Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Draigogh's Lair

Time for my final review before RoR! Draigogh's Lair is a single raid in which you get to battle a real dragon! (All those before were drakes, no matter how much they looked like a dragon.)

For a single instance, Draigogh's Lair is quite costly at 795 tp's. It's also included in the Rise of Isengard Expansion (not quests). This is a 24-man (or 12-man when doing the challenge) lvl 75 raid instance, meaning that you can only access it when lvl 75, but that's not all.

Before the raid

After reaching lvl 75, just like with the other Isengard instances (and the Roots of Fangorn), you need to do some stuff to actually unlock the instance. For this raid, you need to take the  There is Gold in the Hills quest in Lagtrev. Once you've completed this quest, you can finally run it.

Strategy
The instance starts with Draigogh looking for you through the holes, turning you into bbq when he sees you. After this preliminary little game, the real fight starts. I'm not going to write down the whole strategy here as it's quite complicated and this isn't a guide. At several stages in the fight, the dragon is vulnerable to conjuctions that, when using the correct ones, give out certain buffs and debuffs to make the fight easier.

Strategy requires everyone to be focused. Once you know the strategy (and can execute it correctly), the fight really isn't that hard

Rewards

The reward of the raid are pretty good, giving tokens for the shoulder and helm pieces of the Draigogh armour set as well as several nice pieces of jewelry, worn symbols of celebrimbor, scales to be used in crafted cloaks and fused aged relics.


Overall 14/20

The instance is a nice one, having you go into a dragon's lair to kill it off. The battle itself is pretty epic and the rewards are nothing to scoff at. The only downside is the high price, which might make a lot of people consider to pass on this one. Once Rohan comes out, it'll probably have less-than-stellar rewards.

+Cool fight
+Decent rewards
-High tp price


Friday, August 24, 2012

Quest Pack Review: Isengard Instance Cluster

Within the Ring of Isengard, you'll find sewer pipes leading within the Tower and other zones. These are the instances of Isengard. Be ready to thwart the foul plans of the Wizard of Many Colours!



Fangorn's Edge (3-man)

The great fires that fuel Saruman's war-machine need fuel, and what better place to get it than the great trees of Fangorn? Stopping the fuel will weaken production.

In this instance, you get to see the huorns in action, killing the orcs trying to chop down the forest. The first boss is typical tank and spank, with the occasional summoned add. You'll want to try and keep the huorns at the edge of the battlefield alive as well. The 2nd battle is a 2-phase one. In the first, the ents come to root out the problem the orcs themselves, though they'll mistake you for one as well! As long as you don't draw ent-aggro and keep them alive, you'll be fine. Once the attacking orcs are down, 3 trolls come and lock onto one of the ents. Try to keep the ents alive while taking down the trolls (as long as your ents have a bunch of hp more than the trolls, you'll be fine).


Pits of Isengard (3-man)

Under Isengard, the Wizard Saruman is creating species of a foul nature. This instance features rescuable rohirrim that will fight at your side. The first boss is tank 'n spank and can knock people away or towards him, so be careful of those pits. On tier 2 he can summon adds. After this boss, there is a split (you can do one wing on tier 1 but both on tier 2). One leads down to the sludgepits which has another tank and spank boss and a nasty poison. The other side leads to the flame-pits. Make sure to rush the mobs together because whoever is too late is flung into the lava to his doom. This boss is tank and spank as well.

Dargnákh Unleashed (3-man)

The orcs have captured a troll, but have a hard time keeping him at bay. Once he escapes, all hell breaks loose and you have to drive the troll even madder (with ballistas and exploding barrels). Once outside, the boss can summon adds that heal him so make sure to kill them in time. Then it's time to kill Dargnákh himself.  Make sure to stay behind him if you're not the tank. As you take him down, the ceiling will collapse.

The Foundry (6-man)

Saruman needs weapons and armor to equip his troops. While Isengard is completely turned into a warmachine, the foundry is a key location. This instance is among the more easy instances in the game.

The first boss puts up a damage-absorbing shield shortly after the fight has started. To dispel it, you need to pull him to one of the squares where, on pulling the corresponding lever, trash will fall on him to debuff him.
Now and then, lava will fill up a spot or steam will jet out of a grate, so try to avoid them. Just like one of the fights in the Grand Stairs instance, the boss can also call out a name where a damaging flame effect will appear.

The Tower of Orthanc (12-man raid)

Saruman has taken up the craft of ringforging. Even though his rings are lesser creations, it is still a good plan to take down the lieutenants he gave them to and then take the fight to the Wizard himself. This raid consists of 5 wings, requiring the first 4 completed  before you can access the last. At the start you come inside a lobby of sorts (in the ring of Isengard) where the group can choose out of a few doorways leading to the different side-wings.

