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46  General / Off-topic / A funny thing happened on the way to Tamriel... on: March 18, 2014, 10:46:47 AM
Suilad mellyn!

An unexpected cold this past weekend provided a silver lining:  gaming time!  I already had the ESO beta installed and patched, so the timing couldn't have been better!  I had an Aldmeri Nightblade up to level 4 already (Kethrandir), so I played him a little bit on Friday.  I also rolled an Aldmeri Sorcerer named Keth... -something, which I played Friday evening and for a little while Saturday morning.  As Baridoc and others here have mentioned, there were some bugged quests and other issues.  There were also the usual 'getting to know the interface' and other 'new game' issues that took/are taking some getting used to.  Overall, though, I had a lot of fun.  The landscapes and graphics are beautiful, the combat mechanics are well-done overall, and the character creation process (an important one for me) is great.  I really love playing Skyrim, and ESO has carried forward a number of elements from that game which I appreciated.

LotRO was my first MMO, so it is the standard against which I compare all other MMOs.  Skyrim, The Witcher 2, and Dragon Age Origins are my primary single-player RPGs, so they are the standards against which I compare single-player RPGs.  ESO potentially bridges those two genres for me.  But unexpectedly, I found myself thinking two things during most of my time in ESO beta:  'I should play Skyrim more!' and 'I should roll a burglar in LotRO!'  I started with the burglar first...

...and never got to Skyrim.  In short, this past weekend I completely fell back in love with LotRO.  I researched a proper Sindarin name for my male Gondorian burglar (Dinenglir, 'silent song'), role-played my way through every starter quest, purchased a Stone of the Tortoise (the XP Disabler, from the LotRO Store), and basically adventured far and wide throughout the Bree-lands all weekend.  Many of my fondest memories from my early days in Middle Earth came flooding right back.  The music, the sounds, the characters, the storyline, the rich open landscapes, the foredawn glow... all of it just felt so right.  I've always enjoyed playing LotRO, and I've been logging in most weekdays over the past several months leveling various alts, but this felt like picking up and rereading an old beloved book.  Familiar and comforting and yet unexpectedly rejuvenating!

I know I'll continue to enjoy Skyrim, and ESO looks like it'll be a great game as well.  If I were starting out fresh in the MMO world, ESO would probably be where I'd devote much of my time.  But LotRO is where my heart is, and that is where I'll likely continue to make my home.  RL duties will continue to take precedent for me and the rest of us, I'm sure.  But I expect I'll remain in Middle Earth for as long as I'm welcome, and I hope to continue seeing you all upon the roads and fields of Eriador and Rhovanion in the months and years ahead.  To those who've already spent some time away or who may do so in the coming months:  The lights in the Tinnu kinhall will always be lit for your return.  The twilight of the Galadhrim has not yet given way to darkness!

Your friend in Falathlorn,
Keth
47  General / Off-topic / New class work and other insights from LotRO's development team on: March 15, 2014, 09:21:06 AM
Hello friends!

Apparently there have been a few interesting conversations with Sapience and devs during the 'Taking the Hobbits to Isengard' events (which I've not been participating in or even following very closely).  During a recent event, Executive Producer Aaron Campbell ('Rowan') joined the conversation.  Among other things, he and the devs revealed that they're in the early stages of development of a new class! 

You can read a summarized transcript of the full discussion at https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?539143-Hobbits-to-Isengard-Q-A-with-Sapience-notes-on-what-was-said&p=7121646#post7121646.
48  General / Off-topic / Re: Goodsongs Are Slowing Down on: March 13, 2014, 01:00:56 PM
I have both a beta invite and a patched client installed, but sadly I won't be able to join you all for Tamriel adventures this weekend.  Have fun, as I'll be living vicariously through you all until launch!

Keth
49  General / Off-topic / Re: Goodsongs Are Slowing Down on: March 07, 2014, 03:29:59 PM
Keep these reports coming, Baridoc!  Great info.

I started a character over this past weekend and really liked what I was seeing.  My biggest challenge will be coming up with a character that I can identify with and enjoy playing.  I may have to roll a few different ones and see which I prefer.  So far I'm particularly fond of the Aldmer and the Bosmer, neither of which are in the Daggerfall Covenant (oh no!).  I never got around to any of the crafting or grouping opportunities.  But I certainly enjoyed my early experience!

