Raids and End-game

Section for end-game content

LOTRO’s Player Council Announcement

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It was delayed a couple of times, but I have to admit I’m pretty please overall with the folks chosen for the council.  I certainly don’t know everyone (I do know and respect  both Silverlode representatives) but in all the places I’ve read (including the unofficial forums) there are very few criticisms of the folks chosen.  Granted, it could be that people can’t make the connection between the character names and the forum names, but I still think the lack of push-back from the community is a good first step.

For those wanting to get more involved with the council, there are a couple of ways.  My only suggestion would be to be understanding of the fact that the council members are bound by an NDA and as such may not be able to tell you anything, however some have already come out in various ways and made themselves available.  They probably are also getting a few other requests coming into them, so it would probably be best to be patient and not take their lack of a response personally.

  • If you’re on the same server, you could always hit them up with a polite tell or in-game mail
  • there are some forum threads, one on raiders specifically, that you can either chime in on or DM individuals
  • some of them are on twitter and have been using the #lotrocouncil hashtag
  • I also expect there will be more official ways to get involved as they get spun up

Finally, this is a new thing Turbine is trying out and for me they’ve at least carried out the initial aspect very well.  Now comes the tough part, what the council is allowed to do, is able to do as a community, and what, plus how frequently, they’re allowed to tell the rest of us what’s going on.

As for me personally, yes I did apply but looking back at it I’m happy I wasn’t chosen as I do have a means to interact with the team and the community.  I have been part of betas and have impacted the development process, and will continue to attempt to do so.  This is an avenue for another batch of folks to get involved and see what they can do.  Of course, I probably will apply next time but I think we’ll all have a much better idea of what’s going on by that time.

I am skeptically optimistic about this whole thing, but today’s announcement does make me feel better about the potential of the Council.

 

Turbine with an Interesting News Day

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I’ve been waiting a little bit to absorb and digest the releases yesterday as there are certain things that just don’t make sense to me.  We saw 3 main pieces of news that I wanted to go a little deeper into.

After a delay hit last week, Update 11 finally makes its way over to Bullroarer for public testing.  I will admit that I’ve only popped on the server for a little bit, so this isn’t any sort of thorough review of the update.  For the most part, we knew much of what is in this update but I wanted to touch on a couple of things.  I was a bit underwhelmed by the changes to mounted combat, as Rowan made it out to be a pretty significant change to the mechanics as well as giving the mount trees more options.  At first glance, it really just seemed like the removed many of the basic traits and rolled them into the base mount.  While I appreciate the change, I was hoping for more of an evolution.  But, I will reserve full judgment until I play with it more and see the new content in case they added something spiffy there.  I am (as always) happy to see new zones and am VERY curious to see where the story continues, and visually it appears that the new zone doesn’t disappoint.  I did check out the new Hobbit Presents, and I really don’t have any personal issues with it – but at least now we should be able to get confirmation regarding non-VIPs and gold boxes.  On my first roll I did win 50 Mithril Tokens, so I used those up for research purposes.  The main thing that jumped out to me is that the gear in there maxes out at level 80, but there are Teal and Orange drops.  Below are some shots of what’s possible to get, notice the orange item is not that far off from my Hytbold gear. In addition to this use of coins, there are new ways to spend them, which is all well and good but I’m just not entirely sure the rationale behind the change.  We shall see how much of this build stays the way it currently exists and how many BR builds we get before live, but for the most part I’m liking the Update for what it is.

