Posts tagged update 6

Lore-Mastery: Exploring the Great River

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I’ve been making my way through the Update 6 content over the past couple of weeks, and have finally finished off the epic story and got enough of a handle on the rest of the content to give my impressions of it. Overall, I really like what they’ve done with the Great Rivers content, including the Roots of Fangorn instance, although I am certainly hoping that Update 7 has some more raid content to tide us over until RoR because I ultimately find repeatable rep grinds fairly unsatisfying as end game content.

Epic story and landscape quests

The 6.3 epic book certainly lives up to the high standard that Turbine have set for themselves with the epic storyline. It hits you right off with a fantastic surreal dream sequence and usefully, if somewhat implausibly, shuffles you off into a part of the world that will segue very nicely into the RoR expansion. My first impressions of the Great Rivers content were just how good looking it is. Turbine have really been outdoing themselves with their landscape and general graphic design recently. Everything from the flowing water, to the reed covered banks, to the random interesting locations to the beautiful map of Stangard has been excellently crafted and is really the highlight of this expansion in my opinion. I loved exploring the landscape and experiencing the new locations.

Unfortunately, Turbine don’t seem to be interested in setting any new standards for landscape quest design. Apart from some interesting-in-concept but actually boring /emote quests at the start, the quest design continues to be of the form “go to area X to do something and then turn your quest in then go back to area X to do something else then go off to area Y, rinse and repeat” with the odd time-sink “run off to a very far away place then run to another far away place” type quest thrown in. I’ve probably been tainted by my experiences in SWTOR, and single player RPGs in general, but I’m really finding this “get as much value as we possibly can out of every square inch of the landscape” to be wearing very thin. It is possible to have more engaging ways of developing quest chains – in fact some of them have been used in LOTRO already (eg. the use of journals/whistles as mobile quest givers in the eregion revamp, or the infamous tracking the old goat quest chain) – but for whatever reason Turbine seems to be persisting in continually throwing a lot of needless time wasting travel back and forward in their landscape quests; needless from the user point of view anyway, making content take longer to complete has obvious benefits for Turbine.

Also, to make another possibly unfair SWTOR comparison, I think Turbine could really take a leaf from Bioware’s book and up the ante on epic region-wide story telling. While they are definitely trying to tell an overall story, I feel like the actual quests get too caught up in minor little details in multiple disjointed locations and at the end of the day you’re still relegated to playing very minor bit roles. There’s nothing like the superb epic zone-wide storytelling that you get in STWOR zones like Balmorra or Tatooine where everything you do is directly feeding into a broader story and you ultimately having a really meaningful role in it. In LOTRO quests you end up feeling like a very passive participant. This is probably a function of your character never actually speaking, half of your ‘involvement’ in the various stories is sitting and watching other people have conversations. Anyway, that’s a long way of saying that while I love the zone from a design and exploration perspective, actually playing through all the quests, especially without the traditional questing carrot of levelling up, got fairly boring for me.

Limlight Gorge

The Limlight gorge is an inspired concept. I reckon Turbine saw how often Throor’s Coomb dailies in Enedwaith got run at level 65, even though at the end of the day they had pretty mediocre rewards. People just really enjoy having that sort of casual landscape grouping option, it’s fun, it’s PUG-gable, it gives kinships something to do together every day no matter how few people they have online. Limlight is like Throors Coomb on steroids, with the power level of the rewards dialled up to 11. The only complaint you can have about the Limlight loot is that it’s actually way too good – it’s almost universally over the power level of anything else in the game at the moment, including Draigoch and T2 ToO loot.

