Tag: rpgs

What Is It About the Great Barrows?

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?


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

Categories: Roleplaying Games


The Fellowship Quest Stack-Up

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!


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

Categories: Roleplaying Games


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.

Categories: Roleplaying Games


My Hobbittey Warden

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

Categories: Roleplaying Games


What To Do, What To Do…

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

Categories: Roleplaying Games