Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Mayhem DEAD HEAT!

Wow, this is getting really intense, check this out:

C'mon people, vote!

New Wallpapers

I'm a sucker for concept art, so whenever something like this gets released I'm always happy. Turbine's released 3 new wallpapers for spring, so check them out. One in particular (right) is just plain BA, so it gets special mention from me.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Comment Spamming

Hey guys, a quick update about something that's been happening recently. Every once in a while there's a user that spams this blog with comments about a website for cheats and I'm pretty sure gold for cash (I can't be sure I've never read the thing he spams about very carefully before deleting it). Anyway for the time being I'm going to have to pre-approve every comment that's left on here before it goes on until I can find a better fix for the problem (if there is one). Sorry for the inconvenience, but you should blame this on the jerk who's spamming my blog (and from what I can gather I'm not the only one).

I'll check often and you shouldn't have to wait long before you see your comment on here. I may just politely ask the guy to stop spamming me, who knows...he might have a human side.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March Mayhem Continues!

Over at The Escapist Magazine, the Developer March Mayhem contest is getting really intense. In Round 3 Turbine barely scraped by with a margin of only 96 votes. Make sure to get over there and vote for every round!

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Headset

I have a bad reputation with headphones and headsets. When I'm not breaking them, my sister is rolling over them with the office chair after she knocks them to the ground. The only pair I've been able to hold on to for an extended amount of time is a pair of very nice Sennheisers (luckily the most expensive ones seem to be the most durable).

For LotRO, I needed to get my hands on a new headset recently. For anyone who has had a headset then tried to go without it, you know what it can be like. Typing seems so out of date now. Anyway I'm reccomending a set that I recently picked up at RadioShack. They work extremely well, and I'd highly advise anyone looking for a set to pick these up. It's a Gigaware USB Headset, and it's the best one I've owned so far. Some people when they hear I'm using USB audio have questioned my sanity, but it hasn't been a problem for me at all. I plugged them into the front of my tower, and they worked right away. No drivers, and no manual installation of anything. It came with a Skype installation disk, but no need to use it if you're just using it for games. I'm sure Windows did something behind the scenes, but as far as I can tell when I opened up Ventrilo for the first time it was 100% operational. Even better, ingame chat was already set up for it as well. I was a little worried about that. One thing that I've also noticed is that when some people use the 3.5mm jack input headsets, there can be issues like echoes and stuff, but this has been almost flawless.

One minor note, when working in Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, I can't hear audio. This is probably some small setting somewhere, but still kind of annoying.

Very inexpensive (as headsets go) and a great buy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Festival!

My favorite time of year in LotRO, the Spring Festival, is finally here! I waited on this until I got a couple of good screens, so enjoy. Of course, the obligatory Inn League marathon around the Shire was awesome, as well as the new hedge maze. I finally can slap people with a cold fish! And soon I'll have one to attack orcs with. Both of those things of course totally necessary.

Server Numbers - Not Real! (sort of)

A couple of days ago everyone was excited about the supposed discovery of a ticker that showed the amount of players on the LotRO US servers at any one time. However, it turns out that the counter really tallied up how many people had played since the last server restart.

My question is, if they can access those numbers, shouldn't they be able to access the real-time data as well?

Updates

A couple goings-on. First of all, as always thanks for all of the great feedback through emails and such.

Secondly I added some more screens to the bucket, but an eagle-eyed viewer notified me that sometimes it was just looping the same 3 screens over and over again. So far the best way I've found to display screens on here is through a Photobucket RSS feed using Blogger's slideshow gadget, but I think I need a better way. If anyone has a better idea please comment on this post. I'd like to avoid linking to the Photobucket album, because I want to keep it within this site as much as possible.

Thirdly, due to a couple of requests to clarify my complaints about Gwathnor, I've added a second screen of him, closer up now. You can certainly now see why I called him an alien/andriod, and you can see the weird portal in back of him a lot better now. Thanks to the brave guardian that was unknowingly helping me get this shot ;).

Finally, bloggers beware of gold sellers spamming your blogs with comments, a very persistent one commented twice on my most recent ones and once on all the others. Check your comments!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

LotRO Server Numbers!

Over at The Middle-Earth Adventurer (yes I read other's blogs as well :D), Jax has stumbled upon what appears to be a utility that tells how many people are logged on to each US Server. This is a first step in answering the long-debated question of how LotRO stacks up to other MMOs. You can find the counter here, and you can also check out the post, where you can see what Jaxom is planning to do with this new information (*sinister evil laugh).

Just a little note here, at any one time since I've found this (not very long ago), the number seems to be holding at about 300,000 players across all servers.

PUG Groups

(As you may have realized, these posts are becoming more and more commentary-oriented. This is for the sheer lack of news in the wake of Book 7's release, which is fine. Book 7 in itself is giving us plenty of stuff to write about).

One of the main reasons people join a kinship is to get help (and hopefully help others just as much) doing quests that someone can't do solo. Kinships are by far the most used method of reliable questing. If kinships fail, then usually someone has a close circle of friends they can call on to get stuff done. However, when both of the aforementioned techniques are unavailable, there is still one option left to turn to. You go to the LFF channel, and you type in something to this effect: 60 hunter lff 2.6.8 pst.

If you're lucky, you'll get picked up by another group that needed your class, or you'll find someone else and advertise that you have the makings of a fellowship, and eventually you'll get together enough people to attempt whatever it is you need to do. Of course, this does not guarantee that you'll succeed.

Unfortunately, in the general pool of LotRO players, there are a variety of adeptness levels. Some players know their class backwards and forwards, and know what to do at what time. Others, however, have no idea what they're doing, don't know what their class is for, usually press the same 3 keys when in a fight, and have gotten to level 60 mostly on sheer luck, and a little bit on other people's coattails. It's when these people are picked up unbenounced to the other fellowship members that trouble starts to brew.

Usually it's obvious from the start. The person in question pulls a mob when people aren't ready yet, they're tanking when they shouldn't be, or they're consistently not being johnny-on-the-spot with conjunctions that will make or break the fellowship. After you've maybe wiped a couple times, you've got a pretty good idea of who's behind it all, and a fair share of mocking/irritated comments have been passed through various tell channels, or sneered over Ventrilo if the weak link doesn't have it.

Thus arieses a dilema. Of course, the unwritten rule can't be broken. What's this? You don't know what the unwritten rule is? Well that's probably because it's never been written down. Oh, wait, I have a post-it here somewhere...hold on...ah here it is...ahem..."Thou shalt not kick a player from the Fellowship based purely on his skill level or lacktherof." Ok, so that's not exactly it, but you get the picture. In every kinship I've been in, and every person I've had on my friend's list, it's always been a general consensus that it's not cool to boot someone that you've invited into a fellowship just because they have no idea what the hell they're doing. Maybe I've been in a small circle of naivite where everyone is blissfully ignorant of the real world, but I doubt it. If you invite someone, they have the impression that in the not too-distant future they'll have the quest they signed up for completed, and can go on until the next one pops up. That's a very good feeling, no matter how good you are.

