Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Scenic Tour: Western Gondor

Western Gondor is underwhelming but I think the architectural style is growing on me. It feels a little unfinished, but there is more content to come - at the very least, our server still has to unlock Paths of the Dead and Emyn Ernil and presumably they will become minor hives of activity for a while. It's a shame though that there isn't more to do in some of the regions because you travel through them so briefly on the quest line to reach Dol Amroth and then there's not much reason to go back.

Paths of the Dead

There were several small towns, each with their own ambience. Morlad was a cute village built into the hill with winding paths to the top of the town where there was a nice lookout. Lothgobel, a farming village, was lovely, sort of built around the green space and trees in the center of town. Calembel was elegant and really stands out on the horizon. You can also see the beacons of Gondor from there, so when Myndariel got there she started feeling like she was on the home stretch and just had to follow the beacons to the finish line in Dol Amroth. Tadrent was another place to stop by, look around and help out a few traders before continuing the journey.


The two elven settlements in the Havens of Belfalas were a surprise. Edhellond is overrun by corsairs but it must have been beautiful. And the Cave of the Avorrim ... well I never thought to see elves living underground! It is quite well hidden and elves are survivors so I guess they're just waiting for their chance to get Edhellond back.

Cave of the Avorrim

Finally Dol Amroth, the jewel of the harbour. It is big and beautiful and it has everything there. I love Inzibel's Walk and the Harper's Court - they're very pretty and relaxing places. The crafting area is well laid out and the vault and auction house aren't far away. Unfortunately, there's no mailbox nearby which seems an oversight. The crafting guilds are in the library and the skirmish camp vendors are in the armoury. It's nice to see so many people in the Court of the Fount area, both NPCs and players.

Dol Amroth
Court of the Fount
Corsair ships on the bay

Oh, and the weather forecast in West Gondor is always blue skies and balmy temperatures. Perfect time for heading to the beach ... except that's overrun by corsairs too!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Lore-master Stat Priorities

It's not just the quality of gear, but the stats on your gear that make a big difference in how well your lore-master can perform. Different play-styles may favour different stats but I hope to identify some reasonable goals for improving your lore-master. Please correct me if I'm wrong about any of this.

The Basics

Lore-masters need lots of Will and Vitality. Lore-masters are primarily lightly armoured spell-casters who use Will, but it can be advantageous to be in melee range to make full use of special staff attacks, hence the importance of Vitality.

Will increases your major damage stats and some defensive stats as well:
  • increases your damage
  • increases your outgoing healing
  • increases your tactical and physical mastery (increases damage)
  • increases your tactical mitigation (protects against elemental damage)
  • increases your resistance to debuffs (wound/fear/disease/poison)
Vitality increases your survivability:
  • increases your health pool (morale)
  • increases your out-of-combat health regeneration
  • increases your resistance to debuffs (wound/fear/disease/poison)

Other important stats for lore-masters:

50% Resistance, 40% Tactical/Physical Mitigation, Tactical Mastery, Critical Rating

Offense Stats

Critical Rating increases your chance to get critical hits which do extra damage. The maximum critical hit chance from your gear is 25% (the % can be seen when you mouse-over the critical rating score in your character sheet).

Fate also contributes to critical rating and some Lore-master gear will have Fate and/or Critical Rating. For example, Shoulderpads of the Nightwatcher (lvl 100) has 85 Fate (equivalent to 212.5 Critical Rating) plus 614 Critical Rating.

If you want to do more damage, increase critical rating.

Tactical Mastery increases the damage of your tactical abilities. When you mouse-over the icons for your abilities, they mention "Tactical Skill". Examples are abilities that deal fire or lightning or light damage, as well as your healing spells.

If you want to do more damage, increase tactical mastery.

Physical Mastery increases the damage of your melee skills. Lore-masters only have a couple of melee abilities: staff-strike and staff-sweep, so this is not a huge priority. You get physical mastery from Will.

Finesse reduces your enemy's resistance to debuffs such as wounds/fear/bleeds/poison and their chance to block/evade/parry your attacks. Therefore, this makes your enemy more vulnerable to your attacks and less likely that your attacks will miss. More successful attacks means more damage dealt. 

Enemy mobs also have finesse, with instance and raid bosses having quite a lot, but most landscape mobs won't have much.

Lore-masters don't deal wounds/fear/bleeds/poisons but some of their pets can (lynx critical hits can apply a bleed, eagles can apply a fear). Finesse may help reduce the miss chance of your debuff spells (i.e. lore skills). Tactical abilities cannot be blocked/evaded/parried.

Having some finesse may be useful but is not a top priority.

Defense Stats

Resistance, as mentioned above, reduces your chance to be debuffed by wounds/fear/bleeds/poison. As these effects can increase your damage taken or make you deal less damage, avoiding them by increasing resistance is recommended.

