Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Phyrric Victory Of the Additional Off-White Horse

Allarond finally completed LOTRO's Volume I, wrapping up the launch game's epic plot. Part of the reward package features a "grey steed". This horse is not only functionally identical to the rep reward horse I previously obtained in Lothlorien, it also looks nigh identical, other than different saddle blankets.

The Lothlorien rep version of the horse, both are "fast" mounts with 150 morale/hp

An Epic Fed Ex Run
The grand finale of the quest line was genuinely impressive, but it was unfortunately marred by the most idiotic Fed Ex-fest I've ever had the displeasure of playing. There's a large chunk of Volume 1, Book 15 in which players have to make no fewer than five round trips out to a questgiver located in the middle of nowhere in the Trollshaws, a swift travel route and then five minutes on a player mount away from town. In the most egregious stretch, the player leaves Rivendell only to have the quest giver ask them to return to Rivendell to ask the stable dude to send over their horse and then journey back to the wilderness to report on this one-line conversation.

All told, these five trips in and out of the Trollshaws, representing a solid hour of travel time for a player with all the relevant swift travel and recall skills (map, personal and kinship housing, racial teleport, reputation-gated swift travel routes), require the player to kill one mob and participate in one session play story flashback that isn't designed to be difficult. There is absolutely no reason why the player needs to do personally make the other three trips, other than to pad out the questline with an extra 30-40 minutes of travel time.

LOTRO has always been a high quality game, and the final instance dungeon at the end of all this travel time delivers. It also wraps up the storylines that players have been working on since level one, in a way that solo players have rarely been included in an MMORPG. Unfortunately, LOTRO's weakness - lack of quantity - spills over into diluting the quality of the questline as well. "Added one group dungeon" does not sound as impressive on the patch notes as "added a twelve stage epic book quest, including soloable content". As a result, everyone has to slog through a questline that feels like a waste of time.


  1. The true reward is the picture of Narmeleth. :)

    I agree, it's time to have some other horse colors, black and white have already been used enough to fulfill the MMO cliché of pure white and pure black stuff. ;)

  2. The elf chick is kind of cute alright. I have her picture hanging up in my little house.

    Fully agreed about trudging up and down (and up and down) the High moor. It really was one of the worst quest sequences in Lotro. Such a shame you have to plough through it to get to one of the best group quests in Lotro.

  3. I took the plunge and finally bought LotRO Sunday; I just could not resist the $9.99 offer.

    I am a bit at a loss what character class to create. I play all ten classes in WoW but the two things I like best are tanking on my warrior (it's more complex than tanking on my paladin and bear) and playing a true hybrid which can shift role during any encounter.

    Any suggestion as to which LotRO class should be of interest to me?


  4. My GF played a Captain while we were doing this quest, so I just had her summon my lazy ass when she got back to the Trollshaws. ;) Perhaps throwing a bit of cash at a captain to wait there and summon you back would be a good idea.

    Hugmenot wrote:
    Any suggestion as to which LotRO class should be of interest to me?

    You might try to the Captain. They're a hybrid class that fits in a lot of places. You're not going to replace a full-time healer or tank, but you can chip in to make things go smoother. Plus you get buffs that everyone loves. At lower levels you get a pet and can wear heavy armor, so soloing isn't too terrible.

    If you're more into tanking, try the Warden. It's a tank that uses medium armor. There's a cool "gambit" mechanic where you have three "moves" that you chain together to create special combos. You can create combos based on what you need at the time.

    Hope that helps. :)

  5. @Hugmenot: Captain and Loremaster are both on the fly role changing hybrids. Oddly, they are also the two pet using classes of LoTRO. Captains are plate wearers that heal, tank, and/ or buff. Loremasters are cloth wearers that do crowd control, DPS, back up healing, or power management (sucking power out of mobs and feeding it to the party) depending on the situation.

    On topic: I finally finished up volume 1 not too long ago as well. I didn't have the Lothlorian horse yet, so I was pretty happy with the mount. However, even as a hunter the solid 30 minutes of fed-ex quests to que up the final instance were annoying. When that dude sent me back to tell the stable master to send him his horse, I wanted to slap him.

  6. @Hugenot I am surprised that no one has yet mentioned Champion as another choice for a hybrid tanking class. They are a heavy armour wearing melee DPS class that can switch between DPS and tanking stances. as far as I can remember Guardian / Warden are the two primary tanking classes with best threat generation. Champion / Captain are better as off tanks because they have a harder time holding aggro.

    Most of Lotro's classes are hybrids capable of at least two roles so you you should have no problem finding one that suits. Just don't expect them to behave like Wow's classes though as the mix of roles is quite different.

  7. The Champion is the only class I have significant (read: any post level 15) experience with, but I'm not sure how hybrid-like I'd call it. Champs do a fair amount of damage, and really specialize in AOE melee attacks, but they're also pretty squishy by default since their normal stances heavily penalize avoidance.

    Otherwise, I'll echo what others have said. Captains and Loremasters are the most hybrid-like in the traditional sense, while Runekeepers can switch between caster DPS and healing (generally in between fights or via a cooldown).
    The Warden is an avoidance self-healing tank with travel perks (runspeed and teleport, if you care about these things).

    The only class I'll mention that no one has seriously pitched yet is the Guardian. Like WoW Warriors, they have a DPS stance, and I'm told it isn't half bad.


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