Monday, October 20, 2014

Harvestmath Festival 2014 - Cosmetic Rewards and Steed

The Harvestmath Festival, which has started a day early, will be running until November 2, 2014. I'm pleased to say, despite the reskinned robe and "tablecloth" steed, these patterns are fantastic! For the first time since the 2013 Yule Festival I can say I want these new rewards. But I still hope that someday we'll return to dresses and tunics. Honestly, these would have made wonderful patterns for them.

To the right of each cosmetic is a dyed version to give you an idea of what areas apply the color change. Also, if you are new to LOTRO this year and are wondering what was added for rewards in previous years, follow these links to the 2013 Harvestmath Festival and the 2012 Harvestmath Festival.

Also, I have an event to advertise at the bottom of this post. After you're done looking at the cosmetics, take a look at the information provided and learn about one of Crickhollow's annual events!

Robe of the Autumn Sun (24 Fall Festival Tokens)
Cloak of the Autumn Sun & Hooded Cloak of the Autumn Sun (24 Fall Festival Tokens each)

Steed of the Autumn Sun & the Caparison of the Autumn Sun (60 Fall Festival Tokens each) 

Also, in other news, Crickhollow is having their annual Haunted Hill event. I was asked by Rosalie, leader of the kinship Second Breakfast, to be a guest judge for the cosmetic portion of their event while I was on my vacation. I have yet to hear a confirmation, so I don't know if I'll be needed as a judge. Either way, I plan on attending this event at 1 PM EST (server time) on Sunday, October 26 to at least watch part of it. Stop by and participate in the festivities if you can. All you need is a character fresh out of the intro that can make it to hill just north of the Shire's Party Tree. I was a judge last year and enjoyed myself thoroughly!

(UPDATE 10/20 @ 5:00 PM EST) I will, in fact, be joining Gloredh of Wandering Around Arda and Starry of The Starry Mantle on the panel of judges for the fashion contest. It's been a long time since I've seen such a gathering of cosmetic bloggers at an event!

Here's the poster the kinship has supplied for the LOTRO forums.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Harvestmath Series - Gularan Caretaker

Halloween is around the corner, which means the time for costumes and disguises is here! To kick of the season, I thought I'd introduce something along the lines of an Angmarim. Specifically, this costume would be something between what an Angmarim High Priestess and an Angmarim Commander would wear. The robes, the spiked garments, the typical blacks, reds, and whites...all of the trimmings that would make the wearer look like one of the corrupted Men under the dominion of Sauron.

It might not be the most innovative outfit for the season, but it at least attempts to reclaim a class of enemy NPCs not seen after progressing past Mirkwood, at least storywise. As far as I know, the last Angmarim-like creature to be included in LOTRO is the roaming Priestess Bethan, a high level warband found to the west of Marton. I don't miss the punting, fearing, and blood pacts, that's for sure...but I've gotten tired of Orcs and Uruk-hai!

For the first time, I've given a serious attempt at manipulating lighting in this photoshoot. Light hitting the face at certain angles, shadows making a character or object appear larger and more intimidating...just to create the illusion of "evil". Sometimes that's needed to drive home the concept behind an outfit, this one in particular. I wish I had thought of this sooner for previous Harvestmath costumes!

Speaking of the upcoming Harvestmath Festival, which is slated to run from October 21st to November 2nd this year, I had the chance to ask Frelorn during his Thursday Fun livestream on TwitchTV about the robes and tablecloth steeds. More specifically, I asked if we'll see robes and tunics as future rewards instead of robes. He couldn't answer the question in the way I hoped, as he has no access to developer work or the art department, but he will be passing along the information to the appropriate people to get an answer. It's certainly a step in the right direction!

I also have some news to spread to the community.

First, the Hytbold furniture has been corrected rather covertly and gone unmentioned in any patch notes. As this was once a blog that included housing, I may surprise you with screenies of my houses in the upcoming weeks. I can finally put those credenzas, bookshelves, cupboards, and dressers in large wall spaces, where they should have gone since day one! Let the house decorating begin!

Second, Time Warner (WB) has also hit Turbine with another round of layoffs, supposedly. You'll find news of this on LOTRO Players and Massively, and even vaguely confirmed by Rick "Sapience" Heaton on his Twitter account. This leaves me feeling more concerned regarding LOTRO than ever before. Frelorn stated in his livestream that this will, in no shape or form, affect the upcoming content release for 2014-2015, but it still doesn't relieve my apprehensions. Either way, my thoughts are with Turbine's current and former staff.

