Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Level 80-85 Frustration

My Beorning has kind-of got stuck in the early 80s and its so frustrating it's putting me off the game at the moment.

She completed all the quests and exploration deeds in East Rohan at level 83, plus all the additional quests I could find. I'm not masochistic enough to make myself suffer through completing the slayer deeds. I tried taking her into West Rohan but couldn't find any quests. A kin-mate reminded me about Hunbald near the Entwade Crossing - he starts Vol III Book 11 of the epic quest and sends you to Edoras eventually. That got me into West Rohan and to level 84. Unfortunately she died more than she should have to those annoying level 85 and 86 mounted orcs that seem to be everywhere, but she persevered.

Edoras in the distance

Then she got to the dreaded Stilling the Wade quest. I've done it before and I know you have to focus on attacking the mobs who are attacking the palisades and ignore the orcs attacking at the gate - but just because you ignore them doesn't mean they ignore you! Especially when you're low level! I hate that quest - it's the most frustrating quest in any MMO I've ever played.

So, she's got a few alternative options for levelling - start the Hytbold quests, which is probably the easiest option; go to Wildermore, which would mean getting some turbine points to unlock the zone because I'm not currently subscribed; or doing skirmishes and big battles ad nauseum. To be honest though, none of them really interest me. I wish there was another level 80-85 or 80-90 zone, and I'm sure there would be a lot of people who would agree with me if I suggested that it not be heavily focused on mounted combat - there's plenty of that in Rohan.

Another issue that has been frustrating her and may be partly why she's finding the quests in West Rohan so difficult is because there is no might-based medium armour appropriately designed for Beornings in East Rohan. She's wearing agility gear and sure it works, but not as well, and you really notice it when you're up against mobs 2-3 levels above you, even in the tank spec. She feels so squishy and like she's swiping at mobs with rubber claws - it's taking forever to kill mobs and she's not doing much damage. Sure she would do more damage in dps spec, but then she would be even more squishy.

Sigh. I'll probably have a break from her and focus on some of my other characters for a little while. Myndariel, my main lore-master, has been doing some quests in Eastern Gondor that she skipped earlier and Melanariel, my second lore-master, is almost ready to enter Moria (I should probably make up some background story about how they are both descended from a long-lost relative called Ariel, but another time perhaps). Then there's my hunter who is busy helping Bingo, and a bunch of other characters that have been neglected in crafting halls around Eriador.

Bâr Húrin in South Ithilien (Eastern Gondor)

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Ballad of Bingo Boffin Part 3

Bingo's journey continues in the Misty Mountains. See the guide to The Ballad of Bingo Boffin for his earlier adventures.

Chapter 21: An Author Absent (level 46)

It seems that Bingo Boffin has fallen through the snow and ice into an underground cavern in the Misty Mountains. Spalvi Dourhand thinks he could be somewhere in Goblintown, an extensive network of goblin tunnels, and thinks you should start looking for one of the Dourhand Surveyors who may have a map.

Easier said than done! Goblintown is quite the maze and finding the Dourhand Surveyor is no simple matter. The goblins won't stop attacking to have a civil conversation and give directions, oh no. No, they cackle with glee at the thought of another victim lost in their domain.

Eventually, we found the dead Dourhand Surveyor in a tunnel not far from the entrance.

So I took a few wrong turns first ...

You find Spalvi waiting for you on an icy cliff in Southern High Pass, overlooking the frozen lake. He glances at the map then mentions that Willem Whisker followed him then shot off to the south-east towards Erforgh Cleft. Perhaps the loyal lynx caught Bingo's scent amongst the Gauredain? Unfortunately not. You reassure Willem that you won't give up looking for Bingo and return to Spalvi. Spalvi has been studying the map and thinks that Bingo may have landed in an underground river, so you should head to Gloin's camp next. There he reveals that the underground river leads to Khâzad-dûm (Moria). He's heard rumours that the Longbeard dwarves have been seeking a way into Moria so perhaps they could help.

