Hobnanigans – Too Frustrating to be Fun

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All my little hobbit wanted was a pretty Black-footed Chicken for a pet. How shiny and beautiful its black plumage is! The lovely little chook would make such a nice wandering companion that I obliged her little hobbit wishes and took her to the Hobnanigans field. What we were met with was not quite as fun of an event Β as we were both hoping for.

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I Fight for the Users!

Today they officially announced the members of the LOTRO Player Council… and I’m one of them! I’ll be honest. I kind of was expecting to get rejected because my application was basically “My play style is pretty outfits, I am interested in talking about pretty outfits… oh and I guess ‘solo’ is a thing? Whatever. Outfits > everything else”. Yeeeeah, I’m paraphrasing but that’s pretty much what it was like. Anyway, it’s true. My goal is to focus on “fluff” gameplay – especially player cosmetics, mount cosmetics and the housing system. Secondary to that I will focus on solo play, namely zone questing and making sure it is an enjoyable experience for soloers of all skill levels.

There’s not much more to say about that at the moment. Especially since that’s about all I can say until they give us specific assignments to make reports or something like that. Anyway, I don’t have any new outfits to post really though I do have one that I think I am aiming for (or for something similar to it). I logged into my baby champion last night because I love playing with outfits on her. She’s an elf who dresses all in black/grey/white. She’s the only character I have that I feel like I can dress in the heavy elven armours, so when I really get a hankering to use those stylings I pull her out. Here is the outfit I’m looking at and still tweaking:

Battle-leader’s Breastplate – white

Trousers of the Hopeful Melody – white

Boots of the Steely Dawn

Battle-leader’s Gauntlets – white

Shoulders of the Deathstorm – white

Ceremonial Helm of the Lady’s Secrecy – white

Cloak of the Silver Birch – white

I think I may change out the leggings and gauntlets. I also absolutely love how elegant the shoulders look, but they are just so… inefficient and look kind of ridiculous when you are looking at the character from behind. But I love the leaf/butterfly kind of effect! So I’m not sure what to pick for those yet. I still have plenty of time when I get enough marks and medallions.

In other game news, I decided to start learning to play DotA 2 this week. It’s really fun and I hope to one day get good enough at it to play with actual people. After playing for 9 hours doing the “Practice with Bots” I figured I’d finally try my hand playing with others. The first game was not bad. I mean, I died a TON! But the other players didn’t really say much about it, just kind of kept saying which lanes to push, announcing misses, etc. The second game though… my goodness. They really hated me. I died within the first minute (which I do admit was my fault because I kind of was zoned out) but then the rest of the game they spent telling me how “f****** stupid” I was. I told them this was my second game and to give me a break, jeez! Nope! Apparently you are supposed to know everything before you ever think about playing with people. Duh! I think the experience just reminded me why I have mostly stuck to LOTRO for so long.

I did get some friendly advice on twitter though (Thanks, @ALLout_DotA!) and have decided to really double-down on reading guides and watching videos. I’ve also decided to stick with one support hero to focus on: Dazzle. He heals, can stun/slow a bit and is generally pretty helpful and seems to be recommended by many for new players… and he’s also pink. So hopefully with hours more of practice I’ll get better. I’m also trying to convince Nav to start playing.

Herefara and Milkthistle

I haven’t posted in almost a month! Sorry! It’s not for lack of time, just lack of anything to post about really. I’ve mostly been working on deed with Sagewood, and so haven’t had much excitement in the land of LOTRO. Also been playing quite a bit of SimCity (60+ hours logged at this point). That game is pretty fun but the way the AI behaves and deals with problems gets annoying after awhile. But generally I think I got my money’s worth out of it.

