Saturday, 22 April 2017

LOTRO's 10th Anniversary

Happy 10th Anniversary LOTRO!

The scavenger hunt starts at the Party Tree

The Anniversary event runs from the 20th April to the 8th of May.

To celebrate 10 years, there are new special scavenger hunt quest chains (that may be difficult to complete for characters less than level 105 as it takes you all over Middle Earth), with some nice rewards for completing all 10 sections of each scavenger hunt.

Lower level characters can still take part in the normal Anniversary activities including fireworks at the Methel-stage in the Shire, fireworks in Bree, lost invitations in Bree, the gift-giving quest chain (Bree-land, The Shire, Thorin's Gate), the beer-fights in Thorin's Hall Festival Arena, and horse races.

There is also a new dragon themed steed (war-steed appearances also available) and matching dragon-themed cosmetic armour set to buy with Anniversary Tokens.

Steed of the Unflagging Dragon

To help you (and me) with the scavenger hunt, here are some tips on where to go. Note this is a work in progress as I complete the scavenger hunt too.

The Path of the Fellowship

Complete all ten years worth of Tales to earn 3 anniversary tokens, 3 ashenslade green dyes, 3 lórien gold dyes, and the title "Devoted to Company".

Year 1 Tales: Frodo

  • Collect Remembrances in Bilbo's Home - Hobbiton, The Shire
  • Pat Grip and Fang at Farmer Maggot's farm - near Stock, The Shire
  • Eat a meal at Tom Bombadil's House - The Old Forest, Bree-land
  • Dance on a table at the Prancing Pony - Bree, Bree-land
  • Faint at the ranger's camp near Weathertop - Candaith's Encampment, The Lone-lands
  • Talk to Frodo in Bilbo's Room - Rivendell, The Trollshaws
  • Sit on the chair at Amon Hen - near Parth Galen, East Rohan
  • Kill some Fell-wights in the Dead Marshes - Cave of the Avorrim, West Gondor
  • Collect Remembrances in Henneth Annûn - Henneth Annûn, North Ithilien 

Year 2 Tales: Sam

  • Bow to Gaffer Gamgee - Hobbiton, The Shire
  • Eavesdrop at the window in Bag End - Hobbiton, The Shire
  • Fetch a small beer for Rosie Cotton - Bywater, The Shire
  • Challenge Old Man Willow - The Old Forest, Bree-land
  • Visit Bill the Pony at the Prancing Pony - Bree, Bree-land
  • Kill some Neekerbreekers in Midgewater Marsh - Midgewater Marsh, Bree-land
  • Talk to Sam in Rivendell about Oliphaunts - Rivendell, The Trollshaws
  • Talk to Sam on Cerin Amroth in Lothlorien - Cerin Amroth, Lothlorien
  • Shake your fist at Gollum near the Anduin - Thinglad, The Great River
  • Cook a stew with 3 taters and 2 coneys (frypan provided)

Ten Years of Travels

Complete all ten years worth of travels and earn 3 anniversary tokens, 3 belegaer blue dyes, 3 lavender dyes, and the title "Wanderer of Middle Earth".

Year 1 Travels: Towering Monuments 

  • Collect 20 Remembrances from near the monuments
  • Visit the Bounder's Bounty Statue - Michel Delving, The Shire
  • Visit the Falconer's Tower - Fields of Fornost, North Downs
  • Visit the High King's Crossing - High King's Crossing, Evendim
  • Visit the Giant's Needle - The Giant Halls, The Misty Mountains
  • Visit the Gate of Shadows - Carn Dûm, Angmar
  • Visit the Dwarf-lords' Gate - The Great Delving, Moria
  • Visit the Gate of the Seven Fathers - The Flaming Deeps, Moria
  • Visit the Argonath - The East Wall, East Rohan
  • Visit the Stone of Erech - Blackroot Vale, West Gondor
  • Visit the Cross-roads - The Cross-roads, South Ithilien

Year 2 Travels: Tavern Crawl, Eriador

  • Collect 22 Remembrances from taverns (1-3 at each tavern)
  • Have a drink of ale at each tavern
  • Visit Thorin's Hall Inn - Thorin's Hall, Ered Luin
  • Visit the Bird and Baby Inn - Michel Delving, The Shire
  • Visit The Ivy Bush - Hobbiton, The Shire
  • Visit The Green Dragon - Baywater, The Shire
  • Visit The Floating Log Inn - The Frogmoors, The Shire
  • Visit The Plough and Stars - Brockenborings, The Shire
  • Visit The Golden Perch - Stock, The Shire
  • Visit The Prancing Pony - Bree, Bree-land
  • Visit The Comb and Wattle Inn - Combe, Bree-land
  • Visit The Forsaken Inn - Forsaken Inn, The Lone-lands

Ten Years of Trifles

Complete all ten years of trifles and earn 3 anniversary tokens, 3 dark clay dyes, 3 moria silver dyes, and the title "Bustling Adventurer".

