Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some of my Gaming Music....

I've been playing LOTRO for quite sometime, since May 2008 to be specific. When you play a game like this for that long one tends to get sick of hearing the same music and sound effects all the time. The soundtrack to LOTRO is awesome and very well produced (I own the MoM collector's edition soundtrack) BUT even something this polished gets old and annoying (to a certain extent). So I remedy the situation like many other gamers do.... I turn to my Itunes library to add a newer, refreshing element to my LOTRO gameplay. What I wanted to do with this post was share a little taste of what I like jamming out to while running mail in the Shire, smelting ore in Esteldin, and firing arrows into those who oppose the Free Peoples. 

One thing I try and do with my music is tailor my playlist to the mood and nature of my activities in LOTRO. This isn't necessary but I find it adds to the gameplay. The first "type" of music I want to recommend is already present in the game. This of course is your soft instrumentals that have a nice calm, mood to them (I'm no music theorist or lingo expert so excuse the descriptions). They are good to listen to in low stress situations like when you are exploring the wilds, farming nodes, or running delivery quests. The first songs I want to recommend to you is by a (believe it or not) progressive death-metal band called Becoming the Archetype. I find that Hardcore/metal bands like BTA write some awesome instrumentals that go unnoticed for obvious reasons.

*Song links are all from Youtube and are not my uploads*

Song #1: Night's Sorrow by Becoming the Archetype, album: Terminate Damnation ~ (classical guitar instrumental)

Song #2: St. Anne's Lullaby by Becoming the Archetype, album: Dichotomy ~ (classical guitar instrumental)

Song #3: Music of the Spheres: Requiem Aeternam, Pt. 1 by Becoming the Archetype, album: Celestial Completion ~ (piano instrumental)

The next are what I call the "rainy day folk songs". These would also be ones I'd use for low stress situations in-game but they definitely have a different feel (not to mention vocalists). They hold more of a sad mood to them so to speak. These songs don't have lyrics that really reflect anything in LOTRO really, so they can take away some immersion.

Song #4: Idaho by Josh Ritter, album: In the Dark: Live at Vicar Street ~ (a man longing for his home)

Song #5: The Shore by Basia Bulat, album: Heart of My Own ~ (a woman longing for the shore/love)

Song #6: By Your Side by House of Heroes, album: The End is not the End ~ (heartbreaking story of losing a  brother in war)

The last kind of song I want to leave you with (in this post anyways) is the inspiring type. I love all kinds of music, from bluegrass to death metal. However, one thing most of the albums that I own have is positive or "Christian" lyrics. I find it better to be uplifted than to be stressed out. So here are some positive, inspiring songs...

Song #7: Commissioned by Kings by Oh, Sleeper, album: Son of the Morning ~ (WARNING: HARDCORE, lyrics about acknowledging faults, unleashing strength)

Song  #8: Field of Daggers by House of Heroes, album: The End is not the End ~ ( peace, false kings)

Song #9: Phoenix by For Today, album: Breaker ~ (WARNING: HARDCORE "you've been called to relinquish fear, can you hear it?")

Song #10: Iron by Woodkid ~ (Just an epic song really)

These are just a few songs that I listen to while playing LOTRO. If you like any of them please do not download them; instead, buy them and support the musicians!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Questing in Enedwaith: Part Three

Talmidim's journeys had brought him to Lhanuch; the Hillmen settlement in Nan Laeglin. I quite enjoy the quests from Lhanuch myself, they tend to be straightforward and simple. Slayer and messenger quests are great! Soon I had picked up all of the quests I could manage, including the epic quest line continuation. Talmidim repaired his armour and weapons and was off once again to brave the wilds of Enedwaith.

Previously, I had found a strange sword at the blockade near Echad Saeradan. It was located in a treasure coffer that the deserters held. Saeradan had told me to deliver the sword to Wadu's family in Lhanuch (I found Wadu slain on the road above Echad Saeradan, he was assumed to be the owner of the sword). The family of Wadu was indeed in Lhanuch. Nona, sister of Wadu , was insistent on finding the causes that resulted in her brother's death while her father, Suvulch, was not to be bothered about the misfortune of his son. Nona thought that answers about Wadu's demise could be found East in the mountains, specifically the dwarf-halls of Zudrugund. I rode my steed swiftly to the mountains avoiding ambushes and attacks of the local hostile Hillmen. After crossing the river and climbing the steep mountain path I arrived at Zudrugund.