Anyway, yesterday I had been deeding on Sagewood and dropped by Bree to process ore and hides I had picked up along the way. While exiting the vault I stopped by the mannequins and notices the Minstrel and Captain sets “of the West” were available so I decided to see how much they were. To my surprise, you can now buy them with Mithril Coins! And not just that, but 20 coins gets you the whole set. I have no idea if this is actually a good deal (I didn’t check to see the price of coins in the store nor the price of the outfits with TP, if that’s even a viable option now). I decided to buy both sets since I have a whole ton of coins from all of my characters that I don’t see using much…. except for outfits now I guess! So the outfits gave me an inspiration for a new outfit for Herefara. I also decided to use the TP I won from the LOTRO Fashion Contest to buy her some warsteed colors to match the new outfit:

Herefara:

Spear-shaker’s Jacket – white

Sturdy Westernesse Leggings – white

Ceremonial Cry of the West Shoulderguards – white

Ceremonial Secret of the West Gauntlets – umber

Threadbare Boots of the Dunland Healer – umber

Milkthistle:

Blond Hide

Tan Mane/Tail

Hunter’s Caparison – umber

Hunter’s Saddle

Most of the inspiration for the outfit came from the look of the captain “of the West” set, although I ended up only using the shoulders. I thought about using the chest piece as well, but it seemed more appropriate to use a leather jacket for a warden. I might switch them back again, but for now I really like this outfit. And Milkthistle matches splendidly!

Middle-earth Cosmetics – IRL!

Similar to my love of cosmetics in-game, I also have a love of cosmetics in real life, though rather than outfits my focus lately has been on makeup. Recently an indie makeup company named Shiro Cosmetics came out with a new line of eye shadows inspired by The Hobbit: There and Back Again that perfectly ties together my love of Middle-earth and makeup. I didn’t purchase the whole line, only six of them: Attercop, Attercop; Lingered in Twilight; There and Back Again; An Unexpected Party; When the Thrush Knocks; and Chiefest of Calamities (seen below from Left to Right).

My apologies for the blurry picture. Honestly my plan was to actually put some on my eyes and take pictures of that as well, however my camera lens decided to stop functioning! The above pic is around when that happened. But I had had a really nice combination of When the Thrush Knocks, An Unexpected Party and Attercop, Attercop on yesterday. And today it was When the Thrush Knocks + There and Back again.

I really love the quality of these shadows as well. I’ve never ordered from an indie cosmetics company before so I was a little uncertain (but totally certain of how much I wanted to own Hobbit eye shadows). Based on the past two days of wear, it seems like you need very little actual powder to achieve the really vivid colorings – and vivid they are! Especially Chiefest of Calamities and There and Back Again. Apparently this is the most ‘toned down’ set of shadows Shiro has released, which makes sense as Middle-earth is a much more ‘realistic’ fantasy world.

The other nice thing is that I got two free samples and some candy with my order! I got Fifteen Birds in Five Fir Trees and War of the Five Armies. I’m excited to try them out as well. I also got a Dove dark chocolate heart but uh… I kind of ate it immediately :S

Since my camera broke and I only have these pictures for you, here are some pics from other makeup blogs that do a good job showing off the eyeshadows:

Swatches from Rock, Roll, Glam:

A really awesome look/tutorial using The Wandering Wizard and Lingered in Twilight from The Dark Side of Beauty:

In related news, the indie nail polish maker, Nerd Laquer has finally come out of her long nailpolish-making/selling hiatus and has come out with three new nailpolishes based on Lord of the Rings! (By the way, TDBSLWCHSHITD stands for “The Dwarf Breathes So Loud We Could Have Shot Him In The Dark”)

 

Widfara, the Warsteed

I was pretty eager to post about the Steed of the Captain this morning, so I did so having not done a whole lot of playing around with color combinations or combinations with different gear sets and warsteed hides and on and on and on. Since the day has gone on however I’ve done a lot more tweaking and playing with the color sets and cosmetics I’ve got available to me in my current warsteed repertoire. I’ll lead you through a couple of the iterations I came to before finally settling on Widfara, the Warsteed which I will show last.

First there was this olive and white steed:

Solid hide – light grey with white tail

Burglar’s Caparison – olive

Light Leggings of the Entwash – olive

Captain’s Halter – olive

Captain’s Saddle

I like the simplicity of the Burglar’s caparison and I also like that it covers more than the Guardian’s caparison. However it ultimately felt too dark for this set up. So I moved on, decided to try a different warsteed hide in the process:

Tobiano hide – black chestnut with black chestnut tail

Guardian’s Caparison

Captain’s Leggings

Captain’s Halter – black

Plain Black Saddle

Captain’s Gear

With this one I decided to add in the Captain’s gear despite my professed frustration regarding the egg helm. I felt the horse needed that plate on the rear to balance out the front and the legs. The balance was important enough that I was willing to overlook the egg helm. But it overall didn’t feel quit right. Finally I settled on, what I now believe to be, the finished product that uses the Steed of the Captain items:

Solid hide – light grey with white tail

Guardian’s Caparison – navy

Captain’s Leggings

Captain’s Halter – white

Captain’s Saddle

Captain’s Gear

This is kind of a combination of the two previous iterations. I like it because it harkens back to the original Widfara set up I posted, and thus has a much more “White Captain” feel to it than the “Steed of the White Captain” I posted earlier today. It also is fully armored and ready for battle! Which is important, being a warsteed and all.