This doesn't change the fact that too often you get a player that is completely clueless. How do we solve this problem? Usually the leader of the fellowship ((s)he is the one with the nifty asterisk badge after all) takes the member aside and explains what they need to do to shape up. This is done in a gentle and reassuring manner, in order to not damage the player's fragile ego. He is, after all, a level 60 just like the rest of us, so he couldn't have been doing too much wrong, right? Notice I did not make that one gender-ambiguous. Guys, sorry to say it, but I've never come across a female player who's sucked. And disregarding the fact that they're probably are out there, every female player has been much more receptive to criticism than any male player I've ever seen. Never have I seen a gal gamer storm out of an instance shouting "WTF YOU GUYS ARE ALL TEH SUX, SCREW THIS ----ING SHIZ...", you get the point.

So, does this whole thing have a point? Yes, but not one as absolute as you were probably hoping for ( he's not saying we should get rid of everyone who sucks? Awwww, no fun...). My point is that in a PUG you're playing roulette, with a ball that's hoped up on Coke and Red Bull moving around a wheel with 3,000 different slots for it to land in. So yeah you can critiscize PUG groups, and you can avoid them like the plauge in favor of your kinship even when that will set you back a couple weeks until enough people need your quest. But they are out there, people ARE getting things done with them, and not everyone shouting in the LFF channel doesn't have a clue.

Gift Boxes

Multiple threads on the forums have been complaining about the randomness of the class gift boxes. I've heard everything from awesome second-age weapons to a single great claw. The question is, are people really willing to risk the (very) hefty price of one of these things at those odds? The answer seems to be no. So the dilema remains, what to do? Turbine could stay the course. This seems like an unwise move for them at the moment. They could lower the price of the boxes, but in my mind this would still not solve the problem. The only other option is to guarantee an item that's worth the cost. It would be cool if they did the last two things together, but we can't have it all, can we?

Finally!

Yesterday was when I finally collected enough orc filth and arrows to get Kindred with the Galadhrim. Now I can finally get a legendary gift box, or maybe a spiffy new horse. Ok, maybe not the gift box, because I hear it's pretty much like playing russian roulette, except ALL of the barrels are filled with bullets save one, and not the other way around. And maybe not the horse, because that's just the Book 15 horse with a different blanket. Hmm......plus I don't have enough gold leaves to get anything good yet......

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gwathnor

I recently helped out a kinmate with Book 6 Chapter 8 in Moria, and it reminded me of a small gripe I have about this game. The final boss is named Gwathnor, and before I say anything else take a look at the screenshot of him. He's the dude decked out in manly magenta in front of the inter-dimensional portal thing about to show all of those orcs what 2 gynormous blades carved with glowing runes can really do.

Anyway, this (to me) is a little too much of a departure from Tolkein than I would've liked. I'm fine with all of the hobbits and dwarves riding around in Lorien on goats with pirate hats and eyepatches. I'm fine (sort of) with the purple sparks and lightning bolts coming off of the axe at my hip. These are things that make the game accessible to all (ok maybe not the axe, but I'll touch on that in a minute). Do we really need this supra-ultra andriod/alien thing coming into Middle-Earth? Gandalf himself said that "there are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of the world." However, I don't think he was talking about anything this foul. Tolkein was never a proponent of what we would call "magic", i.e. fireballs and energy blasts coming from wizard's staffs. This is why he made the limits of Gandalf's powers lights and smokes (granted he could kill orcs with these things, but the fact remains that he never conjured anything more substantial than that).

I completely understand that Turbine needs money to operate, and they are just trying to cater to the occasional WoW convert. By the way, I'm not beating on WoW here. They are two totally different games with different play styles and estetical properties, but the fact remains the Warcraft universe is a bit more surreal, while the Tolkein world is more grounded in reality (as much so as you can get with magic rings and such). This sounds like I'm insulting WoW, but I'm not. Anyway, back to the money thing. If Turbine focuses on too narrow a player base, they'll lose people who are interested in the glowing weapons and alternative-dimensional monsters (not that there's anything wrong with that). Playing the devil's advocate here, so back to my opinion.

I personally wish all that kind of stuff would be taken out. Book 6, Chapter 8 is worse than most, with the mini black holes and final boss, but there are other things, like the grims (all through the game). With those I think they were going off of another ambiguous Tolkien passage, "...there many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that go on two legs..." For me the grims are too real and solid (although I know they aren't actually solid) for this description.

As for the weapons, the only thing coming close to what's in LotRO was the elven blades glowing a faint blue when orcs were near at hand. In the Hobbit (which itself has a more fantastical touch to it) it is mentioned that the Gandalf's sword Glamdring "..was bright as blue flame for delight in the killing of the Great Lord of the Cave." That could be taken at it's most extreme as actually looking like it was on fire, but nothing on the scale that we've seen with the weapons in the game. Even then, Glamdring was an exceptional weapon, and from what I got from the story it would even be considered more exceptional than any weapon obtainable by a player in the game. Besides, lightning bolts? C'mon people.

Finally, this is coming from someone who didn't have to come up with the ideas and make the game, but it is coming from someone who pays $10 a month to play it. I'll obviously keep playing, because I love the game as a whole, and also this long rant makes it seem like I'm angrier than I really am, when I'm not even really angry at all. There are those who like this kind of stuff, and there's more than one of them, so logically Turbine should cater to them, not me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vote for Turbine!

The Escapist magazine is currently holding their own version of March Madness, with game developers. Turbine won last year's competition, and they're out to do it again! Show your support but registering (very easy), then voting for Turbine!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Book 7 Overview

Having just completed the epic storyline for Book 7, I have to say that the long wait we all endured was well worth it. Lothlórien looks amazing, and the storyline is well thought out and well executed. To me it seemed a tad short (only one major instance, and it itself wasn't very long), but I've been talking about it with some people and this was a good opportunity for Turbine to give players who may not have completed some of the previous quests to get on board with the main story as we read it in the books. We can only hope Book 8 will be a little more involved. This was a minor thing, though. All in all, a very good job done by Turbine.

I haven't gotten into Caras Galadhon in open play yet, all of those screens were opportunistically taken during the instances where you meet Galadriel and Celeborn.

Almost time!

I get out of the flourescent hole some of us affectionately refer to as class at 10:45 today (and for the next 2 days as well), so when that happens you'll start to see major screenshot and post updates flooding in! I hope you're as excited as I am to get into Lorien; and if you don't have access to a LotRO computer until later like myself, be strong!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lack of posts

Just popping in to apologize for the lack of posts in the last couple of days. I know I've had a trend of posting at least once a day, and I would be one of the people to count on that and look in at least once a day, so this is for those people (those 5 people that read this anyway :D). It's been a busy couple of days and it got pushed right out of my mind, but rest assured once Book 7 comes out they'll be coming in!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Get Book 7 Early!

Wow, so much for what I had thought was going to be a slow weekend.

