Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Glacier Fortress of Sari-Surma: Part One

Introduction

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,
           -Garrison

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,
            -Garrison

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,
              -Garrison






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,
             -Garrison

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Calm Before The Storm

I was lucky enough to have a letter of mine that I sent to the Casual Stroll To Mordor team read in their podcast about my blog. As a result of this, I’ve had a increase in readership and for that I am grateful. I just wanted to thank Merric and Goldenstar for the exposure and advice! It is much appreciated! Also I would like to thank the wonderful people in CSTM’s live podcast chat-room the other night for their support and advice as well (especially Sidarin and Xusia).  You guys are awesome.

I didn’t spend very much time tonight in-game; instead I was just reading up on various patch notes before they go live. Of course new content comes out right when I’m about to start the busiest time of the semester at school, but that’s just how it goes I guess…  I am excited, my hunter gets some refreshing changes but I’m not really going to give my opinion on them until I actually spend time with the update. Same thing goes with the legendary item changes and the new instances. Tonight was just the calm before the storm for me. I have a busy looking week but I promise to have some posts up by Wednesday on the new legendary item changes and the hunter changes.


However, tonight I did work on leveling Talmidim and so that time was spent in Angmar and the Misty Mountains. He was at level 40 when I started the evening and by the end he fell short of level 41 by one xp bar. Not the most productive evening I’ve had in LOTRO and I think it was because I was doing quests that were 2 -3 levels higher than Talmidim's. The wargs in Fasach-Larran were tough to take two on at a time so I had to kill each individually, same with the bears and assorted beasts in the Misty Mountains.  I only managed to do a couple of the quests from Aughaire before I realized I needed to go somewhere else that was more viable to quest in. The Misty Mountains didn’t prove a whole lot better but I did a few quests there anyways. As a champion I love to pull multiple mobs at the same time so I can throw out some AOEs... but that wasn't possible tonight and it was a little lame. 

With that being said, the future is bright for Talmidim! Soon I will be able to put on the level 42 critted heavy armour set that I bought in the auction hall for a decent price and head to Forochel to get him to 45. From there I will take him to the walls of moria to visit the Hollin Gate and introduce him to the Watcher (heh-heh). Who knows what I'll do after I get that done. It is all dependent on how much time I actually spend on Garadson in the new content. Hopefully the new instances are incredibly fun and they will be rewarding to run over and over again. If not, Talmidim's hammers will be ready for some more beast clobbering.

For you new readers out there, thank you for visiting “On Distant Shores”! I plan on posting at least 3 times a week, so if this is something you would like to follow please subscribe to my feed on the right-hand side of the page or leave a comment. One last thank you to those who have already subscribed or commented on the previous posts, thanks for reading!

Keep your stick on the ice,
            -Garrison

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Questing in Enedwaith: Part One

The other night I did some of the initial quests from Echad Dagoras on my hunter but didn’t get too much done. Tonight I made it my goal to finish them and I did just that. I stormed through the valleys and rocky outcrops scouring for wildmen and those annoying shadow-wolves while also looking out for the caches of supplies that the Grey Company had left behind. Those quests did not take me very long and soon I was off to the Black Dens in a very positive attitude. I waltzed to the top of the dens and killed the elite wolf there with relative ease. I then proceeded into the cave next to the elite and was tasked with putting out a bunch of creepy looking shadow torches. I thought to myself:

“9 lanterns to extinguish you say? This will be quite a cinch!”

Wrong.

I think it took me over half-an-hour to complete. This was because of these factors:

  1. ·I was too stubborn to look at the cave’s map. Why? I have no clue.
  2. · I felt like I was running in circles. Mostly because I was; I came back to the entrance on multiple occasions.
  3. ·Respawning shadow-wolves. I had to kill the same ones over and over trying to find the ninth and final torch.
  4. · I had an additional quest to look for a Grey Company cache inside the dens.  I was still looking for this terribly placed cache which turned out to be pretty much in the middle of the entire network of caves ( I must of passed it a bunch of times before I found it) even after I extinguished all the torches! Stupid rangers . . .
  5. · 20k morale elite shadow wolves! Immune to bard's arrow and they always found me while I was fighting other shadow-wolves, all I could do was run away... (at least you could run away from them easily)

And rejoicing resounded throughout Middle-Earth
I was not a happy camper by the time I found that ranger cache. I even used my desperate flight skill just to leave the caves.  I blame tonight’s stupidity on me being tired/playing so late at night and not because I’m actually a terrible strategist or cave-explorer (but I’ll let you be the judge of that). So in conclusion, find a buddy or a random person AND THEN go in the black dens, it will make your life a little less depressing. However, it’s definitely soloable and if I can do it I bet you can too!

I've now moved Garadson to the next hub of quests in Echad Saeradan where I’m sure more embarrassing adventures will ensue. If you enjoyed this post or want to read more of my misadventures in the future you can subscribe to my feed in the column to the right or comment below the post!





And now... Part Two


Keep your stick on the ice,
          -Garrison






Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Instances? Yes Please.