I also started work on a new, third steed utilizing the Captain’s Caparison and the Spotted hide. It’s not quite finished because I don’t have enough TP to get the accessory I need to complete the look. I’ll wait until the beginning of December, when I get my 500 VIP TP. It has more of a merchant/festival feel to it. Not sure what the name will be yet.

Frustrated Over Cosmetic Distortions

So today I tried logging into my elf rune-keeper Sriracha to try out some outfit combos using the new crafted items (because I love them). However my excitement soon turned to frustration. All of the new crafted items distort female elven bodies terribly! First, here’s an example of a all-in-one chest piece (as in, a chest piece that covers up how the leggings equipped look) from the Dunland quests that does not distort the usual female elven form:

Females elves have always been quite… hip heavy. However nothing else about this piece changes the way the legs, arms or hips look compared to how they always have. Now lets look at the new level 80 medium crafted:

First of the most noticeable thing is the ankles. The legs do not match up to the feet normally! This happens even if you go barefoot, so this definitely indicates that the legs of this chest piece cosmetic are not calibrated correctly. Next, look at the width of the legs compared to the arms in this new chestpiece, then look back at the older not-distorted piece. You might notice that in the older piece, the legs are the same width or slightly thicker than the arms. not so in this case! The legs are smaller than the arms in some places on this new piece. Also, look at the hips. Much narrow! Whereas previously the hips were slightly narrower than the shoulders, now the hips are noticeably narrower than the shoulders.

Overall, the distortion is very annoying when you’re trying to put together outfits. And unfortunately, the effect is not isolated to just that cosmetic texture. Here’s the level 80 heavy armour:

Again, the hips and legs are much too small for the female elves. They look very top heavy.

Another problem is the lvl 80 medium boots. I love the cosmetic of these boots on my human female, however they are unwearable on my elf. I have literally tried every pair of leggings in my wardrobe and vault and ALL of them clip through the boot – even the super skinny leggings that are basically flat against the leg! It’s like the book texture is rendered too far forward, so the calf sticks all the way out of the boot. Here’s an example:

I’m glad my main is a human in this case because I would be very disappointed and angry if this were my main character. I’ve submitted many bugs the past few days with screenshots of these phenomena. Hopefully they get fixed.

I’m sorry, but I did it…

I bought warsteed color packs.

To be fair, this was before the uprising on the forums/boycott of warsteed colors was discussed. I had been saving my VIP 500 TP for awhile because I wanted to be able to color my steed. I was expecting the packs to be something like 395TP. Alas, they were 595 TP. It’s quite a bit for 4 colors you don’t get to choose (you may only want one of those colors, but too bad because you have to pay for 4 colors) as is thoroughly hashed on the forums and at Sig’s Warsteeds blog and Cosmetic LOTRO and other blogs as well.

However the day Rohan came out I was so excited for my horse and finally coloring it. I had gotten the Steed of the Burglar and Guardian a while ago in preparation. All that was required was one warsteed accessories dye pack and one warsteed skin color dye pack. When I saw the prices I was a bit crest fallen however I saw I had just enough to get both packs I needed, so I just went ahead and got them, grumbling as I went.

In the following days the cosmetics community came out quite thoroughly against the prices of the packs and most people seem to be boycotting them trying to get them to change. I hope my fellow fashionistas/fashionistos don’t get too upset with me :(

Anyway, I’ve made two horse outfits that I quite like so far. This is the battle-ready, fighting version (which I’ve posted pics of the warsteed outfit before, the new part is the coloring of Fram, my warsteed):

And then there’s the prettier, town version:

I’ve been grinding warbands daily attempting to get the Spotted Warsteed Hide and this morning on my first warband I finally got it! I was very excited.

