Archive for Level cap

Never say ‘Nevah!’ again?!

Posted in Diary, Legendary Items, lotro, Radiance with tags , , , on October 4, 2013 by Corleth

Just recently, I’ve been contemplating something that even three or four months ago, I never would have countenanced. Loading up LoTRO. The human mind is a strange thing, and absence nearly always makes the heart grow fonder, no? To some of my kin-mates, I may even had uttered the dreaded phrase  ‘Never again!’ in relation to LoTRO. But hey…never say ‘Nevah!’, right?

That’s not to say I’ve taken the plunge yet. My LoTRO client maybe fully patched up, but that’s ‘cos by kids still play occasionally. Me, I haven’t set foot in Turbine’s Middle Earth for, well, six months or more. So, if I do go back, what’s my motivation? Why would I do it?

Pre-dawn in the Lonelands

Pre-dawn in the Lonelands

In truth, I still love the start-to-mid part of the game. Leveling from 1 through to 60 is a fun experience in LoTRO. For me, once you hit the far side of Lothlorien, it all starts to go pear shaped, but before that, there’s a huge amount to admire and enjoy. But let’s do a quick recap of where LoTRO is and how we got there…

Originally, the level cap was 50. Many players that hit that mark then spent countless hours grinding out end-game gear in ‘The Rift’ and other salubrious locations in Angmar. I never ran the Rift in anger because, by the time I got there, the level cap was already at 60; but It was a fun time, apparently, and I believe it.

Then came Moria and the level cap got bumped to 60. All that level 50 gear got binned (at least metaphorically speaking) but this was acceptable as everything was new; legendary items had arrived! ‘Radiance’ became the goal for all would be raiders so that they could take on ‘The Watcher’ – and in the process hope to complete their Moria armour set. Shinnies all round!

Next came ‘Lothlorien’ and the raid of Dar Narbugud, which required yet more radiance. So another set of armour went  in the bin and another was ground out, by those that cared. DN was a tough nut though, and those that survived in there could honestly say that they knew their class(es) well. Elitist? Maybe. Tough, challenging and rewarding? For sure.

Lake Evendim

Lake Evendim

Mirkwood was released, raising the level cap again, this time to 65. New dungeons and yet more requirement for radiance in the Barad Guldur raid. The gear grind started all over again, and folk began to get a little tired of dumping their hard earned sets. Oh yes, and don’t forget to ditch all of those level 60 legendary weapons, folks, ‘cos you need level 65 ones now!

Then what? Ah yes, scrap radiance. A good thing in isolation, no doubt. However, for those who had been grinding it out through the previous expansions, it was a little hard to take. Suck it up and move on, you oldsters.

So on we go. The level cap was moved to 75 with the advent of Enedwaith. Again, ditch all that level 65 gear – and start yet again with your legendary items while you’re at it.

Rinse and repeat for Rohan at level 85, but this time throw in an additional legendary item in the war horse bridle. Oh joy of joys!

So, here we are, 35 levels on from when we first picked up a legendary item at the entrance to Moria. Still were stuck with the dreadful legendary item system that means that nothing legendary is really legendary at all, because the damn things drop like confetti at a wedding, and have to be replaced more regularly than a baby’s nappy (diaper for any US reader)! Am I bitter?!

Looking forward, the recent whisperings on the development progress of Helms Deep, do not fill me with any enthusiasm for the level 95 end-game, either. The introduction of ‘skill-trees’ sounds like it might well result in the further dumbing down of the once unique LoTRO classes. I say ‘further’ because the said dumbing down process has been ongoing for some time now. The likes of my once-loved guardian class, was once a tank and only a tank, can now be turned into pretty okay DPSers. Captains, originally buffing machines, can now both tank and DPS. The list goes on.  Turbine have, under the eye of WB, ceased the production of complex-but-interesting mechanics that we saw in the original versions of Dar Narbugud, Skumfil, Dark Delvings and Samath Gul (to name but a few), and, with the advent of Helms Deep, look to be introducing what sounds like a zerg-centric battle system. Maybe they’ve been looking at how GW2 does end-game?

Misty Mountains

Misty Mountains

I very much doubt I’ll pre-order Helm Deep. I’ll bide my time and read the reviews. Maybe I’ll buy post-release, maybe not. But, in the meantime, I have an itch to see the likes of the Lonelands, Evendim, Eregion and Forochel again. And if I do decide to pay them a visit, I may just play on a new server too – it might be even more fun to start from the very beginning, with no 200 gold in the bank, and no ready-made crafters in support.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Still in awe after Orr

Posted in Diary with tags , , , on January 19, 2013 by Corleth

I’m wondering how many MMO players research their MMOs before they start playing them? The majority, I suspect, do in fact indulge in fair degree of Googling before and during their initial tussles with a new MMO. However, I don’t fall into that category. I prefer to go in almost bind.

I’ve only ever played two MMOs that have ‘stuck’; those being LoTRO and, more recently, GW2. So it is then that I’ve now come to the realisation that my personal modus operandi involves actively avoiding information about the games that I play, until I’m thoroughly and completely engaged.

So how does this avoidance manifest itself in my play-style? Well, for LoTRO and GW2, I only started playing the games on the recommendation of others, so I really had little or no idea about either, before taking the plunge.

My first forays around Thorin’s Gate, way back in 2007, were all the more enjoyable for not having a clue where I was, what I was supposed to do, or what my aims were. Indeed, I ambled my way to level 50 (the then level cap) in LoTRO, by a very slow and meandering path. Everything was new and I couldn’t stand to leave any discovered quests uncompleted, so much of my time was spent completing activities with little or not ‘gain’. And boy did I have fun!

