Saturday, 21 May 2016

The Ballad of Bingo Boffin Part 4

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

Chapter 31: First, Breakfast! (level 66)

Bingo wants to make a delicious meal to cheer people up at the Haunted Inn, and hopes you can find the ingredients in Mirkwood. The recipe was in a book given to him by a Ranger called Aduiallin, but when he has a question about one of the preparation steps, you find out that there is no Ranger called Aduiallin - instead it was a ghost called Adolinda, who loved cooking in life but has been cursed to find no rest or peace in death.

Bingo is shocked to find that the Haunted Inn really is haunted and he decides not to go ahead with the recipe - he didn't really want to try spider legs anyway. But he's still hungry.

Chapter 32: Second Breakfast (level 68)

Bingo has been complaining to Willem Whisker about his hunger and now the lynx has run off. Bingo asks you to find out where he has gone. Willem was seen heading east and the ghost can tell he is not in Audaghaim. You head east and finally find him at the entrance to Dol Guldur!

Fennas Guldur - what could you find for breakfast there?

Willem has found an orc-satchel. You laugh when you see what is inside and take it back to Bingo. He laughs when he sees what is inside too - spider legs! Bingo decides to head back to Lothlórien for a decent meal.

When he gets there, he starts worrying that maybe the hunger is a curse for his deception about entering Mirkwood, so he asks you to apologise to Calengoth (the boat-keeper of the Lothlórien docks) on his behalf. Calengoth accepts the apologies and offers Bingo a packet of lembas and his best wishes. Bingo feels much better.

Chapter 33: The Banks of the Great River (level 70)

Bingo is ready to continue his adventure and follows the Anduin River to Haldirith. He notices the scenery here is different from Lothlórien, but still beautiful, so he wants to record his impressions - but his ink-pot has run dry. One of the elves suggests a recipe for making ink from some dark mud, river-reeds and water.

Thinglad in the Great River

Bingo asks you to find some places of interest nearby to visit. Maervadhor suggests Foul-maw's Den and the Old Burrows might be exciting for an adventurer. Bingo writes feverishly.

Chapter 34: Unusual Friends (level 72)

Bingo noticed a Rohirrim outpost nearby, but the elves won't speak of it. He decides to visit Stangard to see if he can remedy the situation. The guard at Stangard will not allow "peculiar visitors" into the town and hopes we leave Rohan quickly. He mentions a  woman was also turned away recently and she headed towards Frithstan's Camp. Bingo thinks we should go see if she might need our help.

The woman is Langhár, a Beorning from the Vales of Anduin. She has come to fight the orcs so they do not reach her home, and would appreciate if you would help defeat them too. Langhár spots a great eagle near the Secluded Clearing and says we should go talk to the eagle to find out what it has seen.

Bingo meets a Beorning and a Great Eagle

Bingo is amazed at the sight of Great Eagle, so Langhár suggests we fight off some spiders nearby while Bingo talks to the eagle. When you return, Bingo says that Landroval has seen brightly coloured tents and enemies gathering in the Brown Lands, preparing to attack Stangard. Bingo wants to warn the people of Stangard - but the stubborn guard will not listen.

Chapter 35: Enter the Easterlings (level 75)

We head to the Brown Lands to investigate ourselves. While you hunt down Easterlings, Bingo scouts the Rohirrim camp of Etheburg. One of the Easterlings drops secret orders saying that their army is planning to sneak around Etheburg to surprise attack Stangard. Bingo hopes the guard at Stangard will finally take notice of the threat.

The guard looks afraid and guilty that you risked your life to bring him this information even after he had been so rude. He apologises and asks for your help to defend the outpost.


The men of Stangard are impressed with how Langhár, Landroval and you help drive off the Easterling raid (while Bingo washes dishes in the kitchen). Stangard is safe for now and the guard has gained some respect, perhaps even admiration, for outsiders.

Chapter 36: Bingo's Burden (level 78)

Bingo is not sure where to go next - Rohan is full of horses and Bingo does not like horses much. He would much prefer to walk.

Welcome to Rohan ... on foot

We are ambushed by orcs almost as soon as we arrive. A Rohirrim rides up to us just after we defeat the orcs and says we should get a horse from one of the nearby towns. Bingo still thinks we will be just fine without one. So we walk to Langhold and Bingo learns the people are expecting trouble. Bingo thinks he can make things better for the townspeople by defeating some salamaders, brigands and Easterlings.

Bingo starts to reconsider the horse - Rohan is larger than he expected. He has been advised to visit Harwick if he wants a horse. Perhaps he will have a look after all.

Chapter 37: Yea or Neigh? (level 80)

Bingo is frightened by the horses for sale in Harwick and refuses to buy any of them. Cuthbald is determined to find a suitable mount for Bingo - he has his reputation as the best horse trader in the Wold to maintain.

Cuthbald obtained a pony from one of the orc raids, but he wasn't sure what to do with it - Tanglemane is too small for the Rohirrim. Bingo thinks he's perfect. Cuthbald will give the pony to Bingo for free if we can find something for it to eat (Tanglemane is a fussy eater). You search Harwick, and finally find some apples the pony will eat - Bingo is delighted as the pony can eat all the apples he doesn't like!

Bingo and Tanglemane

Chapter 38: The Tracker (level 82)

The journey through Rohan continues and Bingo suggests we eliminate some of the enemies of the Rohirrim as we head for Cliving. Bingo enjoys the ride, but Willem Whisker is not so happy - he's jealous of the pony! Bingo tries to reassure Willem and begs Willem and Tanglemane to get along.

In Cliving you find Egwylf, who was last seen heading for Stangard on an urgent mission. She is tracking down members of a cult called the Blood Eye that has allied itself to the orcs. She asks you to look out for anyone in Cliving wearing a brooch with a red gem. You find one brooch near some tents but there is no sign of its owner.

