Tag Archive: Crickhollow


Level Up… With Festival Quests!

I was playing with my girlfriend tonight. We started off by playing the through day 1 of the Yule Festival, her on her level 45 Hunter, me on my level 85 Captain. Afterwards, she we joined up on our dynamic duo, her Hunter and my Burglar, both level 45. We’ve been playing with these two together (and almost exclusively together), so I was rather surprised when her Hunter had gained over a quarter of a level on me!

Later on I took my Burglar through Winter-home, and I was quite surprised to find that all Yule Festival quests are on-level quests (for level 45 characters, they will be level  45, for level 20 characters, they will be 20, etc.)! Previously, all festival quests were level 10, period. If you were well over that level, you did not get experience. The full Dev Diary for this year’s Yule Festival can be found here.

I think this is an excellent change, especially considering the number of Yule Festival quests that have to be done to get the best rewards. I don’t feel as guilty now playing through the Yule Festival dailies knowing that in the process, I’m actually helping them level up as well. What are your thoughts?

fest quest lvl

I figured it was time to introduce you to another one of my characters! This time, we will meet Aerfin, my minstrel and go-to role-playing character.

  • Name: Aerfin
  • Race: Man
  • Class: Minstrel
  • Level: 32

Aerfin, Singer of Songs, Teller of Tales, Weaver of Words… He is a man of many titles. A minstrel, hailing from the distant lands of Rohan, he has travelled the world in search of inspiration. Although he possesses some musical talent, he is far more renowned for his storytelling, and for his clever style of writing. He toys with words, and weaves them, as a potter may mold clay.

He is highly intelligent, and his command of language is quite good. He is known to have moments of unparalleled genius.

Although he is a gifted writer and thinker, it is perhaps because he is ever-so-slightly touched in the head. Insane. Batty. In a different realm of thinking… take your pick.

He considers himself a “half-pacifist”, that is to say, he spends at least half of his time doing something other than fighting (usually having a drink in the local tavern, where he may provide some entertainment).

He is known to randomly break into song, or rhyme, or verse, whenever inspiration strikes him. When asked what he is doing, he will often state that he is doing something entirely different from what he is actually doing, and that if you think otherwise, it is because your perception is skewed, and you should perhaps direct your skewed perception elsewhere, and perhaps see a local doctor to get that checked out.

Aerfin often speaks before thinking, except for when he thinks before speaking (he has been known, on rare occasion, to ponder his words for days at a time).

He is fascinated by things that to most people seem inconsequential: a flower picked from the south Bree-fields, a trinket retrieved from the Barrow-downs, an empty mug at the tavern. When Aerfin looks at objects such as these, he imagines an entire story; where they’ve been, and what they’ve witnessed.

He believes in neither strength, nor flaws, but rather, does whatever seems like the best option at the time.

Aerfin stands at approximately 5’10”, and weighs about 150 pounds. He has blonde hair, and blue eyes. He often says his song level is 70 birds (whatever that means).

He has an older brother named Diende, who is altogether much more gruff in demeanor than Aerfin is. Perhaps it is because Aerfin calls him “Old-timer”, or perhaps it is because Diende has a slightly more realistic view on life, whereas Aerfin is content to simply sing and write as the world around him crumbles (at least supposedly, that stuff is all personal perception anyway).

He met Tom Bombadil once, in the darkest part of the Old Forest. Tom told Aerfin,

“Slightly strange are you, 
and not as old as I, 
but you remind me of me, 
in a younger time.” 

Aerfin raised an eyebrow and replied,

“Old man, I fear you are mistaken, 
for time passage is but a dream, 
now go, and find what I have taken, 
to pass your wisdom onto me.” 

Tom was altogether impressed by Aerfin’s quick thinking, and decided to let him keep the old boot, about which Aerfin crafted the famous “Tale of Tom’s Boot”, which was widely and highly critically acclaimed (I think).

Aerfin is an altogether uninteresting person, once you move past his relatively low level of insanity. In fact, sometimes it is difficult to determine whether he is insane, or rather just flippant, quick-witted, and difficult to interpret.

He also has a tendency to make up words, when he is unable to find one that suits his purpose.

