Friday, 25 December 2009

When the ex-b is coming to town...

...I guess we should catch up.
I'll be looking for a date opportunity extensively.

In Love (again)!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Siege of Mirkwood: First Impressions

I must say that despite my pre-launch lack of optimism, I am overall very, very pleased. Finally, after a year spent in damp, sultry dungeons of Moria - I can now roam in the wilderness! What's more, in my natural habitat of gloomy, gothic-fairytale forest filled with haunted ruins, graveyards, towers of black sorcerers and roamed by the spirits of dusk xD I trully feel like in one of Tim Burton's movies and I am loving it.

Also, one more item has been added to my Residences to Buy Once I become a Dark Queen, aside of Barad Gularan: Dol Guldur!
I would be having a really hard time deciding which would become my Main Residence, if it was not for the whole awesomeness that is Mirkwood to accompany the latter. And the awesome Dark Gothic Castle Tower on the South edge of Dol Guldur. I am totally in love.

I've also enjoyed the storyline immensely. I laughed at how silly elves and dwarves are thinking any Servant of the Enemy would fairly trade one of his own kind for Freep prisoners in their custody... And when 6 Elves (including me) and a Dwarf show at their stronghold's gates. Stronghold! Of the Enemy! LOADS OF FORCES! 7 Freeps! Even just looking at the encounter, contra 3 Nazguls, one Master Sorcerer Black Numenorian, several elite Archers, at least 3 Trolls and others..!
I still LOL thinking about it ^^

My pessimism about Skirmishes also proved (mostly) void. They are fun and not that grindy (unless you want them to be). I must say I quite enjoy the stories behind them and their random encounters. It's hard for me to appreciate them in solo mode however - it's dull, slow and Soldier's AI is a horror, but let's face it: I don't enjoy any solo aspect in MMORPG and AI is always a weak side of any game, so this point is negable.
In a fellowship however, the whole experience is simple awesome. The difficulty lever I encountered so far is fair (maybe aside from the Grims - WHY GRIMS, Devs, WHY?), rewards are decent.

But it's not all roses, of course.
For starters, some quests are extremely annoying to do, like the one when you have to kill 5 Huorns on the swamp, while there are 4 hostile in total, respawning every few minutes... (I'm so glad me and Rhy rushed to keep ahead of the crowds!)
Or 3 quests - regular quest line, epic book one and repeatable daily of great importance, of which the last one requiring 25 mob drops - all require killing same mob type in same place. In other words, there's no danger from spiders there anymore, because there are no spiders to be seen anywhere near. Only extremely annoyed players, some of them behaving highly unethically...

New mount system is an extreme relief for my storage, but brings on some annoyance while usage. The [Dismount] button is no more, instead to dismount players need to right-click on mount vitals and select appropriate option. Or bind this mount to a skillbar and use the skill. First option is not handy, second option only works to dismount from a mount summoned by used skill.
Unfortunately, Developers regarded lore as bendable enough to squeeze Rune-keepers in, but were not flexible realistically thinking enough to let horses be trained to enter Moria. Which means that for ease of use of two mount types (because I shall not be seen on a goat unless it can't be helped!) I'd need to sacrifice yet another skillbar slot (which is impossible, because I am already lacking those) or switch mount skills whenever I enter/exit Moria (also impossible because I have better things to do). Can I has my [Dismount] button back please?

While new mount system was a relief for my storage, along with the awesome Shared Storage feature, any gains due to those two were basically negated with the amount of Barter Items that came with SoM (and before). Skirmishes are especially to blame in here with the huge amount of (rarely dropping) Marks/Exclusive Campain Drops. At least Skirmish Points seem to stack indefenetly... but the rest is still a pain. Add 3-4 stacks of Bronze Feathers/Silver Branches, some Gold Leaves/Stars, Lothlorien Medalions and hell, I need to keep everything on my mules because my Storage is more full that it was before the Landing!

Oh, and about the annoyance that is Landing deeds... I really, really hope Turbine/Codemasters will do something about "Mirkwood Landing" deed that is (or was) uncompletable due to one of the quest chains being "disabled due to performance reasons" (or something along these lines). At least it doesn't grant a title or I would cry like a baby hobbit, but it's extremely annoying to come across a deed like that that can't be completed later on. I don't want this incapacitated deed in my Log! Complete it for me or delete it, but I don't want it there!

Returning to Barter Items for a bit, I absolutely love the fact that now everyone in the Raid gets a little reward from each and every boss chest. Unfortunately, while this distribution worked in 3/6 man instances, it fails in a full raid due to the chest loot mechanism. Only one person can be looking into the chest at any given time, which means that the whole raid needs to queue up for their reward. Barely noticeable with 3 people, hardly annoying with 6, extremely irritation with 12. How about putting those on boss' body so everyone can pick them at the same time?

And about raids - yes, the radiance gating is regrettably still there and doesn't seem to be going away. I wish I knew a way to force some sense into Turbine Devs, unfortunately I don't, nor most of the community seems to have any influence over this. Argh.

Now to get my Gothic Loremaster out into the Gothic Woods xD

I will add some screenshots to illustrate this post later. I couldn't hold it up any longer after writing it for two days!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Dangerous Woods

Another one that waited for months before I finally forced myself to blog about it - and only succeeded because in two days it would make no sense whatsoever...

...the horrifying woods of Mirkwood. Do not enter alone, actually - do not enter at all. Stay on the other side of the river, in the Fairy Land.
I managed to sneak a peek a few weeks ago, but it was a scary - and gray - experience. I hope those guys will go attend Dol Guldur dance courses or Tea Parties before Thursday!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The Birds

Suspense and shock beyond anything you have seen or imagined!

The Birds

It could be the most terrifying motion picture I have ever made!

The Birds

The Birds is coming!

Heh, that's exactly what I was thinking when me and my faithful bodyguard had this encounter in Eregion's forgotten Libraries. Pure Hitchcock!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Trolls and other d*cks

Guild Wars on the hold again. If I wanted to play a solo game, I'd play one. If I'd want to play an Assasin, I'd make one my main. And I really don't want to get near - even virtually near - some serious d*cks.

Anyway, lets get back to trolls.
I simply love some of those easter eggs left by devs here and there. Bridge troll... patrolling on a bridge.... and next to him, his chest of goodies... LOL.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Our Mrs. Reynolds

I am like months overdue with my posts in here...
This one, for example, should have been made... 6 months ago, during the Summer Festival. Oh well, hate me - better late than never, I guess.

Any Firefly fans out here? No? Shame on you! One of the best, most ingenious SF series tehre ever were (and a proof that true value doesn't equal popularity and/or commercial success, unfortunately).
Apparently though, at least one Turbine Dev is a Firefly fan and has provided us with Saffron's Lipstick during the Festival. A cheap fan imitation though, I am afraid, because it doesn't knock people unconscious...

If you did not understand the joke, go get Firefly TV series NOW! You will not regret it, I promise!
Unless you get yourself a cinematic that is, wasn't very good at all...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Being pessimistic...