Year 1 Trifles: Old Foes

  • Defeat Baugarch - Chetwood, Bree-land
  • Defeat Jagger Jack - Blackwold Headquarters, Bree-land
  • Defeat Svalfang - Svalfang's Hut, Bree-land
  • Defeat Mangemaw - Rushock Bog, The Shire
  • Defeat Skíthi Blackhand - The Grimwater, Ered Luin
  • Defeat Morrafn - Fields of Fornost, North Downs
  • Defeat Dhît - Stone-troll's Glade, The Trollshaws
  • Defeat Rothlúg - Southern High Pass, The Misty Mountains
  • Defeat Farathlúg - Talvi-mûri (NE of Kuru-leiri), Forochel

Year 2 Trifles: Reflections I

You can access these instances by completing the relevant quests or, if already completed, by visiting the appropriate Reflecting Pool.
  • Complete instance: Beneath the Greenfields - Vol. 1 Prologue (The Shire) or Michel Delving Reflecting Pool, The Shire
  • Complete instance: The Infiltrator's Surprise - Turtles in the Soup quest chain in Bree, Bree-land or Bree Reflecting Pool, Bree-land
  • Complete instance: Othrongroth - Vol. 1, Book 1 or Bree Reflecting Pool, Bree-land
  • Complete instance: Retake Weathertop - Vol. 1, Book 2 or Ost Guruth Reflecting Pool, The Lone-lands
  • Complete instance: Red-pass - Vol. 1, Book 2 or Ost Guruth Reflecting Pool, The Lone-lands
  • Complete instance: A Formal Complaint - Hob Hillbrow's quests near Dwaling, Evendim or Tinnudir Reflecting Pool, Evendim
  • Complete instance: The Tomb of Elendil - The Blade that was Broken quest chain (starts with Aragorn in Rivendell) or Tinnudir Reflecting Pool, Evendim
  • Complete instance: The Twisted Heart - Longbough's quests in The Eavespires, Evendim or Tinnudir Reflecting Pool, Evendim
  • Complete instance: Fire and Ice - Vol. 1, Book 5 or Rivendell Reflecting Pool, The Trollshaws
  • Complete instance: Mordirith's Fall - Vol. 1, Book 8 or Aughaire Reflecting Pool, Angmar

A Journey Through Middle Earth

Complete scavenger hunts from all ten years to earn 3 anniversary tokens, Armour of the Reminiscing Dragon (cosmetic armour set), Tome of the Majestic White Stag (pet), Steed of the Reminiscing Dragon (mount) and the title "Versed in Yesteryear".
  • Complete any Year 1 scavenger hunt and earn 1 anniversary token, The Stone of Erech (housing decoration), Farmer Maggot's Dog (pet) and Scrap Paper.
  • Complete any Year 2 scavenger hunt and earn 1 anniversary token, Little Old Man Willow (housing decoration), Bill the Pony (pet) and Scrap Paper.

Apparently the Year 3 scavenger hunts should be available later this week. Have fun!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Introducing the Captain: Level 1-20

Captains are melee fighters who can buff and heal their allies. They also have a herald as a companion in battle who can buff the captain as well. They are support characters that really shine in a group situation because of their buffs and versatility. They can heal, tank or dps as needed but are not as good as specialists in those roles.

Here I'll record my experience levelling as a captain from level 1 to 20, talking about skills and specs and anything else that may be useful to know.

