Posts tagged Rise of Isengard
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.
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.
Joel Bylos shares a nice almost 7 minute long video with a tour of all the new goodies coming with Issue 4 – Big Trouble in the Big Apple. The only thing missing from the video is an expected launch date, but they’ve mentioned they’re putting the finishing touches on the QA process. And based on prior releases, we know they take that part pretty seriously.
Joel does a good job of commentating as we’re shown the new aspects of this update including:
- Of course, the new raid which takes place in Times Square
- One thing I’m curious about is that it doesn’t look too melee friendly?
- The Chainsaw
- I like the concept of a damage return shield
- PvP Changes
- The Albion Theatre
- New Missions
- And of course reticule combat
Always good to hear from the team, but it is really helpful with these kinds of videos that actually show what they’re talking about.
This certainly does have the look of a pretty sizeable and impressive update, I can’t wait for it to hit live!
Twitter was on fire this afternoon as Turbine reversed their position and made 2 very significant changes to the Pre-order packs for the upcoming Riders of Rohan Expansion.
- The 3 packs will all include Turbine Points
- 1,000 for both the Base and Heroic Editions
- 2,000 for the Legendary Edition
- All 3 will include the Instance Cluster coming after the pack
Both of these changes pretty much align this expansion with the Isengard expansion packs and while I know many aren’t 100% happy about the packs they’ve made serious changes to their stance.
Personally, I applaud Turbine on a few fronts:
- They’re not only talking to the community but obviously they’re listening as well
- They’re open to admit they made a mistake and want to correct it
- I personally think this shows that not only are they trying to push the envelope but they also are willing to admit if they’ve gone too far
While I hold no grudges against Turbine for trying to make money, I think the communication and willingness to adapt are VERY encouraging signs.
While I don’t have it yet, I think these changes pretty much put me firmly in the Legendary Edition pre-order camp…
I was tossing up whether to do a Riders of Rohan wishlist post this week or continue with the update 5 instance guides, but I figure that the longer I take on these guides the less relevant they become so into the Pits of Isengard it is…
Pits of Isengard
Diseases/wounds? First boss has a DoT wound that’s worth removing
CC required? No
Can a lore-master heal? I’m going to say no. Yes, it’s theoretically possible (there’s someone on the forum who’s done it), but for all practical intents and purposes the first boss is not a fight that a LM can heal without an exceptional group.
Trait setup: 5 Red, 2 blue. This is an instance which requires (at T2) a full tank and a full healer, so your DPS really matters here especially given the fairly tight dps requirements on the first boss.
Recommended pet: Bear or raven. In general, I think bear is more useful on Zaburz and Fushbraf, and raven on Ironam.
Strategy: On T2 this is a three boss instance with the most extensive trash pulls of any of the Isengard 3-person instances. This is also the hardest (and imo most fun) of the three, with some fun boss fights, tricky trash pulls to work out and a chance for us to really shine in our DPS role.
First boss – Zaburz
The opening area involves you navigating around mobs while pulling four levers. You have to kill some of the trash, and there’s a fun little prisoner mechanic where if you kill the guards the prisoners will follow and “help” you (randomly aggro a bunch of mobs you didn’t want to wake up) and then you make your way to the other side of the room to the first boss. The first thing you need to work out with this boss is positioning, which is relatively simple. He’s standing on a railroad track which leads down the middle of the room. Run to the wall at the far end of that track and have the entire group stay there for the whole fight, with your backs to the wall. The boss can yank you and if you’re not standing there you’re at risk of falling down some insta-death pits.
The boss, an orc named Zaburz, is your standard tank and spank with adds, but there’s quite a lot of adds (3 each wave, 10k morale each) and they come regularly enough that you need to be on your A-game to kill them all in time, especially if your tank isn’t contributing much damage. I’m pretty sure these adds are time based not morale-based too, but that’s not toally clear. Luckily lore-master burst AOE DPS is perfectly suited for these waves – keep tar down regularly and then try to setup a good ents/sticky-gourd/cracked earth/lightning storm combo (whichever you have off cooldown) when the adds are grouped up. This is likely to give your tank fits keeping up with the aggro, but you really have to hit them as hard and as quickly as possible so just warn them before the fight and also keep your bear taunt ready if you’re in trouble. Also, it’s definitely possible to root 2 or even all 3 of them at range to let you whittle them down before they come in close, but this of course will give you a big threat lead over your tank so make sure you can kill anything you engage at range before it gets in close. Be prepared to use your WoTC heal and even racial panic button if you pull a bunch of adds, because you will die very quickly. There’s also some wound removal and spot healing to worry about in this fight, so you’ll certainly be kept busy.
After this boss, you have the choice of going left, to the poison wing and the troll boss Ironarm, or right into the fire wing and the fire boss Fushbraf. It’s up to you which way you go; the fire boss is substantially easier but it has much harder trash (the hardest trash of any 3-person instance in the game imo), so there overall isn’t much difficulty difference between the two wings.
Poison wing – Ironarm
The trash in the poison wing isn’t much to worry about, but it does teach you one of the boss mechanics which is that if the trolls are allowed to stand in the poison puddles then they will spawn exploding limrafns. Tell your tank to watch out for this . The T2 challenge condition also involves you tiering up the wing’s poison debuff to 4, which happens by killing the right kind of mob – just keep pulling and killing stuff until you hit tier 4 (this is the same in the fire wing).