...about Siege of Mirkwood. A lot.
I've been looking at it's development _closely_ and from a privliged point of view for a few months now and... well, as the title says.

I'm extremely disappointed in the fact that Dev's refused to acknowledge feedback about raid gating and the tool they decided to gate them with (radiance) itself.

I'm also really fed up with the fact that the new update (I refuse to call it an expansion) seems to depend solely on Skirmishes. New skills (at least new Hunter port skills)? Farm Skirmishes for barter items.
Legendary items? Same.
Cosmetics? Same.
Lvl 50 class quest items? Same.
No believe? Check the Bullroarer screens of Skirmishes rewards that are all over the forums. Or read latest WarCry DevChat transcript.
Skirmishes Deeds? Enormous grindfest. Remember Council of the North battles? How many of you done it dozen of times? And Battle of Lorien? How many of you are "of Victory"...? Let me bet, it was boring to do it over and over... Well guess what, that's 80% of what's coming with Siege of Mirkwood, just worse. Mind dumbling, neverending grind of same stuff.

Sure, it's extremely fun when you do it for the first time. It's entertaining when you do it the second time. Than you start wishing you were at work.

Wake the fuck up, Turbine.
The only reason I'm still playing your annoying game that breaks almost every rule of the "Commandments to be a good game" is because I enjoy playing with my boyfriend. I just can't wait 'till I can lure him out to play something DECENT.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Halloween 2009


Kamadan Halloween '09 mask is, I guess, one of the best so far. LA's not even worth mentioning, at least not now.

Happy Halloween!
Don't forget to do UW quests, they're fun, different, new and rewarding!

PS. Only after I decided to prepare the SS for posting I realized I didn't have AA on. Darnn.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

There's a paragraph for this

Concerning the Codemasters SoM "promotion".
Not only we are not getting any offer comparable to the one US gets.
Their offer is: if player has any multi-month plan by October 31, his accounts gets upgraded with Siege of Mirkwood FREE, while the regular price is 19.99$; not available to Lifetimers tho.
Lifetimers get SoM for free if they buy Adventurer’s Pack.
In other words, if you're a Lifetimer of have any multi-month plan, you pay just 19,99$

Now, offers for Europeans don't include this promotion at all. We always have to buy both.
That's sad, as we always seem to pay more for less, but that's not the funniest part. Math is.

Standalone expansion costs £14.99/€19.99
Adventurer's pack goes for £4.99/€6.99

Special edition however - expansion plus pack - was priced as £19.99/€27.99, while the only difference between it and buying the two products separately is a new, unique mount (another goat)

£14.99+£4.99=£19.98 (notice the extra penny missing)
€19.99+€6.99=€26.98 (notice the extra ONE EURO and a cent missing)

Neither of the offers makes the darnn goat FREE, as advertised on Codemaster's site.
But while I can live with one penny (still unethical), everyone paying in Euros falls a victim to unethical, misleading commercial practices because they do, in fact, pay for the FREE goat the ammount of 1.01€

There's a paragraph for that.

of 11 May 2005
concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council
(‘Unfair Commercial Practices Directive’)
(Text with EEA relevance)
Misleading commercial practices
18. Passing on materially inaccurate information on market conditions or on the possibility of finding the product with
the intention of inducing the consumer to acquire the product at conditions less favourable than normal market
20. Describing a product as ‘gratis’, ‘free’, ‘without charge’ or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

When dreams come true

When I first saw Nian back in 2007, I fell in love. While still playing Guild Wars, I always dreamed that one day, a Miniature Nian will be introduced for me to be able to carry it around with me all the time.
I must say I am wondering if some Dev was peeking on my blog and decided to grant my wish? Because there it was - 3rd birthday purple miniature!
If that is so, thank you!

(That's how my baby looks when he's pissed off)

I only have one problem with my Nian (whom I think I'll be calling Shiro) - he doesn't match any of my regular outfits :(

Saturday, 3 October 2009

To Do List before I leave

  • finish all non-repetable quests with my Mes
  • buy FoW gloves so i can finally have a full FoW
  • get more Tormented Weapons; actually, all 11 meaning that I need 6 5 more
  • get a Moss Spider in my Menagerie
  • get all animals in the Menagerie to lvl 20
  • achieve Legendary Defender of Ascalon
  • buy myself this mini Nian I'm dreaming of for years now
  • get all my characters to 20
  • get Asuran andpart of Deldrimor armor on my Rit
  • get Monument armor on my Assa
  • get Silver Eagle armor on my Warrior

That's quite a lot actually. But shouldn't take that long.
Pity i will have to do it all by myself, but that's how life goes, I guess.

Monday, 28 September 2009

The New

There's no better (although not always persistent...) cure for the pain than spending some money. It always works, at least temporary. So, I decided to finally do what I was planing to do for years, change Cherrie's name.

I was in much of a hurry creating my very first character in GW and I had no idea whatsoever how to name her.

I didn't get a feel of the community yet, I had no idea how totally awesome one can name their avatars. I liked 'Cherrie' back than, I found it a cute world play between 'Cheryl', 'Cherry' and 'Cherie'. And Rimbaud's book of poetry was just lying there on my desk.

I haven't come up with a good name for Cher 'till much later. Wasn't big of a fuzz so when I learned I can't rename her (seriously A-Net, what took you so long?! And for 13E, you reaping bastards?!) I just stuck with it.

But yesterday I decided that a tiny bitsy bit of spending might actually make me feel a little better, I'm a girl after all. So please wave goodbye to Cherrie!

...and give a warm welcome to the newly named Princess of Mesmers

I kinda regred that my PreS Mesmer got to be named Perilous Liaisons, but I am way too lazy to remake her and I'm not sad much enough to buy name swaps. And Parlous is even more cryptic, making more people reach for dictionaries, which suits me. Much!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Pulchritudinous Flight

Happiness is purple and sparkles and flickers.

I must admit I totally don't understand the amount of negativity GW community shows towards this promotion. So if you buy Aion now when the game launches, you will get a bonus in form of GW emote, a sparkly fluff. If you like it but don't plan to play Aion, it's not like NCSoft makes you buy the game - ask around, there surely be someone among your friends who doesn't plan on using the key. If you don't like it, than don't bother and give they key to someone else that does like it.
Because seriously, all those angry comments make me think of their authors as of people who'd love to have those wings, but can't spare money on Aion and can't think of another way to get the serial key.

Well, people, those wings were ment as gifts for players that supported NC Soft through both Guild Wars and Aion. It's that simple.

Did this promotion make me buy Aion?
No, I bought it way back in June because I was planning to play this game. Things changed since than and I'm ending up with a $80 worth of CE I'm not even gonna touch, but my mind was seriously made up.

Would this promotion make me buy Aion if I was undecided?
It would probably count as an argument, but it would depend on contr-argument.
Defenetly not at the moment, I'm a bit disgusted with Areteia farm-fest and the fail that is a head-start with 7h of login cue and so on and so forth. Will probably play a bit when and if it is possible to actually log in until my free month ends because the game looks simply a.m.a.z.i.n.g, but I don't see myself paying monthly fee for it.

