Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Scenic Tour: Eaves of Fangorn

The Eaves of Fangorn is part of East Rohan but it feels like a totally different area. Day and night also make a big difference because at night it gets really dark under the trees. During the daytime though, the light filters through and sends rays of sunlight through the canopy, illuminating the leaves and the rocks and the stream - absolutely beautiful!

Sunlight through the trees
It was delightful to meet an Ent who had a memory of seeing Pippin and Merry running through the forest, and then following their footsteps and eventually meeting Gandalf on Treebeard's Hill. Tracking the hobbits was the best experience in Fangorn Forest and I'd happily follow the trail again because it really shows off the beauty of the zone.

Following footsteps by the stream
Still following the stream


Following the trail deeper into the forest
Checking up on Pippin and Merry

Further into the forest, there are more Ents that need help protecting the forest from orcs, spiders and corruption. It's nice to not be so hasty and take time to enjoy the scenery while questing or exploring.

I hate spiders

Friday, 25 July 2014

Scenic Tour: East Rohan

To get to East Rohan from Dunland, Myndariel had to travel back to Lothlórien, then follow the main road through The Great River, stop and gawk in amazement at the ruins of Ost Celebrant, then turn and cross the bridge into East Rohan proper and head for the little settlement of Langhold on the hill.

It was a pleasant journey. I have yet to quest in Great River but I've heard it has some nice-looking quest rewards, plus some crafting recipes I'd like. Sometimes I think it's a shame to not do all the zones on the way to max level, but then again, it leaves things to look forward to do later or to experience on an alt first. One way or another, I'll see more of Great River!

But, back to East Rohan. The story line in Langhold was great. I felt very sheepish when the guards came and found Myndariel playing games with the village children and asked if she wanted to go fight some real bandits instead of pretend ones. The Thane's wife was also an impressive figure; strong of character, brave, noble, kind. It was good to help settle the refugees in Harwick, even if the Thane there did make Myndi jump through hoops to earn his trust.

Harwick
Getting the war-steed was awesome and confusing. A lot to take in: different types of horses, different trait trees, different legendary bridles, different abilities. And the movement was so different from riding normal steeds. Someone described it as "floating" and that seems rather apt. It also kind of reminds me of rally-car driving and steering by the seat of your pants, drifting around corners in the road rather than making turns which might slow you down. Basically, I hated the tutorial training course in its confined space, but once Myndariel got the war-steed out on the plains it was great and there was that "ahhh!" moment where it all suddenly feels right.

Having a pet wolf makes her feel like a Lore-master even in mounted combat
Running rings or figure eights around mounted orcs and goblins was fun - except when you caroomed into other mobs and they came and joined the chase. Defeating warbands was fun too but the rewards were disappointing. Seeing some warbands that were too powerful to take on alone was good - mounted combat and warbands added a lot more danger to the world and you couldn't just go riding wherever you please and not expect to be attacked. Being able to harvest ore and wood while mounted was a great change under the circumstances, and it still makes me laugh watching my thundering war-steed go skidding to a halt in front of some rich skarn.

Warband: Haglob
One of the most frustrating things I found in East Rohan was how the story was sequenced and you had to go through the Wold and the Norcrofts and the Entwash Vale before getting to the Sutcrofts who had the crafting recipes and rep rewards. It seemed pointless earning rep with these other factions who had no meaningful rewards to offer.

Snowbourn was very pretty and I was delighted to find that there were crafting guilds there so Myndariel didn't have to go back to Esteldín to get more guild recipes and barter her crafted relics.
Snowbourn
There were some great places to visit in East Rohan and I was pleased it wasn't all endless grass plains. I love the Entwash River and enjoyed the cave systems scattered around. The Eaves of Fangorn was amazing ... but I'll talk about that another day.

glow-in-the-dark Zúrsnaga's Hideout
Looking towards the Argonath
The Wódfen

Monday, 21 July 2014

Myndariel's Wardrobe: Dunland Red

Dunland provides a lot of nice looking quest rewards, which inspired part of this outfit. The colour scheme, however, was chosen to match Myndariel's current staff rather than blending in with the local environment.

Most of the iconic quest rewards are also available from the Men of Dunland quartermaster in Galtrev. For a look at some of the different armour available, see Lotro Wiki: Cosmetics - Dunland Armor Sets (sorted by class) or Lotro Stylist: A Cosmetic Guide to the ROI Quest Rewards (sorted by armour slot).

In Galtrev, Dunland
Sunset at Fang Tor, East Rohan
Standing out against the snow in Wildermore


Myndariel is wearing:
  • Chest: Robe of the Countless Stars (Men of Dunland rep vendor, dyed red)
  • Back: Cloak of the Dreamflower (Vol II, Book 7, Ch 9 reward, dyed umber)
  • Shoulders: Embroidered Mantle of the Dunland Healer (Dunland quest reward: [66] A Glimpse of the Fall, dyed black)
  • Hands: Dunlending's Gloves of Confrontation (Men of Dunland rep vendor, undyed)
  • Feet: Explorer's Shoes (crafted, Tailor T4, dyed umber)

Friday, 18 July 2014

Scenic Tour: Dunland

Myndariel kind of skipped Mirkwood and Enedwaith. She completed the Landing Quests for Mirkwood and thought it a rather gloomy zone. With dark Moria still so fresh in her memory, she wasn't ready to face the Nazgûl in Dol Guldur. So she galloped off to Dunland, passing through Enedwaith briefly. She plans to come back and explore and make herself useful in both Mirkwood and Enedwaith later.

