Posts tagged virtues

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.

 

Lore-mastery: The pre-expansion lull

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Soo, I think we’re officially in the pre-expansion lull. The new expansion and level cap increase is now less than 3 months away, which means that there’s very little point for Turbine to push out new content because it’ll be obsoleted before having a decent amount of play time. But at the same time, all of the existing content is starting to get a bit long in the tooth. The (excellent) Update 5 Isengard instance/raid cluster is now about 6 months old and the somewhat thinner (from a group content perspective) Update 6 has been out for three months, which I think is more than long enough for people to grind out the rep dailies and conquer the Roots of Fangorn. And, unfortunately, in my experience Update 7 has been a bit of a flop – after the first couple of days of excitment, I’ve found it basically impossible to get a group of people interested in running Fornost because they’re tough fights to learn there’s simply no loot incenctive. And for all of the above content, any loot incentive “pull” for people is going to decline more and more as they see level 85 approaching, knowing that all of their carefully grinded LIs, raid armour sets and star-lit crystals will be obsoleted by quest rewards and random landscape mob drops shortly after release is a little disheartening.

So what’s an end game character to do in this time? Rolling an alt or levelling a neglected one up is obviously one option, although not one I’m personally that interested in. And I’m sure I’m not the only person whose raid group is still trying to move beyond the first couple of wings in T2 ToO, so that’s definitely something that will keep me interested from a sheer “beat the challenge” perspective as long as I can keep dragging 11 other people along with me. But outside of raid nights, what is there to do? Luckily, quite a bit and I actually find content lull periods like this can be relaxing in a way, because you don’t have any specific grind that you want to get out of the way as quickly as possible to gear up. It gives you the opportunity to do things in game that you might not otherwise do.

5 things to do while waiting for RoR

1. Deeds

There’s all sorts of deeds you can do in the game, most of which are soloable, which have a variety of useful or just fun rewards. The most obvious reason to do deeds is for virtues. If you’ve neglected your virtues since the latest two cap raises then now’s the perfect time to address that and get your character up to scratch. My two part guide on how to get 14 ranks in the 7 most important lore-master virtues (pt 1, pt 2) might be a good place to start, but you could also think about working up some of the more situational virtues like honor (good in a fight with mixed tactical damage and resist-able effects) or patience (when you really want to go all-out ICPR) to give you some additional flexibilty. We haven’t yet had confirmation that there will be a virtue cap increase with RoR, but if there is going to be one then it might even be worth getting some of your virtues up to 15 or 16 to save a future grind when you might have new content you want to be playing.

The ability to earn turbine points is another undeniable reason to finish off some deeds. Sure, it’s a pretty slow way to earn virtual currency but you’re usually getting something else in the process (even if it’s just the satisfaction of having a clean deed log!) and all those little bits of TPs really do add up. I calculated a little while back that I’ve earned over 8,000 free TPs which is nothing to sneeze at; you could even save up . And of course, there’s some deeds which give unique cosmetic rewards and titles, like the Skirmisher of Middle Earth (that’ll keep you busy!) or various festival deeds.

2. Do older raid content

If you can get a group of like-minded people together, you can still have a lot of fun messing around in older group content. There’s lots of reasons to go into some of these obsoleted spaces, from simply experiencing fights you may not have played through at the time, seeing how few people you can kill the watcher with, unlocking meta deeds or getting genuinely relevant experience at a variety of different raid mechanics. If your group didn’t do OD or BG raids on level, for instance, going in there at level 75 (you don’t need 12 people) can give you useful exposure to a variety of interesting mechanics and fights which have parallels to current raid fights and most likely future ones too. While the level of damage your group will take is obviously way more easy to handle at the current level cap, it’s still not possible to just completely zerg these fights and so you can get some valuable group experience.

