Archive for April, 2010

Coming Down the Final Leveling Stretch

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I was struggling with how to finish up these posts on the leveling of a Warden and decided that I would split up this last section.  I left off this series at level 45 which is really where I think Wardens start to become not only powerful but also where things get more complicated.  As you start progressing through these levels you start to not only find more group content that you really will want to do but content that starts to get more challenging as well.  In this leveling section, the only new skills Wardens get are new gambits (ok, you do get one more self port to Mirkwood) so your toolbars won’t get any more crowded.  In this post I’m primarily going to cover just this leveling progression up to the level cap (65) and not the end-game content and strategies.  I certainly have lots of that information over at my blog if you’re interested.

The first milestone in this range is the Level 45 class quests which are 2 quests whose rewards aren’t necessarily all that exciting but it does open up on of our better legendary traits.  For those of you who haven’t done any of these quests before your class trainer will ask you to collect various items throughout the land with the last 4 coming from the Angmar dungeons of Urugarth or Carn Dum.  With the release of the skirmish system, you can now also barter for some of these items as well.  I’m not going to include all the information for these but I’ve linked the wiki pages which do have the exact locations if you want them.  So, for the Warden you’ll need the following items:

  • Quest – A Weapon of Might and Glory
    • 12 Invader Breast Plates – drop from Angmarim in Annuminas
    • Bryok’s Spear – Guaradan in Forochel
    • 10 Revered Wight remains – drops from Imlad Balchorth in Angmar
    • 20 Gem-encrusted nails – cave claws either in Eastern Malenhad in Angmar of the dungeon of Sarnur
    • Blood-stained tally-stick which drops from either Krishakrum or Kurghurz in the Urugarth dungeon of Angmar
    • Crimson Gorthorog-horn – drops from Barashal the troll-boss in Carn Dum
  • Quest - A Warden’s Second Best Ally
    • 6 Hoary Auroch Hides – drops from the Misty mountain Aurochs
    • Redtusk’s Hide – level 49 signature in Eregion
    • 20 Coiled Spider Spinnerets – drop from spiders in Angmar
    • 10 Barbed Barghest Tails – Barghest’s in Imlad Balchorth
    • Rune of Evil Presence – drops off of Salvakh in Carn Dum
    • Teeth of the Gorthorog – drops from Dushkal or Brizrip in Urugarth or random trolls in Carn Dum

The bolded items are the ones that can be bartered for as well as traded or bought/sold on the auction house.  As for the quest rewards, the Weapon quest shockingly enough gives you a choice of either a javelin or a spear. While the ally quest rewards either a necklace or earring. For me, neither weapon was all that exciting but I did use that earring for quite a long while.  The juicy reward is the trait received for completing both quests which is our legendary Way of the Warden Way_of_the_Warden_(trait)-icon which combines all 3 of our stances.  It provides a 10% attack speed buff, 5% melee damage as well as BOTH in-combat regen buffs that now also inherit any legacy bonuses from your legendary weapons.  The downside to this stance is that it can only be used in combat and has a 15 minute cool-down.  I pretty much only use it for boss fights, although the loss of the defensive bonuses of conservation sometimes isn’t worth the added bonuses.

On the topic of our Legendary traits, you will also be picking these up during this level range.  I already covered the 3 traits gained from the various books but as you level you should look to pick up the final 3 which are only equipable when you slot 5 traits in that trait-line, and as such are usually called “capstone traits.”

  • The Way of the Spear Way_of_the_Spear-icon trait adds 5% to melee damage, 30% to Warden’s Triumph 18px-Warden's_Triumph-icon damage and 10 seconds to that gambit’s duration.
    • This trait comes from reading The Path Less Trod book from the Iron Garrison Guard trader once you have Kindred reputation.
  • The Way of the Fist Way_of_the_Fist-icon trait adds 10% perceived threat, +25% chance desolation 18px-Desolation-icon to apply fear, and +3 maximum targets for desolation.
    • This trait is from a quest line which ends with killing a summoned mob in the Moria dungeon Dark Delvings.  I was lucky enough to get this done with a kin group, but the quest mob is before the 2nd boss so you don’t have to clear the whole thing if you don’t want to.
  • The Way of the Shield Way_of_the_Shield-icon adds 2 pulses for our HoTs, +10% healing for all HoTs and +30% heal bonus for Conviction.
    • This is the reward for finishing up through book 6 of Volume 2.  This can be tough as usually 4.7, 5.5, and 6.8 are difficult quests to find groups for.

