Daily Archives: October 23, 2010

Crafting Adventures in Middle-earth

(By “popular” request, a version of Thursday’s post without anagrams.  Messages both public and private seemed to indicate that perhaps not everybody finds anagrams as amusing as I do.)

Yes, it was again late in the eve of another Saturday and we were still hanging out in Ost Guruth, warming up with a little music while trying to avoid the gaze of the ever-disrobing Frideric the Elder.

And in the usual course of things I went over to The Fat Lue to see what new songs had been added since our last adventure.

I was quite happy to find a two part version of White Rabbit, a classic of the Jefferson Airplane.

We occupied ourselves with that for a bit, then tried a version of Hazy Shade of Winter.

Music in Ost Guruth

Though written by Paul Simon, I always associate the song with The Bangles. (I had a friend in college who took one course merely because there was a girl who looked like Susanna Hoffs in the class.)

We played for a bit while waiting for Enaldie to make her way up to Ost Guruth and for Earlthecat to log on. He was logged into Skype, but didn’t seem to be inclined to make an appearance in Middle-earth.

That was a shame, because we had some high adventure in mind. Adventure of the sort that Stargrace mentioned recently, of a sort where you end up heading some place you have no business being at your level. We would just have to do it sans Earlthecat.

So the line up for the night was:

  • Garfinkel – level 29 elf Minstrel
  • Sigwerd – level 30 human Champion
  • Enaldie – level 30 elf Rune Keeper

with a special guest appearance by one of my alts:

  • Nomu – level 28 dwarf Guardian

We were going to head out of the Lone Lands for a bit, as each of us had a crafting quest to go after.

Crafting in the game is surprisingly relevant and useful, at least on the group level (I do not have the patience to try to make money at it at the Auction House), but to really make the best stuff you have to stretch out beyond the crafting in your current level range and get access to the tier above you. That unlocks the ability to get critical successes when crafting in your own level range.

And that meant, for us, a pack of level 40 crafting quests to conquer in zones comfortably above out current levels.

On the danger side, we would be threading our way through areas where the mob ran from level 35-40. But on the plus side, in LOTRO at least, as a group mobs 8-10 levels above you are surmountable, as long as they are taken individually. Adds are death.

The first course was east from Ost Guruth in the Lone Lands and into the Trollshaws. Therein lay the goals for a level 40 cooking quest that both Garfinkel and Sigwerd needed as well as a level 40 metalsmith quest that Nomu needed to advance his armor crafting skill.

We decided to do the cooking quest first. The target, a boar (of course) of extraordinary magnitude, lay beyond the Ford of Bruinen in the Giant Valley that is off to one side of the High Moor.

Getting to the Ford of Bruinen was not a big problem. We stuck to the main road, diverting only to pick up the stable master route at Thorenhad.

However, as I’ve mentioned before, unlike in the books, crossing the Ford of Bruinen only puts you in more danger, not less. The path up the far side is patrolled by bears, lynx, and giant mosquito-like flying insects that look like they could drain a hobbit dry with a single prod of their… blood sucking… prod… thingy.

We had to dismount and fight our way up into the High Moor, one fuzzy creature at a time.

Once securely in the High Moor, we had to scout out the Giant Valley, for only therein lay the porcine pal with whom we had come to play. It was not too far off the main path. But danger lay in the Giant Valley.

First there were the giant signature level lizards, who were around level 40. Signature is somewhere between solo and elite. Possible to take on, but tougher than the standard mob. We worked our way carefully around them. Carefully and successfully. Did they reduce the aggro radius of mobs in the game when it went free to play? I seem to be skirting danger more successfully since that change.

And then there were the elite dragons. We gave them a very wide berth when possible, diminished aggro radius or not.

We were able to find our way, and soon the message went out, “Sighted Swine, Sank Same.”

Carving Up Porky

The pig was butchered, producing just enough meat to fulfill the quest needs of both Sigwerd and Garfinkel.

A boar has at least two flanks, right?

We then retraced our steps back out of the Giant Valley.

Already in the High Moor, we decided we should take the opportunity to visit Rivendell.  We could hardly pass up the chance to visit the home of Elrond and Glorfindel. Surely you recall Glorfindel, who faced the Balrog at the fall of Gondolin and who himself fell, but later returned after some time in the Halls of Mandos in Valinor. I mean, there can’t be two Glorfindels, right? He’s got to be the same one.

