Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lotro: Spawn Camping 101

I never played the original Everquest but I have read that mobs were in short supply and spawn camping developed into an art form. Tobold has a nice description of the technique here.

Now Lotro has a fair amount of "kill Ten Foozles" quests but MMORPGs and MMORPGers have moved on. For the most part mobs are in ready supply and it is better to move around hunting out your prey than to sit in one spot waiting for a re-spawn. However a couple of nights ago Throg had the opportunity to participate in a good old fashioned everquestesque spawn camp while soloing in the Misty Mountains. It happened like this:

Larus Sharpshard asked for Throg's assistance in recovering 24 gold ingots lost from a dwarf strongbox (Every Last Ingot). At first Throg thought that grubbing around in the snow for someone else's gold was beneath him but when the feisty dwarf realised that retrieving the gold involved knocking goblins on the head he set to it with glee. A couple of ambushes later indicated that the gold was well spread out among the Goblins camped around Eastern Bruinen Source Region. Just about every second Goblin carried some. Throg's mental arithmetic is not quite up to his axe swinging but I pointed out to him that he would have to slay around 50 goblins to collect the required 24 gold ingots.

In truth there was no shortage of goblins wandering alone or standing in groups around their campfires. It was late though, Throg was feeling a bit tired and had no desire to go traipsing all over the place after goblins foolish enough to stray from their brethren. Instead he decided to situate himself near one of the campfires and kill each new goblin as they arrived.

He found a spot with four goblins close together and another two who wandered by occasionally. At the time Throg had reached the 40th level of proficiency but these Goblins were two to three levels above him (yellow and orange). Nevertheless Throg could tackle any one with ease and even deal with two together at a pinch. Three or more would be suicidal though so Throg had to employ the ancient fighting strategy known as "Breaking the Spawn".

Throg's technique for this was somewhat inelegant but nevertheless effective. First he picked out a safe path that he could flee along when overwhelmed by foes. Then he aggravated one of the goblins with a carefully placed arrow. Throg is no bowman and the arrow did not sink deep enough to cause serious damage but it did alert the target him and his colleagues to Throg's presence. A horde of goblins chased after Throg. This dwarf's legs may be short but he ran like the clappers dodging arrows as he went. Thankfully Goblin's are a fickle bunch and after a short run the wounded goblin's comrades got bored and gave up. This was the moment Throg had been waiting for because the chap with Throg's arrow protruding from his posterior was so intent on revenge that he failed to notice his colleagues departure. He was left alone to face the dwarf champion. Throg was quick to show him his mistake and then repeated the process for each of the dead goblins erstwhile companions. An often overlooked but subtly important step here is to take an appropriate break between each killing. The reason for this will become clear later.

Once all the goblins were dead Thog stood and waited:

It is a little known fact that Goblins have a well organised system of military reserves. When one of their kind is struck down a replacement will surely be sent to take its place after a short delay. This was exactly what Throg was counting on and as each replacement arrived Throg quickly dispatched him, relieving the dead creature of any stolen gold he might be carrying. Now the importance of taking a break between each of the original killings was revealed. This ensured that only one replacement arrived at a time. The wandering goblins who sometimes strolled by seemed to be on a different relief schedule to their camp bound comrades and on a couple of occasions Throg was left fighting two Goblins at once. No matter our hero survived and stuck with his vigil until he had collected all 24 gold ingots.

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