Turbine has just released an option for you eager beavers to get Book 7 downloaded onto your computer early! No, you won't be able to play it early, but you will be able to save time by not having to download the thing on March 17th. Or, you could download it on a separate computer during the day when you normally couldn't get to LotRO, then get it onto a disk and put it on later (shame on you, what do you think they're paying you for?). There are two options, downloading it straight from Turbine's servers or downloading via .torrent. I highly recommend the .torrent option, as soon as I started I shot up to downloading at 2 mb/s, and got all 925mb in 8 minutes. Don't forget to seed!

Get all the info here!

New screenshots

With the release of Book 7, I'm going to be changing a couple things with regards to screenshots. First off, I'll be removing the spoiler screens archive, for obvious reasons. The more astute of you might have already noticed another slideshow of screenshots taken by me. This will be expanded upon, especially once I get into Lórien. If you have any screens you want to have posted, don't hesitate to email them to me, and I'll put them up! I haven't decided on how to give credit for them yet, I'll probably just have the file name be your name.

Book 7 Patch Notes Review

As I said before, I was going to compare the two versions of the patch notes to see what changed during testing. Here's what I found:
Added under DPS and Mob Difficulty:
  • Boss monsters in Moria are now immune to slows.
  • Based on player feedback we've rearranged the level spacing between our four gradients of weapons, enabling our highest tier of weapons to gain a larger slice of the DPS pie.
Added to the Guardian:
  • The Guardian’s threat generation skills have been increased (Bash, Engage, Fray the Edge, Shield-blow, Improved Shield-blow, Shield-swipe, Shield-taunt, Sweeping Cut, Vexing Blow)
  • Increased threat generation with Litany of Defiance.
  • Guardian's Threat will no longer cause a 5 second delay where the Guardian cannot use skills or attack.
Removed from the Guardian:
  • The Guardian has had a sweeping pass to the balance of his threat skills and shield damage skills.
  • Base Shield Damage Increased 10% from 50-60
  • Base Threat increased from 50-60
  • Shield of Fire Trait gains additional bonus +1 Shield Taunt Targets
  • Shield Damage Legacy progression change to have max at rank 9 be 21% on a level 60 Epic Belt and cost slightly less
  • Litany of Defiance base targets increased to 5
  • Litany Legendary Trait gains additional +5 Litany of Defiance targets
  • Whirling Retaliation Skill gains a Numeric Threat Transfer ability
  • Litany of Challenge Trait +2 Challenge Targets
  • Litany of Challenge Trait Challenge generates additional Threat
  • Evade 3 & Evade 4 Passives now available for Guardians
  • Defender of the Free Trait Set: 3 Additional Bonus +2 Shield Taunt Targets
  • Bug Fix for Shield of Fire which was only providing a 7.5% boost to threat previously
  • Increased the threat generated by the shield response line of skills
  • Threatening Presence now applies to all skills that generate threat. This includes melee attack skills that do not normally generate additional threat.
  • Legacy Stagger Movement Speed Debuff now properly changes the Stagger skill tooltip when this legacy is active.
  • Legacy Reactive Block Damage now displays the increase as a percent on the legacy tooltip.
  • Legacy 'Targeted Melee Range' tooltip has been updated to reflect that this legacy does not affect AoE & Auto-attack.
  • Stoic trait description now states that it also increases Acid and Lightning resists.
  • Threat Rating Up' legacy has had its tooltip updated to state 'Skills Threat Rating Up' as this legacy does not benefit auto-attacks.
  • Guardian's threat generation skills have been increased.
Added to the Minstrel:
  • The Mentor Cooldown legacy has been removed from legendary class items.
Added to the Captain:
  • Power Recovery from the Blade of Elendil/Improved Defensive Strike has been reduced. The Threat generated by Threatening Shout has been increased.
  • Changed the tooltip on the Thrill-seeker's Gloves to read "-50% Search Speed." The previous tooltip indicated that the gloves would actually increase search speed, which was incorrect.
Added to Traits/Titles/Deeds:
  • All quests that were ticking up the Ered Luin quest deed in the new tutorial have been fixed to no longer advance the deed.
  • Trout Master can now be advanced while in a raid
  • We have had a long discussion about genealogy with the Uruks and explained to them that they are orcs. After some roaring and a few lost heads they relented and Uruks will now count for killing Orc-Kind in the accomplishment "Soldiers of the Enemy"
Added to User Interface:
  • Only usable legendary items will appear in the list of slottable items when slotting items from the Legendary Items panel.
  • LI Titles will now appear correctly on your weapons.
  • Additional fixes to Quest Guide markers for Epic Volumes I and II.
  • More UIs can be skinned, and several fixes have been made.
Added to Chat/Social/Kinships
  • Item chat links for Item Advancement items will now display the item's original name, not the custom name on it. The tooltip for the item link will still contain the player-chosen name however. This will prevent some of the more… “creative” names being linked on the chat channels (we saw you, owner of [Biggus Stickus]!
Added to General Raids and Instances
  • We have made all instance Boss monsters immune to slowing effects.
Added to Dark Delvings
  • The monsters have learned and they now come prepared!
Added to Tailoring
  • New Supreme Burglar's signal recipes can now be found in treasure.
Added to the Metalsmith
  • Reward recipes for Warden shields have been added to the Metalsmith's Guild reward vendor.
Added to Woodworking:
  • The Woodworker's Guild Reward Vendor now sells the recipe for Crafted Burglar's Club of the Third Age.
Added to Items
  • Strong traps will now be affected properly by root curing potions and diminishing returns in PvMP. The Reaver's Charge skills will also now block the root from the trap correctly.
Added to Graphics/Animation/FX
  • Dwarf neck on robe was mapped incorrectly. This has been fixed.
  • Fixed the interaction between emotes /Smoke1 and /Liedown. Because smoking is bad. Especially in bed.
Added to the Epic Story
  • Volume I Book 15 Chapter 12 - a quest ring will now appear above the NPC that will teleport you out of the instance.

Book 7 Official Patch Notes

Cooinciding with the release of Book 7, Turbine has release the official patch notes, detailing all the changes. You can find them here. I'll see if I can compare these to the originals, to see what happened during testing. Until then, happy reading!

Book 7 Release Date!

At last, all the speculation and hostility can finally be put into a box and thrown away. Turbine released this update on it's Twitter page:







Have fun waiting until March 17th!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Slow Day

I usually try to do at least 1 post a day with news and stuff, but today was just a total standstill. The only real thing worth mentioning is the trouble with the Turbine Download Manager, but even that is still in the process of being worked on, no conclusion yet.

So sorry for the lack of information, I can't create news out of the blue. Not without getting in trouble anyway.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

3/11 Dev Chat Transcript

In case you missed it, here is the transcript from tonight's developer chat. Unfortunately, it got started almost a half hour late, and ended at the normal time, so it's a bit shorter than most. There's still some useful information in there though!

*Floon* Thank Bog

*Floon* Growing older and older...

*Rowan* Talking about your LM pet again Floon?

*Sapience* it was cold and dark, and lonely...

*Floon* Praise FSM. Howdy, I'm Floon, Art Director for Lotro. I am currently wondering how the Venezuela-USA game is going.

*Floon* I can answer questions about art.

*Floon* So have some, please.

