LoTRO: The Leaves of Lorien

Arep | 14 March 2009 | Comments off

*The following was written by Yurick*

As promised I have decided to give a bit of a review of some of the changes found in the Book 7 update. I have done no fancy calculations or comparisons, what I say below is just my general feelings as I explored. Now where to begin!

Quest Tracker:
This seems to have created a bit of angst on the LOTRO forums, with alot of people disliking it. I felt it was a great addition and I am basing this on the advice channel as it was post MoM release. Bat Cave comes to mind!!!

So how does it work you ask! Well when you add a quest to your tracker a number of prompts help you in locating the said objective. Firstly you will get an arrow on your radar pointing you in the direction you need to go. Follow the arrow and once you get close to your objective, say within 1 ½ radar screens the arrow will disappear and the area name under the radar will flash. Lastly if you enter your maps there will also be new indicators here. On here you will find a marker for the quest giver and you will see an area of the map shaded white. This white area indicates where you need to go. You have the ability to check or uncheck different quests here to remove them from the map.

I think this will help to reduce the spam in the advice channel asking where the same thing is 20 times a day and save having to look up the location on external sites. Location deeds cannot be added to this tracker so you are still going to have to explore your bum off! Lastly for those that really don’t like the idea, then there are options to turn off all or some of the above trackers.

Map:
No more typing ;loc in chat anymore! Yes that is right! Your current co-ordinates are now displayed permanently below your radar. Also when in the game maps the co-ordinates of the cursor are displayed on the map for you. I know this will make lots of people happy.

Crafting:
As you are aware crafting has received some attention. Have been picking up a lot of new recipes in my travels. New food to give a boost to acid, disease etc resistance. New items for wardens and the long awaited white dye. If you are looking for mats for the dye speak to your local prospector and I am sure he will be happy to sell you some (Yurick grins at the thought of all that gold). Only looked at weaponsmith so far so I can only elaborate on that. Seems to be few changes other than making mithril-infused ingots now reaps 3 ingots for 1 flake. So now I can make 3 LI’s with 3 crappy legacies for 1 flake. Yay that made me so happy!

Now to the crafting quests. All I have to say is wow, what a great idea. Only done the ore ones so far but I assume they all work in similar ways. You will find these quests at some undisclosed locations throughout Moria(no I am not going to tell you!). There are 2 instances with a total of 6 quests to complete. Inside each instance is a large amount of ore nodes. Didn’t count them but would be around 20. One contains K-Gold and K-iron, the other K-tin and K-copper. Lots of stuff to kill inside also and some good loot to be found. On completing the quest objectives and handing in you will receive a barter token. This can be used to trade for a number of different things, like Lorien rep items or LI XP Runes(trust me you will like these).

These instances work much the same as CD and URU. They can be entered at any time however the ore and quests reset at set times throughout the week. Don’t know the frequency of this reset yet. Overall I think this is a great idea and the rewards that can be obtained will ensure they are used by a wide range of players. I have found a couple of bugs in these so hopefully they will be fixed in final release.

Legendary Items:
Just a quick note on these. I had a 2nd age champ rune drop in Lothlorien (almost cried – test server grrr) Level 60 with 2 T5 and 1 T6 Legacy. Received another T6 on reforge. Dont know if I was just lucky with the lottery or if they have made some changes to these. Grabbing my rabbits foot and telling myself they made some changes. Really Yurick they did!

You also now have the option of auto combining relics. This just gives you an extra button to auto combine 5 relics at once, rather than having to manually hit those arrows each time. You also now have the option to display your LI level on screen at all times. This can be done for all 6 you have slotted if you so wish.

Graphics:
Overall the graphics seem to have had a bit of a polish. I only play on medium settings but the lighting seems to be much improved and the personal light now works in Moria. The UI and item icons have also received a revamp. Infused gems now have their own icon and are no longer the same as shards. Numerous other items now have new icons, such as tokens, dwarf tools and......The deed log has also had a bit of an overhaul. New skins for the background as well as a splitting up of the Moria deeds into central, upper and lower deeps.

Self Revive:
Well hasn’t this caused a storm on the forums. Really I don’t see what the fuss is all about. Basically you now have the option to revive yourself on death. This is on a cooldown and does have limitations. The cooldown scales on level so say at 20 it will be 1 hour and at 50 2 hours (not actual times). It also cannot be used inside any instance and cannot be used when you die by instant death. So no you can’t jump off that cliff to save you a walk! I have used it a few times to try it out, you will revive with low health and power and will more than likely be killed by the same mob while loading in if you are still near them. As happened to me a couple of times. Bloody Elves are nasty!

You will also still receive dread and item wear. This is another option that you can choose not to use if you feel it takes away from the game and in a lot of cases it is going to get you killed again straight away (speak to Yurick he will have lots of gold from selling chalk).

The Nerf:
I suppose I should put something in here about this. I have done no comparisons on morale or dps at this stage(probably wont either). For those that don’t know dps for weapons has been reduced and mob morale and corruptions have also been reduced. At level 60 I haven’t noticed a great deal of difference. Yes fighting 1v1 seems to be easier than before, however try taking on more than 1 mob and things can still go to hell and back very quickly. I did take on a troll to see what the difference was. Ran in controlled burn and I did find the fight to be a lot easier. Popped Dire Need but I think I could have got through without using it. There was no way I could do this before. So yes it has made things easier, however I will reserve judgment for now as I have done no group content yet and I am sure with the changes made to boss fights there will still be a great deal of challenge involved.

