Meanwhile, in Tyria… What a crafty wee Burro I am!

Cards on the table, I’ve never liked the crafting system in Guild Wars 2. It’s got a lot of lovely things, such as the speeding up through large batch jobs and the XP that helps you level up, but I dislike the discovery system where you have to combine items and see if there is a recipe you can discover. It’s always seemed like too much hard work to me. After all, how do I know what the devs were thinking when they planned them out?

My dislike started right back on day one when I first tried to make something back at launch. I found the system confusing, both in terms of how to make something but also in terms of how it progressed, and wasteful, using up my very meagre resources and not producing anything I required. After filling up my small inventory bags with worthless rifle-buts and pistol handles I called it quits and vowed never to do it again

True to my word I’ve spent the last three and half years deliberately avoiding doing any crafting at all and instead concentrating on farming and selling mats which has netted me a goodly amount of gold. That is until now (dun dun duuuun!).

It all started about three weeks ago when most of the guild members were on holiday, working away or playing ESO. I found myself with several bank tabs full of basic mats such as copper ore and green logs. As I can store 500 in my collection bank this meant I had 1,000 or more and they were taking up space in my main bank (another of my pet hates, things taking up my valuable bank space!). Now normally I’d send to my guild mates and beg them to process them into ingots and planks. But no one was around!  With my bank tabs rapidly filling up with more and more filthy bits of rock and mossy lumps of wood I was faced with the very real prospect of *gulp* having to refine them myself! Oh, the horror!

I knew I’d need a guide, someone I could trust to help me navigate a path through the process and I knew that guide had better be one that understood the current state of things rather than being a year or more behind the times. Naturally, as with all things Guild Wars 2, I turned to Dulfy. Surely Dulfy could help save me my time, money and sanity as she had done with both Fractals and Dungeons. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my head around the guides I found there at all and so turned to Google for help.

And lo! For Googl dideth revealeth unto me-eth the amazing pwniversity guides! They appealed to me because, in their own words, they are “don’t suggest farming or buying tons of items, because there is a more efficient way”. I liked the sound of this! Even though I have a fair chunk of gold and a lot of collected mats, I am at heart a hoarder and I hate, hate, HATE the thought of parting with my hard won gold and materials on something I really did not want to get sucked into.

I was rewarded for my Googling because these guides are brilliant! They blast you up through the crafting levels whilst minimising the cost of the journey, albeit at the cost of learning a lot of the available recipes. Also the cost is only minimised and not removed as it can still cost you many tens of gold to get characters to level 300 if you do not have a good store of mats and over 300 there is always going to be a high cost as these mats are harder to collect for a casual player such as myself.

Would I recommend these pwniversity guides? Absolutely. In just three sessions of around two hours each I’ve got to 300 in Huntsman, Leatherworking, Artificer, Jeweller, and Cooking with a net cost of around 20 to 30 gold pieces (crafting mats did cost me more than 20gp but I sold some of the things I made and so at this point I’m about 20-30gp down on where I started) and I’ll be levelling the others this week until I have all at 300 and then I decide on which (if any) I start getting higher.

If you decide that these guides are how you’d like to level in crafting, here are a few tips that could help you as they’ve helped me:

> Each 25 level progression follows more or less the same pattern. Learn this pattern and things will go buttery smooth for you.

> Each 25 level progression is designed to give you around 25 levels but if you use a guild crafting booster and/or an item booster (1 laurel each for 30 mins from the laurel merchant) you can gain up to 10 levels more.

> Whilst that last point sounds great, as you progress higher the lower level items give less XP before quickly dropping to none. In practice this means if you buy everything from the list for that 25 level progression, the last few items might not grant you XP meaning they are a waste of money and mats.

> My advice if you are using XP boosts is to buy half of the mats and see if that gets you up. If not then start buying more but only enough to craft 1 or 2 items at a time until you cross that next 25 level line and have to switch to higher tier mats for the next 25 levels.