An obvious example may be found in the following anecdote:

He was in a tavern, enjoying a wonderfully flavorful and crisp pint of ale, when he was approached by the proprietor of the establishment, and asked to perform.

He smiled half-heartedly, and said, “I would be overjoyed to do so, however, I would not wish to mosh it with my jabberdowitty.”

Taken aback, the owner hesitated, and asked, “What, exactly, is a jabberdowitty?”

“Well, my good man, it is simply a term, which captivates my non-willingness to perform. I am completely and totally performed out for the evening. Even sousadewhatsits such as myself need breaks!”

The proprietor, at this point, understandably gave up.

He spends his spare time writing, and pouring over the texts of the ancients, looking for subject material for his many short stories and scripts.

For some reason or another (probably another, as “some reason” is simply not a very good answer), he has a tendency to start a story, or song, and only complete half of it. When questioned about this, he has been known to say, “That is intentional. I leave the rest open to interpretation!”

Concerning his personality, he is easygoing, although he does have a small twinge of arrogancy. He rarely overthinks things, in fact, the only time he thinks is when is thinking, and by thinking you could be far more descriptive by saying meditating.

He has a rather devilish sense of humour, and often causes laughs at the expense of others. A faint smirkish smile dances across his lips, and he enjoys a good prank more than most.

-=-=-=-=-=-

I don’t worry about Aerfin’s level or gear very much. Mostly I play him when I want to RP, although eventually I would like him to be high enough level to be a main healer. Because I don’t focus on leveling, I use whatever traits are available to me. I do have to admit, I’m definitely happy with the changes made to the minstrel class with RoI. I am not yet high enough level to use any legendary traits, although Rally!, Cry of the Wizards, and Call of the North will probably be the traits I will usually keep equipped.

Thoughts on the Instance Finder

Now that I’ve had a chance to play around with the Instance Finder a little bit, I figured it was time to give my opinions on it. So far, it seems to be something that works on paper, but not yet in practice. There are still some kinks that need to be worked out.

First of all, the wait time is lengthy. On Crickhollow, the night that Update 5 was released, it took Carolin about 2 hours to get into a group with the instance finder, even though all Isengard 3 and 6 mans were selected, and on both tiers. Even on Landroval, which has a much higher server population, the wait times were long. I think there should be more of an incentive to use the instance finder, which should help with the queue time.

Next, I think it should be possible to select your own level range which you want to play in, as well as specific instances that you don’t want to do. I don’t want to waste my time on my level 30 warden running a level 26 skirmish with a level 22 player, and I don’t want to run Siege of Gondamon for the ninety-billionth time. I understand why they don’t let you only pick certain instances, but I think you should be able to eliminate some instances. Perhaps they could do this by letting you eliminate a set number of instances, so you could at least eliminate your least desirables.

Lastly, the instance finder does not seem to match you into your role which you sign up for! I used in on Carolin,  and I signed up for every role except for tanking (defense) because personally I am just a lousy tank. I got matched up for an Isengard 3-man with a Rune-keeper and a Lore-master. Sooooo… I guess that means the Lore-master’s bear was going to be the assigned tank?

Regardless of the kinks, I am glad that they brought out an instance finder. I just wish that it worked a little bit better, and I hope that in the future they streamline it and work out the bugs.

I was playing around on one of my characters on Landroval today, and decided to run a skirmish to get some quick experience. As most of us know, the daily skirmish bonus alone can be over half a level in the  20-30 level range. I used the instance finder, and eventually I was grouped with another player, and we ran Trouble In Tuckborough. Imagine my suprise when we got to the end, and there was no daily skirmish bonus!

I thought it may be due to the fact that I used the instance finder, but I checked it on a few other characters as well. The ring in the instance join panel used to mark which skirmishes may still be completed for the daily bonus is no longer there. I truly hope that this does not mean that daily skirmishes are gone, that was the only reason I ran them before level cap.

Apparently they slipped this one by us with Update 5, and let me say, this is one change that I am not happy about.

Alrighty, time for installment number two of my Greenie Creep’s guide to the Ettenmoors. This part will cover an overview of the various creep classes, and a basic guide to Creep combat tactics. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

It is important to note that although parallels can be drawn between creep and freep classes, no two classes are the same or equal and opposites. For example, although both a burglar and a stalker can both use stealth, the Warg is capable of things that the burglar is not, and the burglar is capable of things that the Warg is not.

