Lotro: An end of an era, Thank You and Farewell Chance Thomas!

Thank you for all the music over the years, Chance. It was beautiful, magical and added that something special to the game. You will be missed, and the experience will never be the same. I had so much hope that you would be coming back for Gondor and Minas Tirith. Lotro will never be the same.

Thank you, farewell, and all the best for the future Chance.

Follow and support Chance Thomas at: www.chancethomas.com

To purchase Chance’s music on iTunes, click here.

Update: Some viewers have been searching Chance Thomas’s Facebook profile to validate the information, and the exact post may not appear. This is because he has set the post’s privacy to ‘Friends Only’. I did not and have no reason to fabricate his statements.

Lotro: Expansions on Sale, Here’s what I would buy and why

lotro opinion

Greetings netizens of Middle Earth. If you don’t know, you should know: there is a Black Friday sale of up to 75% on Lotro expansions on the Lotro Market webstore, beginning 27th September and ending on the 1st of December, 2014. All round, great prices for some great expansions and if you have been holding back, now is a good time to snap them up.

I’ve come across the question “Which/What expansions to buy many times in the chat channels, and as a player who owns all the expansions that are currently on sale and have leveled multiple toons through them, I thought I’d share my thoughts on them individually. Hope it helps, especially if you’re new to the Lord of the Rings Online.

Do keep in mind that my opinions and suggestions may not be similar with that of other players, so take it with a pinch of salt. Got something to add, correct, discuss or debate? Drop a comment! Let’s start with The Mines of Moria.

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Mines of Moria (MoM)

Release date: November 2008

Suggested levels: 48 to 60+

The Good: Size, Instances, Atmosphere, LI System, Revamped

The Bad: LI System, Lighting, Gets old after taking 6+ characters through

Thoughts: MoM is my favorite expansion in Lotro. Taking my main character through Moria the first time was an awe-inspiring experience, filled with exploration, great questing stories, a creeping sense of claustrophobia, dread and finally freedom at the end. For the sheer scale and atmosphere of Moria, it is a must try. I say this to new player kinnies who often say they weren’t looking forward to hitting Moria: You haven’t really experienced Lotro unless you’ve survived the long dark of Khazad-Dum. The expansion has been revamped twice, making the Moria experience more player friendly, with the addition of more stable travel routes and a revised quest hub crawl that is more cohesive. MoM introduces you to the Legendary Item system, which grants players the ability to wield legendary weapons. This marked the beginning of weapon optimization which can either be good or confusingly bad – a system that continues to draw heated debate until today. The real gem in this expansion is the instances that come with MoM. They are well designed, well paced, story driven and offers hours of fun, not to mention the gazillion deeds and meta deed. At 5 bucks, this is a must buy. Keeping my fingers crossed that the Moria instances will be scaled to current level cap of 100. If so, ho ho ho, we raiders be coming back. I think.

 

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Siege of Mirkwood (SoM)

Release date: September 2009

Suggested levels: 60 to 65+

The Good: Epic book, Atmosphere, Dol Guldur instances

The Bad: Size

Thoughts: Dark and gloomy, I liked how Southern Mirkwood was portrayed in Lotro. Besides the Epic Story that flows through this expansion and how it ties in to Skirmishes however, nothing else stands out for me. Too many kill bats and spider quests break immersion, and the setting really deserved a darker story line for its quests. Not the greatest expansion out there, but for $2.50, I’d still buy it for the instances. Dol Guldur looks great.

 

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Rise of Isengard (RoI)

Release date: September 2011

Suggested levels: 65+ to 75+

The Good: Instance cluster, ToO, Draigoch, Quest reward cosmetics

The Bad: Stunland

Thoughts: Good old Stunland. I mean Dunland. Starting with the bad, this expansion will stun you into oblivion. Every mob out there – from Dunlendings, Boars and Cows appear to have a stun skill – and my gosh it’s annoying as Elrond. Minor gripe aside, the story in RoI picks up right from the get go. Everyone’s favorite masochist band of Dunedein Rangers progresses with you in RoI, and the story line grips you and will emotionally effect you on your first time through the expansion. For plus points, RoI has many. It boasts the second best instance cluster in my book. The Tower of Orthanc raid is my favorite, and is a benchmark T2 raid for most raiders. And then there’s Draigoch. Back in 2011, I wasn’t even a raider and I pre-ordered RoI, just for the Draigoch Raid. You need to experience it. At 5 bucks, you got nothing to lose. A lot of wins with RoI. Buy it.

