Thursday, 28 August 2008


This is a very large (17,000 x 8,500 pixel) composite photomosaic map of East Angmar, from Garth Fornir to Carn Dum and Urugarth inclusive. It is in the form of a 32.5 MB JPEG file; once downloaded, it can be overwritten, printed, viewed onscreen and so forth.

You can download it from this link: Even if you don't have a Rapidshare account, it can be downloaded for free after a 30-second wait. Personally, I found it very helpful both for navigating and as a way of getting a sense of how the various parts of this very complex area relate to one another.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


The barter economy of Middle-Earth is becoming extremely complex. Barter items now include Battered Arnorian Armour (BAA), Vile Bronze and Silver Coins, Rift Coins, Marks of Triumph (MoT) from the repeatable epic instances, Marks of Victory (MoV) from the battleground instances, and of course Luminous Stones from the Delvings of Fror in the Ettenmoors.

All of these can only be bartered for specific items as follows:

BAA = Annuminas armour
Vile Coins = Angmar armour
Rift-iron Coins = second-rank Rift armour
Fror stones = Ettens armour
MoV = teal jewellery or a gamble on the chests
MoT = various

The interesting items here are the MoT, which are the closest thing LOTRO has to a universal barter “currency”; they can be used to acquire any of either Helegrod, Annuminas or Angmar armour (respectively priced at 30, 16 and 8 MoT per item). However, they can also be exchanged for Annuminas or Angmar barter items at a rate of 2 MoT for one Vile Silver Coin or one BAA; unfortunately, the reverse isn’t true – you can’t hand over a Vile Silver Coin and receive two MoT.

It’s hard to say why, and it’s a pity the developers didn’t take the plunge and make MoT a true universal barter item. If they had, players would be able to consolidate all the barter items acquired from various quests and instances (including perhaps even Helegrod barter items) and convert them into whichever barter currency they prefered. Instead, many players are lumbered with a variety of barter items which take up precious storage slots, none of them in sufficient quantities to trade in.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


A couple of months back, I was complaining about the fact that players are not given access to an ongoing narrative of the epic quest as they move through the various books. Well, it still hasn't been implemented in-game, but player Brunop in Slovakia has finally provided one in the form of an 87-page, 450 KB Acrobat file which covers Books 1-14 inclusive. The text includes the exact wording of every epic quest and instance, as well as details of the objective(s) and background, all patiently copied from the quest logs.

Here is an example from Book II:



Radagast wants to learn what drew a creature such as Ivar to the Red Swamp. He thinks that something could be learned from one of the Eglain. 'This land was the site of many battles in the past. Some say the swamp takes its name from the blood of fallen Men that stains the earth red. But my knowledge of the swamp's history is limited. 'I do know of a man named Aric, a wise man of the Eglain, though only by reputation. He is a Stone-speaker, a scholar who studies the stones and collects knowledge from their markings. Aric knows much of the local lore. 'Travel to him and ask for his help. He currently dwells south of here, beyond Talath Gaun, down in Harloeg. He may provide us with the knowledge we seek.'


Aric is south of Ost Guruth, beyond Talath Gaun, down in Harloeg. Radagast spoke of a man named Aric the Stone-speaker. Aric may be able to tell you the history of the Red Swamp.

This is not yet literature - it would need some cutting and editing for that - but it reads perfectly coherently, and will remind players of all their troubles and travails during the last year and a half of traveling and questing. Savvy players will no doubt also realise what a help this will be in choosing which of the epic quests to repeat in order to gain Marks of Triumph.

It's amazing to realise that something as useful as this had to be produced by a player... You can download it in seconds from

Saturday, 2 August 2008


The Angamarim forces currently holding Annuminas are showing signs of serous defeatism, if not worse. How else would you explain the fact that immediately upon coming under attack, an Angamarim captain might cry out "This will be no easy defeat!" - thus implicitly conceding that he is, indeed, facing certain defeat. Equally defeatist are the ejaculations "My life for the glory of Angmar", or the plaintive "Annuminas was to be our glory...". Angmar's secret police should also be worried about the widespread use of "I do not... understand" by dying Angmarim, as this indicates a high level of mistrust of High Command and a lack of awareness of the Witch King's long-term policies.

This is no way to run an army of invasion. A Roman legion showing this degree of demoralisation would have been decimated, and as for Soviet troops on the Eastern Front - why, the KGB would have shot all the officers and condemned the men to service in the punitive battalions. Angmar's KGB equivalent needs to get on their case...