Throg my Dwarf Champion hit level 6 last night and is poised to leave the newbie starting zone of Thorin's Gate. He retrieved a letter from the elf Elrohir in the Goblin infested Mirkstone Tunnels and can now "finish" the introduction quest sequence after handing it in. I am putting this off because I want to complete the deed "Friend of Ered Luin" that you get from doing sub quests that are given out by random characters scattered around the zone. I have 6 out of 10 of these quests done - now I need to search for the remainig four. I am worried that these quests may no longer be available after I complete the introductory sequence.
The Goblin infested Tunnels are the only mildly dangerous place I have come across in Thorin's Gate. It is full of fast respawning Goblins of up to level 5. At one time I got jumped by four at once. My champion is a deadly killer but can be overwhelmed by multiple foes. Luckily there were plenty of other players in the cave and we all chipped when a fellow hero appeared to be in trouble.
I am still finding the controls to be a bit clunky in comparison to GW but I did make a few discoveries - instead of left clicking to select and then double clicking to attack a single right click selects and attacks (duh). I have enable run to target mode which speeds things up when attacking. I have also bound "select nearest foe" and "lock run forward" to side buttons of my mouse. All this makes life a lot easier. Using a hot key to select a mob and then cycling through mobs if necessary using the TAB key is a lot better than trying to click the right spot in the heat of battle. One feature that I sorely miss is the ability to adjust the size of the user interface (menus, text and icons) independently of the screen resolution. I have a 1280x1024 pixel LCD monitor and if I use a lower resolution the image seems blurred as it tries to stretch to fill the screen. Unfortunately at 1280 x 1024 the on screen interface is too small for my liking but I cannot find a way to get it bigger. I now have a choice of blurry 1024x768 or squinty 1280x1024. It is quite possible I am overlooking something here - it seems like a glaring omission to me. I imagine people with 1600x1200 LCDs must be really suffering on this one.
In previous games I tended to play hybrid classed - a Hunter in WOW and a Mesmer followed by a Paragon in Guild Wars. Hybrid classes are interesting to play because of the variety of roles they can take but inevitably they suffer from confusion over what exactly they are supposed to do. I picked a champion because they seem to have a very straightforward role: In your face melee damage dealing. Although the champion can wear decent armour he has few taunting abilities and when in fervour mode (for maximum damage) his defensive abilities are gone (cannot evade, parry or block incoming attacks). Attack skills consume power (like energy or mana) but the more devastating ones also require fervour which is built up in single points from completing lesser attacks. In order to maximise damage I set up attack chains using lesser skills to charge up fervour to unleash my more devastating blows. Fervour mode increases my melee offense and power regeneration but also allows me to automatically generate one fervour point every 5 seconds. Fervour normally dissapears after a few seconds of non combat but by leaving fervour mode on I can maintain one point of fervour continuously leaving me primed to get in a devastating fervour attack early in a fight. The disadvantage of ferour mode is as stated above it cripples defensive abilities - but so far no mobs in the starting zone have really troubled me.
Skills are purchased from skill trainers when you achieve the appropriate level. Most of the skills my champion has bought relate to combat but two skills puzzle me. I have learned to play lutes and horns. From what I know of lotro lutes and horns are used for buffing and healing so I am a little bit confused yet as to why my one man murder machine would use these. I guess time will tell.