Saturday, January 4, 2020

Penchant for Plum

I loved Minas Morgul. Definitely one of my favorite expansions to have graced LOTRO these past twelve years. Between Mordor Besieged and the Morgul Vale, the story was amazing and the landscape design phenomenal. However, the Vale itself was one of the darkest regions added to the game. My Rune-keeper, known for wearing dark or earthen-toned clothing, was blending into the landscape. It was difficult to play while traveling through light underbrush or while moving against the ethereal glow of the citadel's high stone walls. Sometimes, I didn't know where I was unless I was flinging lightning in some unsuspecting warg's face or roasting spiders in the web-covered Taurlingol. To fix the problem, I took some unusual measures and dived into my dwindling supply of shire plum, which I'll have to replenish next Spring.

It's not one of my most used dyes, as shire plum is a highly saturated and bright--sometimes obnoxiously bright--color. But, when used correctly, shire plum will make stunning outfits. Personally, I find it best used on gear that washes it out, much like the Lacquered Chestplate of the Ithilien Captain does. And it gave me the perfect excuse to use the rarely seen Cloak of the Northern Lights. Those two pieces seemed made for each other, and I didn't want to break up the pairing. The trouble was fleshing out the rest of the outfit. The floral pattern of the shoulders referred beautifully to the chest piece while seamlessly blending with the cloak. The boots, though questionable, were the only ones I had that dyed well while covering up the slate blue of the leggings. And I fell back on the Dunland-acquired braces, which I've used far too often (may need to retire those for a while).

Not quite the perfect outfit, but I love it nevertheless!

Head: Ceremonial Circlet of the Seven Stars (Shire plum, bartered from the skirmish camp Cosmetics vendor)
Shoulders: Supple Wildermore Shoulderpads of Tactics (Shire peach, T8 Tailor's Guild recipe or Wildermore reputation recipe)
Back: Cloak of the Northern Lights (Shire plum, LOTRO Store)**
Chest: Lacquered Chestplate of the Ithilien Captain (Bartered from the Herbalist in Henneth Annûn)
Hands: Dunland Caretaker's Patched Bracers (Shire peach, Dunland landscape quest reward)***
Feet: Battered Dunlending Boots (Shire plum, Dunland landscape quest reward)***

**Also has a chance of dropping from the old Sturdy Steel Key lootboxes.
***Many Dunland quest rewards share appearances. To see where else these skins can be earned, check out the LOTRO Stylist's guide.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Winter's Wings

Another year has come and gone in LOTRO. The Yule Festival's here (running from December 12, 2019 to Janurary 8, 2020) and it's a time of year marked by mirth and warmth, celebration, charitable acts, and the comfort of friends and family. Keep an eye on global channels, the forums, and social media for special seasonal events! Secret Santas and kinship parties are very popular through New Years. This is when I temporarily slow down with Material Middle-earth, as there are a variety of events to enjoy!

With the start of Yule Festival, I also break out the cold weather outfits. This latest appearance uses two of the Ice Flower skins, available at Frostbluff for the first time. They're a delightful reskin, and a more universal one in my opinion, of the Fall Festival's Autumn Traveller cosmetics. With a larger variety of color, they boast a greater flexibility and are easier to mix with other sets. And this year, I made another warm and feathered appearance suited to adventuring in inclement and often snowy regions, drawing on skins from various regions of Middle-earth.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Eastemnet Steel

There are times that I put myself through the craziest things for an outfit, especially when it comes to choosing a screenshot location.Originally, I intended Forlaw to be my location, but that didn't work as planned for this little level 37 Warden. Imagine what it was like running through Enedwaith, Dunland to the Gap of Rohan, through the Westemnet, and almost all of the Eastemnet when everything had a substantially larger aggro radius, was mounted, and had the guaranteed ability to one-shot a character as low as this. With zero Mithiril Coins left, I had no choice.

On my first attempt, I died just outside of Elthengles to a pair of wolves' pincer attack. I was very grateful to respawn in the Trollshaws, considering I'd be back in Sandson's Farm if it were a chicken session play. On my second attempt, I made it to the eastern border of Wildermore, but there were too many roaming ranged and mounted creatures. Instead, I backtracked a bit and safely made it to Harwick. Definitely better to settle for what I already had and not push my luck. I really wanted a snowy background for this!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Gloaming

Oh, the memories working with these base colors! The last time I worked with black and orange, I was creating my Thrang-themed series and it's a difficult color scheme to coordinate effectively. Recall my "Silver Dawn" outfit from two weeks ago? The one featured this week is the near opposite, the dusk to that dawn theme. It took close to a week to complete this, even if it's a bit over the top.

The biggest obstacle was finding gear that was orange with areas that could be dyed black or black gear with areas that could be dyed orange. That brought to mind the Reforged Rift gear from the Summer Festival and the Ceremonial Gloom-bane set from the Cosmetics vendor at the skirmish camp. The former wasn't an option, as I missed the festival and had none of those skins. The Gloom-bane set worked somewhat, but it was too plain looking. If I'd wanted a simple black and orange outfit, they'd have worked...but I wanted to add another splash of color. That left me with very little outside the various crafted or bartered gear from the Mordor expansion. I found the "Pathfinder's Artifice" recipes, the ones that cost 75 silver signets to acquire and require a Fragment of the Gorgoroth Dungeons to craft, ideal. By default, they come with deep purple undyeable areas and look great when dyed black or orange. I was lucky to still have those fragments in storage. Whereas the "Silver Dawn" outfit had a lot of lightly colored, soft, and rounded pieces, this outfit, in the end, embraced a dark, harsh, and jagged look.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Silver Dawn

This outfit was actually inspired by Hymne of Cosmetic LOTRO. Having seen her use the Jacket of the Wild Hills in this outfit, I felt the desire to do the same. Originally, I started with a similar color scheme as my base, keeping the jacket lórien gold to match the braided celtic knot pattern.  However, no matter what I did, I couldn't get anything to match the chest very well. Days of trying new skins, only to run into the same exact problem--serious clipping. Not just movement clipping, but stationary clipping. The Jacket of the Wilds is one of the bulkier pieces and doesn't exactly sit skin-tight on the body. It was so frustrating that I almost tossed in the proverbial towel and moved on.

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