Tuesday, 29 September 2009


Library of Steel, Moria


Mordor's sentient servants are gifted with the power of speech; indeed, sometimes it's almost impossible to get them to shut up, other than by skewering them or blasting them with mage-fire or its LOTRO equivalent. Many of them also have their very own dying words, final messages of despair or defiance. This ongoing occasional series will record some of these utterances from the brink of extinction...

Thursday, 17 September 2009


The Siege of Mirkwood, we have been given to understand by Turbine’s carefully calculated press releases, will culminate in a multi-boss 12-man raid on the fortress of Dol Guldur. This is something all LOTRO raiders have been waiting for, hoping passionately that in terms of variety, interest and replayability, it will turn out to be a Rift of Nurz-gashu, Mk II. This is particularly so in view of the fact that the latest and much-heralded multi-boss raid, Dar Narbugud in the depths of Moria, is just a tiny bit disappointing.

The million-dollar question is just how severely it will be gated – in other words, what the minimum radiance level will be in order to avoid cowering. The maximum possible would be +120 radiance, representing in effect a full set of Dar Narbugud tier 2 armour, each piece of which is worth +20 radiance (as, of course, are also the tier 1 helm and shoulders which drop from the Watcher) – but I don’t for a moment think the developers will set it that high.

At the moment, minimum radiance for the Vile Maw is +50, and for Dar Narbugud +70 (which means you can enter with +65, as it rounds up). My guess is be that you will need +85 radiance (down from +90 thanks to rounding up) for Dol Guldur, making a neat progression of +50, +70, +90 for the three 12-man raids. Currently, this could be achieved with one tier 2 item, all three tier 1.5 items and two tier 1 items - but the expansion will also offer other, new opportunities to build up radiance. It looks as though radiance, like death and taxes, will be with us for a while yet…

Thursday, 10 September 2009


There's a number of sites where you can find a consolidation of all the currently available information on LOTRO's forthcoming expansion, The Siege of Mirkwood, so I won't bother recapitulating it all here (MMeOw has a good one). It's interesting to note that unlike the previous paid-for expansion (Mines of Moria), this one does not introduce a new volume, but "only" an new book (Book 9) of Volume II. It is to be a digital expansion costing around twenty dollars US, though I would guess it will soon be followed by a boxed edition for the retail market. Significant features include a level cap raise to 65, a legendary item cap raise to 60, a new runic slot for LIs, the eagerly expected Skirmishes, an apparently very large new area to explore and, above all, a new multi-boss raid culminating, it seems, in a battle with the Lieutenant of Dol Guldur. All good stuff...

Since this will not, after all, be a new volume, there has been some grumbling about having to pay for new content, but surprisingly less than might have been expected; most people, I think, realise that the content on offer in SoM will be considerably greater than we would normally have received from a free update. And to be honest, as one of the many players who paid for a lifetime subscription, I don't mind making an occasional contribution to Turbine's revenue stream, thereby ensuring that they continue to lavish time and attention on the game.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


In a lighter vein than some recent posts, I couldn't resist passing on the following wonderful communication gleaned from the Codemasters forum:

"Hello escrivo to expose what happens to me I am in the server evernight go 2 years in etten am rank 10 with my guardian a hobbit always I went to all the raid and tape-worm many friends until a few months ago I come a very big clan descendants of andurin, and one of his(her,your) members arcane harasses me non-stop(steadily) expels me without motive says lies of my and the last thing that it(he,she) made arcane is to get about myself tell to scare saying things like that Arcaned: I wish to KILL FRODO AND EAT HIS EYEBALLS Arcaned: Devils Arcane> arcane Cucuracha Rodin . he(she) hates me for that he(she) hates Frodo and Samsagaz and says that every deve of burning in the flames of sauron arcane it looks like to me a sick player and already not that to do before this harassment pardon for my bad(wrong) Englishman".

The exchange which followed had something to do with feuding and bad blood in the Ettenmoors (yawn), but the debate was of minor interest compared to the original glorious piece of prose - which may owe some of its surrealist splendour to the intervention of an online translator. The last word remained with Satine, CM director of community relations, who sensibly concluded "[Thread] closed before anyone hurts themselves" last Tuesday.