The past three or four weeks have seen a dramatic slowing of Ranhold’s progress both in terms of levelling up and completing quests, yet at the same time all three of my alts (Gorfrik, Hocko & Nimlarn) have seen rapid advancement in their levelling & questing (although not along the main storyline – I’m leaving that to Ranhold) as well as huge leaps in their crafting development.
What has led to this shift in focus and activity I will, for the purposes of this post, imagine I hear you wonder? Why my first great season of crafting, that’s what!
Ever since I put my Circle of Crafting plan into play I have come to realise just how many materials I will need to collect, prepare and make just to get these guys up to a point where they can make Ranhold, their Boss I guess, gear he can actually use. As it stands now they still can’t, but they are getting closer and they are making stuff they can use and sell for mucho silver at the AH.
Let me give you a rundown of what the boys* have been up to:
Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian. Level 39 and a half
Removing his +25% XP bost was the best thing to happen to old Ran as he was rushing through the levels far too quickly for my liking (I know you can get from 0 to 65 in under a month if you really go for it, but that style of gameplay is not for me). The slow down has allowed me to focus on exploring and completing class quests while the bad guys are still a challenge to me (again my play style is not to be a super-powered killing machine many levels above everything in my path – I like a challenge). What this in turn showed is that my gear could do with an upgrade which in turn led to the whole Circle of Crafting being set up and most of my time then being spent with the other guys. But that’s not to say Ranhold has been idle, oh no! He’s spending a lot of time in Rivendell grinding out reputation items for the Scholar’s Guild as well as starting his first tentative steps towards hunting out the missing pages of three books that will grant him his first legendary skills. Oh, and there is a little matter of helping Aragorn re-forge a wee sword called Narsil, but I’m sure you’re not interested in that are you?
Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer. Level 21 and a half
Poor old Gorfrik has had a rough old time of it lately, although as he’s zoomed up several levels I don’t think he’s complaining too much. Unlike Ran, but like Hocko & Nimlarn, I’m keeping the +25% XP booster as this will help him level up quicker and therefore be more able to enter higher level areas to gather materials for crafting – which is exactly what I’ve been doing with him 🙂 A few days in the Shire gathering copper and tin, several in Bree-Land & Far Chetwood gathering barrow-iron & silver and a couple spent dodging purple-level critters in Kingsfell gathering rich-iron & gold. Without Gorfrik strutting his stuff and braving what Hocko, my other ore-gathering prospector, was too far low-level to attempt then neither Hocko nor Ranhold (not to mention Gorfrik!) would have been able to advance their crafting at all. Gorfrik is a little bobby dazzler, but don’t tell him I told you that 🙂
One last thing about levelling him up, aside from getting another character ready to skirmish, is that hunters have some fearsome powerful skills at 20+. When he was 16 and heading into Far Chetwood for the first time I had to dodge bears and wolves as fighting them would both take long and be a bit of a bind, but now he can one-shot them and is moving through his class deeds quite nicely.
Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer. Level 14 and a three quarters
Hocko’s been a busy lad collecting copper & tin ores throughout the Shire, killing foul slugs and laying into an endless supply of wolves. Although he’s the lowest level character he’s been steaming ahead in the crafting stakes making decent jewellery for himself, Nim & Gor as well as managing to be invited to join the Jeweller’s Guild over in Esteldin (his first trip there was a hairy ride, let me tell you!). I’m having to hold off grinding rep with them as I simply don’t have enough gold yet given how hard it can be to collect and how much I need to make new jewellery and weapons for Ran. Still, the pressure is off him now so I might start cooking with him and see what sells at the AH 🙂
It’s worth pointing out that this is my last chance for an Undying title as Hocko has not been defeated yet. Nor has he been led over a cliff or waterfall by the plonker in charge of his movements.
Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman. Level 17 and a smidge
Nimlarn has been a little less busy but has nonetheless managed to race ahead to level 17 and produce enough leather for Gorfrik to equip everyone (bar Ranhold) with decent gear as well as make Gorfrik several very cool bows. Of all my characters I’m still enjoying playing Nimlarn most of all – the whole aspect of fighting with music is brilliant! I think it’s the animations that show the bad guys reeling from invisible punches that grabs me:-D
So that’s where I am – gathering, crafting and grinding class & reputation deeds like crazy, but after nearly a month I think it’s about time to get Ranhold back in the swing of things and send him off to Evendim and start fighting for Annuminas!
*Funny, I still can’t bring myself to play a female character. I don’t really know why – I think it’s purely down to identification & reason. I have no problems playing female characters in others games such as Portal or Mirror’s Edge, but they are both the default avatars of the game rather than a choice on my part. Given that choice, and without a plot-driven reason to do otherwise, I would rather play a man so that I can more easily inhabit that role. El burro es el hombre!