LoTRO – New Server

I’ve been in a training class with coworkers from different departments, people I didn’t know before. During breaks the group discussion varies all over, and earlier this week the topic of gaming came up. Console gaming, PC gaming, what genres people liked… I half paid attention since I was going over some notes from the lecture, when the conversation shifted to MMOs.

I perked up a bit, paying more attention. One coworker mentioned the only MMO he played was LoTRO. Hearing that shocked me a bit – from the perspective that I’ve never met another LoTRO player “in the wild”! I’ve played with friends I’ve met in other games (Guild Wars, then we started LoTRO around the same time), talked a friend from other games into playing LoTRO (from WoW, but he stopped playing both after a few months; however ~5 years ago he popped up in GW2 and we played together for a bit before stopping again), and met Eve Online players at work (two different people), but this is the first LoTRO player I’ve met.

Later, we talked more and I learned he plays on Arkenstone, has a small kinship of friends/family, and said if I ever wanted to join, just send a message. He probably thought I wouldn’t want to leave Landroval and restart… except I actually am willing to do that, in order to play with someone I know in real life.

I don’t expect him to start a new char or anything, and don’t mind soloing quite a bit either, but it would be great to adventure with others occasionally! The kinship I’m in on Landroval is basically defunct; it seems I’m the only semi-active player. I could have usurped the kin leadership a dozen times by now, but haven’t.

Anyway, I logged into Arkenstone and created a Beorning, since I was enjoying the one I started on Anor and then the one I started when I returned to Landroval.

This morning, he brought it up, asking if I was interested in playing/joining on Arkenstone. I got his character name and this evening, logged in and played my new Beorning to level 9. This wasn’t too difficult since Beornings come out of their intro area at level 5, so I quested a bit in Archet and Combe before mailing him and logging off.

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Now I’m mulling over some other character possibilities. See, I haven’t purchased Minas Morgul expansion yet, and when I do I’ll get a version that includes a character boost. So while I am leveling away, I will make an end-game character to join in whatever I can.

I figured the character I’ll boost will be a minstrel, since I do enjoy healing and groups usually are looking for that role.  And then maybe make a burglar to fiddle around with… ah yes, can’t stop playing alts.

WoW – Resub

I have gamer’s ADD but managed to get things under control… until last week when a friend told me she and two others had resubbed to WoW and rolled on a classic server. Having low will power and also a strong desire to play with friends, I also resubbed so all my careful plans to rotate games, etc. are tossed out the window. But this is a good thing!

I might like ESO, LoTRO, FF14 better than WoW, but WoW has one untouchable advantage – real life friends that play. And that is a huge draw. So, I found myself at the character creation screen of the Westfall server, and soon after had a druid, paladin, and priest ready for adventure.

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I picked the druid and paladin because they can fill multiple roles, and I like characters that can do more than just DPS. I like healing in general so those classes were natural draws as well. I plan to focus on druid and priest, with the paladin as a distant priority, since they are kinda boring to level.

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Over in retail, I peeked at my monk, who I left off at level 100 when I subbed previously (Warlords of Draenor era). Logging in produced a flurry of popups (garrison mission complete! new quest available! unspent talent points!) I quickly logged off, resolved to deal with all that stuff at a later time.

Anyway, we’ve grouped a few times now. Once as lowbies in the gnome starter area, questing along to about level 7 or 8, and then a week later with all four of us, questing through Westfall, planning out our eventual Deadmines trip.

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It was a ton of fun in our group (warrior, paladin, hunter, priest) tackling Westfall. I hope we can keep the momentum and avoid burnout while leveling along to 60.

I do have a backup plan in case something happens – WoW retail. It turns out my friends from work still play on Earthen Ring, so I can join with them too. Towards that end, while I’ve been concentrating on classic, I did put a tiny bit of time into retail.

When I resubbed, I got a free level 100 character boost. My monk, which I did enjoy, was already level 100 so I decided to boost my paladin to 100. Then, when I bought the BfA expansion, I got a free level 110 character boost! That went to my druid. I figured what the heck, I’ll have a choice of 3 viable characters to play on retail if it comes to that.

I haven’t completed the “welcome to your boosted character” intro on my retail paladin or retail druid yet, but I will when I have the itch to play but don’t want to do classic. Perhaps I can devote some time to leveling any of my retail characters to 120 to join the end game with my old guild.

Back in classic – we had a few wipes due to being caught by respawn. Moonbrook was surprisingly busy, with many characters waiting for Defias to spawn. One minute, crowded with players and no Defias, next minute the players are gone and all the Defias respawn… to help keep track of each other, we assigned symbols.