> Even if you have the mats always check the price of the items required on the trading post against the price of the base materials need to make those items. Often the item is cheaper than mats required to make it so it can save you valuable mats to simple buy it. Other times the opposite is true and you are best crafting it.

> As you craft items your bags will fill up. Check the sell and buy prices of these items and if there is no profit to be made in selling them you are better using a salvage kit to recover some of the base items (currently this is worth doing with leather as there seems to be a leather shortage in game so the price of leather is very high).

> In some professions crafted items are need for higher recipes (e.g. in Cooking you can make a pizza and then that is needed for higher tier pizzas as one of the components) so you may want to check on the GW2 Wiki before you sell or salvage stuff you might need to craft again to progress later on.

So there you go, a once crafting-hater has been converted, more or less, by a good guide. This is pretty much what my mate El said would happen and she is always right about these things 😀 My plans for crafting are simple right now – refine mats for sale and make bags for my toons – but I’m beginning to feel the stirrings of an interest in the idea of a flirtation with the notion of a of the system behind crafting ascended items… oy vey.

By the Power of Greyskull, make me AWESOME!

By the Power of Greyskull, make me AWESOME!

#LOTRO: It’s been a long time, baby…

Work has been a swine. It still is, but a little less so hence this post (assuming I ever get to finish it, let alone post it). I’ll keep it quick because I don’t have much time – here we go…

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 44

I’ve really not had much time for gold old Ranhold in the last couple of weeks. He remains at level 42 and in Evendim on the cusp of entering Annuminas at long, long, loooong last. In the meantime I have whisked him away to Bag End so he could explore Bilbo’s Haunted Cellar (which was amazing – well done Turbine!). Now work has calmed down, and after listening to the latest Evendim-themed episode of Shipwreck’s wonderful podcast “Beneath your Feet…”, and seeing how Keltorn has managed to help Nimlarn, Hocko & Gorfrik move up their crafting ladders with yew, lebethron & dwarf-iron, I’ve decided that I will be taking Ranhold through the rest of Evendim now before returning to the Epic Storyline in the Misty Mountains.

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Master Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 27

Gorfrik has been stuck over a workbench or forge using up stacks of the materials gathered by Keltorn – slowly but surely he’s moving up the crafting levels helping me become very self-sufficient.

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Master Expert Woodworker. Level 22

Pretty much the same as Gorfrik – all the yew and lebethron wood Keltorn has collected has pushed him up a woodworking level or two at long last.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Poor Hocko, he just sits in Esteldin like a forgotten dog tied up outside a shop hoping his master will come out soon and give him a hug.

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 32

Rolcko has been on a long holiday to see his great Aunt Rose away in the South Farthing and no one knows when he’ll return. Hopefully it will be soon as all the lads are running out of food!

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 32

With Eventure gone there seemed little sense in levelling Keltron slowly through the Epic Story as was the plan, especially given he is an Explorer and therefore can collect the ore & wood so needed by my other guys for crafting. No, with his partner gone Keltorn began a blazing rise through the levels and in two weeks went from 14 to 32 taking in the Old forest, the North Downs, Evendim, the Lone-Lands and much of the Trollshaws as he collected stacks of yew, rich-iron, silver, gold, lebethron, dwarf-iron and platinum. By the time he dinged 32 the other lads had crafted him and entire suit of armour, range of weapons and set of jewellery to say thanks – and as every item was critted purple it was a pretty big thanks at that 🙂

Keltorn has still been following the Epic Storyline but that’s only for my amusement as I do quite love being part of the unfolding tale, most of his levelling has come through skirmishing and my plan is simple – keep levelling him hard and fast until he can go anywhere and gather the materials for crafting. Essentially this will mean the end to playing Gorfrik, Nimlarn & Hocko (and possibly Rolcko to a lesser extent) as they will be mere crafters now but fighting with Keltorn and Ranhold is such fun that I don’t mind (and it means I only have 2 – or 3 –  combat styles to try and remember instead of 6).

