The Great Barrow: Wins, Wipes & A Whole Heap ‘o’ Fun!

Ranhold has been back to the Barrows, only this time he’s brought some friends along for the ride.

The Great Barrow is an instance quest, a repeatable dungeon bash located in the Southern Barrow-Downs for six people – and trust me, you will need six good people if you are going to attempt it because it is hard, fast and mean. The first time I ventured in our team had a minstrel as our healer, but the leader did not spell out our roles and the healer fancied a bash at the barrow-wights and giant grave worms himself. Biiiiig mistake because he quickly died and we followed him. I told him to stay back and designated myself as his guardian which worked out better. Any bad guys that made a beeline for him(1) I got stuck into until I pulled their aggro on to me. He then healed me as I went all rotary dicer on their foul, undead arses and he could get back to healing the rest of the group who were being tossed around like rag dolls by the worms. It was fun 😀

The second time was a little easier but I’m not sure why. Maybe the level of the instance was set lower or maybe the players were a better mix of types and experience, or maybe we just caught some luck, I don’t know but we managed to kick the crapola out of everything without dying once which left me with a lovely warm feeling that lasted all the way until I joined another group a few minutes later and went through it again. This time it was a much different story and I think it’s fair to say that that future visitors to the Great Barrow will be picking up pieces of us for some time to come.

To be fair we did alright until the end room with the boss (the second boss for those in the know) and that’s when it all fell apart.Or rather we did, with the help of his ruddy great halberd blade! I think the reasons were two-fold: 1) the level of the instance was set at 27 and our team level spread was 41 down to 16, and 2) we only had one healer and nothing he could do could keep up with the rate that the lower level guys were falling. We tried it a few times without success before I had to log and my lasting memory is of being alone with the boss in a room full of ‘dead’ team-mates as I desperately unleashed my finest sching-sching upon him only to see it do nada to his health bar. Nothing. Not a jot. I stood there hacking five kinds of crap out of this guy and he just sucked it up like I was spooning him ice-cream until he got bored and killed me. That is a humbling sight, let me tell you.

I’m going to go back with some more guys and find that boss guys and regain my honour. And my kidneys. The bastard.

Here’s a taste of what you can expect in the Great Barrow from a random search on YT:

p.s. One thing I wasn’t expecting, or rather the lack of something I was expecting, is that no one was using voice! I just assumed everyone used voice in a raid but no one in the ones I’ve been in so far has. Very odd.

(1) I wasn’t sure how ‘aggro’ and threat really worked until I played the Great Barrow. I’d read about them, about how the game calculated your threat level to each bad guy and had that bad guy act accordingly meaning if you became too threatening (doing too much damage or using taunts, etc.) they’d shift their focus to you, but if I’m honest I think I imagined it was all bullshit and they’d just hit anyone near. Wrong. Very, very wrong. These fuckers are smart. They react in real time to not just what you are doing, but what everyone in your team is doing and if you think that whoever is hitting them hardest is going to be their main concern, you are dead wrong. They go after the healers. You can see them peel off a fight and head for the poor sod stood at the back trying to keep everyone alive with his magic or music and if these guys die, so do you. Quickly. So my role as a Champion is to intercept and punch these bastards so hard that they have to take notice of me and try to kill me instead – this means the squishie little healer can keep me alive as I keep him alive. It’s fast, desperate work, but bloody good fun when it goes well. God I love being and Champion in this game!:-D



  1. Inneresting! Sounds extremely very much like WoW, minus the silliness and plus the many Tolkien references, except for: (A) I don’t think anyone would ever go into a WoW instance with a party that far apart in levels, unless levels in LOTRO are more fine-grained than in WoW, and (B) all too few monsters in WoW are smart enough to go for the healers! Which means that “tank takes all aggro, healer heals tank, others kill monsters” works entirely too well in WoW, and things get quite mechanical. I’ve thought for some time that it would liven things up if there were some monsters smart enough to go for the guys in cloth first, even if the guy in plate *is* shouting loudly…

    1. Oh aye, I don’t think anyone would normally go into an instance in LOTRO with that kind of spread either – it was an inexperienced team bar the 41er who just joined to help out a kinmate as we needed a healer. I was that kinmate and I didn’t know the leader was going to accept a 16er when I invited the 41er – I felt like a right plonker!

