mirkwood Skill Upgrades
Combat System Changes
Character Panel and Stat Updates
Mounts 2.0
Shared Storage

Cripes! Did I tell you I have a lot of reading to do now?

Ok, I'm going to stop there for now . . . After I finish digesting some of that, I shall revisit the remainder of this e-mail.

Merry Minstrel-ing! (think I may be close to my own catch phrase there!)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

He's Bach!

So, I bit the bullet and shelled out the money for a few months of playtime and the last two expansions. My character was there and still as shiny as I left him:

Who says dwarves are the only ones who can have beards?

So, my character's name is "Bachelbu," right? But everyone calls me "Bach." It's just too fitting for a minstrel. Anyway, it's a running joke that when I log on the people in my guild (er kinship) all yell "He's Bach!" Last night was no exception. It was good to be "Bach" once again and see some old familiar faces.

A good majority of the night was spent just trying to remember what all the buttons do and trying to find my old house so I could pay upkeep on it and bring it back out of forclosure. MAN, pricey little venture letting your house go into forclosure. It was like half a gold piece to remove all the dust and pay upkeep for a month and a half.

By the end of the night though I was galloping alongside my old friend, Tony. Or, Calab. Or Calrain. Or Jelalron. Actually, he's Jelalron in this game. We've played way too many games together to keep the names straight.

It was good to get some face time again! He got me all set up in eregion and showed me where it was that I needed to start questing. Life is good!

So I'm going to be happy to report all my dings and experiences from this place. It's a beautiful landscape (as illustrated by that picture above), of course, LOTRO is a beautiful looking game. Never a bad screenshot to be taken!

Happy Minstreling! (hmmm, need to work on that catch phrase)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The LOTRO Conundrum--Should I Come Back?

So last night I patched LOTRO and sat there very quietly contemplating what I was doing. Do I really want to play LOTRO again or am I just happy doing what I'm doing?

You know . . . it really all boils down to getting some rare face time with my good friend, Calrain. But, on the other hand, how much face time will I really get since I MUST make some agreements up front about playing this game again if I do play.

1- I'm not a raider. I just can't put my 3 kids through the loss of their father for 2-3 hours twice *or more* a week. That's just not going to happen.

2-I'm a limited grouper. Once again, I have to be able to afk when things go down off screen in real life. That means grouping with people that fully understand who I am and how I play (I AM extended AFK man!) . . . and that they take my situation with gigantic chunks of kosher salt. Calrain is one of those people. But will guild peer pressure be hard on me?

3-I'm mostly an unknown soloer in a big big world. In some ways that's actually attractive to me. I don't mind some quiet play taking on stuff that I have no business taking on. My favorite memories of LOTRO are when I soloed Beryl Shard droppers in the Bree Faction dungeons. Will I be able to find the same with Mithril Flake droppers and beyond in the new expansions?

Let me tell you . . . I'm am perfectly content just playing Wizard101. It's totally different from LOTRO and yet has those MMO Fantasy characteristics just like LOTRO. But Wizard101 is FUN and BRIGHT and HAPPY (and I'm arguably "famous" in that game). LOTRO is more beautiful and eerie and mellow (and I'm literally a nobody in that game, which has its benefits ;)). Yeah, both have their moments of boredom and both have their moments of intense excitement, but they are about as opposite as you can get.

You know what really gets me here is the cost. The Mirkwood and Mines of Moria expansion are going to set me back $30 and a 3-month subscription will cost me another $30 . . . that's a year's worth of play on Wizard101. Yes, yes . . . I know there are other options like the $200 lifetime subscription, but I'd still have to shell out $30 for the expansions at this point.

My wife said to me last night as I was sitting there pondering this state, "Well, if you want it, then Merry Christmas." Hmmm. What to do.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

um . . . hi!

So, I'm wondering if anyone out there still has this blog tagged in their RSS feed? Hello? Is there anybody in there?

So, listen. I'm excited for all of you LOTRO players after hearing that Mirkwood was going live today. I hope it's everything that you want it to be.

I've been thinking about coming back to LOTRO to play on and off. Heck, I'm behind two expansions, there'd be plenty to write about. Then again, I'm really busy maintaining my new love: The Friendly Necromancer! My time blogging for Wizard101 has really taught me a thing or two that I wish I would have known back when I was actually keeping this blog.

So, hello again, if you're out there. Please let me know what you've been up to and if you're still playing Lord of the Rings Online. You may see me in here once again from time to time trying to catch up to you all.

As I say over on my wizard101 blog . . .

Happy Dueling!