Keth
50  General / Off-topic / Re: Goodsongs Are Slowing Down on: March 01, 2014, 12:16:41 PM
I've been doing a little soul-searching on this point as well, Digger.  Once my characters reach the level cap, complete all the landscape quests, reach maximum reputation, and reach rank 4 or 5 in the Big Battles system, there aren't a lot of things that draw me back.  Certainly kin events are a big one, as are the Moors (occasionally), crafting for alts, and just to explore the landscape.  Starting and playing lower-level alts can be great fun for me too.  But overall, each release seems to bring with it a small drop in the number of friends who used to make LotRO such an exciting, dynamic place.  It makes me that much more grateful when I see you all online!

Gaming for me is a hobby for weekday evenings and the weekend.  It is also a zero-sum activity.  Time spent in other games I love (Skyrim, Age of Empires II, the Witcher series...) comes out of my LotRO time, and vice versa.  In that context, throwing ESO into the mix scares me a bit.  I suspect that I'll love it.   Grin  If so, I would really love to meet up with everyone!  There's a fairly large group of people who drifted away from LotRO awhile ago that I hope to see and play with again also.  If I find out that different groups are on different servers, the decision will be a difficult and awkward one.  I'd hate to have to play different games to see each group, but that might be the only way to (re)connect with as many old friends as possible.  Time will tell.

But I really must echo Digger and Baridoc's comments:  I will certainly be playing LotRO for as long as they keep a server running!

Edit:  Looking into things a bit deeper, I'll be interested to see/hear how Zenimax's 'mega server' implementation impacts the formation and function of guilds.  If we're all able to interact with each other, even if some 'channel' jumping is required, that might solve a number of problems. 
51  General / Off-topic / Tuiliel & Ellewyn are engaged! on: January 08, 2014, 03:31:38 PM
Many, many of you will remember Tuiliel and Ellewyn, two former Tinnu members who have continued their adventures on Landroval.  Apparently that adventure now continues off-line as well.  Tuiliel has recently announced in a LotRO forums post (https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?537828-A-LOTRO-Engagement) that she and Ellewyn are now engaged!

Tolkien has brought us all together in one way or another, but this 'meet-cute' is something special.  To you both, if you happen to read this, I offer my heartfelt congratulations and well-wishes for many years of happiness together. 

Best wishes to you both,
Keth
52  Kinship / Announcements / LOTRO's Plans for 2014 on: December 17, 2013, 09:43:58 AM
Suilaid mellyn!

I wanted to draw everyone's attention to Exec. Producer Kate Paiz's recent open letter to the Community regarding LoTRO's plans for 2014:  https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?&postid=7042572#post7042572

Lots of interesting tidbits!
  • Obviously the changes to housing planned for 2013 largely did not materialize.  Those changes have apparently been expanded to include more substantial changes, but as a consequence implementation has been pushed into 2014.
  • Developers will be temporarily shifting away from the yearly expansion treadmill to "revisit some older systems, add more region content, and just generally have more Middle-earth to explore throughout the year."  For example, plans for the first quarter of 2014 including adding additional area  to Fangorn Forest and providing an opportunity to experience the flooding of Isengard by the Ents.  Also planned for later in the year are the Paths of the Dead and the Dead Marshes.
  • Devs also intend to substantially updating the inventory and bag space situation.  Hooray!

Keth
53  Lord of the Rings Online / Items / Helm's Deep armour sets on: November 21, 2013, 12:07:17 PM
I found a nice screenshot collection of the new level 90 and 95 crafted armour sets (just cosmetics, not stats):
http://materialmiddleearth.blogspot.com/2013/11/helms-deep-cosmetics-part-2-crafted.html

Enjoy!

Keth
54  Kinship / General Discussion / A move across the Tower Hills on: November 04, 2013, 10:01:53 PM
Greetings friends!

As some of you know, my early house in Middle Earth was on a high bluff overlooking the River Lhun.  It was a lovely home.  But over time, Kethras' love for gardening pulled the House of Keth eastward where we built a lovely home, in the Hobbit style, up against the eastern Tower Hills.  The weather was mild, the soils rich, the shrews numerous, the feasts extravagant, and the neighbors a constant delight.  Everything they say about living in the Shire is true!

But after several years, our hearts yearned to return to Falathlorn.  We dearly missed the sweet smell of the sea, the towering peaks of Ered Luin, and the distant songs of the shipbuilders of Celondim.  Kethuthir missed the roar of waterfalls.  Kerephor missed the opportunities afforded by the Scholar's Enclave.  And I missed the summer breezes rustling through the ruins of Tham Gelair.  Those lands are our home, more so than any of the other warm and welcoming corners of Middle Earth. 

