We did manage to reduce his presence in skirmishes, mostly, but we’ll get to that.
Saturday night and we had the four of us on Firefoot again.
- Earlthecat – level 25 dwarf Guardian
- Roderigo – level 25 human Burglar
- Garfinkel – level 26 elf Minstrel
- Enaldie – level 28 elf Rune Keeper
Enaldie is getting a bit ahead of us, mostly because she has no alts. It is unnatural.
I thought we might see Gaff in game. He has been back in Middle-earth a bit since it went F2P, but he wasn’t about on Saturday night.
The first thing we had to do was demonstrate to Earl what we had learned about the music system.
After that, Earl had to run off and do the skirmish tutorial. We offered tips and semi-helpful advice over Skype while he made the same comments about Second Watcher Heatherstraw and his “hurt” arm.
On our advice, Earl went with the herbalist role for his soldier. After last week, we though that perhaps a bit of additional healing might help.
Our first full fellowship skirmish was Trouble in Tuckborough. I had run through it solo previously in the week to check it out, and it seemed perhaps a bit less hectic than Amon Sul or Gondomon. In Tuckborough your team is on the offensive to drive off Sharky’s men, so you have more control over the pace compared to the other two, where you face wave after wave of bad guys coming at you.
Given the diversity of levels in our group, that we had to go in under the banner of a full fellowship (6 players) with only four on the team, and that it was our first skirmish as a group, we set the level to 21 and kicked it off.
We all seemed to have the right soldiers this time, so rather than a mass of Anderson Coopers, we had two dwarven protectors, a female human herbalist, and… well… Anderson Cooper. That was Enadlie’s choice, and I am not sure if she simply didn’t change her soldier traits, wanted the warrior for his skills, or just has a crush on Anderson Cooper. I mean, he is rich, famous, and younger than either Potshot or myself.
Tuckborough is the skirmish most like the tutorial. You start at one end of the map on which are several control points. You clear away the bad guys from around a control point, activate the control point, and then fight off any counter attacks.
The counter attacks are a bit more difficult than the initial assault. With care you can usually take on the bad guys patrolling a control point in smaller bites. But on a counter attack, the who group is running straight at you.
And that group usually consists of tougher mobs.
But the game compensates for that. With the clearing of each control point, you get a couple more NPC helpers when you activate. In the case of Tuckborough, you get a couple of bounders who will assist you in repelling the counter attack.
If the attack gets close enough.
Here we were able to experience the pet peeve of almost every dungeon boss, the minion who stands there and watches his fellows get chopped into chutney.
The bounders would assist, but only if you let the counter attacking force come into the arrgo radius. If you run out to meet the attacking force because you’re aggressive like that or they are hitting you with ranged attacks, the bounder will stand their posts like nothing is going on. Pengail, our maniac escort quest friend, had a noticeably larger aggro radius than these Shire layabouts did.
We managed to clear one side of the hill without much drama, but on the other side a bit of trouble kicked in. We had a couple of members of the team defeated. But we also had the game lock up a couple of times. My computer froze up in-game twice and Potshot had that happen once.
Each time meant a reboot for one of use and idle time for the rest, so we loitered about the last third of the skirmish for a while. Fortunately, the bad guys are pretty oblivious/patient and did not execute a spoiling attack to push us back over the hill.
Eventually we were able to finish off the skirmish and collect our rewards.
The skirmish was marked as having a daily quest associated with it, but I am not sure if you get that automatically, or if you have to go pick that up somewhere.
That gave us enough skirmish marks to upgrade out soliders to our current levels and beyond. We then began eyeing some of the equipment available and decided to do another skirmish.
We chose the Siege of Gondomon this time around.
I have run this skirmish solo a few times and we did it as a small fellowship succesfully the previous weekend.
However, this skirmish behaves a little differently when run as a full fellowship.
On previous runs, the skirmish was mostly a matter of running to the three openings in the defenses, north, south, and west, to defend them from attack. After three rounds of multiple attacks, you fall back to defend Mathi from the final assault. Mathi, the dwarf in charge of Gondomon must survive to finish the skirmish successfully.
Solo and with a small fellowship, all the action is at one designated point. With the fellowship version of the skirmish, there are a couple of points in the event when you are called to fight at one of the openings while a named bad guy decides to wander in through one of the other points of entry.
Now, in scrolling back, this does get announced in great big aqua blue letters on the screen in a timing that I can only describe as both too slow and too fast.
It is too slow in that half a paragraph of aqua blue text blocks a good chunk of your screen while you are running off to defend one of the openings, and so it is immediately annoying and you want it to go away. But it is too fast in that it isn’t up on your screen long enough for you to read and digest the half a paragraph of data.
It is one of those situations where, in real life, someody would just say “Hey, bad guy at the west gate” and you would respond appropriately. If that person handed you a note that with the name of the guy, his relationship to the attack, his axe to grind, and finally, the direction of his approach, the communication would be… less effective.
And so we failed to defend Gondomon when a named guy wandered in and slaughtered Mathi while we were elsewhere.
Having scrolled back and figured that out, we decided to run the skirmish again.
This time, at about the same point in the attack, when the same text came up, Roderigo ran off to take care of that while everybody else kept on the main defense.
Roderigo intercepted and defeated the named guy then ran off to rejoin his companions, failing to notice the SECOND named guy who wandered in and slaughtered Mathi again.
Live and learn.
Still, aside from that, we seemed to be capable of taking on the bad guys when we managed to confront them in various skirmishes.
There was some talk about trying Gondomon again, but it was getting late and it was decided we should call it a night.
A couple of us hung around for a bit to explore the housing market in Middle-earth. Our kinship is a few weeks away from being able to purchase kinship housing. Not that we can afford it (this should be in the LOTRO shop!), but we though we should check it out just in case we have some sort of gold windfall.