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.

A Hunter in Dunland

Sagewood has made it to level 67 now and is almost half way to 68. I finally was pleased enough with her deeds to start questing in Enedwaith again. I’ve only ever taken one character through all the quest in Evendim. And that is still true. I left part way through Mincham’s quests with Sagewood and made my way down to Dunland. This time I decided to do the quests in the Bonevales, which I had never actually done before. Navigating the Bonevales was okay. But it was kind of like Trollshaws-lite. Not a big fan. But at least it was something I had never done before. That is one good thing about 65+ leveling: there is a huge glut of content for those levels. Sagewood didn’t even step foot into Mirkwood. And she definitely won’t finish all of Dunland. But that’s perfect! It gives you lots of opportunity to quest where you want rather than be stuck on a linear path.

However as I was leaving Dunland I decided to stop by at Harndirion and check out the barter vendors there. The ‘Of the West’ sets are now purchasable with marks and medallions (at least the lowest tier anyway), rather than Medallions of the Northmen. So of course I decided to have a look and see if there was anything I wanted for cosmetic purposes. And of course there was! I also made use of the near-by skirmish vendors and got some Dol Guldur armour to go with some of the items I got from the Harndirion vendors. And here’s what I came up with for Sagewood:

Ceremonial Voice of the West Robe – umber

Lesser Blade of the West Leggings – umber

Ceremonial Doom-hunter’s Boots – umber

Ceremonial Secret of the West Gauntlets – olive

Shielf-Master’s Shoulders – umber

Ceremonial Doom-hunter’s Helm – olive

Cloak of the Grey Company – olive

I’m especially in love with the shoulders (from the guardian set of Dol Guldur armour), but the champion leggings are really awesome as well. I was originally going to make the outfit mostly brown and use different boots, but the greenish tinge to the mail in the leggins inspired the olive accents.

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!

Back to Scheduled Gaming

As you may have noticed, I have not posted for quite a few weeks. That’s because Nav had finally come over for his visit and then we were in the process of packing up all my stuff and trying to shove it into suitcases (but making sure they weren’t over 50 pounds!). My parents still have to send me a majority of my stuff unfortunately, but not til we get a house. I’ve been in New Zealand for about a week and a half now and my computer is finally up and running. It had been up and running soon after we got here…. but then my CPU died :( We had decided to take all the innards of my PC out and pack them in my suitcase and just buy a new case in NZ (because it would be cheaper than shipping!). We thought that had worked but it seems some or one of the pins of the CPU got bent. We noticed something weird was going on because when we got the PC back together it was running about 40 degrees (Celsius) hotter than it normally did. But now I’ve got a nice shiny new CPU and everything is going great.

To celebrate getting my PC back again finally, here is a new outfit for Sagewood! I’ve been doing a lot of deeding with her the past few days on Nav’s computer while he’s at work. Since she’s 65 now I decided I’d update her outfit to something more ‘level appropriate’. After all, she’s not just traipsing around Bree-land anymore. She’s been questing in Enedwaith so she needed some real armour. I had been saving up TP to buy the Steed of the Khundolar, however I realized I wouldn’t have enough by the 28th of February and I just don’t have extra money to spend on TP right now (since I’m currently looking for a job here!). Instead I decided to splurge on the Ceremonial Secret of the West set and some extra wardrobe storage (which is always needed… and I promptly filled it, too!). Using pieces from that set I made Sagewood this grey-based scout outfit:

Ceremonial Doom-hunter’s Breastplate – grey

Westernesse Protector’s Leggings – black

Ceremonial Secret of the West Boots – black

Ceremonial Secret of the West Gauntlets – grey

Ceremonial Secret of the West Shoulderguards – olive

Ceremonial Secret of the West Helmet – grey

Fine Quiver – grey

Swift Greywood Bow (for photoshoot purposes!)

In other games news, SimCity 2013 comes out in less than 24 hours now. When news and screenshots were first coming out about it, I was quite skeptical of it. It seemed cartoony and simplistic. But after multiple beta events and videos have come out, I am very excited about it and will definitely be saving my money up for it. I think the thing to keep in mind though is that it is not just an updated SimCity 4. SimCity 2013 is a reboot of sorts. The most frequent complaint I’ve seen about it is that the city size is too small. For me personally, that’s not a problem. I always used the smallest city tiles in SC4 anyway and didn’t like the bigger city sizes. Also, the aesthetics of the new SimCity are phenomenal! If you get it, let me know what you think!