At Zudrugund I met a very strange dwarf named Nar. Nar was extremely incoherent and mentally distant from reality. Another dwarf, Frithgeir was also in the dwarf-halls. He was Nar's protector and guardian who told me I must gather some herbs to help Nar in his weird mental state. I took the list of needed herbs and was off down the mountain and in to the valley. I slew many Hillmen taking their herbs off their now dead persons. I also picked some herbs off the shore of a small lake further South. Soon after I took my stockpile of Frithgeir's requests back to Zudrugund.

Discussions with the rangers Corunir and Calengad, Frithgeir, one of the sons of Elrond, Nona, and finally Nar (after drinking Frithgeir's weird concoction) led us to more information about Wadu's exploits but not his demise. It seemed as though he felled a giant Gwiber deep within the mountain. More importantly though, Nar spoke about the journey Elladan and the rangers were taking through Enedwaith and told them about a coming treachery and deceit. He also spoke of the paths of the dead. All of these things were secrets Nar couldn't possibly know.... so how did he? Elladan was quite flustered after this and so I was sent back to Lhanuch to talk to a Ranger who might know more.... Candaith.

On my way back to Lhanuch I completed some of the quests that the Hillmen bestowed upon me. I felled many half-orcs finding on some of them articles that bore the white hand of Saruman. I also scouted some Cartrevs in the area before returning to Lhanuch. It was a productive evening. The epic story of Nar and Frithgeir is extremely interesting to me; so full of mystery and suspense. I look forward to continuing the epic story another day.

Previously: Part Two

This week I also started a twitter account for On Distant Shores. You can follow me HERE (@GarrisonODS)

- Garrison

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Questing in Enedwaith: Part Two

What?!? Three posts in two days? An awesome weekend apparently...

I've decided to continue writing about my adventures through Enedwaith mostly out of convenience. This convenience being that Talmidim the champion is now questing through it. I love this region because it looks amazing,unique, and diverse while the quests are different and far spread out. I haven't really done all of the quests in Enedwaith yet so it still has that fresh zone feeling to me; it's kind of a win-win for me (plus Tal gets a ton of LI XP for his 7 LI's on the go).

After my brief encounter with shadow wolves in the Black Dens (I extinguished all of the torches easily this time!), finding all of the ranger caches in Fordirith, and killing many dunlending deserters I was told by the rangers of Echad Dagoras to make a trip further into Enedwaith... up to the overlook of Echad Saeradan. Saeradan had some tasks that needed doing and some investigations that needed... an investigator. I double dipped the epic quests with the other quests of Echad Saeradan. I gathered wolf pelts and ox meat which was quite easy until I ran into a rare spawn elite warg with 20k morale. I accepted the challenge to slay this warg... it took some kiting, a morale pot, my "Dire Need" heal, and a whole lot of sword swinging. 2 minutes later I emerged victorious with a mithril flake. I think the rush of finding a rare spawn in this game is more rewarding than the loot they drop haha.

I then made my way more northerly and investigated a blockade that was defended by some deserters in an unfortunate situation. Their situation was unfortunate because they soon would feel the sting and cold steel of Tal's blades. I then made my way back down the road on the hills above Echad Saeradan where I made a stop at a group of old ruins to slay some more deserters and pick up some herbs. I then gathered some honey and traveled down into the fields below Echad Saeradan. I soon gathered more herbs and other desired items by the rangers and made my way back with a plethora of pelts, meat, herbs, feathers, and honey for the demanding rangers (who were quite thankful).

As quick as I had arrived at Echad Saeradan it seemed I was finished. Saeradan was pleased with the tasks and investigating I had done for the Grey Company and sent me down into the town of Lhanuch for further quests. I chose to deliver the Dun Ox meat to the herders down in the valley rather than slay more (the other ranger thought this might upset the locals). I made the delivery on my way to Lhanuch and also taking the time to slay a very ridiculously sized boar for the worried herders. A short journey by horseback soon landed me at the gates of Lhanuch. What does this town have in store for Talmidim Elvellon? Only time will tell.

Previously: Part One


Casual Stroll to Mordor's 2nd Anniversary Party!

I was lucky enough to have some time tonight to roll a toon on Landroval and make my way to A Casual Stroll to Mordor's 2nd Anniversary Party! It was a blast listening to the live podcast while the Lonely Mountain Band played some nice tunes. They were great hosts holding some cool contests and promoting a positive atmosphere. Well done to everyone involved in that gathering of great LOTRO personalities!

A special congratulations to Merric and Goldenstar for recording their 100th podcast episode! You guys are truly awesome people!

