Tag Archives: Weathertop

Weathertop with a New Lineup

Saturday night found the regular Middle-earth group back in the game.

I had missed out the previous Saturday because… well… I was too damn tired to stay up late.  Getting older ceased to be fun about 20 years ago.

Anyway, while I was away… well, while I was asleep… Earl, Enaldie, and Garfinkel ran around the Lone Lands a bit and killed spiders.  If you know the Lone Lands, you know what I’m talking about.

This past week though, it was time for a change up.

I should learn my lesson.  As with the the original set of instance group characters, I chose a rogue-like class, a Burglar in this case, and found it not really in line with my play style.  And, as with the original set of characters, I ended up substituting in a heavy metal melee class character instead.

Back with the original group, Blintz was my rogue, but he was replaced by Vikund my paladin around level 40.  And while we occasionally missed not having somebody along with the lockpick skill, Vikund went on to greater glory, hitting level 80 with the group, while Blintz still languishes around level 40.

Now it was time for Roderigo to go.

Replacing him was my champion, Sigwerd.  Another nordic name, another heavy armor wearing melee class.

 

Sigwerd - Man Champion

 

The champion seems to be the closest match to the retribution pally when it comes to LOTRO classes, being melee dps focused with some good area attacks and able to take a punch.

Plus, we all know how much I love the champion’s skill icons!

So the lineup for the night was:

  • Earlthecat – level 26 dwarf Guardian
  • Garfinkel – level 27 elf Minstrel
  • Sigwerd – level 28 human Champion
  • Enaldie – level 28 elf Rune Keeper

And we thought it was about time we headed back to Weathertop.

The last time we tried to help Candaith sort out things on Amon Sul, it did not go so well.  Heck, it didn’t go so well in the skirmish version either.

Now though, we had a few more levels.  So it was off to Candaith’s camp, which is a happening place on a Saturday night lately.

 

Candaith's Watering Hole

 

We took the quest, Retaking Weathertop, to help move us along in the epic quest line.  We were sadly behind in that regard.  It was a bit of luck that Sigwerd happened to be at just that point in the quest line as well.  So we met up with Candaith at the base of Weathertop.

 

Questing in the Rain

 

It is a good thing that Sigwerd had something akin to a real cloak, as it was suddenly raining in the Weather Hills and you hate for your armor to get rusty.

We followed the usual path up, let Candaith run off and do his thing, met up with him at the summit where he claimed he sprained his ankle or had rabies or some such.  Anyway, he couldn’t join us for the final battle.

And a battle it was.  While we were now above level, this is still an instance for a full fellowship of six players, and there was only four of us.

We ended up getting a little too spread out, which makes it tough on the tank to keep aggro when something gets past.  With the final troll, things started coming apart.  Sigwerd and Garfinkel felt the sting of defeat.

But Earl and Enaldie held on and managed to defeat the troll and pull off a victory.

 

Defeat and Victory

 

Candaith gave us a golf clap and sent us on our way with a one-way ticket to the Forsaken Inn.  He was so eager to get rid of us that he let us use his extra fast horse.  No doubt he was embarrassed by his part in the final battle.

There we were directed back up to Ost Guruth.  It was a good thing that we all now have the fast mount from the LOTRO Store.

 

Cross country in the Lone Lands

 

There we had to meet the possibly mad Radagast the Brown.  He has possibly one of the most expressive faces in the game… but it seems to express something to do with mental unbalance.

 

The White Hand stole the strawberry ice cream!

 

Radagast, along with half of Ost Guruth, had a little mission for us.  It was off to the north in the midst of the undead.  That area has a set of quests, most of which are flagged as solo, but which are much better done in a group.  So we tore into the undead, slew them with abandon, surmounted their highest point, and got our wight supremacy merit badges.

 

Soon not a corpse had a nose to call its own!

 

And of course, the bagpipes came out.  We had to go the extra mile to taunt the undead it seems.

That done, we were left with what Potshot calls the Bear/Boar/Wolf problem, wherein we have to go decimate the local fauna to satisfy the whim or larder stocking needs of some random yokel.  This time it was various bear parts, various warg parts, and gore crow eyes.  Those last are considered a delicacy in Evendim I hear.