You can still read Keltorn’s adventures here and I actually do have plans to carry them on at some point.


Workworkworkworkwork and more work. Bloody work 🙂

#LOTRO: Back to the drawing board…

What a week. My sword mate Eventure (who played Everwyn with Keltorn) has left the game to deal with RL issues so I am once again friendless…

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 42

Ranhold did a fair bit this week but his much anticipated fight with Longbough the Ent was a damp squib as the instance proved to be broken. I’ve reported the bug (the final boss bad guy, a huge huron, can not be engaged in battle) so no doubt I’ll get to do it one day 🙂 Other than that he’s been completing more wonderful Everdim quests and moving up the reputation tables for both the Wardens of Annuminas and the Elves of Rivendell. He also splashed out and spent about 5gp on scholar items so he could get back to crafting (hence the Rivendell rep increase) but it’s only temporary and he really needs to move to the Misty Mountains to get more of the items he needs. Aside from that he’s just spent a little time making spikes and fire-oils for Keltorn.

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Master Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 28

Gorfrik has been out and about in Evendim trying to collect gold, but it’s slim pickings and no mistake. Still, I have a shed-full of Rich Iron ore now which should offset Ranhold’s AH splurge 😀

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Master Expert Woodworker. Level 22

Apart from making a fist carving class item for Keltorn (I now wish I’d made shield so I’ll change that tonight) and briefly flirting with the idea of making some Level 20 weapons for him as well, Nim’s been as quiet as the grave.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

I’m sorry to say I didn’t get Hocko out at all, although he’s building up a nice reserve of gems from my others guys must be almost as rich as old Bilbo by now 😀

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 30

Apart from skirmishing a few times, this old warrior has had a quiet week.

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 14

Ahhhh, Keltorn, my new best guy 😀 I’m still having a blast with my Warden even if I have yet to find a system to help me remember all the gambit combos 🙂 Unfortunately my playmate has left so I’m not following the Epic Story with him now meaning his tales might end very soon. Instead I’m now going to level him as quickly as possible so he can collect ore and wood from all over the place for my other guys to craft with. Still, I will miss the structured group experience I had with Eve a lot.

I have been writing about Keltorn’s adventures here.


Nothing much really. Loving my Champ’s Ardour stance and hating how many steps there are in cooking recipes. Still finding and killing Rares but starting to realise the sapphire shards I’ve collected from them are pretty worthless, but that is the subject of another post…

#LOTRO: Loving The Unloved

A strange week for me, mainly because I didn’t get much time to play with Keltorn & Everwyn, something that is rapidly becoming the highlight of my gaming week. Add to that my time away from the computer both the keep my beloved happy and to celebrate our 12th anniversary and I really have felt detached from things.

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 42
I did take Ranhold out a little, but oddly enough after last week’s delight at questing in Evendim I removed him completely from that area and dropped him back into Esteldin & the North Downs. There was method in my maddness and I really enjoyed my time in both places, but I’m still itching to get back to my Ent friend by Lake Everdim. The reason I airlifted the big guy out was simple enough – I grew sick and tired of the number of unfinished quests he was carrying so I decided to get the bugger working hard and tackling the Small Fellowship jobs he hadn’t be able to do his 30s. I can honestly say I’ve had a great time smacking the Dourhands about in the mountains north of Esteldin as well as taking on the entire orc & troll army in the south-east single-handedly 😀

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Master Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 28
Well paint me blue and call me a smurf if old Gorfrik hasn’t finally been released from crafting duties and given the chance to let loose his arrows upon the poor wargs and spiders of the Lone Lands. I took him there to mine gold after I went and emptied his over-flowing quest bag too. To be honest, the gold has been thin but the deed rewards & XP have been coming thick and fast and he’s jumped up a fair few levels in no time!