Dunland was just right for Myndariel. She worked her way through Volume III, Book 4: The Rise of Isengard, helping every village along the way, getting taken prisoner in the depths of Isengard by Saruman, escaping and then helping the Prince of Rohan with the Battle of the Ford (Volume III, Book 5). In the end, she was given the title of "Master of the Untamed Lands" for completing all the deeds asked of her. I really enjoyed the story and the characters involved, not to mention the quest rewards looking much better than at lower levels. Myndariel still can't believe Lheu Brenin and the people of Tûr Morva betrayed her, after she and the Grey Company did so much to help them. Elves live a long time, and she will not forget nor forgive their actions.

Pren Gwydh, home of the Dragon-clan
Lhan Tarren, home of the Stag-clan
Tâl Methedras, home of the Falcon-clan
Isengard
View from Dol Baran in the Heathfells (Gap of Rohan)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Myndariel's Wardrobe: Lothlorien

Myndariel earned enough rep with the Galadhrim to get the robe. At the time, she was using a legendary staff that looked a shepherd's crook with a green glowing orb. She saw the dress, saw the staff, and thought a green and gold theme would be perfectly appropriate for questing in Lothlórien, or any other leafy place.

In Lothlórien
In Dunland
In the Eaves of Fangorn
Myndariel is wearing:
  • Head: Dwarf-make Circlet (LOTRO Anniversary gift box)
  • Chest: Lórien Fancy Robe (Galadhrim rep vendor, dyed olive)
  • Back: Reveller's Gilded Cloak (LOTRO store)
  • Shoulders: Rock-climber's Shoulder Guards (crafted, Tailor T6)
  • Hands: Rock-climber's Gloves (crafted, Tailor T6)
  • Feet: Rock-climber's Shoes (crafted, Tailor T6)

Scenic Tour: Lothlorien

Along with Rivendell, Lothlórien must be one of the most famous elven settlements in Middle Earth. It is georgous.The golden mallorn trees and the telain are a sight to behold. Myndariel could sit for hours by the Anduin, watching the light play across the water and through the golden canopy .... but she would be too busy eliminating orcs before they got too close to Caras Galadhon.

Lothlórien was a breath of fresh air, a delightful respite after trudging and trotting through the depths of Moria. However, it felt like there weren't quite enough quests to do, and collecting arrows to run back to the camp in Nanduhirion and then clear out the invading orcs daily does get a tad tiresome. The price you pay to keep such a pretty place looking pristine and peaceful!


Nanduhirion - the entrance to Lothlórien from Moria
The Golden Wood
Looking across the Anduin at dawn
Caras Galadhon

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Update 14: Paths of the Dead Patch Notes

14 July 2014: Update 14 is now live. Here are the Patch Notes by Sapience:

Of Special Note

Welcome to West Gondor
West Gondor is a beautiful new area in LOTRO, but the peace of the lands surrounding Dol Amroth has been threatened by the landing of Corsair ships along the coast. These violent, brutal invaders have brought with them a tide of fear and unrest in the fair stone cities of Gondor’s noble people. The Blackroot Vale, Lamedon, and the Havens of Belfalas are home to a number of friends of the Free Peoples as well as enemies allied with Sauron, and there is much to be done to help the good folk of West Gondor.

Epic Story Volume IV
A New Volume of the Epic Story begins! With the threat of Saruman ended, adventurers throughout Middle-earth must now prepare for the full onslaught of Sauron, the Great Enemy! The Rohirrim muster for war and Aragorn enters the Paths of the Dead, bound for his destiny… and you must follow behind, to safeguard the lands through which he must pass. Volume IV is free to all players!

The Essence System is here!
New gear found throughout the world can be upgraded and enhanced by placing Essences into available slots.
A quick overview:

  • You will find armor with open slots that can accept essences.
  • Both the armor and essences drop in a wide variety of areas and content; some can even be crafted.
  • By slotting essences into this new armor you can customize the stats of the armor to your liking.
  • With this update, the essences will be exceedingly rare. We don’t want to flood the market before we get some good feedback on the live servers. Don’t worry, if you don’t see many of these initially, we’ll be increasing the drop rates some time soon once we see how they play. The intent here is for players to have access to customization options, not to create a new grind. The essences are unbound until used so they can be freely traded amongst players.

The level cap has been raised!
You may now level your character to level 100! All classes have seen the addition of new skills and additional trait points to allow players to further enhance their characters.

Join the City Watch of Dol Amroth
Upon reaching level 100 you’ll receive a summons from Beriaudur, head of the city guard of Dol Amroth. He has heard of your travails through West Gondor and wants to see if you are interested in joining the watch. The city of Dol Amroth is broken into 8 districts, each focusing on a different important building. Only once a watch-man has earned the trust of the residents of a district, are they allowed to patrol and be responsible for that section of the city.


The people of Dol Amroth have much that needs to be done and each day you can aid them in their tasks. These tasks range from threats in the Paths of the Dead, to corsair camps on an island, to a 3-man instance, to fishing, and more. Two of these sections, the Paths of the Dead and the caves and tunnels beneath Emyn Ernil will be need to cooperatively unlocked by the server before any trust may be earned with some of the districts. Upon completing a quest you’ll be rewarded with Silver Tokens of Dol Amroth or tokens for a specific district. Using the token will provide rep with that district. The tokens can also be bartered for armour, essence, and housing rewards. The tokens may also be freely traded with other characters.

Upon completing your quests for the day, Beriaudur will ask if you wish to join the watch-men in some training exercises. Returning from these exercises, you discover corsairs have snuck into the city under cover of night. You are able to select which district you wish to free, based on those you have earned the trust of, and together with the watch you may attempt to retake the city. This is an instance that can be done once daily and rewards Gold Tokens of Dol Amroth and tokens for the various districts.

By Player Request

Log out Changes
It now takes 30 seconds for players to log out if they are in combat (while out of combat, the 10 second timer remains unchanged): preventing the log-out mechanic from being abused in certain situations.

