The Weekend Grab Bag

14 Apr

A little bit of everything this weekend, hence a shotgun post.  The weather was too good to spend it all in the game cave, but still managed to get in some quality time.

Re-learning LotRO

Through a little diligent effort, I got my Captain back on track.  After a little questing in the North Downs around Othrikar, he’s sitting just shy of level thirty.  Mostly soloing as I get back into the rhythm and relearn how much like and unlike a palladin LotRO’s captain is.

Some interesting things I’ve notice that have crept in to the game in various updates since I was last there.  Many of which are old news and implementations of nifty ideas first seen in other games.  I’m pretty forgiving actually when it comes to what I call “convergent” evolution (what others probably call “ripping game X off”).

LotRO now has housing.  I tried it very briefly when it first came out but wasn’t playing actively, so in a case of virtual worlds imitating real, I was foreclosed upon by Turbine for not paying my upkeep.

Seems quite a market for various knickknacks and furnishings has developed.  I’m not particularly flush yet, so I’m holding off on throwing down for digs just now.  Still I’m intrigued.

Likewise, characters now have two cosmetic appearance or “outfit” tabs (i.e., appearance only, no stats benefit slots for clothing).  This has had a fairly dramatic effect on the feel of the game from what I see.  Maybe its due partly to the fact that there are many more high level characters around, though not as many as I expected.  Except for some fairly low level characters which have that all look the same effect, most characters are taking advantage of the appearance tabs and there is much more visual diversity in the game.

I had underestimated the cool factor here.  I enjoy recognizing characters by their appearance rather than by their chat spam or (in LotRO at least) their gigantic floaty name.  Seems there’s a slough of appearance only items on the AH now too.

I thought both of these implementations would be kind of meh.  Admittedly, I’m pleasantly surprised at how they add to the feel of the world as a place.  I was even more surprised at how strongly favorable my wife’s reaction was.  Definitely a plus.

On the crafting side, I was able to get Dendromir up to Master Expert Prospector.  In LotRO, you select a suite of three professions– in my case the Explorer which consists of Tailor, Forester and Prospector.

Just before I stopped playing last year, Turbine had implemented a patch which dramatically increased the amount of rare mining nodes.  So much so that various irons were nigh impossible to obtain and you couldn’t give gold or silver away.  Oops.  Looks like they’ve returned to a more rational balance.

On the Forester side, progress is also being made quickly.  While Sturdy Hides are still a bit more difficult to come by, soloing at least, Yew branches are plentiful.  To level Foresting, a character typically prepares hides that drop from “beast” kills (i.e. boiling) or treating gathered wood for use in other trades which requires the adddition of wax.  Wax is purchased from various suppliers, typically found in the craft hall.

Back in the day, wax was ridiculously expensive.  Something like a silver a pop which was (and is) still an amount of money in LotRO that I have to think about.  The economy was notoriously stingy at launch.  Travel was expensive– still is, repairs outrageous, still are, but used to the new paradigm and many components for crafting were just priced crazily which put a damper on those professions.

Seems some much needed rebalancing has occurred and now its affordable to buy items like wax to level your crafting.  In LotRO there are two levels of proficiency to advance a tier in crafting– the base tier and then mastery.  Long story short, in order to progress, you have to work through a lot of recipes.  Balancing the component costs greatly helps.

Posted a few auctions which were successful, so I’m optimistic that the economy hasn’t passed me by.  Improvements to the AH have made the experience better, but still leaves something to be desired.

More Fun in Outland

On the non-instance group WoW front, we managed to get Mrs. P’s warrior alt to level 58 and moved to Outland.  As I suspected, she hit 59 very very quickly and is catching up to my 60 hunter Nodens who is on the flatter post-2.4 patch leveling curve. I’ve had him parked after the run to 60 mostly to make sure he remained in striking distance of Mrs. P’s warrior so we could group.

Our instance group tank Earlthecat has a level 70 warrior (yes, another warrior.  This one’s fury) who’s been wanting some higher level enchants.  At some point in the distant past, I reprofessioned by rogue to become a shard farmer.  Except I never really got that far shard farming.  I got to the stealth into Scarlet Libary and solo Arcanist Doan and shard the loot part, but never really went much further.

