Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lotro notes 19 April 2007

After a day of server down time I eventually got to adventure with Throg again last night. Biting the bullet my doughty dwarf accompanied Dwalin to the Skorgrims Tomb instance. Skorgrim is thoroughly bad egg from olden days who was about to be re-incarnated. Fighting shoulder to shoulder with the mighty dwarf Dwalin Throg did his best to stop this arcane rite. Sadly they were too late but they did manage to run Skorgrim and his dourhands out of Ered Luin. No doubt we shall meet the evil Skorgrim again but for the moment all is peace and harmony in Ered Luin.

Completing this instance graduates Throg from the introductory sequence into the game proper. The first thing he did was visit the mighty dwarf city of Thorin's Gate. Coming from humble origins Throg was overawed by this underground metropolis but I however got a strange feeling of deja vu. An underground dwarf city with auction house, bank, mechants and trainers. Yup it was like being back in Ironforge from World of Warcraft once again. Thorin's gate actually feels a lot smaller than Ironforge and thankfully (for the moment at least) a good deal less crowded. Throg checked out the auction house but there didn't seem to be much in the way of bargains or opportunities to turn a quick profit yet.

Picking up a few quests Throg found himself revisiting several areas of Eruid Luin collecting stones, gear wheels and what not. The monsters in the wild appear to have grown a bit stronger (up to level 6) but the two caves that Throg revisited since the tutorial (Mirkstone and and Rockbelly Pit) seemed oddly safer than before.

I previously mentioned that I found the combat controls in Lotro somewhat clunky and I have now come to the conclusion that this is mainly due to failings in the targeting and tracking system. My Champion is a melee fighter he needs to be close to his target and pointed the right way in order to do damage. Enemies tend to run at you and sometimes move around in battle. This often leaves my champion pointed the wrong way. The closer you are to the enemy the more likely that they will sidestep out of your field of view. This can be very annoying in the heat of battle to find that you are suddenly swiping at thin air. If this was a first person action game I would say fair enough but this is not. LOTRO does not have the fluid WASD and mouse controls of a first person game so it is very hard to track a moving target in combat. More-over I don't think the enemies are intelligently avoiding hits - I think is is more a bug that they come in too close and end up overshooting. Enabling "move to target" doesn't improve the situation - in fact it makes things worse because move to target seems to be interpreted as "stand on top of target" which has a high probability of leaving you facing the wrong way. I have found the best way to deal with this is to take a step back after running into combat. Lotro seems to determine field of view on an angular basis and by stepping back from the enemy you widen the arc that they can move around while still staying within your field of view.

I have started using Lotro Wiki as my main reference source. It is new of course and still has many gaps but it is shaping up quite nicely. I am ahug efan of Guild-wiwki for Guild wars and lotro-wiki so far seems to be following a similar model.

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