From a lore-master’s perspective too, I should point out that OD actually still gives you some gear which quite possibly will never be obsoleted except by duplication on later sets. The 3-piece set bonus on one of the T2 OD sets gives you a 30sec HoT on your beacon of hope which is equivalent to doubling it over a 30s duration, or increasing it by 66% if you recast every 20sec. How big is that bonus? Well taking the smaller of those two figures, it’s worth about six thousand points of will, which is pretty insane making this level 65 armour awesome if you’re trying to main-heal a 3-person instance or something. That bonus has been replicated on a level 75 PvMP armour set, but if you don’t PvMP then it’s currently irreplaceable. Also irreplaceable is the 5-piece bonus from the same set, which gives you a full fellowship wide AOE flank heal effect. The Improved Flanking trait duplicates this to some extent, but being able to get the effect without the trait gives you more options and it’s obviously a bigger effect. In addition, level 65 first age books (which only come from OD) are excellent choices for DPS books because they can slot the top-tier true relics and also have +tactical damage passive legacy (maximum of 5%).

3. Finish off “unnecessary” grinds

In addition to some of the meta deeds mentioned above, there’s a few “stretch” rewards in the game which you might not be looking to do while you’re in the first phase of content and gearing up, but which you might like to get at this time. In that category for me is the ToO raid horse, which costs 99 sigil fragments. I’ve finally managed to save up enough sigils to get this after using my first 100 on a couple of necklaces, and it’s a cool reward to work towards. There’s also things like the Return to Stangard skill (20 gold tokens), the Stangard horse (also 20 gold), or a second ToO armour set with a unique bonus that you’ve been meaning to try out but don’t really need. Personally I’m looking forward to getting enough seals for the 5-piece blue line set (40 more!) which has an interesting looking bonus to continuous air lore, which might be nice to slot while doing the next item on the list…

4. Soloing challenges

As I’ve outlined before in a couple of soling guides (Pt 1 and Pt 2), lore-masters are an excellent class for soloing old group content. Personally, I find this a pretty enjoyable fun thing to do and there’s a few tangible rewards from doing so, including LI relics and runes as well as unique cosmetics, deeds, crafting material and items to sell on the AH. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, then do check out those previous guides and I might have some more in the coming weeks.

5. Stock up for the next LI grind

There’s quite a few things you can stash at the current level cap which will be useful even at level 85, barring a major overhaul of the LI system. Most of the major LI consumables at level 75 will work on level 76+ LIs, including relics, IXP runes, shards, star-lit crystals and legacy scrolls (from level 75 LIs). It’s probably a good idea to have a set or two of the most useful legacy scrolls ready to go, and a good collection of other consumables will never go astray. Shards in particular are something that’s good to build up over time – the various crafted relics are your best option for earning them, most give you a decent chunk when refined down. And while there will no doubt be a new tier of scrolls of empowerment/delving, and I have a pretty strong suspicion that we either won’t be able to keep our existing seals or they’ll be automatically traded down with RoI, stashing up on a few regular marks and medallions will no doubt alleviate some of the grind for those items at level 85.

Conclusion

So, as you can see, if you still want to spend your game time with lotro there’s still quite a bit to do in this pre-expansion lull. In this time of less content though, I’ll probably be cutting back on this column a bit, maybe putting it out every two weeks unless there’s particular news or issues to cover. I’ve still got quite a few more column ideas though, including additional soloing challenges, a discussion of DPS stats and hopefully some Fornost guides (if I can get people to run it!) so I won’t be totally going away!

 

Lore-mastery: Virtues guide part 1

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One of my favourite resources while levelling up was the old mmorsel “easy ranks of virtues” pages, particularly for Valour and Innocence which I knew would be useful virtues. It gave me a good plan as I was going through various zones as to which deeds I should go out of my way a little bit to try to knock off or at least make a start. Unfortunately that site has not been updated since RoI which means that there’s been two updates to the max virtue rank since then and it also doesn’t take into account the moria virtue revamp that came with RoI. So the column today is going to both be a quick discussion of good virtue setups for lore-masters as well as a rough guide on how to get some of the most relevant virtues up to 14 with, hopefully, minimal pain.