From a lore-master’s perspective, you’ll be making the choice between the Menders and Sage’s set for your Great River rewards. To unlock these, you need to get some gold tokens (mainly from Limlight quests) and grind to kindred rep level with both the Riders of Stangard (for the bracelet) and the Heroes of Limlight (for the earring). You can get the pocket pieces as quest reward at the end of the line of quests in two zones – Brown Lands for the Sage’s and, in theory, Thinglad for the Menders – although I think the latter is bugged at the moment. You can also buy the pockets for gold tokens in Stangard. Each of the pieces also has an upgraded version which you get by trading the basic item in along with an unhatched egg from the Roots of Fangorn final chest

IMO the choice here is relatively clear – the sage’s set is more relevant for us. You can see a total set stat comparison below (total morale includes the morale given from vitality):

Will Fate Vit Finesse TactM Crit Tot. Morale
Sage’s 409 32 64 1020 336 1008 361
Mender’s 409 95 0 0 336 672 507

I certainly value the additional chunk of finesse and crit on the sage’s set over the 140 extra morale on the mender’s set – especially as the value of that extra morale is offset somewhat by the increased resistances you get from +vit. The 30 extra fate on the sage’s set only gives you an extra ~50 crit chance and a negligible amount of ICPR.

Each set also has a 20s clicky effect on a 5min cooldown if you equip three pieces – +105 will and -15% skill inductions on the mender’s set and +105 will and +5% critical hit chance on the sage’s set. While the skill inductions sounds very attractive, these effects have such a short uptime that they don’t factor much into the overall value of the sets. Plus, you’ll arguably get more benefit from the 5% critical hit chance anyway given that you really can’t do that many useful inductions in 20s and a decent chunk of your damage comes from inductionless skills and DoTs anyway.

My only real criticism of the Limlight Gorge is that Turbine haven’t done anything to try to break the mould of boring, grindy, repeatable daily quests. Surely someone could come up with a better system by now? How about having a bunch of different quests that rotate daily on a random basis (sort of like the moria instance ones in the 21st Hall)? Or have tiers of unlocking quests which have enough overlap with the previous tier that it wouldn’t matter much which tier people were on, but which at least could give you something different to do? Or why not throw some random spawn elite mobs or even full-fledged world raid bosses out there, with quality loot tables, to give people a rare and surprising challenge? There’s so much more which could be done than having people go in and kill the same ~10-15 mobs each day to complete the same quests on what ends up being a fairly long reputation grind.

Roots of Fangorn

Finally just some quick notes on the lore-master’s role in the Roots of Fangorn instance. I won’t be writing a complete guide, both because there’s already a pretty comprehensive guide on the forums and because the final fight is changing drastically on T2 in 6.1 with stacking DoTs from the spiders. At the moment the fight is relatively easy as long as you get the tank very quickly picking up the venemous spider spawns; that’s going to change dramatically with the next patch as it’ll become a much more hectic target swapping fight.

Overall, the instance is fun and a great one for the lore-master to shine. Throughout the instance there are some very nasty wounds and DoTs – all of which do about 400DPS to their target – so you have to be on the ball with your curing. During the first half of the instance including the first boss fight, there are a number of nasty stun effects done by the orcs so you want to be keeping stun immunity up on your melee targets. I’d even consider traiting dunedain learning given how frequent and nasty the stuns can get. On other trait choices your biggest consideration is whether your group needs extra healing. For the final fight you definitely want to have at least one main and one backup healer. If you don’t have a cappy or green-CJ popping burg then you’ll probably want at least three blue traits (healer, light of hope, improved flanking) along with the eagle or bog guardian pet. The increased healing througput you get from that setup will be of great help to your main healer. Mezzing is optional, but it can be a bit of help on the orc shamans and venomous spiders during the trash and, to some degree, the boss fights – and if you’re traiting 4 blue anyway (the healing ones + dunedain) then you might as well use it.


On the first boss fight, you definitely want to be laying down tar and getting your LoTRD/Test of Will ready in anticipation of the goblin runner – he moves seriously fast. Save your ents go to war up for the bosses final “everyone come out” callout – hopefully you can get all three mobs caught in a nice 6sec stun, ready for a lightning storm burst. The eagle is a decent pet choice throughout the instance here, along with good flank heals, it can help interrupt shamans and the boss during this fight and also the final spider boss. As for the final boss, just keep your debuffs up, heal and share power as needed and DPS the boss down. As for loot, the T2 bracelet is pretty nice, and definitely an upgrade from most of the skraid or ToO bracelets.

