Saturday, July 17, 2021

Blog Update

Greetings everybody! It's been a few months since my last upload. It's also been several months since I've put any serious work into my content. There are two reasons. 

The first being, where I live, most COVID-19 restrictions and *most* people have been vaccinated. Life has almost returned to normal and my precious free time is in incredibly short supply. My job demands my presence roughly 60 hours a week, at least until more employees are hired. Throw in my non-work and non-gaming daily tasks and I'm exhausted, opting to sleep versus game.

Second, I'm also burnt out regarding LOTRO. Frustrated. Annoyed. Angry. A mixed bag of feelings, really. It's not just about the endless dailies and weeklies. I'm tired of a game that's so focused on endgame grind (virtues, LI scrolls, level cap gear, essences). It's too much work to maintain more than two alts, unlike the pre-Mordor years. I haven't felt joy in recent months. My creative drive for outfits has crashed entirely and I feel like I'm endlessly reusing the same gear combinations or rehashing blog content several years old. Even the latest cosmetics don't reignite that drive. What I loved has now become a job or an endless list of chores. For far too long have I kept these feelings/concerns bottled up...and I can't any longer.

I haven't felt this way since Helm's Deep, the expansion that nearly killed my love for this game. I actually left LOTRO for nearly a full year. Often I find myself enamored, by far, with the simpler LOTRO of old than I do with the modern one. Suffice it to say, my list of grievances has grown longer than the list of things I love and I've come to face the realization that I may be approaching my final days with LOTRO.

Much of my future here is highly dependent on Gundabad and what it brings. I'm not so much concerned about the story, the Brawler or endgame as I am with LIs. The LI system needs to be revamped entirely and turned into a much simpler, alt-friendly system. For two years the community's been told it's coming. It's already been scrapped once, according to Severlin. It's promised to come with Gundabad. If the new system isn't to my liking, I'll be leaving LOTRO. If it gets delayed again, I'll be leaving LOTRO. This will be the sole factor that determines whether I stay or leave. One of my main classes was severely nerfed this past year and the other isn't wanted in non-raid endgame groups. The system, as it currently is, prevents me from leveling other classes without dumping excessive funds into the store (another major grievance).

It's an uncertain time for me. As such, this blog will be on hiatus until Gunabad's release. And at that time, I'll closely monitoring the forums, Bullroarer, and global channels for a few weeks before making my decision.


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Springtime Symphony

Another year has come and go in LOTRO. Not only does the Spring Festival herald the return of warm weather and fragrant flowers, it also heralds the coming of both LOTRO's fourteenth and Material Middle-earth's ninth anniversaries. It's hard to believe both this game and blog has been running for that long. Time is incredibly short this month, and odds are I won't have my usual anniversary post. In lieu of that, I've put together three outfits, each of which use at least one bartered piece obtained from the Spring Festival. Some of the pieces seen here, like the Naruhel cosmetics, are new while others, like the Simbelmynë cosmetics, are nearly a decade old.

This first outfit used the newest addition to the Spring Festival vendors. Not only does it use the aforementioned Naruhel cosmetics, specifically the vines covering the arms and shoulders, it also uses a dress worn by Goldberry and the various River-maidens encountered throughout the story. Though not the most original skins in the game, in a sense because they're pre-existing assets, it's amazing that we've been seeing NPC clothing converted into player clothing (my fingers are crossed for Glathlírel's armor)! I hope the trend continues. Anyway, between the dress and vines, it was possible to create a nature-centric outfit combining the essences of earth and water. And the Groom's Myrtle Circlet was thrown in for good measure.

Head: Groom's Myrtle Circlet (Autumn leaf, Midsummer Festival barter reward)
Shoulders: Naruhel's Shawl (Default, Spring Festival Festivity Token barter reward)
Back: Cloak of the Autumn Traveler (Rohan green, Fall Festival barter reward)
Chest: Short-sleeved Dress of the Spring Maid (Rohan green, Spring Festival barter reward)
Hands: Vines of Naruhel (Default, Spring Festival Festivity Token barter reward)


When I think about Spring, I don't think exclusively of of the grass and trees returning to a lush green. I think about the flowers blossoming in the fields, on bushes, and on the trees themselves. I think about the bold, bright, and exciting colors as the weather begins to warm. I love the beaming yellows, the rich purples, and the vivid magentas. Just as the northern hemisphere bursts with life, I wanted to create an outfit doing the same. 

Of the three outfits here, this was the most difficult to create. Finding a shoulder and cloak combination to compliment the dress was challenging. I had originally planned to use the Mantle of the Spring Woods. Unfortunately, it can't be dyed. I've submitted bug report after bug report, but SSG hasn't corrected it. It would have been a perfect pairing with the dress too! As a result, I had to look elsewhere. After scrapping this outfit two times already, I settled on one of my overused fallback cosmetics, the Wildermore Shoulderpads of Tactics. The bronze-yellow tones in the dress don't match well with anything else, leaving me no choice but to cover the shoulders. Despite that, this appearance is still stunning!