I should note that there is a wealth of conflicting information on the web about what, exactly, changed with the RoI virtue revamp and unfortunately a lot of older resource sites like Burgzerg and mmorsel being inactive, and the “official” lore-book being hopelessly unreliable, there’s no updated and trustworthy source. All I’m certain of is that some (but not all) of the old +2 rank virtues got changed to +1 and that some of the old quest-completion deeds got changed to different deeds. Unfortunately I can’t now go back and check what these deeds currently award seeing as I’ve already earned them and I don’t know of any 100% reliable source of updated information. This post generally relies on the information on this LOTRO wiki page, except where I know it to be incorrect (eg. I was able to see on an alt that the Moria morroval slayer only awards +1 innocence now, not +2).

What virtues should I use?

There’s certainly a lot of room for personal opinion in virtue setups, so I’m not going to be dogmatic here. I think, though, that there’s general agreement as to the pool of virtues which are useful for lore-masters, or any of the tactical classes really. In here I’ll refer to virtues as having Tier 1, 2 or 3 (T1, T2, T3) of a particular stat, T1 refers to the highest stat modifier, T3 is the lowest. For exact ranks see the wiki page linked above. Where I do mention specific numbers, it’s their value at rank 14:

  • +Will: Wisdom (+42) and Confidence (+21). Will is obviously our primary stat so it’s always useful to boost Wisdom is a great virtue to slot in most circumstances, with T1 wisdom and T2 ICPR. Compassion is a decent backup skill with T2 and T3 of those stats respectively, its T1 stat (resistance rating) is much less relevant though and you’ll rarely have room for a second +will virtue.
  • +Morale: Zeal (+389) and Valour (+389). Staying alive is good, and these virtues will help you do that very nicely. The combined 778 morale from these two virtues is a huge chunk of survivability and you’d be hard pressed to find a situation where you don’t want these slotted. If you’re making a choice between the two, you should obviously choose Zeal because it has more relevant T2 and T3 stats. Note that the morale contribution from these virtues for a lore-master is far greater than from the direct +vitality virtues (Loyalty gives +42 vit = +126 morale).
  • +Physical mitigation: Innocence (+756) and Compassion (+756). Physical mitigation is an great virtue for all tactical classes, but lore-masters particularly given our desire to hit things in melee range. For classes with a low base level of mitigations from our armour, any extra survivability we can get from our virtues goes a long way and these should generally be slotted in solo situations and many group situations if there’s going to be physical AOE attacks (or if you risk pulling aggro). The T3 stat on each of these is a small amount of tactical mitigation which is gravy, the T2 stat on innocence (resistance rating) is marginally more useful than the OOCPR on Compassion.
  • +Tactical mitigation: Tolerance (+567) and Fidelity (+567). As with the physical mitigation virtues, these are great to have for all classes, but especially light armour classes which have low base mitigations. These are essential raiding virtues, as many raid fights feature either AOE or random-aggro tactical attacks. The fact that the T2 and T3 stats on each of these virtues are good is just a bonus.
  • +ICPR: Patience (+75). If I had 6 virtue slots, I’d use this a lot because it’s quite a nice chunk of ICPR. Unfortunately it’s only a small increment above Wisdom and it’s so hard to forego the four morale/mitigation virtues in any situation that I don’t find myself using it very often. Still, it’s not a bad one to use if you really want some extra ICPR.

I’m sure it’s possible to make the case for other virtues, but in general I think those are the core ones that lore-masters should focus on. My recommended virtue setup would generally be wisdom, zeal, valour + the two most relevant mitigation virtues depending on what type of damage you’re likely to face. So to help you plan on how to get these virtues, this column will go through those seven virtues – wisdom, zeal/valour, innocence/compassion and tolerance/fidelity. It’s gotten a bit long so I’m going to split the discussion up over two posts over the coming week.

