Category Archives: LotRO

I scream, you scream, they all scream (but no ice cream)

LotRO calls them “Shouts” and “Cries.”

After the 15th or so it’s just screaming.

Every character appears to have them.  Lots of humanoid mobs appear to have them.

If you play LotRO have you noticed how vocal the world is?  Everyone is yelling.  Goblins in Moria.  Captains, Guardians, Wardens.  Seemingly everyone.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could tone it down some?

How about intimidating a mob with self-doubt imposed by “A Stony Regard” or the chilling feeling they’ll have after getting “The Cold Shoulder” from you?  Ooh, scary.

Or an aggressive taunt issued via “The Snarky Look” or “A Golf Clap?”  (“Gazgar, he mocks you.  Attack him!”)

I think I could enjoy a quieter slaying experience.


Posted by on September 7, 2011 in LotRO


There and back again.

LotRO’s next expansion is announced: Rise of Isengard™.

I went Free-to-Play with LotRO months ago.  The wife has maintained her VIP account.

What caught my eye about the announcement was the pre-order perks (which were available immediately):

  • All three Rohirrim Style Mounts with a blanket & emblem in the colours of green, red and white
  • All three sets of matching cosmetic Rohirrim Style armour in the colours of green, red and white
The Mrs. was very much going to be riding in style.  (She pre-ordered.)  This is nice.  Real nice.  I buy sparkly star horses.  To get the matching get-up to go along with some nice barding?  Count me in.  This alone is not having me pre-order the Legendary Edition however.  (The Heroic Edition of the pre-order lets you pick one of the three colors.)


  • An in-game title - Guard of the Isen
This game has a lot of titles.  I’m giving up some cool titles to have this one.

  • Access to the Path of the Fellowship Quest Packs including Trollshaws, Eregion, Lothlórien and Moria plus the Mirkwood Quest Pack as a special bonus
  • 1,000 Turbine Points for use in the LOTRO Store
Okay, this is what got me. “Free-to-play” isn’t really.  Unless you can still consider it “playing” when in a quest-driven MMORPG you can’t do the quests.  Not if you don’t pay extra.  When I was a VIP member I blew a lot of my Turbine points getting horses (and a ram) for my four characters.  (Raising 4 gold cash seemed an insurmountable obstacle to horse riding.  Turbine points for the win on that front.)  So, when I went free-to-play I didn’t have a whole lot of Turbine points left for purchasing stuff like, oh, the darn quests.  The quests packs you get with this pre-order, and then the expansion, will last me to the end of the game.  Which is nice.  The Moria quest pack is 595 turbine points, for example.  Like I said, this quests packs included in the Legendary Edition are going to last me a long while.
Pre-Purchase Bonuses
  • A 25% XP Boost for all characters on your account that will last up to level 65
  • All three cosmetic cloaks that match the colour of your armour and mount
The cloak looks nice, does match the outfit and the barding.  But the 25% XP boost till level 65?  That’s real nice.


The wife has been soloing lately and managed to get to level 42 or so while I was stuck at 39.  With the xp bonus, and some renewed vigor in the game, I’m now at level 42 to her 44.  And we’re now questing up in overcast and foggy Forochel (a quest pack I’d purchased earlier).


So we’re back in LotRO again.  On the path to level 45, on the road to the Mines of Moria, and now Isengard.


So it wasn’t a cold day before I started playing again afterall.


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Posted by on July 9, 2011 in LotRO


Teach a toon to fish

Give a toon a fish, and he’ll sell it as vendor trash.

Teach a toon to fish, well that’s a different story.

Both World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online offer fishing.

Mechanically, the operation is fairly similar in both games. 

In LotRO you click a button to cast.  (The button is where you’ve put your “hobby” ability, and fishing is a hobby.)  When you see that a fish has taken the bait, you click the same button to snag it and reel it in.  It’s a pretty good graphic.  There’s a string out to the bobber.  When it lands, it lands with a wet plop, and sinks a bit, with ripples.  Then it bobs to the surface, settles, the ripples are gone, and you wait.  You’ll actually see fish flicker in and out of the bobbers vicinity.  You’ll actually see a fish begin to nibble, and then yank the bobber underwater.  Your character reacts a little by bracing himself.  Once you see the ripples of the bobber being pulled under, or see yourself react by bracing, it’s time to hit the button again and reel it in.  Cast and reel in enough times and you’ll earn some skill ups in the hobby.  There’s also a limit to the number of skill ups you can earn in a day.  It seems to be 10.  At least the first two days I fished I got 10 and 10.