 

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Riders of Rohan (RoR)

Release date: October 2012

Suggested levels: 75+ to 85+

The Good: Mounted combat, Instance cluster, Size, Atmosphere, Hytbold, Soundtrack

The Bad: Mounted combat

Thoughts: The biggest selling point for this expansion was mounted combat. The system excited players, and depending on your class, you either enjoyed it or disliked it. Mounted enemies and Warbands are ton of fun in groups, but in today’s Lotro, good luck with that when going through RoR. The downfall of the system is the dev’s reluctance to think outside of the box with mounted combat: there is so much potential, but sticking to Warbands seems like all they want to do. RoR is huge, and riding through the plains atop your Warsteed is a great feeling. Quests are well written, and when you get to Hytbold, I think you’ll enjoy it. Lotro’s phasing system does wonders here, as you get to rebuild the town of Hytbold and watch it visually transform by completing daily quests. Upon completion, you are made Thane of Hytbold – a neat title reward plus access to armor vendors that allows you to barter armor (level 85 teals which can last you all the way to 95) not only for your main, but also for your alts on the same server. And now, it only takes 1 token of Hytbold to complete rebuilding quests, so its a fast process. For an in-depth Hytbold guide, click here. No description of RoR would be complete without mentioning Chance Thomas and his excellent soundtrack for Rohan. At 5 bucks, this is a darn steal. Buy it.

 

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Helm’s Deep (HD)

Release date: November 2013

Suggested levels: 85+ to 95+

The Good: Size, Story

The Bad: Epic Battles, Epic Story fiasco, class trait trees

Thoughts: I’m going to be bitter and say that HD made me quit the game for a good few months. With HD came the new Epic Battle system. They are sort of like skirmishes, but you don’t fight in them, instead you slow hordes of Orcs by deploying and utilizing balistas, catapults and barricades. I got nothing good to say about it. Except perhaps, that if you stick to it and grind your Epic Battle trait points, you’ll be a Rank 6 Engineer in no time and you’ll be able to get decent medals for good rewards. The epic story is tied to the Big Battles, which meant that they are not free. You had to buy the expansion to play through the HD epic story. Not sure if this has been changed, but at the time, you could understand the outrage.

And then we had the class overhauls. For me, it’s a case of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. They went ahead with it anyway. So regardless of wether you purchased the expansion or not, class changes have been implemented.Now we have trait trees, class trait points and the lot. Cookie cutter builds and color prejudice (“Blue Cappy only/”You’re not in red? Noob!”). You get the point. Anyway, the setting and atmosphere of Rohan at war is great in this expansion. The quest stories are also good. That’s about it. Soundtrack sucks. Sorry.

Overall, all the expansions are good and offers varying experience and satisfaction for each player. All of them are on sale and really, if you can and have not picked these up, do it. It’s dirt cheap. You have 3 days people!

To end this post, here’s a poll. What is your favorite expansion? Leave your thoughts in a comment. New players, take everything I’ve mentioned above as an opinion, and not your sole reason for buying/not buying. Got any other questions? Let me know!

Happy thanks giving everyone!

 

Leaves of Gold by Chance Thomas for Lotro

coffeebreakchat

Today it was brought to my attention that the brilliant Chance Thomas, composer of Lotro’s Mines of Moria and Riders of Rohan soundtracks, has released a full version of a Lotr/Lotro themed song. Titled ‘Leaves of Gold’, Mr. Thomas posted the track on Youtube earlier this month and you can hear it in full below.

 

Simply amazing. Apparently a shorter version of this track was released years ago either in game or out, but I cannot find it. If anyone has any more information, do share! I just love Chance’s ability to single out a certain passage from Tolkien’s lore and transform it into a beautiful piece of music. I truly hope that Turbine makes the right decision for the game moving forward and let Chance compose the soundtracks for future content.

On a final note, at minute 3:40 of the video, you will see a screenshot of a Warden sitting in a pond among swans. That is I, and you will find my original screenshot here, on this particular post.

#fanboymodeoff

There and Somewhat Back Again

coffeebreakchat

Semester is finally over, and now comes the barrage of gaming. Throughout the semester, I didn’t really feel like logging in, I guess I was pretty burned out from farming seals 24/7. I did dip my feet into other waters; I went back to The Secret World for a bit, The Last Train To Cairo Issue was amazing, I checked out Neverwinter which I enjoyed so much, especially The Foundry, and also checked out other games like Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3 and Rift. CSTM and Lotro Reporter did keep me up to date on what’s been happening on Lotro. Not a whole lot of news concerning the Helms Deep expansion which I’m really looking forward to, bummer.

It took me roughly 2 hours to update the launcher for Updates 11 and 11.1.  When I finally got in, the new alert panel graphics caught my eye, and I gotta say its a joke. It just looks so cartoony, and at least for me, it’s distracting. I’m really hoping there’s an option to revert back to the previous one. As for the hobbit presents, the few silver presents that I have opened so far has been decent, nothing great to shout about but hey, at least it’s free right? If you want more info about Hobbit presents, Danania, Supergirl of Lorien has a Hobbit Presents: 30 Day Review post up. Check it out.