Chapter 22: A New Hunt (level 48)

You talk to Gloin, summarising events and how you think Bingo may have been swept south down a river to Khâzad-dûm. He says that if you want to go there, you'll need to find his kinsmen in the land of holly-trees as they have started an expedition there. Spalvi agrees to meet you in Gwingris in Eregion to continue the journey.

Spalvi does not like the elves in Eregion and he thinks the feeling is mutual. Nevertheless, he wants to prove himself by helping eliminate some of the threats the elves have been complaining about. When you return you find Haley Meadowsweet. She suggested Theodore try treasure-hunting near Pembar but he hasn't come back and she hopes you could go look for him.

You find Theodore and he proudly shows you a pouch he found that must contain valuable treasure, only to be disappointed when it is only metal disks. He suggests you take it back to Haley while he continues looking for real treasure.

Chapter 23: Dour Faces (level 49)

Spalvi is nervous. Willem Whisker has run off again and Spalvi wants you to follow the road that leads north to the Trollshaws, and keep an eye out for anything suspicious. You find an axe embedded in a tree and when you show Spalvi, he claims it is a Dourhand axe and his people are threatening us. He says we must continue and should head to Hollin Ridge where we will have a better view of anyone trying to follow us.

From Hollin Ridge there is no sign of pursuit so we head for the Redhorn Pass to look for cave entrances that might lead to Moria. There are no cave entrances, but we are ambushed by Dourhands who want Skorgrim's Star back. They are defeated. Back in Gwingris, Spalvi offers Skorgrim's Star, also known as the Rothstone, to Theodore since he has had no luck finding treasure. Theodore thinks it is a test, and proclaims it a fake that should be thrown in a ditch. Since he didn't want it, Spalvi offers it to Haley instead who instantly appreciates its value and the skilful dwarven workmanship.

Bingo's search party in Gwingris, Eregion

Chapter 24: A Change of Name (level 50)

Spalvi is happy to disown the Dourhands and seek a new surname. No one in Gwingris has any good suggestions, so he hopes fighting mobs around Eregion will be more inspiring. While you're away, Haley comes up with a name Spalvi likes - from now on he will be Spalvi Stout-heart.

Chapter 25: Into the Long Dark (level 51 and access to Moria)

Spalvi didn't want to follow the Iron Garrison into Moria, but it seems there is no other way. Once he reaches Durin's Threshold, he is amazed at the grandness of Moria and is grateful that he met you, or he would never have seen it. He has learnt there is a map-maker in Dolven-view who may be helpful in finding Bingo. Ketill Map-maker is good at making maps, but not so good at combat, so he asks you to protect him while he maps the area of Gazatmur, and then Katûb-zahar. Then he tells you he thinks it unlikely Bingo made it to Moria, but he'll study his maps and let you know if he gets any ideas where Bingo could be.

Chapter 26: Willem Takes the Lead (level 53)

Willem Whisker has gone exploring and Ketill Map-maker has called for you to meet him in the gardens of Tharâkh Bazân. He tells you how a beast nearly knocked him over as it chased after a piece of parchment blowing through the garden. You follow the directions Ketill gives you and find Willem drenched and standing in a pond, trying to keep the parchment out of the water. You take the parchment from his mouth and recognise it as a page from Bingo's manuscript. From the gardens, Willem leads you to Khulturg, a lake in the Fanged Pit. There at the water's edge is a very confused Bingo Boffin.

(And I'm kicking myself now, but I was so excited to finally find him and find out what he had to say, I forgot to take a screenshot!)

Chapter 27: Bingo's Scattered Thoughts (level 56)

Bingo has lost his memory so you try to help him remember by showing him the page of manuscript that Willem found. He almost remembered Marigold, daughter of his cousin Prisca - but not quite. Maybe if there were more pages to remind him. Spalvi suggests a few places to look.

Once you find more of the missing pages, you bring them to Spalvi and Bingo in the Twenty-First Hall. Bingo is keen to read them (and takes 8 minutes to do so).