Level 1 Woman Captain
Here's our brand new captain and some basic information about her:
  • Captains wear heavy armour
  • Primary stat is Might
  • Captains use a lot of power so Fate (which provides power regeneration) is also quite important
  • Captains are the only class that can use halberds, but can also use most one- or two-handed melee weapons
  • Starting abilities are: Battle-shout (a cry which buffs damage dealt and activates the "Battle-readied" state) and Sure Strike (a basic melee attack)

The first quest in the introduction provides a satchel that gives you a two-handed sword to wield instead of the one-handed mace you start with. At level 2 you gain two new abilities: Devastating Blow (a strong melee attack that requires the Battle-readied state and reduces damage taken) and Rallying Cry (a heal-over-time ability that affects the captain and fellowship). From now on, when you defeat a mob, Rallying Cry will be more powerful and will be displayed on the auto-skillbar as a reminder to heal up after a battle.

At level 2 you get sent to the Captain trainer who wants you to practise activating the Battle-readied state using Battle-shout and following up with Devastating Blow.

At level 4 you get the Cutting Attack ability which is a bleed that causes damage over time.

Level 6 is pretty important - you can now summon your herald companion and you can choose a specialisation.

You get three abilities so you can choose which herald to summon. You can only have one active at a time and you can give them different names (right-click on their portrait to rename or dismiss herald) and even customise their appearance later on. Call to Arms: Herald of Victory summons a herald who decreases the power costs of your abilities. This may be useful on occasions where you find yourself running out of power, but ideally you would find other ways to avoid that situation (such as having enough Fate, using buff foods or potions and watching your ability usage so you don't waste power). Call to Arms: Herald of Hope summons a herald who increases your mitigations. This may be useful when you're fighting tough mobs or if you're tanking. Call to Arms: Herald of War summons a herald who increases your damage dealt. Until you get the Archer as a herald, this will generally be the most useful companion to summon.

Herald of Hope
Herald of Victory
Herald of War

You get a pet bar to give commands to your heralds. When the herald is set to Passive he just stands near you holding his banner and does nothing but provide buffs unless you tell him to. If you set him to Guard he can help defend and assist you while you fight and if you set him to Aggressive he will attack anything nearby (which can be dangerous). These three heralds are melee fighters with only basic attacks that deal minimal damage. The herald may die occasionally but you can re-summon them in combat. They may also get stuck behind an obstacle such as a wall so there is a Rally! button that will instantly transport them to you if out of combat. Heralds are considered part of your fellowship and will receive the benefits of any fellowship abilities and buffs.

Here are the different specialisations you can choose:
  1. Blue = Hands of Healing - increases your healing abilities; you gain Valiant Strike which is a melee attack that also provides a fellowship heal-over-time, and if you use Sure Strike in the Battle-readied state there is a chance of gaining the Focus buff for your fellowship which provides a heal-over-time, increases healing received and tactical mitigation and reduces attack duration.
  2. Red = Lead the Charge - increases your damage-dealing abilities; you gain Shadow's Lament which is a powerful melee attack, and if you use Sure Strike in the Battle-readied state there is a chance of gaining the Relentless Attack buff for your fellowship which increases critical rating, physical and tactical mastery and outgoing healing.
  3. Yellow = Leader of Men - increases your tanking/defensive abilities; you gain Threatening Shout which is a taunt, and if you use Sure Strike in the Battle-readied state there is a chance of gaining the On Guard buff for your fellowship which reduces damage taken and power costs.
Red is pretty good for levelling - you can still heal and have defensive buffs but the extra damage from traits will help you kill things quicker. Of course, if you feel you or your group need more healing, go for blue, or if you want to protect your group, go for yellow.

After completing the introduction, don't forget to check your mail for the adventurer's gift. It contains several useful items and starts a couple of quests, including one that rewards 5 Tokens of Salutations which can be traded with the Barterer for a pocket item that increases run speed and some health or power potions. The run speed buff can be quite helpful, especially if you don't have a mount.

At level 7 you get your first trait point to spend in your chosen specialisation. You get additional trait points every odd level from now on, as well as from some quests and deeds.

At level 8 you get two new abilities. Routing Cry is a short range AOE cry that does more damage if you have just defeated an enemy and will be displayed on your auto-skillbar. Make Haste is a fellowship sprint (+25% speed for 20 seconds) with a 2 minute cooldown.

At level 10 you gain some more abilities: Pressing Attack is a melee AOE attack that requires Battle-readied state. Blade-Brother (red spec), Song-brother (blue spec) and Watchful Shield-brother (yellow spec) are spec-specific abilities that lets you buff the stats of an ally or herald. You are also now eligible to take part in Epic Battles such as Retaking Pelargir, but although you get scaled to level 100, without all the equipment slots filled and with limited abilities you will be very vulnerable, so it may not be a very successful or satisfactory experience.

