Shamus Plays: LOTRO, Part 20

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Shamus Plays: LOTRO, Part 20

Lulzy learns that being a spy is hard.

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THIS IS THE LOUD POST!

POST IT LOUD AND POST IT STRONG!

Great, as always, Shamus. I didn't think you'd keep this up for this long. Glad you keep going, though.

Seriously, LotRo needs to pay you by the mile. Especially when they then cap certain quests with a minimum as well as a maximum point. You've just got this little xp bar to allow the quest in while running through a gauntlet of Spiders, Spiders and maybe a wolf or two, while wanting to kill them, you can only kill a few.

And the horse? Jeez...I can run backwards faster. Hunter Food Teleport all the way. You can even set up taxicabs between Bree & Esteldin, as it's 30 Silver by the long game way and only 2 by the Instantaneous Hunter Cabs.

I enjoyed the LOUD SONG.

Loved the Loud Song.

"Of course, the reason working for humans is more profitable is because humans are always asking you to kill other humans."

What is up with humans being the only race that regularly makes war on their own kind? Elves did it once, and it's a legendary no-no.

Another excellent issue. :)

And yes, the quests in that area have far too long a distance to travel back and forth.. and back and forth.. and..

I'm amazed the money rewards are based on level! I guessed that at first, sure, but when we had like ten updates with the same ninety copper payout, I assumed it was location-based since an MMO couldn't keep you at a low level for so long, right? That would be insane!

If it's not too much to ask, could someone explain the general level range of the game? Like what's the maximum level, how many levels you gain in that first part with the town under siege, how long most people stay at "Level 90 copper," and so on.

LordVyreth:
I'm amazed the money rewards are based on level! I guessed that at first, sure, but when we had like ten updates with the same ninety copper payout, I assumed it was location-based since an MMO couldn't keep you at a low level for so long, right? That would be insane!

If it's not too much to ask, could someone explain the general level range of the game? Like what's the maximum level, how many levels you gain in that first part with the town under siege, how long most people stay at "Level 90 copper," and so on.

Level cap is 65.

Below level 15, quests pay out 90c. Then they go up to 1s 5c. (Which is really only 15c more.)

At about 20-ish I think it goes to about 2s.

Late 20's is about 4s.

But the real reward comes in the form of drops. If you kill 10 level 15 things, they'll probably drop about 5s worth of stuff. Kill 10 level 25 things, and you'll probably get 50s. So drops are your real source of income, particularly later in the game.

Also: Lulzy is over-leveled from doing both human and Hobbit starting areas. If I was playing like a normal player, we would have bit this quest way back in part 11 or so.

Excellent chapter, Shamus, very amusing.

Turbine should be paying you to keep this going... silly as it is, it still makes a great advertisment all the same.

Don't worry Lulzy, by the time "The Wise", being the confederacy of nitwits setting the Free People's Mercenary Rabble on their quests, has you off to Moria, you'll have more currency than you know what to do with... you'll be drowning in the stuff.

The exchange at the end was priceless

Lulzy <3

The loud sing was brilliant.

Quite funny as always. Thanks!

I just discovered this series Sunday night, and I read them all and am now completely enjoying it. I've never played an MMORPG, but I do play RPGs. Comedy Gold. :)

Harla:
Turbine should be paying you to keep this going... silly as it is, it still makes a great advertisment all the same.

I agree, you made me want to play LotRO and DnD so bad. Too bad I'm waiting for SW:ToR.

Is it just you who plays LoTR on the escapist team? I only ask because 3 of my friends recently stopped playing when they changed the dungeon system to force you into playing with 5 people. In the later game can you avoid dungeons without feeling like youre missing out on too much content? And will you be documenting dungeon experiences?

LordVyreth:

If it's not too much to ask, could someone explain the general level range of the game? Like what's the maximum level, how many levels you gain in that first part with the town under siege, how long most people stay at "Level 90 copper," and so on.

As Shamus said, the cap is 65. There are 4 basic starting areas, The Shire (Hobbits), Ered Luin South (Elves), Ered Luin North (Dwarves) and Archet/Combe (Humans). These areas (the Dwarf and Elf areas bleed into eachother at about level 10) last until you're in your upper teens in level, and you really only have to do one, which doesn't even have to be the one tied to your race once you get beyond the tutorial area.

You then head to Breeland until about level 25, and then to either the Lonelands or the North Downs. Basically, other than Breeland (which you can minimize your time in to about 3 or 4 levels) every level range in the game has at least two possible questing zones until you reach Moria at somewhere around level 50. You then progress through Moria (which has it's own multiple questing zones) then Lorien and into Mirkwood. The current Endgame is mainly centered in Mirkwood but the numerous Moria instances still receive a lot of traffic.