Ring of Fire and Frost

This one consists of a dual-boss fight. Attacking a boss gives a debuff to attacks from the other. On occasion, they'll summon grims that give further buffs/debuffs.

Ring of Acid

This boss will summon adds that have to be taken down. After a while, the room starts filling with acid which requires running around and jumping to avoid the pools. Once the acid is gone, attack the boss.

Ring of Lightning

Basic tank and spank. The boss will build charge and unleash it at times. As long as everyone but the tank is gone when this happens, you'll be fine.

Ring of Shadow

This wing has basic tank and spank. On occasion, the boss will summon aoe effects. One damaging one and one that only damages if you move. Therefore, the strategy usually is for only the tank to move.

Saruman

A fight featuring 6 different Sarumans. Just keep killing the elemental Sarumans as each phase goes by. By using the rings from the other wings, you'll be able to defeat him.



Overall: 14/20
Despite the high price, this is pretty much required at cap, seeing as this is almost the entirety of end-game. This might change with RoR but for now it stands.
The instances are fun to run, having some unique tactics. The 3-mans and foundry are currently run a lot, because the rewards are good (and in the case of Foundry ridiculously high).
The environments are varied and interesting, although some (especially in the raid) can be a little dark.
In the end, whether to get this or not depends on how close you are to the current cap.
I'd say to wait until you're 75 and then buy this (no reason to before that really), as RoR is coming in October, which might change the usefulness of this.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pandimus: upcoming changes


It has been some time since the last update to the game, as the developers were planning a big rebuild of Pandimus. This will happen in a series of patches and updates, the first of which is coming soon!



Without further ado, here is what's coming up:


Server

  • Increase of server stability, enabling the possibility of the servers to handle up to 300 players.
  • A (back-end) change will be made to the mailing system as well, which will decrease loading times of your maibox.

Web and other pages
  • The homepage will be reworked. No details are given as to the nature of the changes though.
  • Maybe not something for you players but mods can expect improvements, something like a special page for mods to get a better handle of our powers.
  • Once the game starts working better, there's also something planned for the wiki (incorporating a new idea).

Combat
  • Changes to skills and new skills for just about every mastery out there.
  • Combat against monsters will be manual as is the case with dueling.
The arena will probably stay auto-battling for a while until a new system is figured out.

Items
  • A new itemization system : 
 that way you will have always interesting and useful items
  • Item sets (equipping multiple items of a set gives a bonus)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Riders of Rohan release pushed back to October 15th.

In a report from Sapience, it is stated that the launch of Rohan is being pushed back to October 15th.

The good news is that everyone who pre-purchased RoR gets:
-500 tp
-a goodie bag containing: (players will receive a code to redeem this)

- 100% XP Boost (1hr)
- Slayer Deed Accelerators x1 (60 min)
- +20% Renown (3 hours)
- + 20% Mount Speed (1 hour)
- Tome of Defence
- Scroll of Finesse

Read it all in this thread: 



More information on RoR can also be found now in the beta feedback thread:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quest Pack Review: The Great River


South from Lothlorien flows the great river Anduin, which the fellowship followed until their splitting. Go past the edge of the woods, to fields of Pelenor and the border of the lands of the Horselords.




First up is the border of the Elven woods of Lothlorien. The  elves keep a tight watch to guard their realm. Of late there have been signs of trespassers, men from the guard post to the south and fouler beings. You'll help the elves scare away (which is kinda fun), clean up and hamper these intruders.
Heading south, you'll enter a large grassland, and head towards the outpost of Stangard, where an internal struggle is making the men unhappy. Quests here are varied, ranging from the usual kill, explore quests to more unique ones like feeding horses, manning watchtowers,... While it is possible to get the last few levels to cap in this area, it's more about the li exp,  reputation and equipment than about leveling.

Other zones include the old battlefield of Pellenor where restless spirits roam, a swamp, the brown lands (which are ... brown) and the

Limlight Gorge

The Limlight Gorge (or LG for short) in the western area of the zone is the main grouping area of the Great River area. It houses quests for the Heroes of the Limlight Gorge faction. All of these quests are marked as fellowship quests, as there are a lot of strong monsters around. Doing the daily quests here is part of the current endgame as the barter items have some nice jewelry. This zone also houses the entrance to the Roots of Fangorn instance, which must be discovered before it can be run through the instance join panel.