Bingo reading his autobiography
Bingo gets his memory back! Spalvi is forgiven for his role in Bingo's misfortune, Willem is so happy he's purring and Bingo is ready to start some new adventures - his memoire is too short!

Chapter 28: A Farewell (level 58)

Moria hasn't exactly been a pleasant experience for Bingo and he's ready to see the sun again. Ketill Map-maker has agreed to make some maps for his book and has even provided a map to the exit from Moria. Bingo would like to repay him by eliminating some of the foes along the way to make the passages safer for Ketill when he goes on a mapping expedition.

A journey wouldn't be the same without a few landmarks along the way and Bingo would like to see the Bridge of Khâzad-dûm. Ketill's map shows the Bridge intact, but upon arrival, the group realises they will have to take the scenic detour and go around the deep crevasse.

At Nanduhirion, Spalvi says farewell as he wishes to stay in Moria and help the dwarves of the Iron Garrison.

Chapter 29: A Chapter About Elves (level 60)

Bingo wants to visit Durin's Stone. Then he stops by the waterfall and admires the Golden Woods.

The Golden Woods

Bingo suggests a stroll through the woods but we are ambushed by orcs in the Dimrill Dale. Elves come to our aid and offer to take us to meet the Lord and Lady of Lórien in Caras Galadhon. Bingo has many questions on his tour of the Elven settlement.

He is advised to seek out Pennasseth, a great Elven historian. When you find her in Cerin Nauth she is eager to help and offers several books for Bingo to learn more about Elven history, geography, art and music.

Lothlórien is full of history and culture
When Bingo sees the stack of books he is dismayed - they're such big books it could take a month to read them all, and several hobbit lifetimes to truly understand the Elves.

Chapter 30: A Taste of War (level 63 and Mirkwood Intro Quests)

While reading the books Pennasseth gave him, Bingo has overhead some conversations about how the Elves are mounting an offensive against the orcs in Mirkwood. Bingo asked at the docks if he could be taken across the river, but he was turned down, so he wants to prove he is not afraid of orcs by helping out at Fanuidhol. Bingo is given a note granting him permission to fight the enemies of Lothlórien, but it does not specify where, so Bingo claims that means he can join the fight in Mirkwood after all.

The Haunted Inn in Mirkwood

After helping with the assault on Mirkwood, you head to the Haunted Inn to find Bingo. Bingo wants to work on his book and suggests you go sight-seeing around the ruined ghost-town of Audaghaim. When you return and tell Bingo what you saw he agrees it is a gloomy, run-down place but he has an idea to help cheer the locals up.

Bingo is a long way from the Shire but he still has his enthusiasm for adventure and helping others. How many hobbits will his journey inspire I wonder? Find out more in part 4 (coming soonish).

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Blessing of the Valar Upgrade Unveiled

The Package - Unopened

Robinya, my hunter finally opened the Blessing of the Valar Upgrade Package after savouring it in her bag for a day or two. Kind of like seeing the presents under the Christmas tree with your name on and you know you're going to get to open them soon. The waiting and wondering what is in them can be part of the enjoyment.

The items that went into my bags

The items from the package as shown in chat

So you don't get instantly levelled to 95 - you have to use the Blessing of the Valar for that and when you do you'll be teleported to Éowyn's Camp in Dunharrow.

The Giant Pile of Silver Scraps is the only item not character-bound and is worth 1 gold 800 silver. 

On opening the package, you automatically get a medium war-steed added to your mounts. However, the war-steed riding skill [Trait: Mounted Combat] requires minimum level 75.

The [Trait: Legendary Items] lets you use legendary items but requires a minimum level 51 and is unusable if you already have the "Seeker of Deep Places" passive skill.
Virtue Pack 1 says it contains "4 ranks of each virtue Charity-Honour" (the virtues on the right half of the virtue panel). Virtue Pack 2 says it contains "4 ranks of each virtue Idealism-Zeal" (the virtues on the left half of the virtue panel). When you open these, the chat window shows that for each virtue you receive a bundle (e.g. [Bundle of Compassion] ) that permanently increases the virtue by 4 ranks, but it is auto-consumed and if you have the virtues panel open, you'll see the virtues increase instantly.

