Posts tagged Legendary Items

The Ups and Downs of LOTRO’s Update 11

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For me Update 11 has been a bit of a mixed bag.  There are a number of cool little things they’ve put into the game and of course the new epic story line, but I can’t help but be overly frustrated by the lack of quality and revision control that Turbine continues to show with its launches.  There’s also the slightly shadier aspect that I’m not sure I like or dislike, and that’s the continual push to have players log in every day.

Let’s start with the good parts, I’ve already talked about the zone and it really doesn’t disappoint from a visual perspective.  The whole footprints in the snow things is pretty darn cool!  I like the new housing tweaks, especially being able to pay for 20 weeks up front, in case you know you’re going to be gone (or forget) and that 5 weeks just isn’t long enough.  Foreclosure doesn’t impact me at all, but I think its a good middle ground way to get out of the corner they backed themselves into.  While the launcher has had issues, I do like the fact that it FINALLY respects your default browser when clicking links from within it.  I’m also quite happy with the way the epic line (not that I’ve done that much) mixes in your story with session plays to allow you to flesh out the rest of the story and allow us to check in on other areas.  The LOTRO story is quite geographically diverse, and this tech is a great way to show what’s going on without forcing us all other the map.  They also added in new craftable items for those who have maxed out not only their crafting skills, but their guild reputation.  I’m quite happy these don’t require any other reputation (like Wildermore) as it allows for folks with lower level crafting alts to still make usable items for people at the end game.  These items are a touch better then the Hytbold items, and offer quite a bit of flexibility with their multi-output options, so they’re definitely worth a look.  One other thing that I haven’t checked out, but was mentioned in the LOTRO Reporter interview was mounted fishing, and while you may or may not like the idea, the technology and concept behind it is quite intriguing and points to further growth and flexibility of the game engine, which is always a good thing.

Somewhere in the middle between the good and the bad is this whole new alerts panel thing, I’m actually ok with it, but that’s mainly because, thanks to the folks over on the LOTRO Google+ channel, I found out that you can individually scale the size of the alerts panel in your UI settings.  Without making it really small like I have, I think the cartoonish nature of the button would really bug me, but since it is now super tiny (yet still findable to click) it is one of those “out of sight, out of mind” updates.  They did add in some warbands and some other stuff for mounted combat, which while I agree is a good thing, but I still don’t think enough was done to make it anything more then a fringe side-game.  However, I have yet to see or read if any of the new warbands are challenging, or if they’re as much of a pushover as the others.

While there’s a number of pretty cool things in this update, sadly there’s also a LOT wrong with this update.  I’m still quite puzzled how this whole patcher thing wasn’t caught, but it still isn’t completely fixed – perhaps relying on the ancient .net 1.1 for so long and making such a drastic jump was just too much to pull off successfully.  There’s also the potential that there’s some nastiness that they had to code in to make the dreaded Pando Media Booster work with 1.1 that’s not playing well with whatever version of .net they’re using now.  Whatever the issue is, the fact that is has taken this long (3 days to patch) and it still isn’t resolved isn’t a good thing for Turbine.  The next big issue with this update are the broken quests which block you from proceeding in the story, there are now 2 that I know of with one being fixed.  Please make sure you check out this post such that you don’t get stuck in a position where you can’t advance further.  While I really appreciate and enjoy all the tricks and things they can do with phasing now, it seems like they forgot to put the proper checks in place to make sure that you can’t accidentally phase out someone you need for quest turn-ins.  Also, the music system is now broken, and this is troubling for two reasons:

  • timing is close to WeatherStock which is one of LOTRO’s biggest events that is noticed and picked up by media outlets outside of the gaming world
  • this happened when there were no updates to the system, meaning they don’t have a good system of regression testing to make sure that what worked in previous builds still works in current builds.