 

Update 6.1 Patch hits Bullroarer

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The second patch to Update 6 has now made its way over to Bullroarer for testing and Sapience has posted the patch notes.  As always, remember these notes are subject to change and since I’ve had a horrible string of predicting when these will hit live, I won’t even venture a guess.

  • New graphics for item acquisition – this one I’ll put in the “wait and see” category as it could be incredibly annoying.  Curious if it will break UI skins Smile
  • Fix for lockbox loot
  • Various class fixes
  • Warden Fixes
    • War-cry gets an AoE threat when in Determination
    • Battle preparation working properly (not exploitable)
    • Boar’s rush only applies daze on crit in Recklessness
    • Shield Gambit Buff Duration Legacy works for ALL shield buffs
    • Terrible Visage fixed
    • Physical bleeds correctly pick up the weapon damage type
    • Multiple Warden convictions will stack in a group
  • Various Instance tweaks
  • All sorts of item tweaks
  • Fixed the annoying landmark display constantly popping up

And as always, the obligatory joke in the notes – “Addressed an issue.  This issue very politely addressed us back.  This matter is now closed.”  Not a huge patch, but certainly a very welcome one especially for Wardens.  I would expect this to hit live pretty quick since there’s not a whole lot to it.  As always, check out the notes and take some time to play with the changes.

 

Post Update 6.01 Warden Thoughts

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I’ve been playing around and trying out all the new toys we’ve gotten with both Update 6 and the first patch for update 6 and I am overall VERY happy with the class and how it plays.

To do a little re-cap, if you’re wondering what’s supposed to be fixed with that first patch Orion summed it up pretty well on the forums.  I think the only remaining major item is the bug with the Terrible Visage trait which puts us in threat easy-mode.  The other issue that I haven’t fully checked out is with our stun immunity, some believe it should prevent knock-downs, but lots of time in the Roots of Fangorn instance is showing otherwise.  I seem to remember something regarding this but can’t find anything nor remember either way.

For those trying to catch up on what all the new gambits do, a new Gambit Chart has surfaced on the forums and it does a good job of showing the new order of achievement and how things change in Assailment particularly.  Another good forum resource is Asto’s Gambit Compendium with good descriptions of each gambit in each stance.  Finally if you’re trying to figure out what the deal is with all the legacy’s, there’s a good forum post for that as well.  There’s also some other good links in the post I made previously.

Overall, I’m still in the process of digesting all these changes myself and am trying to figure out all the new little tricks and tips.  I do find myself doing some stance dancing, and have keys mapped for the stances to make switching easier.  Primarily it is either working with Assailment while in groups, then to Determination if I need to tank or Recklessness to Determination if I pull a few too many mobs Winking smile  However, the new AoE leeches work VERY well with Recklessness as I find myself having some real fun in some of the areas with lots of mobs.

As for group and raid tanking, for the most part I’m ok with holding agro but I do find myself reverting back to the PB/Aggression rotation, which doesn’t work quite as well.  I have grouped with some folks with maxed out First Agers, and they have pulled things off after big crits, but I can pull it right back pretty quickly.  I’m not sure I’ve found a good and quick agro catch-up although, Spear of Virtue seems to work pretty well and is somewhat quick.  I’m also finding that I’m using Potency MUCH more to store gambits for future use.  The two main two I’ve used are either an interrupt or big threat gambit.

Other than that, I’m still working on getting my gear up to snuff, and I’m just shy of 11K morale but I think my biggest issue Is dealing with Knockdowns.  I’m hoping I was just doing it wrong and my gambit was just poorly timed, but there’s a chance that could be another bug.

What have you all found while either playing your Wardens or grouping with them?