Norcrofts Captain

Happy Yule everyone! Sorry I didn’t make a blog post this past weekend. I finally graduate from University and have moved back home for the holidays. I am super full already and have only eaten the first course of our Christmas dinner. At least there will be lots of leftovers!

Although I haven’t been posting, I have been playing. Sagewood is level 56 now, Herefara is 74 and Cithryth is getting closer and closer to completing Hytbold. Speaking of Hytbold though – what’s the deal with the Captain’s Hands of Healing Hytbold set? It makes no sense. Tons and tons of might but hardly any vitality? Quite a few of the captain’s healing skills requires a sacrifice of the captain’s own morale, or at least the main single-target heal. Very strange! So I’ve gone with a combination of Hands of Healing and Leader of Men pieces from the Hytbold sets.

And thanks to some very generous friends on Windfola, Giggles and Sparthir, I was able to get the boots I’ve been trying to get for ages to complete my new outfit! I don’t have a metalsmith and I’ve only ever seen the teal critted versions of the boots on the AH (selling for 20g!). So I tried getting people in GLFF to make me some with payment, however they were less than helpful (only response I got was someone telling me to get armour from the Classic skirmish vendor, even though I specifically said I wanted these boots for their looks, not their level or stats). Giggles and Spar saw my pleas on twitter and Spar logged in and made me some free of charge! That’s why friends are awesome! So thanks to Sparthir and his metalworker Spardor, here is my newest outfit, the Captain of the Norcrofts:

Character Outfit:

Helm of the Eastemnet

Commanding Battle Pauldrons of the Mark – green

Elfmar’s Cloak

Combative Eastemnet War Armour – olive

Vigilant Eastemnet War Gauntlets

Potent Battle Boots of the Mark – olive

Warsteed Outfit:

Tobiano Warsteed – black chestnut (with black chestnut Simple Tail)

Captain’s Halter – olive

Light Caparison of the Norcrofts – Rivendell green

Burglar’s Leggings

Guardian’s Saddle

Burglar’s Gear

Rider’s Armour

I haven’t been playing much LOTRO the past week. Like I said in my last post, my old Minecraft had a grand re-opening and so I’ve been playing a lot of that lately. However today I have been spending quite a bit of time on LOTRO – enough to put together a new outfit! I decided to go through the Starry Mantle again to get some inspiration and came across the Sons of Elrond outfit. I liked the combination of the gloves and chest piece – when Cithryth was in her 40’s she used to wear that chest piece all the time and I loved it. The gloves of course are part of the set that goes with my favorite Rohan chest piece. I decided to make the outfit less Elvish and turn it into some light riding armour. Here is the result:

Thick Elven Steel Armour – olive

Tactical Eastemnet Assault Leggings – umber

Vigilant Eastemnet War Boots – rivendell green

Vigilant Eastemnet War Gauntlets

Shoulders of the Eorlingas

Mantle of Framness

To get these pieces I had to go make a trip to the Auction House. I spent quite a bit of gold, but also picked up a few other items that I may use for outfits on other characters. I got my hands on a Tattered Hat that I am definitely going to make use of on Sagewood. I’ll probably put together an outfit for her and post it tomorrow.

Otherwise in LOTRO I’ve pretty much just been doing my Hytbold dailies and trying to get the deeds of each town done. So far I’ve gotten Eaworth and Harwick’s deeds done. I’ve been lazy about remembering to get my fishing rod out of my vault and thus haven’t done any of the fishing quests in Snowbourn. But in general I quite like the dailies. Some of the instances and locations are actually quite beautiful.

Quick Sunday Photo Op!

Unfortunately I don’t have as much time to play this weekend as I would like. My first draft of my big important senior paper is due this week, so I should probably work on that. So my Sunday is going to be full of writing and reading about 17th century pirate scientists. I suppose it could be worse!