Inventory Sort
  • Slotted Legendary Items are now sorted before others.
  • We will now group together all your food and all your potions. Within each group, the items will be sorted by level, then quality.
  • We now sort items in order of increasing instead of decreasing quality for consistency

Inventory Bags No longer auto resize.
Due to player feedback, inventory bags no longer resize themselves proportionally when the size of your client changes. The only thing that can change the width of your bags now is manual manipulation of their size. There are some caveats that come along with this:
  • The first time you log in after this change, you will have to change the width of your bags via the drag bar on the right edge once again since the sizes had to be reset
  • If you play on multiple machines, your changes in width on one machine will not impact the other (the up side of this is that if you play in different resolutions on different machines, you can have each machine use different bag widths without having to manually change it back and forth)

Player Council Contributions to Update 14
The Players Council has brought a number of quality of life issues to our attention and we’re happy to announce that the following changes and additions are being made to the game based on the feedback of both the 2013 and 2014 Players Council members.
  • The maximum number of friends you can have on your friends list has been increased to 100.
  • The maximum number of characters allowed in the Kinship Message of the day has been increased. (Currently 80, increased to 132)
  • A new global chat channel has been added. This channel is /world or /wd. You are automatically added to this channel when you log in and it is active throughout the game world. Monsterplayers have their own version of this chat.

We would also like to thank the council for their contributions, insights and feedback on the Essence System, Beornings, level cap increases, and Legendary Items. Some of these changes are present in this update, others have had an influence on the future of the game and are reflected in Executive Producer Aaron Campbell’s latest Producer’s Letter.

Release Notes

General
  • Fixed a bug which prevented fellowship members from being able to see each other’s emote text and hear each other’s' music under certain circumstances.
  • Chest slot items that affect both the upper and lower body are now only affected by dyes applied to the chest slot.
  • Shield of the Hammerhand once again stacks with Derudh's Stone and the Outrider's Token.
  • The Welcome Back Weekend effects have been updated to now grant a % bonus to Experience Gain on Monster Kills, Crafting, Quest Completions, Legendary Item and Mounted Combat XP. Updated the effect description.
  • Over-time effects applied by always-crit skills no longer always crit on each pulse.
  • Retreating from an interior space should now bring you to the proper defeat circle.
  • Crippled effect, usually put on the player by wolves, has been converted to a true wounding effect. Along with decreasing your run speed, it now also decreases might and expires out of combat. Wound healing potions will now cure it, regardless of how many of these effects are stacked on the player.
  • Certain players who were not automatically bestowed Tier 2 versions of some deeds (e.g., "Orc-slayer of Wildermore (Advanced)") should check their Deed Logs, as that oversight should now be rectified.
  • You can no longer slot a conflicting set of skirmish traits

Classes

All Classes
  • Traits that granted primary stats have been increased to be more competitive.
  • Might contributions to tactical mastery were not mentioned in the text of the might tooltip on the character panel of the Champion, Guardian, or Warden. Agility contributions to tactical mastery were not mentioned in the text of the agility tooltip on the character panel of the Warden.

Burglar
  • New Trait – Sharp Eye – Burglars gain a Passive 2.5% Mitigation buff which is suppressed when your crit chain is active.
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Roll the Dice - New rank adds +5% Tactical Damage
  • Traits - New Trait - Sneak Attack (The Quiet Knife) - Increase Damage from Stealth by 100%
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Strike from Shadows - Potency increased from 5% Crit Chance from Stealth to 10% from Stealth. New rank adds +20% Critical Damage from Stealth.
  • Traits - New Trait - Cover Your Tracks (Mischief-maker) - Gain 5% Max Morale, +2.5% Physical Mitigation and +2.5% Tactical Mitigation
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Comedic Timing - Resistance Penetration increased from 2%-->5% per rank. New rank increases the bonus by a further 15% Resistance Penetration.
  • A Small Snag, Quite a Snag, Exposed Throat, and Blind bet should now increment "Finish What You Have Started" deed in addition to Flashing Blades.
  • Fixed bug that was causing Coup De Grâce to not properly consuming Aim buff.
  • Improved Feint will no longer pass along damage bonuses that apply to Stealth Damage.

Captain
  • Fixed a bug that was causing Rallying Cry to not stack properly with other captains and in some cases have a weaker version override a stronger version.
  • Resolved an issue with the Improved Standards not hitting enemies who were within range but not in Line of Sight of the banner.
  • Traits - Lifting Words - Bonus increased from 3%-->4% per rank
  • Traits - Skilled Hands - Tactical Damage Bonus increased from 2%-->3% per rank
  • Traits - Enhanced Traits - Astute Hands has a new rank which increases Tactical Critical Damage by 20%
  • Set Bonus - Tactician's Prowess Critical Healing Magnitude balanced down from 50%-->25%
  • Traits - New Trait - Valour - Healing skills have a 20% chance to build Valour. At max stacks, an AoE healing pulse emanates from the Captain and your next Valiant Strike is guaranteed to crit.
  • Traits - Standard of Honour - Standard of Honour and Improved Standard of Honour have been condensed into a single trait. Ranks 1-4 will improve the potency of Standard of Honour, and rank 5 will make it Ground Targeted.
  • Traits - Reform the Lines - No longer enhances Incoming Healing
  • Lead the Charge Specialization - Passive Bonus 2 - Critical Hits cause the enemy to take 2% increased damage for 10s. This effect stacks with Telling Mark
  • Traits - Martial Prowess - Attack Duration bonus balanced down to 3%/6%/10% over 3 ranks
  • Traits - Standard of War - Standard of War and Improved Standard of War have been condensed into a single trait. Ranks 1-4 will improve the potency of Standard of War, and rank 5 will make it Ground Targeted.
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Arterial Strikes has a new rank which grants +20% Melee Critical Damage
  • Traits - New Trait - Elite Companions - Heralds and Archers have a 20% chance to reduce enemy armour.
  • Traits - Situational Awareness - Ranks now increase proc chance by 10% per rank. Evade bonus is fixed at 8% across ranks.
  • Traits - Noble Mark - DoT effects can no longer trigger Morale Return
  • Traits - Turning Point - The Incoming Healing bonus now caps at 25%
  • Traits - Standard of Valour - Standard of Valour and Improved Standard of Valour have been condensed into a single trait. Ranks 1-4 will improve the potency of Standard of Valour, and rank 5 will make it Ground Targeted.
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Strength in Numbers has a new rank which causes 2 HoTs to be returned for each Fellowship Member affected.
  • Traits - New Trait - Elendil's Fury. On any Block, Parry, or Evade, gain a stack of Elendil's Fury. At 5 stacks, your next Blade of Elendil deals significant damage and opens up a Defeat Event.
  • Fixed a bug that was causing Rallying Cry to not stack properly with other captains and in some cases have a weaker version override a stronger version.
  • Fixed a bug with Exemplar not properly proccing its heal when a shield brother was hit.
  • Exemplars heal skill proc now has an internal cooldown of 8 seconds. This cooldown applies to the Captain’s proc and the Shield Brothers proc separately.

