#LOTRO Helm’s Deep Roundtable: First Impressions

November 27, 2013

Community, LOTRO, Opinions, Podcast, Roundtables

The Helm’s Deep expansion has been out for almost a week.  This past weekend, along with some of the officers from The Osgiliath Guard on the Elendilmir server (I’m not an officer; I work for a living), we had a discussion about the expansion.

Joining me are Alanion, Grayrider, Osdor and Renani.

We talk about the shock of half our skill buttons vanishing on login, trait trees, the new areas, Big Battles, class changes, mechanics and other topics (including a blatant and shameless recruiting ploy).

This is not a comprehensive discussion of the expansion, nor is it meant to be a guide through the new zones.  It’s just us talking about our impressions in the first few days of playing.

Once we’re through the learning curve, we’ll probably have another discussion in a month or so once we’ve gotten to the level cap and had a chance to play through the new content.  I’d like to start another round of class roundtables sometime in the near future, too.

For those of you in the United States, happy Thanksgiving! (I know; we’re six weeks later than the Canadians!)



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Avatar of Vræden

About Vræden

I was suckered into playing an MMO by some friends and have been stuck around ever since. My "main" is a minstrel on the Elendilmir server, but I'm a pretty casual player who likes a good raid every now and then. My healing skills are spectacularly average, and I am known as the Elf Queen of Lousy Healing to my friends. I like long walks on the beach, puppies and mowing down orcs by the dozen. If you see me in-game, say hi or send me a tell. You can also email me or follow me on the Twitter.

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12 Responses to “#LOTRO Helm’s Deep Roundtable: First Impressions”

  1. Cadronas Says:

    Excellent discussion! From my perspective I am longtime but casual player. Usually solo but sometimes join groups/raid. Hate most grind or repetition.
    I have main hunter/champ and mini (all 85). I haven’t bought HD so can’t comment on the new material. As for the trait trees, I am missing some skills but I think I will get used to it. One thing which concerned me about the old skills was that some classes just seemed too good at every aspect – survivability, dps and heals all in one. So not a jack of all trades but a master. Personally I didn’t like this and think every class needs a real archillies heal. I think these trait trees work toward this.
    I dont have an issue with the gear levels. I think this was largely visible anyway.
    Hardcore raiders may be a small population but they are possibly the loudest.
    At the end of the day you are right, it is about money. Meeting the primary need of their major market is going to deliver the cash flow. Implementing expensive enhancements which meet the need of a few is a back breaker.


  2. Avatar of Chris Moran
    Chris Moran Says:

    I played for the first time last night since the HD release. Just my main… a burglar. It took me quite a while to get everything kinda back to how I want it… redoing my LI points (always stressful, since I don’t min/max well) was one thing, but then the trait tree hit. OK, I suppose I could for out TP to get more slots, but I’ll get used to it… however, for quite a while I’ve been using a primary sequence for attacking (don’t ask, I recognize the icons, not the names) and now a couple of those are gone (at least in the trait tree I use – mischief maker) and a few of my skills are far less powerful. Using improved perplexing riddle (or whatever it’s called) used to get most everything not immune without hassle. Last night, I had ORCS avoiding it – ones that a week ago couldn’t. I read about the changes, but those lists of changes are really only good for the people who really pay a LOT of attention to how they develop their characters and with intention. I’m too casual for that.

    The gear levels bypassed my radar altogether and I don’t know what they are… so I have another steep learning curve, but I’m not going anywhere. I figure the content and experience is worth a learning curve here and there.


  3. Osdor Says:

    Merric/GS: Any idea why this article isn’t appearing in the RSS feed? :)


  4. nova Says:

    well, looks like the podcast app is blocked by the admins where i work. will have to check it out at home i guess.
    meanwhile, i have to say i started HD on saturday morning at lvl 85 and made it to 95 on wednesday evening, complete with top tier crafting mastery and guild. why did this happen? i specifically paced myself, taking it slow to enjoy the content as much as i can. but the thing is, i’ve enjoyed it a little too much and just couldn’t stop. i see a lot of grief on the forums towards turbine because of the class changes and several other aspects, and i really don’t think this does them justice. the fact remains, in my opinion, this is the best expansion LotRo has had since moria. i’m referring here only to quests and landscape. the map is huge, imagine the biggest map you can think of – then double it. the amount of detail in this huge landscape is mindblowing, and the story just has a consistency that pulls you in and you just can’t stop – and you don’t want to, either!