Would this promotion make me buy Aion if I didn't want to play?

No. I would look for other ways of getting the bonus key, I have plenty of friends who plan to play Aion and never played Guild Wars or don't care about the emote.
If I wouldn't be able to obtain it from anyone I know, I would consider buying Aion CE in box, using up the bonus key, and selling off the CE in a year or more, depending on how the prices would look like.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Some more God(dess) rubbed in...

...because I like it, because I'm (kinda) proud, and because my gl asked me to snap something that would fit into the Pantheon on our guild website. He wanted one with my class' God in the background, but unfortunately there's not a single statue of Lyss in any place that looks good. Apart from pre-, but my Goddess can't go back there. So I came up with something else...

I've also decided to catch my fully litten up Hall of Monuments

During the session, my Nix insisted on joining

I must say I'm a bit puzzled as to what to do now as I don't really feel attached to any of my alts.
Thoughts of Guild Wars 2 make me consider filling up the Hall, but this would require a considerate amount of farming. I'm also not thrilled with the tough that I can only put one item of a kind in my Monument of Valor (at least for one character) - o I spend all my remaining savings to get 6 more Torments, and then assign them to Cher? Or split them among my alts (I will never play [much] anyway)? What about armors? Do I buy all elite armors thinking of benefits in GW2?

Aion WIN[gs]!

/aion command in Guild Wars

Discussion Thread
Response (John)09/16/2009 06:38 PM
Hi Cherrie,

Thank you for contacting us regarding the Guild Wars Aion Wings emote. While the exclusive emote was intended to be a promotion for retail packages, there has been plenty of feedback from customers such as yourself who prepurchased the game online. Because of this, we will be providing you with a Guild Wars Aion Wings Emote Access Key for your Guild Wars game account.

We will be providing you with your access key once this feature becomes live in-game. You will receive an update to this ticket with your key as we approach game launch.

Thank you,
NCsoft Account Support

Obviously, I'm extremely ^-^.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The new God(dess)

And so, my ascension is finally complete. After nearly two years of being inactive, I've decided to finally catch those loose ends and finish what was started.

I tough it will make me more proud...
Maybe it's the fact that it took the one title is deeply despite to do so?
Drunkard and Indomitable Ale Hound are just... disgraceful... It makes me feel ashamed that I had to go through it to "complete" my girl...

Now aall I need is a Nian, and a name change

...and /aion emote..! If i don't manage to get one, I'll become DEEPLY depressed.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

There can be only one Mistress...

...every usurper gets eliminated!

In other words, I've finally got to see the Mistress of Pestilence in person, and show her who really deserves the title (who is naturally not her; or was, rather).

She looks like a big, fat worm with arms; and a pair of very overgrown ones.
I don't overall like her design much... the only interesting parts are the green cysts looking like ornaments or even jewels on her overgrown body, but that's about it. There are regular mobs with more interesting design than her :/

But oh well. My get-them-all personality finally got fulfilled as I completer Surpressor of Pestilence. Somehow, I like collecting titles.

Notes: the picture is not made by me, unfortunately. I had insane graphics lag on the poison clouds phase - every time it would pop, I'd get something of 0 fps... I lowered my settings as much as I could to gain nothing... and I didn't feel like making a ss of single-colored blobs...
I'll try to correct that by stealing some SS from my bf.

The Mistress, Chapter III: The Betrayals

Hence somewhere between T.A. 2050 and T.A. 2900 Amarthiel regains her position as Champion of Angmar, now assigned to Mordrith, Regent of Angmar in the absence of the Witch King. For a long time, her position is stable – a champion, Angmar’s servant, Mordrith’s fetch-n-bring girl. Even deprived of Narchuil, her power is remarkable and she is able to use some magic when she assumes the form of Sara Oakheart (and later of other people she killed). There is a lot of desire for power in her, probably fueled by the fact that while she was captured by Laerdan, someone else took her place. Mordrith. We know she at least desired to overthrow him as she reveals in words You’ve done me a great favor in Carn Dum when players, led by Golodir, strike The False King down. She was actually on her way to his throne room, most certainly to steal the palantir in his possession, but who knows if not for something else as well? Not that Amarthiel doesn’t let her true feelings show before: while The False King resides in Carn Dum, she dwells in Barad Gúlaran, the tower of the Witch-King, true lord of Angmar. But before that happens, she’s a servant with some side projects, a leader her followers obey blindly. We know she is the one who orchestrates the summoning of Udunion, a Rogmul called forth in Barad Gúlaran: when she tricks heroes into meeting her in her tower, she approaches the Castellan saying that she brought two relics that will help calling the devil; one can only guess that she retrieved them from Garth Agarven (either Staff of Dark Shadows of Scroll of Ruin) and Fornost (probably the Horn of Arnor, lore-wise it would fit), with the help of the players…

After Mordrith is stricken down, Amarthiel takes his place as Regent of Angmar, with the blessing (and warning) of Sauron. She also sets out to reclaim her lost ring, Narchuil. She and Elrond race against each other, a race which Elrond wins and both halves are delivered securely to Rivendell. However they don’t stay there in relative safety but are reclaimed by Narmeleth’s father, Laerdan, who – while being captured by her forces – was bewitchered by her and led to believe that his daughter can only be freed from the shadow of Sauron and from the control of Amarthiel with the power of her lost ring reforged. And thus, Laerdan brings the pieces of Narchuil to Mirobel. With no more use for him, Amarthiel leaves him to die at the enterance of the forges, and herself restores Narchuil.
But she does not enjoy her regained power for long, for Mordrith enters the scene again, arriving to Mirobel on a Wyvern to reveal that Amarthiel has lost the favor of Sauron because her ambitions were reaching too far. Mordrith throws her down and offers Mordrambor, a Black Numenorian who players have encountered numerous times before and who was a traitorous servant of Champion of Angmar, a reward for his service – the ring Narchuil; Mordrambor cuts of Amarthiel’s hand and takes his reward of her finger, but before strikes her dead, Laerdan arrives and instead she is left alive, in misery, seeing her father die.
Elrod imprisons Amarthiel, who now claims to be her fair self again in Delossad. After Glorfindel, on his request, tests her heart and judges her intentions to be true. He also foresees that only her hand can strike Mordrith down. And again, he is right – with the help of the heroes of Eriador, against whom she before – as Amarthiel – have fought, and whom she used in her dark plots, she sets off against Mordrith. She reveals a secret passage to Mordrith’s chambers (something she might have found out as Amarthiel, while already plotting against him) and she deals him a killing blow with the very same sword Golodir has wounded The False King before.
And there, in Angmar, her story ends. Was that deed enough to redeem her for all the evil she has done..?

Monday, 10 August 2009

Radiance system working a bit different that asumed by most

Credit for this discovery goes to my guildie Tarinas who decided to check what rest of us assumed without proof about the radiance (former hope) system.

As it is true that the system rounds hope down to multitudes of 10, it is also true that dread is part of the same system and it is also rounded down, so contrary to popular belief, it's actually worth it to get all 3 parts of the Tier 1.5 gear.