Hobbit Presents OptionsHobbit Presents OptionsHobbit Presents Options

The announcement that shouldn’t have shocked anyone was the “official” announcement of the Helm’s Deep expansion.  My biggest issue with this is that there’s NOTHING new in the announcement that we didn’t already hear last year from Rowan or earlier this year from Kate Paiz.  Why make such a big deal about a “huge” announcement around the anniversary that you’ve already made?  This announcement is almost identical to the ones for Isengard and Rohan, (Isengard Release & Rohan Release) but those were both a few months earlier in the calendar year.  I was thinking possibly they might announce pre-orders and beta, but for each of those last 2 expansions (Isengard and Rohan) those announcements didn’t come until July – so this would certainly be early for that.  I’m not sure what else I would have wanted to know, but this announcement just didn’t excite me much at all.  Getting to the few details they did announce, I’ve mentioned before that I”m not a big fan of level cap increases so I’m not excited that they included one, but it probably is best with all the class revamp stuff going on.  Probably the most confusing part of the announcement is the mention of Helm’s Deep content available starting at level 10!  I’m not sure how this will actually work, but it smacks of a money grab that just wants to give everyone a reason to get the expansion and not just those at level cap.  However, I can see this happening in a number of ways, but here’s my speculation.  For those who’ve been around for a while, you may remember Book 14 of Epic Volume 1 (thanks to twitter for helping jog my memory) had a server wide quest turn-in gate on finishing the rest of the book.  Essentially once enough people did enough of a certain group of quests you were able to tip the scales of the battle enough to un-lock the rest of the story.  I’m reading into what’s in the release in that Turbine is doing something similar here with this expansion.  Notice, no where in the release do we see the mention of instances, raid, skirmishes, etc. which I do NOT expect to be part of the expansion just like they haven’t been for the past 2 expansions.  However, this server wide un-lock, could provide a neat tie-in to better “explain” the time gap between the content.  They’ll know when the instance cluster should be ready, so they can just adjust the math such that it isn’t possible to unlock the content until it is ready.  This would provide a way in which everyone could participate in some way without tossing level 10 players way out into Rohan.  Another possibility would be to include session plays in some form, but I’m just not sure how they’d introduce those for folks that early on in the story.

The piece of news that’s probably getting the least amount of publicity is the changes coming to the forums.  They’ve been hinting and talking about the change, even going so far as to tell people to export any blogs, but we’re now getting details of what’s coming.  Long story short, everything not on the forums is going away.  This includes My.lotro blogs, character data, programmatic access to the item and character databases, PvMP and skirmish leaderboards, the Lorebook, and probably a few other things that I’m forgetting.  Everyone realizes that the whole system has issues, but this seems like a pretty drastic step.  Sapience does reveal that the merging of NA and EU systems has caused a huge assortment of problems so it seems like this is a necessary evil.  However, the more concerning part about the announcement is there’s no mention of any sort of upside for players, or any mention of doing something to address players concern over security.

One thing that these 3 announcements all have in common is a very confusing PR strategy that Turbine has embraced.  Why roll out the bad news together with the two pieces of good positive stuff?  Why wait all this time to “officially” announce the expansion?  Why nothing addressing huge security holes that have already been compromised once as part of this forum apocalypse?  I think many of the issues the community has stems directly from this lack of quality communication.  I don’t know what specifically has changed, but I don’t remember them coming this frequently.  Hopefully the Player Council can shake something loose, but only time will tell.

 

LOTRO Update 9.1.1 Patch Notes

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I didn’t even realize there was going to be a patch today but there was and 2 things from this really jumped out at me.

First, I was surprised that they’re doing server side performance enhancements ahead of Wednesday’s extended downtime.  I’m all for them doing things, it just seems strange timing to me.  But hopefully it will help as I know since Rohan many (including myself) have been having issues.

It seems like Turbine is still dealing with farming issues (or at least that’s my guess) as loot is being completely removed from certain (they’re not saying which) public instances.  After all the initial issues, I’m surprised they didn’t do more but this seems like the logical step.

The other note in there is that the drop rate for legendary crafting recipes will be increased from the bosses in the Rohan crafting instances.  I’m assuming these are the “Horse Lords” recipes that for now are the best gear in the game.  Now we don’t know what it will be increased to or where it was at, but this does seem like a move to try and get these spaces some more attention.  Looks like they’re trying to put more of these out there for folks not running group instances, which I can’t complain about but again the timing is interesting with all the changes coming with Update 10.

Not too much else in the notes, but you can check them out on the Lorebook.

