Oh Captain, my Captain

When we last checked in, our hero was stuck in the character transfer ticket queue.  Of course, no sooner did I post that then Turbine got around to letting me give them money.

Of course, even that wasn’t particularly easy.  One requests a character transfer through the Turbine support site, support.turbine.com and then after sifting through a 2,100 word FAQ, there is a four character long hyperlink from the word “here” (as in click here) to initiate the transfer request.  That leads you to open a customer support ticket where one fills your account name and the particulars of the transfer.  When completed, the transfer would be billed to the credit card on file for the account.

So Monday morning I received a live inquiry from support asking me to verify the last 4 digits of the credit card on the account.  It only dawned on me then that the support site and the ticket submission form, etc. required to actual log in, hence their necessity to manually verify that the request was legitimate (or at least that I was the guy who also stole the credit card on file).

I’m a bit surprised that Turbine is essentially relying on sneakernet to process these transactions (and yes perhaps a bit concerned that internal security at Turbine might not be all that I’d hope it to be).  That said, at long last and about 9 days after starting the process, Dendromir was finally on Firefoot.

Aye aye

Dendromir was one of the first characters I rolled after beta and one that I was using for a while with LotRO group 1.0 way back in the day before we decided we’d need a minstrel.  I don’t profess to be much more than a novice at playing a Captain these days, but it seems to have been one of those classes that has been tweaked and retweaked a bit.

Its taken me a bit to get back into the swing of things.  Captains seem to have fairly high survivability, but when played well.  I find that if I get in over my head, I’ve really got to take the most advantage of my reactive skills (e.g., those that are primarily only usable after defeat of a foe).  After doing a bit of research to refamiliarize myself with where Turbine has taken the Captain since launch, I’m getting the hang of it again and pursuing a few traits that help will accentuate the class’ strengths.

As I’m expecting him to be primarily solo/small group, I need a decent balance between quick killing dps as well as survivability (especially when caught by respawns or dealing with larger groups).  With the benefit of some nice armor upgrades from Wilhelm’s armorer, Nomu, leveling through the mid 30’s is no where near as precarious as it was with a random collection of low and mid 20s quest gear.

As a Captain of Gondor, I thought it only appropriate to run him through Evendim on his way to catch up to Gaff and Wilhelm who have already gotten to Moria.  Other than the interminable hobbit quests in Oatbarton (cute, but too long), I’ve generally enjoyed Evendim, but I’m looking forward to getting him into Eregion and points south.

Adventure in Moving

So progress in LotRO is being made and a good time is generally being had.  So good in fact that I decided to bring someone else to the party.

Let’s recap.  Once upon a time, long long ago, we all rolled on Windfola and it was good.  Well, we were broke, but it was still good.  As LotRO doesn’t quite stick with everyone, several of our little group wanted to migrate back to WoW.  After a few other fits and starts, the Windfola characters pretty much got mothballed.

Time marches on and after progress of a kind, I find myself and several of our group with several toons and resources on Firefoot.  When we launched the Firefoot effort, we all rerolled and I spent most of my time on my group oriented minstrel and my solo oriented rune keeper.  Of course I have a few other alts there, but nothing even in the 20s I think.

With our loosely organized goal of getting to Moria, I took stock of who might be within striking distance within our group and noticed a relative dearth of plate wearers.  I’ve powered by RK almost to the mid-forties and the goal is within site.  Still, several of us have characters in the thirties that would be nice to advance.

Of course, with the soon to release Rise of Isengard, we’ll be nearing Gondor which made me nostalgic for my long left Captain Dendromir mothballed on Windfola.  In a fit of enthusiasm, I thought, what the heck, throw down for the transfer and that will be a nice addition to the collection of toons among our group.

Have you seen me?

Character Transfers.  How difficult could it be?  I’ve transferred a character on WoW and I think it took all of an hour.  I’ve never looked into anything in EQ2, but how bad could it be?

My first clue that it might not be so painless was just finding out how to do it.  Nothing on my account page provided a clue.  Eventually, after some googling, I found a discussion directing me to Turbine’s support site– support.turbine.com.

Eventually I found the “Paid Services” tree in the knowledgebase that led me to a FAQ.  Buried near the bottom of the long document ultimately was what I was looking for.  Transfer a Character for $24.95.  A bit steep, but seems relatively market.

The solution apparently involves opening a support ticket for a “World Character Transfer” and filling out a form.  Seemed easy enough, even if a bit clunky.  And here’s what they said about timing in the FAQ:

How long will it take to process this service?

All Paid Service requests are processed in the order they are received. Turnaround can vary greatly depending on the size of the queue.

So I’m thinking, ok, but how busy could Turbine support be when I’m begging to throw $25 at them?

Of course, the confirmation email told  slightly different story:

Thank you for your LOTRO CHARACTER TRANSFER request. This automated Email has been sent to let you know that we have received your Character Transfer request. You will receive a response from a Turbine Premium Services Representative shortly.

Responses typically take 1-2 weeks depending on incoming ticket volume. You will be charged $24.95 once the transfer process has been completed.

Holy crap.  2 weeks?  Now that’s slow for a paid service.  Might have been nice to know before I pulled the trigger, but what the hey.  It couldn’t really take that long…

So here I am now, one week out with poor Dendromir held hostage hoping the log jam gets cleared soon.  I’m a bit surprised that any game doesn’t have an automated process for character transfers.

Life Begins at 40

After a brief MMO hiatus during the Tour de France this year, I felt the call of Moria calling me to its depths and back to LotRO.  Well, actually, Wilhelm and Gaff were laying it on pretty thick, so I thought what the heck– with a low thirties character, getting to 50 and Moria is a good intermediate goal.

I got patched and after overcoming the initial disorientation phase of reimmersion (oh, god, what do i do, where do I go? Panic log out), I got down to business.  What really sealed the deal was when Wilhelm mentioned the upcoming Rise of Isengard expansion– specifically the pre-order loot.  Even more specifically, the +25% xp boost pocket item that will last until level 65.  I pulled the trigger on the legendary package for me and Mrs. P.  I knew that the cosmetic items and the mounts would be a big hit (and they are).

I’m not normally one to speed leveling along, but in this case, I’d like to goose it a bit to catch up with Gaff and Wilhelm (both of whom have already dinged 50).  So after a bit more than a week back in earnest, I managed to claw my way up to level 40.

And, as the title suggests, I did most of that in Evendim ingratiating myself to the Annuminorians.  Roll file footage of the “big woosh”:

The Every Ten Levels BIG Whoosh

I’ve got to say, the revamped or revised or streamlined Evendim quests have much better flow than I remember then.  Even though there is a fair amount of running around the zone, its such a beautiful zone that I hardly minded at all.

Swimming to Tinnudir

With the tour of the northern parts of the zone, I was ultimately guided to the southern part of the lake where Annuminas lay and where, after the few initial quests were completed, I hit the big four oh.  On my return, I’ve been consistently reimpressed by the world Turbine has rendered.  There are few places one cannot go if you have desire enough and they certainly aren’t afraid to use the landscape to its fullest.

True to form, the first quests in the southern part of the zone require ascending the ridge line to precarious heights with commensurate vistas once you arrive.

Lake Evendim looking north over Haudh Elendil

So with 40 under my belt, I’m looking forward to sweeping through Annuminas and moving on toward Moria.  I’m told Forochel, the Misty Mountains and Angmar should be my focus.  I’ve always been intrigued by Forochel which has always been one of those mysterious places on the edge of the map (in the books) that features only briefly in the comprehensive storyline of Tolkien’s universe.