I am honestly getting anxious for the release of the Echoes of the Dead update on the 21st because I have never been at the end-game before when new content has been released. My hunter, Garadson, is silently waiting for the update to go live. Ever since I read the hunter developer diary a few weeks back I’ve shelved Garadson for the release of the new content. I figure I would wait and see what the new gear (both loot and barter) from the new instance cluster would yield me instead of grinding for items that would now be obsolete (hopefully). I am part of a large kin on the Nimrodel server called the Sons of Durin. They run everything; we have multiple raid groups and many different kin pickup-groups form for multiple instances several times a week. I assume that finding a group to run any of the new instances will be fairly easy the first couple days and I’m excited to take on the new challenges.  I’m also assuming that the general population of gamers will have not tried the new instances on the Bullroarer test server so wipes and confusing situations will present themselves because of inexperience. I plan on taking a bunch of screenshots and even maybe putting together quick-reference guides to the instances that I will be able to do when Update 2 launches. The great thing about being a hunter in instances (at least for me) is to be able to observe the fights from a distance without being to incredibly busy. Sure, we do some crowd-control every now and then and maybe some poison removal but for the most part, we plaster our foes with as many arrows as possible. So I can watch the fights and better understand the mechanics and strategies that present themselves. This is why the hunter is a great beginner class. With that all being said, I’m sure I’ll do fine in my fellowships and we will persevere to get those new loots!

As far as the new hunter updates are concerned . . . I have no idea what I’ll do as far as both skill rotations and traits are concerned. I feel that will definitely be a blog post all on its own. If you want to see those posts in the future, or just love my awesome screenshot skills (heh-heh), please feel free to subscribe to my feed or leave a comment!


Keep your stick on the ice,
            -Garrison

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When In Doubt . . . Skirmish!

Talmidim Elvellon and his skirmish companion
Today I was working on my champion Talmidim and I’m kind of at that point where you are stuck between zones. I just finished questing in Evendim so it was time to help some poor folks out somewhere else in Eriador. I decided to help the Earth-Kin in the Ram Duath by collecting some spider-silk and killing the typical orc; you know, the usual. After I finished those quests I just hit level 39 and with it a little dilemma showed itself. From what I remember it is a lot easier to do the Aughaire quests in your early 40’s and Forochel is also in that range along with Volume One: Book 5 and the rest of the Misty Mountains. I hate the Trollshaws quests so I dare not delve into those so I turned to a little motto of mine . . . “When in doubt, skirmish!” Because I only skirmished tonight I thought I would share some of my thoughts about why I think the skirmish system was a great addition to LOTRO. Bear in mind, I’m not particularly experienced with skirmishes and still playing around a bit with the system. It’s only been since I’ve started leveling Talmidim that I have been paying better attention to them.
'Gotta finish up those AOE class deeds!

Skirmishes in my mind are a great alternative to questing. When you hit level 20 and do the skirmish tutorial along with another skirmish you can pretty well gain a level and a half.  From levels 20 through 30 the amount of experience you earn from skirmishes definitely tops that of questing. Although you are limited to three skirmishes from level 25 to 30 (provided you are VIP) just doing the dailies every time you throw down a session can give you a considerable leveling boost. This does however bring about the problem of missing certain deeds because you are out-leveling the areas. For me though, this speed leveling is certainly worth it. If you are working on your first character however, I recommend that you spend more time questing than skirmishing just because you can do the skirmishes at whatever level you want. If you out-level an area, you totally miss some really amazing locations, cool quests, and other immersive things that skirmishes can’t provide. After level 30 you feel the experience from the skirmishes starting to decrease in relation to quest experience. I definitely spent 90 per cent of my time after level 30 questing.  Basically, from level 30 on, in my opinion, questing is definitely the way to go with skirmishing being the fallback. Later on you tend do use skirmishing for some if it’s other bonuses rather than the base experience you gain from them.
I love the purchasing power of skirmish marks
                The thing that is really great about skirmishes is that the time spent doing them can never be counter-productive. Skirmish points can buy you pretty much anything you could possibly need in LOTRO. From critical success materials to major class items (thank God!).  They help you finish slayer deeds without having to actually travel to that zone, although it may be a gradual grind to finish the deed exclusively doing it through the skirmish. You can practice rotations, threat dropping/generating, and generally get a better understanding of your class in a very controllable setting. I feel that skirmishes offer a great way to work on class traits because you fight all types of enemies in different quantities and qualities. You can throw out some pretty sick AOEs on a group of weaker mobs or work on your single-target skills like “merciful shot” (hunter) on those lieutenants because they have some more health to burn down.  At end-game, you can just farm skirmish marks for things like legendary item scrolls or class items to sell in the auction-hall. You can never go wrong doing the skirmishes whether you are doing them for in-game monetary gain, practice, or just to get you to that next level.

This is what was on my mind tonight while I was clobbering goblins in the face with Talmidim's incredibly large hammers. If you enjoyed this post or have something to add please comment below or subscribe if you want to read more from me in the future!