Proof - also taken by Tarinas in Vile Maw (I think):

Friday, 31 July 2009

The Mistress, Chapter II: The Champion of Angmar

The next circa 3500 years*** in the story of Narmeleth are very vague. We know that Sauron broke her mind and we can suspect that the ring of power she forged for herself (either while still in Eregion, or after she left, which is either way irrelevant) , as linked to the One Ring, could have played a role in that (like the Nine Rings broke the Nine Kings until they became the Nazgul). When her spirit was broken and she herself became corrupted, Sauron named her Amarthiel. I would suspect that she was tied with the other Servants of the Rings and that she was present when the Witch-King founded Angmar at circa T.A. 1300. As her ring Narchuil was of a lesser power than the nine given to the kings of men, she was less powerful that the Nazgul were, but still she bore a great power which gained her the name Champion of Angmar. She was eager to fight even as Narmeleth (And father says I am not ready to fight in the wars. See how they fall before me!, as she comments to her elf friend in her session play), and so she probably did in the wars wrought by the Witch-King on the bidding of Sauron, until the Battle of Fornost, where the armies of Angmar were driven forth and Amarthiel, the Champion of Angmar, struck down.

Here comes the twist (kinda): at first we are led by Laerdan to believe that Narmeleth and Amarthiel are not the same person and that his daughter’s hand bore the sword that struck Amarthiel down, but Champion of Angmar’s malicious spirit was so powerful that it possessed his daughter. The first part of the story – the one I described above – player only learns much later. But as they are one – as Narmeleth herself claims and we know she does not lie because Glorfindel admits that he senses no lies in her words – Laerdan’s first version of the story can not be true.
What exactly happened is never revealed, we only know that Amarthiel was defeated and Laerdan took her captive with her ring. Maybe when Amarthiel catched a glimpse of her father in the heat of the battle it gave the spirit of Narmeleth strength to break from the spell temporary and surrender herself to him? This would mean that the first version of the story players get to know still holds a piece of truth – it would be Narmeleth that bested Amarthiel. This would also explain why Laerdan fell so easily for her decoy, when Champion of Angmar assumed the apperance of Narmeleth claiming that she managed to take over her evil spirit just for time long enough to tell him that if he gets Narchuil back to her, she could set free of it forever... After all, Laerdan would have seen her doing it before.

Whatever happened during the battle, only the outcome was certain. The army of the Witch King was driven forth in the pyrrhus victory of North in the Battle of Fornost and Laerdan captured Narmeleth barely recovered from under the control of Amarthiel as well as her ring Narchuil. Laerdan attempted to destroy it to set his daughter free from the shadows, but as the task was beyond him and he only managed to break it in two, he decided to secure the pieces in the best way he could. One f the fragments he gave to his friend, a warrior in King Earnur’s forces who will, after Earnur’s dissaperrance, serve his son Arvedui and perish with him in Forochel. The other half he kept himself.

Believing that Elrond would sentence his daughter to death and certain that only his love and care and her seclusion can recover his daughter from under the control of Sauron, Laerdan hid Narmeleth away in desolate area of Trollshaws. There, he locked her up in Sithad - now known as Delossad - assigning a long line of riverfolk (my guess, judging from Sara Oakheart’s appearance and from the fact that riverfolk – like hobbits – are resistant to corruption) as her guardians. He also hides his half of Narchuil there. Meanwhile Narmeleth shows little signs of recovery, often struggling between Amarthiel and her noble self and complaining that she doesn’t remember anything good and pure from the time before Sauron broke her mind – that she doesn’t remember flowers, only blood. This continue for a while, until one day, at the absence of Laerdan, Mordrith, a regent of Witch King, appears in Delossad and sets the Champion of Angmar free, allowing Amarthiel to take control of Narmeleth again. Out of malice, she kills her last guardian, docile Sara Oakheart and burns her cottage down.

The timeline for this event for not entirely clear – it had to happen between T.A. 2050 (this is when Eärnur, son of King Eärnil of Gondor shamed at Fornost accepts Witch-Kings challenge to duel and, as game-lore tells us, is captured, his spirit broken and he himself becomes Mordrith) and T.A. 3001 (when Frodo becomes the Ring-bearer). Actually at least a century before that, because the fisherman family in Trollshaws states that the remains of Sara Oakheart’s house were a ruin for as long as anyone can remember.

*** Rings were forged around S.A. 1900. Second Age Ended 3441, Battle of Fornost took place in T.A. 1974

Friday, 24 July 2009

The Mistress, Chapter I: Smith of too great skill

It’s hard for me even to start writing about Amarthiel because I feel that my word-smith skills are not sufficient to address a subject so complicated and so important for me. This piece lore, even though coming completely from Turbine, not only seems to fit perfectly into the puzzle of lore left by Tolkien, but also – at least in my humble opinion – is worthy of other works of the Master.

I also must admit that I got mesmerized by Amarthiel – I have a soft spot for villains in general and it grows even softer for beautiful, strong femme fatale. And the Lady in Red – well, she hit right into the bull’s eye… I can remember exactly the first time she sent a little shiver down my spine, long ago when my Silirien was still wielding a bow and when she first reached Fornost – and I didn’t even got to know her name back then, nor if she was anyone important. A shade of a traitorous warrior from the time of the Battle of Fornost mentioned a Champion of Angmar for whom he betrayed, using a she as a reference. I picked that line immediately, because the lore of Middle Earth is characterized by a strange absence of female characters.

The story evolved slowly, first as a background-lore of side quests and later taking over the main stream of epic books by storm. I also well remember the confusion once it turned out that both currents of the story seemed to differ from each other. But as I began to give the story more and more thought, I began to think that even if this difference was due to a mistake Turbine storywriters made, it didn’t compromise the tale, but in fact it gave it more depth. But I shall keep those remarks for later. I gave in into by boyfriend's plea to publish the story in chapters; maybe this will motivate me to elaborate a bit more on the story covered by epic books - I didn't see much need in going into details of something everyone can dig up easily and at first I simply concentrated on the facts hidden between the lines.
I'm also holding back an awesome character design made by Gorrem, it will make the last chapter.

