Friday, April 20, 2007

Throg's Lotro Journal 20 April 2007

Would be dwarf champion Throg is taking a well earned rest after adventuring his way to within spitting distance of level 9. Most of his progress came through questing in the Vale of Thrain. Throg went there initially on the advice of Tindr to warn the citizens of Noglon about possible water shortages but once there he found work clearing the vale of wild cats, bears and goblins. It was in the Vale that our sturdy dwarf first tasted the bitter sweet tang of defeat. Spurred on by overconfidence he made the mistake of tackling three Goblins at once. Poor Throg got a right pounding and was forced to run for his life. That defeat has cost him the chance of gaining an "undefeated" title but to be honest I think it is for the best. Far from being cowed by the experience he has learned from it and has become at once more sensible and yet more courageous. Having been defeated once and living to tell the tale he is no longer afraid to take a risk when the potential reward justifies it. I am pleased to say that Throg proved his mettle after honing his skills a bit. He went back to the same goblin encampment and slew the three miscreants. At three against one it was a tough battle but with the aid of a morale boosting essence Throg's axe and sword won the day.

The vale turned out to be an excellent place for Throg to to try out his recently learned explorer skills and he returned to Thorin's Hall with a bag full of copper, alder wood and tin. Throg has the option of processing these materials to produce higher grade ingots and wood but a quick survey of the auction house indicates that prices for trade goods are still extremely erratic and it is far from clear as to whether not further processing will earn him a profit. With a dwarf's nose for gold Throg has decided to bank his raw materials until prices stabilise.

For my part I am still learning about the game. I figured out that that the quest log uses a colour scheme to indicate difficulty but I still amn't sure of the sequence. I think the order is grey, green, light blue, dark blue, white and yellow in terms of increasing difficulty. Unfortunately I didn't figure this out until after I had done all the white quests on my list thinking they were the easier ones to do first. Now I have a bunch of blues to complete and I hope I still get decent XP for them. I really need to read the manual - I downloaded a pdf version from here.

I have got my first "group" quest to clear out the goblin "Villains in the Vale". These group quests are apparently great fun so I will try pugging it tomorrow.

In other news Turbine have just announced a free expansion for June. Given that the game hasn't even been released yet this is very encouraging, particularly since they say that this will be the "first of many free updates". The expansion will be called "Shores of Evendim" with key features:
  • Discover the lands of Evendim
  • Explore over 60 new Quests
  • Raid in the Battle for Helegrod
  • Fight against 9 new monsters
  • Upgraded music system adds new instruments and lets you share your music with others
  • Equip collectible Armor Sets
I am delighted to see that Turbine are taking a leaf from Guild Wars in providing "Vanity" rewards such as hard to get titles and collectible armour sets. Rewards like this give hard core players something to aim for without creating barriers to progression for casual players in the way that the tiered armour sets of World of Warcraft do. I have previously discussed this issue at more length under the heading of "Artificially Creating Value".

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