Sunday, July 22, 2007

LOTRO – Switching Gears

True to my alt-rolling, flip-flopping ways, I have placed both of my primary “main” characters on the back-burner and rolled a Hobbit Burglar. My Human Guardian and my Hobbit Hunter are fun but I got a little tired of only having them as options. So I rolled a class I hadn’t tried since Open Beta … and I’m loving it!

For those who have only played WoW, a burglar has the stealth capabilities of a Rogue in WoW. However, they are not a melee dps class. Instead, they do a moderate amount of melee dps and have various debuffs they can use to play havoc with a mob. For instance, I can throw sand in their eyes which lessens a mob’s ability to hit. I have addle which is both an interrupt of an ability in its casting state and slows down the casting of other abilities. My survivability in combat isn’t based on my ability to out-dps something, but my decent dps combined with my actions which mess with a mob’s dps. I also have riddle which is a mez (stuns a mob until they take damage), sneak (which is stealth) an ability to distract a targeted mob away from me which I’m in stealth and, of course, burgle which is simply picking a mob’s pockets while I’m stealthed. I would also be remiss if I didn’t also add that Burglars are a key class for starting Fellowship Maneuvers which trigger a special wheel for each member of a group. The item each member picks benefits the member that picked it, however, if the team coordinates what they pick, you get a better and even more powerful effect.

To put my Burglar to the test, I visited some ruins in the Weathered Hills. The mobs there were the same level or slightly above my level at the time. Some of them are also elites. Were they to catch me at my sneaking, I would be dead fairly quickly. I managed to get all the way inside the fortress, picking pockets all the way. I had to take out one non-elite guard who was standing in a doorway (which was pretty tense as there is an elite patrol in the room he was guarding and another elite mob standing just inside the room). I took him out and re-stealthed without incident. It was a blast! And I was hooked.

In addition to the class itself, my new Burglar is also a Farmer and Cook (the Yeoman profession). I like being able to make pipe-weed as well as brew beers and make stat-food. Yeoman may turn into a money-sink for me, but I’m liking it thus far. And it’s a very Hobbit profession to have. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

LOTRO Journal 7.10.2007

Tired of grinding Hillmen for the Man racial heal, I switched over to my hunter and finally got him to 30 last night. I got a couple neat new abilities and my level thirty class quest.

*** Hunter Level Thirty Class Quest Spoiler and Man / Hobbit Intro Quest Spoiler From Here Till The End ***

I role-play a lot with my hunter and have even gone so far as to create an origin story for him. In my story, my Hobbit deals with a vicious warg threatening Overhill and in the process finds out that he likes adventuring and realizes the need for good people to fight against the evils in Middle Earth, hence the reason he’s an adventurer and not one of the many Hobbits sitting around in taverns while Evil is spreading. The level thirty hunter quest was a real treat for me, since defending Overhill against a warg attack is exactly what I ended up doing! I had to fight off a warg boss and his buddies and defend the quest NPC in the process. The whole Overhill area is recreated right down to the NPCs I needed to warn to get into their little Hobbit homes because the wargs are coming!

Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the quest, now I’m caught in something of a bind: keep my story at the risk of being told that I stole the idea from the class quest or come up with a new one. Since I won’t be making money off the story, I doubt Turbine would care one way or the other, it’s more the appearance of impropriety I’m concerned about. *sigh* I had a really kick-ass story too. :(

One thing I think Turbine nailed in LOTRO is the process of getting the player involved in the world the have created. For example, Men and Hobbits share the same introductory area of Archet. It starts as a normal, somewhat boring town. In the instanced event which moves you from the tutorial into the game world, you will watch as Archet burns. If you’re a human, you enter the world in the destroyed town of Archet, giving the player the feeling that you were a part of a history that everyone can now witness. “I was in Archet before it became the ruin you see before you.”

The feeling of being involved with the world is the same in the level thirty Hunter quest. The same NPCs are there that you’d see in Overhill if you went there in the normal game world. In the quest instance, you get to interact with them to warn them to get into the safety of their homes. You end up standing with the quest NPC in an empty town square (all of the Hobbits are hiding thanks to your warning). After you have defended the town and completed the instance, you can still return to Overhill in the game world, but it will have a certain new sense of significance: the Hobbits there are carrying on normally thanks to you. (It would be interesting to see if Turbine added phrases to the NPCs about your aid in the defense of the town similar to the way fellow Bounders will greet you if you’re a Bounder.) It’s one of those things in LOTRO that keeps me coming back for more. I may not be Gandalf or Aragorn, but my characters are heroes and play critical parts in the world.