      There is a lot of talk about threat & aggro management in LOTRO, but as I’ve never played WoW I can’t compare them. All I can say is that the tank can pull a lot of aggro and it’s down to the others to manage any mobs that he can’t pull or hold and experienced tanks (and healers!) get very annoyed if other non-tanks such as the DPSers start to pull aggro and break their carefully held mobs up. The ones that go for the healers are the ones who aren’t being held by a tank and that’s where your DPSers come in – they have to take these bastards down as fast as possible because a team that loses its healer is just about to have a very bad day indeed 😀

      I also get the feeling for what people say that LOTRO, whilst it really does have a healthy dose of humour all the way through it, is a more serious and thoughtful game that WoW, but given you are dealing with a huge body of text that many consider sacred it’s going to be – no room for Harley mounts and Mr T grenades in Elrond’s house 😀 I also get the impression that player ‘maturity’ is higher in LOTRO and griefing much lower. Again I can’y say, I’m just repeating what I’ve heard on several podcasts from players who play in both (and more) games.

      If you decide to come in and experiment (it’s totally free to play) I’d be very interested in your experiences and views.

      1. I did play it for a little bit, probably not far enough to really appreciate it. I liked being able to play instruments. 🙂 I was annoyed by the various little hints that it would really be much more fun if only I spent money (the temporary horse and so on), but not really fatally. I think my final impression was that it was really very much like WoW, and I’m already playing WoW, so no real reason to invest time in this as well / instead.

        So I like reading the LOTRO posts from you and others, in case I eventually notice something that would draw me over again…

        1. Aye, fair comments all – though I think the LOTRO Store has just about steered the right side of the “Pay to Win” controversy that has been levelled at other ‘free-2-play’ games such as Conan.

          Did you explore the music import capabilities of LOTRO – if you can write in ABC Notation you can have your character (or even a whole band of characters as is seen at the Weather Stock performances) play your music – they have 8 instruments that cover 3 octaves now:

          1. Ha, that is incredibly cool! User-generated content ftw. 🙂

            Yeah, I would run screaming from any game that gave actual game advantages (as opposed to annoyance things) depending on how much you paid. WoW’s position on this is pretty good, I think, in that except for limited trial accounts you HAVE to pay the usual price, but once you’ve paid that all you can get by paying more is some decorative things that really have no effect whatever on the game (even annoyance-wise).

            The idea of really being able to play the game seriously without paying at all is attractive, but the danger is that in order to make the business-model work they will have to (more or less subtly) prod you into spending some money now and then.

            SL can get away with this because it turns out that so much of the world is about shopping. 🙂 In a world based around adventuring and battling evil, it’s a somewhat less comfortable fit. I don’t remember Tolkien mentioning the room rates at the Last Homely House…

            1. Oddly enough I was listening to a Podcast from last year (I’m playing catch up) on my way to work this morning and it was about the LOTRO store from the viewpoint of an oldbie lifetimer and he was giving it a pretty decent thumbs up for *not* selling game changers and keeping in & out of world content special and separate. I feel a post coming on about my use of the store 😀

  2. That drives me crazy when you’ve got a healer that decides that he’d rather be a DPS type. HEAL already, LOL! At least your minstrel came around and actually did what he should have. Nothing like getting wiped because the healer isn’t doing their job. I’ve been enjoying the LOTRO posts. I play Aion, but most MMOs seem to follow a WoW-style, so I get it.

    1. Aye – luckily I’ve been doing my homework about my Champion’s role in group raids, etc. and so had a little bit of an idea what I should be doing – this lad quickly ‘got it’ and it ran smoothly after that. If I’m honest, I blame the leader for not laying out our roles, not communicating throughout and not controlling his tank and other DPSer. We got through it by luck more than judgement 😀

      p.s. Just checked out Aion – I recall you saying you were playing it waaaay back but assumed it was a console only game. It looks pretty damn cool 😀

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