Blackarrow – The Uruk Blackarrow is a ranged DPS class, able to do very good ranged damage and damage over time. It has a few crowd control skills and is one of the stronger classes in the post-RoI creep ranks. The freep class most comparable to it is the Hunter.

Defiler – The Orc Defiler is the primary healing class on the creep side.  It heals primarily through HoTs, so it is important to heal proactively, rather than reactively. In addition to its healing skills, is also has some nice crowd control, debuff, and tactical ranged damage skills.  The freep class most comparable to it is probably the Rune-keeper.

Reaver –  The Orc Reaver is a melee DPS class, able to do very good AoE, bleed, and single-target damage. It also has a couple debuff skills. This is the only free-to-play class, and is one of the easier creep classes to play. The most comparable freep class is the Champion.

Stalker –  The Warg Stalker (more commonly referred to as “Warg”) is my personal favorite class to play. The Stalker is the only creep class able to use stealth, and is therefore the quintessential scout and healer-harassing class. It has several damage-over-time, debuff, stun, and escape abilities. It is also the best creep class for popping Warband Maneuvers (which are basically Fellowship Maneuvers) on NPCs. The most comparable freep class is the burglar.

Weaver – The Spider Weaver is a crowd-control, damage-over-time, and pet-using class. It can be an extremely difficult class to kill at high ranks, and it has the ability to apply several tactical DoTs. The most comparable freep class is the Lore-master.

Warleader – The Uruk Warleader is an extremely versatile class. It can buff, heal, revive, and DPS. Warleaders are tough to kill, and is one of the “tankier” creep classes. The most comparable freep class is the Captain.

Choosing the right class is going to make your Moors experience much more enjoyable. Make sure that you pick one that matches your play style.

Now, let’s move on to combat tactics! I’m not going to turn into Sun Tzu here, but I am going to go over some basic tactics that every creep should know. First and foremost, every creep needs to know how to focus fire, unless you want to be lonely and sad and be a creep all by yourself. It’s very simple and easy to do, to the point where it almost shouldn’t be considered a combat tactic, and yet some people don’t do it. When people don’t focus fire, their entire raid wipes. To focus fire, open up your social window. Go to the raid tab. Near the bottom, there should be a checkbox to enable your target assist window. Once your target assist window is displayed, simply choose the target of whomever the raid leader picks to choose targets, and kill it. Pretty easy, right?

The next combat tactic is the drop pull. This is a very commonly used tactic when trying to flip keeps or outposts. One creep will drop from the raid, run in and grab all of the aggro, and run away, while the rest of the raid runs in and up to the boss without resistance. Once the lone creep has run off the aggro, he is invited back to the group. The best class to do a drop pull with is the Warg Stalker, since they have Disappear (which is basically HIPS) and then they can stealthily sneak back up to the boss and help fight without pulling everything again. When this is done right, the time required to take a keep can be reduced dramatically.

Another common tactic is baiting. All but one or two creeps will bunch up and hide behind a rock, or a tree, or a bush, or a wall, or… well, you get the idea. Then those one or two creeps will run out and try to lure the freeps to a little past where the creeps are hiding to ambush them. The creep raid then charges out and zergs everything, beginning with the healers which are almost always at the back of the freep raid.

There are many, many other tactics that have been used, but these are the main ones. Listen to your raid leader, and you should be just fine. Go out, young creeps, and munch on some freeps!

Alrighty, time for another edition of “Me and My Multiple Personalities”. This time, we’re going to be focusing on Carolin, my favorite of all my characters to play.

  • Name: Carolin
  • Race: Man
  • Class: Captain
  • Level: 75

Carolin is a natural leader, cool under pressure, and brave to the point of idiocy. She leads from the front, not afraid to bark orders or speak her mind. She has a tendency to jump into things without thinking them through thoroughly, but she has an uncanny ability to turn even the nastiest situations around  and salvage something good from them. She has a fairly mellow personality, and is not easily angered. She does not take pleasure in fighting, as some do. However, she does not hesitate to do her duty.