*Amlug* Sorry everyone for the delay... thanks for your patience. I'm Amlug, an instance designer for LOTRO and I too miss baseball and I like chips!

*Sapience* I'm Sapience. Remember, Patience is not Sapience and Sapience is not Patience. Oh yeah, and I'm a guy! :)

*Rowan* Hello everyone! I'm Rowan, the Sleepy. I'm the Live Producer for LOTRO. Book 7 is almost done and in your hands, and I am very, very glad.

*Jalessa* Hi all, Jalessa here. I'm watching Floon's hair turn grey by the second. And I'd like to upgrade my request for a beer to a rum and coke.

*Rowan* I'm not sure if Sapience is actually a guy. Except for the beard.

*Sapience* HEY!

*Floon* Venezuela up 4-1

*Rowan* You're a dwarf, right Sapience? I'm not one so I can't tell the difference.

*Sapience* Tallest Dwarf around!

*Sapience* While you guys are sending in your questions to the Stratics team, we wanted to try something different to help get the ball rolling.

*Sapience* We asked players who might not be able to attend tonight to submit questions ahead of time. We had a lot that touched on the same subjects, so we thought we’d start with those.

*Sapience* So we'll start with Jalessa

*Jalessa* (Barruktp) In the Bullroarer patch notes, you stated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to design new content with IHW at 100%. Could you please expand on this? Do you believe there is an place in game for a 100% damage bubble? Will you be giving captains additional group survivability tools to compensate for this significant loss?

*Jalessa* There were cases where the In Harms Way skill was being used with other skills that trivialized or completely negated content in the game. Our content team did not have any reasonable way to address this - doing so on their end would have meant a severe reduction in the amount of content they could produce over time, due to having to compensate for every 'scenario' that would occur. We chose instead to address In Harms Way, which we believe to be the ro

*Jalessa* root cause of concern with this particular issue of trivializing game content. We do not believe there is a place in the game for a 100% fellowship wide damage bubble at this time, so we changed the skill. Making the skill have a 50% damage reduction still means that the skill on its own could be useful, since Captains (via various banners) tend to have a lot of morale. Spreading out the damage for their entire party becomes a preventative tool vs. a

*Jalessa* panic button, but it also means the skill can be used without pairing it with another. As always, we will be evaluating the change over the course of book 7, and we will be monitoring your feedback in case we need to make changes.

*Amlug* Mafia: Any chances that 2nd Age weapons could go into a barter system like Khuzdul Tablets and Rusted Dwarf Tools? Getting Captain's Daggers of the 1st Age from The Watcher and a Champ Dagger of the 2nd Age after a week of grinding is not fun!

*Zephenia* Please send your questions to [QT]Alton or [QT]LairSpirit

*Amlug* We understand your pain. This is why we are working on a token system for first age weapon drops inside raids. We want you to have a more reliable way to get some of the weapons out there so we have come up with a system to do just that. It is still going through the grinder and will be coming soon to a raid near you...

*Zephenia* i'm guessing we send messages to you, I may be wrong lol, anyway if you are the one who takes questions, are there any plans to expand the mount function in lotro in the future? Maybe armor for horses or mounted combat?

*Floon* i'm guessing we send messages to you, I may be wrong lol, anyway if you are the one who takes questions, are there any plans to expand the mount function in lotro in the future? Maybe armor for horses or mounted combat? Yes, we have plans for mounts. They aren't quick plans, because a lot of things need to come together. We're working on improvements to the existing system, but have no ETA. The distant future has significant updates being

*Zephenia* Are 1st Age weapons going to be available anywhere besides the Watcher in book 7?

*Amlug* The new raid will have a chance to drop first age weapons as well. Once the new barter system comes online, both of these raids will utilize the system.

*Zephenia* What was the initiative behind making Book 7 less about combat and more lore-based? I can understand because of the setting, but were there any other reasons behind it?

*Amlug* Lothlorien presented us with a challenge since the Galadhrim are very protective of their borders and not much that is evil is allowed inside of their borders. Because of this, we leaned heavily on the lore and relied on adding more content to Moria and to the edges of Lothlorien for combat-based gameplay.

*Zephenia* Are we gonna get any new uses for the crafting mats we can collect with the new craftinstances that we get in book 7?

*Sapience* Jalessa is typing madly

*Jalessa* Book 7 introduces tons of reputation recipes for crafters with Lorien. There are also a slew of new recipes outside of Lorien: resist foods, tactical jewelry, runekeeper and warden class items. There are also plans to continue to add more into crafting through Book 8+. Keep tuned in :)

*Zephenia* Are there any plans for new housing items? I would kill for a Hobbit doll.

*Floon* We do new housing items every update. Hobbit dolls sound cool. Killing for one should, of course, be completely mandatory.

*Zephenia* will you consider lowering the legth of locks currently on the lair raids as it take about 40 - 60 mins a week to complete?

*Amlug* As we release new raids, we will be definitely looking into lowering the resets on previous raids. No guarantees, but it is something we will look at during Book 8 development.

*Zephenia* Is the fact that IHW no longer prevents inductions from being interrupted an intended change?

*Jalessa* Due to the fact that In Harms Way no longer blocks 100% of the damage, you are susceptible to interrupts from damage taken.

*Zephenia* I realize I might not be asking popular questions, but one area I've always felt this game excels is the music. Not the music system (which is great in of itself), but the composed score for the game. Having not gotten to totally explore Lorien yet, will there be any new music for the area, and are there plans to expand the score in the future?

*Floon* Yes, there's new music in Lorien, and even a new music box.

*Floon* We always try to do new music for new regions.

*Zephenia* I love the idea of the quest guide and it looks like it was done in a superior way! What made Turbine to go this route?

*Rowan* Quest Guide is a response to player requests! We realized that players enjoy their gameplay in many different ways, and we want to be sure to support those approaches to having fun. It was a lot of work but we feel it's worth it... the feature is currently in Beta so please check it out.

*Zephenia* Hi, this is Mike with Under the Banner blog. Many of us in the LotRO blog community have been trying to put our heads together on a way to help promote the lotro community. One question I have is the plans or availability of more tools for fansites and blogers to use as related to the lorebook.

*Sapience* We always want to hear from our fansites and we'd love to hear any suggestions you have. You can always drop us a note or PM myself or anyone on the community team with your ideas. I can't give you any specifics or time frame for Lorebook features but I can say our webteam is constantly looking at ways to improve all our websites and features.

*Zephenia* Are there plans to expand the number of different instruments craftable in the future, ie possibly new crafted clarinets, bagpipes, cowbell?

*Floon* Instruments are a very big deal to add: new animations, new music sound assets, and then all the game logic to make them work. There are no plans in the near term, but the middle- to long-term, who knows?

*Zephenia* <[PM]Renali> I fully understand why the need to scale back DPS was implimented. However, do you think it went a little too far in some cases? With my own personal testing, my Hunter has dropped a solid 35-40% in overall DPS, before today's update to Bullroarer. (I haven't been able to test it much today to see anything changed) And this is with the same gear/traits as I had on the live servers.