I think these are somewhat situational as the Fist line is good for some boss fights (SG) and the moors, the Shield line is often suggested for tanking, and the Spear for DPS roles.  For a while I was traited fully down the shield line but with the tactical resist changes I’ve gone back to my mix of 3 fist, 2 shield, and 2 spear unless I’m going to the moors :)

And now for the new gambits and unlike the other posts I’ve made here there’s a mixture of gambit lengths in this level range.  Just like my previous posts I will include the gambits, their builders, and the level they’re obtained in parenthesis:

  • 18px-Restoration-icon (46) Restoration (Gambit_shield-iconGambit_spear-iconGambit_shield-iconGambit_spear-iconGambit_shield-icon)  – melee damage + HoT – our best HoT, use it often.
  • 18px-Exultation_of_Battle-icon (48) Exaltation of Battle (Gambit_fist-iconGambit_spear-iconGambit_shield-iconGambit_fist-iconGambit_shield-icon) – AoE Threat + AoE morale leach – VERY handy gambit which applies a ToT to up to 10 mobs as well as leaching ~48 morale from each mob with 4 ticks at 4 second intervals.  When trying to tank multiple mobs, this is very handy not only to gain agro but to keep yourself alive as well.
  • 18px-The_Dark_Before_Dawn-icon (50) The Dark before Dawn (Gambit_spear-iconGambit_shield-iconGambit_spear-iconGambit_fist-iconGambit_spear-icon) – melee damage + power heal – very situational gambit, but can be quite handy.  You can only use it when you’re below 50% morale but you can use it to out-live just about any mob.  Using this gambit in conjunction with HoTs is commonly referred to as “morale surfing.”  You’ll see a bunch of examples of this in my videos especially ones where I’m fighting elites or higher.
  • 18px-Reversal-icon (52) Reversal – (Gambit_spear-iconGambit_fist-iconGambit_shield-icon) – melee damage + corruption removal – Since this gambit is spamable and with masteries can be built VERY fast we’re quite often considered the best class for corruption removals.
  • 18px-Adroit_Maneuver-icon (54) Adroit Maneuver (Gambit_spear-iconGambit_fist-iconGambit_shield-iconGambit_spear-icon) – melee damage + attack speed buff.  For me, this gambit isn’t all that useful but others have suggested it can be a nice boost to DPS.  However, once you get Warden’s Triumph most just use that for DPS.
  • 18px-Desolation-icon (56) Desolation (Gambit_fist-iconGambit_shield-iconGambit_fist-iconGambit_shield-iconGambit_fist-icon) – 3 target AoE DoT with a 25% chance to fear the mobs upon each tick of the DoT.  This can be a pretty handy gambit but sometimes annoying when in a group with lots of melee classes.  I like it when fighting multiple mobs as the fear does reduce incoming damage.
  • 18px-Conviction-icon (58) Conviction (Gambit_shield-iconGambit_fist-iconGambit_shield-iconGambit_fist-iconGambit_shield-icon) – AoE HoT + AoE threat transfer.  Arguably our best group gambit as it not only heals the entire fellowship (assuming they’re in range) but it also steals some of their threat.  The HoT is a little less then the heal from Restoration but healing your entire group for ~450 morale every 16 seconds isn’t bad.  This HoT does stack with Restoration so I do use it while soloing as well.  One note about the threat transfer is that you should wait to steal threat until there’s threat to steal.
  • 18px-Warden's_Triumph-icon (60) Warden’s Triumph (Gambit_spear-iconGambit_fist-iconGambit_shield-iconGambit_spear-iconGambit_fist-icon) – melee damage + damage buff.  Hard hitting melee attack with some VERY nice crit potential and a 10% damage buff for 20 seconds.  When trying to boost your DPS, this is a must use gambit.
  • UnerringStrike (64) Unerring Strike (Gambit_spear-iconGambit_shield-iconGambit_fist-iconGambit_spear-iconGambit_shield-icon) – melee damage + DoT – this is following the Mighty Blow line and is another nice damage dealer and stacks with the other 2 gambits in that line.

