Lotro: Producer’s Letter 2015 Thoughts

lotro opinion

It’s been a great 2015 so far. I’m on the final weekend of my three week January vacation leave, and I’ve used that time wisely on Lotro, edging closer to Rank 12 with only 110, 000 renown to go. I also managed to squeeze in some quality vacation time with some buddies – we explored the Philippine island of Boracay, home to beautiful beaches, exquisite scenery and unlimited ale – it was a much needed getaway from work and game. I made a video of the trip and you can watch that here if anyone is interested in seeing Boracay.

Now, on to exciting Lotro news. The 2015 Producer’s Letter was released during my trip and I had to connect to my hotel’s wifi to soak in the excitement. It’s great news indeed!

Producer's Letter 2015

From the screenshot above, there are six areas that Lotro’s executive producer Athena Peters highlighted as major initiatives for the year. PvMP and New Fellowship Challenges had me punching Boracay air in joy (though I should not have my hopes up that high from experience). Let’s take a look at each of these initiatives.

Legendary Items

The imbuement system was talked about awhile back, but its still good to reiterate why I think it’s a welcome change. Simply put, I think we can expect less hassle with Legendary Weapons and Class Items with the Osgiliath update. No more deconstructing your main weapons, no more cluttering your vault with legacies you wish to keep for your next weapon, which really, spells out an effort to reduce the grind with the LI system. I think it’s great that finally, your legendary weapon grows with you. However, don’t be too surprised if this imbument item ends up in the store. We’ll maybe get one free through the Epics, and then if you want more, you buy more kinda jig. It’s unfortunate, but they need to make that money, and I’ll be honest and say that this is something that I would pay for. Let’s wait for that developer diary of this system for more details.

New Fellowship Challenges

Yes! Yesss! Enough of your Big/Epic Battle rubbish. By all means do renew your focus on group content and instances! 2014 was a boring year for group PVE. I don’t care that other players are decked out in the best gear because their tolerance virtue for running your mundane Big/Epic battles are at 19. That’s not how I want to get the best gear, and I daresay I am not alone in this. Give us alternatives! Gives us 3mans! 6mans! Raids! I want to enter a dungeon feeling like a noob again. I want the boss to laugh at us when we wipe, and then roll on loot old school style when we bury him six feet under! Yes!

Quality of Life

Nothing earth moving, but its good to know that the team are on the issues*

*And in some cases, have been on these for years.

Episodic Content

What is this precious? This has me curious. So, I suppose it’s like seasonal content? Like festivals, that come and go once a year? What happens if I don’t finish the quest line in one of these episodic contents? Will it be gone forever? Is it like that Living Content thing in Guild Wars 2? Questions, questions that only time can answer. Looking forward to this developer diary too.

Server Population

*Crickets. Get it? Haha lame I know, but hey a toast to the crickets in some of the emptier servers. No idea what they have in mind, could be a mega-server, could be an inter-server group finder tool (/world pugs will still beat this tool flat) or it could just be words. We do need something though, especially for the lower pop servers. I know what its like, and I transferred. Here’s to hoping for something good. As for moving the EU servers back to EU, not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but hey, a toast to you peeps in that side of the world too.

PvMP

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You gave us your word Turbine. Good to hear directly from you, that you are working on something PvMP related. I remember the new map discussion when it started long ago, and then it was dropped without further mention again for many a year. This is the year we’re heading to Osgiliath, so its a no brainer that the Osigiliath PvMP map is brought up. Very excited about this but again, cautious, as Turbine and PvMP are two words that don’t work well together. I’ll still be optimistic and hope this materializes. Fellow Freeps! Creeps! Rejoice and continue slaying each other in the 7 Year old Ettenmoors!

Have a good 2015 everybody. =)

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.

Moors Weekend Report 30 November 2014

PVMPI am the Malaysian Lotro Gamer and I am a proud associate of the Lotro Minority.

Yes, I am back indulging in the one thing that makes Lotro fun for me, PvMP. Before we begin, let me introduce you to the protagonist for this week’s report. Enter Hafflewrath.

 Hafflewrath

Ladies and gentleman, Hafflewrath is a product of a week and a half of non-stop hardcore levelling. He is a new level 100 Beorning on the Landroval server, created with the sole purpose of exploring Landy’s end-game and PvMP scene, following the unfortunate graveyard transformation that has befallen my beloved Riddermark server. I have been at level cap for about a week prior to this post, and below are my first experiences of PvMP on Landroval.

Hello Landy!

Finally, I can tick something off my Lotro bucket list. After numerous failed attempts to level a toon to cap on Landroval, I made up my mind as soon as Update 15 was released – that I would roll a new Bear on Landy and race it to the bottom. I’ve also given up on the Riddermark server. PvMP is dead, my kinship is barren and end-game is a pain, and it pains me to write that. I wanted a fresh challenge, to see creeps again, take part in huge fights and most of all, have fun again in Lotro. Many old friends I have met in this new adventure, familiar faces that have taken this road before me, either re-rolling here or transferring from Riddermark.

New, Innocent, Naive

The biggest enjoyment from this experience is that I get to start afresh. No reputation (maybe a little), no existing rivalries and no expectations. I get to be a noob again, grinding for gear and leeching off the establish players, learning the Landy PvMP culture. I don’t know any of the creeps here, and I want to know them over the coming months. Sure, it’s difficult having no gold, no instance currencies and the lot to get me up to speed, but that’s part of the sacrifice I’m going to have to live with. These things can be attained again at the cost of time.

First rank!

First rank!

That Familiar Rush

I absolutely love huge battles in the Moors for its unpredictability, and because of how often the fights can swing either way. This weekend has showed me what Landy is all about. Big action, and not of the ganky kind. It’s old school. It’s Adino vs. Asuza all over again. It’s nostalgic and magical. And being part of a PvMP centric kinship that is out there most of the time is great. Would like to thank the Highguard of Numenor for taking me in, and thank my buddy Mario-1 (Yes, a Ridder expatriate) for the recommendation.

Finally some big action - it's been 8 months or so

Finally some big action – it’s been 8 months or so

Beornings in PvMP

I’m still finding my best role out there as a Beorning. Without any decent gear at the moment, it’s hard not to feel like fresh meat to creeps all the time, but so far in the Yellow line, I get the most enjoyment. I shall go into more detail about Beornings in PvMP in another post.

Reform the lines!

Reform the lines!

What about your Rank 11 Captain, Haffleheim?

Well it’s obvious where he’s heading to, ain’t it? In memory of Sapience, that day will arrive Soon.

Commander Haffleheim

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!