*Jalessa* We also scaled down monster hits and resistances to compensate for the change in weapon DPS. In the case of the Hunter though, you also went through additional skill changes, which may reflect the other changes you are seeing in your overall DPS changes. We're still evaluating the data on these changes however, so please keep feedbacking on on the changes.

*Zephenia* What were the reasons that made you change The Watcher fight for Book 7?

*Amlug* The watcher heard that you guys wanted a challenge! Seriously though, we saw a handful of bugs and exploits that we wanted to address and fix during Book 7.

*Zephenia* Can LI's no longer be deconstructed if they are not a part of your class in Book 7? I noticed I wasn't able to do it on Bullroarer, but didn't see anything about it in the patch notes.

*Jalessa* I'm not sure that this is correct behavior. Please /bug this on Bullroarer if you can reproduce it.

*Zephenia* are there any plans for more video dev diaries in the future? (like the ones currently available on the website, and are they the same ones that are on the SoA Special Edition)

*Rowan* We will continue to deliver video dev diaries - I was actually going through some video footage for Book 7 today!

*Zephenia* Any plans on updating housing? I noticed much hasn't been done to it since it was introduced.

*Floon* Housing is a big deal for quite a few folks on the forums. It's a big system, and takes a lot of work from every department: world, content, game systems, production art, tech art, everyone. Expansive changes to the system itself are difficult to add to the live product. However, incremental improvements are always being considered. I'd like to add more hooks, and we're looking into the server impact on that. But changes here are slow, because the impact

*Zephenia* Will we ever be able to sync our dances?

*Floon* Unfortunately no. It seems like it should be easy, but the synch model between client and server doesn't make it so.

*Floon* I guess my housing answer got cut off.

*Floon* the rest was "on the servers can be large. Other things, like eviction for dead neighborhoods, have been talked about, but there is nothing concrete in the works right now."

*Zephenia* I'm a little confused about what will happen to an alt I'm currently leveling when Book 7 goes live. Will she automatically gain levels to get on track with the new XP curve, or go down to the right amount of XP for her current level?

*Jalessa* When you log into your character, the first time you gain experience (whether it's with a quest complete or with a monster kill), you will be granted experience and directed into the new curve. That may mean that you level (once or twice! even).

*Jalessa* Personally, I can't wait. It will be an alt-ding day for me

*Floon* When does the beer get here?

*Floon* Not soon enough

*Sapience* When Scrop does :)

*Sapience* Scorp...see? No typing skills

*Jalessa* 2

*Amlug* 1!

*Amlug* Thanks guys and gals! See you all again next time!

*Floon* Yeah, been fun.

*Sapience* Thanks for coming everyone! Sorry about the delay. I blame the beer truck!

*Jalessa* Thanks for coming folks - I'm sorry that it started so late!

*Floon* I blame the economy

*Floon* peace, all

*Zephenia* Thank you all for coming. Log of this chat will be posted later this evening.


I tried to use my 2 questions for things that I didn't think anyone else would ask, but I'll leave you to hunt for those yourself. I'd like to thank Mike for bringing up the community issue!

Eyes and Guard Tavern is OPEN!


For those of you not lucky enough to be on the Elendilmir server for the recent copy, you don't have to wait any longer! The Bullroarer server has now been updated to include the Eyes and Guard Tavern, which allows you to level up a character automatically, and giving him all the best gear and stats to boot.

Now anyone can experience Book 7! Personally, I'm going to wait until the official release to start it. Totally a personal preference, so if you want to send impressions and/or screens to be posted here, feel free! Email me, and I'll of course give you credit.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thank You

I just want to say that all the support from the LotRO community has been fantastic. Already I've gotten some emails with comments and suggestions, and I certainly will take those to heart. Thanks so much to everyone who takes the time to read and comment!

Also, thank you to the bloggers who have responded to my inquiries about doing something about the scatter brained system of getting LotRO information out there. Had I known there would be so much positive feedback and support, I would have been working harder on the problem up to now, and I apologize for not doing so. I'll be thinking hard and getting back to people in a more timely fashion now.

Thanks again!

Trouble Making Money?

Disclaimer: While I know this isn't ideal, this technique is only for Foresters since they're usually not the biggest money-makers, and being a Hunter certainly doesn't hurt.

Anyway, for a while I had a hard time keeping my pockets full with enough gold pieces to buy the stuff I wanted. Then I stumbled on a great technique for making cash. The whole yield is about 3 gold for every run, and the runs take about an hour (next time I do it I'll time myself so I can give a better estimate). Also, my main is a Hunter, so porting is a breeze. For other classes it might be more difficult.

First off, go to the bank and empty your bags of everything except essentials. For me it's my map home, my horse, and some traveling rations. 3 slots, that's it. Go to the Misty Mountains, and proceed as if you were going to Goblin-Town, but go slightly south of it (I have my map home set to the Cirith Daur camp at Vinderhal, which is that pass that goes through the mountain wall that seperates the east and west sections of the mountains). Here you'll find some ruins filled with wargs. Using the image at right as a reference until you memorize the route (not very hard), kill all the wargs you see and loot them. Every time you get back to where you started, the first ones will have respawned. For me, every time it's worked out perfectly that just about the time my bags are full I have just about 200 exceptional hides, maybe a bit over. Once your bags are filled, get back to Rivendell (or for you Hunters just port to somewhere with an Auction Hall and a workbench). Sell everything you looted except for the hides. Boil these (takes a while, grab a drink and go to YouTube for a few minutes). You'll have at least 2 stacks of Boiled Exceptional Hides, and if you're a Grand Master (which you will be pretty quickly if you use this technique enough)you can crit and get even more. Back to the bank, and store the leftovers, eventually you'll get enough to make another stack.

Sell the 2 stacks on the AH. Usually, I sell mine for 999s 99c each. If someone's offering a stack for less, I store the stacks in the bank and wait until there's none of them in the AH or they're all selling for more than that.

Usually I get sick of it after one run, so I never do more than 1 a day. You may have a higher/lower tolerance for monotony than I do. Some good ways to break it up is to listen to some music or an audio book (the unabridged Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are niiiiice). Pretty soon after you start your fingers go to autopilot, since you end up using the same skills over and over, so you don't have to worry about diverting attention to the music. Personally I have Scrubs episodes on my computer, I just watch them on the side.

To give you an idea, I currently have about 30g even after buying some nice jewelry (as in about 3g apiece) and repairs and all.

This is my technique, if you have one better stick to it, and better yet share it with everyone! If you feel so inclined, email me a description of it and I'll post it on here, giving you credit of course.

Monday, March 9, 2009

LotRO Dev Chat Coming Up!

Another Stratics IRC LotRO Dev Chat is just around the corner! Be there on Wednesday, March 11 at 8pm EDT (-4 GMT).

If you've never participated in one before, here is how to join:
  • Start your IRC client of choice (I usually use mIRC)
  • In the Options pop up window that appears, enter your information.
  • Go to the Servers menu under the Connect heading (the first one)
  • Click Add
  • For Description I just called it Stratics IRC, it doesn't really matter
  • Under IRC Server put "irc.stratics.com" (without quotes)
  • In Ports put 6668
  • Click Add
  • With Stratics IRC (in my case) highlighted, click Select
  • Click Connect
  • After a short while mIRC will spazz out and a mIRC Favorites window will pop up
  • In the top field enter "#straticshoc" (without quotes)
  • Click Join
  • Have fun!