Both Will and Vitality provide resistance, as does many virtues, therefore it may not be necessary to specifically gear for it. Resistance is capped at 50%.

Critical Defence reduces the chance of your enemy to score a critical hit against you. This is usually more important for tanks, but if you've got top threat and/or getting hit a lot (e.g. in PvP or soloing), increasing this stat could reduce your damage taken.

This is probably a situational stat that you should increase if you're feeling "squishy".

Tactical and Physical Mitigation reduce the damage you take. They're very important and have a cap of 40% which you should aim for. Instance mobs and PvP "Creeps" tend to deal more tactical damage, while landscape mobs are normally melee or archer types dealing physical damage.

Will and virtues are the primary source of mitigations, and some may also be found on jewellery and legendary item relics.

If you want to stay alive, increase mitigations (to cap ideally).

Monday, 11 August 2014

Scenic Tour: West Rohan

While East and West Rohan have a lot in common, I think I enjoyed West Rohan more. It was arguably more pretty (especially Fenmarch!) and the story line in each area was interesting, plus there was more freedom to skip around the zone to quest where you want (assuming you were the appropriate level). I spent a lot of time in Broadacres and Westfold, helping the people of Stoke and Marton respectively, and maybe rushed through the other areas a bit too quick, but I can go back to finish them and finish getting rep with the Eorlingas and Helmingas. I'm still working through the events following the flooding of Isengard and getting to know the Ents of Fangorn Forest.


I loved Aldburg, the overgrown hometown of Éomer. I especially liked the layout of the crafting hall, with the crafting guilds downstairs and each room having the crafting stations it needs, while the central main room has the vault, auctioneer, forge/relic master, supplier, mailbox etc. The building itself is beautiful too with the light streaming through the stained glass windows.


Helm's Deep and Big Battles were a stumbling block. They were such a necessary part of the Epic quest line but it was frustrating trying to understand how big battles worked. Eventually I found the videos by Cithryth on Youtube which gave me tips on what to focus on and helped me finish Volume 3, Book 13.

Helm's Deep

Just in case they can help others with big battles:

The last region in West Rohan that I thought was quite interesting was Dunharrow in Kingstead, where the army and refugees are camped out before the doors to the Paths of the Dead. The winding path up the mountain with the carved statues staring out at you was rather ominous, especially at night time.

Púkel-men statues overlooking the Stair of the Hold

Thursday, 7 August 2014

PvP: First Impressions of the Ettenmoors

I finally took Myndariel for her first look at the Ettenmoors. I'm not a huge fan of PvP in MMOs, mostly because I'm more interested in game lore than defeating other players (whom I generally consider as allies working towards the same story-driven goals). But I popped into Bree and there was a Sergeant-at-Arms with a request for Myndariel to visit the Ettenmoors so I thought, why not?

Glân Vraig

I'm glad I did. It's a pretty zone with a mixture of Trollshaws and Misty Mountain type landscapes. The starting area for the "freeps", Glân Vraig, was very nice and I was struck by all the NPCs with quests or pvp rewards to offer. Before I knew it, I had found a few solo quests and I was heading off into the open world.  I found a castle (Ost Ringdyr) with more quests and so off I went to fight some goblins who had stolen the food and drink from the castle. I was just about finished when I was pounced on by a giant spider who turned out to be a "creep" player with 75,000 HP compared to my 15,000 HP. I think I was dead in two shots.


If that's the kind of difference in stats we're looking at between pvp veterans and pvp newbies, it's going to take a lot of deaths and a lot of grinding to get good gear. That doesn't really appeal to me, but by the time I had handed in a few solo quests I had earned almost enough renown to get the first rank. Making a little bit of progress now and then - ranking up slowly - could be a nice change from normal questing or instances. I did feel a little guilty because there were a group of players requesting help to take back some landmarks that had been captured by the enemy, but I knew that without pvp gear I wouldn't have been much help to them. Maybe I should have still tried, even if I was just the bait ("oh look, easy kill!") to lure them out so my allies could defeat them. Or maybe I should do some more solo quests, get enough ranks to get some gear, and then I could be more useful. We'll see.

Steps of Gram

What I liked about the Ettenmoors:

  • Beautiful large zone with lots of capture points
  • A variety of objectives for both solo players and groups
  • A variety of PvP and PvE objectives
  • Persistent - always available, no queueing or limited duration etc.
  • Ranking system and rewards

What I didn't like about the Ettenmoors:

  •  Difference in gear makes it very hard for new pvpers to stand a chance

Myndariel's Wardrobe: Violet Swan-Maiden

The new slotted armour from Dol Amroth looks very nice and I'm sure will be a popular addition to many LOTRO players' wardrobes.