Also, once you reach level 30 you can run Skirmishes anywhere/anytime as an alternate levelling path. Skirmishes are scalable (solo, duo, trio, 6man, 12man) bite size instances that last from about 10 to 30 minutes. Each Skirmish has set layouts but random enemy populations and are meant to be repeatable.

Also, as Shamus said questing isn't what you do for money in LOTRO. Basically. questing is for XP. Money is made in two ways. First looting and selling. Second is harvesting crafting materials from the landscape (or enemies, particularly of the animal/beast type for their hides) and then selling these on the Auction House to other players. Even relatively low levels can make a lot of money by doing this as one stack (100 pieces) of a desired crafting mat can easily net you a Gold or two (1 Gold = 1000 Silver, and 1 Silver = 100 Copper).

lewiswhitling:
In the later game can you avoid dungeons without feeling like youre missing out on too much content?

I'm not sure what you are asking, but I'm an avid LOTRO player so maybe I can answer your questions.

Most of the game is now soloable if you choose to do so. There are still later game dungeons that require grouping but most are totally optional. There are a few in the main Epic quest line that require 3 or 6 men though and these likely won't be changed any time soon.

Shamus, I am really loving this series. As soon as I read one weekly installment, I immediately start looking forward to the next!

Is there any chance you would consider doing this sort of treatment for World Of Warcraft? I think it would be priceless... since there is so, so, sooooo much to make fun of in Blizzard's epic masterpiece.

Please keep up the good work!

StriderShinryu:
Most of the game is now soloable if you choose to do so. There are still later game dungeons that require grouping but most are totally optional. There are a few in the main Epic quest line that require 3 or 6 men though and these likely won't be changed any time soon.

Which is a pity as soloing through the epic questline was really quite fun. My champ's up to 57 now and working on Volume 2 in Moria (ugh...really don't like getting into Moria - no goat to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, the maps are barely useful for navigating the broken bridges/randomly placed structures, a few lesser reasons) and it'd be nice to know I could just keep working through the main storyline without needing to figure out a group instance or three along the way, but eh, it's not like that's surprising in an MMO.

I can't decide if it's a shame there's no WoWhead equivalent for LotRO or if that helps the game maintain a slim sense of mystique. ...usually I lean toward the "gosh it's annoying" side of things, though, particularly when an ambiguous quest leaves me wondering where I'm supposed to go to find a thing, or when I go to complete a quest and discover I can't/it will be very difficult because I don't have gear I didn't know I'd need (I'm looking at you Westernesse-vulnerable ghoul in Haudh-connected tomb; that certainly ended up a chore to kill, though it was also a nice challenge after the many too-easy Inspiration quests). I think if they made all group quests soloable with the inspiration mechanic but toned it down somewhat it'd be pretty neat. As it is now the inspiration buff is severe overkill for most missions (I use it to farm rep/exp/cash on a few missions where I'm basically invincible because of it and can round up 10+ mobs to AE down) making them zero challenge loot-walks. The exceptions are the missions with the big boss battles where that much of a buff is needed to survive, but those only come up, what...four, maybe five times in something like 170+ quests?

I'm rambling. I don't feel like I'm missing out on content by not grouping up for dungeons, but I've never really been all that into grouping up for dungeons so maybe that's just me.

Harla:
Excellent chapter, Shamus, very amusing.

Turbine should be paying you to keep this going... silly as it is, it still makes a great advertisment all the same.

I agree. It was this story that got me playing the game. I started the game only after reading this. I'm a level 23 human hunter named Roenath, and to be honest I chose to be a human hunter just because of this story. I thought it would funny to be the closest thing to a ranger as I could get since Lulzy hates them so.

I haven't found the game very soicalable though, it isn't WoW in terms of population, but I still see plenty of people. There isn't any chatter in the cities really, this could be that most of the player base isn't the "foaming-at-the-mouth" early teens that WoW tends to have, but I mean no one really says anything. I bet I have passed about 200 differnt people in my short adventure and I only had a soical exchange with one guy, and this was due to me needing a metalsmith to make something for me. I /wave at people, I even say "hi" to them sometimes, but most just ignore me. lol. I'm still having fun but it would be nice to join a kinship or quest with someone once in awhile.

Perhaps I have been on the anti-soical server and wasn't aware. I have been on silverlode because I liked the name. Is there a better one?

Shamus Young:

Level cap is 65.

Below level 15, quests pay out 90c. Then they go up to 1s 5c. (Which is really only 15c more.)

At about 20-ish I think it goes to about 2s.