 

Lore-Mastery: Looking ahead

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The winds of change are very much in the air at the moment. Not only do we have the release of Update 6, which has some nice little tweaks for the lore-master, but Turbine has posted an official class feedback thread on the forums, seeking input from players into the Riders of Rohan class changes. Based on past experience, the developers really listen to what the community has to say in these threads; basically every change in the big lore-master revision in the Nov 2010 update was lifted from a previous official feedback thread, and you should definitely expect that the responses in this thread are being closely monitored and will likely form the basis of the changes that we see in RoR. In the column this week, I’m going to briefly touch on the Update 6 changes and then take a look through some of the common threads from lore-masters replying to the official feedback thread.

Update 6 lore-master changes

Speaking of the November 2010 update, one of the biggest things that the lore-master community had asked for prior to that was a ranged slot item. I’m not 100% sure if we were the only class without a usable range slot item, but it was certainly an annoying missing aspect of the class. In the Nov 2010 update developer diary we were told that they had tried to implement ranged slot items in time for that update, but ran out of time and put them off to a “later update”:

We are currently working on a brand new ranged slot item for Lore-masters that will affect your companions; from giving them more morale, to higher Block/Parry/Evade ratings, to affecting their skills in various ways, and much more. Unfortunately, we ran into some issues getting them to work correctly and decided to leave these to a later update so that we could get them implemented the right way.

4 updates later and we finally have the promised range slot items – stickpins (why do they even bother calling it a range slot?!). And all I can say is…. meh. Meh, meh, meh. As far as I can tell, these are the two options that we have at level 75:

The first thing that stands out is just how pathetic the “rage” one is. 300 crit rating works out to about a 1% increase in crit chance at level 75 which is laugable, especially considering how pathetic pet DPS is. Turbine seem to have some strange aversion to allowing our pets to do meaningful damage, and frankly I can’t see anyone wanting to use this one basically ever. And the Regrowth one is just boring, it doesn’t do anything interesting like influencing pet skills in different ways (I was perhaps hoping for an effect customised to each pet), it’s just a straight ~10% increase in evade and a little bit of ICMR. Don’t get me wrong, +10% evade is pretty decent so you should definitely be opening up jeweller scrollcases and trying to find the (one shot) recipes, but I can’t believe they had to spend over a year to develop a boring stat booster like this.

We also got some new cosmetic skins for the limrafn pet, but unfortunately I haven’t yet got these and can’t find any screenshots so all I can say is that they apprently look awesome. If anyone has shots, I’d love to see them!

Riders of Rohan official class feedback

I’ve gone over a good chunk of the official thread looking at lore-master replies, and also started a thread on the lore-master forums asking people to post their responses in it. There’s definitely a few common complaints and themes that come up so you should expect that at least some of these will be addressed in the RoR expansion.

1. The blue line

One of the most common issues raised was the current incoherence of the blue line and how the various blue traits have mixed roles.

I really don’t envy the lore-master developer here. Lore-master traits fill one of four (currently) quite distinct roles but we only have three trait slots. We have traits relating to damage (red line), debuffing/cc (yellow line), healing/support and pet buffing (both blue line). Unfortunately there is very little overlap between our healing role and pet buffing at the moment. Sure, there is a bit of a link in that pet flanking ties to healing with the improved flanking trait, but with both the limrafn and eagle pets being not tied to any trait line (both of which are good options for healing or flanking), it becomes difficult to justify traiting down the blue line for healing. I know I’ve recommended doing so before, and the FM proc chance and high flank rate of the bog lurker do make it a decent option for healing, but I’ve come to realise that if you’re serious about trying to main heal 3-mans, you’re much better off going for the debuffing power of the yellow line and taking two extra blue traits. An extra 15%+ overall damage reduction from traiting yellow is much better than what you get out of going deep in the blue line (especially if you have the OD set to pump your BoH and/or AOE flanks up). THe problem winh the lore-master’s blue line is that four distinct roles don’t fit very well into three trait lines.

