Ranhold had a nice surprise waiting for him when he logged in – Lirwen sent an invite to join her in a skirmish in The Shire called “Trouble in Tuckborough”!
Now as I mentioned before, skirmishes are a game within the game – a stand alone fight to capture and hold ground from the enemy in which you can earn experience points to help you level up and skirmish points with which you can buy gear and/or level up your skirmish soldier.
In Tuckborough a band of goblins, Dourhand dwarves and rough men have taken over the quiet Hobbit hamlet and it’s your job to free the wee pie-eaters from their plight. The village is essentially a large, terraced hill divided into key zones by gated barricades you must storm, clear and hold, raising a flag to indicate your victories as you go. The flag areas and gates are guarded and once the guards are overcome you need to hold off wave after wave of reinforcements, some of which bring a Lieutenant with them who have a special power with which to bolster their troops and ruin your day.
God help Lirwen but I’m such a noob! It takes me ages to react and in a skirmish you haven’t got ages and poor Lirwen saw me die at least twice – the first time within seconds of actually starting! Still, I made it through and Lirwen taught me a lot – I now move and fight just with keys as this makes combat so much faster. I am thinking not just about combat ‘buffs’ but health and protection ‘buffs’ too. I need to get a bow. Change my soldier to a healer. Keep away from large area of effect magic attacks. Learn to use the targeting keys more effectively. And give my son a sleeping potion so the little bugger let’s me play undisturbed!
Anyhoo, that was my first real skirmish and I can honestly say I loved it! I can see how fighting with a group of friends must be great fun and I hope Lirwen takes me back for another run – I’ll get better mate, I promise!
p.s. When you get the attacks flowing correctly, the Champion is a thing of beauty; a perfect pattern of flowing metal that just cuts anything in his way into small, wet chunks. When it comes to playing a Champion damage per second (DPS) is everything – hit you enemy faster, harder and then even faster than they can hit you.
p.p.s. Lirwen introduced me to the brilliant Fellowship Manoeuvre system – a combined icon-pressing exercise that can result in a variety of attacks being launched at the target. By chance I hit the same ‘button’ as Lirwen and we were rewarded with a huge ghostly red Ent appearing and stomping on the goblins around us – verrrrrrrrrry cool! You can read even more on the LOTRO Lorebook here.