Champion

  • True Heroics – Lowered cooldown to 2 minutes (Lowered legacy to be 60 seconds maxed out to compensate for this change).
  • The Deed Heroic Resolve now only requires 50 uses of True Heroics, down from 750.
  • Wild Attack is now properly tagged as a Strike skill.
  • Resolved issue with the effect of Champion's Advantage only counting towards the first hit of a Blade skill when it was intended to be all hits.
  • The Martial Champion
    • Riposte damage increase trait has been raised from 15% to 20% per rank. New rank on trait that grants: Sweeping Riposte – 20% Chance to unlock sweeping riposte instead of riposte. Deals damage up to 3 targets.
    • Critical Defence trait has been converted to a percentage based trait.
    • Aggressive Exchange trait has been moved to Tier 1 of the Martial Champion tree.
    • New Trait – “Quick with a Blade” Merciful Strike has no health threshold requirement.
    • Horn of Champions – Increased debuff duration to 10 seconds.
  • The Berserker
    • Hamstrung should now properly display the effect it gives Hamstring.
    • Set Bonus Renewing Strikes – Reduce chance to 15% and heal to 3% of max health, but can now trigger on every attack hook
    • Set Bonus – Precise Strikes – Bonuses from trait apply every attack hook.
    • New Trait – Weapons Master – Dual wielding weapons gives you +10% damage and +3% Parry Chance. Wielding a single weapon gives you 5% Attack Duration +10% Critical Damage
    • Enhanced Trait – Merciful Minded –Max Rank: Merciful Strike is now guaranteed to crit.
  • The Deadly Storm
    • Passive – Flurry – Increase proc chance to 30%, up from 20%.
    • Exchange of Blows no longer reflects damage over time effects.
    • Bladestorm critical hits now proc Flurry.
    • Champion’s Advantage – Increase duration of buff to 12 seconds, up from 8 seconds.
    • New Trait – The More the Merrier Blade Skills have a 15% chance to generate 1 fervour for every target hit
    • New Rank of Ardent Rage. This rank reduces the cooldown of Battle frenzy by 30 seconds and changes the fervour regeneration effect to be 1 fervour every second for 10 seconds.

Guardian

  • Bash Legacy should now properly increase the damage of bash.
  • Traits - Disorientation application chance balanced down from 20%-->5% / rank
  • Traits - New Trait - Break Ranks (Defender of the Free) - Shield-swipe will cash out max fortification stacks for a 20% damage buff for 15s. You will not be able to start rebuilding Fortification until 5s after this buff ends.
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Stoic - Stoic has a new rank which will cause your bubble to heal you for 10% of your Morale when it expires.
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - To the Rescue - New rank causes your next skill play to be a guaranteed Crit
  • Traits - New Trait - Honourable Combat (The Keen Blade) - Gain a skill which removes all bleeds from a foe and heal yourself for 2% max Morale for each tier of bleed removed.
  • Traits - New Trait - Singular Focus (The Fighter of Shadow) - Parry response skills have a chance to break enemy armour, reducing its effectiveness for 30s. This debuff cannot be refreshed by other traits.
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Strong Bursts - New rank increases AoE damage by a further 10%

Hunter
  • Resolved an issue with Erebor Huntsman 2 piece set bonus not properly applying to Improved Fleetness.

Huntsman

  • Exsanguinate now has no Focus Cost.
  • New Trait – Moving Target – The Hunter gains +5% Evade chance whilst moving. This bonus disappears after standing still for a second, but will resume thereafter.
  • Enhanced Trait – Strong Draw – New rank that gives the hunter a +15% chance for focus consumers to consume 1 less Focus

Bowmaster

  • New Trait – Plant Feet - The Hunter gains +5% Evade Chance after standing still for 1.5s. This bonus breaks upon movement.
  • Enhanced Trait – Draw Weight – Increased bonus from 2% to 3% per rank
  • New Max rank grants +15% Critical Damage for Induction Skills
  • Set Bonus – Archer’s Mark – Crit Defence debuff has been increased for all ranks.

Trapper of Foes

  • Enhanced Trait – Trait - Survival Gear – New max rank that increases Max Bonus to 8% Mitigation
  • Elusive – Change bonus to give Evade Chance instead of Partial Evade Bonus
  • New Trait – Emergency Preparations – Evading allows you to instantly place a trap within 10m of yourself. This trap is the equivalent of a Set Trap and can only appear once every 8 seconds.
  • Trait – Endurance – Ratings have been buffed to be more competitive.