Lothlorien:
Well now to that area we have all had a glimpse of but have yet to explore fully. For starters you will not recognize the landscape when you first leave the mines. To say the area was unfinished in MoM release is an understatement. The finished product is spectacular. Unless you have finished book 6 you will still only have the same access to Lorien as you have now. For those that cant wait to finish this book. (Yurick hides in the corner cause everyone is looking at him) Well then you have some quests which will allow you to gain rep with the elves. These are repeatable every 2 hours and also have some nice rewards.
Unless you like acupuncture, do not try and enter the woods before getting the right amount of rep.

Once you reach the first level of rep you will now be allowed to enter the wood. You still have a way to go before they will let you enter the city (haven’t got there yet) so have fun. I would have to say I was somewhat disappointed with the look of Lorien. Don’t get me wrong it looks great and the glimpse I have had of the city looks spectacular, however when held up against Moria it just looks rushed and unpolished. The trees in the forest proper just look slightly wrong to me. There are lots of quests to do and you will also meet up with the fellowship again. Also be careful what kill in here. Certain creatures are protected and if you kill them you will LOOSE rep with the elves. One unseemly Dwarf will even offer you rewards to poach the creatures. Never trust a dwarf!

XP:
The xp curve has been changed to speed up the leveling process somewhat. I logged in on my Runekeeper to see what the jump was. At level 43 I received 108 000 XP on my next increase. This took me through about ¾ of level 44. So a bit of a jump but not huge. I plan on rolling a new character to see what it is like from scratch. Will post more on this later.

Book 7:
Not a chance, have to leave something as a suprise!

The Moors:
Don’t play there so cant tell you anything.

Revamped Starter Areas:
The starter areas, especially the private zones after the intro instance have been dramatically changed to make them much more noob friendly. The mobs found in both zones have been made so easy you could take them out with your eyes closed.

We can also now skip the intro instances if we wish to do so. You will come out with XP although this will be lower than what you would have got if doing all the intro quests.

There are a few new quests in both zones to help introduce new players to Lotro. Including proving your worth against a dummy at one point, nothing like a bit of mindless beating to release the tension. Archet has had no major changes made and the quests are still the same as they currently are.

Erud Luin on the other hand has had a massive face lift. The whole area has had changes to help streamline your journey through the zone. Changes include new Stablemasters, quest givers moved or changed to eliminate the amount of times you have to run backwards and forwards to the same location. I remember this area being an absolute pain the first time I went there, where as now it is an absolute pleasure to do, you are smoothly moved from point to point through the entire area and when you do have to double back there are conveniently placed stablemasters to speed it up.

Overall the skill has been taken out of these areas up until around the lvl 18 mark. For those experienced you are going to breeze through these areas in a heartbeat without to much trouble at all. For new players it is going to make it a much more enjoyable start to the game. I fully understand that the reason Turbine has gone down this road is to help retain new players, I have to say that this is probably a good thing in that respect as the more players out there the better the game will be. Those that like the challenge may be disappointed in these changes as it does make it very easy.

There are also some nice new touches in terms of rewards but I will let you discover those for yourself.

Lore Book:
We can now access the lorebook from in game. This is a fantastic option, no more alt tabbing out if you want to look up that recipe or check the stats on that uber piece of armour. A new button has been added to the radar which will bring this up and allows us full access to the lorebook. It really does look like Turbine has been watching the chat channels and are making changes to allow us to access all this info without having to leave the game.

New Instances:
I havnt seen these yet but have been hearing a bit about them so I thought I would make a short comment as they sound like a great addition.

There will be some new instances found in Lorien that will aloow us to have some control over NPC’s. From what I have heard so far we will get to choose what part of the battle they will participate in and what contribution they will make. This sounds like a very interesting concept and I am very keen to see it in action.

Moria Instance Rewards:
This one is more a word of warning to those already playing the game. With this book all coin armour sets that you get from the instances in moria will become Bind On Acquire. So if you have a few coins sitting in your vault that you are saving for a rainy day, then make sure you get them to the alt you are saving them for before the book comes out. I have also heard that the class items from URU and CD will become BoA also, going to confirm this in the next couple of days.

The Nerf - Part 2:
In the first part of my review I stated that I found the trolls in the Foundations Of Stone to be easier than they presently are. After a bit more testing prompted by Findurion I retract that statement. I have attempted taking down 6 or 7 more of these trolls and only beaten them twice. Both times were by the skin of my teeth. I must have just been lucky with Crits on the first occasion as I have yet to be able to repeat the performance.

Conclusion:
Overall I am very impressed with the changes made so far. I am sure they wont please everyone and we will find bugs and issues as we go. In saying that I think that Turbine are looking at what is going on in game and listening to chat and the forums and are trying to make changes that help take out some of the more onerous aspects of the game. They dont always get it right but at least they are actively trying to keep the game moving forward. We can also finally link Legendary Items.

*Editor’s note: Book 7 will be going live on all NA/Oceanic servers March 17, 2009*

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