Saturday, 9 March 2013

LOTRO: In defence of Erebor, a first peek inside

This Thursday, it was time to check out the new raid cluster, called In Defence of Erebor. The underlying story is that we're fast forwarded to the time that the ring is about to be destroyed and the dwarves and the men of Dale are being attacked by the Easterlings. It seems like Turbine managed to get something around The Hobbit theme in after all! I think it's a bit confusing, as the ring is still alive and kicking in the storyline as far as we're following it in-game, but alright, I'll try to follow.

Following new LotRO fashion, the raid consists of three parts, each of which separately accessible through the instance finder. No long runs through instances anymore. I find this fashion a bit unromantic and immersion-breaking, but then again I'm old and it does has its practical advantages. The different instances are called:
  • Flight to the Lonely Mountain
  • The Battle for Erebor
  • The Fires of Smaug
For starters, we went in on tier 1 to get an idea about what everything's like.

Flight to the Lonely Mountain

This fight is a sort of Barad Guldur gauntlet thing, but different. You get waves of enemies that you have to defeat, until the timer (visualized through a bar that slowly fills with yellow) is up. This was a total joke on tier 1, meaning it will be easy to pug it. We spent minutes just hanging around and waiting for the following wave to come (as depicted above), which was sort of okay, since the environment looks nice. Finally a raid in the open air again, hurray! Away with you, dark dungeons!

I expect this wing to be tough on tier 2, though. I bet those green puddles will heal the mobs for quite a bit more so we actually have to move them out, just like those Heartseeker-addicted archers will probably be a major pain. It will be fun to find out!

The Battle for Erebor

In this part, there's two bosses to fight at the same time. On tier 1, you choose two banners which define the terms - we choose Catapults and Inferno. This meant that we had to change targets when the bosses changed their shields around, there were some circles on the floor we should not stand in (no shit, Sherlock), and at the end there was some fire all over the floor, but that was it. Of course, things will become a lot more complicated on tier 2, where you have to choose four banners, or on tier 2 challenge mode, where you have to pick all six (!) banners.

If you start the fight, make sure everyone is at the bottom of the stairs. We learned this the hard way: 3 of our raid got locked out while still being on the stairs. However, we still steamrolled the place with just 9, so this part is possibly even easier than the previous.

The Fires of Smaug

The Easterlings are trying to smoke the dwarves out of their mountain. To us to close the steam emitting valves and kill the evil fire spirit fueling them. This is possibly the most challenging of the three raid parts on tier 1 to pug, because it requires some kind of coordination and planning. There are two bars that you have to consider: a yellow one, representing a time limit, and a red one, that you can prevent from tiering up by closing valves. There are also some adds. The goal on tier 1 is to kill the boss before any of the bars has filled.

We actually failed the first time, because we didn't know yet how to divide our players over the different tasks correctly, but we did make it the second time.

First thoughts

The new raid on tier 1 is easy, easier than Tower of Orthanc on tier 1. This kind of difficulty should allow people to pug it, and might be a good difficulty level for casual kinships. I personally do hope tier 2 is much, much harder! I'm positive so far: I like the general setup of the instances and there's definitely room for interesting extra mechanics on tier 2 which might result in challenging fights. I'm looking forward to trying that out!


  1. That's it? You sneeze and the raids are done? Even if it's just tier 1, that doesn't bode well that you just breezed through them so easily! :-P

    1. Uhm yeah, that was basically it.

      I expect people to farm tier 1 in order to get seals and first agers these first weeks, until Turbine realizes it might have been a good idea to put a raid lock on there after all and implements a 'hot fix'. :P

      I do expect tier 2 to be considerably harder. If anything, the gap between tier 1 and 2 on this cluster is even larger than in earlier raids.

    2. See, and I thought raids were supposed to be challenging. (Yes, I realize people have been complaining about how easy Lotro is, but I always thought that was mostly the solo content...)

    3. It might be challenging enough if you're playing together with people you don't know, don't play their class well, use weird builds and are slow of reaction (= pugs). ;)

      However, you are right, everything gets easier and easier in LotRO. I was actually planning to write about that subject soon.

  2. Yay Ravanel!
    I think you give people a false sense of expectation by your being so darn good, lol! In the T1 ones I went on, Battle of Erebor was so easy it could be done without thought, 1-of-2 Flight to Lonely Mountains won, and I was 0-for-1 in the Fires of Smaug.

    1. Haha, oh noes! Well, my group is usually quick in discovering mechanics. I think you will be alright in a few weeks when people know what's going to happen and what the tactics are (and when they're not raid-rusty anymore!). Just out of curiosity, did you go in with a kin/raiding group or with a pug?

      At least I seem to have had the difficulty meter right: Battle for Erebor > Flight to the Lonely Mountain > Fires of Smaug. However, try setting two different banners on Battle of Erebor for once - AARGH.

      Thanks so much for the feedback, I'd love to hear how other people experienced this raid. *hugs*

    2. The kin is a solid group with various levels of raid-eliteness; I consider myself average in the group.

      Battle of Erebor was with pug and with kin, multiple times. All with various degrees of win; never a loss after many times.

      Flight to the Lonely Mountain was a pug fail, then a kin win, but the kin win was bugged and won by default... we had been losing the two previous starts. Heartseeker Archers and aggro management of incoming waves seemed to be our problem that we were working to solve before the bug win.

      Fires of Smaug, the best of the Smaugs, while determining who would do what and in which sequence, we eventually ran out of time before the boss died. Otherwise, it seemed to be going well enough with a solid plan.


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