Chapter 39: A Cold Trail (level 85)

The other agent of the Blood Eye is still missing, but Egwylf thinks they may be heading for Wildermore. West of Cliving, a path leads up the hill into Wildermore and Bingo overhears some orcs talking about letting someone with a red gem pass, even though they would rather take him prisoner and make a meal out of him. Bingo is quite horrified.

You follow the road into Wildermore and find a wounded farmer who was ambushed by someone wearing a red brooch. They stole his axe and ran north-east. At Thrymm's Farm, you find a wounded orc who was attacked by the same man: he stole the orc's purse. The nearest place to spend coin would be in Forlaw, so you head there and find Bingo Boffin in the street near the Tasks Bulletin Board. He heard that a man with a red gem was seen visiting a barber. The barber confirmed the man had been there and was very unpleasant. He muttered something about "Kadar-golnauk" before storming out.

You find Bingo Boffin has left Forlaw without you. "Kadar-golnauk" is not much to go on and no one else seems to have any clues, so you head to the the next town, Scylfig, to see if anyone there has seen or knows anything. Surprise surprise - Bingo is there and the local people have told him that Kadar-golnauk is an orc camp to the north-west. A Sneering Uruk in the orc camp admits to talking with the man and refusing his coin. The man left for the High Knolls. You follow the trail and head up the mountain to Grimnesberg and find Willem Whisker sniffing some empty food sacks. He points to the west with his nose, indicating which way the man went.

You head west and end up near Byre Tor. There you meet Egwylf who has discovered the man's tracks do not lead into the town but continue west. To the west is a large mountain - you follow the mountain pass and find disturbed snowpiles heading west then north. At the top of a cliff, you find the corpse of a desperate man, hand still outstretched towards the red gem brooch lying nearby. You pick up the brooch and return to Forlaw, where you find Bingo and Egwylf.

Egwylf thanks you for your help and warns you to watch out for other members of the cult. Bingo feels a little sorry for the man's suffering but he is also feeling a little sorry for himself - Wildermore is so cold! He is glad to have solved the mystery but now he wants to go someplace warmer!


(Note: this quest gave very little guidance on where to go - I basically had to guess and explore based on the limited information available. Fortunately it worked out, but this guide on Lotro-Wiki may also be helpful.)

Chapter 40: Bert Has a Word (level 88)

Bert Bartleby has been following Bingo's journey and he would like to have a word with you. His stock of merchandise is getting rather low, and he would like you to purchase some items on his behalf from a lore-master recently arrived in Forlaw.

You head to the west gate where he was seen and the guard tells you the lore-master has left town. The guard also mentions the man was stout, wore a simple robe, had a bald head and big brown beard, was selling junk and had pet lizards that bite. When you give Bert the description, he identifies the lore-master as his old neighbour Humfrey Rumming. He's afraid Humfrey might get himself into trouble and asks you to find him.

Humfrey Rumming in Dunfast

You find Humfrey in Dunfast and he rambles on then asks you to kill some "Frozen Efts" west of Dunfast (these are frost lizards/worms similar to those seen in Misty Mountains). You return to Humfrey and he thanks you and hopes the villagers will return now the lizards are gone. He asks why you came and then sells you some sundries for Bert.

The items were worthless and Bert was disappointed you spent all the coins on them, but not angry. Humfrey might have got the better deal this time, but many years ago it was Bert who got the better deal when he bought Rattlepacks, his horse and best friend, from Humfrey cheaply.

Bingo is happy you could help Bert and tells you that he met Egwylf again. She recommended they head to Entwash Vale next, but did not say why. Find out more in part 5.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Scenic Tour: Far Anorien

The new zone has a similar climate and architecture to Gondor and Old Anórien. In Taur Drúadan I found my normal horse was more useful than the war-steed because of its extra maneuverability in narrow spaces - the area is heavily forested and quite mountainous. The main road also leads right through enemy encampments, and many of the quests involve traveling back and forth across the region.

Taur Drúadan

There is only one stable-master in Taur Drúadan, at the War-stead of the King's Men - I hope they add one near Drû Bhûta, as these are the two main quest hubs.

The Drúadain/Wose are a new race, associated with the Púkel-men statues seen in West Rohan near Dunharrow. If I understand it correctly, they call themselves the Drúadain, but the Rohirrim call them the Wose. In any case, they like to laugh, play drums and have unique marriage ceremonies!

Drû Bhûta - a Wose village

The Beacon Hills is a welcome change after the wilderness - more open, rolling foothills, but also more mounted orcs. The hills look out over wetlands along the River Entwash. In the west is West Rohan, to the north is the Falls of Rauros and East Rohan, and in the distance to the north-east is the Dead Marshes.

The Beacon Hills
Looking towards the Dead Marshes

The main settlement is Ost Rimmon, which seems cluttered and poorly laid out at the base of Min-rimmon, one of the seven Northern beacon-hills in Gondor.  

Ost Rimmon

I feel like I've been ripped off with the Far Anórien region pack. It was so much more expensive than other region packs and has so little to offer. The instances and a promise of a raid do not justify the high price either. We finally get a level cap increase after several years at level 100, and it wasn't worth it. There's nothing new and exciting to look forward to at level 105. Farming instances for essences and essence gear? No thanks. The debacle with the level 101+ legendary items that are not supposed to be any better than level 100 items hasn't helped either but rather caused confusion and disillusionment with the legendary item progression system.

I can only wait for them to add more content in future updates, but in the meantime I'm going back to leveling lower level characters through zones that are overflowing with content and lore and interesting things to do and see and collect compared to Far Anórien.