This will be the first of a bunch of posts coming up today and tomorrow as I get caught up on things.  I wanted to start of with a recap of 2009 and looking forward into 2010.  This will cover both LOTRO the game as well as my plans for LOTRO and other games.

Looking back

2009 was a pretty solid year for me in LOTRO.  Early in the year I achieved level 60 on my warden although not quite as quite as quickly as others due to the poor timing of the Moria launch (poor timing for me that is).  I also managed to get my three mains (warden, captain, and minstrel) not only watcher ready but watcher kills on each of them.  My minstrel and captain were part of a couple DN raids, but sadly my warden has not seen the inside nor have I been through the entire thing.

I switched kinships twice this year, the first time due to the amount of drama and the second time was just moving from a 3 person kin (more of a holding kin) to a raiding one that included those same 3 people.

I didn’t quite achieve my goal of finishing through Volume 2 on all my toons before Mirkwood, but I came pretty close.  My minstrel is just short 1.15.12 and 2.5.5 –> 2.6.8.  My captain is all finished and finally my warden is short on 1.14.1 through to volume 1 completion and the last chapter of book 8.

The other game that caught my attention of course was Dragon Age Origins.  I ended up finishing it twice (with a few different endings) and am working towards a third.  It was a great filler as I was waiting for Mirkwood and gives me a good change of pace.  All of the accolades this game has received are well deserved IMO and I would highly recommend picking it up if you haven’t already as I know they’re dropping the price on various sites.

And finally, in September I started up this blog.  As we came towards the end of the year I think I caught my stride and really got into a pretty decent grove of not only news, tips/tricks, and general LOTRO thoughts and ideas which I hope to carry through to next year.  I also started recording some of my adventures, and that certainly will continue.

In LOTRO itself it was also a pretty busy year.  Some folks pointed out that 2009 was a slow-down and pointed to a decline in LOTRO but I think the slow down was due more to some large scale behind the scenes issues (server performance, system overhauls, etc) and not a decline in the game.  Really, 2008 only had one more content update then 2009 and while MoM was larger the SoM there were some very significant system changes with Mirkwood that we haven’t quite had time to absorb.  I’m not claiming 2009 had more content then 2008, but I don’t feel it is a large a drop-off as some like to claim.  In March we saw Book 7 release which opened up the area of Lothlorien as well as the continuation of the epic storyline.  While this area was on the small side for some, I certainly enjoyed the change from the dreariness of Moria and continually enjoy visiting that area just to look around.  Also in this book the famed (or infamous) Turtle raid was launched with a few issues but those were pretty quickly hammered out.  Orion released his first part of the New Player Experience with the re-works of various starter zones.  And we saw the intro to skirmishes with the release of the Crafting Instances.

June brought us the release of Book 8 which brought us back into Moria and new raiding content.  We got 2 3 man instances, 1 6 man, and a new 12 person raid Dar Narburg.  There were some other additions/changes as well with new barter systems and such but for the most part Book 8 was an end-game focused release.

And of course we had Siege of Mirkwood in December, but we’ve seen that covered all over the place so I won’t re-cap that here.  I have a bunch of posts on it, just search for Mirkwood and you’ll find them.

Into 2010

So I’m going through a bit of a rough patch in game right now, and I’m really hoping it is just due to a lack of playing time in December but I feel a bit lost and un-motivated right now.  Part of is that I know my kin is all geared out on at least 2 toons already and I’m concerned about getting my gear that I want.  So I am pondering a kin change or possibly even a server change.  But, I think I’m going to wait a bit and see how things progress here in the next month before doing anything drastic.

Hopefully with Orion’s comment before the holidays, I should be able to finish off the remainder of Volume 1 on my minstrel and warden and I don’t have too much left to do on Volume 2.  I also want to get at least the 2 purple radiance sets on these 3 toons as I should be able to in the 3-mans without too much effort.  And with the new year, there should be some opportunities to run not only DN but also the new Mirkwood raid I just need to keep an eye out for multiple groups.  I mainly want to get back into running content with other people, I’ve gotten into a bit of a solo rut and I’m not enjoying that.

I will be looking to continue my blogging and video posting, hopefully adding some more group action to my videos and not just solo ones.  I’m also toying with the idea of starting, co-hosting, or just guest appearing on a podcast to focus on more of the end-game content.  There’s some great shows out there but I feel this is a missing area.

I’ll save my Dragon Age plans for another post as there is some really cool news coming for that.

As for my 2010 LOTRO predictions, we will see Volume 3 in February as announced which will include Orion’s completed revamp of the Volume 1 epic line.  I’m not 100% sure what land-mass will be introduced (I’m pretty confident there will be more land) but my gut feel is we’ll head south to get back on the story line of the books.  I hope to see in Volume 3 Legendary items 3.0 and Traits 3.0 as I think they could certainly use the bumps.  For legendary items I hope they adopt the skirmish soldier methodology and allow us to have more control over our items.  I still realize there needs to be some randomness and grinding associated with it but I really want to feel more like the item is growing as I do.  As for traits, I want more class options and more legendary options.  I want to see more diversity and options for classes as I still feel even with the revamp in Moria there are still only a couple of viable paths for each class and LOTS of wasted traits that no one uses.  I don’t wait our virtues to scale past 10, although more equip-able slots would be nice :)  I’d also love to see them tied to skirmishes and be barter-able.  Allow us to “buy” a level of a virtue for around 1000 skirmish points for the first tier and 2000 for the second (I’m thinking level 65 slayer deeds, scale that down appropriately) as this will still be a grind but it opens up another path to get there.  And I think we’ll see an item/crafting overhaul that will bring radiance gear and crafted gear not only in line with each other but also desirable.

We will also see 2 more free content book releases at least, and possibly more depending on the timing – but I could see an April/July schedule with a possible 3rd in August/September depending on the expansion plan.  Skirmishes will continue to be an integral part of their storytelling and we’ll probably see them continue in the epic line as well as a couple other new ones per release, but I don’t think they’ll replace normal gameplay.  I do think we’ll see an expansion, but I’m torn as to whether it will be a box or digital.  I kind of hope it is a box as that means it will be a bigger deal, but I could also see them just sticking with the digital methodology as certainly that’s a better money maker for Turbine.  I’d love to see Rohan, but I’m just not sure how the timing will work out.  I’m pretty sure we won’t see mounted combat but I do agree with Almazar in his 2010 prediction that we’ll see some new combat technology to allow for large battles like the upcoming Helm’s Deep that we’re all waiting for.

So I think that wraps up my look back and ahead, I’ll have a couple more posts out shortly talking about some various Warden specifics, other Mirkwood items, the exciting Dragon Age news (I can’t wait for tomorrow), and a bit of a rant on micro-transactions (and not in the way you’re probably thinking).

2010 will be a heck of a year, and I can’t wait for it to get rolling!