Minas Tirith - It's a Climb

Zyngor | Sunday, February 07, 2016
What's this strange sensation? A blog post? Oh, it must be some special community blog-a-thon month to incite this rare posting, right?


Just felt like doing one of these blog things, because, because. Anywho, it's been awhile, eh? Looks like my last post was talking about my foray into Guild Wars 2. Alas, I'm not sure I have even played that game since I last posted, but it remains as a back-up for those days that one of my more regular games is starting to feel a bit stagnant.

Most of my gaming time is currently being filled with Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). I have (hopefully) finished transferring my characters around as part of the eventual server closures that I assume should reach its peak some time this year. The current controversy is revolved around server stability after Turbine's recent move of the server hardware from their space in Boston to a new locale in New Jersey. Things are still a bit touchy, with random bouts of lag and scattered game crashes here and there. I'm hopeful they'll gets things back in ship shape, or at least enough to keep the population from capsizing.

My current LOTRO characters can be found here. My primary characters with my Riddermark kin all moved to Landroval, while characters on other servers were moved around a bit to basically have presence on all US servers. These characters are all those that have the unlocks granted during a VIP time (class traits, stable, etc), though I am officially just a Premium scrub.

I was able to end up with at least one of every class on Landy (there are currently 10 classes), so I decided to take a note from Twitch streamer Arathaert and try out the 1000 Level Challenge. Even my English degree can decipher that means I gotta try and get to level 100 with each class. There was even a plugin created for this very task to make it easier to track. Now, there are plans for a 105 level cap raise this year, so I suppose it might need some tweaking once that hits. I am currently around 68% through the challenge - still have about 30-40 levels each on a Lore-Master & Warden, and pretty much all of a Beorning, Burglar, and Captain to go.

Arkenstone has definitely become a more visited server for me with the transfers. I now have not only The Academy kinship (these guys make a great podcast with topic-specific & newbie-friendly subjects from which to learn some handy stuff), but also Twitch streamer Bludborn's kin, Du Bekar.

Anywho, on to the goodies that came with the latest major patch, Update 17. This brought us the Old Anorien region, which includes everyone's favorite city of white, Minas Tirith.

Minas Tirith, one of the last bastions of hope for many, and a twisted maze of crowded streets, reckless children, and fat, lazy men man

For some silly reason, when I was first approaching the city, Speed 2: Cruise Control was the first thing that popped in my head. That is, the ending where (spoiler alert!) the cruise liner plows straight into a small Caribbean town. Somehow, that piece of the citadel that juts out at the top felt reminiscent - can't you tell I'm a bona fide Tolkien fan?

Guess which one is Minas Tirith. I dare ya.

Anyways, it is pretty neat that the city is laid out in the seven tiers as the lore dictates. For our convenience, there are both swift horses that can instantly transport you to the middle of the first six, as well as regular stable routes (swift and slow) to the same six tiers, scatted around in location a bit. While the streets are a bit cramped to travel about, definitely check out indoor locations when possible - they truly highlight the details shown in the city of Minas Tirith. Oh, and if you're a collector in the game, I'd take a browse through the Houses of Lore on the south side of the fifth tier (Sage's Tier).

[l-r] The Old Archives; throne room in the Tower of Ecthelion
Quest-wise, it might be a bit of a drag during your travels within the city. Definitely use the horse travels to your benefit, as you'll find yourself travelling here, there, and basically everywhere (and back to there, and twice back to here, and everywhere a couple extra times for good measure). I felt very relieved when I finally was told to leave the city and continue my questing outside the walls of Minas Tirith - the same way some feel leaving the confines of Moria. The epic is also a good time - no spoilers here! You'll find yourself trying out the two new epic battles - Defense of Minas Tirith, and Hammer of the Underworld, both of which are pretty solid battles that slightly raise the difficulty for a solo player to complete with a platinum rating (especially Hammer).

Along with the Old Anorien quest pack came some other tasty tidbits. Tier 10 crafting, Anorien, rolled out. They opted to automatically bestow all recipes (so far) for this tier, though the selections are pretty skimpy at this current time. Tailors, Metalsmiths, & Jewelers can all craft essence gear (3-slotted, with passives). More awesomely-er, most all crafting ingredients across all tiers now stack to 500 (up from 100)! Pack rats rejoice!

There were some other little bits of changes here and there. Something this, something that, something legendary imbue-y. But now, for something much more important - bastardized song lyrics to fit the mood for all MMO players out there!

(Sorry, but it goes to the tune of Miley Cyrus' The Climb. Deal with it)

Always gunna be another level,
Always gunna be another quest,
Always gunna be another end-game,
With some baddie we will have to best,
While some'll just rush to get there,
And others gunna take their sweet 'ol time,
It's the Grind.

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