Lore-master

  • Traits - Prepare for War - Ratings have been increased significantly
  • Traits - Inner Flame - Now gives a significantly stronger Fire Damage buff. Base cooldown reduced from 90s-->60s
  • Traits - Hearty Diet - Ratings have been increased significantly
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Hearty Diet - now has a 6th rank which increases Physical and Tactical Mitigations by 2.5% each.
  • Traits - Ring of Fire - debuff has been significantly increased
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - "Ring of Fire" has a new rank which increases the radius to 10m
  • Traits - New Trait - Fire Shield - Fire skills have a 25% chance to place a protective shield around you which increases mitigations and returns Fire Damage to attackers
  • Traits - Fire-lore - Melee Damage Reduction increased from 3%-->5% per rank
  • Traits - Frost-lore - Tactical Damage Reduction increased from 2%-->4% per rank
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Ancient Craft has a new rank which increases your own armour by 5%
  • Traits - New Trait - Enfeeble - The effects of Ancient Craft, Sign of Power: See All Ends, and Sign of Power: Command are doubled for the first 10s of their duration
  • Skills - Sign of Power: Command now uses its updated icon for all versions of skills and effects
  • Skills - Ring of Fire fx should now more accurately reflect the radius of the attack.
  • Traits - New Trait - Feral - Gain a passive buff based on which pet you have active. Does not apply to pets summoned by Sic’ em. Bear - +5% Max Morale, +5% Each Mitigation, Raven and Eagle – +50% Gust of Wind damage, +5% Crit Chance, Cats - -10% Induction Duration, +15% DoT Damage, Spirit - +15% Incoming Healing, +15% Outgoing Healing, Bog-guardian - +10% Tactical Damage and +2s Stun Duration
  • The Loremaster set for the Tradition now increases your tactical damage by 20% for 10s rather than reduce your target's Tactical Mitigation

Minstrel
  • Traits - Inspiring Cries and Calls – Proccooldown reduced from 25s-->15s
  • Skills - Song of Aid now allows Hunters to use Improved Focus in-combat
  • Traits - Inspiring Cries and Calls – Reduce skillproc cooldown from 25s --> 15s
  • Skills - Soliloquy of Spirit – Cooldown reduced to 1s. This effect may stack up to 3 times
  • Specialization - Watcher of Resolve Fate and Will ratings increased
  • Traits - Song of the Hammerhand - Now has 3 ranks. Increases Bubble potency by 10%/15%/20%
  • Traits - Resonant Piercing Cry - Now has 1 rank. When triggered, Resonant Piercing Cry places a hotspot. Bolster Courage and Raise the Spirit are more effective on allies within the hotspot.
  • Skill – Bolster Courage – Healing balanced down by ~25%
  • Skill – Raise the Spirit – Healing balanced down by ~20%
  • Skill – Chord of Salvation – balanced down healing by ~20%
  • New Trait (Watcher of Resolve) - Inner Strength - Soliloquy of Spirit adds 1% to mitigations.
  • Enhanced Trait (Watcher of Resolve) - Chord of Salvation – New Rank heals primary target for every fellowship member nearby
  • Traits - Anthem of War – No longer increases Anthem Duration. Now increases Critical Damage by 10%
  • Traits - Enduring Morale – Morale bonus increased
  • Traits - Finesse – Ratings value increased
  • New Trait (Warrior-skald) - Echoes – All damaging cries and calls have a chance to apply a harmful DoT
  • Enhanced Trait (Warrior-skald) - Herald’s Strength – New Rank steals 2.5% Mitigations from the enemy for 10s
  • Traits - Tactical Mastery – Ratings increased
  • Traits - Strength of Helm Hammerhand – Mastery Ratings increased
  • Traits - Shielding Cry – Duration bonuses increased to 5s / rank
  • Traits - Sharing a Story - Trait removed
  • Traits - Exposing Weakness – Now has 2 additional ranks which increase the debuff bonus by 10% / 25%
  • Traits - Extended Anthems – Bonus increased from 2s-->5s per rank
  • New Trait (Protector of Song) - Strike a Chord – In Melody Stance, your Ballads debuff the enemy with flipped values of the buffs you gain.
  • Enhanced Traits (Protector of Song) - Tactical Mastery – Gain 5% Tactical Mitigation at Rank 6

Runekeeper

  • Riffler of Writs items should now properly remove the attunement shift of a Writ as intended.
  • Words of Exaltation had old tooltip text that referred to the duration of the bubble being increased per tier of writ of health on a target. This functionality was removed in update 12 but the tooltip was not updated. It is now.
  • Do Not Fall this Day skill can now work on players not in the runekeeper's fellowship.
  • Fixed a bug with Frost Armour that was giving a reduced amount of incoming damage if the player already had reduced incoming damage. It should now apply the proper -10% incoming damage to any target.
  • Hastened Determination should now lower the cooldown of Self Motivation instead of increase it.
  • Branded Marks was intended to have only one rank. It does now.
  • Fixed an issue that was causing the cooldown reduction of Epic Conclusion when used with Closing Remarks was not properly applying to the character if they killed their target with the skill.
  • Glorious Foreshadowing Incoming Healing bonus should not properly tier down with Writ of health instead of dispelling when it expired.
  • Volcanic Runestone should now be properly affected by the Fire Damage weapon legacy.
  • Steady Hands useable while moving
  • Scribe a New ending – Skill is useable even when disarmed.
  • Do Not Fall This Day – Reduce cooldown to 5 minutes. Can be casted on a target out of combat.

Benediction of Peace

  • Our Fate’s Entwined – Runestone can’t die for duration of runestone.
  • Master of Allusion – Also reduces the induction time of Frost skills.
  • Bombastic Inspiration – Increase duration to 12s.
  • Prophetic Word – lower to 3 ranks, from 5.
    • Each rank now Increases Mending Verse healing by 10% per rank.
  • New Trait– Prolonged Verse – 3 ranks
    • Increases the pulse of Mending Verse by 1 per rank.
    • Max rank: Lowers the induction of Mending verse by 1 second.
  • New Legendary Trait – Overture of Hope
    • Words of Exaltation and Essay of Exaltation now grant +10% inc. healing and -10% incoming damage reduction.
    • In addition, Words of Exaltation applied on a target will trigger the expiration heal of Bombastic Inspiration if present on a target.

