A watchful snowman?

I’ve been chugging along on my little (literally) dwarf Champion just for fun this week.  He’s been a bank alt for most of his short existence (ah, the height jokes, they never end.. okay, I’m done) but I thought I’d give him a try.  Also, I ran out of copper ore and he happens to be a prospector.  I’ve been having fun kneecapping mobs – at low levels at least he’s a quick killer, although some AOE or a ranged pull would be handy.

While searching for more hendrovail to kill in the Vale of Thrain, though, what did I find up on a high hilltop but.. a snowman!  I took a photograph for posterity.  Here’s my old man.. er.. dwarf and his chilly new discovery.  It’s like an Easter egg except with snow – a Winter egg?

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Skirmishes!

Well, I attained my level 30 goal over the weekend and promptly ran to the skirmish captain to complete the introduction.  So promptly, in fact, that I forgot to train my level 30 skills until afterward.  Whoops.

After successfully graduating from skirmish school, I dove right in and played through Trouble in Tuckborough, and then Siege of Gondamon.  I had a great time!  I died once in Tuckborough thanks to a careless pull that brought more mobs to me than I could handle all at once – mind you, if I’d noticed that I hadn’t traited my soldier at all before starting my first non-intro skirmish, that might have helped too.  Somehow I missed the part where selecting the bannerman reward from the intro quests didn’t actually turn my soldier into one right off the bat.

I liked Tuckborough overall, although I was a little bit confused here and there about where I was supposed to be going next.  Playing solo, the Lieutenants weren’t any more difficult than a regular signature mob.  My soldier died once, but I don’t think I let any of the NPCs die – I’m not entirely sure how many there were to be saved in total, so perhaps I missed some along the way.  Siege of Gondamon felt much more hectic with all of the running back and forth, but it was a lot of fun too.  I was confused when the ‘flag dropped’ message popped up, and until I ended up at that gate to defend against the next wave I didn’t see the box/flagpole I was supposed to interact with.  I nearly missed seeing a few mobs nearer to the end head straight for Magni – by that point I was expecting everything to come from the north/south/west gates instead of having enemies appear up top with him.  In the end, however, success!  Both Tuckborough and Gondamon felt very satisfying and fun, so I’ll definitely be running more skirmishes.  Having them available as daily quests is a good incentive too.

I picked up a couple of marks (rank, campaign and challenge), but I’m not quite sure where to spend them just yet.   One of the things I haven’t found yet in LOTRO resources is a nice clear database – with WoW database sites I’m very used to being able to enter in, say, “First Mark” and obtain a full list of everything that I can obtain using that piece as currency.  I’ve run into the same issue when trying to see where certain recipes and the like come from.

Hm, now to figure out my next goal..

The Hunter Update

I’d originally intended to take more of a ‘blow-by-blow’ approach to LOTRO blogging during my process of exploration and learning game mechanics.   Now, I find myself with a level 28 Hunter and a blog archive absent of detail since the days when she wasn’t accruing equipment damage (i.e. the single digit range).  Whoops.  Update time!

I really enjoy the Hunter class, as evidenced by the fact that she’s now 10 levels beyond my next-highest level character.  It’s very viable to play solo, including signature mobs and multiple-mob pulls, although since I lingered a bit too long in Bree-land I’ve not been challenging myself with much that’s significantly above my own level range.  I’m currently questing in the mid-Lone-lands area (around Nain Enidh) with a few diversions into the North Downs for a change of scenery.  The only thing that proved to be beyond my solo abilities a couple of levels back was attempting to complete the quest ” The Goblin-leader” in Minas Eriol.  I got him down to 22 morale before dying.. and aggravatingly enough, probably the only reason I didn’t succeed was that when I’d died to a careless pull just before, I’d forgotten to re-activate my Strength stance upon reviving and was missing the damage buff.  Boo.  I was frustrated enough that I didn’t go back, although I could probably complete the quest without a problem now since I see that the quest mob is a level 25 Signature.

I’ve been working on two things in terms of skills, primarily: more intelligent use of skills while attempting to complete some class deeds.  I’m still more comfortable with keeping enemies at range – now, before you laugh and say that of course that’s true, I’m playing a ranged class – I do also appreciate that LOTRO hunters have a diversity of melee skills.  My most recent other ranged character is my hunter in WoW, where attempting to melee anything will get you laughed right out of a group, and that’s reinforced by the noticeable lack of melee skills.  (Wing clip-raptor strike, what?)  With that background, I find that when I let mobs get close enough for melee attacks on my hunter in LOTRO I feel foolish, as if I’ve just proved myself to be the Worst Hunter Ever.  Combine that with wanting to increment the Swift Stroke class deed, and.. well.

Ranged pulls feel smooth and efficient to me.  Set a trap, generate some quick Focus, and pull.  I’ve been experimenting with priority order after that point.  Penetrating Shot is a tempting opener with that nice full Focus bar.  I often choose to open with a non-instant shot, though, since I don’t want to waste time waiting on induction while the mob is already running up to hit me in the face.  Barbed Arrow is nice for that – I can take the time for the brief induction and apply a DOT at the same time, then follow it up with Penetrating Shot and maybe a Quick Shot to slow run speed (when I’m in Strength stance, ie. most of the time – solo play doesn’t leave me with Focus issues so there’s little drawback, although I haven’t compared it much with Precision).   The double-hit of Swift Bow is nice, but I’m still undecided whether it’s a more useful long-induction opener – note to self, look up the actual damage done.  (Hooray, theorycrafting!)  I -might- even admit to using Rain of Arrows occasionally on single-mob pulls (when Penetrating Shot is on CD).. partly because it’s an extra instant when I have a full Focus bar, and partly because I like the animation.