At level 12 you get the Withdraw skill which lets you break out of a daze, stun or knock-down on a 2 minute cooldown.

By this stage, I have started finding the cooldowns on most abilities seem rather long and you can't just go from mob to mob mowing them down - you have to wait for those cooldowns or all you can do is autoattack, which is a little annoying. The lack of ranged abilities also makes initiating combat a little more dangerous - if your Battle-shout is on cooldown then basically you have to run up to the mob and either avoid other nearby mobs or be prepared to take them on as well (and you have limited AOE abilities, some of which rely on Battle-shout with its 20 second cooldown, so you'll be mostly fighting them one by one and needing all your healing). You could send your herald in to start attacking, but they don't always have the best pathing and may pull other mobs.

At level 13 I decided to try the Retaking Pelargir Epic Battle that became available at level 10. I helped kill a few mobs but once they focused on me, I died quickly and then the NPCs got overwhelmed and died so the mission failed. I also decided to do the quests in the Cape of Belfalas housing area (there is a quest-giver in Bree near the fountain). It was a lot of running around but it was beautiful scenery, some nice housing decorations as rewards, and I made about half a level of XP.

Cape of Belfalas
Sailing off into the sunset

At level 14 you learn the Words of Courage ability to apply healing-over-time to an ally.

At level 15 you gain some passive abilities - you can now wield shields or the Captain's iconic halberd. You also get sent a letter to visit your class trainer who asks you to assist Hazel Kenton in Bree, by retrieving a badge that was stolen by the brigand Aldis Oatbearer and returning it to its rightful owner. If you haven't already done Grimbriar's quests north of Bree, they send you to the same area as the class quest so you might want to do them all at the same time.

Aldis Oatbearer at Brigand's Watch

As a reward for completing your class quest, you get a halberd and the title "Inspiration to Men".

Level 16 provides some more group utility - Muster Courage removes a debuff such as disease, fear, poison or wounds from the Captain and allies, while Motivating Speech is a fellowship buff that can be toggled on to give increased maximum morale.

At level 19 I was questing in the Barrow-downs and tried out all three specs. Blue (healing) was pretty good - there was a lot of passive healing so I barely needed to use Rallying Cry (only when fighting multiple mobs or elites) and it didn't feel much slower than in red spec. In Red (DPS) I could take on a few mobs and used Rallying Cry occasionally, but there were still some times when I was waiting for abilities to become available. Yellow (tanking) is supposed to make you tougher but I found I was taking more damage, needed a lot more healing and fights were noticeably longer so it wasn't as enjoyable.

There are no new abilities until level 20 and then you get two resurrection abilities: Escape from Darkness lets you revive an ally in-combat and Inspiriting Call lets you revive an ally out of combat. You also get some passive abilities: a critical defence bonus that reduces chance of receiving a critical hit and you can now use armaments. You can get a Simple Standard of War to go in your ranged equipment slot from the Captain trainer which increases your physical mastery and morale. Tailors can make armaments which let you change the appearance of your herald and give them armour buffs. For more information on how to customise your herald's appearance, see my guide on Captains and Custom Heralds.

Once I reached level 20 I visited the Skirmish Camp vendors and replaced most of my questing gear with upgrades. Here's how she looks at level 20:

Level 20 Woman Captain

I then went to the training dummies in the Training Hall in Bree and tested each spec's DPS with no consumable buffs active over 3 minutes, and took a screenshot at the end to eliminate the effects of DoTs that kept going after I stopped attacking. For virtues, I had two tiers of Loyalty and one tier of Charity. With my 7 trait points, I focused on damage-boosting traits where possible. For all specs I had the Herald of War summoned for the buff, but set to passive so it didn't contribute any damage.