Cleansing Flame

  • Trait – Conflagration of Runes – Increased bonus from 2% to 3% / rank
  • Scathing Retort – No longer grants a tactical mastery buff, instead Smouldering Wrath is immune to interruption.
  • Seething Truth – Lowered Smouldering Wrath damage increase to 30%.
  • Guile and Subtlety – Removed Trait. Replace with 2 new traits
    • New Trait – Thick Skinned – 3 ranks
      • Increases Physical Mitigation by 2/5/7%.
  • New Trait (Includes Enhanced Trait) Hastened Determination- 3 ranks
    • Reduces the cooldown of Self Motivation by 5 seconds per rank.
    • Max rank: Removes the induction of Self Motivation and can be used on the move.
  • New Trait – Branded Marks – +2 pulses to all Fire DoTs

Solitary Thunder

  • Set Bonus – Master of Tragedy – Add internal cooldown of 10 seconds.
  • Trait – Critical Defence - Increase Max bonus from 5% to 7%
  • Enhanced Trait – Perfect Imagery
    • New rank – Reduces the cooldown of Vivid Imagery by 30 seconds.
  • New Trait – Flashing images – After using Steady Hands, if you use a cashout skill within 6 seconds, you will be returned to your previous attunement level before Steady Hands.

Warden

  • Traits - All traits which provide ratings bonuses have been significantly increased.
  • Traits - Critical Protection - Max Critical Defence bonus increased from 5%-->7% Critical Defence
  • Traits - For the Free Peoples - Mitigations given to fellowship are increased
  • Traits - New Trait - Fellowship Protector - Conviction gives you Mitigation ratings for every Fellowship member affected by the skill.
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - "Stand your Ground" has a new rank which grants +2% Block chance and +2% Parry Chance
  • Traits - Way of the Spear - Trait now offers 3%/6%/10% Spear Gambit Damage over 3 ranks
  • Traits - Recklessness - Skill grants more Critical Rating when triggered
  • Set Bonus - Sharpened Spears - Spear Gambit Damage increased from 5%-->10%
  • Set Bonus - One After Another - Morale restored increased from 1%-->5%
  • Traits - New Trait - Honed Spikes - Shield Spikes now give your shield skills +20% Critical Damage
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Lasting Impression has a new rank which causes a DoTs final pulse to deal significant burst damage to the target
  • Traits - Momentum - Melee Damage buff after swapping into melee stance increased from 2%-->4% per rank
  • Traits - Shattered Javelins - Burst damage increased by over 20%
  • Traits - Battering Strikes - Debuff Duration increased from 12s-->15s
  • Traits - New Trait - Seize the Moment - Critical Hits with Gambits have a 50% chance to remove cooldowns from masteries for 10s. This effect cannot be triggered more than once every 10s.
  • Traits - Enhanced Trait - Bulls-eye - New Rank grants +20% Ranged Critical Damage.
  • Fixed the tool-tip for the Agility stat as it did not include the fact that Agility also increases Tactical Mastery.

Mounted Combat

  • Fixed a case where class stances didn't fully activate if you changed trait specs while mounted.
  • Mounted Combat: Mounted Enemies will hit harder and more frequently.
  • The Root effect was causing mounted players to accelerate rather than affecting their mount's acceleration rate. Now when the effect is active, your acceleration rate will be decreased for the duration of the effect.

Legendary Items

  • All Heritage Runes now stack to 200.
  • The Legacy Replacement items are now usable while riding a horse.
  • Reduced the induction time for using IA upgrades and legacy replacements.
  • The First-age Legendary class items (non-weapons) were not getting the full benefit from legacies (as one could see when they compared the Might legacy added to a class item and weapon, for example). This change will only affect newly identified First-age class items.

Epic Battles, Skirmishes, Instances, & Raids.

  • Various shouts inside instances should now show up over npc's heads
  • The vast majority of the Epic Battles promotion benefits have been rebalanced to provide larger benefits earlier on. The tier 5 values have not changed.
  • Notable increases have been made to the stat boosts monsters get on tier 2 and 3 skirmishes and tier 2 scaling instances.
  • Notable increases have been made to the base stats for elite masters, nemesis, and arch-nemesis in skirmishes.
  • Vanguard skill Incite Foe will now be automatically added to the auto skill bar when acquired.
  • Added Instance: Lords of the Eastemnet &Instance: The Battle for Hytbold to Snowbourn reflecting pool
  • Instance: Direfirel - Half-orc archers now throw spears. Half-orc warriors are always in Melee
  • Fangorn Forest: Crafting Instances now contribute to West Rohan Slayer Deeds
  • Vanguard skill Incite Foe will now be automatically added to the auto skill bar when acquired.
  • Deeping-coomb, the "Prepare" secondary objective will now generate slightly more enemy soldiers
  • Deeping-coomb "Darkwater" secondary objective, the Darkwater Spirits speed and spawn rate has been adjusted to make defeating them on the water much easier
  • Some visual and icon effects on the Epic Battle "smite zones" have been fixed
  • For the Hornburg secondary, Final Blockade, added a guard, weakened attacks of enemies, and made them come out into the main area before hitting the ballistae, in order to make the secondary more soloable.
  • Deeping Wall - Securing the Culvert: Gamling will drop his arms when he's done carrying a rock.
  • Deeping Wall - Vanguard Defilers: fixed formatting typo in totem tooltip
  • The barter NPC that sells Legendary item accessories has been updated so that the legendary item titles are displayed in their own list.
  • You can no longer slot a conflicting set of skirmish traits