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Good times!

 

 

PoGo: Hoenn pokedex

I traded for a Tropius, that last Hoenn pokémon I needed to finish the Hoenn pokédex. Well, except to #352, Kecleon, but since that one isn’t in the game yet, I’ll consider my Hoenn pokédex completed for now.

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The trade involved me giving a shiny flower-crown Eevee for a Tropius. I was happy to do that since I couldn’t go to Safari Zone Montreal (not that I didn’t try; the tickets sold out almost instantly). And that chances of me going to Africa are slim. I should note that my Tropius is from the Spanish Canary Islands, off the west cost of Africa. 🙂

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I’m not a shiny hunter per se, but I do realize their value when it comes to trading. As it turns out, shinies are the actual trade currency. Even then, it’s just the rarer shinies – all the serious shiny hunters have all the community day shinies so those are a no-go for trading. So I am grateful for every shiny I do get, because they may one day become a trading pokémon for something that I can’t normally get.

Gen 4 will be very tough to complete, because it has regional legendary pokémon (Azelf, Uxie, Mesprit). I do have several Azelf so perhaps someday I’ll be able to arrange a trade, who knows.

Anyway, Gen 5 (Unova) recently released so everybody that is still playing is busy capturing the new crop that’s out. My strategy is to use as many pinap berries as possible (they give double candy on a capture, so 6 instead of 3 for a base evolution) since eventually I’ll want to have an extra 25 (base to middle) or extra 100 (middle to final) candies for evolving.

I’m also an avid runner, and Adventure Sync is a really welcome addition to the game. I’ve got my buddy (currently Gabite, since I’m short of candies to evolve a Garchomp) with me when I run, earning 1 candy per 5km. It’s slow going to reach 100 candies, but this certainly helps out… the alternative is spending rare candies (which I will probably do when I near 100, just to finish off quicker). Or just being super lucky either finding gibles in the wild (very rare) or hatching out of eggs for the hatching candy bonus.

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This week I ran/walked/moved ~52 km, getting my buddy 10 candies plus a 5km and 10km adventure sync egg reward. My stats say my buddy has been with me for 168.5 km so that’s a total of 33 candies. When I do finally evolve a Garchomp I’ll probably switch to Klink, since that one was only available out of Tier 1 raids and I didn’t do enough of those to get the 125 candies to evolve a Klang and Klinklang. Buddy candy and Adventure Sync to the rescue!

ESO: Finished Summerset

OK I was close to finishing so I carved out some time to just do it.

The Summerset storyline was 9 quests, each multi-step and fairly involved, and I enjoyed it overall. The boss fights were fun and challenging and I’m grateful that failing (dying) only made me retry from a recent checkpoint, not redo the entire fight.

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The fight against Nocturnal boiled down to paying attention to the on-screen cues to “use the DawnBreaker”, the sword that you went through great trouble to power up (others gave their lives, etc. hope that isn’t too much of a spoiler).

The screenshot above was the tamest one I could get, because the actual fight was way to hectic for me to pause to get a better one. Nocturnal had a cool. ghostly giant apparition in the background, while directing her champion (the main guy the fight was against) plus random adds here and there.

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After my victory I spoke to Sotha Sil to wrap up that chapter. The actual last chapter of the storyline consisted of speaking to a few people and having Razum-Dar call forth various citizens of Summerset that you helped out. That was a nice conclusion!

As for Daurum… I want to find the 3 other wayshrines in Summerset I don’t yet have. Hey, those will come in handy should I want to zip around the island in the future!

After that, I plan to go start the original main quest and defer Morrowind until I’m done.

ESO: Summerset Storyline

My goal was to finish the storyline on Summerset, and make my way to Elsweyr. I figure I’m already “out of order” from the main storyline and Morrowind, might as well not worry about it and see new areas, and then go back to the mainland and Morrowind later.

But, I wasn’t able to do it. I wrapped up A Necessary Alliance and am now at The Crystal Tower, which is 8 of 9. The end is in sight!

Wrapping up the previous step involved a tough fight: defend two portals (one at a time) and basically kill the final mini-boss that attacks. Like most quests in ESO, there are a series of regular enemies to fight as you navigate towards various goals, then the quest wraps up much tougher fight. It generally takes me a few attempts at these “quest completion” fights, buffing up a little by eating some food beforehand, popping a healing potion as needed, etc.

