#LOTRO: As Arkwright would have said, it’s been a funny old week…

So on top of work grabbing me by the doodahs, poor Mrs Antfarm has ended up in hospital with suspected Swine Flu and a near-miss with pnuemonia, all of which meant many tips to and from hospital and looking after my wee Gazelleling so not much gaming has been done with only Ranhold doing anything of note

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 45

I finally, finally, FINALLY got to the city of Annumias in Evendim and boy I was not disappointed! The who place is magnificent… and bloody dangerous! I died more there in one day than I have in the past 3 months! Bands of Angmarian invaders roam the streets, pockets of Rangers hold key areas and sudden burst of violence erupt as street battles unfold around you. I freaking love it! It feels more ‘alive’ than many other places I’ve been too and I get the impression this pales in comparison to the latest work in Isengard (which in itself is but a shadow of what is to come by the time we get to Gondor!). I’ve been questing a little – the roving quest giving Ranger is a really neat idea! but my main drive has been to get the Epic Storyline involving the re-forging of Narsil completed so instead of fighting around the city, I spent some time completing the Blue Lady quests in order that she would un-flood Elendil’s tomb and allow me to regain the jewel I needed to take back to Aragorn.

Christ on a tandem that was hard! Seriously hard! In the end I had to beg the help of my kin mates and was delighted when 6 of them answered and agreed to help me out there. We retrieved the stone and then went on to do the remaining three instances in Annuminas which were brilliant fun! And despite my fears that I’d be a weak link or hold back these players of 65 & 75, I managed to hold my own and even tanked one of the bosses successfully and was the last man alive at the death of the Cargul! Sure it was largely down to the heroic efforts of the other team members, not to mention a fair bit of luck, but it was also some damn fine playing on my part – I was, as they say, in the zone! Hoohah!

My next steps will be to return the jewel to Strider and help re-forge the famous sword, but in the meantime (and as is the way when playing such a complex tale, i.e. occasionally out of order) I managed to be present at the departure of the Fellowship from Rivendell. It was, without doubt, the coolest moment of my 6 months playing the game – I was there as Gandalf & Elrond spoke to the hobbits, men, dwarf and elves about the their perilous journey ahead, as Boromir again argued for more action, as Aragorn counselled caution and as Bilbo tearfully bade farewell top his nephew. Hell, I even watched as Sam led Bill the pony over the bridge and toward the Misty Mountains! This was a seriously squee, fanboy, 14 year old playing MERP moment for me and no mistake 😀

As this week settles down in to a new routine, albeit temporary until the good lady of the house come back, I shall be moving Ranhold into the mountains as well – I have a certain dwarf named Gloin to meet and several legendary items that won’t collect themselves…

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

Gorfrik dropped an anvil on his foot and is still laid up in Esteldin driving the Rangers there mad with his rude comments on their health care system.

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

Nimlarn has become so fey as be almost transulcent and has spent the last few weeks drifting around Bree like a pointless cloud.

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

Poor Hocko is currently under lock & key in Esteldin when his sticky little fingers were found to be somewhere they, and the rest of him, shouldn’t have been. Bail has been set at 10gp.

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

Rolcko was returning from his visit to his great Aunt Rose in the South Farthing when a squirrel spooked his horse and he too a tumble. He’s currently recuperating in the house of a very nice widow hobbit named Fleur who is feeding him fit to burst. Could love be in the air?

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

Keltorn received a letter from his mother asking him to return to Bree as his uncle was very sick and someone needed to run the farm. He is not best pleased about this as he also received a letter from an Elf in the North downs who needed a good Warden and had been passed his name. He hopes to ride out there soon.

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, visiting a poorly wife and looking after a small child. I picked a hell of a week to stop sniffing glue.

LOTRO: Weekly Update

Even though Project Gold has been taking up most of my time, I have still found time to level up my two hobbits quite a bit and, although Ranhold & Gorfrik have been ignored, good old Nimlarn got a wee bit of love too.

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 40

Apart from hanging around Elrond’s gaff like a bad smell, moaning about all the scrolls he’s having to illuminate for the Scholar’s Guild, poor old Ran saw nary a sword swipe this week. Until last night that is! With Project Gold fading into the background a little, I decided to get my Champ back on his horse and back on the trail of the Epic Story. I managed the former but the latter escaped me somewhat as Ranhold ended up on a side quest to hunt down a pack of murderous wolves led by a fierce (and oddly dread-inducing) Big Bad Spooky Wolf. At level 40 I had no trouble with these guys and was happy to hack and slash them all to shreds as I was gathering in many pristine hides for Nimlarn to turn into leather with which Gorfrik could make me some new armour.