Finally, this update has once again brought us back to the time (Isengard did this too) where we no longer get virtue rewards for deed advancement or completion.  I really wish Turbine would just pick to something and be consistent about it, but all of the flipping back and forth on this in conjunction with the increase in available ranks just doesn’t sit well with me.  It is starting to seem like they are purposefully leaving options out of the game in order to drive folks to the store.  And let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with them having traits available in the store (I have bought them) but when you don’t include them in entire regions when they are in others (they’re in Rohan and the Great River, but not Isengard or Wildermore), it appears shady to me as if they don’t want too many options for players in game.

The other aspect that rubs me the wrong way is this shift to not only reward players for logging in every day but in some ways penalizing them for not.  Penalizing may be a strong word, but there are certain very clear advantages to logging in every day now that just weren’t the case prior to Update 11.  And I’m not just referring to the Hobbit Presents, which are just another addition along the same lines as festivals in that there are just certain things that are on a daily timer.  The big shift that I’m refereeing to is the new “VIP Perk” that is the change to rested experience.  Prior to update 11 you could “store” up to 20% of a level per day up to a cap of an entire level’s worth as rested experience, but now with Update 11 that cap is at 33%, but it can be refreshed daily and applies to all experience not just monster kills.  So this is really only a perk if you’re able to actively QUEST on a daily basis on whatever character you want to work on.  I’d suggest if you really want to take full advantage of this “perk” make sure to try and get in some good quest time on your alts, perhaps run a skirmish or two on them to get not only monster kills but quest xp.

Overall, I still think this was a pretty decent update for LOTRO but the bugs and lack of regression testing could pose some huge problems when they do their class overhauls with all these instance options and technologies as something is bound to break, and who knows when Turbine will not only catch it but be able to fix it.

 

LOTRO Update 11 Official Patch Notes

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The patch notes are live for folks to check out as the servers should be up soon-ish.  I’m not going to post them in full, but a few highlights:

<Update> Don’t forget there’s a new batch of top tier guild craftables as I mentioned previously <Update>

  • I’ll be curious to see how the new Mounted Combat works, as well as what new mechanics are there in Wildermore like Aaron has mentioned.  I like the concept of mounted combat, but more attention needs to be paid to the content for it to be anything more then a gimmic.
  • We’re getting Hobbit Presents, so more incentive to log in a do stuff daily – or so Turbine hopes.
  • A little more incentive to pay your rent – foreclosures after 6 months, so if you’re looking for a house, there should be some new openings coming.
  • Turbine is really pushing Mithril Coins, and I expect them to almost completely replace Turbine Points for purchases.
  • Yet another Legendary Item reset – so don’t forget to spend your points!
  • I like the rested XP now applies to all gained and not just monster kills, but I’m not sure I quite understand all the potential impacts and/or limits there.
  • Sorry Captains, but “Defeat Event Cooldown” reducing bonuses will no longer stack
  • All sorts of class tweaks
  • Another new barter coin – Warband Barter Tokens which can be used for the legendary pocket item upgrades

What else jumped out for folks?

Also, if you haven’t already, you might want to check out the 2 recent dev diaries on Mounted Combat and the Epic Story as these actually do go a little deeper then some of the other diaries out there.

 

LOTRO Official Update 10 Release Notes

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<Update>

Shockingly enough, there’s a known issues list already posted.  Pretty significant especially when there’s so much in there regarding loot not hooked up, which was one of the main selling points for this update.  Seems like a minor issue – and I don’t understand why Turbine springs a release with no warning when there are this many “little” things un-resolved.  Granted, it probably will take them time to wrap everything up but it seems like another pass of polish would’ve done quite a bit of good and not let the community down at all.

<End Update>

I was a little surprised that they sprung Update 10 on us yesterday, mainly because there had been so little PR for it.  Pretty much the VERY light “developer diaries” were the only things leading up to this update, without too much fanfare.  Maybe Turbine feels guilty that many people paid for this update almost a year ago, but oh well.  There’s not much that’s in the notes that we haven’t seen from the pushes to Bullroarer so this should mainly just be a compilation of those patches.  The full notes can be found here, but I picked a few that jumped out for me:

  • Mithril coins are in – don’t forget to log into your alts to gather all these up
  • All sorts of Critical Damage changes – hopefully this isn’t too broken
  • Tons of power changes – there were mixed reviews of this on Bullroarer, but expect to need to do some tweaking to adjust to the changes
  • Fate is now the leading contributor to critical rating
  • New 6 man (Bells of Dale), and 3 new 12 man raids (Flight of the Lonely Mountain, Fires of Smaug, Battle for Erebor)
  • In Their Absence instance cluster is now scalable
  • Warden’s are now agility based
  • All sorts of PvMP changes
  • Forced emotes have a toggle now so you won’t be impacted by them
  • No more defeat dread
    • I’m still not sure why this was removed – was it really that big of a deal for people?
  • Tasks and quests can now be completed in a raid
    • I don’t get this one either – seems like this creates more potential farming issues like the Hytbold areas
  • Trail foods can be made at ovens now – another “why did this take so long” thing

Overall it is good that they’re adding more instance content, but the massive system changes are always scary since they never seem to get them right the first time.

What are folks most excited about with Update 10?

 

LOTRO Update 9.1 Patch Notes

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I didn’t even realize a patch was incoming until I saw the notice that the servers were coming down.  Nothing too exciting here, mainly bug fixes and tweaks to the instance loot.  Check out the full notes here and here were the top things I picked out:

  • Fixed the armor values for the level 85 Dol Guldur sets
  • Fixed the invisible travel mounts and Hytbold NPCs
  • Festival quests will be removed from your log once the festival ends
  • Mainly an increase overall in the drops of the uber equipment in the new instance spaces and scaling instances
  • To reduce the effectiveness of BG farming, Tiers 1&2 for the Twins and Durchest no longer contain symbols in their loot table.  However, the challenge mode chests remain unchanged for all bosses.
  • Mirkwood vendors have all now switched over to skirmish rewards instead of the Mirkwood barter items.

Lots of little things here and I’m not surprised at all they nerfed the BG loot tables, I’ll be curious what this does to raiding groups to see if they continue on their current frequency or drop off as the rewards are no longer there.

 

Riders of Rohan Day One Thoughts

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Yesterday certainly was an interesting day, that’s for sure, but overall for me personally, it was a good one.  Launch days are always challenging for MMOs and some go well while others are on the rockier side.  While this wasn’t the smoothest launch for Turbine, they were very good at admitting and communicating what was going on and some issues (Missing Store) were resolved while others (crashing and memory leak) had workarounds presented.

I had some issues patching, but in all honesty I think that’s to be expected for an expansion as big as Rohan.  However, I do think Turbine should REALLY consider going back to the pre-patch system they used to do as it would considerably reduce the server crush that was causing many of the issues people were having.  One suggestion I heard was opening up the patching or logins early for VIPs which would be a nice bonus especially for subscribers.

Once I got in game, I did a little housekeeping in my inventory and with my legendary items as well as turning in my crafted reputation items.  Happily using the pointer that you can now right-click to turn them in, only to realize I’m 2 items short.  But my cool-downs were up today, so I’ll finished that off soon enough and got to check out the new medium armor sets.  My Metalworker and Jeweler both had plenty to finish off their reputation so I picked up some of their recipes.  I have to say, the new armor styles look pretty darn cool as they’re starting to look a little more realistic and I’m and more lore appropriate.

Heavy Armor & Warden ShieldNew CloakMedium Armor SetNew Robe

Other then that, I started on the Epic Story as I wanted to wait on Rohan until I could buy the expansion.  Aside from remembering how much I hate that darn elven tree hopping town, I really enjoyed the epic line.  I won’t give any spoilers, but I liked the breaking of the fellowship session play and there are some cool stories in there as well.  I stopped the epic when I made my way to the shadows of the Argonath and went to go get my horse.

Cool Rohan SkyNice scenery

I’ve made it to 76 but still haven’t really done any mounted combat yet but am starting to get more comfortable on my horse.  Sadly I don’t have any cosmetics for it, so Huckleberry is just sporting the bare grey skin that everyone else has.  Other than class steeds and the Steed of the Night, anyone have any good suggestions for cosmetics for your horse?

Any big accomplishments out there for you guys?

 
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