Defeat at the Great Barrow

After a month long run of at least one of us going missing for the Saturday night play time, we at last all showed up and were ready to go.

We had been talking about the Great Barrow for some time.  We all had three quests for the Great Barrow, we were now securely in the level range of all three of those quests (which are ranked levels 22, 23, and 24) and we were all together and ready to go.

We had been to the Great Barrow, or a subset there of, as part of the Book I epic quest.  That was the run which Tom Bombadil sent us on, then showed up and finished for us, demonstrating that he did not really need our help, he was just trying to keep us busy.  Whose side is he on, anyway?

While we got our posteriors handed to us several times during that run, we had all gained a couple of levels since then and felt we were up to the challenge of the full on, industrial size, Great Barrow.

And it is a great barrow indeed.  Large.  Sprawling.  Full of twisty passages.  Populated by just the sort of horrors you would expect, and a few you might not.

Facing this new challenge was the following lineup:


And that was the way our lineup looked at several points.

And, in case you’re not up on the icon/class linkage, our group, from the top, was a guardian, a captain, a hunter, and a bard.

Once in the barrow, we faced a series of elite spiders that were a couple levels below us.  They were also very disappointing when it came to experience.  In fact, the experience factor for many of the mobs in the instance was disappointing.  A level 20 elite spider was worth all of 36 exp to me, and that was with the double exp bonus.  At level 23 that is bunk exp.

And, as if to prove that they were dangerous, we ended up with five elite spiders on us not too far into the instance and got ourselves defeated for the first time of the evening.

We found other gangs of creatures to assail us once we got through the spiders.  We were jumped by large groups on non-elites.  These included worms, rats, and disembodied arms!

Believe me, nothing gets the bad puns going like being attacked by a room full of disembodied arms.


Despite the bad exp and the bad puns, the Great Barrow is quite visually interesting.  You do not get that Diablo II feeling of repeating terrain tiles, or even the World or Warcraft level of reuse. (Though I understand that after the Great Barrow, some locations look suspiciously familiar.)

I particularly like this low fog/dry ice effect in one of the hallways:


We chopped our way through the mobs as we explored the sprawling underground that is this zone.

Eventually, of course, we found our way into trouble.  Double trouble.  Trouble with the names Gaerdring and Gaerthel.


They start out nice at first, with a little speech that sounds like they are trying to sell you a barrow time share.  Then they get to the catch.


And then their nice little room turns into the killing floor.  Only, completely against our plan, we were the ones getting killed.

On the good side, only Gaerdring, a signature mob, attacks you initially.  I would guess that, once you defeat him, Gaerthel tries to get in on the fun.  That is only a guess because we never defeated Gaerdring.

We went zero for three vs. Gaerdring.

Why did we do so badly?

Once you engage him, more undead start shooting up out of the floor to attack you.  The fight was on!  Here you can see some of the extra undead, including the now inevitable creeping arms, starting to swamp us.


They were not elite, but there were enough of them to make life very hard.

We changed up our tactics with each attempt, but at no time were we even in the same area code as victory.  After the third round we were tired, mobs were beginning to respawn along the route to the killing floor, and Shooty’s pants went red, so we were done for the evening.

You just don’t want to be hanging around with pantsless elves.

So we skulked off in defeat.  Not only in defeat, but with not much to show for it except some very minor exp and some very large repair bills.

We’ll be back, once we get a couple more levels… at which point the mob exp will no doubt be infinitesimal.  That’s life in Middle-earth.

21 thoughts on “Defeat at the Great Barrow

  1. yunk

    I bet your repairs cost an arm and a leg.
    If you were on Landroval I could lend you a hand.

    you tried with only 4? that is tough, especially at your level. I think at…26 maybe .. your guardian gets Challenge, which is an aoe taunt (mainly it affects the mob you target but also pulls others). that really helps with the adds.

    I think in too many cases Turbine went for “swarm you with mobs” as a strategy, which starts to get old. However the later Evendim instances are actually very tough and require better strategy, so they’re getting better. But expensive to fail on my poor guardian.


  2. tipa

    That zone is best done with the group in the high 20s.

    In the twins encounter, you’re right, the second named waits for you to kill the first. Focus on bringing them down and AE the adds.

    The encounter off to the side is a ring event — the boss brings up waves of adds to defeat. AE them and move on.

    The last named, the witch king, summons adds and drains power. Keep someone tanking the named (who doesn’t hit that hard) and kill the adds ASAP.

    The watchword for most encounters in the zone: AE and watch your power.

    At level 38, the entire zone will be gray; shouldn’t have much trouble :P

    Anyone doing instances for XP is going to be sorely surprised… unless they bring someone of significantly higher level to soak up the damage for the benefit of the lower-level folks — that’s how I got through Chapter 11 the first time (for great xp at 15!)


  3. yunk

    Oh chapter 11 augh! it was hilarious, my guild went and we were all on our alts, and it was basically the first time we had grouped with those classes in an instance. So it was our tanks first time tanking for 6 people, my first time healing, the captain’s first time captaining, etc.

    And then the last fight the boss drops the dread on you, since we had died earlier, the tank had over 6 dread which dropped her health to 350. The mobs were hitting for over 100. heh that was fun. We had to do it twice :)


  4. Heather

    Disembodied arms and pantsless elves! Eeek!

    I do love the fog, water, waving grass etc. in LotRO. It really makes the game world feel “real.”


  5. Bildo

    I’m 36 now… maybe I should see about doing it? I don’t know. It seemed like it could take an awful long time for a such a low level dungeon, to crawl through.


  6. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    We have this silly notion that you should be able to do fellowship quests at or around the level of the quest.

    Of course, I always forget that LOTRO allows six to a fellowship, so were not down one, but down two slots. More ways in which WoW has corrupted us!

    We have a whole raft of fellowship quests to finish though, so we’ll build up some for a return bout in a few levels.


  7. yunk

    yeah you can do it but with 6 it would be easier.
    with 4 it is a real handful

    damn I’m good.

    Has anyone made a game based on Xanth? maybe it would involve puzzles where you have to make puns.


  8. tipa

    I never fingered you for a punster, but you really nailed the theme and also na-palmed the discussion!


  9. tipa

    Oh yeah, instead of Xanth, a better world would be the Apprentice Adept series, seeing as how one of its main features is having the opponents pair off for creative gaming.


  10. Cyndre

    I completed these quests at level 19, but the zone was really designed for a full group of six, and you have absolutly NO AOE in your group.

    I suggest you go back with the same group, plus two champions and you should have no trouble.

    (our group was 28 Guardian, 23 Hunter, 23 Champion, 20 Champion, 19 Champion, 19 Minstrel and we still have a few wipes and I, the Minstrel died about 1937836 times)


  11. Cyndre

    ps – I’m on Landroval if you need a hand and happen to be on the same server. I am Cyndre and my wife is Alontis. We’d be happy to fill out your group to complete the instance. (Both of us are level 22 now)


  12. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Well, I would not say NO AOE. My guardian has an AOE attack and an AOE taunt, but I see what you are saying. That is not enough. When the minstrel began to heal I couldn’t keep all the adds on me, so they all started to migrate to her, which meant running around trying to do ad hoc crowd control and ending up as pictured at the top of the article.

    Unfortunately, we are on Windfola, a server chosen via a complex algorithm I have created which assures that any person I run into who plays the game isn’t on my server. It is like voodoo magic. Thanks though!


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