Helm’s Dike
  • Guarding the Watchtower: placed clubs & torches in the hands of the attackers
  • Fixed “Enemy Archer” zones that were missing or badly placed
  • Powder at the Gate: attempted fix for issue where last wave of sappers would just stand still
  • Stone Obstruction: archers fire longer each time you tell them to shoot

Glittering Caves
  • Spider boss Scrimgrit hits a little harder than before; we gave her some extra skills
  • Bombs & Bats: fixed but where killing multiple sappers at once could prevent quest from completion
  • Touched up appearance and placement of several “Enemy Archer” zones

The Hornburg
  • Ladders: fewer trolls and they only show up later, reduced HP of hooks by roughly 20%, slowed spawn rate of sappers coming up the ladders

Monsterplay

  • Level 100 pvmp armour, weapons, and jewelry can now be purchased in Glan-vraig.
  • Potions and insignias should now work for level scaled characters starting at level 20. (Food not included)
  • Creep Mastery Corruption bonus was misleading and referring to only melee skills when all types of skills proc the effect.
  • Reaver and Stalkers auto attacks should now properly use their new damage types on all attack hooks.
  • Toxic Carapace should no longer reflect periodic damage from bleeds and other types of damage over time effects.
  • Improved Vital Target now applies a healing debuff for 20 seconds to its target.
  • Resolved issue that was Guardian's Fearless 4 set piece bonus to not properly disarm creeps.
  • Fixed a bug that was allowing the free People to use the Blood of The Fair Folk potions.
  • Resolved an issue that was making some mounts appear to be useable in the Delving of Fror, even though they were not.
  • Resolved issue that was Guardian's Fearless 4 set piece bonus to not properly disarm creeps.
  • Crumbling Insignia should now work on all slowing effects, not just some.
  • Resolved issue with Warg's Flayer bubble sometimes not properly re-applying to the player.
  • Weaver hatchling's stealth is now broken when it moves.

User Interface

  • UI: Switching between in-game maps should be a bit more responsive.
  • Quests listed in NPC selection UIs are now listed alphabetically.
  • There's now a search box on the reputation panel

Items

  • Item set bonuses now properly handle duplicates of the same item, such as two identical bracelets equipped in both wrist slots. The duplicates only count as one item for the purpose of set completion, and in cases where the bonus effect strength depends upon the average levels of set items, the item with the higher level will be used.
  • The Token of the Hornburg pre-order item now works through level 99
  • Stats for Helm's Deep pre-order cloaks will continue to grow past level 94.
  • Lootboxes now contain a "Pick a Mount" box which allows you to select one of over 25 different mounts, including the Lootbox exclusive Red Painted Skeletal Steed.

Hobnanigans

  • Adjusted costs of Red Chicken, Dorking and Scrapper Hats
  • Adjusted physics on fields to prevent some stuck and boundary issues
  • Hatching is now a daze instead of a stun
  • Chickens behind the Pet Vendor now name what they are
  • The bonus reward effect no longer clears on logging out or death

Cosmetic Pets

  • Floaty names for Hobnanigans Chicken Rewards will now be the right color for their rarity
  • Names for Huorns have been changed to be more lore appropriate.

Chat and Social

  • There's a new "World" chat channel. You can talk on it to other people on the same server no matter where in the world you are. It is turned on by default, you can turn it off by right-clicking on the chat tab and unchecking the "World" checkmark. The command to talk on the channel is /world or /wd. Monster Players have their own version of the world channel.
  • You now get appropriate usage reminders when using chat channel commands with no text to send
  • You can no longer make user chat channels with the same name as one of the existing chat channel commands.

Kinships

  • You should more consistently see the correct fellowship icons in the kinship panel.
  • The maximum number of characters allowed in the Kinship Message of the day has been increased (Currently 80, increased to 132).

Quests

  • Fixed a number of issues where tooltips over monsters wouldn't correctly indicate the quests/deeds that they would advance.
  • Typos fixed throughout Volume I, II, and III.
  • Typos fixed throughout Bree-land, Angmar, North Downs, and West Rohan.
  • Greetings added to several festival vendors.
  • Reliability fixes for ‘The Horn of Gondor’ session.
  • The Restless Orcs of the Crack's Edge - Orders no longer go into pending loot.
  • North Downs - Fields of Fornost - Quest: Niels' Bounty: Morrafn, the Flame of Hate now give xp
  • West Rohan - Slayer Deeds: Set Rewards are now visible in the Deeds tab
  • Typos and text in Volume IV Book 1 fixed.
  • Icons plugged in for Volume IV Book 1 items
  • Swan-knights involved with Epic Volume IV Book 1 now have correct appearances.
  • Adjusted the destination for when you leave the IV.1.12 instance.
  • More typo fixes, especially in IV.1.10.
  • Changed the Calembel Farmer's penchant for running away and breaking IV.1.6.
  • Dorthaneth now have their real appearances.
  • Changed the distance at which you can see the walls of Isengard. Didn't help too much.
  • Visibility fixes for the Wall of Isengard.
  • 'Interlude: Those Who Are Dead' should now be repeatable on a daily cooldown.
  • Fixed a bug where all the trainers in the Nan Curunir ox-clan merchant camp had the wrong class requirements.
  • Fixed minor typos in The Best Defence (Entwash Vale) and The Riders Four (The Wold).
  • There is new, corrected intro audio for the Battle for Erebor.
  • The North Downs warg, Gloomfang, no longer drops Raugzok's Ear as a trophy.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Scenic Tour: Moria

Myndariel was both excited and dreading entering Moria. She can't stand being in the dark and gloomy underground for long, as she learnt in the Goblin Mines of the Misty Mountains. But she was also curious to explore the ancient Dwarven empire, and eager to reach Lothlórien on the other side.