Now, if you were reading carefully you’ll probably be wondering what these “masteries” are that I mentioned when talking about the Reversal gambit.  Masteries are 3 traits that are available once you hit level 50 and use various gambits in that line.  These traits allow you to populate your gambit with not just one builder but two, so I’m sure you can realize this could be very handy.  The downside is this does cause you to have to re-memorize the gambits as there are many new ways to build them.  For instance, to build Exaltation of Battle you can do it using the builders – “Gambit_fist-iconGambit_spear-icon” + “Gambit_shield-iconGambit_fist-icon” and then add on that last Gambit_shield-icon.  Each of the combination skills does have a 15 second cooldown but there are enough different gambits and masteries that you can cycle through them pretty quickly.  Some people slot all 3, and before the combat revamp with Mirkwood I would’ve suggested that as well.  However, with the new speed of building gambits I don’t think they’re nearly as important as they used to be.  I still slot 2 of them (fist and spear) and do quite enjoy them so I’d suggest at least trying them out.

And to wrap this post up, the final topic I’ll talk about is legendary items as you can get your first LI at level 45.  I’ve covered this quite a bit on my blog talking about the legacies and runes as well as the new legacy pools so I won’t dive into too much detail here.  There are a number of really good legacies and for the most part I do look for a couple different ones.  On my main-hand weapon I look for increased threat and power cost reduction while my javelin needs to have a couple of the HoT bonuses as well as in-combat regen boosts.  Now there is quite a bit of discussion on the LOTRO forums that the threat legacies don’t do anything but I look for any slight bonus I can get and to be honest there aren’t that many other ones I’d prefer.  For the most part the legacies with +ratings on them aren’t all that useful, but the +parry rating legacy for Wall of Steel can be nice as Parry always is the hardest to cap out, unlike block and evade.  As I start to dip more into Monster play, I will be on the look out for a second set of legendaries that I will use only when out in the Moors as the legacies for those items won’t be helpful at all in PvE content.

In the next edition I’ll focus on end-game strategies and other content specific tips.  Also, feel free to let me know if there’s a specific topic you’d like me to cover.

 

Volume 3 patch notes and other assorted news

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My apologies for the lack of activity of late, I blame it on a number of things but hopefully I should be back to a more normal schedule.  And most importantly I should hopefully get back to being in game more!

First up are the Volume 3 Book 1 patch notes that are currently up on Bullroarer.  This is mainly a patch of bug fixes, but one thing of special notice for me was the new meta deeds for Angmar, Moria, and Lothlorien.  Thanks to LOTRO Weekly for the snaps and details of the deeds!  I really like this idea for a couple of reasons.  First off, who doesn’t want more horses and goats!  Secondly this gives people more incentives to do other dungeons and quests that they might not have normally done.  It will also provide more options for people leveling to run group content before hitting the Moria and Mirkwood instances.  I remember when they added a bunch of deeds to all the Angmar instances and those dungeons were PACKED for a significant period of time so hopefully this addition will do the same thing for all these instances.  The other interesting item from Bullroarer is a new Bard discount of 20% which (details of acquiring said reward is still TBD) will be really handy for all of us who swap traits depending on the content being run.

In addition to the patch notes, there’s also been a bunch of news over on the My.LOTRO site as Duwis points out and clarifies.  The first post confirms and explains how to access the My.LOTRO side from the in-game browser.  I really like this idea as the in-game browser always bugged me as it was more of an annoyance and not terribly useful.  Now it seems like it will be quite handy!  Duwis has another post with suggestions for how to properly maintain and update the Lorebook, so make sure to check that out if you’re interested or frustrated with the Lorebook.

