Saturday, April 22, 2017

Of Anniversaries and the Ithilien Spring

Seldom do I get overly excited about my character's attire. I've been in cosmetic overdrive since I returned to LOTRO. In such overdrive that, in fact, I've had dreams about what my characters could wear. Moments I've been at my job mentally piecing various skins together and dyeing them. I guess that having worked with the cosmetics from LOTRO for so long that I don't even need to be logged in anymore to do this. Once I envisioned this, I wrote each of the pieces down, and sat down at my PC the first chance I had. I've been waiting for an opportunity to use those North Ithilien cosmetics!

When was the last time I devoted an entire entry to a dress? And when was the last time I jumped into a Spring theme? I wanted greens, whites, yellows, pinks, flowers...anything that captured the heart and soul of the warming, sunny weather and the flowers beginning to bloom.

Luckily, I was able to catch the tail end of the Spring Festival and barter for the Lissuin Dress once again. I had loaned this featured dress to a friend who stopped playing well over a year ago and never returned it. If it weren't for LOTRO extending the festival, I'd have missed out on other gorgeous cosmetics too like the Moon Moth dresses and cloaks, as well as the matching war-steed appearance.

If for some reason, you don't have the Lissuin Dress, the Exquisite Long Sleeve Dress dyed bullroarer green also works very well. You'll have much less pink and far more green with a golden pattern, but it looks just as lovely!

Today's post also marks Material Middle-earth's fifth anniversary! I couldn't believe that it's been a five years already. Doesn't seem so long since my first post, which opened up with a kinship cosmetic contest. Technically, the actual date is April 24th, which is also the official 10-year anniversary for Lord of the Rings Online! I originally intended this entry to be posted on that day, but I thought it would be best to stick to my regular Saturday schedule.

Writing this gave me the chance to reflect on how far Material Middle-earth has come. There have been a lot of ups and downs the past couple of years. I had retired from this blog back in February 2015 with a big goodbye, not expecting to return. I had burned myself out posting every week for at least a year. The lack of inspiration was rather noticeable. However, the months rolled by and my resolve waned. I made an unexpected return in September, adopted a relaxed monthly posting schedule and struggled to remain original with my outfits. That lasted for about a year before running into serious computer problems, like a failed hard drive that took forever to replace on this aging PC. I resumed blogging two weeks ago, after replacing that hardware, only to end up unexpectedly mentioned in Issue #7 of the LOTRO Beacon! That was certainly an unexpected honor!

Thank you for having stopped by today and celebrating this blog's anniversary! It has been wonderful serving the LOTRO community for the past five years. Without the support of readers, comments, friends, and kinmates, Material Middle-earth may have never made it this far!

And make sure to enjoy the festivities, both old and new, that this 10th Anniversary festival offers!

Head: Circlet of Fresh-picked Flowers (Rose, Farmers Faire token barter)
Shoulders: Wreath of the North Ithilien Wilds (White, Henneth Annun Herbalist vendor)
Back: Mantle of the North Ithilien Wilds (Default, Henneth Annun Herbalist vendor)
Chest: Lissuin Dress (Rose, Spring Festival token barter)

Cosmetic implements: Iris (Volume 3, Book 10, Chapter 15 reward)**

**Much like the Slapper Fish, this serves as a weapon of hilarity on a dual-wielding Champion.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Anórien Herald

It felt so surreal writing this outfit entry. My last set of them was posted in November. Before then, July. I'll admit that outfitting in LOTRO isn't what it used to be. Material Middle-earth has been around since 2012 and it's become progressively more difficult to find original combinations of attire and color. However, it's certainly not been an impossible task. I've spent some time pouring through other cosmetic blogs for LOTRO, looking at what others have used (or not used) that way I could create something unique. And this, at least to me, qualified as such. I've never seen anyone use a particular reward from the Volume 4 epic line, the Robe of Anórien Mercy. Thus, it became my central piece.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Featured Zone Screenshots - Ered Luin

Greetings readers of Material Middle-earth! I've finally returned to LOTRO and most things gaming. Last weekend, my PC's replacement hard drive arrived and I was able to successfully install it. There is no new outfit this week, as I'm trying to re-establish myself after a forced four month hiatus. It's my intention to have some new character attire featured in the near future!