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Master Expert Woodworker. Level 22

Sigh. No one loves poor Nimlarn. In truth I can’t face the time it’s going to take me to learn how to play him again after the RoI update.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Although Hocko got no playing time in he did make some very nice gold jewellry for Gorfrik & Rolcko and so managed to push up his crafting a level at long, long last. I just need a lot more gold for him and I can start working on his guild rep next. I can’t see me playing this guy any other way for a loooong time to come.

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 30

Too little time online meant that old Rolcko was left by the wayside. Maybe I’ll get some more skirmishes under his belt this week 🙂

Update: After typing that I was inspired to take him out and complete a few Shire quests such as The Quick Post, Lost Sheep & Brew-Master – he’s now a shade off kindred with the Mathom Society 🙂

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 14

Poor Keltorn & Everwyn, my time away really impacted on our time this week. Still we have big plans for the next week or two and are even (as I type) discussing looking for a kin to join together. Personally I’m really looking forward to getting into the Barrow-Downs with her as in all my visits there what I’ve missed most is someone to watch my back (and I there’s) in what is a frankly bloody dangerous place 🙂

Both Everture and I have been writing about Keltorn & Everwyn’s adventures and you can read our accounts here and here.


That’s all folks. I’ve been updating my blog over at My.LOTRO but I’ve also opened (yet to post) one over on the revamped site as well. Like the My.LOTRO one it’ll just be a mirror for a select bunch of the posts I put on my main Blog de la Burro but it’ll be nice to pick up another reader or two 🙂

#LOTRO: There are many levels to climb…

It’s been a funny old week really. I put my plan for Ranhold into action, ran around Chetwood with Keltorn, skirmished with Rolcko and crafted with the others but even though many levels were progressed, it really hasn’t felt like I’ve moved on at all. Not that I’m complaining. It’s more like I’ve hit a smooth groove and everything is running well, which is nice 🙂

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 42
So there I was in Rivendell and Elrond was all like “Man, git you’re sorry butt up the Misty Mountains before I whoop it!” and I’m like “No way fella, I’m off to see my mates over in Evendim first!” and he’s like all “Whatever”.

Evendim. At long, long last I’ve got there. Like a shining beacon on the horizon the promise of the revamped Annuminas has beckoned only for me to be pulled away by questing in other areas or following the Epic Storyline. But now I am there and my Historian’s soul both sings with joy and weeps with sorrow at the vast treasures of the past that lay there slowly vanishing from memory. It is every bit as beautiful as the Trollshaws but in a very different way.

The questing has been great fun there too – far more so than in the Trollshaws and this reflects one of the benefits of revamping a region. Single NPCs acts as quest hubs for several NPCs nearby and when all the quests they give you are done they give another tier. In this way you get quests that are related in tone, topic and, most importantly, geographical area at once and therefore don’t waste endless hours travelling between places like the three main areas in the Trollshaws. As a completeist I like to mine areas of their quests and the system in Evendim allows me to do that in a far more enjoyable fashion. I’ve been there for a week and I doubt I’ve done half the avaiable quests yet and I still haven’t actually reached the city itself – instead I’ve been having great fun battling giants and talking to an Ent (insert fanboy SQUEEEE! here)


The next time I log on to Ran he will be entering a quest where he travels with Longbough to fight a nasty Wood-Troll called Heart Rot! *faints with geeky excitement*

Apart from that there’s been a fair bit of crafting going on but until I can find some materials for the next tier I’m stuck and unable to level that skill. I have heard they are to be found in the Misty Mountains so it looks like that will be my next destination after Evendim when I rejoin the Epic Storyline and go to see Gloin to help him with a wee Goblin problem he has…

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Master Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 24
Gorfrik has been crafting. That and slowly upping his Guild reputation. He’s been kept busy-ish making for Rolcko, Keltorn & Everwyn. He’s happy enough.