So through the rest of the High Moor we rode until we reached Rivendel. (Imladris, in the elven tongue.)

Behold, Rivendell!

There we stopped for a short time, looked around a bit, got our bearings, then headed to the stable master.

Does the same guy do all these maps?

Our first ever visit to Rivendell was short.  We had tasks still to accomplish. It was time to ride back to Thorenhad.

Through The Woods Again

Once there, I logged out Sigwerd and brought in Nomu.

The quest for Nomu involved wights up in Nan Tornaeth, in the north part of Trollshaws. To reach that, we had to take some narrow paths, so there was no sneaking around things. As with the path from the Ford of Bruinen to the High Moor, it was a creature by creature slog.

We reached the area of the wights and spotted one immediately. This level 38 shade put up a tough fight, and it was Enaldie’s huge damage output that saved the day. Nomu was able to hold aggro, but only just. But our victory was hollow. The item Nomu needed did not drop. The crafting quest drops are usually close to 100%, but not this one it seems. We would need another wight.

The next one we spotted was level 40. Given the tough fight the last one put up, we were a bit cautious. We made sure we had buffs going, then headed in.

The two levels, putting the wight 12 levels above Nomu, was telling. Nomu landed very few blows, and since a lot of his aggro management relies on connecting with his shield, the wheels started to come off the situation. Garfinkel tasted defeat and the wight was advancing on Enaldie who was putting out a veritable storm of magic while Nomu tried to get the attention of the wight.

Hardcore Wight

Two taunts in a row hit and the wight turned on Nomu. Meanwhile, Garfinkel revived and rejoined the fight. The wight was slain and the item for the quest was recovered.

That left only the quest of Enaldie, which was over in Trestlebridge. We decided that recalling to Bree was in order.

Nomu retired for the evening and Sigwerd came out again as we rode up to Trestlebridge.

There Enaldie found that her quest was rather simple. It was not the quest to access the next tier, which takes place up near Angmar, but just the quest for superior workbench access. We’ve seen that one before, where you gather some wood down in the river below Trestlebridge and then patch up the bridge. I did that quest with Terentia a while back.

So while Enaldie collected wood, Garfinkel and Sigwerd went back to music, playing a little Blues Brother.  Gimme Some Lovin’ didn’t sound quite right, but we were only playing two out of the three parts.

Which One Is Elwood?

Once Enaldie was done, we rode on to Esteldin, which is home to the crafting hall with superior workbenches. It is also one of the most convenient crafting halls in the game as it has a vault keeper and a mail box close to hand.

There, I closed up the night with a solo version of Margaritaville, which actually drew in a few role players.

Take Us Out Sigwerd!

And that was about it.  I didn’t even get to make fun of our pal Radagast.

Next week, iambic pentameter!

Oh, and maybe how the game looks on the new machine with DX11 and such.

We’ll see if Turbine has anything about which to brag.

BlizzCon Costume & Dance Contest Notes

We watched the contest segment on DirecTV tonight and I have to say that was really some of the worst camera work I’ve seen in a long time.

I realize that the whole thing seemed to be coming together in sort of an ad hoc fashion, but who in the control room was saying, “Yeah, from the knees down, that is the angle we want for the one close up on these costumes!”

They would have been better off nailing a camera down on a table, taping a mark on the stage and telling people to stand there and show their stuff while the video crew went out for a drink.

Okay, the camera work settled down… some… and managed to do okay after a while, but only once most of the costume contestants had already had their big moment blown.

I’m sure the guy who went out and asked his girlfriend to marry him in the middle of the costume contest got big points, though the women in the audience shouted at him until he went down on one knee and asked in what they felt was a proper fashion.

Too bad nobody queued the announcer up on this event.  The whole thing went off with barely a word.  But then the announcer for that segment seemed to be less than connected with the whole thing.

That is what they get for sending Jay Mohr off stage for a bit.  He holds the whole contest routine together.

Then the dance contest had the expected Worgen and Goblin dancers.

But no human female dance entrants in the dance contest?  What was up with that?

And a guy doing the dwarf female dance was one of the finalists again.  But not the same guy as last year, who won.  No he got beat out by a different guy this year.

The winner though was the guy who did the dwarf male dance.

There is a lesson in that for next year I’m sure… doing the dwarven dances will get you there.  Dwarves for the win.

Finally, the woman playing the violin in the band was smokin’ hot.  I’m glad the camera was on her a lot of the time.