Tag Archives: Rivendell

The Far Side of Rivendell

Rivendell is practically a physical barrier for me in Lord of the Rings Online.  I counted up 27 characters that I have rolled up and played in the game over the years, and among those that made it out of the starter zones, most ended up somewhere between the Lone Lands and Rivendell.  Only four have ventured much beyond that point. (And only one has been past Moria, but that is another story.)

Your current server is always legendary

I could actually draw the line a bit earlier, as there is a clump of characters that didn’t make it out of Esteldin, but by the time you’ve been there you have likely been into Rivendell.  A few quests send you that was fairly early in your 30s, which always made the fact that the Rivendell stable master doesn’t “stick” for you until level 40 more than a tad annoying.  I guess they have to find some reason for people to buy mithril coins.

Once through the Trollshaws and into Rivendell the elves seem in quite a rush to get you moving onward and into the Misty Mountains to meet up with Gloin.  And that means snow.

Looking at Gloin’s camp in the snow

I know dwarves are hardy folk and all, but that bit of stone they’re hanging about doesn’t have so much as a square meter of roof over it or three walls together to put one over.  It is open to wind and weather and they’re all just standing about day and night, the moisture of the breath fogging up before them. (Which, I must admit, is a nice touch.)  Shelter amounts to a little tent.

All the shelter they have

And then there is snow.  I am not all that fond of snow zones.  Fields of white broken up with rocks are not all that attractive.  And they seem to have done away with the weather that used to come up in the zone.  Or maybe it is the wrong season for the blizzards and white outs I have experienced before.

The Misty Mountains are not that far from Rivendell.  Unfortunately, this seems to have been the green light to have you run back and forth between Gloin’s camp and the last homely house over and over.  The Misty Mountains seems to be of the old school of LOTRO, where you spent a lot of time just running between NPCs with messages.  This was addressed somewhat in the lower level zones.  Bree and the Lone Lands are pretty good on that front now.  But Book 5 might as well be titled The Last Refuge: Get Used to Running Back to it Every Other Quest.

At least the ride between Gloin’s camp and Rivendell has a swift travel options.  But you then have to tramp back and forth from the stable master to whoever you need to speak with to get your update (on the map below the stable master is below the “R” in Rivendell while whoever you need to speak to is usually above the last “L” so you’re running pretty much the breadth of the place), then get back into the Misty Mountains to go wherever it is Gloin thinks you need to go.  And the Misty Mountains isn’t a small zone.

The Misty Mountains Map

Fortunately most of the running about in the snow is confined to the run between Gloin’s camp and Helegrod.  You can harvest and stack up bears and snow beasts for deeds as you pass back and forth… and you will pass back and forth.  There is a series of chapters in book 5 that sends you up to a doorway set in the mountain to slay a guardian to get a drop.  Then it is back down to Gloin’s camp, then back to Rivendell, then back to Gloin’s camp, then back up to the doors so you can go in.  That reeks of “slow the players down” rather than any depth of story telling.  I wish I had thought to use a deed accelerator boost before I started, I could have made some serious inroads.

Through the doors is a fellowship quest and one I don’t think I’ve ever done before.  The whole “give you a group-sized buff if your solo” thing came about since I last passed through I think.  Or maybe I just got sick of running back and forth previously.  Anyway, this time around I was going in, and on arriving I found a dragon.  A dead dragon.  Ewww.

Dead dragon in the middle of the floor

In something out of season seven of Game of Thrones, the Nazgul are trying to take a dead dragon and turn it into an undead minion and you have to get in there and stop it from happening.  This has what I can only describe as some comedic turns, but ends up with you fighting one of the nine all by yourself, which is kind of a tall order.

Have at you!

Apparently standing by the obelisk protects you, because otherwise I just had mortal weapons and the Glass of Aglaral to keep me going.

I particularly like the pair of minions hanging out in the distance in that screen shot discussing whatever and ignoring the fight going on.  I know that is a staple of the genre, but it seems especially poignant in this scene since the Nazgul summoned a bunch of minions to help out.  But those two, they were on their break.

Anyway, I prevailed.  You don’t get to actually slay the Nazgul… the story won’t allow it, can’t allow it… but you send it running off leaving a pile of cloth behind.

All that was left after the fight

After that… well, of course, you have to run around again.  But once you’ve turned that in, and the reward was a nice piece of armor, you’re done with the epic quest line for the Misty Mountains.

Five books down, three to go

However, at that point I hadn’t gotten all that far into the zone.  There were still many deeds to be found and at least two quest hubs to be dealt with.  I haven’t even been close to Goblin-town yet.  So there is still more to do out in the snow.  I’m only level 42 as of this writing, so it probably won’t be until I hit level 45 before I turn my eye towards Angmar.

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.

A Mounted Captain in Rivendell

Over in Middle-earth, I managed to push Tistann, my captain on Nimrodel, to level 26 towards the end of last week which means that, as a founder, I get a horse!

Tistann in Rivendell

Tistann before the Last Homely House

Then on Sunday evening I had the opportunity to travel, as the picture above might indicate.

I logged into Middle-earth and found several of the Podcasters of Bree online and ready to run out to Rivendell.  They invited me along for the run, so I got on Skype with Adam of Witty Ranter, Darren of Shut Up We’re Talking, and Jonathan of The Online Gamer’s Anthology and Through the Aftermath podcasts for my first trip past The Last Bridge.

New Territory Ahead

New Territory Ahead

The trip went well and was greatly enhanced by Jonathan’s Beavis and Butt-head quotations and improvisations.  We managed not to get stomped by trolls, eaten by bears, or drained by giant… heh heh… blow flies.

At the end of the run, which was not that long, because time passes quickly when you’re laughing out loud, we crossed the Ford of Bruinen, crested the ridgeline, and looked down into the Valley of Rivendell.

Looking into the Valley

Looking into the Valley

Of course, landing in Rivendell turned into a big photo op for notable locations and people.

The Hall of Fires

The Hall of Fires

The hall of fires is where tales are told and songs are sung.  Bilbo Baggins hangs out here.  You can see him in the picture above highlighted by grey ring icon floating above his head, which meant he has a quest for which I am not yet eligible.

Map of Eriador

Map of Eriador

It was nice to see a map hanging on the wall, something that was noted in the books.  The NPCs seem to have to use the same maps that they players get.

Gandalf, Tistann, and Frodo

Gandalf, Tistann, and Frodo

And, off in a side room from the main hall, were Gandalf and Frodo, set up for a photo opportunity very much like you might get with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland.  The other three hobbits were off in another room, with Sam muttering about what a pickle they have found themselves.

I picked up the travel point and wandered the grounds of Rivendell for a while.  Eventually I had to recall back to Bree.  While it was nice to visit a new place, Tistann was too low level to stick around.  It was back to the North Downs for him.

Darren has posted some screen shots of the Rivendell trip as well.  He managed to get all of the big names.

Now I have to get out my Beavis and Butt-head DVDs so I can keep up with Jonathan next time.