Thursday, 31 December 2015

Level 50 Beorning

Over the Christmas break I have been on a levelling marathon to get my Beorning from level 30 to level 50. She was in Evendim for 10 levels and reached kindred with the Wardens of Annúminas just from questing and there were still more quests to do. She then headed to the Trollshaws and did Books 4 and 5 of the epic quest which took her into the Misty Mountains so she quested there until 45, with a small detour to Angmar to complete the first 6 chapters of Book 6 and unlock access past the Line of Doom, better known as Rammas Deluon.

Saw Grimbeorn at Vindurhal, Misty Mountains

At level 45, she started the quest for a legendary weapon and headed to Echad Dunann in Eregion. In the Walls of Moria instance, she did the orc cave but forgot to do the cave with the worms and lost dwarves. She tried not to, but she could take on three level 50 orcs when necessary as a level 45 blue-line Beorning. Making sure to buff yourself and debuff your enemy, and interrupt whenever possible helps. In general though, she's found a nice rhythm for cycling through her abilities that works for her.

Beorning's first Legendary Great Axe

So she got her legendary great axe equipped (which looked rather dull and ugly so she kept her previous cosmetic weapon displayed) and added an Ancient Dwarf damage title (good for fighting cave-claws in Sarnúr and Moria) then headed off to Goblin-town in the Misty Mountains. She had a bunch of quests there and thought it would be a good place for some quick XP and lots of rep tokens. She reached kindred with the Mathom Society without ever visiting the Shire.

Her weapon needed reforging so it was back to Rivendell and a few more epic quests. I decided not to head straight back to Eregion to face the Watcher, which is what I would normally do, but chose instead to go visit Sarnúr and get some rep with Thorin's Hall to get a nice fast goat for Moria. I found some quests for Sarnúr outside the Blue Stone Garrison in Thorin's Hall. It took me about two hours or so to go from acquaintance to kindred, mostly just running around the Sarnúr Hall and Keep - I avoided the lower levels with the trolls and elites. I also got several slayer deeds done for killing brigands and hendroval in Ered Luin and Dourhands and beasts in Sarnúr.


She got her goat and fell in love with it - it's saddle blanket matched her outfit and it just seemed more sturdy and practical with its sleeping roll and storage packs than the fine-boned horse she had been given by the Wardens of Annúminas.

Tyravorth and her Thorin's Hall goat

Finally she headed back to Eregion, but not to continue into Moria just yet - she still needed to level her prospecting some more to be able to mine khazâd skarn so she decided to do some questing. Doing some quests would unlock swift travel options to and from the various stable masters which might come in handy some time too. Unfortunately I got a bit bored being sent back to fight the half-orcs and worms around Pembar over and over again, but then I realised I only had a day and a bit to get to level 50 before the New Year so I'd better buckle under and quest harder (I was still level 47).

Pembar - the bane of Eregion questing

She was sent to Echad Dunann and quested near there until she got the Silent and Restless (Advanced) deed done. She found that there were another tier of that deed to do, but her bags were full and her legendary weapon needed reforging so she decided to finally head into Moria, at level 48.

She completed Vol II Book 1 and got her Beorning Carving for the class slot which seems to improve healing and defences as the base stat increases Tactical Healing Rating and she also got a "Bear Form Critical Defence" legacy. Upon reforging the axe she got the "Chance for Attacks to Return Wrath" legacy which sounds very useful. She had to go to Dolven-view to visit the forge-master but fortunately the stable-master had the route unlocked so she could get there quickly, then head back to do the quests at Durin's Threshold.

Old Silvertine City

Level 50 arrived as she entered Old Silvertine City and reported in to the dwarf by the door. She had just finished the quests in the Great Delving and Silvertine Lodes. Taking on the level 50-53 mobs was not a problem and questing went much more quickly and efficiently than in Eregion. She picked up a heap of legendary items for other classes - especially Guardian Belts and Rune-keeper Rune-stones, but no upgrades for Beornings. The quest rewards were nice and they still offer the boxes of Might-based medium armour, but you can't open them until level 50 so now I have a few of those to open and see what gear I can improve.

Reaching level 50 is a milestone. The game changes once you start using legendary weapons. Instead of just levelling yourself, levelling your legendaries becomes a mini-game. Gift of the Valar can also level you to level 50, and for Beornings who choose this, rest easy - you'll have all the important abilities you need. It might take a little while to get used to swapping between man and bear form, but you'll get there.

I'm still enjoying the blue trait tree. I've got 30 trait points in it so far and am working on filling out the Tactical and Physical Mitigation traits so that I don't need so much from gear or virtues. Having two interrupts has been very helpful in bear form, especially when fighting two mobs that both want to stun you. I hate being stunned, and yes I use Shake Free, but it has a 2 minute cooldown so it's better to prevent the stun than rely on that. I save that for when I'm stunned and losing too much health because multiple mobs are attacking and I need to start healing up quick.