The boss fight is more of an endurance fight than anything, it’s relatively easy provided the tank keeps the boss moving around out of the puddles. It’s almost inevitable that some limrafns will get spawned though, so I highly, highly recommend that you stay at range in this fight. Yes, it will cripple your DPS (taking into account the necessary movement too to keep LOS, I do about 400 which is pathetic), but it’s a vastly safer way of doing the fight because the limrafn explosions will very quickly take you out. If one does spawn, try to hit a root on it ASAP because it will probably run straight towards your healer and then kill it as quickly as possible (appx 700 morale, so one skill should do it). As long as everyone stays alive, this is a relatively easy but long fight.
Fire wing – Fushbraf
As I said before, the trash in the fire wing is hard, brutally so the first time you go in. But it is certainly possible to figure it out and I really quite like it in the end. The biggest problem is that you’re fighting around a lot of insta-death lava and the fire orcs like to do massive yanks and throw you into that lava. So positioning is obviously important. For the first pull, run across two bridges so you end up to the left of the mobs in a relatively safe spot. Pull from a distance and stay as much as you can with your backs to the wall in the alcove (ie run back when you get pulled). Have the whole group bunch up, because if everyone keeps the orcs in melee range then they won’t yank you (the yank does like 1500 damage too, it’s really not fun). The problem then is that the orcs put up a fire ring which does quite heavy AOE damage. So let the mobs come in close, and hit them with as much DPS as you possibly can while your tank frantically tries to keep threat and your healer desperately keeps the group alive – that’s pretty much what you want in a fight isn’t it? The pull just before the door to the boss room can be pretty brutal. Root the group in place to start and have everyone run up to the door as quickly as possible. Tell your healer to blow all the cooldowns that they can becuase they’ll probably need it. Once you’ve tiered the fire debuff up to 4 then head on into the boss room.
The final boss, Fushbraf, is stupidly easy. If you’re doing this with a full healer and tank, his mechanic (which is a 4-pronged fire earthquake thingy) can be completely ignored. All you need to do is stand in the middle of the room and do damage. Which is actually quite fun – the rest of this instance is pretty challenging, it’s nice to just be able to sit there and hit a target dummy for a few minutes! And speaking of target dummies, this boss is the best place in the game at the moment to benchmark your DPS. Unless they’ve fixed it recently, the training dummies in Galtrev are completely broken and useless for measuring DPS becuase they boot you out of combat every few seconds, wiping all DoTs. Given that an enormous proportion of LM damage is from DoTs that’s a big problem. This couple of hundred k morale troll though gives you a perfect measuring stick. It will take you about 3mins to kill him, and it’s a pure single target fight, so it’s a very good way to measure your DPS. Personally, I’m able to get just over 900dps as measure by CombatAnalysis, which translates to a bit over 1000dps because CA doesn’t measure the sticky gourd DoT (which hits for ~400 damage every 4 seconds). I’m not fully geared out, I’m sure it’s possible to squeeze another couple of hundred out of the class, but I think that’s a good general benchmark for lore-master sustained single target DPS using a second age L75 staff (tactical mastery was about 27k, with around 5.5k crit rating). Note that this was in a group with a guardian tank and RK healer, so I had no external buffs or mob debuffs of any kind (I hit over 1100 with a captain another time!).
Also, you can once again see the importance of melee to lore-master sustained DPS in the screenshot below. Autoattacks were my second biggest source of damage, accounting for almost 30% of total damage! Throw in staff strike and staff sweep on top of that and melee attacks accounted for over half of the damage I did in that fight. As I’ve said before, if you want to do damage as a lore-master be sure to stand in melee range.
Hope that’s of some help to people, I’ll move onto the pits next week and then the Tower of Orthanc raid some time after that.
Right on the heels of the Riders of Rohan Expansion announcement, Massively released an article with comments from Kate Paiz and Adam Mersky talking about the upcoming year.
The article starts off with a bit of a look back at 2011 and I think it is fair to say the whole EU transition took up way more time and resources then Turbine expected. Is this to blame for the “down” year for content? Who knows, but certainly it loomed large for them.
2012 is another milestone year for Turbine as it will mark the 5th anniversary of the game (Holy cow has it been that long?). There will be another event and even though they’ve acknowledged that last year’s wasn’t well received it doesn’t sound like there will be major changes for this year, just some tweaks to it.
Teased in the interview is talk of the next region coming with Update 6, The Big River named for the River Anduin. This should be another fun area to go explore as there isn’t a whole lot written about it but we know there’s quite a bit going on there. Also coming with Update 6 are changes for the Instance Finder:
- Ability to run specific Instances
- Instance Finder will replace World Join
- Reflecting Pool will roll into the Instance Finder
- not to mention the much anticipated Warden changes
A few things teased that will be coming “soon” are:
- skirmish soldiers out in the landscape as companions
- new festival for the summer
- smaller more frequent game updates!
The couple teasers for Rohan are:
- We’re only covering the Eastern part, which explains why no Helm’s Deep
- Don’t fret, land-mass wise this will be twice as big as Moria!
- Mounted combat will be confined to that zone (I’m on a roll with predictions so far)
This is exactly the kind of Producers letter I was hoping for towards the end of last year, so I’m glad they finally pushed it out the door. Things are looking up for LOTRO that’s for sure, can’t wait to get moving on some of this stuff!