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Master Expert Woodworker. Level 22

Poor Nimlarn, aside from making the odd spear for Keltorn he’s been ignored. I don’t really want to skirmish with him as Rolcko’s so much fun and I would rather take Ranhold through the Epic Story so Nimlarn is an Elf Without Portfolio right now. I did manage to up his woodworking skill to Expert and get him to Esteldin to join the guild (boy, what a fun ride that was all the way from Bree…) but as I have one (count it) log of Lebethron wood I can’t actually do anything with the next set of skills this unlocked. To be honest, I won’t be playing this guy for a while – I want to see how the Isengard changes pan out and then I might start running him in skirmishes for a bit, or through the Barrow Downs.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Nothing, nada & nowt. Not even an earring. At some point this will be a good character for taking through the Epic Story but until then he’s going to be a jeweller pure and simple – all he needs is the ores and gems from the other guys 🙂

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 30

What a guy! He’s made the last ten levels from 20 to 30 just in skirmishes! Gorfrik & Ranhold made him some snazzy new armour and weapons and he’s a delight to play. I can seriously see this guy reaching level cap way before Ranhold simply because the monster kill XP he’s getting in skirmishes, boosted by the RoI +25% item, are just powering him up the ladder. My only regret is not making him an explorer because that way he could be now going out to and collect ore and wood in places no-one (bar Ranhold who can’t collect either) else can. When there is ever another character slot sale I might well make a Rolcko V2 just for collecting.

Oh, he has a kick-ass crossbow now too 😉
Rolcko and his crossbow

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 14

Keltorn had a great week both with Everwyn and on his own. With Everwyn he dinged up two levels and cleared out a lot of the Combe/Chetwood quests and I’m really enjoying how well me & Eve get on in game – it bodes well for when we come to skirmish 🙂 On his own I took Keltorn out to collect Yew from the southern-most areas of Evendim and despite a few chases and near misses he collected enough to get both his forestery up and Nimlarn’s woodworking up a level. Why Evendim you may ask? Well both he and Everwyn had gone there earlier as part of the “Pirate Day” mini-quest that netted us these great eye-patches and noticed loads of materials going uncollected:)
Keltorn & Everwyn's Eye-patches

Keltorn & Everwyn's Eye-patches

Both Everture and I have been writing about Keltorn & Everwyn’s adventures and you can read our accounts here and here.


I think that about covers it really. The big thing hanging over all of us is the Rise of Isengard expansion that goes live today – I’m really looking forward to it, not in terms of its content as I won’t reach that for a while, but more because of the changes it will bring to the gameplay for all classes. I can see I will have a few nights where all I’ll be doing is re-learning my characters’ skills and re-organising their toolbars. Happy Days 🙂

#LOTRO: Crafting, Crafting and more bloody Crafting…

Well, apart from Ranhold, the new guy Keltorn has well and truly put everyone in the shade and reduced them down to mere crafting machines this week…

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 42
Ranhold moved a little further along the path of the Epic Storyline now and is all but finished in the enchanting but dangerous Trollshaws (his level has been slowly creeping up too and is now just over 42 and a half). His next step is to meet Gloin up in the Misty Mountains and whilst I’m happy he’s heading off to their fabled heights it is yet another move that is taking me further away from my desire to see Evendim so I’ve taken (just now, as I type this in fact) the decision to put the epic back on ice and head over to complete all the wonderful challenges that await me in the land of Annuminas. Watch this space!

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Master Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 23
Gorfrik has had one trip out to gather ores from Kingsfell but apart from that he’s been crafting armour for Keltorn and Everwyn. As I wanted it all to be critted to give our newest heroes the kind of fighting chance Ranhold never had he ran out of Common flax pretty quickly and the prices in the AH are insane! (150sp for 1 common flax! Fek off!). Luckily some kinmates helped out as did Everwyn, but as the crit rate for Gorfrik seems to be lower than the others I knew I’d need a lot. Keltorn has had to go out harvesting and poor Rolcko has become a skirmish slave, daily battling all manner of foul creatures just so he can spend his hard earned marks on a small handful of fibre he posts to Gorfrik – it’s been a real grind but worth it 🙂

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Journeyman Woodworker. Level 22

Nimlarn has had another quiet week – in truth I can’t see me playing him until after RoI unleashes the massive class changes on him. After that he may even stand a good chance of being a skirmisher, who knows.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Beyond crafting two sets of critted bling for Keltorn and Everwyn, Hocko has had a very quiet week indeed. Again, I will bring this guy out more after RoI I think but as his skirmishing skills are limited when solo I will be keeping this lad for grouping only.