This particular fight was annoying due to the ~minute long run I had to do after dying to get back into the fight. But, after a few attempts I prevailed. It kinda felt like Dark Souls, scaled down of course: get to the problematic mini-boss fight, hang at a distance to learn their moves and what patterns to dodge (various red circles). I’m glad I trained bow as a secondary weapon because it lets me do some damage while kiting for my life.

You have two allies in the fight, one at each portal: Razum-dar and Darien Gautier, both characters in the storyline. Both are decent fighters, but won’t finish the mini-boss off for you. What Darien does do is occasionally is yell “get behind my shield” before popping some bright light damage absorption bubble. I also learned to stand right behind him when he does that and keep attacking.

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Anyway, later I talked to a Daedric Prince, Clavicus Vile. He at least recognizes how awesome I am at previously thwarting his plans. 😉

 

 

LoTRO: Leaving the Lone-Lands

I finished up Vol 1 Book 2 on Barlk and am now headed to Evendim in the North Downs for Book 3. I like the Lone-Lands, but since it is essentially the first zone outside the starter zones, I’ve also spent a LOT of time questing there.

I feel like I’m leveling like a rocket blasting off. Compared to the Legendary Servers this is fast, because there isn’t a xp penalty. I traded my Derudh’s Stone pocket item (+25% xp on monster/crafting) for another pocket item (stat and evade bonuses) from the skirmish camp. I figured I can pass up the +25% on monster kills, and I’m only doing the bare minimum mining/smelting to keep current with available metals in the zone.

What also helps is all the xp scrolls I’ve saved up from hobbit gifts… yeah I’m keeping those going until I run out of them. Oh yeah, I’m also spending my accumulated destiny points to extend the amount of “blue bar” enhanced xp I’ll receive.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the original Shadows of Angmar and Mines of Moria content… it’s just I’ve seen it so many times I’d like to get this Beorning through it and to Mirkwood and beyond!

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Looking east towards the Trollshaws… I’ll be heading there for Book 4.

Virtues

Before finishing up Book 2 I took stock of my virtues. I had expected a few to level naturally, but I looked and all were at 0. What?!

It seems the virtue system was revamped – yet another change I missed – and now, instead of doing specific deeds to raise virtues, any/all deeds give experience that goes to the virtue you are “earning” experience towards. All you do is click the virtue to set it “earning” and then do deeds.

This is fantastic! Originally if you wanted to increase a specific virtue, you looked through the list and had to travel to specific zones to do specific tasks (quest, explore, kill X number of specific mobs, etc.) I didn’t mind the questing and exploring, that’s the point of the game, but the kill deeds were annoying. Especially later when it was stuff like “kill 200 worms in the Trollshaws”. For example.

Anyway, after seeing this I took a break to finish up various quest and exploration deeds in Bree and the Lone-Lands, thus bumping my various virtues to between 4 and 8.

Build

I also revamped my build, doing with the yellow line (The Roar). The red line (The Claw) did lots of damage but didn’t have much in the way of healing when in bear form, which made it feel fragile.

I decided to try out the Roar which is much, much better. I get Encouraging Roar which is an immediate heal plus a HoT, on a low cooldown. This skill works in bear form, I think the tooltip in the wiki is old. Later I’ll get more buffs and utility skills making this trait line quite nice.

Maybe later I’ll try out the tanking line (The Hide) but I’m in no rush.

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Approaching Nan Dhelu.

Wrap Up

Well I enjoyed Blaugust. I posted more this month than I had in the previous year, which is an amazing way to end a slump.

The challenge will be continuing… every other day will be really tough, but I think I can manage or average a post a week, flipping between progress in LoTRO or ESO and then whatever other games I’m playing.

My goals are simple: work on my gaming  backlog (haha, essentially this is an infinite task), and keep advancing in the MMOs I’m playing (LoTRO, ESO). My attention also is wandering a bit… I played and enjoyed FF14 (on PC, not so much console due to overall controls) and think about fiddling around there for a bit. I know that my attempts to play 3 MMOs at the same time, very casually in each, have failed with a 60-30-10 split at best.

As far as progress, I might as well mark where I am now.

  • In LoTRO, my “mains” (Naerys the Guardian and Dhrun the Burglar) are outside Minas Tirith. But, I’m taking a break from them and leveling up Barlk the Boerning, who is level 30 in the Lone Lands, and nearly finished with Vol 1 Book 2 in the epic storyline.
  • In ESO, Dauram the Wood Elf Nightblade is level 18, still on Shimmerene, and in the middle of the Lost in Translation zone quest.