Here are some pictures of the in-game event (click for larger versions):

Of Lands Far Off...

It has been far to long since my last post on this blog. This can be blamed on real life stuff and being a little burnt out of PC gaming. I have been playing some LOTRO here and there though, but not blogging... I've been finding that after playing I no longer have the drive to write about it what I just did. However, tonight just felt like a "blog" night and gosh darn it, that's what I'm going to do!

I've been extremely productive on my champion: Talmidim; he's level 65 now which marks the second time I've taken a character to the level cap. Playing the champion has been some serious fun for me! I rocketed through the Moria content with great speed and precision. I did some group content here and there on Talmidim during levels 50-55 conquering  the School and Library of Tham Mirdain, and the Forgotten Treasury. I made it a priority to get my Moria Blademaster armour set and ran The Grand Stair, The Forges, and Fil Gashan before I hit 61.

One evening while I was still level 60 and close to acquiring my 4th Blademaster piece I joined a PUG for The Forges which turned out to be a very beneficial experience. The other 5 members of the PUG were of a small kin I've never seen around before.; they were extremely helpful, friendly, and funny (and all used voice chat, which I find is becoming rarer and rarer in PUGs). During our run we were talking about kin dynamics for some reason and I mentioned the woes of the large kin that I was in and how the kin chat channel had turned into an  "/advice" channel and no longer seemed like a community. After hearing this and approving of my communication and performance in the Forges of Moria, they asked me to join the ranks of "Hobbition Hoblites". I accepted. It's been awesome to be a part of a small kin that runs things regularly... I find I enjoy the fresh new experience it brings.

Talmidim just recently finished all of the epic quests from Moria to the Dol Guldur and now is delving into Volume 3. I maybe can continue my post on questing in Enedwaith...haha. This blog has become a bunch of unfinished little guides and musings that I've been meaning to finish but never find the time. I want to remedy that some day.

Here's a couple recent epic(ish) screenshots from my adventures that I quite like.(click for larger versions) 

Keep your stick on the ice,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"The Coward vs. The Fearless"

So I've been gone awhile.

After finishing my year at university I moved home (well to my parent's new house) for the summer because its better than paying rent! So for the past few weeks I haven't been playing LOTRO because I've been getting to know my new community, tracking down a summer job and all that other related stuff. That stupid real life stuff... Anyways, I made a video during my free-time this weekend for CSTM's contest (that ends today). It was quite fun! I've never done something like this before and I feel good about my first result. My computer nearly died trying to record it but it was worth it.

Give it a watch and tell me what you think! If you have any questions about the video itself, most of the information on the video page should answer them! If not, leave a comment!

Watch it in 720p! It's the highest definition I could get it!

Keep your stick on the ice,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Double XP and Study Breaks

To the delight of my brain, I had Friday and Saturday off from studying for exams. This meant some time to just do things that are not productive at all (i.e. LOTRO and the NHL Playoffs). Avoiding the blunders that are the anniversary "events" I finally finished book 3 of volume III on my hunter. This allowed for some LI improvements and gear improvements. Garadson now has over 5,300 total morale where my eventual goal is well over 6,000. His new main hand sword is coming along nicely at level 57 out of 70. My focus this weekend, however, is on my champion: Talmidim. I've already gotten him from level 41 to 44 since the double xp kicked in. This is exciting for me because I'm itching to head into Moria to try out the epic book changes and experience it from a champion's perspective! I would highly recommend dusting of those alts and send them out into Middle-Earth to give hope and relinquish fear in the hearts of the free-peoples!

So what exactly have I been working on with Talmidim? Book 5 and the Misty Mountains.  Last night I finished Book 5 in it's entirety which is nice to have that done with. I hate running through that zone for whatever reason; it's not fun at all! It's not even all that nice to look at! Something I'm really pumped about though is that before I started my leveling extravaganza I went and talked to Gimli in Rivendell about Tal's legendary trait books before heading to the Misty Mountains. This proved a great idea because at the end of Book 5 I had all four pages in each book except one. This is the fastest I've found the pages to a character's books! During this time (when I hit level 42) I finally got to put on Tal's full set of critted Elven Soldier's armour (pre-update 2 versions) which improved his stats drastically. I just need to update his jewelery and he will be geared more appropriately for his level. One thing I did notice was his virtues have fell far behind because of my high speed leveling. Now Talmidim is in Aughaire again finally working on getting his Fem set while working on Book 6. He has 7/8 pages in the Tome of Swords book with the others close behind. I'm quite pleased with his rapid progression thus far...

