Tag Archives: Trollshaws

Traipsing Through the Trollshaws

Having done about all I could do in Evendim… the quest log said I was 588 quests into the game when I wrapped up there… it was time to move on.  At the end of Evendim you get the option to head to Forochel, but I have never been a fan.  Snow zones are always hit or miss with me and I always think of that as “that new place.”

Chasing Legends

Because it actually is a newer place than most in the base game, having shown up in 2008, it not only overlaps in levels with other zones but, as with Evendim, the epic quest line bypasses it.  Since one of my completionist goals for this run at LOTRO is to finished up the epic quest line before the Mines of Moria is unlocked, I had to head to the Trollshaws.

Which isn’t to say I am in love with the Trollshaws either.

As a zone it does have its upside.  To start with Rivendell is at one end, and you need to spend some time there.  It is also big and lush and has some nice lore from the books.

The Three Trolls from The Hobbit

It is also a zone you can actually get lost in.  The woods are dense and hilly and there is a whole series of backwoods tracks that lead all over.  It is a zone where, on returning to it, I keep saying to myself, “Oh yeah, that place!” as I end up following some gully into a new area.

No coffee mug ring on this map

I tend to think of the zone in terms of the road through it, but there are so many places off that main path.

On the flip side, it has some of the more tedious quests in the game.  You move from camp to camp where the prime directive seems to be to slaughter all of the local wildlife.  It is the “bears, boars, wolves” problem over and over, though they also add in deer and various insects.

And, with various game updates over the years they have gotten away from the quest giver handing you quests for the wildlife.  Sort of.  In part of the zone you get the wildlife quests but taking down a bear or wolf or whatever that has a quest ring over its head.  But it can be disconcerting, not to mention immersion breaking, to ride through an area where all the animals have golden halos over their heads.

Are those angel bears?

And it isn’t just the wildlife.  Some more sentient creatures have halos as well.

Does that troll have a quest for me?

But in other parts of the zone it is the same old “I need to fill the larder, so can you kill me some boars, bears, badgers, bobcats, and maybe some giant mosquitoes?” like some zone designer couldn’t make up their mind on which was better, so they threw both out there for you.

The zone also awkwardly overlaps with Evendim.  On a live server, unless you turn off experience, you can get away with completing either the Lone Lands and Evendim or the North Downs and the Trollshaws, but not both pairs.  Once you’re done with Evendim your pretty much primed to just head into the Misty Mountains or Angmar.

But, as I said, if you want the epic story, you need to go to the Trollshaws, so off I went.  You have a task to check out the Ford of Bruinen, though the result you get you probably knew if you read the books.

Why do I want a Ford if I have a horse?

There there is some more running around and a task to seek out the dark places in the zone.  This used to be a fellowship only series of quests.  The epic quest line used to vary, often quite abruptly, between solo and fellowship quests.  But now SSG has smoothed all of that out and there are either solo versions of the instances or special boosts that allow you to go forward solo.  In this case, there was a shimmering elf-stone that would get you through.

It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.

You can only light it up upon entering each of the three little instances you need to find in the zone.  The first is just is near the camp with Elladan, who gives you the quest.  After that it is a little more tricky.  To start with, the quest doesn’t keep track of which of the instances you have done.  They all appear with the ring on them on the map, and the quest tracker points at the nearest one, even if you’ve just done it.  I recall once, back in the day, having logged out mid-quest and then coming back and redoing the same instance.

At least there are trolls to slay.  There is a deed for that.  There are deeds for lots of things.  But as it goes, the deeds are up a notch in numbers again and I wasn’t going to stick around in the zone long enough to finish them.

And the elf-stone has some strange timing on it.  The buff only lasts for ten minutes or so, but then there is a ten minute cool down before you can use it again, during which time you’re sort of hanging in the wind.

I suppose that is the time to go work on the deeds.

But I hung around and waited until the timer ran down, then went into the next instance.  The instances aren’t that difficult… with the elf-stone.  I am pretty sure the elite mobs in there would have done me in quickly enough without it.  But you roll through, get to the deepest part, then light up the other stone… or try to at least… once you find it in your bag.

Maybe it needs a new flint

After the second instance, the third is very close by.  However, you had best be in a hurry because the mobs between you and there are all elite, so you need that elf-stone buff just to get where you need to go.  And then you need it once you arrive.  Fortunately I was fast enough and managed to get on out of the third instance before the elf-stone timer ran out.  And then I just recalled to Ost Guruth in the Lone Lands and took a horse from the stable back up to Elladan.  All that work with the Eglain faction pays off.

After that you’re back on your way to Rivendell again.

The Last Homely House in sight

I seem to recall having to do more in the Trollshaws when it comes to the epic story line.  Something about chasing Gollum around.  But maybe that comes later.