I'm still wishing we had a snare instead of a fear. About the only time I use Grisly Cry is when a mob is running away at low health, sometimes it will finish them off. I also don't use Counter and Counterattack as much as I perhaps could. I tend to use it when my healing spells and potions are on cooldown and evasion is my next best option until they're available again. Counterattack doesn't hit very hard, but it adds wrath, which could be useful in bear form to be able to get another Thrash in.

So, at level 50, Beornings are definitely fun to play and can handle most situations. They've got a nice rotation and plenty of tools. I guess the next mission is to reach level 75 and find out what the mounted combat is like.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

World Renowned

Eriador Horse - World Renowned Deed Reward
Myndariel finally completed the World Renowned deed - earning kindred standing with 11 factions of Eriador. It's been a long and interesting journey and it sounds corny but I'm so proud of her.

I know most of these are in the mounts gallery, but here are the faction mounts relevant to the deed:

Algraig, Men of Enedwaith

Men of Bree

The Mathom Society

Thorin's Hall

Elves of Rivendell

The Eglain

Rangers of Esteldín

Wardens of Annúminas

Council of the North

Lossoth of Forochel

The Grey Company

Saturday, 26 December 2015

A Quick Guide to Reputation - Eriador

Here are some comments and suggestions on earning reputation with various factions in Eriador.

Men of Bree

  • Questing,deeds and tasks in Bree-land and Trestlebridge, North Downs
  • Volume 1, Book 1 epic quests
  • Barrow-downs (Bree-land) instances drop rep tokens
  • Buy rep tokens from the Skirmish Camp
  • Skirmishes (Thievery and Mischief, Defence of the Prancing Pony) give rep
  • Woodworkers can get quests and recipes to earn rep

Thorin's Hall

  • Questing, deeds and tasks in Ered Luin, some quests from Gloin's Camp in the Misty Mountains and some quests from Zilgilgund in Forochel
  • Volume 1, Book 5 epic quests
  • Sarnúr (Ered Luin) and Icereave Mines (Forochel) instances drop rep tokens
  • Buy rep tokens from the Skirmish Camp
  • Skirmishes (Siege of Gondamon) give rep
  • Jewellers can get quests and recipes to earn rep

A good reason to reach kindred with Thorin's Hall is that they sell a goat that can be used in Moria.

The Mathom Society

  • Questing, deeds and tasks in The Shire and Dwaling, Evendim
  • Barrow-downs (Bree-land), Dol Dínen (North Downs) and Goblin-town (Misty Mountains) instances drop rep tokens
  • Buy rep tokens from the Skirmish Camp
  • Skirmishes (Trouble in Tuckborough) give rep
  • Cooks can get quests and recipes to earn rep

The Eglain

  • Questing, deeds and tasks in The Lone-lands
  • Defeating mobs in The Lone-lands
  • Garth Agarwen (Lone-lands) instance quests
  • Skirmishes (Stand at Amon Sûl) give rep
  • Crafting quests in Ost Guruth

Rangers of Esteldín

  • Questing, deeds and tasks in The North Downs
  • Volume 1, Book 3 epic quests
  • Dol Dínen (North Downs), Ongbishúk (Angmar) and Eastern Malenhad (Angmar) orcs drop rep tokens
  • Buy rep tokens from the Skirmish Camp
  • Fornost (North Downs) instance quests
  • Skirmishes (Attack at Dawn) give rep
  • Tailors can get quests and recipes to earn rep

Elves of Rivendell

  • Questing, deeds and tasks in The Trollshaws, some quests in The Misty Mountains and some deeds in Eregion
  • Volume 1, Book 4 epic quests
  • Goblin-town (Misty Mountains) instances drop rep tokens
  • Buy rep tokens from the Skirmish Camp
  • Skirmishes (The Ford of Bruinen) give rep
  • Scholars can get quests and recipes to earn rep

The Wardens of Annúminas

  • Questing, deeds and tasks in Evendim
  • Volume 1, Book 10 epic quests
  • Defeating mobs in Men Erain and Annúminas (Evendim)
  • Angmarim (Evendim) drop rep tokens
  • Buy rep tokens from the Skirmish Camp
  • Annúminas (Evendim) instance quests
  • Weaponsmiths can get quests and recipes to earn rep

The Council of the North

  • Questing, deeds and tasks in Angmar
  • Defeating mobs in Angmar
  • Angmarim, Gethyrg, The Dead and Merveil in Angmar drop rep tokens
  • Buy rep tokens from the Skirmish Camp
  • Angmar instances quests and deeds
  • Metalsmiths can get quests and recipes to earn rep 

You must complete Volume 1, Book 6, Chapter 6 epic quests to be able to pass through Rammas Deluon and access Eastern Angmar.