Drugoth the Death-Monger and Thorog in Book 5 (Click for larger view).
Right now I'm watching Ron Maclean and Don Cherry on Coach's Corner (First Period Intermission of the Montreal-Boston game) having a wonderfully lazy evening! I hope all of you are enjoying your weekend and making most of your time in LOTRO!

Keep your stick on the ice,

Friday, April 22, 2011

The New Anniversary Mount

Recently I won the new anniversary mount in one of the flash lotteries. This win was on my dwarf rune-keeper: Nalmer Thunderbeard, level 34. I am a little bit disappointed to win it on this alt mostly because I never really play him anymore. I just leave him at the same level as my roommate's hunter so that if he starts playing again I can jump right on Nalmer and help him out! With that being said, a free mount is a free mount and it's nice to have a horse other than the basic one's you can buy at Hengstacer farm even if it does look a little feminine (heh-heh). So for those who have not seen the newest mount to enter Turbine's Middle-Earth, feast your eyes on Nalmer's pony: Saskatchewan!

(click on images for larger versions)

Keep your stick on the ice,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Of University and Despair

My gaming area has turned into this! (essay aggro)
My lack of posts can be blamed on the terror known as "paper season" and "finals". I have barely stepped foot in Middle-Earth in the past 2 weeks and therefore have nothing much to blog about. I did recently start a minstrel and got my champion to level 41. I also worked a little bit more on LI stuff on my hunter but nothing overly exciting. I still have not finished Sari-Surma on Tier II and failed to get that nice new bracelet off Cold-Bear 3 times already. University students, study now and play later! Your future is far more important than a video game... May you destroy all essays and tests that stand in your way and leave only destruction in your wake!

Echelor Joysong, Minstrel. Level 20
My new minstrel was an impulse alt all on it's own. Since the minstrel changes dropped with the Echoes of the Dead update and my love for the beginning levels of the game finally caused me to create Echelor Joysong, minstrel. Other causes of this character creation were my desire to use the new tailoring recipes from the ground up and to attempt healing in this game. Since World of Warcraft's Cataclysm came out my roommate got me to play it casually with him. I now have an 85 priest that heals the end-game stuff which is fun from time to time. I've never healed in LOTRO so this was one of the factor's of Echelor's start. So far I've enjoyed the class but have only soloed my way to level 20. At some point I'll head into the Great Barrows and sing joyous songs to lift burdened hearts! One more week and I can play LOTRO regularly again and soon posts will follow! 

Until then, keep your stick on the ice,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Isildur Session Play: Volume III: Book 3

With what little time I've had lately playing LOTRO I've been working on the epic storyline. I really love the volume three quests and the storyline itself is cool. The biggest bonus however is the rewards themselves. Yesterday I received my level 65 second age hunter sword that turned out quite well. It now has most of the legacies I was looking for in a PvE sword and now I'm trying to get some decent relics on it. I haven't gotten to the end of the quest line yet but plan to tomorrow.

Anyways, I did want to touch on the highlight of the newest epic quests: the Isildur session play! This was an impressive and incredibly good looking instance. For those of you who did not play the session on a higher graphical setting you totally missed out! Basically what the instance's story covered was the oaths taken by the men of the mountain to fight against Sauron and aid Isildur. You get to see both King Rioc swearing his people's allegiance on the Stone of Erech itself along with Isildur eventually cursing them. This actually was pretty epic and it gave me slight goosebumps! Great job Turbine! Also, you get to fight alongside Isildur as one of his men in the retaking of a lost control point somewhere in Gondor. This is where Isildur discovers that Sauron had returned by finding a large makeshift shrine that the orcs made inside the city (this bears much resemblance to the witch king statues in Mirkwood and Angmar). The fighting itself wasn't the most interesting but the Gondorian architecture and the atmosphere was amazing! This is the first time we've caught a glimpse of what Turbine's Gondor would look like and I approve.

(click all the images for full size)

The session play itself is not hard in any respect. Even the most inexperienced casual player could finish it without any problems. This is mostly due to the fact that you are given some very overpowered attacks to play with as well as a 75% morale heal that is on a ten second cooldown (you can actually use this heal on Isildur and the other Gondorian). Just make sure your escorts stay alive and all will be well!