The tale of Amarthiel begins in Eregion of the Second Age, where a Noldor* maiden by the Name of Narmeleth, daughter of Laerdan lived in Mirobel**. She was a Forge-Maiden (as Glorfindel refers to her when he tests her heart few thousand years later), a Smith of too great skill by the words of her father who, like many artisans of Eregion, fell under the spell of Sauron.
For somewhere in the around year 1900 of the Second Age, after recovering from the loss of his Master, Sauron initiated a scheme that he hoped would enable him to subjugate the Elves to his power. Assuming a beautiful appearance and calling himself Annatar "Lord of Gifts" (Antheron “Gift-lord” in game) Sauron befriended the Elven-smiths of Eregion, led by Celebrimbor, and counselled them in arts and magic. Some of the Elves distrusted him, especially the Lady Galadriel and Gil-galad, the High King of the Noldor. The Elves in Eregion, however, did not heed their warnings.
Among them was Narmeleth, who – as I dare to say, even though no direct hints to this have been given in the game lore – fell for him not only like an apprentice falls for the Master and his knowledge as he promised to show her how to make things not even the mind of Fëanor has imagined, but also like a woman falling for a man. How else would one break a woman’s spirit so completely, if not through love? Was there any other reason for Tolkien’s heroines to disobey their fathers to such extent, if not love? But in the end, the reasons are of lesser importance here. In her session play, we see Narmeleth sneaking out into the woods to meet Sauron, disobeying her father who already forbade her to speak with the Gift-lord – still in his beautiful appearance – secretly, but followed by Laerdan. After a confrontation, Narmeleth decides to leave with Sauron against her father’s wishes, and Laerdan doesn’t stop her. As I believe, they then set out for the Mount Doom in Mordor, because once Sauron left Eregion to forge The One Ring, he never returned: as soon as he wore the Ring, the Elves became aware of his true intent. While they are leaving, Sauron promises her that They shall begin her learning immediately - how bitter this sentence sounds! Narmeleth herself confesses in Book 15 Sauron took me away... and broke my mind…

* Not only were the elves of Eregion of the Noldor lineage, but also Narmeleth herself in her session play comments 'Dost thou see? No uruk can withstand the might of the Noldor!'
** Also in Narmeleth session play Laerdan urges her ‘Come, Narmeleth. We are returning to Mirobel at once!’

Monday, 20 July 2009

Lord of Gifts UPDATED!

Men he found the easiest to sway of all the peoples of the Earth; but long he sought to persuade the Elves to his service, for he knew that the Firstborn had the greater power; and he went far and wide among them, and his hue was still that of one both fair and wise. Only to Lindon he did not come, for Gil-galad and Elrond doubted him and his fair-seeming, and though they knew not who in truth he was they would not admit him to that land. But elsewhere the Elves received him gladly, and few among them hearkened to the messengers from Lindon bidding them beware; for Sauron took to himself the name of Annatar, the Lord of Gifts, and they had at first much profit from his friendship. (...)

It was in Eregion that the counsels of Sauron were most gladly received, for in that land the Noldor desired ever to increase the skill and subtlety of their works. (...)

J.R.R. Tolkien The Silmarillion

I have such a soft spot for villains *.*" Probably because they are usually way more interesting than the plain old borring good-guys... So yes, I totally understand how could Narmeleth fall for him, I would probably fall for him too...

I also find his outfit very interesting... those red adorns looks like blood flowing over him and certainly do make him look like a predator.

Some of you might wonder why is he not named Annatar in game - my guess would be it is due to the fact that Turbine doesn't own rights to Silmarillion, but they somehow wanted to point LotR fans towards the right track in Narmeleth's history.

Edit: A visit to the Forges of Mirobel payed off in us discovering this painting of the Gift-lord. One of the more remarkable pieces found in LotRO, if I may say so myself - the details are astounding. I love how the typical red-leafed trees of Mirobel look like flames behind Sauron... We can see (at least I believe so) the three rings of the Elves, but also - I guess - the One Ring already. But the elves were not aware of Sauron's intentions before One Ring was created...

I guess the writing on the wall paint would shed some more light on why and when it was created. I can't really decipher it well, I think the first word means something along the lines of "the one who creates and spreads jewels" or simpler "the creator and giver of jewels" and middle word "elf-friend" or "everyone's friend", but I'm not sure, neither I'm any sure of the last word which I translated as "story-teller". But if my very sturdy knowledge of elvish (and to think that I'm an elf!) are any good, this should indicate (the middle-word at least) that it was created before Sauron forged The One. And thus The One should not really be there on this wall ;)

And of course it's worth-wile to notice the dread - even if you don't know who he was, a mere reference to him gives you more dread than any elf-stone can cure!

Friday, 17 July 2009

A pot lid that had An Adventure

How this shield (or rather lid?) made it's way all overfrom the Shire and through Fornost not only to the Rift, but to the very Balrog's chest?

Concerning the Shire, Gandalf said to the dwarves at the very beginning of The Hobbit: Swords in these parts are mostly blunt, and axes are used for trees, and shields as cradles or dish-covers (...).
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Angarim Nomad by Jeff Murchie

I used to regard Angarim girls as the prettiest in game - before Amarthiel/Narmeleth, there was nothing that could compare with them; defenetly not the poor version of Arwen standing somewhere in Rivendell - at least they've done the poor soul a favor and they keep her somewhere out of sight... Angarim girls however have genuinely beautiful faces and very feminine outfits (how I envied them their dresses!). The design came from Jeff Murchie; he posted it on his blog over 2 years ago. It's fun to see (yet again!) how art department carefully reproduces the basic design into the actual game skin; the funniest part is the chain hanging at Nomad's belt - originally, it was purposeful and was meant as a handle for sword cover, but as NPCs in game simply hold their weapons in their hand or they magically dissapear, it became purely ornamental. Noone bothered to alter it in any way though, so it still looks like a sword-cover chain hanging there and waiting for the weapon... :)

Jeff Murchie's post with the design can be found here.

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Palantir of Fornost

Silirien and Rhyaewald payed a visit to Fornost recently. A pair of tourists lost in a big, unwelcoming city... I must say it was really fun, especially because I love exploring so much.

When we got inside the main tower, I got startled by an unusual view: in a spacious room, a large group of evil spirits was standing in circle, watching a construction in the center without a word.
The construction was in fact a pedestal, one I've seen in Middle-Earth several times before: in Annuminas, in Carn Dum... Palantir! But the pedestal was empty, ghosts were peering into nothingness.

I asked Rhy Did there used to be a Palantir in Fornost? He answered that yes, Arvedui brought the stone from Annuminas to Fornost when he fled the White City. I wanted to make a picture of the council of ghosts watching the pedestal, the sight was truly amazing, but before I had chance to do so, a patrol of spirits noticed us and as all ghosts in the room attacked us ferociously. The battle was long and hard, even for the pair of us, so experienced, because of the sheer number of enemies, but in the end we prevailed. Only than I got a chance to make a screenshot.

I do hope we will go there some day again so I can make the picture I really wanted!

But that experience got me thinking, and researching.
According to some internet Encyclopedia of Arda (I didn't have time to browse through books yet), two seeing stones 'took refuge' in Fornost. Long before this city fell (some 3000 years), the stone from Amon Sul (Weathertop) - one of greater power than the stone of Annuminas' Kings, in fact - was rescued and brought there. Than, Arvedui brought the Evendim stone when he run. He allegedly took both of them with him to Forochel, where they were lost.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Calming the Turtle

Some more random thoughts that hit me recently concerning the upcoming changes to Filikul instance, namely the Nornuan becoming immune to Burglar's Enrage.

To those now familiar with the subject, Filikul is an instance with just one encounter, which is basically a DPS race against time: as you are fighting the giant turtle, a DoT builds up on all members of the raid that deals increasing amounts of (HUGE!) damage. To make matters worse, turtle is quite a flesh-hungry beast and he will snap on your tank's flesh, applying another building-up DoT; the two together are so huge that there is no way for any Healer to outheal them, and to keep everyone else alive.