Lossoth of Forochel

  • Quests, deeds and tasks in Forochel
  • Many mobs in Forochel drop rep tokens
  • Icegreave Mines (Forochel) instance drop rep tokens
  • Buy rep tokens from the Skirmish Camp
  • Skirmishes (The Icy Crevasse) gives rep

You start as an Outsider with the Lossoth so an extra 10,000 reputation is required to reach kindred compared to other factions.

The Lossoth have tailoring and metalsmith recipes to make some cosmetic armour sets. There are also a number of cosmetic cloaks available for purchase at various notoriety standings.

The Grey Company

  • Quests and deeds in Enedwaith

Algraig, Men of Enedwaith

  • Quests and deeds in Enedwaith

Men of Dunland

  • Quests, deeds and tasks in Dunland

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year! Keep safe, have fun and look after each other. People are precious. Enjoy your time with friends and family.

See you in LOTRO in 2016!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Beginner's Guide to Beornings

I'm still a beginner Beorning but I'd thought I'd share what I'm learning about the class as there is a shortage of guides and information out there. So I've added a guide "For the Beornings" with a list of articles which so far includes my reviews of level 30 red and blue trait trees and a look at stat priorities and virtues. I'm not sure about the order of stat priorities but I hope the information about how stats affect Beornings may be useful, and if anyone has better suggestions, please let me know!

Executive Producer's Letter - December 2015

Thanks to Level Up Haffle, I just found out about the latest Executive Producer's Letter before I even got the news from Turbine. There's some explanations about the delays with the server transfers and some news about what's coming in 2016 - namely, an increase in level to 105 and a new instance cluster and a 12-man raid associated with the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

That should make a few people happy.

Here's the full news:

Hello all!

2015 was a great year for LOTRO, and we hope you agree! We had many large beats to cover this year as we built out more of Gondor including the two great cities of Osgiliath and Minas Tirith. Additionally we took on major service upgrades including building a brand new store and consolidating our servers to a core ten worlds which are buzzing with activity these days.

Unfortunately we also missed a beat this year with our plans to move into a brand new Datacenter. We wanted to have this new center launch by the end of this year, and while all of the hardware is up and ready to go. However, this upgrade in hardware also came with an upgrade in operating system from 32-bit to 64-bit. When we started load testing the new hardware, we learned that our chat system does not function properly on the new OS. As a result we have to architect a new solution for chat which will delay us into 2016. Updates to come as we work through the problem.

Our story continues in 2016 with Riding with the Rohirrim to the Battle of Pelennor Fields and then taking the battle to the enemy as we push towards the Black Gates! It is going to be an exciting year to be sure.

Major 2016 Initiatives:

Level Cap increase to 105: Build on your heroism and power with 5 more levels of character advancement. Your Imbued Legendary Items will not need to be replaced, but will continue to grow and level with you.
New Fellowship Challenges: The Battle of Pelennor Fields will contain a new instance cluster as well as a long awaited 12-man raid!
New Collections: We will be adding UI elements to help you see and catalogue many of the items you can already find in game. Our first collection system will be around emotes. Ever wondered what emotes are available to you, what they look like or where you can get them? Now you will know!
Quality of Life: Much like last year, we will continue to make quarterly patches that focus on bug fixing and general improvements to Quality of Life.

Thank you for your continued commitment to this team and to our game. We look forward to seeing you in Middle-Earth as LOTRO enters its 9th year!

Athena “Vvyvanne” Peters
Executive Producer- Lord of the Rings Online

Friday, 18 December 2015

Level 30 Beorning Review - Blue Line

In my first look at Beornings, levelling in the red trait tree ("The Claw"), I found the class interesting but had a few frustrations with the gameplay. I have recently levelled a second Beorning to level 30 using the blue trait tree ("The Hide"), and found it a much better experience for solo questing.

My blue line Beorning

One of the first things I noticed was that it was so much easier to generate wrath in blue line compared to red line. Having Hearten provide wrath at a low level on a short cooldown was fantastic - now I could reliably generate wrath and have a heal-over-time effect while my character transformed into a bear and she would still be healing and generating wrath for a little while, letting her stay in bear form for longer.

She was a lot less squishy in blue line. My red line beorning would frequently drop below 50% health, but that has been very rare for my blue line beorning. In blue line, she could handle a lot more mobs - she took on 8 wargs in the Lone-lands near where you summon Shadepaw for a quest and survived; she killed one in man form while generating wrath, switched to bear form, killed 3, switched back to man to heal and regenerate wrath, finished off another one, switched back to bear and killed the final 3 and still had about 40% health at the end.

