Meanwhile, back in pre-Free-to-Play LOTRO last weekend, the instance group was still in the Lone Lands. The four of us on were:
- Earlthecat – level 21 dwarf Guardian
- Roderigo – levl 23 human Burglar
- Garfinkel – level 24 elf Minstrel
- Enaldie – level 25 elf Rune Keeper
We had to travel back to Bree and then to the Forsaken Inn from Esteldin, where we had left off previously after our horse purchase.
At the Forsaken Inn, we had to head deeper into the Lone Lands to the second quest giver encampment. There we really started our work in earnest for the Eglain.
The quests were a series of collect so many items, kill so many bad guys, pick up so many drops that are the standard fare for MMOs. This set happened to be well tuned for a group, for while all of the quests were marked solo, there are a few in there that are pretty risky unless you are in a group.
And so we tramped about the the center of the Lone Lands, a place that reminds some of us in the group of the central coastal area of California, scenery you see if you take Highway 101 south to LA.
The quest path took us through a stronghold of the Dourhands, where we defeated their leader. This also helped us along with one of the memorable (in a bad way) quests in the area, the one where you collect Dourhand axes, which seem to be unpredictably rare drops at times. And it moved Earl along with Enmity of the Dourhands, which yields the great dwarf attack, head-butt. Great as in a great animation.
We also discovered a door in the stronghold that lead us out to another key quest location, Iorvinas.
Iorvinas had been added in since we last ran through the Lone Lands as a group. It consists of a an underground area where the Dourhands are apparently cooperating with the orcs, meaning there are plenty of both to fight.
The geography of Iorvinas stretches the imagination a bit. The distance between the two doors that lead into the underground seem a lot further apart on the surface than they do underground. But the area is well done and it is good to do as a group, as the bad guys are clumped and wander around so it is very easy to get in over your head if you are solo.
We suffered our only defeat of the night in Iorvinas due to an accidental proximity pull. We were less in over our heads than we were simply not used to keeping an eye on our morale. Earl, especially, as the lowest level and the tank hadn’t had to pop an athelas potion so far and was defeated in this fight. The rest of us managed to finish off the bad guys, but it was a reminder that we need to keep up with things.
Many Dourhands were slain. We finished up the quests down there, but had to keep killing Dourhands for another 15 minutes or so until everybody had all 24 of their Dourhand axes.
Then it was off to the half-orc encampment, stopping to slay some lynx on the way. They are apparently “good eating.”
At the half-orc camp we were there to… well… kill half-orcs and their leader in particular… but also there to clean up any piles of junk of mis-laid crates of goods.
We did have the usual Saturday night problem here. Another group had rolled into the camp just ahead of us, so we spent some time hanging about waiting for orcs, junk piles, and crates to respawn.
In a classic LOTRO slow quest update scenario, in the fight with the boss and his minions, where you needed to kill five specific mobs, they each counted for two different quests. After the fight, there was a shout of, “Hey, I only got three of the minions” in the group because the updates were rolling in on screen so slowly. They do, of course, update in the chat window immediately, but when a fight is done for a bit and you finally get the 3 of 4 message, one can take it the wrong way.
Then it was time to retrace our steps back to the various quest givers. We were then pointed towards the next bastion of the Lone Lands, Ost Guruth.
We rode there, picked up the stable master route, collected some quests, then called it a night as far as adventuring was concerned. We all still had to head back to our trainers and such, since we all gained a level or two.
The most ominous skill learned had to be Garfinkel’s new ability to play the bagpipes.
As the saying goes, centuries ago the Irish introduced the Scots to the bagpipes… and the Scots still haven’t gotten the joke. (source: Dave Allen)
And thus ended our last instance group night in Middle-earth before the change over to Free-to-Play.
This coming Saturday we will have some new options to explore. Skirmishes are now open to levels 20 and up, so we might try that. Or we might just go insane listening to the OOC channel around Bree, which is already lighting up like Barrens chat on a Saturday night.
Or maybe the whole thing will crash with the onrush of new players. We’ll see on Saturday night.