Violet dye has been Myndariel's favourite colour from the beginning, but she's never found the right opportunity to wear an outfit that colour. Until now. The funny thing is that the main part of the outfit didn't even need any dye.

I finally gave up on matching the outfit to the staff or vice versa as it really does limit options, especially when legendary staves seem to have the same appearance for at least 30 levels.

As described on Wandering Around Arda, the Dol Amroth sets have a theme relating to swans and feathers, and you can see that in the robe with the violet "feathers" overlapping through the chest portion, the long white sleeves and skirts reminiscent of the swans' white plumage and long necks, while the dark overlapping "feathers" underneath perhaps remind us of the black swans.

Myndariel is wearing:
  • Chest: Light Nadhin Robe (Dol Amroth or Vol 4, Book 1, Chapter 12 reward)
  • Shoulders: Light Nadhin Shoulders (Dol Amroth or Vol 4, Book 1, Chapter 2 reward)
  • Back: Cloak of the Rescuer (dyed violet, Great River quest reward)
  • Hands: Elven Explorer's Gloves (dyed violet, crafted, Tailor T4)
  • Feet: Wildermore Survivor's Medium Boots (dyed violet, People of Wildermore rep)

I really like the cloak with this outfit because it looks like it's got little twigs and leaves and flowers on it which make me think of the swan's nest. I also like that it doesn't cover the head, but it looks like it could (hood pulled back). It's nice to find a use for some of the Wildermore gear too and the boots have the same violet-white-black as the robe which worked out well.

My reward to Myndariel for reaching 100 was to get her some war-steed accessories because the free options are so limited. So now her steed is white with violet (actually indigo but it looks very close) rune-keeper's tack.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Level 100 Gear for Lore-masters

As I am trying to gear up my level 100 lore-master, I've found limited resources on what options are available (online wiki and databases not being up to date yet) - obviously the class armour set and the slotted armour sets in Dol Amroth, but is there anything else? No crafted gear recipes were made available with update 14 so that leaves PVP, instances and drops from mobs I guess.

PS. See Comparing Level 100 Armour Sets for new Lore-master armour sets available since Update 17.

Light Slotted Armour Set - Dol Amroth

Note: Level 95 Light Nadhin Shoulders (3 slots) and level 100 Light Nadhin Robe is available free by completing the epic questline Volume IV, Book 1.

Light Nadhin Hood1925441194 empty slots
Light Nadhin Shoulders1925441194 empty slots
Light Nadhin Robe19218111194 empty slots
Light Nadhin Gauntlets1929051194 empty slots
Light Nadhin Leggings19215091194 empty slots
Light Nadhin Shoes1927261194 empty slots

Light Nadhin Armour

Lore-master Class Set (Armour of the Night Watcher) - Dol Amroth

Note: You need to complete each of the Dol Amroth sub-factions' questing deed to unlock each piece of gear.

2-piece bonus: Water-lore incoming healing buff increased by 3%
4-piece bonus: +5% Tactical skills direct damage

Circlet of the Night Watcher192544239205 Vitality
768 Critical Rating
1874 Finesse
Shoulderpads of the Night Watcher192544239205 Vitality
85 Fate
614 Critical Rating
Robe of the Night Watcher1921811239205 Vitality
768 Critical Rating
614 Tactical Mastery
Gloves of the Night Watcher192905239205 Vitality
768 Tactical Mastery
1544 Critical Defense
Leggings of the Night Watcher1921509239205 Vitality
85 Fate
377 Maximum Power
Boots of the Night Watcher192726239205 Vitality
68 Fate
768 Critical Rating

Armour of the Night Watcher

You can also buy a Lore-master's Staff of the Second Age (base stats: 475-791 common damage, 253.2 DPS) from Brandarth, the Lore-master Armour vendor in Dol Amroth. However, it requires Mason tokens which won't be available until your server has unlocked the caves of Emyn Ernil.

Guardian of Watchwood (world drops)

This is a set of bind-on-equip incomparable item level 192 gear with set bonuses that comes from random world drops. Pieces of this set may also be found at the auction house.

2-piece bonus: 85 Will
3-piece bonus: 85 Fate
4-piece bonus: 85 Vitality
5-piece bonus: 85 Fate
6-piece bonus: 85 Will plus 768 Tactical Mastery

Amarthgarab (head)192544171171 Vitality
85 Fate
1536 Tactical Mastery
Eiliadhranc (shoulders)192544171171 Fate
768 Critical Rating
1536 Tactical Mastery
Tiriacham (chest)192181117185 Vitality
256 Fate
 768 Critical Rating
Braigmaib (gloves)192905171171 Vitality
768 Critical Rating
1536 Tactical Mastery
Thorembadanir (leggings)1921509171171 Vitality
85 Fate
1536 Tactical Mastery
Delendail (boots)19272685171 Vitality
171 Fate
768 Critical Rating
768 Tactical Mastery

This set is fairly balanced between Will and Fate and has a lot of Tactical Mastery.

