Jan 16 2009

Life of a Bounder — First in an Ongoing Series

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In the spirit of “Postcards From Middle-earth,” I present screenshots and commentary from my lil’ hobbitey warden, Maedhroc. Some of these date back to shortly after the MoM release, but I’m sure we’ll get caught up fairly quickly.

December 11, 2008
I’ve started a new character, a Hobbit Warden by the name of Maedhroc. He doesn’t seem to know how to tuck in his shirt, but there are no others in the Shire who can rescue chickens from rampaging wolves the way he does.

Maedhroc, Bounder of the Shire, In Michel Delving

And this evening Maedhroc met someone even more peculiar … a right jolly old fellow who was giving out presents in the Michel Delving town square.

Maedhroc meets 'Sainte Nicholas'

The mysterious gift-giver presented Maedhroc with some blueberry muffins and a pair of quite nice shoes (rather wasted on a hobbit, of course) before he had to dash away, dash away. Maedhroc, having eaten his last milk and cookies himself earlier (hobbits, y’know), gave him some strawberries and golden Shire taters that he happened to be carrying by way of thanks.

December 15, 2008
LotRO is eating my brain. But in a good way. I’ve really been enjoying my lil’ hobbitey warden Maedhroc, seen here dancing to the the rhythms of the Hobbiton Philharmonic.

Maedhroc dances to the tunes of the Hobbiton Philharmonic

(Note the messages in the text window. Even undead sorcerer-kings can’t get a good hobbit down!)

Maedhroc has helped the Bounders (basically the Shire militia-cum-police-force) so much that he’s been appointed an Honorary Shirriff, an achievement he takes to heart. Unfortunately, he has been so helpful to them that there’s little left for him to do in Shire except run pies for the local grandmas. What’s more, the Wardens have summoned him to Bree to aid in confronting brigands who threaten the Greenway, meaning that very soon he will have to leave his beloved home and venture into the wider world, something he is not entirely keen to do.

He’ll miss the Shire!

Maedhroc admires a rainbow over Rushok Bog

Next time … off to Bree-land!

-The Gneech

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Jan 14 2009

Warden Stealth FTW!

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What do you do when you only need two more Ancient Chalices in the Great Barrows, don’t want to join a PUG just for that, and really don’t want to beg a high-level kinmate to come hold your hand for that four-spider intersection where the Barrow Queen camps out?

“Careful Step” time! 😀

I managed to slip around the corner to the second chalice and only had to fight one Barrow Spider instead of trying to take out all four at once. 12/12 Ancient Chalices and a map home, baby!

Have I mentioned I love my lil’ hobbitey warden?

-The Gneech

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Jan 14 2009

The Ballad of Lalia

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o/`
Lalia, oh Lalia
what the heck is wrong with you?
You lost your cloak
You lost your mind
And to rescue you is a waste of time
Oh Lalia
I’m leaving you to the wights

Lalia, oh Lalia
why do you do the things you do?
You go off chasing
some dead prince
Your gullibility makes me wince
Oh Lalia
Stop cowering, help me fight

Lalia, oh Lalia
what the heck is wrong with you?
I rescued you
and your dad paid
but you’re back in the Barrows the very next day
Oh Lalia
I’m leaving you to the wights…
o/`

-The Gneech

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Jan 14 2009

What Is It About the Great Barrows?

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My first experience with the Great Barrows was a disaster of epic proportions. But hey, it was over a year ago and with another guild entirely, so surely it was just a fluke, right?

Right?

Admittedly, my attempts to take Maedhroc through the GB last night was not on any kind of scale with the Ghost Regiment fiasco, but it was still a confused mess. It started with me responding to someone calling for GB groups on LFF, which was ordinary enough. But then fifteen minutes later, he was still getting no other takers, and he and I resorted to killing corrupted huorns in the Barrow Downs to kill time while we waited.

Eventually we got a somewhat haphazard group — my L25 warden was the highest on board, but as I was also the tank, that was okay. We also had two champions, two captains, and a loremaster. A bit of a weird group, but feasible. Into the barrow we went!

We got through the first room, and immediately one of the champions bailed.

Uh, okay. The group organizer managed to find a L35 warden who wanted in. So much for my lesson in tanking! (Or so I thought. More on that later.) We get hooked up and start again.

First lesson learned: an over-eager warden is just as much of a problem as an over-eager hunter, an over-eager champion, or an over-eager-anybody-else. L35 barrelled on forward, just running to the next monster to attack it, not waiting while those of us who had to collect chalices (or the other captain, who apparently spoke primarily French with a smidgen of English thrown in, and who kept turning left when she should have turned right). Calls of “Hold up!” and “Wait a minute!” and “We’ve lost ______, need to backtrack!” were resolutely ignored in favor of getting to the next room.