Well, that’s all for now.  I hope to reach level 30 this weekend so I can try out the Skirmish system!

Oh, and I never did work up the nerve to find a Great Barrows group while I was in Bree-land.  Perhaps I’ll try it out on the beta realm where I can be an anonymous chicken instead.

Lucky Duck!

Okay, I’m a little late posting that.  I did manage to acquire the Lucky Duck title on my Warden, though, to my great delight.  I worked through it in order one-by-one and, with a couple of strokes of luck, finished with much less trouble than some folks seem to have had.  Darn you, RNG!

I’ve been fairly busy lately, which hasn’t left me much time to play (and consequently, not much to blog about).  However!  I also received a beta key, which is super exciting!  I’ve created new characters from each race, and.. well, that’s probably as much as I’ll say.  I do hope to be able to make a contribution to the beta in terms of feedback and bug-checking.  Frustratingly, the original invitation ended up in my gmail spambox, so I didn’t even realise I’d received a beta key for three weeks when a reminder email came through.  Boo!

To return to Blog Posts Unrestricted by the NDA.. in my limited game time lately, I’ve been working up some crafting skills and indulging my rampant altoholism even further.  I now have six characters on Arkenstone, yikes!  I took a bit of a pause today to go back to the forums and read up on some basics like which stats are good for the various classes.  This should help me plan out things like which character to send BOE gear drops, or what to craft while levelling crafting skills.

Well, I think I’ll play a little tonight – maybe my little level 7 Captain this time.  My hunter has reached level 22 and I’d love to see Great Barrows since it’s level-appropriate right now, but I’m a big chicken and don’t want to look like a noob in a group instance.  Maybe I’ll work up the nerve to join a fellowship with my next level 20+ character.  I know exactly what my class should do in a WoW dungeon and how to handle the boss encounters – maybe that’s spoiled me for unfamiliar settings.

Hooray!

My Warden won this round’s Welcome Wagon lottery!  Yay!

Now to dash home from work so I can actually log on and play…

Altoholism strikes again..

Busy week last week, so I hardly had a chance to play.  However, when I did actually have time, what did I do?  Make new alts!

Yes, I’m a card-carrying  member of Altoholics Anonymous.  I’ve shown this time and again in WoW, where my main server is maxed out on how many characters I can create – let’s not mention how many servers I have characters on – and I’m making a fine start of it in LOTRO too.  I now have a Warden, a Hunter, a Minstrel, a Rune-keeper, a Captain and a Champion.  In my defense, three of the six are below level 10!

I’d meant to work on my Hunter over the weekend.  She’s still in Bree-land, and I’ve been questing in the Barrow-downs… but then I was thwarted by the Lalia escort quest.  Three attempts, three failures.  I know, I know, I probably just need to improve my playstyle and a long-time player reading this would probably just shake their head and deem me a hopeless noob.  Every time I’d get her to the pack of three or four enemies that pop up after she’s gotten her cloak back, though, I just couldn’t kill them all fast enough.  Usually something else would aggro along with them, I’d die, and then she’d die and I’d have to run back in from Tom Bombadil’s House.  I know I just need to go and try again, but out of frustration I just switched to a new character for a while.

Enter.. the Minstrel.  I’ve really wanted to make a Minstrel.  My WoW main is a healer.  I’m working on having an endgame-ready healer of each of the four WoW healing-capable classes. I love healing, whether it’s raids or heroic instances or something else entirely.  So far, though, the Minstrel is not proving to be very intuitive for me, and the sounds linked to some of the abilities make me slightly crazy.  However, my girl’s only level 10, so I’ll continue to practice and work at getting the hang of the class.  I’ve not paid close attention to each skill she’s acquired, so I’m fairly sure I’m also not using those skills optimally – which could explain why questing seems so painfully slow.

Well, that’s it from my corner of Middle-earth today.  Perhaps tonight I’ll try that escort quest again.

Goal!

I’d made it my goal for the weekend to reach level 20 on my Hunter, and I just did! Just in time to go to bed, which is less exciting. I also just broke 1 gold for the first time! Maybe that part isn’t so exciting for long-time players with gold overflowing in their (metaphorical) coffers, but for me it’s not half bad. I sold a couple of nice purple recipes on the auction house along the way, which helped for sure.

In less thrilling news, apparently LOTRO isn’t immune to people being insulting in chat channels. I suppose it was inevitable. Am I really the only person who thinks that ‘huntard’ is an insult? (No, that wasn’t the channel conversation, but it did appear therein.) I dislike the term in WoW, and I dislike the term in LOTRO. I understand that some classes are easier to pick up than others, that some classes are more frequently played, and that both of those things together makes it more apparent when a player is unskilled. Still doesn’t make it okay in my books. I might be biased in LOTRO since I’m a new user with a limited grasp of the game mechanics, but I am also a staunch defender of people’s ability to play a game how they choose, whether that’s as a hardcore raider, a ‘casual’, or someone who runs around soloing mobs with all the wrong gear on. I also think that means that players are entitled to play the game how they choose without being insulted for not being on the cutting edge of game theory, gear and progression. Mind you, that also reflects how I think that people deserve to be treated in a general sense – with courtesy.

Okay, rant over, sleep incoming. Tomorrow I’ll see about buying myself a horse, if it’s not too expensive!

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