Virtue planning guide

In this guide I’m going to list all of the deeds that award ranks of each virtue. Unless otherwise mentioned, each deed grants +1 of the virtue. The number in bracket next to the slayer deeds is the total number of mobs needed to get the virtue rank, so it’s the combined basic + advanced deed kill count where relevant. I’ve also given a subjective “grind” rating out of 5, where 1 is relatively light grind and 5 is the worst kind. Obviously these ranks are purely subjective, but basically the general idea is:

  • 1 – easy explore deeds and low-tier quest deeds
  • 2 – slightly harder explore deeds, high tier quest deeds and sub 100 kill-count slayer deeds
  • 3 – sub-300 or otherwise relatively easy slayer deeds, including boss kills that only require one run through a low level dungeon (which is fairly easy with just ~3 people at level 75)
  • 4 – more difficult sub-300 slayer deeds (eg. elites or instance mobs), other sub-400 slayer deeds
  • 5 – the really nasty ones, 400+ slayer deeds or 300+ ones with unconcentrated mob populations, high kill counts of tough elite mobs.

I haven’t given a full guide to where to find good concentrations of mobs for the slayer deeds, again see the wiki page or Burgzerg for references.

Without further ado, here’s my guide to getting 14 ranks of wisdom, valour and zeal.
Wisdom

Thankfully 14 ranks of our primary stat virtue are relatively easy to earn (unlike those poor melee classes). You can earn 10 from grind level 1-2 deeds (11 if you are an elf) and the rest from level 3 ones. The few slayer deeds that we do have to do are relatively light on the grind and the only large number one (Angmarin in Evendim) is pretty quick to do thanks to the high concentration of Angmarin in the non-instanced Annuminas and the possibility of repeating some of the epic books featuring many Angmarin while buffed with inspired greatness.

Zone

Type

Description

Grind

Erid Luin Exploration Elf-ruins

1

Bree-Land Exploration The Old Forest

1

Bree-Land Random drop Lore of the Cardolan Prince (Barrow Downs)

1

Lone-Lands Exploration Weathertop

1

North Downs Exploration The Western Ruins

1

Eregion Exploration The Ruins of Eregion

1

Misty Mountains Exploration The High Passes

2

Forochel Exploration The Battle for Forochel

2

Moria Exploration The Redhorn Lodes

2

Mirkwood Exploration The Wilds of Mirkwood

2

(Racial) Elf racial trait Friends with Elves of Rivendell

2

Evendim Slayer Angmarin (360)

3

Eregion Slayer Uruks (120)

3

Moria Slayer Glow-worm (180)

3

Dunland Slayer Craban (180)

3

Moria Slayer Grand Stair orcs (180)

4

Moria Slayer Sixteenth hall orcs (180)

4

Great River Slayer Brigands (375)

4

Valour

There’s no two ways around it, this is a really grindy virtue. The grind used to be alleviated somewhat by getting +2 ranks from Moria worm slayer, but that is only worth one rank nowadays unfortunately. To get this virtue to max rank, you’ll have to do every deed on the list below except two. Personally, I’d skip Sarnur trolls and Urugath trolls, although the latter isn’t too difficult if you’re able to get a couple of people together to repeatedly clear out the huge mass of trolls just to the right of the entrance to Urugath. For the two absurdly high kill-count worm slayer deeds, there’s high concentration populations at Sálgaitë (Forochel) and near the Crossroads of Ash (Flaming Deeps) which alleviate the pain a little bit – definitely wait until your max level though to speed the process up.