While in the Trollshaws and hunting the spooky old wolf I had a great encounter with another player that really cheered me up after a hard day at work. I was making my way slowly down the curving valley where the wolves lived when I took one of them on. Unbeknownst to me there was another hiding nearby and another wandering around the corner. Now at level 40 I can handle a wolf or two, but three was likely to be a bit closer to the bone than I felt comfortable with, especially as my time away from Ranhold meant my skill rotations were rusty as hell. Sure enough I was soon in trouble as they chomped down on some fine Champion rump and I had to pull a few tricks out of the bag to bring them down. Just as the final one was about to fall (and I was about to start breathing again!) a huge lightning bolt streaked out of the sky and killed it stone dead! Help had arrived and I turned to find a Rune Keeper standing nearby. I bowed my tanks and offered my help if she was on the same quest as me – we teamed up and headed off – it was only then I noticed her level was 33! She was either brave or foolhardy to delve this deep into a high level wolf den at 33 and I knew that I had to stick close to her if she was to survive. The next half hour was great fun! We found & killed the spooky old wolf, although my companion did ‘die’ in that fight as two more wolves chose that exact moment to respawn and I had to bring down the boss and two wolves to allow her to revive. All the way through this (and the journey back to camp) we didn’t speak much but when we did it was in RP and that was a pleasant, fun change to most other interactions I’ve had in-world 🙂

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

Nothing to see here, move along. Poor the ignored Dwarf.

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

I haven’t done much with the pointy eared lute player (or, more rightly, theobro player now) but I have been working on mastering the next level of his woodworking skills (hence the shiny new theobro) and the ash logs he’s been collecting have been well used in the making of bows that are selling slowly but steadily in the AH. Away from the workbench I had some difficulty getting his past the start of his second skirmish tutorial, but that was down to me being a goldangfule and not reading instructions properly – the very nice on-line help at turbine sorted it all out for me in mere minutes as soon as I posted a ticket 🙂

Other than that Nimlarn has made a couple of brief, brave forays into the Barrow Downs (just the Northern ones, he’s nowhere near ready for the Southern Downs yet!) where he has had almost the polar opposite co-operative experience to Ranhold. He helped a noob out with some heals as he battled a wight above ground and then (foolishly) accepted a Fellowship from said noob who promptly chose a big nasty barrow to delve into. I tried to call the noob and explain the seriousness of this decision, but either the guy wasn’t watching the chat or didn’t speak English as I got no answer. Of course the eejet picked a fight with some wights he couldn’t beat and I had to pull both our arses out of the fire before he then went and got himself killed by a troll I also had to kill. At this point I decided to cut my losses and ran like billyo back through the barrow with every wight, spirit and crawler in the place chasing me out! What happened to the foolish noob? I know not and care less.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 18

Holcko, dear Holcko. He was trapped at Level 14 for what seemed like an age and most definitely on the back burner since his Uncle came on the scene and started working on his Project Gold. Until, that is, I had the slightly mad idea of seeing if he could collect a couple of hundred ores of silver (and the three sapphire shards on offer) from Far Chetwood. My kinmates said I was daft but seriously it was the best thing I could have done – he has collected all three shards (plus another from the wandering wolverine Snagpaw), over 150 silver ores, 200 barrow-iron ores (which have brought in 2gp for Project gold!) and a shed load of medium hides. At this rate, he’ll soon be at 20 and I’ll have my first ever Undying title! Happy days 🙂

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoma, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 17

What a trooper! Despite running Project Gold for the entire Team Burro, Rolcko has also found time to complete nearly all the quests in the Shire *and* get his farming up to supreme *and* start levelling his cooking *and* join the Cook’s Guild! The guy is a bona fide hero! After clearing the Shire and making Supreme Cook I’m sending his out to Far Chetwood and then the Barrows – he’s going to be my shard collecting man hunting down each and every rare critter in the Breelands 🙂

LOTRO: A Crafty Old Week Indeed…

It’s been a busy week in LOTRO since my last update as I’ve managed to wangle quite a lot of time online & in-world and consequentially I’ve moved some of my characters along quite a bit, most notably my new Hobbit Guardian Rolcko. Still, something had to give and all the activity with the new guy and (almost) everyone’s crafting has seen poor Ranhold once more sidelined in the wonderful surroundings of Rivendell. Let me rundown what the lads have been doing:

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 40

He briefly got out of Rivendell in an attempt to restart the Epic Story. Elrond sent him out of the valley and back towards the Lone Lands to speak to his son but the journey turned into a long meandering exploration of the hills and valleys between the The Last Homely House and the ruined fortress where the Elves are leading a fight back against the rising effects of Angmar’s corruption. The Trollshaws are without doubt a beautiful! Full of lush trees, rolling hills and sweeping switchback paths zig-zagging their way up the sides of dizzyingly high mountains, they really show the game at its amazing best. Mind you, the wildlife is very bloody wild indeed with drakes, wyrms & giants lying in wait for the unwary traveller (*cough*thatwouldbeme*cough*) and there is at least one valley just west of Rivendell that I hightailed it out of PDQ after two hard and close fights with some tough critters. Be warned.

