I have mentioned before that the weekly instance group is going to finish up in old Azeroth and then do something else until Cataclysm comes along. That I keep mentioning it doesn’t make it so, but we do keep talking about it.
And, as part of that, I patched up Lord of the Rings Online to see what was going on in Middle-earth. It seemed to be a good weekend to do so as Turbine was celebrating the third anniversary of the game with a welcome back weekend which included some special incentives. The key ones for me were in-game, a writ that reduces the price of bard transactions permanently, a boost to experience gains during the celebration, and a free pass for the stable master transport system.
The stable master pass was especially important for some of my characters.
I have characters on two servers. There are the day one characters… actually, some are from the head-start, so earlier than day one… that are on Winfola, and then there are the characters I started about 18 months ago on Nimrodel.
The characters on Winfola seem to be… desperately poor. I compared my level 31 guardian on Windfola, a day one character, with my level 31 captain on Nimrodel. The guardian had about 300 silver to his name total, while the captain was over the two gold mark. Considering that it is 1,000 silver to the gold, that is quite a discrepancy.
Those were tough times back in the beginning, when clicking the “repair all” button could bankrupt you. And so when I play those characters, I walk or ride my Bree pony to get places. Stable master travel is out because of the cost. But for a weekend travel was free.
With a pair of level 31s, I spent a bit of time with each doing their level 30 class quests, which yields up a nice piece of equipment and a useful class trait.
The guardian quest was fairly easy, at least once I figured out where to stand. You have to defend the bridge at Trestlebridge from a wave of orcs, but if you stand too far forward, one of them will show up on a flank behind you and get to the bridge. Fortunately, you get do-overs.
The captain’s question was a bit more challenging. It turned out to be part desperate battle, part aggro radius management, and part Super Mario Brothers platform jumping.
I was saved by my Bree pony yet again, that special gift to founding subscribers that we got back in December 2007. While you have to be level 35 for a standard horse (and have a few gold, so my guardian will be stuck with the Bree pony for a long time to come) the pony is usable at the low, low level of 15. And, as it turns out, the pony is quite the show jumper. That saved me, as there was one gap I just could not time the jump for. But on the pony, I was able to fly over with ease.
And, as an added benefit, my herald was able to join me on the other side. When you mount up, you herald goes away and appears again when you dismount, while if you jump the gap yourself, I understand that your herald is stuck on the other side, unable to assist you.
Anyway, I was able to make it through thanks to that.
This does illustrate one of the gripes we had early on with LOTRO, the disparity of difficulty with class quests. Some of them seemed to be of the “cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring” level of difficulty, while others were more along the lines of, “fetch me a pack of Rothman’s from the chemist.”
That out of the way and some bag cleaning done (short on storage space, as always) I started to look into the skirmish mechanism that was added in with Siege of Mirkwood expansion. If I read things right, this provides on-demand 1, 3, 6 or 12 person instances. This could be a key item for the instance group… except that, of course, we are five people.
Anyway, I have characters that are the right level, you need to be level 30 for this skirmish thing it seems, I followed the quest that lead me to the skirmish camp outside of Bree., and I have a quest to go… well… kill some stuff before they’ll let me skirmish. But I’ll go take care of that and then see where this take mes.