Warcraft is kind of the same.  You can have your fishing on a hotkey/button.  Clicking it casts your line, and you similarly watch a bobber.  When the bobber reacts with a splash, as it’s being pulled under, you click on the bobber, not the button you used to cast, to see if you’ve caught something.  The more skilled you are at fishing, the more casts it takes to level up to the next skill point.  But, if you’re dedicated, you can get a lot of skillups in day.

In LotRO it would appear you can cast your line anywhere.  You’re skill doesn’t matter when it comes to choosing where to cast your line.

Now in WoW, it used to matter.  If you weren’t skilled enough yet, you were limited to where you could fish.  Without any skill, you could not fish in Menethil Harbor, for example.  You had to earn your skill in Auberdine first, then you graduated to fishing in higher level areas.  Now, it seems the rules have changed.  You appear to be able to fish anywhere, regardless of your skill.  It might limit you to what you can catch, trash versus catch of the day, but you can at least fish for the fishing daily items at any skill level of fishing.

I don’t think LotRO offers anything of true practical use that could be caught with fishing.  You appear to be able to reel in the occasional trophy, to be stuffed and displayed in your house, but I don’t think they have food fish that get used in cooking.  Though cooking is a well developed craft ability in LotRO, it appears farming and gathering is the source of raw materials for the aspiring chef, and not hunting or fishing.  (Are they all vegans in Middle Earth?)  Because I think I’ve fished for long enough, I’ll get to that, to have fish up something edible if it existed.

In WoW, fishing is almost required to level up cooking.  And there’s some pretty good buff foods available to be made with fish.  And doing the fishing dailies garner you cash and sundries and the occasional blinged out fishing rod.  (I think everyone fishes with sticks in LotRO.)

We try to catch the fishing dailies in Dalaran every chance we get.  (As we did in Terrorkar Forest.)  They’re varied enough to keep us flying around the map, and I appreciate the opportunity to level up the skill and get something accomplished at the same time.

Now, just recently, for the on-going Summerfest in LotRO, we’ve been required to fish up a storm.  See, to get the Summerfest accomplishment, you had to do the following:  Visit the Hobbits and get the quest to stock their pond.  To stock their pond you need to catch fish from the towns of the Dwarves, Elves, and Men.  Once that is accomplished, and the Hobbit pond is stocked, phase II is available.  Each race wants to see how many fish you can catch in their pond in 20 minutes.  (10 minutes in the Hobbit pond for some reason.)  And you need to fish the full duration in each pond at least once to get the accomplishment.  (Plus, while you fish for them during this fest you catch special fish that are bartered for tokens you can use to purchase hats, cloaks, dresses, and various other items.)  The accomplishment earned the wife and I the title “Sunshine.”  I bartered my tokens for summer hats (straw with a smoking pipe stuck in it) and cloaks (spiffy red and gray rays with a sun in the center).   The wife and I did this with two characters each.  That’s a lot of time spent fishing!  (And those “fish here for 20 minutes” quests are dailies, in case you need more barter coins.  50 coins lets you trade in your common horse for a spiffy festival version.)

What prompted the post was the wife’s comment about it being curious that both games really wanted us fishing.

It’s a way to occupy yourself in the game.  There are rewards to be had as well.  Vanity items in LotRO and some fairly spiffy stuff in WoW too.  Pets, gear, and mounts even.

It’s kind of a game within the game, and definitly blunts the feeling that there’s a finishing point that must be reached.  Living in the worlds, rather than marching to a goal.


Posted by on July 1, 2009 in LotRO, World Of Warcraft


The Lone Lands


It was a great weekend in Middle Earth.  My Warden, above, has reached level 22, and the wife and I are making things right in the Lone Lands.  He’s been crafted some level 21 weapons, the spear and javelin on his back.  He’s still using the level 15 class quest shield.  He’s wearing slightly out-of-date gear, level 16 stuff crafted for him, beneath the cosmetic (level 20+) Ranger Cloak, and my Warden Backpack (also a cosmetic item) provides unlimited javelins (well, not really, they’re just for show).  He prospects ore and harvests wood to support the crafters supporting him.