Western Shore (world drops)

This is a set of bind-on-equip incomparable item level 192 gear with set bonuses that comes from random world drops. Pieces of this set may also be found at the auction house.

2-piece bonus: 768 Tactical Mastery
3-piece bonus: 85 Fate
4-piece bonus: 85 Vitality
5-piece bonus: 768 Tactical Mastery
6-piece bonus: 85 Fate plus 768 Tactical Mastery

Golthol (head)192544171256 Fate
1536 Tactical Mastery
Gweluranc (shoulders)192544171171 Fate
1536 Critical Rating
2343 Finesse
Formen Falas (chest)192181185171 Vitality
171 Fate
1536 Tactical Mastery
Aelin (gloves)192905171171 Fate
1536 Critical Rating
2343 Finesse
Andúnë (leggings)19215090171 Vitality
171 Fate
1536 Tactical Mastery
2343 Finesse
Helegdail (boots)192726171171 Vitality
171 Fate
768 Tactical Mastery

This set has more Fate than Will, with only a little Vitality but a lot of Finesse.

At the Auction House

Scalable instances can drop a variety of bind-on-equip incomparable item level 192 items known as the Greater Resolute set, e.g. Greater Resolute Robe of Tactics. This set also includes jewellery and weapons but does not offer set bonuses. The base stats on the armour are similar to the Armour of the Night Watcher set, but the extra stats vary.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Level 100!

Myndariel finally reached level 100 this morning at around 1am. She was just fighting her way out of Abedec's Watch in Havens of Belfalas when it happened. I'm glad now that she spent a little longer in West Rohan until she was level 96 because I've heard quite a few people mention that if they started in West Gondor at level 95, they ran out of quests about halfway through level 99 and then had to do skirmishes or hunt warbands to get the rest of the way.

Entrance to Abedec's Watch
Just after she killed the corsair that made her level 100
This is my first character at max level in LOTRO. I'm looking forward to getting her some of the Dol Amroth slotted gear (the class gear looks like a rehash of lower level gear, so not as interesting) and getting her first First Age legendaries. Now she'll also have time to go back and complete some of the zones she missed while levelling. I'm trying to decide between Great River or finishing off her rep grind in Lothlórien.

I have some alts I'm also keen to level up - my captain (metalsmith) is in Moria at the moment while my warden (woodworker) and minstrel (tailor) are in the Trollshaws. I mostly want them to level up for their crafting abilities - I like my characters to be self-sufficient - but they also have very different playstyles and it's nice to have a change. So you might see some of them popping up in the future.

Here's a quick peek at them:
Captain Minstrel Warden

Friday, 1 August 2014

Scenic Tour: Wildermore

I'd heard that Wildermore was no longer relevant content but it had a good story so should be visited at least once. Well, I'm glad Myndariel quested there. It really was a good story that led you around the zone helping people, spirits and Ents to deal with the devastation and tragedy Núrzum has brought to the land.

Towns have been snap-frozen
Farms have been overrun by orcs
Giant ice crystals dot the landscape
Relationships are a strong theme throughout the zone, especially those of Cyneberg and Gárwig who have lost those they love but while they grieve they also have responsibilities to look after the people of Wildermore. The little story about the survivors in the Steaping Cave was also quite moving and it was good that in the end the other women put aside their jealousy and offered support to the foreigner, and pregnant widow, Ránmald.

The quests in the Balewood offered a lot more insight into Núrzum and why he has wreaked wintry woes on Wildermore. I like the Ents: they're noble in their mission to protect the forests; they're patient with their enemies and wayward friends and don't rush in to get revenge or give punishment; they're level-headed and listen to others' opinions then weigh up their options to find the best solution. I'm not so keen on the huorns though - tripping over their roots by accident then getting whacked across the back of the head with a branch and looking back to see a grim visage in the trunk as the tree pulls itself out of the ground to chase you angrily - yeah, they're not as reasonable as the Ents.

Frozen Forlaw
Byre Tor, abandoned but still pretty on a clear, frosty day
The Balewood
Having completed the story-line of defeating Núrzum and earning kin standing with the People of Wildermore (and getting the travel point, some crafting recipes and some nice warm-looking cosmetic gear), it's hard to imagine going through the whole zone again, rebuilding, to earn rep with the Survivors of Wildermore. Maybe Myndariel will consider it at some stage when she has more free-time, but in the meantime, they'll have to manage without her.