Zone

Type

Description

Grind

Bree-Land Slayer Orcs (90)

2

Shire Slayer Goblins (90)

2

Moria Exploration The Foundation of Stone

2

Lothlorien Exploration City of the Lord and Lady

2

Mirkwood Exploration Evil Strongholds of Mirkwood

2

Lone-Lands Slayer Goblins (180)

3

Lone-Lands Slayer Goblins (180)

3

Trollshaws Slayer Worms (270)

3

Angmar Slayer Carn Dum bosses (5)

3

Misty Mountains Slayer Trolls (240)

4

Moria Slayer Spiders (360)

4

Great River Slayer Easterlings (375)

4

Erid Luin Slayer Sarnur Trolls (300)

5

Angmar Slayer Urugath trolls (180)

5

Angmar Slayer Worms (450)

5

Moria Slayer Worms (360)

5

Zeal
Zeal is another very grindy virtue. This time you can earn 10 ranks from grind level 1-3 deeds (provided you can get a couple of people to help you clear 16th hall), but will still have to choose 4 of the remaining level 4-5 ones. Thankfully the once hideously grindy Kergrim slayer got a boost, with a bunch of them being added to [url=http://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Haudh_Valandur]Haud Valandur[/url] in the Evendim revamp. Again, assuming you can get another person or two to clear the orcs in the entrance room in the Forges a few times (bring a friend for the Misty Mountains giants too) then you don’t need to do any of the 5-ranked deeds, but if you do find you have to do one, the pick of them imo would be Forochel worms; although it has an absurd kill count, at least there is a high population cluster just north of Zigilgund (you earn plenty of coin from the scales too!). Avoid the Moria dragonet slayer deed like the plague, those things are impossible to find – it’s literally the only non-instance deed in Moria that I still haven’t completed! Note that wood trolls count for the Trollshaws troll deed, so you can get a decent number by repeating the epic 1.4.8 (The Unmarked Trail) from the reflection pool with inspired greatness, it’s about 40 per run from memory without a slayer deed tome.

Zone

Type

Description

Grind

Erid Luin Slayer Goblins (90)

2

Erid Luin Slayer Spiders (90)

2

Moria Exploration Bulwarks of the Enemy (+2 ranks)

2

Dunland Exploration Carreglyn

2

Dunland Quests Bonevales

2

Great River Exploration Great River

2

Evendim Slayer Kergrim (360)

3

North Downs Slayer Goblins (240)

3

Moria Slayer 16th hall bosses (3)

3

Trollshaws Slayer Trolls (240)

4

Misty Mountains Slayer Giants (240)

4

Angmar Slayer Orcs (400)

4

Moria Slayer Forges orcs (120)

4

Bree-Land Slayer Barrow spiders (400)

5

Forochel Slayer Worms (400)

5

Moria Slayer Dragonet (360)

5

Enedwaith Slayer Wood-trolls (375)

5

Up next time are innocence, compassion, tolerance and fidelity – thankfully most of those involve much less grind than these last two!

 

Lore-mastery: Tackling Draigoch

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Well, Draigoch seems to be the topic of the week so I thought I’d chime in with a guide to the fight from a lore-master’s perspective. While my raid group hasn’t managed to get beyond phase 2 yet, mainly because we haven’t really been able to put much time into it with organisational difficulties, I’ve got enough of an impression of the fight from what I’ve seen and reading other guides that I think I can offer some useful tips. This guide will mainly be focussed on preparation and characacter build, because quite frankly the fight itself is pretty boring mechanically. As long as you can follow your DPS group positioning leader and can hit FM buttons correctly, there’s really not much you need to be doing outside of your standard debuff/DPS/spot-heal/power-share role.

Class traits

Typically LMs have a guaranteed spot in a raid for one of three reasons. Either there’s a huge amount of cc or specialised cc needed (think Gortheron, most of the trash in OD, Blind One, Mistress), there’s bosses that hit like trucks and need to be constantly debuffed (Ivar, Durhcest, Watcher) or the fight’s a long endurance fight where you have an invaluable power sharing role (Durin’s Bane, Lieutenant). While it’s rarely optimal to take a second LM in a raid if you have a choice about class makeup, in basically all previous raids LMs have filled an important and almost irreplaceable role in the raid group. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Draigoch.