Those crafters, are my burglar Aelwald, who can prospect at the same level now as the warden, and is now crafting both metal and wood weapons in the level 20′s range, and my champion, Angthir, who is on the quest to master his tailoring (to allow level 20′s gear creation), but that requires killing some elite level 25+ aurochs for an item to drop.

I’m having fun, in other words.  Our Warden and Rune-Keeper couple are making hash out of mobs 4-5 levels higher than them, and even handling elite mobs for fellowship quests, if done carefully, aren’t difficult either.

The more I play, the more I’m liking it.  Maybe it’s because it’s doing a fine job of keeping the obsessive-compulsive inside me busy.  And since the crafters rely on the harvesters, and you can’t do everything alone, in order to keep my characters in gear and weapons I need to play three characters.  And the altoholic in me says “Thanks!”

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Posted by on May 31, 2009 in LotRO


Surfing into the Barrow Downs

I remember way back, my first weekend in Irvine, CA and I was getting ready to start my studies at the University of California there.  I’d found my apartment and was spending some time at Corona del Mar beach.  Beside the fact that I was doing a great imitation as shark bait just bobbing in the water there, or a similarly great imitation of laundry in a dryer as the waves picked me up and absolutely ran be through the wringer as the water pushed me to the sand and gravel bottom and rolled me up to shore, there were golden moments to be found in between.

That moment was when you started paddling early enough to catch the wave right, and strong enough to stay ahead of the wave, and next thing you know you’re part of that wave and, without a board, lifted up with the wave, not going under, and you’re pushed at a surprising speed back towards shore.

I’ve had my LotRO account for a little while now.  I’m not a lifetime subscriber, just a month by month type.  The wife is the biggest Middle Earth fan and she was quite happy with the game.  Tango’s more fun with two, and so I bought an account and jumped in.

At the time I think it was because Warcraft still held some goals for me to accomplish that I didn’t get appropriately into it.  I did the Argent Tournament dailies with three characters, and earned enough marks to collect some of the gear.  My Druid has resisted the Sylvan Staff of Silvery Might (is that the name of it?) as a replacement for his Titansteel Destroyer.  It might be better for tanking, but…  Msaker took the tanking axe, since he too has a Titansteel Destroyer.  (And the recent nerf to Juggernaught?  It’s stunning how much DPS it takes off PvE grinding.  In iLevel 187+ gear he’s managing the same DPS as my level 70 Paladin in quest rewards.  I think the Ret Pally is doing GREAT DPS, but the Warrior feels nerfed to the knees at this point.)  Stormsoul is the biggest recipient, dual wielding twin Grimhorn Crushers.  I’ve actually gone Enhancement and left the better Elemental gear in the bank.  A couple more goals to reach have been reached as well.  Our Paladin and Mage are in Northrend, doing pretty good.  Our Death Knights are just a hop and a skip away as well, but it’d probably be better to keep these two couples somewhat separated in progression to avoid “summer repeats” of the content.  We’ll be repeating it, but it’ll be a little fresher if we insert some space between them.  That said, I’m comfortable with where I’m at in Warcraft, and that allows me to take a more solid interest in LotRO.

And doing so feels like I’ve gotten picked up by a wave of momentum and I’m enjoying the ride.

Some of the things I enjoy in these games are the grindy crafty stuff.  Coming back to it, and making a commitment to be serious about it, I realized what crappy gear I’d allowed myself to settle for earlier.  My Champion felt like he was dressed in paper and wielding butter knives.  That wasn’t fun.  I took a deeper look into things and realized I could buy recipes to allow me to make better gear.  It’s not just the automatic things you know, it’s also the buyable recipes that are important.  Zounds.  So now my Warden and Champion are in the best Medium Leather gear I’ve found to make.  (The “tier 2″ Tough Leather stuff.)  That required farming up a lot of Medium Leather.  In a full set of it my Warden farmed up two more stacks of Medium Leather, in the Forest west of the Barrow Downs, which he boiled down into one stack of usable hide, 50 of them, and my Champion tailored it all into a set for himself, and a lesser set for my new Dwarf Guardian, who doesn’t get heavy armor until level 15.  (The Champion has to wait till level 20 to wear heavy armor.)  My Burglar finally caved in, smelted some of the copper ore into ingots (waiting for tin to make bronze to use in leveling up is way too painful a wait) (sent those copper ingots to a new Minstrel Jeweler), which leveled up his prospecting to the point he could mine the next level of ore, and then headed to the Barrows and rustled up enough Barrow Iron to craft two Steel Swords for himself, two Steel Swords for my Champion, and two Steel Swords for my wife’s Champion.  Whew.  And he’s also managed to craft a smooth Ash Javelin and Spear for the Warden.