    big battles. first time i entered one, and finished it, i had no idea what just happened or why i didn’t get any loot. second time was not much different. then i went into a 12-man raid and the epicness of it all just hit me. in my opinion, they did a very good job capturing helm’s deep battles. you feel like just one of many, many people fighting the white hand attack. you’re no hero, at least not the only one. it’s nothing like a skirmish – the waves of enemies just keep coming, and they will crush you if they’re so inclined.

    after allowing the option to pass my loot points forward to gold, i did a few more battles solo and started getting some pretty shiny stuff. this was before lvl cap, i haven’t done anything since then.

    class changes. i play a rune keeper mainly, and i am lightning traited since forever. i occasionally switch to healing if friends need me, but i do it as a personal favor to them so most of the time i’m dps. with this in mind, it’s easy to see there were 66% skills i never ever actually used. ever. at all. except for second boss in sammath gul where you need fire damage. so after maxing my lightning tree i found i had a couple more skills to play with (woohoo for new skills!) and all the clutter in my skill bars was gone. a double win. not only that, but some of the skills actually do quite a bit more damage now if used properly (even though epic conclusion is epic 5% of the time, i still like it).

    stats. wow. i don’t know the stat caps too well, especially not since the soft caps have been implemented. but still, 3k+ will AND 2.5k+ vitality makes for a happy rune keeper :D not to mention the high crit rating, high finesse that’s being thrown at me from every item and so on. and this is without making an effort to get good gear (most my gear is purple, and my cloak is common quality, not even rare).

    skill points. i’m so/so on this issue. i can’t complain, since i had 3 toons at 85 with most skill deeds already unlocked. i also got a decent amount of TP when i logged them. still, i don’t have all 65 skill points yet on my RK, which means i don’t know if i’ll get back my healy stone with full lightning traits or not. if i do, i’ll have a stone for tanking and a stone for dps and i’ll just sit and watch.

    tl, dr: i like helm’s deep, the whole package, and i think turbine deserves some praise for it not only the grief they get.

    p.s. and i hated rohan/wildermore with a vengeance


  5. Kanati Says:

    I’ll get used to the class changes, but they are NOT an improvement. The changes may all be geared toward the solo player but by bloating stats and dumbing down classes to a three-button rotation, Turbine has succeeded in sucking the remaining fun out of LOTRO. “Big Battles” will be a novelty for about 2 minutes at which point they will be exposed for the boring grindfest that they indeed are. Congrats Turbine, you managed to make something more a more pointless grind than the Hytbold dailies.

    So many classes are FUBAR that I question Turbine’s collective sanity and competence. Is this really the best that they could do? I can think of a number of minor tweaks that would have done more to preserve the flavor of the more interesting utility classes within the framework of the new trait trees.

    It is a sad day when the chuckleheads at EA appear to be doing a much better job managing their MMO than Turbine is doing managing theirs.


  6. Durrendel Says:

    The Instance Finder Currency Bonus is gone? I can’t find any information about this missing feature.


  7. Samar Says:

    Not having traits to their max doesn’t mean you aren’t devoted to that character. I love the game experience and and totally devoted to my main without having the best traits fully upgraded.


    • Avatar of Vræden
      Vræden Says:

      In the context of that discussion, Renani was talking about raiding, and people who show up for raids with 3s and 6s for their virtues. I don’t believe that you need to have your virtues maxed out in order to raid, but for level-cap raids, especially for tier 2 raids, expecting to go into a raid with virtues under 10 without the raid leader looking at you sideways (or booting you outright) is unreasonable.

      If you are someone who enjoys aspects of the game other than raiding (crafting, music, festivals, role-playing, etc.), then having high rank virtues is not necessary to be “devoted” to your characters.


      • Samar Says:

        That makes sense. I’m just learning now how vital the virtues are for the end game after having played off and on for 5 years. I really liked the discussion on the expansion as a whole and I’m anxious to see some Helm’s Deep reviews.


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