Roots of Fangorn (6-man)

This instance has you enter the edge of Fangorn to stop the orc intrusion and fight off the spiders that attack you. The first fight is tank-and-spank, though you'll have to watch out for the boss's special attacks. The second fight are 3 mini-bosses which spawn adds and a 4th of their kind. The final boss has many poisonous dot's that aren't removable other than by going into the cleansing aura of the tree roots. A nice instance which is currently run a lot.


Price/Value: 3.5/5 (Nice quests, good rewards, contains an instance. The future viability of this pack depends on what Turbine does.)
Storyline: 4/5 (Quests focus on story a lot here. The internal struggle in Stangard is a nice one.)
Quest Progression: 3.5/5 (Again with the instance technology. Quest progression is pretty straightforward, especially when following the epic.)
Atmosphere: 4/5 (Variation, great atmosphere.)

Overall: 14.5/20
The pack is definitely nice, featuring many quests, many solo instances and some nice scenery. Currently a must-have, unless with RoR they change the Great River to 65-75.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quest Pack Review: Rise of Isengard Quests


Heading south from Enedwaith, we enter Dunland and get very close to Isengard. The Wizard Saruman is now openly showing his true colours.



Dunland

Lagtrev

First up is the Dunland region, which has 2 entry points from Enedwaith. Either you go for the Trum Dreng region (which is dunlending style) or the Bonevales (barrows). Quests here are the same way you're used to from Enedwaith, meaning that you'll do 1-4 quests, which will add more quests and change the npc's available. Once you're done with one of the 2, you'll get a vector quest taking you to the other and one taking you to Galtrev (Lagtrev for most). Learn your way around here, as this'll be the main hub for everything (at least until RoR hits). Getting kindred with the dunlendings is cake and gives access to the return to Galtrev skill.
 Of note is that, among the li exp quests you'll find what may be the only fishing quest in the game (not counting festival ones). As you go along, you'll head to more plains, a swamp, an icy mountain zone (epic story mostly), a dark forest and lots of Dunlendings. (It gets annoying after a while to be called Duvodiad over and over.) I'll also mention that I felt this zone had a lot of solo/duo instances, some of which are quite nice.
Monsters here include dunlending (draigh-luth and other clans), boars, wolves, and about any mob you can imagine (even those mutated orcs from under Moria). You will also encounter extremely scaled-up versions of these. That mega-boar is just plain awesome.
Once you're done, it's time to go south to the Gap of Rohan and Isengard. You'll probably even have reached cap (lvl 75 as of writing)!

The gap of Rohan

The gap of Rohan is a horizontal zone, though you won't be going left to right, as you enter somewhere in the middle. For deeds, these quests belong to the quests in Dunland deed. There are 2 quest hubs in this area and if you're following the epic story, I suggest doing them from right to left, meaning you'll tackle Grimbold's camp first. Quests here are again grouped by 1-4 unlocking new quests as you complete them. There's also one public dungeon here called the pit of iron, which is similar to old Moria in that there are a lot of mobs and the 3rd dimension is very prominent. Mobs here include  dunlendings and wargs. Atmosphere is nice with rolling hills and big flower fields. Note that the Wulf's Cleft area is only accessible once in an instance but has a nice view from up the ridge to the north. No quests take place there. Once you follow the river Isen north, you'll wind up at ...

Isengard

The ring of Isengard features few camps (only 1 stable) but as you follow the quests from there out, you'll find several other quest-givers spread out over the Ring. This zone is mostly a barren waste, with spiky bushes, broken wood and a lot of enemies. The mob density is quite high and the quests spread out. Mobs include a lot of uruks, wargs and goblins. This is also where the Isengard instance cluster is located if you have it. (Included in the Expansion).

No instances

The Rise of Isengard quest pack doesn't include the instance cluster, which is for sale in the Lotro Store separately. The expansion does include both the cluster, the Draigoch raid and a skirmish soldier lvl cap. I'll be reviewing the cluster and Draigoch on their own.


Price/Value: 4/5 (Currently a must. Lots of quests and good rewards.)
Storyline: 3.5/5 (Some really nice questlines, though it mostly boils down to investigating whether Saruman has influence and gaining favor with the people.)
Quest Progression: 4/5 (Again with the instance technology. Quest progression is pretty straightforward, especially when following the epic.)
Atmosphere: 4/5 (A varied landscape and Isengard looks nice.)

Overall: 15.5/20
The pack is definitely nice, featuring many quests, many solo instances and some nice scenery. Currently a must-have, unless with RoR they change the Great River to 65-75.

Monday, August 6, 2012

I'm switching ISP

I thought I'd make this post before anyone panics "What's taking him so long with his RoI review"?
The reason it's taking a bit longer is because I'm switching ISP's.

The good news is that I'll be working on my Instance Cluster review in the mean time which means that one will come sooner.