Crafting and Gathering in LotRO requires multiple characters, and that pleases the altoholic in me.

Too, the graphics in the game are stunning.  Standing at the forge smelting some ore, the heat from the red coals is causing the air above it to shimmer.  That’s cool.  Cooler yet is when the wife’s Rune Keeper lets a nuke off in some mobs face, and since I’m close I see that heat shimmer too.  The look of the environment is so excellent.

And leaving the green hills around Bree for the dryer hills at the Forlorn Inn I was reminded of Northern California.  Who knew Weathertop Mountain was located near Napa?  And I mean that in the most complimentary of ways.

I’m having fun in LotRO in other words.  The wave’s caught me and is carrying me on a great ride.

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Posted by on May 26, 2009 in LotRO, Musings


Here and back again.

Just watched a documentary about J.R.R. Tolkien and decided to join the wife in Middle Earth for a bit.

Our earlier couple, a Champion and a Burglar, were having a bit of difficulty in the Barrow Downs.  I guess when the screen gets all fuzzy and “special effects” it means we’re in “epic story” territory, and it’s not supposed to be easy, and it wasn’t.  Maybe I wasn’t properly into it.  Maybe the Burglar didn’t suit me.  Maybe it’s a class that requires finesse and I’m just whaling away on stuff with the biggest weapons I’ve got.  (For the term “whaling” I’m referring to the definition “to strike or hit vigorously” and not “to defeat soundly” (thanks Merriam-Webster).  I wanted to get the proper spelling on that.  Not that some wailing wasn’t done either, mind you.)

So I created a new character.  Not that it plays any easier.  In fact, it’s supposed to be an “advanced” play style, but maybe it suits me better.  That new character is a Warden.  As for races, the LotRO male elves make Legolas from the movie look Harley riding, cigar chomping, moose hunting, Ax Man Manly.  So my Warden is human.

And I figured if my Warden is “tank like” then to be joined by a “healer type” Rune Keeper (since both can DPS quite well as well), I encouraged the wife (bless her heart) to create an Elven Rune Keeper.

Geirmund (spear protector) and Culedhel it was.  And since I appreciate the finer things, I joined her in the Elven beginning area.  (Some thoughts on that in a moment.)

geirmund & culedhel 3

Turbine is offering some special things for their Anniversary.  Some bonus XP, some gifts (a potion??), and what I noticed was there are actually an awful lot of people playing.

In fact I’d say the beginning areas have more people in them than what I’ve been seeing in the Warcraft beginning areas.  Turbine has far fewer servers online than Blizzard does, sure, but I’m thinking this is a sign that LotRO appears to be rather healthy at the moment.  Which is a cool thing.  It’s a nice looking game.  The models are good, the towns are really nicely developed, the environment (I’ve got the graphics on their highest settings) are art.

Yes, three characters doing Valiant+Champion dailies for  a couple weeks now had me pick up a fourth character with a lance.  It just happens to be in LotRO, a Warden, and I’m happy to see LotRO remains a solid alternative to go play in.

And, tonight, Honorus and Effilda make launch their Northrend careers, both just turning level 68 and ready to go.

P.S. My biggest gripe with LotRO: The fact that I can’t scale the bags and inventory larger.  A lot of the interface will scale larger.  The bags and stuff in them won’t.  I can barely make out what it is I’m looking at.  Warcraft gets this right in that stuff on my screen is HUGE and OBVIOUS.  If someone out there knows how to alleviate the “squint factor” in LotRO let me know!  :)  Thanks.

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Posted by on May 10, 2009 in LotRO


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