We even headed over to smite some spiders, since it was found that Sigwerd was deficient in his spider slaying.  Enaldie called it a night before we got stuck into the spiders, and it wasn’t too long before Sigwerd was caught up and we were loitering around Ost Guruth playing Riders on the Storm and Istanbul (Not Constantinople) on a corner hoping to collect some spare change from the locals.  Bunch of tightwads, really.

 

Busking in Ost Guruth

 

And that was about all of Middle-earth we had in us for the night.  Next week we’ll see what else Radagast has in store for us.

Loitering in the Weather Hills

We had what is essentially the whole available team online and together in Middle-earth on Saturday night.

Our group for the night was:

  • Earlthecat – level 17 dwarf Guardian
  • Roderigo – levl 20 human Burglar
  • Garfinkel – level 22 elf Minstrel
  • Enaldie – level 23 elf Rune Keeper

Due to absences and alts, we have managed to get ourselves a bit spread out with regard to levels.  While LOTRO is somewhat self-correcting in this regard, lower level characters get more exp for the same, quest both in absolute terms and relative to their exp needed for the next level, than higher levels characters, having a six level gap over four players would prove to be trying.

I did have a suit of armor for Earl and a new weapon ready when he hit 18, which he did pretty quickly, so he was at least equipped as well as we could manage.

Before the topic of what to do came up, somebody said they were headed to Saeradan’s cabin.  We followed that lead and started in on Volume I, Book 2 of the epic quest line.

At Saeradan's Cabin

That first quest in the book 2 line used to be one of the more annoying redirects in the game.  You are in Bree and are told to go out into the North Bree Fields to Saeradan’s Cabin.  Saeradan then tells you to head to Candaith’s camp.

Candaith’s camp is in a remote corner of the Lone Lands, quite a long walk/ride from Saeradan.

To compensate for this, Saeradan is now a limited availability stable master as well as a quest giver.  When you have the quest that sends you to Candaith’s camp you can speak to Saeradan and get a lift.

Riding the horse to Candaith’s camp is considerably faster than walking, but it still takes a few minutes.  Well all adjourned for snacks and bathroom breaks while our horses carried us on.

Riding To Candaith's Camp

The riding route is not only shorter, but probably not a viable choice to walk at our level.  There are some hazards.

A pack of wolves in the Weather Hills

At Candaith’s camp, we had little problem dealing with his initial requests.

Kill some orcs.  No problem there!

Kill some craban and collect their eyes.  Eeew.  Plus each craban had four eyes.  Odd birds.

Kill the orc messenger. Does every fantasy game have to have at least one “kill the orc messenger” quest?  Is this a rule?

Assault an orc camp, kill their lead, steal their plans.  Loads of fun for the whole family!

The gate is open... is anybody home?

Scout the pinnacle of Weathertop.  Always nice to see the sights.

And then we got to the sticking point of the evening.  Retaking Weathertop.

Not a job for the four of us, not at our levels.

Sure, we had all gained a level or two since we set out, but this is a quest that needs a full fellowship of six, and we were but four.

Still, we were out there, the evening was still young, and it was a long hike to get to any other alternative activities, so we decided to give it a try.

Of course, as soon as we got there, it began to rain.

And Earl is wearing his brand new armor too...

The first stage involves one of the grand MMORPG traditions, the escort quest with the suicidally insane target.  It is like being Teddy Roosevelt’s secret service detachment, the guy just keeps charging up the hill after the goblin in the back row.

I realize that the code is a compromise when it comes to these things, but Candaith behaves bat-shit crazy at times.  The best, and probably safest moment for us, was when for some reason, Candaith went into orbit around Enaldie, circling her in a frenzy of movement until we rested up and moved forward.  Too much espresso or something for the ranger.

Eventually we got Candaith safely to the point where he goes one way and the rest of us go another.  No more escorting the nut case.  It was just a matter of killing off a couple of named guys, then meeting our ranger buddy at the summit.  We could handle that.