Keep your stick on the ice,

The Glacier Fortress of Sari-Surma: Part Two

The Short Path to Osan

After defeating Coldbear it is not far to the next boss: Osan. You encounter a grand total of six mobs before arriving in the arena where Osan is just 'chillin. None of these mobs are overly difficult and only require simple tank and spank measures. There are two Fanatics (goblins) and four giants just outside the hallway out of Coldbear's room. With patience you should be able to fight the fanatics separate from the giants causing no grief to the group. The Legionnaires (giants) are in pairs so when you pull them it is good to have someone use a crowd-control skill on one while you burn down the other. Simple. The fanatics are nothing special either. They from time to time throw people in the air with their whirlwinds but it is still tank and spank fighting. Once you've defeated these mobs go down into the arena and prepare for Osan!

Boss Two: Osan

To trigger the boss fight all you have to do is light the huge cauldron, lamp-like item in the center of the room. There will be some dialogue by Drugoth (the final boss) as Osan wakes up and slowly makes his way to the cauldron. Once Osan destroys the cauldron the fight commences! Once you defeat Osan you can go up the ramp and encounter Drugoth for the final fight.

Tier I

This fight is not overly complicated and is one long phase. The tank should grab Osan and take him  to the opposite side of where Osan walked from. This is in the space between the stairs. The beginning of the fight is the simplest: tank and spank Osan. Eventually wight adds (the same ones as seen in the Coldbear fight) will make their way into the arena so all the DPS should be killing them off quickly. Focus fire back on Osan. Fanatics and Legionnaires will make their down into the arena as well. When this happens the designated off-tank should grab threat immediately so the DPS can burn the adds down. You may have to fight two Legionnaires at once as well as the wights so the group's crowd control skills will be necessary to achieve stability. This fight is not hard but it is long; so communicate, use the right fellowship maneuvers when the group needs morale/power, and drop the adds as fast as you can.

A notable thing to watch for is a corruption that Osan applies to a random fellowship member which will kill them upon expiry. As soon as this is applied the tank should be ready to use corruption removal on the boss. If Osan resists the corruption removal someone else needs to jump in and remove it. Don't waste time in removing it. Other than that nothing that Osan does will likely kill anyone. According to Lotro-Wiki Osan gets damage buffs for every wave of adds that makes their way into the arena so the faster the fight goes the better (Lotro-Wiki, 2011).

Tier II and the Challenge Mode

The tank should grab Osan and take him  to the opposite side of where Osan walked from; this is the space between the stairs. The DPS should refrain from doing high outputs of damage to Osan throughout the fight if you plan on doing the challenge. The challenge consists of having to kill Osan's four Lieutenants that eventually show themselves over the course of the fight.  You will not be able to finish the challenge if the DPS goes to town on Osan. This is a long drawn out fight that requires communication and patience. Wights will present themselves first so the DPS should track them down and kill them as fast as possible. Eventually you will start seeing Legionnaires and Fanatics. When this happens the off-tank needs to grab threat while the rest of the DPS burns them down as fast as possible. If at some point you face more than one of these mobs at once it is extremely important that crowd control measures are used on the bigger mobs not being attacked. You want the healer using the least amount of power as possible. After you defeat these adds the first Lieutenant will appear (this will be announced by text on your screen). Off-tank and spank the Lieutenant until dead. The DPS should now be throwing a small amount of DPS on Osan. Repeat this until you have defeated the fourth Lieutenant. Once he has fallen, finish off Osan. Keep an eye on Osan's morale throughout the fight. You can refrain from hitting him at all save the tank throughout the fight but it is better to have him at low morale by the time you finish off the last Lieutenant in my opinion. The best I've had it was Osan was at 7,000 morale when we killed the fourth Lieutenant making for a real quick finish.

Notable Events: Osan applies a corruption to a random fellowship member which will kill them upon expiry. The tank should be ready to use corruption removal on the boss for when this happens. If Osan resists the corruption removal someone else needs to jump in and remove it. Don't waste time in removing it. When you kill a certain amount of adds Osan will become angry and declare that you and your fellowship members will die and will proceed to AOE. This is an extremely hard-hitting move so when you see or hear the dialogue and he raises his arms all players need to get out of range as soon as possible. Other than these things nothing that Osan does will likely kill anyone. The author behind the Lotro-Wiki guide to Tier II does note that each Lieutenant gives Osan a buff upon their death but honestly the only thing that will likely kill anyone in this fight is Osan's mean corruption and his giant AOE (Lotro-Wiki, 2011). You will run into power problems in this fight so whenever a fellowship maneuver presents itself go for what the group needs which will most likely be power. Noble Blood, Pure of Heart, and an all blue FM are the one's you will most likely use.