For those of you who follow the lore but every once in a while get tripped up, Snowlock from the forums has posted a pretty short guide on the back-story for LOTRO and the history of Middle-Earth.  Some good tidbits (and maps) in there with a lot of information that either I didn’t know or had forgotten :)

In addition to the LOTRO Weekly blog I mentioned before, the folks over at MMORSEL.com have put up a number of cool updates.  For those of you struggling with the idea of radiance they have a nice write-up as well as detailed descriptions for all the various armor sets. They’ve also built a pretty slick utility for planning out and spending points on your Legendary items such that you can see how high you can level them without having to waste any scrolls.  They were also nice enough to post the instructions as well as the handy tool.

This last piece doesn’t really impact me, but I thought it was pretty cool so I wanted to share with those who might be helped by it.  I first saw this over at Mordor of Bust where they’ve posted a good walkthrough and explanation of the LOTRO Flashboost utility.  Now sadly it only works on Windows 7 (well sad for me as I’m on XP) but it appears pretty helpful in increasing performance or LOTRO.  In the post are links to not only the official Lorebook page for this utility but also the forum post with more discussion and support.  If you’re running Windows 7, it looks like it would be worth at least checking it out to see if you would benefit.

That’s all for now, I actually decided mid-post to hold some things for a bit later so I didn’t have a 14 page post…

 

Back from a crazy couple of weeks

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So things have been pretty quiet here for a bit with a combination of work travel and some actual vacation time as well.  I have a bunch of things to catch up on and I’ll have a few posts coming out this weekend but I figured I’d update on a few things first.

Aside from the travel craziness I have been playing some but just not nearly as much as would warrant writing about.  I’ve been working on the Ale Association quests and I’m intrigued by not only the titles but what they might put on that vendor :)  This new quest line seems to have drawn some comments from folks that they feel bad doing bad things in the Shire and I’ve actually taken a bit of a different slant on it.  I’m looking at it more like a friendly rivalry between two bars (ala Cheers) and the Ale Association is just launching the first line of the pranks ;)  Now if they continue this, I’d love to see the hobbit retaliation!  I do like the upcoming changes coming that will put negative reputation for the opposite faction.  This makes sense as we’re really not all that sneaky when poking holes in the kegs and stealing recipes :)  I am enjoying this festival as they are pretty quick things I can do and I still always enjoy running through the Shire as it is so beautiful and relaxing.

In addition to the festival I have been doing some SG and SH runs on my Warden and am one piece away (16 tokens) from the full set such that I can actually run the BG raid.  They have made some subtle changes to SG and I like the pace of that dungeon.  With a decent group, it is around an hour or so which really isn’t all that bad and you can reasonably do a couple runs in a row.  I have my pseudo static group I run with late at night but in addition I really don’t have any issues finding groups (and successful ones too) for both SG and SH.  I still haven’t run the other dungeons yet and do want to check them out at some point.  I did also run SG on my Captain (only 62) which was quite stressful as I so didn’t want to mess things up for the group.  The good news for these runs is that I’ve seen 2 Symbols drop (lost both) so maybe I’m just lucky or maybe they did tweak things a bit.

I also stuck my neck out into the moors a bit on my Warden and holy cow was that a blast.  I started off soloing and got stomped on by a Warg/Warleader duo – which wasn’t surprising.  Wargs are really annoying with all their stuns and I’m also REALLY rusty out there :)  I then ended up running with a small group and we didn’t do all that bad in the grand scheme of things.  I really need to get out there more as I found myself falling into my tanking rotation which is just bad.  I re-spec’d full fist line with the 2 additional masteries as I think the fears could be more useful down the line then possible additional DPS.  The pace out there really is MUCH faster and it will certainly help overall to make me a better and more dynamic player.  The moors always has been a good fit for me as when I don’t have much time I can just run around solo but can also hop in groups when I have more time available and you’ll probably hear and see more from me from the moors.  I also need to keep my eyes open for other weapons with better PvP legacies…

 
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