Late 20's is about 4s.

But the real reward comes in the form of drops. If you kill 10 level 15 things, they'll probably drop about 5s worth of stuff. Kill 10 level 25 things, and you'll probably get 50s. So drops are your real source of income, particularly later in the game.

I got over 1 gold around level 20. My biggest expense so far is training skills. Skills are expensive compared to the ammount of money you can earn early on.

Ha.
Hahaha.
I am amused.

Eviljesse:

Perhaps I have been on the anti-soical server and wasn't aware. I have been on silverlode because I liked the name. Is there a better one?

Great to hear you're enjoying the game :)

I really can't speak for Silverlode, but it is one of the less populated servers. Brandywine is the most populated, and seems to be regarded as a pretty social place though I've never played on it. Elendilmir and Landroval come next, with Elendilmir seeming to favour Euro and Asiatic players and Landroval being the unofficial RP server.

I play on Landroval and find the server fairly social given being in the right place. The Breeland and Bree zone chats are almost always lively (or will be if someone starts up a conversation). The Shire almost always has people talking as well. Moria's pretty lively too. Also due to the RP orientation of the server, most players do seem to respond if you talk to them, /wave, etc. (particularly in The Shire or near the Prancing Pony in Bree).

i enjoyed the read shamus. Tried to figure out how many in my head you have to do of these to complete the game. I stopeed counting at bergillion. Still it was good to read and i will read through all the others at some point (this being my first).

I have played LOTRO myself for the trial period OC and am amazed you have managed to make these sections last so long. I can't really remember but i was well in to the Bree quests by the time my 14 day free trial ran out.

Might even have to start playing this game again thanks to you!

LordVyreth:
I'm amazed the money rewards are based on level! I guessed that at first, sure, but when we had like ten updates with the same ninety copper payout, I assumed it was location-based since an MMO couldn't keep you at a low level for so long, right? That would be insane!

If it's not too much to ask, could someone explain the general level range of the game? Like what's the maximum level, how many levels you gain in that first part with the town under siege, how long most people stay at "Level 90 copper," and so on.

Later on(level 50+), it seems insane how much people are willing to pay you to do the most trivial things. At level 5, people were paying you 90 copper to risk your life, and at the higher levels they'll pay you 30 silver to deliver a message to a person on the other side of the town, of not closer.

Ugh, reach level 20 without dying? That'd just make me nervous. Have a bad pull/set of rolls and it's over. No second chances.

This is by far the best one yet. I lol'ed (for real) several times.

lewiswhitling:
Is it just you who plays LoTR on the escapist team? I only ask because 3 of my friends recently stopped playing when they changed the dungeon system to force you into playing with 5 people. In the later game can you avoid dungeons without feeling like youre missing out on too much content? And will you be documenting dungeon experiences?

Really not sure what on earth you're talking about there Lewis. I'm a founder since Beta, and the only changes they've made to instances is the moderately recent change to make all of the volume one epic line soloable if you choose to do so. Oh, and a revamp of the Lone-Lands, changing Garth Agarwen into a cluster of 3-man instances, instead of one large 6-man instance.

Each epic book has always had one or two group instnaces in it, from the get go, usually towards teh end of each book. Up until rivendell, you could usually scrape by without a group, if you were careful, but but Legolas' pavilion of pain was so called because it was the first one that you really couldn't solo at all... that was marked at about 40 or so, I think.

They've sinced added in an inspiration system, that counts how many people you are taking into a group instnace, and distributes a scaling buff to you based on that. If you take siz, the instnace is unchanged, and jsut as it's always been. If you're on your own, you'll be buffed up to be able to handle things, probably. if you've got three people, the buff you get will be proportionally weaker, so that the instance remains a challenge.

the greater majority of the complaints coming from people about how stupidly overpowere dthe inspiration buff is are experiencing that becuase they're going back to do quests they'd let pass, now, when they're already grossly over-levelled... Sure, you may not be able to solo a level 40 group quest with your level 60 character, but if that level 60 gets a buff that multiplies your stats, intended fo a level 40, then they're going to be stupidly godly, compared to the instance.

For the msot part, if you choose to go it solo, and at level, it'll still be a fair challenge, and some classes still struggle in certain circumstances.

In the Later Game, moria and the like, grouping becomes more important, actually... but only if you're intending to go down the raiding line anyway. If you ahve no intention of grouping or raiding, you're not going to feel overtly like you're missing out, becuase all the group and raid content is tucked away moderately neatly, and not rammed down your throat. The quests are there, and they introduce you to the instnaces, and lay out your goals, but they're nested, such that, if you've no intention of doing the group instnaces, there is just one quest per instance cluster that you leave alone, and the rest won't clutter up your screen.