Head: Celeborn's Circlet (Default, Enter the Remmorchant quest reward)
Shoulders: Wildermore Shoulderpads of Tactics (White, crafted from the T8 Wildermore Tailor reputation recipe)
Back: Cloak of the Mountain Meadow (Shire plum, Spring Festival bar)
Chest: Braided Dress of the Spring Woods (Shire plum, Spring Festival barter reward)


It's been several years since I've anybody wearing the Simbelmynë cosmetics. I'm not surprised as they were added to the festival rewards in 2012. By MMO standards, sadly, that would make them old. But that doesn't mean they don't deserve any love, right? With this particular rose and sea blue combination, I hoped to revive a gorgeous and classic tunic and display it in a way never seen. Although I haven't looked, I imagine that tunic's dress counterpart would look equally as stunning in this combination. And that Cloak of the Summer Sea, with the unique feature of creating gradient with any color, finishes the look by seamlessly melding the two central colors together. Pastel and easy on the eyes, this was a perfect outfit for the season.

Head: Circlet of the Night Watcher (Rose, Dol Amroth Lore-master class vendor)
Shoulders: Embroidered Mantle of the Doomfold (Rose, T11 Tailor recipe)
Back: Cloak of the Summer Sea (Rose, Summer Festival barter reward)
Chest: Simbelmynë Tunic and Trousers (Sea blue, Spring Festival barter reward)

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Silvered Feather


After nearly eleven years of playing LOTRO, there are still many cosmetics I haven't collected. Most of them, unfortunately, are from raids like Throne of Dread Terror, Amdan Dammul, and Remmorchant or faction rewards that require high reputation. And then there are some that I've had my eye on for years, like the Faramir-themed sets. Back in January, I collected my final Morgul Crest from a Roving Threat in the North Downs, later spending all twenty on the Robe of Faramir's Faithful. Thanks to the wonderful Gracelenrose and Narufind of Gladden and their weekly RT and Scourge runs, collecting this robe was possible. I wish these crests had a better drop rate from RTs. because those Faramir sets are gorgeous! The only other way to earn these crests is by trading Ithil-coins earned from Throne of Dread Terror, which is rarely run nowadays.

(Just a quick and shameless plug: if you are on Gladden, Grace and Nar scout a scheduled set of RTs or Scourges every Tuesday and publicly share the coords on the RT Discord server. Every Saturday night at 7 PM EST is the live RT/Scourge group, which is pre-scouted. These are scheduled in advance and will either fall into one of three categories: Eriador, Gondor and The Wastes, or Scourges and the Nine. If you'd like in on these groups, watch for advertisements or PM Gracelenrose for the server info.)

Saturday, February 6, 2021



It's been roughly three and a half years since the Mordor expansion's release. With it came the High Elf race, another class of elves hailing from Aman that had beheld the light of the Two Trees or elves with ancestors that had also seen that light. The High Elf saw major graphical improvements over the original Elf, both in facial features and hairstyles. And, as an added bonus, this racial variant had an exclusive Time-worn armor set granted to them at the intro's conclusion, determined by that character's armor class. Obtaining all three required having three new character slots or one slot and sufficient wardrobe space.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Outfit Variations

In recent weeks, some old and beloved friends returned to LOTRO. I've enjoyed questing with them, trying to balance my time between the normal and legendary servers. We agreed to stay on the same page, leveling or progressing the story only when we're together. It's been wonderful experiencing the well-written and timeless story of LOTRO again. And, more importantly, having a new alt meant having eight new outfit slots!

Whenever one person stepped away for food or some other reason during those sessions, I've gradually squeezed in some new-ish appearances during those downtimes. (The Subscriber Town Services item gotten from the VIP vendor, with instant vault and wardrobe access, has been a blessing!) I call these "new-ish" for a single reason. These were previously shared outfits that I've repurposed by altering color schemes and changing a few pieces. Making new outfits has been an ever increasing struggle and I've got to keep the creative juices flowing somehow. After all, I've made more than 250 custom appearances over nearly nine years! Not all of these repurposed outfits have been spectacular, but I thought I should share a few here. This blog has been about ideas, after all!

Before I list the pieces and the source outfits, I wanted to mention the legendary servers again. It's been a slow process with that "Story Pace" debuff, but I managed to reach level 100 and unlock all six special account-wide cloaks. Each cloak was earned through completing specific quests from the Epic storyline. I've been working with them recently and hope to have new outfits centered on said cloaks. As to when? I haven't a clue. However, I've been excited this past week to finally check something off my secret blog wish list!

Head: Circlet of Lorien (Default, Midsummer Festival barter reward)
Shoulders: Strong Shoulder Guards of the Reclaimed City (White, reward from The Fallen King Renewed)
Back: Cloak of Many Worlds (White, comes from the World Consolidation Gift Box)
Chest: Reinforced Hauberk of the Last Alliance (Black, reward from Rescue Rangers)**
Hands: Strong Gauntlets of the Last Alliance (Default, High-enchanter vendor in Mordor)
Feet: Thick Sabatons of the Last Alliance (Default, High-enchanter vendor in Mordor)

**This skin can also be bartered through the High-enchanter NPC in Mordor.

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