Anyway, I got a lot of positive feedback from my picture of Widfara so I decided to do a similar kind of collage for Fram:

I also made another outfit for Sagewood. This one is more of an everyday questing/adventuring type outfit that is a bit more armored than her Cowboy outfit, but still uses the same color scheme:

Ceremonial Townsaver’s Jacket – burgundy

Walnoth’s Leather Leggings – sienna

Vital Eastemnet Combat Boots – sienna

Strong Eastemnet Skirmish Gauntlets – sienna

Shoulders of the Helmingas

Cloak of the Grey Company – crimson

Fine Grey Company Hood – crimson

Round 2 of Update 6 Outfit Creations!

I was able to log into Bullroarer today and get a look around the new areas. Stangard (the Rohirrim village) is awesome! It is so epic. You can actually go inside all of the extraneous houses that otherwise have no purpose really. Just for atmosphere I guess. And it’s brilliant. You can even go up into all the watchtowers. It’s everything I would have ever dreamed of it being. My only criticism really is the music. It’s just the skirmish theme rehashed. Oh well. I guess I’ll just mute it and play the music from the movies, which had awesome music for Rohan.

Anyway, my point is, my outfits for Cithryth matched right in with the various soldiers and spear-men walking around the village. I also got a feel for Thinglad, the area connected to Lothlorien. It’s basically a corrupted kind of Lorien. It definitely helped with my outfits for Sriracha. And hear they are…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gearing Up for Update 6 – Forth Eorlingas!

Today Turbine released some screenshots, lore snipets and video of the seven new zones we will be getting in Update 6. This includes lots of Rohirrim camps and even… a Rohirrim village!! This is moment I’ve been waiting for since I started the game. I absolutely love Rohan and everything about it. That’s why Cithryth is from Rohan (and Herefara too). I love the lore and just the whole idea of Rohan.

So I’m pretty excited to start heading there.

The videos and screenshots inspired me to make two outfits for each of my high level characters (Cithryth, Herefara, Sriracha). Since they are two Rohirrim women and a Lothlorien elf, it makes pretty good sense given where these new zones are.

So here are my outfits I’ve made for Cithryth in anticipation of the new update!

Outfits or Screenshots?

There’s an interesting debate going on in the Fashion Contest Fan Favorite Voting Discussion thread at the official forums and I just felt like I had to comment on it.

Basically the debate is whether people should be voting for the screenshot (the pose, outfit, setting, etc) or just base their votes on the outfit.

Here are some key points from different users who argue that the whole screenshot is important. Fleurlis saysFor example even though your outfit may be wonderful and unique if you take a screenie of it in a barren area where there is not much going on and nothing to really express the theme you are trying to produce then it takes away from the experience of a themed outfit in action for the role it was made for. Bucaneve says “Some outfits are indeed thought of with that purpose in mind, so it would take away from them not to consider how well they blend in with what’s around them.”

Regarding the idea that the outfit is important it seems that many people are focused on the wording that this is a Fashion contest, and not a screenshot contest (which they have had many of those before). And as far as other Fashion contests go, Valkrist points out that in past Fashion contests there was specific wording regarding taking your screenshot as ‘action shots’ or in certain types of setting, and that kind of wording is absent in this contest. Marguerita also says “I just have some difficulty with some screenshots, because it is not the outfit that is the center piece, but the area around and this contest was more about fashion. But this does not remove any beauty to their outfit.”

Now in my opinion, I think the main focus of the contest (seeing as it is a Fashion contest, not a Screenshot contest) should definitely be on the outfits. But at the same time, no mistake should be made that setting and composition are not important. If you are submitting your outfit to a contest where you know tons of others will be submitting as well, always try and take the best possible screenshot that you can. This includes the lighting on your character, the colors in the background, the theme of the background and how those three things work with or against your outfit.

Using examples from the Fan Favorite Polling selection, I think that Screenshot #1 does a very good job of matching the outfit to a setting.

And I think the outfit in Screenshot #5 is really awesome looking… however since the character is just standing in the Bree Homesteads, it makes it less epic than if she were standing, for example in Mirkwood or Moria, places where a lore-master with a covered face and an epic battle-cat would make sense.