These instructions are for mIRC, since that's the client I use. However I expect other clients operate similarly.

Alternatively you can go to the Java chat on the Stratics website, with no pesky additional clients needed (you'll need Java installed though). I've never had much luck with this, so I'm not sure you'll be able to log the chat, so make sure you copy and paste before exiting.

A good idea is to have some questions ready beforehand, just type them up in Notepad so you can copy and paste them into the chat. This way you won't waste time typing and you know you won't mistype and screw up your question. Make sure to delete them if they've already been asked!

I'll see you there!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A New Low

Sorry if this is you, but I had to put this up.

OOC Hey, somebody help. I am new and my quest arrow says that whatever they want me to do, is this way, but there is a mountain in front of me that I can't climb.

ADVICE You have to go around the mountain. The mob is on the other side, in a cave. Also, you may get more help if you ask in /advice instead of OOC

OOC thx

10 minutes later...

OOC I went around the mountain, but I don't see whatever the named thing I am looking for. My quest arrow is still pointing at the mountain.

ADVICE See that little glowy thing on the side of the mountain, you have to go in there to kill what you are looking for. Also, there are a lot of friendly people on the /advice channel that you could ask.

OOC Ok, thx.

5 minutes later.

OOC Hey, why did you let me go in there. The goblin was 4 levels higher than me, and said something about signature. Wtf that means.

/ADVICE What level are you and the what level is the quest?

/OOC I am level 9. How do I tell what level the quest is?

/ADVICE The name of the quest had a color to it. That ranks what it relates to your level. Also you can look in your quest-log

/OOC What color, I just hit accept, and this arrow popped up showing me where to go. How do I see my quest-log?

/ADVICE Hit you L button and it will pop up.

/OOC Ok, I see now. it is level 14, and I am 9. That is dumb. Why would they give me a quest 5 levels higher than me. I am just going to go after one of my other arrows.

2 minutes pass.
OOC Ok guys, I have an arrow on my map that says Bree, but I don't have a quest to kill a Bree.

Going off the Quest Guide thing, I thought this was an interesting look into the psyche of some of our fellow LotRO players.

The Quest Guide

One of the biggest discussion topics in the forums seems to be the Quest Guide. For those not familiar with this new feature coming in Book 7, there are some new tools that basically make it easier for you to find where quest objectives are.

First, an icon appears in your quest tracker to let you know the quest is nearby enough to be tracked.





Then, that same icon appears in your radar to point you to where the quest is.


















When you're close enough to the quest objective, the name of the area you're in starts glowing.




















Finally, on your world map there is also a feature that puts an icon over the quest objective of any quest you want to track.

















This has stirred up a lot of hostility, particularly amongst the lore people (that has a negative connotation to it, but it's the only thing I could think of) and the hardcore players. This obviously makes quests easier to accomplish. The argument is that quests were easy enough to find anyway. The descriptions and histories were plenty enough to be able to pin down where a quest was. Sites that have the dynamic maps and quest guides were already being used copiously anyway, why make something in the game? Obviously, the other side is that some people were indeed frustrated by their inability to find certain quests, and enough of them requested that something be done that Turbine responded. We have to remember that this game (and Turbine in general) is run off of a subscription model, and they have to cater to their constituents' wants and needs.

However, I think the one thing that we are forgetting about is the fact that you can turn the Quest Guide off. If you like the challenge of finding the quests with just the description and history, fine. Go to the UI Options and uncheck these boxes.








And go to your world map and uncheck this.





This obviously doesn't effect anyone else, and you'll be happy, as well as everyone else who either wants to or doesn't want to use it. Personally, I'm going to leave it off unless I have a quest I really can't find, and even then I might just pull up one of those sites I mentioned earlier. The point is, all the uproar and blarging about how this is the worst mistake ever is all unfounded (in my opinion at least).

A side note: I in fact know some people that are so into the realism of this game that they turn off the ring icons above the heads, they turn them off in their radar, and the only thing they go by is the history (not even the description) and the sometimes the floating names.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Blogs galore!

I recently read a post on The Middle-Earth Adventurer talking about the numerous LotRO blogs out there. So I started hunting around for other blogs that were doing the same thing as me, and to my surprise I found numerous different ones, although they all seem to be accomplishing the same task. There's LotRO Chronicles, The Hobbit Herald, and MMeOw to name a few. I'm sure there's more out there.

Anyway the reason I mention this is because after I realized that there were so many different ones out there accomplishing essentially the same thing, I had an epiphany. Ok I don't know if it's earth shattering or awesome enough to be called that, but here it goes. Why not instead have one source where multiple people contribute news and information? All the current bloggers come together under one cyberspacial roof, and contribute to the community that way?

We could even have LOTROCast as our official podcast! I just thought of that, heh.

With all of the LotRO Bloggers working together, we'd get much more attention from the community and Turbine as well. And the LotRO community as a whole is pretty mature, so I can't invision anyone who starts one of these up being a bad team player.

I don't think this has much of a chance of happening, but I thought it was a cool idea.

LOTROCast Dev Interview

Recently, Moormur over at LOTROCast sat down with LotRO Live Producer Rowan, and had an awesome discussion. They go over the future of LotRO, Book 7, crafting, PvP, and much more. You can find it and all of his podcasts here.

Also, many people have requested a text version of the transcript, so I made one up, you can find it here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gold Farming

Recently the Guardian newspaper released an article on the ever-increasing MMO Gold Farming industry. It takes an in-depth look at one such company, Wow7gold, and the conditions that it's workers face. This is a problem that plagued LotRO in it's beginnings, with gold spammers popping up almost every time someone logged on, but from my perspective this has decreased dramatically. I think the last time I got a message from a gold spammer was one time in Eregion shortly after they Mines of Moria release.

Anyway, read the very interesting article here.

A Personal Note

While I do try to keep things subjective around here, there are those occasional issues which pop up that I feel need some good commentary. One of these things is the community's reaction to the Book 7 patch notes. After they were released, there was a minor (or not so minor, depending on how you look at it) uproar in the forums. Complaints about DPS nerfing, certain Captain's skills getting a work-over, etc.

The thing most people forget is that patch notes never give the whole story. The only way to really know how an expansion is going to play out is by playing it. So far, only those on Elendilmir have really gotten this chance, and from what I've seen there is only praise coming from those people. All the negativism is coming from those who have read the notes and probably seen a few screenshots. Hardly the glowing epitome of experience are they.

That's all, just have a little faith that the developers who made such a great game aren't suddenly going to drop the ball now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Awesome Concept Art

Ok, so this was't very hard to dig up, but Turbine will be releasing concept art leading up to Book 7's release, and to kick it off they released this great piece of a flet in Lothlórien (it looks like the flet that Celeborn and Galadriel reside on). This is the coolest piece of concept art I've seen out of the game, so I'm posting it here!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

3/4/09 Dev. Chat

The European community was recently treated to a Developer chat, here is the text of that for all to read and ponder.