Initially I thought this was going to be a fight full of big AOE tactical damage and lots of nasty fire attacks. I was fully expecting the new improved frost lore trait to get a good work out and thought LMs would have a really important role in bringing a unique and powerfull debuff to the table to save the tank and the group from getting roasted. I was wrong. The vast majority of tank and raid damage in this fight is common damage and, with the exception of the rear right claw (bottom left) which, in the first two phases at least, seems to do an extraordinarily high number of dev crits (is it bugged? it’s way out of line with the others), the damage levels really aren’t anything to worry about. Apart from a bit of stress with that bottom right claw, our group was having no problems keeping up with claw damage with just one RK healer and a blue-line cappy. I’ve heard things get a little bit heavier in phase 3, but from all accounts, LM debuffs are not absolutely essential. In addition, for a single boss fight that lasts upwards of an hour, you’d have thought that power sharing might be fairly useful. But the group spends so much time out of combat that it’s essentially irrelevant. And there’s absolutely no CC needed as you’d expect from a lair raid.

Bog Lurker v Dragon

So does this mean LMs are completely useless? Not at all. It just means we need to get a bit creative with our utility. A key part of this fight is FMs and LMs are one of four classes that have the ability to proc FMs, by traiting full blue and using the bog-lurker pet. If you’re lucky enough to be in a raid group that has two burgs then you’re probably going to be able to pop a FM on demand at every opportunity anyway, but if you’re running with just one or (shudder) no burgs (as our group has been forced to a couple of times), then the bog lurker can add valuable FM proccing chance on top of whatever else you can bring. At face value, it’s only a 20% chance on 1min cooldown, but don’t forget that pet skill cooldowns are reset when you resummon and if you’re bringing the bog-lurker, you can dismiss your pet and use combat summoning to get him back once every 5min. So the bog lurker gives you at least two 20% chances of proccing a FM in most of the body/FM phases. Just remember to turn root strike off autocast and only use it when the body isn’t FM immune and a burg isn’t lining up a guaranteed proc FM.

And it just so happens that going full blue isn’t a bad option for the fight anyway, especially if you’re 2-healing it (1 healer with the tank up top and 1 with the group). My recommended traits would be blue capstone and noble savage for legendaries. Class traits should be healer, Light of Hope, Improved Flanking, Improved Inner Flame and either Master of Beasts or Hardy Companion (i’d recommend the former). Coupled with master of the staff and harmony with nature you still do quite respectable single target damage – I was parsing 550-600dps against the claws quite easily in between debuffing and spot healing. Your extra healing ability can come in handy too. Stick continual air lore on whoever in your group is most squishy, and use improved inner flame if the group damage is getting too much (eg. during a cave in). Another interesting thing you can do is use the Limfrain for the final phase. As I said, I’ve heard that group damage is ramping up a bit in this phase and the whole group’s DPS will be greatly boosted thanks to all of the disabling FMs. High group damage + boosted group DPS means that the pseudo-revealing mark from the Limfrain can do a whole lot of raid-wide healing. And you can use its sacrifice and resummon it once every 5min.

Of course, if your group is totally rocking the fight and doesn’t need any extra off-healing from you, you could just go full red line and burn stuff. But I do encourage you to do some personal parses and experiment a bit if you do this. I haven’t been able to do decent testing at level 75 (the training dummies in Galtrev are USELESS because they periodically kick you out of combat and wipe all DOTs), but at level 65 at least the DPS gap between full red and full blue, using staff strike on flanked effects religiously, was actually not as big as you might think in sustained single target fights. And if you’re doing even some spot healing and power sharing, the gap would be even lower. So don’t dismiss blue-line as a potential DPS option, especialy if you use another pet boosting trait instead of, say, improved inner flame.

There is a bit of confusion going around about the causes of Draigoch bugging out and pets have been fingered as a likely cuplrit. As best as I can tell, as long as your pet doesn’t get aggro on any part of the dragon then you’ll be fine. Certainly in my hours in there, our group has never had an issue with it bugging out despite me using my pet EXCEPT on one occasion when we had a second LM who sent his eagle in to attack the head before the tank had grabbed aggro, and it bugged out then. So unless I discover otherwise, I’m going to assume that pets are fine if you control them carefuly.