Shoulders: Ceremonial Shoulders of the Brazen Call (Crimson, skirmish camp cosmetics vendor, Moria heavy armor)
Back: Gifted Cloak of the Wold (Crimson, T8 Tailor recipe)
Chest: Tattered Robe of the Dunland Sage (Crimson, Dunland quest reward)**
Hands: Dunland Caretaker's Patched Bracers (Sienna, Dunland quest reward)
Feet: Stout Padded Shoes (White, T1 Tailor recipe)

**The Robe of Countless Stars, which shares the same skin, can be purchased from the Dunlending Quartermaster in Galtrev.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Harvestmath Series - Harbinger

Black, when used in the right proportions and places, can work wonders for any fashionable ensemble. The greatest strength of this dye is the ability to make all other colors appear brighter and draw the eye towards them. Unfortunately, that strength is also its Achilles' heel. The darkest colors will sometimes reveal subtleties in undyeable areas normally not noticeable. Half the time, those other colors don't match or blend together very well. (It's something I often see in LOTRO's major hubs where unprecedented numbers of players have dyed their clothing black.)  This is why I avoid making outfits more than seventy-five percent black. However, I thought I'd make a simple one for this week....and besides, this a great way to kick off the upcoming Harvestmath season!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Cosmetic Adventures Away From LOTRO Pt. 2

For those of you that had been following Material Middle-earth last year in September, you may recall a similarly titled post. In that particular entry, I explored other games and their cosmetic systems while taking a break from LOTRO. Whereas I talked about RIFT, Neverwinter, and World of Warcraft last year, I'll be taking you through Guild Wars 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, and Star Trek Online this year. If you've never played any of these games or are merely curious how cosmetics and/or character customization are handled elsewhere, I encourage you to read this.

Please keep in mind this entry is image heavy, with pictures taken on maximum settings for each game. If you have a slower running computer, I'd suggest clicking on the post title that way this entry loads by itself. Especially while this is the featured content.

Don't worry...I'll be back to LOTRO outfits on Saturday. This is a once a year post.

Guild Wars 2

I started playing this when Update 13 was released for LOTRO. I turned my attention to Guild Wars 2, taking in the bright colors and diverse landscapes, immersing myself fully in a strange new world to avoid LOTRO's agonizing grind. It didn't take long to discover the cosmetic opportunities this game offered. (Is it sad I initially judge games on that criteria?) Guild Wars 2 offers a total of 403 dyes for customizing your outfits! And you know what's even better? Once you unlock a dye, it becomes account bound and has an UNLIMITED number of uses. Having this sheer number of colors allows you to have bold and bright, neutral, earthy, and even completely pastel outfits. If you direct your gaze to the picture below, you'll get see the range of colors offered.

The color customization panel found in the Hero (character) Menu.

Even though that on the left panel is showing the nearly completed set of common colors, there are still divisions for starter colors, uncommon colors, and rare colors. Looking at the equipment panel in the center, you'll also notice that anywhere from 1 to 4 areas can be dyed on each piece. As far as I know, very few skins have undyeable areas. By the way, you can change colors anytime, anywhere.

How do you collect dyes? It's actually simple. You can spend laurels, an in-game currency earned by completing your account-wide dailies, at vendors for unidentified dyes. You can purchase them from the Black Lion Trading Post (auction house, essentially) for copper, silver, and gold. You can earn them from level up rewards. You can also buy unidentified dyes from the Gem Store, which periodically appear there. Anything you have will automatically be added to your Hero Menu.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Simple Fashion - Hauberks

This is the latest in my Simple Fashion series and last installment under this theme, at least for a while. I've covered all the basic and purely cosmetic categories at this point--tunics, dresses, robes, and now hauberks--and will continue posting my usual outfits as we move into the autumn and winter seasons. I was hoping to make a Summer Series since I was unable to make one last year, but this theme required too much time. Simple as it seems (no pun intended), designing minimalist outfits takes just as much effort, if not more than my usual creations. Regardless, being able to provide multiple ideas in a single blog entry feels like a significant accomplishment to me!

I've also been heavily scaling back my time with gaming and blogging rounds. I don't know if I'm feeling burned out, bored, or reaching a point where games retain less and less interest with each passing week. Luckily, it won't be affecting my posting schedule, not for a while anyway. Next week starts my annual Harvestmath Series, which is dedicated to seasonal outfits for this time of year!

And without further ado, here are your ideas for three of the lesser used hauberks in LOTRO.

Shoulders: Ceremonial Shoulders of the Brazen Call (Turquoise, skirm camp cosmetics vendor, Heavy Moria Armor)
Body: Dwarf-make Hauberk (Turquoise, Thorin's Hall outfitter)
Hands: Stonefists (Umber, world drop)
Feet: Boots of Durin's Guard (Turquoise, Guardian class vendor in Twenty-first Hall)**

**Skin also available from the Guardian vendor for Medallions of Lothlorien at Echad Andestel. You can cross-class barter for these, unlike the vendor in Twenty-first Hall.

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