Wow — this is just like my first trip here! Eerie.

But after a bad pull split the group into two major fights and nearly wiped us out, the rest of the group finally sided with my requests to go a bit more slow and methodical and we basically ganged up on the other warden. “I’ve got to draw aggro first!” he said. “By all means, do the pulls,” I said. “But make sure we’re all in the same room first!” That seemed to get everybody on the same page and at least attempting to cooperate, which made things go a little smoother.

At this point, the group organizer went link-dead. ¬.¬

Well, the rest of us soldiered along a bit further, but then the L35 guy’s “I can solo anything, yay!” instincts started kicking in and he ran off ahead. Me, attempting to follow him on the extrmely byzantine GB map, took a wrong turn and ended up smack dab in the middle of six wights. Attempting to respond to my distress, the French-speaking captain and the loremaster tried to help, but immediately got overwhelmed and died — followed by me in short order.

It was at this point that we all called it a night by mutual consent. 😛

So, what is it about the Great Barrows? I suppose it’s mainly because it’s most people’s first real “big instance” of the game, and unless they’re an old hand levelling up an alt, the people running through it are still learning how to work in a group, how to play their class, and how to keep track of all the madness that goes on in one of those big furballs. But still — argh. That’s an instance I’ll be happy to pass up next time around!

-The Gneech

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Jan 14 2009

The Fellowship Quest Stack-Up

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It starts in Bree, where you put off those Great Barrow instance quests again and again because you know it’s going to be a painful slog. Then, in Lone Lands, you find yourself halfway through Book 2 and you’ve gone up to the North Downs to start Book 3 because facing Garth Agarwen with a bad PUG is just too much to bear tonight — maybe tomorrow. Oh, and those trolls. And cripes, the Dourhand Leader. Oy.

Soon, the North Downs solo quests are burned through and you’re staring at Fornost, wondering how this could come to pass. Oh, look! A run to Tinnundir! You can do that. And hey, while you’re making runs anyway, now would be a good time to grab that stable in Rivendell!

You have reached your maximum number of active quests.

What? No way! I only have a couple scattered around. I suppose I could delete those Evendim ones, I’m not actually going to do those for a while … and there’s no point in keeping Dourhand Leader, that’s gone grey. Let’s see what I can bang out tonight…

ACK! They’re all Fellowship quests!

/cry

I wonder if any L60 kinnies would help me burn through the rest of Book 2? Of course, that spawns three more Garth Agarwen quests, but at least I’d finish something…

-The Gneech

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Jan 14 2009

Tankety, Tankety, Tankety

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Valuable tanking experience yesterday: I joined a group hunting trolls in the Lone Lands for a deed, as I needed them for a quest and it was a mutually-beneficial arrangement. The group consisted of three Rune-Keepers [1] and myself; as the Warden, my job was to tank, while one of the RKs was on healing duty and the rest went straight DPS.

The first one or two pulls went a little roughly as one of the damage-dealers was a little too eager to jump in. However, once the group leader had convinced that person to let me do the pulls first and build aggro, it went much smoother. Soon we were mowing down the trolls like so much grass. The only hairy moment was when we got an add in the form of a stone-lobbing troll in the distance who stunned me. Fortunately, the trolls then started attacking the RKs’ healing stones instead of the Ruke-Keepers themselves, enabling me to recover and the group to take down the troll before it started squishing RK’s.

Later that evening I grouped with a L37 Champion and a L28 Captain to take out Svalfang, the L30 elite giant lurking in the northern Brandy Hills. I proposed a plan in which I would go in first (again, to draw aggro), after which the Champ would come in swinging and the Captain would hang back and heal (which the Captain was more than happy to agree to). Unfortunately, my attempt to sneak up on Svalfang was foiled when he rather suddenly turned on his heel and faced me; so instead of a nice ambush-stun-armor pierce start like I would prefer, the strategy became “CHAARRGE!”

It didn’t matter: in just a few seconds, between the Champ’s DPS and my getting a good stun in with The Boot — and of course the Captain keeping us alive — Svalfang fell like a load of bricks and we were all headed back to Bree.

Part of being a good tank, besides building aggro, is learning how to recover from things like bad pulls. 😉 The Guardian has a bit of an advantage over us on that score with their instant-aggro taunts, but Wardens have their own tricks. The Boot, when it works, is worth its weight in XP, just for starters!

-The Gneech

[1] My antipathy towards the class does not extend to other players. I endeavor not to be a snob.