Here are my DPS results (collected with CombatAnalysis plugin):
StatisticsHands of Healing (Blue)Lead the Charge (Red)Leader of Men (Yellow)
Damage11,85216,43914,249
Time2 m 20.2 s3 m 0.4 s3 m 0.1 s
Average DPS84.591.179.1
Minimum Hit393940
Average Hit777878
Maximum Hit265466436
Attacks154209183
Critical Strikes (%)22 (14.3%)29 (13.9%)24 (13.1%)
Power (%)22/1016 (2.2%)275/1016 (27.1%)487/1016 (47.9%)
Skill Priorities:
  1. Battle Shout
  2. Sure Strike
  3. Devastating Blow
  4. Cutting Attack
  5. Valiant Strike
  6. Routing Cry
  1. Battle Shout
  2. Sure Strike
  3. Devastating Blow
  4. Cutting Attack
  5. Shadow's Lament
  6. Routing Cry
  1. Battle Shout
  2. Sure Strike
  3. Devastating Blow
  4. Cutting Attack
  5. Routing Cry

I had to stop the Blue spec assessment early because I ran out of power. I didn't think it would be a fair comparison to use a potion or wait for in-combat power regeneration, but I think the Average DPS gives a reasonable indication of it's potential if you can maintain your power. Red spec was also running low on power (almost down to 25%) and couldn't have kept going much longer without some help. I guess this reflects how Captains are designed more for support than sustained DPS.

My skill priorities were based on activating the Battle-readied state with Battle-shout (which can also be useful for engaging mobs from a distance),  Sure-strike provides a nice buff when in the Battle-readied state, and Devastating Blow requires the Battle-readied state to trigger the Battle-hardened buff. Then I want to get a bleed on the target with Cutting Attack so damage keeps ticking away, apply some burst damage and additional buffs with Valiant Strike/Shadow's Lament and finally, use Routing Cry when a defeat response is triggered or if there is nothing else available.

General Observations


Heralds are weak (they die easily if fighting a mob on their own) and stupid (they run straight into walls and mobs). They're like level 1 newbies, all enthusiasm but no skill yet. Give them some guidance and they can be valuable allies. Plus, it's nice to have some company, especially if you're soloing.

Potions, especially power potions, are very helpful to have on hand.

You can use Marks (Revealing Mark/Telling Mark/Noble Mark) before you enter combat.

Try to keep your buffs up and make the most of the defeat response opportunities.

Specialisations

Blue - Hands of Healing: It's great to be able to heal while dealing damage (health hardly dropped), but it's easy to run out of power. If you're having power issues, try to use Valiant Strike and Rallying Cry only when needed, and/or switch to using the Herald of Victory. Additional methods of regaining power will become available at higher levels too. Power management is the price for having so much utility (healing, damage and buffs). Overall, I think this spec has good survivability and makes you pay attention to how you play, which may help you become a better Captain.

Red - Lead the Charge: The melee DPS is so-so, but you should be able to take on a few mobs at once, with your AOE abilities, buffs, heals and your herald. A 2-handed weapon is probably best for damage output, although a sword-and-board may be useful for facing tough mobs. Overall, I think this is probably the easiest spec to level a Captain with.

Yellow - Leader of Men: Despite the defensive buffs this spec provides, I found myself taking more damage and dealing less damage with more waiting-time than in red or blue specs. While you can get a trait bonus that lets you block with a 2-handed weapon, perhaps sword-and-board would help, or perhaps this spec gets better at higher levels with more suitable gear, abilities and traits. The only good thing I could say about it was that it had no power issues. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this spec for levelling, but it may be useful in some situations.

Stats

  • Might - your main stat that increases damage and healing
  • Fate - increases power regeneration and critical strike chance
  • Morale and Vitality - increases survivability
  • Mitigations and resistances - reduces damage taken
These stats should help make the levelling process a bit easier in the beginning. Look for heavy armour with might and maybe some jewellery with fate. Morale is always helpful (vitality also increases morale). The best place to get mitigations and resistances at low level is probably from virtues.

Here are some virtues that may be helpful for Captains and how to get them by level 20:

VirtueActivityDeed
INNOCENCE

(physical mitigation, tactical mitigation, resistance)
Complete 75 quests in The ShireLife of a Bounder (Final)(The Shire)
COMPASSION

(physical mitigation, tactical mitigation, non-combat power regeneration)
Complete 15 quests in The Shire

Complete 20 quests in Ered Luin
Life of a Bounder (The Shire)

Defender of Ered Luin (Ered Luin)
DISCIPLINE

(might, physical mitigation, resistance)
Defeat 90 wolves in Ered Luin

Defeat 60 hendrovail in Ered Luin

Defeat 60 sickle-flies in Bree-land
Wolf-slayer (Advanced)(Ered Luin)

Hendroval-slayer (Advanced)(Ered Luin)