Still, all that killing did get him up to 40 at long last and a speedy trip back to his trainer in Rivendell gave him the most amusing Boast skill which essentially highjacks the gestures of those around to make them cheer you. Oh how I wished I had that in RL 😀 On top of that he finally made it up to the next level of Kindred with the Scholar’s guild which leaves only two more levels to go to become Kindred but which will take many, many weeks (around 3 months I calculate…) to achieve. Sigh.

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

Good old Gorfrik, cast adrift in the very bloody dangerous Kingsfell region of the North Downs and told to gather ore, shut up and stop moaning about orcs, spiders and wargs five to nine levels higher than him, has been doing just that. And what a great job he’s made of it, even having time to stop and craft some items that have earnt Team Burro about a gold piece in one day – this in a time when the new guy was spending everyone’s gold like it was going out of fashion! Say what you want about Gorfrik, but that guy just delivers – he kills fast and hard, he makes stuff that brings in the gold, clothes everybody in decent armour, he ensures everyone has the latest, greatest crafting tools and he still manages to level like a levelling machine! True he is still using the +25% XP boost and that coupled with the fact he’s been killing much higher level critters means he dinged up the furthest this week. Well, second furthest after Rolcko, but seeing as Rol went zero to fourteen in the Shire, the comparison is hardly fair. Gorfrik hit 20 and therefore could start his Skirmishes – more crafting shards ahead, I predict 🙂

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Journeyman Woodworker. Level 20

Nimlarn was looking like he’d be the poor cousin to this family for a while, but then at the last minute a hasty trip to the Northern Barrow Downs pushed him over 20 as well (although he has yet to clear the skirmishing tutorial – maybe tonight…). My big plans for him are to send him out to Far Chetwood to complete the three bear hunting quests there that grant a blue shard each time – Gorfrik got three, Ran got three so if the Elf can get his three too I should be in the market for making some special armour and weapons soon – maybe even a crited instrument for old Nim himself 🙂

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 14 and a three quarters

The true poor cousin this week, young Hocko really didn’t get to do much I’m afraid, although through Gorfrik’s ore gathering prowess both he and Gor got to level up their prospecting skills, but that’s hardly the most exciting news is it? Well it was for poor Hocko. Maybe next week will seem him journeying to Far Chetwood too – it would be a great place to level him up a bit after all.

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoma, Expert Farmer & Expert Cook. Level 14

Rolcko, Ahhh Rolcko, from wither did ye come? Why, from the mind of a madman that’s wither! An elder uncle of Hocko’s, Rolcko is back from fighting “down south” and looking to retire in the Shire where he can become a gentleman farmer and noted cook of Some Repute (Michel Delving is his base as it has the AH, a vault, crafting suppliers and a superior over facility as well as the Cooking Guild HQ – it’s also a two minute ride away from the superior farmland in Hobbiton). Rol went from zero to ten-ish in one session and then ten to fourteen a little slower, mainly because I have been concentrating on his farming and cooking. It took two days of bitty on-off-line time, but I managed to get him up to Master Farmer level (mainly by just growing and preparing flowers as they gave off a fair few leaves & petals that Ranhold needs for various dyes and the like) and now I’m starting him on his cooking. It’s funny really but I’ve never really used food in the game, but now I want to make one of my characters a top notch cook I’m beginning to realise just how vital food is! I’ve begun to cook food that will help all my guys in fights and with diseases, but what I really need to do is study what foods my lads really need and just go for them as both cooking and farming without a plan fills up precious inventory space in no time.

Apart from that he’s also been the go-to Auction House guy and has been co-ordinating my attempts to make as much gold and silver as I can. Mixed results so far, but my newly created LOTRO finance tracker spreadsheet (what? Don’t look at me like that! You’ll want one too!) shows that after the initial drop in GP & SP caused by equipping Rolcko things are on the up again and I currently have a combined wealth of just over 7GP. I’m hoping to double that in a week or so, but that may be a little ambitious, no?

So there you have it folks – there are five of me now, technically enough to start my own Kinship up 😀