LotRO: Rise of Isengard Release Day

Also known as “Thank god I lagged out, or I might have never logged off.”

Okay, here are some thoughts, in no real order.

I had a busy night last night, so I didn’t even approach my computer or start the patch upgrade until about eight pm, which process was not helped by the fact that I was also in the middle of converting the Lasers are Magical video into the correct format to play on the big screen in my Captains Quarters on EVE.

Anyway, patch update: seemed to go fine, once I was actually able to get through the queue and connect to the servers.

I’ve never been around for the first day of a major content release on LotRO (or, in fact, any other MMO), because they usually happen in November, and I’m always busy. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t in a big hurry to get to the new content this time either. Don’t get me wrong: the new story arcs sound really cool, but I’d prefer to go through them for the first time when Kate does, so I’m waiting.

Also… there’s the tiny little problem where I have a whole bunch of level 65s, and none of them are actually “ready” to move on in the storyline, according to my own sad little set of criteria. In descending order of importance, I want any character going into the new content to:

  • Have the previous area (Enedwaith) basically complete, preferably with at least my reputation with the Grey Company maxed out.
  • Be all caught up on the Epic Storyline, so that I can move forward.
  • Be done with the “In Their Absense” mini-arc, which requires a handful of 3- and 6-man instance runs to complete.
  • Have any other outstanding ‘stuff’ wrapped up from the level-65 storylines.

All of my characters have a problem with this list at some point.

  • Tyelaf finished up Enedwaith, just finished up the Epic storyline, maxed out his rep with both the Grey Company and the Algraig, but hasn’t done In Their Absence. Also, while he’s the first guy I took through Enedwaith, he’s probably the worst one to use to explore new content, IMO, because pairing him up with Kate’s hunter (who will ALWAYS be the first one into a new zone), gets wonky. Also, he still isn’t done with the frakking end of Volume 2 of the Epic book, because I could never get a group to do Sammath Gul with him.
  • Radigwen is also done with Enedwaith content, and I believe she’s done with the Epic storyline and maybe with at least Grey Company rep. She hasn’t done In Their Absence, however, and I also want to get her through Mirkwood content. (Yeah yeah, I know… I skipped it and now I want to finish it. Sue me.)
  • Geiri isn’t done with Enedwaith… or the Epic storyline… or In Their Absence. Honestly, where do I get off calling this guy my main?
  • Finn is completely backwards. He’s not even started on the Epic, is only about halfway through Enedwaith, doesn’t have any rep with anyone… but he’s done with In Their Absence. ūüėõ

So, suffice it to say that I didn’t head for Dunland straight off. Honestly, with my limited time last night, all I really did was log in everyone, rearrange their gear and traits to take advantage of the new changes, and then poke around on whatever quests I was already working on with them to get a feel for things.

(This was, incidentally, how the Mines of Moria expansion worked — several weeks of playing with the changes before the new zones and level cap went in. Personally, I prefer it. I’m in no rush to either gobble up all the content OR get to the level cap. I mean, it’s not like I won’t have a year or more at the new cap no matter how long I take to get there.)

They shortened up the animation for mounting your horse. That’s awesome, and not in the patch notes. Love it.

Tyelaf wants to know who came up with that bullshit line about having fewer skills on his bar: he has two more than he used to have, and they’re both skills that really need to go into his regular rotation.

Radigwen likes the space available on her skillbar, but finds the Master of Beasts traitline kind of hard to set up well for soloing. There are a lot of useful skills in the line if you’re in a group — I suspect it will be a good off-healer for a group or main-healer-for-a-three-man — but which aren’t that useful if you’re solo. (LOTS of healing skills that I just don’t need that much when solo.)

Geiri thinks he hits things very hard indeed. Nothing much really changed for him, except it seems he’s gotten better at the stuff he was already good at.

Finnras summoned up the oathbreaker bound to his service (ironic, that) and went out to kick the crap out of stuff in a traitline I rarely use… and had a great time. I’m enjoying the captain tweaks immensely.

All in all, I like the changes to the gameplay a lot, and I’m looking forward to the new content.

… now I just need to decide who’s going there first…