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  as we were both hoping for.

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Lazy (Yet Long) Sunday Post

This Sunday is particularly lazy. Sunday is usually my “get stuff done” day during the weekend, but today it’s just not happening. It’s a combination of many things: last week was the last of my midterms so I’m pretty burned out on studying (and by the way all my grades thus far have been As, which is quite exciting); today marks my first full week without coffee – I’ve heard that coffee is really only helpful if you drink it on a very regular basis, otherwise the crash you get in between basically negates everything so I’m trying to stick to tea for now; it’s cold and grey outside so I just want to snuggle in my blankets and watch Netflix.

Besides the aforementioned snuggling and Netflix (random Top Gear episodes, Black Adder II, Jumanji , Wild Wild West and The Big Lebowski were all watched this weekend) I’ve of course been playing LOTRO. Often the Netflix, fluffy blankets and LOTRO happens simultaneously. Cithryth’s at level 83 now. Nav is still 72 and my warden is still 68. Luckily though this weekend I got to play with all my kinmates, which doesn’t happen often anymore. Especially so since Brielen is transfering her main to Elendilmir. She has become quite the hardcore raider the past few years and her raiding kin has moved to “The Big E”. While I don’t agree with kins moving to other servers just because “there’s no other good people to recruit” on Windfola, I hope she has fun PvPing and raiding more over there.

I feel like rather than complaining that the smaller servers don’t have enough skilled people and then leaving, the raiding kins would do better if they took the time to try and teach raiding skill to newer players. Instead they often expect you to already know everything about the raid you’re going into. It’s like back when I wanted to start RPing. Rather than saying “Well Windfola sucks because there’s no RPers, I’m leaving for Landroval” I took a swing at ‘thinking local’ and trying to home-grow some RP on Windy. That was pretty successful before I quit. Unfortunately awhile after I went on my year-ish long hiatus, the Finer Things in Life event flickered out.

So while questing I’ve been on a screenshot spree. I love Rohan. It is the best looking region in the game, graphically. If they were to update Lothlorien to the kind of graphics that are in Rohan, it would be my favorite. But Rohan wins. I’m also still in love with my horse and mounted combat. It makes me sad when I see people in the forums or in-game talking about how terrible it is and how they hope it’s just a gimmick for Rohan and that Turbine will “Put it in the trash where it belongs” in coming expansions (that is actually something I saw someone post on the forums). If it weren’t for mounted combat, I would probably not be back playing. A lot of people complain that mounted combat takes away all the skills we’ve spent years learning and forcing you to use something else. I really think that’s a pessimistic way of looking at it. It’s just a new way of fighting. Just because they aren’t the same captain skills you’ve had for five years doesn’t mean they aren’t captain skills. They are just different and new captain skills in addition to your old ones. I think of the horse itself as a ‘skill’ with many subskills. Maybe that’s getting a bit reaching and abstract. But I’m not sure how else to describe it. I just don’t understand some peoples’ aversion to changing skills up every so often. A bit of change is good and keeps the game from going stale, in my opinion.

Oh, I seem to have gotten away from my point about screenshots and Rohan being pretty. Erm, right. Here’s an album of screenshots. I’ll probably add more photos to that as I go along.

I also made an outfit. It’s pretty simplistic but I think it’s good for ‘casual’ Rohirrim women or crafters:

Tactical Eastemnet Campaign Robe (olive), Lesser Arrow of the West Shoulderguards (olive), Fingerless Gloves (umber)

Another thing I’ve been doing this weekend is playing around with mounted combat traits. Originally I had been spreading my points out pretty evenly. At (horse) level 36, this is my resulting trait tree and stats (click to see the larger image):

Then I decided to try putting most of my points into one tree. Here are the tree and states:

It’s interesting to compare the stats. Besides the morale/power, they are exactly the same! Yet I find that I hit much harder and kill much faster using the “Test” build. Yet I still have the top speed, Trample skill and good turn rate. Looks like I’ll be making the “Test” build my real build!

Concept vs Implementation

This information is a bit old, but I thought I’d do a comparative post anyway. A few weeks ago in the General Discussion forums on the Official LOTRO site, there was a post about Heavy Armour art in the game. People posted many pics of armour they thought the OP would like but what caught my eye was a photobucket album someone linked of concept art for the Dunlending quest reward sets. If you’ve read my past posts, you’ve seen tons of the items from these sets – I love them. They are so much more realistic than some of the armour we’ve gotten in game. The album is here, for your perusal.

I decided to take comparative shots of how the concept art holds up against how it was actually implemented in-game. I don’t have all of the items from each set as I’ve only taken Cithryth through there thus far. When I take Herefara through eventually I’m sure I’ll get them all rounded off. The sets I decided to compare were the “Warden”, “Captain” and “Burglar” sets. Now the sets in-game aren’t actually class-specific. However the armour values do match up for what each class would wear.

I think it’s pretty cool that you can tell some of the smaller details still managed to make their way through to the armor. The detailing of the small bags on belts, small designs on gauntlets, and on the burglar’s legs the cloth is still visibly patched up. A remarkable amount of detail went into the actual armour textures used in-game.

However there are some things that are visibly different from the concept drawings. First and foremost is that the artist clearly designed slight differences in the way women wear the armour and the way men wear the armour. The female captain’s coat stops just above her knee while the male’s goes down to nearly his ankles. The female burglar has some kind of torn and patched tights/fishnets instead of just regular leggings like the male. While I sure would like more armour to be tailored to the female avatars and not always default to the male’s wearing, a nice job was done overall of making the appearances fit.

The other very obvious thing is that items dye differently than the artistic drawings are colored. This is just par for the course of dyeing items in a game, though. For example the coat the warden wears – the large silver button on the shoulder ends up dyed slightly whenever you dye it. The gloves and boots of the warden also get their metallic bits dyed slightly which compared to the drawing. In the end, we don’t have the range of dye colors in-game as an artist does when drawing up concept art, and we can’t dye specific parts of armour.

Overall I think I really good job was done taking this wonderful concept art by the Massive Black art team and implementing it in-game.