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 28

Rolcko has hard at work all week – skirmishing like a demon, working the AH like a pro and cooking like, well, a cook. This lad is without doubt the backbone of Team Burro and without him the whole enterprise would collapse! I have to say that out of all my guys this one is the one I enjoy skirmishing with the most – especially with his above level bad-ass DPS-crazy soldier helper. I’ve done more in a week of skirmishing with Rol than in all the months Ranhold has been able to skirmish. He’s brutal, efficient and bloody good fun.

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 12

Keltorn, barely a week old, is fast becoming my new obsession. Partly it’s his amazing combat style, partly it’s because I’m actually giving this guy a working RP background and writing up his tales in an RP fashion, but mostly it’s because I get to play with someone else and that is always fun! Don’t get me wrong, I like soloing – I can’t imagine running Ranhold any other way. It’s just that I also like going through it with someone else too – and seeing as Eve and I share a sense of humour about the game and aren’t playing for bragging rights or engaged in a pissing contest with the rest of the world, it’s turning out to be great fun indeed 🙂 You can follow Keltorn’s account of his journey from Bree-land defender to Middle-Earth warrior here.


Nothing much really. I’m still exploring and loving the cosmetic wardrobe options (Ranhold is making a lot of dyes) and I’ve had to fork out to increase my shared storage from 60 to 70 slots, but other than that it’s all been about grinding, whether that be gathering ores, fighting for marks or simply making armour for Keltorn and Everwyn. Happy days 🙂

LOTRO: Trolling in the Trollshaws and other tales…

Another weekly update after another week of slow, fun developments 🙂

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 42

Ranhold continues his path along the Epic Storyline and has been scouring the Trollshaws for signs of the missing Black Rider left unaccounted for after Gandalf’s show of strength at the Ford of Bruinen. This has meant some pretty hair-raising exploring and some down-right dangerous troll-bashing! Luckily the Elves have thought of this and can aid single explorers with their magic which helps them survive such encounters*

Away from the main story he managed to wander hither and yon in the strikingly beautiful Trollshaws and complete a great many quests. All this activity progressed him to the dizzy heights of Level 42 although he has moved nary a jot in his crafting as he’s run out of supplies of the next level of ingredients. Still he did manage to get two new swords that were a little better than his last two and his questing netted him a new set of armour (not a complete set**) that looks amazing! This was also the week *I* discovered how to use cosmetics and dyes and the shared wardrobe properly and now, instead of all my guys wearing a mix of odds and ends, I have been finding or making complete sets of armour that looks brilliant! I’ve been dying them as well to colour theme my lads – Ranhold is blue (currently navy but I’m looking to make a lot of Evendim Blue once I have the ingredients) and looks fantastic in his Forest Walker’s set 😀 I’ll post some pics tonight.

* Essentially you get a magic stone that is connected to certain points of the quest and if you are alone you can use it for a short time to make you super-tough and therefore enable you to complete the Epic Storyline alone as opposed to in a group as the game was originally written. These ‘god mods’ don’t work elsewhere so they can’t really help you cheat the game, instead they are a means to an end – getting solo players further into the game so they both continue to enjoy & play it, but also are more likely to part with real money to play other areas of it. Turbine are no dummies when it comes to making money from their player base – look at me, forked out £40 for Call of Duty, found it too hard and with no way of making it easier I left and haven’t played since (nor am I likely to ever again) yet in LOTRO I can keep going and keep giving the more moolah. Smart business model 🙂

