Dec 15 2008

My Hobbittey Warden

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After trying a half-dozen various alts, I didn’t think I’d ever be as interested in any character as much as my main (Galadhalion, elf champion), but as it turns out, I find myself more and more eager to play my little hobbittey warden, Maedhroc.

This surprised me, because my first reaction to the warden was mostly indifference, tempered with a bit of annoyance that 300 seemed to be more on the developers’ minds than, y’know, Lord of the Rings. (I won’t rant about my reaction to Rune Keepers here, or at least not right now. Suffice to say, they are a serious detriment to the game and should be removed or at least retooled immediately.)

But then I had a minor epiphany. “Warden = Gil-Galad!” Suddenly, the class worked for me. And with that epiphany, I went back and revisited my lowbie warden. I had intended to make him a dwarf, but for some reason the devs decided dwarves couldn’t be wardens. Go fig. So I’d made him a hobbit, because the idea of a ferocious little kick-butt hobbit appealed to me. “Bullroarer Reborn, that’s me!”

I discovered, upon playing him a bit, that I was having a great time. What’s more, I was having a much better time with him than I was with my other “primary alt,” a hobbit minstrel whom I wanted to be enjoying but just wasn’t. So I transferred a few bits of choice gear (and the only cosmetic outfit I’ve found that seems to really suit an adventuring hobbit) to Maedhroc, and started playing him in earnest.

And? Well, he’s just plain fun. 🙂 He’s quite durable, which is a nice change from my paper-grenade Champion, but requires a bit more attention to play and has more interesting (to me) mechanics than the minstrel did. And for whatever reason, his little round shield and beat-up Saxon-style helmet just create a sense of character that I never could quite grok with the Min.

Will he eventually become my main? That I’m not sure of. There are times when I’m just in an “Elf Champion”-ish sort of mood, and Galadhalion certainly has a sense of epic grandeur that Maedhroc doesn’t. But for the first time, I think I’ve found an alt that may give him a run for his money!

-The Gneech

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Dec 15 2008

What To Do, What To Do…

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Maedhroc is running out of quests! Most of the major quest chains in the Shire are finished, with the exception of the main story Prologue and the quests taking you into the bandit camp south of Farmer Maggot’s place, largely because those are really iffy without a group or at least a duo and I’ve been mostly running solo. Maedhroc reached level 15 yesterday and so acquired his first class-based quest — an instance in Bree — and so it looks like it’s just a matter of time before he finds himself there.

I must admit to a certain wistfulness about this. Maedhroc loves the Shire, and so do I. While I’m sure he can find some quests in Buckland to keep him close to home, the Northfarthing/Oatbarton quests are way above his head at this point (starting around 27th level). Galadhalion, my wanderlusting elf Champion, enjoys exploring new places for their own sake and so happily tromps all over Forochel, Eregion, and even down into Moria. But Maedhroc only wants to protect the people and places he loves — he is a hobbit, after all — and has no particular ambition to save the world.

In a way, the 15th level Warden quest may become an important turning point for him. I’ve attempted it a couple times now (without success, le sigh!), and the premise is that Maedhroc’s prowess as a “protector of the land” (he is an Honorary Shirriff now, after all) has brought him to the attention of the other Wardens, who’ve called him to come help in the defense of Bree against an incursion of bandits.

The Wardens, a creation of Turbine as far as I can tell, are basically the Rangers with the serial numbers filed off and missing the Dunedian racial requirement. How much of an organization they’re supposed to have is not yet clear in the game, although they definitely have “commanders” and “troops.” In the Shire, Maedhroc is a big fish in a small pond and content to be so, but when he gets to Bree and is told to simply take his place holding the line with the other Wardens, it’s something of a humbling moment.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this character develops. Not in terms of how the “toon” develops in the game — I don’t really care about that except as a facilitator to the story — but in terms of how the character’s personality evolves in my mind. Galadhalion started out with a pretty set character in my mind but over time has sort of faded into being little more than an avatar, although he still retains enough of a personality that I made a point of finding a cosmetic outfit for him to wear “in town.” He’s an elf, he wouldn’t wear his armor when visiting Elrond in Rivendell!

Maedhroc, being more rustic, sticks with pretty much the same outfit wherever he goes. Although I imagine that when he’s spent some time among the Big Folk (and earned enough rep with the Mathom Society), he’ll get himself something a bit more appropriate to wear at formal occasions … and maybe even take that silly helmet off!

-The Gneech

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Dec 09 2008

Fictionlet

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“Erf,” said Greg as he stretched from the couch to the washcloth that had fallen just out of his reach on the floor. “Could you pass me that?”

“Why should I?” Brigid asked. “You’ve got arms.”

“Yes, two in fact,” said Greg. “But as Ozymandias seems to consider a day wherein he’s not lying across my torso to be a day of his life wasted, I am also wearing a cat. And I’m loathe to shift him for the purely selfish motive of respite from a headache.”

Brigid craned her neck to look over and see that in the ten minutes Greg had been lying on the couch, Ozymandias had indeed made himself at home on Greg’s stomach and was in a very deep sleep. “You should be more careful to avoid dropping washcloths when wearing a cat,” she said. “Now how will you make your headache go away?”

“Well I had a cunning plan that hinged on asking you to pass me the washcloth,” Greg said. “But it doesn’t seem to be panning out all that well.”

“You should have known that was a mistake,” Brigid said. “I am a cruel, cruel person and would rather torment you.”

“Apparently,” said Greg. “But it hardly seems fair for you to take it out on Ozymandias.”

“How am I taking it out on Ozymandias?”

“Well, if you don’t hand me the washcloth, I’m going to have to roll over to reach it, spilling him to the floor, at which point he will undoubtedly get very huffy and hide under a chair.”

“You think he’d go that far?”

“I’m convinced of it. He’s a cat of principle. He might even give you a dirty look.”

Brigid weighed this. “That would be bad,” she said.

“It’s in your power to prevent it,” Greg told her.

“Welllll … all right,” said Brigid, getting up and walking the two steps required to get to the washcloth and hand it to him. “In recognition of all those breakfasts you’ve made, I’ll do it this time. But I’m not doing it for you. I’m doing it for the cat.”

“Your noble sacrifice in time of hardship is an inspiration to us all,” said Greg, refolding the washcloth and putting it over his eyes.

-The Gneech

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