The Level 95 Weapon Pack contained a level 95, purple quality, item level 176, offhand weapon (a dagger for my hunter) and 3 Unidentified Third Age Legendary Item Box. These have a minimum level of 51 and say they contain level and class appropriate items. Don't open these until you are level 95! It would be such a shame to open it at level 51 and be stuck with a level 51 legendary weapon at level 95 until you can craft, buy or find a new one! I'm not sure yet whether there are 3 legendary weapons to choose from, or whether there is a main-hand weapon, class item (or bow for hunters) and war-steed bridle. I'll have to wait and see when we get to Dunharrow.

The Level 95 Armor Pack says it contains armour to get you started at level 95 - so I'm not expecting Best-in-Slot gear. Everything is item level 176, purple quality and you get the full set of armour (helmet, shoulders, chest, gloves, legs, boots and cloak) plus jewellery (necklace, 2 earrings, 2 bracelets and 2 rings). Everything had 4 stats and as a hunter these were: agility, vitality, fate plus something else - the armour had physical mastery, while the necklace had finesse rating, the earrings had max power, the bracelets had max morale and the rings had critical rating.

My bags are nearly full so I'll wait to open the Blessing of the Valar Item Pack until I get to Dunharrow and have replaced my gear. Off we go!

Goodbye level 50!
Hello level 95!

Well! There was a flash of chat spam as we completed a bunch of deeds and gained character trait points, new and upgraded skills, titles, destiny points, skirmish marks, a Westemnet Iron Coin and 10 Turbine Points. Then we were whisked away by a loading screen and a moment later we're standing in front of Éowyn in Dunharrow.

So I've got my new armour and jewellery on and it looks rather ugly. Never mind - thank the Valar for cosmetics! To open the Unidentified Third Age Legendary Item Box just right-click and then you can choose what weapon, class item or war-steed bridle you want. Once you've selected which items you want, then you will need to see a Forge-master to identify the items. Don't forget to equip them!  Adding relics and titles and some heritage runes for an IXP infusion would be great too, but they don't come in the Upgrade Package.

By the way, after I gained the war-steed riding skill, I was equipping the war-steed bridle and noticed the war-steed had no name at all, so time for renaming. I decided to call her steed GwenLaegel - gwen for little, laegel for Green Elf. Because like the Green Elves, my little hobbit hunter likes to spend time in the woods, blending into the background and avoiding conflict if possible.

I just spent the new character trait points and had to rearrange her skillbars to make some room for new skills (yay!). She will try them out, sooner or later. O_o (Excited for skills she hopes she won't have to use - go figure!)

Last thing to open from the Upgrade Package - the Blessing of the Valar Item Pack. Apparently it "contains a number of items to help you at level 95." Let's see ...

Everything in the Item Pack is account-bound except the Riding Trait which is character-bound.

  • [Trait: Riding Characteristic] - learn to ride normal mounts. Already known.
  • [Steed of the Citadel] - ooh pretty mount (and war-steed appearance set too)!
  • [25 Dale-men's Crams] - basic food, but won't complain
  • [25 Rejuvenation Potions] - basic healing potions, always handy
  • [5 Tomes of Extraordinary Experience] - get to 100 a little quicker? great!
  • [Map to Rivendell] - aww I like Rivendell, but do I have to go back just yet?
  • [Map to the Sutcrofts - Snowbourn] - a useful travel point and town to visit
  • [Map to Eastfold - Aldburg] - another useful travel point and town to visit
  • 25 Mithril Coins - nice!
Steed of the Citadel

That's all folks! Robinya is now level 95 and could level to 100, or travel the world, or make friends with new factions, or find a nice farm to retire at near some ruins (Hytbold perhaps?), or go back to helping Bingo Boffin on his journey. Which will she choose? Well, she's not called Robinya, Honorary Boffin for nothing!