Thanks for stopping by On Distant Shores! If you have anything you would like to add to this article or you found it useful you can leave a comment below. If you want to read part three to this guide when it comes out you can subscribe to my feed in the column to the right!

Keep your stick on the ice,

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Glacier Fortress of Sari-Surma: Part One


So I have finally caught up with my university stuff enough to write this post. This instance is a whole lot of fun and has some interesting boss fights and other mechanics that I quite enjoy. If you have not yet done this dungeon or are still relatively new to it I suggest you read on!

The post you are now reading is part one of a three part "guide" to overcoming the enemies you encounter in the fortress. Now, I have  finished the entire instance on Tier I difficulty and have done up to the second boss  on Tier II difficulty (because of time constraints) so  before I write the third part of this guide  I will  have to run it again on Tier 2 just to get a first hand account of the last boss.

For those of you who still haven't discovered the instance's entrance, you can find it by heading to Suri-Kyla in Forochel. From there you go up to the shores of the icy waters and find a Lossoth man just chilling (hehe) by a mustering horn, campfire, and a boat. Use the boat to travel to the instance entrance!

What I Recommend To Bring
  • Wound pots for sure, lots of nasty wounds are acquired in this instance.
  • Some form of crowd-control.
  • A class capable of off-tanking. This, in my opinion, is really important for the Tier II Osan fight.
  • Other than the things above, bring a good amount of consumables along..... like usual.

The Road to Coldbear
The first section of the fortress is extremely straightforward and to be honest so is the rest of the instance (except the boss fights). The first mobs you encounter are frost grims. They are nothing special, just watch for wounds and threat because they do hit fairly hard. Eventually you will run into wights that thaw from their ice-state (I'm pretty sure you run into these more often in Tier II). They don't have very much health and they do go down easy. I know they give you a nasty debuff but I couldn't remember the details so I went to Lotro-Wiki to make sure I gave you the information. According to the author who wrote the article the wights give you the debuff "Covered in Wight Parts." This debuff does stack and "[e]ach stack increases melee damage by 200% but reduces ranged and tactical dps (and healing) to 0%. This effect lasts 20 seconds and explodes upon expiration, causing heavy, non-removable wounds on Fellows within 10m." (Lotro-Wiki, March 2011). What you encounter next, and several times after, are bear-wights; they are in threes: the mother and the two cubs. It is important to take down the mother bear (Snowbear-Wight Matron) first because if you don't she becomes enraged and will do significantly more damage if one of her cubs get slaughtered by your fellowship members. Immediately after you kill the matron, she actually sheds here cuddly, furry, body and becomes a spirit. Avoid hitting her spirit because if you do, you will have to fight the spirit. It is not a terrible situation, but its basically doing the fight twice over which wastes time. A few of these bear-wight fights later (and some wights) you will arrive at Coldbear's residence...

Boss One: Coldbear the Wight

This boss is my favorite so far in the new content. He isn't overly difficult but he still does some nasty things. Pay attention to whats going on as well as communicate with your fellowship and it won't be all that bad. This fight has three phases in Tier II and two phases in Tier I. Note: At any time your group feels it cannot beat the fight because someone has died or some other problem has come up, you can reset the boss fight by  having everybody head to the gate you came through.

The Bear Phase: After Coldbear does some whining about how you woke him up from his beauty sleep the fight commences. The tank should grab the boss like normal and then everyone else just needs to start pouring out some hurt on the boss. However, I recommend that the ranged dps spreads out from each other while still staying within healing range. Coldbear uses a shield from time to time that reflects your damage back to you. You can tell when he does this by the red aura that emanates from his body.What I do when this happens is press 'F1' which targets yourself leaving no way you can accidentally attack him. After the shield expires, proceed administering some more pain.

In Tier I he will drop a damage over time on someone that does a decent amount of damage every pulse and when it expires it will spread to any fellowship members that are nearby. You cannot use a pot on this DoT so it is important to call out who has it so they can move away from the rest of the group. You can tell you have received this DoT when there is a bunch of blue icicles at your feet. 

The main difference between the Tier I and Tier II difficulty at this point in time is that in Tier II, Coldbear throws some extra debuffs out there like a severe movement speed debuff (-75%) and and a debuff that takes away all of the victim's block, parry, and evade stats. (Lotro-Wiki, March 2011) He also drops a wound that does damage over time (I can't remember if this is in Tier I)  that you can use a wound pot on.