Keep your stick on the ice,
           -Garrison




Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Genesis of my LOTRO career.

Like many people, I fell in love with the Lord of the Rings after I watched Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring. I went through a phase of Tolkien obsession. I eventually managed to stumble upon the development of Middle-Earth Online. I never really played RPGs and never had touched an MMORPG let alone knew what they even were. MEO intrigued me; I liked the idea of being your own character in a persistent world. I decided that it would be cool to be a Ranger of the North type of character. A rugged bowman that is also skilled with the blade. However, MEO drifted from memory and I moved on . . .

Garadson Elvellon. Hunter, Level 65
In 2008 I was growing tired of my first-person shooters (I was and still am a dedicated Battlefield fanatic, both console and pc.). I don’t recall how I came across it, but I discovered LOTRO for the first time. After a trial-account setup and an overnight of downloading I was in. When I chose my server I had no idea what I was actually doing. I thought that when I chose Nimrodel, that’s where I would begin my character; under the mallorn trees of Lothlórien. I soon discovered that I was bound to the players of Nimrodel forever. When creating my character I remembered my old desire to play the rugged ranger so Garadson of Gondor the Hunter was birthed. I was incredibly inexperienced. I specifically remember getting to level 14 and trying to solo the Othrongroth instance at the end of Book One just before my trial account expired. For some reason I never felt compelled to really study stats or skills. I always played by myself, never looking for help even when I needed it. I was playing LOTRO as an MMORPG without the MMO part . . .


Talmidim Elvellon. Champion, Level 38.
After my trial account expired I had to take a break from electronics because I was leaving to work at a camp as a senior cabin leader. After those two long and fulfilling months I returned home and to LOTRO. I renewed my account and continued my adventures in middle-earth. The scale of the game excited me; never had I played a game so open and so full of exploration. When I made it to the lone-lands I got an invite from an officer of the Sons of Durin, a very old and very populated kinship on Nimrodel. I accepted the invite and still am in SoD to this day. The people of SoD were super helpful so I became a little more open to having interaction with other players.  I became more experienced and learned a little more about the mechanics of game. I was working on earning the last few pieces of my Fem armour set when the Mines of Moria expansion came out. Eventually I ventured through the Hollin Gate and into the deep dark of Moria. Moria taught me my class quite well. The confined spaces and the somewhat large density of mobs showed me how to maximize my skills. The first end-game instance I ever did was the Grand-Stair (original I know). I was level 58 and starting on the Lothlórien quests when someone in the kin asked for some DPS for Igash on hard-mode. I took a leap and said that I’d go. Sure enough we downed Igash and I won the roll for the radiance barter coin as well as got the cloak: Jubut-Rud and an off-hand sword. I was pretty excited, it was the first time I tasted that sweet end-game loot and I wanted more. Over the coming month I ran many of the Moria instances many times over but never was successful in obtaining any rad gear other than my boots. Summer came again and I went down to California with my family for a few weeks taking a break from LOTRO in the process.

Garduil's Beginnings.
When I came back I bought a new laptop for university and started my first serious alt: Garduil of Lórien (I was growing bored of my hunter). Garduil was a warden and for the most part I enjoyed the class. I took it upon myself to get him to end-game by the end of the month before I was off for my first year of University. I was going at a pretty good rate blasting through he content which took me forever the first time. When I got to level 31ish I ran Garth Agarwen for the first time ever. The guardian that was tanking for us soon became a leveling buddy of mine and his girlfriend joined us at level 35ish. It was their first time through the game so I drew on my little experience to guide us through the rest of the content. I got Garduil to level 51 before I had to go to university. When I got to university I discovered that they had some serious firewalls and some lame internet rules in my residence so I was forced to take an extended break from LOTRO. I was dismayed to learn that Siege of Mirkwood had been released in my absence. I was out of touch when I started playing again in the spring. I got my warden to level 62 when I realized that the class wasn’t doing me any good. I was terrible at tanking, partially because my computer lagged a lot and every instance I seemed to join there was always a 65 tank that was willing to do it. So I never really got into my warden’s end-game responsibilities.
Garduil the Valiant. Warden, Level 62

So that brings me to now. I’ve taken some time off LOTRO here and there; I have my hunter now at 65 who now is somewhat decently geared. I conned my roommate to join since free-to-play so I have some characters around level 30 because of him. I started getting serious about leveling my champion: Talmidim who is now at level 38 and just finished questing in Evendim. My warden is still sitting at level 62. I myself have since about a month ago started to listen to Merric and Goldenstar’s “A Casual Stroll to Mordor” which has refueled my drive to play LOTRO. They also have been an inspiration for this little blog that is sitting in the corner of the internet. I look to post in the future opinions and views on things coming up in LOTRO as well as my experiences in-game. Maybe some tips, discoveries, or funny happenings that seem to find their way into my game-time will make it on here as well. If you happen to run into me on the Nimrodel server, don't be shy and send me a tell!



Keep your stick on the ice,
 -Garrison.