And so we've returned!  Riding through Tum Raen from the kinhall of Ainulindale ((my Alts' kinhall, up above that of The Silver Willow)) down the hill toward Tinnu's kinhall, I noticed all the vacancies in the neighborhood.  Where have so many of our old friends gone?  So many empty homes, so many... relocation opportunities!  I have two favorite deluxe homes in Falathlorn:  3 Waterbank Road and 1 Twinfall Path.  After careful consideration, the House of Keth has resettled at 1 Twinfall Path.  I generally prefer a more private spot, but this house came with a lovely statue of Luthien, an expansive lawn, and spectacular views to a lovely pavilion and the waterfalls of Duillond.  And after years of ducking, I no longer have to worry about knocking my head on a rafter!

The previous owners left it in a certain state of disrepair, so I'll be doing some work on it over the next few months.  But I think the landscaping, at least, is done.  I do hope you'll stop by for a visit.  Everyone is welcome!  And if you're in the market, don't be embarrassed to do a little house-hunting while you're 'in the neighborhood.'  It's a buyer's market!

Keth
55  Kinship / General Discussion / Re: Kin Gathering in November on: November 03, 2013, 10:33:34 AM
Great idea, Digger!  That's the Sunday before Thanksgiving, of course, and some of us may be on the road early for the holiday.  I'm pretty sure both Endingwen and I will be available, however.

Keth
56  General / Off-topic / Re: Digger's Little Absence Recently on: October 12, 2013, 10:05:38 PM
Good heavens, Master Goodsong, you gave us quite a fright there for awhile.  Your absence from the Manor was widely noted.  I'm alarmed at how swiftly it laid you low and therefore doubly glad to hear that you're on the mend!  A lesson for all of us, I suppose.  Each day is a wonderful gift, and time spent among friends and loved ones is time well-spent indeed.

I look forward to traveling the roads and paths of Middle Earth with you for many seasons to come.  Best wishes to you and your family.

Keth
57  Kinship / General Discussion / Re: The Bounder's Bounty Dev Diary on: August 27, 2013, 05:10:32 PM
When I checked last night (8/26), Nimrodel players had donated 4,200 tokens toward the 1,750,000 pot the Bounders are asking for.  Quite a sum!  We'll see how things progress over the coming days.  The Devs have indicated that they anticipate introducing additional methods of obtaining tokens based on progress over time.  Perhaps in conjunction with some upcoming events?

Keth
58  Kinship / General Discussion / When the timing is right, you'll know it on: July 27, 2013, 07:34:54 PM
Emrys!

It's great to hear from you again.  Endingwen and I have been wondering what you've been up to lately.  

Gaming interests tend to ebb, flow, and shift for me, and it sounds like for you as well.  Recently, Endi and I installed Age of Empires II HD.  We dearly missed AOE2 and were thrilled that it was updated (somewhat) and re-released.  That drew our attention away from LOTRO for several weeks.  There are a lot of games out there, to say nothing about other hobbies we all enjoy.  Sometimes, for a particular game, the timing just isn't right.  

My humble suggestion is to return to Emrys, or create another character, when the mood catches you.  For me, that can be sparked by a movie, a character in a book, or an RL experience.  These past few days Endi and I were backpacking in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho (lots of mountain goats!), and we noticed how much particular stretches of trail reminded us of some of Turbine's landscapes.  Endi commented on how Thurinien (her Burg) would enjoy exploring the area we were hiking.  Actually, it looked nearly identical to the Helgen/Riverwood area of Skyrim.  In any case, over the next few days, we're more likely to play LOTRO because of that experience.  I'm sure experiences in your life inspire you in similar ways as well.  

We'll be here to greet you and Chritien as old friends when you're ready to return.  Safe journeys to you both in the meantime!

Keth
59  General / Off-topic / PvMP and Raiders declining? on: June 03, 2013, 06:25:26 PM
A couple interesting posts by Sapience regarding feedback and player demography:

http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?&postid=6811397#post6811397

http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?&postid=6811423#post6811423

Keth
60  Kinship / Ideas and Suggestions / Re: It's that time again... Anniversary Party 2013! on: May 04, 2013, 06:37:34 PM
Fantastic 6th Anniversary party, everyone!  Thank you all for helping it come together.  It was great seeing some old faces, playing some new games, and burning some surplus fireworks! 

Keth
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