The Second Bear Phase (Tier II Only): Once you burn Coldbear down to roughly half of his health, he will whine briefly (his morale goes green at this point) and then will start fighting again. He now drops a very nasty and painful DoT that does a large amount of damage per pulse (cannot be cured).  You can tell you have received this DoT when there is a bunch of blue icicles at your feet. As soon as someone gets this DoT let the healer know! The victim needs to distance himself/herself from everyone else because the it can spread upon expiry. The healer will need to focus on keeping the victim alive through this DoT. From what I've heard, Runekeepers can use 'do not fall to frost' on this DoT. Also, the victim being healed should help out by using a morale pot or a self-heal if they can. You also have to deal with the damage-reflect shield until you down this phase. 

The Ghost-Bear Phase: After you kill Coldbear for the first time his spirit now takes his place. Coldbear no longer uses his damage-reflect shield at this point but does some other interesting things. He will randomly sap someone's power and stun people close to him. In the corners of the room there is wights frozen in their icicles. In this phase if you get to close to them they will break out and start attacking. You can avoid all of the wights if no one goes near them. Pay attention, do your job, and communicate.... you will conquer.

Leave a comment if you feel I missed something or if you found the post helpful.
Keep your stick on the ice,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

To Those Icy Shores

Last night was the third time I've had a chance to log in to LOTRO and actually play since the update. It was a pretty fun evening because I got to run the Glacier Fortress in all it's entirety (Tier 1). I really loved the instance. The boss fights were interesting with some fun mechanics, the core group I ran it with was really helpful and full of communication which made our wipes more bearable, and I loved the atmosphere and animations in the dungeon itself. Because we ran it on Tier 1 difficulty the loot was not impressive at all but most of the group was new to the fortress so it was good just to get a general feel of the fights.

So far with what little I've experienced in the Echoes of the Dead update I'm pretty impressed. Although the glff is more full of crap than ever and theres some people ranting about how they hate the changes and what not, I think the LOTRO experience got a breath of fresh air with Update 2. The people in my kin seem to be having fun again helping each other out and learning the new content. It seems like more people are online more often and it's just nice to see. I know I am more optimistic than the average person but I think I have good cause to believe that the update was a good step forward for LOTRO.

Currently I am taking a break from my Russian History paper and watching some Hockey Night in Canada so depending on when I finish it, I will post an article on my run through the Glacier Fortress of Sari-Surma. However, it's looking like it won't happen until late Sunday night or early Monday morning. So check back soon! Thanks for stopping by On Distant Shores! If you have any comments please leave them below, if you want to read more from me in the future you can subscribe to my feeds in the column to the right.

Keep your stick on the ice,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Legendary Item Update

The new relic combination interface
Monday afternoon I had some time to log in and briefly glance over the new legendary item changes before I had to make the transition from school to work. My initial impressions are that they are incredibly awesome! Well at least more awesome than what the current relic situations and legendary items were like before Update 2. I did run an instance later that night (as seen in my previous post) but I haven't been in LOTRO since. I know theres a certain population of the LOTRO community that doesn't agree with some of the changes, but there is always going to be that disapproval. From a (mostly) casual gamer's point of view the changes are a huge help to getting those higher end relics. It doesn't seem so linear, restrictive, and random which is a big deal for me. 

The new refining feature
You actually have some pick in what you receive or you can still combine some relics to get the higher tier ones. You can choose to refine your relics into shards which can be used as currency to gain new relics, legendary item scrolls, or even unidentified third agers. This is my favorite change to the system by far! Sometimes when you refine relics you  receive item xp runes which are a nice surprise as well. This is an added bonus because item xp runes can now be used on all legendary items regardless of their level. You also can combine relics to get a desired one of the same tier. This part of the system is vital in getting the highest and most sought after relics. I haven't had a chance to look at the legacy pools and what not but it sounds mostly positive.

While I was waiting for our group to find a tank for The Lost Temple I was trying desperately to get my way through the volume 3 epics to catch up to where they've just added more. You can get a pretty cool golden armour piece as well as a level 65 second age legendary item. Hopefully sometime in the future I can post about the new book 3 content and at the same time try out some of the new hunter stuffs. I really didn't pay to much attention to the changes while I was running the instance, I just ran my rotation like normal and my DPS was still pretty good.