Carolin was born and raised in the Bree-lands. She served for a short while as part of the Bree-town guard, but quickly grew bored of it (very little happens in Bree-town). She left the Bree-town guard and moved on to bigger, better things. After travelling the lands of Middle Earth, she eventually decided to lend her services to a mercenary group, until she could find a place to lay down some more permanent roots. Carolin has yet to find a place where she can picture herself living out the rest of her life, and still therefore lends her services to whoever has need of them.

-=-=-=-=-=-

I love my captain. Hands down, without a doubt, the captain is my favorite class to play. I run pretty much exclusively in Hands of Healing, because I am personally terrible at tanking, and I really don’t see Leader of Men (the “pet” line) as a viable option in end-game group instances.  My favorite role to play the captain in is a general support role. I can off-heal, off-tank, and buff as necessary; I feel like in that role I am most beneficial to my group because the versatility of captains can really shine.

For my legendary traits, I have In Defense of Middle Earth, Fellowship-brother, and Hands of Healing (the HoH capstone trait). This gives me the greatest benefit overall, both in solo and group play, in my opinion, because with Fellowship-brother and Hands of Healing equipped, I can run solo with a herald and self-heal with several different skills. Between Valiant Strike, Inspire, Muster Courage, Rallying Cry, and Revealing Mark, if  I’m getting these skills off, I can take on a lot of guys before I have to worry about my health even going down. Once it starts to drop, I still have Last Stand and Man-Heal (the man racial trait that heals 3k morale). In a group, the benefits are obvious. I can restore morale or power to everyone in my group consistently, in the form of constant HoTs. No too shabby if you ask me.

Carolin has already reached level 75, so at this point, I’m going after gear and virtues. It only took me about a month to get Carolin from level 20 to level 75, so I skipped a lot of deeds along the way. I currently have virtues slotted that are only rank THREE (and on a level 75 character who wants to go raiding, that’s not good). I have some catching up to do, but I can’t wait to get my hands on the Rise of Isengard captain set.

Slaying Dragioch

Last night, I had the pleasure of finally running Dragioch for the first time. I ran it on Carolin with a few old friends from the Crickhollow raiding kin Asylum, many of whom used to be Justified members. It was a great run, not only because it didn’t bug on us, but also because the run itself went very smoothly. We had only 1 member go down once, and that person was quickly revived by super-dee-dooper captain in-combat rezzes! At the end of the raid, I got lucky and won 2 Worn Symbols of Celebrimbor so I could obtain BOTH of my 2nd age legendary items (which I promptly did afterwards).

Now, I’ve heard rumors that with Update 5, the morale for Dragioch’s limbs are going to be reduced, which I take to mean that this fight will get easier (or perhaps just shorter). Now, maybe this is a credit to the skill of Asylum’s raid leader and raiding abilities (this particular raid was led by Rambostacked, an former Justified officer, actually), but I found the whole run very easy. There were a couple of people on this run who had never done it before, including myself, and yet there was only 1 death during the whole run (and it was in the final phase). There was only a few times when I really needed a big heal (which came in time, every time).

I will wrap this up by saying that it was an excellent run, and that Rambostacked did an excellent job leading. Hopefully I will be able to run with them again in the future.

Alright, I am very happy to present this piece, featuring Brucha. Brucha plays on the Crickhollow server, and is the author of the “Total Immersion” forum threads on the Crickhollow forum. If you haven’t read them yet, I highly recommend you do so. The most recent one can be found here. Now, on to the interview!

============================

Brucha: I am glad we were able to finally get together.

Me: The pleasure is mine. I’ve been following your story for quite some time.

Brucha: I am glad to hear that. I never know if people are still following the story since i do not receive much feedback on the forum. I am just glad people find it interesting to read.

Me: Alright Brucha, tell me briefly a little bit about your total immersion project.

Brucha: Well, it started with returning to LOTRO last year. I had not played since 2008, and had started with a toon named Ingion. I had read somewhere online about a player in another MMORPG using total immersion rules and applied them to playing Ingion. I also began a story for that toon at first, but tragedy struck when I accidentally erased Ingion and decided to start fresh with a new toon. The stories I wrote for Ingion were generally light-hearted and I wanted to do something a bit more serious. So, I came up with the idea of a dwarf travelling to Moria as the basis for the story. I was not sure if anyone would even be interested in such a lengthy story when I started. To be honest I still am unsure. As far as playing total immersion, it simply is a way to play the game with more realism to make the game more fun overall.