 

LOTRO Update 10 2nd Bullroarer Patch and Armor Screenshots

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The second build hit Bullroarer today and it included quite a few additions that were not there previously.  You can find the full patch notes here, but there aren’t too many changes mainly the finishing off of the changes they had already announced:

  • Fate determines out of combat power regen, not Will
  • Quests can be completed/advanced in raids
  • All sorts of class tweaks – mainly power related
  • Various Mounted combat tweaks, again mainly power related
  • All sorts of creep changes – shockingly enough, power related
  • Freeps now get Battlefield Promotions while in the Moors based on rank which boosts Power, Morale, and Damage
    • only active while in the moors
  • Various tweaks to the new instance spaces
  • New Armor sets at the skirmish vendors
  • Warden sets flipping over to Agility (even existing Hytbold sets, which is nice)

As for the sets, we get not only one set per trait line but also two tiers of those sets.  The first tier is simply deed gated by completing Tier 1 of the various raids.  The second tier is obtained by trading in the first tier piece and two separate drops from the raids.  The Tier one pieces cost:

  • 2600 – 3500 marks
  • 673 – 807 medallions
  • 31 – 92 seals

I have no clue what the drop rates for any of these will be in the new spaces, but I’m sure folks will be finding out soon.  Also, since the gear is deed gated, we don’t yet know what the level requirement is for that deed – but I’m sure someone will find out for us.

As for the stats on the gear, Tier 1 is essentially the same as the Hytbold sets with slightly different stats and bonuses but overall just as powerful.  Tier 2 is a step up, but not a significant one, although it does include an additional set bonus.  Below are some snaps of the pieces as well as some comparisons to the existing Hytbold sets I’m wearing.  I’m not sure these are final as especially the Captain one is clearly not finished.  Personally I love the looks of the sets and will probably be working towards them for that reason, but there are some nifty set bonuses that are intriguing.

Guardian Erebor SetChampion Erebor SetCaptain Erebor SetRunekeeper Erebor SetMinstrel Erebor SetLoremaster Erebor SetBurglar Erebor SetHunter Erebor SetWarden Erebor Set

 

LOTRO Update 10 hits Bullroarer

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The initial build hit Bullroarer yesterday for Update 10, and we also have some patch notes.  There’s a decent amount in the notes, but also a number of things that are not in the notes, so I’m expecting not only Dev. Diaries to clear things up but also a couple other builds before it goes live.  Here are the notes, but I also wanted to discuss a few items in more detail.

There’s a lot of debate on these new Mithril coins but in all honesty I don’t really care that much.  The biggest thing that bothers me about the whole is that it was the first thing they decided to talk about, really ANOTHER currency added to the game is the most exciting and pressing thing for Update 10?  But this really has very little impact on me since I don’t use those items and it will actually clear up some inventory that I was hoarding from lottery winnings, so there is that bonus.  But I am wondering what’s behind this move and if we’ll see more of this kind of consolidation going forward.

The other big “new” item in here is all the combat system revisions.  We already knew about the Warden changes, but we also get news about the Critical Effect changes, power changes as well as stat changes for Will and Fate.  I can kind of understand where they’re going with all this and the general idea behind it, but it certainly seems like a whole lot of change coming and I just don’t have all that much confidence in Turbine’s ability to do system changes like this effectively.  Every major combat revamp has taken at least another patch or two to actually get working, and I’m not even convinced the previous revision was understood since many are reporting issues with existing content.  Essentially the changes boil down to the following:

  • Wardens are now Agility based (we knew this from the dev chat)
  • Agility provides 1 point towards Critical Rating
  • Fate provide 2.5 points towards Critical Rating and is the main source of in-combat power regen
  • Will no longer determines power pool but provides 2 points towards Tactical mitigation
  • Power grows at a set rate per level
  • Champs get 6 points of Parry from Might instead of 4 parry and 2 block

However, even with all these changes there will be no changes to existing armor sets (outside of Warden Hytbold sets) as all new armor sets will be built around this model.  So I wouldn’t spend too much time or effort getting any armor (or jewelry for that matter) until after Update 10 hits.

In addition to all these changes we’re also getting the 3 raid “wings” as they’ve been described, a new 6 person instance, and scalable versions of the In Their Absence instances.

Other then that, there’s a lot of other little things here and there but I think those were the big three items I pulled from the list.  I’m always happy when we get new content, I’m just worried that the shear amount of combat changes will make either this content or other content unplayable.

 
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