The dwarven architecture in Moria is amazing. The elves build structures of great beauty, but nothing on the sheer scale of the dwarven halls. The variety of environments within Moria was also surprising; from rugged caves to intricately carved stone faces overlooking bridges across deep chasms, from mining sites to gardens, from watery ruins to fiery vents to icy cliffs, and the lost libraries and forges and secret passageways ... there's a lot to see.

Unfortunately navigation is difficult with the huge sprawl, the many levels and the general lack of direct paths from A to B. You do start to find your way around and it feels like a mini-achievement to travel between some places without the aid of a stable-master and a sure-footed goat.

Some tips for people new to Moria:

  1. Complete the quests in Durin's Threshold and Lamâb-dûm to get a quest that sends you to Dolven-view and rewards you with a free goat mount. It only travels at 32% but with no horses allowed it's better than running everywhere.
  2. Find the Twenty-first Hall as soon as you can because that has all the facilities and fast-travel to many areas of Moria.
  3. If you want a faster goat or you're a hunter/warden and want to swift-travel to the Twenty-first Hall, you need rep with the Iron Garrison Miners. It's easy to get rep with the Iron Garrison Guards by doing quests and deeds, so save your Guards rep tokens that drop off mobs and take them to the Iron Garrison Miners vendor who can barter them for Miners rep tokens.
Cave tunnels lit by glowing crystals
The Waterworks
The Redhorn Lodes
Tharâkh Bazân (also known as Durin's Garden)
The balrog of Moria, Durin's Bane

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Myndariel's Wardrobe: Glacial Blue

Original version in the Misty Mountains
Updated version in Dunland

This has been Myndariel's favourite outfit so far and has always been about the dress. The dress was a reputation reward from the Elves of Rivendell and up until then Myndariel had been wearing robes that weren't particularly pretty. At first she didn't have anything to match the dress as the shade of blue isn't available as dye, but she gradually found a circlet, a cloak and a weapon to complete the pale-blue-and-white look.

This outfit inspired her to collect a stable of white pets as her companions in battle (and give them glacial-themed names) and her favourite mount is the white Grey Steed.

Head: Turquoise Summer Circlet (Summer Festival/LOTRO Anniversary Cosmetic Gift Box)

Chest: Long-sleeved Elven Dress (Elves of Rivendell rep vendor)

Cloak: Cloak of the Silver Star (Skirmish Camp cosmetics trader)

Staff: Lore-master's Staff of the Third Age
Alternative Staff: Amarthis (quest reward for [30] A Lore-master's Will)

With Amarthis

Scenic Tour: Eregion

Eregion was hidden away beyond the mountains and valleys of the Trollshaws. I first saw how to get there while watching one of the LOTROstreams on Twitch.tv for Taking the Hobbits to Isengard. In brief, follow the Bruinen River south; on the East side of the river there is a narrow path heading south up the hillside. The path leads across a tree-trunk bridge and then enters a valley which opens out near Gwingris in Eregion.

By the time Myndariel got to Eregion, she was keen to finish the first Volume of the Epic quest, get her first legendary items and head into Moria. Nevertheless, she did do some quests to help out the locals, but she rushed.

Eregion seemed a reasonably pretty place, lots of colourful trees, some nice views of the mountains and valleys, Elven ruins that hinted at the grandeur of a bygone era. It seemed to also have an abundance of resources - lots of ore and wood and animals and plants waiting to be picked. Perhaps one of my other characters will spend more time there and explore it more thoroughly. I've heard that sometimes when the weather is right, a beautiful rainbow can be seen.

The main road through Eregion

Gwingris

Looking towards Caradhras (Mt Redhorn)

Echad Mirobel

Monday, 7 July 2014

Scenic Tour: Forochel

Myndariel briefly visited Forochel on her journey to complete the first Volume of the Epic quest. After spending time in Misty Mountains, she thought it would be just another snowy zone, but the Lossoth people and their culture certainly add a unique flavour which made it an interesting place.

Aiding the Lost Fellowship to retrieve items of importance to the class they represented was fun. I think my favourites were the Minstrel who wanted revenge on the sabre-tooth who destroyed her musical instrument strings, and the Captain because his herald was so loyal.

Several of my characters have nearly bumped into the rare nemesis Torahammas and his Guaradan minions and nearly had the life scared out of them, before they took a deep breath and ran the other way. It's great to see creatures who are bigger and stronger than you, that could eat you for breakfast and spit out the bones - it adds a little danger, makes you be a little more wary, and offers a challenge. There's got to be a way to beat them ... maybe if I was higher level, or if I asked some friends to help ...

Korkea-järvi - the little lake in the south

The Ice Bay of Forochel

Sunrise over the ill-fated ship of Arvedui

Sûri-kylä - home of the Lossoth

Torahammas - a rare nemesis

Friday, 4 July 2014

Scenic Tour: Evendim

Although Evendim is a roughly level 30-40 zone, Myndariel didn't visit it until the Epic quest-line sent her there in her late 40s. I had heard it was a beautiful zone, but it still amazed me.

I have since sent other characters there and while they didn't enjoy the Oatbarton quests (they got very disoriented running around the maze of little farms and hobbit-holes looking for missing pitchforks and chickens etc.), the quests from Tinnudir were superb. I especially liked the quests where you were sent to some ruins and while there you find a relic or something valuable and old on the ground that starts another quest which ends up with returning the relics to Tinnudir to be studied/restored etc. Exploring Annúminas with Orchalwë was also challenging and fun.

Emyn Uial on the north-western side of Lake Evendim is a hidden gem, with some pretty locations worth visiting and an interesting story-line dealing with Gauredain, forest trolls and giants corrupting Longbough's home near the Eavespires.

Oatbarton - a hobbit town near the Shire border

Annúminas

Tinnudir

Ruins in Parth Aduial

Looking down from the giant statue of the High King

Men Erain - tombs of the High Kings