At some point, I leveled his enchanting to 300 which is ok, but not super helpful now the core group is around 65.  Nitty the rogue is sitting at level 50 and I don’t know how much more leveling I have in me.  So, I needed the Outlands to hit the enchanting trainer to advance, but couldn’t stand the idea of another 8 levels.

Voila, buy a port to Shattrath.  Apparently there was some confusion a year ago or so about whether Outlands was “restricted” to level 58+ characters or merely that the Dark Portal wouldn’t let them through.  I came across a number of posts where Blizzard acknowledged that the portal level restriction was merely to keep the screaming hordes of lookyloos out for the first few months.  Remember opening the gate of Ahn’Qiraj anyone?

So, despite some funny looks, I got my lowbie self ported to Shat to visit the trainer.  Bonus, you get the flight path to Honor Hold as part of the bargain, so I was able to set my hearthstone at the inn there.  With the portals in Shatt, Nitty can return for enchanting training at will.

I may level him some more, but if I do, I’ll definitely spend a bit more time in Azeroth.  No quests are available to him in Hellfire and grouping with a significantly higher level character isn’t an efficient grind.


Posted by on April 14, 2008 in World of Warcraft


Tags: ,

5 responses to “The Weekend Grab Bag

  1. Talyn

    April 14, 2008 at 6:28 am

    I’m just envious you have Mrs P to game with. At times I think there’s this tiny remote possibility I could mention LOTRO to my girlfriend, but I’m unsure how to approach it. Her new job has her looking at a monitor a good portion of the day, which she’s not used to, so her eyes hurt. She also dislikes sedentary activities. But she has given off vibes of at least having an interest in learning about my ‘other’ life in MMO’s.

    I think it would be hilariously fun to duo as a hobbit guardian and minstrel couple…

  2. p@tsh@t

    April 14, 2008 at 9:29 am

    I fall down on my knees and thank the game gods everyday. Having a spouse or partner that games is a godsend. I’m also very fortunate that we share a number wide range of other interests as well, so we tend not to be “competing” for each other’s time against purely individual interests.

    She’s not in-game nearly as much a I am, but its certainly been something thats been a big plus. She “gets it” even if she’s not playing as much as I am.

    Of course, I consciously pay the 2x hardware tax and keep her game machine and mine pretty much on the same track. I don’t get an upgrade until I’m prepared to throw down for two (and its reasonably justified to do so). This makes it a team sport.

    Last year, Brent at Virgin Worlds did a series of podcasts dubbed the Noob Experiment where he had his wife Jenny try out all the popular MMOs and give her impressions with little coaching. I’d go back and listen to those and see what were hurdles for her.

    For us, having RL friends in game was a big motivating factor. We moved just before WoW was released and it was a catalyst for us to get together in a virtual space with several of our old mutual friends. Skype was pretty much the clincher, and with old friends there was a natural draw.

    These days, spending time gaming online can’t be nearly as alien as it was in 1999 or before with the wild success of the social networking sites. Give it a shot and have no expectations.

  3. Talyn

    April 14, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Yeah I remember the Noob Experiment, although I have no recollection of that actually coming to a conclusion. Maybe I missed a vital episode somewhere but it seemed to just… fade away with no closure.

    Unfortunately, we don’t share any common friends and now that I’m in Florida all my friends are online-only, none of whom do the MMO thing anymore.

    But I’m in an excellent kinship and she’d be very welcomed into the family if ever she should accept the challenge of gaming.

  4. oakstout

    April 14, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    My lovely wife doesn’t play any video games, with the one exception of a hand held tetris game. lol But she listens as I tell her about my gaming experiences and other silly things.

    I too have fallen into the LOTRO trap. Damn you Talyn. lol I’ve been enjoying a Hobbit burglar on the Arkenstone server. So far, soloing has been a blast. I managed to live to level 10 without any deaths, but now I seem to die at least 2 times every level now. Before long, it will even itself out, but i do have the title, which is all that matters lol.

  5. Gaff

    April 20, 2008 at 4:31 am

    I just logged in early this Sunday morning–give Rarik a holler if your running around west of the Misty Mountains. I will be bringing my other account online as the temperature issues that spiked on my first visit seem to be non-existent at the moment.


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