Regarding being less squishy, I think that is largely due to the buffs and debuffs available in the blue line. For man form there is Guarded Attack which increases armour by 10%, while in bear form Claw Swipe reduces the amount of melee, ranged and tactical damage dealt by nearby enemies. Trait points spent in increasing vitality also helps. The red line focuses more on critical strikes and bleed damage rather than survival, although they do have Expose which reduces enemy mitigations by 40%.

Blue line also has slightly more AOE potential, with Biting Edge in man form and Claw Swipe in bear form, while the red line only has Biting Edge and has trait points to make it single target (although why anyone would willingly give up their only AOE attack is difficult to fathom).

The dps was lower and fights took longer in blue line compared to red, but that is to be expected. Out of curiosity to see how big the difference was, I killed ten level 30 Bog-wardens in Harloeg, Lone-lands, in each spec; gear, virtues etc. were the same. Note, my character doesn't have her virtues and gear maxed for her level, so better players would get better results. She used the same type of rotation for both specs - shoot to pull mobs into melee range, use each of her man form attacks to generate wrath then switch to bear form and use Thrash until the mob was dead (usually 1-2 Thrashes). Using Claw Swipe or Bash wasn't necessary and increased the fight duration.

Here's some data:

The red trait tree is good at single target damage while the blue trait tree is good at surviving any situation. Having tried levelling solo with both specs, I'll be sticking with Blue - it feels more like how I imagined Beornings would play; changing forms often and being tough.

Crafted 2H Axes Gallery Available

Yule Tide has arrived so my weaponsmith decided to dress for the occasion while she shows off the two-handed axes that can be crafted in LOTRO. You can view the full collection at the Weaponsmith: Crafted 2H Axes gallery.

My weaponsmith with her favourite crafted 2H axe
The two-handed axes weren't all that wonderful, unfortunately. Nothing that made me go, "Oh wow, my character would love to wield that!" The Supreme tier weapons are probably the best of the bunch as they look more like legendary weapons, with a bit more detail, colour and variation.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Special Event: Treasure Hunt, December 2015

I love the treasure hunting event in LOTRO. It's fun running around with lots of other people all looking for the mother lode - the huge dig site, hoping to find something good before the round ends or your meager supply of pickaxes runs out.

You see a range of strategies too - people who always dig at the same spot; people who dig at random sites - maybe they like the way the gold sparkles against the snow, or a rabbit ran past the dig site so it must be lucky (who knows?); people who deliberately look for the most out-of-way dig sites; people who do a circuit of the entire area, stopping at a few spots along the way; or people who use their trained cave-claw to find the best dig site in an area then dig at every dig site nearby except that one (???). It's a great place for people watching. Some really nice cosmetic outfits and mounts to admire too.

Last year my hobbit hunter found the treasure-laden pony and has been using it ever since as her favourite mount in-game. This year I took three of my new characters through, alternating them when I ran out of pickaxes instead of waiting for the quests to become available again. I found a couple of gem-inspection emotes, a treasure-hunter's backpack, a treasure chest housing decoration, and, just when I was about to give up and go back to questing, my new lore-master found a huge dig site and the treasure-laden goat. Hooray!

Treasure Laden Goat
So now I can retire happily from the treasure hunting field until next year and hope for another special mount for some lucky character. Maybe the horse next time? Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Treasure of Evendim

After finding all the treasure caches in the Misty Mountains, I headed to Evendim because it also has roving threats and because I saw someone mention in world chat about finding a treasure cache in Annúminas.

So off I went exploring hills and valleys and ruins, admiring the pretty scenery, and here's what I found ...

Amon Môth

Tyl Annûn (Annúminas)

Funny story ... while Myndariel was searching through Annúminas, she fell off a high ledge and hurt her leg landing on rubble below. She turned around and looked up in time to see her saber-tooth cat hesitate at the edge and then jump off, legs outstretched and mouth open as if screaming silently. I imagine he was thinking as he fell, "Aaaaahhhhhh .... this is gonna hurt!" Poor, brave pet!

Barandalf (near Whitshards)

Men Erain

Nan Orngon

Tûm Fuin

Tyl Ruinen (island to SW)

Tyl Ruinen (main island)

Tyrn Fornech (near Rantost)

Tham Ornen

Tham Andalath

Barandalf (across river from Dwaling)

I admit, I had to check the LOTRO Wiki on where to find that last cache in Barandalf. I had visited the eastern shore of the Brandywine River, but further north near Barad Tharsír. Still, it was fun finding most of them myself, and Myndariel completed some deeds, reached kindred with the Wardens of Annúminas and finally got the mount.