Also, good to see some old friends online. After spending LI points back into my first agers and mount, I met up with my loyal Mercenary buddy Babbor and the both of us headed into Wildemore to start our new adventure. I hadn’t looked at screenshots, hadn’t read any spoilers etc so I was genuinely excited to see what this update had to offer. Two hours into the new region and my first impressions are…tragic, tragic, tragic! People dying all over the place. It’s like George R.R Martin himself wrote U11. Storywise, excellent albeit much of the story telling revolves around the same dull and over-used quest mechanics. Besides that, I’m impressed with the new warbands in Wildermore. The difficulty has scaled somewhat higher, and I can no longer solo as much as I could with the warbands in the Eastemnet. Good sign. I haven’t gotten that far in the region, Babbs and I have just completed Forlaw. So far, I’m really liking what I’m seeing. I know there is going to be a daily grind at the end for Warband Tokens and Reputation with the Survivors, but I’m not bothered about gear just yet. Hoping to the story fleshes out well from here on.

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And finally, some sad news this weekend. CSTM have announced they will be ending the podcast on their 200th episode. I can’t help but feel sad, I really really really love these folks and their show, which have become a routine Sunday morning tune-in for me. The amount of effort and dedication they have put into their podcast to bring the Lotro community news, events and just a good show has been tremendous over the years, and I can’t thank them enough for the endless amount of fun I have had listening to their show in the background while I’m playing the game. CSTM is hands down, Lotro’s best community blog  and podcast and has been for years. This is a huge loss to the game. So as my token of appreciation, I will be posting a tribute article or mp3 or something like that around the 200th show. Oh and Turbine take note: Thank these folks in person, and, give them in-game titles like ‘Casually Strolled To Mordor’ or something like that. =)

Alright I’m done writing. I want some gaming. Till the next post.

Dev Chat Update 10 Snippets & Opinion

lotro opinion

This month’s LOTRO Dev Chat on Twitter just wrapped and there were plenty of good questions asked and answered. A lot of information regarding Update 10 were given when asked. Update 10 hits Bullroarer next week according to Devs, but here are other little snippets with accompanying thoughts.

1. Wardens will now use Agility as their main stat

- Not a surprise to me; I’ve read about it somewhere on the forums previously. Initial thoughts were of doubt because of the various might+vit gear that Wardens and my own Warden, Dagenath has already acquired. But it’s going to be a scramble now for me to go fishing for Agility jewelry. I’m not so worried about armour, because Medium armour do have Agility variants anyways. Relics on my LI’s will also have to be thrown out the window however(Might ones stacked). I can see the logic to this, based on Wardens and their evasion tanking, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ll pop on Bullroarer and play around with it.

2. Dread removed from landscape defeats

- Interesting but welcome change. Mind you I don’t die a lot on the landscape (lol) but solo-ing Bugud on my Cappy occasionally gets me. Also, I tend to go AFK so much at random times that I simply just sit out there and have boars and other buggers chew me dead. Having no dread from annoying defeats like that will definitely be nice. Thanks I guess.

3. Fate potency increase and power pools standardized

- Now the Devs didn’t elaborate too much on this and it had me wondering. I don’t play toons at end game that uses Fate a whole lot, so I am not entirely sure what this change does. As for the power pools being standardized, one of the Devs did say it makes class changes in future a lot easier, and doesn’t make the difference in power pools between classes seem random. O.0? My thoughts exactly. I did see a Hunter with 6K power the other day though..

4. New/Existing/Scaled Instances receiving new loot

- Very Important change for my Kinship and I. We have been running plenty of instances for lootz(who doesn’t love lootz!??) and frankly the variations are disappointing and some of the old scaled ones are downright pathetic (DRAKESPLITTER!!?? ARE YOU FUGGING KIDDING ME TURBINE?). Running these instances are what’s keeping my kinship alive at the moment, so kudos for adding new shinies to keep the fires burning. Thank you.

5. 2nd part of instance cluster introduced

- Same sentiment as above. New content=longer interest. However, I can’t help but wonder why the hell won’t they just add the entire instance cluster into the expansion in the first place. Maybe, I just answered my own question.

6. New armour sets

- Saw this one coming. Was bound to happen. Now keep your eyes out on the difference between stats of the Hytbold raid level gear and the new ones. Let’s see how it holds up with the new instances. As for the BG sets…(insert sarcastic comment here).

7. No new Epic Book with Update 10

- A little let down with this one. But considering where we last stopped in the Epics, it’s only sensible that we continue it with either a new region or something huge that takes us away from the Eastemnet. What I can’t say for sure, but Devs have said that a huge Epic Book will be coming in Update 11. Interesting.

8. First Age LI’s and of Tarnished Symbols

- Yeap, it’s coming. Brace yourselves for a whole new grind end-gamers. Wonder if it will be called a Tarnished Symbol of the Elder King. As a result, Devs did not answer my question but have done so indirectly by saying that Tarnished Symbols of Celebrimbor can be attained via marks, meds, and seals(Skirmish Camp) after the update. This is good news for anyone at 85 who has yet to get one, so start saving your currencies and start running skirms and instances to stock up on some! You’ll need the upgrade. Having gotten 4 before the new year(lucky SOB I know), I’m decently geared on my Champ and Cappy but will still be getting a few more for alternative weapons for PVP and different builds.

And that’s about all the info of Update 10 that came out from the Dev Chat. There were plenty of other questions about cosmetics, housing, mounted combat etc and you can find the full transcript here. Cheers everyone.