*Zephenia* Welcome Everyone To the Lord of the Rings Online Dev Chat on Stratics IRC... The chat will start shortly. Please post questions to [QT]Dronjak and [QT]Stiv only, all others will not be able to respond. And now the LOTRO team will introduce themselves and we will begin soon.

*CM-Liquilla*
Welcome everyone, welcome to the European Developer chat for The Lord of the Rings Online.

*CM-Liquilla*
Before we get started with the questions, don’t forget you can now refer your friends to LOTRO for Amazon vouchers by visiting http://www.lotro-europe.com/referafriend.php.

*Scenario*
Good evening all! My name is Matt "Scenario" Elliott - World Designer du jour! When I am not stamping out wild fires and fighting caged lions, I like to dabble as many aspects of design as I can. I would really like to answer your World Design questions - so send them along, pretty please!

*Floon*
Hi, I'm Floon, and I'm the Art Director for Lotro. I am impatiently awaiting the start of baseball season. It's like cricket, only more boring.

*Keth_Turbine*
Hey there, I am Keth. I'm a Lead Content Designer here at Turbine... which means I wear many hats and have my fingers in many pies. Ask me about my Book 7 Content. I dare you.

*Rowan*
Hello I'm Rowan, Live Producer for LOTRO. I'm excited about Book 7, and look forward to your questions about Lothlorien!

*Sapience*
HI all! I'm Sapience. I'm part of the Community team. I'm currently recovering from the pain of patch notes editing. :)

*Jalessa*
Hi everyone! I'm Jalessa, a systems designer here at Turbine. I hope Keth washed his fingers before putting them into all those pies. Otherwise, that'd be a terrible waste of pie.

*CM-Liquilla*
I'm Callum "Liquilla"Rowley, Community Manager for Codemasters Online :)

*Sapience*
There's lots of furious typing going on.


*Floon* Not from me. Soon as I see some art questions, I might start typing....

*{Ez0}Honvik* When we will see Kinship improvments like Kinship Vaults, Kinship Quests? and improvments to our Homesteads like Party area for hosting parties etc? It is something i asked over a year ago
It's funny, we were talking about that just the other day and we hope to have some housing neighborhood specific content in Book 8.
The idea of it is that you will be helping out your neighborhood (or your kinship's neighborhood) and get some housing rewards.
But you'll only be able to help out your neighborhood or your kinship's, not one you don't have a house on.

*Atador* Hello. In "The Shadows of Angmar" we have the Helegrod-Set and The Rift-Set. I think the biggest difference between these sets are the set-bonuses. With Moria there is the new raidiance set. Do you think it's the right way to define the quality of a set (and especially the next sets) only with the raidiance-factor?
Jalessa is typing wildly. This should be good.
Jalessa is typing... poor Jalessa, we used to tease Tens about this.
We still tease him about it
Our progress in our raid sets in the future is something that we are continually discuss and plan out. We will continue to use radiance as a requirement for future raids, as you have seen with our current Moria sets. We also plan to improve set bonuses and item bonus amounts.

*Flushie* Will there be any new cosmetic items & haircuts in the near future?
There are always new cosmetic items in every update. In Book 7, we have some Lothlorien-themed outfits that are pretty nice, as well as some new armor. Haircuts haven't seen any updates for a while, so I'm making that a priority to get a few done soon. Those are more expensive, as we can't just do one: you have to spread the love around, so that everyone gets something new.

*Gurobin* The guardian is one of my favourite classes in the game, but at the moment he´s really useless during the fight in the vile maw. Will the guardian be able to better fulfill his role with the new raid instance with book7?
There are two pieces to that... first, I think with Book 7 that you'll find Guardian ability to hold threat has greatly increased. In addition, the new Lair Raid for Book 7 will be much easier if you have tanks who know how to work together.

*adamo102* Can you consider adding option to draw your weapon and walk with weapon in hand while not being in combat? Would be nice to show off your legendary weapons. Also adds nice RP factor while exploring dangerous areas. Thanks!
There's no particular reason why we couldn't let people walk around with weapons out of combat, I don't think. It just hasn't been high on anyone's list around here. I'll make a note to see if there's any problem with it.

*Hothorix* What are your plans of expansion in the game. Will we soon see the other side of Anduin? Will we go south straight ahead? Or will we go and see all of Rhovanion before we turn south to Rohan and such?
Well.. technically, you can get to the other side of the Andiun in Book 7. You just won't last very long once you get there.
As for our landscape direction post Book 7, we have the road mapped out and our plans are already seeing development. However, we likely won't be discussing those plans until Book 7 is beyond us and Book 8 is closer to release (at the earliest).

*Fruuto* As you surely know alot of people are craving for 12man content... why where the battlegrounds not designed as 12man content?
It depends on which battlegrounds you are talking about.
If you are talking about the three Moria battles that were part of "Mines of Moria," it didn't make sense to have them be 12 mans, as they were involved in the Epic quest line.
Getting a 6 man together seemed like enough of a challenge to add to completing that quest line!
As for upcoming content, such as the battle that is found in Book 7, we decided to keep it a 6 man, but provide some new dynamics in it to mix it up a bit. I think they're kinda neat, and I hope you like them.
In the end, the overall decision between 6 man and 12 man is determining how much of our player base will be able to make use of our content and really enjoy it.
Overall, we feel there is a larger audience for 6 man than 12 man content.
However, that doesn't mean there isn't 12 man content in Book 7. (It's just not a battleground!)

*Hothorix* Will it be possible to have own design on kinship cloaks in the future or will this never be possible?
OK, so kinship cloaks. This has been a big deal on the US forums. Other games have done customizable cloaks, but we have have really big textures, and compositing custom cloaks on the fly for other players would be a significant performance hit: bad hitching every time a new player enters your scene. So it's something we need to be very very cautious about.
When textures are smaller, it's less of a load.
But our textures are large, and customizing systems start getting very bloaty.

*Alash* The concept of a hardmode and a softmode version of an instance seems to have catered to a broader group of players than with the previous 1-way instances. Is this something you plan to further develop in the future?
Yes, definitely.
Our goal is to support those modes better in new instances such that there is more and better feedback on them and when you fail them.

*{Ez0}Honvik* Will there be more chances to obtain Relics/Scrolls for Legendary items and perhaps better rewards when we deconstruct an item
Absolutely, for the first part. Without giving away too much info - we're hard at work in the next book update...

*Performer* Would it be possible to allow having a second Hairstyle, that can then be toggeled (like the Outfits) ? The Selection should probably depend on the first Hairstyle, to keep the Length fairly equal - so you could switch unruly <> combed, or open <> pinned-up, ...
What, you can't get a haircut every now and then? Barbers have to eat, too. Support your local merchants. But likely no, the appearances aren't structured that way.

