LoTRO – Shadowfax

I’m planning to reroll on a new server, and as you might have guessed from the title of this post, I selected Shadowfax, one of the two new Legendary servers.

I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of going to a Legendary server. It’s made easier by the fact my friend on Arkenstone, I have only seen online twice in 20 months. Not kidding. Apparently we have as near opposite schedules as you can have. That’s fine, I don’t expect him to alter his schedule but I likewise have a few constraints on when I can play.

So, if I’m going to solo or join a kinship where I don’t know anybody, might as well look around first. It isn’t like I was that far along.

The appeal of Shadowfax is the faster leveling. Obviously I already missed the initial wave but that’s fine, between selecting a higher difficulty level for landscape fights, and the xp buff on Shadowfax, I think I can stick to my actual goal of replaying the entire storyline with a minimum amount of down time between books.

For example on Arkenstone I finished up Vol 1 Book 3 in the low 30’s, but Vol 1 Book 4 starts at level 37. So I had to fill out a few levels in Evendim and Trollshaws questing around – which is totally fine – but if I’m restarting I want to do as little of that as possible. Basically, beeline the Epic Storyline, that’s the goal.

Reached level 2 from 7 Sickleflies.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the quests in LoTRO. It’s just that I play other games; if this were the only one I played I’d be happy to take my time, level slow, work on every virtue and kill deed as I level, etc. But it isn’t the only game I play, so I’d like to get as much xp as possible all the time. That way I won’t need to side quest as much in order to keep on-level for the epic storyline.

On the other hand, perhaps I should try Treebeard and level slower. Still pick a higher difficulty level, however it seems like more players, at least according to my unscientific and random sampling on reddit’s /r/lotro, are on Treebeard. The advantage of leveling slower is perhaps the Legendary Item revamp will be done by the time I get to Moria. 😉

Trying Shadowfax first seems like a better plan since if it doesn’t work out, or I decided slower leveling is fine, I should be able to go to Treebeard and fit right in. Or, I could just go back to Arkenstone.

In any case, I once again have started up a Beorning. I love hobbits, but ever since I tried Beorning it has stuck. They can serve all 3 roles capably (tank, healer, dps), feel very survivable in the yellow trait line (The Roar) since that gives a near spammable HoT every 4.5 seconds (Encouraging Roar).

Boernings can wear heavy armor, which is very nice for extra protection. Heavy gear stats are usually melee weighted (vitality, might) so round off Willpower and Fate (if needed) with jewelry.

Another Boerning benefit I love is the scalable-buff food they can make: honey-cakes from the Bake a Honey-Cake racial trait. I’ve burned out a bit on crafting in LoTRO so what I’d usually do is take up the yeoman vocation, which gives cooking and farming so I could grow my own food then cook food for nice buffs. But that’s time consuming compared to the honey-cakes which are essentially free. Yes, yeomans can make a wider variety of buff foods, with a wider variety of time/effort invested, but I’m 100% cool with the Beorn’s Honey-cakes and their +morale regen, given how easy it is to make. The food also gives +power regen but Beornings have Wrath instead of Power so I’m not sure +power does anything (obviously if I traded my cakes to other players they could benefit).

Instead on my Boerning I take up Historian for the Scholar profession. The only thing I’m interested in making are scrolls (offense or defense buffs).

Lastly, it is flat out fun for me to shape-change into a bear and start fighting. Swipe at the enemy, roar, rear up on my hind legs and AoE with Relentless Maul, send a bee-swarm DoT…

The only annoying thing is some interactions don’t work in bear form, such as looting a scholar node. There are others as well, where “requires man form” messager shows. Ah well, minor issue. I find the Beorning to be near perfect so I can live with this issue.

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