The captain was in a similar state pre-Isengard, with both tanking and group buffing roles being shoved, awkwardly, into the yellow line. Turbine fixed this problem by making the group buffing role independent of the yellow line, by removing the link between the fellowship brother legendary trait and that trait line and completely reworking the new yellow capstone. I think the same should be done with the lore-master. Move the combat sumoning effects off Nature Friend and onto Noble Savage and make the Bog Guardian simply a trainable pet at level 60, perhaps requiring it to have the Noble Savage trait equipped to actually use it (I don’t think you’d want to give the bog-guardian to level 40 lore-masters, nor would you necessarily want it to be independent of a legendary trait – it is quite powerful). And turn nature-friend into a healing capstone. Given that Turbine has now recognised how awesome the BoH HoT effect is, by putting it onto another armour set (one of the new PvMP sets), that’s an obvious candidate for a bonus, and probably doing something to fix the functionality of inner flame too would be welcome. This wouldn’t be a complete solution, because there’s still a lot of blue traits that have nothing to do with healing, but it’d go a long way to help the situation imo.

2. Bane flare

Poor bane flare. It was only 6 short months ago that bane flare was an awesome skill. It’s the only AOE daze in the game and at 15sec daze on 3 targets by default, or 5+ targets pretty easily (I had it up to 9 at one point), it was very powerful. A well placed bane flare or two could single handedly turn the tide of some of the toughest fights available at level 65; Gorothul, Lost Temple, Sambrog (non-exploited), Ivar trash, Osan etc. and it almost singlehandedly convinced many groups to bring two lore-masters along for the hardest level 65 raid fight – Gortheron. Unfortunately bane flare only works on the undead, and there is zero undead in the current crop of level cap instances (other than GB, but no one really plays that atm). So it is currently essentially useless and people are understandably complaining about this now-useless skill.

The reason it only worked on the undead used to be that it was a tradeoff for lore-masters not being able to mez the undead with blinding flash, so it was our cc option when our main cc didn’t work. With Isengard, that justification no longer exists as we can mez all genuses now. But I’m not sure that simply removing the genus restriction on bane flare is the right answer here – 15s AOE daze on 1min cooldown (resettable every 4min with CttV) is massively, massively powerful. So imo if there is going to be a relaxing of the genus restrictions, there should be some tradeoff – either a shorter mez, smaller radius, longer cooldown or perhaps make it only work on mobs up to signature strength; elites and above would be immune. Thus it would help out while soling and in a lot of 3-person instances, as well as in some larger instances and raids where there are swarms of weaker mobs, but wouldn’t overly unbalance most group content.

3. An interrupt skill

In my response to the official thread I named this as the #1 issue facing the class, and it’s good to see quite a few people agree with me. It’s pretty simple realy – lore-masters don’t have an effective interrupt skill. Blinding flash is sort of useable if you trait it, but that wastes a trait slot and leaves you without your primary cc which isn’t a good tradeoff. I suggested, and a few people agree, that this should be some sort of melee skill – either a change to staff strike (which would potentailly put it on a very low cooldown) or a completely new skill. I hope this feedback is taken on board, because it’s the only real gap in the class imo.

Conclusion

There are, of course, a bunch of other suggestions and creative ideas floating around so take a read over the consolidated thread if you’re interested. Other than the suggestions above, the most common suggestion was a scaling of pet damage (which is absolutely needed imo), some more interesting pet skill interactions or changes and some more single target damage options. Next week I’ll be heading back into my ToO raid guide series with a look at the Acid Wing which has one of the silliest mechanics in a raid fight ever (/cue yakkity sax).

 

Combat Analysis Plugin Update 6 Version

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With all the changes to update 6, and those to Lua specifically, some plugins were broken.  So far, the only one I’ve run into was Combat Analysis, which for me is one of the most useful plugins out there for data gathering.  There was a short term patch put up while things were on Bullroarer, but the official Combat Analysis developer did put up an update to this plugin to be fully compliant with Update 6.

This plugin has been VERY handy checking out all the new Warden changes as I can very quickly compare not only my damage output but how I’m mitigating or avoiding that damage.  It also allows you to easily check the impact of the new block and parry reactives to see how frequent they are and the benefit they provide.

if you’re a user of this plugin, or just looking for a way to keep track of your damage done and taken, as well as power and healing output, I would suggest grabbing the latest version of it.

You can find it over at LOTRO Interface

 
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