*S|r_Drunk* Lotro promises much at begining of the game. But now going to be lineal gaming. all the chars must go on same road between lvl 15 and 40. You will develope new areas? giving more atention to have new kind of quest becouse all quest are the same.
Yeah, Orion is currently in the middle of evaluating our current regions and making changes such that there are multiple regions for you to play through as you advance.
You'll see the start of those changes in Book 7.
This doesn't rule out the possibility of new low-mid level regions in the future.

*SMeK* When lotro went live it already had in it a cloak with the white tree of gondor yet we did not have access to gondor. Are there any plans to create more themed cloaks for other areas and i dont just mean the big iconic areas, but ones maybe relating to the shire or thorins hall, etc
Well, we have been putting out themed cloaks for a while. There are the Moria cloaks we just put in, and there's a Lorien cloak coming out in Book 7 (two, I think, actually).
We try to enhance the cultural appeal of the outfits.

*mandarina1* Hi all, The captain community understand that IHW skill can be abused. Consider the outcome, if you will, of Boromir defending Merry and Pippin with 50% effectiveness. The mitigation of all damage is core to the captain class. Have the devs considered any alternatives to the 50% reduction?
We absolutely hear the feedback, and are watching the data from play experiences very carefully. The team has a number of ideas about ways that we might enhance this class.
Oh, and Boromir is a Guardian. But he did a noble job with his Challenge skills.

*Sko* Are there any plans about changing the system of distributing legendary weapons? Or will it stay the way it is (random type of weapon opposed to barter item)
We've got your feedback on it - particularly for the Watcher (a lot) - and we're reviewing it. No promises.

*[WSX]Sierandir_Aberglynen* when do we get to kill sauron?
Actually, this content is in-game already. I'm really surprised no one has discovered how to access it yet.
Hint - It involves the Shire!
I thought you guys did a great job on the Sauron instance...
*hides

*Juss* Hi, why was there no hotfix for monsterplayers. I mean as a temporary solution resists/mitigations should've been raised to stop the slaughterfest that is going on every day in moors since moria. PPPPPP was changed in few weeks, but creeps are left alone for months?
Unfortunately adjusting resists and mitigations was too large of a task for a hotfix. The adjustments I made for those stats alone were about about a month's worth of work. If I were superwoman, I could have gotten it done faster for a hotfix. Unfortunately I'm not

*menestrockx* The raid in book 7 will be a one boss raid like the watcher raid or a 7-8 boss raid like the Rift?
The final encounter consists of one boss, something we've been calling a "Lair Raid."
However, accessing the encounter will require a bit of work, from quite a few people, actually.

*Sannas* Is there any plans for kinship of the month or has that been abandoned
*Looks at Rowan*
It was a comment that I made to tease Patience at the time. It is something we'd still love to do, but we need to balance it with everything else currently in the works... and we have some great ideas.

*lanorin* what was the key reason behind making leveling quicker in book 7, reducing XP requirements etc
So something for the future? Absolutely. Just not something I can tie a date to yet.
The patch note makes it sound simpler than it is. The change was primarily focused towards our low-mid level players, in effort to make our early game more approachable to the casual user.

*Flaps* I personally loved Helegrod, the 24 man raid was alot of fun... are there any plans of adding in more tougher, longer 24 man raids in the future books?
For the foreseeable future, we aren't going to be doing any more 24 man Raids. Twelve man will be the largest encounter size probably from here on.

*Leomer* Will there be new festival content in the near future?
Yes, and it's kinda neat. We are adding some more content to the Spring Festival in Book 7.
In addition to another Horse for you to try to win, there will be a Hedge Maze for you to try to find your way through.
This Hedge Maze will be instanced, so you'll never see more than a handful of people in the Maze at a time.

*Danni* Hi. Will it be possible to hang up a flag on your house or above your door? I always wanted a flag on my house...
Flags on houses sound like fun to me. Unfortunately, the team that would be dealing with adding all of that to all of the houses is busy with other world creation tasks. And the artists needed to create nifty housing flags are busy creating new monsters and content for the next updates. So it wouldn't happen very soon. But I like the idea.

*Belnavar* Is there a new radiance set in Book 7, or has this been pushed back to Book 8?
The new radiance sets are in Book 8, they will be unveiled with the instances and raid that were pushed from Book 7.

*Alash* There has been quite a bit of debating about the lack of action towards removing crucial exploits, and even though you're fixing most of it with Book 7 - thumbs up, the hour is somewhat late. What is in the woodworks to prevent a similar situation in the future?
We actually do spend a lot of time trying to work out "undesired player behavior" in our content. Some of this behavior is made aware to us through player reports, while others we learn about via server logs.
Some of this behavior involves players dropping groups, restarting instances, etc, while other behavior is a bit more complicated and malicious.
I really can't tell you specifics on how we are addressing issues like these, though, because that tends to give people a heads up on how to work around it.

*Anrangar* Will there be more different types of Quests in future? some more puzzling or thinking not only killing ?
Our quests in Lothlorien are quite a change of pace. As you're in the homeland of the Elves of Lothlorien, there is not much killing involved. Instead we take the time to explore the story and history of Lorien. We hope you enjoy it!

*Frenya* What kind of rewards can we expect from the new lair raid?
Yes, one of the primary things you can expect is a token for radiance gear. We expect this to be an alternative to the current hard mode instances and another opportunity for kinships to "gear up" for the challenge of the Vile Maw. This raid also has some items specific to that boss.
Something really cute too.

*Jono* Hey, Since Boromir was a Guardian could you let us know who the Captain of the fellowship was! I always assumed it was Boromir, especially since our Class Quests at level 45 took us too him.

*Rowan* Oops... sorry, I'm getting my leveling mixed up. Keth has corrected me. Boromir is the Captain, while Samwise is the Guardian. I apologize to all the Captains.


*Floon* Oooh, Rowan is burned...
Jalessa serves Rowan some crow.

*CM-Liquilla*
Thats all we’ve got time for folks, thanks for coming! If you’re question wasn’t answered then make sure to bring it to the next one! Also don’t forget to check out the new cool screenshots! http://community.lotro-europe.com/screenshots.php

*CM-Liquilla*
A big thanks to Stratics for hosting the chat :D and thanks to the Turbine devs for answering questions

*Floon*
Another meeting is kicking us out of this room. It has been fun, folks. I look forward to you guys getting to see Caras Galadhon. Have fun!

*Sapience*
Thanks for coming everyone! I'm running out to buy Rowan a copy of the books right now!

*Scenario*
Have a good evening all! Thanks for the questions - I'm off to fight more caged lions!

*Keth_Turbine*
bye everyone!

*Jalessa*
bye all!

*Zephenia* Thank you all for coming, logs of this chat will br up sometime today. See you next time!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Book 7 Spoiler Screens

One of the biggest discussion starters over at the LotRO forums has been a user by the name of KatashiTakishiro. He was lucky enough to be on the Elendilmir server, that is the server chosen for the copy-over to Bullroarer recently. All the users on Eldemir now get to test out Book 7 ahead of the main population (lucky dogs). Fortunately for the rest of us, KatashiTakishiro has been kind enough to take numerous screen shots and post them in the forums. Here are a couple of them, I'll also put the entire collection in a slideshow, as well as update you with new screens when he uploads them. Thanks Katashi!