A crowd gathers at the legendary relic and forge masters in the 21st hall Monday afternoon

Also I apologize for those who use Google reader. On Monday I double posted the Lost Temple guide because of some issues with the blogger rich text editor and weird color problems. Sorry that you got two. This happened because once you publish an article it does not leave the RSS feed.  Anyways, thanks for stopping by On Distant Shores…

Keep your stick on the ice,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Lost Temple: Part One

Tonight I had the opportunity to run The Lost Temple with some random players from my server. I only stayed until we killed the first bosses but it was fun and not too incredibly difficult. For those who don’t know, you can find The Lost Temple north of Thorenhad which is in the Trollshaws (correct me if I’m wrong).  We had both an experienced minstrel and an experienced guardian with us so it was very smooth sailing mostly. None of us had done it before and only one fellowship member had seen a video of the instance briefly. So for the most part, we threw together strategies on the fly. I did manage to take some sub-par screenshots here and there but I forgot to take the fellowship’s names off and most of them didn’t turn out so good. I will probably upload some better screenshots in the future. Also the screenshots are on the very-low graphical setting because my computer doesn’t process group content very well.

This post will be part one of a quick-reference guide to overcoming and decimating the foes that take residence inside the temple from the perspective of a lowly hunter. I know I’m not a very experienced player as far as dungeons go but I’ll do my best to briefly explain what went on inside the instance…
Before you actually go into the instance, I recommend picking up both fear and disease pots, this is pretty much essential. As far as group make-ups go, the only class I highly recommend bringing is a lore-master; both for crowd control and being a power battery. Our group make-up was as follows: two hunters, a guardian, a lore-master, a rune-keeper, and a minstrel.  Our fellowship maneuver for the trash mobs was ‘wings of the windlord’ but we only got it off a few times. This was because I misread the fellowship maneuver assignment and kept missing my turn. Oops, sorry again guys…

The first few trash-mob fights were fairly straightforward. All we did was focus on one target and burn them down. I don’t know which fight exactly, but eventually you run across certain humanoids called Acolytes of Pestilence. These guys drop some mean diseases which increase your power costs. We chose to burn them down first and then proceed killing everyone else. Hooray Killing! After you defeat the enemies in the fight pictured above, the next fight yields an Enslaved War-Troll as well as an acolyte in addition to the mercenary looters you’ve been encountering already. Have the lore-master cast stun immunity on the tank and then proceed in administering the annihilation of the troll followed by the Acolyte of Pestilence and then the others. 

Basically, just watch for diseases and keep an eye on your raid-assists; very simple dungeon behavior. Do AOE roots as much as possible, this will help out immensely The last trash fight before the bosses just had an additional acolyte so it was nothing all that special. Burn down the troll, burn down the acolytes, and then the rest! I never timed us, but this didn’t feel like it took too long to arrive at this spot. If you stay true to your class's role, all will be well. Communicate and change fellowship maneuvers if need be.

The boss fight is pretty interesting. The two siblings, Angaidh and Sidhag block the door that leads into the depths of the temple. Therefore, they must be vanquished by your fellowship! This fight can be a little tricky but good communication, some fear pots, and prolonged dps can lead you to victory. After a few tries and a bunch of deaths later we finally worked out a strategy that worked. The tank gets their threat on Angaidh and pulls him away from his sister Sidhag. When they are in close proximity they do more damage to you so keeping them apart is crucial. The tank pulled Angaidh to the opposite side where you come through the gate. The rest of us just dealt as much damage as we could to Sidhag. The other hunter ran in strength stance so she tanked Sidhag. Sidhag is a ranged boss that throws out fears that increase your incoming shadow damage by 100%. This is bad; use your pots whenever available.  She also gives you a nasty eye-fear that does some impressive shadow damage as well. Whenever the eye pops above your character (look to your debuffs as well) run away from her until it disappears. This should happen when you are out of her range. 

The fellowship estimated that every 40,000 damage or so Andaigh drops threat and runs to his sister to heal her. It sounded like this heal could be interrupted so do that whenever possible. We decided to switch targets and focus on Andaigh for awhile to stop the healing (at least I’m pretty sure). So when we burned the brother down enough and Sidhag dropped threat we switched back to her. Keep them apart as much as possible! Once you can properly coordinate the reacquisition of the appropriate threat, the fight is not that bad. For fellowship maneuvers we went pure of heart for the first and as the fight started to drag on we started doing all blues for our drained power pools. The lore-master was constantly supplying the other hunter and me with power (more so the other hunter because she was in strength stance and I was in precision stance). This is not a quick fight so be prepared for power problems.

I hope this initial guide helps people out or sheds some light on The Lost Temple if you’ve never ran it before. If you have anything to add or clarify just add a comment below. Same thing goes if you have any questions! Thanks for stopping by On Distant Shores!

Keep your stick on the ice,