Burglar's Enrage skill is, on the other hand, a completely legitimate way to make a monster... well... enraged, randomly switching between characters in sight, much like those annoying Grims . I'm putting an emphasis on 'completely legitimate' because that's exactly how devs designed this skill years (two years almost?) ago.

As you can imagine, the skill works almost perfectly in Filikul, as Turtle rarely stays on one character long enough to apply more than one lvl on DoT. It does also have it's drawback, Tier I DoTs apply quite commonly on all players, also those squishies that are not made to take it.

My point here is, I completely don't understand why Devs are determined to grant Nornuan this immunity. That's how they designed the skill and that's how designed the encounter (a very very poor encounter imho, too) - blocking one skill because it's too good? It just seems.. lame... and silly. Totally lazy, totally the easiest way. What's next? In-combat rez works too well in raids, let's disable it? Forced taunts work too well for tanks, let's disable them too?

If you don't like the way the elements you've put into the game first interact - without any exploit on player's part! - change your design, and not use an exploit yourself, because it's your fault in first place that you have came up with a design that doesn't match those elements. In short, you screwed up and if you acknowledge it by trying to fix it, do it properly or don't do it at all.

Actually, same goes to Shield Wall. Please be more aware of your own game's mechanics in future...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Why do they never listen

A little digression from my usual virtual Middle-Earth posts: I was reading The Children of Hurin and i couldn't help but wonder... why do they never listen?

I mean, there is Melian, a Maya gifted with foresight, and a true one as well. Everyone knows that: people from the Hurin's House, because they've always been close to Elves of Doriath, and especially elves of Doriath to whom Melian is a queen.

But hell, no! Everyone always knows better than her. She tells Turin not to leave the Girdle or his course will catch up with him... he does. She urges Morwen to hide from Morgoth into the Girdle, she refuses. Than she asks not to leave the Girdle as it would be Morgoth's design (actually, she confirms Morwen's words that it is Morgoth's design), she still does.

And so on, and so forth.

But those are all stupid mortals, and there is still Beleg, high among the elves of Doriath, Melian's subject who, after all those hundrets of years, should be aware of her powers. And still, she tells Beleg, don't take that sword or it will be your doom, but he literally answers 'I'll take it anyway'!

If I was her, I'd throw a fiery hissy fit at all those annoying losers...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Elf of the First Age

I've always loved artificial women - a strange statement out of mouth of anyone, yet even stranger when it comes from a girl (many of my gamer friends pondered upon my declared inability to play male characters; I truly don't enjoy that at all, don't know why).

Lord of The Rings story lacks outstanding female characters (there's Eowyn and Galadriel, and that's about it; and don't get me started about Arwen!), while The Hobbit has none - apart of course the legendary Luthien. And along with Luthien, other Tales fortunately do mention some outstanding females (Morwen comes to mind), but never warriors. Come to think of it now, this makes Eowyn truly unique, she's the only female (to my knowledge) mentioned by Tolkien that held a blade and fought.

Fortunatelly, Turbine didn't take lack of female warriors in Tolkien's work as a bane on them, but rather as a lack in description, and did introduce some remarkable female characters in their stories. One of them has dominated the story of Shadows of Angmar (Amathriel/Naruhel), the other had a role far less visible, but still of great importance both story- and lore-wise.

Glathriel, female elf warrior whom players meet deep in the Rift of Nurz-Gashu and with whom they try to stop an awakening Balrog, whom she guarded for centuries.
We know little about her, apart from what we can gather from her brief tale: she took part in the War of the Valar at the end of the First Age (Gorrem in his brief description of the design writes: An Elf from the 1st age of Middle-Earth. that means she's REALLY old.), to which she refers at "the breaking of Thangorodrim", when The Mountains of Oppression were destroyed as Ancalagon the Black - a dragon bred by Morgoth to be the greatest and mightiest of all dragons, and the first of the winged 'fire-drakes' - crashed upon them as he died. That's when she first engaged Thaurlach , one of Morgoth's Balrogs - in fight, and followed him east to the lands that would later become Angmar. The Balrog than hid somewhere in the land he turned to wasteland with his fire and Glathriel couldn't find him, but she waited for him to awake.

If what she says is true, she tried to pin him down for the whole Second Age, as - by her account - when Thaurlach has awaken, she defeated him "with the aid of the wizards". She also mentions that this happened when "the Dark Power rose again". This would mean that he stayed in slumber while Saurons rise to power during The Second Age and during his War with Elves, if - naturally - we take the wizards she mentions as the Istari (who arrived in the Middle-Earth in the Third Age when Sauron formed a new army and began to command from Dol Guldur -hill of dark sorcery- in southern Mirkwood). Gandalf seems to confirm that, saying that saying that "two others of my Order, who have since vanished into the East, aided her in imprisoning the Balrog". Those would be the Blue Wizards, vaguely mentioned in Tales. The wizards "deemed Thaurlach should be imprisoned where he could await his judgment at the end of days", but Glathriel feared that the Balrog might sought to escape, and she chose to stay and guard him. Her foresight, as it is revealed when the players find her, was true - they arrive just in time to see Thaurlach break free.

When, after an epic battle, Thaurlach is finally thrown down, Glathriel accompanies players to Rivendell where she meets with Gandalf and Glorfindel. There seems to be one problem here though: Gandal says that the chain the Balrog was chained with, named Angithron, "was forged when this world was young" - well it was not quite young at the beginning of the Third Age... Nor could Thaurlach have awoken "by his master's call", as his master was Morgoth, who was defeated in The War of the Valar. Maybe Gandalf ment Sauron, who - as Morgoth's successor - could potentially become Balrogs' new master? Still, world would not be young when Thaurlach was chained, as it seems to be during the Thrid Age when the Istari came, and his true master's call could never have awakened him, as the master was no more. Unless we assume that the Blue Wizards were sent to Middle-Earth much earlier...

It is there in Rivendell where, I think, Glathriel's origins are revealed - she seems close to Glorfindel, a sword-mate for sure. They couldn't fight together at the Thongorodrim, as Glorfindel died during the Fall of Gondolin, and king Turgon's armier left the Hidden City only once before, and barely interacted with other elves during the brief and Tragic Battle of Unnumbered Tears. Judging by this, and by the fact that her battle-cry is "For Gondolin, for Nargothrond!" I would like to assume that she is from Gondolin as well, one of the House of Golden Flower like Glorfindel, who managed to escape after he perished in his clash with Balrog. And if you look at the original design by Gorrem more closely, you'll see that her armor is decorated with many aquatic ornaments - the shell on her belt, the wave-like design of the plates... Nodlor of Gondolin lived under blessing of Ulmo, King of the Sea and Lord of Waters.

At first Glathriel desires to stay in Middle-Earth and fight on against The Shadow, but Glorfindel tells her that this is no longer the deed of the Eldar, as their time is fading and "the duty of great deeds has fallen to others", she than leaves for the Grey Havens and on to the West, to find her peace.

Transcript of the story of Glathriel as revealed in LotRO I've posted before in this post.