If you want to raid, generally, you'll need to group first, to get some of the things you need for the raid instances, and the instances you'll be grouping in will get you familiar with a few of the simpler mechanics and tricks that you might find in the bigger raids, so it actually all flows together really well.

The focus of late has been on 3-man instnaces, rather than 6-man, and the late mirkwood instances are all designed for 3. The 12-man raid does need you to at least duck into them a few times, though.

If you don't want to group or raid, thre's still a great deal of content to be covered, and the game as a whole remains dramatically solo-friendly, while still catering to a suitable extent to the raid crowd. To date, only ten kinships across all LotRO worlds have actually completed the challenge mode of the level 65 raid... it's still challenging.

The other bone of contention is that, currentlhy, the raid gear has a "Raid-Only" stat on it; this is the measured stat which determines whether you'll be able to function decently in the raid, and for the latest raid, the bar has been raised further... what this means, howeve,r is that raid gear has to have more of that stat on it, which is not actually a contributing stat tot he palyer at all, so much as a counter-actative to allow you to function without decreased skill effect... Gear, in generaly though, has strictures which determine how much stat value can be placed on any one item of any one grade, thus, the more radiance heavy a piece of equipment gets, the weaker its other stats are forced to become.

This means that the raid gear is the absolutely most superior gear _For Raids Only_, and those who don't raid at all aren't going to feel like they're being blown away by something unobtainable and better; it's only better in raid circumstancs... outide of raids, the best crafted sets are equatable, if not better overall.

tl;dr: Game is very friendly to all and any play styles, and has only become moreso over time.

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Advertisment over here.

Btw, good job Shamus!

I understand that it allegedly does happen in the later game, but if Lulzy ever runs across a competent Ranger I'll be mightily disappointed.

Harla:

lewiswhitling:
Is it just you who plays LoTR on the escapist team? I only ask because 3 of my friends recently stopped playing when they changed the dungeon system to force you into playing with 5 people. In the later game can you avoid dungeons without feeling like youre missing out on too much content? And will you be documenting dungeon experiences?

Really not sure what on earth you're talking about there Lewis. I'm a founder since Beta, and the only changes they've made to instances is the moderately recent change to make all of the volume one epic line soloable if you choose to do so. Oh, and a revamp of the Lone-Lands, changing Garth Agarwen into a cluster of 3-man instances, instead of one large 6-man instance.

ah.. sorry i was obviously mistaken. I asked a friend why he had stopped playing LOTR and he answered that it was as a result of recent changes made to the dungeon system. I must've mis remembered what he said about the changes specifically.

StriderShinryu:

lewiswhitling:
In the later game can you avoid dungeons without feeling like youre missing out on too much content?

I'm not sure what you are asking, but I'm an avid LOTRO player so maybe I can answer your questions.

Most of the game is now soloable if you choose to do so. There are still later game dungeons that require grouping but most are totally optional. There are a few in the main Epic quest line that require 3 or 6 men though and these likely won't be changed any time soon.

What i meant by "missing out on content" was that in games like WoW, the later game becomes more and more tailored to grouping with other people. I.e. you can get so far soloing, but to have a complete experience of the game you should probably band together with others. I was asking if this would be an issue for him when he came up against content that required groups.

lewiswhitling:

StriderShinryu:

lewiswhitling:
In the later game can you avoid dungeons without feeling like youre missing out on too much content?

I'm not sure what you are asking, but I'm an avid LOTRO player so maybe I can answer your questions.

Most of the game is now soloable if you choose to do so. There are still later game dungeons that require grouping but most are totally optional. There are a few in the main Epic quest line that require 3 or 6 men though and these likely won't be changed any time soon.

What i meant by "missing out on content" was that in games like WoW, the later game becomes more and more tailored to grouping with other people. I.e. you can get so far soloing, but to have a complete experience of the game you should probably band together with others. I was asking if this would be an issue for him when he came up against content that required groups.

Ah, I see.

Yes, just as in WoW the basic "end game" does revolve around tackling several group based instances. You can not do these solo. There is a variety of solo things you can do at end game outside of these instances such as gaining reputation in various faction groups, building up your Legendary weapon, crafting, etc. but there are no but that's about it. One thing of note is that the group instances are basically outside of the story, and outside of a few moments you can experience the entire Epic story solo so your friend won't miss anything there.

Please, please carry on doing these. They're fantastic.

I'm gonna practice the LOUD SONG day and night until I master it.

well I don't normally post on these forums I have enjoyed all 20 parts so far keep it up :)

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