Friday, August 27, 2010

The City of Trees: a Lotro Update

I am back playing my dwarf Champion Throg with the general intention of soloing him up to the level cap in time for the expansion that comes with Free to Play on 10th September. After all this soloing It will be nice to be part of the buzz that comes from everyone doing new content for the first time together.

Throg had languished just outside Lothlorien since last October but thankfully he was very close to the rep level needed to proceed into the Elven forest itself. This unavoidable grind with only a limited number of rep quests to repeat  was one of the contributory factors to my quitting the game for almost a year.  Imagine my delight on getting in to discover that yet another rep grind is required to get into the city itself. Happily there are more than enough interesting quests in the forest to allow you to build up the required level of rep without repeating anything. Indeed Lothlorien Forest offers the choice between combat against an orc incursion in the North West corner or a whole bunch of tree hugging berry picking quests in the west. I spent a pleasant few days of varied questing acquiring the rep needed to get into the Caras Galadhon. When I eventually got into the City of Trees it turned out to be incredibly beautiful and also incredibly frustrating to navigate. The vast array of multilevelled platforms high in the trees is impossible to represent on a 2D map. Long circular stairways provide access to the treetops but if you search around you can find instant travel ladders which eliminate the long climb. The flet runner quest series which requires you to navigate around the treetops with very tight time limits is really challenging. There are plenty of other quests to pick up in there too all of which give a combination of Galadhrim rep and collectable token rewards (gold and silver leaf). With a high enough rep you can exchange these tokens for epic rewards so it provides a mechanism for  non raiders to get high quality gear. As far as I could tell this gear doe not have the radiance required for access to end game raids however so it is not a mechanism for bypassing the raid progression path.

A dwarf in the City of Trees. (Note that Throg has abandoned the Mohawk and overalls in favour of a more mature look)

I thought briefly about farming for some of this gear but Mirkwood beckons. I am sure that Lothlorien's level 60 gear will be outclassed by newer level 65 stuff and I am keen to to get through Mirkwood before Sep 10th.  I left Caras Galadhon behind me and took the boat across the Anduin to the much darker and bleaker forest of Mirkwood.

NB: I am pretty sure you can get to Mirkwood with out the detour into Caras Galahon. As long as you have earned acquaintance status with he Galadhrim you could walk through Lotlorien and catch the boat straight across the Anduin. I do think it is worth a few days diversion though to see the most beautiful city of the Elves in Middle Earth.

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