Sickle-fly Slayer (Advanced)(Bree-land)
PATIENCE

(physical mitigation, resistance, in-combat power regeneration)
Explore Dwarven settlements in Ered Luin

Retrieve spoiled pies in The Shire

Deliver mail between settlements in The Shire

Explore the ruins of Bree-land

Explore the Barrow-downs in Bree-land
Places of the Dwarves (Ered Luin)

No Place for Spoiled Pies (The Shire)

Restoring the Quick Post (The Shire)

The Ruins of Bree-land (Bree-land)

The Barrow-downs (Bree-land)

ZEAL

(morale, physical mitigation, armour)
Defeat 90 goblins in Ered Luin

Defeat 90 spiders in Ered Luin

Defeat 90 Barrow-spiders in Bree-land
Goblin-slayer (Advanced)(Ered Luin)

Spider-slayer (Advanced)(Ered Luin)

Brood-hunter (Advanced)(Bree-land)
HONOUR

(resistance, tactical mitigation, vitality)
Defeat 60 spiders in The Shire

Defeat 90 spiders in Bree-land
Spider-slayer (Advanced)(The Shire)

Spider-slayer (Advanced)(Bree-land)
FIDELITY

(tactical mitigation, vitality, power)
Explore landmarks in The Shire

Explore Dourhand strongholds in Ered Luin
The Sights of the Shire (The Shire)

Scouting the Dourhands (Ered Luin)

Pros of the Captain Class

  • Versatile - can heal, DPS, tank and provide buffs
  • Has a customisable pet (herald)
  • Good survivability
  • Popular in group situations

Cons of the Captain Class

  • Limited ranged abilities
  • Not specialised (i.e. don't expect to be the best healer/tank/DPS)
  • Power management

I hope this has been helpful. Feel free to leave any questions or advice for new captains in the comments below.

Coming soon in the Introducing X Class series: the Champion.

    Sunday, 2 April 2017

    Spring Festival and Update 20

    I love Spring Festival in LOTRO! There's so many activities and there are usually some very nice rewards. This year does not disappoint!

    One of my little hunters was delighted to see the Steed of the (Moon) Moth has pretty green and brown decorations and the Cloak of the Moth is amazing how it shimmers and changes colour as it moves!

    Steed of the (Moon) Moth - Spring Festival 2017


    Cloak of the Moth (green/purple)

    Cloak of the Moth (yellow/orange)

    The dresses are nice too, but not in the same league as the cloak. I've got what I want from Spring Festival so now it's time to check out the new zone in Mordor ...

    Update 20: Battle of the Black Gate includes a new zone The Wastes (Camp of the Host is now in The Wastes instead of North Ithilien), plus two new resource dungeons (Carchost, the Towers of the Teeth and Skoironk, the Maggot-holes) with solo and group options. The Epic story has a new episode, the raid gear from the Throne of the Dread Tower can be upgraded further, there are a couple of new recipes for each profession and there are new rewards for helping the Host of the West prepare for the Battle of the Black Gate.

    The barren Wastes
    Ruins dot the landscape
    Looking towards the Black Gate
    There are many ruins scattered across The Wastes, different types of flowers such as Bonemallow and Mournweed that yield phials of violet or golden extracts, and new resource nodes that yield scraps of Dagorlad weapons and armour, wood, cloth, onyx, artifacts, edible plants and occasionally Rangers' crafting journals that are used in new crafting recipes with a cooldown that make items to barter for reputation tokens which can be used to increase reputation with The Host of the West beyond kindred level or traded for new items and gear (including epic jewellery, shields and off-hand weapons).

    I tried the Carchost resource instance but couldn't find any resources, only orcs and bats. There were a couple of items that seemed to be part of a quest but I couldn't interact with them or find any quest-givers. Maybe I didn't explore far enough, but my initial impression is confusion as it wasn't what I expected based on previous resource instances.

    I don't really like how the zone revolves around collecting items and converting them into other items then converting those into other items that you can then use to get the items you want in the first place. It seems very convoluted and more complicated than it needs to be - there's not many quests in the zone so instead you have to grind items for something to do. I also don't really like the idea of having to earn rep beyond Kindred status - that also just increases the grindiness of the zone. Ah well, maybe they couldn't devote too much creative effort to this Update because they're working on making the Mordor expansion really good. One can hope.