Despite the lack of an outfit, plus my unusual and fruitful presence on Twitter recently, I had the idea of featuring screenshots from LOTRO, landscapes and places of interest in particular. Although this doesn't seem relevant to this blog, at least initially, taking pictures of locations are extremely important to my creative process. Even when I'm not designing an outfit, I take note of places to model whatever my characters wear in the future, looking for not just interesting vistas but also for places where strong sunlight can easily filter in. The stronger and greater amount of sunlight, the easier it is to see clothing details. Even icons, such as the White Tree of Gondor or the statue at Eorl's Hollow in the Wold or even the Argonath make their way into these pictures and become a great source of inspiration. It's often surprising where bits of lore are either nestled away or brazenly displayed. Long-time readers may have noticed some of this somewhere along the line. And for the new viewers I've been attracting lately, this may be of interest to them too.

This segment of my new "Featured Zone" theme is Ered Luin. Because Ered Luin is vast and contains multiple variations in climate and landscape, there will be a large number of pictures. Normally, I won't post as many. I hope you enjoy this!

Please click on an image to view a larger version.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Blog Status

Hi everybody!

Once again, I apologize for the lack of outfits again. I've actually had a few completed and ready for some screenshot sessions. However, I don't see those making an appearance here anytime soon. You see, back in December, parts of my PC started letting go. My hard drive is a major component on that list. Enough systems are failing that I'm going to let my PC live out what little life is left and then purchase a new one. That being said, I've been lucky to get it to start once every couple of weeks. I've managed to backup all of my important files (especially those several years of screenshots), however I am unable to play any of my games. I don't know when I'll be back. Possibly after my tax return checks arrive...when I can afford one.

Until then, enjoy your adventuring in Middle-earth!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Autumn Attire

It's certainly been some time since my last entry. I've been playing LOTRO quite a bit lately, taking time to work on my characters' gear and catching up on both the new zones and completing the epic story. I found myself falling farther and farther behind my friends and kinmates the more time I spent getting cosmetically creative. Believe it or not, most of my characters have been muddling through with the old statted level 95 gear since Western Gondor was released. I found myself unable to do group content at 105. I obstinately resisted the essence gear from its initial release until Update 19, which was a major mistake. I've come to realize that the essence grind is real. Same goes for stocking scrolls of empowerment. It's a much larger commitment than any level cap gear grind I've ever put myself through and the amount of time I've had to dedicate has been astonishing.

Now that I feel comfortable where I am in terms of character progression, I thought I should post a little something. In fact, since it's been so long, I have THREE autumn-themed outfits to present. Hopefully, I'll be back with more before the winter holiday season!

And I have a ton of outfits on my Beorning to post too! But that's if I ever find time to get out of Moria and get her to level 65. I have specific places in mind for screenshots...and I won't settle for anything less!

Head: Ceremonial Circlet of the Graven Word (Bullroarer's green, cosmetic skirmish camp vendor -- Light Rift set)
Shoulders: Ceremonial Shoulders of the Seven Stars (Sunset orange, cosmetic skirmish camp vendor -- Light Annuminas set)
Back: Pack of the Yield (Sunset orange, Farmer's Faire barter reward)
Chest: Tunic and Trousers of the New Bloom (Sunset orange, Spring Festival barter reward)
Hands: Pelennor Bracers of Wrath (Sunset orange, Vol 4 Epic quest reward)**
Feet: Ceremonial Nenuial's Boots (Walnut brown, cosmetic skirmish camp vendor -- Medium Annuminas set)

**Shares skin with any of the medium gloves from the Eastemnet Armor Quartermatser found in Rohan

Shoulders: Rune-maker's Shoulders (Black, classic skirmish camp vendor -- Dol Guldur RK level 65 set)
Back: Trimmed Cloak (Black, random world drop -- drops frequently in the Rift raid)
Chest: Tawarwaith Robe of the Awakened (Black, T6 Tailor recipe -- Malledhrim reputation vendor)
Hands: Dunland Caretaker's Patched Bracers (Orange, Dunland landscape quest reward)
Feet: Lore-keeper's Shoes (Sienna, classic skirmish camp vendor -- Dol Guldur LM level 65 set)

Main hand weapon: Amber Staff (random pre-Moria world drop)
Off-hand: Exceptional Sword of the Swift and Strong (or any lootbox equivalent)

Head: Harvest-brew Circlet (Default, Harvestmath Festival barter reward)
Shoulders: Padded Mantle of the Dunland Soothsayer (Walnut brown, Dunland landscape quest reward)
Chest: Dress of the Anórien Autumn (Bullroarer's Green, Harvestmath Festival barter reward)

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