Lord of the Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Online

My period of ‘blind’ enjoyment and exploration in LoTRO was, in the nick of time, extended by the arrival of the Mines of Moria expansion – which hit town only a week or so after me hitting level 50. MoM increased the level cap from 50 to 60, and the LoTRO’s epic story pulled me through the Eregion region and then into Moria itself, without me having much of a clue what joys I was in for. I remember seeing kin-chat at the time covering topics such as ‘legendary weapons’ and ‘Grand Stairs’ and not having a clue what they were. By the time I crossed Durin’s Threshold, many were already wearing their first pieces of the Moria armour set with ‘Radiance’ holding a new meaning for them. However, for me, ignorance was happiness.

Time passed. I eventually found my way though Moria and, for the first time, hit a level cap that was not to change for some considerable time. And this changed things. ‘End Game’ became a reality. Only now did I find myself looking around thinking…’Now what?’

Well, the ‘What’ entailed starting to run the Moria dungeons in pursuit of that ‘end-game’ armour together with its (now thankfully defunct) radiance stat. As a casual player, this meant I needed to undertake research in order to become competent with my toon within group environments. No longer could I potter along doing what I liked, when I liked, wearing whatever gear I liked. Now I had to start looking at game mechanics; understanding how my toon worked and how to get the best from his skills.

So, finally I began to read about the game that I had been playing for so long. I discovered blogs, web sites and pod casts. As my experiences changed, and my knowledge increased, my view of the game subtly shifted. No longer was I an explorer of a strange and unknown world, but now instead a dwarf with a mission. The ‘wonder’ was replaced by a determination to accomplish. Being content with ‘not knowing’ was replaced with a desire to know everything, to understand as much as possible, to be the best (well, to be at least viewed as competent by my piers!).

Looking back now, the loss of that ‘wonder of exploration’ was permanent. Every time an expansion and subsequent increase in level cap has come along since, within LoTRO, my main aim has been to get to level cap and deck my toons in the best gear I can, as quickly as possible. I now see this as real negative, and probably the main reason why my love affair with LoTRO has waned to an occasional fling. It’s also the reason why I’m currently in love with GW2.

Darkness and Light

Guild Wars 2

Playing GW2 has brought back the wonder of exploration, of the unknown. Of course, that doesn’t happen by chance – the GW2 world, Tyria, including the character classes and races, have thoroughly caught my imagination. I love the look and feel of the game, the game-play, and the overall change in ‘style’ when compared with LoTRO. A different type of polish, I think.

I know however that at some point my ‘wonder’ will begin to fade; my play style will become more focused…indeed, I can see it happening already, as I finish off gearing my elementalist with exotic pieces, and start chasing daily and monthly achievements.

For the moment though, I’m in the here and now, and I’m still walking around Tyria, wide eyed and full of awe.

Level 75 Rune-Keeper…But what next?

Posted in Diary, lotro with tags , , , , , , on November 23, 2011 by Corleth

There seems to be a bit of a lull, in-game, at the moment, at least in the neck of the woods that I frequent. Those that wanted to ‘beat’ Draigoch have done so, and there’s no other end-game content to get excited about. There’s only so many 12-man skirmishes that most people will run, after all. The end result is that you either level alts, or do your gaming elsewhere. I’m still doing the former, but many are doing the latter. Skyrim, Modern Warfare, and SWTOR* beta, all seem to be drawing people away from LoTRO (plus some are obviously involved in the ‘Update 5’ testing on Bullroarer, too).

* – I fully intend to try SWTOR, after release, myself.

As for the here and now, I’ve spent most of my LoTRO game-time, during the last week or so, levelling my rune-keeper. She finally hit level 75 yesterday, while questing in the infamous ‘Pit of Iron’. I’ve decided that although I won’t be grinding out superior fourth marks [for the Draigoch armour set] on her, I do intend to equip her with a level 75 crafted armour (Assault Armour of Theodred), plus complete all of the non-repeatable quests around Isenguard, before considering her ‘done’. At the very least I want to hit kindred reputation with Theodred’s Riders, before doing ‘something else’. So, still a few more hours of zapping lie in front of me & my ‘keeper, over the next week.

Hitting Level 75 - inside the 'Pit of Iron'

Hitting Level 75 - inside the 'Pit of Iron'

Going back to the final few levels before hitting 75…in my post last week, I commented that I was finding levelling much more challenging on my RK, compared to my previous experience of levelling my guardian. That pretty much continued all the way up to 75, with a few quests in each area causing me significant grief. Several of these had to wait until I made level 75, at which point I was able to re-visit them to complete…’The Battle of Dol Baran’ instance in the Heathfells, together with killing ‘the Devourer’ in The Pit of Iron, both come to mind here. Once at level-cap however, the following upgrades really made the difference:

  • Swapping out my level 65 second-age rune-stone for a level 75 3rd age stone.
  • Replacing old level 65 raid armour pieces with level 75 crafted armour (2 pieces done, to date).
  • Replacing several jewellery pieces (both level 65 crafted and quest reward items) with level 75 crafted items.

My will, fate and vitality have now increased significantly (from what they were at the end of level 74), together with DPS. All in all, I feel like my RK is beginning to come together.

I’m now looking forward to ‘Update 5’, which is due next month; the two new 3-man instances, two new 6-man instances, and the new 12-man instance, are all to be looked forward to. In the meantime, once I’m done working on my RK, the decision is what to do to fill in the time….level another toon to 75? I feel maybe I need a break from levelling, so I’m considering checking out the ‘Moors….creep-side 😉

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