Up the hill

Getting to climb Weathertop is one of the many great points of the game for people who are fans of the lore.  We talked about how we imagined Weathertop to look.

When I read the books for the first time some 30 years ago, I never pictured Weathertop to be so big.  But then I did not get the real feeling for the Numenorian need to overcompensate on a grand scale… and apparently stimulate their economy through massive defense and public works projects… until I finally managed to struggle through the Silmarillion years later.  That book starts slower than Braveheart.

Anyway, we made it to the top to find Candaith waiting for us.  Only now Mr. Run-Ahead-and-Aggro-Everything seemed to have a change of heart.  He claimed to be wounded, though his limp seemed to change sides as he spoke, and said that he would cover us while we went in and took care of the rest of the mission.

Candaith weasels as the enemy musters

We stared at him, waiting for the “just kidding.”  But no, he was serious.

He said he would take care of anything that got past us.  We stared.

We attempt to move Candaith through peer pressure

But he wasn’t coming along.  It was up to us.

And so we gave it a shot.

We died…  erm… We were defeated.

Stone Trolled Again

It wasn’t a total, instant wipe.  It seemed like we might be able to get a handle on the fight if only we could just get things to roll our way.  But we never could.  Aggro would be lost, adds would go after the healer, crowd control would get broken, or that damn troll would just get a big crit and stomp somebody into a pulp.

We tried a few variations, but we just didn’t have enough oomph to finish off the event.  So when Garfinkel’s equipment started to go red in the paper doll, we called it a night.  (Pity the poor healer.)

In the end, we probably should have opted for one of our other choices from the previous week, finishing off the Barrow Downs or starting in on the Lone Lands quests around the Forsaken Inn.

We will need a few more levels before we run up the hill with Candaith again.

Retaking Weathertop

Saturday night found the usual instance group… missing.

Skronk and Ula were in Vegas, so the rest of us took the night off from Azeroth.

Instead, Gaff and I spent the evening adventuring in Middle-earth.  The four of us, I have one account while Gaff, in his usual modus operandi, was running three, met up in the Lone Lands where we both had a series of fellowship quests to finish off.

I think the lure of Moria has set in on Gaff.  I know I feel the urge when I read stuff like this.

We decided to start off with Retake Weathertop, one of the book quests that follows the tale of the Lord of the Rings.  Between us we had a level 24 champion, a level 27 hunter, a level 24 guardian, and a level 24 minstrel.

Waiting Below Weathertop

Waiting Below Weathertop

While we were getting set up, Gaff found another pair looking to do the quest, a level 25 guardian and a level 22 lore-master.  I think this might have been the first time I was in a full fellowship.

And, being a full fellowship, and a bit over level for the task, we rolled on, taking out all comers and defeating the might cave troll at the peak or Weathertop.

Cave Troll Defeated!

Cave Troll Defeated!

That done, we moved on to the tasks that Radagast hands out, starting in on the next book.  After the first two, we entered into that whole “the problem with strangers” part of the night.

Our lore-master was too low level to get the next quest in the Radagast line, so she and the guardian were going to run off an do a couple of side quests to get her a level, at which point she should be able to join in.

The guardian also asked if Gaff could log off one of his characters so one of his guild mates could join in for the next stage of the quest.  Gaff had been up early and was ready to call it a night in any case, but I said I would stick around Ost Guruth in anticipation of doing the next stage.  My champion was closing in on 25 and I wanted to get him that founder’s horse to which I am entitled.

Gaff logged, the other two ran off, and I wandered around Ost Guruth looking for things to do.

I was actually out of solo quests in the area, having only a hand full of fellowship quests to run down, so I spent my time mining, doing trade skills, and working on local achievements by killing spiders and the like, checking in once in a while with guardian about when they might be headed back.

After two hours had passed and they still weren’t ready to proceed, I began to sense that additional quests weren’t going to happen.  The two hours were not wasted.  I picked up three titles, got to the next tier as a prospector and a weaponsmith, as well as hitting level 25, but I have to admit, if I had not stuck around Ost Guruth, I could have done all that in about an hour

At least I can go collect that horse for my champion now!