** Armour can be made, found, sold & bought in game but the designers have gone to a lot of trouble to make sets that go together and many folks like to ensure they have all pieces because together they not only look like a cohesive collection but they multiply and add extra bonuses the more items you wear together. The designs are stunning and when you craft them (either for yourself or for sale in the auction house) you will find there are often several options of each – man design, dwarf design and elf design. Crafters can make any of those and they can be worn by all races (dwarf design is not just for the Dwarves, etc.) so you can choose from a huge range of gorgeous designs and that coupled with the ability to dye individual pieces different colours AND combine them with cosmetic only clothing layers means you have a freaking huge set of looks to design and chose from – take a look at the LOTRO Stylist or the LOTRO Fashion blogs and see for yourself! I’m still a noob at this but it shows the depth of gameplay when you think I’ve been playing this game feverishly for months now and am only now getting around to what is a HUGE part of the game mechanics!

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Artisan Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 23

Gorfrik has been hard at the forges and workbenches of both Esteldin and Thorin’s hall this week as he has crafted himself, Nimlarn & Rolcko new sets of armour (medium, light & heavy respectively and all critted versions too!). This has pushed his crafting levels up a tier and made him the hero of the team. Go Gorfrik, go you little Dwarven bugger, you! Nimlarn’s colour of choice is Dark Green but will be changing to Rivendell Green once Ranhold becomes a supreme scholar and can make it.

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Journeyman Woodworker. Level 22

Nimlarn has had a quiet old week but does have some nifty new armour to test out when I get around to sending him out for much needed yew wood. He’s gone for gold but neither of us are feeling it yet so his colour theme has still to be decided.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Also having a quiet week and without even a scrap of new armour to show for it, Hocko has become the red-headed step-child of the week. His colour is grey but may well become black in the future.

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoma, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 23

Rolcko has been proving his worth yet again by completing many skirmishes and earning marks so Gorfrik could have flax for stitching his armour together. This is the Circle of Crafting right here in action folks! Rolcko died his first ever death whist running the Tuckborough skirmish, but I predict many, many more as he fights on to give the rest of us valuable crafting supplies, the brave little sod *sniff*

Away from the boys I myself and I bought an extra character slot in the LOTRO Store weekly sales as I want to get an explorer going at some point (these guys can collect ore and wood, both areas I lack in as when Gorfrik is out ore collecting, Nimlarn can’t be collecting wood, etc.) but I have no immediate plans to create a new character just yet. Whilst spending TPs like they were going out of fashion I also bought the Warden & Rune-Keeper bundle so I now have access to all the character types as well as ten more wardrobe slots and an extra outfit slot to cope with my new found vanity. As long as Turbine keep showing me the Double TP Bonus Points deals, I’ll keep filling their wallets for them 🙂

I had a great run with my kinmate Amalthir who helped me with some very tough (and very angry, I worry about their blood pressure) Gauradan wolf-men in the Trollshaws – no idea if he reads this, but thanks mate 🙂

I didn’t get to meet up with my mate Tammi but she and Hocko have been exchanging letters about the silliness of the big folk and the tastiness of pies. Maybe this week we can get together and gang up on some orcs?

LOTRO: All that glisters…

I’ve said before how much I love the fact that LOTRO isn’t just kill kill kill run run run (although to be fair there is a lot of that, but that is rather the nature of the beast). From fishing to crafting and exploring to selling LOTRO is full of fun side-diversions to stop you burning out . My current love affair is an entirely out-of-character (for me) embracing of my capitalist side as I have fallen in love with selling stuff in the Auction House and raking in the silver and gold pieces used in the game as currency.