Original image can be found here.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

The cuteness that is Nanu

My cute little Nanu.. We found him on our first Turtle attempt few weeks ago, but because he's so special I decided that the screenshots I made back than weren't good enough. Today I finally made my Meleth Nin spare me his computer for a few minutes so that I could catch the cuteness in full grace.

So, here is cute little Nanu, my little dream in LotRO - next time he appears in the Mossy Chest, he is mine. Unfortunately, despite the numerous attempts since the encounter was released, we haven't seen him since... And trust me, restraining myself not to steal this one from Nimminas kin house is a big achievement for me.

As you can see, the small little fella is not quite shy, above you can probably spot that he's trying to nom on Sil's satchel. He probably wants the treats she always brings him ;)

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Just in time

6-maning Balrog is not a great achievement nowdays (as it has been 3-manned back in old good 50 days anyway), but we were down there on business (hunting for Broken Chain Link for a Watcher run). Good fun!

Still, one thing worries me. With b7 (I think, maybe even earlier) they managed to bug that encounter again. The jumps - which used to be really painful - don't do anything anymore. You can even spot that on the movie - there's a missing part of the animation, Balrog doesn't land, he just appears on the ground...
Also the change to LM that came with MoM (the one that makes them unable to remove diseases/wounds outside their fellowship) could be fatal, especially for non-lvl-60 groups: the Balrog casts loads upon loads of nasty diseases that can only be removed by LM due to the amount of the deadly effects that appear and Glathriel gets affected by them as well. Players can not control her, tell her to move or sod away and if she gets them... well... even for her few thousands morale, they are deadly. I hope someone bugs that!

Unfortunately, you can't see much of me in that film, 90% of the time I'm hidden somewhere beyond Cal's left lower corner, but you can spot me on few occasions.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Join me in Death

Silirien and her trusted grumpy bodyguard Rhyaehar the Warden have been visiting Garth Agarwen to see if Sil would fit into Naruhel's dress (she does and she looks awesome, trust me - but because of the fact that the dress comes out a bit torn here and there, it would be a mature content, and not really a sight Rhy is fond of sharing ;) ) and apparently they've spotted Ville Valo among the emo-zombies in there.

Sil, of course, has resisted the call. She prefers more fleshy, manly and lively partners. And better-smelling. And she prefers to stay good-smelling as well.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Loosing heart

I must confess that I'm slowly but surely loosing heart for this game.
For me, the downfall started with Mines of Moria and the unsettling changes that the Devs decided to make to what seems the fundamentals of the game for me.
I have a hard time accepting the amount of grind that sneaked into Middle-Earth Online; in some cases grind with very non-optimistic odds...

The Journey, as leveling is often described in LotRO, is still worth playing, but I personally am all but an alter, so once I've finished mine, what's left out there?

Raiding has been compromised by instancing and the enforcement of radiance gathering. You can not anymore simply gather with friends and go have some high-end gameplay time, first you have to farm the instances to death to equip all those friends and only than you can have a go at boring and badly designed fights - or encounters - that Devs try to make pass as raids. I simply can't imagine why they keep on rejecting the fact that this approach is far too limiting for most players as too time-consuming and in the end simply boring.

Lets do some math to picture the situation better assuming that we have a dedicated static group of 12 people. This means 6 instance runs per player providing that they are all great players that never suffer from fkups and thus each and every run is succesful. This will give us:
Grand Stair: 6x30min = 3h
Skumfil: 6x20min = 2h + 1h to get the key
Forges: 6x40min = 4h
Fil Gashan: 6x1.5h = 9h
16th Hall: 6x1.5h = 9h
Dark Delvings: 6x1h = 6h
This gives 34 hours of initial instance grind per raid member to even get close to Sushi!!!

Turtle Encounter, promised as an encounter that's supposed to help people get geared up for Watcher, fails miserably as such. In this stupid damage race against time and huge acid dot, players that are already geared up have an insane advantage with their better weapons and radiance set offering big acid defense bonus along with all the other bonus stats. Those players don't need the Turtle anymore in the promised sense, they will just farm him for LIs.

And now, with b8 patch we will get more raids where we must counter more dread, which means we have to farm radiance gear anew. I'm thrilled.

I've played many games, starting with asian grindcore and slowly mowing to something more player-friendly. I'm an experienced MMO games, I even graduated and recieved my Master of Arts title for a work on ethics in MMOs. I've always read about declining numbers of players after some unfortunate nerfs, but truth be told I've never seen anything to support that observation: people on forums would write about how their kins are turning into ghost-kins. But in LotRO for the first time I've seen it with my own eyes: forget even my Kin (two actually). But our Raiding Alliance (RrU) used to have 30+ members on channel in the evenings! For few days already, I don't see much more than 10. Same for globallff which I remember scoring around 500 members in the evenings - it's around 200 recently as well.

I hoped to see LotRO as last step in my MMO journey, or at least one of the last. And I always rejected WoW as an ugly, 'jelly' game. But the insanely stupid movements Turbine are doing finally got me to try some WoWing, because I simply can't make myself log into lotRO anymore. What for? Doing 16th Hall for the 50th time? Or reading a book while grinding Fil Gashan for 30th time?

Monday, 25 May 2009

The Gates of Caras Galadhon

More from Andy Murray, this time - The gates of Caras Galadhon, home to Galadriel and all of the other fun-loving elves of Lothlorien.
One can play 'Find the differences' in here, the most obvious ones would be the lack of water (the space ended up populated by flower bushes) and statues at the stairs. The gate itself remained pretty close to the original design.

Original can be found here.

Moria Dwarf Design

Not too long ago I came across Andy Murray's weblog, where among other things I've stumbled upon the design for the dwarf from Mines of Moria loader. Andy doesn't spoil us with descriptions, writing only that this is Moria dwarf, made for marketing purposes.
His armor became a bit more goldish and his beard decorations a bit less elaborate, but there he is!

Original can be found here.

Monday, 11 May 2009

The numbers behind LIs - or how Turbine made our life hell.

There are many threads about the tediuos grind for T8 relics, but virtually none about the actual chance for decent legacies on legendary items (LIs). It has been shown that one T8 relic on average equals the deconstruction of less then 100 lvl2 items, and thus can be earned within a few days.

However, I've come to the conclusion that for some classes, the chance for getting a really good LI within a lifetime approaches zero. The LI system, promoted as character customization, is in essence a lottery with the delusion of customization, and with similar low chances like you favorite RL national lottery.

(Sidenote: Other classes automatically get their dream legacy (DPS), and don't need to care that much about other stuff. I guess for them it's at least 100-10k times easier to find a satisfying weapon...)

First, the basic numbers, taken from experience:
On identification of a LI, 2-4 legacies are completely randomly chosen from 15 possible legacies and 6 qualities (bronze-gold), giving a total of 90 possibilities. When reaching lvl 10, 30, and 50 you can "choose" one additional out of 2 random legacies. (I won't discuss upgrading one of two random legacies on lvl 20 and 40 by 2 tiers here; it doesn't matter much compared to other aspects.)