Equipment and virtues


I’m going to sound like the (rightly) maligned official guide here – wear your T1 armour set and boost your will!

Acutally, it’s not that simple. If you’re traiting blue, you absolutely want to wear at least 3 pieces of the set to get 100% ancient craft uptime. But until you get your 5th piece, which also has another great group-DPS buff, you’re possibly better off wearing something that’s a little less glass cannon than the 122 will/61 fate raid set pieces. The Leecher Cartwell Shoes from the Helegrod Spider wing are an excellent substitue for the raid shoes, swapping 61 vit for 61 fate (you’ll lose 300 tac offence/OHR from the 4 piece set bonus, but the extra 180 morale is better here imo). Also keep an eye out for the Drugoth Clasped Cloak from Helegrod Giants (122 will/61 vit) and pick up a few survivability jewelery pieces such as the crafted Fated Theodred Necklace, Earring of the Mathom Tender (Enguilan campaign), The Brown Wizard’s Band (Eruilan/Enguilan campaign) and Cardolan Plague Doctor’s Ring (Helegrod Spiders) to get you up to about 6500-7000 morale unbuffed. After that, just pump will and fate and relevant secondary stats.

I’ll also endorse at least some of the official guide’s suggestions on Virtues. Zeal, which combines a big chunk of morale with some physical mit, is a no brainer and so is Wisdom. Beyond that, any 3 of Compassion (physical mit), Innocence (Physical mit), Idealism (Fate), Valour (Morale) or Justice (Morale/ICMR) will serve you fine.

Anyway, I wish you luck in killing the big beast and have fun!

 

LOTRO Draigoch “Guide” Rant

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Normally I’m a pretty big fan of the things Turbine puts out and am generally not too bothered by the LOTRO store, however this last “guide” from Turbine really annoyed me.  I’m sure you’ve all seen mention of it as it was blasted out to everyone as part of their normal email communications.  It wasn’t until we started chatting about it on twitter that I really started to realize why it was bugging me so much and decided to rant about it a bit.

The guide starts off with some actual decent spoiler free tips, so I thought this would be good.  But then it derails quickly into a bunch of store items that can help with your fight without any mention of the fact that many have craftable equivalents.  I don’t have a problem with talking about the store, but when that becomes the focus of the article, it really rubs me the wrong way as it makes it seem like Turbine wants you to believe you need these items to succeed in the raid.

They then make class equipment suggestions, which are utterly pointless as they suggest your class raid set.  Really, they needed to tell people that the new armor set they put in game might be a good idea for the raid?

The class stat suggestions are a bit of a mixed bag as at least they recommend things like tanks having ~12K morale, but for the most part it is just “max out your primary stat.”

The part that really bugged me was the horrible suggestions for Virtues as they list Justice and Valour as the top 2 for EVERY class.  I’m pretty sure no one has slotted Justice since SoA days, and most have dumped Valour since RoI.  All the recommendations are focused on stats with no mention of mitigations or resistances.

What this really comes down to for me is this article comes across as something put together by the PR folks and not someone like Orion or JWBarry, who actually know how the game works.  Or hey, here’s another shocker – why not have someone from the community help make suggestions for the guide?  Even making small changes like suggestion Morale or Finesse levels for the various classes, including healers would’ve been very helpful and give this guide marginal value.

I was initially intrigued to see what kinds of suggestions they’d have, but this just smacked of a shameless store plug.  I’m not sure that’s really something Turbine needs when they’re having all their other player confidence issues.  Not only was there the HUGE store focus, but it contained either information anyone would know or just flat out wrong suggestion.  My recommendation for folks is to basically ignore their tips, unless you find the need to blow through some Turbine Points and are lacking in things to buy.

 
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