Yesterday evening Throg joined a kinship group to help a colleague complete Book 12 of Volume 1. This was the last book I completed before taking a break from the game and I remember it being particularly challenging. Last nights run through was very smooth though a far cry from the multiple wipes I remember from the first time around.
It was so much easier in fact that I have been trying to figure out what made such a big difference. I reckon several factors came together: We are all a bit more experienced with a number of players who have already completed the book, our gear is bit better all round (lotro is not particularly gear intensive but every little helps) and we were all using Ventrilo voice chat.
The group consisted of a minstrel, two captains, two champions and a lore master. There was no guardian to steal aggro from so the two champions went to town with all out area of effect damage and cut through hordes of mobs in rapid time. Normally this would be a suicidal strategy but with heavy buffing from two captains and healing from a well geared minstrel it worked a charm.
The final instance ("Weapons of the Enemy") deserves particular mention. You face a lone boss in a courtyard surrounded by a pillared walkway. The floor of the courtyard causes moderate fire damage over time. The boss nukes anyone he can see with area of effect fire balls. You can hide behind a pillar to dodge fireballs but that area is patrolled by ghosts who silence any casters (ie your healer) who try to shelter there. On top of all this the boss has some kind of invulnerability buff which he puts up, I think, if he is not engaged in melee. On my first go at the book we wiped and wiped on this mission. With our minstrel almost permanently silenced we ended up suicide tanking the boss in relays (it was a relatively quick run back from the resurrection spot). This time round we got it first time with no hassle. It went so quickly that I amn't entirely sure what went right but I think it was a combination of our minstrel standing inside the courtyard away from the silencing ghosts and one of the champions permanently clobbering the boss to prevent him using any nasty abilities. The rest of us just piled on the damage and the boss went down quickly. Book 12 completed in record time.
Earlier in the day Throg joined a fun kinship event. An officer ran around in chicken mode trying to achieve a sequence of ever more preposterous objectives while a raid group of 20 or so kinnies were tasked with protecting him. Whenever the chicken died everyone had to make their way back to the Kinhouse for a swig from the festival keg. In addition to woozy drunkenness this also transports the imbiber to a random region of middle earth from whence they must make their way back to the chicken run. We had much confusion (headless chickens?) and several feathery deaths but in the end the chicken managed to make a complete circuit of the dangerous Misty Mountains. In fact it was easier to keep the chicken alive in those dangerous parts than in the starter region of the shire because high level players do not automatically aggro mobs in the shire making it harder to distract their attention from the quick footed chicken. A fun time was had by all and a number of old friends returned to Lotro for the event, a hopeful sign of things to come with the upcoming expansion imminent.