So what's up with this "customization" upon reforging? If you've been very, very lucky (see below) and got your nearly perfect LI with 4 initial legacies, you probably only need one special, additional legacy. The chances to get this are
up to lvl 10: 1-(10/11)*(9/10) = 2/11 = 18%
up to lvl 30: 4/11 = 36%
up to lvl 50: 6/11 = 54%.

However, we forgot quality. If you intend to max out this legacy and thus want it golden (5 or 6), chances are only
lvl 10: 1-(32/33)*(29/30) = approx. 2/33 = 6%
lvl 30: approx 13%
lvl 50: approx 22% (...and some 12% when heading for pure t6-gold)

Anyone having fun with spending 3 million xp on a blue or yellow item for a 20% chance of NOT being forced to throw it away in the end? I did it twice, failed twice, and lost 50 gold and 2 million xp twice.

That's why we need all of the crucial legacies right from the start. Let's calculate the chances of finding one (the maths are identical to a lottery):

3 legacies of random quality out of 15: 3!/(15*14*13) = 1/455 = 0.2% chance
(That's 500 tablets on average already; but of course we don't want bronze quality!)

3 T4/5/6 = 3 out of 30: 1/4060 = 0.02%
3 golden = 3 out of 45: 1/14190 = 0.007%
3 T6 = 3 out of 90....: 1/117480 = 8.5e-6

4 T4/5/6: 1/27405 = 0.004%
4 golden: 1/148,995 = 6.7e-6
4 T6....: 1/2,555,190 = 3.9e-7

Now for the Jackpot: On the US forum there's a screenie of a 2nd age runestone with exactly those 6 legacies everyone wants for dps, 5 of which are T6. Probability for this is approx.
3.9e-7 * 6% * 9% = 2e-9 = 1 to 475 million.
That's worse than the chance for the jackpot in most lotteries.

How many blue or yellow runestones are found each day per server? 10? 100?
If it's 100 per day, chances are 50% that no other one of similar quality will be found within the next 13000 years :P

Keep in mind that that jackpot-stone *could* have been better. And keep in mind that runekeepers also need a different stone for healing, and at least 2 different satchels.

Good luck people!

1. Chances are somewhat better due to upgrading legacies, maybe by a factor 5.
2. On lvl50 one of the proposed legacies is always T6.
3. First age items tend to have primarily golden legacies.
4. I'm no pro, so correct me if I'm wrong somewhere...

Article by cthun
posted on LotRO Europe forums

I must say I was afraid to do the math alone, and - as it comes out - on good grounds. The numbers are horrendous.
Now, adding to all that depressing number, please keep in mind that the Devs are planning to give us a lvl cap rise this year already!
This means that even if you win the 1/145 million lottery now, your dream item will be less that useless within half a year (as their plan goes).
Muahaha. No, not funny. Makes me want to quit.

Someone on the forums suggested that maybe this insane grind is aimed to attract grinder asian gamer community... Even though a joke, it might hold a seed of truth... Why would Turbine care if they lost couple of thousands of Western players, if they could attract million of Asians?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Bird and Baby Inn

Bird and Baby Inn

The Shire is probably the best and most rewarding place to explore for all and any Tolkien fans. A big, glittering Egg pops up for them right at the beggining of the journey - The Bird and Baby Inn. No, the name and the sign are not coincidence ;)

The Inklings was an Oxford writers' group which included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. From 1939 to 1962 they met at the Eagle and Child Friday before lunch, to drink and talk, usually in an area at the back of the pub, which was then a private sitting room and is now known as the Rabbit Room. Contrary to popular impression (and also contrary to the plaque posted in the pub), the Inklings did not read their manuscripts to each other in the pub: these readings took place at evening meetings usually in Lewis's college rooms. The Inklings changed allegiance in 1962 by moving across St Giles' to the Lamb & Flag pub, but it is the Eagle and Child's Rabbit Room that attracts visitors.

Bird and Baby Inn
The Sign
The pub's sign shows an eagle carrying a small child in a fold of cloth suspended from a claw, which was derived from the crest of the Earl of Derby. The image is said to refer to a story of a noble-born baby having been found in an eagle's nest. It is said to bear a resemblance to artistic representations of the abduction of Ganymede by Zeus in the guise of an eagle in Greek Mythology.

Alternative names
It is also known as the Bird and Baby. Other less common nicknames have included the "Bird and Brat", the "Bird and Bastard", the "Bustard and Bastard" and the "Fowl and Foetus".

(thank you, wikipedia)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The House of Celeborn

Lothlorien made me squee (and my computer cry and sweat)...
The House of Celeborn (as it is named in the game), or Galadriel's Court is simply... magical, even among other trees in Caras Galadon, it's details come together creating something truly special. Some of them are unique for this place only (or only here used in this, and not other, manner), something one should mark carefully as LotRO is mostly build with and from reusable elements.

The attention to detail in the design is astounding and most of those elements can be traced - though sometimes in modified form - in how the place looks like in game. Do you see the swirly way up the root of the great mallorn tree, appearing in pastel blue on the detail?
Yes, it's there as well as the minor branch somewhere at its end.
The circular platforms like giant steps are there too, and so are of course the huge structures just beneath the leaves of the mallorn... and the lanterns hanging down from too.
And if you look closely, you'll notice lanterns hanged on the gatelike-roots... and they are there too.

The place is stunning, but truth be told... it could have been done better. I love Caras Galadon, but every time I look at it's panorama I can't stop thinking that the platforms as they ended up in game don't look as organic and natural on the mallorns as they could be. Gorrem managed to achieve the symbiotic look, or at least I think so. Art department scored lower in here, but still... The place leaves me speachless.

Gorrem: Another rare environment piece of mine, done for Caras Galadon. This was my interpretation of Galadriel's courtroom from the exterior, which was described as a giant mallorn tree in the middle of a clearing supporting many flets, reachable only by ladder.

Original image can be found here.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Moroval Design

Some time ago I've discovered that one of art designers providing his work for the sake of LotRO has an account on deviantart. Not only that, he's the one that designed my all time favorite elven outfits Glathlírel and Narmeleth that always make me want to strip her... And for Galadriel too!
Basicly as it came out, he designed most of the elements of LotRO that I found the most stunning, so I decided to pay a tribute to him and catch his designs as they ended up in game (he himself is a blasphemer, playing the Jelly-WoW ;) )
Behold, the art of Gorrem you all love (but you just don't know that yet).

First on line, new in Moria Morroval designs I cought while in Morroval LI Instance.

Morroval Robber and...

Morroval Mistress

If you look closely, almost all details are there, even the droplet of blood running from Mistress' lips and the frivolous shoulder strap.
The only detail missing are, I think, Robber's glove-like straps.

Gorrem: Sometimes I need to make new versions of characters that are already in the game. These two are variants of the Morroval, which is a succubus. Instead of a screenshot paintover- Which usually turns out hideous- I decided to just paint them from scratch.
I believe the original concept was by Jeff Murchie.

Original image can be found here.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Did you know...

...that some dwarves have golden teeth?

I didn't and, I must confess, I was totally surprised when I came across this fashionable dwarf!