In Rohan so far I’m only level 78. I was doing one level a day, but then got distracted by real life yesterday and didn’t play at all.

I’ve also been testing out the alpha of a new survival zombie MMO called The War Z. Nav is really into it and hasn’t even logged into LOTRO since Rohan came out! I tried playing a bit of War Z the other day after I got it finally installed. I’d include pictures but we aren’t allowed to post videos or screenshots I don’t think but nothing has been said about talking about it. Unfortunately so far you can’t join the same server as friends (you just join a random server, however you characters are able to be loaded into any of the servers unlike LOTRO) so I had to play by myself. It was dark when I loaded in. I couldn’t see much but some flashlights in the distance. You spawn in with a flashlight and assorted granola bars and bottles of water. I crept around through the grass keeping an eye out for any movement. There’s meters in the upper right hand corner telling you how easy to see and hear you are.

After awhile another person approached me, shining their flashlight in my eyes. I know I shouldn’t trust anyone, because PvP is allowed in this game. You can choose to be a friendly hero and help everyone out, or you can be the villain and slaughter both zombies and survivors alike…. usually for the phat lootz! I backed away slowly and shone my flashlight at them too, hoping they would go away. No such luck! They came at me trying to kill me with their flashlight! I swung back and managed to kill them first, taking their waterbottle. I continued down the road I was on until I saw some zombies shuffling ahead. I promptly got way too scared, whined to Nav about how scary the game was and quit.

I think once you can play with friends I won’t be as much of a wuss, but in the mean time… I’m a wuss.

Aesthetically Pleasing SWTOR Update

In the patch this week for SWTOR, 1.2, a very exciting option was added. At least for me. Armour color scheme unification! Basically it lets you unify the colors of your armor pieces to that of your chest piece. It also lets you toggle the visibility of your helmet (which is good because mine’s ugly and I really like the hairstyle I picked for Cith). Here’s a nice little before and after pick of Cithryth getting her clothes unified.

It’s also nice because you can uncheck certain pieces of armor if you don’t want them unified. Handy if you think the un-unified color looks better with the outfit. SWTOR is still a long way off from LOTRO’s oufitting system, but even little advances like this are good. And I certainly remember back in the day when LOTRO didn’t have any cosmetic system. Dark days, those. But now look at them! Maybe SWTOR will take a hint from LOTRO and see how much people love playing with cosmetic outfits. And certainly there’s a precedent in Star Wars lore for pretty outfits, look at Padme Amidalla for crying out loud!

Anyway. Another exciting addition in 1.2 is interface editing. Here’s what the editor looks like:

The color codedness is very helpful, as is the ability to specifically select certain kinds of UI elements (like vitals, quickbars, etc) to specifically look at. You can save the interface you create and use it on other characters and even upload it somewhere so people can try out your interface. It’s much cleaner than LOTRO’s method of this, which requires chat commands to save and load UI layouts. The graphical interface approach is much cleaner and easier to understand in my opinion. Also, yay target of target is available!

Here’s my interface at the moment. You can compare it to the screen I posted in my last entry with the default UI layout.

Last night I played quite a bit with Nav and two of our friends. We did a couple of the 4 person Heroics in Balmorra and it was quite fun. We’re all around lvl 20/21 now and I’m moving on to Nar Shadaa. We also finally started our guild, Muppet Labs. It’s Muppet Labs because that is the name of all the servers/groups that Nav and his workmates own.

Yesterday I also spent quite a bit of time on Warzones. I love them! When I had tried them earlier, all I got was Hutt Ball which for me is not very fun. But I never got Hutt Ball once yesterday. Did a lot of Novare Coast, Alderaan and Voidstar. All fun. They remind me of the Warhammer Online PvP Scenarios, which behaved in pretty much the same way. You queue up, go about your business, then when it’s ready you get a notification.

It took me a bit of getting use to using sniper in PvP. At first I thought maybe this class wasn’t too good at PvP, but then I thought that couldn’t be true so I just tried out different tactics til I got better. Now I’m pretty good. Well, at least I can hold my own anyway.

I’ve also added a page at the top of this blog that has the portraits of all my SWTOR characters. Right now, Cithryth is lvl 21, City is lvl 5, Citi’lai is lvl 4, Herefara is lvl 1 and Sriracha is lvl 1. They’ll all get leveled up one day!