Me: OK, you mentioned some total immersion rules. What are a few examples?

Brucha: Well, the first immersion rules I found online were really basic and I ended up adding a lot to them. The most important rule was sticking to the in-game cycles of night and day, therefore, always resting during night cycles and only travelling/adventuring during the day. The second important rule was to walk everywhere, since you would not running around constantly otherwise. All the immersion rules in general were designed to add realism in my gameplay. Oh, and always staying in character and role-paying at all times.

Me: Is LOTRO the only game you’ve tried this with, or have you tried it with others as well?

Brucha: Actually LOTRO is the only MMORPG that I ever played. I stayed away from them for a long time, but being a huge Tolkien fan brought me to playing it several years ago. I guess I am a MMORPG noob.

Me: Wow, that’s surprising. I don’t know a whole lot of hardcore RPers who have only played 1 MMO.

Brucha: Well, I have played plenty of pen and paper RPGs, but none online except for some old text-based muds long ago.

Me: So, how is your total immersion generally received by people in-game?

Brucha: In game I don’t get much response, just like the forum. I am not sure why. A few players that have ended up having their stories told on the forum have sought me out in the game. And a few have also sent me gifts in the game – but other than that it seems most players don’t interact with me much.

Me: Do you see that as a good thing or a bad thing?

Brucha: Neither really, from feedback I have received it seems that most don’t want to bother me. But I actually look forward to RPing opportunities in the game. Meeting with new characters in-game just has to be RPed out.

Me: What do you see as your biggest challenge with this whole project?

Brucha: Ha, ha, surviving Moria. I made the number 1 big rule that Nuri could not be defeated in Moria. If that happens, he dies and the story ends. I kind of like to hope that at the end I can take him back to Ered Luin, buy a house and retire him.

Me: Ouch, that’s pretty unforgiving. Once Nuri either retires or dies, do you have plans to start over with a new character?

Brucha: Actually I would like to return to the story of Ingion after this. I went ahead and created Ingion as a new toon just to save the name.

Me: And if people would like to get in touch with you, or RP with you, what’s the best way to do so?

Brucha: Just come up to me in-game, but be ready to RP, because I never react to non-RP interactions usually. There are a lot of good RPers on Crickhollow, and I have had the pleasure of meeting some of them during the story so far.

Me: Do have anything else you’d like to add before we finish?

Brucha: Just to thank all the people that have been following the story and certainly to those that have given me the on-going encouragement to see this to the very end. And for you to give me this chance to bring the story to more people that may never get the chance.

Me: The pleasure is all mine, Brucha. It was great talking to you!

First off, I want to give a MAJOR thank you to Adrian Tan, who commented on my post “The Path to 75” and reminded me about The Pit of Iron, in the Heathfells. Without that friendly reminder, I would have probably forgot about it for quite a while. Now, thanks to him, Carolin has achieved level 75! Yay!

Now, it turns out there was a fairly major questline in the Heathfells that I almost missed. There are several quests that are prerequisites to The Pit of Iron. As far as I can tell, you have to complete the quests from Ondor the Dwarf (86.5S, 4.7W ) as well as the battle for Dol Baran questline, which starts with a quest “Herald of the Rohirrim”. An item dropped by the Hound Master from the quest “The Master of Beasts” will start the herald quest.

Once you have won the battle for Dol Baran, you will be able to go get the quests for The Pit of Iron. The quests start with a “Dwarven Pick-Axe” lying on the ground near the entrance to the cave. The quest will then take you inside to take to Ondor, who will then give you several more quests to take you deeper into the pit.

Unfortunately, the Pit of Iron is currently without an official map of its own, but at least you don’t fall through the floors any more. Remarks from Sapience suggest that there will be a map in the future. If you have trouble starting the quest “Herald of the Rohirrim”, and you have already killed the Hound Master, check your inventory. You may have a letter in there which starts the quest (that’s what happened to me).

Best of luck, and safe journeys always!