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.


About Kinless

Gamer. Engineer. Lived lots of places.
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