I don’t know when it started, I mean I have always listed things in the AH, things I found in the barrows or on dead brigands and orcs that I had no use for, things like crafting recipes or materials that Ranhold, as a Historian, could not use. Some sold, some did not but I listed all for a small value above the price that I could have sold them to a vendor. I now know this was a Very Big Mistake. No wonder the stuff I listed was snapped up! no wonder the stuff I listed failed to make me rich! In my defence this was my first few weeks in my first ever MMO and learning to stay alive in fights took precedence over learning to use the AH. But I wised up – I think it was around the time I was clearing out storage space and decided (in another ill-informed noob move) to use up all my stored Scholar ‘single use’ recipes and sell the resulting crafting crit bonus items in the AH – I decided, as I had never sold one before, to do something I had not done until this point – take the frigging time to see what other people were selling them for! Sounds obvious, but then I’m dumb. And lazy. Never a good combo. So I checked and was amazed to see them going for 1 to 2 gold pieces! I played it sharp and placed mine just under most others and lo and behold by the next day I had sold one for 1g 500s! Over the next week or two I sold most of the rest and found I was now hooked on selling stuff!

The AH (gawd bless ‘er) has funded several storage expansions for all my characters, bought both my houses and even allowed me to recover from my one and only AH disaster when I acidentally bought a stack of metal for what I thought was a bargain of 500sp but was in fact 2 gold and 500 silver! I just didn’t see the 2g and hit BUY – there is no confirmation box, it just does it there and then. Ouch.

Currently, now that I have five characters, the AH is being managed by Rolcko. Everyone dumps saleable items (found or made) into the shared storage and he lists them in the AH in Michel Delving and this system is working well. I’ve even started a new side project, a game within a game just for me. Project Gold *cue dramatic music and run some old footage of Goldfinger* is about getting Team Burro up to 10gp by this weekend. Beyond that I’d like to hit 15gp by the weekend after and then keep going up – Rolkco needs more storage and can buy two more upgrades in game which will cost me 10gp and that gold don’t grow on trees you know! Hell, I’ve even set up a spoddy google spreadsheet to track everyone’s fortunes – you can see it here:

But just selling is not enough. It depends on my five characters continually seeking out new items or materials with which to craft new items and they do have day jobs you know, they do have the whole of Middle Earth save! So I’ve decided that I’m going into to the speculation business – not as in speculating on the price of goods (i.e gambling with other people’s money to make you and a few others rich whilst the rest of the human population can sod off and die), no I mean speculating as in “you have to speculate to accumulate”. I’m going to scour the AH for items being sold off cheap (it happens – there are always people like me just clearing out inventory and selling to clear) which I shall buy and re-list at a higher but still competitive price. Oh yes, I’m finally becoming one of the shopkeepers my country-folk are so often compared to! Just one with swords! I shall update you all *cough* on Project Gold’s progress in future posts. In the meatime, could I interst to in this bow over here? No? Well what about his pile of iron ore, hmm?

LOTRO: Oh Dear God… What Have I Done?

Only ruddy well made a new character, that’s what! Say hello to Rolcko Harfoot, uncle of one Hocko Harfoot and retired Yeoman Guardian to the Horse Lords of Rohirrim and now gentleman farmer & aspiring chef in Michel Delving.

[Picture to be added once I upload it to flickr which I should have done last night but forgot. Dope.]

Here it is:
Rolcko Gravatar 001

This guys is going to be less of an adventurer and more of a bank & Auction House organiser as well as a supreme farmer & cook to provide everyone with top flight nosh, not to mention selling said nosh in the AH for gold of course 😀 I managed to get him through the Battle for Archet intro and to Michel Delving to clear his crafting tutorials in one evening (I was knackered at the end of it, mind) and as it stands now he is level 9 and looking forward to blasting his farming & cooking professions up to artisan in one mad session (and joining the Cooking Guild, of course). After than I don’t think he’ll see much action outside of a few RP trips I have plans for him such as clearing out wolves and tackling the Dourhands which would fit his character. The idea is that as a young man he went a-wandering and ended up fighting with the horse-lords before retiring and heading home. Now he is back home his quiet retirement is constantly disturbed by stories of the strange, un-Hobbity happenings through the Shire and he finds himself putting down his ladle & hoe and once more taking up his sword and shield. I’m sure there will be several recountings of his tales in this very blog, Hobbit fans 😀

LOTRO: A Much Needed Update…

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!