Tuesday, August 14, 2007

LoTRO: Misc Stuffs

I’ve been having a lot of fun just goofing off on my Hobbit Burglar lately. I got him to 35 and passed his pony quest, so I’ve just been riding around and kicking the bejezus out of any mob that’s on my list of mobs for traits. I leveled so quickly as a Burglar that many of my traits are under-powered. I’ve been hunting mobs (mainly spiders, wolves, orcs and goblins) to get some better stats. How can this be fun? I make it my own little game. I’ve taken it as a chance to explore more. A couple of days ago, I killed spiders in Bindbole Woods (way north of Hobbiton). The day before yesterday, it was in Midgewater Marsh where I also decided to take down goblins. Yesterday, it was Ered Luin where it snowed much of the time. In addition to exploration, I try to come up with more creative ways to kill mobs. Trip one, trick and stun one and try to kill them both before the stuns wear off. I also PvP-dance around trying to fire off skills while moving. Problem is, in Ered Luin, most of the mobs die really quickly, so sometimes I’ll keep dancing around while I look for another target. Yes, it looks somewhat silly. Especially when I realize a lowbie has been following me asking for directions for several minutes while I’ve been going ape-s$#t beating up a level-8 spider.

In spite of my current in-game project (Stabbing Things in Exotic Locations), I have also managed to get close to level 37. I’m progressing in levels because I still do the occasional quest worth actual xp AND an in-game friend of mine is hell-bent on completing book 4 in his mid-thirties. I have a hard time saying no to friends that want to drag me off on their adventures so, of course, I went with him. It’s been a rough ride. Last night, I got to evasion-tank a level 42 elite (I’m level 36). The mob was bright red and didn’t like the gall of some silly Hobbit stabbing him in the ankles. Fortunately, we had a top-notch minstrel and a tank that saw the wee Hobbit running in circles, arms flailing, so I didn’t have to keep aggro that long. One of the frustrating things for me is getting the group to coordinate on conjunctions. Conjunctions* are new to most of the people I was grouped with so it took some effort just to pull off a GGGBBB let alone a nice named one like Chill of Bone (GYYYYB) or March of the Ents (GRRRRB) or some of the more complicated ones. Something we need to work on.

In other news, my kinship (not mine but the one I was in) imploded. The leader apparently decided that our mind-reading skills were inadequate to know that he was unhappy so he nuked the kinship and took down the website. I logged in yesterday to find myself without a kinship as did the rest of us. Fortunately, a few officers banded together, reformed the kinship and within ten minutes of logging in, I was back with my online family again. They’re really good peeps and it was amazing watching how quickly things got back to normal for us. There was a lot of encouragement from the other kinships on the server too.

During the course of things, we got to talking about how unfortunate it was that one person (the designated leader) could destroy the kinship without taking into account what the people in it wanted. It got me to thinking about the grouping (groups / fellowships as well as guilds / kinships) dynamics of most MMOs. Most will assume there is one person in charge and that they and only they get to promote / demote people. There is little room for democracy (i.e.: everyone voting on a leader) or some other dynamics. If a group of two people meets a group of three people all on the same quest, it would be nice if the two groups could merge together instead of disbanding one and waiting for and invite. The current system (absolute control of one person) probably cuts down on a lot of chatter and bickering that could otherwise ensue (“ok, folks, we’re now in hour seven of the loot rules debate, bathroom break for 15 minutes then we’ll deal with the light-hide conundrum …”), but it would be neat to see some more options possible.

* Conjunctions in LoTRO are events that can trigger deliberately (via burglar skills or a guardian skill) or they can also fire off at random. A color wheel will appear and each person can choose a color. So if you need a heal, you can click green (G). Direct damage is red (R). Damage over time is yellow (Y) and more power (think mana) is blue (B). While each person can select their own color, selecting a pattern of colors gets a more powerful result. GYYYYB (Chill of Bone), for example, will result in a heal over time for the whole group, a large damage-over-time effect on the target mob, power restoration and the target will have their movement and attack speed reduced. The blue player will also summon a ghost to fight for you.

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