Once in Rivendell, after some discussion, you are likely left with two choices when it comes to the epic story line, Angmar or the Misty Mountains.  I guess I’ll be in time for a white Christmas.

Quote of the Day – Being Lost

An IM from Gaff which indicates how some “bad” things can be good things.

i have been lost in the trollshaws, literally, for 25 minutes

that is awesome in my opinion, hard to do

The ability to get lost, frustrating though it may be at times, can be a feature.

Visual references in the Trollshaws can lead you astray.  But I found the three trolls from The Hobbit while lost at one point, so it can be its own reward.

Finding My Gaming Bearings

Step 1 – Place All Eggs in One Basket

Step 2 – Lose basket

Part of my motivation to cover the Sony hacking disaster is that this year saw me invest heavily in Sony products and services.  In the last two months:

  • The instance group departed Azeroth for a run in EverQuest II Extended
  • Potshot and I went off to explore old Norrath on the EverQuest Fippy Darkpaw progression server
  • I purchased a PlayStation 3
  • I was even starting to play one of SOE’s Facebook games, Dungeon Overlord

So you can understand if I seem a bit fixated on SOE’s ongoing “not today” posts on Facebook.

This SOE downtime has brought up two questions.

  1. Where should I spend my gaming time?
  2. What should the instance group play?

The second is for another post, as we’re still working on that. (Is it Thursday already?)

But as for the first… what to do?

The problem is that, when I am in the mood to play a particular game, it is tough to divert that to a different game.  While at a high level it is easy to look at all of these MMORPGs and bemoan their sameness, when down in the game at the individual character level, I find that they often feel completely different to me.

And so Azeroth is no substitute when I want to play in Norrath.

I managed to prove that by logging into World of Warcraft on Friday night.  My account has actually been cancelled, but since I chose the quarterly billing plan it has yet to lapse.  I wonder if I count among the 600K subscription deficit WoW is facing post-Cataclysm?

I decided to log on and run the Children’s Week quests for my main, on whom I collect companion pets.  While they changed up the quests a bit, I felt like I was going through the motions.  Yay!  I got a pet snail.

That done, I got out my level 74 druid.  He is in the thick of WotLK content.  But running quests were not cutting it.  I ended up healing for a random Dungeon Finder group, but we got Violet Hold.  Not a bad instance a guess.  You get a random boss.  But not very challenging as a healer.  Nobody died.  People leveled.  The tank told me I did a good job.  But I wasn’t feeling it.

Over the weekend I played World of Tanks.  It is fun, but I cannot play more than a couple of matches before I have had my fill.  That is both its strength and its weakness for me.

I also played a bit more Combat Mission: Shock Force.  Some more warm up for Combat Mission: Beyond Normany. (The demo for which is now available I hear.)

But that doesn’t scratch the MMO itch.

Then I saw that Potshot was over in Lord of the Rings Online.

I thought perhaps we could find something to do.  Or maybe I could at least get a little closer to Moria.  I bought that expansion… what… two years ago now?

I got out my hunter, Silinus and entered Middle-earth.

It is always pretty here...

Nice landscape, but would the game hook me?  I looked at my quest journal to see where I had last left off.

I was in the Trollshaws.  I had some fish.  I had to talk to an NPC about what to do with them.

While I had totally lost the thread of what was going on, the NPC was close by, so why not start with that.

Fish.  He needed the fish as bait.  But bait for what?

The Bait is Set

He was trying to catch someone or something that had been lurking around.  Something stupid enough to wander up and take a pile of fish, and not very fresh fish at that (they’d been in my bag for the last six months), place next to a brightly-lit window next to a house with a couple of people standing out in front. (I know he told me to hide, but I just stood there gawking.)

What could we be looking for?

Could it be?

Yes, indeed, we were trying to trap Gollum.

Loves those fish

A particularly unwary, and thus out of character, Gollum, but Gollum none the less.

I cannot believe I stopped on this quest line one step away from seeing Gollum.

You don’t actually catch him.  Instead you chase him around the country side at a brisk walk until he climbs up some rocks and cowers just out of your reach.  Then you get mugged by an orc, at which point Gollum disappears.

And you even know the orc part is coming.  Gollum mentions it during your stroll across the country side.  And the orc does not so much mug you as stand there and wait for you to invite him to attack you.

All in all, a very silly quest indeed.

But also engaging enough to give me some momentum in the game.  I ended up gaining two levels since I started out this past weekend, bringing my hunter up to level 43, just 7 levels shy of Moria.

That also pushed me to the point of being done with the Trollshaws, which was, frankly, one of the things holding me back in the game.  Some of the sights are fun, but all in all it is not on the top of my list of favorite LOTRO zones.

Instead Silinus, my hunter, will be headed off to a new (for me) zone, Forochel.

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.